Probate – B

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B


Beatrice Bessie BALSON died 20 January 1946 – see Beatrice Bessie WALLBRIDGE


Herbert John BALSON died 4 May 1962

BALSON Herbert John of 57 Green Road Poole died 4 May 1962. Administration Winchester 15 August (1962) to Gertrude Ellen Balson widow. Effects £280 10s.


Susan Priscilla BALSON died 28 June 1947 – see Susan Priscilla CHARLES


James BASCOMBE died 21 January 1911

BASCOMBE James of Baltington Farm Tyneham Dorsetshire died 21 January 1911. Administration (with Will) Blandford 21 March (1911) to Bessie Eliza Bascombe widow. Effects £1,101 4s 11d.


Algernon Arthur Garneys BOND died 13 June 1911

BOND Algernon Arthur Garneys of Tyneham Wareham Dorsetshire died 13 June 1911 at the Military Hospital Calcutta India. Administration London 3 June (1912) to William Henry Bond Esq. Effects £926 16s 1d.


Reverend Henry Bond died 27 September 1875

BOND The Reverend Henry. 1 February (1876). The Will with four Codicils attached of the Reverend Henry Bond late of South Petherton in the County of Somerset Clerk who died 27 February 1875 at South Petherton was proved at Taunton by the Reverend John Bond of Weston in he said County Clerk and Thomas Bond of Tyneham in the County of Dorset Esquire the Brothers the Executors. Effects under £18,000.


Herbert Ivo de Kenton BOND died 27 November 1953

BOND Herbert Ivo de Kenton of 1 Queens-avenue Dorchester Dorsetshire died 27 November 1953 at The Dorset County Hospital Dorchester. Probate London 5 February (1954) to Lilian Mary Garneys Bond widow and Charles Henry May solicitor. Effects £9,704 17s 2d.


Leonora Sophia BOND died 21 March 1956

BOND Leonora Sophia of Holme Wareham Dorsetshire spinster died 21 March 1956. Probate Winchester 21 June (1956) to Lloyds Bank Limited. Effects £10,027 8s 4d.


Louisa Charlotte BOND died 21 July 1963

BOND Louisa Charlotte of East Holme Wareham Dorsetshire spinster died 21 July 1963 at 3 Owls Road Boscombe Bournemouth. Probate Winchester 11 October (1963) to Lloyds Bank Limited. Effects £20,833 11s.


William Henry BOND died 11 January 1935

BOND William Henry of Tyneham Corfe Castle Dorsetshire died 11 January 1935. Probate (save and except settled land) London 11 March (1935) to William Ralph Garneys Bond retired political service officer and Charles Henry May solicitor. Effects £27,335 17s 6d. Further grant 19 August 1935.

BOND William Henry of Tyneham Corfe Castle Dorsetshire died 11 January 1935. Probate (limited to settled land) London 19 August (1935) to Lewys Legge Yeatman solicitor and Herbert Ivo De Kenton Bond civil engineer. Effects £8,600. Former grant P.R. 11 March 1935.


William Ralph Garneys BOND died 10 February 1952

BOND William Ralph Garneys of Moigne Combe Dorchester Dorsetshire died 10 February 1952 at Moffat House Weymouth Dorsetshire. Probate London 21 March (1952) to Charles Henry May solicitor. Effects £85,471 0s 7d.


Winifred Mary BRACHI (formerly WHEELER neé MATTHEWS) died 9 September 1942

BRACHI Winifred Mary of the Mill House Bourne End Boxmoor Hertfordshire (wife of Charles Clarence Brachi) died 9 September 1942 at West Hertfordshire Hospital Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire. Administration Oxford 8 January (1943) to the said Charles Clarence Brachi squadron-leader R.A.F. and David Peter Brachi flight-lieutenant R.A.F.V.R. Effects £1,710 2s.


Page last updated: 8 July 2021

War Dead

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Tyneham War Dead War Memorial Plaque

The war memorial plaque can be found in Tyneham Church. It commemorates six men associated with Tyneham who lost their lives in the First World War.

Below we record details of all of the men associated with Tyneham that we know of who have lost their lives serving their country in the Boer Wars, First World War and Second World War.


