"I Don’t know whether she was a bit of a romancer, but she seemed quite genuine and more than a little shocked. I believe her house was at the other end of the road from the pub, down towards Hope Square." Mark told me.
There are many tales in Dorset about phantom armies, for example ghostly Roman legions having been seen along the Ridgeway and perhaps the most famous story is the Phantom Army of Grange Hill, near Creech, recorded in 'History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset' by Rev. John Hutchins. However Mark's story reminds me of a recent encounter mentioned in a letter from Peter Brown, Slough, Berkshire in the Fortean Times Letter page (FT 152 Nov 2001).
"My wife and I had a holiday in Dorset in 1977, during which we found an ideal picnic site just outside Cerne Abbas. It was a lovely sunny day; the entrance to a fallow field was ungated and nearby was a copse of trees perhaps some 10 to 15 metres (33-49ft) deep. Perfect. We had spread our blanket when I became aware of a noise which at first I couldn't identify. It gradually increased in volume until I was quite certain what it was: a large number of horses and riders jostling together, the stamp of hooves, creak of saddles, the chink of bridles.Should anyone else have a similar story, pertaining either to the area or the english civil war, please do not hesitate and contact the Dark Dorset blog. We would love to hear more.
It could only have come from the copse and, a bit nervously, I went to look. There was nothing and the sounds stopped. In the meantime, my wife went into the copse to answer a call of nature and came out as I returned to the car. She insisted that we move on, and all she could say was: "There's someone in there, someone was watching me." As we packed up our belongings, the sounds started again and we couldn't get away fast enough.
Some years later, I discovered that this particular area was known to have been a English Civil War battlefield."