Description from the 1895 Kelly's Directory Litton Cheney is a parish near the Bredy river and the road from Bridport to Dorchester, 7 miles east-south-east from Bridport station on the Great Western railway and 10 west from Dorchester, in the western division of the county. Uggescombe hundred, Bridport Union and County Court district, Dorchester petty sessional division, rural deanery of Bridport (Abbotsbury portion), archdeaconry of Dorset and diocese of Salisbury. The church of St Mary is an ancient stone building, in the Perpendicular style, in good preservation, and consists of chancel, nave, transepts, south íporch and a lofty embattled western tower, containing 6 bells and a clock: the chancel arch is panelled like those of Sherborne: the nave is wide, and the roof, formerly barrell-shaped, has been altered to an open pointed roof: the font is formed of the inverted base of a Norman circular pier; the pulpit has traceried perpendicular panels: there is a monument to George Dawbeny, of Gorwell, who died in 1612: and brasses to Anna Henvill and Margaret Henvill, d. 1681: and to Ralph Henvill of Looke, gent. d. 9 Dec 1644: there are 220 sittings. The register dates from the year 1624. The living is a rectory, average tithe rent- charge £485, gross yearly value £650, net £560, with 109 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of and held since 1893 by the Rev. Frederick William Crick M.A. of Pembroke College, Cambridge. Here is a Primitive Methodist chapel. There is no manor. The principal landowners are Henry Brinsley Sheridan esq. And Mrs Legge, of Court House. The soil is chalk; subsoil, gravel. The chief crops are wheat, barley and some land in pasture. The area is 3,817 acres; rateable value, £3,671; the population in 1891 was 427. Nether Combe is a hamlet one mile west : Stancombe is a hamlet 1½ miles north; Higher Eggardon, a hamlet 4 miles north, where there are the remains of an extensive Roman encampment, was by Local Government Board Order transferred to Askerswell, March 24 th 1884: Ashley, 1½ miles, and Gorwell, 2 miles south-east, have been transferred to Longbredy. Sexton, George Fry. Post Office.-Robert Bligdon, sub-postmaster. Letters from Dorchester arrive at 8.30 a.m.; dispatched at 6 p.m.; sundays, arrive at 8.30 a.m.; dispatched 10.30 a.m. Postal orders are issued here, but not paid. The nearest money order office is at Abbotsbury & telegraph office at Littlebredy. Parochial school (mixed), endowed with £30 yearly from Thorner’s charity, with residence for master, built in 1878, for 80 children; average attendance, 63; Wm. Stephen Miller, master. Carriers. George Gale, Dorchester, Wed. & Sat. Charles Webber, Bridport, Wed. & Sat. Bligdon& Pitcher, Dorchester, Sat.
The Life of John Hawkins (1780-1833) The bells were ringing as a small group of people walked up the hill to the parish church of St. Mary's in Litton Cheney. It was the 4th January 1781 and John HAWKINS a 34 year old yeoman farmer from nearby Looke Farm, his wife Agnes and their two year old son, James had walked to Litton for the baptism of their new baby. Accompanying them was Agnes's father, James Hawkins, who had lived an active life as a blacksmith and victualler and was the inn-keeper at the New Inn in Litton where he had lived all his life. This was the first baptism in the village for two months so probably many locals joined in to see the little baby being named John. In 1793, aged just 13 years of age, the young John said goodbye to his family and friends and travelled to Portsmouth where on the 24th March his name was entered in the books of His Majesty's Ship Culloden as a captain's servant. During his time on board the Culloden he witnessed a mutiny in 1793 following which six sailors were hung from the yardarm, took part in the 'Glorious First of July', the Battle of Cape St Vincent, Santa Cruz where Nelson lost his arm, and the Battle of the Nile in 1798 - all before his 20th birthday. In 1800 he passed his lieutenant's certifiate and whilst serving on board the 16 gun brig, Atalante, he was involved in a cutting out expedition at Quiberon Bay which earned him a Lloyds Patriotic Sword to the value of £50.00. In February 1807 the Atalante ran aground on the Ile de Re and Hawkins and about half the crew were rescued. After that horrifying experience he served on several ships until he was taken ill whilst serving on board the Electra at Newfoundland in 1812. He made his way home and recovered but by then there were many redundant officers and he was put on half-pay and never served again. When seeking a new ship after 1812 he wrote to the Admiralty saying he was a 'poor naval officer' and he had a 'growing family'; there appears to be no evidence of this being so. Upon his return to Dorset he found that his parents were running the inn at Litton Cheney together with a brother William and sister Elizabeth. In 1820 a certain James Hawkins was committed and brought to court on he 20th September for smuggling. He was described as being 5' 5" tall with brown hair, grey eyes, and a fair complexion with a cut over the left eyebrow. He was a married man from Melcombe Regis aged 39 and he was imprisoned in Dorchester Gaol until £100 be sooner paid. There is no knowing if this is John Hawkins' brother as the date of birth