- Gillingham, Dorset
:"Not to be confused with
Gillingham, KentInfobox UK place
region= South West England
population= 9,323 [
constituency_westminster= North Dorset
Gillingham (Audio|En-uk-Gillingham(Dorset).ogg|pronunciation) is a town in the
Blackmore Valearea of Dorset, England. The town is the most northerly in the county. It is 3 miles south of the A303lying on the B3095 and B3081. It is near to the town of Shaftesburywhich lies 7 miles to the south east. Neighbouring hamlets included Peacemarsh, Bay and Wyke. These hamlets have now however become part of Gillingham as it expanded.
Gillingham is pronounced with the G as in 'goat'. It is not to be confused with Gillingham in Kent, in which the G is pronounced as a J as in the girl's name Jill.
There is a
stone agebarrow [ [http://www.thedorsetpage.com/locations/place/G010.htm The Dorset Page's Gillingham Page] ] in the town, and evidence of Roman settlement in the second century and third century. The town was really established by the Saxons. The church of St Mary the Virgin has a Saxon cross shaft dating to 800-900AD. [ [http://www.gillinghamanglican.org.uk/history/ St Mary the Virgin] ]
The name Gillingham was used for the town in the Saxon
charterof the 10th century, and also in the annals of 1016 as the location of a battlebetween Edmund II of Englandand the Danish Vikings. In the Domesday bookof 1086 it is "Gelingham", and later spellings include "Gellingeham" in 1130, "Gyllingeham" in 1152 and "Gilingeham" in 1209. The name implies a “homestead of the family or followers of a man called Gylla”, a model consistent with the occupation of Dorset by the Saxons from the 7th century.
In October 1348, fifty percent of the 2,000 people living in the town died of the
Black Deathin the following four months. [Times 1/2/07 Simon de Bruxelles "Lost documents shed light on Black Death]
Middle Ages, Gillingham was the seat of a royal hunting lodge, visited by King Henry I, Henry II, John and Henry III. A nearby royal forest was set aside for the king's deer. The lodge fell into disrepair and was destroyed in 1369 by Edward III. Edward Rawson, the first secretary to the Massachusetts Bay Colonywas born in Gillingham.
Gillingham became a centre for local farming, gained the first
Grammar Schoolin Dorset in 1526 and a mill for silkin 1769. Gillingham's church has a 14th century chancel, though most of the rest of the building was built in the 19th and 20th centuries. Many other buildings in the town are of Tudor origin.
In the 1850s, the arrival of the
railwayto the town brought prosperity and new industries including brickmaking, cheeseproduction, printing, soapmanufacture and at the end of the 19th century one of the first petrol engineplants in the country. In the second world warGillingham's place on the railway, which went from Londonto Exeter, was key to its rapid growth. In 1940 and 1941 there was large scale evacuation of London, and other industrial cities, to rural towns, particularly in the north, southwest and Wales. Gillingham, being on the railway, grew rapidly because of this, and has not stopped growing since. Gillingham's position 4 miles south of the A303, the main London to southwest England road, means it remains a popular commuter town.
Gillingham was the centre of a Liberty of the same name.
John Constable's painting of the old town bridge is in the Tate Gallery.
In the 2001 census, the town had a population of 9,323; a large increase from 6,187 in 1991. 35% of the population are retired. The town has 70 shops, and the Gillingham education area has 7 primary schools (4 in the town) and 1 secondary school. Gillingham railway station is on the
Exeterto Londonrailway line, and 4 miles away from the A303, the main London to south-west England road.
Mrs S Dobie is the town clerk of Gillingham town council. [ [http://www.north-dorset.gov.uk/parish_councils Parish council info] ]
List of hundreds in Dorset.
* [http://www.north-dorset.gov.uk/ North Dorset District Council]
* [http://www.catnip.co.uk/gillingham/ Photographs of the town]
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