Theme for the Week – Quirky Dorset


I thought we would start a new theme for the week today, so this week’s posts will all be about ‘Quirky Dorset’. These are all things that are a bit off the beaten track, and all a bit ‘off the wall’ too 🙂 ! They are all things that I have come across whilst ‘exploring the countryside and lanes of Dorset’, which is really what The Dorset Rambler is about.

So the first of these is……

John Penn’s Bath

John Penn's Bath
John Penn’s Bath

In the early 19th century, sea bathing was becoming very popular, and generally this meant taking a trip to the seaside. Fairly straightforward you might think, but one man decided that he didn’t want the hassle of having to travel to the shore, particularly as to get there from his home meant climbing several hundred feet down a steep hillside to reach his nearest beach.

This man was John Penn and he lived in a castle known as Pennsylvania Castle that stood on the clifftop above Church Ope Cove on the Isle of Portland. The name of his castle was no accident since it was his family that gave their name to the state of Pennsylvania when it was a colony.

John Penn came up with a somewhat quirky idea to enable him to bathe in sea water without the need to walk too far, and that was to build a private bath on the cliff top beside his castle. The idea was that his servants would do all the walking, carrying sea water up from the shoreline in buckets each time he fancied bathing – kind of bringing the beach to him rather than him going to the beach. He would then be able to sit and soak with minimal effort whilst gazing out to sea through his window……presumably while his servants crashed from the extreme effort of walking several hundred feet up and down the cliff carrying numerous heavy buckets of water!

John Penn's Bath
John Penn’s Bath

Unfortunately for John Penn however, it all went wrong because he made the mistake of building his bath outside his castle grounds on land he didn’t own and the local community insisted that he pay to use it. It is said that he was so outraged that he abandoned the idea and never got to use his bath.

It is however still there today if anyone fancies giving it a go 🙂 !!

Oh, but you won’t get the view because trees have grown up around it obscuring the view……unless you fancy it in midwinter when the trees are bare 😉 !

Oh, and you might need to clean it first 🙂 !

Thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All photographs, poems and words in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and must not be reproduced without permission.


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