Another selection of newspaper clips from the end of 19th century

Bristol Mercury - Wednesday 10 January 1894



On Monday evening an inquest was held at Alhampton Inn, before Mr J. A. Mayo, deputy coroner for South-East Somerset, on the body of a woman named Mary Johnson. whose death was due to  exposure, and took place on Friday last. From the evidence of William James Evans a hawker, with whom the deceased had been staying for a period of 22 years, it appeared that both of them arrived in the village from the neighbourhood of Shepton Mallet on Thursday, calling through the villages on the way with articles for sale. They were both plentifully supplied with drink. When they arrived at AIhampton the deceased went into the inn, where, after a short period, witness joined her. They had something to eat and a pint of beer. They left the house about six o'clock, both being under the influence of liquor, and getting outside the cold and drink I overcame them, and they became insensible, They wandered on till they came to West lane, where they I both fell into a ditch. Struggling out, they both fell asleep by the roadside, The next morning when witness awoke he found the deceased unconscious, and he was in a very bad state himself. Witness made exertions and lit a fire, endeavouring to restore the deceased to consciousness, but without effect. Mr Longman's man (John Hallett) then came along . whom witness called, and he fetched a barrow and conveyed deceased to his master’s farm, where every effort was made to save her life, but nothing availed. The Coroner having briefly summed up, the jury  returned a verdict of "Death from exposure."

Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 19 January 1894



THE funeral of the woman Mary Johnson (who died on Friday from exposure) was held on Wednesday afternoon in the churchyard. No bell was tolled, and the body was not carried into the church. The service at the grave was of the most brief description, the rector only repeating the committal portion of the service as the body was lowered into the grave.

DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE. A highly successful entertainment was given in the Board school  room, on Wednesday evening, and Thursday afternoon and evening last week to good audiences. The first part consisted a farce entitled “Domestic Economy,” the characters being as follows: Mrs. Grumly Miss Margaret Leir ; Mrs. Shackles, Miss Mildred Leir ; Mrs. Knaglty, Miss N. Leir; John Grumley, Mr. C. Bennett; Sergeant Tom Brown, Mr. Seginaud; Joey, Mr. H. Leir ; Peggy Jones, Mr. E. Leir. The piece was well put on, and went without hitch, the audience thoroughly enjoying the futile efforts of John Grumley to perform the duties of housewife. Miss M. Leir as Mary was particularly pleasing, Mr. Seginaud made a fine Sergeant, and the subordinate parts were well represented. A dialogue of most amusing nature followed, called “A Bit o’ Sly Coortin ” the characters being “Fanny,” Miss Dora Leir ;“John” Miss Mildred Leir. A Christmas charade was then given, in which Miss Mildred Leir appeared as Father Christmas ; Miss Dora Leir as Witch Miss Margaret Leir as Folly ; Miss Nellie Leir as Mrs. Snap ; Mr. E. Leir as Tom ; while the Cat found a good substitute in Master W. Hillard. The entertainment closed with a performance of “John Smith,” the characters being Lady Jones, sustained Miss Margaret Leir; Daisy, Miss Dora Leir; John Smith, Miss Mildred Leir. This was perhaps the best acted piece of well performed programme, the characters being thoroughly under-understood, and the representation natural. The stage arrangements were capitally carried out, the dresses were in good taste, and in some cases very picturesque. At the Thursday afternoon performance there was a fashionable audience, drawn from the surrounding neighbourhood, General Lord Roberts being among the number. The Sunday school children wore also invited, and at the close of the entertainment were treated to buns, oranges etc.

Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 21 December 1894


Concert. —A highly successful concert was given in the Board School Room, on Friday evening. The audience was small owing to the wretched weather. A capital programme had been arranged the several items of which were excellently rendered by members of the newly formed glee class. The part songs were well received one particularly “Sweet Marden Bell” by Spinney, a pretty composition with bell-like refrain, being loudly re-demanded. Miss Barber, Mrs. Johnston, and Miss Stone rendered their songs with great taste, and the fine voice of Mr. Look was heard to great advantage “The Skipper.” Miss Stone and Mr. Gifford was associated in the duet, “When the wind blows in,” and were loudly recalled, as were also Messrs. Vincent and Gifford for the duet “Excelsior.” The violin solos the Misses Leir and Miss P. Vincent were as usual given with great skill. Miss Vincent accompanied most of the songs, and Mr. G. T. Norris, conductor.

Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 12 November 1897


THE MILD WEATHER.—As showing the mildness of the season, there is in the garden of Mr. Hobbs, on the Wraxall road, a pear tree bearing second crop of pears. The fruit are very fine.

Wells Journal - Thursday 23 June 1898


OBSTRUCTION.— Edward Watts, fishmonger, Shepton Mallet, was summoned for obstructing Lower-lane, on June 11th, by leaving cart for 50 minutes thereon.— P.C. Mason said about seven o'clock p.m., on June 11, he was in Lower-lane, and saw cart outside John Watts' stables. He had received complaint regarding the obstruction from a person who had tried to pass and who, in attempting to do so, had damaged his own vehicle. —Defendant, who is the son of John Watts, the owner of the cart, was ordered to pay the costs.

