Dark Dorset Online Scrapbook is an archive of current and past events relating to local history, folklore and mysteries that can be discovered in the English county of Dorset.

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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Students discover 'ghost figure' in portrait thought to be Shakespeare's patron

Students curating a display of Tudor portraits uncovered a "ghost figure", which could be William Shakespeare's only known patron.

The group from Bristol University had one of the paintings x-rayed for a display at Montacute House in Somerset, when a secret portrait was revealed.

READ MORE - Source: Daily Mail 29th April 2008

First outing for new ‘dolphin’ dinosaur

Fossils of two giant marine reptiles - species considered new to science - go on display for the first time this weekend.

The ichthyosaurs, which are similar in appearance to a modern-day dolphin, take their bow at the Charmouth Fossil Festival collectors' day on Saturday.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 29th April 2008

Chapelhay gardens brought back to life

Gardens at Chapelhay in Weymouth have been saved from ruin by staff and customers from a local pub who have transformed the space into a bright park.

The small gardens, close to Weymouth Harbour, have been reclaimed for the community to enjoy thanks to a donation from the Old Rooms Inn, Cove Road, Weymouth, and a team of 12 volunteers.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 29th April 2008

See last blog posting - English Civil War Commemoration at Chapelhay Gardens, Monday, 25 February 2008

Monday, 28 April 2008

Party toasts Westham’s 125 years

A Birthday bash for 13,000 people was held in honour of a community milestone in Weymouth.

Residents of Westham partied at the weekend to mark 125 years since town planners came up with the district name.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 28th April 2008

Great day out at the St. George's fair

Families enjoyed a traditional day out when the 50th annual St George's Day Fair was held on Fordington village green.

Fine weather ensured a healthy turnout as people enjoyed a host of entertainment on offer.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 28th April 2008

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Visitor attraction wins tourism award

Stately home Forde Abbey on the Dorset/Somerset border has been named one of the best small visitor attractions in the country.

The venue won a silver award at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence.

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Saturday 26th April 2008

Giant bee horror for mum and son

A monster bee left a mother and son stung and shocked after repeatedly attacking them in a Dorchester street.

The ferocious insect also attacked a woman who went to their help.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 26th April 2008

Or read about the Asian Hornet invading Britain (pictured left) in The Sun article - 'The Shape of Stings to Come' 22nd February 2007

Friday, 25 April 2008

Rackmead to be demolished for new home

One of the oldest family homes in Watery Lane, Weymouth, is facing demolition after planners approved a scheme to build a new five-bedroom home in its place.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 25th April 2008

Thursday, 24 April 2008

They’ve got knobs on!

Another St George's Day has slipped by without so much as a ripple of national celebration. But don't worry folks, there are still plenty of reasons to be proud of where you live. But only if you know where to look.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 24th April 2008

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

‘Flag for the people, by the people’

The chairman of Dorset County Council has said he is "impressed" by the commitment and enthusiasm to create a flag for Dorset.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 23rd April 2008

Full English - who is your hero?

As approximately 85 per cent of you will know, today is St George's Day. And to mark that occasion ale brewer, Wells Bombardier, has conducted an online poll to find England's ultimate heroes.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 23rd April 2008

Chance to show your Knob-throwing skills

Looking for something unusual to do over the bank holiday weekend?

The Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival will be held in Cattistock on Sunday, May 4.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 23rd April 2008

Do you have designs for a flag for Dorset?

A call has gone out for people to send in their ideas for a flag for Dorset.

Civic leaders would like to see a county flag fluttering in the breeze - and they need the help of residents.

Renewed interest has been shown in the flag plan after Dorchester man David White came up with his own design.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 23rd April 2008

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Historian hopeful fort will be found

The end of a 40-year search for Dorchester's Roman Fort could be in sight for leading archaeologist Bill Putnam.

He is pinning his hopes on builders exposing a road that tracked across the area that became the Roman town of Durnovaria.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 22nd April 2008

Monday, 21 April 2008

Plans to demolish Rackmead will go ahead

Planners are poised to grant permission to demolish one of the oldest family homes in Watery Lane, Weymouth.

Objectors had hoped that their campaign to save Rackmead, which was built in 1840, might prove successful.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 21st April 2008

David flies the flag for Dorset

A obscure West Dorset saint is being used to spearhead a campaign to engender Dorset pride with a flag.

