The Unfortunate Captain Peirce and the Wreck of the Halsewell, East Indiaman, 1786: a Life and Death in the Maritime Service of the East India Company, by
It was a time of foreign wars, financial crisis, corruption, cronyism and a class system that stifled social mobility. Yet, before that disastrous night in 1786, Captain Richard Peirce enjoyed only good fortune in the maritime service of the East India Company. In a long and successful career, he sailed to the East Indies seven times, encountering military heroes, corrupt ‘nabobs’, artists, map-makers and scoundrels. Then, on a tempestuous January night, his ship, the Halsewell, struck rocks on the Dorset coast. In one of the most dramatic shipwrecks of the eighteenth century, the ‘unfortunate Captain Peirce’ lost his ship, his daughters, his fortune and his own life. This book traces his career to a tragic conclusion that shocked and upset the nation. Two centuries later, his story still has the power to move us. November 2015, 365 pages, illustrated paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-32-7. (Also available as a Kindle download: ISBN 978-1-906978-18-1)
Bere Regis & District Motor Services: the Life and Times of Country Busmen, by Andrew Waller.
For decades the largest independent bus company in southern England, Bere Regis and District served much of rural Dorset with an endearing and eccentric assortment of vehicles and characters, memorably celebrated in this social history of a much-loved institution. November 2012, 166 pages, profusely illustrated with some colour, A4 hardback, £25.00, ISBN 978-0-946418-85-5.
A Motcombe Miscellany, by Laurence Clark.
The author, who has written for many years about his village, near Shaftesbury on the Dorset–Wiltshire border, has collected the best of his essays about its people, places and events. September 2012, 199 pages, profusely illustrated, paperback, £9.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-07-5.
A Round Dorset Walk: long distance footpath, the illustrated guide, by Steven Crockford,
is a long-distance route of 181 miles, on ancient paths and trackways, around Dorset’s perimeter. From the stunning Poole Harbour beneath the Purbeck Hills, the walker sets out towards the peaceful downs of Cranborne Chase, across the rolling hills of Blackmore Vale and Marshwood Vale, finally to return to the dramatic coastal path from which the walk began, completing a journey through 250 million years of history. Whether achieved in one challenging effort, or in a series of stages, this very special journey around a beautiful and often unexplored part of Britain will live long in the memory of anyone who completes it. July 2006, 112pp paperback with detailed maps and exquisite line drawings by the author, price £8.95, ISBN 0-946418-49-7
A Higher Reality: The history of Shaftesbury’s royal nunnery, by John Chandler,
tells the story of England’s largest and (arguably) most important nunnery, and of the town that grew up alongside it. Shaftesbury in Dorset enjoys a striking and beautiful setting, and the site of its abbey church – its foundations exposed within a peaceful garden – has become a popular attraction for visitors and residents. This absorbing and wide-ranging history of the abbey has much too about the origins and development of the town, including a guided walk in search of its history. Although intended for a popular readership and profusely illustrated, the text is fully referenced with an extensive bibliography and a comprehensive index. 2003, 176-page hardback, price £9.95, ISBN 0-946418-14-4; or in paperback, 2005, £7.95, ISBN 0-946418-35-7. [Out of stock at Hobnob, but copies may be on sale at Shaftesbury's two museums and tourist office]
A Wessex Nativity: Celebrating Midwinter in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, compiled by John Chandler.
Every year it creeps up on us. We love it or hate it, but we cannot ignore it. Christmas and all its wintry associations – old customs, merry-making, feasting and worshipping – have inspired some of the finest, most intriguing, most memorable writing in the English language. And much of it emanates from the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire, the area that has come to be known as Wessex. For two decades John Chandler has been collecting Christmas poetry, fiction, folklore and traditions from all over Wessex – the odd and obscure alongside all the old favourites. And here it all is, a sumptuous Christmas banquet served up with all the trimmings, to delight anyone interested in the history of Wessex, or the history of our winter celebrations. November 2010, 229 x 152mm, 420 pages, illustrations, paperback, £14.95, ISBN 978-1-906978-22-8.