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, 30 September 2008

And What Big Feet You Have...

Among Britain's plethora of archaeological treasures, the Cerne Abbas giant uniquely stands out . . . quite literally.

Carved centuries ago out of the chalky rock of a steep hill outside the 900-year-old village of Cerne Abbas, the 180-foot giant stands proudly naked, wielding a wicked-looking club and boasting an enormous, fully-erect penis. The well-endowed giant draws thousands of gawking tourists, who each year head to this otherwise quiet corner of Dorset in southern England.

READ MORE - Source: TIME, Tuesday, 30th September 2008

Custom’s last stand

Think yourself a true Briton? Well have you ever charmed a worm or saluted a swan? And surely you must have made the acquaintance of Mr Jimmy Riddle?

A new book is lifting the lid on Britain's rich heritage of eccentricity and diversity, exploring unique rites and peculiar traditions.

Brilliant Britain by Jane Peyton has practical information on colourful local dialect, British cuisine and quirky hobbies and pastimes that range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 30th September 2008

A writer’s view of his early years

Robert Young is not as well known as his contemporary William Barnes - but literary fame has finally come to the Sturminster Newton tailor 100 years after his death.

Born in 1811, Robert lived most of his life in the market town in north Dorset. He was born well before the coming of the railway, and lived long enough to see the invention of powered flight.

An admirer of Barnes, his senior by 10 years and a friend of Thomas Hardy, who rented one of Young's houses in Sturminster Newton when he was starting out as a novelist, Robert wrote dialect poems, published under the pen-name of Rabin Hill', which were popular in his day.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, Tuesday 30th September 2008

N.B. See previous blog entry (Monsterous Cat - Recollections of the life of Robert Young in Sturminster Newton in the early 19th Century.)

Monday, 29 September 2008

Regency history is brought to colourful life

History was brought to life at Kingston Maurward's Regency Weekend.

A period fair, market and costumes and uniforms gave an insight into the world of King George III and the Duke of Wellington, and cooking and food displays gave a taste of the social side of the era.

Visitors witnessed what life in an army camp in the Napoleonic wars would have been like, with re-enactments of military manoeuvres and battles, while the market's trade stand offered Napoleonic battle maps.

Fans of the TV series Sharpe's Rifles could meet actor Jason Salkey, who played Rifleman Harris.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, Monday 29th September 2008

N.B. A Dark Dorset short film of this event will be coming soon

Friday, 26 September 2008

Decoding echoes of the past

An ancient hexagram encoded in the Wessex landscape, linking Stonehenge, Avebury and Glastonbury, as well as holy springs and wells, Knights Templar sites, and other sacred places, has been discovered by Dorset researchers.

Peter Knight and his partner Toni Perrott launch their book on the "Wessex Astrum" – "astrum" from the Latin for "star" – at Glastonbury Town Hall next Wednesday evening, and follow this up with a presentation at their fifth annual Convention of Alternative Archaeology and Earth Mysteries at Poundbury, near Dorchester, on the following Sunday.

READ MORE - Source: Western Daily Press September 26th, 2008

Kingston Maurward Regency Weekend

The wonderful setting of the Kingston Maurward estate plays host to a Regency Weekend, Saturday September 27th and Sunday 28th 2008. Over the weekend, there will be an exciting recreation of a Regency period Fair with many different Historical participants.

There will be an authentic Living History Encampment which gave a fascinating insight into the world of Napoleon, George III, and the Duke of Wellington.

In attendance will be some allied army units from England, including the famous Green Jackets of the Rifle Brigade, made popular by the TV Series "Sharpe's Rifles". We have also got the Sharpe Appreciation Society with many items used during the filming of the series

For those of you who want a "behind the scenes" look at the filming, Jason Salkey (AKA Rifleman Harris) will be selling his video diaries.

Many visitors will be able to wander through the encampments, and pick up a memory from the Historical Marketplace at this superb Event.

So, walk in the footsteps of King George III, and visit this wonderful event in it's historic setting of Kingston Maurward House, near Dorchester, Dorset.................HUZZA!!!

Click below for more event information

Yetties to sing up for Sudan

Top folk trio The Yetties are backing a Dorchester couple's bid to build a school in the Sudan.

They have offered to hold a concert in the Corn Exchange to raise money for Claire and Richard Budd's project to build Grace Secondary School in a poor and rural area of the Sudan.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 26th October 2008

Gems of the deep put on new chart

The hidden depths off Dorset have been revealed in a new map showing the diversity of its seabeds.

