South Somerset Snippets

South Somerset Snippets


     An interesting comment on the use of the rifle in combat in the 1860s, when the main infantry weapon was the muzzle-loading rifle, from the Western Flying Post of 13 November 1860:

     ‘We extract the following amusing anecdote from the speech of John Nicholetts Esq., delivered at the meeting of the Martock Agricultural Society, which is fully reported in another place:- He would relate an anecdote in connexion with rifle shooting told by his brother who is at Palermo. On one occasion he met Colonel Peard – Garibaldi’s Englishman – who said to him, “Mind, if ever you go rifle shooting use your rifle in a scientific manner. Recollect always not to kill your man, but to wound him, then it takes two men to carry him off, and those two men never by any chance come back the same day. With a double-barrelled rifle, therefore you may get rid of six men at each discharge.” We think this worth consideration.’

     Meanwhile over at Castle Cary, the Pulman’s Weekly News of 11 March 1863 issued a warning to its readers:

     ‘About a week since, an individual appeared here who has since succeeded in duping more than one of the inhabitants. He represents himself as having just arrived from Australia, and it is singular that he can give correct accounts to their relations of many persons who are now in Australia, but sometimes inaccuracies are apparent in his statements. He represented himself as the grandson of one poor old man. Of course the old man was delighted to see him come back safe from the distant continent. He therefore housed him for a day or two, and on his stating that he was short of cash, he even supplied him with some until he could get his Australian bills cashed. Having obtained what he could of the old man, he has since decamped, and it has transpired that he was no relative whatever. It is rumoured that he has been successful in several instances, by similar representations, of duping many in this locality. He is about five and a half feet high, of a dark complexion, and appears about 25 years old.’

     In the autumn of 1874 there was a variation to the quotation of ‘A bull in a china shop’ at Crewkerne, as reported in the Western Gazette of 2 October:

     ‘On Thursday afternoon, some bulls were driven through this town by a drover employed by Mr. Pattinson, cattle dealer. On arriving in Sheep Market Street, and seeing the gate leading to the yard of Mr. Tout, ironmonger, open, three of the animals walked quietly into the yard and one of them unceremoniously entered and took possession of the back kitchen, and it was not until he had broken four panes of glass, and then with some difficulty, he was driven out. The animals then proceeded on their way through Sheep Market Street, but on reaching the dwelling house of Mr. Fone, tailor, whose front door they found open, two of them entered the passage. Mrs. Fone was sitting in a room at the left hand side of the passage with tea laid awaiting the return of her children, and on seeing the head of her unexpected caller thrust into the room she was much alarmed. She, however, managed to leave the room through another entrance and the drover of the bulls crawled underneath its legs into the room, and succeeded in driving it out.’

     Pulman’s Weekly News reported relief in West Coker in April 1899, when;

     ‘A large number of parishioners met at The Laurels on Monday evening to welcome home Mr. Arthur Herbert Gould, eldest son of Mr. Job Gould, twine manufacturer. Mr. Gould had recently undergone a very successful operation at the College Hospital, London, where his leg was amputated at the hip. The operation caused the gravest anxiety to the parishioners at large, and the ringing cheers with which he was greeted on his arrival testified to the sincerity of the welcome he received. Mr. Gould has been for some years an active member in the firm of Messrs. Gould & Sons, and it is hoped that he will be long spared to push forward the industry of the village, whose interest he has so much at heart.’

     However, on 17 October 1899, Pulman’s Weekly News reported relief of a somewhat different and slightly mysterious kind at East Chinnock:

     ‘Miss Kate Rendell, who mysteriously disappeared from home on Thursday week, returned home on Wednesday evening, to the intense relief of her relatives. She was in too weak a condition to give any explanation of her absence.’

     I wonder where she’d been and her explanation!   The record is silent.

Jack Sweet
May 2017

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