Saturday, 16 June 2018

Vernon Pond

I am currently looking back at the lives of some of the former inhabitants of Osmington village and one such person is Ewart Rosebury Vernon Pond, who was a sailor in the First World war.
Vernon was killed in action on HMS Warrior on 31 May 1916 aged 22 years. He was the only son of Charles Edward and Louisa Pond. Born in Norden near Corfe Castle on 21 April 1894, his family lived in Poxwell but his parents latterly moved to a cottage on Church road in Preston. 
Before the war both Vernon and his father Charles worked on the farm at Poxwell; Vernon was a labourer and his father was a carpenter and engine driver.
Vernon was a stoker First class on HMS Warrior during the war. This was a hard and filthy job carried out in harsh conditions but to mitigate stokers received 50% better pay than seamen and were provided with baths once they finished their shift. 

Firing the boiler was arduous work, which Vernon was no doubt used to on the farm. In contrast to his pre-war work, Vernon could work in temperatures up to 43 C, shoveling coal into the boiler and clearing the clinker and ash away. Once he finished his shift he would appear on the upper deck where freezing water might be sluicing across the deck in sub zero temperatures.
HMS Warrior was the last missing ship from the Battle of Jutland and until August 2017 it's exact location in the North Sea had never been found.
"It was eventually discovered 90 yards under the sea  after it was abandoned due to the heavy damage it took from enemy shelling. The Battle of Jutland is regarded as the only major naval battle of the First World War and involved 100,000 men and 250 ships, with almost 9,000 sailors killed on both sides during the 36-hour conflict.
According to a letter written by Captain Vincent Barkly Molteno, the ship came under fire from nine German ships for seventeen-and-a-half minutes before it retired from battle. The surviving crew of 743 were transferred to HMS Engadine, who also tried to tow HMS Warrior back to Britain. 
Because of the extensive damage and bad weather HMS Warrior had to be abandoned and sank on June 1, 1916. Although it has been underwater for 100 years, museum experts say that it has remained in good condition and was an 'untouched time capsule".
Captain Molteno wrote in the Guardian that his men 'behaved magnificently' and their 'courage had been magnificent' during the battle and that he had written to the Admiralty asking to keep his 700-plus crew together so he could captain them again.

He also asked for 10 days leave for each of those who served on the sunken ship so they could go ashore, see friend and family and be 'cock-a-chest'.Captain Molteno manoeuvred the vessel out of harms way after the heavy attack from nine Germany ships, saving the lives of the majority of his crew. After the battle he was awarded the Order of St Anna by the Russians, recognizing his bravery. 

'Along the side of the ship in several places it is possible to see the deck, where the base of several of the big gun turrets are visible. 'One of the ship’s masts is lying on the seabed on the ships’ port side. The mast was broken during the collision with the seabed, and the top part of the mast is folded under the wreckage. 'Thus, it was quite evident that the ship had hit the seabed upside down, and that the ship had sunk down onto the mast.' 

                                                                                      Photo: Peter Milford 

There were 100 casualties, 71 were killed outright, 19 of these were in the engine room, and most of the remainder on the main deck.

There is no grave for Vernon but he is remembered at the naval memorial in Plymouth and at St Osmund's church in Osmington. 

Does anyone have more information they can add to his story or a photo of him?

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

100 years since the armistice 11 November 2018

With the surrender of Germany in November 1918 fighting in the Great war ceased with the signing of the armistice.

The war eventually finished in June 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

One hundred years on, this November will be an important part of commemorating the huge sacrifice made by so many people and Osmington will also be taking part.

If you are not sure how you can play a part in remembering,  why not take a look at the 'Every One Remembered' website run by the British Legion? It aims to remember every single person who played a part in the war and you can help by adding a virtual poppy, photographs, a story and a person message.

So many young men were killed in WW1 before they had families and so were remembered only as Great uncles who never came home. To save their stories for the future, please look back through your family albums, talk to older relatives and add as much information as you can.

You can also use this website to look up your relatives as well; why not give it a go...

See Wilf Burden commemoration on the site.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Osmington Water supply

The main village pumps for Osmington were located on land owned by Edward Atkyns Wood the Rev Edward Challis Kempe (New South Wales) and Samuel Bartlett Jerrard.
They leased their land to Robert Gill, Thomas Alner Homer and TWJ Dimond.
Samuel Bartlett Jerrard
The water pumps were located on the main road near to the Plough Inn, opposite the Old Post office on Church Lane and at Netherton farm in lower Church lane. All the large houses of Osmington had their own private wells and Osmington Mills was well catered for with its own spring.

