THE DORSET MARTYRS’ MEMORIAL was created in 1983 by the world-renowned sculptress Dame Elizabeth Frink (1930-1993) and installed in 1986 on Gallows Hill, to one side of Salisbury Fields, the site of public executions in Dorchester in the 16th and 17th centuries. It commemorates the Dorset Catholics executed there for refusing to renounce their faith during the reign of the Tudors and the Stuarts, and in particular:
- Thomas Pilchard, 1587,
- William Pyke, 1591,
- John Cornelius, July 1594,
- Thomas Bosgrave, John Carey and Patrick Salmon, July 1594, and
- Hugh Green, 1642.
WILLIAM BARNES (1801-1886). The bronze statue in the front of St Peters was created by Edwin Roscoe Mullins and cast in 1889. William Barnes was a school master in Dorchester, scholar and dialect poet who became the Rector of Winterborne Came. He convinced Brunel to put the Dorchester to Bristol railway line under Poundbury Camp in a tunnel, rather than through a cutting through the middle of it, and was one of the Founders of Dorset County Museum. He was a close friend of Thomas Hardy.
THOMAS HARDY (1840-1928). This bronze of Hardy seated was cast by Eric Henri Kennington and placed at the Top of Town in 1931. Kennington (1888-1960) was an accomplished sculptor, artist and illustrator and served as an Official War Artist during both World Wars. TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) visited an exhibition of the art works which he produced during the First War, and they became lifelong friends.
He accompanied Lawrence on trips to the Near East and illustrated the author’s ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ published in 1926. In 1935, he served as one of the six pallbearers at his funeral and in 1937-9 he executed a life size likeness of Lawrence in Portland stone for St Martin’s church in Wareham.
THE DORSET SHEPHERD was created in the year 2000 by John Doubleday (born 1947) in response to a commission from the Dorchester Printers Henry Ling, who had been in existence since 1804. The base is inscribed with the following lines from a poem ‘The Shepherd O’ the Farm’ by William Barnes written in Dorset dialect:
An’ I do bide all day among
The bleaten sheep, an’ pitch their vwold;
An’ when the evenen sheades be long
Do zee all a-penn’d an’ twold.
THE DRAY HORSE was created by Shirley Pace (1933-2023) who specialised in equine subjects. This statue is a representation of ‘Drummer’ the last shire horse employed in the Eldridge Pope Brewery in the 1970s. It was inaugurated in 2014 after having been paraded through the town on the back of an old brewery dray cart.
THE STATUE OF ELIZABETH THE QUEEN MOTHER in the centre of Queen Mother’s Square Poundbury. This larger-than-life size bronze statue of the Queen Mother, at the age of 51, by Philip Jackson is the second casting of the original erected in the Mall in London, and was unveiled in 2016 in the presence of the late Queen Elizabeth II and of the then Prince of Wales.
Philip Jackson was born in Scotland in 1944 and works with his wife and son in their studio in Midhurst, Sussex. He has completed numerous other Public Commissions including statues of Bobby Moore outside Wembley Stadium, the Gurka Monument in Horse Guards’ Avenue, the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in Hyde Park and Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE is a ‘Double Bust’ in Portland stone by the Dorchester artist Mike Chapman in a cubist idiom, commissioned by Dorchester Council in 2018 to commemorate the end of World War 1 in 1918 and the reconciliation between Britain and Germany. A second version called THE HUG was commissioned by the town of Lubbecke, with which Dorchester is twinned.
IAN GOSLING 20.4.2023