Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - December 2012

Wednesday 26th December 2012 - More Passing

I don't know if the last blog prompted this piece sent to me by ME (South Wales), but I suspect so. It is a report from the Saisbury Coroner's Court, which I hadn't seen before:

Titt, Elizabeth

1884 November 29th


The Coroner for this district (Mr F T Sylvester) held an inquest in this village, on Saturday last, on the body of Elizabeth Titt, aged 67, wife of James Titt, who dropped down dead in the street on the previous Friday.

From the evidence adduced it appeared that on the day in question, the deceased was walking through the village to the parish grave-yard where she was going to look out a spot for burying a corpse, when, before she had proceeded very far, she dropped down in the road. Assistance was soon at hand, but life was extinct.

After hearing the evidence the jury returned a verdict of death from natural causes. Deceased was much respected, and the affair has cast a gloom over the whole village.

H & W in North Wales were able to add more detail. On consulting them back came the following:

Elizabeth Titt, nee Carter, was buried on 25th November 1884, so we can work out when she actually died, by consulting the calendar on the old Lotus Organiser program I can tell you that Elizabeth died on 21st November, a Friday; Saturday the 22nd brought the inquest mentioned in the press, a couple of days of reflection by the populace, then on Tuesday the 25th, everyone gathered in the graveyard for the big, somewhat unexpected event.

H added a rider: "The report seems a bit odd really W wonders who she was looking for a grave plot for, unless of course she was gifted with second sight and knew what was to befall her! But enough of this information like this, where else would you get it from, eh?" Too true H & W, I am eternally grateful for your expertise!

Aside: History buffs all, these Welsh folk, what would I do without them?

Not to be outdone, my own notes on James and Elizabeth Titt tell me that James was born in 1816, the younger son of John Titt and Mary Grant, and his older brother was the John Titt who married Eliza Wallis and produced John Wallis Titt! So we have come full circle and we can see where ME was coming from by sending me the initial piece of information, which prompted more memories of other Chitterne folk who dropped dead in the village. Again apologies for this pre-occupation with death, but its sort of appropriate what with the year dying. There were two more that I know of, both died at about the same age and at the same time of year. Henry John Smith, known as Jack, and Group Captain Leonard Maxton, known as Leo.

Jack Smith (right) dropped dead on Boxing Day 1939, so exactly 73 years ago today, not far up the road from his house called Mount Pleasant when he was out for a walk. He was a farmer, aged 75, and he lived in the very last pair of houses on the left of Bidden Lane as you leave the village.

Leo Maxton, I was told only recently by villager PG, dropped dead in the road near Elm Farm in December 1972, after he had failed to stop at the junction and had just crashed into another vehicle. He stepped out of his car to talk to the other driver and that was it. He was 76 and lived at the Grange.

Tuesday 18th December 2012 - Passing By

Blimey, is it really that long since I blogged? I've been a bit under the weather of late but am back to feeling a bit bouncy again so here goes.

Last week we said goodbye to Ernie George one of the older born and bred Chitternites, he was 91 and such a lovely man. I'll never forget his kindness when I first started delving into village history. I'd put a request into the Chitterne Newsletter, as it was then, asking for reminiscences of the village. Ernie responded by giving me a folder full of his drawings and writings about Chitterne. I was so overwhelmed I called at Duckyernut to ask if he really meant me to keep them permamently, they seemed so precious. Jeanne answered and said: "If he gave them to you, he meant you to keep them." That's the kind of person he was, very unassuming but so thoughtful. I have used the contents of the folder many times over the years. His drawings depict views of Chitterne that are available nowhere else as far as I know. Views of the old field barn settlements, the old village Hut, the Penny Reading Room and also descriptions of village characters from way back which are in some cases hilarious! His writings and tales of old Chitterne really should be more widely available.

Sorry about this, but death is a bit of a theme. Christmas is always the time when you catch up on news and this year is no exception. I recently heard from SH, a descendant of famous Chitternite John Wallis Titt, and enthusiastic Wallis Titt clan enabler, who tells me that the last grandchild of JWT died in March this year in Connecticut. Marion Vivian nee Tait was the daughter of Harold Edgar Titt, youngest son of JWT. Harold Edgar, born 1883, had emigrated to Canada in his youth and changed his name to Tait "so as not to offend Canadian sensibilities"!!

Harold Edgar is seated on the ground front right in this Titt family photo. Other family members are:
left to right, back row: Alex John Buckeridge 1870; Helen Frances 1869; Herbert Wallis 1873
middle row: Ethel Kate 1880; Florence Eliza 1872; JWT 1841; Emily Eliza (Sainsbury) 1837; Edith Emily 1876; Amy Louise 1878
front: Wallis George John 1882; Harold Edgar 1883

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