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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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Fright for sore eyes

Scaplen's Court Museum in Poole’s old town has long been believed to be haunted.

Local storytellers often cite the tale of Agnes Beard, a maid murdered in the late 1500s who still walks the courtyard. Visitors claim they feel a male presence in an area known as the Solar Room, and staff members have heard footsteps when they know no-one else is there.

Last month the museum contacted us after the image of a human figure was captured on CCTV when no-one was there. (see previous blog entry Ghouls on film - Ghost caught on CCTV at Scaplen's Court, Poole. )



READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 29th October 2008

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Tim Laycock presents 'Ha! Ha! Hardy'

On Friday 7th November, Tim Laycock returns with a new show of favourite readings and songs featuring the humorous side of Thomas Hardy's writing. Hardy's novels and poems contain some richly comic characters and situations, which Tim brings vividly to life through spoken word, folksong and music.

Tarrant Gunville Village Hall at 7.30pm

Box office: 01258 830361

An Artsreach presentation: www.artsreach.co.uk

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Going Gothic

Maybe it’s the times we live in. Maybe it’s just the right time again. But Britain is having another gothic moment.

Like a flock of black and purple bats, goths are back on our streets. They’re creeping down the catwalks. In Bournemouth they are celebrating the gothic novel via the town’s connections to Mary Shelley, sweet-faced wife of poet Percy, from whose 19-year-old imagination sprang Frankenstein, the book that put the entire literary genre firmly on the map.

The swooping, spiky architecture of course, never went away.

The signature pointed arches, flying buttresses and ribbed vaulting of the Gothic revival (the original movement started in the 12th century) can be seen liberally, even at St Peters Church in the town centre, the last resting place of Mary Shelley.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 25th October 2008

Scary Stories & Gruesome Tours & Halloween Trail

31 October 10am - 4pm

Family Gruesome Tours with Scary Stories about the Castle's historic past, plus family fun trail in the castle grounds. Search for clues around the castle, solve the puzzle and claim your prize.

Further information visit Corfe Castle Website or Telephone
01929 481294

Spooky Fun at Portland Castle

Halloween 2008 is about to get a whole lot spookier, thanks to the haunting half-term events at Portland Castle! Haunted Halloween events creep into action on Monday 27– Friday 31st October, with spooky ghost stories and fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

With a history dating back to Tudor England, Portland Castle is home to many ghostly encounters. Join costumed staff by the roaring kitchen fire this Halloween and hear hair-raising tales of the eerie face at the window, the forgotten soldier and a mysterious Tudor lady!

All of the castle’s haunted happenings are based on actual staff and visitor experiences. Mark Simmons, Visitor Operations Manager, explains: “Nearly all of our staff have reported hearing footsteps when no one else is around, and some have even heard children crying when locking up in the evenings. There have been numerous unexplained incidents and strange noises that have taken place, for example some people have reported seeing a mysterious figure lurking in the Captain’s House and taps have miraculously come on of their own accord!”

In addition to the family-friendly ghost stories, children can enjoy spooky Halloween activities with devilish prizes to be won! The whole family can try on armour, explore the Tudor kitchen and see ghostly sculpted figures from the past. An excellent audio tour is also avaliable (included in the admission charge), bringing the castle’s history and characters back to life!

On top of all the spooky Halloween activities, visitors can also head to the ‘spooktacular’ tea room at the Captain’s House for delicious Halloween treats.

Further details visit Portland Castle Website or Telephone: 01305 820539

Halloween Festival of Fun!

The Halloween Festival is a great tradition at Brewers Quay and this year we are inviting you to bring your "little horrors" to Brewers Quay over the October half term holidays (27 October to 2 November).


FREE Children's Entertainment:

Monday 22 October - Wanda Weatherwax
Tuesday 23 October - Smiley Riley
Wednesday 24 October - Winnie The Witch
Thursday 25 October - The Purple Puppets
Friday 25 Ocbober - Wanda Weatherwax & 'The Great Kondini' Fire-Breathing Show (weather permitting)

Free competitions and trails from the Brewers Quay 'Bat Cave' and Weymouth Football Club on the first floor! Add to that the Scary Spider Search in the Timewalk, and the special Halloween Kids' Menu at the Courtyard Restaurant, and it all adds up to a great half term week at the Quay!

