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The Manor of Rampisham under Arthur Martin.

The young Arthur Martin

The making of a Victorian Gentleman

Arthur Martin Esq., JP, Sheriff, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset.

Arthur Martin, Lord of the Manor at Rampisham.

The way of all flesh

In 1818 John Martin became the Steward at Rampisham and for at least the next 48 years he was intimately involved in it’s affairs. Around 1854 the Manor was bought by Lord Aukland who occupied it for almost seventeen years until his death in 1870. The story of the Manor of Rampisham in the 18th and 19th century is told here.

The first advert to appear for the sale of the Manor after Aukland’s death was in May 1871. The sale was handled by Wainright and Heard of Shepton Mallet. It was described as an Important Freehold Property of 1546 acres “Situate in a very picturesque and beautiful part of the county, 2 ½ miles from the Evershot station on the Wilts, Somerset & Weymouth Railway.” The sale included various “farm houses and agricultural buildings together with an Ancient and Picturesque Manor House, Standing on a knoll adjoining the Church and now occupied as a Farm Residence.” Also included were “the Village Inn a Brick and Tile Kiln and Yard and adequate NUMBER OF COTTAGES FOR LABOURERS”. All in all it produced a rental income of £2056 a year.

Much was made of the sporting facilities, “The Coverts are a favourite fixture for Lord Poltimore’s Foxhounds, the Kennels at Cattistock being only 3 miles distant. Game is abundant and a capital Trout stream runs through the Village and the Centre of the property.”

Arthur was named as the local agent indicating some continued input into the manor. By this time the rental income of the manor was set at £2066. A rather coy notice in the Western Gazette of 8th December 1871 reads “A contemporary hears that the Manor of Rampisham with over 1,000 acres of land has been purchased by Arthur Martin, Esq., of Evershot.” The contemporary was right.

The young Arthur Martin

Arthur may not have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth but it was pretty close – at least silver gilt. Born in 1827 to older parents, John was 47 yr’s and Mary 43 yr’s, his father was by this time a moderately wealthy man. Of his life we learn little from the diaries but are able to glean something from various newspaper accounts that were published over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

The first entry in the diaries, other than that of his birth, comes in 1838 when he was 11 yr’s old and his brother Edwin was sent to collect him from school in Ilminster. The 1841 census shows him to be living in Cross House, which housed Ilminster Grammar school. We may be sure then that he received a good education and, after leaving school [we do not know when], he returned to Evershot and in 1845 is found to be working with his father as a land surveyor and is so designated in the 1851 census. He married in 1849 when he was 22 yr’s old to Martha Matthews who appears to have been born in London.

The making of a Victorian Gentleman.

Today many people live in the country but in the past people did not simply live in the country it would be more accurate to say that they were embedded in it. Foreign travel, except for the very rich, was virtually unknown and for men [1] in possession of money and leisure time most pleasures had to be taken within the community in which they lived.

The particular pleasures in which the men of the period indulged depended on their status in society and it is no surprise that Arthur was to become the consummate Victorian gentleman and a pillar of the society in which he was embedded. But that society had certain expectations. No man could expect to be received into the higher echelons of that society without the right credentials, he had to prove himself to be an adornment to society.

First there was the man’s moral character and here Arthur got off to a good start. In 1854 he became one of the two churchwardens at Evershot, in partnership with his father. It was a post he was to occupy for a further twenty four years only relinquishing it in 1878. Arthur remained actively involved in church matters in Evershot and elsewhere. He appears in a long list of notables who were present at the re-dedication of Rampisham church in 1859 and in 1874 he was elected as one of two representatives from Rampisham to attend “the new ruri-decanal synod”; whatever that might have been.

