/dawr"ches'teuhr, -cheuh steuhr/, n.a town in S Dorsetshire, in S England, on the Frome River: named Casterbridge in Thomas Hardy's novels. 13,737.
* * *I, U.S. It extended nearly to the Rhode Island border and included Dorchester Heights, whose fortification by George Washington's artillery led the British to evacuate Boston on March 17, 1776, at the start of the American Revolution.IIancient DurnovariaOn the River Frome, the ancient town was a sizable Roman British centre, and many remains of the period have been found. By 1086 it was a royal borough, and a castle had been built by the 12th century; the Franciscan priory, founded before 1331, is thought to have been constructed from its ruins. The town is now a marketplace serving an extensive rural area. Thomas Hardy was born near Dorchester, the "Casterbridge" of his Wessex novels.
* * *town (“parish”), West Dorset district, administrative and historic county of Dorset, England, on the River Frome. Dorchester is the county town (seat) of Dorset.The ancient town (then known as Durnovaria) was a sizable Roman British centre, and many remains of the period (including mosaics and ruined villas) have been found. In the south an amphitheatre at Maumbury Rings dates from pre-Roman times; Maiden Castle (2 miles [3 km] southwest), a vast earthwork encircled by entrenchments and ramparts and occupying more than 120 acres (50 hectares), was the site of important settlement from Neolithic times into the Iron Age.As early as the 10th century the town had a mint. By 1086 it was a royal borough, and a castle had been built by the 12th century; the Franciscan priory, founded before 1331, is thought to have been constructed from its ruins. The first charter of incorporation was dated 1610. In 1834 the Tolpuddle martyrs were sentenced in the town for administering illegal oaths concerning trade union activities. The writer Thomas Hardy was born near Dorchester, the “Casterbridge” of his Wessex novels.The cloth industry flourished in the 16th century, and serge was manufactured in the 17th. The town has been noted for its ale since the 1600s. Dorchester now functions as a market town and serves an extensive rural area. Agricultural machinery, printing, and leatherworking are local specialities. Pop. (2001) 16,171.county, southeastern Maryland, U.S., bounded by the Choptank River to the north, Delaware to the east, the Nanticoke River to the southeast, and Chesapeake Bay to the south and west. It consists of a low-lying, marshy peninsula that extends into the bay and includes Barren, Bloodsworth, James, and Hooper islands. Some main waterways are Marshyhope Creek and the Blackwater and Transquaking rivers as well as various inlets, including the Little Choptank and Honga river estuaries and Fishing Bay. The marshlands of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge serve as a stopover for large numbers of migratory birds. The county has been in existence since about 1668, though the exact date of origin is unknown. It was named for Richard Sackville, 3rd earl of Dorset. The port city of Cambridge (founded 1684) is the county seat.The principal economic activities are agriculture (soybeans, barley, vegetables, and poultry), fishing (crabs and oysters), manufacturing (food processing and electronic equipment), and tourism. Area 558 square miles (1,444 square km). Pop. (2000) 30,674; (2007 est.) 31,846.county, southern South Carolina, U.S. The Edisto River forms the southwestern boundary, and the county is also drained by the Ashley River. Dorchester county lies in the flat Coastal Plain, and much of it consists of woodlands and swamps. Francis Beidler Forest is the largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress and tupelo trees in the world. From Colleton State Park to Givhans Ferry State Park, the Edisto River is a state canoe and kayak trail.Cusabo Indians inhabited the region when Europeans began settling Carolina in the 1670s. On a bluff overlooking the Ashley River is Old Dorchester State Park, site of a settlement (1696–1778) by Congregationalists from Massachusetts. Middleton Place, an early American landscaped garden, dates from the 18th century. Rice and indigo were important exports from the region in colonial times, when Summerville was among South Carolina's first inland resorts, favoured by visitors fleeing the malaria of the coastal settlements. The county was established in 1897 and named for Dorchester, Massachusetts.Agriculture (tobacco, soybeans, and hogs) and manufacturing (plastics, industrial equipment, bricks, and clay tiles) are major components of the local economy; logging and lumber milling traditionally have been important. St. George is the county seat, and Summerville is the largest city. Area 575 square miles (1,489 square km). Pop. (2000) 96,413; (2007 est.) 123,505.
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