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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Saturday, 27 February 2010

News Clipping: Mum achieves dream with Portland Sea Dragon

A mum-of three has achieved her dream of writing a children’s book after being inspired by the legends of Portland.

Carol Hunt moved to the island five years ago and soon developed a love for the myths and history of her new home.

For more information about the book visit www.rovingpress.co.uk

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 27th February 2010

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

News Clipping: Dorset big cat 'seen 30 times recently'

What looks like a 'big cat' has been spotted 30 times in West Dorset since Christmas, according to a man who is trying to discover the truth about the legendary big Dorset cat.

Photographer Alan McNamee, from Bridport, is convinced of the existence of the animal.

He has now assembled a team who are ready to respond to sightings as they are reported.

Alan saw the animal close up in 2004 - an experience he said was "scary".

READ MORE - Source: BBC News Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Monday, 22 February 2010

New Book!: The Portland Sea Dragon by Carol Hunt

Published by Roving Press 'The Portland Sea Dragon' by Carol Hunt. This is the first in a series of children’s books set on Portland written by local author Carol Hunt. The Portland Chronicles draw on local history, exploring a seventeenth century world of smuggling, witchcraft, piracy and local intrigue. The Chronicles aim to capture children’s imagination with stories based on real folklore and places. Carol is working on the next book in the series - The Enchantment of the Black Dog.

The book will be launched at Whitestone Cafe in Easton, Portland, on Sunday, March 21st from 2.00pm to 4.00pm

For more information about the book visit www.rovingpress.co.uk

Friday, 19 February 2010

News Clipping: Actor and director Lionel Jeffries dies

British actor, screenwriter and film director Lionel Jeffries, who had life-long links with Dorset, died yesterday at the age of 83.

Below: "H. G. Wells The First Men in the Moon" starring Lionel Jeffries as Professor Cavor



READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 19th February 2010

News Clipping: Portland sheep - a woolly history

Leading archaeology expert Susann Palmer knew the history of Portland sheep was a bit woolly.

Now a new project may help to uncover more details about the roots of this unusual breed.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 19th February 2010

Thursday, 18 February 2010

News Clipping: Corfe Mullen man receives Newfoundland's highest honour

A Corfe Mullen man has been awarded the highest honour that the first country of the British Empire can bestow.

Proud Alan Perry is the first Englishman ever to receive the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador, given to people who have made outstanding contributions to the province and its people.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 18th February 2010

News Clipping: Kids flock to meet Terry Deary at Dorset County Museum

Youngsters flocked to the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester for a chance to meet children’s author Terry Deary.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 18th February 2010

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

News Clipping: Ministry of Defence releases top secret UFO files

The debate about the existence of extra-terrestrials has been re-ignited with the release of previously top secret files by the Ministry of Defence.

More than 6,000 pages of material, spanning from 1994 to 2000, reports spaceships shaped like flying Toblerones, mysterious illnesses and even a UFO spotted over former Home Secretary Michael Howard’s home.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Wednesday 17th February 2010

News Clipping: Flipping good fun at Dorset Echo Pancake Day races on Portland

Runners and spectators turned out in force for the annual Dorset Echo Pancake Day Races on Portland.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 17th February 2010

News Clipping: Seal makes friends on River Frome near Wool

Angler Matt Sparks was stunned when he spotted a seal while fishing – 10 miles inland from the sea.

Matt, 36, was fishing for grayling on the River Frome near Wool when the seal suddenly popped its head up. He clicked his fingers at the mammal, which then swam close enough to be touched.

READMORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 17th February 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Make a movie inspired by South Dorset Ridgeway Heritage Project

This half term there is an exciting opportunity for young people to make a short moving image inspired by the South Dorset Ridgeway. The results of film-making with Jorn Ebner will be presented at the South Dorset Ridgeway Festival in July.

A few spaces are still available for 14 to 25-year-olds at the first workshops on Wednesday, February 17, at Osmington Village Hall, Thursday, February 18, in Dorchester or Friday, February 19, at Portesham Village Hall.

Each workshop will run from 10am to 1pm. For bookings please contact the Dorset AONB at 01305 228241. More information about Jorn and the project can be found at www.dorsetaonb.org.uk

Sunday, 14 February 2010

News Clipping: Dorset explorer Col. John Blashford-Snell identifies link between Pacific and Atlantic

A North Dorset explorer has discovered evidence of an ancient water route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Col. John Blashford-Snell made the breakthrough on his recent trip to the Central American country of Nicaragua.

It is believed the route, which encompasses rivers, a lake and flood plains, would be more ancient than the Panama Canal.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Sunday 14th February 2010

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Campaign to bring home rare Hardy transcripts

This morning, a mock Skimmington Ride took place in South Street, Dorchester, to publicise “Hardy's Night-Chapter and Verse”, an event in March which will raise funds to help save some rare Hardy transcripts that could end up in America.

Skimmington, or Skimmington ride, is a traditional custom comprising a public demonstration of moral disapproval of an individual or individuals. The form of the demonstration, and the reasons for it, varied between different places, but the general intent was public humiliation of the victims. A Skimmington generally took the form of a rowdy parade with effigies of the victims or people dressed up to represent them; in some cases the individuals themselves were forced to participate, often dragged from their homes and forced to ride back to back through the village on a donkey. Skimmingtons were typically noisy affairs, with rough music made by the clattering of pots and pans.

