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Frederick Augustus Chalk, Surgeon of Eythorne: Horses & Farms

Eythorne was an agricultural community in the 1800s and many of calls that Mr Chalk had to attend were due to injuries sustained from farming activities and those from using, and being in the presence of, horses. There is no clear record of the number of fatalities or life changing injuries caused by both but it would have been significant.

Thomas Turner Esq.
On 13th January 1838 it was announced in the Dover press that “Notice is given that a branch of the Surrey, Kent & Sussex Joint Bank will open on Monday 22nd January 1838 and that Mr Thomas Turner is appointed Manager under the superintendence of the London Board of Directors”. This joint stock bank was established in Southwark in 1836. Branches were almost immediately opened at Brighton, Canterbury, Croydon, Lewes, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Woolwich. The Dover Branch bank was opened on Castle Street. A cheque from the bank from 1838 is illustrated.

On Tuesday Evening of the 2nd of October 1838, Thomas Turner spent the evening at the Antwerp Inn (Cannon Street/10 Market Place) in Dover. This was a place much used by the “Dover Corporation” as a place where they refreshed themselves after business and no doubt Thomas had a pleasant evening amongst those with whom he did business. It’s not known exactly what time he left the inn on horseback for his home in Tilmanstone, but he was found, some time after midnight, lying in the road near Waldershare Church having sustained a severe injury on his head. He was carried to his home in a “state of insensibility”. The horse had been previously found nearer towards Tilmanstone (and its presence presumably triggering a search for its rider) and the impression was that Mr Turner was accidentally thrown from his seat after the horse shied.

Mr Frederick Chalk, Surgeon of Eythorne was called to attend the deceased about 2 o’clock on Wednesday morning, and he found Mr Turner “in a state of collapse, insensible, bleeding from the mouth and nose with other symptoms denoting injury of the brain but the head exhibited no appearance of external injury”. He was continued to be attended to until the following Saturday when he died at 10 o’clock in the evening. He never regained consciousness and so the exact reason for him coming unseated from his horse was never established. Mr Chalk made a post mortem examination of which he gave an anatomical description and an opinion that the injuries exhibited were the result of a violent fall on the head and that proved the cause of Mr Turner’s decease. An inquest was held and the verdict was accidental death.

Thomas Turner lived at South Court in Tilmanstone. South Court Manor, together with the manors of Dane Court and North Court, form the foundation of the ancient village of Tilmanstone. There is a head stone under a yew tree to the west of Tilmanstone church. It is inscribed, “To the memory of Thomas Turner Esq. of South Court in this parish who died 6th October 1838 in his 52nd year. Universally beloved and respected”.

After his death the “South Court” property (“supplied with excellent water from a well”) was put up for auction. It was described thus “All that messuage or dwelling house called South Court pleasantly situated in the Parish of Tilmanstone within short distance of the turnpike leading from Dover to Sandwich with the stable, chaise house (chaise is a light 2 or 4 wheeled carriage, see illustration), outbuildings, lawn, pleasure & kitchen gardens, enclosed orchard and meadow land adjoining thereto, containing the the whole, by estimation 2acres 2rods and 34perches or thereabouts late in the occupation of Thomas Turner”. The auction also included “four cottages adjoining together, in good repair with gardens, yards and appurtenances belonging thereto, containing by estimation half an acre, near to the last lot now in the occupation of good and punctual tenants” (Robert Neaves, Henry Hearne and others cited).

It’s not clear if the bank continued in being in Dover after Thomas Turner’s death but afterwards the “Messuage, Office and Premises” of the bank where put up to let on 23rd March 1839. In 1839 the bank became the London & County Banking Co but there is no mention of a Dover Branch.

Vince Croud

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