Roman town of Dorcic, or Dorchester as it is now called,
is an attractive and prosperous Thames-side village. The village is actually
about a quarter of a mile away from the Thames at its confluence
with the River Thame and can only be seen by taking the
footpath towards Day's Lock and Little
the village from the southeast you cross the long, low,
curving bridge over the River Thame and its flood-plain
and then the Abbey Church of St Peter and St Paul and
the toll house come into view. A little further on the
lychgate affords a fine view of the church's tower and
the former abbey guest house. The Abbey Church of St Peter
and St Paul (usually known as Dorchester
Abbey) is the parish church of Dorchester.
the High Street there are a number of fine period buildings
which give the village its special character. Today Dorchester
is firmly established on the tourist trail and Dorchester
Abbey is clearly the main attraction. Two coaching inns
remain out of the original ten, and antique shops are
very prominent in the High Street. The bypass has removed
most of the traffic and Dorchester is now pleasantly quiet
with only local traffic passing through.
original church at Dorchester was built by St. Birinus
who converted the Saxon King Cynegils and his court to
Christianity, and the church eventually became the cathedral
of Wessex before being demolished after the Norman conquest.
It was replaced by an Augustininan abbey that, after dissolution,
eventually became the parish church. Within the grounds
of the Abbey the museum, giftshop and tearoom are housed
in the former Abbey Guesthouse which was built to accomodate
pilgrims, and over the site of the original monastery
are the Cloister Gardens and Cloister Gallery.
from the Abbey Dorchester has a small Roman Catholic church,
the Catholic Church of St. Birinus.
the village, especially to the north, are a series of
flooded gravel pits, some of which are owned by Orchid
Lakes and used for angling. ne of the larger
lakes is also home to Dorchester
well-known as a Roman town, Dorchester was once an Iron
Age settlement and the remains of this are evident by
the low hills known as the Dyke Hills which lie close
to the river at the edge of the village and within site
of the hill fort on Castle
Hill, part of the Sinodun Hills on the other side
of the Thames.
Dorchester has been a popular location for the TV series Midsomer
Murders and scenes
from several episodes have been filmed in the village.
Dorchester is about
5 miles north-west of Wallingford just off (and bypassed
by) the A4074 Henley to Oxford road.