The man behind the idea, David White from Dorchester chose the cross on his red, white and gold flag to cross to commemorate the West Dorset Saxon saint St Wite, whose complete remains can be found at Whitchurch Canonicorum.

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Monday 21st April 2008

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Flying a new flag for Dorset

A new flag for Dorset could soon be seen flying, thanks to Dorchester's Dave White.

In red, white and gold, the design incorporates a cross to commemorate St Wite, a West Dorset Saxon saint.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, 19th April 2008

Web Source: www.flagfordorset.org.uk

For the records - The Dorset History Centre

Teenage tearaways, anti-social behaviour, routine drunkenness, fear of foreigners, tracing absent parents, feeding the hungry, homelessness, economic and political migration - all have been with us at least as long as there have been written records.

The Dorset History Centre packs more than a thousand years of social history into some eight miles of shelving covering 12-13,000 square feet of climate-controlled vaults beneath its Dorchester headquarters - rated among the very best of their kind in the country. The Centre's recent work with the Dorset Federation of Women's Institutes recently won it a National Hidden Treasures award from the British Library.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 19th April 2008

Friday, 18 April 2008

Elegy for Britain's vanishing village way of life

And then there was the Dorset hurdle-maker, whose tools were "much older than me" and whose ancestors included seven previous generations of hurdle-makers ...

READ MORE - Source: Daily Mail 18th April 2008

Barnstormers give landmark new life

A Dilapidated tithe barn has been given a new lease of life thanks to Dorset author Minette Walters and her husband Alec.

Locals and passers-by have been delighted by the restored look of the Grade II barn near the Walters' home at Whitcombe Manor.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 18th April 2008

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Exclusive on-set pics of the upcoming BBC Drama Tess of the D'ubervilles

Gemma Arterton.net - BBC Drama Tess of the D'Urbevilles

Dinosaurs of the Jurassic Coast talk

Amateur paleontologist Steve Etchens will be giving a talk on dinosaurs and other marine fossils found on the Dorset Jurassic Coast at Mappowder village hall on Friday 25 April, starting 7.30pm.A plumber by profession, Mr Etchens, from Kimmeridge, has also offered to identify fossil finds brought along by members of the public.

Tickets are £4 for adults or £2 for children, available from Mark Sinclair on 01258 817924 or Judy Mace on 01258 817810, and tea, coffee and cake will be available.

Ancient Games

Families in Dorchester will have the chance to design their own ancient games at an event this Saturday.It takes place at Dorset County Museum on High West Street in the town from 10am-noon. No booking is required.

FOR more information, call 01305 262735 or visit www.dorsetcounty museum.org

Stonehenge Talk

A Lecture entitled "Stonehenge - New Discoveries" takes place at Dorset County Museum in High West Street, Dorchester, on Friday 25 April at 7.30pm.The talk will be given by Professor Michael Parker Pearson and is being held in conjunction with the Dorchester Association.

FOR more information contact the museum on 01305 262735.

Rosy sale for St. George's Day

St George's Day will be celebrated in Wimborne next Wednesday 23 April with the sale of roses in support of the mayor's charities and the Town's Militia funds.The long-established tradition starts on the Minster Green at 10.45am when the mayor Anthony Oliver, will be accompanied by St George, town crier Chris Brown and the Militia, with roses supplied by Carnival Flowers of East Street.

READ MORE - Source: Western Gazette
17 April 2008

Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man - a lecture Exchange, Sturminster Newton

A Dorset biographer and author will give a talk on Thomas Hardy at the Exchange, Sturminster Newton, at 7.30pm on Thursday 24 April.Claire Tomalin, who wrote Thomas Hardy, The Time-Torn Man, will focus on the time Hardy spent living in Sturminster Newton with his wife Emma, when he wrote The Return of the Native. To book call 01258 475137.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Actor backs drive to buy 'Hardy' painting

Oscar-Winning writer and actor Julian Fellowes showed his support for Dorchester literary enthusiasts bidding to return a painting (Right, 'The Three Marys' by Richard Wilson) that belonged to Thomas Hardy to the author's former home.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, 16th April 2008

Frome Valley Morris to celebrate 30 years of Dance

Frome Valley Morris are celebrating 30 years of dance this year by hosting a dance tour and party on Saturday 24th May 2008 in the Dorchester area.

They would like to hear from anyone who has danced, played, supported or been a general hanger on with Frome Valley at any point over the last 30 years so that we can have a fantastic reunion and catch up with old(er) faces and friends. Details of the day will be finalised over the next few weeks.

