More of Fontmell in the news


Life, death, Crime & punishment in the 19th & 20th Centuries


SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO A BOY (16th, September, 1866)

On Saturday, the 3rd inst., an accident of a serious nature happened at Piper’s Mill, Fontmell, to a boy named Thomas Steel (probably Still) of the same place. It appears that the boy’s brother was working in the mill, and having occasion to go into the dwelling house, left the boy outside in the yard. During his absence, the little fellow went into the mill-house and took hold of the end of the chair used for hoisting sack of flour, and fastened it to his foot. He then pulled the string by which the gear is thrown into work, when he immediately began to ascend, and not being able to throw the gear out again, he was drawn completely to the top of the mill-house, where the chain is wound. Finding he was near the roof , and afraid of striking his head, he bent down and his foot was drawn over the wheel, the chain tearing the boot away, and very much lacerating the upper part of his foot. Being thus injured, he cried out, and his brother returning to the mill heard him, and immediately stopped the gear, and ran up to the third floor, where he found the poor little fellow jammed to the roof. He immediately took him down, when it was found that medical assistance was necessary. Mr W.H.R. Bennett was soon in attendance, and found that the bones of the leg were very much shattered. Finding too that unfavourable symptoms were setting in, he thought the only way of saving the boy’s life was by amputating the injured portion of the leg, calling in the assistance of Dr. Swain and Mr Brine, the leg was taken off on Tuesday. The poor little fellow is doing as well as can be expected.

Note. Young Tom was about 11 years old at the time of the accident. It seems that he survived because he appears in the 1871 census, working as a shoemaker.

Pipers Mill

Pipers Mill


COURT LEET (1st, November, 1872)

The annual Court Leet was held here on Wednesday. After the business had been transacted, the tenants, with a large party of friends from Shaftesbury, repaired to the downs for a day’s coursing. There was good sport, and in the evening it was found that some 20 hares had been coursed. A very enjoyable day was wound up with a capital spread, given by Mr Bennett, of Fontmell Farm, who opened his house to all, and while he “Feasted the great, he ne’er forgot the small”. 


DESTRUCTIVE FIRE (6th, April, 1900)

On Monday evening a fire broke out on the premises of Mr G.W. Stanton, grocer, of this parish. It appears that the outbreak originated in or near the oil house, which is situated between the house and the Weslyan Chapel. In a few minutes the premises were in a blaze, and but for the prompt assistance of the neighbours, the buildings on either side would soon have shared the same fate. Meanwhile a messenger was despatched for the Iwerne Minster Fire Brigade. Thanks to the assistance of Messrs. Jenkins, Thornton, White, Lankey, Edwards, and many others the fire was overcome just as the Fire Brigade arrived. The affair was most unfortunate, as Mr R. Stanton was very unwell, and had to be removed to an adjoining house, where he remained in a precarious state all evening.


LECTURE ON THE (BOER) WAR  (6th, April, 1900)

On Tuesday the school-room was completely filled by a most attentive audience to listen to Sir Richard Glyn’s lecture, illustrated by lantern slides, on the war. A most comprehensive account was given of the character of the country, and illustrated by a map, followed by the manner in which it fell into the hands of the English. The character of the Boers and their treatment of the English and natives, he said, justified the action of the Government in pursuing the war to the end. Sir Richard Glyn has travelled over the country, and he announced that his guide was Joubert, the late General of the Boers, who he found to be a Gentleman. (Cheers). – At the conclusion of the lecture, which was often applauded, the Rev. F.W. Glyn, proposed a vote of thanks to Sir Richard. – This was seconded by Mr A. Sibeth, who announced that the proceeds would be devoted to the Dorset County Sufferers’ Fund, and added to the proceeds of the late jumble sale. – The takings at the door amounted to 30s.



Ernest White, a thatcher, and Henry Jenkins, a shepherd, of Fontmell Magna were summoned for an assault on P.C. George Andrews whilst he was in the execution of his duty. – Mr Douglas, of Sherborne, represented the prosecution, and Mr W.H. Creech, of Sturminster Newton, defended.
In stating the facts, Mr Douglas said, although the Police-Constable was not injured, he hoped the bench would mark their sense of the defendant’s conduct, and show that the police must not be intimidated in the execution of their duties. P.C. Andrews said he was stationed at Fontmell Magna. He had been 8 years in the police force. On May 24th he was on duty near the Crown Inn, Fontmell. He had received complaints of noises after the closing of the Inn. At 10 o’clock that evening, several young men left the Inn, and five or six commenced to shout and sing. Neither of the defendants shouted or sang. Witness allowed the men to shout and sing for a few minutes, but as they continued to do so, witness asked them to stop. He spoke to no individuals but to the company. White then came up to the witness, put his clenched fist close to witness’s face and, cursing him, said “You have no right interfering with these chaps when they come out of the pub, as they are allowed five minutes and more to clear out and do as they like”. Witness replied “Look here Mr White, I have my duty to perform, and in doing it I care a snap for no man”. Defendant again put up his fists in a fighting attitude, saying, with an oath, “I’ll beat your brains out, and throw you in the river if you ever interfere with these chaps again. If it wasn’t for that little thing in front of your hat, I’d do it now”. Jenkins was standing close by, and did not say much while White was speaking. After White had finished talking, Jenkins slapped his hand on the complainant’s shoulder and gave him several backward and forward shakes, saying “I’m your man any day”. Witness replied “I’m not here to fight, but to do my duty”. He answered “Why don’t you do it like the man did before you, then you’ll get on with us chaps all right. If you upset one of us chaps, you upset the lot. The best thing you can do is go home out of sight, for if you don’t, I’ll smash your brains, and you’ll find yourself in the river”. He continued in a fighting attitude, and used threats to complainant. Both defendants were under the influence of liquor, but were not drunk. – Cross-examined, witness had been stationed at Fontmell Magna for about six months. The company numbered about 17. It had been usual on May 24th to celebrate Fontmell Club, but this year the date was altered. Witness did not know if it had been the habit to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in Fontmell. The composition sung by the men was “Nelly Bly”. The noise made could have been heard for a mile. Witness thought that White and Jenkins might carry out their threat to throw him in the river.
Alphonso Holloway, a police pensioner, lately stationed at Fontmell Magna, said he remembered the evening of May 24th. Just before 10 o’clock he was at the Rectory, which was a little distance from the Crown Inn. Whilst there he heard some singing in the village, several voices rendering a well known song. Witness went down the road, and heard a disturbance near the Crown Inn. Someone was in a rage, and shouted and swore. Witness went to the spot and saw White having an altercation with P.C. Andrews. White said to Andrews “You’re no man, and if you’ll take that clothes off, I’ll very soon show you what you are. I’d give you a hiding and chuck you in the river”. Jenkins paced up and down and said “I’ve a very good mind to go and put it into him (the Constable)”. Witness understood “it” to mean his fist. Witness advised Jenkins to govern his temper and think better of it. The Constable, in witness’s hearing, said nothing to the defendants beyond “Yes” or “No”. He did not seem in a temper, and walked away quietly. – Cross examined: Witness was stationed at Fontmell for two years, and during that time he had no trouble with the defendants. He was not present at the beginning of the disturbance. He did not know that the defendants merely “baited” the constable, as he was new to the village. He could not say there was a custom of “baiting” the police. – The Chairman: I don’t think it is a custom which will lend itself to the magistrates.

