Samuel senior left his son his collection of fossils and this interest was probably due to the family’s connection with William Smith. Known as ‘the father of geology’, he had been working on the coal cannel in the Midford Valley around the time of the meeting in the Flower de Luce and was likely to have been the ‘William Smith’ who was one of the signatories of the Resolutions. He had also identified an area in Hinton on the Day’s land which is now an SSSI. Sam junior was a very early member of the Geological Society, founded in 1807. However the young man had a ‘bad press’ with succeeding generations and was said to have been unpopular locally. It is likely he had been spoiled by his mother, and with his father’s death there was no one to check him. His friend, Thomas Jones, (of whom later) had been a steadying influence at Magdalen College, Oxford and had rescued him from some serious scrapes.(Thomas Jones himself had also enjoyed life as a young man – an excellent whip he often took the reins on the stage coach when travelling to or from London). In 1810 at the age of twenty-three Sam married the Hon. Catherine Lister whom he is said to have met at a Bath Assembly. She was the daughter of Lord Ribblesdale from a Yorkshire family and only seventeen. Perhaps it was then, when his mother handed over his inheritance on his marriage, that he embarked on his remodelling of the house. However, the marriage did not last long as they were ill suited and his drinking caused problems. After several failed attempts, Catherine and her maid managed to take a carriage, secretly ordered to wait at the Rose and Crown, and were on their way back to Yorkshire. It was during his brief marriage that Sam Day saw the road to Freshford moved further from the house. The oldest records show it running between the house and the walled kitchen garden, very near to the back of the house but a plan of 1812 shows it passing below the present stables and kitchen garden before re-joining the road to Freshford. The cottage by the kitchen garden was originally built as the lodge at this new entrance to a drive leading to the then front of the house. During Sam’s marriage his mother moved out to Farleigh Hungerford and returned to Hinton House sometime after his wife left. Sam was a Regency man with grand ideas for the house and its land. Although his pockets were not as deep as he would have wished that never seems to have held him back. The old staircase and a number of rooms both on the ground and first floor were demolished and the present large hall was created with the cantilevered stone staircase and a glass dome in the roof No plans for these alterations have come to light so it is not known what was there before and later 19th century alterations have added to the puzzle. Having created a new interior he bought new fashionable furniture typical of the Regency period and large pictures to cover the high walls in the new hall as well as books for his library. He also had plans for the surrounding grounds. He envisaged turning the fields and lane on the east side of the house into a park. Perhaps it was now, having studied Humphrey Repton’s book which was in his library and illustrated fashionable surroundings for a gentleman’s house, that he had two ha-ha dug - one from the little wood called The Rookery across the fields to the road to Freshford so that fields and woodland beyond, which belonged to the Abbey (Priory) would appear to be part of the new park and another part way round the church so that no wall or fence spoiled the picturesque view. (Both ha-ha were filled in during the 1960’s) It was probably at this time too that Sam was said to have ‘cut down an orchard in full bearing’ – an unforgivable action that led to long remembered local disapproval. At this time the old village green became part of the park and a number of small closes and meadows which once lay near the church were also included. Sam never finished the work as in September 1816 he was thrown from his horse and killed. It was reported that his wife was seen lurking by the churchyard wall at his funeral – she subsequently married twice more and out-living all three of her husbands, died at a great age. Sam had made a will leaving everything to his mother, with the verbal request that she should leave the house and land to his good friend Thomas Jones. She took his request to heart and in 1818 wrote to Thomas telling him of her decision to make him her heir. He was the son of a family she knew well. His mother was one of eight Foxcroft