All the fun of a Victorian Fayre at the Dorset County Museum

The Victorian Fayre last year at the Dorset County Museum

The Victorian Fayre last year at the Dorset County Museum

On Sunday 21st February, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, the Dorset County Museum opens its doors for the second year running to a traditional Victorian Fayre to celebrate the birthday of William Barnes, Dorset dialect poet. This FREE event will offer something for all the family.

Stalls will include traditional crafts and gifts and the chance to learn rural skills. There will be Maypole dancing for the children as well as popular parlour games.

The friends of the William Barnes Society and Tim Laycock, well-known folk musician, actor and storyteller will provide traditional singing, music, dance and poetry reading throughout the afternoon.

Frome Valley Morris Mummer

Frome Valley Morris Mummer

The Frome Valley Morris Men will perform the Mummers and Hoodening play. The event would not be complete without a raffle, quiz and a Victorian afternoon tea.

Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes Gallery and Archive said that last year the Victorian Fayre was a huge success and was hoping for a repeat performance.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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In Memoriam Rev. William Barnes B.D.

Rev. William Barnes © DCM

Rev. William Barnes © DCM 2015

From the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 8, 1887, an memoriam written by the Reverend Octavius PickardCambridge FRS.

“Since October 7th, 1886, when we were suddenly called upon to mourn for our old friend and staunch member of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, the Rev. William Barnes, B.D., so much has been written and said and published about him that little, at any rate, little new, can now be said; scarcely a periodical or journal has been silent ; all have been necessarily and deservedly eulogistic. Some, it has appeared to me? have placed his claim to public notice of somewhat insufficient grounds, and others on, as it were, the side issues rather than on the main ones of his long life. It would be, however, quite out of place in our Proceedings to criticise here what has been said and published. Want of space, if nothing else, would prevent it. A very characteristic and faithful portrait of Mr. Barnes forms a frontispiece to our annual volume. As regards this portrait, it may be remarked that this has been designedly chosen rather than another, which, while it, no doubt, faithfully gives Mr. Barnes’ general appearance according to the costume adopted late in life, was by no means characteristic of the man known to those who had enjoyed his friendship in earlier days, and had watched the development of his simple but strong and almost unique character under the more usual garb of the day. What it is proposed to give here as an accompaniment to our frontispiece will consist of such biographical details as may be necessary for the information of those who would hereafter know who Mr. Barnes was, whence he came, and the more salient points of his life. A list of his works is also appended. Some of these are now not known to many, even by name; and probably few have been read or studied.

On two of them I shall offer a few more detailed observations,—viz., his poems in the Dorset dialect, and one entitled “Views on Labour and Gold,” on which last I have not seen or heard any remark made amidst the much that has been said and written on the former. I have not attempted to give any classification of Mr. Barnes’ works, but have drawn out the list in chronological order, as, in flict, he himself drew it up in his later years, and, as by the kindness of his son (the llev. W. M. Barnes, Rector of Winterborne Monkton), I am enabled to give it. Mr. Barnes’ birthplace was Eushhay, Bagber (or Bagberry), a hamlet of Sturminster Newton, in the Vale of Blackmoor, Dorset. It seems that his family had been anciently landowners in or near the Vale, but had subsequently become tenant-farmers there ; and it was in the place above mentioned that his parents, John and Grace Barnes, were living at the time of Mr. W. Barnes’ birth in 1801. From his mother (Grace Scott) he appears to have inherited strong intellectual and poetical tastes, which, becoming marked as he grew up, it was decided to place him in some line of life above that of the toilsome work of the farm. He accordingly, at a very early age, entered the office of a solicitor — Mr. Dashwood—at Sturminster Newton as an engrossing clerk, and from thence afterwards (in 1818) he removed to occupy a similar post in the office of Mr. Coombs, Solicitor, Dorchester.

During the time of these clerkships (about seven or eight years) Mr. Barnes never lost a chance of acquiring knowledge on every possible subject, laying the foundation of his future great knowledge of languages, and qualifying himself for the Mastership of the Boarding School at Mere, Wiltshire ; to this post he was appointed in 1823, and we find him described in 1829 as “Teacher of Perspective and Drawing, and of the Latin, French, Italian, and German languages.” With Italian he seems to have become conversant some time before this date, as in 1827 he published translations in verse from the Italian of Metastasio. It was during his residence at Mere that Mr. Barnes first began seriously to study the origin of his own language, both British and English. It is probable that these studies were suggested and actually begun during a visit to Wales in 1831. At any rate in 1832-33 he published papers on these subjects in the “Gentleman’s Magazine;” and to his latest days Anglo-Saxon and the British language were his favourite study.

In 1835, an opening for advancement offering, Mr. Barnes (who had previously married Miss Miles, a Dorsetshire lady) removed to Dorchester and opened a school in Durngate Street, from which a further move was not long after made (1837) into more convenient premises within a door or two of the Dorchester Grammar School, next to the Almshouses, on the east side of South Street. Here for some years his school filled and prospered, and while giving every attention to his pupils Mr. Barnes carried on his own private studies with extraordinary vigour and success] no subject, no language daunted him when once he made up his mind for the attack; his clear and logical understanding seemed to get hold of the subject, take it in, absorb and assimilate it as completely as a sea-anemone does its food. And not only did Mr. Barnes thus simultaneously carry on his school work and private studies, but he found time for extra lessons to pupils desirous of getting on, and to his assistant masters, (Mr. Isaac Hann and others), as well as for wood engraving and music ; and a glance at the list of his works shows that during the whole of this time his pen was also pretty constantly at work for the publisher.

In 1817 Mr. Barnes removed from the east side of South Street to the opposite side of the street, and it was now (1847) that, having obtained the degree of B.D. at St. John’s College, Cambridge, as a “Ten-years-man,” he was ordained Deacon by Edward Denison, Bishop of Salisbury, on the nomination to Whitcombe as a title by the Hon. Col. Damer, of Came. In 1862 Mr. (now the Rev. W.) Barnes gave up his school (which was afterwards for a time carried on by a Mr. de Winton), and accepted the living of Came on the presentation of Captain Damer, son of his former patron, and himself at one time a pupil of Mr. Barnes’. Here in the faithful work of his small secluded parish and in his own studies and literary recreation the autumn and winter of his life passed on in peace, happiness, and usefulness, until from the natural decay of extreme age he passed away on the 7th of October last at 86 years old.

It has been said that there must be blame somewhere that Mr. Barnes, with all his genius and great talents, should have thus passed a long life without any signal or very substantial recognition in high or influential quarters. I think this is unjust both to himself and to the world in which he was known.

He had no ambition i.e., no desire to use his talents as a mere means of obtaining either the world’s fame or its more solid rewards ; his mind and powers were emphatically himself, and his happiness consisted, and was amply found, in attacking and assimilating those subjects which cropped up at every turn of his path. He would have considered it a prostitution of his powers to have designedly aimed at wealth or position by their means; the attainment of knowledge was the end he always had in view, and that end was to him its own sufficient reward. No greater injury could, I conceive, have been done to him than to have offered, or, perhaps, pressed upon him, the acceptance of honours or position which might have turned him in his course or tended to obscure the end he had in view. So far as concerned himself!; and as respects the fancied neglect of him by others, what was there in his life and work to draw upon him, perforce, the notice of any excepting those of his more immediate circle? From that circle, as occasion called, he did receive such recognition as put him in the very position of all others where his talents would be freely used and his worldly requirements sufficiently supplied for the modest needs of himself and his family. In this view of it Mr. Barnes’ life forms a harmonious whole such as the world rarely sees, and if I were going to lecture to young men on the examples set by striking characters gone before, I do not know of one whom I could select, like Mr. Barnes, as so pre-eminent in all that a Christian man’s life should be both for this world and the next. A sound mind in a sound body and sufficient food for both ; the result, a long life of physical and mental happiness, and a legacy to posterity from his mind’s work, the value of which will be the more felt the more it is used by those to whom it is bequeathed. If the recognition of himself by great men or great minds were an ambition with Mr. Barnes (I am not aware that it was, I think it was not) he did obtain a share of that in the visits paid him while Rector of Came by such men as Tennyson, Allingham, Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte, Max Miller, Sir Henry Taylor, Coventry Patmore, and others.

With regard to Mr. Barnes’ family it is enough to say here that he had the great misfortune to lose his wife comparatively early in life, and has left four daughters and one son (Rev. William Miles Barnes, of Monkton Rectory) surviving him, another, a younger son, having died early. Miss Laura Barnes, the eldest daughter, is unmarried; the others are married. Two are settled in Italy, and from the talented pen of one of them, Lucy Barnes (Mrs. Baxter), we hope shortly to have a biography of our old friend such as none but a daughter so well qualified could possibly furnish. Some have questioned whether Mr. Barnes’ career can be pointed to as a successful one; of course that depends on what success in life is taken to mean. If I am right in the remarks I have made above, he must be considered to have been most successful. Some have pointed to his scholastic work and said it is not there that Mr. Barnes succeeded ; others have said his literary works, excepting the Poems in Dorset Dialect, will not live, and most are dead already, and that his clerical life was a mere accident. Well! I think these critics are all wrong. I am very confident that even in these separate parts of his career Mr. Barnes might, were it worth while, be shown to have amply succeeded.

I will only mention one fact in regard to his school work, and that is that he had the faculty of interesting his scholars, and not only of causing them to understand but to love what he taught. I can testify to this from my own experience as his pupil, and I feel confident of the supporting testimony of many others whom he taught. If this be so what scholastic success could be greater As regards his literary labours, perhaps few know anything of them except of the Dorset poems ; but may that not be simply a proof of their ignorance, not of any want of intrinsic value in his other works? And as respects his clerical life, those who know what it was speak of it as being as thoroughly complete as everything else he did; its sphere was no doubt small, but had it been ten, or twenty times the extent it was it could not have been more sincerely or systematically worked. Where is any proof of nonsuccess in these separate parts then of Mr. Barnes’ life? But these parts are simply parts of a whole, harmonious life, and ought not to be taken and analysed separately, rudely dissected like a beautiful flower by a would-be botanist! and that these portions of Mr. Barnes’ life and works are what they are constitutes, it seems to me, his life’s true success.

Space will not allow me to say anything scarcely of Mr. Barnes’ published works, excepting the one mentioned before, “Labour and Gold,” and his Dorset dialect poem’s. Criticism of these poems, in the ordinary sense, would be out of place – impossible! unnatural!