The Crown Inn

The Crown Inn

This was the case for the prosecution.
Mr Creech, in stating the defence, said if the constable had used a little more discretion, there would have been no disturbance. The defendants were keeping up the old Club-day at the Inn, and they made a little noise by singing when they came outside, but in that there was no harm. If the constable had not interfered, the men would have quickly dispersed. His evidence would show that no assault was committed. He hoped the bench would consider justice was done by the defendants being cautioned as to their future behaviour.
Tom Gray, a youth, of Compton Abbas, said he was at the Inn and formed one of a party of 20 or 30. The musical section of the party, on leaving the house, commenced to sing “Nelly Bly”. The constable came up and said “You’d better get on home; you’ve had enough of that tonight”. White said “Give us time to get out of the house”. The policemen went towards Jenkins, and, snapping his finger, said he did not care for any man there, or in Fontmell. Jenkins replied “Instead of being a peace-maker, you seem to be a peace-breaker”. The party shortly afterwards dispersed home. Jenkins did not threaten the constable, neither did White. They also did not put themselves in a fighting attitude. They made no effort to strike the constable. No angry words passed between defendants and the police-constable. Cross examined: Witness had a pint of beer only in the house. They did not start singing until they were leaving the house. The singing could scarcely have been heard at the end of the road. He heard White tell the policeman if he was in some places he would have been thrown in the river. – The Chairman: I cannot see how you can reconcile your statements as to “No angry words” passing and White telling the constable in some places he would be thrown into the river.
Stephen Rideout, a carrier’s man, of Fontmell said no-one attempted to strike the constable. He supposed it was defendant’s meaning to throw the constable into the river.
George Bradley, a labourer, of Bedchester, said he heard the constable say he did not care for a man in Fontmell. The remark as to throwing the constable in the river, was not angrily said. The singers did not make much noise.
Charles Toomer said they were not outside the house a minute before the constable ordered them on. He did not see Jenkins take the constable by the shoulder.
Alfred Lane and Edwin Toomer also gave evidence.
Although the evidence of the above witnesses varied somewhat, they all alleged the constable snapped his fingers and said he did not care for any man in Fontmell.
The Bench considered the case proved and the Chairman said the police were not to be interfered with in the course of their duty. The defendants would have to pay £2 0s 9d each, including solicitor’s fees and costs.


DEATH OF THE QUEEN (1st, February, 1901)

On Sunday special services and references were made by the Rev. J.H. Lonsdale on this sad event. The Church was draped in mourning and muffled peals were rung. In the evening the “Dead March” in Saul was played by the organist, followed by “God Save the King”, in which every member of the congregation joined. As the congregation left, the bells rang out another muffled peal. On Saturday the bells will be full muffled, the tenor only being left open, on the occasion of the funeral.


ILLNESS OF LIEUT. R.F. GLYN (10th, May, 1901)

Since the announcement in the casualty list of the illness of Lieutenant Glyn, 1st Royal Dragoons, of enteric fever, the greatest anxiety has been expressed for his welfare. From the War Office returns, dated May 4th, it appears that Lieutenant Glyn is progressing favourably, and the Medical Officer expects that he will soon be out of danger.


A WELCOME HOME (23rd, August, 1901)

On the arrival of Sir Richard and Lady Glyn and Lieutenant Glyn at Fontmell Magna last week, a neat archway was erected over the gateway of Cross House, bearing the motto “Welcome Home”, which was the heartfelt feeling of all the parishioners. In the evening a merry peal of welcome was rung by the ringers of the Parish Church in honour of the event. Flags were flying on the church tower, at the school, and at several houses in West Street.
On Wednesday week Sir Richard and Lady Glyn entertained the farmers and cottagers on his estate at Compton Abbas to celebrate the return of their only son from the seat of war in South Africa. Mr Glyn is a Lieutenant in the 1st Royal Dragoons, which regiment was one of the first drafts of soldiers that left this country when the war broke out. Under General Buller, Mr Glyn saw some very severe fighting, and was mentioned in that General’s despatches for distinguished services. Being the only son of Sir Richard and Lady Glyn, his career at the front was watched with the greatest interest, and when it became known that he was dangerously ill with enteric fever, a gloom was cast over the whole estate, and prayers were offered in all the churches for his for his recovery. When he returned to England about a month ago, although still very weak and ill, the hearts of everyone were jubilant. It was the feeling of the tenants that a right royal reception should be accorded to him on Wednesday week, but as it was Sir Richard Glyn’s wish, owing to the war still lingering on that this should not be so, the villagers on their own behalf, erected a few decorative arches at the Post Office, one by Messrs, Burridge, Baker, Gray and the Misses Horder, and nearly opposite the school entrance, was a fine arch bearing the motto “Welcome Home”, erected by Messrs Stone, Goldie, and assistants, and another at the entrance of the fete field by Messrs Tapper and Martin. The tenants assembled at four p.m. and took the opportunity of giving the brave young soldier a reception which will be remembered in the hearts of all.
On the arrival of Sir Richard and Lady Glyn, Lieutenant Glyn, Mr & Mrs R. Paget, Mr G.C. Day, and others, Mr David Hunt said that he had been asked to propose the health of Lieutenant Glyn and tell him how delighted they were to see him back again amongst them safe and sound. (Cheers) The reception was rather quieter than they would have wished, but that was not their fault. (Cheers) He could well remember the day when the news arrived of the birth of a son and heir of Sir Richard Glyn. At that time he (Mr Hunt) was a member of the Dorset Yeomanry, of the Dorset Troop, and Sir Richard was their Captain. They were out training at Lodmoor when a telegram arrived, and, to their surprise, Lieutenant Bond was left in command. They thought that something strange had happened to call their Captain away, but when they learned that a son and heir was born, they were delighted, and there was great rejoicing. (Cheers) He had lived long enough to see that son grow up to manhood, and go forth as a soldier into a far distant land and fight his country’s battles. (Cheers) There was no doubt he had to endure many hardships, and when they considered how many gallant men had lost their lives, they ought indeed to rejoice to see Lieutenant Glyn back looking so strong and well. (Hear, hear) He then called for three hearty cheers.
Lieutenant Glyn thanked Mr Hunt most heartily for the kind words he had said of him, and for all present for the exceedingly kind way they had received him. He was very glad to come back home again – (Cheers) – for after all England was not a bad place to live in, even if it rained at times. (Laughter and cheers).
Sir Richard Glyn, who spoke with great feeling, said he was glad to see so many present to welcome his son home. It was a day of great pleasure to himself and Lady Glyn, and he was sure it was to them. (Hear, hear) His son was one of those who had gone out and done their best to uphold the honour of England. (Cheers) There were, he believed, two or three present who had done the same thing, and he was sure it would be a source of great gratification to them all through their lives that they had been able to assist the old country. (Loud cheers) What they had done would stand the mark of time, and would be handed down to posterity as one of the greatest events in the history of the British Empire. (Hear, hear) This war in South Africa would stand out in the annals of all wars in that it had united us with all our dependencies heart and soul. (Loud cheers) Although this country had suffered terribly in loss of life and money, yet he firmly believed it would be for the good of the country.  (Cheers) He must thank them again for himself and for Lady Glyn for the very kind way they had received his son. (Cheers).
Tea was now in readiness and the company dispersed to the two tents arranged for that purpose.
Mr Champion; Crown Hotel, Blandford, catered for the Fontmell Magna tenants, and Mr Borley, of the Grosvenor Hotel, Shaftesbury, for those from Cann, Melbury Abbas and Compton Abbas. As Sir Richard and Lady Glyn had issued invitations for men of the services in the neighbourhood, the following accepted the invitation, they having just returned from the front. – Private Hopkins, 2nd Dorset; Driver Short, R.H.A.; Private Clark, and T.G. Simpson, chief boatswain on recruiting service. These received a cordial welcome from Sir Richard Glyn. The wants of all were well looked after by the committee of each tent, viz., Messrs Barnes, Baker and Genge in the Fontmell tent; Messrs Hunt and Brickell, for Cann; Messrs C. Brickell and Pickford, for Melbury Abbas; Messrs Tapper, Witt and Goldie, for Compton Abbas. Owing to very heavy rain, which fell in copious showers all the day, the pefect arrangements made by Mr G.C. Day were so far disarranged. A huge platform had been erected with great care in the centre of the field on which Mr Silvestor, of London, had brought a troupe of artistes to provide entertainment for the large company invited, but, owing to the heavy rain, this had to be abandoned and the entertainment took place in the tent. The Shaftesbury Town Band, under Mr Inkpen, performed a selection of music. After the Fontmell tent had been cleared, an interesting event took place. In May last, Sir Richard Glyn offered prizes for the best kept gardens in the parishes of Cann, Melbury, Compton, Fontmell and part of East Orchard. These gardens were placed in two classes, viz., artisan and labourer. The gardens were carefully judged by Mr Trevetick, head gardener of Gaunt’s House, Wimborne, and the result was as follows:- Fontmell Magna – Artisan Class – 1st, H. Penn, 2nd, C. Miles; h.c., F. Merrifield, W. Coombs and A. Curtis. Labourer – 1st, H. Tuffin, 2nd, Thomas Beck. h.c., William Gray and C. Toomes. Compton Abbas – Artisan – 1st, Lot Burridge. – Labourer – 1st, H. Rideout; 2nd, W. Gray. Cann. – Labourer – 1st, J. Mayo; 2nd, F.W. Mayo. Melbury Abbas. – Artisan – 1st, G. Hacker. Labourer. – 1st, James Lane. Champion prize of £2 for the best kept garden was awarded to Henry Rideout, of Twyford, whose garden the judge said was a model one, and an honour to its owner.
Sir Richard Glyn, on giving the prizes, said a well kept garden was a sign of prosperity. He must confess that he felt a little disappointed that more did not go in for the exhibition, as in two cases, the exhibits were walkovers. He wished it to be understood that the winner of the first prize this year would not be allowed to carry off the prize next year. He hoped they would have a keener competition next year. (Cheers).
Mr Hunt proposed a vote of thanks to Sir Richard Glyn, which was carried amongst cheers.
Great praise is due to Mr G.C. Day and his assistants, Messrs Mackenzie and Chipp, for the admirable way in which everything had been arranged.