Jn. Lambert, coal dealer, Stoke St. Michael, was summoned for a similar offence on June 8th.—Defendant did not appear.—P.C. Pullen said about a quarter to three in the afternoon June 8th, he was outside his station at Ditcheat, and saw defendant pull round the corner and stop opposite the Manor House Inn. Horse and trap were there till half-past 3, and during the last half-hour no one bad been near the cart. Witness entered the Inn and saw defendant, who said he had not had time to drink a glass of beer. He told him he should report him.—Fined 2s. 6d. and costs 6s., or in default 7 days' imprisonment.

Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 17 February 1899



William Lodge, of the Bell Inn, Shepton Mallei steam roller proprietor, was summoned for breach the Locomotives Act. P.C. Pullin, Ditcheat, said that January 23rd at 5.10 p.m. he was on duty the village of Ditcheat, where he saw steam roller belonging to Mr. Lodge being driven through the village. There were no lights. A little later received complaint from man driving by, who said he had had narrow escape of being thrown out. Sunset that night was at 4.32.

In reply to a question, witness said he reckoned sunset at Greenwich time. Mr. Mackay, magistrates’ clerk, said that it would not do, the local time of sunset must taken according to a recent decision, and asked the police bear that in mind in their prosecutions. It appeared that the time of lighting under the Locomotives Act was at sunset. The Bench imposed a fine of £1 and costs.

Warminster & Westbury journal, and Wilts County Advertiser - Saturday 18 February 1899



CHARGE OF CHILD ABANDONING. —At the Shepton Mallet Police Court, on Friday, charge somewhat unusual in its features was preferred against single woman named Julia Hawkins, aged thirty, of abandoning her ten weeks’ old child. The prisoner had been housekeeper to Mr. John Butt, farmer, of Stert, for six or seven years, and she alleged that he was the father of the child. Mr. Butt was son of Mr. Seward Butt, farmer, of Alhampton, Ditcheat, Somerset, and both father and son died recently, and within a very short time of each other. On the evening of the 31st January, and while the elder Butt was lying dead in his late residence at Alhampton, defendant left the child on a wire mat in the back kitchen, where it was found about 6.30 on the evening of the date named. The Butts sent for a woman to take care of the child, and informed the police, and the result was that prisoner was arrested the same evening at a coffee house in Shepton Mallet. Evidence was given of the finding the child, and proving that prisoner left it. This she did not deny, but pleaded that she had no home. She did not intend to hurt the child, but thought the Butts would take pity upon it. In a statement to the Bench, she said that Mr. Butt, sen., had promised to give her a certain sum of money. Mr. E. A. Nalder, who was present representing the executors, admitted that this was so, the sum being £l00, but prisoner wanted more, and Mr. John Seward Butt falling ill the matter was left in abeyance. There was no legal claim upon the relatives, but out of pity for the prisoner they were willing to place £100 in a bank, the prisoner to have the money at the rate of 3s. a week until it was exhausted if the child lived, but if the child died before the £100 was drawn, the balance to revert to the executors. The prisoner was released upon her own recognisances of £10 to come up for judgment if called upon within a period of six months.

London Evening Standard - Saturday 05 August 1899


From the " LONDON GAZETTE" of Friday, August 4.

WHITEHALL, AUGUST 3, 1899 — The Queen has been pleased, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, bearing date the 2d instant, to grant the dignity of a Baroness of the said United Kingdom unto Henrietta Anne Carleton (commonly called the Honourable Henrietta Anne Carleton) wife of Richard Langford Leir- Carleton, of Ditcheat, in the county of Somerset, Esquire, Major General (retired) of her Majesty's Forces, and elder of the two daughters and co-heirs of Guy Carleton, third Baron Dorchester, deceased, by the name, style, and title of Baroness Dorchester, of Dorchester, in the county of Oxford ; and at her decease the dignity of a Baron of the said United Kingdom, by the name, style, and title of Baron Dorchester, of Dorchester, in the county of Oxford, unto the heirs male of her body lawfully begotten.

Wells Journal - Thursday 11 October 1900



Before Col. E. B. Napier (in the chair), Col. Clerk, and Mr. F. Spencer.