One might with equal propriety criticise a handful of spring flowers plucked fresh from the hedge-row. We might indeed admire one flower rather than another ; we might find greater beauties, greater sweetness, deeper suggestions in one than in another; but criticism, as such, would be, like the dissector’s knife—barbarous, almost brutal ! Mr. Barnes’ poems are the spontaneous outflowings of his remembrance of persons, things, and scenes, of which he bore away as he viewed them, the bright, the pure, the good side only. Lie looked at Nature, and human nature in his Blackmoor Vale haunts, with a soul only open to its beauties—quite closed (as far as it was possible) to all that might have been disfiguring or unsweet. His mind was attuned to harmonies, not discords ; such discords as may occasionally sound out in the songs he sings are instantly resolved into sweet harmony again. I am told, on good authority, that he never, with perhaps one exception, wrote his poems with “a purpose.” With such a purpose (everywhere evident in his poems) as that with which the bird sings, that is from the love that was in his heart and the instinct within his soul he, certainly, always wrote. I leave criticism, therefore, if such be possible, to others. Another thing I think is notable in respect to the Dorset poems; there is, if I do not mistake, not even the smallest reference there to any of the social sins or vices of peasant life. In one only such a reference may perhaps be found (Complete collection of the poems, p. 382), but only there as the product of evil in a higher rank of life, where the selfishness of idle vice has prevailed over the peasant child’s ignorant innocence.

Each poem is a picture true to life, without a touch too much or too little, and never a touch put in for mere effect. Those who have lived amongst, and loved, rural life, will, I think, see and feel this. Each poem, as it is read thus, satisfies the reader just as the picture itself, if viewed in nature, would satisfy. If this is, as I think, the perfection of poetry, then certainly Mr. Barnes approached perfection as a poet. I have remarked that he seldom or never wrote his poems ” with a purpose,” nor ever scarcely brought forward the frail or bad side of his country folk, but it was not that he was ignorant of the latter, or did not desire to have it as he wished to see it and sung of it – No! it would simply have been, in his view and intention, a distortion and blurring of what he saw and felt to have used his powers of song to denounce, or even to correct. Much rather would he look upon country life, wherever possible, from its humorous side, and this he did in his poems, as many of them so abundantly testify. He was indeed possessed with a very keen sense of humour, his laugh, at any sally of genuine wit or humour, was the most infectious that I ever met with ; it must have been a dull-witted one indeed who could fail to be caught by and to join in it. It has been remarked, and with truth, that throughout a volume of nearly 500 pages of poems there is no allusion to the sea, the seaside and its concomitants, or to mountains; but this, if it proves anything, proves the genuine sincerity of the man.

His Jot had been cast and his earliest and deepest impressions had been received inland, where neither sea nor mountain existed, and he sung of what was in him—impressions from the river, the brook, the lake or pond, the coppice, the hedgeside, the farmyard, the country folk of every degree, their thoughts, ways, habits, employments, and amusements ; these and such like formed the staple of his song, and to say that he only sang of these, but not of the sea or the mountain, is only equivalent to saying that a nightingale sings only the nightingale’s song, but never screeches like the seagull nor croaks like the raven ; and what better proof could be given than this that he had no keen ambition for any such fame as a great poet, in the world’s estimation, might aim at ! No! Mr. Barnes was here, as in all else, himself, and in his songs he was, as he was, and always loved to remember that he was, a Dorsetshire country-man. These few allusions to Mr. Barnes’ poems must suffice us here; space prevents any quotations from them. Others (notably Professor Palgrave, National Review, No. 48, February, 1887, p.p. 818-830, and the Rev. Walter Locke in an able Lecture at Dorchester, April 18th, 1887, to be published, I believe, shortly) have gone very fully into them and given numerous and apt quotations. Indeed, if anything I have said be true, the whole volume might be quoted in proof of Mr. Barnes having been a genuine staunch Dorset man; and to that proof I recommend every one who has not yet made a close.

Acquaintance with those genial and pleasant outflowings of a true and loving heart.
Although, as before remarked, Mr. Barnes did not write his poems ” with a purpose,” he could, and did, write with a purpose much, and to good purpose if some of his other works were studied. I fear, though, that most of them are but little known. I allude now to “Views of Labour and Gold,” a volume of 190 pages, published in 1859. He speaks of this work as formed from notes for a course of lectures ; but whether the lectures were ever publicly delivered, or if so, when, I do not know. This work appears to bo the outpouring of Mr. Barnes mind on an old subject, but one at that time cropping- up as a vital one for human society in all ranks, and which has, as we are aware, become the question underlying most of the other questions of the day – the question of the relations and respective rights of labour and capital. Mr. Barnes here, as in all his poems, touching en the temporal welfare of the labourer, is unmistakably in closest sympathy with the sons of toil ; but as in his poems, so here, too, he is filled with the conviction of the need of labour to man, and of its great dignity. But while he extols labour, he is unflinching in his severity upon labour for the mere sake of hoarding, and of labour that injures body, mind, or soul. Some kinds of labour, he observes, have “a painful reaction on the mind,” and others “a bad reaction on the conscience” (p. 33), and which, however easy may be “their action, and however great their gain, are not to be earnestly chosen by Christian men, since as they deaden the conscience they likewise do harm to the soul,” Weighty words of truth which need to be much taught, and still more learnt, in these enlightened days. As we might expect, Mr. Barnes is severe upon capital ! Not by any means that he objected to the prudent laying up for a rainy day, or the gathering of means to carry out works impossible to be effected without stored-up labour in the shape of gold or capital, but it was the ever-growing “monopoly and tyranny of capital” against which he warns.

A chapter is devoted to this under the above heading. Mr. Barnes’ object is “to show the possible effect of the increase of great working capitals and monopolies on the labourers’ freedom or welfare.” And, is there a doubt but that the present labourers’ Unions and Trades’ Unions, and the consequent strikes and lock-outs, and other warfare between employers and workers i.e., between “Labour and gold,” have been the result of that “tyranny and monopoly of capital” Mr. Barnes speaks of? He humorously, but forcibly, illustrates the benefits asserted to be conferred upon workers by capital when in the enlargement of an already perhaps great business, scores of small businesses of the kind are swallowed up by the outlay of capital ; “The kindness which is done by capital when it affords employment to people from whom, by a monopoly, it has taken their little businesses, is such as one might do to a cock by adorning his head with a plume made of feathers pulled out of his own tail.” And as regards these who have sunk from being (though perhaps small ones) masters to mere workers, he says their wages are doubtless better than nothing, but ” yet it may have been quite as well for them if the profit on their toil had been taken by themselves instead of the great capitalist, and if they had taken their money on their own desk rather than on the Saturday pay-table.” This, of course, at once opens up the whole question of the rights of labour to share in the profits of their work ; and this is the bone of contention still. Mr. Barnes also has a pertinent sentence upon a dogma which one frequently now hears, and sees in print, as addressed to our ” masters,” the agricultural labourers, and with a view to content them with their lot. It refers to the “identity of interest between the employer and the labourer,” or, what is the same, between ” capital and labour.” Mr. Barnes remarks (p. 70) —” It is often said that the interests of capital and labour are identical, and so in truth they are as long as they are kept so by the law of Christian kindness ; but if the truth or the broad form of it be misunderstood by the hand-hiring capital, it does not follow that the wealth of the capitalist and workman are identical.” Mr. Barnes here appeals to a higher law than the mere law of the land, or the market price, as a true and potent factor in all questions between labour and capital.

The capitalist may ensconce himself behind the law of the land, he may seek to justify himself by the ” market price of labour,” but no law, in Mr. Barnes’ opinion, can ever enforce any true identity of interest between capital and labour, but that one of which he speaks in the passage quoted, ” The law of Christian kindness,” which, when it works so as to discover that the market price is not always the just, although it may be the legal measure of labour’s value, will also operate so as to accord a share of the profits of Labour to the workman ! When will that be ? Echo answers, when? But if we may hazard a guess we shall not be far wrong, I think, in saying that the considerations and discussions continued in “Labour and Gold,” if widely spread abroad, will not fail to hasten the day. Mr. Barnes, again, speaking on the effects of the monopoly of great capitals, (p. 70), admits that “one man may leave a million to his wife, earned out of his capital by his workmen, but then fewer men out of every hundred in his trade can leave their children a hundred pounds.” Who cannot feel that the loss of the hundred pounds to each of the many is ill compensated for by the gain of a million to one person?

Everywhere throughout this little book the relations of capital and labour are discussed thus earnestly and temperately. If space allowed we might show how fair he is towards capital rightly employed, and how dear to his heart were the interests and well being of the working man, especially in those chapters on ” the measure and quantity of labour,” on ” overwork,” on the “reaction of labour,” and of ” inaction;” as well as on the “dignity and disdain of work,” on ” machinery,” and ” congregated labour.” But what I consider the essential point in this work is the insistence upon a higher law than the law of the land, and the market price as a factor in the relations of labour and capital—’ the law of Christian Kindness.” I have gone thus much into this work of Mr. Barnes’, not only because of the great and pressing present importance of the subject, but, principally, here, to show that Mr. Barnes was not merely a poet, not simply a singer of pretty melodious songs, but a true, a large hearted, and a just philanthropist; and I venture to think that Mr. Barnes ‘ fame will not in the future simply rest upon his Dorset Dialect poems, exquisite as they undoubtedly are.

It is time, though, that some mention should be made here of Mr. Barnes in connection with the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club. As we might have supposed, Mr. Barnes was always forward to support anything connected with the interests of natural history and natural science. Every morning during his scholastic life before the regular school work began he gave his scholars a short lecture on some natural history or scientific subject. Each scholar had to take down in writing a proposition, generally embracing one point only, on which the lecture was based. Notes were to be taken upon the lecture, which was always illustrated by objects or experiments, and an examination upon it was subsequently made. I have still in my possession the MS. notes of these lectures during the whole of the two years that I was a pupil of Mr. Barnes’.

He was among the founders of the County Museum, and stood firmly by it through evil and good report until it bloomed into its present fair and prosperous form; and at once on its inauguration in 1875 became a member of the Field Club, frequently attending the Field Meetings, even down to a very recent period, and, whenever called upon to do so, always contributed his quota to the proceedings of the day in his habitually retiring, but simple, clear, and concise way. These contributions were usually of an Antiquarian kind, as are all those contributed in writing to the Field Club’s published proceedings. I have given these contributions in a separate list at the end of the general list of his works ; they are 14 in number and are mostly concerned with topics at the moment before the club. The last paper contributed to our Proceedings was in September, 1885, on “Pilsdon,” and is published in vol. vii. p. 102. Mr. Barnes was then in too feeble a state to attend outdoor meetings, and I myself had the pleasure of reading (in his absence) his last words to us ; and the very last words (with which the paper concludes) suggest to us a bit of practical work, which, I hope, some one among us may one day carry out. He was speaking of the curious parallelogram on the area of the Great Earthwork at Pilsdon, and, after hazarding a guess on the subject, concludes with these words—”I wonder what is under its turf?” and I will now add ” Will not some one institute a search and let us know?”

And now, ill done indeed I fear, but yet, so far as I have been able to do it, my task is done. I should have liked to dwell longer on many points of Mr. Barnes’ life and character, and particularly on some others of his published works. I feel little doubt but that if the real value of his philological work were thoroughly gone into he would be found to have been well abreast of the greatest contemporary masters of philological science, but I must leave that to other hands. To say that we of the Field Club most deeply lament our old friend is only to repeat what all the world has said since his death ; to say that we shall never see his like again would be to prophesy when we do not know, a proceeding proverbially unwise ; but I do think that it may well be the ambition of us all, when our time shall come, to have lived as Mr. Barnes lived and to have died as he died.

