Taunton Courier 19 Oct 1927 Creech St Michael Death of a Former Resident Mrs Anna Sophia DODDERIDGE nee WESCOMBE

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Taunton Courier. Bristol and Exeter Journal and Western Advertiser Wednesday 19 Oct 1927

Page 6 Column 7


CREECH ST. MICHAEL

DEATH OF A FORMER RESIDENT.

On Thursday, October 6th, the First of St. Faith, there passed away, at Thornbury Rectory, Herefordshire, the residence of her eldest surviving son, Rev. Sidney E. DODDERIDGE, the Rector, Mrs. Anna Sophia DODDERIDGE. She was the fifth child and third daughter of John WESCOMBE, inventor of the Wescombe eider press and plough, of Doddington, Bristol, West Monkton, North Newton, and, latterly, of Greenway House, Edgeborough, Creech St. Michael. Born at Greenway House on Tuesday, 15th August, 1837, she was baptised at Thurloxton 24th September, 1837, two of her godparents being John GROVES, of Edgeborough and West Monkton, and Mary PALMER, wife of George PALMER, of Kingsclift, North Petherton, her aunt.
She was educated, firstly, at the ill-fated Mrs. Bucknell's School at Coombe, West Monkton, who always appeared before her pupils in high cap and glasses, a favourite punishment of hers being to pin disobedient scholars to her apron or skirts, while bad or needlework or bad reading was punished by the “thimble pie,” i.e., two or three taps with her thimbled finger on the head. The school opened with the recitation of Lord's Prayer and General Confession, late scholars having to kneel at her knee and say the same individually. One of the text books in use was the Rev. OSTERWALD's “Abridgement of Scripture History,” her own copy being still preserved. From here Anna Sophia was placed at the school of Mr. and Mrs. RUSSELL, at Monkton Heathfield, as a quarterly scholar. Mr. RUSSELL was an excellent school-master, but her parents meeting with a severe accident in September, 1850, her further education was somewhat retarded. But a religious atmosphere prevailed in her home, with family Bible readings on winter Sunday evenings and family prayer, while the observance of the old Somerset customs of burning the Christmas candle and ashen faggot on Christmas-eve, the entertaining of the carol singers from Creech and Thurloxton, the purchase of the Easter cake brought to the door by the Thurloxton parish clerk on Good Friday, the observance of Royal Oak Day on May 29th, and suchlike, made an impression upon her which lasted throughout life.
In her home practical domestic economy prevailed, starch being made from potatoes and soft water with the limbric and charcoal. It was here she learnt so much Somerset traditional lore, which has to a large extent been contributed by her to the “Notes and Queries” columns of this journal. An interesting incident of her girlhood is worth recording. A popular camping ground for gipsies was the lane called Burden's Ash, near the Lodges, Edgeborough. Upon one occasion a child had died among them, and she took some flowers to put in in coffin. The mother was so touched that she invited her to step up in the van and see the child, which was very fair with little light curls, the mother showing her gratitude with her tears. In March, 1854, she stayed at Norton Fitzwarren, where she met her future husband, George DUDDERIDGE, the seventh child and third son of Robert DUDDERIDGE, of Ray Hill, Staplegrove.

In April, 1858, she saw at Coombe the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. BUCKNELL, who had been murdered by their grandson. The old man had been shot early in the morning in an outhouse, his wife being hacked to death while in bed with a hay knife. She saw the old lady as she lay in bed, her hand nearly cut in half, resting against her battered face. Later, on Tuesday, August 24th, following, she saw, in company with her father elder sister (Mrs Elizabeth TOSSELL), the murderer, John Baker BUCKNELL, publicly hanged at Taunton. On returning the father was seen reaping in a field, who shouted out: “Here they are, all coming from the hang fair," but the mother died shortly afterwards of a broken heart.

It was however, on 12th July, 1864, that she finally parted company with native ancestral county of Somerset, when she married at the Church of St. John the Baptist, Yeovil, George DUDDERIDGE, who on 1st January, 1891, adopted the popular form of his surname – DODDERIDGE, of Rowbarton. Settling at Dorchester, she spent fifty-two years in wedded life there, celebrating her golden wedding on 12th July, 1914, till the death of her husband a famous Dorset rose-grower, at Overton Villa, Fordington, Dorchester, Whit-Sunday, 1917. Shortly afterwards, she took up her residents with her clerical son at the Rectory, Thornsbury, co. Hereford, where she has passed in her 91st year.

The funeral took place at the Cemetery, Dorchester, on Wednesday, the body being laid in the grave of her husband. She was the last of John WESCOMBE's seven children, and by descent was connected with many old Somerset county families. Her ancestor, John WESCOMBE, eldest son of Robert WESCOMBE, of Heathfield, became Lord of the Manor of Halse in 1600, West Somerset Coroner for the King in 1624, and died in 1656 in his 96th year. His grandson, John WESCOMBE, gentleman, of Kifts in Halse, died 1709, married Abigail, the daughter of John SYMES, Esquire, of Poundisford Park, in Pitminster. By this alliance the late Mrs. DODDERIDGE was descended from Sir John POPHAM, Lord Chief Justice, whose ancestors, the ARUNDELS, DINHAMS, and STRADLINGS, were descended from Hugh de COURTENAY, 9 th Earl of Devon. Through her grandmother, Mrs. Elizabeth HEALE, neé PYNE, of Lyng, she was also descended in a direct line from Oliver PYNE, Esquire, of Ham, co. Cornwall, who flourished in 1296; and also from John GOLDE, of Seaborough, the Somerset Crusader, who fought at Damietta in 1217, and whose tomb and effigy in stone still exists in Seaborough Church.


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