The Temperence Society in Middlezoy


According to the report of the Jan 30th 1901 meeting, Monday February 11th, would be the 21st anniversary of the first meeting, so the first meeting of the Total Abstinence Society must therefore have been on February11th 1880, although there don’t appear to be any reports of it in the Bridgwater Mercury. The first reported meeting on Jan 11th 1882, was held in the school room, and it was recorded that the Society had 73 members. The first 3 recorded meetings were held at the Board School rooms, meeting at Mr W Bown’s on several occasions, and then from Mar 11th 1891, meetings were usually held in the Mission Hall on Wednesday evenings.




Contact me by going to the following web page for my email address:


Last updated  10th Dec 2011


Jan 11th 1882


A public meeting was held in the school room at the above place by the Total Abstinence Society lately formed and the band of hope. The room was crowded in every part. The choir was taken by Mr.F Thompson of Bridgwater. A hymn having been sung, prayer was offered by  Mr.W. Bown. Mr Thompson, in his address, spoke upon excessive drinking by women, and of the great number of confinements in prison for the same; and he hoped the women present would abandon the use of the drink that made so many houses wretched and miserable. The band of hope sang a temperance song, entitled " Farmer John", then followed a recitation by a band of hope boy, Sidney Meaker, entitled "Little Harry's Speech". A select number of adult members sang a piece entitled "Beautiful sparkling water", a dialogue by Messrs G Millard, V Keirle and J Keirle, entitled"A discussion between a Publican and Teetotaller", followed; and then a recitation by Miss Emily Brewer, entitled " The lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine". Mr S Perett, of Bridgwater, was then called upon to address the meeting. He directed attention to the murders that had been committed of late through the effects of strong drink, and of the inconsistent manner in which Christmas is kept up by many. He also spoke upon the rapid progress of coffee taverns. A duet was sung by the Misses L Lockyer and Letitia Lockyer, entitled "A new year’s song",. The choir sang "Merrily all our voices raise". Then followed a dialogue by Band of Hope girls entitled "The power of influence", and the choir sang "The cooling Spirit". Mr G Wells of Middlezoy was then called upon. He said that the desire of the friends in getting up these greetings was purely to benefit their fellow creatures especially the working men of the village, and he hoped they would  see it in that light. He desired to see them happy, and have happy homes. After the usual vote of thanks, the meeting was closed by prayer. Eleven pledges were taken. This society has now 73 members.


(First mention of Walter Bown at a Total Abstinence Society meeting. At that time he would have been aged about 39 years. His father Charles had  died only recently on June 28th 1881)


Jan 15th 1882.


On Tuesday, in the Board School-room, of the above place, the Total Abstinence Society and Band of Hope had a tea and very interesting entertainment. A goodly number partook of tea in the afternoon, and before the appointed time for the entertainment the place was densely crowded, and a great number were unable to get in. The chair was taken by the president,  Mr.G White of Middlezoy. After the choir had sung a temperance piece entitled "Welcome", a prayer was offered by the chairman. The choir then sang "A song to Temperance" after which the judge took his seat, attired in court dress, also the counsellors amid much laughter. The prisoner was then called in, and "The trial of John Barleycorn alias strong drink", took place, with much amusement. After the trial the choir sang "The fire brigade". A piece was sung by Mr White, and the choir gave the answer entitled "Answer No". A recitation by a Band of Hope girl entitled "Sign the pledge" followed, and the choir sang "Sparkling water". After the usual votes of thanks the society and Band of Hope crowded the platform and sang "No more strong drink", waving their handkerchiefs at the same time. The meeting was then closed by prayer.




May 17th 1882.


A meeting of the Total Abstinence and Band of Hope Society was held in the Board School-room on Tuesday evening. Some dialogues, recitations and singing by the various members of the society took place, and an appropriate address was delivered by Mr. Thos Horrocks, the "Converted Clowns". The meeting was presided over by Mr. Joseph Beal, Independent minister , of Othery, and at the close of the meeting some pledges were taken.



