According to a strong local tradition recorded early in the nineteenth century, there was a violent encounter between deer poachers and forest keepers in Cranborne Chase in 1780, known as the battle of Chettle Common. The worst fighting took place at a gate leading to a path through the woods and on towards Bussey Stool Farm, in the parish of Tarrant Gunville; this is still called Bloody Shard Gate (‘shard’ being a dialect word for a gap in an enclosure), and the wood is Bloodway Coppice. Here the keepers ambushed the poachers. The latter were led by a trumpetmajor, whose hand was cut off by the keepers; it is supposed to have been buried in the churchyard at PIMPERNE. But the man survived the wound and died years later in London, where he was buried; since his hand was not reunited with his body in death, it was said to be haunting Bloody Shard Gate and the lane leading to Pimperne. In the 1970s, people still reported seeing it, and they regarded the whole area as eerie.
Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson –
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008