A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE PUBLISHED WORKS OF THE REV. WILLIAM BARNES B.D.

1822 Orra : A Lapland Tale. A short poem, published by Clarke, Dorchester. 8vo., p.p. 28, with four woodcuts engraved by the Author,

Other Short Poems, also published in this year.

1827 Some Little Essays and other papers, signed “Dilettante,” in Dorset County Chronicle from 1827, cir. to 1835.

Some Sonnets and other Poems, some of which were printed in a book in 1846.

Translations in Verse from the Italian of Metastasio.

1829 The Etymological Glossary ; or Easy Exposition for the use of Schools and Non-Latinists, wherein the greater part of the English words of foreign derivation are so arranged that the learner is enabled to acquire the meaning at once. By William Barnes, Master of the Boarding School at Mere, in Wiltshire, Teacher of Perspective and Drawing, and of the Latin, French, Italian, and German languages. Shaftesbury : T. Rutter. London : Whittaker, Teacher, and Arnot.

1831 Papers in Gentleman’s Magazine –
ON ENGLISH DERIVATIONS.
ON THE STRUCTURE OF DICTIONARIES.
ON PRONUNCIATION OF LATIN.
HIEROGLYPHICS.

1832 Papers in Hones Year Book –
DORSETSHIRE CUSTOMS, p. 1172.
SINGLE STICK AND CUDGELS, p. 1525.
LENT CROCKING, p, 1599.

In Gentleman’s Magazine –
IDENTITY OF NATIONAL MANNERS AND LANGUAGE.
MERE CHURCH, WITH WOODCUTS.
SONGS OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS.
ANALOGY OF GREEK AND OTHER LANGUAGES.
ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE.
THORNHILL OBELISK, WITH A WOODCUT.
ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE.
ENGLISH COMPOUNDS.

1833 In Gentleman’s Magazine –
NAPPER’S MITE, Dorchester, with a woodcut.
SILTON CHURCH, with woodcut. Supplement to vol. ciii. pt.
STURMINSTER NEWTON CHURCH.
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
NAILSEA CHURCH, Somerset.
CHELVEY, Somerset.
A CATECHISM OF GOVERNMENT in general and of England in particular. Shaftesbury,

1833.
THE MNEMONICAL MANUAL, founded on a new and simple system of Mnemonics. Recommended to the notice of teachers and readers of
history, &c. , &c.

1834 A FEW WORDS ON THE ADVANTAGES of a MORE COMMON ADOPTION OF THE MATHEMATICS AS A BRANCH OF EDUCATION OR SUBJECT OF STUDY.
London : Whittaker. 20vo., and various Local Publishers, 1834.
POEMS OF RURAL LIFE in Dorset Dialect, begun in this year, published in
Dorset County Chronicle.
A DORSET IDYL, written in a sick room coming on to convalescence – ” When I was uphalening from a sickness – an ailing of the liver.”
“ON THE CROSS AT ST. (?).” A paper in Gentleman’s Magazine.

1835 A MATHEMATICAL INVESTIGATION of the principle of Hanging Doors, Gates, Swing Bridges, and other heavy bodies swinging on vertical axes. Dorchester : Simonds and Sydenham, 1835.

In Gentleman’s Magazine –
PUNCK KNOWLE HOUSE, with a woodcut.

1837 ON ROMAN MINERALS, p. 573.

1838 On Æsop.
SOME ETYMOLOGIES.

1840 ANOTHER LETTER to Gentleman’s Magazine on the distinction between VIR and HOMO. According to the general rule of the ‘Elegantitæ Latinsæ ” ViR is equivalent to a man, when noticed for praise or excellence; never when blame is expressed. Homo is used indiscriminately. What Mr. Barnes thought was that VIR is equivalent to man, as distinguished from a woman, as of the female sex ; Homo i equivalent to a human being, in distinction from one of a different order, whether higher or lower ; VIR is equivalent to the German Mann, Homo is equivalent to German MENSCH. He quotes from Ovid, Metamorph, Sallust, Horace, Terence, &c, in proof of his idea.

1839 In Gentleman’s Magazine –
ON THE SO-CALLED KIMMERIDGE COAL MONEY.
BATTLE OF PENN.
THE ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE AT DORCHESTER.
THE HINDOO SHASTERS.
PHŒNICIANS.
HINDOO POORAN AND SCIENCES.

1840 In Gentleman’s Magazine –
HINDOO FAQUEERS.
DORSET DIALECT compared with Anglo-Saxon.
THE OLD JUDGE’S HOUSE, DORCHESTER, with a woodcut.
LAWS OF CASE. An investigation of the Laws of Case in Language
Published 1840. Longman and Co. and Whittaker and Co , London.

1841 EDUCATION ON WORDS AND THINGS.
FIELDING’S HOUSE AT STOWER, with a woodcut.
GOTHS AND TEUTONS.
AN ARITHMETICAL AND COMMERCIAL DICTIONARY. Pubhshed by (?)
HINTS ON TEACHING, in the Educational Magazine, pp. 160, March 1841.
PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY of Geographical Names, pp. 249. Published by (?)

1842 THE ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH GRAMMAR. London : W^hittaker and Co.
THE ELEMENTS OF LINEAR Perspective and the Projection of Shadows,
16 woodcut diagrams, by author. Published by Longman and Co. and Hamilton and Adams.
NUMEROUS REVIEWS of all kinds of books in Gentleman’s Magazine from
1841 to 1849 (inclusive.)

1844 SIX SACRED SONGS “SABBATH LAYS.” Poetry by W. Barnes, music composed by F. W. Smith, Dorchester. Price to Subscribers, 5s. ; to Non-subscribers, 6s. London : Chappell, New Bond-street, London.
EXERCISES IN PRACTICAL SCIENCE, containing the Main Principles of Dynamics, Statics, Hydro-Statics and Hydrodynamics, with 14 diagrams in wood, by author, pp. 65 for my pupils. Pub. Dorchester, Clark,

DORSET POEMS (collected from Dorset County Chronicle) with a dissertation
on the Folk Speech, and a glossary of Dorset words. Published by George Simonds, Dorchester.

1846 POEMS PARTLY OF RURAL LIFE (in national English). London : J. R. Smith. Containing “Some of my Earlier Bits of verse Sonnets and others”, with some later ones in Common English.

1847 “POEMS OF RURAL LIFE IN DORSET DIALECT.” 2nd Edition. J. R. Smith. London.

OUTLINES OF GEOGRAPHY AND ETHNOGRAPHY FOR YOUTH, pp. 242. Barclay, Dorchester. 1857 A new edition, applied for by H. C. Harris ; published 21, Great Alie-street, Goodmansfields, and afterwards brought out.

1849 SE GEFYLSTA (the Helper) an Anglo-Saxon Delectus. J. R. Smith, London. (Another edition since.)
HUMILIS DOMUS. Some thoughts on the Abodes, Life, and Social Condition of the Poor, especially in Dorsetshire. (Printed from the Poole Herald).

1853 and 1854 Papers in ”The Retrosprctivi Review.” London: J. R. Smith. Vols. I. and 11.
POPULATION AND EMIGRATION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 17TH CENTURY.
Art. 4.
ANECDOTA LITERARIA. Extracts from the Diary of John Richards, Esq.,
pp. 97, 201.
PYRRHONISM OF JOSEPH GLANVILLE
ENGLISH MUSIC AND MADRIGALS. Vol. II., Art. 4. The Antiquary.
Art. 6, No. 6. Lelantd, February, 1854.
ASTROLOGY, Xo. 7, Art. 5.
CONTROVERSIAL WRITERS on Waterhouse and Fox, on the Utility of
Learning in the Church. No. 8, Art. 3. Aug. 1854.

1854 A PHILOLOGICAL GRAMMAR, 8vo., pp. 312. J, R. Smith, London.

1859 HWOMELY RHYMES, a second collection of Dorset Poems. J. R. Smith, London.
BRITAIN AND THE ANCIENT BRITONS, pp. 167. J. R. Smith, London.

1859 VIEWS OF LABOUR AND GOLD, pp. 190. J. R. Smith, London.
THE SONG OF SOLOMON, in the Dorset Dialect (for ” Prince Louis Buonaparte).

1861 In Macmillans Magazine (May, 1861)
ON THE BEAUTIFUL IN NATURE AND ART.

1862 DORSET POEMS, 3rd Edition of 1st Coll , being in fact the 4th Edition: John Russell Smith, London.
TIU, OR A VIEW OF THE ROOTS, and stems of the English as a Teutonic
Tongue, p.p., 324. J. R. Smith.

Macmillan’s Magazine –
ON THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF TRIAL BY JURY in Britain, March 1S62.

1863 The “RARIORA” of Old Poetry. May 1863.
Fraser’s Magazine –
ON THE CREDIBILITY OF OLD SONG, History and Tradition, Sept. 1863.
ON PATMORE’S POETRY, July 1863.
POEMS IN THE DORSET DIALECT. 3rd collection, with frontispiece and vignette. 4s. 6d. 1st ed., J. R. Smith, London.
DORSET POEMS. 2nd edition of 2nd collection. J. R. Smith, London.
GRAMMAR AND GLOSSARY OF THE DORSET DIALECT, with the history, outspreading and bearing of the South-western English. Published for the Philological Society, by A. Asher and Co , Berlin – 8vo., p.p. 103.

1863 In the Reader –
A REVIEW OF DEAN HOARE on English Roots and Exotics.
In the Ladies’ Treasury –
“ON CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE.”

1864 In the Reader –
REVIEW OF COOKE’S “NEGLECTED FACT,” in English History.

1865 A GUIDE TO DORCHESTER. Published by Barclay.

1864 and 1865 VERSIONS OF THE PSALMS in English measures (unrhymed), formed upon those of the Hebrew, with some original and other notes – printed in the Dorset County Chronicle. (This appears to have been afterwards published in a vol. by some Liverpool publishers O.P.C.)

1865 “ON DORSET.” Read before the Archaeological Society at Dorchester. Printed in the Transactions of the Society.

1866 In Fraser s Magazine –
ON THE WELSH TRIADS, Oct. 1866.

1866 DORSET POEMS A 4th Edition of 1st coll.—in fact the 5th edition. John Russell Smith, London.

In Macmillans Magazine –
ON PLAGIARISM.

In Ladies’ Treasury –
ON PRINKING OR BODILY ORNAMENT.
A GLOSSARY, with some pieces of verse of the old dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, Co. Wexford, Ireland, formerly collected by Jacob Poole, of Growton. Edited by Rev. W. Barnes. J. R Smith, Lond.

1867 In the Ladies’ Treasury –
THE HOAX.

1867 In Macmillan’s Magazine –
ON BARDIC POETRY.
SOME BITS OF WRITING IN THE HAWK—a monthly hover from the Vale of Avon. Published by W. Wheaton, Ringwood.
THE CHURCH IN IRELAND. Logical anomalies of the disendowment of. Dorset County Chronicle.
THE RATING OF TITHES. Ditto.

