is the county town of Dorset, England. A historic market
town, Dorchester lies on the banks of the River Frome, in the Frome Valley,
just south of the Dorset Downs and north of the South Dorset Ridgeway, that
separates the area from Weymouth, 8 miles (13 km) south.
Dorchester was the home and inspiration of the author Thomas Hardy, whose
novel The Mayor of Casterbridge
was based on the town.
In the 2001 Census the official population
of Dorchester was 16,171, although by 2010 this was estimated