For information please email Teresa at Ridouttj@aol.com and use the subject heading FVM 30th Anniversary (to prevent unwanted spam, otherwise it will be deleted)

Below: A fantastic performance by the Frome Valley Morris Mummers traditional mummers play performed at the Litton Ceney, White Horse Inn last year in December (see previous blog)

Raise your standards

England expects that every man will do his duty. Admiral Nelson's famous flag message at the Battle of Trafalgar is embedded deep in the English psyche and continues to echo down the centuries, even as English men and women question the purpose of a flag at all.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 16th April 2008

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Westham united

Just over 125 years ago, on September 22, 1882, at a meeting at the Rocks Hotel (now The Rock), it was decided that a name was needed for the suburb growing on the farmlands on the western side of the Backwater.

Thus the area of Westham was christened.

Originally 'West Ham' in 1882, the two-word spelling soon became Westham, to avoid confusion with the London suburb.

To mark the occasion, the Westham Community Orientated Problem Solving (COPS) are organising a community celebration day on Saturday, April 26 at Conifers School on Radipole Lane for which they have National Lottery funding.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 15th April 2008

N.B. More information about the event marking 125 years of Westham History can also be found on Debby Rose's Westham website at www.westham.weymouth-dorset.co.uk

Dorset pagans mark end of Stonehenge dig

Pagans from Dorset performed a closing ritual to mark the end of a major archaeological dig at Stonehenge.

Members of the Weymouth-based Dolmen Grove order held the ceremony as 10 days of digging finished at the historic site.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 15th April 2008

Monday, 14 April 2008

Donor bids to bring us Triceratops

A mystery backer is bidding to take a rare dinosaur skeleton to Dorchester's Dinosaur Museum.

The museum has received an offer from a donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, for it to bid for one of the most complete triceratops skeletons ever discovered when it goes under the hammer at a Christie's auction house in Paris.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, 14th April 2008

Hero’s wife found and celebrated

The heroic exploits of a Dorchester war hero were commemorated in a memorial service at the grave of the soldier's wife.

Trooper Thomas Warr, a Crimean War veteran who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade, was remembered at a pauper's grave at the Weymouth Avenue cemetery where his wife Amelia was buried 122 years ago.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, 14th April 2008

Team’s dig kicks off Westham celebrations

An archaelogical dig in a park marked the first stage of 125-year anniversary celebrations for Weymouth's Westham residents.

Around 20 people turned out for the dig at the Queensland Road play area to literally delve into the area's past.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, 14th April 2008

A cabinet of Dark Dorset curiosities - an exhibition at the Dorchester Library starts today

Today marks the start of our two week exhibition from 14th April to 25th April 2008, in the Dorchester Library. Here is a selection of pictures taken this morning.

The exhibition celebrates the tenth anniversay of Dark Dorset, highlighting the rich customs, superstitions and traditions of folklore in the county of Dorset. The exhibition features a detailed display of artefacts, models, pictures and information on Dorset's folklore heritage featured in the books Dark Dorset Tales of Mystery, Wonder and Terror, Dark Dorset Fairies and Dark Dorset Calendar of Customs.

Details of the exhibition can be found on our previous blog entry (10th Anniversary of Dark Dorset Exhibition, Sunday, 6 April 2008) including library times.

A cabinet of Dorset folklore curiosities

St. George plays hide and seek between the books

Speak of the Devil!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The Wild Man of Yellowham Hill - Bigfoot in britain: myth or reality?


Are creatures that broadly fit the description of the North American Bigfoot, the Yeti of the Himalayas, and the Yowie of Australia really roaming the woods, mountains and forests of Britain?

Are they physical animals?

Do they have paranormal origins?

Or can the reports be relegated to the realms of mistaken identity, folklore, fantasy and mythology?

In Nick Redfern's new blog 'Man-Beast U.K.' is designed to (a) answer these questions and (b) provide you with the biggest online resource for data, news, reviews, testimony, investigations, and much more on the many and varied reports relating to Bigfoot in Britain.

Nick even includes the story "The Wild Man of Yellowham Hill" from our book 'Dark Dorset Tales of Mystery, Wonder and Terror'.

Restore my old garden

A former Dorchester resident is backing calls to give a new lease of life to a town garden that was originally designed as a Quaker burial ground.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo 12th April 2008

Friday, 11 April 2008

Anger over plans for car park at graveyard

Villagers are up in arms over plans to demolish their church hall and put a car park over part of the graveyard.

