The Greenwood Tree – March 2021
Posted on 1st March 2021
House Histories, the theme of the March issue of The Greenwood Tree, provoked a greater response from members than any other topic in recent memory. Perhaps not surprisingly, the focus was most often on the ancestors and other people who lived in the houses under review but there was a fair amount of interest in the buildings themselves. Editor Paul Radford previews the edition which will be mailed to members in early March and which SDFHS members can already view or download from the Members’ Area of the Society’s website.
The front cover shows four of the houses which feature in the issue. Gerald Martyn tells of Stoke Mill in Dorset, home of the Moores family, of Dorset Knobs fame, for the best part of 200 years. Lara Webster searched for her husband’s ancestors on the Somerset coast but, to her surprise, tracked them down to North Down Farm in Haselbury Plucknett, many miles inland. John Damon relates how his old Wimborne family home served in two world wars, first as a hospital and then as a billet for U.S. troops and the editor looks into the history of his Dorset cottage which turns up connections to a princess, a politician and a pub.
The best claim to fame comes from Margery Hookings whose house in Broadwindsor has a plaque on the outside wall commemorating the fact that King Charles II once slept there – on a momentous night which might easily have cost him his life.
Helen Doble’s farm in Blackdown had a troubled, tragedy-ridden history which included the almost mundane death of a resident named Trump who died after a hornet or wasp sting.
Other members with interesting house stories are Alison Johnstone, Wendy Morgan, Barbara Elsmore, Bob Kelley, Barbara Hoffbauer, Adron Duckworth, Sylvia Creed-Castle, John Laflin, Rita Kennedy and Ian Bowey.
There are other topics too. Janet Lute follows up her series of articles on the 19th century exodus from Kingsbury Episcopi to the New World and the colonies with one on those who voyaged to New Zealand. Jenny Jones uses DNA to track an errant great-grandfather who had disappeared when his first child was three days old, never to be seen again. She found he started a new family on the west coast of America. Richard Smith tells the amusing tale of how his father led an abortive church choir strike.
Regular features include Mike Whitaker’s Somerset Spotlight, this time on Stogursey, the SDFHS Photo Project on old house pictures, What the Papers Said and Letters to the Editor.