Boer War


Private William James BALSON

William James Balson was the second of of ten children born to William Balson (1851-1933) and his wife Amelia Balson nee Gould (1854-1921). He was baptised at Corfe Castle on 5 September 1875.

William enlisted on 18 August 1894. He served with the Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment (3372). He died on 10 July 1902 at Standerton.


World War 1


Private Henry George BALSON

Henry George John Balson was a brother of William James Balson (see Boer War above) and the fourth of ten children born to William Balson (1851-1933) and his wife Amelia Balson nee Gould (1854-1921).

Henry spent his teenage years at Tyneham. He later worked as a gardener at Holnest Park near Sherborne, Dorset.

Henry married Florence Amelia Barnard (1881-1966) at Holnest on 28 August 1910. Florence later lived at “Rocquaine,” in Victoria Avenue, Swanage.

Henry initially served with the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment (13760) before joining the 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (28569). He died aged 38 on 20 October 1917.

Henry is remembered on the Tyneham memorial plaque and at the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.


Private Reginald James BASCOMBE

Reginald James Bascombe was born at Tyneham on 30 August 1898. He was the only son of James Bascombe (1849-1911) and his wife Bessie Eliza Bascombe nee Longman (1860-1918). His father was farmer at Baltington Farm. Reginald attended Tyneham School and had a younger sister Dorothy.

Reginald’s father James died on 21 January 1911 when Reginald was just 12. Bessie, Reginald and Dorothy were still at Tyneham on 2 April 1911.

Reginald subsequently attended Dorchester Grammar School.

His mother Bessie was living at 5 Belvedere Terrace overlooking the Esplanade at Weymouth.

Reginald moved to 192 Brixton Hill, London and was employed as a clerk. While living there enlisted on 14 August 1916 but was placed on the Army Reserve list. He moved to 25 Amesbury Avenue, Streatham Hill in September 1916.

Reginald served with the 15th (County of London) Battalion (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles) (535078) in France from 20 September 1917. He suffered with septic heals on several occasions.

Reginald died on 20 October 1918 aged 20 of pneumonia, most likely as a consequence of the Spanish Flu pandemic, at 30 Livingstone Road, Portswood, Southampton while on leave. He was buried at Southampton Hollybrook Cemetery. His mother Bessie’s death was registered at Southampton in the final quarter of 1918.

Reginald’s grave at Hollybrook Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Frank Grant / Find A Grave

Sadly Reginald’s name is not included on the Tyneham memorial plaque but it is included among 28 former pupils commemorated on the Dorchester Grammar School Memorial Roll which is now displayed at the Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester.

The Dorchester Grammar School Memorial Roll
Photo courtesy of Kevin Matthews, Thomas Hardye School
Humanities Teacher and Head of the Thomas Hardye School’s Combined Cadet Force, Mr Kevin Matthews, made this informative and moving video to commemorate Private Reginald James Bascombe especially for Remembrance Day 2020.

Gunner Bernard Gerald Lawrence CHILCOTT

Bernard Gerald Lawrence Chilcott was born at Tyneham and baptised at St Mary’s Church on 18 July 1886. He was the second son of James Arthur Chilcott (1855-1933) and his wife Mary Caroline Chilcott nee Lawrence (1857-1940) who farmed Baltington Farm and then Lutton Farm, Steeple.

Bernard enlisted at Sherborne, Dorset and served as a Gunner (137017) with the Royal Garrison Artillery, 250th Siege Battery. He was killed in action on 28 December 1917 in France and is commemorated at the Aeroplane Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.


Charles Job CLEALL

Charles Job Cleall
Photograph courtesy of Nancy Wright

Charles Job Cleall was the son of John Cleall (1851-1906) and his wife Hannah Cleall nee Burden (1861-1900).

In 1911, Charles and his two brothers, Francis Henry ‘Frank’ Cleall (1884-1993) and Walter James Cleall (1894-1984), were boarding with the Turner family at West Whiteway, Tyneham.

Charles served with the 257th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (113367). Charles died on 2 November 1917 aged 27.

Charles is remembered on the Tyneham memorial plaque and at the Basra War Cemetery.


