An interesting talk on the history of Burton Bradstock was given in the W.I. Hall on Tuesday evening, the lecturer, Mr. Maurice Ouseley MA, being welcomed by Mrs. Heenan as needing no introduction to Burton people.
Mr Ouseley in opening, said that this talk would be in the nature of an introduction to the history of the village and from it, he hoped more information and material would be forthcoming for future use.
The earliest name that could be traced for the village said Mr. Ouseley, was Brideton, which means the farm or tun of the River Bride and it seems that the village derives its main name from the Manor Farm, the only farm in the ancient Manor of Brideton and that the addition of Bradstock came from a later association of the village with the Bradenstock Priory.
The fluctuations in the population of the village were dealt with by Mr. Ouseley; in 1543, when Henry VIII had a census of fighting men made, Burton could contribute to the forces fifty-one men, thirty- eight of whom were bowmen, seven in harness, and a number of billmen, one of whom was registered as the possessor of the only steel helmet in the village. In 1629 there were 64 fighting as seamen as against 49 from Bridport.
From 1801 a regular census had been kept which showed that while in 1801 the population was 654, by 1841 there were 1201 people, a number which has since steadily decreased. In the Commonwealth days, Bredy Farm was sold under an Act of Parliament because some-one was guilty of treason, the Rector was turned out for delinquency, while the minutes of the Dorset Standing Committee showed that Mr William Derby was charged with fighting the Governor of Lyme and his soldiers near Bridport, but honest men said that he was not there.
Over the White House is a stone marked S.B.1635 referring apparently to Simon Bowring, whose son in law, Nicholas Ridgeway, became Rector in that year, Simon Bowring settling down next door to his neighbour. In the middle ages, the people of Bridport were alarmed at the growth of rope walks in Burton and petitioned Parliament for an Act to stop all this Because your said town or borough by means thereof is likely to be destroyed, ruined and desolated if speedy remedy be not by your Highness in that case provided.
An Act which relieved Bridport, renewed in later reigns had the effect of driving manufacturers away, apparently to Yorkshire. In conclusion, Mr. Ouseley said that it would be interesting to know something of the Common Land of Burton. The Ordnance Map called the land East from Bind Barrow Burton Common. In recent years parts of this had been enclosed, yet there were people in the audience who remembered the time when the villages had had free grazing rights there and it would be interesting to know by whose or what authority these rights had been abrogated.
On the motion of Miss Fielding, a vote of thanks to Mr. Ouseley for his educative and interesting talk was unanimously carried.