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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Monday, 31 December 2012

Dorset's Weird and Wonderful Year of 2012

From Strange Rain to Whale Vomit, strange archaeological finds to unsual wildlife. This 2012 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 scrapbook and facebook page.


JANUARY - Friday, 27th January 2012
  • News Clipping: Bournemouth resident mystified by 'blue sphere shower'


A man in Dorset has been left mystified after tiny blue spheres fell from the sky into his garden. Steve Hornsby from Bournemouth said the 3cm diameter balls came raining down late on Thursday afternoon during a hail storm. He found about a dozen of the balls in his garden. He said: "[They're] difficult to pick up, I had to get a spoon and flick them into a jam jar." The Met Office said the jelly-like substance was "not meteorological"

READ MORE - Source: BBC News,
FEBRUARYFriday, 21st February 2012

  • News Clipping: What happens if you find human remains in your garden?

When a set of bones was discovered at a property in Dorset this month, experts confirmed they were "bones of antiquity". But what happens when you find human remains in your back gardenImagine you have got the builders in and they are digging up your garden.  Then suddenly work stops, and the contractors tell you they have uncovered a set of bones.  This is what happened to a woman from Preston, near Weymouth, who was having an extension built.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News, 21st February 2012

MARCH - Friday, 16th March 2012
  • News Clipping: Venomous spiders found nesting in Chickerell mum's shed

A single mother has discovered an infestation of a type of venomous, biting spider on the roof of her shed. And the creatures, false widow spiders, have been found in her house. Lindsay Hallam, of Marshallsay Road, Chickerell, has tried everything to rid her home of the arachnids, which have been known to bite.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo, Friday 16th March 2012
APRIL - Monday, 2nd April 2012
  •  Blog: The Skimmington Ride


The large plaster frieze in the Great Hall at Montacute House is one of the room’s most distinctive features, and one that is particularly puzzling for modern visitors. In such a grand house one might expect the frieze to depict a morally uplifting tale from the Bible or classical mythology... but instead it shows a rustic scene from the time the frieze was produced, in the early seventeenth century. 

READ MORE - Source: Montacute House, Monday, 2 April 2012

MAY -
  • News Clippings: Giant crab at Weymouth Sea Life Park


Monster Crabs
This gigantic crab has escaped the cook pot and will be showcased at Weymouth Sea Life Park. The Tasmanian King Crab is a delicacy in its native Australia and was destined for the dinner table until it was snapped up by a British aquarium worker. He agreed to buy three of the enormous crustaceans for £3,000 and had them flown to the UK.

Dorset Echo




 JUNE - Thursday, 14th June 2012
  • News Clipping: Dorset donkey rustler among Victorian crimes put online

Details of a man who was given hard labour for stealing a donkey in Dorset are among 67,000 Victorian criminal records to be put online. George Pill, 18, committed his misdemeanour in 1894 and was given a six-week sentence as punishment. Details of his crime have come from the Dorset History Centre, which is digitising its archive.
READ MORE - Source: BBC News, Thursday, 14th June 2012

JULY - Monday, 9th July 2012
  • News Clippings: Meet Monmouth's Member: Rock slide leaves rather embarrassing phallic symbol on Dorset beach which could rival county's famous hillside image


There must surely be something in the water in Dorset. The county is already notorious for its hillside figure of a naked and sexually aroused man, known as The Cerne Abbas Giant. But locals have recently been getting flustered by yet another X-rated image, which many believe could rival the famous hillside image.
 READ MORE - Source: The Daily Mail, Monday, 9th July 2012
AUGUST - Saturday, 25th August 2012

  • Schoolboy's rich after finding Moby's sick

    A schoolboy has stumbled across a rare piece of whale vomit which could be worth a staggering £40,000. Officially called ambergris, the substance is highly sought after and is used to prolong the scent of perfume. Charlie Naysmith made the discovery at Hengistbury Head, much to the amazement of his parents. 

    READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo, Saturday 25th August 2012

SEPTEMBER - Saturday, 22nd September 2012
  • News Clipping: Dorset's big cat riddle 

Sightings of mysterious big cats in Dorset have sparked intense debate in recent years. Many are convinced that here are panthers roaming the countryside while others maintain that with no conclusive proof of their existence that it is highly unlikely they exist in the wild. There have, however, been numerous reported sightings in recent years. According to figures obtained by the Echo, a total of 53 people have made emergency calls to report their wild cat encounters since 2006.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo


OCTOBER - Saturday, 23rd October 2012
  • News Clipping: 18th century barn in Lytchett reveals secrets after huge mirror is taken down

