A FORTNIGHT ago we ran an article on the White Horse at Osmington which sparked a lot of interest.

We looked at an extract from the diary of Elizabeth Pearce which claimed that the famous horse, with King George III astride, existed in 1806 - two years before it was said to be cut into the hillside by John Rainor to commemorate Royal visits to Weymouth and the prosperity they brought.

Thanks to Looking Back's online readers for their input on the original date of this magnificent 280ft by 323ft landmark.

'ronfogg' said: "1808 is the accepted date, although I'm not sure what the evidence for that is. 1806 would be a little earlier, but interesting nonetheless. George III made his last visit to Weymouth in 1805."

'Coastalquibbler' tells us: "1808 is the accepted date for King George. The horse may pre-date that."

'Now Long Gone' wrote: "Consider the possibility that the cutting was started in 1806, the year after King George III's last visit.

"The outline would have been laid out first, in the manner of other 'white horses'. The process would have been quite complex and could have taken the whole season to achieve. By the autumn that outline would have been quite visible from Portland. The cutting out as we now see it would then have restarted the following summer and perhaps it was not considered 'complete' until it had weathered for a further winter. That would give the accepted date as 1808."

'ronfogg' pointed us in the direction of an online English Heritage report which, he said, 'seems convinced the white horse was built in 1808.'

"The hill-figure was also referred to in the diary of a local man, Thomas Oldfield Bartlett, who recorded that he saw it on August 24 1808, stating that it was cut between the beginning of May and the beginning of August of that year," he added.

Some other readers questioned the reliability of Elizabeth Pearce's diary and said she could have easily made a mistake, especially if her writings were written from her recollection as memoirs rather than written on the day as a diary.

However, we were also delighted to hear from Geoff Codd, who initiated the formal White Horse restoration project in 2009.

Geoff has concluded that the origination date of 1808 can be out by more than a year or two at the most.

He said: "When I initiated a formal White Horse restoration project in 2009 this ancient monument had seriously deteriorated, and its restoration - over two years - required the removal of 165 tonnes of superfluous stone without damaging the surrounding SSSI.

"A massive volunteer contribution of 5,300 'volunteer' hours was needed from a variety of sources, which included very experienced archaeological researchers from English Heritage.

"A huge amount of analysis of evidence from a wide variety of sources was examined in detail, and I believe that it is very unlikely that the origination date of 1808 can be out by more than a year or two at the most. Incidentally, through the use of the latest positioning technologies, final accuracy was claimed by Ordnance Survey (OS) to be within 3cms of the identified original form. That is now recorded by OS for posterity."

Thanks also to 'Whitenomad' who rather cheekily reminded us of that infamous edition of Challenge Anneka from 1989 when Anneka Rice attempted to rejuvenate the white horse in a race against the clock. Historians said her team's efforts did more harm than good. Tons of stone were brought to the hill to make the horse white but over the years it slid downwards to the horse's hooves. It was restored to its original glory in 2009.

We also have some old postcards of the white horse to share, courtesy of Peter Cove, and a more recent picture of Looking Back favourite Princess Anne visiting the landmark in 2012.