During the early 19th Century water-born diseases such as typhus, typhoid and diptheria were endemic in England. This was due to polluted water sources, where open sewers ran straight into rivers, often up stream from where water was collected.
In villages such as Osmington, water was cleaner because they did not collect it from rivers but underground springs and wells. All the farms and large houses were built around water sources and had their own private supply of water.
People in the village would pay the farmer to collect water from his water pump. Osmington also had a water tower located opposite the Old Post office for the villagers to use.
The 1848 Public Health Act ensured that all sewers were located down stream from a water source. In 1849 the mortality rate in Weymouth was 30 in 1000; in Osmington and surrounding areas it was 19.8 in 1000.
To tackle this problem in 1856 Sutton Poyntz provided the water supply for the whole of Weymouth; it was pumped from a reservoir at Chalbury Fort.
Osmington today no longer relies on wells but has water pumped across from Sutton Poyntz via the fields by the White horse.
The spring at Osmington mills historically had a reputation for having curative powers and people with eye conditions would visit in the hope of being healed.

                                                                                    Copyright Osmington History

Friday, 9 March 2018

Exploring Osmington Drove

On 16 July 1811 the Inclosure Act for Broadmayne was sworn before Thomas Frampton, Esquire and the Justices at Shaftesbury court. Mr Thomas Davis had been appointed Commissioner to deliberate over the unowned parcels of land in the parish of Broadmayne and divide them into parcels of land for ownership.

The Rector, The Reverend David Urquhart was awarded the largest section of land, which included the ancient public track of Osmington Drove.

As a result Osmington Drove was recognised in law giving a right of access to owners and occupiers as a common way for use as a path or for driving cattle. This was reaffirmed in 1968 after the County Council and Rural district council reviewed the usage of the Drove.

It is believed this route was part of an ancient way linking the South Dorset Ridgeway with the hinterland.

Today Osmington Drove is not the easiest path to find but is well worth a visit as it covers some lovely areas of the South Dorset Ridgeway. We suggest the route from Sutton Poyntz at the top of Plaisters Lane.  There is a fantastic view from the path of Chalbury Hill fort and you pass over the top of the White Horse. There is also some great downhill sections for runners and mountain bikers.

For recreational users

It is perfectly passable for runners or walkers, more tricky for mountain bikers but not impossible. Horse riders should be able to use it without too much difficulty.

Where is it

If you have not been able to locate Osmington Drove it is still a well signposted bridleway although it is in desperate need of maintenance due to deep rutted tracks in parts. It is marked clearly on Google maps and is parallel to Chalky road.

See map and photos for route.

Follow the finger post sign towards Broadmayne from the Ridgeway.
This part of the bridleway is very heavily eroded and muddy

Watch out for branches laying on the track if on bike.

At this junction go straight on not left

Turn left and through the wooden gate

You are met by a fantastic view and if on MTB this will make you smile a lot!

The path starts to widen as you approach Broadmayne

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Osmington Light Railway

In November 1899 Reginald Joseph Weld of Lulworth castle proposed the creation of a railway from Lulworth to Osmington under the 1896 Light Railways Act.

The intention was for the railway to travel between Arne, East Holme, East Stoke, Tyneham, East Lulworth, West Lulworth, Chaldon Herring, Owermoigne and Osmington.
The railway was a gauge of 4ft 8.5 inches for trains powered by steam, electric or other mechanical power.

The quantity of land required for the project was 120 acres and would cost £124,194.
The Osmington section of land to be purchased belonged to:

Colonel Jocelyn Pickard-Cambridge
Robert Jayne
Colonel Jefferson Serrell Wood
Weymouth Rural District Council
Joseph Brutton
Charles Lillington Hall
The County Council of Dorset
Henry Hurdle

The proposed railway route meandered up from Osmington Mills to the east of the road, crossing over just before Grove House and terminating next to Craig's dairy.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

WW1 Dedication Service - Sunday 10 September 2017


Photos from the WW1 dedication service held on Sunday 10 September at St Osmund's church, Osmington. The standards are originals so some are 100 years old.

The Rev Brian Ellis asked those gathered at St Osmund's Church, we all say 'We will remember them' but how many of us spend time thinking about those who served in wars other than on armistice day?

In Osmington our small community has actively kept the memories alive of those who fought in the war and much is still planned.

An act of remembrance with repesentatives from the regiments attending was organised by Marjorie Bandy and Rev Ellis  to commemorate the restoration of a tapestry listing the names of all those who fought in WW1.

It is a great way for them to be remembered and a useful source of information for visitors and locals.

Osmington History has been tracing the life stories of the soldiers and sailors who fought in conflicts and we will continue to find out as much as we can. We are very interested to hear from anyone who might be related, or have photos or family stories of these men.