An 18th century barn has been revealing some of its secrets after a huge mirror was taken down.  Gill and John Haynes were moving their Chic Interiors from another unit at the Courtyard Centre, Lytchett Minster into the barn, and decided on some refurbishment.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo, Saturday 23rd October 2012

NOVEMBER - Tuesday 20th November 2012
  • News Clipping: Rare albino badger causes a stir in Dorset market town of Beaminster
But the so-called polar bear of Dorset defied all attempts to track it down despite regular sightings of it rootling around in the countryside. In the end the puzzle was solved by a photographer working on a tip-off. Colin Varndell set up camp in a friend’s garden for four nights… and was rewarded when a rare albino badger finally emerged. At a push the stripeless creature could be said to resemble a small bear and, being nocturnal in habit, is rarely seen in public.

READ MORE - Source: The Metro, Tuesday 20th November 2012
DECEMBER - Thursday, 1st December 2011
  • NEW BOOK: Blandford Forum Ghosts by Sue Burleigh and Catherine Greenway

    Blandford Forum Ghosts
    By Sue Burleigh &
    Catherine Greenway
    If you looking for Ghost Stories this Christmas. A collection of tales and encounters with the paranormal in the North Dorset town of Blandford and surrounding villages has recently been published by the Blandford Town Museum and Blandford and District Civic Society.

    Written and collected by Sue Burleigh and Catherine Greenway, this booklet provides some intriguing and entertaining stories provided by local people. With illustrations by Sue herself, and photographs of places featured in the stories

    This booklet is available for £2.50  from the Blandford Town Museum and from the Blandford Forum Tourist Information Centre, Riverside House, West Street, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 7AW.

    Source:  Blackmore Vale Magazine - 21st December 2012

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Events: New Year's Day Nurdling Tourney 2013

The Nurdlers
The Nurdlers will be out in force on New Year’s Day getting up to their extraordinary antics.

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 13:30pm

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

Saturday, 22 December 2012

NEW BOOK: Blandford Forum Ghosts by Sue Burleigh and Catherine Greenway

Blandford Forum Ghosts
By Sue Burleigh &
Catherine Greenway
If you looking for Ghost Stories this Christmas. A collection of tales and encounters with the paranormal in the North Dorset town of Blandford and surrounding villages has recently been published by the Blandford Town Museum and Blandford and District Civic Society.

Written and collected by Sue Burleigh and Catherine Greenway, this booklet provides some intriguing and entertaining stories provided by local people. With illustrations by Sue herself, and photographs of places featured in the stories

This booklet is available for £2.50  from the Blandford Town Museum and from the Blandford Forum Tourist Information Centre, Riverside House, West Street, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 7AW.


Source:  Blackmore Vale Magazine - 21st December 2012

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Here be Dragons!!!

Morris Dancing
One of the oldest mythical creatures that have appeared in every culture around the world occurring in oral and written folk traditions are dragons.(see previous blog post The Year of the Dragon: Dragons and Wyverns of Dorset)

Now you can own a unique, personal, hand painted dragon one of a kind gift from the The Little Green Dragon Company.

Each painting is the Little Green Dragon character in a costume of your choosing with as much detail as you need that’s unique to you, your other half, friend, work mate, parent who ever. The Little Green Dragon fits anything from squash, basketball, tennis, snooker, kite surfer to solicitor, doctor, pilot, engineer, fisherman, trainspotter in fact he fits anything and what’s more it’s unique to you.

Each painting is about 20cm x 20cm hand painted in Gouache water colour and is available framed or unframed. Signed by local artist these also make great family heirlooms and are full of the persons character. You don’t have to be a dragon collector to enjoy The Little Green Dragon, we have been commissioned by rock stars, artists, actors through to surgeons, dustmen, cleaners in fact every and all backgrounds, sports, hobbies or pastimes there’s a Little Green Dragon to suit you exactly.

For the real not on the high street gift this season with a difference look no further than The Little Green Dragon!

For more information visit www.the-little-green-dragon.com   or find us on facebook www.facebook.com/littlegreendragon

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

News Clipping: Mummer’s the word

The Hardy Players perform a mumming play
This week Dorset author Peter Cooper, who wrote the play She Opened The Door, about the women in the life of Thomas Hardy, looks at the festive tradition of Mumming plays. Mumming is a curious custom in which heavily disguised folk, traditionally men, travel from big house to pub to earn a little extra Christmas money.

Read More: Source Dorset Echo

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Very English Winter on BBC IPlayer

Rachel and Becky Unthank
If you missed it on BBC 4 this evening, you still have a chance to see the young Northumbrian folk-singing siblings Rachel and Becky Unthank  continue their journey around England's hidden customs and dance traditions and into the dark heart of its winter pastimes.

