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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Dorset's Weird and Wonderful Year of 2009

From escaped raccoons to sightings of big cats, a discovery of an ancient mass grave to Noddy Holder seeing a UFO over Bournemouth. 2009 has been a busy year for weird and wonderful news in Dorset.

Dark Dorset looks back with a selection of twelve stories taken from our blog.

JANUARY - Saturday, 25th January 2009

Raccoon found in Dorset back garden

A raccoon has been rescued from a back garden in Dorset after a surprised couple found it while birdwatching.

Ena Webber, of Walcott Avenue, Christchurch, Dorset, at first thought the creature was a cat but was shocked when she saw its distinctive black-and-white face and realised it was a raccoon. The 71-year-old said: “The first time I saw it, it was sitting 10ft up a tree, fast asleep. “I thought it was a cat. Because I wanted to do the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, and when there are cats around there aren’t any birds, I fired a water gun at it. “The head turned around as if to say ’Go away, I’m sleeping here’ and there was no doubt it was a raccoon.

READ MORE - Source: The Sun 25th January 2009

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FEBRUARY - Friday, 20th February 2009

News Clipping: Big cat sighting

A puma has been sighted at Hewish, Bradford Abbas, confirming the big cat is indeed roaming across the Dorset countryside once more. The light coloured puma, now an adult, has the characteristics of the cub reported by a farmer at Newton, Sturminster Newton, which was spotted with its parents, a black male and a lighter female, shortly before the foot and mouth outbreak.

Source: Western Gazette February 20th, 2009
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MARCH - Thursday, 10th March 2009

News Clipping: Mysterious Bright Green Light seen at Christchurch

On March 10th 2009, at 6.45pm, two witnesses from Christchurch, Dorset, saw a bright green light travelling Southwest at incredible high speed in a straight line, probably below 5000 feet. Visible for just a few seconds then vanished. Clear moonlit sky, no cloud, stars evident. It did not disappear into cloud, just ceased.

Source: HBCC UFO Research 14th March 2009
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APRIL - Friday, 3rd April 2009

News Clipping : I saw a UFO over Bournemouth and I’m not crazee...

Don't accuse him of being all crazee now – but rocker Noddy Holder of Slade says he felt the noize when he had a close encounter with a UFO in Bournemouth.

The colourful star, most famous for the ubiquitous festive hit Merry Christmas Everybody, said he saw a circular flying saucer, emitting beams of light, flying over the sea while staying in the town.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 3rd April 2009
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MAY - Wednesday, 20th May 2009

News Clipping: I saw a ghost at Corfe Castle

IT’S several hundred years since Cavaliers were last at Corfe Castle, but one villager reckons there might still be some around.

Keen fisherman Don Goodwin, 68, who has lived in the village for 24 years, was out at a playing field in the early hours last Friday morning collecting worms for bait when he saw a ghostly figure.

Read More: Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 20th May 2009
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JUNE - Thursday, 11th June 2009

News Clipping: Archaeologists find skulls on route of new road

The skulls of scores of young men have been found in a burial pit on the route of a new road in Dorset.

So far 45 skulls, believed to be almost 2,000 years old, have been found, and more may be found as the pit is emptied. Archaeologists have called the discovery extraordinary, saying it could be evidence of a disaster, a mass execution, a battle or possibly an epidemic.

READ MORE - Source: The Guardian Thursday 11 June 2009
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JULY - Thursday, 16th July 2009

News Clipping: Is crop circle message from the stars?

A message from an alien race or just a freak meteorological phenomenon?

Whatever the reasons one Christchurch resident says he is keeping an open mind about how a crop circle came to appear in the fields behind his house.

The design, which is reminiscent of a compass, is fairly simple compared with some more elaborate formations.

Peter Hammond, who lives in Hinton near to the Old Vicarage said he’s never seen anything like this in the neighbouring cornfields.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 16th July 2009
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AUGUST - Wednesday, 12th August 2009

News Clipping: Freddie the wonder crab is all right at Sea Life Park

Staff at Weymouth Sea Life Park thought they were seeing double when this giant crab turned up with two right claws.

The curious crustacean, thought to be about 10 years old, was found on the seabed near Swanage by Wareham-based fisherman Simon Clark.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 12th August 2009
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SEPTEMBER - Monday, 28th September 2009

News Clipping: Ghosthunter's guide to best haunts in Britain

Y orkshire is the best place to be if you want to see a UFO but if you're in search of phantoms then you're better off heading south to Kent.

And if you fancy mixing train-spotting with ghosthunting then Dorset is a good choice as it boasts the highest number of railway hauntings.

Read More: Source - The Metro 28th September 2009
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OCTOBER - Tuesday, 27th October 2009

News Clipping: Pliosaur skull discovered on Jurassic Coast

A ferocious, meat-eating dinosaur, so enormous it makes the T Rex look lik e a light snack, has been discovered on Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 27th October 2009

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NOVEMBER - Friday, 20th November 2009

News Clipping: Giant earthworks mystery at Cerne Abbas

Archaeologist Rob Wilson-North has dug up a new mystery surrounding the Cerne Abbas giant.