Private Harry HOLLAND

Harry Holland
Photograph courtesy of Mark White

Henry Holland, known as Harry Holland, was born on 26 September 1888 at Hounslow. He was the son of the late John Holland (1845-1920) and his wife Rose Ballam Holland nee Hansford (1861-1944).

Harry served with the 2nd Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment (8117). He was killed in action on 8 December 1915 in Mesopotamia (now Iraq).

He is remembered on the Tyneham memorial plaque and at the Kut War Cemetery.


Private John HOLLAND

John Holland
Photograph courtesy of Mark White

John Holland was born on 3 February 1897. He was the son of John Holland (1845-1920) and his wife Rose Ballam Holland nee Hansford (1861-1944).

John served with the 14th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment (29626). He died on 13 November 1916 aged 21.

John’s blood-stained bible with bullet that killed him Photograph courtesy of Mark White

John is remembered on the Tyneham memorial plaque and at the Netley Military Cemetery.

John’s headstone at Netley Military Cemetery

Lieutenant Claude Knox HOMAN

Claude Knox Homan was born at Winterborne Came, Dorset on 12 July 1896. He was the son of Reverend Claude Samuel Homan (1867-1947) and his wife Adelaide Mabel Homan nee Digby (1862-1947).

Claude spent much of his childhood at Tyneham Rectory. where his father served as Rector from 1897 to 1913. His parents later moved to 72 Parkstone Road, Poole, Dorset.

Claude served with the 6th Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment and was killed in action at Ypres on 18 September 1915 aged 19.

Claude is remembered at Voormezeele Enclosure No.3. Sadly his name is not included on the Tyneham memorial plaque.

Claude’s headstone at Voormezeele
Photograph courtesy of International Wargraves Photography Project

Charles William Lemuel McPEAK

Charles was born at Worbarrow on 11 March 1892 and was baptised at St. Mary’s Church, Tyneham on 10 April 1892. His father was a Coastguard Boatman.

Charles joined the Royal Navy on 5 September 1907 aged 15 and married Florence Margaret Smith of Eton in 1915. Sadly Leading Seaman Charles was killed along with all other 856 hands onboard when H.M.S. Black Prince (pictured) was attacked and sunk by five German warships on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland in WW1.

His widow later remarried.

Sadly his name is not included on the Tyneham memorial plaque.


Private William George MEECH

William George Meech was born in 1887. He was the second son of Thomas How Meech (1860-1888) and his wife Emily Meech nee Hyde (1865-1917).

Sadly William’s father Thomas died in 1888 when William was less than 12 months old. The following year his mother Emily married William Taylor (1865-1952).

William served with the 1st/1st, Dorset Yeomanry (Queen’s Own) (996).

William died on 26 February 1916 aged 28.

He is remembered on the Tyneham memorial plaque and at the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery.


Private Reginald Bertie ‘Bertie’ TAYLOR

Bertie was the second son of William Taylor and Emily Taylor nee Hyde.

Bertie served with the Dorset Yeomanry (Queen’s Own) and died at Gallipoli on 21 August 1915 aged 21.

He is remembered on the Tyneham memorial plaque and the Helles Memorial.


World War 2


Able Seaman Charlton HOLLAND

Charlton Holland was born at Bere Regis on 6 May 1901. He was the son of John Holland (1845-1920) and his wife Rose Ballam Holland nee Hansford (1861-1944). He was a younger brother of Harry Holland and John Holland who both lost their lives in World War 1.

Charlton served with the Royal Navy (D/J 81779) aboard H.M.S. Mahratta. an M Class Destroyer. While guarding the largest-ever Arctic convoy sent on its way to Russia she was torpedoed by German U-Boat U-990 off the coast of Norway and sunk on 25 February 1944. Only 16 of the 236 crew survived. Charlton’s death came just five weeks after his mother Rose died.

Charlton is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel 86 Column 3). A memorial to those who lost their lives on the Arctic Convoys was unveiled at Murmansk in 1991 on the 50th anniversary of the first Arctic Convoy.