The follow-up to Still Folk Dancing After All These Years, which explored English folk dances from spring to harvest, this film explores English folk customs around the country though the other six months of the year.

200 years of political intrigue and clashes with police authorities in Lewes on Guy Fawkes Night have created an awe-inspiring procession of burning popes and other effigies of the enemies of the bonfire, not to mention a heavy police presence to this day. Throwing the Yorkshire carols of Sheffield out of the church repertoire has only served to enhance the heart-stopping show of unrestrained joy found in the powerful singing at the Royal Hotel pub in Dungworth.

The longsword dancers of the North East and molly dancers of East Anglia, who have gone collecting funds each year, are a reminder that no higher power puts food on the plate. Just as these customs rely on the communities themselves to mark each point with song, remembrance and a gathering together, the very need to survive lies in the hands of your neighbour.

The Unthanks discover these stories through singing, dancing, meeting people who have grown up with these traditions and trying not to get set on fire.

Friday, 14 December 2012

News Clipping: Lyme Regis mummers seek damsel in distress

The Lyme Regis Mummers are in distress and are urgently seeking a damsel. The second in the revived tradition of Lyme Mummers’ plays is set to promenade through the town in January. In January this year 400 people packed the streets to cheer at the horseback heroics of Sir George, swoon at the beauty of the fair Sabra, and quake in their boots at the villainy of the Woodwose and the Turkish Knight.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo:

Below: Source: Lyme Regis TV - Wassail and 'Mummers the Word 14th January 2012 



Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New Book: Dorset History in 101 Objects by Terry Hearing

Dorset History in 101 Objects
by Terry Hearing
Click Here
This Book is an account of selected objects which illustrate the threads of the History of Dorset. Dorset is full of “objects”, and each one is a piece of History. The definition of the word ‘object’ has been taken very widely, from the tiny Mesolithic microliths to the strip fields of Portland.

Some of the objects are bizarre, such as the cannonball in the wall of a ladies’ lavatory in Weymouth; some are very beautiful, like the Tabernacle in Milton Abbey; some are huge, such as the prehistoric hillforts; some are mundane utilities, like roadside signposts; some are merely names like the list of the parish priests who died serving their flocks when the Black Death swept in. All have their stories, and this book looks at just one hundred and one, out of countless millions.

Each short chapter gives the flavour of the object to show its importance in the continuing story of a county rich in the remains of the lives of our predecessors. All the objects can be seen in the museums, the towns and the countryside of Dorset.

Anyone reading this book can visit them all and witness at first hand these tangible testaments to the sweep of the millennia across the county.

In this profusely illustrated large-format volume, Terry Hearing opens the lid of the immense treasure chest that is Dorset, revealing some of its brightest – and occasionally most unexpected – jewels that are almost bewildering in their variety.

For more information vist Halsgrove Publishing at www.halsgrove.com

New Book: Dorset Tales of Mystery & Murder by Roger Evans

Tales of Mystery & Murder
by Roger Evans
Click Here
It is hard to believe that behind Dorset's idyllic exterior of rolling hills, quiet country lanes and pretty villages, there lies a history of murders and unexplained happenings.

Local author Roger Evans re-tells some of these gripping and ghostly stories, beginning with Martha Brown, who took an axe to her philandering and drunken husband John, Her public execution was witnessed by Thomas Hardy, the famous Dorset author who could never get the sight out of his head of her swinging back and forth in misty rain. Other stories include the famous Rattenbury murder at 5 Manor Road in the East Cliff area of Bournemouth, a catalogue of murders perpetrated by Neville Heath whose last victim was found along Branksome Chine, the hair-fetish murders of Danilo Restivo and the case of arsenic poisoning in a cup of Oxo in Over Compton.

Altogether there are 20 tales ranging from the Bronze Age warrior deressed in furs and riding bareback who haunts Cranborne Chase to the discovery of a mass grave of mutilated bodies near the Dorchester to Weymouth relief road in 2007.

For more information visit Countyside Books at www.countrysidebooks.co.uk






New Book: The Portland Chronicles - The Portland Giant by Carol Hunt by Carol Hunt

The Portland Giant
by Carol Hunt
Click Here
In the final book of the series, Isabel discovers the greatest secret of the ancient Isle of Portland.

‘You’re a witchy family. Your mum’s got red hair and your sister’s a pumpkin!’ remarks Noah, Isabel’s friend.

But the local elves think Isabel isn’t a proper witch, even when she encounters a ghostly highwayman and cavalier, a headless horseman, magical unicorn and the keeper of the old Vindelis Lighthouse, a boy lost in time.