Arthur’s interest in the church was not purely religious. He appears to have been very musical and is to be found playing the Harmonium at the re-opening of St Osmund’s church in Evershot in 1853. His name appears in connection with the Evershot choir and musical concerts. As with the Horticultural Societies [see below] these are a feature of later 19th century life. They often had an eclectic mix of music. In 1867 the gentry of Evershot met in the school room where a group of ten performers [three violins, one viola, one cello, one double base, one cornet, one trombone, one piano and a side drum] entertained them with a variety of pieces including well known works such as the Italian in Algeria by Rossini, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, Home Sweet Home as well as less known ones such as Masaniello by Auber and Guy Mannering by Sir H R Bishop.

Rampisham offered fewer opportunities for music making the only reported concert there that I could find was from 1884 when the church choir, “having been well trained by Mr A Martin of the Manor House” gave a concert ranging from Rule Britannia, Glee, Hark! The Sound of Robin’s Horn and Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. The article notes that it was an annual event so perhaps concerts there were more common than we think.

As well as a man’s character it was important that he had a suitable way of supporting himself and his family. In the 16th century a gentleman was confined to those “whosoever studies the laws of the realm, who studies in the universities, who professes liberal sciences, and (to be short) who can live idly, and without manual labour, and will bear the port, charge, and countenance of a gentleman, he shall be called master, and shall be taken for a gentleman.”[ 2]

By Arthur’s time the number of professions had burgeoned and such a restrictive definition was no longer tenable. Nevertheless to be taken for a gentleman it was still necessary to have a respectable profession and in 1854, at the age of 27, we find him holding Court Baron, as Stewart to the Earl of Ilchester, at Evershot. He took over from Joseph Crew Jennings who had committed suicide [see here] . His training as a land surveyor must have been an enormous help but probably not as much as the help he got from his brother Edwin, already Steward to the Earl at Redlynch, and his father. How long he remained as Steward at Evershot is not known but at least nine years and in 1859 he also attended the Court Leet at Symondsbury as agent for the Earl of Ilchester. When the fourth Earl died in 1865 Arthur is mentioned as one of the ‘agents’ together with James Preston Fitzgerald – his father’s old apprentice.

This was an important and prestigious position, the Earl was one of the largest [if not the largest] landowners in Dorset and Arthur would have come into contact with a range of the most influential men and women in the county. It was an excellent job for networking aided by good food and company, in February 1860 at the “rent audit of Lord Ilchester at Melbury the tenant were treated to a splendid dinner at the Acorn Inn….A Martin Esq occupied the chair and a very pleasant evening was spent”. It brought him into contact with other worthies within the village, notably Mr Baskett the solicitor and he began to involve himself in village affairs as he is mentioned as a prominent member of the Evershot Friendly Society in 1855. It was not all fun however and in 1856 we find Arthur instructing Mr Baskett to obtain an order allowing the eviction of John Groves a ‘weekly tenant’ of the Earl of Ilchester.

The Stewardship brought him a splendid house belonging to the Ilchester Estate. In the 1861 census he is found living at Summer Cottage with his family, a gardener, a cook and house maid. In 1871 he is living at Summer Lodge. Whether he was living in two different places is not clear ; an advert in 1884 distinguishes between a [small] nine bedded house to be let [at £30 per year] which may have been the cottage as well as a [large] house known as Summer Lodge.

From this house Arthur was able to dispense the largesse which was also a feature of the gentry. The first record of this comes in 1860 when in January it was reported that,“On New Years Eve the poor of this parish were through the kindness of A Martin Esq., of Summer Lodge, supplied with mutton and other necessaries with an unsparing hand.” It is likely that he did this annually but it is not until 1864 that the newspapers troubled to report it again.

