St Mary Bourne Revisited



Small Pox

The small-pox was always present, filling the churchyards with corpses, tormenting with the constant fears all whom it had stricken, leaving on those lives it spared the hideous traces of its power, turning the babe into a changeling at whom the mother shuddered, and making the eyes and cheeks of the big hearted maiden objects of horror to the lover. (T.B.Macaulay)







Burial place for smallpox victims



Extracts from the parish book about Small-pox

Small-pox was a terrible scourge in the village from time to time, in some cases probably more severe than it might have been under more judicious treatment; So fearful was the visitation that George Gibbons the aged clerk and sexton, informed me that 13 persons, who had died of this disease, were buried about the same time in a plot of ground close to the south wall of the graveyard, and the earth at that spot had not since been disturbed. There is no doubt that the following extracts from the church register refers to this.

1823- March-24th.pd.for bringing dead bodies 10s. Candles 5s.4d. New shovel 5s.6d. Burried at night when the smallpox was so bad here. (George Gibbons was parish clerk for 40 years from 1840- 1880. From 1880-1920. Walter Gibbons was clerk. He died in 1938 aged 91, and was succeeded by his son, Arthur, who resigned in 1929, thus ending a family record of service in that office extending over 89 years.) (Kevin Holdway)

Inoculation was performed for smallpox, and those labouring under the modified form of the disease were sent to some secluded spot. The old cottage used for that purpose was, in 1855, still standing in ruins on the edge of the down nr. Doiley wood; and I have heard aged people talk of the fun they had there during their term of retirement.

1741- For the small-pox to Isaac Munday £5. 7s.6d. - 12 July.

1741- To ye man for carrying to Ambrosia Saunders small-pox 17s.6d. She afterwards recovered. Small-pox raging 1741-£61-11s.1/2d. The greater part for small-pox it became almost a standing disease.

1746- Disease being still present yearly bills heavy.

(As there were poor houses in the parish it is likely the small-pox people were removed there). The poor labouring under the disease appear to have been removed to them there is mention of one in Swampton. (See Swampton Allotments Map)

1764/5/6. Small-pox rife.

1765 Dr. Portsmouth bill £3.9s. A Dr. Lawrence is mentioned also a Dr. Holdway bill of 16s.6d. In 1747.

1768- Small-pox very bad many deaths. Melancholy memento of its virulence is shown in the entry of £ four men for carrying the small- pox people.

1781- small-pox same year August 26th. 5s.9d. for beer for the widow Plowman "for to make powltises". Sept.23, 6s.4d. For more beer. Afterwards, item, 4s.6d. "For looking after widow plowman". Again, an allowance of money for beer, and 5s, for "exteras".

A memorandum made by John Bull on December ye 23rd, 1797, contains the following--

"Small-pox ocationed by neglect of a child about 2 years and a half old Belonging to William Baker of St. Mary Bourne parish, Blacksmith, ( William Baker was also the village dentist, )to which nearly 50 was took bad in a fortnight besides as many obliged to be inoculated." (Dr. Joseph Stevens)

The Plague

In 1593, four miles down the road In the neighbouring village of Hurstbourne Tarrant the whole of the valley was visited by that scourge of old England the plague in one month alone in July there were buried 43 people and a footnote adds "All these died of ye visitation of the plague" The vicar John Atkins died his wife died and their two sons The Hillier family were nearly swept away, John, Maud, Elizabeth, Richard, Thomas and their grandmother Margery. (Revd. R. S. Arrowsmith)

Bourne Fever

Dr. Stevens rid St. Mary Bourne of the endemic Bourne fever ( Typhoid ) which had effected the village every spring, when the Bourne river rose, he was appointed the first residential medical officer in the 1870's, also sanitary and nuisance officer, as such he ordered that the emptying of nightsoil from the closets in the backyards of the village houses should be done on the allotments at the top of the hill which he had previously secured in 1873 from the Earl of Portsmouth the local land owner. (Kevin Holdway)

This is what he wrote: The introduction of allotments away from the village has been of considerable advantage, in a sanitary point, to the health of the villagers. Five and twenty years ago there was an almost annual visitation of fever, of a typhoid character, which was due to the small gardens at the backs of the houses being crowded in the arrangement of the pig-styes, closets, and muck heaps, which trenched too closely on the back doors. Greater cleanliness was exacted in the removal of all refuse materials, which found their way chiefly to the allotment gardens, and thus contamination of the water in the shallow wells or "Dip-holes" was prevented, to the comparative exclusion of a long standing menace to the health of the population. (Dr. Joseph Stevens)

The Dentist

The dentist of the village at the beginning of the 19th.cent.was a blacksmith named Baker, some members of whos e family had for a lengthened period relived their neighbours of toothache by extracting their teeth. From the character of the instrument employed, it appears likely that the remedy must in many cases have proved more disastrous than the complaint. The apparatus consists of a home manufactured iron key as a fulcrum, with a huge claw attached to it as a lever to grasp the offending tooth, but as the claw was irreversible, and made to do duty alike to teeth of various kinds, and on the opposite side of the mouth, the injuries inflicted by the use of the instrument would have been discouraging one would think, to an operator of greater nervous susceptibility. (Dr. Joseph Stevens)


The Salisbury and Winchester Journal November 2nd.1782

Mr.Barnet, Dentist or Operator for the Teeth and Gums, from Berlin, who has practiced with great success in the cities of Bristol and Exeter for some years past, begs leave to acquaint the Nobility and Gentry, and all others who may stand in need of assistance, that he is lately arrived in this city, where he has had the honour of being sent for by several respectable families for complaints of the teeth, and has had the pleasure of giving entire satisfaction, which he hopes will be a sufficient recommendation to others to entrust themselves to his care. As he has the vanity to think that from many years experience and practice, he is superior to most in curing all pains and disorders of the teeth, either by extracting, cleaning, transplanting, or putting in new teeth, and fastening those which are loose; All these he undertakes to perform in the most easy and expeditious manner, as perfectly as the complaints will possibly admit of. As there is a great variety of causes of pain and disorders in the teeth and gums, so there are various methods by which ease may be obtained, and a cure affected; but these, like all other disorders in the human frame, require the knowledge of skilful practitioners for their remedy. Mr. Barnett may be spoke with at his lodgings. At Mr. Chamberlayne’s, Watchmaker, in the Market-place, at any time during his stay, which will be but short.

Salisbury and Winchester Journal Monday May 16th. 1814.

BEAUTY, HEALTH, and CLEANLINESS improved, preserved, and rendered permanent by the habitual use of the SYRIAN TOOTH POWDER it removes all dark streaks or discolouring of the teeth, which proves so material a drawback to beauty; is pleasant to use as it is excellent in its effect, it speedily renders the teeth white and smooth, the gums healthful, red and firm; the breath sweet the mouth always pleasant and free from sourness; fastens loose teeth, fortifies the enamel, prevents decay and the accumulation of tartar, and even where the enamel has been impaired by any means it will renovate and restore it in a manner only to be credited by those who experience it’s effects; It gradually cures and repels toothache. To be had, wholesale and retail, at Brod’e and Dowding’s Salisbury; and all Perfumers in the Kingdom.