Page last updated: 23 June 2021


Meech Family

Home|Families|A-E|F-J|K-O|P-T|U-Z The Meech Family Thomas Charles ‘Charlie’ Meech (1884-1971) Charlie was the son of Emily Taylor nee Hyde (1865-1917), the Laundress, from her first marriage to Thomas How Meech (1860-1888). He was four when his father died. Charlie was the ‘Odd Man’ at Tyneham House. Beloved Charlie Meech … stayed… Continue reading

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Balson

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Balson’s Gap and Malhala’s Fortune by Roy Martin

In her book, Tyneham, A Lost Heritage, Lillian Bond wrote: “The first of the Tyneham woodmen that I remember was a BalsonOld Balson was a little, wiry man as gnarled and woody looking as a tree root. His clothes, well weathered by long use, were the traditional corded leggings and a thick leather coat, topped by a round and ear-flapped headdress of brown fur.”

She goes on to describe him at some length, then says: “His home was in the heath at Povington and he walked to his work, taking as near as possible a bee line over the hill. The track worn by his daily journeys in the course of the years out lasted him for many more, and the place in the hedge where he climbed from the North Hill into Madmore continued, long after his death, to be known as Balson’s Gap.”

To learn about his cottage, which was in the hamlet of Whiteway, we need to go back to earlier William Balsons. The first recorded William Balson (1759–1835) was the son of a John Balson; he married Elizabeth Miller in January 1789. The Millers were, and still are, a fishing family.  Their first child Thirza was born in the same year, and their second Mahala arrived in 1791. Their sons Henry and John were born in 1802 and 1804 respectively; there may have also been a William who died young. The next son, Robert, went on to farm at Creekmoor near Poole, where he was described as a Yeoman.

William II, William and Elizabeth’s last recorded son, was born in 1811. He seems to have remained in Purbeck. This William married Elizabeth Snelling (various spellings) on 23 May 1830. They were both nineteen and their first child, a daughter Kizah, was born four months later.

The first entry in Henry Roll’s Journal is: “Wm Balson began billding his house at Whiteway this spring of 1833, over the lake south of the road going to Povington. They went into it in the spring of 1834.” As William I was an old man by now, he died at Tyneham in 1835, the builder seems to have been William II. By this time William  II and Elizabeth had a son, John.

William chose well; though the site was on the edge of the heath the chalk steam known as Luckford Lake flowed past. This not only gave a constant supply of clean water, it also neutralized the acid heathland soil. If needed more chalk could be wheeled down from the nearby pit.

How did William get to know of the site? It could be that he had a night job, guiding the smugglers and the landers through the lonely open country, to get their goods across the River Frome to Bere Regis and even on to the Capital? Early in the journey they would have had to cross Whiteway or Povington Hill. Could it have been this Balson, and his convoy, who first made Balson’s Gap? His Miller in-laws would probably been involved!  

William’s sister Mahala was twenty years older than him, she had never married. An unnamed child of William and Elizabeth Balson was christened at Corfe Castle on 30 December 1791: as their other early children were also christened at Corfe, it is probable that this was Mahala.

In the 1841 Tyneham census Mahala and her mother Elizabeth are described as paupers; but ten years later she was recorded as an annuitant. By the time she made her will in February 1855 Mahala was living in Wareham. She bequeathed almost five hundred pounds to various members of the family. Her first, and worst, choice was her nephew James, the son of the yeoman Robert. She left this young man £300. Robert was obviously upset that James should have been chosen and only left him five shillings in his own will. James was, or became, a ne’er-do-well; he seems never to have owned a house or land and spent two spells in Dorchester prison. One of Mahala’s other bequests was fifty pounds to William III, who later took over the house at Whiteway; he is the Balson that Lillian Bond wrote about. He was my great grandfather.

How did an elderly spinster end up with a fortune deposited in the Dorchester Bank? Some have said that she was generous, though not free, with her favours. It is difficult to imagine that she amassed the equivalent of fifty years wages in that way! Others say that the money came from smuggling, but why then did she have it and not the others? It is difficult to imagine that she, or the men, would have taken £500 in cash to Dorchester or even to a Wareham branch; without the Magistrates, and the whole County, becoming aware.

The name Mahala is unusual, but not unknown in Dorset. It also occurs in many other languages, including Zulu, where, as Malhala, it means ‘free of charge’ or a gift.

