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Did you know the oldest farmed herd or flock in the country is almost certainly one at Abbotsbury in Dorset and the creatures in question are swans? There are records showing the existence of a swannery here in 1393, but as the Abbey it belonged to was established in 1040 it is likely to have started nearer that date. Descendents of Sir Giles Strangways, who bought the Abbey at the Dissolution, still run it. For the monks the swans were food; now they are a tourist attraction.

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Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. - John Donne
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Thomas Cranmer Burnt at the Stake - 1556
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