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Charlton Marshall Village HistorySun, 21st July 2019

Charlton Marshall Village History

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1880: Fellmongers

Question 1. What is a fellmonger?

Question 2. Did you know we used to have one in Charlton Marshall

When I first came across this term in the 1880 edition of Kelly’s Directory my mind went to ‘fells’ as in ‘moors’ or ‘hills’, but that didn’t seem to make much sense, so I consulted the dictionary and discovered that a ‘fell’ is an animal’s hide or skin with hair, and a fellmonger is somebody who prepares and sells animal skins. It’s either the same as tanning or closely related to it.

I don’t yet know how far back the business goes in Charlton Marshall, but I guess in some form or other it’s been going on since the first herdsmen settled here.

In more recent times, in the 1841 census Charles Dadu(?) aged 24 was a master tanner employing 5 men, and Francis Hopkins aged 61 and his son George aged 22 were both journeyman tanners; William Ball and his son Lewis were also tanners.

The trade can be followed through the census records of the 19th century and various trade directories until we get to the entry of 1880 that first intrigued me, which was ‘Francis Young, fellmonger’. By 1915 this has become ‘Young and Watts Ltd, fellmongers’. The business was carried on in Gravel Lane, and is recalled by the road named Tannery Court at the Blandford end of the village.

Directory entries for Blandford between 1920 and 1939 record Young and Watts at 61 East Street variously as Rope and Twine Merchants, Leather Merchants, and Taxidermists. Perhaps someone can tell me what relation this business had to the one in Charlton Marshall. Also if anyone has any information about the Charlton Marshall business I shall be delighted to receive it.

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