Thank you to Anne Lyons for sending me copies of the wills of Mahala and Robert and my brother Eric Martin for pointing out the possible South African connection. Luckford Lake marks the western extremity of the Isle of Purbeck.

Roy V Martin, December 2014

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Probate – B

Home|Probate|A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z B Beatrice Bessie BALSON died 20 January 1946 – see Beatrice Bessie WALLBRIDGE Herbert John BALSON died 4 May 1962 BALSON Herbert John of 57 Green Road Poole died 4 May 1962. Administration Winchester 15 August (1962) to Gertrude Ellen Balson widow. Effects £280 10s. Susan Priscilla BALSON died… Continue reading

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War Dead

Home | The war memorial plaque can be found in Tyneham Church. It commemorates six men associated with Tyneham who lost their lives in the First World War. Below we record details of all of the men associated with Tyneham that we know of who have lost their lives serving… Continue reading

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Balson

Home|Families|A-E|F-J|K-O|P-T|U-Z Balson’s Gap and Malhala’s Fortune by Roy Martin In her book, Tyneham, A Lost Heritage, Lillian Bond wrote: “The first of the Tyneham woodmen that I remember was a Balson … Old Balson was a little, wiry man as gnarled and woody looking as a tree root. His clothes,… Continue reading

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Hollow Ditch and a Hollow Promise

by Roy Martin Hollow Ditch Farm was at West Creech; about one kilometre, five furlongs, north-west of Creech Grange, which we knew as Grange House. The farmhouse and outbuildings seem to be built mainly of sandstone, with brick corners. The farmers who lived there were tenants of the Bond family.… Continue reading

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Balson’s Gap and Malhala’s Fortune by Roy Martin

In her book, Tyneham, A Lost Heritage, Lillian Bond wrote: “The first of the Tyneham woodmen that I remember was a Balson … Old Balson was a little, wiry man as gnarled and woody looking as a tree root. His clothes, well weathered by long use, were the traditional corded… Continue reading

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1962: Probate Records

Herbert John BALSON died 4 May 1962 BALSON Herbert John of 57 Green Road Poole died 4 May 1962. Administration Winchester 15 August (1962) to Gertrude Ellen Balson widow. Effects £280 10s. Continue reading

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Hollow Ditch and a Hollow Promise

by Roy Martin

Hollow Ditch Farm was at West Creech; about one kilometre, five furlongs, north-west of Creech Grange, which we knew as Grange House. The farmhouse and outbuildings seem to be built mainly of sandstone, with brick corners. The farmers who lived there were tenants of the Bond family.

Matthew Langrish Charles (1866-1939) and his wife Susan Priscilla Charles (1877-1947) (pictured below) were the tenants in the 1920s and probably earlier. Aunt Sue was a Balson from the hamlet of Whiteway. She had married Uncle Mat at Tyneham in July 1913, when she was 26, over twenty years younger than him. In the 1891 census Matthew was living at Egglestone (Egliston) with his parents William & Emma Charles. Matthew was recorded as an Agricultural Labourer and his father as a Shepherd; in 1901 Matthew was still there but described as a Carter.  By 1911 he was living at Hollow Ditch with his father, and was recorded as an ‘Estate Labourer’.

Aunt Sue & Uncle Mat at Hollow Ditch in the 1930s

My father, Gerald Charles Martin, was born at Whiteway in 1916. His Dorchester born father, Alma Victor Martin, was killed on 18 November 1916 in the Battle of Ancre, the last day of the Battle of the Somme. His mother Edith Ellen Martin (neé Balson), Susan’s sister, contracted TB and was sent to the Sanatorium at Poole. As she was unable to look after her little boy he was sent to Hollow Ditch; a rather lonely boy as there were no other children, though the Cake family were at the nearby Whitehall Farm. He seems not to have been formally adopted.

There was a small primary school at Creech and for his secondary education my father cycled daily to Wareham. I sometimes think how different his life might have been if he had been able to go to the new Grammar School at Swanage, he was certainly bright enough, but the money would not have been there.