OPENING OF THE NEW READING ROOM (29th, November, 1901)

On Monday evening the new Reading Room was opened by Sir Richard Glyn, who had most kindly provided the room and fittings. Lady Glyn was also present, and took a great interest in the games afterwards played. The President said he was glad that so many were present, and he hoped the institution would prove a boon to the village. 28 members were admitted on the first night.

Reading Room

Reading Room



A biplane passed over the village on Tuesday evening about 7 p.m. flying in the direction of Bournemouth. Its passage was witnessed by a great many inhabitants of the neighbourhood.


A GRATIFYING RESPONSE (11th, September, 1914)

About 20 young men from this village have responded to Lord Kitchener’s call to arms, and it is hoped others will follow their example. Mr Day, estate agent, issued a circular to the farmers and tenants on the Fontmell Magna estate, asking for any apples or plums they might have to dispose of for the troops, and a most liberal response was made. The following is a list of the men from this parish serving their King and country:- Messrs. R.F. Glyn, H.O. Springfield, G. Winder, F. Tinney, W. Lawrence, G. Jesse, P. Hillier, B. Hiscott, R. Merrifield, V. Merrifield, S. Edwards, H. Harding, A. Miles, W. Toomer, F. Whittle, C. Stone, F. Ford, C. Reeves, S. Mowlem and A. Still.  



William Ridout, thatcher of Fontmell Magna, was summoned for unlawfully disturbing the Rev. C.P. Edmunds, of the same place, while he was celebrating Divine Service. – Mr W.H. Creech appeared for the prosecution, and defendant did not appear. – Mr Creech, in outlining the evidence, said the Rector and churchwardens felt great reluctance in prosecuting, but under the circumstances they felt they had no alternative but to ask the bench to give a decision which would protect the Church from disturbances in the future. – In the course of the evidence, the Rev. C.P. Edmunds said the defendant had been a member of the congregation during the whole of the time he had been Rector, and until about three years ago there had been no cause for complaint against him, but since then there had been. He had spoken to the defendant from time to time about his conduct in church, and on the last occasion he expressed his intention of amusing the people. Witness proceeded to describe various interruptions by the defendant, and it appeared that he shouted in the Psalms and Hymns, and at the end he would prolong the “Amen” finishing up with a sharp shout. At the period of silent prayer before the sermon, the defendant had on occasion made a sound with his mouth resembling the noise made by a cork being drawn from a bottle, causing much laughter among the congregation. A member of the choir had left in consequence of the annoyance, and other people would not attend the church when they knew the defendant was there. – In reply to the Bench as to the defendant’s soundness of mind, the witness said he thought he must be on the borderland. Defendant was a young man of about 30 years. – Thomas Moody of Fontmell Magna gave corroborative evidence, and also offered a description of the various peculiar noises made by the defendant during the services. He said these offences greatly disturbed the congregation, especially the young people, and he could hear giggling in all parts of the church. – The Bench were of the opinion that it was a very serious offence, and that it had been going on for some time. Defendant had not taken the trouble to attend, and he would be sentenced to one month’s imprisonment without the option of a fine.    

No sign of William in the 1911 census, but in 1901, he is living as a boarder in the house of Robert Lawrence, a 65 year old farm labourer of 59, Church Street. It appears that his 50 year old Mother, Christiana, is employed as Robert Lawrence’s housekeeper. William is 17 years old and his occupation a thatcher. He was born in Sturminster Newton. 

St Andrew's Church

St Andrew’s Church, Fontmell Magna


BELGIAN REFUGEES (13th, November, 1914)

A parish meeting, which was organised by Mr & Mrs Day of Woodbridge House, was held in the village school-room on Thursday evening, when there was a representative attendance of parishioners. The Rev. P.C. Edmunds presided, supported by Mr Day. – The Chairman said that feeling in the parish was that they were not doing their fair share towards assisting the Belgian refugees, and in order to see what they as a parish were prepared to do, they had met there that night to fully discuss the matter. The rev. gentleman stated that Sir Richard Glyn had generously promised a cottage rent free and partly furnished, to entertain a family of Belgian refugees. Mr Day gave full particulars of the scheme he had in view, and read letters from ladies and gentlemen in the neighbourhood, promising their support. He then dwelt on the possible length of the war, and suggested that such subscriptions as might be promised should be paid on the first day of every month. This suggestion was accorded enthusiastic support and carried unanimously. The parishioners at the meeting were asked what they could give voluntarily a month, and the sum of £3 6s was promised monthly. This works out at 16s 6d weekly for one family. A committee was formed to carry out the necessary arrangements as follows:- Mrs G.C. Day, Woodbridge House; Mrs R. Barns, Twyford; Mrs W. Goldie, Compton Abbas; Messrs. S.M. Kent, J.W. Baker, J. Stone, Fontmell; H. Alford, Compton Abbas; R. Barns, Twyford; A. Roberts, East Orchard; and C. Trowbridge, Sutton Waldron. The committee will be pleased to receive any gifts of wearing apparel or surplus vegetables.


A HERO’S DEATH (11th, December, 1914)

On the outbreak of war Frederick Rideout rejoined the 1st Dorsets, and eventually went to the front. On Monday his parents received the distressing news that he had been killed. He was a general favourite in this parish, and the greatest sympathy is felt for his parents.


APPEAL TO YOUNG MEN (11th, December, 1914)

A recruiting meeting, under the auspices of the North Dorset Liberal and Unionist recruiting committee, was held in the village school-room on Wednesday evening last week. The attendance was not so large as was expected due to the inclement weather. The chair was taken by the Rector (Rev. C.P. Edmunds), who said there were already between 20 and 30 young men who had responded to Lord Kitchener’s call to arms, which was good according to the population of this village. He hoped there would be more to follow their comrades. ……….


