Local Customs

Dorset’s quirky customs continue to baffle and bemuse those that live here, never mind the good people that come to visit, so here’s our handy guide to some of the more peculiar ones.

Dorset Knob Throwing

The Dorset Knob is a round savoury biscuit made by Moores of Morecombelake since 1880. The annual Knob Throwing festival also includes Knob Eating, Knob Painting, a Knob & Spoon Race, Guess the weight of the Big Knob and Knob Darts.

Filly Loo

A Midsummer’s Day celebration in Ashmore where dancing villagers are lead by a Green Man until dusk when six antlered deer-men are joined in procession by Maid Marion, an archer, a hobby horse and a fool as the villagers assemble for a torch-lit final dance around the pond.

Pack Monday Fair

The riotous Teddy Rowe’s Band make as much noise as possible with tin trays, saucepans, horns, bugles and whistles at the head of the Old Michaelmas Day parade in Sherborne. Teddy Rowe was a 15th century master mason at Sherborne Abbey.

Skimmity Riding

If a man lost a quarrel to his wife or failed to react to her being unfaithful, the couple would ‘ride the Skimmington’ with their effigies (and in some cases the couple themselves) paraded in shame through the parish by a mob of revelers.

The Dorset Ooser

A hollow, wooden head with horns, a beard and a hinged jaw that the villagers of Melbury Osmond used to mock those who behaved immorally. A replica of the 19th century Ooser is in Dorset County Museum.

Other notable oddities include the Purbeck Marblers’ Shrove Tuesday football in Corfe Castle, the mysterious Miz-maze at Leigh and the annual World Nettle Eating Championships in Marshwood.