1868 POEMS OF RURAL LIFE, in common English, pp. 200. Macmillan and Co.

1869 EARLY ENGLAND and the Saxon English, with some notes on the Fatherstock
of the Saxon English—the Frisians. J. R. Smith.

1869 A PAPER FOR THE GOVERNMENT COMMISSION on the Employment of children, young persons, and women in agriculture. Printed in the Blue Book. Appendix : Part II , to Second Report, p. 12.

1870 DORSET POEMS 2nd Edition of 3rd coll. J. R Smith.
“ON SOMERSET,” read before the Somerset Archaeological Society, at Wincanton.

1871 ON THE ORIGIN OF THE HUNDRED AND TITHING of English Law. Read before the Archaeological Association at Weymouth. Printed in the Transactions.

1878 AN OUTLINE OF ENGLISH SPEECHCRAFT. Kegan Paul and Co.

1879 POEMS OF RURAL LIFE (in the Dorset dialect.) 8vo , pp., 467: Kegan Paul and Co. (This is a complete collection of all the Dorset dialect poems.)

1880 AN OUTLINE OF REDECRAFT (logic) in English Wording. 8vo. pp. 56. Kegan Paul and Co.
In Leisure Hour (a series). Dorset Folk and Dorset, with illustrations.

188(?) A GLOSSARY OF DORSET and West English words as kindred stems from their main roots. Published by (?)

PAPERS PUBLISHED IN THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE DORSET NATURAL HISTORY AND ANTIQUARIAN FIELD CLUB, FROM 1875 TO 1886.

Vol. I. – A British Earthwork, p 94.
Vol. III .- Notes on the History of Shaftesbury, p. 27.
The Tout Hill, Shaftesbury, p. 48.

Vol. IV. – On the Iter xvi., of Antoninus, p. 62.
Addendum to Notes on the History of Shaftesbury, p. 77.
Cranborne, the so called Castle, p. 134.
On the Maze or Mismaze at Leigh, p. 154.

Vol. V. – Some Slight Notes on Badbury Rings, p. 38.
Eggardon and British Tribeship, p. 40.
A Study 0.1 the Bockley, or Bockerly, Dyke, and others, in Dorset, p 49.
Notes on the so-called Roman Roads, p. 69,

Vol. VI. – A Study on the Invasion of the South-West of Britain, by Vespasian, p. 18.
A Study on the Belga:; in South Britain, p. 33.

Vol. VII. – Pilsdon, p. 102.

Several songs have been composed by various composers to words written by
Mr. Barnes. Among these are : –

“There’s a Chakm in the Bloom of Youth.” Music by F. W. Smith.
” The Mother’.s Dream.” Music by Sir A. Sullivan.
“The Bells of Alderburnham.” Music by Dolores.
“John Bleake of Blackmoor.” Music by F. W. Smith,

MSS. NOT PRINTED

  • A Second Set of Poems in Common English.
  • Hymns on Church openings, Harvest Thanksgivings, Baptism, Marriage, Choir Meeting, School.
  • Word Building in English.
  • A Word List of EngUsh Words, which have heretofore holden, or would do, instead of others that have been intaken from other tongues,
  • A Latin Word-book of Words ranked under their Roots or main Stem-words,
  • On Angria the Pirate, and the Indian Wars of his time. (A paper meant for the Retrospective Review.)
  • Utilitarianism. An answer to Utilitarianism, by John Mill.
  • A Version of the Song of Solomon, handled as poetry, with some out-clearing notes from Eastern poetry, and other sources
  • Studies in poetry of less known schools.
  • Notes on Persian Word Stems.
  • Notes on the Song of Deborah and Barak.
  • Alphabetical and Etymological Dictionary of the common names of animals (not polished.)
  • Echoes from Zion – a free version of as many of the Psalms.
  • King Arthur and Welsh poetry, of and since his time
  • Notes on the God-ha-dum, a Redeemer of blood under the Law.
  • Latin Word-building in the noun and verb endings.
  • A Word List of Grammar terms, out-cleared by wording, and English words in their stead.
  • Essay on the Maintenance of the Church of England as an Established Church
    Palraam non meruit.
    (This is the author’s simple endorsement on the rejected essay, which was written in competition for the Peeke prizes in 1872, but failed to win.)
  • Dorset Dialogues.
  • Preaching.
  • Liturgy,
  • Hymn for a Harvest Thanksgiving,

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The Chickerell Plesiosaur – Cimoliosaurus richardsonii

Plesiosaur

Plesiosaur

From the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 10, 1889, an article written by by John Clavell Mansel-Pleydell, Esq., F.L.S, F.G.S. entitled ‘Cimoliosaurus richarsoni , Lydekker (n. sp.) 

Towards the end of the Mesozoic age a remarkable diminution of the huge reptiles which swarmed in the seas of that period commenced, and at the beginningof the succeeding age, Tertiary their annihilation was nearly complete, occasioned by great physical changes, especially affecting the relative positions of land and sea, the sea predominating largely “over the land in Europe. We pass from strata of considerable uniformity and of immense thickness over large and extensive areas to beds of a great variety of structure, from deep to shallow seas, estuaries, and rivers. With one or two doubtful exceptions, not a single Mesozoic species passed up into the Tertiary strata; the numbers of the new genera and species, greatly exceeding those of the previous age. Western Europe at this period had four considerable seas instead of one as now — the Anglo-Parisian, the Pyrennean, the Mediterranean, and one which covered the western parts of France from Normandy to Nantes.

As the chalk rose above the sea and underwent extensive denudation, a material diminution of temperature resulted, mainly through alterations of the ocean currents, which occasioned a disastrous result upon reptile life. During the deposition of the oolitic beds there was a complete uniformity, for, although occasional subsidences occurred, as shewn by the Oxford and Kimmeridge clays, with evidences of tide-level and shore conditions, no great or important break occurred. At the commencement of the Cretaceous age, on the other hand, there was a gradual submergence of land, accompanied by a considerable extension of the sea-area.

The marine beds of Punfield, near Swanage, which rest upon the great fresh-water deposits of the Hastings sands, are a good illustration of this initiatory change. Its effects are remarkably shown in the Yale of Blackmore, where, there is a great overlap or covering over of the upper oolitic beds by the chalk. The Hastings sands, Purbeck beds, and Portland strata are hidden, causing an apparent unconformity of the beds, as if the Lower Greensand had succeeded the Kimmeridge clay directly, without first covering over the intervening beds. Another subsidence and consequent invasion of the sea occurred during the deposition of the Upper Greensand, which spread itself over the oolitic formations as it passed on westwards, finally resting on the Trias of East Devon.

These changes materially affected the climate and temperature of those parts which came under their influence, especially through the alteration of ocean-currents. What would the climate of the greater part of Europe be, if the Gulf Stream was stopped or deflected? The Atlantic would be deprived of one-fifth of the amount of heat it is now receiving in addition to what it has in virtue of the temperature of space. The temperature would be lowered to a condition of climate as severe as that of North Greenland at the present day. If, again, the warm currents of the North Pacific were to be stopped, the northern hemisphere would be subjected to an entire glaciation. The fossils of the Palaeozoic age seem to indicate a uniform mild or temperate condition of climate, but not so in the succeeding Carboniferous age, which shows signs of reaction.

The late Mr. Godwin Austin found large angular blocks in the carboniferous strata of France, which could only be accounted for by referring their inclusion to the agency of ice-carriage, by glacier or iceberg. Large blocks of granite are met with in Scotland in the detrital beds of the coal-basins, which Professor Geikie and other eminent geologists attribute to glacial action. A large block of crystalline rock resembling granite was found embedded in a pit of white chalk near Croydon, and with it were other smaller boulders, all water-worn and composed of a different kind of rock, together with a compact mass of silicious sand derived from the waste of coast line of crystalline rocks, of which there are none in the neighbourhood of Croydon.

All had sunk together without separating, and must have been firmly held together both during the time that they were floating, and whilst sinking to the bottom of the cretaceous sea. Independent of seasonal changes, circulation between the surface and thesea-depths is aided by the co-operation of heat and gravitation. The Gulf of Mexico, which is not exposed to any cold supply of water from the North Pole, is a perfect reservoir of heat; further north, close to the shore of Massachusetts, is a cold current running southwards 60 or 80 miles wide. There are thus two currents of different temperatures running side by side in opposite directions and only mingling, where their edges impinge upon each other. Again, the Gulf Stream divides itself into several channels, the water of which is warm where the channels are deep, and cold in the shallower channels, occasioned by the water, low in temperature, rising from considerable depths over submarine elevated ridges.

We can now see the influence ocean-currents had, as they have now, upon determining the temperature of the globe, and the consequent disastrous effect upon cold-blooded reptiles when suddenly lowered. We have not time to dwell further upon this part of the subject, nor to show that Europe had not at the commencement of the Tertiary age its present continental character) but an insular one, giving free access to the polar currents without the counteracting exchange of warm equatorial currents.

The nearly complete fossil before us belongs to that section of the extinct reptilian class included in the Order Enaliasaurian or sea-lizards, but subsequently divided by Sir Richard Owen, G.C.B., F.R.S., into the Iclitliyopterygia and Sauropterygia; the former represented by the genera Baptanodon, Opthalmosaurus and Ichthyosaurus, the latter by several genera. Until the year 1841 Plesiosaurus was the only representative of this order in Great Britain.

At that date Sir Richard Owen removed from it two species, Plesiosaurus grandis and Plesiosaurus troclianterius, under a new genus Pliosaurus. The fossils of this genus were first founded upon two limbs, one of which is preserved in the British Museum, ,the other in our County Museum. It had an enormous head, supported by a short neck, in which it approached the great freshwater Saurians of the present day, with characteristic vertebrae, having a tubercular rising in the centre of the centrum, and resembling Plesiosaurus in its fin-bones and elongated phalanges. Their vertical range was restricted to the middle and upper oolites, whereas Plesiosaurus extended from the Rhætic beds right through to the chalk. Plesiosaurus is characterised by a very long neck and a short tail. The vertebrae are deeper and more solid than those of Ichthyosaurus; the neural arches are ancliylosed with strong outstretched transverse blades to strengthen the spinal column and to sustain the strain upon it in shallow water ; coast-lines, estuaries, and rivers probably being the usual resorts of these monsters.

Their remains have been found in the Wealden freshwater deposits. Ichthyosaurus, on the other hand, lived in. the deep seas, visiting the land only occasionally. It has a weak spinal column : the two faces of the centrum nearly meet in the centre, and the neural arches are unanchy-losed, in which respect it differs from Plesiosaurus. The Immerus and femur of some Plesiosauri — e.g., Plesiosaurus Manselii have a third bone in addition to the ulna and radius, and to the tibia and fibula, which T. W. Hulke, Esq., F.R.S., names the os intermedium and places it between the ulna and radius, tibia and .fibula, the homologue of which is found in the front and hind limbs of some living Saurians. A very interesting morphological question arises as to the possibility of tracing the homology of these bones and their relation to the carpal and tarsal elements of the higher vertebrates.

