Tagged with Highways & Byways of Dorset

A Distracted Poet

Yet again in Joseph Pennel’s fine history of “Dosset”, he gives us a personal recollection, this time, of his schooldays, when he was taught by the well known poet, William Barnes: “He came to Dorchester from Mere… It was here, at a tender age, that I had my first experience of school life. My recollection … Continue reading

A Mysterious Burial

Some more from Highways and Byways of Dorset by Joseph Penny: Stoborough, a poor hamlet of a few houses, which was once so great a place as to boast a mayor and corporation. At Stoborough is the King’s Barrow, in the heart of which was found the trunk of a mighty oak hollowed out. Within … Continue reading

A Ghost Army

People living in fear of constant attacks are in a state of high anxiety and exhaustion, especially as they have a lot of hard physical work to do. This makes some of their judgements a little odd, but this is a spectacular example of what can go wrong. Some more from Highways and Byways of Dorset … Continue reading

An Eventful Life

One group of people who are often missed in the history of England’s Civil War were the clerics; The opposing sides, Royalists and Roundheads, were also of opposing branches of Christianity – the established church and the non conformists, so when a town was taken by one group, the opposing clerics were made unemployed and … Continue reading

For Drunks or Drinky Folk

Before the 19th century when professional police forces were established, and with them, jails, local miscreants were  often held in small lock ups, some of which could be ornate. One in Westbury, Bristol, is a door into the side of a hill, but most have been demolished. They were often used for drunks to dry … Continue reading

The Dawn of Summer Breaks

Throughout Joseph Pennel’s book Highways and Byways of Dorset, is an almost incessant theme of the loss of old ways of life, old buildings, and sensibilities; none is more so than the changes brought by ‘steamer folk’ or tourists. Yet despite his complaints, he is in sympathy with the new working class desperate for a … Continue reading

Kindness to Strangers

Before Britain established proper poor laws in the mid 19th century, and the modern welfare state in the mid 20th, (now being rapidly dismantled) strangers were generally treated pretty badly, excluded from charity if they suffered hardship, and always the first to be suspected in the event of crimes. So the town records of Corfe … Continue reading

History Becomes Biography

Throughout the book Highways & Byways of Dorset, the author has kept his distance, but when the account reaches Lulworth, we are suddenly onto his home patch, so get some fascinating local stuff first hand. “The village of West Lulworth lies along the foot of the blunt-ended Bindon Hill, in a valley curving to the … Continue reading

Coal Money

Some more from Highways & Byways of Dorset: “From this curious place comes the “Kimmeridge coal money.” This misunderstood coinage consists of round plates of “jet” from 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter, which appear to have been treasured at one time as articles of value. These discs are neither money, nor are they of … Continue reading

Drunk or Drinky

Another piece from Highways & Byways of Dorset. “Hitchins, writing at the end of the 18th century, describes the people of Corfe as of “supine disposition”, as well as with “a propensity to idleness. He goes on to say that “the appearance of misery in the town is only too striking.” Yet the morality of … Continue reading