Fifteen members of Crewkerne & District U3A’s photography group visited Shaftesbury Museum and Gardens, housed in the grounds of a former abbey and founded by King Alfred more than 1100 years ago. The group saw the excavation work, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is taking place to uncover more about the history of the abbey, which was once the foremost Benedictine nunnery in England. They also visited the medieval herb garden where plants are still grown for cooking, medicines and dyeing.
The abbey, like so many other religious establishments, became a victim of the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII. The buildings were demolished and much of the stone used for other sites in the town. It has been looked after by the Abbey and Museum Preservation Trust since 1985. No visit to Shaftesbury, particularly for a photography group, is complete without taking in the iconic Gold Hill, memorably featured in Ridley Scott’s hovis advert, accompanied by music from Dvoraks New World Symphony. Crewkerne U3A’s photography group member Yvonne Taylor said: “It was well worth the effort and the views from the hill were beautiful.”