I have already referred to this splendid Plesiosaurian specimen in my paper on the fossil reptiles of Dorset, and expressed my opinion that it might possibly turn out to be Plesiosaurus plicatus of Phillips. I am now inclined to change my mind and to call it Murcenosaurus Leedsii Seeley, a subgeiius of Plesiosaurus characterised by its shoulder and pelvic girdles having only one coraco-scapula and one obturator foramen, and by a difference in the union of the neural arches, as well as by distinct forms of the ulna and radius, tibia, and fibula. Possibly these differences will not be held sufficient by Mr. Lydekker to justify Professor Seeley’s separation. This palaeontologist is now engaged in tabulating and arranging the fossil reptilian remains in the British Museum ; the result of his labours on the Crocodilia and Deinosauria will soon be before the public, as the volume is now in the printer’s hands, and will be doubtless as invaluable an addition to Paleontological literature as are his five volumes upon the Fossil Mammalia of our National Museum.

Cimoliosaurus richardsoniidiscovered at Chickerell, near Weymouth by Nelson and Helen Richardson in 1889

Cimoliosaurus richardsonii discovered at Chickerell, near Weymouth by Nelson and Helen Richardson in 1889 DCM © 2015

The remains of this Plesiosaur were found in a bed of Oxford clay in the neighbourhood of Weymouth last winter, and through the indefatigable and intelligent industry of Mr. and Mrs. Richardson, of  ‘Montevideo,’ they have been built up in their present satisfactory condition. The head is missing, which is not surprising, as having only one articulation with the neck, and that an exceedingly small one, it possibly became detached before the carcase settled down in its grave of clay ; that a considerable time elapsed previous to its being finally covered over may be inferred by the aggregations of oyster shells upon the vertebrae and bones, which could only have been attached when the body was uncovered. The spinal column consists of 71 vertebras, of which 31 are cervicals, 19 dorsals, 2 sacrals, and 19 caudals. The shoulder-girdle is nearly complete, consisting of coracoids,- scapulas, and pre-scapulse, two fore and one hind limb (humerus and femur), small portions only of the pubes, the ischia and ilia, radius, ulna, tibia, fibula, carpal, and metacarpal bones, several phalanges, and ribs.

Cimoliosaurus richardsonii

Cimoliosaurus richardsonii DCM © 2015

VERTEBRAE. — The dorsal vertebras resemble the last two cervicals, the centrum is rough, its height and length about equal, and both shorter than the breadth. In the fore part of the dorsal region the neural spines are inclined backwards, they then become vertical, and afterwards incline forwards. The neural-arches are not well preserved, only a few retaining their transverse processes. The centra are altered in form to allow the ribs to be raised, on the neural arch; their sides are compressed with a foramen near the middle of some ; the neural spines widen and are extremely compressed from side to side ; the position of the transverse processes remain the same throughout. The cervical and caudal vertebrse are characteristics of this long-necked, short-tailed family, by the non-attachment of the ribs to the shoulder-girdle of the former, and by the long chevron bones of the latter.

PECTORAL GIRDLE. — The coracoids have a short median symphysis five inches long; and diverge from their posterior border, taking an outward diagonal direction, and terminating hy a convex sweep outwards into an extremely thin dilated plate. The bones are thickest where the scapula and humerus articulate, forming a transverse ridge or keel. This ridge is equally marked on the dorsal as well as the ventral surface. Their width immediately behind the articulation is 15 inches, the least width across is 20 inches. The length of the scapular-articulation is three inches, looking obliquely and forward, and lies in front of the ridge. The scapula consists of a plate which is anchylosed to the coracoid, and from which a bone rises and ascends towards the dorsal surface, making an angle of about 50° with the central plate. This plate is 6in. long and 4in. broad. The inner margin, which is thin and concave at the base, is a continuation of the curve of the front border of the coracoid bone. There is 110 indication of clavicle or inter-clavicle bones. The inner margin of the ascending plate is concave, the outer straight. The coraco-scapular foramen,(It appears from a complete restoration now made by Mr. Richardson of the pectoral girdle that the coraco-scapular foramen was divided by a median bony bar as is now known to be the case in C. plicatus (Leedsii), of which the original restoration was erroneous.) one of the differences upon which Professor Seeley forms his genus Murcenosaurus, is not subdivided into two foramina, as is the case with many of this family. This continuous foramen is bounded laterally by the concave inner border of the scapula and posteriorly by the anterior margin of the coracoid. It is 14in. wide from side to side and 4in. from the anterior to the posterior margins.

PELVIC BONES. — The pubes are thin, a small portion only of them is preserved, and there is no indication of the syinphysis, this part of the bone being unfortunately lost. The outer margins are compressed from side to side, and are not so deep as those of the coracoid. The length is 18¾ in. Both the ischia are well preserved. Their length from the median line to the femoral margin is 8in. ; breadth at distal end, 5⅛in.; at proximal end, 8¼in.; at the narrowest part, 2¼|in. The iliac bones are expanded at both extremities, so as to extend over the upper part of the head of the femur.

HUMERUS. — The third part of the proximal end of the humerus is cylyndrical and thick ; it then widens into a broad distal end, shewing an articulate surface.

Cimoliosaurus richarsoniCimoliosaurus richardsoni. — Ventral aspect of part of the right pectoral limb ⅛ nat. size; h humerus ; tr, trochanter of ditto; r, radius; u, ulna ; r’, radiale; i, intermedium; u’, ulnare.
The ulna and radius are short, the radial portion concave ; two of the carpal bones are trigonal, the rest are polygonal.

FEMUR. — The articular surface of the femur is deeply pitted and tuberculate. The proximal end is constricted below the head before it begins to expand. Both margins are nearly straight and gradually flatten out into a broad distal end. Length 1⅝in., breadth 8in., 3¾in. at the narrowest part of the shaft. The tibia and fibula, and several of the carpal and phalangal bones, are well preserved.

Since this paper was read last autumn before the members of the Club, the Plesiosauridœ have undergone a complete revision under the experienced and critical eye of Mr. Lydekker, F.G.S., to whom I am indebted for his valuable assistance in the classification of this saurian. He refers Mr. Richardson’s saurian to the genus Cimoliosaurus which he distinguishes from Plesiosaurus on account of structural differences, especially in the shoulder-girdle, which are of so marked a character as to require a generic distinction.

He restricts Plesiosaurus proper to those whose scapulae do not meet in the median line throughout their whole extent from the upper to the lower margin, hut diverge anteriorly about half-way down. The scapulae are rod-like, small, and narrow, and widely separated from each other, resting diagonally upon a long plate (omosternum) which is wedged into the coracoid at its summit, taking the place of the clavicle of mammalia and of some reptiles. The anterior portion of each scapula lies at right angles to the dorsal portion, which has a long projection. Cimoliosaurus, on the other hand, has large, broad scapulae, which meet at the median line throughout, and are in the same plane with the coracoids, forming with these one shield-like plate. The size and strength of the scapulae do not require the supporting bone omosternum of Plesiosaurus. The dorsal plates, as with the Plesiosaurus are at right angles to the ventral, but differ in being short and narrow. Mr. Lydekker, finding the fossil possesses all the characters referable to Cimoliosaurus, gives it a place in that genus.

It is, however, specifically distinct from C. phcatus, Phil., the only other known Oxford clay member of the family, and to which I referred it in vol. ix. of “The Proceedings.” Among the other distinctive characters already described, the cervical vertebrae are shorter with flatter, terminal faces, and about 31 in number instead of 44 as in plicatus. Mr. Lydekker names it Cimoliosaurus richardsoni after its fortunate discoverer. Plesiosaurus proper is restricted to the Rhæustic and Liassic beds, while Cimoliosaurus extends vertically from the Inferior Oolite to the Upper Chalk inclusive.

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170 years of Museum Life celebrated in 170 days…

#DorsetMuseum170This year, 2015 welcomes the 170th anniversary of the founding of Dorset County Museum.

It is 170 years ago when the concept of building a museum to house all of the treasures of Dorset’s rich history was conceived by a group of forward-thinking individuals. On the 15th October, 1845 it was a group, including the Dorset poet, William Barnes; the vicar of Fordington, Rev. Henry Moule and Rev. C. W. Bingham, which decided that in light of the development of the railways, and the subsequent discovery of specimens and artefacts within the disturbance, that it was ‘advisable to take immediate steps for the establishment of an Institution in this Town, containing a Museum and Library for the County of Dorset.’ It was at this moment, Dorset County Museum was born.

First Dorset County Museum Second Dorset County Museum Present Dorset County MuseumDorset-County-Museum_003
Judge Jeffreys Lodgings
1st home of the Museum,
1846 – 1851
No. 3 Trinity Street
2nd home of the Museum,
1851 – 1883
Dorset County Museum
1833 – Present

Originally, two rooms in what is now Judge Jeffreys restaurant were dedicated to the museum project. Quickly, this space became too small and the museum was subsequently moved to No. 3 Trinity Street. It was here that Thomas Hardy famously described the museum in his novel the Mayor of Casterbridge as:

‘It is an old house in a back street- I forget where- but you’ll find out- and there are crowds of interesting things- skeletons, teeth, old pots and pans, ancient boots and shoes, birds’ eggs- all charmingly instructive. You’ll be sure to stay till you get quite hungry.’

The museum remained in this ‘house in a back street’ until 1883 when the present building in High West Street was designed by architect Mr G. R. Crickmay. It wasn’t until several years later that the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club was founded in 1875 and co-operated closely with the museum. The two organisations officially amalgamated in 1928 under the name Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, becoming the new owners, and current owners to this day, of Dorset County Museum.

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Dorset County Museum will be teasing its Twitter followers with 170 days’ worth of birthday related tweets. So make sure you follow @DorsetMuseum for the start of our special 170th birthday celebrations. There will be a celebratory #DorsetMuseum170 twitter campaign kicking off, 29th April, where Dorset County Museum’s twitter will be conducting an exclusive 170 days countdown to the Museum’s official birthday on 15th October.

For further information about the Museum, telephone 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Gabriella Crouch

William Barnes celebrated at Museum’s Victorian Fayre

Dorset County Museum Victorian FayreOn Sunday 22nd February 2015, the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall was transformed into a traditional Victorian Fayre to celebrate the birthday of Dorset dialect poet William Barnes. The atmosphere was full of hustle and bustle with numerous stalls from traditional crafts to popular parlour games; Victorian paperboy selling his broadsheets and a demonstration of net making and other rural skills. The museum’s Tea Room worked flat out to provide Victorian afternoon tea for 350 visitors.

The Language of Flowers proved to be really popular with people queueing to create their own style Nosegays and Tussie Mussies with fresh flowers. Likewise the demonstration on creating Dorset Buttons saw very enthusiastic folk fashion their own design.

Net Making

Sue Worth of The New Hardy Players demonstrates Net Making

The Herb stall gave an informative look into culinary and medicinal uses of that period.
The fantastic display of hand-made bonnets drew quite a crowd as did the dining table which depicted the difference between the gentry and the rural labourers.