Her interfering little sister Suzie is keen to find the Island Giant, but Isabel is worried. What will he think of today’s Portland and of Isabel herself, the reluctant island witch?

The Portland Giant  is on sale now through-out Portland and Weymouth. Copies are available at White Stones Cafe, Easton and Imagine Books in St Albans Street, Weymouth. 

For more information visit Roving Press at www.rovingpress.co.uk

Events: FREE Entry Week at the Dorset County Museum

Entry to Dorset County Museum to be completely free from Saturday 8 to Saturday 15 December 2012

As part of an Arts Council initiative, Dorset County Museum is going to be allowing free entry for one week only before Christmas.

Starting on Saturday 8th December and running up to and including Saturday 15th December, all entry to the Museum will be completely free (the usual adult charge is £6.50). Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum said,
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to see what difference free entry can make – we hope local people in particular will take the opportunity to come in and have a look around the galleries, particularly if they haven’t visited us before – it’s their history, after all.”
The Museum is also open on Cracker Night – Thursday 6 December. The pattern will be familiar to anyone who has been in on recent Cracker Nights – some favourite Sci Fi characters will be wandering around the galleries, Father Christmas will be in his grotto and there will be delicious mulled wine and mince pies for sale. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.

The Museum is open from 10am to 4pm every day except Sundays and the current exhibition is a collection of fascinating mosaics by Swanage-based artist Robert Field.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/dorsetcountymuseum

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

News Clipping: World War Z star Brad Pitt was filming on the Dorset Coast

Brad Pitt delights Dorset fans by filming at Lulworth

A-list star Brad made a ‘Pitt-stop’ in Dorset to film. The Hollywood hunk was spotted at Lulworth Cove filming scenes from his new zombie movie World War Z. Dozens of fans battled the bad weather to try and get a glimpse of their idol as he ploughed through the waves in the cove on a speed boat.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo

Brad Pitt’s World War Z: sneak pics of the Dorset shoot 
 
Brad Pitt on the World War Z film set in Dorset
 
Brad pits his wits against zombies
  
Hollywood came to Dorset as Brad Pitt filmed a scene from his new zombie movie. Dozens of fans battled the wind and rain to get a glimpse of their idol as he made a special one day ‘Pitt-stop’ at Lulworth Cove to shoot a scene for his forthcoming movie World War Z. 
 
Brad Pitt films in Dorset
 
Superstar Brad made a Pitt-stop to Dorset to film scenes for his new movie this week. The Hollywood hunk was spotted at Lulworth Cove shooting his new zombie movie World War Z. 
 
Brad Pitt donates £700 to Southampton baby unit
 
A charity organiser said she managed to get Brad Pitt to donate £700 to a baby unit while he was filming in Dorset. Tricia Wilson-Hughes, who works at a gift shop in Lulworth, had managed to raise £40 from the crew of the zombie film World War Z, during a whip round.
  
 
 
 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Events: Chesil Mirror Appeal - A Fundraising Lecture at Dorset County Museum by Prof. Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology

Chesil Mirror
The discovery of the burial of a woman who lived almost 2,000 years ago has brought us face to face with one of the most dramatic times in Dorset’s history. The 17-25 year old woman who was buried near Chesil died shortly after the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43. Her mourners placed an array of jewellery in her grave in one of the richest burials yet found in Dorset. As well as glass beads and a bronze bangle there was also a mirror. The back of the mirror is finely decorated with Iron Age Celtic art.

The grave was found by a metal-detector user. When he reported the discovery Bournemouth University promptly undertook an excavation to make sure that the find was carefully lifted and fully recorded. Now Dorset County Museum is campaigning to raising funds to buy and conserve this important find.

Dr Miles Russell, Senior Lecturer in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology, Bournemouth University said, “Although damaged, this is one of the finest pieces of Celtic Art yet recovered from the British Isles, the reverse of the bronze mirror being covered with an incredibly intricate pattern of carefully incised, swirling abstract loops. Created over 2,000 years ago, this highly personal artefact would undoubtedly have been the prized possession of a wealthy native aristocrat who lived long enough to see the Roman army invade and occupy her homeland. The discovery, excavation, recording and reporting of the find was a model co-operation between the metal detectorist who first made the find, the landowner and archaeologists from both Dorset County Council and Bournemouth University and was acknowledged as such in the bi-annual Dorset Archaeological awards of 2011.”

In a lecture to be given at the museum on Friday 30th November, Professor Andrew Fitzpatrick, who is an authority on the Iron Age, will tell the story of the discovery and explain the how it adds to our understanding of Iron Age and Roman Dorset.

