The Dorsetarian

Dorset Ghost Walks

If you are looking for something different this year, then ghost tours can provide some great entertainment, especially if they're ghost tours after dark.
Alistair Chisholm's Dorchester Ghost Walks
Weymouth Ghost Walks
Haunted Harbour Tours
Granny Cousin's Ghost Walks of Old Poole Town
The Bridport Ghost Walk

The Little Green Dragon Hand Painted Gifts

Dark Dorset Calendar Customs

by Robert J. Newland

Dark Dorset Calendar CustomsMuch of the intrinsic charm of Dorset folklore is owed to the importance of folk customs. Today only a small amount of these curious and occasionally eccentric customs have survived, while those that still continue have, for many of us, lost their original significance. Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? Why do children dance around the maypole on May Day? Why do we carve pumpkin lanterns at Hallowe'en? What is Wassailing? And who is Father Christmas? All the answers are here!

Robert has made an in-depth study of the Dorset country calendar identifying the major feast-days, holidays and celebrations when traditionally such folk customs are practiced. Some of these customs hark back to pre-Christian times, while others are comparatively recent innovations. The list of customs is an extensive one and includes Morris Dancing, Clipping the Church, Well Dressing, Love Divinations, Mumming Plays, Corn Dollies, Broom Dancing and many more besides. Included as a special bonus are thirty tasty seasonal recipes to try out, such as Cattern Cake, Plough Tide Dumplings and Mince Pies, to name but a few.This fascinating, easy to follow compendium is an ideal reference tool for anyone seeking a greater understanding of Dorset's annual customs and rituals and how to enjoy them. Join in and celebrate any day that takes your fancy! We certainly will!

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: CFZ Press (1 Dec 2007)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1905723180
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905723188

Image


Book Reveals why we celebrate dates

If you have no idea why we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, why children dance around a maypole on May Day,or why we carve pumpkins at Hallowe'en then a book just published could be your answer.

Robert Newland, 38, has just spent two and a half years researching Dorset's calendar customs and his book, Dark Dorset Calendar Customs, has just been published by CFZ Press, priced £12.50.

Mr Newland, has already published two other books, one on the mischievous fairies of Dorset and the other Dark Dorset: Tales of Mystery,Wonder and Terror, with his friend Mark North.

That book prompted the birth of their website darkdorset.co.uk. Book reveals why we celebrate dates

His books and the website are devoted to the folklore and legends of Dorset which he has been collecting for the last ten years.

He said: "Much of the intrinsic charm of Dorset folklore is-owed to the importance of folk customs. Today only a small amount of these curious and occasionally eccentric customs have survived, while those that still continue have, for many of us, lost their original significance. "Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? Why do children dance around the maypole on May Day? Why do we carve pumpkin lanterns at Hallowe'en? What is Wassailing? And who is Father Christmas?"

Mr Newland has made an in-depth study of the Dorset country calendar identifying the major feast-days, holidays and celebrations when traditionally such folk customs are practised. Some of these customs hark back to pre-Christian times, while others are comparatively recent innovations.

The list of customs is an extensive one and includes Morris Dancing, Clipping the Church Well Dressing, Love Divinations, Mumming Plays Corn Dollies, Broom Dancing and many more.

Included as a special bonus are 30 tasty seasonal recipes to try out, such as Cattern Cake, Plough Tide Dumplings and mince pies.

Review by Rene Gerryts, Bridport News, Thursday, 14th February 2008


More tales from Dorset's deep and dark memories

High days and holidays that haw ceased to exist,customs and superstitions that have been lost withthe passage of time, these remnants of the past have been gathered together in an intriguing book.

London-born Robert Newland has lived in Dorset for almost 30 years and has long been fascinated by the folklore of 'Darkest Dorset' and, besides various newspaper articles, he has written books on the subject including Dark Dorset Tales of Mystery,Wonder and Terror in conjunction with Mark North. Dark Dorset Fairies and now. Dark Dorset Calendar Customs.

This relates to the events that marked the calendar each year, each of them looked forward to with anticipation, particularly in the countryside where, besides the feasting they brought with them, even as time passed there was always the observance of fertility rites in thanksgiving for the harvest that had passed or was still to come.

The book is well illustrated to define sections on Healing Waters and Honourable Trees, Beatings and Blessings, Midsummer Mania, Days of Harvest, Broomsticks, Bangers and Blood and Days of Winter Magic.

Contained within these sections are the meanings behind and the customs observed suchas on Oak Apple Day, Rogation Tide. Father's Day and Mothering Sunday, Holy Rood Day, Guy Fawkes Night and Boxing Day

The background to many dates still observed today albeit on a small scale, are explored and there is even a picture from the Dorset Echo Pancake Day Races 2007.

This is a comprehensive compendium of Dark Dorset which which also outlines the Wheel of the Year for the world, giving the origin of the names of the calendar's months and days.

Superstitions are explored and, as an unexpected bonus, 'a taste of folklore' is given in the 29 traditional recipes which were used all over the country to mark the seasons of the year.

Robert Newland does his utmost to go anywhere in Dorset where a traditional custom is still observed, and this brought him once again to the Dorset Echo Pancake Day Races where he filmed the event. (see previous blog entry Pancakes and Football)

The author said: "The video can now be watched on the Dark Dorset 'You Tube' site."

Calendar Customs, which costs £12.50. is published by CFZ Press and is available from bookshops or through the Amazon website.

Review by Hilda Swinney,Portland Diary, Dorset Echo, Monday, 18th February 2008