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1871 – 1880

Links to years: 1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880


Elsworth 4th February   Seasonable Charity.

During the late inclement weather, twenty tons of coal have been given away to the poor in the above parish, the donors being the Rector, principle land-owners, and farmers, the latter being so kind as to send their men and teams, conveying coal to each recipient.

Elsworth 25th March   Fowl Stealing.

On Friday se’nnight some evil disposed person or persons entered the fowl house of Mr. Alfred Papworth and stole several fowls therefrom. P.C. Duce was communicated with, and he has used every exertion to find out the guilty party.

Vestry Meeting.

On Friday the 17th inst., a vestry meeting was held in the Rectory House, after notice duly given, for the purpose of selecting fit and proper persons to serve the offices of the parish for the years ensuing, when the following were so appointed viz., Mr. Wm. Cotterell, guardian, Mr. Edward Lansbury and Mr. Wm. Child, overseers, Mr. James Parsons, waywarden, and Mr. Wm. Prior, constable.

Elsworth 15th April   Vestry Meeting.

On Thursday afternoon last, a meeting was held in the Rectory-house, after notice duly given, the Rev. J. R. Dobson, rector, in the chair, for the purpose of examining the churchwardens’ accounts for the past year, which gave satisfaction and were passed. Mr. James Witherow was again elected churchwarden for the parish, and Mr. Stephen Witherow by the rector.

Elsworth 12th August   Church School Treat.

On Thursday afternoon se’nnight, the scholars and teachers belonging to the church schools were regaled with plum cake, tea, etc, by the Rev. J. R. Dobson, Rector, on the walk in front of the Rectory house, after which grace was sung by the children. The latter were then marched into an orchard belonging to the rector, where they were joined by the ringers and singers. Cricket, swinging and racing for toys, nuts, and sweatmeats were kept up until it was dark, when all joined in singing the National Anthem, which terminated a very pleasant evening’s enjoyment.

Elsworth 23rd September   Death.

At Elsworth -September 15 -Thomas Desborough, aged 75.


Elsworth 13th January   Choir supper.

Yesterday evening last week, the church choir, with the ringers, celebrated their annual supper in the National Schoolroom. The repast was provided for them by the Rev. J. R. Dobson, rector, who presided at the table. Grace being said, and the cloth drawn, a plentiful supply of ale and tobacco was placed at the table, when the health of Her Majesty, and all the Royal Family were proposed and heartily responded to. Several songs were sung by the choir during the evening, at the close of which all joined in singing the National Anthem, which terminated a very enjoyable entertainment.

Elsworth 13th January   Christmas Charity.

Most of the large families and all the poor widows were presented with a piece of mutton each on the Saturday preceding the above festival. The widows received tea and sugar from the ladies of the above place. Twenty-six stone of bread was given to the poor, after a sermon preached by the rector, in the parish church on the afternoon of Christmas Day.

Elsworth 9th March   Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving day was loyally celebrated in this place, being observed as a general holiday, and the occasion being joyfully and heartily joined in by the inhabitants as a time for heart-felt rejoicing.

Elsworth 18th May   Fire.

About half-past one o’clock on the 10th inst., a fire broke out on a muck-heap at the back of some cottages in the centre of the village. The occupants, being in bed at the time, were awoke by hearing a crackling noise, and perceiving the light shine in the window, quickly left their bed and rushed downstairs without dressing. There being plenty of water at hand, they with much difficulty succeeded in putting out the fire.

Elsworth 27th July   Accident to parish clerk.

On Tuesday evening last, an accident of a rather serious nature happened to Mr. Daniel Witherow, parish clerk. It appears he had been out for a ride with his son and several others in a cart, and upon arriving home the driver got down to open the yard gate, when the horse suddenly swerved throwing Mr. Witherow with great violence over the back of the cart on to the hard road. He was quickly picked up and taken home and put to bed. On Wednesday morning Mr. white, surgeon, of Caxton, was sent for, and upon examination found his collar bone broken, and that he was otherwise very much bruised.

Knapwell 14th September   The Rate Question.

