Posts Tagged ‘law’

Some weird history

April 4, 2013

Users of the Twitter website may have seen a piece of weird history which is about a crime which took place in Market Lavington back in 1747. The crime was the somewhat unpleasant mis-use of a hat

Some may have thought the first appearance of this item was just a tad early for April Fool’s day but in fact it is entirely genuine. The original tweeter got his information from a book entitled ‘The Justicing Notebook of William Hunt 1744 – 1749’.

William Hunt, a West Lavington man, was a justice for a wider area. His job was to decide if cases should go for a proper trial, or whether he might mete out a suitable punishment or persuade people with disagreements to settle them.

The Wiltshire Records Society transcribed his notebook for the roughly five year period back in 1982.

We now have a copy of this book – it is totally plain on the outside so we’ll look at the title page.

Justicing Notebook of William Hunt - many of his cases involved market Lavington or Easterton

Justicing Notebook of William Hunt – many of his cases involved Market Lavington or Easterton

The only picture in the book is a presumed image of William Hunt

This portrait - the fronticepiece of the book - is believed to be of William Hunt

This portrait – the fronticepiece of the book – is believed to be of William Hunt

He looks a kindly man and in reading his notes it does seem that he tried to avoid too much difficulty for those who transgressed. Here is the item about the hat which was tweeted.

This was the case which was posted on Twitter - a crime in Market Lavington

This was the case which was posted on Twitter – a crime in Market Lavington

It seems that James Allexander provided a new hat or the value of the hat.

Another entry does suggest that more value was attached to property than to the wellbeing of women.

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In the event, John Hopkins paid five shillings compensation for the theft.

This book makes an interesting addition to our knowledge of Market Lavington

Grandad Dobson

April 5, 2010

In 1953, Market lavington Resident ‘Grandad Dobson’, aged 95, was disqualified from riding his motorbike for three years following a road traffic incident. The case was reported in the Daily Sketch for Thursday August 6th of 1953. Market lavington Museum holds a cutting from this paper.

Grandad Dobson hits the news - Daily Sketch, August 6th, 1953

From the information given in the newspaper account we have tried to piece together just who Grandad Dobson was. We are not 100% certain we are right.

George 'Grandad' Dobson on his motorbike in 1953

George Dobson was born in 1858 in the Avebury / Preshute area of Wiltshire.

By 1881 George lived with his parents in Corsham where he worked as a stone miner.

Between 1881 and 1890, Gorge must have married, had a couple of children and then his wife died.

In 1890, George Married Mary Tiley who was to be his wife for over 60 years. We think they had a son, born in 1890.

George continued to work in the Corsham stone industry.

We do not know when he moved to Market Lavington but by 1953 he was the oldest inhabitant of Market Lavington and he was chosen to plant the coronation tree in St Mary’s churchyard. It is good to report that, in 2010, the tree, a catalpa,  is still going strong.

And then George had his spot of bother with the law and lost his right to drive his motorbike. He never got it back, for he died in 1954, aged 96. Mary, his widow, lived until 1956.