A chart created by Natural England of the wildlife hidden beneath the shores of counties in the south west of England shows an abundance of underwater gems hidden off the Dorset coast.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 26th October 2008

"Barnes" portrait is up for auction

A portrait believed to be of the wife of Dorset dialect poet William Barnes goes under the hammer in Dorchester next week.

The painting may be only the second known portrait of Julia Barnes.

It has been in the collection of a local family who bought it in the 1950s at a sale of the effects of the Dorchester poet's great-grandson, Colonel Barnes. A paper label on the back of the picture is inscribed with Col Barnes' name.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 26th October 2008

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Rare butterfly numbers boosted by European influx

Dwindling numbers of a colourful British butterfly have been boosted by an influx from Europe.

The small tortoiseshell was feared to be one of the main casualties of the washout summer which hit many butterfly species.

Butterfly Conservation said the small tortoiseshell has become increasingly rare in southern counties over the past five years possibly because of predation by a parasitic fly.

READ MORE - Source: The Telegraph, 25th September 2008

Historic house may be converted into offices

Historic Sherborne House may be converted into offices and homes.

The plans are among those submitted for the Grade I listed property by Redcliffe Homes Ltd.

Dorset County Council has selected the developer as its preferred bidder for the house and ground.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 25th September 2008

Tenant hopes the Bottle Inn will keep its sting

Ooutgoing landlord Shane Pym hopes that the Bottle Inn at Marshwood - and its nettle-eating contest - can be saved.

The pub, famous for its renowned world stinging nettle eating championships, was set to close at the end of this month.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 25th September 2008

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Film shows will continue as Rex goes up for sale

Wareham's Rex Cinema might end up in the hands of a new set of movie lovers under plans by the Purbeck Film Festival Charitable Trust.

The historic cinema, which has been operating since 1922, has been run for the past 20 years by a group of dedicated volunteers.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 24th September 2008

Norrie, 102, takes the world stage

Veteran actress Norrie Woodhall will be back on stage at the age of 102 for a live performance that will be seen and heard worldwide.

She will be reciting one of Thomas Hardy's best-known poems, The Ruined Maid, at a fundraising event in Dorchester on Sunday.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 24th September 2008

'Last' Hardy actor performs again

A woman who is one of the last people alive who knew writer Thomas Hardy is to perform one of his poems at the age of 102.

Norrie Woodhall will be reciting one of Hardy's best-known poems, The Ruined Maid, at a fundraising event in Dorchester, Dorset, on Sunday.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News, Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Relief road excavation to start

Archaeology work has started ahead of the building of a relief road through protected countryside in Dorset.

An area of the Ridgeway was fenced off on Wednesday in preparation for the 50,000 sq-m excavation of the area.

The road to Weymouth and Portland will provide extra access before the area hosts the 2012 Olympic sailing events.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News, Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

BrownBBC Island!

Beautiful Brownsea Island is well known to be one of TV presenter Bill Oddie's favourite wildlife places.

And the rest of the nation will be able to share his joy in the Poole Harbour island when the BBC's popular Autumnwatch is based there next month.

Film crews will broadcast from the island for two weeks from October 27, from Monday to Thursday at 8pm and the island's opening season has been extended to allow people to visit during Autumnwatch.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Revealing secrets of the stones

An expert from Bournemouth University has helped to pinpoint that Stonehenge was constructed in 2300 BC and its bluestones were erected 300 years later than previously thought.

The monument could have been a place of pilgrimage for the sick and injured of the Neolithic world, equivalent to an ancient accident and emergency in Southern England.

Professor Tim Darvill of Bournemouth University and Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, President of the Society of Antiquaries of London, believe the henge's bluestones were revered as healing stones.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Artillery shell blown up on beach

Bomb disposal experts were called in to blow up an unexploded artillery shell at Chesil Beach.

Police introduced a 500-metre cordon - sealing off the visitor centre car park - after the device was found at the water's edge.

A controlled explosion was carried out by a bomb disposal unit from the Royal Navy yesterday morning.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Bomb is blown up

A suspected unexploded bomb found at Chesil Beach has been blown up, Portland Coastguard said.

