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Tree Trail Introduction - History Trail



Museum of East Dorset

aka “Priests House Museum”

The museum is housed in a sixteenth century

building that at the start was a single story stone house.  An upper story was added in the seventeenth century and  from the 1680s the Bowridge family lived there - with details in a will that a mortgage of £1600  [that’s a little less than £200,000 today] led to the family

selling to repay debts.  

The Wimborne Community Theatre history page shows owners and occupants through to the Cole’s family taking over residence in the early 1870s [It was Hilda Coles who ran the museum of local collections from 1962 through to 1987 when it was bequeathed

to the town under the care

of the Minster Governors …

to be used as a museum for local people” ]

It seems never to have been the house of a priest - unless the name “Priest’s House” was given to the property for something known only to those of the time !

The attractive and secluded garden is almost 100 metres in length being originally a ’burgage’ plot of the house.    (Usually 20 rods or poles and

one house oak-beam wide -  

The area contained within each burgage plot is therefore around ¼ acre)

The narrowness of such plots stems back to the Lord of the manor creating as many ‘frontages’ on a street as possible so as to increase income - unlike rural tenancies that paid for the right to live there by ‘working for the lord’ - burgage plots were rented from the Lord of the Manor

for money.  Until  1832. In these ‘Burgage Borough’ areas, the right to vote for a member

of parliament was attached to the occupation

of particular burgage tenements

Read more on the museum’s own wensite

History-or-Tree-Trail? Index