Village News


1798          Mr Robt Pittard of East Lambrook paid Mr Richard Gifford of Lopen 218 Guineas for having a Bastard by his Daughter Rhoda who afterward married John Gifford of Middle Lambrook ‑ she left 6 children ‑ tis thought cost Pittard in all £500. 

1817    In the Month of June and part of July the principle part of the Poor Experienced such times as it may be said that the Oldest Man Living at this time never knew nor heard of.It was so that the Common poor lived almost entirely on Barley and Horse Beans. Many told me they had not Eaten or tasted a single Morsel of Wheaten Bread for many Weeks except given them by some Benovelent person, And what made it still worse Labor was very Scarce Trade Bad and wages low, Laboring Men 7/0 and some 8/0 pr week, Women 4/0, Spinner not half Work so that Overseers allowed to me and others 7/0 pr hundredwheight of Flax carried in to Kingsbury Parish. Meriott Parish allowed Quarter Part.


                  Taken from the Sherborne Newspaper Thursday 21st February 1822  –

                  There has been but one Death in the parish of South Petherton since the  9th of August last to the present time being more than 6 calendar months the parish containing upwards of two thousand Inhabitants.


1822  Aug 23rd        BURIAL OF MR CLARK SOUTH HARP

This Day I was at the Funeral of the Late John Clark (the Grand Father of John and Thos Clark of Perins Hill), who died the 15th inst and was Buried in his own Garden in South Harp, the last House going to Merriott, His Grave is about 3 feet from the Garden Wall and about 2 thirds up towards Home Close Hedge and it was partly bricked up & about 10 feet deep.


1822  Oct 5th        Mr John Horsey South Petherton was Married to sarah daughter of Mr Joseph Vaux South Petherton as soon as they was out of Church they went to Bath and Bristol – about ten days after returned on Thursday night when the Bells was Ringing Band of Music paying etc. that night and all the next Day.  On Thursday morning early he was seen in the Middle of the Town naked save his Shirt, breaking the Windows of the House of Mr Vaux, and his own, Continued Raving Mad for Six Days when they was obliged to send him to the Mad House.

                   N.B. He was confined in the Mad House about Eleven Months at about £3 3 0 pr week.


1828 Dec 1st     At South Petherton Emma Wife of Saml Taylor was Delivered of a Son. This child has living in South Petherton Mother, Mothers Mother and  Grand Mother – Mothers Father (Sexton for great many years James Baker) and her Grand Father  also it had the Father Grand Father and Great Grand Father who was Hayward in Petherton for a great number of years and who told me lately he was 89 years of Age and able to walk about the Fields kicking Birds like many Men of 40 for this was his employment besides Cobling old shoes and he was always known and called Falsey Taylor – so this Child had 2 Grandmothers and 4 Grandfathers besides its own Parents and 2 Grand Mother laws Fathers side.

1829 Dec 16th  Mr Joseph Vile of Overstratton Died being in his Eightieth year.  He was the owner of a good Estate at Stratton and occupied it for about 45 years. Mary Lawrence had a Bastard Child by him when he had living a Wife and 6 or 7 Children several of them Married, He has left 4 Children, Thos, John, Robt and Martha who was never married

1830 Aug 9th *Mr Simeon Stuckey of Chard Builder etc (who built the New House see May 10th 1830) Left our House about 10 O’Clock at Night for Chard but when he got about 20 Yards beyond the second stream of Water or Bridge beyond Crinevids Knap and about 50 yards this side the little Cottage on the Left Hand side of the Road he was met about 11 O’Clock by some Robbers who not only Robbed Him but Murdered him and also took away his Boddy and for several days there was many scores if not Hundreds in search for the Body but all in Vain.  We have Reason to think he had about 60 pounds with him in Cash a good Watch with Gold seals and a very good suit of Clothes, the Horse with the Bridle and Saddle was found near Windwhistle Turnpike Gate the Stick, Contents of his Stomach and about half pint of Blood was seen by me and hundreds of others on the spot and his hat was about 100 yards this side on the Brow of the Hill. 

