Richard Bodman (1830 – 1886)

Richard Bodman (1830 – 1886) & Dinah Ward (1831-1881)


Richard Bodman married Dinah Ward on 31st May 1852 at Wingfield. Dinah Ward was born in Freshford which is close to Wingfield.

Wingfield Church

Dinah’s parents were William Ward, labourer born at Freshford and his wife Mary. At the time of the 1851 census, they were living at Park Corner. Dinah had two younger sisters, Charlotte and Emily born around 1833 & 1836 and a younger brother John born 1839 approx. At the time of the 1851 census, William and Mary had a young toddler, Ellen living with them. She was described as a relative.

The parish of Freshford is less than one mile from Bradford upon Avon and Limpley Stoke and 3 miles west of Trowbridge. Freshford is one of Somerset’s (now Avon) most attractive villages. It is built on wooded river banks near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon. The medieval bridge forms the best viewpoint.

The Avon near Freshford

The village includes the hamlets of Friary, Sharpstone, Woodside, Staples Hill and Park Corner. These are separated from the village centre by a few hundred metres of open field. The village is noted in that all the houses have names not numbers and was the location of the famous 1952 Ealing Studios comedy ˜The Titchfield Thunderbolt” where it featured as the ideal English village.

Richard and Dinah had the following children:-

Julia born 20th Feb. 1853 Wingfield, Wiltshire
HENRY DAVID born 10th Sept 1854 Freshford (SEE NEXT SECTION)
Amelia born 20th Feb 1856 Wingfield
Salay born 1858 approx Wingfield
Frank born 8th June 1860 Wingfield
Richard born 1st May 1861 Wingfield
George born 5th Apr 1863 Wingfield
Annie born 1864 approx. Wingfield
Kate born 1867 approx. Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Alice born 1869 approx.  Trowbridge
Albert  born 4th Nov. 1873  Trowbridge

Between 1864 and 1867 Richard and Dinah moved to Trowbridge.

Trowbridge is an ancient manufacturing town on the railway line from Salisbury to Weymouth. It is on the Mere or Biss, a feeder of the Avon, 11 miles south-east of Bath. The town was once a major settlement of Flemish weavers who brought great prosperity. West of England Broadcloth is still made here. In the Parade are some magnificent cream

St James Church Trowbridge

coloured stone houses built in the 19th century in the manufacture of kerseymere, broad and other woollen cloths and was established there as early as the reign of Henry VIII. At the end of the 19th century the industry was the largest in the West of England. There were also extensive breweries, foundries, engineering and brick works. The population in 1891 was 11,901.

The 1971 census records show Richard Bodman, a garden labourer and his wife Dinah (Ward) a washerwomen both aged 40 living with their family at Stallard Street, Trowbridge.  Two years later they had an addition to their family. The birth certificate of Albert Bodman shows that he was born on 4th November 1873 at Stallard Street, Trowbridge.

Richard’s wife Dinah died aged 49 on 22nd July 1880 at Trowbridge. She and Richard were still living at Stallard Street at that time.

Richard Bodman died suddenly at Semington Workhouse on 4th June 1886 some six years later. The Wiltshire Times on the 12th June reported his death as follows:-

SUDDEN DEATH AT THE WORKHOUSE
At Seminton on Tuesday an inquest was held on he body of Richard Bodman 57 who had been employed by the local board to sweep the streets &c-The master of the house, Mr G. Childs, said the deceased was admitted on Thursday of last week and was in a weak condition when bought in. He was placed in the sick ward and seen during the afternoon by a doctor. The last time the witness saw him alive was on Saturday night at half past ten when he visited the sick ward to see that everything was alright before retiring for the night. He was called at half past five and found Bodman dead in bed. His eyes were discoloured and witness told that he knocked it while out of bed on Friday night. The deceased had been taking medicine but did not appear to have been sick-George Barnes, attendant in the sick ward said he last saw the deceased alive about two o’clock on Sunday morning. He was in a bad state but was quite sensible, and had a little food. Bancroft, another attendant in the ward found him dead shortly after five o’clock and called witness. The deceased was lying on his face and they turned him over. Witness was not surprised when told of his death. The deceased suffered from his throat and had great difficulty in taking food, either solid or liquid. Witness gave him beef tea and milk. On Friday night or early on Saturday morning the deceased got out of bed and knocked his head against another bedstead discolouring one of his eyes. No violence was used towards him and he was seen on Saturday morning by some of friends, Witness thought he rather rambled in mind sometimes-James Bancroft the other nurse said he found the deceased at a quarter past five with the bedclothes thrown down lying on his face quite dead. He called Barnes and they turned him on his back. The deceased was in a very bad condition when admitted and could hardly swallow liquid food. Dr K. Sylvester said he saw the deceased on Thursday afternoon and found him suffering from a severe inflammation of the throat. It was more likely quinsy than diphtheria and he also had rheumatism. He was in a very weak condition and could only swallow partially. Witness ordered some medicine and such nourishing food as he could take. He was informed that the deceased had taken a house lately and caught a severe cold while cleaning the floors.-Mr Childs corroborated this statement-Witness continuing, said he was sent on Sunday morning and found that the deceased had been dead some time. The abrasion on the eye had nothing to do with the death. The decease being in a weak state, the action of the heart would be feeble. He probably turned over on the pillow and being unable to raise himself was suffocated.-The Coroner, in summing up referred to the deceased having a fainting fit while cleaning his house, and lying for some time on the damp floor, by which he caught a severe cold, and said this apparently affected the throat. Death was the result of suffocation due to accidental causes.-The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.