sisters fromHalsteads in west Yorkshire and the Jones family lived in Stapleton in Bristol. Thomas was a busy lawyer but from the time he became her heir until Mrs. Day’s death twenty-eight years later he was constantly on call to advise and help. Her son had left debts of at least £30,000 and she succeeded in repaying all these during her life-time, also paying back to the Skurrey side of the family any money she felt had come from her father’s family. She was determined to hand over the estate to Thomas Jones free from encumbrances and in this she succeeded. From 1820 until a few years before her death Mary Day kept a diary, which although the entries are quite brief build a picture of her life. A number of her letters also survive showing her as capable and with a sense of humour. It is from her diary we learn that over the years after her son’s death she completed work on the house and grounds. There were things to be finished internally as it was not until 1820 that she wrote ‘fire in the hall for the first time’. In 1828 she had a portico and steps added to her front door. Mrs. Day also writes of internal plastering and bookshelves being put up in ‘my library’. In 1825 she notes that her flower garden is finished. She was a keen hands-on gardener and from time to time she visited nurseries and received cuttings and seeds from friends. In her day the flower garden was smaller with a ha-ha running from the end of the wall beyond the orangery across to the field known as Varmont (many varieties of this name appear in documents over several hundred years and it may have begun as Fairmount). She mentions repairs or alterations to her glasshouse and on one occasion notes she has sent a pineapple to a friend. Difficult to grow in the British climate, this suggests she had a skilful gardener – growing pineapples was an expensive and labour intensive endeavour. It has recently been recognised that one of the old glass houses had originally been a ‘pinery vinery’ designed to grow both pineapples and grapes. She also records sending oranges and other fruit to friends. An orangery may have already been built but she extended it and the paved path in front of it became known as Madam Day’s Walk. In her younger days she was often to be seen helping with the hay making or riding round her fields on Little Adam, her pony. She was extremely popular and hardly a day passed without someone paying a visit or being entertained to a meal. She herself was frequently dining out in the local villages. She much enjoyed the company of the young and was very friendly with the large Houlton family who lived in Farleigh Hungerford. In 1831 she describes entertaining two young Houltons , Flora and Victor, to syllabub in her root house – another popular garden folly of the time. Some years later in 1838 a ‘tremendous wind in the night’ blew down a wall and pigeon houses outside the library on the east side of the house. Although devoted to her life in ‘dear Hinton’ for many years she took lodgings in Bath in January or February so that she could meet friends, attend balls, the theatre and concerts – and occasional services in the Abbey. Some summers she visited Weymouth with friends but there is no record of her ever taking a train although on one occasion friends staying at Hinton took the train from Bath to Bristol and ‘were back for tea’. This was just before the GWR line from Bath to London was completed and it was still possible to load your carriage to travel with you. Although no social reformer she was aware of the needs of the poor and on several occasions visited Bath with Anne, her maid, to buy blankets for those in need and she also instituted an annual custom of giving out meat, bread and coal to many Hinton inhabitants. Entry and exit from the house had to be strictly supervised to prevent disputes arising if one recipient felt her joint was unfairly larger than her neighbours. Coal, from local mines, would arrive at the back of the house in waggons and be distributed by a senior tenant farmer with a list. ( In the bad times in the 1830’s, Thomas Jones also sent money for extra coal to be distributed in February). The majority of the recipients were agricultural labourers and their families who would seldom have eaten meat - while attempts to keep warm on a labourer’s wage with often inadequate housing was always a problem for the poor. The distribution took place a few days before Christmas each year and continued with future owners until the outbreak of World War II when rationing brought it to an end.