FOR KING AND COUNTRY (10th, March, 1916)

The sad news reached this village a few days ago of the death from wounds in France, of Gunner J. Lemon, of the R.G.A. He was much respected in this parish, and great sympathy is expressed for his widow and two children in their sad bereavement.
Mr A. Bradley has been notified that his son, Private B. Bradley, has been killed in action in France. Bert, some months ago, joined the Middlesex Regiment, and after training proceeded to the front, where he met his death at the early age of 21 years. He had many friends in the parish and was much respected for his genial disposition.
The deepest sympathies are extended to his parents in their sudden bereavement. This makes the fourth gallant hero from this parish who have yielded up their lives in the great and terrible war.


WOUNDED IN ACTION (17th, March, 1916)

Intelligence has been received by his parents, that Eddie Still, of the Dorset Yeomanry, has been wounded, but the nature of his wounds were not disclosed. We trust they are not serious. Much sympathy is expressed for his parents in their anxiety. Eddie had many friends in the parish, and was much beloved.


A SOLDIER’S WEDDING (17th, March, 1916)

The marriage of Miss Pattie Chick, second daughter of Mr. Thomas Chick, and Private Thomas Stone, second son of Mr. John Stone of this parish, was solemnised on Friday at St.Andrew’s Church by the Rector, the (Rev. C.P. Edmunds). The bride was given away by her father, and attended by two bridesmaids. The “Best Man” was Mr. John Stone. After the service a reception was held at the residence of the Bride’s parents with a few near relatives, after which the happy pair left for Parkstone, where the honeymoon is being spent. They were the recipients of many numerous and useful presents.


PRIVATE FRED COOMBS (26th, May, 1916)

Private Fred Coombs of Fontmell Magna has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.


DORSET TRIBUNAL (7th, July, 1916)

Military & Conditional exemptions

The Dorset County Appeal Tribunal sat at the Police-court, Sherborne, on Friday, to decide on a number of cases from Sherborne and North Dorset. ………
FONTMELL MAGNA BAILIFF EXEMPTED – Harold B. Jesse (24), of Fontmell Magna, managing Farm Bailiff for his widowed mother, appealed, Mr A.W. H. Creech of Sturminster Newton, also appearing for appellant. – Conditional exemption was granted so long as appellant remained in his current employment.   



Notification has been received by Mr & Mrs J. Stone, that their son Charles has been killed by shrapnel in France. Private Charles Stone joined the Somerset Light Infantry some time after the outbreak of war, and was much respected for his quiet and genial disposition. His parents have two other sons serving at the front.
Mr & Mrs H. Merrifield of Sutton Road, have received official intimation from the War Office that enquiries have led to the conclusion that their son, Lance Corpl. Victor Merrifield, was killed at the Dardanelles. Much sympathy goes out to Mr & Mrs Merrifield, who have three other sons serving in His Majesty’s forces. This makes the sixth soldier from this village who has given his life for his King and country.
The inhabitants of this parish were pleased to welcome home leave, Trooper Eddy Still, who was severely injured in the arm in the grand charge of the Dorset Yeomanry at Agagia, near Barrani, Western Egypt, on February 26th. He has many friends in the village, being a well-known athlete, and all wish him a speedy recovery.


LIEUT. SPRINGFIELD KILLED (18th, August, 1916)

Much regret was expressed in the village on Saturday, when the sad intelligence was announced of the death of Lieut. H.O. Springfield of the Warwickshire Yeomanry, who was killed in action on August, 5th, in the glorious charge against the Turks at Katia, in Egypt. The deceased was co-proprietor of the Somerset of the Somerset and Dorset Milk Factory at Springhead, in this parish, where he was much esteemed by the whole staff which he employed. He was a keen athlete, and a bold and fearless rider to hounds, and was well known in Lord Portman’s Hunt. He was also a well-known rider at the different point-to-point races in the county. His loss will be keenly felt at Fontmell, where he was ready to help any good cause for the welfare of the parish, and was exceedingly popular, and there will be many to mourn his loss. The bells of St.Andrew’s Church was muffled on Sunday evening in token of respect for the deceased officer.


LANCE CORPORAL B. JENKINS (1st, September, 1916)

L/C B. Jenkins

Lance Corporal B. Jenkins (Photo) of the Dorset Regiment, the son ofMr & Mrs H. Jenkins, was killed in action in France on July 2nd. The deceased hero was only 18 years old. He had been through the Dardanelles campaign, where he was wounded. After leaving a London hospital he came home on leave for a short time, and was then sent to France, where he gave his life for King and country. He was formerly employed by the Dorset and Somerset Milk Factory at Springhead, and his death has caused deep regret.   



Private F.G. Frampton

Mr and Mrs Thomas Frampton have received notification that their eldest son, Private F.G. Frampton (Photo) of the Wiltshire Regiment, has been killed in action at the Persian Gulf on April 5th last. This makes the seventh hero from this village that has yielded up his life in this great and terrible war, and much sympathy is expressed throughout the neighbourhood for the sorrowing relatives of these heroes who have fallen whilst fighting for England’s honour.

LOCAL WAR CASUALTIES (20th, October, 1916)

Mr & Mrs C. Toomer have received information that their eldest son, Corporal William Toomer, of the 5th Dorset Regiment, has been wounded in action at the front, but to what extent is not stated.
The tolling of the minute bell at St.Andrew’s Church on Saturday morning, announced the death of another of our brave lads in France, viz., Private James Hatcher of the Dorset Regiment. This makes the eighth hero from this village who has yielded up his life in this great and terrible war, and much sympathy is expressed throughout the neighbourhood for the sorrowing relatives of these heroes who have fallen whilst fighting for England’s honour.


WINNER OF THE MILITARY MEDAL (12th, January, 1917)

Private Fred Coombs, D.C.M., Royal Marine Light Infantry, son of Mrs Coombs, Fontmell Magna, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallant conduct in the field. This brave hero is now in hospital suffering from wounds received in action. A few months ago he won the D.C.M. for conspicuous bravery for rescuing an officer wounded, who was being carried away by the Turks. His many friends in Fontmell Magna warmly congratulated him on the distinctions he has won, and hope for his speedy recovery.


SERGEANT S. SHUTE KILLED (26th, January, 1917)

Mr & Mrs H. Shute have received notification that their second son, Sergeant Sidney Shute, of the Dorset Regiment, has been killed in action at the front. The gallant soldier was only 18 years of age, and had attained the rank of Sergeant for good conduct and devotion to duty. He was much esteemed in the village, being of a genial disposition, and was a great favourite of all who knew him. He will be greatly missed by his friends. – On Sunday afternoon, at St.Andrew’s Church, the bells were muffled, and the “Dead March” was played at the close of the evening service. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved family.



The tolling of the knell on Friday announced the death of Mr H. Gladdis, of the School House, a respected resident, who was beloved by all. He was for 33 years, the respected school-master of this parish, and had done valued work in the training of the young. He was organist at St.Andrew’s Church the same number of years, and was ever ready to do his share in any good object for

The Gladdis family

Harry Gladdis and family

the welfare of the parish. In politics he was a staunch conservative. An enthusiastic worker and a man of sound judgement, he found many channels for carrying on very useful labour, and he will be greatly missed in many directions, especially in church matters, in which he took a deep interest. – The funeral took place on Monday at St.Andrew’s church, amid general signs of mourning, which testified to the great esteem in which the deceased gentleman was held. The officiating clergyman was the Rector (Rev. C.P. Edmunds), who conducted the service. The church choir was present, and sang suitable funeral hymns. The church bells were muffled and rung at intervals during the evening. The principal mourners were Mrs Gladdis (widow), Mr H. Gladdis (son), Mrs Brisco (daughter), Miss Gladdis (daughter), and Miss J. Gladdis (daughter). A large number of friends were present to show their last token of respect and sympathy. The breast plate bore the following inscription:- “Harry Gladdis, died May 11th, 1917, aged 61 years”. A number of beautiful wreaths were sent by many sorrowing friends. The bearers were Messrs. F. Lankey, T. Lawrence, H. Merrifield, and J. Lock.


