By Tristan, Monmouth Class
On the 13th of December we performed a Christmas play in Loders church. I was in it and I was a shepherd in the play. My mum and dad saw me on stage. We performed it twice and in the second play one of the shepherds who had a speaking part wasn’t there so Mrs McGrath asked me if I would like the speaking part so I said “yes”. Then mum and dad saw me in front of the stage saying my line which was “what is that light in the sky?”. My mum and dad were really proud of me.
By Haze, Monmouth Class
On Wednesday the 13th of December 2017 we all went to the Christmas dinner, which was amazing! I liked all of it but my favourite bit was pulling the Christmas crackers. We also had it in the village hall which was unexpected . Out of ten I rated it as ten. I thought the wide open place was a great place to have a Christmas dinner.
by Lexi, Monmouth Class
On Tuesday 12th of December we went to watch the pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in Weymouth. We went on a coach to get there.
When we got there, we put our bags on the floor and when we got inside there was a fairy flying in the air. When it was in the middle of play, it stopped for a minute because it was time for some vanilla ice cream.
Megan though it was “brilliant”.
Daisy though it was “good”.
Hannah though it was “amazing because it was “funny”.
We recently rediscovered the well in the playground. Built sometime in the 19th century, we assume, the well existed before the school was built in the late 1860s, on the site of a farm and farm buildings. Once the school was built it was forgotten about and not discovered again until 1947, by which time the school had been in use for over 50 years, drawing all its water from a pump across the road.
Horace Reed was 17 when he discovered the entrance to a tunnel in the lean-to area of the school (now a toilet block). At the behest of the head gardener from Loders Court, Horace was sent down the hole to investigate the passage below which proved to be of a narrow stone construction. Horace didn’t have a torch so initially was only able to venture a few feet before he (fortunately) turned round. Had he continued at that time he would have discovered a 35 foot long tunnel which ended abruptly when it enters a sheer vertical shaft, being a well filled with water to a depth of over 8 metres!
Following this discovery Dorset County Council determined to use this supply of water at the school and a series of works and sampling measures took place over the next few years. By the 4th June 1951 an electric pump was in place providing well water to the school sinks. Eleven years later the school was finally connected up to mains water and the well, again, went into disuse and was forgotten.
In 2004, during building work for the new block, the well was rediscovered – this time from the well end rather than the tunnel end. However, by 2017 it had largely been forgotten again, the only thing marking its existence, a dull grey metal cover (one of many) at the edge of the playground. As part of their work on the history of Loders, its water sources and wells, the local history group re-opened our well and shared their pictures, videos and knowledge with us.
Of course wells were commonplace in Loders, but why has our well got this intriguing passage? Why wasn’t it shown on any of the maps? Perhaps the answer lays in the occupants of the farm buildings – the Marsh family – who may well have been responsible for the addition of the tunnel. One of the Marsh family served a prison sentence for smuggling, and the history group have speculated that the tunnel could have been a store for kegs of contraband. As they point out, the footing just below the entrance into the well gives adequate support for a ladder by which the kegs could have been moved down or up. Half anker casks (Dutch measures) hold approximately 4 gallons and are about 0.5m high by 0.3m diameter. These would easily roll within the tunnel and then stack 3 high potentially giving storage for about 90 casks. Was there some form of concealment in the tunnel so that it was not visible from the top of the well?
We will probably never know for sure, but we would like to thank Chuck, Lucy and all the team in the Loders history group for reintroducing us to our very own piece of intrigue!
This year is the 20th Annual Christmas Tree Festival at the United Church in East Street. 65 organisations are represented by a Christmas trees at the festival and we are delighted that we have managed to get one again this year, despite heavy competition. Pupils have created decorations on the theme on ‘compassion’ and Mr Beare, Tiana, Libby and Noah went along to the church on Monday to get the tree ready. The festival officially opens on the 5th December at 7pm with a Service of Dedication let by the Reverend Peter Clark, when the lights on all the trees will be switched on. The festival will run until the 17th December and you can go along and see all the trees between 10.30am and 4pm daily . Each tree has a collection box, and the church’s charity of choice this year is The Samaritans.