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The Old Bakery
Milton Abbas, Dorset£1,100,000 Freehold

The Old Bakery

One of the most picturesque villages in Dorset, built as part of a project helmed by Capability Brown and Sir William Chamber

Set in an 18th-century village near the Dorset Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is this stunning Grade II-listed house, defined by its wealth of Georgian features. Originally designed as a semi-detached cottage for two families with a bakery at the back, the pretty house has been sensitively reworked, blending the two halves and extending it to create a spacious family home. Stretching over 3,100 sq ft across two floors, it has an expansive modern open-plan reception room overlooking the beautiful terrace garden, as well as a gym, a study and a cosy snug. The home is also a short walk from a pub and the village shop. It is also a half-hour drive to the celebrated Jurassic Coast.

Setting the Scene

One of the most picturesque villages in Dorset, the village of Milton Abbas, was constructed in the late 18th century. It was built as part of a project helmed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown and Sir William Chamber by Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, the first Earl of Dorchester and the owner of Milton Abbey, to move Middleton, the nearby medieval settlement. The decision to move the original village received criticism at the time. However, the new houses were of improved layout and quality.

Houses were separated from one another by horse chestnut trees and constructed of cob with timber frames and thatched roofs. The 36 cottages were arranged with strict adherence to classical principles of mathematics and were all originally painted yellow. Now painted in creamy tones, the house is on a quiet street among a tiny sea of thatched neighbours. For more information, please see the History section.

The Grand Tour

Soft grey windows and doors offset the cream façade of the cottage, while a delightful line of round box hedges runs along the bottom. With its glazed panel, the front door opens to a wide hall. In typical Georgian fashion, the main part of the house is perfectly symmetrical, built on a mirrored plan. A study sits on the left of the hall, a snug on the right; both have matching casement windows overlooking the front lawn and wood burners set into their original hearths. Behind the study, a gym is clad in modern cedar panelling, creating a clever contrast with the old bones of the building.

In the large and welcoming kitchen, bespoke cabinetry has been painted in delicate tones of clay pink. It has built-in larder storage, a large range oven and useful open shelves. An extensive utility wing lies beyond with bespoke cabinetry concealing appliances.

At the rear of the plan is the generous open-plan living and dining extension, flowing effortlessly from the kitchen. Historically, this large space would have been the bakery and still has the original bread oven still in place. The room has been finished in neutral tones, and beams have been limewashed, maximising the light that pours through leaded windows; another woodburner is set into the hearth.

The principal bedroom is set above the old bakery. This room’s spacious proportions are accentuated by the limewashed beams running overhead. A pair of walk-in wardrobes add plenty of storage, while leaded windows frame views of the garden. The large en suite bathroom has Jack-and-Jill sinks, a walk-in shower and a bath clad in pretty pink panelling. It can also be accessed by a separate set of stairs from the living and dining room. Two more bedrooms and a bathroom are set around a central landing.

The Great Outdoors

A large mature terraced garden with elegant stonework rises behind the house. It is exceptionally peaceful due to the fact a forest is set at the end of the garden. Bee boxes are dotted around the space, while a hammock is draped under the dappled shade of a tree. A patio is the perfect spot for alfresco dining in warmer months. Copious plantings of tulips, narcissus and hyacinths blossom into life come spring, while box edge anchor beds with evergreen charm.

Out and About

Milton Abbas is a pretty village with charming local amenities, including a post office and The Hambro Arms pub up the street. Also in the village is the popular and convenient Steeptonbill Farm Shop, with a wide variety of local produce. For the athletically inclined, the long-distance Jubilee Trail, a 90-mile cross-country path, runs through Milton Abbas. Many shorter walks offer a range of opportunities to explore the downs, traditional woodland, pretty valleys and peaceful villages with several local pubs along the way. The Cerne Giant, Britain’s largest chalk hill figure with ties to Saxon times, is also not far.

Further afield is the Georgian market town of Blandford Forum, offering a wider array of shops. The week-long Great Dorset Steam Fair takes place every September when there is a large gathering of steam tractors and other antique machinery. The town centre has a local history museum, and the Royal Signals Museum is not far from Blandford Army Camp. There are many shops and restaurants in this old market town. Tea rooms include one at the Blandford Fashion Museum, a museum of historical costume. Many of the cafés are in beautiful old buildings.

Dorchester is a 25-minute drive away with a large Waitrose and greater amenities. Regular, direct train services run from Dorchester South to London Waterloo in around 2.5 hours.

Council Tax Band: G

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. Inigo has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


In 1780, Joseph Damer, Lord Milton, the first Earl of Dorchester and the owner of Milton Abbey, decided to move Middleton, the nearby medieval settlement. He enlisted the services of architect Sir William Chambers and landscape gardener Capability Brown, who had previously worked on the Abbey building and grounds. Their task was to create the first model village, Milton Abbas, in a wooded valley called Luccombe Bottom, situated southeast of the Abbey. 

The majority of the original villagers were relocated to this newly designed village, while the previous settlement was demolished and the area redesigned. The new village comprised 36 almost identical thatched cottages, each intended to accommodate two families. Constructed using cob, these cottages were originally painted yellow and adorned with a front lawn. Notably, a horse chestnut tree was planted between each dwelling. 

Additionally, the architects provided almshouses and a church for the newly established village, positioned opposite one another. The almshouses were relocated from the old town where they had been originally constructed in 1674. The church, consecrated in 1786, exhibits a Georgian Gothic style with some late 19th-century additions.

In 1906, Sir Frederick Treves describes the still yellow-painted village of Milton Abbas in his book Highways and Byways in Dorset as “consist[ing] of one long, straight street mounting uphill through a thicket. On either side of the way are mathematically placed cottages, all exactly alike—twenty on one side and twenty on the other. The space between any two adjacent houses is the same, and in every space is a fine chestnut tree. The cottages are square, have yellow walls, thatched roofs, and an arrangement of windows characteristic of the common doll’s house….In the centre of the settlement are a prim church and an almshouse, somewhat over redolent of charity, while at the end of the avenue of yellow houses is a quaint little thatched-roofed inn. The visitor may begin by regarding the strange yellow and green street as ridiculous; he will end by owning that it is possessed of a rare charm.”

The names of some of the houses offer insight into the occupations of the village’s original inhabitants, such as baker, blacksmith, and brewery. In the 1930s, homes were whitewashed. Arthur Mee’s book Dorset, published in 1939, features a photograph of the chestnut trees, which are so large that they appear to be at least twice the size of the houses, completely dominating the street. Sadly, in 1953, the original horse chestnut trees were removed due to safety concerns and the risk they posed to the houses.

Today the village is considered a model of 18th-century town planning and is entirely Grade listed.

The Old Bakery — Milton Abbas, Dorset
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