Social and Family History

The May Fair of 1603
What could possibly link Morris dancers, Walter Raleigh, church bells, Sir Edward Parham of Milborne Port and riotous behaviour in Poyntington? Follow this link to find out about some early 17th century local shenanigans!

At the risk of name dropping…
Did you know that Jane Austen – none other – would have heard of Milborne Port (although perhaps not in a good way…)? To find out why, and for enough early 19th century drama, scandal and gossip to give Eastenders a run for its money – lost legs, duels, affairs, ‘detestable witches’, divorces, abandoned children – read an article by Valerie Jackson and discover Jane’s verdict on the whole sorry saga!

Now after all that, can you resist clicking on this link?

William Cory built the East View houses in Paddock Walk in the early 1900s; click here to find out about him and his family.

The Edward Hallett clocks: read all about the discovery of a beautiful grandfather clocks that belonged to a local man who served as Sheriff of Somerset in 1741. Click here!

The Luffmans were millers and bakers at Kingsbury Mill for 80 years. Click here to find out about this family from the mid 1800s to 1935.

The Markey family emigrated to Australia in 1853. Click here to find out what became of one of them in particular.

The Shepherd family was significant in and around Milborne Port in the 18th and 19th centuries. To find out about their fortunes – and misfortunes – click here.

Mourning jewellery was an important way of marking a death in the family. Click here to find out what it was, when it was popular and about its link with Milborne Port and its residents, past and present.

The Succession and Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II 2024
Read an article by Dr Lesley Wray about what Milborne Port was like in 1952 by clicking here.

We have in our museum a small book 4.5” x 7” (in old money) and unsurprisingly, given its age, it is not in good condition. However, it provides a touching peek into the childhood of two youngsters. To find out more about An Early 19th Century Book Report, click here.

In 1834, the 11 Shapcott children were orphaned when their mother died. Click here to discover what happened to this large family at a time when their was no welfare state to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives…

The problems around the quality of housing for working people are sadly nothing new. To read about the poor state of housing in Milborne Port in 1864, click here.

Supporting the Poor of the Parish
The Statute of Cambridge 1388 was the first law specific to the poor and poverty.  Amendments and revisions were ongoing over the years and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the operation of the Poor Laws was the most onerous of parish duties.  It did, however, produce many useful documents –  settlement certificates, settlement examinations, and removal orders – which all provide interesting information. 

See Milborne Port examples of these documents held at Somerset, Dorset and Devon Archives, copy and paste this link into your browser: file:///Users/admin/Desktop/material%20for%20History%20group%20website%20&%20Facebook/Removal%20orders%20and%20settlements.htm

Settlement law may have restricted the movement of people from place to place; on the other hand, a worker could travel to another parish to find a better job, knowing that if disaster struck, he would be returned to his own home parish where he could obtain parish relief to support him.

Read more here 

The existing systems were finally abolished in 1948 with the introduction of the modern welfare state. 

To see a list of local 16th-19th century wills that are available via the National Archives website, click here.

For a list of entries into the parish registers of Death, Plague and Pestilence in the 16th Century, click here.

For some Snippets from 17th century wills, click here.

John Jenes died in 1496 and left a will that gives us clear insight into his life; click here to learn more about the will and the times in which John Jenes lived.

For a fascinating snippet from an early 17th century court case, click here and to find out about the theft of ducks, click here!

For some intriguing and sometimes amusing 18th century wills, click here.

For some 18th and 19th century indentures, deeds and documents, click here.

To discover some unusual names found in the Milborne Port parish registers, click here.