does not correspond, but Hawkins would have had infinite knowledge of seamanship, free-trading was rife in this area and he was certainly bitter towards the authorities. John Hawkins died in 1833 and The Dorset County Chronicle and Somersetshire Gazette recorded his obituary - "July 24 1833, at Piddletrenthide, sincerely lamented by his disconsolate widow and numerous friends, John Hawkins Esq. Captain of the Royal Navy, aged 52. He was universally esteemed by his brother officers and the men under hiscommand; and was an active and brave officer. In 1803, being First Lieutenant of the Atalante, he cut out and otherwise destroyed three vessels full of troops at anchor, under the enemy's batteries in Quiberon Bay. For this meritorious achievement, his only reward was a sword from the Patriotic Fund, accompanied by a vote of thanks, as a testimony of their approbation of his gallant conduct, as copied in the London Gazette. In 1830 this brave defender of his country was placed upon the list of Retired Commanders." In 1834 his mother, Agnes died at Litton Cheney and his brother, James, died at Tindeton. James's wife and eight children, the youngest of whom was only four, left their home presumably because the breadwinner had died, and trudged to Fordington near Dorchester where they lived in the notorious Mill Street. In later years cholera struck the family and Sarah, James' wife, eventually died as an 82 year old pauper in 1862. On the 25th March 1838, John's wife Elizabeth Hawkins died from apoplexy. Her will reveals that she died a rich woman without any living children. For the wife of a 'poor' naval officer with a 'growing family' this seems very strange and perhaps gives credence to the smuggling theory especially as the village of Piddletrenthide, where John and Elizabeth lived from at least 1830, was well known as a storage centre for contraband. In her will she instructed her cousin, John MILLMAN of the Naval Hospital in Plymouth, to arrange to ship to her sister Sally DUCHEMIN, te wife of Watson Duchemin, pump and blockmaker of Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island, a chest containing many of her effects: a gold watch, jewelery, silverware, her wedding ring, holy bible and clothing etc. Both John and Elizabeth were buried at Piddletrenthide but only the bottom half of the stone can be found and that has been used as a path! The graves of a number of the Hawkins family can be found at Litton Cheney. I inherited the Hawkins watch from my grandmother, Cissie TOWILLS who in turn had been given it by her father, James Hawkins Towills whose mother was Ann Pearce Hawkins, the daughter of John Hawkins's brother. The Lloyds Patriotic Sword is in the Nelson Collection at Lloyds in London. In the 1980s Lillian Duchemin, a descendant of Watson and Sally Duchemin made contact and she had, in her possession, the original packing slip that accompanied the chest shipped out to Prince Edward Island by John Millman. Watson Duchemin was a very clever man and took out the first ever patent for the roller bearing and in his spare time he built pipe organs, one of which has been renovated and is in use at the University of Charlottetown John Callcut
HMS Culloden - aground at the Battle of the Nile
HMS Atalante at Quiberon Bay - October 1803
HMS Atalante in calmer times
LITTON CHENEY, a village, said to have been once a market town, about 6 miles E.N.E. from Bridport. The Church is dedicated to St. Mary, and the living is a rectory value £800. The parish comprises 2330 acres, and the population in 1841 was 463. Cousins John, esq. Cox Rev. James S. A.M. (rector) Cox Rev. Joseph, M.A. Fry George, esq. Omber Miss Mary Bligdon William, blacksmith Bligdon John, boot & shoemaker Brown Samuel, farmer, Loder lawn Cox Joseph, farmer Critchell Henry, grocery &c. dealer Davis Henry, yeoman, Coombe Fry Joseph, carpenter Fry Stephen, dairyman Gale John, butcher Gale Richard G. mason Gibbs Charles, boot & shoe maker Gladwyn Francis, blacksmith Gladwyn Francis, brewer & maltster Gladwyn John, carpenter and wheelwright Hawkins Wm. beer retailer & baker Kellaway John, farmer Legg Wm. farmer & maltster Mellish Richard, farmer Pitcher William, baker Pitfield John, miller & assistant overseer Scadden Joseph, farmer Shire Bernard, farmer Thorner's School, (Endowed for educating & apprenticing boys), Morgan Henry, master Tidby John, wheelwright Vine James, dairyman
Transcription from ‘A Topographical Dictionary of England’, 7th Edition, 1858 LITTON-CHENEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Bridport, hundred of Uggscombe, Dorchester division of Dorset, 6¾ miles (E. S. E.) from the town of Bridport; containing 463 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £33. 7. 8½., and in the gift of the Rev. James Cox, D.D.: the tithes have been commuted for £650, and there is a glebe of 117 acres. The church is in the later English style, and has a fine tower with battlements and pinnacles. In 1690, Robert Thornhill (sic) bequeathed £25 per annum for the maintenance of a free school here, and £75 per annum for apprenticing children of various places. In 1771, Thomas Hollis gave two acres of land, and a house for the schoolmaster's residence.
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Photo by Claire Moore 3_7_2021