For further details, please call the Information Line on 01305 777622.

Spooky Half Term Halloween Fun at Lulworth Castle & Park

Sunday 26th to Friday 31st October 2008

Ghostly tales, scary trails, hunt the bat, make a witch hat!! Come along and join the Spooky Fun at Lulworth Castle for hair-raising children’s half term activities.

Everyone is encouraged to get into the spirit by wearing their own creepy costume or making their own witch or wizard hat at the activity table. Certificates and candy prizes are up for grabs for the best! And the face painter will be on hand to change angelic faces into little monsters! (£1 to £1.50 charge).

This year the activity table will be groaning with lots of hat, bat and lantern making materials with a ghost on hand to help. You can bravely explore the spine chilling basement and creepy castle for the hidden bats and take part in lots of fun quizzes. As a special eerie treat we have two visitors from Tudor times who will be telling tales of local ghosts and odd goings on.

Half term fun starts Sunday 26th October until Friday 31st October (Closed Saturdays). Gates open 10.30 am until 4pm. Normal admission charges apply. Family tickets available, under 4’s go free. Call 0845 450 1054 for more information.

Friday, 24 October 2008

New era at museum with Mary at helm

Since its founding over a century ago the Lyme Regis Museum has revelled in its status as being run by volunteers.

Now with its first full-time professional curator the museum is entering a new era – but even she admits it will be a hard act to follow.

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Friday 24th October 2008

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Martyrs museum reopens after flooding

Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum has reopened after a burst pipe caused a flood this summer.

Museum assistant Celia Wride said: “A visitor noticed water in there and before we knew it there was water pouring down the walls. Luckily we managed to save the exhibits but there was quite a bit of damage to the walls and ceiling.”

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 23rd October 2008

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Sea shanty recordings unearthed

Relatives of a sea captain from Sunderland have heard their long dead ancestor singing sea shanties recorded in the 1920s.

The songs, which were in a collection recorded on wax cylinders by American academic James Madison Carpenter, were restored for a BBC documentary.

Mark Page, born in 1836, ran away to sea as a boy and contributed to the scholar's work when he retired.

The recordings then lay untouched in an attic for decades.

Relatives of Mr Page were tracked down by BBC documentary makers and invited to the family reunion, but not told the reason why. One guest came from Australia.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Archaeologist Bill dies aged 78

Archaeologist Bill Putnam has died at the age of 78.

He came to Dorset in 1967 as principal lecturer in archaeology at Weymouth College of Education, later working for Bournemouth University, retiring in 1995.

He maintained his enthusiasm for his subject, especially the Romans, in his retirement, becoming a popular and authoritative speaker and lecturer involved in courses and talks to groups and organisations in the area.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 22nd October 2008

Bill spent much time in the south of France, where he has become fascinated by the famous treasure story of Rennes-le-Château. As a result of eight years of research into this mystery, he has recently co-written with John Edwin Wood The Treasure of Rennes-le-Château - a mystery solved. See his website for more details

Bill Putnam's website http://www.roseivy.demon.co.uk/

Friday, 17 October 2008

Do you know why the moon's so big?

This week you might have noticed the moon has seemed larger and redder than usual. Last night's was particularly spectacular.

It's called the Harvest Moon, and it's the full moon that rises nearest to the Autumn Equinox.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 17th October 2008

Relief over Throop Mill repairs

The owners of Bournemouth’s historic Throop Mill have bowed to council pressure and agreed to carry out some repair work – averting a costly trial.

The two sides negotiated a compromise over the empty Grade II listed building, which sits on the River Stour.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 17th October 2008

Dorset Voices - one last time

The New Hardy Players are giving people one last chance to see their Dorset Voices concert.

The players will perform on Sunday (19) at West Lulworth Village Hall at 7.30pm in aid of Lulworth’s First responders.

The evening of poetry, prose and music from Dorset’s past and present will include poems from Thomas Hardy and William Barnes. Tickets are available on the door at £7 for adults and £5 for under-18s. Doors open at 7pm.

