The Chronicles of Dorset: Smugglers and Pioneers

The Chronicles of Dorset: Smugglers and Pioneers

Here at Urban Guild, we love to create. As you probably know, we are very proud of our range of pale ales, all based on different smugglers and pioneers around Dorset. We thought we would let them tell you their story of how they became a beer.



Me and my family moved to Mudeford in Dorset after my dear second child passed away to start again, hit the reset button. It was an amazing place full of opportunity. I landed myself a job as Captain of the Dorset rangers in 1796 which sounds REALLY fancy but there was nothing to it. I lead loads of the cliff top patrols – we really had to keep an eye out for smugglers and French invaders while the Napoleonic War was going on (the French really did hate me back then).

I’ll admit I probably let a couple slip here and there, but I was a busy man. They made me a ‘Justice of the Peace’ officer as well as Deputy Lieutenant for Dorset… Safe to say I had a lot of beer in my barrel. It was worth the respect I got from everyone in town though – they all knew me, and after the Battle of Trafalgar I thought it was high time I got a break. So I retired and got myself some land in what I’ve heard now is Bournemouth town centre. It cost me a pretty penny – £179.55 for my 8 and a half acres of land, but it was well worth it. I built my house and died a happy man in 1932 at age 73.

Of course my house was torn down and they found my secret room.. NOT used for smuggling of course… and you can go and see it at the Royal Exeter Hotel. It’s a wing to the hotel now. And me? I am now a pale ale, the BEST possible reincarnation possible! I was produced by Urban Guild and their friends Beerd Brewery and (more recently) Cocksure Brewing Co. in Bristol and I taste pretty darn good. I would definitely recommend myself.

Name: Tregonwell

Lived: Bournemouth Town Centre

Beer Type: Hopped Pale Ale

ABV: 5%

Pioneer Rating: 5/5

Hug-ability: 1/10





Oh I’m a smuggler alright. I was the best, because I knew all the tips and tricks (the money helped too). I had loads of farms where I planted trees to help my ships navigate, no one suspected a thing. You can still go and see one of my farms now – the tower of the church in St Andrew. This is where I kept all my smuggled bits and bobs and please ignore the damaged ledges – kegs are heavy even for a wall.

They did suspect my beautiful home however, Howe Lodge in Kinson – which I built especially for my smuggling. It was genius – one of the ways you could get to my goods was a door up a ten foot chimney!! Anyway, when they’d come to my house to arrest me and whatever else, do you know what I did? I played dead. My wife told the authorities I died in my sleep, all I had to do was lay still and cover my face in white powder.. and they fell for it!! (We had to then have a fake funeral of course, which was a bit of a faff).

My tomb can be seen in West Moors, but also you can see me (and drink me??) as a beer at the Urban Guild venues! I was made by Eight Arch Brewing in Wimborne who said I have a “a fruity yet crisp finish”… Thanks!!


Name: Isaac Gulliver

Lived: Kinson, West Moors, Cranborne Chase (greedy!)

Beer Type: Pale Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Smuggler Rating: 5/5

Hug-ability: 0/5




Angel of the Marsh

Angel of the Marsh?? Well I suppose I was. Loads of smugglers used to come through Mother Siller’s channel In Mudeford (back when it was full of water). It used to lead right to my husband’s pub, which after his death of course became mine. I did allow smugglers to keep their things in my pubs and helped them out quite a bit – they came to be good friends of mine despite the horrible label.

The craziest time, that I remember, was during the Battle of Mudeford – two smugglers turned up on Mudeford beach (it was always there or around the Haven in Christchurch Harbour) on July 15th with loads and loads of tea and brandy, it was amazing. I used to wear my red cloak and bring out my lamp like some sort of angel-devil to let them know it was alright to come in. No one would suspect a sweet, widowed inn keeper! But then, a navy sloop was heard to be nearby and all hell broke loose. So John Streeter (one of the smugglers) road on up to my inn, Haven House, and asked my customers for help. And they ran out there to save the day, helping to take off all the lines and rigging. It was true team work.

We always had delicious local beers in the inn, and I think a beer inspired by me is very well suited. Thanks for giving me my wings, Urban Guild x


Name: Hanna Sillers

Lived: Mudeford

Beer Type: Amber Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Smuggler Rating: 4/5

Hug-ability: 4/5




Dr. Quartley 

I was sleeping deeply when a HUGE belting noise erupted in my ears. I’d only just moved into Christchurch so it was a little unsettling to say the least. It was my door knocking, so naturally I went down to answer it. There stood two men, on horseback- their faces hidden by the black of the night. They said they needed me right that second and it didn’t seem like a polite request, so I jumped on a horse and off I went.

Others joined us on the way there from neighbouring towns until we got to a cottage and a man lay in front of me bleeding EVERYWHERE. He had a musket ball in his shoulder which I quickly removed as I was told the man was a… smuggler. The authorities were on their way so we took him into the forest where I could finish the job and luckily I spared a man’s life.

I was escorted back to my home gladly, and when I awoke a few days later I found a keg of brandy left on my doorstep labelled ‘Left there for a doctor’s fee’. See, smugglers aren’t that bad. That brandy sorted me out for many a jolly days and nights, just as I hope the Dr. Quartley ale will do for you. It’s in a lovely, matte blue can (not a dirty old keg luckily for you) and was brewed at Eight Arch Brewing in Wimborne with the Urban Guild Team.



Name: Dr. Quartley

Lived: Christchurch

Beer Type: Pale Ale

ABV: 4%

Smuggler Rating: 3/5

Hug-ability: 5/5 (he sounds cute, doesn’t he?)




So that’s the squad. Let us know who your favourite is… Does their great taste lives up to their legacy?


Urban Guild X