Cerne Abbas

An article about John Brodby from Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post Newspaper, 14 February 1805

Transcribed by Claire Smith-Burns


A remarkable circumstance has lately happened at Cerne Abbas, Dorset. A labouring man, by name of John Brodby, living by himself in a little hut of his own, whose wife was some years ago kept by the town, and died in the work-house, came to the overseers, saying he could no longer maintain himself, and he was full of vermin, and begged to be ordered to the work-house, where he was sent and cleansed.

The overseers, on suspicion of his having money, went to examine his hut, where one of them, treading on some straw which lay on the floor, found a little bag with twenty pieces of twisted paper in it, each paper containing 21 shillings in silver. On their way home they met with a lady who enquired if they had examined the oven, for she had oftentimes heard his wife say, when kept by the town, the old rogue was worshipping his god in the oven. On their return, they found there a half pint cup, which contained a purse with 28 guineas in gold.

He still continues in the work-house, says he is glad they have the money; that he lives like a prince, and will not quit the place. The whole sum found was fifty-five pounds three shillings, six sacks of potatoes, and one bag of turnips.


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