A MILITARY FUNERAL (18th, May, 1917)

The funeral took place on Monday afternoon, of Corporal C. Reeves of the A.S.C., who met with a fatal accident on the railway in the Midland Counties last week. Deceased was brought home to Fontmell on Saturday last. Corporal Reeves had seen a good deal of active service, and was wounded severely in the head some months ago. He was invalided home from the front, and after his convalescence was sent on home duty, where he met his end, as stated above. ……. The funeral took place at St.Andrew’s Church, with full military honours. …….. The firing party and bearers came from Blandford Camp to attend the funeral. Three volleys was fired over the grave, and the bugle sounded “The Last Post”. Seldom has there been such a funeral in this parish, a large congregation attending the church. The deceased was only 28 years of age………..


DEATH OF SERGT. BARNES (10th, August, 1917)

The sad intelligence was received on Sunday morning by Mr & Mrs J. Barns that their only son, Sergt. Percy Barns, had died of wounds received in France. The deceased soldier, who was 25 years of age and unmarried, was of an exceptionally bright disposition. His knowledge of military life and soldierly qualities led to his promotion as Sergeant. Great sympathy is felt for the family in their sorrow. – At Sunday evening’s service at St.Andrew’s Church the Rector, in a few chosen words, referred to his death, and at the close the “Dead March” in “Saul” was played. Fifteen Fontmell men have now given up their lives for their King and country in the war.


THE GREAT SACRIFICE (31st, August, 1917)

On Friday the sad intelligence was received by Mr & Mrs John Stone, of the Estate Yard, that their eldest son, Gunner Thomas Stone, R.G.A., has died of wounds received in action in France. Deceased was a general favourite with his comrades, who have sent letters of condolence to his parents in their sad loss, and stating that their son was an efficient soldier, who always did his duty, and was much beloved. Gunner Stone was married a twelve-month ago last March. He was afterwards sent to France, and has experienced a good deal of fighting. He was expected home on leave a short time ago. He leaves a young widow in this parish to mourn her loss. The deepest sympathy is felt for her and his parents in their sad bereavement. Mr & Mrs Stone have lost one son before in this war, and their only son left is now serving in Mesopotamia. At St.Andrew’s Church, on Sunday evening, the Rector (the Rev. C.P. Edmunds), in a few well chosen words, referred to this gallant soldier’s death, and at the close the “Dead March” in “Saul” was played. War has made a heavy toll on the young men of Fontmell, the number killed since the outbreak of hostilities now reaches 16.


HOME ON LEAVE (19th, October, 1917)

Private S. Mowlem, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, and Gunner B. Hiscox, R.G.A., have arrived home from the front for 10 days’ leave after 18 months at the battle front, during which time they have been through trying experiences. Both look well, and have so far escaped injury.  


THE GREAT SACRIFICE (7th, December, 1917)

On Sunday the intelligence received by Mr & Mrs R. Mowlem, that their youngest son, Private W. Mowlem, Duke of Cornwall’s L.I., had died of wounds received in France on October, 30th. Deceased was only 21 years of age, and was a general favourite with his comrades, who have sent letters of condolence to his parents in their loss, and stating that their son was an efficient soldier, who always did his duty. In this parish he was much beloved by one and all for his cherry and genial disposition. Mr & Mrs Mowlem have already lost one son-in-law in the war, and have two other sons in the fighting line. The deepest sympathy is felt for the parents in their sad bereavement. At St.Andrew’s Church on Sunday evening the Rev. Guy, in some well chosen words, referred to this gallant soldier’s death, and at the close the “Dead March” in Saul was played. War has made a heavy toll of the young men of Fontmell, the number killed since the outbreak of hostilities now making 17.


WOUNDED IN ACTION (5th, April, 1918)

Mr & Mrs T. Lawrence have been officially notified from the War Office, that their son, Private F.C. Lawrence, Royal Fusiliers, has been wounded. Much sympathy is felt for the parents, who have previously lost a son in the fighting line.


LOCAL WAR CASALTIES (3rd, May, 1918)

Mr & Mrs R. Mowlem have been informed by the War Office that their third son, Private Sidney Harold Mowlem, Oxford and Bucks L.I., was reported missing on March 21st, 1918. Much sympathy is expressed for the parents in their anxiety. Only a short time ago they lost a son and a son-in-law in France, and have another son and son-in-law in the fighting line.
Mr & Mrs Alfred Haskett have been notified by the War Office that their second son, Private Harry Haskett, Royal Berks Regiment, has been wounded in France, and is now in hospital.



Whenever anything is undertaken in Fontmell for a worthy object, there is always to be found a generous response. The War Savings Association, which was started at the end of last year, continues to flourish. Well over £200 has already been subscribed, and the number of members is 74. Miss Gladdis, the Hon. Secretary, has materially assisted in arriving at this satisfactory result, having ungrudgingly given her time and energies in collecting the money and keeping the accounts, assisted by Mrs Glyn, of the Cross House, Hon. Treasurer, who devotes a great deal of her time in helping the Association.


FONTMELL’S ROLL OF HONOUR (19th, July, 1918)

The call to older men has claimed two more well-known personages in this village, namely, Mr Harry Hiscock, over 20 years groom to Mr G.C. Day, Woodbridge House, and Mr George White, Landlord of the Crown, who left last week to join the colours. The Parish Roll of Honour of men who have served or are serving in H.M. Forces contains up to the present time well over 60 recruits. Of these, 18 have laid down their lives, one is a prisoner of war in Germany, and one is reported missing. 


ARMISTICE REJOICING (22nd, November, 1918)

News was received here about twelve o’clock that the Armistice had been signed. Many flags soon appeared throughout the village and on the Church tower. The bells were rung at intervals during the day. A special thanksgiving service was held in St.Andrew’s Church on Monday evening. The service was conducted by the Rector (the Rev. C.P. Edmunds). The service was continued on Sunday evening.


PRISONER OF WAR’S RETURN (6th, December, 1918)

Private S. Mowlem, Oxford & Bucks L.I., the third son of Mr & Mrs R. Mowlem, was welcomed home to Fontmell on Saturday. He has seen four years service in H.M. Forces, and has experienced a great deal of fighting in France. Private Mowlen was captured by the Germans at St.Quentin on March 21st last, and has been badly treated while a prisoner by the Huns.


WAR MEMORIAL (6th, December, 1918)

A meeting was held in Fontmell School on Tuesday evening to discuss what memorial should be erected in memory of Fontmell men who have been killed in the war. Captain Sir Richard F. Glyn, D.S.O., was chairman, and he asked for several suggestions as to what kind of memorial would be most suitable, and the best place to erect it in the village. It was unanimously agreed that a marble cross, with the names of those from the parish that have fallen in this great war, should be erected by the Maypole. A committee was formed to carry out the preliminary arrangements.

The War Memorial

The War Memorial, Fontmell Magna


AUTOMATIC TELEPHONES (16th, December, 1938)

The change over from the manual telephone exchange to the new automatic exchange at Fontmell Magna took place at 1.30 p.m. on Monday. The subscribers are now able to dial direct to other Fontmell Magna numbers without the aid of an operator.



It was reported that attention had been drawn by Mrs A.J. Fanner of Compton Abbas, to the danger of the young children of Compton Abbas in walking to and from Fontmell Magna school along the main road without any older children to look after them, all the older children having been transferred to Shaftesbury Council senior school. Mrs Fanner enquired if there was any chance of Compton Abbas school being reopened. From particulars received from the attendance officer, it appeared that there were 11 children attending Fontmell Magna school, from the parish of Compton Abbas, their ages varying from 6 to 11 years, and the distances from Fontmell Magna school varying from 1.25 to 2 miles. There were also 8 children under 5 years of age, some of whom would shortly reach the age for school attendance.
The school management sub-committee recommended that Compton Abbas C. of  E. school be reopened as a junior school, subject to the managers being prepared to do this and to the approval of the board of education.
Mr F.C. James feared that if this should be done a wide door would be opened. Was the committee going to establish a principle that schools should be opened because roads were dangerous? He asked, if so, there were many cases more urgent than this one.
On the motion of Mr C.R. Stride It was decided that Compton Abbas School should not be reopened.


