Chitterne Now and Then
Blog Archive - July 2013

Wednesday 31st July 2013 - More on the Flood of 1841

Thanks to my great researcher friends, Holmes & Watson, I am now able to add a bit more to the sad tale of the floods on Salisbury Plain in 1841. We are no nearer knowing where the houses were in Chitterne that were washed away, but we do now know that the Reverend Thomas Leach Tovey, curate, tried to get some compensation for the people made homeless by the flood.

Following the flood a relief fund was set up, and donations were sought. From a report in the Devizes & Wiltshire Gazette dated 28 January 1841 we find that the fund document listed four classes of recipient: all who need clothes, shelter and raiment; all labouring cottagers renting a dwelling, whose goods, furniture, clothes etc have been destroyed or seriously damaged and have lost their pig; small freeholders who have sustained similar losses; and lastly in the event of there being sufficient funds, to small tradesmen as occupied their own freeholds and whose houses are utterly destroyed or seriously injured the committee would offer help towards repairs.

This is the fund to which Rev. Tovey applied on behalf of Chitterne, you may remember him from the tale of the yew tree planted in St Marys graveyard just a month before he died. The cutting pictured above from the Salisbury & Winchester Journal of 5 April 1841 states that Rev. Tovey was turned down by the fund committee on the grounds that Chitterne didn't feature in the list of villages mentioned on the relief fund document. The fund was collected for the relief of Shrewton mainly and six adjoing villages including Tilshead, but not for Chitterne and Berwick. So the poor homeless in Chitterne were left with no help from that quarter.

Wednesday 10th July 2013 - Flood of 1841

I chuckled when this cutting came through the post today in an envelope addressed to "The lady who writes books, The Round House" etc. With it was a letter from AMcK of Westbury, who explained that he was having a sort through some paperwork in his office and thought it might be of interest to me as Chitterne is mentioned. I was intrigued to know how he knew where I live, but not my name, and he was in the phone book so I rang to thank him (and quiz him!)

It turns out that he played football for Chitterne in the 1950s, when he was stationed at Knook Camp, and knew both Bill Windsor and AD. He had seen AD when she was in England recently and it was she who had mentioned me to him. He had forgotten my name but not where I live and the book writing. All so simple when you know.

He was recruited into the Chitterne football team when they were scratching around for players to make up the eleven needed and became a regular as he stayed in camp at weekends, his parents living abroad. They played on a field near the Kings Head, which was their clubhouse and Cecil and Doris Newton were their hosts.

As to the cutting, there's not a lot to add to the article, except it would be interesting to know where the houses were in Chitterne that were washed away. No doubt they were made of cob, and must have stood very near the Cut, so Townsend probably, but January 1841 is even too early for the 1841 census, so no help there...except it might show where the homeless families were lodging. Unlike Shrewton, Orcheston and Tilshead we have no plaque in the village commemorating the event, but we suffered less than they did.

Previous Month Next Month