The county is famous for spectacular hillforts like Maiden Castle but there is a wealth of other Iron Age sites and many important objects from this time are displayed in Dorset County Museum. These sites and finds make Dorset one of the most distinctive and important areas of Iron Age Britain.

At the beginning of history the people of Dorset were called the Durotriges. Unlike many neighbouring tribes, the Durotriges did not surrender to the Roman army. One of the bloodiest campaigns in the conquest for Roman Britain was fought between the Durotiges and the Roman army of Vespasian. The Chesil woman will have been a witness to this dramatic time in Dorset’s past and the discovery of her grave brings us face to face with history.
  • Tickets for the Chesil Mirror lecture cost £10 and are available from the Museum Shop on 01305 756827. Further information from shop@dorsetcountymuseum.org. The lecture is held on Friday 30th November 2012 at the Dorset County Museum and starts at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7.00pm. 
Source: www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Event: Bonny Sartin: A Little Bit of Dorset


Bonny Sartin

On Friday 16th November at 7.30pm at the Dorset County Museum. Bonny Sartin, front man of the popular folk group The Yetties, returns to one of his favourite Dorchester venues for a special evening’s entertainment.

Entitled ‘A Little Bit of Dorset’, the event features Bonny’s unique blend of stories, songs, poems and folklore.  As Bonny says, “The chat, songs and poems illustrate why I love Dorset,” and include a song about his father’s skill as a poacher.  Other songs were inspired by Bonny’s childhood – trips to Weymouth, village outings, scrounging food and generally larking about.  There’s also a poem called ‘The Stagecoach’ by Dorset dialect poet, William Barnes, which was set to music over 100 years ago. 

With a lot of enthusiasm, an atmospheric venue and some audience participation, the evening is expected to run with a swing.

Tickets cost £9 and are available now from the Museum Shop on 01305 756827 or email shop@dorsetcountymusem.org.  The ticket price includes a glass of wine or Dorset cider and a piece of home-made Dorset apple cake.  Doors open from 7pm.




Thursday, 4 October 2012

Events: Big cats - Wild in Dorset? a talk by Merrily Harpur

Merrily Harpur
Merrily Harpur will be giving a talk about big cats in our countryside, at The Bridport United Church, East Street, Bridport on Friday 5th October 2012 at 7.30pm

Merrily, who runs the Dorset Big Cat Register www.dorsetbigcats.org -  has researched thousands of sightings of anomalous big cats (ABCs) roaming Britain.  Sightings of these mysterious felines, described as being like pumas or panthers, are higher in Dorset than any other county in England.

Meeting or glimpsing a Big Cat could, Merrily suggests, be the nearest we get in Britain to a ‘brush with the unknown’.   She discovers that these mystery felines have been with us for longer than we imagine, in folklore and familiar to the Neoplatonists as daimons (not demons) – intermediaries between this world and another. They may ‘at the very least change your view of a landscape that can produce such beautiful and elusive creatures’.

Merrily Harpur is a freelance cartoonist, illustrator and writer and has contributed regularly to many national newspapers and magazines.  Living between Dorset and Ireland, in 2002 she created the Dorset Big Cats Register, a gazetteer of locations and eyewitness accounts.

She has written two books on the subject, Roaring Dorset! Encounters with Big Cats (pub 2008, Roving Press) documents some of the closest and most vivid encounters.  Mystery Big Cats (pub 2006, Heart of Albion) investigated the big cat phenomena nationwide and received huge critical acclaim.
  • Suggested donation: £2 for DWT(£3 for non-members) inc. refreshments. For more details, please contact Anne Wheatcroft on 01300 320168 or visit the website at www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Thursday 4th October 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

New Book: The Marian Cipher: Rediscovery of the Sun Goddess by Ric Kemp

The Marian Cipher:
Rediscovery of the Sun Goddess
by Ric Kemp

Click Here
New author and Dark Dorset contributor, Ric Kemp's new book The Marian Cipher: Rediscovery of the Sun Goddess examines the evidence for the survival of a sun goddess archetype from earliest times down to the present day in pagan traditions, folklore, folk-Christianity and orthodox hagiography. Ric explores her ubiquitous presence in the ancient Middle East, Anatolia and Europe, and links her medieval cult to the mysterious daisy wheel circle – the Marian Cipher - which began appearing in churches from around the time of the Reformation onwards.

Ric’s book takes us back through time beyond the Middle Ages into prehistory when small bands of hunter-gatherers traversed a primordial world, following herds of migratory reindeer across a post-glacial landscape, looking out nightly into the depths of space to trace their Mesolithic mythology in the ceaselessly revolving northern stars, charting the immemorial story of the loss of the sun goddess and her mythic return.

