Author(s): Guttridge, Roger,
Date of Publication: 01/01/1800,
Published By: HALSGROVE PUBLISHING ,
Book Classification: Dorset, Local history
The country clergyman who eloped with a parishioner’s wife… the stranded whale that became a tourist attraction on a Dorset beach… the spinster who kept her companion’s body for almost three years without reporting her death. These are just three of more than thirty eyebrow-raising tales selected by Roger Guttridge for his latest book on his home county.
Some of the tales are well known but given a new treatment by the author – such as the stories of the ‘fossil lady of Lyme’ Mary Anning, Winston Churchill’s near fatal fall from a bridge near Poole and the mysterious skull that has sat in a west Dorset manor house for 200 years.
Other stories will be less familiar – such as the hushed-up royal birth in a seaside town, the squire’s son who used a coffin filled with stones to fake his own death and the county’s link with the Russian Revolution, the ‘Father of Chemistry’ and ‘the man who could have been Darwin’.
The book includes spooky mysteries like the Durweston poltergeist and the Beaminster ghost of John Daniel, murder cases such as the Sherborne poisoner and Captain Burdett of Wimborne and tales of great Dorset characters such as the lecherous squire of Woodlands and the reformed horse-thief and highwayman who became a poet, doctor and lawyer.
Forty-five years as a Dorset journalist, author and historian have given Roger Guttridge an unparalleled knowledge of the county’s past and a rare ability to tell its tales.
Roger Guttridge was brought up in the Sturminster Newton area of North Dorset and educated at Blandford Grammar School before beginning a career in local journalism. Dorset - Curious and Surprising is his nineteenth book as author or co-author. He has also edited several books by other authors. Roger’s other journalistic speciality is swimming. He is a former press officer with the Great Britain swim team and has written about the sport for many publications, including the Daily and Sunday Express and Swimming Times magazine.