The Local Area

The History of Blandford Forum

Blandford Forum began as a Saxon settlement by the River Stour. (It’s believed the river’s name is derived from a Saxon word meaning strong or mighty). At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, Blandford was called Blaneford. It’s not certain where the ‘Blane’ part of the name came from. It may have been Blay Ford (blay is a type of small fish). Forum, the Latin word for a marketplace was added to the name when it became a market town. It’s not known exactly when markets were first held but by the 13th century, they were flourishing. By the 13th century, Blandford also had annual fairs.

In 1605 King James I gave the town its first charter of incorporation so by then it was a place of some importance. The Old House was built circa 1660 and Ryve’s Almshouses were built in 1682 by George Ryves. By the 17th century, there was a school in Blandford.

During the English Civil War, most of the people of Blandford Forum supported the king but the town was plundered by a Parliamentary force in 1644. Nevertheless, the town soon recovered and in the late 17th century it thrived.

Blandford Forum suffered fires several times in history. The first was in 1564. Blandford suffered another fire in 1677. The town suffered two more fires in the early 18th century. The first happened in 1713. The second fire, in 1731 destroyed most of the houses in the town as well as public buildings.

But Blandford Forum was rebuilt and today it has many noteworthy 18th century buildings including the Town Hall, which was rebuilt in 1734, and the Church of St Peter and St Paul. The Great Fire Monument was first erected in 1760. In 1772 Assembly Rooms were built in the town for dances and games like playing cards.

In the 18th century, there was a button-making industry in the town as well as an important brewing industry. Button-making ended in the 19th century but brewing continued.

In the 18th century and early 19th century Blandford was also a stagecoach town as it was on the main road from London to Exeter.
During the 19th century and 20th centuries amenities in the town improved. In 1837 Blandford gained gaslight. A corn exchange was built in 1858. A workhouse was built in 1859. (In the workhouse life was made as unpleasant as possible to discourage ‘idlers’. A cottage hospital was founded in 1888.

Meanwhile, the railway reached Blandford in 1860 but it closed in 1966. However, in the 19th century, Blandford was still only a small town. In 1901 it only had a population of 3,649. The population remained less than 4,000 until the 1980s when it began to grow rapidly.

Today Blandford is a flourishing town. It now has an industrial estate, Blandford Heights. Blandford is also a local shopping centre. Blandford Forum Town Museum opened in 1985. Blandford Fashion Museum opened in 1996. In 2022 the population of Blandford Forum was 11,000.



Durdle Door

Monkey World

Poole Quay



Blandford Town Museum

Blandford Town Museum holds a wealth of artefacts and archives from Prehistoric to the present day. With information for people researching their family history, militaria and elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Blandford Forum Parish Church

A growing Evangelical Anglican Church at the heart of the historic Georgian town of Blandford Forum.

The Blandford Fashion Museum

Blandford Fashion Museum’s extensive collection includes costumes and accessories from the 18th century to the late 1970’s. The Museum has a number of exhibition areas that display specific stories of the life and changing shape of fashion from the past.

Royal Signals Museum

Nestled in beautiful countryside, this modern museum traces the history of the British Army’s Royal Corps of Signals and the story of battlefield communications from the telegraph to cyber warfare and satellites.

Langham Wine Estate & Vineyard Tour

Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year at the IWSC 2020. Single estate vineyard based just outside Dorchester, Dorset with winery, cafe, tasting room and shop on site selling sparkling wine and tours.

Barefaced Brewing

Producers of progressive beers that are marketed as “quite frankly……straight to the point”. Using great ingredients they focus  on quality, brewing beers.

Hall & Woodhouse Brewery

The Brewery Visitor Centre tells the story of Hall & Woodhouse and its Badger Ales through the ages. Located at the Brewery in Blandford St Mary your trip can include a brewery tour, a visit to our shop and lunch in our casual dining bar / café.

Local Produce

Matos Butchers

A local family run butcher shop that has been in business since 1979

Reeve The Bakers

Only use local suppliers and tradesmen and aim to support the local communities they are in.

Vines Farm Shop

Suppliers of a huge range of products from fresh fruit and vegetables, to gardening supplies, to country gifts, stocking products from over 40 local suppliers.

Greenslade Fish

Fish monger in Poole selling fresh, locally caught produce.

Local Events

Keep up to date with all the local events across Dorset