July 26th 1882


The Total Abstinence Society, formed in this village, held on Thursday last, a tea meeting and fete for the encouragement of the many who have lately banded themselves together against the drink. The members of the society met at two o'clock in Mr.Walter Bown's barton, where a procession was formed, and marched to the top of the hill, where they were met by the Westonzoyland Total Abstinence brass band. In front of the procession a banner was carried, bearing on the front in white letters, on a scarlet ground, the inscription "Success to our band of hope", on the back of the banner were the lines:-

                 " Then let us join, both heart and head,

                    As brethren all unite,

                    To form a solid temperance band,

                    To battle for the right."

Three other banners were also borne in the procession, one being inscribed, "The hope of our village ", another " Peace and plenty to our homes", and a smaller one having inscribed on it, " The Teetotal band, unity is strength". The members then paraded the village, the band playing temperance music, and at intervals the choir sang some melodies. At about five o'clock they reached the tent and barn kindly lent by Mr. James Keirle, where a large company sat down to tea. Afterwards the company adjourned to a field kindly lent by Mr Elijah Barnstable, where sports were engaged in till late in the evening. During the evening a number of balloons were let up. The band played several pieces during the evening, and considering the short time since it was formed, performed in a very creditable manner. The Middlezoy temperance friends feel deeply indebted to their Westonzoyland neighbours for their gratuitous services, and to all who helped to make the proceedings of the day successful. It is very encouraging to see so many men, once given to drinking habits reformed, and becoming industrious and thrifty, and in the large Band of Hope, connected with the society, may be seen the fulfilment of the inscriptions on one of the banners, " The Hope of our Village".




August 8th 1883.


The Middlezoy and Othery Total Abstinence Society held its annual festival on Tuesday, July 31st. The members with some visitors from other societies, met at Mr. W . Bown's at two o'clock, when a procession was formed headed by the Westonzoyland brass band and paraded the village, stopping at intervals to sing some special anniversary hymns. Great kindness was manifested to the society by Mrs. Meade, of Thorngrove, who provided the whole party with refreshments, and Mr John Oliver spoke a few words of congratulation and encouragement to the society, when it visited his house. After the procession a public tea was provided in a tent erected in a field kindly lent by Elijah Barnstable, and a large company took tea together. After tea, an open-air meeting was held, at which Mr James Clark, of Street, presided, and the chairman, with Messrs Hayward and Macgowan from Bridgwater, Mr D Bell of North Newton, and Mr Bartlett of Street gave addresses on the Temperance question. Several pledges were taken. After the meeting sports were engaged in for the rest of the evening. The band rendered some good music. Several balloons were let off, and the darkness ended a most enjoyable day to the society and all who had joined in its anniversary. The best thanks of the Society are due to Mr Barnstable for his field, and to the band for their gratuitous services, and to all who, by their generous subscriptions provided the treat for the Band of Hope.




March 11th 1891.


On Wednesday March 4th, an entertainment was given in the Mission Hall by the members of  the Total Abstinence Society. The chair was taken by Rev J Beade(president of the society). There was a very appreciative audience. The programme was as follows: Singing, "Merrily through the land", choir; recitation, "My mother", Pollie Millard; recitation, "The boys we need", George Sharman; singing, "Brittannia's sons arise", choir; recitation, "Tempt me no more", Harry Davis; recitation, "Arthur's sermon", Oliver Whittle; quartette, "Consider the lillies", MessrsBown(W?)  and Darby , Mrs Bown(E?) and Miss F Bown;  recitation, "Bill Small's resolve", Arthur Sharman; recitation, "Adam's ale", Lizzie Gillard; dialogue, "What Susan did with her birthday sovereign", Bessie and Eliza Martin;  singing, "Would you lead a happy life", choir; recitation, "The dying soldier", Emmie Perratt; recitation, "The two church builders", Mabel Wheller; Solo, "Try John" , Mr Brown(Bown W?); recitation, "Do thy little", Kate Whittle;  dialogue, "My next door neighbours", Messrs F Keirl and H Atyeo, Misses A. Heal, F Bown, B Millard, A Davis and Mrs F  Keirl ; recitation, "The drunkards chill", Lydia Keirl; recitation, "Houses to let", Kate Heal;   double quartette, "What the old folks say", Messrs E Millard, H Atyeo, J Bown, W Davis, Misses F Bown, B Davis, L Bown, Mrs Darby; dialogue, "The danger of strong drink to piety", Messrs A Sharman, J Bown and W Brown(W Bown?) ; duet "Be kind to your father", Mr King and Lily Bown; recitation, "Love your enemies", Emmie Keirl; recitation, "The story of an apple", Willie Keirl; singing, "The deadly upas tree", choir. The proceeds of the entertainment are devoted to the funds of the above society.