He has identified earthworks near the iconic figure suggestive of the monument’s best known attributes.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday Friday 20th November 2009
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DECEMBER - Sunday, 6th December 2009

Newsclipping: Police force 'consulted warlock over horse plaiting'

A police force has consulted a "warlock" in an attempt to unravel a spate of mysterious incidents of horses having their manes plaited.

Owners in west Dorset and the surrounding counties had believed that thieves plaited the manes of the beasts to identify which ones to steal when they returned at night.

But police officers investigating the incidents said there had been no thefts, and instead their enquiries led to the world of pagan ritual.

Read More: The Telegraph Sunday 6th December 2009
"On farms it was customary to hang a hag stone on a nail (especially if it was made of iron as this increased the stones power) above the stable door or tied around a h orses neck to prevent them from being 'hag rod'. A Dorset expression often used to describe when witches stole horses to ride to their sabbats. In some cases farmers who left their horses or even other livestock unprotected would often find their animals in sweaty and exhausted s tate with their manes full of tangles, which were known as 'hag knots'. A term often used, as it was believed that a witch tied knots in horse's manes to use as stirrups."
information supplied by www.darkdorset.co.uk
Source: Weymouth and Portland Borough Council - Mysterious Dorset - Witchcraft
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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Events: New Year's Day Nurdling Tourney 2010

The Nurdlers will be out in force on New Year’s Day getting up to their extraordinary antics. (see previous blog entry News Clipping: Comedy stars go nurdling in Dorset)

They’re gathering at the Old Ship Inn on Ridgeway, dustbin lids to the fore, dressed for the fray in a variety of somewhat strange garments ready to hurl the nurdle from 10:30am to 14:30pm

It’s noisy, energetic, unexpected and without rules one can easily decipher and by the time they’ve pounded to the top of the Ridgeway and back they’re ready for their good ale.

Potential Nurdlers and Droves seeking knowledge and wishing to participate should contact Albert The Tall at bill@beakerfolk.co.uk

Witnesses welcome, at their own risk.

For more information about this obscure sporting event visit Upwey Nurdler's Website

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

News Clipping: Dolmen album is blast from Weymouth's past

Musicians and history lovers have turned the clock back for a musical journey to civil war Weymouth. (see previous blog entry 'The Crabchurch Conspiracy' Album by The Dolmen)

They have created a new album called the Crabchurch Conspiracy tracing pivotal events and battles of 1645 in Weymouth.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 29th December 2009


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

News Clipping: Hardy scripts have a twist in the tale

A last-ditch bid is set to be launched to bring rare Thomas Hardy typescripts home to Dorchester.

Dorset County Museum aims to lead a campaign to raise £50,000 to buy the items – including annotations in the writer’s own hand on scripts for plays.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 22nd December 2009

News Clipping: £23K grant boosts battle to save Sandsfoot Castle

Campaigners have claimed a success in their fight to save Sandsfoot Castle in Weymouth.

They have scooped a £23,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for preparatory work before a second major bid is lodged.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 22nd December 2009

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Events: Wessex Morris Men Mummers Play at Cerne Abbas

Mummers' plays have been performed in England since the late 1700s and most Dorset villages would have had their own play. It is very likely that there was a play in Cerne Abbas but, unfortunately, all traces of it have been lost, so Wessex Morris have "imported" a play from Quidhampton, near Salisbury. Nevertheless, since their play has been performed regularly in Cerne Abbas for over 30 years it has come part of Cerne Abbas' Christmas tradition.

21st December 2009
  • 8.00pm- Cerne Abbas Village Square - Wessex Morris Men Christmas Party preceded by dancing and the Mummers Play
26th December 2009
  • 12.00pm - Cerne Abbas village Square - Dancing and Mummers Play
more information visit their website www.wessexmorrismen.co.uk

Below: The Wessex Morris Men perform there mummers play in the The Royal Oak, Cerne Abbas, Dorset in 2006.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Events: Babylon Mummers tour Bridport

Founded in 1995, Babylon are a border morris dance team, based in the small Dorset village of Corscombe. They will be performing their traditional Mummers play in Bridport this Saturday 19th December.

The tour of the town will begin:
  • 11:00 - Hope and Anchor, 13 Saint Michael's Lane
  • 11:45 - Woodman Inn, 61 South St
  • 12:30 - Bucky Doo Square, South St
  • 13:00 - Bull Hotel Cider Barn, 34 East Street
More information visit their website at www.babylon.org.uk

Below: Babylon Morris performing their Mummers play on New Years Day 2008 at Beaminster.

Events: The Stourvale Mummers

The team was formed in 1979 by members and friends of the Bourne River Morris Men. The object of the performance is to raise funds for local needy children, as well as keeping alive a colourful local tradition. During the Christmas season they perform a traditional Mummers' play from Sixpenny Handley.