Police cordoned off the area after the device was discovered at the water's edge near the visitor centre yesterday evening.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Beach closed in bomb alert drama

Part of Chesil Beach remained closed early today after a suspected unexploded bomb was found on the water's edge.

Dorset Police said the area was cordoned off after the device was spotted near the visitor centre car park yesterday evening.

Officers stayed at the scene overnight and a Royal Navy bomb disposal unit was called to examine the object.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Historic tank is on its way back

A tank used by the Germans during the Second World War occupation of Jersey is on its way back to Dorset - by ferry.

The 29-tonne French vehicle was shipped to a museum on the island on loan back in January.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 20th September 2008

Norrie Woodhall and Thomas Hardy

The success of the BBC series Tess has reawakened interest in the novels of Thomas Hardy.

The last living link with Hardy is 102-year-old Norrie Woodhall from Owermoigne.

Norrie, the last of the Hardy Players, has done her fair share of interviews, but until now none have been recorded for posterity on camera. Now a video diary of Norrie has been recorded on DVD and is on sale at Dorset County Museum. The DVD offers a menu of categories: life in Dorchester, World War II and chickens, and Thomas Hardy and the Hardy Players.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 23rd September 2008

Monday, 22 September 2008

Give views on museum

A second consultation meeting dealing with the future of Portland Museum will be held on Tuesday, September 30, at Community 2000 in Easton starting at 2pm.

The focus will be on What Next? The meeting, which is open to everybody in the community, is to pool ideas and information as the Board of Trustees prepares its strategic plan for the long term development and future success of the museum.

Trust secretary Pam Boyce said: "Please come along and share your views with the Trust as this is the start of an exciting phase in the museum's development and your ideas are important."

For further information contact Mrs Boyce on 01305 823500.

Source: Dorset Echo Monday 22nd September 2008

2,000 acres of entrancing history

A highly important 2,000-acre historic agricultural and sporting estate on the Purbeck coast is being offered for sale with a guide price of £25 million.

Encombe House is one of the most distinguished country houses in the South West, the original house being substantially remodelled and extended by John Pitt, the well-known Parliamentarian and amateur architect.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 22nd September 2008

Friday, 19 September 2008

Historic house up for sale for £4.5m

Historic house with gardens and stables at Child Okeford is up for sale at £4.5 million.

Fontmell Parva House has been described by Pevsner Architectural Guides as one of the most enjoyable sights in Dorset'.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 19th September 2008

Plans for £7.5m study centre in Lyme Regis

As work continues to deliver a £7.5m field studies centre in Lyme Regis, the Natural History Museum says it is looking at ways to continue working within the World Heritage Site.

Organisations in Lyme Regis and Charmouth have been working for the past four years on a project to provide the Jurassic Coast Field Studies Centre, a world-class educational facility in or around Lyme.

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Friday 19th September 2008

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Who has lost my treasure?

Metal detectorist John House claims ancient coins found near Dorchester have been lost after being handed to the authorities for a treasure hearing.

He says he is still waiting to find out about silver coins dating back to the Celts that he dug up at Muckleford in 1994.

And he fears that another Celtic coin handed over in 2000 has also gone missing.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 18th September 2008

Youngsters help to clean up famous landmark

Village schoolchildren enjoyed a giant clean up of a Dorset landmark.

The Cerne Abbas giant is being given a makeover with new chalk by the National Trust to brighten it up.

Cerne Abbas First School's 41 pupils joined teachers and parents to help the trust bed down the chalk on the 180-foot figure.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 18th September 2008

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Dorset Cross becomes Dorset flag

Dorset's first ever official flag has been chosen after a poll attracting thousands of votes.

The Dorset Cross attracted 54% of the 3,868 votes cast in a competition organised by Dorset County Council.

Four designs were shortlisted for the county, which was the only one in the south west without a flag.

Previous attempts to choose a flag for the county lacked support, but it grew with the 2012 Olympics sailing events being held in Weymouth and Portland.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News Wednesday 17th September 2008

Hardymania breaks out

West Dorset is enjoying a burst of Hardymania as Tess Of The D'Urbervilles takes centre stage in the BBC television autumn highlights.

The four-part adaptation - based on the novel by Thomas Hardy - will herald in more television dramas based on fiction set in and around Dorchester, his home town.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 17th September 2008

Dorset's flag: Your verdict

Dorset people have chosen a flag to represent the county after voting in their thousands.

The winning design - flag B in the four choices - was submitted by Dave White of Dorchester.

