Gould Family Notebook 1723 - 1850
OF the information for a parish history is gleaned from various
official sources-parish records, census returns, tax and rating
assessments, electoral lists and the like-and such documents
are necessarily of a formal nature. Occasionally, however, more
personal private records have survived, such as the family notebook
of the Goulds of Woodbury Hill who were carpenters and builders
for several successive generations. The book is now housed in
the County Record Office, and the following note is attached
John Gould, who lived on Woodbury Hill, gave this book to
me about 1880, when I was elected Member of Parliament for
Wareham, the last who had sat for that Borough-1880 &
1885. Gould was quite blind, the book had been in his family
for years, as his writings testify.
The book contains some curious information about Bere &
If it is ever found after my death, I should like it deposited
in the Dorset County Museum at Dorchester.
book seems to have been in more or less continual use from 1723
until 1850, its main purpose being to record purchases of timber
and building materials, and other items in connection with the
family business, but these purely business items are interspersed
with various unrelated notes on domestic and parish affairs,
which are of great interest as they describe conditions and
events which would have found no place in more official records.
bulk of the Goulds' work seems to have been in the provision
and maintenance of semi-permanent covered stalls in connection
with the annual fair on Woodbury Hill. (See photograph below)
During the 18th century when the fair still lasted for a week
each year, the top of the hill served no other purpose and was
laid out as a series of concourses and stalls in the nature
of a permanent exhibition site. The stalls, or `standings' or
`bowers' as they were called, were planned and constructed to
the individual specifications of the traders concerned, some
of them in considerable detail, and typical of such items are
Iam to set up a place for a baker of Seren abby (Cerne Abbas)
at ye north end of Mr Comfrys standing - 1734.
to be built for mr Gravenor five foot at west End for a bed,
and boarded up the iner side and a shilf 5 foot high over
the door place going into bed; the midle for nine foot 8 Inches
broad and apart. Each end and trim to be 18 Inches apart,
and nine Inch broad, the Counter 2 foot & half broad the
bottom back shilf a foot broad, and five more narrow shillves
as above over it.
the foregoing it is evident that the stalls were often used
in addition as living accommodation for the trader during the
week of the fair.
maps and plans were used to record the extent of manors and
parishes the positions of such boundaries were marked at intervals
by certain natural features and boundary stones, and human memory
was relied upon for the exact delineation of them. Memory was
aided from time to time by parish representatives walking the
parish boundaries (see drawing below of the parish boundaries),
and such an occasion, often known as "beating the bounds,"
is recorded in the notebook:
Concerning June ye 6=1750. Beer Folks & bloxworth people
went a bounding together into ye east Coman-we began at ye
ditch between new close & beerhambrech ye first stone
is by a homing bush by ye way side: the next stone is in ye
medle of ye pond: ye next is by a homing bush about a l00
or a l00 & 20 yard: ye next atone is by ye way aid to
ye left of ye way about a 100 or a 100 & 20 yard: ye next
stons are abour a 100 or a l00 & 20 asunder theare are
2 stones about 16 yard asunder one west and ye other east
to part hide and beer ye east is to part bloxwortn and beer.
then we goes down to tho hedes corner and from yt thear is
oak tree bouns a little ways from hide barn then from yt we
goes to a oak tre in glasburys hedge & from thence we
goe up ye hill & thear 2 holes & when we are a top
of ye hill we goes on to thomas hardys grave and from thense
we goe on to Boventon stone by Dorchester way: & from
yt to a litle pond upon ye left hand of ye way coming from
boventon stone: & benether yt is a nother pond in ye medle
is a bound stone & from yt about 80 or a 100 yard is another
is often considered that human behaviour, particularly among
the young is worse in the present age than in former times,
but a study of old records including school log books, quickly
reveals that this is not so, and that although conditions and
ways of life are constantly changing, human nature remains much
the same, and the following extracts from the notebook may serve
to illustrate the point:
July ye 25 being St James day Sunday will Ruttor John Baskome
James harice broke ye widow (window). Strangmans window 10
or 12 quarels (panes) about 4 a clock or 5 a Clock in ye Afternoon
will Rutter ofered harice to give him a J to break our windo.
May ye 17:1790 The Mobb of Reselute Felows Risd at Bere Regis.