By 1815 in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars the old system of parish relief funded by a Poor Rate was becoming under more and more strain as higher numbers of the inhabitants were becoming destitute due to loss of work in the cloth industry and changing agricultural practices. Captain Symonds of the Abbey, who had become a churchwarden a few years earlier, paid a visit to Mrs Day in1820 to tell her that the Church Wardens and members of the Vestry – made up from local farmers, shop keepers, and tradesmen - had plans to build a Poor House on the piece of glebe land near the church (now the site of the Old School House). She immediately wrote to Thomas Jones to suggest he might like to buy the piece of land in the future! Whatever Thomas may have replied the Poor House was built and was soon occupied as times were hard. The Captain paid another visit to Mrs Day a few years later with ambitious plans to add a North aisle to the Church and so extend the seating as most of the old box pews were rented to specific families. He was also negotiating to separate the Parish from Norton, to which it had been joined by the Carthusians many years earlier. He would also need to find funds for a stipend for a clergyman for the re-formed parish. This substantial North aisle extension to St. Johns was completed in 1825 with help from the Archbishop’s Fund and Queen Ann’s Bounty and the enlarged church was open again for services by December that year. However things had not gone smoothly between Mrs Day and the Captain. As early as the winter of 1820 there is a brief diary entry: ‘Captain Symond’s keeper was impudent to me’, when they met in the wood on the edge of the park. A few years later during the building work in the church Mrs Day locked the gate to the old lane in front of the house. This was the shortest way to ride from the Priory to the church and either Captain Symonds or one of his servants broke the lock to ride through to the church. The gate was locked once more and the gardener was put on guard. Thomas Jones was urgently summoned, as was Colonel Houghton from Farleigh to give her support and advice. It was her land but was there an old right of way across it? Certainly it seems the Captain felt he was within his rights and sued but nothing seems to have come of it. The present public footpath is further from the house and no longer can anyone ride to church from the Priory. It may have been that Mrs Day felt vulnerable as a women and was determined not to have her position as the leading landowner disregarded. The Captain was a retired army man who had married one of two Humphrey sisters, the last descendants of the Robinson family who had acquired the ‘Abbey’ around the time the Hardings had come to the Grange. Captain Symonds and his wife and daughter all seem to have been of a strict evangelical turn of mind and never entertained or were included in any of the local dinners and outings in which Mary Day participated and so much enjoyed. Although she was good friends with Miss Humphreys - the Captain’s sister in law - who often took tea with her, Mrs Day and the Captain would have had little in common and the sight of him riding past her window on a regular basis may have been more than she could stand. With the church now extended and the extra seating in place the new ‘perpetual curate’ arrived in the spring of 1826. He was the Rev. Thomas Spencer, fellow of St. John’s Collage, Cambridge.For several years all went smoothly between Mrs Day and Mr Spencer, as she and Thomas Jones had given land and money for the building of the vicarage and the first school. Sadly Thomas Spencer had no tact or social manners. While Mrs Day could have stepped out of one of Jane Austin’s novels, Spencer came from a different world and background. He was a social reformer with strongly held religious views. His family had been Dissenters for several generations, although now Wesleyans, his mother having known John Wesley. He had been brought up in Derby, a forward looking manufacturing town where new ideas flourished. In many ways he was eccentric although he did much good in the village.
Mrs Mary DayFrom a miniature painted in later life. Her diary confirms her curls are not her own
In his early days Mrs Day often invited him for meals but after several smaller disagreements they finally fell out once again over locked gates. On this occasion it was when she locked the gates of her drive onto the High Street as she had ceased using it.
The drive and entrance on the High Street closed by Mrs DayThe street was then narrower and there would always have been the inconvenience of meeting a stage or mail coach or other traffic, as her carriage made a sharp turn out of the gate. There may have been some substance in Spencer’s argument that there was an old right of way somewhere along the driveway but it seems doubtful and the quarrel was one as much of personalities as of fact. He saw the closure as a personal affront as he preferred to use the drive ‘as a retired walk to church’ rather than encounter the mud and not infrequently rude inhabitants in the village street. It was resolved by Spencer being given a key for his own use but it seems they never spoke again although she continued to attend church. She had closed this awkward entrance, no longer needing it, having access to Freshford and Bath via her entrance to the Freshford Road and to Farleigh and Trowbridge through the drive she had recently made across her new park towards Newtown. She had had a lodge built at the entrance to this new drive and pulled down two cottages, known as Tidford cottages on Newtown Lane so that a short cutting could be made to lead directly from her Lodge to the Farleigh road. Part of the her old drive to the High Street then became a footpath from the house to the village, known for many years as the Laurel Walk, it led to the present entrance into Green Lane from the Millennium Green and the cricket field.
