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  • Where is the Dorset Ooser? February 18, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Where is the Dorset Ooser?

    The Dorset Ooser is a simply terrifying horned head/mask that was once kept in the village of Melbury Osmond: it so shocked a man there in the mid nineteenth century that he jumped through a window and almost died from his wounds. As can be imagined there are some very colourful theories about its purpose […]

    Republican Fields January 6, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Republican Fields

    A month ago Beach offered up some of the most offensive names that farmer’s gave their fields in medieval and modern England: Judas, Kiss Arse Hill, and Poison Piddle being some of the highlights. Our reference guide, Mark Field’s English field names, goes beyond the offensive though to the downright bizarre. Perhaps the most striking example […]

    The Last Witch in Dorset? March 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Last Witch in Dorset?

    This news story comes from the first quarter of the nineteenth century and from Bridport (Dorset, UK). It is a particularly vivid bit of witch-hunting from the south-west of the country at a date when these things were quickly vanishing into the past: though there would be another century of such attacks in rural Britain. […]

    Mass Misunderstandings and Worse March 12, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    Mass Misunderstandings and Worse

    What is a Catholic or an Orthodox Mass? Well, it is essentially an act of magic, a miracle, the bread and the wine that are brought together become the flesh and the blood of Christ, which Christians then devour. Put in these brief, crude terms Christianity is a cannibalistic and highly unpleasant: though, of course, […]

    Immortal Meals #11: Feasts at Hambledon Hill January 13, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Prehistoric
    Immortal Meals #11: Feasts at Hambledon Hill

    Another from the Immortal Meal series: this time beef steak on Hambledon Hill in Dorset (UK) c. 5000 years ago as a warm September evening is resolving itself. Hambledon Hill, for those who had not had the pleasure, is an extraordinary Iron Age hill fort on the edge of the upland region of western England. […]

    Vikings Vikinged in Dorset UK March 29, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Prehistoric
    Vikings Vikinged in Dorset UK

    Beachcombing has sometimes confessed in this place that he is not a great fan of the Vikings. Indeed, say ‘Viking’ to your average medievalist and they will get lyrical about sturdy boats and trips to Greenland. Beachcombing, on the other hand, sees burnt monastic libraries, lines of children being brought to slavery in the fiords […]