The Marian Cipher: Rediscovery of the Sun Goddess by Ric Kemp is availiable as an ebook at www.lulu.com

See also: Dark Dorset - Daisy Wheels and a Ritual Landscape in Dorset by Ric Kemp

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

News Clipping: Museum appeals for help to buy Iron Age mirror


The Chesil Mirror
Dorset County Museum is asking for help to buy a valuable artefact for its collection.

In 2010 a beautiful copper-alloy mirror was discovered between Abbotsbury and Chickerell and it is now up for sale. The mirror is characteristic of the late Iron Age and is similar to the Portesham Mirror currently in the Museum’s possession. This type of mirror is extremely rare – fewer than 30 have ever been discovered in the UK.

The Chesil Mirror, as the new find has been named, is stunningly decorated and beautifully crafted and was found in a grave dating back to the Roman Conquest. The body was buried in a characteristic crouched position and the grave also contained two brooches, an armlet, copper tweezers, coins and some glass beads.

In August 2011 the whole assemblage was declared Treasure and in April 2012 the Secretary of State set its price at £23,000. The Museum now needs to raise this money urgently to save the collection for Dorset and prevent its possible sale to an overseas buyer. Jon Murden, director of Dorset County Museum said, “This mirror is very important to us because it is closely connected with the one we acquired in 1994 and is decorated in a similar way. These rare and fascinating objects are significant because they tell us so much about power and wealth in Iron Age Dorset. We hope this appeal will encourage local people to support us so that we can buy the mirror and give it pride of place in our Archaeology Gallery.”
The Museum is planning a series of fundraising events and will be applying for various funds and grants to help with the purchase, but more support is needed. Any money donated will go straight into a special fund which has been set up for the acquisition of this important archaeological discovery.

One event already planned is a lecture by Professor Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology. He will talk about the significance of the Chesil mirror and explain how it fits into our wider understanding of Iron Age Dorset. The lecture is at 7 for 7.30pm on Friday 30 November.

Tickets are available now from the Museum shop and cost £10.00. For more enquiries contact the Museum shop by Telephone: 01305 756827 or alternatively by email: shop@dorsetcountymuseum.org

If you would like to help with the Chesil Mirror appeal, please send cheques, made payable to DNHAS, to:

Chesil Mirror Appeal
Dorset County Museum
High West Street
Dorchester
DT1 1XA

Source: Dorset County Museum www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Monday, 24 September 2012

News Clipping: Historic Beating of the Sea Bounds ceremony takes place

The sun shone as Poole and Wareham residents joined to witness the historic Beating of the Sea Bounds ceremony on Saturday. The colourful ceremony, marking the harbour boundaries, dates back to the 14th century and was officiated by the Mayor of Poole and Admiral of the Port Cllr Carol Evans and her Wareham counterpart Keith Green. Cllr Evans opened Admiralty Court at Custom House, Poole Quay, appointing a jury to tour water boundaries in Poole Harbour. Cllr Green then set sail, in the Maid of the Lakelands, to meet the Poole Mayor’s Admiralty barge, at the boundary of the port jurisdiction.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo

Poole's Not Out of Bounds on British Pathé - 1965



Source: Poole's Not Out of Bounds on British Pathé - http://www.britishpathe.com/video/pooles-not-out-of-bounds







Saturday, 22 September 2012

News Clipping: Dorset's big cat riddle

Sightings of mysterious big cats in Dorset have sparked intense debate in recent years. Many are convinced that here are panthers roaming the countryside while others maintain that with no conclusive proof of their existence that it is highly unlikely they exist in the wild. There have, however, been numerous reported sightings in recent years. According to figures obtained by the Echo, a total of 53 people have made emergency calls to report their wild cat encounters since 2006.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo

Autumnal Equinox - The Onset Of Darkness

The ‘Autumnal Equinox’ or ‘Mabon’ as it was once called, occurs on either, 21st, 22nd or 23rd September, when the sun enters ‘Libra’, according to the Earth’s orbit and the insertion of leap years. The Autumn Equinox marks the time when the sun crosses southwards towards the celestial equator or ‘half way point’, resulting in equal twelve hours of day and twelve hours of night. Like the ‘Spring Equinox’, the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west, except after today the daylight hours grow steadily shorter until the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky at the ‘Winter Solstice’.

The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon the time of harvesting apples, blackberries, grapes and hops, as the arable crops have now all been gathered and celebrated at Lammas, the first of the harvest festivals. It was also the time when livestock would be slaughtered and preserved (salted and smoked) to provide enough food for the winter.