Litton Cheney residents have reacted strongly to plans for a car park for St Mary's Church, a Grade I listed building, that have been submitted to West Dorset District Council.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 11th April 2008

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Desert storm likely over Lawrence pics

Historic images of Lawrence of Arabia, discovered by chance, will be auctioned for upwards of £3,000 on Friday.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 10th April 2008

Flying the flag for Dorset...

A flag for Dorset could soon be flying above buildings, along with publicly available stickers and badges.

The town criers of Dorset, including Wimborne crier Chris Brown and Wareham crier Jacquie Hall, recently backed the idea of Dorset having its own flag.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 10th April 2008

READ MORE - Source: WiltshireFriday 11th April 2008

Source: www.flagfordorset.org.uk

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Dark side revealed at the library

You might be afraid or even very afraid to visit Dorchester Library from Monday when Dark Dorset celebrates its tenth anniversary with an exhibition devoted to the spooky and weird side of life in the county.

Folklorist Robert Newland, who started Dark Dorset with co-author and illustrator Mark North, will be stocking the library's exhibition case with boards and items relating to shivery topics like witchcraft, fairies, customs, superstitions and good old ghosts.

Robert, who lives at Upwey, said: "We're really interested in folklore and decided to write the book Dark Dorset. But it's such a big subject that when you delve into it you find more and more. Then we got interested in legends and customs and you find there's
even more there."

The exhibition is on for two weeks and will feature a reference to St George's Day, which is on April 23.

Robert is sure that people will be fascinated not frightened and says reassuringly that the screaming skull that forms one of the centrepieces is silent and well-behaved.

"It's plastic," he confesses.

Find out more on the www.darkdorset.co.uk website.

Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Life’s a beech!

The iconic two and a half mile beech avenue near Wimborne is nearing the end of its natural life.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 9th April 2008

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Dorset County Museum saves trio of local George Romney portraits

After over a year of raising funds to save three important portraits, Dorset County Museum has successfully reached their target of £279,749.

The money raised has enabled the purchase of the paintings by the artist George Romney, together with their conservation, display and a full programme of interpretation.

READ MORE - Source: 24 Museum - 24 - 08/04/2008

Marking grave of hero’s wife

Another piece in the jigsaw of the life of Dorchester's Charge of the Light Brigade hero Thomas Warr slots into place on Friday with a ceremony at the grave of the trooper's wife Amelia.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 8th April 2008

Sunday, 6 April 2008

10th Anniversary of Dark Dorset Exhibition

To celebrate 10 years of Dark Dorset, an exhibition will be held on the gound floor of Dorchester Library from 14th April to 25th April 2008. Highlighting the rich customs, superstitions and traditions of folklore in the county of Dorset. The exhibition will feature a detailed display of artefacts, models, pictures and information on Dorset's folklore heritage featured in the books Dark Dorset Tales of Mystery, Wonder and Terror, Dark Dorset Fairies and Dark Dorset Calendar of Customs.

See previous blog entry The Dark Dorset: Cabinet of Curiosities. Sunday, 19 May 2002

Venue Details:

Dorchester Library
Colliton Park

Library Location Map: Dorchester

Tel: 01305 224440/224652

Opening Hours:

Monday: 10am - 7pm
Tuesday: 9.30am - 7pm
Wednesday:9.30am - 7pm
Thursday: 9.30am - 5pm
Friday: 9.30am - 7pm
Saturday: 9am - 4pm

If you would like to help us advertise the exhibition. A Dark Dorset Folklore Exhibition 2008 Poster available by clicking here

Monsterous Cat - Recollections of the life of Robert Young in Sturminster Newton in the early 19th Century.

Organised by the Sturminster Newton Museum & Mill Society and William Barnes Society to commemorate the centenary of the death of local Robert Young alias Rabin Hill.

On Thursday, April 10th, a talk will be given by Dr. Alan Chedzoy coinciding with his new publication. To be held in the Bow Room, The Exchange, Sturminster Newton at 7.30pm. Tickets £4 for Adults, £3 Members payable at the door.

On Friday, April 11th, A celebratory evening to commemorate the life of Robert Young, with music, poetry and dance by the Hambledon Hop Step Band at The Exchange, Sturminster Newton 7.30pm start. Excerpts of his work will be read by members of the Sturminster Newton Mill and Museum Society and friends. To be held in the Stour hall, The Exchange, Sturminster Newton at 7.30pm. Tickets: Adults £6 payable at the door or £5 in advance from the Museum Shop. £5 Society members, 50p children.

