Progress Reports

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Milton Abbas Local History Group

July 2017

I am always surprised by the amount of work that the history group are undertaking, and how rich the history of Milton Abbas is – it is a source of endless fascination. We would not have thought that there would be much of interest here during the “Commonwealth” period of English history 1649 to 1660. How wrong we were! One of our members has transcribed the Churchwardens Books (the originals are in the Dorset History Centre) for this time. Firstly the spelling and language are of interest – there was no dictionary to standardise spelling – so people just wrote as they heard and spoke; there are words of which the meanings have been lost, for example paid for  ‘redding’ away of stones, a ‘gannett’ for the great bell, paid for a peare of hooks & ‘Tweskes’ for the same dore, laying of ‘Fellets elswhere’, and ‘fetchet’. We are guessing that a fetchet is a polecat or ferret, but we have no idea what the others may mean. We have not found a dictionary, not even Chambers, which gives us a clue to the meanings. Can any of our readers shed light on these words? We have now established for certain that ‘gayle’ money was payment to the gaol or jail for keeping a prisoner, since on one occasion it was paid to the ‘cunstable’.

Secondly, this part of the country of course reflects what was happening in the nation, the last arms that were held in Milton were carried to Blandford in 1656, well after the end of the Civil War;  George White, a Quaker was prosecuted; a scaffold was erected so that the King Charles’ arms could be erected on the church wall immediately after the Restoration of 1660.

The Old Town project is making good progress, we now have on board a resident from British Columbia who is doing great work on transcribing the Overseers of the Poor books for 1784, and given us his family tree of the Wood family who were here in the late 18th century. We have collected other family trees, leases and wills for the period which will give us a clearer idea of the impact of the destruction of the old town and building of the new village.

We will have an exhibition at the Street Fair on 29 July, why not come and see what we are up to – look forward to meeting you there.

We have set up a Facebook page – click on the link, and get the latest news and progress

June 2017

We would not have thought that there would be much of interest here during the “Commonwealth” period of English history 1649 to 1660. How wrong we were! One of our members has transcribed the Churchwardens Books (the originals are in the Dorset History Centre) for this time. Firstly the spelling and language are of interest – there was no dictionary to standardise spelling – so people just wrote as they heard and spoke; there are words of which the meanings have been lost, for example paid for  ‘redding’ away of stones, a ‘gannett’ for the great bell, paid for a peare of hooks & ‘Tweskes’ for the same dore, laying of ‘Fellets elswhere’, and ‘fetchet’. We are guessing that a fetchet is a polecat or ferret, but we have no idea what the others may mean. We have not found a dictionary, not even Chambers, which gives us a clue to the meanings. Can any of our readers shed light on these words? We have now established for certain that ‘gayle’ money was payment to the gaol or jail for keeping a prisoner, since on one occasion it was paid to the ‘cunstable’.

Secondly, this part of the country of course reflects what was happening in the nation, the last arms that were held in Milton were carried to Blandford in 1656, well after the end of the Civil War, George White, a Quaker was prosecuted, a scaffold was erected so that the King Charles’ arms could be erected on the church wall immediately after the Restoration of 1660.

The Old Town project is making good progress, we now have on board a resident from British Columbia who is doing great work on transcribing the Overseers of the Poor books for 1784, and given us his family tree of the Wood family who were here in the late 18th century. We have collected other family trees, leases and wills for the period which will give us a clearer idea of the impact of the destruction of the old town and building of the new village.

We will have an exhibition at the Street Fair on 29 July, why not come and see what we are up to – look forward to meeting you there.

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