Haunted Town of Dorchester
For centuries, Dorset has been famous for its legends surrounding hauntings and the population of Dorset may not realise just how haunted this county is. Although these supernatural accounts might just be myths told from generation to generation, the many documented accounts throughout Dorset can’t go without the claim that they may be paranormal.
Dorchester, known for being the capital of Dorset, has a long history of crime and punishment, being the centre of justice for 800 years, hence this ancient town has many ghostly stories to tell. The notorious Judge Jeffreys, who was known as the ‘Hanging Judge’ for his merciless judgement, sentenced 200 prisoners to death during the Dorchester Bloody Assize, in 1655. It isn’t surprising that this town has so many lost sprits due to their suffering and torment during the Assize, one of whom likes to make himself known in the Judge Jeffreys pub along High West Street. The manifestation of a condemned man is witnessed frequently. The pub was used as a court room during the Assize and was used as the Judges lodgings during his time in Dorchester. The Judge himself still likes to stalk the streets, most commonly seen along the Antelope Walk. Many have also witnessed footsteps and strange lights during the dead of night. So why not visit this area in the dark and see for yourself how atmospheric it is. Secret tunnels have recently been found running underneath the Antelope walk and are thought to link up with the Oak room which was once part of the Antelope Hotel, which was also used as a court room. The tunnels are additionally thought to connect up with the Old Crown Court and Cells, where the Judge and his victims have been witnessed on many occasions. The Old Crown Court and Cells have recently been opened to the public, so you can visit this impressive building for yourself. The Dorset County Museum is also home to the spectre of Judge Jeffreys and paranormal investigators have been able to detect his spirit on several occasions. This is not a surprise, because this museum houses some of the original artefacts from the Dorchester Bloody Assize. Along Icen Way, it is thought that sometimes you can hear the sound of horses dragging prisoners to their execution site.
The Dorset County Museum doesn’t just hold the spirits from the Assize. A local fossil collector, named Mary Anning, regularly likes to make herself present to paranormal investigators, who have managed to photograph her. Doors are known to mysteriously slam when nobody is near them. Nearby is the main shopping street, leading to the Antelope walk where the old Antelope Hotel was situated. This has now been turned into shops and the Oak Room is now a tea rooms. It is famous for being haunted by no other than Lawrence of Arabia who was a British army officer, renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule, which took place from 1916 to 1918. Sadly he died in a motorcycling accident in Clouds Hill near Wareham, where a small memorial can be seen at the side of the road. Not only have people seen a phantom motorcycle along that road, but he was frequently seen wearing motorcycling gear by the fire place in the Antelope Hotel, when it was still a public house, due to being a regular visitor. Not far from the main shopping street is the Dorchester Prison. Although now closed, some say at the dead of night you can hear screams. The prison was only recently closed in December 2013 and many recent inmates would hear the cry’s of past prisoners during the night. The phantom figure seen around the area of the old gibbet, which is towards the back of the prison near the River Frome, is thought to be Martha Brown, who was the last woman to be hung for murder in Dorchester. The gibbet was hung where the original entrance to the prison was, crowds of people would spectate from the other side of the river. On High West Street, another spectral woman wearing a bonnet and a dark dress, frequently gazes from a ground floor window in the Wessex Royal Hotel. The Wessex Royal is still a hotel, so perhaps if you’re looking for a spooky place to visit or reside in, maybe the Wessex Royal is what you are looking for. Perhaps you will experience something chilling, as the many others before you.
Dorchester is one of the most haunted and atmospheric places in Dorset. Dating back to around 4000 BC, no wonder it is such a haunted place due to the many thousands of people who have passed through and lived in this ancient town. So with all the strange, mysterious, chilling, paranormal activities, there is a small chance you may experience the unexplained too. So when you are in Dorchester in the dead of night, you might see a figure in white and remember supernatural occurrences happen when you least expect it, so you might see a ghost tonight.