My father and mother met when she was ‘in service’ at Grange House, then just about the only opportunity for a working class girl. When they married in 1936 Mat and Sue bought them a small bungalow at Wool, being a prudent couple they charged the young Martins rent of ten shillings a week – so that the young couple would ‘learn the value of money’. From there Dad could motor cycle to work at Bovington Camp. I was born there later that year.

My memories of Hollow Ditch must be from 1943, by this time Aunt Sue was a widow.

I remember making butter in a small glass churn; now I see the photograph of Sue’s solitary cow I can see why we only made enough for ourselves. Other memories include sorting the stored apples to throw out any that had ‘gone off’ and eating wild strawberries on the banks of Pike’s clay pit railway to their Povington mine. I suffered bad stomach ache after those strawberries!

In 2009 I contacted the military at Lulworth Camp and they were kind enough to arrange for a Ranger, with a 4×4, to take us where ever we wanted to go. We first headed to Hollow Ditch;  I wished that my parents could have seen it once more, but it is now a sad sight. There were no strawberries to be seen, but there was still fruit in the orchard. We then went to Whiteway, but there is even less there. What came to mind at both sites were the ‘then and now’ photographs of Normandy, with the buildings all rebuilt: and the similar devastation at the South Georgian whaling stations, where I also took many photographs.

Uncle Mat died in 1939; so when the eviction notice arrived in November 1943 Aunt Sue was living alone. By that time my father was in Italy with the Royal Engineers and most of the male Balsons and her mother were dead, so she must have felt rather alone. She moved to Kimmeridge, where she lived together with a refugee called Eva (pronounced Ava).

Like the other evacuees Sue was never allowed to return to her home. She died at 22 Kimmeridge in 1947 and Eva moved to a small bungalow at the junction of Holme Lane and Grange Road. The old house now looks as if it will be swallowed up by the West Creech Clay pit, a giant white hole.

It would seem that the military is able to sell the land it requisitioned, but will not allow the families to return to their homes. A Hollow Promise indeed.

We are very grateful to Roy Martin for writing this feature for us. If you would like to write a feature about your ancestors from Tyneham parish, please get in touch at info@tynehamopc.org.uk


Rodney Legg quotes Mrs S P White

One of the younger girls, Edith, worked at Tyneham house. She married but her husband was also killed in the war and she was left with a little boy.  Later she died and was always discussed in grim whispers (galloping consumption and a broken heart) but Gerald was brought up by another aunt at Hollow Ditch, a smallholding north-west of Creech Grange. I spent many happy holidays with them and the more familiar with that part.

This was a sturdy little house with little windows and thick walls. Large cupboards by the fireplace house hams and smoked bacon. Breakfast there were marvellous meals – my aunt and uncle having done hours of work fetching the cows and milking by hand, had by this time developed large appetites. Hence we had masses of eggs, thick slices of bacon and chitterlings and soft potato cakes. Sometimes they cooked eels which cousin Gerald had teased me with early in the morning.

Mother’s name was Beatrice Bessie Balson, and you can imagine how she was teased about that. Her sister, Susan, who lived at Hollow Ditch, married Matthew Charles.

At Hollow Ditch there was a large russet apple tree, large wooden butter pats with intricate patterns, and rows of lovely golden butter laid on a tray ready to go to Wareham market. Once a lady named Elsie Cake called, on a straight-up, no-nonsense bicycle with a fancy chain-guard. She hopped off in a most graceful manner, in spite of long skirts and button boots.  I later tried to do the same but came a cropper.

In the evenings I would go across the heath to the Marepool and watch the deer drinking at dusk. It was also from this spot that I watched Lulworth Castle burning (in 1929). My grandparents are buried at Tyneham churchyard and Aunt Susan was buried at Steeple. She ended her days in a cottage at Kimmeridge, having been moved there at the time of the evacuation.  But she always hoped to return to Hollow Ditch…

 

Balson’s Gap and Malhala’s Fortune by Roy Martin

In her book, Tyneham, A Lost Heritage, Lillian Bond wrote: “The first of the Tyneham woodmen that I remember was a Balson … Old Balson was a little, wiry man as gnarled and woody looking as a tree root. His clothes, well weathered by long use, were the traditional corded leggings and a thick leather coat, topped by a round and ear-flapped headdress of brown fur.”