In 1862 “The Children, belonging to the Sunday Schools….were regaled, through the liberality of A Martin, Esq., with tea and cake in a field adjoining that gentleman’s residence.” The following year saw the marriage of the Prince of Wales and this occasioned a major celebration in Evershot with Arthur at it’s core. We are told that the church bells rang out at six a.m which doubtless pleased the villagers no end, whilst at 10.30 the villagers were summoned to an early lunch of beef, bread and beer dispensed by Mrs Jennings and “During the day the people evidently tried to outdo each other and the happy smile on their cheeks betokened the feelings of the occasion.” In the evening “the whole of the village was illuminated with various lights and forms with such splendour never witnessed before. Fireworks were displayed in abundance in a field belonging to Arthur Martin Esq.; that gentleman superintending the working of the same. Later in the evening a monster bon-fire [sic] was lighted in the same field and could be seen for miles round, its flames lighting the surrounding villages….. The houses of A[rthur] Martin Mrs Jennings, C.H Baskett and others were illuminated with great taste….In truth the oldest inhabitants never witnessed any proceedings in the Evershot with regard to magnitude and splendour equal those those we have briefly described.”

Sometimes the largesse extended beyond the town; In 1863 “On Christmas Day the officials of the GWR at our station were bountifully supplied with the good old English fare , roast beef, plum pudding, and good strong beer, through the kind liberality of A. Martin Esq., Summer Lodge Evershot.” In 1866 we learn that “Arthur Martin, Esq., has commenced his usual distribution of rabbits amongst the deserving poor in this and the adjoining parish of Rampisham. Several hundreds have already been distributed which in consequence of the high price of provisions have been most gratefully received by the recipients.”

No doubt his Lordship’s game warden helped him catch them!

1867 was a particularly generous year. In January “Arthur Martin and C Jennings Esqrs have with their usual liberality given away several tons of coal and a great number of rabbits to the poor of this village during the past week.” This entry is a sign of the times as in the 18th century the Overseers of the Poor had used to pay for firewood. This practice appears to have died out [or at least it is not specifically mentioned] but in the late 19th century distribution of coal to the poor was quite widespread by the vestries and later parish councils. In March of the same year we read, “Within the last few days Arthur Martin Esq has distributed fifty pounds worth of linen drapery to the deserving poor of this parish; the goods were supplied at reduced prize [sic] by Snook and Co Yeovil.”

By 1870 Arthur was well on the way to becoming the perfect Victorian Gentleman, there were a few final tweaks needed to complete the transformation but these came only after the purchase of the manor of Rampisham.

Arthur Martin Esq., JP, Sheriff, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Dorset.

In 1861 the census notes that Arthur is a land agent, by 1871 he had achieved the next essential pre-requisite to being a gentleman – he had become a landowner. What land, where and how much land he owned I have not investigated but it was enough to allow him to afford a butler, two domestic servants and a governess for his two daughters. His son, now 19 yr’s old, was an undergraduate at Wadham College,Oxford.

In late 1871 Arthur purchased the Manor at Rampisham and at some time moved out of Summer Lodge and into the manor house, by the church, at Rampisham. He was to live there until his death in 1901 and it was here that he completed his training and became the archetypal Victorian gentleman. It took a little while however; in 1880 he became a Justice of the Peace one of that unpaid group of laymen [yes they were all men] who formed the backbone of legal administration from the 14th century onwards.

Justices were, almost by definition, not legal professionals and although they received some training they were essentially amateurs. Nevertheless their powers were considerable; they could “order the suppression of affrays and riots, the apprehension and committal of felons and lesser offenders….the magistrate was empowered to take securities for the peace and any two or more justices could hear and determine felonies and other offences….” Their duties spread well beyond this however and until 1835 they “spent much more time in sessions dealing with local administration – the setting of poor rates, the upkeep of roads and bridges, the appointment of local officials.”[3]

To be a Justice of the Peace was in many ways the ultimate outward sign of acceptance. The post was not a ‘job’ which an individual applied for. Technically they were royal appointments although it seems in most cases the individual was chosen by the Lord Lieutenant of the County who recommended them to a Commission of the Peace overseen by the Lord Chancellor. As a result, from the perspective of the ruling class at least, only the right sort of person was ever appointed. As a consequence most Justices appear to have been recruited from retired army officers, country gentlemen and probably the single biggest contributor group – the clergy.

