A swashbuckling tale passed down through generations on Portland of a pirate's grave above Church Ope Cove is sadly just an old wife's tale.

This stone tomb, with a Jolly Roger-style skull and crossbones on the end, stands in a graveyard next to the ruins of St Andrew's Church, in the shadow of Rufus Castle.

It is said that it marks the resting place of a pirate who terrorised the Caribbean before returning to ravage his native shores in the south coast of England.

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But, sadly, it is all just an old wife's tale. Local historians, including Portland author Stuart Morris, have rubbished the story.

They say that the grave is that of a local person, and probably someone who was actually quite well respected. It was common to place the skull and crossbones on a well-to-do person's headstone in the 16th and 17th century. The skull and crossbones were just an indicator of death.

But there have been plenty of proper pirates and buccaneers hailing from Dorset.

They include Henry 'the Rover' Strangeways and William Dampier.

Dorset Echo:

William Dampier

Dampier sailed from Weymouth in the late 17th century on his way to plunder ships in the Caribbean.