Fontmell Magna in 1915

May 6, 2004
Methodist Chapel, village shop,malthouse and maypole
Methodist Chapel, village shop,malthouse and maypole

Methodist Chapel, village shop,malthouse and maypole

Although it was the early days of the Great War, life in Fontmell Magna continued as normally as possible but always overshadowed by many of the young men enlisting to fight and some of them losing their lives. The Rifle Club continued to meet under the Presidency of Capt. R.F. Glyn (who was on duty in France) with Mr. W.J. Edwards as Treasurer and Mr. Hillyard as secretary. The school remained active, as did the Band of Hope. Numerous sales of work were organized by the Church in aid of the Church of England Missionaries Society.
In February a collection was made for the enlisted men of the parish and a leather case was sent to each one. In December a further collection was made to send the men a Christmas present which resulted in each of them receiving a plum pudding and plain chocolate.
A section of the Royal Marines Light Infantry had been billeted in the village and they left for the front in February. Their Commanding Officer sent a letter of thanks to the inhabitants for their kindness and goodwill.

Parish Magazine April 1915

Parish Magazine April 1915

Each monthly edition of the Parish Magazine contained details of the enlisted men: for instance in May it was reported that 42 men had responded to the call, of whom 4 had been rejected. The June edition recorded that Pte. William Lawrence had been killed by poison gas, Capt. Glyn was recovering from a leg wound and Fred Gilchrist had been shot but survived. In September it was reported that 20 soldiers from the Parish were at the front line.
A full list of the men who enlisted, and those

St Andrew's Church

St Andrew's Church

that were lost, hangs today in the Parish Church.
The Parish Magazines which were written by the Rector, the Rev. (later Canon) Charles Pigott Edmonds, contained a number of commercial advertisements, notably William John Edwards who ran the local shop and Post Office, and Nehemiah Tatchell, saddler and harness maker.
Kelly’s Directory for 1915 lists a number of commercial people and farmers together with six ‘private residents’ namely:
James Appleyard (the village G.P.) of Glebe Cottage.
George Carleton Day of Woodbridge House.
Rev. Charles Pigott Edmonds of the Rectory.

Fontmell Magna Rectory

Fontmell Magna Rectory

Capt. Richard Fitzgerald Glyn of Cross House.
George John Sanger of Millbrook House.
Humphrey O. Springfield of Springhead.
Of the 84 men from the village who served in the armed forces, as many as 20 were killed and many others wounded. Among the family names were many that date back in the village for three hundred years or more. This war memorial replaced the maypole as a fitting and symbolic reminder of the changes to rural life that the Great War created.
Further references to people mentioned in this article may be found in other articles on this website, including the 1923 Tea Party, the 1893 Cottage Book and the 1894 First Parish Council Meeting.

Author: Colin Greenfield