Hilltop History – Episode 2

Welcome to the second episode of Alfred’s new weekly Shaftesbury area history programme, Hilltop History.

On this week’s show:

  • Nick Crump and Gold Hill Museum’s Claire Ryley talk about a bronze age axe head found in Cann, which you can see at the museum. Its creator may well have been revered. “People who made things out of metal were almost regarded as magicians, because there was this amazing skill to crack rocks, melt the metals and bake them into something new and useful,” says Claire.
  • Dave Hardiman shares the story of the court case involving an annoying Fontmell Magna resident, who upset the rector with rowdy interruptions in church. “The rector proceeded to describe various interruptions by the defendant, and it appeared that he shouted in the psalms and hymns, prolonged the ‘amen’, finishing up with a sharp shout,” says Dave.
  • Shaftesbury historian Bob Kelley takes us back to the 17th century and the start of Abraham Case’s button industry. It would become a major source of locals’ income. “He had noticed the changing fashions and believed there was a future in buttoning. As a former squaddie, he had also seen how soldiers in Europe replaced buttons on the uniforms by twisting a piece of fabric over a form and fastening it with thread,” said Bob.
  • Chris Corners remembers town centre butchers and the bacon factory in Motcombe. He vividly recalls the sight and smell of the meat smoking room. “100 years of tar smoke. It was deadly in there!” says Chris.

If you are enthusiastic about Shaftesbury history and would like to get involved in presenting or researching these programmes, please get in touch at