At the meeting of the Assessment Committee for the Caxton Union on Tuesday, Mr. Naylor, the barrister, appeared on behalf of Mr. English’s tenants in an appeal against the assessment. Mr. Naylor stated that the following inequality of rating would be found:

A £ s
Whitehead, S. 174 234 about 27s per acre
Waler, J. 260 311 about 24s per acre
Elmer, W. 295 405 about 27s per acre
Ingram, J. A. 220 22 about 26s per acre
Burgess, J. 60 85 10 about 28s 6d per acre
Kidman 150 94 10 about 12s 6d per acre

This last was not Mr. English’s tenant and that was the grievance complained of. He suggested that the last gentleman should be raised or that all the others ought to be lowered to £1 an acre. He knew that Mr. Kidman had borrowed money to drain his land, but that was not in the nature of drainage tax, which, by a recent decision, was held to be a proper deduction. The Committee considered the matter some time, and ultimately raised Mr. Kidman’s assessment to £180.

Elsworth 5th October   Cricket.

Married v. Single. – On Wednesday afternoon last, a friendly game of cricket was played between the above two parties on the Cricket Ground, at Elsworth, as a winding up of the season. After some excellent play on both sides, the former came off victorious. The players then went to the club-room, where an excellent tea was provided by Host Papworth, of the Fox and Hounds Inn. Several friends joined them in the evening, which was spent in harmony and good feeling.

Elsworth 30th November   Inquest of child.

On Monday last, F. Barlow, Esq., coroner, held an inquest on the body of Elizabeth, the infant child of Jeremiah Northfield. The evidence showed that inflammation of the lungs was the cause of death, and a verdict to that effect was returned.

Elsworth 28th December   Intercession Day.

Friday, the 20th inst., being the day set apart at the combined wish of the Church Missionary Society, and in compliance with the wishes of the Bishop of the Diocese, Divine Service was celebrated in our parish church preached by the Rev. J. R. Dobson, rector, from St. Matthew ix., 37-38. A collection was made after the service.

Elsworth 28th December   Christmas Charity.

The day preceding Christmas Day, our worthy rector, presented all the widows and some of the poorest families with a piece of meat each for their Christmas dinners. In addition to the former, 26 stone of bread was given to the poor at the parish church, after a sermon preached by the rector, in the afternoon.


Elsworth 18th January   Choir Supper.

On the 27th ult., the Church choir, with the ringers and some friends celebrated their annual gathering in the school-room, when an excellent supper was provided for them by the Rev. J. R. Dobson, Rector, consisting of beef, mutton, plum pudding, etc. Ample justice was done, grace said, and the cloth drawn, the usual loyal toasts were heartily acknowledged. During the evening several songs were well sung by members of the choir, at the close of which all joined in singing the National Anthem, which terminated a very enjoyable performance.

Elsworth 12th   April Suicide.

Yesterday week, an inquest was held at the Fox and Hounds, before C.W. Palmer, Esq., Deputy Coroner, concerning the death of James Saunders, a carpenter, about 60 years of age. The deceased, who for several years had lodged at the Dolphin beerhouse, was said to be generally regular in his habits, but very eccentric, and given to drinking at times; and he had been heard to say several times that he would make a hand of himself. On Tuesday in last week he appeared to be in a desponding state, and on the following day he was seen to go in the direction of the pond where his body was found that same afternoon. His hat and coat were lying on the bank. The Jury found the deceased destroyed himself whilst labouring under a distracted state of mind.

Elsworth 17th May   Inquest on Child.

Yesterday week, F. Barlow, Esq., coroner, held an inquest at the Three Horse Shoes public-house, concerning the death of John, the infant son of William Lack, carpenter. Inflammation of the lungs was the cause of death, and a verdict of natural causes was returned.

Elsworth 28th June   Alarming fire.

On Sunday morning last, a fire broke out in a shed or outbuilding of the Dolphin Inn, occupied by Mr. Charles Lowins. The flames extended to a range of dwellings, made of wood and clay, with roofs of reed and straw, some of which had been recently thatched and repaired. The occupiers when they found the state of affairs, proceeded at once to rescue their children and their household effects. One or two had barely time to escape. An engine, and a number of firemen speedily arrived from St. Ives, and prevented the fire from extending up the Church causeway, but not before a butcher’s shop, stable, and six cottages were laid in ruins; at the Dolphin, two pigs were also burnt.

Elsworth 11th October   Harvest thanksgiving.

On Thursday evening last week, a thanksgiving service was held in the church, which was beautifully decorated by the ladies of the village. The fine old building was well filled with an attentive congregation, and a suitable and earnest discourse was delivered by the Rev. J. R. Dobson, rector. The rev. gentleman chose for his text the 11th chapter of Ruth, 4th, 5th, 6th verses. A collection was made after the service, the proceeds of which will go in aid of the fund for the reseating of the Church.


Elsworth 21st March   Former curate of Elsworth.

