HMS Victory and the Battle of Trafalgar

We have just found some exciting news –

John Welstead, aged 38, from Milton Abbas was on-board the Victory at Trafalgar on 21 Oct 1805. He was bosun’s mate.


We now need to carry out more research on this man to find out about his background, his life in Milton Abbas and his family.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

1787 Payments for labourers

In the Dorset History Centre there are some bills from 1787 for Milton Abbas estate. These scraps of paper give an insight into the work that was going on, as well as the names of the labourers, and the amount earned.

This is from May 1787

pay for work May 1787, DSC_2035

it gives the dates of the work, the number of days worked and the amounts paid per day.

We now know how much a hedge layer, ploughboy, cowboy.

There are about 40 such documents. It would enhance our understanding if one of our readers would transcribe them.

Please contact us here, if you would like to help.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Richard Ham, clock maker of Milton Abbas

richard ham dial

This is the dial of an eight day clock showing that Richard Ham was a clock maker of Milton Abbas. This image was kindly given to us by Tim Marshall author, and he has dated the clock to around 1720.

We are researching the Ham family. They were here from our earliest records 1634 through to the 19th century, and were important to the history of Milton Abbas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scutt Family

Scutt family

This photo was given to us by Sybil Brown.

She is compiling a biography of her aunt, Margaret Alice Scutt, whose third novel has recently been published posthumously. She was born in October 1905 and baptised that December in Weymouth, where her father, Tom Albert Scutt, was Schoolmaster at St. John’s.

His next post was at Milton Abbas Village School, which Margaret attended in due course.

Geoffrey Tom Scutt, and the younger sister, Lorna May, were born at Milton.

At the moment, we cannot be sure when the family moved to Milton.  Kelly’s Directory of  1911 gives: “Elementary School (mixed). with teacher’s residence attached, built in 1840, for 150 children; average attendance 83 ; Tom A. Scutt, master”. The previous edition of 1907 gives the head mistress as Sarah Annie Clark.

There are no Scutt’s in Milton Abbas in the previous edition of 1907, the head mistress is given as Sarah Annie Clark.

The photo shows Margaret Minnie, with baby Lorna in her arms and the other two children standing outside Milton Abbas School House, 1912.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Location, location, location

In order to locate the key points on the Woodward 1770 survey and map, the Milton Abbas Local History Group have purchased a hand held sat nav –

Garmin eTrax 10

We can now find on the ground, on the site of the Old Town, such places as the pound, the grammar school, Mr Harrison’s houses, the George Inn, the Red Lion, the bridge, Painters Lane, Johnsons Lane, Lord Milton’s dog kennels, and much, much more…

Posted in archaeology, history, landscape, Milton Abbey | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lord Milton’s Irish Estate Rent Book

One of our members has now transcribed part of this book which is available on the Tipperary County Library website. We have a list of the holdings – is there a map of County Tipperary from this period so that we can locate them?

We now know that in the 1770s Lord Milton of Milton Abbas held over 16 000 acres in Tipperary and was receiving £11 000 per annum in rents, this was in addition to the £5 000 he received from his Milton Abbas estate.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Overseers of the Poor Books

The Milton Abbas Local History group are excited to announce that we have today, 14 May 2018, completed our transcription of the Overseers of the Poor Account Book 1771 – 1798, that is 275 double pages, and we now have over 18 000 records in a searchable database.

A huge thank you to a team of transcribers from Australia, Canada and England, who have dedicated hundreds of man (and woman) hours on this unique project.

These give us an insight into the social history of Milton Abbas in the second half of the 18th century, just when Joseph Damer, Lord Milton pulled down the market town they had inhabited for over 800 years, and built some cottages in a valley out of sight for his estate workers to live in.

We now have an insight into the lives of the ordinary people – their poverty, their suffering, their diseases, their hardships, and the ruin of their livelihoods. And all because that “mighty, imperious Lord” wanted a nice view from his manor house.

This is a doubly unique achievement: we know of no other lost village who have examined their history in this way, nor are their searchable transcriptions of Overseers Books.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

In These Times, Jenny Uglow

Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars 1793 – 1815.

In These Times, Uglow, 2015

To quote the dust-jacket ” we know the thrilling, terrible stories of the battles of the Napoleonic wars – but what of those left behind? The people on a Norfolk farm, in a Yorkshire mill, ….”.

Just what I wanted, to see the impact of the wars, the Militia, the food shortages, the bread prices, the incomes on the rural poor. Unfortunately none of this is mentioned. It concerns itself with gentlemen (and ladies), politicians, polite society and the state machinery.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Victorian Paper Cutter


This paper cutter has a handle of part of of a deer’s leg and is inscribed”Shot at Milton Abbas 1884″.

We have never seen anything like it before. Rather a long blade for a practical letter opener, so probably a souvenir of a hunting party to sit on some gentleman’s desk.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Retreat, James Downs, Exeter University

James Downs has shared his research on Aelred Carlyle at The Retreat, Milton Abbas around 1900. We are hoping that this excellent research will be published in due course.

Father Aelred was born Benjamin Fearnley Carlyle (1874–1955), and was a Benedictine monk. Their very small community was along Anglo-Catholic lines and they supported themselves for a short while in Milton Abbas. They had their own wooden chapel at The Retreat, but would process to use Milton Abbey.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment