A gruesome discovery was made while workmen were digging foundations for the new Picture Palace(cinema) being built on the High Street. They unearthed a complete adult skeleton, which was probably a medieval burial in the graveyard of St Martin’s church, which once stood nearby.
In August Lord and Lady Stalbridge invited all the children living in Motcombe for games and tea at Motcombe House (now Port Regis School). After singing the National Anthem all the children were given gifts before they went home.
Charles Arney, an employee of the owner of The Grosvenor Hotel, Robert Borley, was found guilty of embezzlement. He was employed to convey passengers and their luggage to and from Semley Station. Each passenger journey cost one shilling (worth £4 in 2017), and the accused was keeping back some of the fares. The manager of the Gas Works gave evidence, and Arney was fined £1 and 14/6d costs.
A serious accident took place when Charles Joliffe was taking milk from Barton Hill Farm, Shaftesbury to the Prideaux Milk Factory in Motcombe. His horse took fright and galloped furiously through Motcombe village and tried to go through the factory gate. A wheel caught in the factory gate post, and the milk cart overturned. Dr Harris examined Mr Joliffe who was taken to the Shaftesbury hospital in one of Mr Prideaux’s motor cars.
In August, Robert Gutsell took out a series of advertisements in the Western Gazette. He had recently taken over a drapery business in the High Street, which was being boycotted because of rumours claiming that he was German. The rumours were completely untrue, as Mr Gutsell and his forebears had all been born in England and were well known in Dorchester.
Lord Stalbridge offered Castle Hill as a recreation ground to the town council for a rent of £40 per annum. The offer was accepted by the council. The fee for visiting the Abbey excavations was reduced from one shilling to sixpence for local visitors.
John Jeffery, the market auctioneer, was given permission to build a pound with removable posts in the town market.
The Mid-Wessex Rainfall Association reported that 1915 had been an unusual year, with low rainfall in May and June, and very heavy rainfall from July to October, and a very cold November. It was suggested that the unusual weather patterns in the south of England might be connected to the ‘heavy firing of the war’.
The coldest and wettest March in over 20 years marked 1916, with snow or sleet on seventeen days. Crops were slow to germinate and grow, causing food shortages later in the year.
On a happier note, in June, Miss Edith Rutter, daughter of the Town Clerk of Shaftesbury, John Kingsley Rutter, married Edward Langford at the Gold Hill Institute, the meeting house for the Quakers.
Later that month, cars owned by Robert Borley and Charles Prideaux collided near the girls’ high school on Parsons Pool. No one was hurt even though the three occupants of Mr Prideaux’s car were thrown out, but Mr Borley’s car was badly damaged.
In August in a house on the High Street, Mrs Hussey accidentally set fire to a curtain with a candle. The fire brigade was summoned, but by the time they arrived, P.C. Day and helpful neighbours had almost put the fire out.