She goes on to describe him at some length, then says: “His home was in the heath at Povington and he walked to his work, taking as near as possible a bee line over the hill. The track worn by his daily journeys in the course of the years out lasted him for many more, and the place in the hedge where he climbed from the North Hill into Madmore continued, long after his death, to be known as Balson’s Gap.”

To learn about his cottage, which was in the hamlet of Whiteway, we need to go back to earlier William Balsons. The first recorded William Balson (1759–1835) was the son of a John Balson; he married Elizabeth Miller in January 1789. The Millers were, and still are, a fishing family. Their first child Thirza was born in the same year, and their second Mahala arrived in 1791. Their sons Henry and John were born in 1802 and 1804 respectively; there may have also been a William who died young. The next son, Robert, went on to farm at Creekmoor near Poole, where he was described as a Yeoman.

William II, William and Elizabeth’s last recorded son, was born in 1811. He seems to have remained in Purbeck. This William married Elizabeth Snelling (various spellings) on 23 May 1830. They were both nineteen and their first child, a daughter Kizah, was born four months later.

The first entry in Henry Roll’s Journal is: “Wm Balson began billding his house at Whiteway this spring of 1833, over the lake south of the road going to Povington. They went into it in the spring of 1834.” As William I was an old man by now, he died at Tyneham in 1835, the builder seems to have been William II. By this time William II and Elizabeth had a son, John.

William chose well; though the site was on the edge of the heath the chalk steam known as Luckford Lake flowed past. This not only gave a constant supply of clean water, it also neutralized the acid heathland soil. If needed more chalk could be wheeled down from the nearby pit.

How did William get to know of the site? It could be that he had a night job, guiding the smugglers and the landers through the lonely open country, to get their goods across the River Frome to Bere Regis and even on to the Capital? Early in the journey they would have had to cross Whiteway or Povington Hill. Could it have been this Balson, and his convoy, who first made Balson’s Gap? His Miller in-laws would probably been involved!

William’s sister Mahala was twenty years older than him, she had never married. An unnamed child of William and Elizabeth Balson was christened at Corfe Castle on 30 December 1791: as their other early children were also christened at Corfe, it is probable that this was Mahala.

In the 1841 Tyneham census Mahala and her mother Elizabeth are described as paupers; but ten years later she was recorded as an annuitant. By the time she made her will in February 1855 Mahala was living in Wareham. She bequeathed almost five hundred pounds to various members of the family. Her first, and worst, choice was her nephew James, the son of the yeoman Robert. She left this young man £300. Robert was obviously upset that James should have been chosen and only left him five shillings in his own will. James was, or became, a ne’er-do-well; he seems never to have owned a house or land and spent two spells in Dorchester prison. One of Mahala’s other bequests was fifty pounds to William III, who later took over the house at Whiteway; he is the Balson that Lillian Bond wrote about. He was my great grandfather.

How did an elderly spinster end up with a fortune deposited in the Dorchester Bank? Some have said that she was generous, though not free, with her favours. It is difficult to imagine that she amassed the equivalent of fifty years wages in that way! Others say that the money came from smuggling, but why then did she have it and not the others? It is difficult to imagine that she, or the men, would have taken £500 in cash to Dorchester or even to a Wareham branch; without the Magistrates, and the whole County, becoming aware.

The name Mahala is unusual, but not unknown in Dorset. It also occurs in many other languages, including Zulu, where, as Malhala, it means ‘free of charge’ or a gift.

Thank you to Anne Lyons for sending me copies of the wills of Mahala and Robert and my brother Eric Martin for pointing out the possible South African connection. Luckford Lake marks the western extremity of the Isle of Purbeck.

Roy Martin,
December 2014

We are very grateful to Roy Martin for writing this feature for us. If you would like to write a feature about your ancestors from Tyneham parish, please get in touch at info@tynehamopc.org.uk

1962: Probate Records

Herbert John BALSON died 4 May 1962

BALSON Herbert John of 57 Green Road Poole died 4 May 1962. Administration Winchester 15 August (1962) to Gertrude Ellen Balson widow. Effects £280 10s.