The children had their own entertainment including pin the tail on the donkey, making little peg dolls, a variety of toys to buy and dressing up in period costume.

Musician and Storyteller Tim Laycock captivated the audience of his portrayal of a teacher in a Victorian classroom. Whilst fellow members of the William Barnes Society and The New Hardy Players entertained all with music, song, poetry and country dancing which was enjoyed by people of all ages.

Alastair Simpson and the Cantate Rustique choir

Alastair Simpson and the Cantate Rustique Choir

Alastair Simpson conducted the Cantate Rustique choir to perform four pieces: Ralph Vaughan Williams’s famous Linden Lea; a setting of The Lew O’ the Rick by the blind organist of Shaftesbury, F. F. Coaker, from the 1950s; a 2002 work by Peter Lord, Come; and Alastair’s own harmonisation of the folk musician Tim Laycock’s touching melody to the words of Barnes’s grief-stricken poem The Wife a-Lost, the last being a premiere.

William Barnes Collection Curator, Marion Tait said “This was a hugely successful and amazing event where all had a great time at the Victorian Fayre raising over £600 towards the redevelopment of the museum’s William Barnes’ Gallery.”


 

A huge thank you to Battens Solicitors, Dorchester, for sponsoring the event and a special thank you to all volunteers who took part in the Victorian Fayre and celebrating William Barnes Birthday

  • Alastair Simpson and Cantate Rustique
  • Alistair Chisholm
  • Friends and family

Thank you to the following businesses for supporting the William Barnes Collection.

  • Dorset Flower Men, Dorchester Precinct
  • Bridget, Fruit and Vegetable stall, Dorchester market
  • Beth King, Tolpuddle

Max Gate and the South Dorset Ridgeway

Archaeology National Trust SW

What would you say was the best archaeological landscape in England ?

The west end of the Ridgeway from the Iron Age hillfort of Abbotsbury Castle east along the Chesil Beach towards the Isle of Portland. The west end of the Ridgeway from the Iron Age hillfort of Abbotsbury Castle east along the Chesil Beach towards the Isle of Portland.

Yes you guessed it Dorchester, Maiden Castle and the South Dorset Ridgeway…

did I hear somebody say Hadrian’s Wall? Stonehenge?… well granted Avebury’s got a lot going for it. It’s not a county town though, doesn’t lay claim to being a Roman civitas capital despite there being a large Roman settlement beside Silbury Hill.

The view towards Maiden Castle and Dorchester from the heathland east of Hardy's Monument The view towards Maiden Castle and Dorchester from the heathland east of Hardy’s Monument

Doesn’t have a Waitrose overlying its circular henge built as a circle of massive oak posts 380m in diameter. Doesn’t have a Waitrose come to that. Yes you can still see the great bank and ditch of Avebury’s henge, you’d have to go to the east…

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Effect of Gale on Beach East of Weymouth 1899

Fig.1 - General view of beach looking towards Preston Coastguard Station in the Distance. Sea on right, Lodmoor (Flooded) on left. Road entirely covered by shingle in storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

Fig. 1 – General view of beach looking towards Preston Coastguard Station in the Distance. Sea on right, Lodmoor (Flooded) on left. Road entirely covered by shingle in storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

Here is an article written by Nelson M. Richardson, B.A., F.E.S. from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 20,  1899 entitled ‘Notes on the Effect of Gale on February 11-13, 1899, on the Beach to the East of Weymouth’ 

During a violent south-westerly gale which blew from February 11th to 13th, 1899, the tides were unusually high and much damage was done in many places in the South of England. At Weymouth Harbour the tide was stated to have been higher on the morning of Monday, February 13th, than had been the case during the past 20 years. Some damage was done in Weymouth and a ship was driven across on to the rocks at Osmington Mills from her anchorage in Portland Roads.

Fig. 2 - View of lodmoor side of beach, showing damage to road and shingle promontories washed into Lodmoor © DCM

Fig. 2 – View of Lodmoor side of beach, showing damage to road and shingle promontories washed into Lodmoor © DCM

One of the most striking effects of the gale was in connection with the beach and road which run from Greenhill to the Preston Coastguard Station. This ridge of beach is, like the neighbouring Chesil Bank, raised a few feet above high-water mark, though not to the same extent as the latter, and is somewhat over a mile in length and about 40 yards in breadth, including the road. At about a quarter of a mile from Greenhill Gardens it begins to widen, and gets wider as it approaches Weymouth. The height at the old Gatehouse is about 7 feet above high-water mark, and at the point represented in Fig. 3, about a foot lower, the height falling gradually towards the Coastguard Station, near which point the ground rises suddenly and the beach entirely loses its peculiar character, becoming an ordinary sloping sea-beach. This also occurs where the ground rises at the Weymouth end. On the inner or land side lies Lodmoor, a marshy and very low tract of land which is generally flooded in the winter. The road to Preston from Weymouth runs along the land side of the beach, which rises 5 or 6 feet higher between it and the sea, whilst on the sea-side, near the Preston end, are still to be seen, at about the same level as the present road, portions of concrete, which formed the road many years ago. From this we may infer that the beach has been moving inland at a rate possibly approaching 2 to 3 feet in a year, but there do not seem to be sufficient data for accurate measurement. It would also seem probable, considering the effect of the storm of February last, that much, if not the whole, of the movement was caused by large steps in previous storms and was not the result of any gradual process, as except in very rough weather the waves do not nearly reach the top of the beach.

Fig. 3 - Men cleaning shingle from road about half way between old gatehouse and coastguard station after storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

Fig. 3 – Men cleaning shingle from road about half way between old gatehouse and coastguard station after storm of Feb. 13th, 1899. Photo Feb 16th 1899 © DCM

During the gale, an immense quantity of shingle was thrown over on to the road, covering it for the space of about half a mile of the Preston end to the depth of some feet ; in one place it is stated to have amounted to 6 ft., but usually the depth was about 3 feet. On the side of the road adjoining Lodmoor much damage was done in places by the scooping out of large hollows in the road, and down these hollows masses of shingle were poured, forming promontories projecting into Lodmoor. This is well shown in Fig. 2, where the lady (Mrs. Richardson) is standing at the middle of the road. This photograph was taken from the edge of one of the shingle promontories. Preston Coastguard Station is seen in the distance, and about midway lies a very long shingle promontory.

Fig. 1 is taken from the top of the beach and gives a general view of the whole, the road being quite invisible. In the distance is the Preston station, with the sea to the right and Lodmoor flooded to the left. Far away on the left of the beach are the men, about 80 in number, employed to clear the road.

Fig. 4 - Men cleaning shingle from road (nearer coastguard station than Fig.3). Shingle 3ft. deep or more over road.

Fig. 4 – Men cleaning shingle from road (nearer coastguard station than Fig.3). Shingle 3ft. deep or more over road.

Figs. 3 and 4. show the men employed in clearing away the shingle. Fig. 3 is taken at a spot about midway between the old gate house and the Coastguard Station, where the shingle was about 2 feet deep. Fig. 4 at a spot nearer Preston where the shingle was about 3 feet deep. It shows a bank of about 6 feet high thrown up on the sea-edge of the road, with the sea just visible over the top.

The whole of the movement of shingle and destruction of the road is said to have taken place early on the morning of Monday, February 13th, and to have been accomplished in the short space of half-an-hour. This may have been the case, considering that the full effect of the sea would only be felt whilst the tide was at its greatest height. No similar covering up of the road by shingle has occurred for many years, if ever, and the present one is confidently ascribed in many quarters to the erection of the new breakwater. In the absence of direct evidence on this point, it would seem that the very high tides and violent S.W. gale coming together might have been amply sufficient to cause the disaster, had the new breakwater not existed.

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Archaeology at Thomas Hardy’s Max Gate

The following article entitled ‘Some Romano-British Relics found at Max Gate, Dorchester’ by Thomas Hardy is from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’, volume 11 published 1890.

Thomas Hardy stands beside the 'Druid Stone'

Thomas Hardy stands beside the ‘Druid Stone’ in the garden of Max Gate in 1890. In 1987 excavations near to Max Gate revealed a Neolithic causewayed enclosure; the other half lies beneath the garden at Max Gate. © DCM

“I have been asked to give an account of a few relics of antiquity lately uncovered in digging the foundations of a house at Max Gate, in Fordington Field. But, as the subject of archaeology is one to a great extent foreign to my experience, my sole right to speak upon it at all, in the presence of the professed antiquarians around, lies in the fact that I am one of the only two persons who saw most of the remains in situ, just as they were laid bare, and before they were lifted up from their rest of, I suppose, fifteen hundred years. Such brief notes as I have made can be given in a few words. Leaving the town by the south-eastern or Wareham Road we come first, as I need hardly observe, to the site of the presumably great Romano-British cemetery upon Fordington Hill. Proceeding along this road to a further distance of half-a-mile, we reach the spot on which the relics lay. It is about fifty yards back from the roadside, and practically a level, bearing no immediate evidence that the natural contour of the surface has ever been disturbed more deeply than by the plough.

But though no barrow or other eminence rises there it should, perhaps, be remarked that about three hundred yards due east from the spot stands the fine and commanding tumulus called Conquer Barrow (the name of which, by the way, seems to be a corruption of some earlier word). On this comparatively level ground we discovered, about three feet below the surface, three human skeletons in separate and distinct graves. Each grave was, as nearly as possible, an ellipse in plan, about 4ft. long and 2½ ft. wide, cut vertically into the solid chalk. The remains bore marks of careful interment. In two of the graves, and, I believe, in the third, a body lay on its right side, the knees being drawn up to the chest, and the arms extended straight downwards, so that the hands rested against the ankles. Each body was fitted with, one may almost say, perfect accuracy into the oval hole, the crown of the head touching the maiden chalk at one end and the toes at the other, the tight-fitting situation being strongly suggestive of the-chicken in the egg shell. The closest examination failed to detect any enclosure for the remains, and the natural inference was that, save their possible cerements, they were deposited bare in the earth. On the head of one of these, between the top of the forehead and the crown, rested a fibula or clasp of bronze and iron, the front having apparently been gilt. This is, I believe, a somewhat unusual position for this kind of fastening, which seemed to have sustained a fillet for the hair.

In the second grave a similar one was found, but as it was taken away without my knowledge I am unable to give its exact position when unearthed. In the third grave nothing of the sort was discovered after a careful search.

In the first grave a bottle of white clay, nearly globular, with a handle, stood close to the breast of the skeleton, the interior being stained as if by some dark liquid.  The bottle, unfortunately, fell into fragments on attempting to remove it.  In the same cavity, touching the shin bones of the occupant,  were two urns of the material known as grey ware, and of a design commonly supposed  to be characteristic of Roman work of the third or fourth century. It is somewhat remarkable that beside them was half, and only a half, a third urn, with a filmy substance like black cobweb adhering to the inner surface.

