The Isle of Purbeck is an area of about 60 square miles,
situated in South Dorset in southern England.
Although bounded by sea to the south and east, and
by Poole Harbour and the River Frome to the north,
it is not strictly speaking an island at all. Nevertheless,
to both local people and to the tourists,who come in
droves each year to visit, it may safely be said that
Purbeck resembles an island paradise.
For those who wish simply to enjoy the scenery,
Purbeck can offer spectacular cliffs, a large variety of
sea birds, sandy beaches, rolling hills, heathlands and
forests, ancient churches, and the mighty if ruined
monument of Corfe Castle as its ‘jewel in the crown’.
For those who wish to delve deeper, however, there
are other treats in store.
Every region has its association with eminent, flamboyant,
or notorious characters, and Purbeck is no exception.
In this volume are to be found pirates; a
smuggler – who was also a churchwarden; a spirited
lady who, during the English Civil War, mounted a
heroic defence of Corfe Castle; a farmer,who became
famous in medical circles, and a clay merchant, who
was an associate of JosiahWedgwood, and many others.
Each of the personalities highlighted helped to create,
in his or her unique way, the threads, of which the
colourful tapestry of Purbeck is woven. In recounting
their varied lives, Dorset author Andrew Norman
conjours up a fascinating galaxy of personalities to
illuminate the history of this most characterful corner
Andrew Norman was born in Newbury,
Berkshire, UK in 1943. Having been
educated at Thornhill High School, Gwelo,
Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
and St Edmund Hall,Oxford, he qualified
in medicine at the Radcliffe Infirmary.
From 1972-83,Andrew worked as a
general practitioner in Poole, Dorset,
before a spinal injury cut short his
medical career. He is now an established
writer whose published works include
biographies of Thomas Hardy,
TE Lawrence, Sir Francis Drake,
Adolf Hitler, Agatha Christie,
Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 1 84114 900 4, hardback, 210x148mm, 112 pages. Published November 2009.