Here is their 2009 Touring Programme:

Thursday 17th Dec.
  • 8:30pm - The Anchor - Shapwick
  • 9:00pm - The Vine - Pamphill
  • 9:30pm - The Horns - Colehill
  • 10:00pm - Royal British Legion - Wimborne
Friday 18th Dec.
  • 7:45pm - Horton Inn - Horton
  • 8:30pm - Fleur de Lys - Cranborne
  • 9:00pm - Drusilla's Inn - Horton
  • 10:00pm - Cross Keys - Mannington
Saturday 19th Dec.
  • 8:30pm - The Drovers - Gussage All Saints
  • 9:00pm - Witchampton Club - Witchampton
  • 9:30pm - Village Hall - Tarrant Keynston (Grand Christmas Ceilidh)
Sunday 20th Dec.
  • 12:30pm - Red Lion - Sturminster Marshall
  • 1:00pm - Botany Bay - Winterbourne Zelston
  • 1:30pm - Coventry Arms - Corfe Mullen
  • 2:00pm - Holme Bush - Corfe Mullen (here we expect to meet with the Purbeck Mummers, so you get two plays for one).
Tuesday 22nd Dec.
  • 7:30pm - Elm Tree - Hightown, nr. Ringwood
  • 8:15pm - Alice Lisle - Rockford Green, nr. Ringwood
  • 8:45pm - The Horse & Groom - Woodgreen
  • 9:30pm - The Cartwheel - Whitsbury
Saturday 26th Dec. (Boxing Day)
  • 11:30am - Stourhead - with Bourne River Morris Men as guests of White Horse Morris Men at their customary Boxing Day session.
More information can be found via their website www.bournerivermorris.org.uk

Friday, 11 December 2009

Events: The Symondbury Mummers perform in Bridport

The Symondbury Mummers will be performing a Christmas Special at Bridport Town Hall on Wednesday, December 16th at 7.30pm. Entrance is £5 to the Bridport Museum Friends and Volunteers and £6 to guest and includes mince pies and a glass of wine or a soft drink.

For more information about the event email: office@bridportmuseum.co.uk

To find out more about the history of the Symondbury Mummers and the play click here

Below: The Symondbury Mummers perform their play on New Years Day 2009


'The Crabchurch Conspiracy' Album by The Dolmen

A few months ago The Dolmen produced an album of songs inspired by the events in Weymouth and Dorset during the English Civil War. The album, entitled 'The Crabchurch Conspiracy' features all original songs penned from within the band and includes a spoken foreword and narration by the celebrated Civil War historian, Professor Ronald Hutton of the University of Bristol, who endorses it, along with Steve Knightley of Show of Hands.
"This album was never meant to be in the strict musical style of the 17th century or civil war period, but rather an album of songs wholly inspired by that time and in particular, by the incredible events surrounding an episode in Dorset’s Civil War history known as The Crabchurch Conspiracy. The songs pay respect to the characters connected with the Crabchurch Conspiracy, but from a modern perspective.

The songs on this album commemorate the bravery and tenacity of the Sydenham brothers and their staunch men and also recall some of the grisly events that occurred during the month long engagement and the final Battle of Weymouth.

It cannot be hoped to deliver a full account of the complicated and protracted events of the Crabchurch Conspiracy on this CD, but hopefully, The Dolmen conjure a flavour of the times and in their own way, pay homage to the brave souls of both sides who fought for what they believed in and, in many cases, paid the ultimate price."

Mark Vine, author of the book 'The Crabchurch Conspiracy'
If you are interested in getting a copy of the album for Christmas. Their contact details are via their website www.thedolmen.com/crabchurch



New Book!: Preorder The Centre for Fortean Zoology 2010 Yearbook

The Centre for Fortean Zoology 2010 Yearbook is in production now. It will be published on New Year's Day and the contents include:
  • Jon Downes: Killarney lake monster 2009
  • Dale Drinnon: Revised checklist of cryptozoological creatures
  • Richard Muirhead: Freshwater seahorse of Lake Titicaca
  • Neil Arnold: Monsters of Scooby doo
  • Dave Francazio: Steller’s sea ape
  • Adam Davies: The abominable snowman adventure
  • Richard Muirhead: Flying snakes
  • Neil Arnold: River Medway monsters
  • Dr Karl Shuker: Red eye glow in black dogs
  • Richard Freeman: Urban monsters

PLUS MORE...

The 200pp+ volume also includes the annual reports from the CFZ, and the Australian and US branches.

It will be £12.50 (no price rise since 1995) plus postage and packing. However, if you pre-order here and pay using paypal at the special low price of a tenner, you will receive it - post free - in early January.

