I live in a town/village called Milborne Port which does not indicate that it has anything to do with the sea only that the medieval word 'Port' attached to a town's name indicates that it was both wealthy and of some local importance. I knew there was something about this place that attracted me when we moved here and I think I now have the reason, courtesy of my Parish Magazine, and Richard Duckworth, a local historian. Duckworth reports the following from a newspaper produced in the neighbouring country of Wiltshire during the reign of King George III. It demonstrates, I think, the fervor with which we support the idea of Law & Order here in downtown Milborne Port!
A meeting was held in the market place of [Milborne Port] which was well-attended, and resolutions to form a society for supressing seditious and inflammatory publications tending to disturb the peace, and supporting a vigorous execution of the laws for the protection of persons and property, were carried with acclamation [hurrah!]
Now, whether it was the desire of the inhabitants to show their determination to support the laws and carry out the laws of the country, and suppress evildoers, or whether it was a mere chance, that the execution of Tom Price, a criminal, had been fixed for the same day! Local history does not tell us, but at half past one in the afternoon that wicked and no doubt miserable Tom was drawn in a cart through most of the streets of the town, and at three in the afternoon was hanged, outside the public house called the 'Tipler' [spelt with one 'p' - the pub changed its name in the first part of the 1800s to The King's Head]. Whilst hanging there, he was repeatedly shot at, and remained hanging whilst a large party of loyal inhabitants of Milborne Port were celebrating the occasion of the meeting by a public dinner in the Tipler, from the window of which poor Tom was in full view. After having done themselves well, and dinner was over, Tom was drawn in a cart to the top of East Hill and there burnt!
Ah, yes, those were the days! Nothing like a swinging corpse outside the dining-room window to give a chap an appetite for his roast beef and spuds! However, let it not be thought that we 'Milborne Porters', if that's quite the right expression, do not know how to conduct ouselves because everyone at the dinner . . .
. . . appeared to be animated with the noble spirit of loyalty to their King, and zealous attachment of the laws and constitution of this country. Unanimity, loyalty, sobriety and the utmost decency, prevailed during the whole time.
I think, in retrospect, the only black mark on the proceedings was that so many of the shots aimed at poor Tom - missed! I suspect this poor marksmanship was a hangover from a few years before when we had that little spot of bother with those damned colonials 'over there'. Anyway, here's a health unto Her Majesty!