In the second cavity were four urns, standing nearly upright like the others, two being of ordinary size, and two quite small. They stood touching each other, and close to the breast of the skeleton; these, like the former, were empty, except of the chalk which had settled into them by lapse of time; moreover, the unstained white chalk being in immediate contact with the inner surface of the vessels was nearly a proof that nothing solid had originally intervened. In the third grave two other urns of like description were disclosed.

Two yards south from these graves a circular hole in the native chalk was uncovered, measuring about two feet in diameter and five feet deep. At the bottom was a small flagstone; above this was the horn, apparently of a bull, together with teeth and bones of the same animal. The horn was stumpy and curved, altogether much after the modern shorthorn type, and it has been conjectured that the remains were possibly those of the wild ox formerly inhabiting this island. Pieces of a black bituminous substance were mixed in with these, and also numerous flints, forming a packing to the whole. A few pieces of tile, and brick of the thin Roman kind, with some fragments of iridescent glass were also found about the spot.

There was naturally no systematic orientation in the interments —the head in one case being westward, in the other eastward, and in the third, I believe, south-west. It should be mentioned that the surface soil has been cleared away to a distance extending 50ft. south and west from where these remains were disinterred ; but no further graves or cavities have been uncovered — the natural chalk lying level and compact — which seems to signify that the site was no portion of a regular Golgotha, but an isolated resting-place reserved to a family, set, or staff; such outlying tombs having been common along the roadsides near towns in those far-off days—a humble Colonial imitation, possibly, of the system of sepulture along the Appian Way.

In spite of the numerous vestiges that have been discovered from time to time of the Roman city which formerly stood on the site of modern Dorchester, and which are still being unearthed daily by our local Schliemann (Edward Cunnington) one is struck with the fact that little has been done towards piecing together and reconstructing these evidences into an unmutilated whole—such as has been done, for instance, with the evidences of Pompeian life — a whole which should represent Dorchester in particular and not merely the general character of a Roman station in this country — composing a true picture by which the uninformed could mentally realise the ancient scene with some completeness.

It would be a worthy attempt to rehabilitate, on paper, the living Durnovaria of fourteen or fifteen hundred years ago—as it actually appeared to the eyes of the then Dorchester men and women, under the rays of the same morning and evening sun which rises and sets over it now. Standing, for instance, on the elevated ground near where the South-Western Station is at present, or at the top of Slyer’s Lane, or at any other commanding point, we may ask what kind of object did Dorchester then form in the summer landscape as viewed from such a point; where stood the large buildings, were they small, how did the roofs group themselves, what were the gardens like, if any, what social character had the streets, what were the customary noises, what sort of exterior was exhibited by these hybrid Romano-British people, apart from the soldiery? Were the passengers up and down the ways few in number, or did they ever form a busy throng such as we now see on a market day? These are merely the curious questions of an outsider to initiated students of the period. When we consider the vagueness of our mental answers to such inquiries as the above, we perceive that much is still left of this fascinating investigation which may well occupy the attention of the Club in future days.”

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The History and Finds of Weymouth’s Sandsfoot Castle

The following article entitled ‘Notes on Sandsfoot Castle’ by T. S. Groves is from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’, volume 3 published 1879.

Sandsfoot Castle

Sandsfoot Castle taken in 2008 before restoration in 2012 © DCM

“This prematurely ruined structure, described by Leland in his well-known itinerary “as a right goodlie and warlyke castle, having one open barbicane,” dates from no further back than 1539, the year when Henry the VII. compelled the surrender of the larger monasteries, and when consequent on the vigour of his assaults on Popery, he began to fear a coalition of Catholic sovereigns against his kingdom.

Portland Castle, on the opposite side of the bay, had been built a few years previously, the two being mainly intended to provide protection from foreign cruisers for English ships frequenting the “Roads,” and prevent the assembling of hostile navies therein with a view to invasion.

A ground-plan of Sandsfoot Castle was published in 1789 by Delamotte, of Weymouth. It appears to be authentic, but from what source he obtained it I am not aware. No good elevation of the castle in perfect state is known to exist, nor is there any adequate description of it in that condition.

As a ruin it has been often engraved, but the artists have usually shown themselves more desirous of attaining picturesque-ness of effect than accuracy of detail.

Grose, who wrote during the latter half of the last century, gives, in his “Antiquities of England,” the best verbal description we have of it.

Tudor Coat of Arms All Saints Wyke regis

The Royal Coat of Arms, carved in stone, was removed from the castle and now is over the south door of All Saint’s Church, Wyke Regis. © DCM

He says, ” The body of the castle is a right angled paralellogram, its greatest length running from north to south. At its north end was a tower on which were the arms of England, supported by a wivern and an unicorn. (These arms, carved in stone, were many years ago removed from the gateway of the castle and affixed to the north wall of the chancel of Wyke Eegis church). The north part seems to have been the governor’s apartment, and is all vaulted. Near its south end is a lower building, said to have been the gun room; this being broader than the other part of the edifice, forms flanks, which defend its east and west sides, and on the south the front is semi-circular; before there was formerly a platform for cannon. On the east and west sides there are embrazures for guns, and below them two tiers of loopholes for small arms, the lowest almost level with the ground. The north front is nearly destroyed, but the remains of an arch or gateway show that the entrance was on that side.

The whole edifice seems to have been cased with squared stones, the walls were thick and lofty, and the buildings, though small, were not inelegant. Since the «’ restoration ” it has been neglected and suffered to fall to ruin. The north, east, and south sides were, at a small distance, surrounded by a deep ditch and earthen rampart, through which, on the east front, was a gate faced with stone, part of which is still remaining.”

In this description there are several inaccuracies. The lower building on the south side is not semi-circular, but octangular, its eighth side forming the southern end of the main body of the castle. The ground-plan I have referred to shows that five of the sides were pierced for embrazures, three of which pointed seawards, the other two covering respectively the shore to the right and left. The sixth and seventh sides are not fully developed, and were not pierced for cannon; the flanking effect must, therefore, have been produced by loopholes for small arms in the upper story, of which indeed indications are given in Buck’s engraving (date 1733).

There is reason also for objecting to his description of the east and west sides of the main building. The lowest tier of apertures on the west sides are evidently those of windows for lighting the cellar of the castle ; the tier next above these are, or rather were, loopholes, but the facing stones having been removed the contraction of the openings that originally existed is no longer apparent. The uppermost tier is simply a range of windows—the places where the iron bars were inserted being plainly visible.

From the east side the cellar received no light, consequently there is one tier of perforations less.  On this side was a doorway and four loopholes on the ground floor, and four windows above.  I doubt very much whether there were on either the east or west side embrazures for cannon.  The ground-plan certainly gives a figure of what appears to be a cannon lying in one of the eastern openings, but it must I think be an error, as at the point in  question,   immediately behind the  supposed embrazure is the head of a staircase leading to the cellar.   The castle on the land side was in fact very weakly fortified.     It relied perhaps for defence in this direction on its ditch and rampart, the latter doubtless furnished with cannon, especially at . the bastions at its east and west angles.

The “open barbicane” mentioned by Leland is not visible. He must, I think, have inaccurately applied the word to the gun-room at the southern end. The term is rightly employed to indicate a port in advance of the main building for the purpose of protecting the entrance gate and drawbridge, if any.

Grose omits to mention the grooves in which slid the portcullis, and which are still visible at the north and principal entrance.

Inside Sandsfoot Castle

The interior of Sandsfoot Castle after restoration in 2012 © DCM

The arrangements of the interior will best be understood after actual inspection, I will, therefore, refrain from describing them. It is evident that a very large portion of the octagonal gun. room has fallen owing to the sea having undermined its foundation. A large block is now lying on the rocks below, undergoing the gradual disintegration by the action of the waves that has in my time dispersed many still larger fragments. In my father’s time, sixty years ago, a carriage could be driven between the castle and the cliff, and in 1859, if an ancient map may be credited, the castle, surrounded on all sides by a moat, stood in the centre of the field.

The dilapidated (a word here most correctly applicable) condition of the outer walls is said to have been occasioned by the stones having been torn from their places and carried to Wey-mouth for building purposes. Two houses in St. Thomas street have been pointed out to me as having been mainly constructed out of the spoils of Sandsfoot Castle. One is half inclined to wonder how such a thing could have happened seeing that the building has never passed out of the hand of the Crown. But there were giants in those prae-reforrm days—at peculation and robbery!

It seems that round shot of stone were used, at least occasionally, for the service of the guns. Some schoolboys, playing about the castle, crawled into one of the large drains that opened on the cliff, and found there a stone shot of some six inches in diameter. A similar shot was found at Portland, and brought to Sir John Coode, who had the curiosity to know whether it was really a shot or only a natural concretion. He therefore placed it under a steam-hammer, and gave it a blow so judicious that it cracked into two exactly equal pieces, when lo ! in the centre was found a perfect specimen of a petrified Cardium of some sort. The split shot is to be seen at the Engineer Office, Portland. There can be no doubt I think of the stone being really a shot—its perfect sphericity would seem to prove that— but there is reason to suppose that in order to save labour the ancient artificer had selected a stone already partially rounded, a concretion in fact founded on the shell of the Cardium.

Sandsfoot Castle can scarcely be said to have a history. It must have changed hands again and again during the Civil Wars, but existing records make no mention of any siege whatever—a fact which strengthens my argument that the castle was indefensible on tho north or land side. Probably it followed as a matter of course the fortunes of the neighbouring fortified town of Weymouth and Melconibe Regis. The names of some half-dozen of its Governors are known, but no interest would attach to their enumeration.

The same must be said of the references, few and far between, to  the existence of the castle and its garrison, in the borough archives—archives which are alas in private hands, and probably about to suffer  dispersion to the four winds of heaven under the very noses of a body of men whom I fear I must characterise as indifferent to the history of their borough, and more antiquarian in their notions than in their tastes.”

The follow-up article entitled ‘Sandsfoot Castle, Weymouth’ by  W. C. Norman is from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’, volume 41 for 1920, published 1921

“I have recently read with considerable interest T. B. Groves’s “Note on Sandsfoot Castle, which appeared in Vol. III. (pages 20, &c.) of the  Proceedings of our Club. This to a great extent is accounted for by the fact that my school days were spent at Weymouth, and naturally I was well acquainted with this ruin.

For this reason, and because of what is related further on, I thought I might, without presumption, add a few remarks on the subject.

My earliest recollection of the Castle reaches back to a period of over 60 years, and is, that it was then on the edge of the cliff. Indeed, most of the gun-room was gone, and its south-eastern and south-western walls projected over it considerably, as a result of being undermined by the disintegrating action of the sea.

An old ostcard of Sandsfoot Castle and Gardens

An old postcard of Sandsfoot Castle and Gardens

At this time there was no way round the Castle and the sea cliff outside it, except the dangerous one of climbing round the overhanging ruins, which afforded a very precarious foothold, and from which to the rocks below was a sheer drop of 40 feet.

There was a large fall of masonry from the south-front in 1835, and there have been others at various times since.

I will briefly refer to Mr. Groves’s remarks in passing.