To Pre-Order by Paypal click here

Thursday, 10 December 2009

News Clipping: Old Town Hall has the Christmas spirit

Weymouth may be without its town centre Victorian Shownight this year but it hasn’t stopped some hardy folk at the Old Town Hall getting into the spirit.

They’re organising a four-day Christmas arts and gift fair at the historic venue in the town’s old High Street which aims to showcase the talents of local artists as well as provide people with some affordable festive present ideas.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 10th December 2009


Christmas Arts & Gifts Fayre
Thursday 10th till Sunday 13th December 2009
Weymouth's Old Town Hall


Opening Times:
  • Thursday 10th :12 noon till 9.00pm (Evening : Victorian Shownight in partnership with Brewers Quay including performance by Bagatelle )
  • Friday 11th : 12 noon till 6.30pm (8.30pm: ‘Triops’ - see below)
  • Saturday 12th :10.30 am till 4.30pm
  • Sunday 13th : 10.30 am till 4.30pm
Refreshments available

SPECIAL EVENT

‘Triops’ with Thomas Hughes, Lucy Watkins & Rick Veal, Live music performance combined with moving image.

Friday 11th December at 8.30 pm

Admission £7 and tickets can be reserved by emailing mrthomashughes@hotmail.com
Only 70 seats and they are going like hot cakes!

‘some of the strangest films you will ever witness, projected right in front of your very eyes’ .

For more Christmas Fayre details contact: Martin Hedley on 07515881200 or email martinjhedley@talktalk.net

Events: The New Scorpion Band presents 'The Holly and The Ivy'

On Saturday 19th December at 7.30 pm, Briantspuddle Village Hall. The much loved New Scorpion Band are presenting a brand new Christmas show, 'The Holly and The Ivy', which is a collection of traditional carols, midwinter songs, stories and music drawn from the traditional music of the British Isles. This programme follows the success of NSB's 'The Carnal and the Crane', often featured on previous Artsreach programmes.

Contact: Philippa Thorniley 01929 471497

An Artsreach Presentation www.artsreach.co.uk

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

News Clipping: James Findlay grabs top honour at BBC Young Folk Awards

Fiddler James Findlay strutted his stuff to wow the judges and win the top honour at the BBC Young Folk Awards. (see previous blog entry News Clipping: Dorchester folk musician in running for award)

The 21-year-old from Dorchester performed a stunning set of traditional songs to beat off some stiff competition and earn the prestigious title at Broadcasting House.

Below: James Findlay performing at this years Wessex Folks Festival


READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 8th December 2009

Sources: BBC Young Folk Awards 2010,

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Newsclipping: Police force 'consulted warlock over horse plaiting'

A police force has consulted a "warlock" in an attempt to unravel a spate of mysterious incidents of horses having their manes plaited.

Owners in west Dorset and the surrounding counties had believed that thieves plaited the manes of the beasts to identify which ones to steal when they returned at night.

But police officers investigating the incidents said there had been no thefts, and instead their enquiries led to the world of pagan ritual.

Read More: The Telegraph Sunday 6th December 2009
On farms it was customary to hang a hag stone on a nail (especially if it was made of iron as this increased the stones power) above the stable door or tied around a horses neck to prevent them from being 'hag rod'. A Dorset expression often used to describe when witches stole horses to ride to their sabbats. In some cases farmers who left their horses or even other livestock unprotected would often find their animals in sweaty and exhausted state with their manes full of tangles, which were known as 'hag knots'. A term often used, as it was believed that a witch tied knots in horse's manes to use as stirrups.

Source: http://www.weymouth.gov.uk/home.asp?sv=1125

Friday, 4 December 2009

Events: Frome Valley Morris Mummers

Every year since 1978 the Frome Valley Morris Mummers have performed an action packed mummers play which up until 1936 was originally performed at Broadwey near Weymouth. Their bright costumes with colourful streamers hanging down over the face for disguise are based on the actual costumes worn at the time.

This year events in which the group will be appearing:
The Mummers, as remembered by Thomas Hardy for the Mummers' play in the 'Return of the Native' performed in Dorchester in 1920. The Frome Valley Morris based theirs costumes, on the ones used by the Hardy players, originally designed from a sketch by Hardy.

The Frome Valley Morris Mummers specialise in turning up at a venue, entering and performing the play. The first the surprised audience knows is the unexpected entrance of the Announcer, followed by each character in turn introducing themselves Father Christmas, Saint George, A Turkish Knight, A Doctor, Beelzebub, Jack Vinney (A Village Idiot). This does not usually stop anyone watching joining in with the spirit of the play with interactive cheers and good humour.

Read more about Christmas Mummers on our website

In 2007 Dark Dorset followed the Frome Valley Morris Men as they performed there end of year Mummers Play at a variety of venues in Dorset. The video below was taken at the White Horse, Litton Cheney on 22nd of December 2007.




Thursday, 3 December 2009

News Clipping: Digging up old White Horse images ready for revamp

Postcard collectors are helping to put experts in the picture for a revamp of the Osmington White Horse.

