The history of Abbotsbury is tied closely with the creation of the monastery that once dominated the village and the Fox-Strangways family.
In 1541, the abbey lands were leased to Sir Giles Strangways, who converted part of the old monastery into a mansion.
Later, Sir John Strangways, who was a staunch Royalist, held Abbotsbury for the King until the civil war broke out in 1644.
Defoe, on his tour of England in 1724, said: ?the mackerel are the finest I ever saw sold at the seaside for a hundred a penny?. The London Journal recorded in 1752 that ?all the people of Abbotsbury, including the Vicar, are thieves, smugglers and plunderers of wrecks?. Changes were, however, taking place. Susannah Strangways-Horner, mother-in-law of the 1st Earl of Ilchester, left money in her will to found a school in 1758. In 1765 her daughter Elizabeth, 1st Countess of Ilchester, built the castle on a site overlooking Lyme Bay.