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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society


A Century in Chancery – the legal battle between two families.

In earlier times marriages were often business arrangements between families rather than the love matches we are used to today Marriages were associated with ‘marriage portions’ (dowries), often involving land and other property Such settlements could often be disputed if circumstances changed People went to extraordinary lengths to maintain ownership of land and to keep it ‘in the family’ A case in point is the extraordinary and complicated legal battle between the FULFORD and...

Dorset’s Poldark?

The Captain Poldark of Winston Graham’s novels and the television series is well-known to many He was not though the only such military officer to have exciting adventures at the time of the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards Dorset too had such a hero Naval General Service Medal 1847          Photo courtesy of Hugh Pitfield - see below Joseph Edward Chilcott PITFIELD was baptised in 1788 in Buckland Ripers, the eldest son son of Joseph Pitfield and Mary SLADE,...

A Ghost in the Family

To discover that you may be descended from a lecherous murdering ghost is a startling experience and an indication that tracing your ancestry may not lead only to hidden fortunes and extinct peerages! The PITFIELDS are an old Dorset family - there is at least one reference to a ‘Pytfold’ in the Domesday book - which seems to have originated in the Allington area of the county and gradually spread out The first reference to my ancestor Sebastian Pitfield (1625 - 1685) occurs in the...

The Curious Case of Henry Evelyn Pitfield Sturt

Often family tree research reveals fascinating and sometimes puzzling stories A good example is the history of Henry Evelyn Pitfield STURT Henry was the youngest son of Humphrey Sturt MP (1724-1786) and Mary PITFIELD (1740-1807), an immensely rich couple Humphrey owed his wealth to his grandfather Sir Anthony Sturt who had been a successful businessman in the City of London Through his mother Humphrey inherited the Moor Crichel estate in Dorset He served as MP for Dorset from 1754 to 1784 Mary...

From Shaftesbury to Auckland New Zealand Part 1

Mrs Ngaire Greger has recently joined the Society from her home in New Zealand, and here she shares part one of a story about one of her Great Grandfathers Part two is to follow On 21 September 1863 the ship Annie Wilson arrived in Auckland, New Zealand On board were two young brothers One was John Bennett Brickell aged 16, and the other was Robert Bennett Brickell aged 15 They had come from Shaftesbury, Dorset, England My Grandmother said that Robert had been educated for the Bank...

Member and Guest Blogs Welcome

We welcome guest and member blog posts on any topic with a family history connection and invite you to send your contributions, which should include photo/photos, to the editor Barbara Elsmore