Skip to main content

Blandford Throwback Facts IV


In 1731, the Great Fire of Blandford destroyed the greater part of the town. It started at about 2 o’clock in a soap boiler’s house. Only forty out of around five hundred houses escaped the fire. To add to the troubles, the town was suffering from a smallpox outbreak affecting around 150 people.

Following the Great Fire of Blandford an appeal for funds raised £16,151-10s-3d £16.151 51p) which included £1,200 from King George II and his wife, £200 from Bath and £136 from the Isle of Wight. Drury Lane Theatre in London put on a play to raise money for ‘the poor unhappy sufferers from the late fire.’

The practice of ducking ‘incorrigible shrews and scolds’ was discontinued with the burning of the town’s ducking stool in the fire.

In 1733, there were thirty inns in Blandford.Composer William Knapp wrote an anthem in commemoration of the 1731 Great Fire of Blandford.

In 1735, Blandford Church was constructed at the cost of £3,200 and it cost four years to complete.

In 1738, because of the number of disorders in the town, the bailiff, vicar and 22 leading residents petitioned the magistrates to grant licenses to only 20 local innkeepers.

In 1739, one shilling & sixpence (7p) was paid by the Overseers of the Poor for curing John Pottle’s wife of the itch.

(Illustration: Blandford Fire 250th Anniversary stamp)


 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the

Shapwick Sea Monster

On a Tuesday in October 1706, a travelling Poole fishmonger was wheeling his cart on the outskirts of the village of Shapwick. Unknown to him, a large crab fell from his barrow. This was to cause panic and alarm among the Shapwick villagers. Living inland, and perhaps in the 18 th century not having travelled beyond Blandford, the Shapwick villagers had never before seen a crab. Trudging home and exhausted by his day’s labour, a Shapwick farm worker discovered this crawling creature by stepping on it. So strange was its appearance, he believed it was the devil himself. Running on to the village, he told everyone excitingly of his horrid find. Fearing it was the work of the devil, the villagers armed themselves with pitchforks, sticks and stones. Knowing not what to do, they decided to consult the shepherd Rowe considered by many to be the local wise man. Sadly, the aging oracle was now past his prime and for the last six years had been confined to his bed. The old man was as infirm as

Blandford Races

It might not have been Ascot, Epsom or Aintree but Blandford Races was once quite an important event in the county’s social calendar. Blandford Races date back to 1603 and were held on the downs which today would be part of Blandford Camp. Meetings continued until the middle of the 19 th  century with few breaks in between. The longest interruption was when Oliver Cromwell was Head of State and Government. As Lord Protector he was not amused by such events. Apart from horse racing, there were other entertainments. These included wrestling matches, cock fighting and dancing. Much feasting took place which was highly lucrative for the town. In 1780, cudgel playing was advertised and resulted in a Shaftebury man losing his left eye. This was then replaced by a sword and dagger contest between the gentlemen of Dorset and Somerset. One of the race patrons was Lord Palmerston who was later to be Prime Minister. In 1824, he had had a winner, Luzborough in the Dorsetshire Gold Cup. Normally he