History Gobbets

A gobbet is defined as “an extract from a text” or “a small fragment or extract”.

Dorset archives are full of fascinating stories and information, here we bring you some small pieces of Dorset history to whet your appetite. Why not go along to the archive and see what you can find, email us if you find a ‘gobbet’ you want to share.

Our latest gobbet:


I came across the book the ‘Story Of The Congregational Churches Of Dorset’ whilst doing some research.  It has some fascinating vignettes about Dorset life at the end of the 19 century and may be useful for family historians with church connections.  One particular passage caught my eye related to the Rev John Spring of Stalbridge.  He was pastor in 1699 and noted for his sermons many of which were printed.  There was one particular sermon ‘The Brides-woman’s Counsellor’ in which he pronounced that it ‘is the duty incumbent on all married women to be extraordinarily careful to content and please their husbands’.  This was, even then, not an acceptable view to all and Lady Chudleigh and Miss Singer published a retort in 1701 ‘Must we pay all and look for none from you? Why are not husbands taught as well as we?’


Previous gobbets

I know some people may say it’s too early to think about Christmas but I just loved this letter found amongst miscellaneous school records of Woodsford Church of England School.

School Children’s Christmas Party

Dec 17 1924


Dear Miss Buye

Would you please tell the school children that Paul and I are giving them a tea on Saturday at 4’o’clock in the school and a small Christmas tree and games after.

Thank you so much for sending over.  I have not had an answer from Mrs Lee but by husband says it is alright and I have arranged with Mr Reeks to get the room ready.

Hoping you will have a nice holiday

Yours sincerely

Constance Radford

Ref: S-22/9/1


Now the weather is turning cooler, I’m tempted to try this recipe from Eileen Edwards Cooking Recipes from Sept 1917

Upwey Pudding

1lb flour, 4-6oz of marg or dripping, 1-2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a little milk.

Mix very dryly.  Bake in a rocky roll or flat tin for 40mins to an hour.  Serve with jam of jam sauce.

Ref: D/BTM/F/4/1


It seems keeping order on the streets of our towns has been an ongoing problem, but in the past they obviously had different problems to worry about.  In an 1819 Court Book,  it stated “no pigs to run loose without rings or yokes.  The Hayward is entitled to 1 shilling per pig from  the owner if found”.  I guess the Hayward would have to catch the pig first (and the owner) though so it could be a hard earned shilling. D/BKL/C/J/1/15 1818-1846 Court book:. proceedings of the leet and baronial courts.

Previous Gobbets

World War One Recipes

Fascinating handwritten collection of recipes from September 1917, including some interesting recipes and tips as well as details of wartime cuisine. The section on sauces suggests that the pre-war proportion for white and brown sauce is equal quantities fat and flour. For present day sauces use half the amount of fat in each case and instead of flour only, use flour and fine oatmeal. Ref: D BTM F/4/1


Rules for Balls

It being absolutely necessary in all polite assemblies to have some regulations established, without which no order to decorum can be preserved. The company are, therefore, humbly requested to observe the following rules:

I That Gentlemen are not to appear in the rooms, neither on Tuesday or Friday Evenings, in Boots: or Ladies in Riding Habits.

II That the Ball shall begin as soon as possible after Seven O’Clock, and finish precisely at Eleven.

III That Gentlemen or Ladies who dance in a Country Dance shall not quit their places till the Dance is finished, unless they mean to dance no more that night.

IV That no Lady or Gentlemen be permitted to dance in coloured gloves.

V That after a Lady has called a Dance, and danced it down, her place in the next Dance is at the bottom.

VI That no Tea Table be carried into the Card Room.

VII That Gentlemen will be pleased to leave their Swords at the Door.

VIII That no Dogs be admitted.

T. Rodber M.C.           From: Weymouth Guide and Directory 1816