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Showing posts from August, 2022

Not Just One Blandford!

Blandford, Massachusetts is in the USA and was first settled by Scots and named ‘ New Glasgow.’ However, the locals had misspelled the name as ’Glascow!’ William Shirley was the newly appointed Governor of Massachusetts and had just arrived from England. He decided to change the settlement’s name to Blandford after the vessel that had brought him across the Atlantic. However, the new town was to pay a price for this. The people of Glasgow, Scotland had promised settlers the gift of a bell if they named the new settlement after their city. With the town now called Blandford, the bell was never sent. The White Church in Blandford Massachusetts was built in 1822 and in September 2022 the New England town celebrates the Church’s bicentenary. This historic building is owned by the Blandford Historical Society and is maintained by volunteers. Originally, the pulpit was near the entrance so that late arrivals could be seen by the congregation. However, in later modifications it was moved. B

Crown Hotel

It is reckoned there has been a Crown Hotel on the current site in Blandford since at least the 17 th Century. After the Great Fire of Blandford in 1731, the Crown Hotel had to be completely rebuilt. While highwayman John Poulter subsequently claimed that in 1762 he had stolen gold, silver and other valuables from the hotel which he had taken away to London. Arrival of the horse-drawn coaching era much benefitted the Crown and the nearby Red Lion and Greyhound Hotels. For Blandford was on a main coaching route between Exeter and London. A coach known as the Blandford Flyer claimed it could transport its passengers to the capital in just two days. By 1820, the town was also a stopping point for horse drawn coaches to Brighton, Portsmouth, Bath and Plymouth. This traffic required the building of extensive stables and outbuildings at the rear of the hotel. In 1859, before the opening of Blandford station, there was a ‘ well-appointed’ horse drawn omnibus which left the Crown Hotel e

Blandford Rats Tale

In addition to the threat of German bombing during World War II, Blandford also suffered from an infestation of rats. This infestation resulted in a bizarre incident witnessed by a local businessman and Town Mayor. Late one night he was counting the multitude of rationing coupons that he had collected that week when he experienced an amazing sight. He was working in his grocer’s shop at the corner of the Market Place and Salisbury Street when he heard a loud swishing noise. He put out his light and lifted the wartime blackout curtain. It was a moonlit night and he could clearly see hundreds of brown rats marching from the river through the Greyhound Yard and up Salisbury Street. Another man witnessed this army of rats and was so shaken he fell off his bicycle. It appears that at the time large quantities of corn were stored in the Blandford Station Yard and when river levels were low the rats would go to the yard to supplement their diet. There was much discussion at Blandford Ru

Blandford Throwback Facts XVIII

  In 1906 , Blandford railway station’s signal box was burnt down after being struck by lightning during a great storm. Luckily signalman, Charlie Whiting escaped unharmed and said at the time he had experienced ‘ slight shock .’   Reverend Dr Nevill, Bishop of Dunedin & Primate of New Zealand was married in Blandford Church. His lordship was in his 70 th year and his new, young wife, Margaret Fynes-Clinton was aged 30 years.    The town celebrated its tercentenary by the pealing of church bells and a grand procession of 35 floats which ‘ perambulated ’ through the town. The procession featured the Stourpaine Brass Band, the Town Band and the Blandford Mouth Organ Band. Blandfordians were then treated to a free afternoon tea.    A pony and trap careered down Salisbury Street and crashed into a lamp post losing its wheels. Then, the horse galloped across the Market Place at speed smashing into a shop’s glass window. Fortunately, both the horse and driver escaped with just shock and