                  * August 31st 1830 Farmer Harrisss Reapers of Dinington found the Body flat on the Back in the Wheat furrows among the standing Corn on examination his money £13 12 6 watch, and all he had with him when he left home was found in his Pockets safe. I saw him in the furrow but the smell was beyond description. I think Ten Thousand people saw him before he was Removed.


1832  Sep 25th   The Lord of the Manor of South Petherton J B Edmonds Esq who 0ccupied 700 Acres of his own Land in the Town for many years had a Sale of his stock and house‑hold goods and was Obliged to leave the Neighbourhood for Guernsey not being able to pay his just Debts. The causes of his failure was in the opinion of his friends 1st the Pride of his 3 Daughters the extravicance of 2 Sons who had 5 or 6 Bastards and 2nd his purchasing so much land at from £100 to £150 pr Acre and Borrowing the greater part of the money to pay for it. 

1832 Nov 18th Robt Hillard Esq at Wigborough House in the Parish of Sth Petherton Died and was Buried within a Elm Lead and Oak Coffen the 27th of Nov 1832 in his Family Vault in our Church ‑ J W Peters and John Nicholletts  Esquires Trustees for Thomas Roach now 10 years old ‑ who had the Farm  and nearly all the Property left him by his Great Uncle who was his  Grandmothers Brother. My Son Wm Benjm  and myself went to see the Funeral.

1833 Aug 28th    This day Mr Thos Terrells Dwelling House Barn and out Houses was all Burnt down at Yeabridge, Amos Baker the Tenant with his Wife and 5 Children was in Bed about one o’cock when it broke out in the chimney when they was obliged to take the Children and run down Naked save their changes – 1¼ acres of wheat unthrashed with 12 Geese and Empty Casks and a great part of the Household goods was Burnt.

                  The Buildings was insured in £100 but the Household Goods was not.


21st           Our Waggon and Horses went to West Moor after a Load of Dung John Fort and Isaac Holt a Boy about 15 years old Eldest Son of Thos Holt of Stratton was with the waggon – the Boy thoughtlessly jumped from the shafts on the Hinder Horse which sprang off and instantly he fell off when the wheel took his Head and caused his Death in about half an Hour – the Carter being by the Horses at the time was not found Guilty of neglect of Duty -the fine as a Dead and on the fore Wheel to be paid by me (when called for was 5/- which I never paid (yet a long time afterwards I paid 5/-).

Nov  4th   This day I drew up 2 Turnips that Grew among Swedes in Orchard Close that Measured 2 foot 7 inches round each and one of them weighed (greens included) 16½ lb standing weight.

1834 Feb 15        Mr Jas Griffen of South Harp Died in his 78th year He was considered an Honest Liberal and good sort of a Man as any in the whole Parish of South Petherton.  Left 3 Grand children whose Parents Died when they were all quite young – Joseph Griffen Terell, Wm and Ann.

                  N.B. See the 2nd May 1834.

1834  Apr 15th   At Ilminster Wm Hanning Esq Died who was the Principal Magistrate in our District for many years.

Apr  20th  At Montacute House John Philps Esq Died who was the Principal Magistrate in Yeovil District for years.

Apr 20th Thos Richards of Pitway Died who was a Base Singer for many years in our Chapel and a Manufacturer of Bricks and tiles in Petherton.


May 2nd    Mr Joseph Griffen Terrell of South Harp Died being about 22 years of age and who courted Uncle Josiah Hebditch’s second Daughter Elizabeth and as a token of his Love to her gave her the Rents of 2 Fields for Life valued £25 pr Year but 3 days before his Death made a second Will and gave her nothing.  See the 15th Feb last the Death of his Grandfather Mr Jas Griffen.

1836 Feb 8th  Death By Drinking

Sold John Bagg of Norton a 6 year old horse for £10 0 0.  Having a Bad Humour in his Legs I called for the money the 16th when he paid me £6 0 0 and about 7 hours after I left him he Fell in the Fire and was burnt so very bad that he died in a few hours after.  Report says he was very Drunk.  This Horse was the first colt Violet had, when she was only 3 years old.

