Coronation celebrations, death by drink, rabies and more

1838 – Coronation of Queen Victoria Celebrations at Sellack

The Coronation day of Queen Victoria was heartily celebrated in Sellack, with gentlemen and farmers alike agreeing to grant a holiday beginning at midday.

The Procession to Sellack Church

On the morning of Coronation day, a large procession formed at Baysham and was hugely augmented at Grove Common.  As the procession progressed through the countryside, flag bearers of St. Weonards and Llangarren Benefit, and Odd Fellow’s Club took the lead, followed by a wonderful band.

Armed volunteers of Sellack were next in the procession, marching as true soldiers, followed by all the men women and children of the parish, walking two abreast;  the whole spectacle being remarkable, headed to the church.

The Rev. Love Robertson, Vicar of Sellack, preached the sermon in which he extolled the virtues of their “young, beautiful and interesting Queen”.

The Dinner and Cheers for the new Queen

The general feeling of happiness grew as four hundred people sat down to a feast of a dinner, cooked “in a style fit for the Queen herself” – however, there were more than 1000 people outside, and it is not recorded whether they were fed!

After the dinner, the Queen’s health was cheered over and over again, followed by three volleys of musketry and the National Anthem.

The Vicar Gets on his Soap Box about Drinking

Everyone seemed happy enough at the end of the day, although it seems that alcohol was only handed out in extreme moderation – unlike other villages where cider and beer was freely available – and indeed the Vicar used the occasion to give an extremely long (and probably not well received) speech about the evils of drink and of the Sunday Wake.

He described the Sunday Wake as a “cruel and debasing enemy”, which encouraged habits of intemperance, and urged them to “think of your wives and familes that sooner or later will be pining in wretchedness at home.  Think of your manslaughters, your cursing and swearing, your blood thirsty and cowardly proceedings…..”.

One imagines that the vicar would use absolutely any occasion to drive home his anti alcohol message, but it seems a shame that he should use what was clearly a happy day to do so.

1855 – Rabid Dog in Sellack

A dog which was proved to have rabies was on the loose around the parishes of Sellack and Hoarwithy.  Other dogs had been bitten by it before it was caught by Thomas Buckham of Bosham, and destroyed.

An order went out for any dog which may have been bitten to immediately be put down, this being “a duty, the performance of which the welfare of society imperatively demands”.

People were warned that if they neglected to carry out this order, the results would be absolutely awful.


1856 – Fatal Accidents at Sellack

It seems that 1856 was a dangerous year to work for Mr. Jardine – his horses were a nervous bunch:

Bolland Tiffer, a waggoner working for Mr. Jardine of Sellack, was out with the horses one day in August 1856, when he took them down to the river to drink.

He was holding the bridles, and one of the horses suddenly bolted, dragging Tiffer along the ground;  thoroughly frightened, the horse kicked out and a hoof caught the poor man squarely on the temple, virtually killing him outright.

He left a widow and two children

In the same year, John King, a labourer working for Mr. Jardine, was engaged in hauling gravel when the horse he was using took fright and bolted.

John tried to stop it, but fell down and the horse trampled over his head, killing him on the spot.

Now, I am wondering whether somehow the first reported death was somehow typed up wrongly in the newspaper at the time, because Bolland Tiffer does seem to be a somewhat strange name!  Also, the manner of death in both reports is somewhat similar, although in one case the horse was drinking from the river, and in the other it was working.

I think that I shall have to check on the existence of Bolland Tiffer in order to verify this.

1863 – Death Through Inebriation

Walter James, waggoner to Mr. Thomas Phelps of the Grove, Sellack, met his death “while in a beastly state of drunkenness”.

Walter was on the road home with his master’s team and wagon after drinking very heavily;  he was riding on the wagon shafts when just a quarter of a mile from home he tumbled off the shafts and fell under the wheel.

The poor chap was crushed to death, and had half his head cut off by the wheel.  He left a wife and five children.