This area has a former pub with a very distinct claim to fame.

The Smith's Arms in Godmanstone near Cerne Abbbas was known for being the smallest pub in England.

This unique single storey building presented a charming appearance, constructed of flint walls under a thatch roof.

Dorset Echo:

How the pub looks today

The internal dimensions of the only bar were just 11ft 9ins by 15 feet. The ceiling was low and sloping, being only 6ft 2ins and the highest point. When the pub was open, there were lanterns, horse brasses, an old pair of blacksmith’s bellow outside, and a cosy atmosphere within. There were six tables, seating about 24 people, and tables outside for a delightful drink or meal by the riverside.

Click here to read of famous lobster teas served at another popular pub in the area

Dorset Echo:

Inside the Smith's Arms

The building dates to 1420, and was originally a smithy. Legend has it that the licence was granted by Charles II who asked for refreshment when he stopped to have his horse shod.

Dorset Echo:

A shire horse outside the pub

When the smith replied that he had no licence, the King granted him one by Royal Charter, thus beginning the long history of relieving the thirst of travellers and locals alike, and continuing to shoe horses for a while also.

Dorset Echo:

Pub sign

Adjoining the pub is a four bedroom house. In the past one room was used as a bar-parlour (and licensed as such), and another as a small village shop.

The shop was a thriving venture in the late 19th and early 20th century, but by the 1960s it was unable to compete with trade from outside the village, and closed. The pub was sold about that time by the Brewery and became a Free House run by John and Linda Foster.

John was a top jockey who had to retire from the turf after a serious riding accident. John and Linda ran The Smiths Arms very successfully until some years ago when John’s condition deteriorated and it sadly closed its doors.

Dorset Echo:

This album cover from 1976 shows The Smiths Arms. The LP Obelisk Inn Folk was recorded there featuring Roger Dyke, (banjo),Jim Kelly (Squeeze Box), Pete Watson (guitar) and Baz Holt (Bass) .