On the 26th ult., the Lord Bishop of Lincoln instituted the Rev. Canon Clements to the Vicarage of Grantham, in the County of Lincoln; and after the procession of the Bishop and clergy had returned to the robing-room next to the Grammar School, the Clergy, in their surplices, etc., formed a group round the Bishop, when the Rev. Canon Gilbert presented to his Lordship for his Apostolic Benediction, Mr. J. R. S. Parkinson, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, eldest son of the late Rev. John Allen Parkinson, M. A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, formerly Curate of Elsworth, Cambs., and afterwards of Pinchbeck in the county of Lincoln, and Rector of Hazeleigh, Essex. The Rev. Canon presented Mr. Parkinson, who wore his surplice and scarlet-and-black Augustinian hood, in the following form: “Right Reverend Father in god, I present to you for your Apostolic Benediction, John Rayner Sylvester Parkinson, the son of a former clergyman of this diocese, who having completed his education at St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury, is now a candidate for Holy Orders at the next ordination of the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia, to which diocese he is about to proceed as a missionary.” The candidate then knelt down before the Bishop, who having exhorted the future missionary to steadfastness in his calling, invited the Clergy present to join him in earnest prayer to Almighty God for His blessing, and then gave the young missionary Apostolic Benediction in the most impressive manner. The Clergy present were – the Bishop, the Ven. Archdeacon of Stow, the Rev. Precentor Venables, the Rev. Canon Young, the Rev. Canon Garfit, the Revs. P. Palmer, G.E. Welby, C. Garvey, F. Jesson, G. F. Deeds, W. A. Firth, J. J. Trebeck, B. Williams, O. H. L. Penrhyn, W. J. Rawson, T. H. Crayster (staff-bearer), C. R. Andrews, M. F. Sutton, J. Lowe, G. F. Quanington, C. J. K. Bowstead, R. B. Comyns, J. P. Maud, W. Baker, J. Havard, and W. E. Harrison. Mr. Parkinson took his place in the procession among the Deacons.

Elsworth 27th June   Death of the Rector.

The village of Elsworth was thrown into sad consternation on Sunday morning last by the announcement of the death of its excellent rector, the Rev. John Ralph Dobson. The deceased did duty in the parish church as usual, the Sunday previous. He was in the village for the last time on Tuesday evening. He was seized with a severe pain in the body, which threw him prostrate. Mr. Dobson, who had attained the age of 62 years, came to Elsworth in 1853, succeeding the Rev. P.S Bagge, previous to which he was Chaplain to the Duke of Portland. The afflicted will miss him very much.


Elsworth 2nd January   Christmas hospitality.

With such real Christmas weather as we have had, we are glad to chronicle real old-fashioned Christmas hospitality. Through the kindness of Captain Daintree, J. P. of Elsworth, upwards of sixty widows and old people, of both sexes, were entertained in thorough old English style. Dinner was provided in the most liberal manner at the George and Dragon. After tea the old people had ale, tobacco, etc. During the evening Captain Daintree addressed them, and was received with much cheering. The Church Choir sang several glees and carols, in a style which reflected credit on themselves, and gave great pleasure to the old folks.


Elsworth 8th January   Seasonable benevolence.

The poor in this parish were not overlooked during the late Christmas rejoicings. Captain Daintree, as last year, entertained the old people, at the George and Dragon, in right good old English style. Forty-seven sat down to dinner, and nearly seventy to tea. After tea the evening was spent in a most enjoyable manner, the speeches and singing of the worthy host being amusing and at the same time filled with kindly feeling to the guests. Before leaving, each old person received two shillings, the gift of the Rev. F. Shaw, M.A., the father of our worthy Rector. The church choir did good service in singing carols, glees, solos, etc. The Rector and most of the farmers either entertained their men and boys, or sent them presents of beef, mutton, tea, etc.; last, but not least, the Rector, farmers and tradesmen of the village, have cordially subscribed to the coal fund, which now amounts to £23, and which in the course of a few days, will be distributed in coals to the poor.


Elsworth 17th February   “Parsons v. Wilderspin”.