REMOVAL OF FLAXWORKS? (19th, May, 1939).

Zoning question.

There was full attendance at the meeting of the Parish Council on Thursday, when the principal item on the agenda was to receive a report from the two representatives of the council who had been nominated to meet the North Dorset joint planning committee, to discuss the alleged nuisance caused by the machinery at the Flax works at Fontmell Magna and also certain zoning of the land in the village.
Mr E.J. Barrett made a report on the first of these matters, and said they had been informed that the thoroughfare in which the Flax works operated was zoned as residential and permission should have been asked before work started. The official concerned said the matter was one that required attention and that he would make enquiries.

Effect on employment.

During the discussion that followed Mr H.J. Marshall (hon. clerk) said he had been informed on reliable authority that the works were shortly removing to another part of the county and the matter would therefore die a natural death……….
……. Eventually it was decided that a letter be sent to the Joint Planning Committee expressing thanks for their courteous reception of the delegation and expressing the hope that the alleged nuisance would soon be abated……….
………. Other items dealt with by the council included the ownership and condition of the ‘Gossip’ tree; a dangerous gap left by workmen in the hedge at Hartgrove; and an unsightly and possibly injurious refuse dump at Bedchester crossroads.



Undergraduates at Fontmell Magna

The Land Service Camp at Springhead, Fontmell Magna, attended by some 25 undergraduates from Oxford, Cambridge and London Universities, came to an end after three weeks.
The camp itself was on Gore Farm on the Springhead Estate. Six hours regular work on the farm, regular meetings for music and dance practice and discussions on the camp theme, “Youth and the future of the land of England”, filled the day’s programme. Among the lecturer’s at the camp were Mr Ralph Coward, Mr A.G. Street, Captain G.N. Rawlence, Dr J.R. West and Sir Albert Howard. A summary of the proceedings of the camp conference was reported in the last issue of the “Western Gazette”. The camp was organised at the instigation of Mr Rolf Gardiner. A similar camp will be organised for the harvest, from  August, 22nd to September, 6th.


It is hoped slowly to train a corps of leaders for the organisation of Land Service Camps throughout the country. The camps would eventually assist farms depleted of lands through the drift to non-agricultural and engage in schemes of land-reclamation and land-settlement. In this project the leaders of the movement are reckoning with the hope of Government support once the war-crisis has died down. But the first task is to train leaders and evolve the appropriate methods of organisation. It is a sign of the awakening interest in land among members of the rising generation that university students, most of whom are being fitted for administrative posts, are taking a leading part in the fostering of the idea.


THE STORM (25th, August, 1939)

Torrential rains on Sunday caused several houses to be flooded at a depth of two to three feet. Those attending the Churches had to wait some time before going home on account of the weather. Those from St.Andrew’s Church who came from a distance, were taken home by car by Mr Hicks.


THE LATE MR JEHU SPICER (16th, February, 1940)


By the death of Mr Jehu Spicer, at the age of 79, the village and indeed the district for many miles around, has sustained a loss, the full realisation of which, has yet to be felt. Mr Spicer, a man of genial and friendly disposition, was a “Craftsman” of the old school and the loss of such a man is a thing to be deplored by the countryside.
Some specimens of his work may be seen in the village church. The Reredos was carved by Mr Spicer, as also was one of the pair of doors of the vestment cupboard in the vestry. On farms too, for miles around, there are examples of his work in the form of wheelbarrows, ladders, milking stools, the handiness of which, especially in the case of the first mentioned, has never been surpassed in the district.
Mr Spicer was of a very ingenious turn of mind, as a visit to his workshop would prove. His various ‘Gadgets’ for simplifying and speeding up his work, showed an inventive genius, which given better opportunity might have brought  him to the forepoint of industry. A man always willing to help, there are few, indeed, who can say that after going to Spicer’s in a difficulty, they have not either got the job done or if it chanced to be a job that could not be done by a carpenter, got something fixed up that would tide over for the time. There are quite a few men and boys in the immediate district who owe the handiness of their hands, and their ability to do things, to the hours spent “Up at Jed’s”, and the kindly nature of the man in being always ready to show a lad a wrinkle.
To those of us who lived closest, and perhaps knew him the best, the loss will be most keenly felt. A nephew, Mr George Spicer, is left to carry on the business and is the fourth generation to do so on the same premises.
The funeral took place at St.Andrew’s Churchyard on Thursday, the Rector (Canon C.P. Edmunds) officiating. In addition to the family mourners, a large number of friends also attended. There were many beautiful floral tributes.


SOLDIERS’ GIFT TO PARISH (12th, April, 1940)


A service was held on Sunday to dedicate a new pair of gates presented by the officers, N.C.O.’s and men of the 1st Field Squadron Royal Engineers, who were some time ago billeted in Fontmell Magna. The gates, which were designed by an officer, Mr Sheppard, were made and hung by craftsmen of the same unit.
The Rector (Canon C.P. Edmunds) immediately before the service, spoke in appreciation of the gift, and the general conduct of the men of the squadron. When it was first known that troops were to be billeted in the village, he said, some were a trifle apprehensive as to how it might turn out. All the men, without exception, had respected the village and joined in its life, and had made themselves so popular that they had almost become a part of it. Their stay could be summed up in four c’s – conduct, courtesy, cheerfulness and comradeship.
The service, which was well attended, was held outside the gates, and the dedication ceremony was performed by the Rev. J.B. Elliott, C.F. The squadron was represented by the officer commanding, Major Williams, R.E., Squadron –Sergt, – Major B.S. Cloke and several other ranks. At the evening service, which followed in the Church, Mr Elliott gave an address, the theme of which was love and sacrifice.


FUNERAL OF MR T.E. CHICK (8th, November, 1940)

The funeral of Mr Thomas Edward Chick, eldest son of the late Mr William Chick, of Blandford’s Farm, who passed away at the age of 83 years, took place at St.Andrews Church on Friday. The service was conducted by the Rector (Canon Edmunds), rural Dean and Mrs Smith was at the organ. Two of the deceased’s favourite hymns were sung. As the body was taken from the church the “Nunc Dimittis” was chanted by the choir. Mr Chick was well known in Fontmell Magna, where he had spent many years. A staunch churchman, he was at one time churchwarden, bellringer and choirman. Besides family mourners a large circle of friends attended the service.
Mrs T.E. Chick and family wish to thank all kind friends for letters of sympathy in their recent bereavement.


CIVIL COURT (24th, January, 1941)



A settlement was announced in the action brought by Cecil Leslie George Bull, of 9, Alington-Terrace, Dorchester, against Henry Rolf Gardiner of Springhead, Fontmell Magna, for damages for personal injury arising out of an accident on the London Road, Dorchester. At that time plaintiff was repairing a fence at the road side, when he was struck by the defendant’s car.
Mr J. Llind Pratt (instructed by Messrs Lock, Reed & Lock) appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr J. Scott Henderson (instructed by Messrs Trethowan and Vincent, of Salisbury) for the defence.
Mr Pratt said the action had been agreed and for the plaintiff he asked for payment of £3,700 now in court to the plaintiff’s solicitors. The plaintiff received serious injuries, the loss of one leg and serious injury to the other. His Lordship approved the settlement.


FONTMELL MAGNA (28th, April, 1941)

A dance and competitions were held on Friday in aid of Shaftesbury War Weapons Week and resulted in £5 10s 1d being sent to the Mayor of Shaftesbury.