From a plan of Sandsfoot Castle dated 1789 (in my possession) and which I was, many years ago, (by the courtesy of an official) allowed to copy from one in the War Department Office, on Bincleaves, the dimensions of the Castle are there given as :— length, 100 feet; width, 50 feet.

The east, north and west sides still have the protection of the ditch and rampart, and it is fair to assume that similar works defended the south side; but all traces of these must have been obliterated more than 70 years ago, by the occasional subsidence of the cliff into the sea.

Sandsfoot Castle

Sandsfoot Castle taken in 2008 © DCM

That the opening in the east rampart was a gateway or entrance is, I think, open to grave doubts. On a map and plan of the Castle which I saw more than 50 years ago, and which was then in the keeping of the War Department at their Office on the Bincleaves, that opening is described as being a magazine. Years ago there reposed in the ditch, directly behind the so-called u gateway,” a massive door jamb of stone. The upper end of the jamb was turned, so as to form half of the head of a semi-circular door arch. When the corresponding jamb was in position it would accommodate a door measuring 3ft. by 4ft. 6in. in the rabbet formed for this purpose. A door of this size, although suitable for a magazine, would be totally inadequate for the general purposes of the Castle. When I last saw this jamb, it had fallen from the ditch on to the undercliff below. I searched for it in June, 1918, but could not find it. Possibly it was hidden by the rank growth of weeds, or had sunk in the soft earth.The grooves in which the portcullis moved are clearly in view, also the stone stairway leading to the chamber (over the main entrance) in which was the machinery used for raising or lowering this.

There were two entrances to the cellars, one at the northeast angle of the Castle, the other a few yards to the south of this, When a school-boy, I, with three boy friends, resolved to clear the steps of the last-mentioned entrance from the earth which, in the course of very many years, had accumulated there. We devoted a half-holiday to the object. We began at the top, and had nearly reached the bottom, when I found a small coin, which proved to be a Rose farthing of Charles I., 1635. This type is similar to the Harringtons’, the difference being, that these bore the Rose on the reverse, in lieu of the Harp, which distinguishes the Harringtons’.It is evident that the old map showed the Castle as it was at some early date of its history, and not as it stood in 1859; as, at this time, not only had the rampart, ditch and intervening land between them and the Castle entirely disappeared, but also a considerable portion of the building itself had fallen into the sea.

As I was one of the school-boys referred to in Mr. Groves’s paper (Vol. III., p. 23) I feel quite qualified to give a few details relating to the finding of the stone shot.

About the year 1855 I was walking, with two other boys, on the sea-shore under Sandsfoot Castle, when we “spotted” the opening of a drain which a fall of the cliff had brought to view.

It was directly under the south-west angle of the Castle, and about 30 feet above the shore. The opening  was almost closed with earth. We had a strong desire to investigate ; but how ? It was not an easy matter at that time, as the cliff was then nearly perpendicular. I was deputed to make the ascent, and, by the aid of my pocket-knife and a pointed piece of wood, foot-holes were cut in the face of the cliff, and the upward journey began.

At length I reached the drain, and cleared its mouth. Inspection revealed the fact that its bottom was covered by a few inches of earth, and that it extended about six or eight feet in a direct line, when it appeared to be choked by fallen masonry. This ended the first introduction to the drain; but we arranged to pay it daily visits in order to carry on the work, and, in order not to interfere with our school duties, these visits had to be made in the early morning. So, for some time, we rose with the lark, and reached the scene of operations at 7 a.m. This gave just an hour for work, before we had to start for home, breakfast, and school.

The Poisoned Cup by Joseph Drew

‘The Poisoned Cup’, a short novel by Joseph Drew set in the reign of Elizabeth I has Sandsfoot Castle as its backdrop. © DCM

As our operations were carried on in semi-darkness, lying prone, and in a very confined space, our progress was not rapid. The earth had to be loosened and scraped forward; then the worker wriggled backwards, drawing the earth forwards until the outlet of the drain was reached, when the result was sent over the cliff. As the clearing progressed, the one working in the drain was occasionally quite hidden from view. One morning, when I was at work, and nearing the obstacle, I came upon something which for a time defied my efforts to remove it; but at last I loosened it, and took it from its bed, where it had probably been resting for centuries. I wriggled back to daylight with my unknown prize, when it was seen that it was a hollow cylinder of iron, open at one end, and closed at the other. There was a handle on one side. What it was I knew not then; but the heavy burden was cheerfully borne as, with light hearts, we trudged back to breakfast. Another visit sufficed to clear the floor of the drain of accumulated earth and rubble, and to enable us to see clearly the nature of the obstruction. I should state that in the roof of the drain and about six feet from the outlet, a perpendicular drain joined it; and down this had fallen a rectangular piece of stone measuring about 2 feet x 10in. x 10in., which was firmly jammed at the angle formed by the junction of the perpendicular and horizontal drains.

To remove this was both difficult and dangerous. The working space was cramped; the prone position of the operator most uncomfortable. Moreover there was the knowledge that when the obstruction moved it would come with a rush; and then it would be a case of stand clear, or be crushed. The obstruction was at length removed without mishap, and when it came down into the drain, I found to my great joy, that three stone shots, which had lodged behind it, were now released. These I drew towards me, and wriggled back to the outlet with them. They were received with shouts each took one. We were a happy trio as we wended our way homewards.

A few years later I found an iron shot, about 3in. diameter, 18 inches beneath the surface of the gun-room floor.

Some years after this, when visiting the Tower of London, I found that the iron cylinder was a breech chamber of a 15th Century cannon in which the charge of powder was placed. It was then inserted in an aperture in the cannon and pressed forward in the direction of the muzzle, and secured in this position by a bar of iron which passed through holes in the sides of the gun and rested against the end of the chamber, thus preventing it from moving. There was a touch hole in the chamber. The shot was then inserted in the muzzle and rammed home, and the gun was ready for action.

Formerly there was a tradition that when Henry VIII. built Sandsfoot Castle, he used some of the material which he obtained from Bindon Abbey (which, like so many other religious houses, fell a victim to his rapacity) for its construction; but there appears to be no proof of this. However, a close inspection of the Castle walls show that there are, among the rubble, many fragments of worked and carved stone, including two archaic corbel heads which evidently came from some ecclesiastical building. This appears to give a little colour to the report; but it is too slight for anything but the merest conjecture.

My three “finds” at Sandsfoot Castle referred to in the foregoing pages, viz., the breech-chamber, stone shot and iron ball, are in the Dorset County Museum.

In writing the above I merely desired to place on record circumstances which are in my personal knowledge, and which otherwise might have been lost sight of.

Loading the Cannon Pierrier

Loading the Cannon Pierrier © DCM

N.B – Since this paper was written I have received information from the Royal United Services’ Institution, Whitehall, to the effect that this early breech-loading weapon, known as the cannon pierrier, was much used in the early part of the Sixteenth Century for throwing stone shot from small castles. The accompanying sketch, from a drawing by Grosse, in the Royal United Services’ Institute shows the progress of loading the cannon pierrier. The small stone or iron balls were apparently inserted at the breech. (See middle gun).

The large stone balls, 6in. diameter, which we found, would be used not in a pierrier, but in a howitzer.”

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William Barnes: The Dorset Poet

Portrait of William Barnes, Dorset County Museum

Portrait of William Barnes, Dorset County Museum

I, the son of John and Grace Barnes, was born at Rush-hay, a little farmling at Bagbere in the Parish of Sturminster Newton, in the Vale of Black-more . . . so wrote William Barnes, who was born on this day, 22nd February in 1801.

Though William’s grandfather had been a prosperous yeoman, his father was recorded in a census of Sturminster Newton taken on 10th March, 1801 (now in the Dorset History Centre) as ‘Labourer in Husbandry’. Yet in spite of lowly circumstances and his mother’s death when he was fifteen, young William had a happy childhood spent in his own home and in frequent visits to his father’s sisters at Pentridge Farm nearby. After schooling at a dame’s school and at Sturminster Newton, he was taken on as a clerk in a solicitor’s office in Sturminster, and in 1818 became engrossing clerk with the firm of Thos. Coombs & Son in Dorchester. It was in the High Street, soon after, that he first saw and fell in love with Julia Miles.

Encouraged and helped by friends of his youth, William Barnes had already developed gifts for music, literature, art and the classics, but her parents opposed him as a suitor, on the grounds of poverty. This eventually decided him to embark on a new career, and after he had kept a school at Mere for several years, he was at last, in 1827, able to marry Julia, the woman who was to be a source of intense happiness and a devoted support to him as long as she lived. At Mere he continued to keep school, practised his already developed talent for woodcuts and copper-plate engravings, brought out his first book on philology, for use in schools, studied the Welsh language, and in 1833-4 published seven eclogues in the Dorset dialect.

In 1835 he returned to his own county, settling first in a house in Durngate Street, Dorchester, later moving to another next door to Napper’s Mite in South Street, and in 1847 settling in the house on the west side of the same street which bears a tablet commemorating his 15 years’ residence there. His life was full, with his school, his children, his friends (amongst them, Thomas Hardy), his publication of ‘Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect’ in 1844, his interest in archaeology and geology which led him to become a member of the Council of the Dorset County Museum after its inauguration in 1845. He published a philological grammar in 1854, having mastered not only the classics but 60 other languages.

William Barnes Statue, St. Peter's Church, Dorchester

William Barnes Statue, St. Peter’s Church, Dorchester

In 1847 William Barnes was ordained deacon and instituted to the tiny parish of Whitcombe and its beautiful church, not far from Dorchester; but it was not until 1862, 10 years after his wife’s death, that he gave up his school and was presented to the living of Winterborne Came, the neighbouring parish. In the charming rectory which still stands on the Dorchester-Broadmayne road he lived with his daughters, and it was here that, according to Lucy, who was to write his Life under the pen-name of ‘Leader Scott’, he adopted the ‘cassock and wide-brimmed hat, knee-breeches and large buckles on his shapely shoes’ which became his characteristic garb, as well known today as in his own, since the fine statue by Roscoe Mullins was placed outside St. Peter’s Church in Dorchester.

William Barnes' Shoes, leather with buckle clasp, 'antique' style hand-made, 19th Century. Wearing these with knee breeches and cloak, he was a familiar figure in Dorchester until 1883.

Displayed in the Dorset County Museum, are William Barnes’ ‘shapely shoes’., leather with buckle clasp, ‘antique’ style hand-made, 19th Century. Wearing these with knee breeches and cloak, he was a familiar figure in Dorchester until 1883. © DCM

From the rectory, William Barnes, now old but vigorous still, went trudging out in every kind of weather to help his scattered parishioners. Indoors he had his family, his friends, and his interests. He lies in the churchyard of Winterborne Came, his grave is marked by a Celtic cross. Long before his death in 1886 he was famous in the outside world, but it was not his fame (hardly realized by most of his neighbours) but his poems, which he read aloud in the authentic dialect of his youth, moving his audiences to laughter and tears, which endeared him to his fellow men of Dorset, reflecting as they did the deep love of countryside, country ways and country people which characterized this learned yet essentially simple and genuine man.