Hilltop History – Episode 3

Welcome to the third episode of ‘Hilltop History’ – Alfred’s weekly delve into the Shaftesbury area’s past.

On this episode:

  • Claire Ryley of the Gold Hill Museum learns about another of the fifty objects that tells the story of the Shaftesbury area. Today, we hear about a ‘textile kit’ that was found in a quarry near Todber. It’s thought to be 2,300 years old. (1:20)
  • Ann Taylor visits Bill and Rachel Hall at their farmhouse at Gutchpool near Motcombe. The couple explain how they’ve uncovered a connection with the former Royal Forest and Rachel talks about a long-forgotten water feature they discovered on their land. Rachel tells us where the unusual name, Gutchpool, comes from. (13:12)
  • Cath Toogood shares her research into one of her relatives – Charles Gumbleton. The County Court bailiff lived in St James’ Street. (18:15)
  • Dave Hardiman has been researching the Shaftesbury riot of 1830. There was unrest across the country following elections called after the death of King George IV. And in Shaftesbury, there were, ‘boos, hisses, scuffles and sticks used as weapons’ outside the Grosvenor Arms Hotel. Lord Grosvenor had a firm grip on the town and had expected his tenants to elect his choices for Shaftesbury’s Westminster parliamentary seats. But events didn’t go as smoothly as Grosvenor had planned. (20:28)
  • We’re used to the restrictions of the lockdown. But during the Second World War and following years, Shaftesbury residents had to cope with much stricter constraints. Locals had little choice in their food or clothing options. Bob Kelley’s parents ran a bakery in Shaftesbury. He shares the story of the dreaded ‘national loaf’ and potato rationing, and Bob explains why wartime fish and chips were not as tasty as today’s fish suppers. (27:55)