|There has been a settlement here for over 6000 years,
originally this area would have been dense woodlands and some crude
implements have been found here along the edges of The Fleet, the tidal
inlet between the mainland and Chesil Bank).
This is a village that seems to have a contented and sleepy atmosphere and it is famous for its Swannery which can be found not far from the 11th century church when it was introduced as a source of food by the monks, and it has been under the care of the Fox-Strangeways family since the dissolution by Henry VIII. The church was used during the English Civil War when Cromwell's marksmen were positioned on the tower, inside the church is a pulpit that is dotted with holes made by musket balls and these were made during the skirmishes that were held here in 1644.
The abbey was built about 900 years ago by Orca during the reign of Canute and the monks came here from Cerne. The Abbey like the church was destroyed during the Dissolution but a great barn survived and can be seen today. Some of the stones from the abbey were used to build the local houses.
A tiny chapel stands on a hill overlooking the village and this is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria who is the patron saint of Spinsters and the unmarried women of the village used to meet here and pray that they would soon meet their husbands.
It was near here that the famous Dam Busters inventor Barnes Wallace carried out practices for the dropping of the famed "bouncing bombs" that were to be used against the German Dams and the sound of Lancaster Bombers became a normal thing, interspersed with the roar of Merlin engines of the spitfires also using the nearby ranges.
The villages is more renowned for Chesil Bank which is a high bank of shingle which was said to have been washed up in a storm one night and reaches to Portland Bill seven miles away. But it formed over a million years ago and is mainly made up of chalk, flint and rock and stands on what is called Kimmeridge clay which can be see when high winds move the shingle covering, here is what is called Deamans Bay and is renowned for being the cause of many shipwrecks.
During the 18th century the entire western part of the village was burnt down in a great fire but by the mid 18th century things began to get better and Elizabeth Strangways Homer married Stephen Foix who later became the first Earl of Ilchester and she built the ill fated Abbotsbury Castle mainly to be used as a summer house but this burtnt down in 1913 and she also began the Sub-Tropical Gardens.
It was in 1885 that the railway arrived here and it went down to Weymouth and it was used mainly to transport Iron ore from the opencast quarries that were in the hills behind Abbotsbury, but it never really paid its way and was eventually closed down.