The appeal case of “Parsons v. Wilderspin”, which was an action of trespass to try the right to a roadway in this parish came before the Exchequer Division of the High Court of Justice on the 6th inst. It had originally been tried in the Cambridge County Court, where the Judge gave a judgement in favour of the plaintiff, thereby practically deciding that the rector of Elsworth, whose landlord Mr. Wilderspin is, is not entitled to have the roadway; but the defendant appealed by means of a special case to the Superior Court. Mr. Philbrick, Q.C., and Mr. Horace Brown (instructed by Mr. John Watts, of the Bullock Market, St Ives), appeared for Mr. Parsons; and Mr. Arthur Charles, Q.C., was for the defendant, instructed by Mr. Wade Gery, of St. Neots. During the progress of the argument, Mr. Charles raised a point which was not raised at the original trial, and which required certain other facts to be included in the case; and the plaintiff’s counsel urged that the case must be sent back to have those facts found. This course was opposed by Mr. Charles, but the court (Mr. Baron Cleasby, and Mr. Baron Pollock) said that it must be re-stated, and an order was therefore made for the County Court judge to hold a new trial, and afterwards find the required facts when the special case was settled for argument.

Elsworth 29th   December Inquest.

On Friday evening, the 21st inst., an inquest was held at the Three Horse Shoes, by C. W. Palmer, Esq., Deputy Coroner, on the body of Julia, youngest daughter of Daniel Lovell. The medical evidence was such as to lead to only one conclusion, “death from natural causes.”


Elsworth 29th June   Severe storm.

This village was visited on Sunday last by a very severe storm of thunder, lightning, hail and towards 3 o’clock masses of clouds were seen gathering up chiefly from the south-west; about 3.30 the storm burst with great fury, and, with very little intermission, lasted for an hour and a half. The lightning was very vivid, and the hail more severe than has been experienced here for many years; the hail stones being of great size, many were picked up, some time after the storm had passed over, measuring more than an inch across. Great damage was done to the gardens, and crops in the fields, especially to the peas.

Knapwell 3rd August   Presentation to the Rev. J. L. Challis.

On Tuesday last, the annual treat to the children attending the day and Sunday schools took place in a field adjoining Mr. whaler’s farm. A short service was held in the church at 2:30. The children were then marched to the schoolroom, and the prizes distributed by Mrs English. The Rev. J. S. Brown, rector of Hardwicke and curate in charge of Knapwell, then proceeded to present the Rev. J. L. Challis (rector of Papworth St. Everard, who has for several years undertaken the duty at Knapwell) with a very handsome black marble timepiece and bronze ornament from the inhabitants, and a pair of handsome plated candle-sticks from the members of the Church choir. In making the presentation, the rev. gentleman alluded to the readiness with which all, from the Squire (Mr. English) and his family, down to the humblest inhabitant of the village, had responded to the appeal; and from that fact he could only draw one conclusion, that Mr. Challis had, by his faithful discharge of his duties, won their esteem and respect, and that they all wished him and Mrs Challis health and happiness in their new home. Mr. Challis, who was visibly affected, being completely taken by surprise, in a few words thanked them all for their great kindness. The children then proceeded to Mr. John Elmer’s barn where tea, cake, etc. were served out without stint. A numerous company of friends and visitors of the tenants then sat down, and afterwards repaired to the field, where rustic sports and amusements usually indulged in on such occasions were carried out under the direction of Mr. and Mrs English and family, Mr. and Mrs Challis, Mr. and Mrs Brown and the tenants, who, one and all seemed to enter into the thing with a spirit and energy that always ensures success.


Elsworth 14th June   Hoods and the Feast.

This village was visited last Saturday by one of the highest floods known for years. Houses in the low-lying parts were partially submerged. There was, however, a favourable change in the weather for the feast, and there were the usual re-unions of relatives and friends. Two cricket matches were played, and on Tuesday the Rev. G. Shaw entertained two teams of cricketers at supper.

Elsworth 9th August   Visit of balloon.

On Monday evening the inhabitants were thrown into a state of excitement by the appearance of a balloon coming from the West, and evidently occupied by voyagers. Old and young made off to the fields, some of the old ones going almost as though training for a six days contest, though we have not heard of such wonderful effects as occurred on the last visit of one of these monsters, some years ago, when an old woman, who had used crutches a long time, ran some distance across the fields towards Hilton before she found out that she had left them behind. The balloon, after one or two attempts, anchored to a hedge, and many willing hands held on whilst the occupants of the car reached terra firma, and proved to be a Mr. Denton and two gentlemen, who had started from Bedford about 5.30doing the run in about an hour. After packing up and obtaining the use of a trap, the party started for the railway to return to Bedford.