 1836 July 22nd    Death of Wm Mathews

Wm Mathews of Over Stratton, son of Thos Mathews was killed by playing with a young cat and placing it on a large Broad Stone over the Front Door and when putting his hand to take it down the stone fell on his stomach and lived but few hours after.

1837 Jan   Wm North of Stratton Baker had 2 children that died in the hooping cough and was buried in one day at Kingstone and Isaac Davy of Pound had 2 children died in the measles and was buried at Petherton both the same day.

 1837  March 8th   Mr Wm Beale of South Petherton Died who served the office of Perpetual Overseer for the Parish for 13 years at £40 a year including the Clerks office.

March 8th    About the same hour Mary Holland died our old Servant for a Number of Years.

March 8th    Mrs Bull of Bower Hinton Died who was the Daughter of the late Richard Gifford of Lopen and Sister Mr Jas. Gifford late of Lopen and wife of Samuel Bull that made the New Hundred and many Xmas Tunes.

1837 May 17th     Mr John Horsey of South Petherton was married to Mrs Ann Harding who was near Mr Horsey’s age, both about or very near 70 each.  The late Mrs Horsey died about 5 months since.  Perhaps no man ever Buried a Wife made more ado or shed more tears than he.

            N.B. J Horsey is her 3rd husband.

1838 Dec 18th George Mathews of Yeabridge, our Thatcher for many years, died leaving a wife and 7 children. His illness was only a fortnight. Age 48.

 23rd    Mr Edward Saint of Lopen died after 2 days illness he considered 240lb weight at least  he married the 2nd time to Mr Thomas Roach’s own Aunt of Wigborough.  He left a wife and 4 children by her.

 1840 July 9th  Paid Cousin  Simeon for a pair of Hand Cuffs for the Constables of our Town and he being Constable used them for the First Time on a Man whole stole Wheat from Mr Thos Shepperd.

1841 April 27th  Before the year 1800 I recollect almost all my neighbours called Bridport “Burport” – Chard “Chead” and Yeovil “Evil”.  B.H.

The Cuckoo I heard the first day it was heard at Stratton the 23rd day of April being St Georges Day and being unusually late in the season.

April 27th  Mr Joseph Lang of Lower Stratton and Miss Mary Bull was married by the Rev Edward Paltridge South Petherton.

                 N.B.  A curious fact that there were 3 Bulls and 2 Horseys present -viz Josiah Horsey, Horsey Nicholls, Richd Bull Harriott and Mary Bull

1845 May 20th This day I went with Benjamin to Somerton Fair and sold Mr Hopkins  of Shores Mills 120 bushels of very prime wheat at 5/9 per Bushel.

 Fire at Petherton

The same day a Fire took place at Petherton in Mr Joseph Langs Bakehouse and destroyed the whole House which belonged to J W Peters Esq adjoining the Bell Inn – had not the Fire Engines been in complete order many houses must have been burnt – it happend about one o’clock mid-day consequently hundreds of hands were on the spot.  No Fire has happened in the Town since Mr Bridges house was burnt in Palmer Street in the year 1800 being 45 years since.

 1844 Oct 14th This day I went to Sherborne Pack Monday Fair and Bought a Pair of Pebble Spectacles for 10s 0d and on my return through Montacute every Window were Illuminated with Gas or Candle Light, Canons and Guns Roaring and the Bells at Yeovil, Odcombe and Montacute Ringing all in consequence of young Mr Phelps being 21 years of Age.

 1846                J W Peters Esq was married at Sturton to Miss Mead of North  Broom, Somerset

 1846 Oct 4th – On Sunday when my Brother and wife was at Crewkerne Chapel Two Men as Beggars called at the House when Sarah Stuckey the servant only was at home they were very abusive and wanted for to enter the house.  When she took a Pick and said if either of them forced themselves in she would stab them so they left and no doubt within 5 minutes set fire to some straw in the Waggon House and within one hour, for the wind was very rough, destroyed Mr Butler’s Barn and Stalls with about 80 Bushels of Wheat and 20 bushels of vitches and also my Brother’s dwelling house, Milk House, Stable, Barn and Stalls with all Harness etc etc but having so many Friends the main of the household goods were saved.