On 30th April 1830 Mary Day’s diary entry reads: ‘Captain Symonds buried. Snow on the ground.’ His grave lies to the east of the church near to the north aisle – built just five years earlier through his own energetic endeavours.The Bristol Riots in 1831 at the time of the Reform Bill frightened everyone, with some 500 dead and half Queen Square burnt down. Mrs. Day hurried home from Weymouth and perhaps because of some local discontent at this time, Spencer and the men of the Vestry stopped the male paupers stone breaking for the Macadams building the A36 – no doubt a job much disliked and which it seems the Vestry feared might cause trouble. Parish pay was reinstated for the paupers and Mrs Day packed up her silverware and sent it to the Bank. This was still an unsettled time in Hinton as well as elsewhere. Only a few years earlier there had been a murder on the hill to Midford and in the previous generation the last of the male Robinsons at the Priory had ended up in Spire Pond only a few hundred yards from his front door, probably murdered for the Poor Rate money he had been collecting. However the Bristol violence did not spread to Bath and with the eventual passing of the Reform Bill Mr. Jones, as a man, got a vote in Hinton on the strength of a few fields he had bought but as yet no vote for Mary Day or other women. Mrs Day, had introduced Mr. Jones to several young ladies without success but in 1835, to her great delight, Thomas Jones, nearing fifty, married Margaret Talbot, granddaughter of Samuel Rodbard of Evercreech, a great friend of both Mrs Day and her late husband. Margaret was the oldest of the twelve children of Sarah Rodbard and James Talbot who had later become Lord Talbot de Malahide, an Irish title. In the following years the couple had two sons and a daughter, Edward Talbot Day, born in 1837 and Felix and Margaret Ann in the following years. Thomas Jones served on the Bristol City Council for a number of years and in 1841 in his capacity as High Sheriff of the city, he with others went to London to carry Bristol’s congratulations to Queen Victoria on the birth of her first son, (later Edward VII). For many years his court dress worn on this occasion was kept at Hinton House and consisted of a deep plum coloured coat and breeches and a cream silk waistcoat embroidered with a border of small multi-coloured flowers.Jones/Foxcroft 1848-1942 In 1846, in her eightieth year Mrs Mary Day died and her long stewardship of Hinton House came to an end. So at last Thomas Jones, her faithful heir, came into his inheritance. He and his wife planned significant alterations to the old house but tragically two years later on the day the builders started the work, he had a stroke and died in his house in Clifton. His widow continued with the work of enlarging the house. She had spent much of her youth in Italy and wanted more spacious reception rooms. The introduction of the large hall had reduced the number of rooms on both the ground and first floors and Thomas and Margaret had planned to move the front door to the south side of the house, where there had been a garden door, and to build two large reception rooms with two bedroom above, on the east side as well as additional servants quarters These additions reduced the light as this did away with four windows on both ground and first floor (including that from which Mr Day’s coffin had fallen) and meant the introduction of more sky lights Mrs. Day’s portico and steps were put in place at the new front door and the Hon. Margaret Jones with the three young children eventually moved into the renovated house where she spent the rest of her long life It was during the 1850’s that additional landscaping was needed on the east side of the house. The new rooms had been built over the old drive way and now projected beyond the outline of the old house. It was probably during these years that the Italian Garden was created. This was said to have been a present from Edward and Felix Jones to their mother from a design they saw at the Great Exhibition of 1851. However the boys would have only been 14 and 12 at the time and although it is quite possible they were taken to the Exhibition and saw such a garden with its twenty- eight little flower beds, yew trees, walls and urns, they would have hardly been old enough to pay for its creation. It was during the Hon. Margaret Jones’s stewardship that Mrs Day’s kitchen in the centre of the house was no longer used and became the housekeeper’s room and a new kitchen – or possibly an old one refurbished - was made in a large room to the rear of the house. At one time this had been a separate building