KINSON & SMUGGLING

One cannot mention Kinson and Smuggling without thinking of Isaac Gulliver 1745-1800 ! I think every child that went to Kinson School or surrounding Schools will at some stage in their School years have to-do a project on the Infamous Isaac and the grave in St.Andrews, that of a  smuggler Robert Trottman who was killed on the shores in 1765 either by the excise men or a stray smuggler's bullet ,and apparently according to his headstone innocent! It reads thus :-

 

"To the memory of ROBERT TROTMAN

Late of Rond in the County of Wilts

Who was barbarously Murder'd

On the shore near Poole the 24 March 1765.

 

A little Tea one leaf I did not steal

For Guiltless Blood shed I to GOD appeal

Put Tea in one scale human Blood in tother

And think what tis to slay thy harmles Brother."

 

                                                         

 

robert trotman

 I do not propose to go into lenthy detail about about isaac Guller as he has been well documented on the excellent Moonfleet site and so would seem silly to repeat the same information here. I would like to mention Pitts farm which at one time was in the owerneship of Isaac Gulliver , as in the late 1800s early 1900s my 3 times grt grandfather Uriah Cole farmed the farm Extract from Moonfleet:- ( I notice that Uriah is not mentioned but the 1891 census shows Uriah Cole age 62 widow farmer

at Pitts farm along with his two daughters and son-in -law John Head maybe he only rented it and therefor not recorded ?)

 

This Kinson farm, sadly no more, was purchased by Isaac Gulliver in 1775. It was one of his first major purchases in this area.Although modern housing covers the majority of the area, a few open fields and ancient tree boundaries can still be seen today. Everyone who researches local history is probably fascinated about Gulliver`s life and his connection with Kinson and his immense trade he built up during the height of the smuggling age. It appears that he was not the only venturer who was drawn to the open sea!

 

Any contraband needed to be hidden. Kinson was ideal, a village several miles inland which was separated from the coast by extensive heathland where the smugglers could dig wells in the ground to hide their booty in case they were ambushed by the Customsmen.

Pelhams, one of several homes bought by Gulliver.

Gulliver bought up several houses and large tracts of land and had a network of tunnels built. The whole of Kinson is supposedly undermined by the network which stretches from the former Kinson House where he lived, to the rectory and St Andrews Church.

 

Pitts Farm dates back to the early 1600`s, when it was owned by John Weare whose grave can be found at the base of the square-western tower in Kinson churchyard. We need to come forward in time to 1698/9 when this farm comes to our attention through a purchase. On the 10th and the 11th March of that year John & Thomas Swaine, James and Catherine Penny, John and Mary Walker, Robert and Jane Hayes, in consideration of ninety pounds, sold certain lands to Thomas Pitt of Ensbury. The sale was witnessed by Woodes Rogers, a famous sea captain.

 

Woodes Rogers was reputedly born in Poole in 1679. He later sailed around the world and was the third English sea-captain to achieve this notable feat. His father was involved in the Newfoundland trade, later moving to Bristol from Poole.

Captain Rogers was authorised to lead an expedition to gauge the strength of the Spaniards on the Pacific coasts of their American colonies during the time of the War of the Spanish Succession in the reign of Queen Anne of England (1702-1714).

Aged 29, he set out on his tour of duty in 1708, commanding the Duke (320 tons, 30 guns, with a crew of 117) and the Duchess (260 tons, 26 guns, with a crew of 108). He took with him a much respected navigator of the South Seas named William Dampier.

 

Early in 1709, they rounded the Horn into the Pacific and dropped anchors off the Island of Juan Fernandez, taking on board their vessels much needed fresh supplies of water, fruit and fresh supplies of goat meat.

It was here that Rogers noticed a light coming from near the shoreline and he sent a boarding party to trace its source.

In, "A Cruising Voyage round the World" he later related:

 

"Our pinnace (warship`s boat usually with 8 oars) returned from the shoreline and brought a man in goat skins who looked wilder than the first owners of them."

The wild man was none other than Alexander Selkirk, a Scotsman marooned there four years earlier after a dispute when he was a member of Dampier`s earlier expedition.

After rescuing Selkirk, Woodes Rogers sailed northwards capturing several Spanish vessels and considerable booty. Being mindful of danger, he sailed for England taking the route across the Pacific to the East Indies, returning home via the Cape of Good Hope arriving safely in 1711.

 

The writer, Daniel Defoe, probably met Woodes Rogers and Andrew Selkirk and this is how, "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" came to be written and published in 1719.

In 1718, Rogers was sent to the Bahamas as the first Crown governor in an effort to restore law and order in this archipelago of the British West Indies. These islands (29) were ruled by a band of maurading pirates, one of whom was the notorious pirate leader,Edward Teach(Blackbeard), killed in the same year. Woodes Rogers died there in 1732.

Daniel Defoe died in 1731. One of his daughters, Henrietta, married John Boston, an officer of Excise in Wimborne, by whom she had one son and died on 5th May, 1760.

 

Thomas Pitts did not stay long at Pitts farm and later moved to Corfe Mullen in Wimborne. He sold his lands to William Oakley of Cudnell. The Oakley family have a tomb which can be found near the porch of Kinson church. This same family also owned original Pelhams.

What would have Isaac Gulliver have made of all this? He never sold this farm and it remained in the family until it was sold by one of his grandsons, the Rev. Henry Edmund Fryer in 1867.

 

In 1840, Mary Rodwell held the tenancy of Pitts Farm and in 1867, Joshua Wareham occupied Oxford Plot and Thomas Whitteridge held the tenancy of Pitts Farm and was concerned with the running of a butcher`s shop on the premises.

Uriah Cole was also a tenant of Pitts farm in the early 1900s

Up to about the 1950`s, the land was still farmed and Mr. Still is believed to have been the last tenant farmer.

 

Modern day Kinson is littered with clues from its illicit past. Pelhams House became Kinson Community Centre in the 1950s and was lived in by Gulliver's daughter Elizabeth who managed to marry a man who wasn't a smuggler.

The current rectory is formerly the Sloop Inn, under which one of the smugglers tunnels is reportedly dug and the Churchyard where many of the graves are those of either smugglers or their relatives. Some of their descendants still live in Kinson.

 

Sir Isaac himself is buried at Wimborne Minster where he led an honest retirement before his death in 1822.

 

 

 

old kinson church old tunnel kinson

Old Kinson Church

Pictured left an old smuggling tunnel at the rear of St.Andrews Church & Howe Lodge right

howe lodge