            Mr Butler’s as well as my Brother’s and the dwelling house etc were insured.

            N.B. Two men were taken up but were freed.


1847 Apr 9th  .. Joseph Leaves and his Wife lived in my New House at Stratton and  occupied the 3 Grounds adjoining for several years he was a poor Young Man and she Miss Ann Butler of Severals Farm, Crewkerne about 43 years old when Married about a Month since they parted and then lived together again till now when he had a Sale and sold all his Household Goods and left his Wife and went off with one of the worst women in Petherton, Susan Hillard.

1847 Nov 9th John Staple Esq, Captain of the 2nd Somerset Militia Died in his House in the Orchard near ours in South Harp Tithing. He lived there about 30 years a Batchelor, having Mary Ann Brown of Haselbury as House Keeper & who he gave his Property to, he having no near Relation.  His Death was Occasioned by his Cow Stall being set Fire to on the 5th of November which fright or excitement brought on a apoplectick fit in his right side. His Estate being 21 Acres was mortgaged to Lawyer Clark of Chard in about £1000 and Old Mr Edmonds of Petherton owed him about £500 but this was never recovered.

20th Mary, Eldest Daughter of John Nicholetts Esq of South Petherton was married to Sir Arthur Chisester of Youlston near Barnstable.  About 1000 people were about the Town to see the Procession to Church, Carpeting being placed from the Church Door to the Gates and 9 Carriages, with 11 Clergyman, and 58 of the most Respectable Magistrates and Esquires in the Neighbourhood to Breakfast After The Wedding -and at 7 o Clock a Dancing Party met of the Principal Young People of the Town – All the Expenses Valued at about £300 for the Ceremony.

 25th Young Mr John Chaffey of Stoke (of Fever) died being the Eldest Son, large Farmer, Steward of the Quarry on Ham Hill and highly Respected and beloved by all Parties, Rich and Poor, 36 years of age.  Ill about 5 days.

           N.B. He was one of the most Robust, Strong, Healthy looking Men in Stoke.

           N.B. Since his Death we know that he stabbed himself with a sword in the absence of his Nurse which caused his Death very soon after.

1848 Jan 8th Mr Jesse Hopkins Miller of Bow Mills for 30 years died, the Principal   supporter of the Bower Hinton chappel.  He had 3 wives but no child – left about 7 or 8 thousand pounds to his family and friends, and I   hope died a Pious Xtian.

             The sale of stock etc took place on Thursday, the 30th of January    1848.

23rd     J B Edmonds Esq of South Petherton died at Stone House, Plymouth and   was brought to Petherton and Buried on Thursday, the 3rd day of  February 1848.  Report says the lead coffin, corpse etc weighed together 9 cwt.

1848 Apr 3rd  This day I went to see Wm at Taunton School and the Assizes while there, Samuel Reyland Junr of Watergore a Workman was cutting Potatoes in Weaving Shop Chamber who took a Peck of White Pease and put them in our Bag and hide them in the Privy behind a Lyme Bag where Wm Benjm  found them who watched Reyland to Breakfast followed him took the pease from him, sent for the Constable had him to the Magistrates from there to Gaol the same day, next day to the Court before the Grand Jury and the next he was tried and convicted for 2 months hard labour in Prison.

            The pease was shown with a sample.

1854 Memorandum

Nov 5th For all my children to think of & guard against which has taken place in South Petherton Parish within 60 years from Now as to the Truth of that Scripture – Riches make to themselves ? & flee away –

John Eason Esq of Bridge Farm who left no child, his name extinct.

John Edmonds Esq Lord of the Manor of Aisend Farm who left 2 sons & both gone and all their father’s estates mortgaged & sold.

Robert Hillard Esq of Wigborough Farm & his brother Thos Esq both died bachelors. The farm mortgaged & now called Thos Roach, their sister’s grandson who letts it to Geo Moody.