as it was outside the shell of the barn. A servants’ hall was built beyond the library against the still existing barn wall and it was probably then that other domestic offices and store rooms were added around the new large kitchen. In 1862 the elder son, Edward, married Wilhelmina (‘Mina’) Robertson-Glasgow in Scotland and only a few months later his sister, Annie, married Malcolm Fleming Hamilton. For this latter event her records show that Margaret Jones employed a London firm to decorate the large drawing room. The walls were covered with cream and gold wallpaper panels surrounded with narrow gold moulding and decorated in a Chinese style with bamboo and little birds while the large windows were curtained with red figured silk. Perhaps it may have been at this time that the cornices were decorated with gold leaf by Italian workmen who had been working at Longleat. The Miss Foxcrofts recalled they had been told that the workman climbed to work with the gold leaf in their pomaded hair. As a child I was fascinated by this romantic story but have yet to find on what it was based! This wedding seems to have been a celebration for everyone – no doubt appreciated in an era without all the entertainment on offer to-day. The village street was decorated with greenery and flags to celebrate Edward’s recent wedding as well as that of his sister’s. It was an occasion to introduce both young couples to family, friends and tenants. The local paper described the whole event in glowing terms. There was a tea for the villagers, a marquee for a dinner for the tenant farmers followed by dancing, and indoors more food and dancing in the newly decorated ‘ball room’ for the bride’s family and friends. Edward Jones and his new wife rented houses in the area for a number of years while his mother was alive and they did not live in the house until the mid-1870’s. In 1865 the family name had been changed to Foxcroft as Edward inherited property in Yorkshire through his Foxcroft/Jones grandmother. He was much interested in local affairs and his responsibilities to his tenants. He worked hard for the village and gave a reading room/coffee house and helped to relocate and build a larger school also adding three local farms to the estate, Stroud, Hinton Farm and Broadfield. He built three cottages and renovated a number of others. A long time Churchwarden, he supported the church generously, enlarging the vicar’s stipend among other donations. For many years he was Chairman of the Parish Council and he took much interest in wider local affairs becoming a member of the Somerset County Council in the 1880’s when local government was reorganized. He was a J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant and held the post of High Sheriff for Somerset in 1890. He and his wife had two surviving sons, Charles and John as well as five daughters, Helen, Margaret, Mary (Polly), Cecelia (Cissie), and Violet. Their younger son, John, the youngest child, clever and with an Oxford first class degree, (coached by his eldest sister, Helen), joined the Egyptian Civil Service. Polly had married O.P. Skrine of Warleigh Manor in 1892 – another event enjoyed by the village as well as the House - and spent the early years of her marriage in Canada where her husband farmed in Saskatchewan. Later they moved to Vancouver where their only child, Phyllis Skrine, was born in 1900. In 1904 they returned to England and settled in Bradford-on-Avon. In 1910 John died in Egypt from typhoid after an appendix operation at the early age of 30. This was a devastating blow for the whole family as he had been a great favourite with everyone. His mother died later that year and Edward followed in 1911, deeply saddened by his wife’s death and that of their son. In memory of Edward Foxcroft his family and many friends gave the four windows depicting Somerset Worthies in the north aisle of the parish church and John and his mother are commemorated in the window on the south wall over the choir stalls. Edward left the property to his only surviving son Charles Talbot Foxcroft., with provision for his spinster daughters. Charles never married and his sisters continued to live with him. Charles had made several attempts to enter Parliament as member for Frome before the first World War and was eventually successful in 1919 when he became (Conservative) Unionist member for Bath. He continued as an MP except for a short break in 1923, until his death in 1929. All his sisters had been educated at home by their mother and governesses. All were intelligent with Helen Foxcroft being exceptionally clever. She became a writer and an historian. One of her