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Utterly delightful, a town of matchless elegance, of quintessentially English beauty, are but a few of the attributes to the fine Market town on the River Stour. The town of Blandford Forum has a history of destruction by fire and sadly the town has few antiquities left. The fire of 1731 raised most of the town to the ground, little was saved and from a town with in excess of 500 buildings, only a handful remained including the almshouses and the Old House.
Following the fire the town was reconstructed in classical Georgian style in accordance to designs by the brothers, John and William Bastard, local architects of the day. They too, were responsible for one of the finest provincial churches of the period, the church of St.Peter and St.Paul. The church has a magnificent square tower, and the interior has Ionic columns to the nave. The church was altered and added to in the early 19th-century and in 1893 a chancel was built. The brothers also built the very fine town hall.
Of the buildings still to be seen from earlier times are Dale House, which dates 1689, the beautiful old Almshouses of 1682, and Old House which was built early in the 18th-century.
Thomas Hardy famously commemorated Blandford as 'Shottesford Forum' in his Wessex novels and in 1590, Edmund Spenser mentioned the town in 'The Faerie Queene' not many town's get a finer accolade.
The lands surrounding the town are watered by the River Stour, thus Blandford is endowed with rich grazing lands for cattle and sheep. In the sleepy lanes of this beautiful area you will find handsome houses and cottages, some with dormer windows peering from beneath a thickly thatched roof. The town is a picture of quiet contentment and of understated English elegance at it's best.
It is deserving of high praise and well worth a visit.
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