This Sunday marks the 302-year anniversary of some very fishy goings on in the Dorset countryside.

Did you know that the picturesque village of Shapwick, near Badbury Rings has a dark secret?

Make yourself comfy for the strange and slightly silly tale of the Shapwick Monster.

On October 12th 1706, a live crab fell off a fishmonger's cart being wheeled through the lanes between Wimborne and Blandford.

The crab was found near East Farm in the village and the locals, having never seen such a beast before, immediately summoned a village elder who proclaimed it to be a devil or “monster”.

Thus the legend of the Shapwick Monster was born, even though a more travelled villager pointed out that it was a perfectly harmless sea creature.

What became of the crab isn’t recorded, but when the story leaked out to neighbouring towns and villages, the people of Shapwick were looked upon as rather simple.

An alternative version of events has it that the fishmonger eventually returned in search of his lost crab and saw the panic-stricken villagers.

Laughing at their ignorance he casually picked up the crab and continued on his journey, telling all he met about the dim-witted villagers of Shapwick.

Since then, the villagers didn’t dare visit a fishmonger stall at the local markets in fear of being ridiculed.

Whatever the true version of events on that fateful day, it’s a stigma that has stuck for several generations.

The story was cemented in verse and pictures in 1841 by Buscall Fox and today the legend is commemorated on a specially illustrated story on display at the Anchor Inn and in the name of Crab Farm, which has a weathervane showing the crab and villagers.