Jas. Quantock Esq of South Harp who died a Bachelor, all his estate sold to Peters.

Saml Anstice Esq, a lawyer of Sth Harp whose son went to sea, the estate sold to Peters.

Jas. Griffen of South Harp Gent whose only son died young man. Estate sold to Peters.

Joseph Vile of Stratton Gent gave his estate to his 2 sons who sold it to Peters.

John Weare of South Harp, Gent left no son but gave his estates to his grandson of Lopen, Revd Templeman’s son, Wearn.

John Staples of South Harp, a Captain of the Militia gave his estate to his Housekeeper (being a batchelor) who sold it to T Templeman.

John Prowse Esq of South Petherton left one son George, now very poor, estate mortgaged.

Wm Harding, South Street, Gent, left no son, estate given & divided but his Name lost.

Wm Harding, Palmer Street, Linsman & Farmer of his own estate, Gent, who left 4 sons but the Estate all sold and but 1 son living at Petherton & he poor.

Richd Toller Esq of Petherton, Lawyer, left no child but his Name lost.

The Revd Robins, Vicar of the Parish for 36 years Dead, his only son was poor.

The Revd Richd Herdsman, Independent Preacher at the Roundwell Chapel when it was Built & for 40 years after, Name lost, no son, whose only daughter married Jas. Gifford. Estate sold.

John Anstice, malster & farmer, Gent whose estate is nearly all sold, his sons gone.

Saml Axe Esq gave what little he had left to wife’s Nieces who sold all to Mr McMillan, he Mr Axe had no child.

Wm Gifford, malster & farmer at the Palace had but 1 son who spent all his.

Joseph Vaux Esq, South Street, Linsman & Farmer had 1 son died quite a young man, the Estate mortgaged & sold nearly all of it & the Name all but lost.

Wm Vaux, malster,Gent, died a batchelor, gave his property to his Brother’s sons who have spent nearly all of it.

But strange to say after all the foregoing disasters of the Great Men of our Town & Parish, yet my GreatGrandfather Wm Hebditch descendants at least 5 of us have good property altho he was only a Blacksmith at Watergore & came from Devonshire.

The above 5 Hebditch as above are my brother Simeon, linman & farmer in West Street, John Hebditch of Moor Farm, Josiah Hebditch in South Harp, Richard his brother in Overstratton & myself Benjamin Hebditch, youngest brother of the above Simeon Hebditch – I verily believe the success to the Hebditch Family is n answer to the Fervent Prayers & example of my forefathers & their wives who with their husbands were Noted for their Piety.

NB I have omitted Robt Hearn of Compton who was a very large farmer & who had but one son who spent his all.

John Farnham in North Street who was a Principal Tradesman in the Town as a linsman, he left 2 sons, a Flat & the other a proper Scamp in the Union.

Robt Rose at Hele, also a linman who had 1 son. The Name & Property gone.

Wm Beale  of Petherton, a linman & Farmer, no child & his Name gone.

Thos Whiby, shopkeeper for 40 years a Batchelor, gave his property to his Housekeeper, Sarah Lang, the Name gone.

John Tupp of South Harp, Farmer, Batchelor gave his Keeper part of his Property, the other part to his Nephew, London.

Charles Cox, Gent of Petherton, a Batchelor died Insane. Name gone all but his Nephew of Norton C Cox.

Thos & John Lavor, farmers & whose property nearly all gone.  The Name extinct, leaving no son nor grandson.

1858 July 27 J W Peters Died without a son but left 2 Grandsons & yet gave his House calld The Cottage at Yeabridge with about 200 acres of land besides all his Houses & cottages to his Nephew, Wm Parsons, on condition he Bought his Name Peterswhich he did which cost £200.

1858 July Death Extraordinary !!!

27th     J.W. Peters Esq Died at Stratton Cottage worth Perhaps One Hundd  Thousands Pounds – leaving a Wife, Daughters, 2 Grandsons & say 5 Grand Daughters – nearly all his Property was given him by Mr Eason see 106 page being 42 years since but he did not until Miss Eason Died See 106 Page being 28 years since And since her Death He has Bot. more Land – exchangd more, and Built more no doubt than all the men in Petherton Parish by more than half. He it was that proposd that the Common Fields should be enclosd, which was a great Blessing to us all.

