History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Dorchester has been the county town of Dorset since 1305 (though not the largest centre in the county, that distinction rests with the port of Poole). An attractive market town with most of its interesting buildings dating from the 18th century, Dorchester is quite conscious of its connections with novelist Thomas Hardy. Hardy attended school in Dorchester, and later settled in the town, living in the house he had built at Max Gate. A statue to Hardy stands near the old Norman keep, now a Military Museum.
But the history of Dorchester goes back far beyond Mr. Hardy! The Romans first came to the area in 43AD, when they defeated the native Durotriges tribe in a siege at the nearby hillfort of Maiden Castle. Artefacts from Maiden Castle, as well as the remains of defenders who died in the siege, are on display in the excellent Dorset County Museum.
Dorchester itself was founded in 70AD by the Romans, who called it Durnovaria. Traces of a Roman villa can be seen at Colliton Park, and a variety of local Roman mosaics can be seen at the County Museum.
Address: Dorchester, Dorset, England
Attraction Type: Town
OS: SY694 902
Photo Credit: Joanne Paul
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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18th century (Time Period) -
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
The Dinosaur Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Dorset Teddy Bear Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Dorchester, St Peter's Church - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
Tutankhamun Exhibition - 0.4 miles (Museum)
Dorset County Museum - 0.4 miles (Museum)
Keep Military Museum of Devon and Dorset - 0.5 miles (Museum)
Max Gate - 0.5 miles (Historic Building)
Dorchester Roman Town House - 0.6 miles (Roman Site)
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