He said: "We're very pleased about the result - we're glad that when it went to a vote, what we believed has been proven.

"We're thankful for the process that's got us here."

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 17th September 2008

Dorset raises its standard

The Dorset Cross has been voted in as the flag of choice for Dorset with more than 2,000 votes - over half of those cast.

The bold white cross design - submitted by Dave White of Dorchester - was selected from four entries and will now represent the county.

He said: "We're very pleased about the result - we're glad that when it went to a vote, what we believed has been proven. We're thankful for the process that's got us here."

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 17th September 2008

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The waiting is over - St. Wite's Cross is the Flag for Dorset

Today - 16th September - votes were counted for the four contenders shortlisted for Flag of Dorset.
The results were as follows:

Total Valid Votes : 3868
Flag B : 2086 (54%) - The Dorset Cross aka St. Wite's Cross
Flag C : 856 (22%)
Flag D : 818 (21%)
Flag A : 108 (3%)

Total Valid Votes : 3868
Spoiled Votes : 222

We’re very pleased about the result – we’re glad that when it went to a vote, what we believed has been proven. We’re thankful for the process that’s got us here.

Thus and as confirmed by John Peake - Chairman of Dorset County Council - The Dorset Cross now IS the flag of Dorset!

He said: “It’s wonderful that so many people have voted and that we now have a symbol for the county we all love. I hope I shall soon see flags flying all over the county and beyond.”

Chair of the original selection panel, Graham Bartram (Chief Vexillologist of the Flag Institute), said: “Many counties are adopting their own flag to show pride in their area. Dorset has taken a very democratic approach in inviting people across the county to vote.

“It’s clear that Dorset people love their county and are keen to have a flag which represents it. I’m delighted to see that so many people voted.”
Source: http://dorsetflag.blogspot.com/

Congratulations to Dave White and his Dorset Flag Team

Roman history lesson now on your mobile

Dorchester's Roman heritage has been matched with modern technology in a long-awaited re-vamp.

A mobile phone-based audio guide is part of changes to the Roman Town House attraction in a project funded by a £50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday September 16 2008

Volunteers restore historic giant of Cerne Abbas to his former glory

Question of the day came from three-year-old Rolf Lancaster as he and mum Helen perched close to the nether regions of the Cerne Abbas giant. "Is it a boy or girl giant?" he wondered.

The answer is not at all apparent when you are actually sitting right on top of the huge figure cut into the chalk above one of Dorset's loveliest valleys. It is only when viewed from afar that you are left in no doubt that the giant is all man - and a rather excited one.

READ MORE - Source: The Guardian Tuesday September 16 2008

Volunteers help in giant makeover

Volunteers have started work to restore Dorset's Cerne Abbas chalk giant to its former glory.

Conservationists began a makeover on Saturday to re-chalk the 180ft (54m) ancient fertility symbol, which has become obscured by vegetation and moss.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Monday, 15 September 2008

Looking back at town’s Roman history

Yongsters took a Roman Holiday to find out more about an historical era.

Dorset County Museum built on the success of a previous Roman weekend by opening its doors for a two-hour interactive learning session.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 15th September 2008

Friday, 12 September 2008

Chance to join Giant project

Volunteers are being sought to help re-chalk the ancient 180ft Cerne Abbas Giant.

The hillside figure has become obscured by vegetation and moss because of a wet summer and the situation has been made worse by a shortage of sheep farmers lending their flocks to the National Trust.

The organisation usually borrows around 100 sheep for a few weeks in May and September to graze on the vegetation and keep the giant in shape.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 12th September 2008

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Dorset opens up

Historic homes, quaint cottages and stimulating saunters are on offer as Dorset opens its doors to a diverse celebration of architecture, history and culture.

Heritage Open Days 2008 run from September 11-14 and 290 properties in the south are among 3,500 nationwide celebrating the best of Britain.

Museums, galleries, churches and guided walks are among the free attractions that last year attracted nearly a million visitors, many of which are not normally open to the public.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 10th September 2008

Final countdown in the hunt for a Dorset flag

VOTING for the final design of the Dorset flag ends this Friday.

Four possible designs, shortlisted from 29 ideas sent in by people across the county, are in the running to represent the county and its people.

Posters featuring the four designs are on show at the county's libraries and on the Flag Institute website www.flaginstitute.org/dorset.htm Voting slips can also be obtained at Dorset libraries and downloaded from the Flag Institute's website.

