Moreton is a tranquil Dorset village famous for its association with the prolific writer, celebrated soldier and pioneering archaeologist, T. E. Lawrence, perhaps better known as Lawrence of Arabia.Situated on the River Frome, just eight miles east of Dorchester, the village is achingly picturesque and cluttered by little more that a church, a pub and a tiny railway station.
After years of notoriety working and fighting in the Arabian deserts, Lawrence, hungry for obscurity, was drawn to Moreton's sleepy charm and enlisted as a Private in the Tank Corps, stationed at Bovington. His cousins, the Frampton family, owned the Moreton estate, which borders Bovington, and Lawrence first rented and then bought a cottage from them called Cloud's Hill, now owned by the National Trust.
During his time at Cloud's Hill, Lawrence struck up a friendship with Louisa Frampton and some of their correspondence is on display in the Moreton tea rooms.
A keen motorcyclist, Lawrence was killed just outside the village at the age of forty six when swerving to avoid hitting two children on bicycles who were playing in the road.Lawrence's tragic death inspired the neurosurgeon who tended him after the accident, Hugh Cairns, to begin a long study into potential safety measures that eventually led to the widespread introduction of the motorcycle helmet.
Lawrence was buried in the local churchyard and a funeral was held in the village, attended by such luminaries as Sir Winston and Lady Churchill. His much-visited grave, which features an open book carved from stone, can be found by passing through an ornate portico in the graveyard.
The nearby church of St Nicholas is also famous for its windows, all of which were designed and engraved by another Lawrence, Sir Lawrence Whistler, to replace the mundane panels that were hastily installed when a bomb blasted the church during the Second World War.