Members of the Dorset Postcard Club have dug out historic images as work continues to restore the hillside monument to its former glory.

Read More: Source - Dorset Echo Thursday 3rd December 2009

Friday, 27 November 2009

Events: The New Scorpion Band presents 'The Holly and The Ivy'

On Friday 4th December at 7.30 pm, Memorial Hall, Sturminster Marshall The much loved New Scorpion Band are presenting a brand new Christmas show, 'The Holly and The Ivy', which is a collection of traditional carols, midwinter songs, stories and music drawn from the traditional music of the British Isles. This programme follows the success of NSB's 'The Carnal and the Crane', often featured on previous Artsreach programmes.

Contact: Carol Johnson 01258 857814

An Artsreach Presentation www.artsreach.co.uk

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

News Clipping: Bumper book of Weymouth's past

An Intriguing A-Z of Weymouth’s history has been compiled by historian Maureen Attwooll.

The Second Bumper Book of Weymouth is a fascinating, alphabetical journey through the town’s history and geography, containing more than 1,000 entries and 150 illustrations.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 24th November 2009

Available at Amazon Second Bumper Book of Weymouth by Maureen Attwooll.

Monday, 23 November 2009

News Clipping: Martinstown's sympathy for Cockermouth

Villagers in Martinstown have told of the ‘great flood’ that struck 54 years ago as residents of Cumbria face a similar plight.

They sent their sympathies to people in Cockermouth reeling from a level of rainfall that is thought only to occur once in 1,000 years.

Nearby Seathwaite recorded 314mm (12.3 inches) of rainfall in 24 hours last week – the heaviest ever recorded in Britain.

Read More: Dorset Echo Monday 23rd November 2009

Friday, 20 November 2009

News Clipping: 'Unprecedented' torrential downpour in Cumbria breaks UK record for most rain in 24 hours

The unprecedented downpour over Cumbria was the highest level of rainfall measured in the country since records began, forecasters said today.

The record-breaking rainfall - reaching 314mm (12.4 inches) in 24 hours - is the highest level witnessed in 44 years.

The reading taken from the Environment Agency's gauging station at Seathwaite Farm exceeds the 279.4mm (11in) recorded in 24 hours in Martinstown, Dorset, in July 1955.

Read more: Daily Mail Friday 20th November 2009

News Clipping: Giant earthworks mystery at Cerne Abbas

Archaeologist Rob Wilson-North has dug up a new mystery surrounding the Cerne Abbas giant.

He has identified earthworks near the iconic figure suggestive of the monument’s best known attributes.


READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday Friday 20th November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

News Clipping: Eerie howling... and a train ride to terror

If you're a lover of ghost stories, you’ll be familiar with a handful of tales concerning spooks and phantoms cropping up in Dorset. But if you thought you’d heard the whole story, think again.

When Roger Guttridge decided to write his 15th book on Dorset, he favoured the subject of the supernatural – but wanted to produce something that was “more than just another county ghost book”.

Read More: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 18th November 2009

Available at Amazon - Paranormal Dorset by Roger Guttridge

Here is a woman who lost her head, she's quiet now - because, d'ye see, she's dead! The Legend of St. Judith

Today is the feast day of St. Judith or in Anglo Saxon Juthwara, Juthware (pronounced Uth-are) . However her translation is generally held to be 13 July.

Saint Juthware was a Brythonic virgin and martyr from Dorset, who probably lived in the 6th century. Her relics were translated to Sherborne Abbey during the reign of Ethelred the Unready in the early 11th century and her shrine remained a place of pilgrimage there until the Dissolution.

Until recently, Halstock had an inn called, 'The Quiet Woman,' with a sign outside depicting a headless woman. Though no longer run as a pub, but is now as a guest house for visitors (www.qwhdorset.co.uk) the gruesome tale it commemorated still haunts the village to this day.

In the seventh century a baby girl called Juthware, was born in the village, but it was a difficult birth and her mother died leaving her to be brought up by Benna, the girl's father.

Benna looked after his daughter as best as he could, but what the girl needed was a mother, and in time he relinquished his loss by taking another wife. This second wife was a Welsh woman called Goneril who was also a widow and had by her former husband a son called Bana. All was well at first, but as the years passed Goneril began to despise her step daughter, for not only was she beautiful, but she was a devoted Christian, often fasting and doing penance for her sins.

Many pilgrims and wayfarers travelled the roads and would often seek shelter at Juthware's father's house. Benna was a good, but sick man and remembering the kindness of his first wife was always keen to show hospitality. And so while they ate Juthware would pass among them with drinking horns of wine and ale and listen to their wonderful stories of Our Lord's birth and life.

When Benna died Juthware followed her father's example of hospitality. This angered Goneril who could not stand her stepdaughter's good qualities any longer and so she contrived a plan to be rid of her.