            He was an extraordinary Man & a good Neighbour & Master.  But, But made no profession of Religion never enterd a meeting & scarce ever a church nor allow a Minister to see him when ill. He has left 4 sisters, 2 Mrs Moodys & Mrs Parsons & one in London.

Aug 3rd  Mr Peters was Buried at Cherriton near Castle Cary. Mr Ryal of Yeovil had the Funeral being 3 mourning coaches & the Hearse with 4 Horses.

1859 Jan 27th This day I was told by Mr Jas. Daniel that he gave John Parsons 1000 pounds and his 5 Grand daughters 5000 each and Henry Parsons and Uriah his Brother & Mrs Peters were Executors. I believe Mrs Peters has 1000 a year & Mrs Gale 500 a year but if either of the Miss Gales marry one of the Gales they will forfeit their share.

            It is thought Mr Peters Died worth more than a Hundd Thousand pounds. He gave the Poor of Barrington, South Petherton & Cherrinton 460 pounds for to be laid out in Blankets & sheets.

1858    Death at Petherton

Nov 4th  Mr George Sherrin by Round-well Died about 25 years since being a Shoe Maker, he bot. the Crown Inn at Petherton and began purchasing & taking nearly all he could come at so now he one of our great men in the Town as a Farmer & Malster among other things he Rented all my Brother in law’s Houses & Orchards & Land in Palmer Street – Mr Wm Harding’s.

4th John Gould & Thos Jeanes put up our Brick Hall Chimney Tun

28th     Mr George Garland, carpenter & of South Petherton Died at 42. He was one of the principal men in the Methodist connection.

Dec 20th     Mr George Perratt’s wife died, Sarah late John Horsey Daughter.

26th     Farmer Saml Lang who Died livd at Lower Stratton for 68 years he was about the oldest member of our Church at Petherton.

1859  Jan 20  George the Father of Benjm Harrison of Lower Stratton Died being 83 years of age.

1859 Apr.     Mr P. Peters had the long Cow Wall put up before Munktons House by Butlers Close & the Oak Paling opposite before late Wm Folletts Bake House now occupied by Wm Collins, Stratton.

            NB The said Mr Wm P Peters has lately given Mr Joseph Terrell Notice to Quit the House at the Top of Yeabridge with all the land now n his occupation viz Severs Lane Close & 2 Mowlands arable, & also 4 Netherways in front of the House all Pasture – a great disappointment to Mr Wm Terrill having livd there so many years.

            P.S. Something very singular that no child was ever Born in this House as yet, For Mr Jas Daniel & wife, Mr Edmond Stoott & wife and Mr Joseph Terrell all livd in it for many years each in the prime of Life & neither of the women ever had a child there or elsewhere and those three coupes are the only ones ever livd there.

Apr.     Some a/c of my Rich Neighbours at Norton The Quantock Family viz 3 sons & 1 Daughter who married Mr Donistrophe of Crewkerne. John was the Father of the only son at Norton now living there the other 2 Died Batchelors. Lower Stratton Farm by the Pools was James, at Wigborough the Family of the Hillards was 3 sons & 3 daughters one of them married the Revd Wm Roach, the present Thomas Grandfather -the other 5 never married

             At Bridge House The Family of the Easons livd 2 Daughters & 1 son neither of them ever married. John gave JW Peters all his land for life & then to Wm Blake his Unitarian Minister’s son who is now Building his Mansion.

            At Haysend, South Petherton, the Edmonds Family livd: 1 son & 2 Daughters, one married S Axe Esq of London, left no child, the other married Mr Joseph Vaux of Petherton, Left no son.  The Prowse Family livd at Moons, Sth Petherton, John the Father of the present George was the only one I ever knew & this George was calld the young Esquire but now where is the Property.