One story we are able to share is that of:

Able Seaman Petty Officer, Coast Guard
William Henry Foot
128846, H.M.S. "Monmouth.", Royal Navy
who died on 01 November 1914 Age 44

HMS Monmouth

He is named on the naval memorial at Plymouth

William lived at the Coastguard cottage in Osmington mills prior to the start of the war. He grew up in Shaldon in Devon and served there as a Coastguard officer and also in Cork. He moved to Osmington mills around 1912.

William married Susan in 1896 they both grew up in Shaldon Devon and the majority of their children were born there.

William and Susan's children were:

William Henry Foot b.1896
Cyril Egbert Foot b.1899 d. 1979
Victor Robert Foot b.1900 d.1978
Stanley Frederick Foot b. 1903 d. 1990
Leslie George Foot b. 1907 d. 1988
Dorothea Edna Foot b. 1910 d.2002

Sadly in December 1912 Susan died in childbirth with their youngest child. They are both buried in St Osmund's churchyard near to the path on the left just as you walk up the path.

Willaim Foot Snr received a Long Service medal and a Good Conduct medal from the Royal Navy for his work as a coast guard.

On 1 November 1914 he was killed in action at the Battle of Coronel leaving his six remaining children orphaned. His body was never recovered.

William and Susan's eldest son also called William Henry b.1896  served in the Royal Navy from 1915 until 1928. He later moved to Canada.

The Battle of Coronel - 1 November 1914

This Battle took place in the southern Pacific Ocean, over 12,000 km (7,500 miles) from northern Europe, off the coast of Chile.

The British Navy was led  by Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock and the Germans by Vice Admiral Reichsgraf Maximilian von Spee.

Von Spee

Coronel is a notable battle of the first world war as the British Royal Navy confronted a German squadron outside the port of Coronel, close to Chile's second city of Concepcion.

The Germans under the Command of Von Spee won a resounding victory, sinking two of the four British ships with the loss of over 1,600 lives. Not a single German sailor died.

It was the first defeat of the British Navy.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The origins of Osmington

King Athelstan was born in 895AD and was the first King of England. He was ennobled by his Grandfather Alfred the Great and was apparently his favourite grandson.

In the period 933AD to 940AD he gave the village of Osmyngton to the Abbey of Milton.

The Benedictine abbey of Milton was built in 933AD by King Athelstan for the soul of his brother Edwin.

Athelstan was a great supporter of the church and his tomb was placed in his favourite place Malmesbury Abbey in Wiltshire.

In 964AD the reform of the monasteries replaced secular priests with monks led by an abbot.

At the time of the Doomsday book the monks at Osmington were granted by Henry I,

"possessions therein enumerated with all liberties, free customs and acquittances, the right of soc, sac, tol, team, and infangnetheof, waif, assize of bread and ale, gallows, pillory, and all other appurtenances". 

The Abbey of Milton owned Osmington for the next 500 years until the dissolution of the monasteries by the Tudors.

Sir John Ashley

Elizabeth I gave Osmington to her kinsman and member of her privy council, Sir John Ashley.

He was the husband of Katherine Champernowne, Elizabeth I's Governess, and First Lady of the Bedchamber who had been close to the Queen all her life.

Sir John was a distant relation of Queen Elizabeth I through his mother. She was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth's great-uncle, Sir James Boleyn.

The farm in Osmington was given to George Watkins by Elizabeth I and was then passed to Lord Petre and then to The Sheldons of Weston in Warwickshire.

Awnsham Churchill

Daniel Sheldon in 1695 sold his lands to Awnsham Churchill a bookseller and MP in the reign of Queen Anne; he had acquired a large area of land in Osmington, Ringstead and Poxwell.

Osmington passed through the Churchill family to his great grandson William Churchill Esq of Henbury. He sold the farm to Mr Hitt of Beaminster (Hitt's farm) and latterly with the rest of the village lands to Robert Serrell Wood in 1745.

Robert Serrell Wood had one son also the Reverend Robert Serrell Wood (1779-1812) who pre-deceased him by two years and so he left the majority of the village lands to his two grandsons, Edward Atkyns Wood (1810 - 1892) and the elder brother Robert Serrell Wood (1808-1853).

Robert Serrell Wood

Edward decided to demolish the Tudor Osmington House in 1851 and re-build it in the current location on Roman road so that it was more privately situated. This was completed in 1857.

Major Edward Atkyns Wood was buried in St Osmund's church on 16 January 1892.

His elder brother Robert Serrell Wood emigrated to America and died in 1852 of yellow fever.

His son  Colonel Jefferson Serrell Wood moved from America to live in the UK but died at the age of 55 in 1907.