Arthur spent most of his time at Cerne Abbas and a typical session included taking action against men “riding and driving loose horses in a furious manner”, other men accused of assaulting their wives, still other men who were drunk and disorderly, yet more men accused of poaching, sons who failed to support their parents and husbands their wives. The most humorous case was that of George House who was charged with being drunk on the highway. “The case was proved by P. C. Payne who found the defendant on the ground saying “I am going to die.” We are told that “The constable put life into him on raising him”, probably with a well aimed hobnail boot and George was fined 6d together with 1s 6d costs.

In March 1896 “The following were among the Sheriffs selected by the Queen at a meeting of the Privy Council:- Mr Arthur Martin of Manor House, Rampisham, Dorset.” A month later in April 1896 the London Gazette reported a “Commission signed by the Lord -Lieutenant of the county of Dorset – Arthur Martin Esq to be deputy Lieutenant; dated the 2nd Inst.”

Arthur Martin, Lord of the Manor at Rampisham.

For just under thirty years Arthur lived the life of a country gentleman and Lord of the Manor. In his activities and lifestyle he was no different to literally thousands of men across the country and those activities and interests were firmly embedded within the countryside.

Typical of these was his interest in agriculture and it is no surprise that in 1864 we find him listed as one of the Vice Presidents of the Melplaish Agricultural Society [an ecclesiastical parish near Netherbury]. The period of the 1860’s and 70’s was not a happy one for the farming community and in this period numerous agricultural or horticultural societies appear in the newspaper records for the first time. The Melplaish society appears for the first time in 1857 when it appears to have started life as a ploughing match. By 1864 it was offering prizes for the best Bull, or dairy cow, or mini-flock of sheep and so on. It was not only animal stock that were judged; human stock was also judged. For example the £1 paid to “the servant in husbandry who shall have brought up the greatest number of legitimate children in a respectable manner with the small proportion of parochial relief”.

Horticultural societies were also in vogue and were hugely popular. In 1866 over 500 visitors attended the Corscombe and West Chelborough Horticultural Society; amongst the exhibitors “Some splendid fuchias, from Arthur Martin Esq., took a prominent place in the exhibition but were not for competition”. It is likely of course that the applause should have gone to his gardener.

It was not until the next year that the Evershot horticultural society was founded and the first newspaper report of it’s activities comes in 1870. Interestingly their show was held in a field lent by the Earl of Ilchester’s agent, Mr Baring, suggesting that Arthur had given up this role by this time. Their seems to have been a social divide for the upper class committee “had spared no pains to induce the cottagers to join in friendly competition and cheerfully did the inhabitants second the laudable efforts put forth on their behalf.”

One of the people who was tasked with inducing the cottagers was Miss Martin but which one was not named. Arthur once again “sent some magnificent plants which partly filled the stand in the centre of the marquee – these formed a great attraction to the visitors and were generally admired.” Once again Arthur’s gardener came up trumps “The tall dark-coloured fuchias from Mr Martin’s conservatories were very fine surpassing by far, it was said, those shown last week at Sherborne…”

After his move to Rampisham he appears not to have exhibited again and indeed there are few reports of his activities in the early years after his move. Doubtless the acquisition of the manor together with new farming responsibilities kept him busy. Rampisham as a village was of course a different kettle of fish to Evershot. It was more dispersed with a less clearly defined centre and compared to Evershot less in the nature of ‘society’. The biggest celebration of the year was the ‘Feast’.of St Michael and All Angels to whom the parish church was dedicated. Naturally it did not take place on the sabbath, it was always during the week and was organised principally by the Rector of the Parish. In 1879 the day started with prayers in a church that had been “tastefully decorated with corn, fruits and flowers, this labour of love having been performed by the ladies at the rectory assisted by the family of Mr A Martin, Manor House.” After the service the principal participants retired to luncheon in the schoolroom and in the afternoon games were played in one of the fields, together with dancing [to the strains of the Beaminster band] and the old people of the village were served tea.