Elsworth 16th August   School treat

On Tuesday last the children attending the Sunday Schools had their annual treat. Those connected with the Church school proceeded to the Rectory Paddock, when they were regaled with tea, cake, bread and butter, etc. The day being very fine, the children indulged in swings, cricket, and other games until 8 o’clock, when each received a present, -work-boxes, knives, scissors, balls, etc. -and after giving hearty cheers for the Rev. G. Shaw, Mrs Shaw, and their teachers, departed to their homes. The Rector and Mrs Shaw entertained a numerous party of teachers and friends at the Rectory as usual. -The children attending the Chapel school had their treat at the same time in a field adjoining Mr. Parson’s residence.

Knapwell 22nd November  Inquest

On Saturday an inquest was held at the Three Horse Shoes inn before C. W. Palmer Esq., deputy county coroner, on the body of Edward Peel, a labourer aged 67. From the evidence of Sarah Peel, widow of the deceased, and Elijah Peel, his nephew, who had worked with him for Mr. W. Aylmer, it appeared that deceased was taken ill about half an hour after dinner and had to sit down on a heap of mangel worzels which they had been pulling up. His nephew, shortly afterwards, saw him lying on the ground, apparently dead. Mr. F. L. white, surgeon, deposed that the cause of death was asphyxia, consequent upon extensive disease of the lungs. The jury found that the deceased died of natural causes.


Elsworth 19th June   Fire.

Last night week, about ten o’clock, a fire was discovered between this village and Caxton. It proved to be a straw stack, standing quite alone, belonging to Mr. Charles Witherow. From the first it was plain that it must have been set on fire, and events proved this to be true. A labourer, named Thomas Desborough, of Elsworth, gave himself to the police, confessing the act, and will be brought before the Magistrates at their next meeting. We understand that Mr. Witherow is insured.

Elsworth 14th August   Harvest prospects.

The general appearance of the crops in this neighbourhood may be considered as quite up to the average. wheat, oats, and barley look well, though some of the former are blighted, which will tell a tale in the yield. Beans and peas both looked well until the late heavy rains, but the continued wet weather has completely spoiled the latter. The potatoes are much diseased. If the weather holds as it has been since Monday, harvest will be general next week.

Elsworth 9th October   A Public House Burnt Down.

On Friday night, not long after 10p.m. a fire broke out at the George and Dragon public-house here, occupied by Isaac Wilderspin, and belonging to Messrs. Odams, brewers, of Fenstanton. On the evening of Friday, about 120 men who have had their harvest ale from this house, partook of a supper given by Messrs. Odams. It is supposed that a lighted candle or lamp which had stood against the wall, had caused the shelf to ignite and smoulder for some time unobserved, and that after the room was left it broke out into flames. Anyway, so great was the progress made by the flames when the family were aroused that their only means of escape was through the bedroom windows. By one o’clock in the morning the house was completely burnt out, with the exception of the club room. Nearly the whole of the villagers left their beds for the scene of the conflagration, and rendered what assistance they could, especially those who had so recently been assembled within the walls. One young man rendered conspicuous service by fetching out, at some personal risk, a box containing documents belonging to a benefit society. It is a curious fact, that the house of Mr. Wilderspin’s father, which used to stand about 40 yards distant from the George and Dragon, was burnt down one Sunday evening, about two years and a half ago, the fire breaking out while service was going on in the chapel opposite. -From later accounts we learn the following additional particulars. The outbreak was discovered about 20 minutes after the family had retired. The landlord on going downstairs was met by the smoke in such dense volumes that he was forced to retreat. He speedily got out through an upper window, and having obtained a ladder, rescued his wife and child. There was a good supply of water but no engine available. The house was an old stud and plaster building with thatched roof, and it contained ten rooms, which together with three outbuildings were destroyed, with the exception of the club-room. The damage is estimated at £165, which also is covered by insurance. The neighbouring premises were in some danger, but luckily the fire was prevented from spreading. Four barrels of beer were consumed in the flames, and one was saved, but only to be consumed in another and more appropriate manner by those who had exerted themselves so laudably in endeavouring to hinder the progress of the conflagration.

Elsworth 13th November   Fire.

At 9 a.m. on the 6th inst. a fire broke out in a cottage at Elsworth, occupied by Joshua Parnell, which, together with a tenement occupied by his mother, were destroyed. The cottages are the property of Mr. Banks, late of Elsworth. Pamell had some furniture, potatoes, onions, corn, and all his working tools burnt. His mother had a portion of her furniture burnt. The damage (including the cottages which were built with stud and plaster), is about £130, and is covered by insurance in the Norwich Union office. The fire was caused by a child playing with lucifer matches.