            The Toller Family livd at the West corner of the Church Yard Sth Petherton & Richd left no child but left his Property to his wife’s eldest son John by a former Husband whose Practice as an Attorney he took on & now John’s son, John Toller Nicholetts is in Co. with him.

            But above all, the above, the most extraordinary Family is Lord Pouletts of Hinton St George the Present Lord had 3 sons & they are all Dead – so the whole extensive Property fell to a Relation.

            Such is the fulfilment of the Scriptures that Riches make to themselves wings & fee away for much of the above Property have been spent and lost.

Apr      This month in London Miss Rhoda Terrell of Stoke was married to Mr Watkins, her Aunt’s Husband’s son.

May 14   Jas. Churchill’s wife put some Hot ashes in a Basket & put them in the pigs stie where some straw was which took fire & burnt down my two cottages occupied by Jas. & his father near the New House at the top of Stratton. If the 2 Fire Engines had not both have [sic] out of order the loss would not been much but as that was the case it will be about 30 pounds.

            Robt. Perren Esq. of Petherton was married to Miss Silvester who is th only Niece of Mr Ths. Templeman of Lopen on Thursday the 12 of May 59 very strange that T. Templeman’s father had 2 married Daughter & 2 do sons & 1 Batchelor son the Revd Alexander & yet there is no Heir to the Land – as there is only the above Miss Silvester, Mr T’s Daughter who married to a Mr Dadd & no family.

1859 June 15th   Mr Rodbord’s Barn and Shepherd’s House was burnt down, no doubt set on fire, it was very near Bow Mills. This day I walked to Severals and  back within 6 Hours, when I heard the disease was in the Potatoe Crop in many places in the Neighbourhood.  This is much earlier than usual.  I hope it will not be as bad as heretofore.  Old Potatoes are now selling at 2/6, Bread 6d, Wheat 5/9, Barley 4/-.

1860 July 6th Awful Death at Petherton Fair

            My 2 sons’ old School Master Mr Joseph Billing who I saw walking about the Fair about 12 o’clock and by 3 he died suddenly in the Pot House Drunk – He was parted from his family a Tyrant, cruel school master, and noted Drunkard for years.

1860 Sep 17  Poor old Jim Muncton of Stratton Died aged 83 years being the oldest person in the place.  I believe he has left more children & Grandchildren than other has in the whole Parish.  I think he has Thrashed more Corn than other man in the Parish beside He was a good Farmer man for all work.

1860 Sep 23   George Perry of Stratton Died he lived next door to me for 33 years his garden & orchard was by the Little Path? which runs between his Garden & ours.  I made his will & visited him for many months in his Illness & believe him to be a good man.  He was one of the Strongest Men in Parish. He Drove a Road waggon from Exeter to London for years when young & when married kept some good Stallions & lead them himself for years, was 73 years old.

1860 Nov 9th  Death

Mrs George Moody of Wigborough Farm Died at Weymouth and left her Husband & 4 Daughters.

            Also Mr Thos. Clark of Sth Harp who left one Daughter by a married woman of Merriott who lived with him for years while her Husband was living yet she told me just before his Death they were married before & after her Husband’s ?aunt but this I do not believe.

Nov 17  I went to his Funeral in the mourning cars with John & Thos Naish.  Present 2 do & 2 cars, The Wesleyan Chapel – 2 Naish – 2 Perens & 3 Hebditch all us were 2nd cousins but the Perens whose Father was.

* It seems that Mr Clark gave his Wife (so Called) all his property for life then to his children before the mother then Miss Elizabeth Street is to have the whole.

Nov 28th     This day Butcher Harriss’s child was Burried about 2 years old – I am expecting every day mine will be the next.  This year 1860 24 Peers have died their ages averaged exactly 70 years the age of man. I believe that this year I have found as much of the decays of Nature as I did  from 40 to 55 being 15 years or from 55 to 65 being 10 years asthma is my complaint may I consider my Calor and apply my etc etc

Jan 17   Olliver Reyland’s wife of Stratton Died in Child Birth before the Child was Born she having the Fitts in my cottage part of Forts House.

