Friday, 18 October 2013

A tale of ghosts from Dorchester

The county town of Dorset is Dorchester; a beautiful old town with an ancient 
history. Famously Thomas Hardy lived near here and based one of his novels
 in this town, the infamous Judge Jeffries, the hanging judge. And before that 
of course the Roman occupation, many artifacts of which are in the museum. 
For a medium sized town there are a large amount of churches, and it is in one of 
these this story is set....

It was Christmas Eve 1814 when the church of St Peter's was being decorated 
by the clerk and the sexton for the Christmas service on the following day. Clerk 
Hardy and Sexton Ambrose Hunt had locked themselves in while carrying out their 
work and were at length cold and tired. They sat down on a settle and from there they 
could see right down the north aisle of the church. While they rested an unlucky 
thought came to them; the Holy Communion wine stored in a cupboard close by. 
The two men took the bottle and went back to the settle and sat down. They had hardly
 taken the first sip when they became aware of a figure sitting between them. 
It was their late Rector, the Rev Nathanial Templeman. The two men said afterwards 
that he had risen up before them, looked at them with a very angry countenance and
 shook his head just as he had done when alive when displeased. Then the spectre has 
slowly floated up the north aisle and disappeared from their sight. 
Clerk Hardy fainted away while the sexton tried to recite the Lords Prayer.
They were both very frightened but always affirmed their story when asked later. 
They said they could not mistake their old master, looking as he did in life and 
wearing the same clothes.
Here are details of a few more  ghostly figures seen around the town

Condemned Man
Location: Dorchester - Judge Jeffrey's Restaurant Type: Haunting Manifestation Date / Time: Unknown Further Comments: Used as a court room by Judge Jeffreys, the ghost that reputedly haunts this building is one of many that the Judge had hanged.


The Only Way is Up
Location: Dorchester - Old Malthouse, High East Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid twentieth century?
Further Comments: The sounds of someone climbing the stairs and opening a door were heard several times
by a former occupant of the building, though they never heard anyone come back down. Upon investigation, the upper part of the building was always found empty.


Location: Dorchester - Pond along towpath
Type: Haunting Manifestation

Date / Time: Nineteenth century onwards?
Further Comments: A escaping prisoner tripped and drowned in this pond, weighed down by his chains. The sound of rattling is still said to haunt the area.


Location: Dorchester - Shopping arcade along Antelope Way
Type: Haunting Manifestation

Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Hanging Judge is said to walk in this area, following a path that he took during life.


Grey Lady
Location: Dorchester - Site of gibbet
Type: Haunting Manifestation

Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This phantom figure seen around the site where the gibbet was stood is thought to be either a Tudor woman or the ghost of Martha Brown, the last woman to be hanged for murder in Dorset.


Water Fairies
Location: Dorchester - Thorncombe Wood - Rushy Pond
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: While some say this pond is home to fairies, others maintain it is home to a more spectral entity (though who or what is unclear).


Location: Dorchester - Unnamed Park
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: March 2013

Further Comments: A teenager photographed a strange creature close to her home in parkland, before it ran up a tree and disappeared. The teenager said the creature resembled and moved like a small gorilla, although the nearby Monkey World attraction denied they were missing any of their animals.


Woman in Bonnet
Location: Dorchester - Wessex Royal Hotel
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Wearing a bonnet and a long dark dress, this phantom woman has been seen from outside the hotel, gazing from a window on the ground floor.


Coach in the House
Location: Dorchester - Wolfeton (aka Wolveton) House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: One owner of the property won a large amount of money when he drove a horse and coach up the stairs inside the house - his victorious ghost reportedly re-enacts the antic. A separate entity is that of a headless grey woman, a member of the Trenchard family who slit her own throat, while a priest is said to haunt the gatehouse (where he was held prisoner).


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