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Mr Chalk, Surgeon of Eythorne: Reaping Hooks, Horses and Corn.

Three episodes that involved Mr Chalk, the first somewhat loosely connected to agriculture but the latter two are the sort of incidents that occurred in every village at the time: –

Daniel Sharp
On Saturday the 8th August 1840, a group of labourers had been harvesting for one Mr Farmer, residing at Somersfield and he had “liberally treated them that day”. Thus on their way back to Ewell they called at the White Horse, Eythorne, where they had a pot of beer each. Four of them Richard Fagg, Daniel Sharp, Mr Martin and Daniel Rigden went into the public house and the rest remained outside. Just before they were going to start for home, Fagg took a glass of beer to someone outside. Sharp swore that if they would not come in they should not have any beer. Fagg then threw some beer in Sharp’s face and a quarrel ensued. The parties fought for about 5 minutes but Sharp said he was too far gone and would have no more of it.
The whole of them, with the exception of Fagg, then set out for their homes but when they got as far as the Ice-House in Waldershare Park, Fagg came up to them and asked where Sharp was, saying he would now “give it to him”. The whole of the those present begged him to desist but he, looking round, saw Sharp by his side and gave him a severe blow with his fist. Sharp then struck round with a reaping hook (see picture, the lowest implement is strictly a “Fag Hook”) drawing it across Fagg’s neck, inflicting a wound from the right ear about an inch deep, the wound bled profusely. Sharp was taken to Dover Gaol, where he was examined for injuries before being charged with having inflicted a serious wound on the neck of Richard Fagg. The wounded man was taken to Mr Chalk, Surgeon, Eythorne who dressed the wound and the man was removed to the Union Workhouse at Buckland, where he lay in a very precarious state. Mr Chalk noted that both Sharp and Fagg were drunk. Mr Rutley, Surgeon (Edward George Rutley) for the Dover Union was requested to attend Richard Fagg the following day, Sunday the 9th October, at the Union Workhouse.
Daniel Sharp, 22, was committed late (31st) October 1840 on a charge of having maliciously cut Richard Fagg with a hook with intent to disable him on the 8th of August at Eythorne. We can assume, since Sharp wasn’t charged with murder, that Fagg survived the ordeal.

John Banks
On Tuesday 24th April 1855, John Banks, an agricultural servant of Eythorne, was proceeding from Dover to Sandwich with a horse and cart, leading it on foot, when the animal suddenly started off. He attempted to stop it and in doing so was knocked down and one of the wheels passed over his chest and arm. A witness, Richard Payne, observed the horse starting off and that John Banks “ran with it a few rods, stumbled and fell and the wheel of the cart passed over him”. The witness immediately sent for assistance and upon returning found John Banks sitting up on the side of the road and complaining about his shoulder.
Assistance was speedily at hand and he was removed by a cart and driven him to the Crown Public House (then at the corner of York Street and Military Road) in Dover. Mr Chalk, Surgeon of Eythorne, who was called for, found his chest much bruised and that he was suffering intensely. He complained of his arm and breathed with much difficulty and appeared in great pain. He died the same night. Inquest verdict, accidental death.

Mr Beer
On Tuesday morning of the 13th April 1858, a farm labourer named Beer, in the employ of Mr Kelsey Richards at Singledge Farm, Coldred, fell from the top of some corn stacked in the barn and fractured his collar bone and three ribs. He was removed to his residence as promptly as possible and surgical aid in the form of Mr Chalk, Surgeon of Eythorne was sent for and he was shortly in attendance. However, the poor fellow only survived his accident by about 8 hours. (A barn, dating from the 17th Century, still exists at this location and is now a listed building).

Vince Croud

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