Alternatively, residents can post their choice of A, B, C or D with their contact details on a postcard to Flag Institute, c/o County Hall, Dorchester DT1 1XJ or email dorset@flaginstitute.org Graham Bartram, chief vexillologist - flag expert - from the Flag Institute, has been involved in the shortlisting and organisation of the competition.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 10th September 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ghouls on film - Ghost caught on CCTV at Scaplen's Court, Poole.

Ghostly goings-on are sending shivers down the spines of museum staff at Poole.

They have captured images of a ghost in the machine of the CCTV at medieval Scaplen's Court, which has long been believed to be haunted.

However, this is no Civil War casualty or murdered maid, but a gent in a bowler hat, standing in the first-floor Solar Room of the old town museum.

He appeared on the CCTV screen, with his back to the camera, when the equipment was switched on at 9.45am and remained there until about noon.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 9th September 2008

Castle open free of charge

People will be able to visit Lulworth Castle and the Weld family home Lulworth Castle House free of charge tomorrow and Friday.

It is part of Heritage Open Days, England's largest voluntary cultural event co-ordinated by the Civic Trust and supported by English Heritage.

For more information contact 0845 4501054 or visit: www.lulworth.com

Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 9th September 2008

Concern over relief road compound

Littlemoor residents have raised concerns over a compound that has sprung up to serve as a base for archaeological works ahead of the proposed Weymouth Relief Road.

Locals have been taken aback by the size of the development and suggested that work on the road might already be under way, even though it is yet to get official government approval.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 9th September 2008

Monday, 8 September 2008

Making mark for 25 years

It is now 25 years since the late Jonathan Plephs saw his vision begin to take shape when, along with the help of the late Chris Allen, he formed the start of Tout Quarry Sculpture Park.

From small beginings, the old quarry soon became a mecca for sculptors of renown such as Anthony Gormley and students who all worked in situ, leaving behind their legacies in Portland stone.

To mark this milestone, a symposium entitled A Threshold of Time has been held, attracting artists from far and wide to Tout Quarry.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday, 5th September 2008

Swanage Folk Festival in Dorset was a pleasant day out despite the sogginess

By Rob Hopcott

We decided to have a day out at Swanage Folk Festival in Dorset away from Hopcott Mansions in soggy Somerset although it involved traveling something like 97 miles (and back) with a weather forecast suggesting it would be soggy in ...

Read more: Folk Music Festivals and Sessions... - http://www.folkmusicfestivalsandsessions.com/

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Quarrying firms could be entitled to millions

Millions of pounds in settlement money could be on its way to quarrying firms after councillors agreed to modify an old planning law to save Portland's coastline.

Dorset County Council's planning committee decided to start the initial steps to enforce a modification order to stop existing permissions that were granted in 1951 to quarry the southern tip of Portland.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 6th September 2008

Friday, 5 September 2008

Jonathan McGowan – the big game hunter

Naturalist Jonathan McGowan spotted his first big cat in 1984 while on a badger watch in Dorset.

He saw the puma and its cubs several times, and has been studying the mystery ever since.

There are now more than 2,000 sightings logged every year across the UK, says Jonathan, who is the Dorset recorder for the Big Cats in Britain Group set up three years ago by Merrily Harpur. Last month, there were several sightings of puma and leopard in the north-west of Dartmoor.

Jonathan, of Bournemouth, is often called in to give expert advice and his research has extended to Devon and to Gloucestershire where sightings have "rocketed" in the last five years – he claims evidence of big cats breeding in the Stroud Valleys.

READ MORE - Source: Western Daily Press Friday, 5th September 2008

(below) Jonathan McGowan talks about Dorset Big Cats at the Centre for Fortean Zoology's Weird Weekend 2008

On the trail of the beast

If you want an encounter with one of Britain's mystery big cats then your best bet is to head for Dorset. There are more sightings per head there than anywhere else in the country.

Merrily Harpur, one of the UK's leading investigators, celebrates this fact in her new book, Roaring Dorset: Encounters with Big Cats, launched this weekend at the Dorset County Show, which is being held at the Dorchester Showground.

Author of the best-selling Mystery Big Cats of 2005, Merrily has now turned to focus on her home county – aptly, she lives at Cattistock, near Dorchester – with a gazetteer of sightings over the decades and a round-up of the latest thinking on the strange phenomenon.

