While researching the field names of Milton Abbas and adding to our spreadsheet of 1185 of them, I was reading A D Mills ‘Place Names of Dorset, Part 3’. Page 225 mentions a field called Fisherman’s Grave. He found a mention of this in Hutchins ‘History and Antiquities of the Country of Dorset’, 3rd Edition Volume 4 which says:
“On what was formerly a down, north-east of Milton Abbey, called “Great Down,” now inclosed, was an ancient dyke, serving as a boundary between Hilton and Milton, part of which went traditionally by the name of ” Fisherman’s Grave,” the legend being that two fishermen had met here and fought a battle, one of them being killed in the combat, and buried on the spot. Certain it is, that, in 1831, a labourer discovered a human skeleton on the vallum of the dyke, now by the road-side, about 100 yards east of the place where the road to Milborne, through Bramblecombe Lane, separates from the Milton Road.”
I wonder if there are any visible remains of the dyke, does it appear on the LIDAR survey, or is mentioned in any of the gazetteers of dykes? Answers here please! A dyke does appear on the 25 inch OS map and is just shown as a few dots on the current OS Explorer series just where Hutchins says on the Hilton – Milton Abbas boundary.
By the way, we are still looking for the Women’s Institute survey of field names carried out in the 1960s, A D Mills certainly saw this when he was compiling his book, but Dorset History Centre have no knowledge of it.