Wareham's amazing history!
10,000 years in the making...
The history of Wareham is the history of England itself!
Wareham has long been recognised as an important site, nestling between two rivers and also close to the sea, and so it’s no surprise that its foundations go back over 2000 years. It was once a stronghold for Alfred the Great, and is in fact one of only two Saxon-walled settlements left in the UK. It is ideally placed to explore the beautiful Purbeck peninsula and the Jurassic coast, a world heritage site.
The modern view of Wareham, a sleepy picturesque Dorset market town, nestled between two rivers, seems far from its long and sometimes violent history.
Wareham has seen almost continuous occupation since the end of the last Ice Age over 10,000 years ago. Excavations have produced evidence of early Mesolithic activity dating to around 9000 BC, and have produced the largest assemblage of Middle Bronze Age pottery in this country.
However, due to its location next to the River Frome, Wareham has been under constant threat of invasion. From Romans invaders to Viking raids it is perhaps not surprising that King Alfred the Great ordered the building of the defensive walls that still stand today. These walls were used again during the English Civil War and were ideally placed for the bloody executions of the Monmouth Rebellion.
Despite almost burning to the ground in the 18th century, Wareham survived the centuries largely intact. It still continued its association with military activity though with its nearby military camps, and its association with Lawrence of Arabia.