books, ‘Halifax the Trimmer’ (a politician at the time of Queen Anne), became a standard work at Oxford University until the 1960’s. The lack of good marksmen in the British Army in the Boer War in contrast to the Boers had alerted those who saw a European war looming, to the need to have men ready trained to shoot accurately and in 1906 Helen Foxcroft became secretary and organiser of the Hinton Charterhouse Miniature Rifle Club and also wrote an enthusiastic article for the organisation’s national magazine, The Rifleman; as always signing herself ‘H.C. Foxcroft’ so her sex was undisclosed. The club won the Bath & District Bladud Challenge Cup in 1913, and celebrated with a professional photograph of all members with Miss Foxcroft in the centre beside the cup! Her minutes show the Club continued until 1918. Their indoor shooting range was a disused malt house in the High Street which is now a private house and there was an outdoor range in a field on Tytherley Farm. Helen Foxcroft has also left her account of her aeroplane flight in October 1912. She would have been aware that this new means of transport had military potential. Interested and undaunted, she paid £2.2s. for a flight from the then new Flying School at Lark Hill on Salisbury Plain, flying in a Bristol side by side monoplane at 57 m.p.h. over Stonehenge. During World War I Helen, Margaret and Cissie Foxcroft all worked as VADs in local Red Cross convalescent hospitals and Charles served in the Somerset Light Infantry. After the war in 1920 Charles gave the barn which was attached to the old Coffee Rooms as a Village Hall in memory of all those in Hinton who had fought in the war. Between the wars Helen continued her writing, mainly on political subjects and did much of the research for her brother Charlie, supporting him as an MP. She became a JP and was to continue to serve on the Bench throughout World War II, while her sisters were occupied in local and village interests: Margaret and Cissie ran the Sunday School and Margaret started the WI in 1923 and became its first President. She also ran a club for older children which was remembered for years by those attending it. They reorganised the village library and helped to run the usual fetes, Sunday School parties and royal celebrations. There had been alterations to the house over the years when the Foxcroft children were growing up. It was probably then that attics were made into servants’ rooms and two bathrooms were added. At some stage the room which leads into the orangery and had been a dairy in earlier days, became the smoking room – to which those who smoked were ruthlessly banished. Above it an additional room became Charles’s bedroom. Violet, the family’s long term invalid, died in 1920 and Charles followed her in January 1929 leaving the property to his three remaining unmarried sisters Helen, Margret and Cecelia Foxcroft.Later that year in April 1929 Phyllis Skrine the only descendent of Edward Foxcroft’s large family, married her second cousin, Robert Robertson-Glasgow (Bobs), in Hinton’s Parish Church. In the following years regular visits to ‘the aunts’ were made by the Robertson-Glasgows and their growing family – Isla in 1930, Alison in 1932, Robert (Robin) in 1935 and Christal in 1938. Although the House was far from being a farm, the Foxcroft family had three or four Jersey cows for milk, butter and cream and two or three pigs from which hams were made for the household – and a cob to draw the trap which took the laundry to Freshford, (This partial self-sufficiency was probably a long standing tradition as Mary Day noted sending a cow to Norton Fair in the 1830’s). The kitchen garden provided fruit and vegetables and Bath orders were delivered to the door. There was at thattime in the 1930’s a household staff of six maids and a cook as well as two gardeners and a boy, an odd job man/chauffeur and a man who looked after the pigs and cows. An old photograph in the days of the Hon.Margaret Jones shows an only slightly larger staff. With the outbreak of war in 1939 changes came fast. Helen Foxcroft’s diary bewails the difficulty of blacking out the many and differently shaped windows. Evacuees arrived in the village and seven single women from the south coast were found room in the house as well as an elderly couple from London, cousins of the Foxcrofts, and the English Chaplain at the Hague and his wife and daughter. Helen Foxcroft became an air raid warden while Margaret and Cissie helped with organising a rest centre in the school which was much used when Bath was bombed and many came out to local villages for safety. Over the next two years everyone in the