Weather Lore

According to weather lore, the weather around the Autumn Equinox supposedly indicates the weather outlook for the next three months.

The Colepexy

Autumn is the time that the Colepexy roams the downs and orchards of Dorset.

The Colepexy
This mischievous goblin colt with flaming red eyes, enjoys nothing more than to mislead domesticated horses and travellers, but his favourite prank is luring unsuspecting people to ride him, and once mounted he takes them on a wild ride across the wettest and thorniest country before eventually throwing them into a ditch or stream.

The Colepexy also acts as a type of orchard guardian protecting apple orchards from thieves.

Once at Wareham a man set out one night to rob his neighbour's orchard of fine cider apples. He hid in a large basket and with the aid of a magic spell the basket bounded off down the lane into the orchard. Once the basket had settled he murmured another spell and one by one the apples flew off the branches and began pelting the basket. One apple smacked him in the eye and he leapt out of the basket howling in pain. In that instant the Colepexy was upon him. The goblin colt tossed the apple thief high into the air and as he came tumbling down the Colepexy kicked him in the back of his neck, snapping it in two and thus killing him instantly. Scrumpers beware!

In William Barnes "Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect" gives the term 'Colepexy' in his Dialect glossery.
"Colepexy. In Somerset Puehyhwding from pixy or colepixy, a fairy? To beat down the few apples that may be left on the trees after the crop has been taken in ; to take as it were the fairies' horde."
Belemnites
In Dorset they are called
Colepexies Fingers
The English antiquarian John Brand in "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" (Vol II, p.513), says:
"In Dorset the Pixy-lore still lingers. The being is called Pexy and Colepexy. The fossil belemnites are named Colepexies-fingers; and the fossil echini, Colepexies-heads. The children, when naughty, are also threatened with the Pexy, who is supposed to haunt woods and coppices."
Also mentioned in the 'Literary Gazette' for 1825. No. 430
"In Hampshire," says Captain Grose, "they give the name of Colt-Pixy to a supposed spirit or fairy, which in the shape of a horse wickers, i. e. neighs, and misleads horses into bogs, etc."

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Events: Frome Valley Morris Dance Workshops

Frome Valley Morris at the Wessex Folk Festival
The Frome Valley Morris is holding a dancing workshop at the Old Town Hall, Weymouth on Saturday, September 15th between 2.00pm and 4.00pm and Dorchester Arts Centre, Grove, Dorchester on Saturday 22nd September between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.

Morris is a traditional English form of performance dance with its roots firmly planted in our heritage.  You might have missed your chance to perform at the London 2012 Closing Ceremony but it's never too late to dance with the Frome Valley Morris.

The session costs £3 and under 18s go free.  The class is suitable for those aged 10 and over. Under 16s must be supervised.

For mor information contact via email Dave Milner at bagman@fromevalleymorris.co.uk

More information about the morris group visit www.fromevalleymorris.co.uk



Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Events: Dance with Poole's 'Anonymous Morris'

Anonymous Morris dance
at Gold Hill Fair, Shaftesbury

Anonymous Morris have been dancing all over Dorset this year, at folk festivals in Wimborne, Purbeck, Weymouth, etc. and in their home town of Poole both on the quay and at the popular Summer Breeze events on the beach.

Their dances are derived from the Border morris tradition which originally came from the Welsh Border counties.  It's a free-flowing, energetic dance style, and Anonymous use it to exploit every inch of available space.  When Christmas comes around, Anonymous Morris doubleup as Poole Mummers and take the traditional mumming play around local pubs to raise money for charity.

As the year comes to autumn, Anonymous start their practice season. Squire Henry Proctor (age 25) issues an open invitation to anyone who would like to try morris dancing: "We welcome all-comers, especiallythose who have never done morris before.  We meet on Thursday September 13th and every Thursday after that, at Old Town First School in Poole from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.  Most of our dancers are under 30, so we particular like to gain dancers in this age group, but we'll give a warm welcome to keen dancers of any age."

Judith, their band leader, adds that musicians are also welcome to join the group.


For enquires email: bagman@anonymousmorris.co.uk or alternatively visit their website at www.anonymousmorris.co.uk for more information about the group and upcoming events.

Events: Swanage Folk Festival - Friday 7th - Sunday 9th September 2012

Down on the Dorset coast, the friendly Folk Festival just keeps growing.

Now an established fixture on the calendar, the second weekend after the August Bank Holiday Monday, they continue to provide entertainment and fun, for all, much of it free! But please make donations in their collecting buckets as increasing costs make staying afloat even harder than before.

A perfect place to relax and spend the last of the summer days taking part in the various workshops.