Goneril's chance came one morning when Juthware came to her complaining of chest pains. She told Juthware to rub some cheese onto her chest and stomach first thing in the morning and last thing at night and the pains would go.

When Goneril saw Juthware doing this she went secretly into the wood and there slaughtered a lamb and left it for the wolves. The next morning she went to Bana and told him that Juthware had given birth to a child in the wood and had fed it to the wolves. However, Bana would not believe her, so she took him into the wood and showed him the remains of the bloodied carcass. But still Bana would not believe it, so she brought Juthware to the wood and ordered her to remove her vest. Bana examined the garment and found the stains of motherhood.

In a fit of rage he drew his sword and cut Juthware's head clean off. Goneril's face was triumphant, but as she revelled in her stepdaughter's death, to her horror Juthware's severed head called to her body. It jerked and slowly rising to its feet gathered the head and moved with measured mechanical steps down the hill and along the lane to the church and there placed her head on the altar before finally dying.

Soon after, Juthware became known as Saint Juthware and a shrine was dedicated to her at the place of her martyrdom.

But the gruesome tale doesn't end there, for at one o'clock in the morning on All Saints Day (1st November), Saint Juthware's ghost is said to return to repeat the incident. She is said to be seen carrying her head in the lane leading to Abbots Hill, alias Judith Hill.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Events: Tim Laycock presents 'Ha! Ha! Hardy'

On Saturday 14th November, Tim Laycock returns with his popular 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, with fiddle accompaniment from Colin Thompson.

Drax Hall, Bere Regis at 7.30pm

Contact: Chris Maunder
Local Box Office: 01929 471342

An Artsreach presentation: www.artsreach.co.uk

Saturday, 31 October 2009

News Clipping: Things that go bump at Nothe Fort

Armed with hi-tec kit and nerves of steel, a group of amateur ghost hunters led by a psychic sleuth went on the prowl in Weymouth’s Nothe Fort in search of things that go bump in the night.

Read More - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Saturday 31st October 2009

Friday, 30 October 2009

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Events: Moonfleet on Tour

Formed in 2001 by graduates of the prestigious Ecole Lecoq, Angel Exit Theatre is a shifting ensemble of performers with a shared passion for new dynamic physical theatre, under the artistic direction of Tamsin Fessey and Lynne Forbes.

To date Angel Exit have devised, produced and performed four original pieces of theatre, all critically acclaimed. They have very different stories, but what the shows have in common is a strong emphasis on storytelling through physical ensemble theatre, using the European traditions of clown, chorus, melodrama and buffoonery.

Come and see this re-telling of John Meade Falkner's classic 'Moonfleet' smuggling novel, conjured by a group of buffoons washed up onto the wild shores of Chesil beach. With live and recorded music, puppets and striking physicality, come and see why the critics are saying:

"One of the most remarkable performances of the year came to Dorchester...The Corn Exchange was packed with the attention of more than 200 spellbound adults and children totally immersed in this outstanding production" - Anita Harries, A View from Dorchester

Four of our performances have sold out already so make sure you get your tickets soon. Please stop and say hello if you make it, we'd love to see you! We're in Croydon, St Albans, Portsmouth, Bath and Poole to name a few.

Tour Dates:

Thurs 29 Oct, Byre Theatre, St Andrews, 7.30pm
01334 475000 / www.byretheatre.com

Fri 30 & Sat 31 Oct, Byre@ Anstruther Town Hall, Fife 7.30pm
01334 475000 / www.byretheatre.com

Tues 3 Nov, Cygnet New Theatre, Exeter, 7.30pm
01392 277189 / www.cygnetnewtheatre.com

Weds 4 Nov, The Little Theatre, Torquay, 7.30pm
01803 299330 / www.toadstheatre.co.uk

Fri 6 Nov, The Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans, 8pm
01727 844222 / www.myspace.com/maltings

Sat 7 Nov, The Rose Theatre, Ormskirk, 3pm
01695 584480 / www.edgehill.ac.uk/rosetheatre/

Weds 11 – Sat 14 Nov, Lighthouse Poole, 7pm & 2pm Sat
0844 406 8666 / www.lighthousepoole.co.uk

Weds 18 Nov, Third Floor Arts Centre, Central Library, Portsmouth, 3pm & 7.30pm
Reservations 07979 751 576 / lynne@angelexit.co.uk

Thurs 19 Nov, SpArC Theatre, Bishops Castle, 7.30pm
01588 630321 /www.artsalive.co.uk

Fri 20 Nov, Wem Town Hall, Shropshire 7.30pm
01939 237075 / www.artsalive.co.uk

Sat 21 Nov, Market Theatre, Ledbury, 8pm
01531 636147 / www.themarkettheatre.com

Tues 24 Nov, Regal Theatre, Minehead, 7.30pm
01643 706430 / www.regaltheatre.co.uk

Thurs 26 Nov, Croydon Clocktower, 7.30pm
020 8253 1030 / www.croydonclocktower.org.uk