READ MORE - Source: Western Daily Press Friday, 5th September 2008

Ravens flock to Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle now boasts its own flock of resident ravens.

Castle community learning officer Pam White said: "Ravens have been at Corfe since the medieval period and feature on the castle's seal.

"In 1638 when they left, locals thought it was a bad omen and eight years later the castle was destroyed by the Parliamentarians during the Civil War."

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 5th September 2008

Thursday, 4 September 2008

New hope in battle to stop quarry on coast

Campaigners battling to save Portland's coastal strip from quarrying have been given fresh hope by a new report.

A newly-published Dorset County Council document questions the legality of quarrying at the southern tip of the island and recommends that councillors modify existing planning permission for the work.

Permission in 1951 to quarry the land has been called into question in relation to the Habitats Regulations 1994 Act.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 4th September 2008

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Terrible weather but not as bad as 1912

Gloomy August brought wet and windy weather to Dorchester and Weymouth - but it was not as bad as the terrible summer of 1912.

Dorchester meteorologist John Oliver said the month's rainfall in the county town totalled 140.4mm.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 3rd September 2008

The Heart of Thomas Hardy

Griff Rhys Jones tells Serena Davies why Thomas Hardy’s novels make better TV adaptations than Jane Austen’s. Griff Rhys Jones’s upcoming documentary on the writer Thomas Hardy begins with the startling image of a dead man about to have his heart cut out. Hardy wanted to be buried in his beloved Dorset where he had lived much of his life, but the establishment had other plans for the highest-earning author of his day. So, as a compromise, when Hardy died in 1928, his heart went to the churchyard of his birthplace, the Dorset village of Stinsford, and the rest of his body went to Westminster Abbey, carried by pallbearers who included the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.

READ MORE - Source: Telegraph 3rd September 2008

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

125 years of history in new community book

A book chronicling 125 years of the history of Westham in Weymouth has been launched.

Debby Rose originally wrote Westham: Over The Bridge Of Time as a series of articles to accompany a public exhibition about the area. (See previous blog entry)

But she decided she did not want to let all her hard work go to waste after the display, and compiled the articles into a book after further research and writing.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 2nd September 2008

Swanage Folk Festival 2008

The 2008 festival kicks off on Friday 5th September with a concert in the main marquee on Sandpit Field in the evening.

A variety of activities for children take place on the Sandpit Field over the weekend keeping them happy.

Saturday at 3.30 pm features the procession of dance sides through the town, featuring somewhere in the region of 50 dance sides from the world of Morris, Apalachian, Clog, and maybe some more exotic dance styles.

Concerts and events are held at a variety of venues in the town centre, including the Conservative Club, The Corner Restaurant Cellar, The Committee Room in the Mowlem Theatre, St Mary’s Parish Church, and the main marquee on Sandpit Field.
Saturday night is the showpiece concert at the Middle School.

The line up for main concerts will be as follows:

Friday night: Pete Coe, Dave Pegg & PJ Wright, Dansaul Compere : Ben Campbell

Saturday night : Mad Agnes, Jez Lowe & the Bad Pennies, Little Johhny England Compere: Keith Donnelly

Sunday night: The New Scorpion Band Compere: Bob Kirkpatrick

For those with the energy to dance Saturday night away, our Sandpit Field Marquee will throb to the music of Random.

Those wishing to perform themselves have opportunities at the White Horse festival Folk Club, or at sessions in pubs round the town, singing at the Red Lion with Derek Burgess, an Irish music session at the White Swan, and English music session at the Crow's nest.

For full weekend ticket holders we also have a late night session on Saturday with our festival artistes at the White Horse. Come and meet some of the stars and join them jamming the night away.

But if all this culture is too much the festival has the alternative delights of the colourful craft fair and events tent on Sandpit Field featuring a range of free bands over the Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

The festival will be its usual diverse mixture of activities and experiences. There will be a feast of dancing on display throughout the town all weekend. A grand dance procession through the town will take place on the Saturday afternoon at 3.30 pm and Sunday morning will see the popular folk service at St Mary’s Church at 10.30am.

Once again there will be a wide range of dancing and music workshops over the weekend and the children will not be forgotten with a programme of activities and events. Learn circus skills or just watch the fun . If you would like to listen to some stories then pop in to the Library for a story telling session or become a prop in an impromptu play straight out of a bag!

