Wills of Royal Naval Seamen (1786 – 1882)

Accident, disease and war were risks for seamen and many of them made wills to provide for their families in the event of death. As far back as 1698 the Admiralty had to deal with individuals impersonating deceased seamen or their executors, creditors or next of kin. They were trying to claim unpaid wages by forging wills and letters of attorney .

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The Case of Mary Hill of Beckington

Published  in 1896 by John Ashton in his book The Devil in Britain and America, this acount of The Case of Mary Hill of Beckington was originally recorded by May Hill, the Minister of Beckington in 1691.

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Dorset Smugglers

Many Dorset families, my own included, can point to a connection with smugglers somewhere in the past. The following article was originally published in Notes & Queries for Somerset & Dorset in 1893

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When Weymouth was a winter wonderland

Four-and-a-half decades ago, in the winter of 1962/63, Dorset experienced its coldest Christmas in living memory. Although it wasn’t quite a white Christmas, I do remember as a small boy in Maiden Newton that the snow started on boxing day and stayed with us until March.

For more on the winter of 1962/63 see this feature in the Dorset Echo

Sir Frederick Treves (1853-1923)

Sir Federick Treves penned the best loved of all guides to Dorset. In 1906, his Highways and Byways in Dorset was immediately the most popular book ever written on the county. It is still one of the most sought-after Dorset titles.

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A Bastardy Bond

 Medusa Mees was baptized on November 28, 1813 at All Saints Church, Nunney, Somerset, England the daughter of Rebecca Mees.  There is no mention of a fathers name, but on September 15, 1813 a Bastardy Bond had been issued by the local Justices of the Peace  naming William Bailey of Trowbridge as the father of Rebecca’s daughter who was born on July 27, 1813 at Nunney.

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Mary Anning (1799-1847)

Mary Anning was born May 21, 1799 to Richard and Mary Anning of Lyme Regis, two years after her brother Joseph. Richard and Mary had as many as ten children, but only  Mary and Joseph, reached maturity.

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Lady Day

In the Christian calendar, Lady Day is the Feast of the Annunciation, which is the revelation to Mary, the mother of Jesus by the archangel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. Lady Day is celebrated on March 25 exactly nine months before Christmas.

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The Powys Family

The Powys family produced many writers and artists, three of those writers attained enduring fame, John Cowper Powys, Theodore Francis Powys and Llewelyn Powys

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Henry Hastings (1551-1650)

Henry Hastings was the absolute stereotype for the eccentric, hunting, shooting and fishing, English country squire. Even in his own time he was considered far from typical. Henry became the squire of Woodlands upon his marriage to Dorothy Willoughby in 1587.  The following description of him is attributed to Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, later the first Earl of Shaftesbury, and describes Henry in 1638 at the time of his wifes death.  Although it must have been written, or at least updated,  over twenty years later following his death. 

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