Villagers in Cerne Abbas have been awarded a grant of £6,700 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the cost of this year’s centenary celebrations of the 1919 auction sale of Cerne Abbas by the Pitt-Rivers family.

The grant, which will be supplemented by money raised within the village, will enable Cerne Abbas to put on an exhibition and a number of other memorable events to mark the centenary of a pivotal moment in the history of the village.

On 24 September 1919 the Pitt-Rivers family, which had owned most of Cerne Abbas since 1705, put the village up for sale at auction. The auction took place at 1.30pm in Dorchester Town Hall and a total of £67,402 was raised from the 75 lots.

Cerne Historical Society will be staging a major exhibition in St Mary’s Church in the centre of Cerne Abbas for 12 days starting on 24 September, while the Horticultural Society Annual Show on 10 August will have a period flavour.

There will also be a number of other events and concerts between 24 September and 6 October, the details of which will be released later.

All parts of the community, including the children and the elderly, are being encouraged to take part in the project, the aim of which is to make all the inhabitants of Cerne Abbas aware of the fascinating history of the village and to encourage them to carry out further research into its history and heritage.

Commenting on the award, chairman, Mike Clark, said, “We are thrilled to receive this support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund which will enable us to properly commemorate this major event in our village history.”


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