Wareham Town Hall dressed for Britain in Bloom © H Randall
Until the C14th, Wareham was a major port but the increasing size of ships and the silting of the river changed its role. It is now a riverside town lying between the rivers Piddle and Frome surrounded by walls dating from the Saxon period.
Every summer Wareham has a carnival. Included in the programme of Carnival events is the Scarecrow competition. Scarecrows must be between 2 and 7 feet tall, be handmade and importantly they must contain straw. Here’s one we spotted outside the Duke of Wellington.
There is also a Duck Race which takes place at the Quay, and a Flower and Craft show which takes place at the rec. The Duck Race is held during or around Carnival Week. Numbered Ducks enter the race for £1 each. The winning Duck is the first to reach the river boom rope. Ducks can be bought at Carnival events prior to the race day. The race is made more exciting by the ebb and flow of the tidal river.
Shopkeepers in the town centre take part in the Carnival events with a Spot the Stranger in the window competition. During the week, they will place an odd item in their window which does not belong. There is a prize for the person who finds the most odd items.
Every year, on the second Saturday in July, the Town Crier organises a town crier competition. Criers from other towns converge on Wareham to compete. The first round of the competition takes place in the morning with Criers performing their home cry in front of two judges. There is then a break for lunch and in the afternoon the Criers assemble again and perform a second cry of their own choice of words between 100-125 words. The Criers are marked for volume, clarity, inflection and diction. The winning Crier receives a trophy. There are also trophies for the best dressed Crier, best dressed escort and best dressed couple.
Wareham is a proud contender in Britain in Bloom and in 2017 is a National Finalist. The town centre flourishes from one end to the other showing off magnificent displays of hanging baskets and standing displays.
Wareham Town Museum
The Museum is in East Street, just off the central cross roads. Each year, during the carnival, the Town Museum’s Curator, Ben Buxton, takes an early evening walk around the town and tells those who have followed about the town’s fascinating 1500 year history. The walk takes in part of the town’s Saxon Town Walls.
T E Lawrence
Visitors will love a visit to St Martin’s church, the oldest church in Dorset dating from 1030. Here in the church is an effigy of TE Lawrence, in full Arab dress. The effigy was sculpted by official war artist Eric Kennington, between 1936 and 1939. The church is also possibly the tiniest church in Dorset, seating up to 40 (at a squeeze).
Based at Bovington Camp and Clouds Hill, Lawrence’s retreat where he spent much time writing, is nearby.
Please tell us about your visit to Wareham.