STRATTON DORSET
   
             
PEOPLE OF THE PAST
             
 

 

 
  THE GRUESOME TALE OF POOR SARAH MILLER  
   
 

The In-Patient Admissions Register and Records of the Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester for 17th April 1850 show the admission of 38-year-old Sarah Miller, a Labourer’s Wife. The record suggests that Sarah lived in Stratton.

The Sherborne Mercury newspaper of the 23rd April 1850 reported that there was a “SHOCKING ACCIDENT. A poor woman named Sarah Miller, in the employ of Mr. Cox, at Muckleford, whilst attending a thrashing machine, on Wednesday afternoon, unfortunately slipped down, and one of her feet was caught between the beaters. The foot was completely torn off, and the leg was shockingly splintered as far as the knee. The unfortunate woman was immediately removed to the hospital, where the limb was amputated.”

Whilst at the hospital, Sarah was under the care of Mr. Tapp who recorded that there was ‘extensive laceration of the right leg, requiring amputation.’

Sarah remained in hospital until her discharge on 29th June 1850.

On 4th July 1850 she was due to see Mr. Tapp at the hospital as an out-patient. She had complained of ‘tenderness of the amputated stump’ but did not keep the appointment.

Seventeen months later, on 1st January 1852, Sarah attended the Dorset County Hospital as an out-patient, in order that the exfoliation of bone from the leg stump could be undertaken. This was carried out successfully and she was finally discharged by Mr. Tapp in October 1852.

There is some doubt as to whether Sarah lived in Stratton. The 1851 census shows her with her husband, James Miller and their daughter and three sons resident in Muckleford, which is in the parish of Bradford Peverell. Mr. Cox, in whose employ she was at the time of the accident was a Farmer employing five Labourers on his 170 acre farm. He lived in Muckleford too.

However, Sarah and James’ daughter, Marina Miller was born in Stratton in 1855 and she was baptised at St. Mary’s Church, Stratton on 30th March 1856. Rev. Charles Tucker who officiated that day recorded the Millers’ abode as ‘Stratton’.

Sarah died in early 1876 at the age of 52 years, and was buried on 11th March 1876 at St. George’s Church, Fordington.

 
     
   
     
  TWO NEWSPAPER REPORTS OF THE COURT APPEARANCE OF WILLIAM CHURCHILL  
     
 

On Saturday 19th April 1862 the Southern Times and Dorset County Herald reported that “William Churchill, labourer, of Stratton, was brought up for applying for relief whilst having money in his possession. – Supt. Lidbury said that on Sunday night prisoner applied to him for a lodging, saying that he had been all over the town and could not get a bed for 6d. He also said that he only had 8d in his possession. On being searched 1s 8½d. were found in his pockets and 3s in his mouth. Prisoner, who had formerly been in the 5th Dragoon Guards, pleaded hard for a fine, but was sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment.”

Then on Wednesday 23rd April 1862 the Frome Times covered the story with ”AN EX-POLICEMAN. - William Churchill, a labourer from Stratton, in Dorset, having, according to his account, served two years in the Metropolitan police, and therefore, well up to the ’artful dodge,’ was charged by Supt. Lidbury, on Monday, with having asked for relief when he had 4s 8d in his possession. It appeared that Supt. Lidbury, who is assistant relieving officer for the Weymouth district, saw Churchill about 1 o’clock of Sunday morning outside the station house. The defendant asked for relief, and Mr Lidbury asked him if he had any money. He said he had 6d. Mr Lidbury said that was enough to pay for a night’s lodging, and he replied that he had tried all over the town and no one would let him have a bed for the money. Mr Lidbury asked him if he had no more money, and he replied he had 8d. The Supt. Then told Sergeant Brine to search him, and that officer found 1s 8d in his pockets and 3s in his mouth. Upon making his discovery, Supt. Lidbury gave him two nights lodging, gratuitously, two breakfasts, and a dinner; and the magistrate, in his well-known style of liberality, showered blessings on his head “thick and threefold” by providing him with food and lodgings for 14 days and nights at that hospitable establishment known by the name of “the stone jug,” at Dorchester.”

