The man who inspired Shakespeare to write The Tempest lies buried here in the beautiful village of Whitchurch Canonicorum, one of the gems of the Marshwood Vale, and sometimes referred to as its capital.

Sir George Somers was a man of great energy. He not only sailed with Sir Walter Raleigh, captured treasure ships, was Mayor of Lyme Regis, (where he was born), but also found time to become a Member of Parliament. He is best known for his part in the Colonisation of Virginia, sailing with nine ships loaded with settlers. The fleet got scattered and his vessel wrecked on a coral island. It was one of the Bermuda Islands, the Bermoothes of Shakespeare's play. He took possession and spent the next year rebuilding boats to eventually land his settlers in Virginia. Sadly on a voyage back to Bermuda for more supplies, he died in 1610, his heart is buried there but his body was brought home to Whitchurch.

Shrine of St. Wite, Whitchurch CononicorumThe very ancient church of St. Candida and St Cross, is unique in being the only parish church in England containing the bones of its patron saint. The saint's relics are in a stone altar. Candida is a latinisation of White and this is one of only two martyrs' shrines to survive intact in the whole of England. She died in the massacre at Dockum, near Utrecht, on 5th June 755. (Although it has also been suggested that she was St. Blanche of Brittany or a Saxon woman killed during a Viking raid); the Purbeck stone chest is thirteenth century

The modern martyr, Georgi Markov, lies in the churchyard with English words on one side of his stone and Bulgarian on the other. "Bulgaria's most revered dissident" was assassinated on Waterloo Bridge by a communist agent, using a gas-gun disguised as an umbrella to inject him with a pin-sized pellet of the lethal toxin ricin. That crime of the Cold War took place in September 1978.

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