The History of Askerswell Parish

Eggardon Hill

Post-Medieval: Askerswell also features in the need to maintain archery skills in the English population during the reign of Henry VIII. The King expected all men "to exercise" at the butts and keep a bow and arrows at home. Routine archery practice in Bridport was conducted at the butts just west of St Mary's Church in the town. However, exercises took place in the light sleeveless armour worn by archers after they marched to a drum to Eggardon Hill (page 35, in Legg, 2003, ISBN 1 84114 232 8). Askerswell may have been larger in the past than now or has moved its centre, as there are the remains of a post-mediaeval, shrunken settlement that covers 5 acres to the West of The Burrywells.

Dorset had a long history of smuggling just like other south coast counties. The Napoleonic wars forced the price of continental wheat and liquor to a prohibitive level for the poor who could earn more than a week's wages in one night working for smugglers.

Isaac Gulliver

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