The Greenwood Tree – December 2023
Posted on 25th November 2023
The theme of the December issue of The Greenwood Tree is Mysteries and Puzzles. Editor Paul Radford previews the edition which will be mailed to members at the end of November and which SDFHS members can already view or download from the Members’ Area of the Society’s website.
We received some interesting and intriguing mysteries for this issue of The Greenwood Tree. Margery Hookings recounts the traditional tale of the bride who disappeared during a game of hide and seek on her wedding day and whose body was only found years inside a locked chest. The story inspired a poem and a song but no one knows exactly who it referred to though Bawdrip Rectory near Bridgwater lays claim to it. Jeannette Simpson explores a family story about a pirate ancestor who was alleged to have been made to walk the plank but the identity of the poor man remains a mystery.
The editor tells the story of the Royal Adelaide shipwreck on Chesil Beach in 1872 when thousands of local people lined the beach to help themselves to the washed-up cargo, including barrels of rum and brandy, several drinking themselves to death. The mystery surrounds a naked lady survivor, supposedly rescued from the mob who wanted to rob her of her rings. Her gentleman saviour proposed marriage and she accepted but no one knows their identities. Other mysteries include the puzzling tale of eight young siblings who died in Charmouth within 17 days of each other in 1852, told by Glen Jennings.
In other highlights, Richard Smith delves into the history of stagecoaches in Dorset and Weymouth, in particular, Frances Houghton tells the scandalous tale of two bridesmaids arrested for soliciting just before their policeman brother’s wedding and we have an obituary of renowned Dorset journalist, author and local historian Roger Guttridge, a former editor of this magazine.
In the latest of our series in which The Greenwood Tree personality interviews an invaluable contributor to our Society or its magazine, the subject is our assistant editor, Margery Hookings, herself a distinguished West Country journalist and writer.
Regular features include Dorset Spotlight, this time on Tophill, Portland, the SDFHS Photo Project, What the Papers Said, Book Reviews and Letters to the Editor.