The Players reenacted the scene from their 2009 production of “The Mayor of Casterbridge” where the townsfolk of Casterbridge parade effigies of Michael Henchard and Lucetta Templeman through the streets. The shock is too much for Lucetta and shames Henchard, who leaves Casterbridge an ex-Mayor.

The rare Hardy transcripts were once owned by Harry Tilley - one of the original Hardy Players. The scripts date from 1908 -1924 and include hand annotated play scripts written by Hardy for the Hardy Players plus twelve of his novels and short stories.

Dorset County Museum Director, Dr Jon Murden is raising £58,000 to keep these important documents in the UK and bring them home to Dorchester. (A major American University has expressed strong interest). Substantial sums have already been pledged from generous local and regional sources.

To help the cause, the New Hardy Players are putting on a special fund raising evening to help raise part of the £58.000 needed. “Hardy's Night - Chapter and Verse" takes place on Friday 12th March 2010 at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester, starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £12.50 which includes Dorset Apple Cake and apple cider punch provided by The Octagon Café. Tickets can be purchased from the museums reception desk.

During an evening of varied entertainment there will be an auction of valuable Hardy related items that include a book signed by Thomas Hardy himself, and a chance to have “Tea with Norrie”. Norrie Woodhall, 104, is the last surviving original Hardy Player and she will perform Hardy’s work once again during “Hardy’s Night”.

Support the Hardy Transcripts Fund a worthy, local, Dorchester cause

Contact the Dorset County Museum for details and tickets Tel: 01305 262735

For more information about the campaign and event visit www.hardyonline.org

New DVD - Mummers Plays of England 'In Comes I' - Wessex

Now available from Newland Media 'Mummers Plays of England 'In Comes I' - Wessex'

Old Father Christmas ... St. George ... the Doctor ... Disguise ... Death ... Resurrection.... can only mean you have discovered 'mummers' plays of England!

'In Comes I' takes an informative look at the exciting 'mumming' tradition with interviews and asides from Frome Valley Mummers and others. Look out for some terrific revived plays of morris dancers: Frome Valley Morris, Wessex Morris Men, Babylon and the Dartington Morris Men to the almost unbroken traditions of the Paperboys of Marshfield in Gloucestershire and the rustic charm of the play from Symondsbury in Dorset. Entertaining and insightful with a hint of magic and mystery. You'll want to pick up a sword and take on a knight or two!



Over 90 minutes of mumming action! Double disc set with extra features.

Special Offer: £7.50 UK
£9.99 International Orders


DVDs can be ordered online via



or Mail Order

News Clipping: Explorer finds evidence of early waterway from Atlantic to Pacific

Hailed by some as the eighth wonder of the world, the Panama Canal is one of the greatest engineering achievements. It took more than 20 years and cost the lives of more than 27,000 workers. It was the culmination of a dream that began more than 400 years earlier to create a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific.

But was it really the first? An explorer claims to have found evidence of another, more ancient, water route between the oceans — one that existed hundreds of years before the Panama Canal was conceived.

READ MORE - Source: The Times February 13, 2010

Friday, 12 February 2010

Events: New Hardy Players re-enact'The Skimmington Ride' through Dorchester

The New Hardy Players will re-enact 'The Skimmington Ride' through Dorchester tomorrow, 13th February 2010 in aid of a £58,000 appeal. They will be taking the ride through the town centre between 11.00am and 1.00pm to promote their production of Hardy's Night Chapter and verse to save a rare typescripts being lost to America.

A skimmington, or skimmington ride, is a traditional custom comprising a public demonstration of moral disapproval of an individual or individuals. The form of the demonstration, and the reasons for it, varied between different places, but the general intent was public humiliation of the victims. A skimmington generally took the form of a rowdy parade with effigies of the victims or people dressed up to represent them; in some cases the individuals themselves were forced to participate, often dragged from their homes and forced to ride back to back through the village on a donkey. Skimmingtons were typically noisy affairs, with rough music made by the clattering of pots and pans.

The ride was depicted in Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge, when a cart bearing effigies of Michael Henchard and Lucetta Templeman was paraded through the town.

More information about the New Hardy players can be found via there website at www.hardyonline.org

News Clipping: Children's author delves into Horrible Histories of Dorset

Author Terry Deary will be in Dorchester to help draw up Horrible History-style stories about Dastardly Dorset.

He will be at the Dorset County Museum on Wednesday, February 17, signing copies of his Horrible Histories books as part of a special events day during half term.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Friday 12th February 2010

Saturday, 6 February 2010

News Clipping: Big cat sighting in Upwey

A ‘BIG CAT’ feared to be roaming Dorset has been spotted on the edge of Weymouth.

Residents say they have seen the black ‘puma-shaped’ animal – larger than a domestic cat – in fields at the top of Upwey.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 6th February 2010

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

News Clipping: Portland sheep on BBC's Countryfile

The famous rare breed of Portland sheep will be the focus of a BBC television programme after an island farmer took delivery of some lambs.

Su Illsley, who has the only flock on the island at Southwell, was visited by Countryfile presenter Adam Henson who took along some animals as well as a camera crew.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 3rd February 2010


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