These feasts were major events in which the whole village took part and in which Arthur and his family were intimately involved. His input was so important that after his death the feast died away, one newspaper in 1907 reporting that “The old time festivities have now however dwindled away until the only remaining sign on the anniversary is a single stall in the village street.”

When it was put up for sale in 1819 the advertisement for the Manor’s sale noted that “The Property is situated in fine sporting country, and abounds with game, with a good trout stream running through the estate”. It comes as no surprise therefore that Arthur took part in what are usually called country sports. We know that his father took him shooting when he was eighteen, and that he employed a game keeper [whose hand was shattered by a gun exploding in 1874] and the Dorset History Centre has a number of game books which were probably his.

His main sporting interest however was hunting. When he began to pursue this sport is not known but was in advance of his move to Rampisham. He was principally involved with the Cattistock Hunt and later there were frequent meetings at the manor house. It is generally acknowledged that fox hunting increased after the countryside had been inclosed. It was difficult to hunt over the large open fields and the amount of cover in which foxes could breed was small. Not for them the rather implausible excuse that hunting was aimed at keeping vermin under control. They relished the hunt and the kill and in 1862 the High Sheriff, who was attending the annual meeting of the hunt, praised those landowners who had provided coverts and generally preserved the foxes on their land. It’s possible that Arthur even had a kennels at Rampisham for in December 1887 he placed an advert in the Western Gazette for the recovery of a foxhound puppy which had strayed from Rampisham.

In 1884 the county held it’s first [4] Dorset Royal Dog show. Arthur is listed [together with about thirty others] as one of the vice-presidents. If he showed any of his own dogs he did not win a prize, but it must have been quite a show for there were over 45 classes from mastiff’s and St Bernards to fox terriers.

Arthur’s interest in animals was comprehensive as in 1896 he is again named as one of the vice- presidents of the Dorset Poultry, Pigeon and Rabbit show although again he did not exhibit. This organisation was rather charmingly named the Dorset Fancier’s Association.

Foxes were not the only animal to have been hunted. In May 1892 “Mr Collier’s Otter Hounds …met at Sutton Bingham…they found a very fine otter which gave three hours good sport.” The otter may have thought differently about things of course particularly as “He was killed and proved to be about 27lb in weight. Amongst the party were…Mr Arthur Martin Esq.,”

The major political influence on Arthur would have been his father who was probably influenced by his close working association with the third Earl of Ilchester, a Whig peer. Certainly in 1832 we know that John Martin, eligible to vote for the first time after the 1832 Reform act, voted for the Whig candidates. In his earlier years Arthur may have been what would today be called a Liberal but by the late 1880’s he had become a Conservative. On the 17th April 1885 we find him chairing a meeting of the local conservatives in the schoolroom at Evershot at which Mr Farquharson the MP for West Dorset spoke. Topics included the ‘fair trade question’, the possibility of war with Russia, the value of the Church of England, the inconsistency of Radical demagogues and the future of the Home Rule Bill for Ireland [which he steadfastly opposed].

Farquharson’s only modern claim to fame is that it appears he knew who Jack the Ripper was. The Pall Mall Gazette of 11th February 1891 stated that “There is a West of England member who in private [writes the London Correspondent of the Nottingham Guardian] declares that he has solved the mystery of Jack the Ripper. His theory, and he repeats it with so much emphasis that it might almost be called his doctrine is that Jack the Ripper committed suicide on the night of his last murder.” I learn from those fascinated by the topic that the West of England member was Farquharson. Pity he never named him thus ending the continuing speculation as to the identity of this murderer.