house took turns in fire-watching and most belonged to working parties making socks etc. for the forces. Helen and others made gloves for men on the minesweeper the village had adopted – she describes them as having a string outer cover with a tweed inner lining and letters from the men showed they were much appreciated. The cellar was used for some time to store books from the British Library which it was feared would be bombed. In September 1941 Margaret Foxcroft died suddenly. She was the practical one and without her and with an ever decreasing staff Helen and Cissie with great regret, decided at the end of 1942 to move to Innox Lodge in the village. This was a painful move for both of them who had known the house for so long. Before it could be let evacuees had to be moved on and much had to be packed up and stored – a difficult proposition in wartime. Hinton House was then let to a Miss Harris who ran it as a naturopathic nursing home from 1943 until it failed in 1948 through lack of patients.Robertson-Glasgows 1948-1992
The Foxcroft family in the garden
Samuel Day became a local J.P. and in 1797 was High Sheriff of Somerset. Among his papers were notes of a meeting he and John Mead of Chatley House in Norton held a year later in the ‘Flower de Luce’, (at this time Hinton and Norton were still one parish), to organise a Volunteer Association to defend the area against a possible French invasion. This was a time when most of the larger towns are recorded as raising similar associations as the threat of invasion was very real, although from the rough draft Sam Day left of the ‘resolutions’ it appears that those at the meeting were more afraid of the local inhabitants attacking the ‘manufactories’ or cloth mills in the area, as one in Farleigh Hungerford had already been burnt down a few weeks before the meeting. The introduction of new machinery was the main cause of the unrest and the resolutions include a request that no newmachinery be introduced during the ‘present war with France’. Sam Day may have had some interests in the industry himself as he patented a machine to be used by watchmen on their nightly rounds – an earlyclocking in machine. In 1803 when invasion was again thought possible, it was he who filled in numerousforms for villages in the Hundred of Wellow showing who were available to transport the local population of women, children and the elderly to safety in Wales. Both the 1797 and 1803 documents give many local names and occupations.
Many of Sam Day’s papers remained in Hinton House, apparently left untouched by his wife, probably due to his unexpected death in 1806 as the result of an accident. He had gone to Bridgewater to take part in the election of a Member of Parliament and this was in the days when there were no secret ballets and those entitled to vote, (at the time only a very limited number of men), had their names recorded openly. A hustings or scaffolding had been erected for this to take place and during the voting it collapsed and Samuel Day was thrown to the ground. He was taken to a local Inn and his wife with one of her Skurrey cousins came to care for him. He seemed to be improving but probably due to some internal injury he died a few days later. The account of this accident can be found in The Gentleman’s Magazine and local papers of the time. He is said to have been brought back to Hinton House in a lead coffin. This was a slow journey by waggon and it was late in the day by the time it reached Hinton. It was impossible to get the heavy coffin up the stairs – which were then quite narrow. The story goes that by this time it was dark and the only way to get him upstairs was to haul the coffin on ropes through the bedroom window. This was attempted but when the coffin was some way up a rope broke and the heavy coffin fell, killing one of the men below. The added tragedy was said to have caused Sam Day’s ghost to walk in the house near the bedroom window. This became so troublesome that seven priests came to the house and his unhappy spirit was ‘sent to the Red Sea from which there is no return.’ Mary Day was now left a widow at forty with a nineteen year old son – she had lost her little girl, Mary, while still a small child. Sadly she is said to have died of pneumonia as a result of her brother burying her in the garden ‘to make her grow’. Samuel Day’s will left his wife in charge of the property until Samuel Skurrey Day was twenty five or he married. The Days now owned three farms in Hinton – Norwood, Hinton Field and Tytherley as well a farm in Westwood and property in Broughton Gifford and various cottages in Wolverton, Beckington, and Rode.