In 1898 William Ewart Gladstone, the famous Liberal Prime Minister died and by the express direction of Parliament was given a state funeral. His body lay in state in Westminster Hall and the funeral took place in Westminster Abbey.
In Timsbury in that year the Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells consecrated an additional churchyard for the village. A special service was held in St Marys Church at the conclusion of which the Bishop and those present proceeded to the new burial ground which had been a gift of Mr. S.P. Sambourne, J.P.
Students attending a continuation school were entertained to supper by the village headmaster Mr. Arnold and his wife. At the close Mr. Arnold was presented with a silver bound inkstand suitably inscribed by the members of the class, several of whom spoke in very flattering terms of their teacher.
A meeting of the miners employed at the Upper and Lower Conygre collieries was held in the village with the miners’ agent S.H. Whitehouse present. Local grievances were aired and it was agreed to appoint a deputation from the two pits to look for improved wages.
The election of Timsbury Parish Council was held in the National Schoolroom at Mill Lane with Dr. Wood presiding over a good attendance of electors. Seven candidates were elected with Rev. Rendell serving as Chairman until Henry Cox took over in 1901. It should be remembered that Parish Councils had only come into existence four years previously and councillors were elected by a simple show of hands.
The 22nd anniversary of the United Patriots Benefit Society (Timsbury branch) took place in 1898. A procession was headed by the Camerton Brass band and paraded the village. It returned to a field near the Temperance Hall where a variety of amusements were provided. A large marquee had been put up and tea was enjoyed by a large number of members, friends and visitors.
The United Methodist Free Church Band of Hope meanwhile held their annual picnic. The party numbering 152 left in wagons and accompanied by the band of the Timsbury Corps of the Salvation Army proceeded to a field in Keynsham.
I was intrigued to learn that the Timsbury postmaster at this time was an Ernest Weaver Stamp!! An eight-year-old lad was charged with stealing two hens’ eggs from the postmaster to the value of twopence. The Bench being desirous that a boy of such tender age should not start life with a conviction of theft proposed that the boy’s father should take the lad into the cells below and there give him a good whipping, not unnecessarily severe, in the presence of Superintendent Brown. Mr Stamp agreed and this course was adopted.
Complaints continued about the state of the roads in Timsbury. Mr. Bird complained that the road scrapings had been allowed to remain opposite the Post Office and that two or three ladies had walked into them. The surveyor promised to remove them. It was also stated that the grating near the entrance of Pendoggett (Parish’s House) had been pulled up by children.
Finally, at Camerton a little girl Rosa Pickford had her thumb and the first finger of the right hand severed by a chaff-cutting machine. She had been trifling with the machine when a lad who was nearby turned the handle. The child was said to be doing well under the care of Dr. Woods.