Bed and Breakfast in Dorset
View of Beaminster with the surrounding hills taken from the east

Broadwindsor is an ancient place and according to the Domesday Book of 1086, before the Norman invasion "Windesore" was held by a Saxon called 'Bondi'. However, being on the route of the Great Ridgeway and surrounded by Iron-age hill forts, it was almost certainly occupied by the Romans, if only for its plentiful supply of water. Much later King Henry VIII raised "38 able-bodied men" for his militia.

The only real excitement in the last 500 years occurred in 1651 when King Charles II (1630-85), after being defeated by Cromwell's army at the Battle of Worcester on 3rd September, made his escape, eventually being offered sanctuary by Colonel Wyndham in Trent Manor on the 17th. He lived there for 16 days in Lady Wyndham's room because it was conveniently adjacent to a double floor under the roof where he could hide in the event of a hostile search. At one point, he became fed-up with the incessant ringing of the church bells, which he was told were as a result of rejoicing at the news of his death! After a fruitless journey, dressed as a servant, to Charmouth, which should have culminated in an escape to France by boat, he was obliged to return to Trent on the 24th. During this journey he spent a night in Broadwindsor at the Castle Inn. It was not a peaceful night; a detachment of Cromwell's troops on their way to the coast arrived at 9pm and demanded rooms. The noise of the soldiers would certainly have kept the royal party on their toes! The inn was later burnt, rebuilt and renamed 'The George' before being converted into a private house. The site of the part of the inn where he stayed is called 'King Charles Cottage' and is opposite the shop in the centre of the village. He finally left for Shoreham on 5th October and successfully escaped. He was restored to the throne in 1660 and was generous to his friends in Trent, although there is no record of particular generosity to anyone in this village. (For more information about Charles' time in Dorset, please visit

The village has a pub with excellent food, a shop that has an amazing range of stock and a church originating from before the 12th century.

"Sweet Be'mister, that bist a-bound, by green an' woodyhills all round, wi' hedges reachen up between ,A thousan' vields o' zummer green, where elems' lofty heads do drow, their sheades vor hay-meakers below."

William Barnes

Beaminster, called "Emminster" by Thomas Hardy, is just 2½ miles away. This delightful old-world place, surrounded by green hills and filled with buildings of various architectural styles made from the local honey-coloured hamstone, can trace its market back to 1284. The town prospered from the wool trade until the early 19th century due to the happy combination of huge flocks of Dorset sheep nearby and a generous supply of running water. Locally grown hemp and flax supported a thriving sailcloth industry.

The most memorable building is in the middle of the market square and called the 'Julia'. It was erected in 1906 in memory of the sister of the owner of Parnham House and has become something of a logo for the town. The parish church of St Mary is a very important building with, perhaps, the finest 15 century tower in the county. It and the houses that jostle around it are well worth a look.

There is a good selection of, in the main privately owned and interesting shops, a chemist, a post office, a part-time bank, lots of pubs and even a museum. The population is now around 3000.

The last week in June and the first of July is traditionally given over to the famous Beaminster Festival when the town is host to a large variety arts. ( Festival office 01308 862 943)

Guided cycling and walking tours in West Dorset

Marshwood Trails have designed a range of day tours to help visitors discover what this beautiful area has to offer. As well as exploring spectacular landscapes, the tours include opportunities to learn more about West Dorset's vibrant history and sample some of the renowned local produce. Every tour is led by a knowledgeable and qualified guide. Marshwood Trails offers both scheduled and bespoke cycling and walking tours which can be booked for a single day or they can arrange a programme of different tours that run over consecutive days. For more information call Martin on 07796 135256
Click on the image right for a link to their site - but please come back!

For a really memorable occasion why not take a trip in a hot air balloon. These are unforgetable experiences and the views of the Dorset countryside quite stunning.

Click on the image right for a link to their site - but please come back!

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Thank you for visiting Crosskeys House website

Crosskeys House
High Street
Nr. Beaminster
Dorset DT8 3QP

Tel/Fax: 01308 868 063

Copyright © 2005 (Crosskeys House). All rights reserved.
Revised: 02-Jan-2013