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Two colonels ... or, vestry sheep, being a leetle historie of the Pilton vestorie held March 14th, 1870 at Pilton.

by H J Blackmore

  Print book

An attack in doggerel on a local injustice   (2012-10-03)


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This is an unusual offering by an eccentric Victorian. Henry Turberville was a bachelor and a small landowner who lived in Pilton, Barnstaple.  He owned various bits of property, and a road to one of his properties had been summarily interrupted by the digging of a quarry by a local businessman, Mr Brown. Turberville took his compliants to the local Vestry and then to the local Highway Board, but made very little headway. This poem (if such it can be called) is his way of making his complaints public, but he did so in such a carefree manner that apparently and not surprisingly he attracted threats for libel in the courts.  The footnotes and end notes give us glimpses of the personal life and interests of Henry Turberville. The book was privately published by Turberville, printed by Risdons of Barnstaple and sold for Sixpence by Pincombe of Pilton and Abbot of Barnstaple. 

There is added interest to this saga, in that the whole matter was settled in 1871 (a year after The Two Colonels) by the Highway Board repairing what was left of the road, and awarding Turberville 20 guineas as a form of recompense after the epsode which had lasted about five years.  Henry Turberville was notable for being the older brother of RD Blackmore (the novelist), but who changed his surname after family disagreements.  He died in tragic and mysterious circumstances in a Yeovil hotel in 1875.


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