Stroud News and Gloucester Advertiser

Friday, August 18th 1876


The 21st annual fete in aid of the Great Western and Bristol and Exeter Railways’ Provident Society and Widow and Orphan Fund was held in Earl Bathurst's park, Cirencester, on Tuesday, and attracted an attendance of about 12,000 persons. The first of the long series of fetes mentioned was commenced with a gathering in Earl Bathurst’s domains, the first fete under the auspieces of this commendable society taking place at Ten Rides, four or five miles from the town, and causing quite a furore at the time. Then visitors were put down on the Gloucester branch of the Great Western system at a point in Hailey Wood, nearest to the rendezvous; but on Tuesday all visitors by train were brought into Cirencester, and notwithstanding that the line there terminates, all arrangements for the reception and dispatch of excursionisis were well carried out by the station master, whose exertions were successful, not a single hitch or mishap occurring throughout the day. About 8,000 persons came into the town by train. The locale for this year’s gathering was the junction of the Seven Rides, Oakley Park, situate within easy distance of the town. Earl Bathurst’s mansion and all parts of the Home park was thrown open for the inspection of the visitors; and beyond these pointe other delightful spots of hill and dale attracted attention. Amusements at the scene of the fete were provided by a London company of “Star Artistes” under the superintendence of Mr. Henry Shield, and their performance gave the utmost satisfaction. The balloon race scarcely proved successful, but the magic post office did a lively business. Archery, too, found many patrons, but the votaries of old Aunt Sally and knock-em-downs were not so numerous as it is customary to find them in such a big crowd. Under the shade of tall ancestral trees the splendid band of the 3rd Gloucester Artillery Volunteers discoursed sweet music, their selections being some of the most approved and choicest of the day; and the Royal North Gloucester Militia Band kept hundreds supplied with the incentive for tripping “the light fantastic toe,” albeit scores who attempted the graceful seemed neither light, or graceful. The Right Hon. Earl Bathurst and party honoured the proceedings with their presence, his lordship being a prolonged spectator of the busy scene; and he was frequently loudly cheered. Mr. T, Price, of the Swan Hotel Cirencester, made all arrangements for the comveyance of visitors to the ground, as well as the supplying of them with refreshmeats, which necessary part of the proceedings was also participated in by Mr. D. Blackford, of the Talbot Inn, Cirencester, and Mr. Hobbs, confectioner of Stroud; and their much-demanded drinkables and edibles were such as to commend themselves to all. In every department there was plenty, and that too, at reasonable rates. At dusk, the ground was cleared, the playing of the National Anthem being the at-once heeded signal for departure. During the day, a Mrs. Osborne, of Gloucester, was sunstruck, and when almost in a state of collapse, she was removed to the town Cottage Hospital, a night's detention at which, and the medical treatment of Mr. O. Fowler, sufficed to allow of her removal home. A lad named James Pitt, twelve years of age, son of Samuel Pitt, labourer, of Whiteshill. Stroud, met with a serious mishap, as through being tripped up and nearly killed by a quarrelsome youth of Cirencester, he sustained a fractured leg. It appears the youths had had some words over a paltry penny or two- peuny watch, the assailant of Pitt wanting to secure the article at a cheaper rate. Then Pitt attempted to buy some “pop,” and more words passed between them, the originator of which was again the local “cockney.” Thereupon they came to blows, and still being unfair the bully ran his head between Pitt's legs and threw him over violently, his right leg doubling up on to the thigh and snapping in two a little below the knee. This stopped the engagement, and Pitt soon engaged the attention of his friends and others. Some around him refused to believe that his leg was broken, and the poor boy was pulled about considerably to ascertain his hurt. When seen, he, too. was conveyed to the Cottage Hospital, and Mr. 0. Fowler also attended to his case, setting the limb and leaving the little fellow as comfortable as possible. Mr. and Mrs. Flight, of Whites-hill, accompanied the boy to the hospital, and they took the sad intelligence to the boy’s parents.

Transcribed by Colin and Daniel Taylor, 2019