A NEW website has been launched to showcase the work of a remarkable history project.

Dorset History Centre, in partnership with the National Trust at Kingston Lacy and the Priest's House Museum in Wimborne, has unlocked an archive of discoveries about the famous Bankes family.

The material will now be available to view online.

The Bankes family lived in Dorset from the 17th century and owned both the Corfe Castle and Kingston Lacy estates.

When Ralph Bankes died in 1981, he left the 16,000-acre estate to the National Trust.

Volunteers have since sorted through some 800 boxes containing 25,000 items dating all the way back to the 13th century.

As well as containing various legal and estate records, the archive also contains personal letters, diaries, photographs and drawings, which provide an insight into members of the Bankes family and the people who lived and worked on their land.

Until 2015, the archive had only ever been partially opened up and catalogued.

However, with the aid of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors, the collection is now being properly explored and examined.

The archive is being kept at the Dorset History Centre for safekeeping. The website displays information discovered so far from the Unlocking the Bankes Archive initiative.

It holds a collection of stories, historical maps and images as well as blog articles written by the team working on the project.

Representatives from the history centre hope to catalogue the archive fully and digitise all content so it can be accessed online.

For more information, visit dcc.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/bankes-archive