Robert Young who died in 1908 at the age of 97, was a another great dialect poet and chronicler who live most of his life in Sturminster and although not as well known as William Barnes and Thomas Hardy, he contributed a vast amount in his writings giving a great historic record of the times.

Interesting to note that in his 1907 manuscript 'Reminiscences of Sturminster Newton'. Robin Young recorded perhaps the earliest account of a mysterious big cat-like creature to be sighted in Dorset.
"a story was often told them of a wild and savage monstrous cat which haunted the remains of the old castle and was often seen on Newton Hill. Such horrid tales were told of this monsterous cat, with eyes as big as tea saucers, that many children were afraid to pass that way, and not only children but grown up people would be so afraid that they would walk on the main road below the hill to avoid the creature."
N.B. Available this April, 'Early Years by Robert Young: Recollections of Life in Sturminster Newton in the early 19th Century' is edited and with an introduction by Dr. Alan Chedzoy. This publication will be obtainable from the Sturminster Newton Museum, Dorset County Museum and other outlets.

A monster of an obsession on the banks of Loch Ness

It's a heavenly day in the Highlands, the strong afternoon sun bouncing off the blackness of Loch Ness like arc lights off an eight-ball.

In Inverness, preparations are under way for a public appearance by the famous scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion. Six miles out of town, in the village of Dores, there lives a man who is, in some ways, the anti-Dawkins. He is a true believer, a defender of faith, though what he believes in is not some deity above but rather the beast below. Steve Feltham has dedicated his life to finding the Loch Ness Monster.

READ MORE - Source: Scotland on Sunday 05 April 2008

Have you ever felt like dropping out of the rat-race? This is a film (below) about Steve Feltham, a man from Dorset who did just that. For 17 years he has lived in a caravan on the shores of Loch Ness, watching for the monster.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Museum trust is in control

An Independent trust has taken over control of Portland Museum from Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

A steering group comprising the borough council, Portland Town Council, Portland Community Part-nership and the Friends of Portland Museum has overseen the takeover since the idea was first discussed three years ago.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 3rd April 2008

Chesil Beach named one of best in Britain

Chesil Beach has been championed as one of the best beaches in Britain in a new tourism guide from Time Out.

The book - entitled Seaside - illustrates the beauty of the country's coastline in an effort to get holidaymakers to look closer to home.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 3rd April 2008

Plaque plan to mark site of great fire

A devastating fire that ripped through 17th century Dorchester may be commemorated with the erection of a plaque.

Members of Dorchester Town Council's joint heritage committee have agreed in principle that a plaque should mark the great fire of 1613 although details have yet to be decided.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 3rd April 2008

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Town hall set to go on the market

Weymouth's Old Town Hall will be sold to the highest bidder after councillors decided to release the freehold of the listed building.

After much debate from councillors at the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's management committee they voted to offer the freehold of the hall rather than a 125-year lease.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 2nd April 2008

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

St. George's Day Events

Soon it will be St. Georges Day, so here is a few events to pencil into your diaries.

On Saturday 22nd April

At Tarrant Keynston, Nr Blandford, Dorset. A grand St. George's Day Ceilidh with the Shottsford Band and the Stourvale mummers. 19.30 to 23.30.

Adults £6, Children £3.

For more details - Telephone 01202 604598. E-mail ray@ray-sargent.net

Sunday 23rd April

Corfe Castle. St. George & Dragon Family Trail. 10.30 am to 4.00 pm.

Normal admission charges.

For more details - Telephone 01929 481294 or e-mail corfecastle@nationaltrust.org.uk

Saturday 26th April

Fordington Green, Dorchester, St. Georges Fair organised by St George's Church in Fordington, will include stalls, drinks, food, games and competitions. Starts at 1.30pm

for more details contact 01305 259755

World's Highest Wasp Loses Kettle

Honey, a dull and rather selfish wasp living in the mountains of Tibet has lost his kettle according to Rueters.

Honey, 37, had left the kettle for a few hours to bludgeon a yak to death with a jug handle when the kettle, named 'Turkish Pete' vanished.

Honey is said to be 'distressed'. His thorax is moving about, his liver is banging and scraping and his antenna is making noises like a pencil case.

The Tibet police are currently searching for Turkish Pete.

Tue Apr 1, 2008
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