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Cerne Abbey was a Benedictine monastery founded in 987 AD in the town now called Cerne Abbasmarker by Ethelmar, Earl of Cornwall.

King Canute is known to have plundered this monastery during an attack upon the town, but afterwards became a benefactor of it. The later history appears to have been uneventful. The abbey's history ended on a less positive note, with the last abbot accused of various offences including that of allowing the abbey and lands to become ruinous and of keeping a mistress who seems to have borne him children. The abbey was closed in 1539.

Following the dissolution, the buildings were mainly demolished with only parts of a gatehouse and possible guesthouse incorporated into later buildings. Strangely, the very elaborate stone vaulted porch of the abbot's hall also survives in the midst of a wooded lawn.


  • British History Online - Cerne Abbey
  • Anthony New. 'A Guide to the Abbeys of England And Wales', p107-09. Constable.
  • Houses of Benedictine monks: The abbey of Cerne, A History of the County of Dorset: Volume 2 (1908), pp. 53-8.

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