The festival is self funding and is reliant on ticket sales and donations. Please bear this in mind if you come and enjoy the festival, please show your appreciation by making a donation. This will ensure we can keep the festival going for your future pleasure.The festival is organised and run by a small committee of volunteers who give their time freely.

Concerts and events are held at a variety of venues in the town centre. Concert headliners; Friday: The Churchfitters – Saturday: The Demon Barber Roadshow – Sunday: Chris Newman and Máire Ní Chathasaigh.  The band for the Saturday night Ceilidh is Tickled Pink

For those with the energy to dance Saturday night away, the Sandpit Field Marquee will throb to the music of a ceilidh band.

For full weekend ticket holders there is also have a late night session (after midnight) on Friday and Saturday with the festival artistes at the Red Lion. Come and meet some of the stars and join them jamming the night away. There is a late night mini menu on offer, with the bar open until 4 am!.

Grand dance procession through the town
There will also be a colourful craft fair and events tent on Sandpit Field featuring a range of free to listen to bands over the Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Please feel free to donate money as these bands are paid for by the committee.

There will be a very wide range of dancing and music workshops over the weekend and there will be a programme of activities and events for the children.  They will be able to learn circus skills or just watch the fun or become a prop in an impromptu play.

For more information website: Swanage Folk Festival 2012

Friday, 10 August 2012

New Book: Creating the Paranormal by Bob Thrubshaw

Creating the Paranormal
by Bob Thrubshaw
Bob Thrubshaw of 'Heart of Albion' uploaded his latest publication as a FREE PDF download from his website.

Creating the Paranormal brings together recent cognitive science with the 'social uses' of the paranormal, especially the way in which encounters are retold. To all intents and purposes such narratives are how must of us are aware of the paranormal – and all of us create the meaning and significance of such stories.

Someone who 'believes in ghosts' as well as someone who sceptically dismisses them are equally imposing prior assumptions onto a diverse spectrum of anomalous experiences. In Creating the Paranormal Bob Trubshaw challenges every easy dismissal of anomalous phenomena and makes us question more deeply what it is we think was experienced. 




Other free downloadable titles include:

Events: Weird Weekend 2012, 17th - 19th August

Click image to enlarge
Next week the tiny North Devon village of Woolsery becomes the weirdest village in the land. The largest gathering of scholars of esoteric natural history in the English-speaking world, is set to take place in rural north Devon.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology’s annual conference, the Weird Weekend, will see speakers from all over the country gathering Woolsery to discuss their work and discoveries.

The Weird Weekend, held over the weekend of the 17th - 19th August, now in its thirteenth year it is the largest convention of its kind.

Speakers announced so far: - 
  • Jonathan McGowan: Large Cats in Britain - The Dorset Enigma
  • Richard Muirhead: The Flying Snake of Namibia
  • Richard Thorns: The search for the Pink Headed Duck
  • Silas Hawkins: Bedtime stories 
  • Max Blake: TBA
  • Glen Vaudrey: Scottish sea monster carcasses 
  • Jan Bondeson: Greyfriars Bobby
  • Richard Freeman et al: Sumatra 2011
  • Paul Screeton: The Hexham Heads
  • Lars Thomas: Danish Cryptozoology
  • Ronan Coghlan: Sinbad the Sailor
- More attractions will be announced soon...
As well as a series of talks there will be stalls, workshops and events.

The Weird Weekend raises funds for village charities dealing with children and for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, the only full time organisation in the world dedicated to the investigation of mystery animals.
 

Buy Your tickets in advance at the special discount price of £20.00

If you want to pay by cheque payable to `CFZ Trust` please send it to:
The Centre for Fortean Zoology, 
Myrtle Cottage,
Woolfardisworthy,
Bideford, 
North Devon, 
EX39 5QR 
For further details visit www.weirdweekend.org or ring 01237 431413

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Book Signing: Treasure of the Golden Grape by Selwyn Williams

Treasure of the Golden Grape
by Selwyn Williams


Click Here
Local author Selwyn Williams, will be at Imagine Books, St Albans Street, on Wednesday, 1st August 2012 from 1.00pm to 4.00pm to launch his new book Treasure of the Golden Grape, published by Deadman’s Bay Publishing.

The book tells the exhilarating story of a Dutch Trading Ship out of Amsterdam which was wrecked in a storm of the Chesil beach in 1641. The story goes on to tell of the Dorset locals who salvaged her cargo and of what they went on to do during the English Civil War. Some of whom (The Crabchurch Conspirators) caused the deaths of over 500 people in Weymouth, most in just one night of bloodletting, mayhem and heroism.

Source: www.deadmansbay.co.uk

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