A ghost causes a riot in Wimborne St Giles

Wimborne St Giles is a typical village situated in east Dorset and during 1867 a rather sleepy place where nothing of extreme excitement happened, well that is until a suspected ghost caused a riot.

The "Dorset county chronicle" of Thursday 13th June 1867 reports the following disturbing account of the dangers of an overactive imagination.


"During one or two nights in last week, the inhabitants of Woburn square were annoyed by the assembling of large numbers of the ragged and noisy population of St Giles in quest of a ghost said to be visible in the inclosed garden of the square. It appears that a patch of light from one of the gas lamps falls on an arbour ( a shelter of vines and branches covered with climbing shrubs or vines) at the north-east corner of the enclosure and, passing through a gap in the shrubs, is cast in a somewhat remarkable manner on the spot in question. The crowds, assembled to see the supposed ghost, finding their curiosity disappointed, vented their anger in rough larking and practicle jokes , the result has been that the authorities have been obliged to send a force of 25 additional police to preserve order. On almost every morning last week, some rioters were taken before the magistrates and fined 10s each, but in sentencing two on Saturday Mr. Flowers gave notice that imprisonment without a fine would be the fate of future rioters".


My great joy in researching local history is finding the weird and bizarre, like the one above. From a historical standpoint not of great value but from a time travel point of view it allows us to enter that weird day when the good folk of St Giles thought they saw a ghost !!!




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