Source: Dorset Echo Friday 17th October 2008


Trust reports of otters spotted in area

Dorset Wildlife Trust has reported three appearances of the elusive and normally nocturnal otter.

Staff said that the most intriguing incident came about in North Street, Charminster.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 17th October 2008

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The search is on for Barnes memorabilia

Two fans of poet William Barnes bought his old house near Dorchester and have spent 10 years piecing together its history.

Now the Came Rectory owners, Warren Davis and Phil Leach, want to find out more about the house’s history and are asking anyone with relevant memories or photos to contact them.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 16th October 2008

Monday, 13 October 2008

Hear ye! Bells sent town crier Keith deaf

He says the volume of his voice was not far off the same amount of decibels as Concorde taking off.

But 25 years of ringing the bells and shouting as the town crier of Christchurch had an unfortunate effect on Keith Jackman.

The 86-year-old, who has served 25 years in the traditional role, says his bell ringing caused him to go deaf and led to him being fitted with two hearing aids.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Monday 13th October 2008

English coastlines in danger of crumbling away, says National Trust

They are the breathtaking landscapes and historic buildings which help define the south-west coast of England.

The familiar, rugged coastlines, cliffs and beaches of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset are quintessentially English.

Ancient monuments, pathways and sheltered harbours all provide clues to a rich maritime history.

READ MORE - Source: Telegraph 13th October 2008

Top beach is under threat from storms

Storms and coastal erosion at Studland beach have left the National Trust with a £3.6 million bill.

The charity, which owns the beach, has to move beach huts, shops and the information centre to safe ground.

The threat has been highlighted by the National Trust in a long-term review of the coastline in its care issued today.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 13th October 2008

A glimpse of time gone by

A charming late Georgian gentleman’s residence near Dorchester offers a fascinating glimpse of times gone by.

South Close, tucked away in the picturesque village of Charminster, is believed to have started life as a farm and a group of cottages.

It developed into a large family home with 27 rooms which has remained in the ownership of the Goodman family since 1947.

The late Christopher and Joan Goodman had strong connections with archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler who excavated Maiden Castle in the 1930s, the great man frequently visiting their home in later years.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 13th October 2008

Discover Dorset via Oxford

Historian and author Maureen Attwooll took a ride in a classic car for a new film about the county.

Mrs Attwooll, from Weymouth, is working with the Bristol-based production company 1st Take for a new DVD called Discover Dorset.

The film is a journey along Dorset’s famous coast from west to east, exploring the many diverse and fascinating places en route.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Monday 13th October 2008

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Did you see lights in the sky?

Daily Echo readers have been reporting strange lights in the sky over Poole Bay on Friday night, October 10.

A woman living on Bournemouth's West Cliff told the Echo on Saturday: "I was on my balcony with a friend at about 9.45pm last night when more than 40 planes flew over the trees.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 11th October 2008

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Do you believe in angels?

According to statistics, more than a third of Britons believe in angels.

Are you one of them?

If so, you may be among thousands of people celebrating the seventh Angel Awareness Day on Sunday.

The day was founded by local woman Diana Cooper, who lives in West Moors.

Diana, the author of 16 books on mind-body-spirit issues, was inspired in 2002 to set aside a day on which people from all cultures and religions would be united through their acceptance of angels.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 9th October 2008

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The avenue files – UFOs and ghost tales

Ghost stories, UFOs and being chased by lights - these were just some of the host of memories people brought to Kingston Lacy.

Now that it has completed work to cut down 21 trees along the estate's famous two-and-a-half-mile Beech Avenue, the National Trust is busy recording people's memories.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 8th October 2008

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Julian is setting the scene in Puddletown

St. Mary's Church in Puddletown became a film set as cameras started rolling again in Dorset.

Director Julian Fellowes and members of his cast and crew descended on Puddletown for the first day of filming on their new movie.

Children's fantasy From Time to Time will be shot mainly at Athelhampton House near Dorchester for the next three-and-a-half weeks.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 7th October 2008


Saturday, 4 October 2008

South Dorset Ridgeway Project Project News

Bump-a-story

Storytelling for all the family Sunday, 12th October 2008 4 - 6.30pm

Take a walk at dusk amongst the barrows of the South Dorset Ridgeway and listen to tales with local storyteller Tim Laycock. Free, but please email Sarah Harbige at m.king@dorsetcc.gov.uk or South Dorset Ridgeway Officer, Dorset AONB Bridport Road, Dorchester, DT1 1RN for more information and bookings. Wet weather alternative available.