Arthur’s own political pretensions never extended beyond the county. In 1888 the Local Government Act was passed which established county councils. Elections followed in 1889 when Arthur was elected as county councillor for the division of Poorstock a post which he held until his death.

The way of all flesh

Arthur was no stranger to personal tragedy. His youngest sister Caroline had died before he was born but he was just old enough to remember his oldest sister Eleanor, who died when he was three. His mother had died when he was eleven and his brother, Edwin, when he was twenty eight. Edwin’s wife had died in childbirth the baby surviving a bare four months before succumbing as well. Arthur was left to care for Edwin’s daughter Augusta Mary who was looked after by Arthur until her death at the age of thirteen in 1863. He had a great respect for her and commemorated her in a stained glass window at Evershot. [see here]

In 1865 his wife Martha, gave birth to a stillborn son whilst staying with her family in Croydon.

Although Rampisham was to prove a rural idyll it saw no end to tragedy in the Martin family. The first to go was Florence Mary. Born in 1862 we know nothing about her except the announcement of her death on 12th April 1882 which simply states : Florence M daughter of Mr Arthur Martin of the Manor House Rampisham Dorset aged 20”

Ten years later Arthur was to lose his only son. Arthur John Matthews Martin was baptised in 1851, a non diary year and he first appears in the 1852 diary when his grandfather notes that he was ill.

21st April 1852

At Home made out Valuation of Plush for Mr Coombs – [Little Man very Ill]

22nd April 1852

At Home on Various matters [Child still very ill]

28th April 1852

Went to Coker and Paid for Ploughing &c [Little Man better]

There are other occasional mentions to Arthur John in the diaries. He goes with his mother to Torquay in 1854 and in 1861 he joins the family to celebrate his tenth birthday and on Old May Day 1861 [13th May] he is allowed to attend a dinner at which Mr Beavis Mr Henry Dunning Mr D Rawlins Mr Dunning [of] P Trenthide Mr Pope Kingcombe Mr A Dibble Mr F Gould Arthur & Wife and Son -Dined”. No lightweight dinner for a young man.

The next we learn of him is that he appears in the 1871 census as an undergraduate at Oxford University. We do not know when he entered the university but the records of Oxford Alumni show that he matriculated from Wadham College in October 1871. He was just 19yrs old.

Ten years later he is still living with his parents, by now at Rampisham Manor, he is single but described as a gentleman farmer of two hundred acres. Interestingly his parents are still be ing looked after by one of the Fountain family. Many years earlier, in 1851 ,his father had been looked after by Isabella Fountain and in 1881, Sarah Fountain, presumably her daughter, was the cook for Arthur at Rampisham.

Then in 1889, at the age of 39 yr’s Arthur John decided to marry. This was a fairly grand affair taking place at St James’s in Piccadilly on 1st June. His wife was Marion Clara Graham a 25 year old girl from Weymouth, daughter to a wine and spirits merchant. Interestingly neither of their parents signed the register, the marriage having been arranged by licence.[5] Equally oddly in the 1891 census each of them is to be found apart staying in their parents homes. By this time Arthur John is now recorded as a Justice of the Peace and he has with him his own son Phillip Arthur Martin, just one year old having being born on 20th March 1890.

On the 15th of July 1891 Arthur John Matthews Martin died. The newspaper report of his funeral records that he was prone to fits and that he died a few hours after having one. At the time he had moved to Seaton in Devon where the sea air seemed to have improved things for him. “He was well known and very highly respected in Seaton and much sympathy is expressed both here and in the neighbourhood of Rampisham with his widow in her sudden bereavement.”

At the time Seaton was connected to the main London and South Western Railway line at the eponymously named Seaton Junction [6]. The body was brought back to Yeovil Junction by train and from there by horse drawn hearse to Rampisham Hill. Here his Grandfather had surveyed and inclosed the common, here we may venture that ‘little man’ had played in his childhood and here he was met by Arthur and his tenants who formed a procession accompanying the hearse down to the Manor House. The coffin was transferred to a hand bier [most parishes had one] which was decorated with flowers. He was conveyed to the church where “A very large number of the gentry and inhabitants of the village and neighbourhood were present, and on every hand there were signs of the great esteem in which the deceased was held, blinds being drawn at almost every house in the village”.