FONTMELL MAGNA (12th, September, 1941)


In the Groups’ Weapons Drive the village set itself to raise £100 for a machine gun in a fortnight, and the sum credited to the group in the period was £348.


BROTHER’S DISPUTE (10th, October, 1941)

At the county court on Monday, before His Honour, Judge E.W. Cave, Sidney Stanley Merefield, North Street, Fontmell Magna, farm labourer, sued his brother, Bertram Merefield, of Restmore, Melbury Abbas, for 10s, for work done, and there was a counter claim for £6 11s, alleged to be money lent.
Sidney Merefield, who was represented by Mr W.P. Farnfield (Gillingham) said the 10s claimed was the balance of 15s due for 5 half day’s work, which he did in his brother’s garden in 1938.
Bertram Merefield (represented by Mr J.C. Marshall of Messrs Burrdge, Kent and Arkell, Shaftesbury) held that he paid £1 in respect of the work to his brother, owed him nothing and, in fact, had lent him £6 11s which he had not repaid.
Both parties denied the other’s allegations.
Sidney Merefield stated, in reply to a question, that the matter was “Brought to a head” by some family trouble.
Observing that both claims failed, His Honour gave judgement for Bertram Merefield on the claim, and for Sidney Merefield on the counter claim, with costs.


BUSY WORKING PARTY (30th, January, 1942)

The working party, which was inaugurated soon after the outbreak of war, is now in its 3rd year. Hundreds of knitted articles have been sent to the Dorset Comforts Committee, and a quantity of garments to the Red Cross Organisation. During the last few weeks the members of this party have been working overtime in response to the special appeal from Russia for knitted helmets &c., which work has been acknowledged by the Russian Ambassador and Mr Maisky. The money for materials has all been raised locally, and any other expenses are defrayed by the members themselves.



Second –Lieut. S. Lemon D.C.M., who is retiring from the Home Guard, has received a letter from the G.O.C. Southern Command expressing his thanks for the valuable work he has done. 2nd-Lieut. Lemon served for 22 years in the Scots Guards and took part in the Boer War, and the Great War until wounded and invalided home. He was awarded the D.C.M. for gallant conduct in bringing in wounded under very heavy shell fire, and was finally discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1916.


WAR SAVINGS (22nd, May, 1942)

The Cinema Van will visit this village on Wednesday, 27th, May, at 6.30 p.m., to give you the latest news of your war effort.


FAMILY DISPUTE (12th, June, 1942)


A family quarrel culminating in a struggle at Fontmell Magna, had a sequel at Shaftesbury sessions on Tuesday, when an 81 year old man and his son summoned another of his sons for assault. Defendant was Frederick Wm Merefield, farmer, of Fontmell Magna, and the complainants were his father, Frederick Merefield and his brother, Bertram Merefield. Mr W. Farley Rutter was for the complainants, and Mr R.D. Blanchard (Blandford) for the defendant.
The case for the complainants was that when Bertram Merefield was erecting a wire fence beside a privet hedge which divided his father’s garden from his brother’s (the defendant’s) garden, the defendant dashed through a dividing gate, caught Bertram by the neck, used threatening language, attempted to pull him on to his (defendant’s) premises, and threatened to “Do him in”. The father, aged 81, came up, and it was alleged defendant struck him.
Supporting evidence was given by complainants, and by Bertram Merefield’s wife.
Defendant, a special constable, described difficulties that had arisen between complainants and himself, resulting from questions concerning the boundary between the gardens. With regards the alleged assault, he denied the complainant’s version and asserted that, as he pushed the wire back, Bertram struck him in the face, and that during the struggle, Mrs B. Merefield struck him in the face, and his father pulled him by the hair. Similar evidence was given by Victor Merefield, defendant’s son, Sybil Stevens, a land worker, lodging at the defendant’s house, and Stanley Merefield, another brother of the defendant.
Announcing that the cases would be dismissed, each side to pay its own costs, the Chairman (Ald. R.W. Borley) said the justices considered it was a terrible thing that men should be fighting and quarrelling over a small matter of this description at this time.


“BLACK OUT” OFFENCES (18th, September, 1942)


At the petty sessions on Tuesday, before Alderman R.W. Borley (in the chair), and other magistrates, Brig.-General Cyril Lachlan Porter, Middle Farm House, Fontmell Magna, was fined £1 with 5s costs, for allowing a light to be visible from a building.
The bench gave warning that lights must not be visible and that fines in future cases would be much heavier.
A summons against Gladys Jones of Cross House, Fontmell Magna, for permitting light to be shown from a window at a nursery, was dismissed, but a 16 year old nurse was fined 10s for allowing the light to be visible.
Special Constable Cox, answering Superintendant Cherrett, said he had had to warn the occupants of the nursery about lights two or three times. 


NOT AT SCHOOL OR AT WORK (13th, August, 1943)

At Shaftesbury petty sessions last week, a farm labourer, living at Fontmell Magna, pleaded not guilty to having failed to send his child to school. Mr Hayes (School Attendance Officer) said defendant’s son was exempted from school or agricultural purposes, and on July 13th he saw him in Shaftesbury with his mother, who admitted that he had not been employed on the land that day, nor the previous day. His committee viewed the case seriously and proceedings were ordered in view of the defiance of the regulations. Defendant said he left home early and did not know whether the boy went to school or to work. Fined 20s.


DEATH AND FUNERAL OF MR W. STAINER (4th, February, 1944)

Widespread regret has been felt at the passing of Mr William Stainer, of Fontmell Magna, where his genial and helpful disposition won for him the respect of all. Sympathy is expressed for the widow and family, one of whom (a son) is serving in Italy. Mr Stainer had a lifelong association with the Methodist Church. For many years he was the Superintendant of the Sunday School and for forty years he was a lay preacher in the Shaftesbury and Gillingham circuit. He was a welcome preacher in his own and in other circuits. He had also served as the circuit steward, representing the circuit at District Synods. The Methodist Chapel was almost full for the funeral service, conducted by Rev. Walter Floyd, Superintendant of the circuit, and his colleague, Rev. E.S. Williamson. Tribute was paid to the life and influence of Mr Stainer. Many lay preachers from the circuit were present. Canon Edmonds, rector of Fontmell Magna, and many residents of the village also attended. A moving service included the singing of “Jesu, lover of my soul” and “Forever with the Lord”.


VICTORY FUND (18th, February, 1944)

The Victory Fund, which was inaugurated last August, by the women’s knitting party, with the object of building a Village Hall after the war, now amounts to £102 7s. Mrs B. Chick, Mr W. Perry and Mr A.J. Ryall have been elected as the Trustees by the committee, and the money has been invested in the P.O. Savings Bank.


CHILD DROWNED IN A POND (26th, May, 1944)

Mr W.H. Creech (North Dorset Coroner) held an inquest at Binegar Farm on Monday evening on Patricia Ann Jackson, the two year old daughter of L.A.C. Philip William Jackson, R.A.F., Binegar Cottage, Hartgrove. Evidence showed that on Friday evening the child was taken by her uncle, Francis Claude Jackson, aged 14, to Binegar Farm in her perambulator. He left her for a few minutes, and then saw her running around the yard. He took her to her Grandmother. A few minutes later the child was missed, and the mother found the child in a pond about 100 yards from the house. The Coroner recorded a verdict of “Accidental death”.