Fri 27 Nov, Appledore Baptist Church, Devon, 7pm
07900 212 747 / www.beaford-arts.org.uk

Sat 28 Nov, Woolacombe Village Hall, Devon, 7.30pm
01271 870 510 / www.beaford-arts.org.uk

Thurs 3 & Fri 4 Dec, Rondo Theatre, Bath, 8pm & 1.30pm Fri
01225 463362 / www.rondotheatre.co.uk

Sat 5 Dec, Thorncombe Village Hall, Dorset, 7.30pm
01460 30247 / www.artsreach.co.uk

Fri 11 Dec, Brinkworth Village Hall, Wiltshire, 6.30pm
01666 510 545 / www.ruralartswiltshire.org.uk

Sat 12 Dec, Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset, 7.30pm
01308 424 204 / www.bridport-arts.com

For more information about the production visit www.angelexit.co.uk

Event: Granny Cousins Halloween Ghost Walk of Poole

Granny Cousins played by Michele O'BrienFriday 30 October fom 6.00pm. As the shadows lengthen at Halloween, step behind the Great Quay, down the the tight alleyways and you never know what, or who you might meet. Now in its twelfth year, local Victorian character Granny Cousins and her sidekick 'Red' will take you on an entertaining and informative evening walk and tell you about some of the people that have lived, worked and....haunted this ancient fishing port.

Meet outside Scaplen's Court Museum, Sarum Street, Poole. Weather permitting - please phone on the night if the weather is bad.

To book a place telephone: 07977 969080

Granny Cousins walks during the summer season. She is also available for additional group bookings.

For further details contact Michele O'Brien on 07977 969080. Adults £5, Children £3, Family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children under 16) £15, under 5's free. Cheap at half the price and time for chips on the way home! Bring your own lanterns*

*Granny Cousins cannot be responsible for the use of lanterns and walkers use them at their own risk



Event: Halloween Challenge at the Weymouth Old Town Hall

On Saturday 31st October 2009 from 6.30 till 9pm at the Old Town Hall, Weymouth . An ideal fun event for all the family. Come inside and see The Haunted Hall!

Kids Spooky Quest, Ghostly Apparitions, Hangmans Noose, and many more.... Refreshments and hot dogs available.

£1 entry

The Halloween Ghost Walk of Old Weymouth

Dare You Find Out What Lurks In The Shadows Of A Happy Holiday Town?

Follow in the footsteps of our experienced ghosthunter guide and discover the unquiet former residen

ts who still roam the streets and buildings of old Weymouth and delve into a dark history of disease, death and a famous, (or should we say 'infamous') serial killer!

Special edition Halloween week ghost walks are on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th October 2009 starts 7:00pm until 9:00pm. Meet by our sign beside front entrance of Brewers Quay, Hope Square. The route covers approx 2.5 miles. There is no rough or unmade ground but it does involve a few hills. The duration is approx 90mins including stops, with the walk finishing at the Nothe Tavern.

  • Adults - £5.00,
  • Ages 7-16 - £4.00

NB: Walks are subject to weather conditions and will not take place in heavy or persistant rain. If in doubt please call us before setting out.

For more details visit www.weymouthghostwalk.webs.com

News Clipping: Why has Hallowe'en eclipsed bonfire Night?

Hallowe'en, America's second biggest festival has eclipsed Britain's Bonfire Night. Andrew Martin is alarmed

READ MORE - Source: Telegraph 28th October 2009

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

News Clipping: Skull of huge sea monster that could have eaten T. rex found in Dorset

Dinosaur experts in Dorset are examining the fossilised skull of a sea monster so large they say it could have eaten a Tyrannosaurus rex for breakfast.

The fossil head is 2.4m (8ft) long, suggesting that the beast measured up to 16m (54ft) from the tip of its massive, crocodile-like snout to the end of its muscular tail, making it one of the largest specimens ever found.

READ MORE - Source: The Times 27th October 2009

News Clipping: Pliosaur skull discovered on Jurassic Coast

A ferocious, meat-eating dinosaur, so enormous it makes the T Rex look like a light snack, has been discovered on Dorset’s famous Jurassic Coast.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Tuesday 27th October 2009

Monday, 26 October 2009

Events: Scatty Scarecrows & Potty Pumpkins

Spooky fun for all the family at this charming, award-winning museum in the centre of historic Wimborne Minster.

