Celebrating Weymouth's maritime heritage

WATCH OUT: Pirates and smugglers parade through Weymouth town centre

WATCH OUT: Pirates and smugglers parade through Weymouth town centre

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by

LANDLUBBERS were treated to a lively historic display as re-enactors came together to celebrate Weymouth’s maritime heritage and support a good cause.

Musket fire rang out across the harbour, collection buckets were rattled and the best of the area’s folk music was heard as enthusiasts celebrated the Weymouth Pirates and Smugglers Festival.

It was organised jointly by the Weymouth Garrison, a re-enactment group set up to support the Old Town Hall, and musicians from The Dolmen.

The same people are involved in organising the Crabchurch Conspiracy Commemoration Weekend in February.

The pirates’ weekend was again organised to support the Old Town Hall, specifically raising funds to get the original 17th-century bell refitted.

In between a few jugs of mead at local hostelries, enthusiasts dres-sed as pirates acted out a smuggling operation, and were chased by revenue soldiers.

Re-enactors from all over the country joined the Weymouth Garrison for the feud in streets, witnessed by hundreds of startled shoppers. They then paraded through the town, to the sounds of drumming from The Dolmen.

Storming live musical performances were heard at the Black Dog on Friday night and at the Golden Lion on Saturday night.

Mark Vine from the Weymouth Garrison said such was the success of the event another festival will be held in the autumn.

He added: “We had about 60 people involved in the end and raised a good sum for the hall.

“There were also two nights of excellent music.

“For the battle, the re-enactors split into groups and there were various scrapes around the town including in Wilkinson where we all piled in for a battle re-enacting the Wilkinson TV advert. It brought the place to a standstill and people were gobsmacked.

“At one point we did battle across the harbour. It all helps to raise awareness of the cause.”

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