FETE AND SPORTS (26th, May, 1944)

A fete and sports were held in aid of the Boy Scouts, and £24 10s was raised. Results: Boys – 11 to 14 years, 100 yards – 1  R. Vigors: 2  A. Wareham: 3 P. Brown. Girls 11 to 14 years – 1 H. Chick: 2 C. Taylor: 3 R. Mathews. 80 yards boys under 11 years – 1 B. Streeter: 2 F. Cook: 3 J. Green. Girls under 11 years – 1 P. Taylor: 2 A. Woolridge: 3 (tie) E. Rands and N. Chick. Sack Race boys – 1 M. Jeans: 2 A. Wareham: 3 J. Green. Girls – 1 P. Taylor: 2 H. Chick: 3 N. Chick. Obstacle race boys – 1 P. Brown: 2 R. Hardiman: 3 R. Vigors. Girls – 1 H. Chick: 2 J. Woolridge: 3 A. Woolridge. Three-Legged race boys – 1 D. Pike & R. Vigors: 2 J. Green & S. Kick: 3 A. Wareham & L. Iles. Ditto girls – 1 C. Taylor & J. Woolridge: 2 H. Chick & A. Vigors: 3 M. Fanner & M. Winser.


D.F.M. AWARD (9th, June, 1944)

The D.F.M. has been awarded to Sergt. Roger Alistair Whitley R.A.F.V.R., on having completed successful operations against the enemy and displayed skill, fortitude and devotion to duty. A native of Maidstone, his home is at Fontmell Magna. He was a driver before enlistment in 1940 and is now a wireless operator (air).



Thanks to the generosity of the parishioners and the fine effort of the voluntary collectors, all the serving boys and girls of the parish, numbering 36, will receive this Christmas, gifts to the value of 30s each. These are being forwarded through the families concerned.


SPRINGHEAD CHRISTMAS PLAY (22nd, December, 1944)

After a lapse of two years, the Springhead Christmas play has been revived this year, and two gatherings of mainly local people filled the Mill-room to capacity on December the 16th and 17th to enjoy the spectacle and to join in the carols, which marked the opening and the climax of the evening. The play, devised by Marabel Gardiner, followed the traditional pattern. As a prologue, the Shepherd of the Springhead estate, Mr. Joseph Fry, recited William Barnes’ poem, “Oh! I be Shepherd o’ the Varm”, with realistic Wessex conviction. Fontmell boys and girls acted as angels and shepherds, Fontmell men as Kings of Orient, a small choir of the Springhead Ring sang the accompanying music of the mime, while Milton’s magnificent “Ode on the morning of Christ’s Nativity”, proclaimed the story. The Bishop of Salisbury (Dr. Neville Lovett), who attended the first evening, spoke with moving words of  interpretation and encouragement. Such a play, he said, belonged to the countryside in its essence and style, but it also showed what beauty and reverence could be achieved with the simplest resources. This Springhead celebration was an example for which they should all be grateful.


SHOOTING MATCH (4th, May, 1945)

On Monday, led by Scoutmaster, Frank Bradley, the Bedchester scouts – Philip Brown, Terry Butler, Raymond Hardiman, Dennis Pike and Ronald Spicer, – held a return shooting match with a village team – Messrs Fred Bradley, C. Brown, A. Green, L. Mockridge, J. Pike and H. Woolridge. On April 12th, the village won an exciting match by one point (66-65) at 15 yards range, and on Monday they repeated their victory by a larger margin (141-121) at 25 yards. The Scouts are to be congratulated on the good show they put up against a much more experienced team, which included some members of the Home Guard.



“Strong feeling” in Fontmell Magna.

Shaftesbury Council Debate.

“Strong feeling” in Fontmell Magna about the “Whitewashing” of newly built Council Houses was referred to at Thurday’s meeting of the Shaftesbury Rural Council.
Mr B.G. Chick referred to the fact that two houses in the village nearing completion had been “Snow cemmed”, said it would be a tragedy if the remaining houses to be built in their little village were to be similarly treated. “I hope the council will forget all about snow cemming”, he said.
Mr J. Hoy (architect-surveyor)  said if the Council decided that the houses should not be treated, he would be unable to recommend the housing committee to continue building with the cheaper type of brick.
Mr F.W. Davis commented that it was a waste of time and money to whitewash brick when it need not be done. It would be far better to spend more money on the houses in the beginning and so make a good job of them.
The Chairman (Mr C.A. Green) said he knew there was quite a strong feeling in the neighbourhood and the Housing Committee would carefully consider the plans before anything further was done.
Mr Hoy said it was false economy to use the present type of brick, but on the other hand prices had to be lowered to satisfy the Ministry. He agreed that in the long run it cost as much as if they used a good facing brick.


FORMER NORTH DORSET FARMER (18th, November, 1949)

Tributes to Late Mr John Tapper.

The death occurred on Saturday, in his 95th year, of Mr John Tapper, formerly of Woodbridge Mill, Fontmell Magna. Mr Tapper, who left the district two years ago, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs Ernest Clarke, at Luttell-Avenue, Putney.
Mr Tapper farmed at Burden’s Farm, Twyford, for 40 years, and at his retirement in 1919, came to live at Woodbridge Mill, Fontmell Magna, where he lived until two years ago.
A Dorset man, his Father had farmed at Twyford before him. His wife, who died in 1936, was a daughter of the late Mr Job Rose, Miller of Woodbridge Mill, who was a well known figure in North Dorset and who was mentioned in some of William Barnes’ writings.
For some years Mr Tapper was a member of the county executive of the Dorset branch of the National Farmers’ Union and he was also associated with Shaftesbury Agricultural Society.
A staunch Methodist, he was Sunday school superintendant at Hartgrove for 50 years, and was a circuit steward on the old Weslyan circuit. One of his sons, the Reverend William Tapper, is in the Methodist ministry at Hounslow.
For 20 years Mr Tapper represented Compton Abbas rural council.
He leaves two sons and two daughters. His eldest daughter, Mrs H. Edwards, the wife of a Methodist Minister, died about a year ago.

The Funeral

The remains of the late Mr Tapper were brought from London for committal in the grave of his wife at Fontmell Magna churchyard, the funeral taking place at St.Andrew’s church on Tuesday. The service was conducted by Canon C.P. Edmonds (Rector). Mrs Smith was at the organ.
Members of the family attending were:- The Rev. W. Tapper (son) and Mrs Tapper (daughter-in-law), Mrs E. Clarke (daughter) and Mr E. Clarke (son-in-law), Mrs K. Hart (daughter) and Mr K. Hart (son-in-law), and Mr Gerald Edwards (Grandson).
Representing Shaftesbury Rural District Council were the Chairman (Mr C.A. Green), Mr J.B. Millard, Mr C.E. Goodrum, Mr J.J. Garrett, Mr G.E. Norton, Mr B.G. Chick, Mr A.F. Fry and the Clerk (Mr J. Stace Masey). Others present included Mrs Arthur Rose, Mr & Mrs Richard Rose, Mrs Owen, Mr R. Parham, Mrs Edwards, Miss Short, Mrs Alfred Hayter, Mr Norman Moody, Mr & Mrs W. Elsworth, Mr E.J. Burt, Mr T. Parham, Mr H. Foot, Miss Beck, Mr & Mrs A. Green, Mr R.S. Rose, Mr H.C. Rose, Mr J.T. Brickell, Mr H. Stainer, Mr J. Gee, Mr I. Jeanes, Mr R. Foot, Mr E.J. Foot, Mr J. Roberts, Mr C. Day, Mr G. Spicer, Mr J. Roberts, Mr & Mrs C. Stone, Mrs B. Chick, Mr H. Stone, Miss Day, Mrs Fanner, Mr & Mrs Frank Day, Mr Ivor Day, Miss Abbott, Mrs J.B. Millard, Mrs Austin Millard, Mr & Mrs Harold Stainer, Mr Gordon Smith, Mr & Mrs G.F. Richardson, Mr T. Green, Mr & Mrs J. Stokes, Mr E. Dennis, Mr S. Hunt, Mr R. Gifford, Mr R.W. Drake, Mr K. Foyle, Mr J.W. Drake, Mr M.J. Toomer, Mr & Mrs J. Baker, Miss Beryl Baker, Mr P. Clarke, Mr & Mrs F. Andrews, Miss Mary Andrews and others.

Author: Dave Hardiman