Inspired by the South Dorset Ridgeway?

A call to all artists …. we are organising an exhibition early in 2009, of art inspired by the Ridgeway. The exhibition will be accompanied by workshops and other events for schools and others who are interested. If you are interested in finding out more or taking part please contact Sarah.

More information about events and the South Dorset Ridgeway Project visit www.dorsetaonb.org.uk

The Search is on for The Bard of Dorset.


Back in 2006 members of the Dorset Community began talk of establishing a Bardic Chair for the County of Dorset.

There was a lot of talk and a lot more Uming & Ahring of how this could possibly be achieved where by the entire community could be involved, eventually a Committee was formed and a plan was put into action. The official announcement of the Dorset Flag would be followed by the Search to find and establish a Bard for Dorset.

Having the support and recognition of featured members of the Dorset Community of local Council and Wessex folk festival organisers Mike McDade, Dr Thomas Daffern of the Order of Peace Poets & Bards. And the support and recognition of the Council of British Druid Orders. Plus many members of the community. Dorset and its County Town will at last have its official Bard to occupy the Chair, adding to the prestige and acknowledgement of Dorset Heritage.

For more information and news of this event visit www.bardic-chair-of-dorset.co.uk

Supported by The Dorchester Arts Center 23rd January 2009 Wessex Folk Festival. Alistair Chisholm Dorchester Town Crier IIPSGP ( Dr Thomas Daffern of The Peace Poets Society) Dorchester Cycles Rope Makers of Briport Mason & Mariners,Portland, Clifton Hotel.

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Fortean publishing workshop with Patrick Huyghe
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Special panel on Spring–heeled Jack
Live parapsychology experiments with the Association
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Welcome to Hardy country

Two new visitor centres could be built for Thomas Hardy fans as part of a proposed £3 million project to put the writer's brand on West Dorset.

The development is one option proposed by consultants looking at ways to bring more tourists to the area and to create more facilities.

The scheme for two visitor centres - one in Dorchester and one at a rural location - is the top of the range of options being explored by JDD Consulting for five partners looking to build on Hardy's worldwide reputation as a literary great.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, Saturday, 4th October 2008

Stories wanted for new centre

Plans for a new museum and visitor centre on Portland have gone on display.

And residents are being invited to provide stories and artefacts to be included in the new attraction, planned for the former engine house at the top of Incline Road.

Designs for the new £1.5-million visitor centre - on show at the Portland Heights Hotel - include a walkers' café, display area and an audio-visual classroom for educational groups.

Residents are asked to view and help shape the proposals by offering information and material to illustrate the island's history and geology.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 4th October 2008

Friday, 3 October 2008

Museum's first full-time curator

Lyme Regis Museum has taken on a full-time professional curator for the first time in its history - ending a 108 year tradition.

Mary Godwin took up the job yesterday taking over the reins from honourary curator Max Hebditch, who leaves after eight years.

In her new post she hopes to introduce a more active educational programme.

READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Friday 3rd October 2008

Movie stars come to Dorset for new film - "From Time to Time" (The Children of Green Knowe)

Movie stars are descending on Dorset to shoot another major production.

Filming for children's fantasy From Time to Time, starring Dame Maggie Smith and Timothy Spall, will begin on Monday at Athelhampton House near Dorchester.

The shoot comes just a couple of months after the cast and crew from blockbuster The Boat That Rocked visited the county.

The film will be directed by actor and Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who selected Athelhampton as the backdrop for his adaptation of Lucy Boston's series of books, The Children of Green Knowe.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday, 3rd October 2008

(N.B. Who remembers the creepy BBC Adaptation of this story?)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Tiny rare visitors go batty over a new ditch

A rare bat has been found on the RSPB's reserve at Radipole Lake in Weymouth.

The Nathusius's Pipistrelle, one of the smallest and rarest bats nationwide, was discovered during a survey undertaken by volunteers from the Dorset Bat Group.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, Wednesday 1st October 2008
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