ALLEGED CRUELTY TO A HORSE CASE DISMISSED. George Look, jnr . farmer, Ditcheat, summoned at the instance of Inspector Johnson, R.S.P.C.A., for cruelty to horse by working it in unfit state, on September 4th at Shepton Mallet.-The Inspector stated that saw the defendant driving grey gelding attached spring cart at Shepton. There were three others in the cart. He was going a very fast trot, and witness noticed that the animal was lame in the off hind leg. Defendant pulled up outside the Hare and Hounds hotel, and witness found that the animal was standing three legs. He drew the defendants attention to the fact, and he replied that the horse was simply suffering from spavin. Defendant further explained that the horse was bit lame at starting, but said that worked off after the animal had been on the road for little while. Witness then pointed out to the defendant that he had already driven six miles, and that the lameness had not worn off up to that time. When released from the shafts the horse could scarcely walk. There was doubt that the animal was in great pain. Witness examined the horse, and found that the lameness was caused by a bone spavin, and the hock was also very hot. Witness suggested that the defendant could call in veterinary surgeon, but this Look did not do. The defendant asked witness later in the day what to do about taking the horse home, and (witness) told him that he must not work it home. The defendant also said that he should not have driven the horse, only it was a very good animal on the road. -Defendant said the Inspector had told a deliberate lie with regard to the number in the trap. There was no one with him except his wife.—Sergeant Hector corroborated as to the horse’s lameness. When taken out of the trap the animal had great difficulty in walking to the stable. There were either three or four in the trap with the defendant. —Defendant was sworn, and in the coarse of his evidence said hw was driving his wife to Sbepton Mallet Show on the day in question. The horse started all right, and did the journey in very good time. It was a free goer, and came in at it. own pace. He denied that it went three legs or anything like it. The animal was six years old, and witness bad driven it frequently without complaint.—William Henry Corp, farmer, Sutton, .said he had seen the horse pass his house two or three times day, but had never noticed that it was lame. If anyone rode behind the horse they would think that they were behind good, bold, going animal. -Sidney Hutton, of Alhampton, said he drove in behind the defendant on the day in question. The defendants horse was going as well as a horse could go. Mrs. Look was the only other occupants of the trap. The Inspector, in reply to the Bench, said there were two sitting behind when the defendant reached the the town.—Defendant said was sure there were not two people riding behind. The Inspector: The Sergeant was there at the time.—Mr. Hutton said was positive that the defendant only had his wife in the trap. He drove near him to within 100 yards of Shepton, and no one got up at the back of the trap.—Sergt Hector said he believed there were three or four persons in the trap when his attention was drawn to the horse.-The Chairman : You saw one sitting behind.-Sergt. Hector said could not swear to that.-The Inspector interposing, said to the best of his belief there were three or four the trap. At all events he was confident it was the same horse. The Sergeant recalled, repeated that the horse was very lame when walking to the stable.-Inspector Johnson said should like the Bench to see the animal if it could be arranged. He pointed out that he gave the defendant opportunity calling in a veterinary surgeon.—The Bench in view of the conflicting evidence, decided to dismiss the case.

STRAY PIGS.—Stephen Golledge, farmer, Wraxall, Ditcheat, was summoned for allowing 15 pig» to stray on the Highway at Huxham, on September 27tb,—B.L. Broom spoke to finding the pigs on the highway, and as he could not find owner impounded them at Ash farm. The pigs were subsequently claimed by one of the defendant's employees.—The Chairman, in fining defendant 21s. inclusive, pointed out that he was liable to penalty of £5 a pig.

DISORDERLY CONDUCT. —William Reakes, of Evercreech, was summoned for disorderly conduct at Ditcheat, on Thursday, September 20th.—P.C. Pullen said the defendant bad a dispute with his master, because he considered Mr. Hatton had not paid him sufficient. Mr. Hutton bad previously turned Reakes out of the yard, and then the defendant behaved like a madman.—Sidney Hutton said the defendant was very abusive to the last witness, and also to himself.—The Bench inflicted a fine 5s. and costs.

Shepton Mallet Journal - Friday 20 October 1899



PRESENTATION.—On Friday evening last, Mr. G. T. Norris was presented with a handsome and comfortable lounge chair by the members of the Ditcheat Dramatic Society. Mr. Welch made the presentation in a neat speech, and in reply Mr. Norris said that he should set an exceptional value on the present, not only on account of the kindly spirit which prompted the givers, but because of the many pleasant associations the chair would recall. Whatever work he and his fellow members of the Dramatic Society bad undertaken, had always been for good causes.

WEDDING. —A very interesting and pretty wedding took place in the parish church on Wednesday afternoon, the contracting parties being Miss Florence Mary, youngest daughter of Mr. Thomas Gifford Vincent, of Wraxall, Ditcheat, and Frederick William, youngest son of Mr. Thomas Burston, of Moorland Court, Bridgwater. The bride was given away by her father, and Mr. E. Marshall acted as the bridegroom’s best man. The bridesmaids were Miss Mary Look, Miss Kate Longman, Miss Bessie Chave, and Miss Minnie Welch. The bride looked charming in a lovely satin duchesse trimmed with chiffon. She wore a neat gold necklace, ornamented with diamonds and sapphires in heart-shaped setting—the gift of the bridegroom. The rich veil was tastefully thrown back and was fastened by small sprays of orange-blossoms. One pair of bridesmaids were dressed in green with small white stripes, and the other pair wore pink with lace sashes. The picture hats of black velvet, with plumes and paste buckles, were much admired. They all wore brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom. The bouquets were particularly pleasing. The service, which was fully choral, was conducted by the Rev. C. E, Leir, and there was crowded congregation. The Psalm was taken to a chant by Sir J. Goss,and the hymns chosen were, “The voice that breathed o’er Eden,” and “0 perfect love.” After the ceremony the organist, Mr. G. Norris, played the Wedding March. Merry peals were rung on the bells at intervals through the day. During the afternoon the newly-married couple left for Clifton en route for Cornwall, where the honeymoon will be spent. There was an exceptionally large number of handsome and valuable presents.