In 1899 Arthur and Martha celebrated their Golden Wedding.

When the event became known in the parish several of the Manor tenants wished to give to the happy couple some present which should be not only a memorial of the occasion but a mark of the goodwill and harmony which have marked the relations between them and their landlord. A few friends and neighbours who were not servants expressed their desire to join in the testimonial with the final results that ….. Mr & Mrs Martin [were] presented with a handsome silver bowl bearing a suitable inscription.”

We can imagine the scene as “Both the Lord and Lady of the Manor evidently felt deeply the friendliness which had prompted the gift..”

In 1901 Arthur died at the age of 74 yr’s. His obituary in the Western Gazette is worth quoting

It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of a well-known and equally well-esteemed Dorset gentleman. Mr Arthur Martin, of Rampisham Manor. He had been ailing for some months and during the last month his illness had assumed a more serious nature. Besides his usual medical attendant, Dr Rendall of Maiden Newton, he had been attended by Dr Lush of Weymouth and a London physician. The end came early on Tuesday morning [10th December 1901] .Deceased had reached the age of 74. He leaves a widow and two daughters. Mr Arthur Martin was born in 1827, and was the second son of the late Mr J Martin, of Evershot. He was a typical country gentleman fond of rural life, a lover of horse and hound, a frequent figure by the covert side in his youth and prime. By nature as frank, amiable and genial as he was upright, and noticeable for a fine old-world courtesy of bearing, he was a favourite with all who knew him, gentle and simple alike. He was a prominent supporter of the Cattistock Hunt and one of the promoters of the newly-formed Dorset Fancier’s Association. He took an active part in the public life and work of the county. In 1880 he qualified as a county justice acting for the Cerne Petty sessional division. He was Deputy-Lieutenant for the county and a few years ago filled the office of High Sheriff. He was a frequent attender at the quarter sessions. He was one of the representatives appointed by Quarter Sessions to serve on the Standing Joint Committee and was a member of the Accounts Sub-Committee. By his death a vacancy is caused in the representation of the Evershot division of the County Council. He was a member of four committees of the County Council – the Visiting Committee of the Asylum, the Finance, Standing Orders and Executive Committees.

Just for completeness we should add that he was also one of the vice-presidents of the Yeovil Hospital at one time.

Post Scriptum

At his death Arthur left £36683 11s 8d [the equivalent of £2,867,636.41 in 2017]. His wife Martha died in 1905 and his two remaining daughters in Martha Eleanor and Louisa Alice died in 1942 and 1947 respectively. I have not followed the career of Arthur’s grandson, Philip Arthur, in detail but he was living with his two aunts at Rampisham Manor prior to the second war. One of his own sons, Lieut Arthur Charles Woolcott Martin was awarded the DSO in November 1943 when he single handedly wiped out a German machine gun emplacement. His bravery cost him dear as he was to die on the 6th June 1944 on the beaches of Normandy.

His father, who has been described as ‘medical student, rancher, writer’ in one family history was to live until 1995 when he died at the age of 105 yr’s.

1 I am here talking about male leisure activity.

2 The Commonwealth of England Sir Thomas Smith 1583

3 Emsley, Clive. “The English Magistracy 1700-1850.” IAHCCJ Bulletin, no. 15, 1992, pp. 28–38. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/43658156. Accessed 4 June 2021.

4 And possibly last dog show as it is not noted again in the newspapers.

5 One family history that I have seen calls her Jemima

6 A part of the branch line is now the Seaton Tramway. Well worth a visit as it travels down the beautiful valley of the river Axe.

Categories: In Depth

Ned Elliott