Website: Swanage Folk Festival 2008

Monday, 1 September 2008

Here’s what the Romans did for us...

Romans marched through Dorchester to launch a two-day festival that captured life in the town nearly 2,000 years ago.

Shoppers and visitors watched in amazement as the re-enactment group Legio II Augusta set out from Dorchester's Roman Town House and through the town centre to Maumbury Rings where they set up camp and welcomed young recruits.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 1st September 2008


Legio II Augusta


Praecones Britanniae


Portable Antiquities Scheme


The Roman Town House is in the grounds of County Hall, near the town centre.


(Below) Highlights of the Dorchester Roman Festival 2008 at Maumbury Rings

Historic Combat Festival at Lulworth Castle Park

Budding Time Travellers can step back in time at this brand NEW exciting multi-period ‘Historic Combat Festival’ event, on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September, in the grounds of Lulworth Castle. Re-enactors from the Roman and Medieval periods as well as soldiers from the 17th Century and the 19th Century Zulu War will be bringing this colourful and action packed Historic Combat Festival to life by offering visitors the opportunity to ‘walk through time’, answer questions and discover life from the past.

Expect all the sights, sounds and smells of the periods, as over 100 re-enactors in authentic costume bring you combat displays, introduce you to all aspects of life in the living history encampments including music and dance, crafts and cooking, as well as Artillery through the ages by the Star Gun Company (one of the largest collections of working Black powder cannon in Europe).

To create a real sense of living conditions at that time the re-enactors will work, cook, eat, fight and sleep on site. All are welcome to join in the merriment, marvel at the past and interact with the historical re-enactors at this exciting, entertaining and educational festival. Open Saturday 13th from 10.30am to 6.00pm and Sunday 10.30am to 4.00pm. Normal admission prices apply and include entry to the Animal Farm, Children’s Adventure Play Park, 18th Century Chapel and Grounds.

Website: www.lulworth.com

2008 Convention of Alternative Archaeology & Earth Mysteries

On Sunday October 5th at Poundbury, Dorchester, Dorset. The 5th Convention of Alternative Archaeology & Earth Mysteries will be held. Bringing together those seeking deeper truths about our ancient spiritual heritage

Six illustrated presentations – still great value at only £20 in advance (£25 on door – if any seats are left). Speakers include:-

Nicholas R Mann & Philippa Glasson - The Star Temple of Avalon: Glastonbury’s Ancient Observatory Revealed. Based on their new book about Glastonbury’s astro’ alignments, & the connection with cosmic alignments and 2012.

Peter KnightThe Wessex Astrum: Sacred Geometry in a Mystical Landscape. Based on the sensational new book by Peter Knight & Toni Perrott. A landscape hexagram/hexagon has been revealed in Wessex, involving Stonehenge, Avebury, Glastonbury & other sacred sites, such as sacred hills & Templar locations.

Toni PerrottLondon Dragon Paths (Part 2) - Earth Energy Serpents. Toni returns give us Part 2 of her research based on her new book on London’s sacred sites and earth energies.

Hugh Newman - Planetary Grids. Hugh has two books out about planetary grids, global energy currents and DNA.

Shaun KirwanGeomancy and Interaction with the Landscape. Shaun is a dowser, geomancer & stone circle builder.

Jonathan HarwoodThe Golden Fish: Sacred Geometry in the Dorset Landscape. For many years Jonathan has researched the existence of several pentagrams and hexagrams on the landscape, defined by the positioning of churches and ancient sites, and which share a common unit of measurement.

Plus a lunchtime showing of the video Standing With Stones, by Robert Soskin and Michael Bott.

10.00am – 6.30pm. At our beautiful venue at Poundbury, Dorchester, Dorset. There will be interesting stalls, including book signings by speakers. Earlier start and finish this year. Vegetarian refreshments will be available. Village stores and pub opposite. Venue has ramps, lift, disabled toilet and free parking. Dorchester has good road and rail links. Limited seating – we were almost full last year - advance booking advised!

Only £20 in advance (£25 on door – only if seats are available).

Booking hotline and enquiries: 01258 489798

e-mail: stoneseeker@waitrose.com

Event bookings/book orders to:-

Mr. P Knight,
1 Downend Farm,
Bushes Rd,
DT11 8SY

Deposits accepted by arrangement. Cheques payable to P. Knight.

Website: www.stoneseeker.net
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