 
     
   
     
  THE CRIME & PUNISHMENT OF BENJAMIN RICHARD SPRACKLIN  
     
 
On 20th April 1865 the Dorset County Chronicle and Somersetshire Gazette newspaper reported:

“COMMITTED TO THE DORSET COUNTY PRISON – Benjamin Richard Spracklin, housebreaking at Stratton; COUNTY PETTY SESSIONS. – Wednesday. Before Major Sykes. – Benjamin Richard Spracklin, a lad about twelve years of age, was charged with breaking into the shop window of William Shepard, at Stratton, on the 7th inst. – Prosecutor stated that he kept a small general shop at Stratton, and about half-past eight o’clock on Friday evening last he closed his shutters. He was called by his wife about ten o’clock, and on arriving in the shop he found that a shutter had been removed and two panes of glass taken out; on examination it was found that from half to three quarters of a pound of peppermint lozenges and a few packets of baking powder had been stolen. The goods were valued at about 1s 3d. – Ann Shephard, the wife of the last witness, gave corroborative evidence, and said the prisoner had not come to her shop for anything during the day. The missing goods were safe in the shop between seven and eight o’clock in the evening. – John Allen, a smith, living at Stratton, said about nine o’clock on the evening in question the prisoner came into his shop, and shook up a bag of peppermints, at the same time inviting him to partake of some. Witness took out two, and asked the boy where he had got them, to which he replied he had bought 3d worth at Mr. Shephard’s. Witness remarked that he had got a “good three pennyworth of pops.” – P.C. Foster said on Tuesday evening last he received information that the house of prosecutor had been broken into, and on examination he found the shop window had been tried in three different places; one pane of glass had been entirely removed, and another broken. Witness afterwards made enquiries in the village and found that the prisoner had been distributing a quantity of peppermints among several boys. He took the boy into custody, and as he was on his way to Dorchester he said he was sorry he had meddled with the window, but he had taken down the shutter and emptied the “pops” from the bottle, and had thrown away the powders. It was stated that the lad was employed by Mr. Davis, farmer, who gave him an excellent character. – Prisoner was committed for trial at the next sessions.”

On Wednesday 12th April 1865 – five days after the offence – Benjamin was received at Dorchester Prison. The Admission and Discharge Register lists him as a twelve-year-old labourer; 4ft 7ins tall; fair complexion; light brown hair; light hazel eyes; no distinguishing marks.

The Dorset Calendar of Prisoners shows that Benjamin was bailed on 19th April 1865 to appear at the Quarter Sessions in Dorchester in July 1865.

On 22nd June 1865 the Dorset County Chronicle and Somersetshire Gazette reported that Benjamin Richard Sprackin appeared at the “County Petty Sessions – Saturday: Before H. Williams and E. Saunders, Esqrs.” and was sent for trial at the Midsummer Quarter Sessions charged with housebreaking at Stratton.

Benjamin appeared at the Quarter Sessions on 28th June 1865 before H. Williams, Esq., of Stinsford House, Dorchester, and offered a guilty plea to Housebreaking and Larceny.

The Western Flying Post, Yeovil newspaper reported on Tuesday July 4th, 1865 that “MIDSUMMER QUARTER SESSIONS. SECOND COURT – Wednesday. H. Williams, Esq., in the chair. HOUSEBREAKING. – Benjamin Spracklin (on bail), was charged with breaking and entering the dwelling house of William Shephard, at Stratton, and stealing therein 1lb. of peppermint lozenges and six packets of baking powder, on 7th April last. – Prisoner pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 14 days’ hard labour, and at the expiration of that term to be sent to a Reformatory School for four years.”

Benjamin was sent to Milborne St. Andrew Reformatory School, near Blandford Forum.
 
     
   
     
  ELIZABETH KATE POPE  
     
 

Alfred and Elizabeth Mary Pope’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth Kate was born at South Court, South Walks, Dorchester on 11th May 1879. She was baptised at All Saints Church, Dorchester by the Rev. Henry Frederick Jones on 22nd July 1879.

Educated at home by a Governess until she was thirteen, she then went to a private school in Bath for three years. At sixteen, Elizabeth Kate attended a Brussels finishing school kept by the Misses Drury. There she learnt French and perfected her social etiquette. On her return to England, Elizabeth Kate attended Cheltenham Ladies College for two terms.

Between Easter 1897 and July 1917 she served as a Sunday school teacher at Holy Trinity Church, Dorchester.

In 1911, 31-year-old Elizabeth Kate was single and living with her parents and three of her siblings at South Court.

She became interested in nursing and acquired a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Certificate in 1912. During the First World War she worked at a Dorchester War Hospital Depot for bandages and surgical appliances.Elizabeth Kate also kept an allotment for three years in order to help maintain the food supply and managed the Coal and Clothing Clubs in Stratton and Grimstone.

In 1930 she married Francis EPWORTH in Middlesex. In 1939 Francis, a retired Shipping Clerk, and Elizabeth Kate were living at 17, Great Western Road, Dorchester. Francis died in Dorset in 1952 aged 88 years.

Elizabeth Kate EPWORTH of Maybank, Great Western Road, Dorchester, died at Herrison Hospital, Charminster on 27th August 1961. She left £23,221 to Philip William Rolph Pope, a Company Director, and Decimus Pope, a retired Army Colonel.

 
     
   
  Elizabeth Kate Pope  
     
     
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