Few walkers today enjoying Dorsetís stunning coastal path will have an awareness
of its dramatic origins as a preventive measure in the fight against serious
The track was established as the nocturnal patrol route for
Customs Riding Officers on the lookout for smugglers.
In the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries smuggling became a
way of life in Englandís southern counties. During these politically turbulent times
successive governments imposed duties on a vast range of imported luxury
items to fund foreign wars.
From the moment taxes were imposed they were
evaded and so began the delicious deception of smuggling.
It became a logistic tour de force as thousands of gallons of spirits and hundreds
of tons of tea purchased in France and the Channel Islands were shipped, landed,
concealed, transported and distributed quickly and efficiently to the eager
People from all walks of life were involved and in many cases the local inn
became the smugglersí centre of operations where plots were hatched, arrangements
made and runs commissioned. Drawing on jail records, Customsí reports,
contemporary newspaper articles and eye witness accounts, the story of
smuggling in Dorset is revealed here through the history of the pubs that served
as meeting places, recruitment centres, secret storage facilities, distribution
depots and valued customers.
Retired graphic designer Terry Townsend lives in Dorset with his wife Carol and their cat
Smudge. His other books for Halsgrove include: Once Upon a Pint Ė A Readers Guide to the
Literary Pubs and Inns of Dorset and Somerset, Kent Smugglersí Pubs, Jane Austenís Hampshire,
Jane Austen and Bath and Jane Austenís Kent.
Imprint: PiXZ Books. ISBN 978 0 85710 098 6, hardback, 210x148mm, 128 pages. Published August 2015.