They went to Kingston and forst men to go with them Down ye
Vale. A very Scandelous Action.
1826 June ye 12 there were Some Horse Soldiers in Bere some
of which Broke in to our House on Woodbury-hill where the
Strong Beer were But The Officer put all Things Inn plase
again. memorandum I do Intend if god willing ye 3 day of ye
fair to go to she for my many for I do belive she has paid
me severall bad peces of mony.
are several items concerning exceptional weather conditions
and their effect upon seasonal occupations:
in ye yeare 1745 it was a very wet winter & a very wet
march I do not mind of ye like wet almost every day.
June ye 9=1745 memorand it Raind for a bout a week together
Sansom Sheave sheard his sheep ye 9 of July 1745. 1751 it
was a terable wet march & springe.
1795 A very Smart Winter Six weeks frost.
In June ye: 18:1795 Being very Cold weather for ye Sheep Shearing
great many Sheep Lcst.
1825 There was a great deal of wheat cut by the 20 of July
and the harvest was all most in by the 24 of August.
In the year 1826 July 17 There Ware Wheat Cut Wheat Ricks
Made By The 22 of July.
In the year 1828 A very wett Winter such as was not known
by any man living before.
of the items are undated and in the form of notes regarding
patent remedies and other matters:
exelent Receit to make salve-take Lard & beeswax &
rosam & stur in some venis turpentine & it will make
a very good salve. to sumple any Joynts or fingers take ye
Oyle of Saint Johns worth & attoynt ye greived place.
The herbery is called ye English Physistian & do give
account of all manner of herbs.
theare is a Stone cald a Coastick tuch a sorlip a present
remidy. ye prise of ye map of ye world is £0 Os. lOd.
remaining items to be quoted deal with a variety of subjects
concerning household and family matters, parish events and details
regarding the Lord of the Manor and his family. They are given
in chronological order:
Gould ye son of Edward Gould departed this Life Dec ye 19:1719
2 or 3 days before St Thomas Day-in 1711 he was 67 years old
febary ye 7.
10 houses burnt at woodburyhill in ye yeare 1723.
April ye 16 1730 Henery Gould departed this Life upon a thursd
about 3 a clock in morning and buryed ye 19 day paid John
Ash for ye cofin 2s. Od. ye bords my own.
in ye yeare 1747 Henery Drax esquire & his son thomas
earl Drax esquire was chosen Candidates for ye borrough of
poll stood so .........................................................
account between my son John & I 1748 he came with ye sheep
into Bere fields ye 7 of Sept & went away ye first of
October=so theare is 8 weeks diet at 3s a week-£1 4s.
1749 we botled our beer July ye 29. 1749 August ye 5 I soed
Leekseed. Sar.som Sheave Died in Dec ye 21=1749 & was
buried ye 25 Christmas day munday.
ye visitation was kept on wensday ye 17 day of July in 1751.
In october 1751 our welldrocks was put in.
August: ye. 13:1792 there was a boy Cilled by a Wagon over
throughing with Turf on him at ye end of ye Lane to Shitterton.
In March ye llth 1797 Mr. Grovenors Son was Chrisened.
1824 August 24 the Bishop Came to Bere and Confirmed A great
Number of young Persons.
1826 Novr. 25 were Married Thomas Amey Gould to Harriot Meager.
In May the lst 1827 was Married Mrs Grosvenor to Mr. Sawbridge
a Gentleman of Kent. gave to Bere Ringers £3.
In the year 1828 there was a new Keepers House Built in Bere
Wood. December 31 In the year 1828 was given at Bere an ox
and half of Beef and eight Pounds worth of Bread given to
the Poor of Bere The gift of Mr. Sawbridge Esqr.
1849 Miss Fanny Drax of an Age March 2nd. 1850 Miss Sarah
Drax of an age April 3rd. Gave to Bere Ringers £1 Os.
Od. on Each Occasion. The following items are undated:
Aprill ye 28 ye Jack Ass Covered a she Ass.
My Lords rent a woodbery hill for my house we Live is 6s.
8d. & Is. Od. marking and Coffins house is 8s. 8d. and
Is. Od. marking. An account of Gentlemens names belonging
to ye town of Beer Regis -
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