For more information visit www.priest-house.co.uk

Events: Portland revealed - its hidden places, sacred sites and folklore

On the 31st October 2009 at 10:30am Gary Biltcliffe, author of The Spirit of Portand: Revelations of a Sacred Isle, will be sharing Portlands mysteries, folklore and magic with you on Halloween at the Mulberry Gallery, Weymouth Library in conjunction with the Friends of Weymouth Library. Garys illuminating and ground-breaking discoveries reveal why Portland was so important and strategic throughout Britains history and why today the Isle still has special significance.
When: 31 Oct 2009 10:30 - 12:mm One day only
Where: Mulberry Gallery, Weymouth Library Great George Street Weymouth DT4 8NN
Price: £2 including refreshments

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas



We are pleased to bring all you our new ‘I Love Morris Dancing’ T-Shirt, which would make any Morris man you know a great Christmas gift! Christmas is also the time to keep alive the old Saxon tradition of Wassailing, which is why we have also designed a special ‘Wassail’ T-Shirt for the festive season. These unique products are only available in our online shop. We have many more interesting designs and fun products available which might make a fun Christmas gift or Birthday Present. The Dorset Flag Shopping Bag, The Cerne Abbas Giant Clock, Jack the Ripper T-Shirt, Thomas Hardy Mug, and much more besides is all to be found in the Dark Dorset Emporium. Take a look today!





Friday, 23 October 2009

Radio: The White Noise Paranormal Radio Show Tonight with Richard Freeman

This Friday Night at 10.00pm. Join the White Noise Paranormal Radio team for the twenty eighth installment of the second season of their acclaimed guest based talk show.

White Noise Paranormal Radio's Jason and Kelly will be joined this week by the Zoological Director for the CFZ Richard Freeman.

Richard co-edits both the journal, Animals & Men and several editions of the annual CFZ Yearbook. Richard Freeman has written, co-written, or edited a number of books, and has contributed widely to both Fortean and zoological magazines, as well as other newspapers and periodicals. He has also lectured across the UK and featured on numerous television and radio shows. Richard has also been on expeditions to various countries including Thailand, Sumatra and Mongolia in search of mysterious creatures.

Richard will be discussing mysterious creatures, his search for them and his discoveries with the White Noise team and also giving us his opinion on the paranormal world in general.

Listen to White Noise Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Events: Pumpkins in the Park at Greenhill Gardens

On the 24th October between 2.00pm - 4.00pm. Dust your broomsticks and fly to Greenhill Gardens, Weymouth for a free Pumpkin in the Park party between 2pm - 4pm. If your broomstick doesn't work, then follow the bat trail along the Esplanade making your way to the gardens for an afternoon of story-telling in the haunted house, mask making, pumpkin bowling and lots more spooky fun. For details call 01305 838000 or go to www.weymouth.gov.uk/leisure/openspaces/greenhillgardens

Events: Hallowen Fun at Portland Castle

Join us for spooky Halloween tales and fun activities at Portland Castle during this half-term week from Monday 26th - 31st October 2009.

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.

For more information: www.english-heritage.org.uk

Events: The Yetties - Thomas Hardy Heritage Evening

On Friday 23rd October at 7.30pm, Leigh Village Hall. This is a rare opportunity to watch The Yetties perform their Thomas Hardy Show. This will be an evening celebrating Thomas Hardy with Music and Verse.

The Yetties are one of England's most popular folk groups. They take their name from the Dorset village of Yetminster which was their childhood home. Their obvious love of West Country songs, stories and humour wins them friends wherever they go.

Admission is £6 and tickets are available from Leigh Village Stores or at 01935 873603.
Proceeds in aid of Leigh Village Hall.

Events: Halloween Ceilidh at the Corn Exchange

On Saturday 24th October, a Halloween Ceilidh will be held at the Corn Exchange. An evening of spooky fun & entertainment including music, theatre and dance featuring the amazingly Talented James Findlay, Fingerz 'n' Fretz, y'Strel's Band and the Living Dead Ceilidh Band.

Licensed bar and refreshments, raffle in aid of Dorset Wildlife Rescue, prizes for best fancy dress costumes

Buy Tickets Here

Tickets are also available from the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre tel 01305 267992

For further information please email

- Click on the poster to download full size

Events: Brewers Quay Halloween Festival of Fun!

Brewers Quay's annual Halloween Festival returns over the October half-term week (Monday 26th October- Sunday 1st November), offering fun for all the family!

There will be lots of Childrens' Entertainment, with exciting characters performing shows on the first floor from Monday to Friday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Back by popular demand, "The Great Kondini" will also be performing a spectacular Fire-breathing show outside the building on Friday 30th!

Along with the Halloween craft workshops, free activities and puzzles, kids can also take part in the Brewers Quay Great Witch Hunt; find all the hidden witches and win a prize!


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

to a great half term week at the Quay!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

News Clipping: Dorset's hidden history revealed

Author Louisa Adjoa Parker is giving a talk about Dorset’s Hidden History as part of Black History Month.

She will give the lecture at the Dorset History Centre on Bridport Road in Dorchester on October 28.

Louisa, aged 37, who lives in Lyme Regis, will focus on the black community and its history in Dorset over the past 200 years.

The free lecture, which is from 6pm to 8pm, has been organised with the Dorset Race Equality Council.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 20th October 2009

(See previous blog entry Dorset’s hidden black history and the legend of the Bettiscombe Screaming Skull)

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