The Colliton Club & Bar is a great venue catering for all types of events, meetings and parties.

Hundreds of years of history in the centre of Dorchester

Colliton Club & Bar, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XZ Tel: 01305 224503

Colliton House and the Colliton Club

In medieval times Colliton Park was the site of the monastic hospital of St John the Baptist, although no remains have been found, it is believed that it was located in the area where Colliton house now stands.

In the 16th Century, Colliton Park was owned by the Churchill family, who used it to graze livestock, as their main home was at Muston Manor in Piddlehinton. One of the descendants of the family – William Churchill, who was the High Sheriff of Dorset in 1639, had Colliton House built as his townhouse.

The House therefore dates back to the 16th- 17th century. It is a grade 2 listed building containing some fine 16th century panelling and an 18th century staircase. Above the external porch is a cartouche containing the arms of the Churchill family.

Another descendant, also called William Churchill had an interest in brewing, and in 1729 had a brewhouse built which was to the south of the original house. This was taken down in 1947 and building fragments from it can be seen in the County Museum, such as the doorway to the library. It is also at this time that the superbly crafted staircase was built in the house.

In 1997 an extension was built to the House to create a new skittle alley and seating areas. The new extension was designed to interpret the form of the old brewhouse.

Colliton House featured in Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge, as High Place Hall, the home of Lucette Templeman (Lucette Le Seuer), one of the main characters in the novel.

Colliton House – VAD Hospital 1914 -18

The former home of a branch of the Churchill family became a Hospital in the First World War. It was handed over for use as a hospital by its owner, Denzil Hughes-Onslow, who was killed in action in France in 1916.

In the winter of 1914, Colliton House was opened as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital, with eighteen beds. By May 1917 there were more than 200 hundred beds in tents that stretched across Colliton Park. This was one of the largest temporary hospitals in Dorset. It was said to be a well-equipped hospital ‘with a first class operating theatre, an X-Ray installation and a Mechano-therapeutic installation’. The commandant was Miss Winifrede Marsden.
(Extract with thanks to the Dorchester Poppy Trail).

There are some photographs of this time in the bar of the Colliton Club.

Colliton Park – Roman Town House

The photograph of Colliton Park was taken before the construction of County Hall began in the 1930s. Ahead of that construction, archaeologists carried out extensive excavations across Colliton Park, which was already known to be within Dorchester’s Roman town. Their best discovery remains on display – this is the Roman Town House which can be found on the opposite side of County Hall.

Dorset Council has recently carried out a scheme to improve access and interpretation to the Roman Town House. A new entrance and path to the site have been built, and various facilities on the site have been improved. Also, a new series of interpretation boards and panels has been designed and erected on the site. The photograph is being used in this new interpretation scheme, to show visitors what the site looked like before County Hall was built.
(With thanks to Dorset Council’s Archaeologist Section)


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