24th     Also Mrs Edwards of Stoke, Mr Richd Southcombe’s aunt, a good Christian.

19th     See the 21st of August 1858 when I Bot. my wife a Donkey of Hallett for 2-0-0 & this day it Died we think from a cold it ran in the straw Barton, livd well & little work.  Poor mother is now a great trouble for all her live stock Died in one Night.

1861  Jan 19th   Mr George Templeman of Broadstone Farm, West Chinnock Died aged 62 leaving 2 sons and 1 Daughter all grown up by his first wife But very strange to say a few weeks before his Death he confessd he had married his House Keeper 3 months ago who was in the Family way by him therefore he left her 200 & if the child should live it should have equal fortune with the other children.  He was one of the talest (sic) and largest men in the Neighbourhood.  I should think him 12 score weight his eldest son is living at Chiselbourh Farm.

            Remarks Continued

1861 Jan 18   Mr John James of Crewkerne Died aged 75 who occupied Crofts Farm for many years and who was a Land surveyor & a sort of head Bailiff for Wm Blake Esq of Bridge, also a principal at Parish Meetings.

25th     Mr Benjm Vile of West Stoke Died being in Barn talking with his men when he said I feel sleepy & went in, sat down in his chair & Died in a few Hours after.

Feb 7th  Mr Jas. Blake Daniel, Sth Petherton was married at Shepton Church by Mr Coles to Miss Bridge of Shepton __ who is Neice of the Shephens of Hurcott

12th     George Willy laid the Ham Stone Path in the Higher House Garden & also Relaid the one to the Priory.

27th     Thos Mathews of Stratton Died after about 4 or 5 weeks Illness no doubt hard & constant Drinking hastend his Death.

            I had made his last Will and my two sons he appointed Trustees – I believe he paid me Hundreds of Pounds for Rent & Interest money on 130 pounds on his House.

            He was an Honest man & one of the most hard working men in the Parrish.

            His age about 68 and was a member of the Wesleyan Society for about 30 years when he was turnd out as a Drunkard.

            Isaac Richard’s wife was his Daughter & Jas. Mathews of America his son who had, with his children most of his property.

Mar 1st    Death Extraordinary

 At Norton the only son of__ Quantock Esq of Dyptheria being only 7 years old – this child is the only one of this wife and the Daughter being about 17 is the only child of the first wife.

            I recalled James Quantock Esq of Lower Stratton Farm, Died a Batchelor. Mathew Quantock Esq of Norton he also Died a Batchelor and his Brother John Esq who livd with his Brother John Esq who livd with him being the Grandfather of this child so now this child was the last of all that Name which was a very wealthy one for nearly all Norton was theirs.

            So much for Names, for this Name, with Toller of Petherton, Edmonds of do, Peters of Bridge or Yeabridge who orderd on will that Wm Parsons should purchase his Name, Hillard of Wigborough & the 2 Templemans of Lopen, all Esqs and yet left no Heirs. over.

1861 Death again!

Remarks continued

Mar 5th      The mother of the child who Died the 1st Inst as the a/c of the other side states, Died this day at Norton of the same disease viz Diptheria & no doubt took it of her only son.  Mr Norriss & 2 phycians attended them from London every day. So youth – age – Rich & Poor must Die.

11th     Sudden Death

            This Night as Wm Calloes Wife late Martha Lawrence of Stratton was just going into Bed she fell down on the Bed and never spoke afterwards, her Husband being in Bed at the time.  She has had 12 Children & left 10 – 4 in Australia.

Apr 30th Mrs Hannah Griffen late Terrell Died at Coat at her Brother Johns. She livd at Yeabridge many years the widow of Farmer Saml Griffen late of Seavington

May 6th  This day I attended her Funeral from Coat to the Old Meeting atMartock and Drove George Nevill now 84 years old and  the after tomorrow I shall be 70

                                    our united ages   154 ________________________

            Joseph her Brother would not attend the Funeral as she gave her Brother John and his Children nearly all she left In consequence of Josephs Ill treatment.