(The various Bown family members would have been the following ages at that time; Walter 48,Eliza 39,James 17, Florence 16, Lily 10.Walter King an Evangelist from Milverton was 28.)


Other Persons  mentioned above : Rev J Beade, Pollie Millard, George Sharman, Harry Davis, Oliver Whittle, Mr Darby, Arthur Sharman, Lizzie Gillard, Bessie and Eliza Martin, Emmie Perratt, Mabel Wheller, Kate Whittle, ", F Keirl ,  H Atyeo, Miss A. Heal, Miss B Millard, Miss A Davis, Mrs F  Keirl , Lydia Keirl, Kate Heal, E Millard, B Davis, Mrs Darby, Mr King, Willie Keirl.



March 2nd 1892



Service of Song.  A service of song was given in the Mission hall, on Tuesday, by the Wesleyan choir and friends, entitled "For the Masters sake", a well-known and very popular service, compiled by Mr J Tipton, of Taunton. There was a thoroughly good audience, about 200 persons being present, and a good collection was taken up. The musical part of the service was rendered in the following order; Break forth the Choir; quartette, "Jesus take my hand",Messrs W Bown and E Millard, Misses Bown(F?) and Hutchings; chant, "Come unto Me", the Choir; singing, "Go bear the joyful tidings", the Choir; singing, "Sing it out with a shout", the Choir; solo, "I'm weary of straying", Mr F Callow; quartette, "One more day's work for Jesus", Messrs. Darby and W Bown, Mrs(Eliza?) and Miss F Bown; solo, "The childs desire", very nicely rendered by Annie Davis; solo and chorus, "Around the Throne", singing, "Gone from our home", the choir; solo,"Yet there is room", Mr Darby; duet, "Beautiful and bright", Mrs Darby and Miss Bown(F?); solo and chorus, "Open the gates", singing, "Praise ye the Lord", the choir; solo,"My Jesus I love Thee",Mr E Millard; duet, "Heaven", Misses Hutchings and Bown(F?); singing, "What a meeting", the choir; singing, "Home at last", the Choir. The connective readings were given in a very able manner by Rev. G. Lunn, of Bridgwater. Miss F Bown very kindly presided at the harmonium. The proceeds of the service will be devoted to the renovation of the chapel. A vote of thanks for the loan of the hall, and to the chairman for presiding, brought a very enjoyable as well as an instructive meeting to a close.


(The various Bown family members would have been the following ages at that time; Walter 49,Eliza 40,James 18, Florence 17, Lily 11.)


Other Persons  mentioned above : Mr J Tipton, E Millard, Miss Hutchings, Mr F Callow, Mr Darby, Mrs Darby , Annie Davis, Rev. G. Lunn.




Dec 19th 1900.



A successful and well attended Band of Hope Temperance meeting was held in the Mission Hall on Wednesday evening, December 12th, presided over by the school secretary Mr W Merriott. A capital…….character, entitled "The landlord in a tin ", ably ……out, greatly added to the evening’s entertainment.Hymn No 87 from "Hoyles", having been sung, the chairman offered prayer and also briefly spoke , after which the following programme was proceeded with Hymn No 109, choir; recitation,"Our Influence". Herbert Martin, recitation;"A good time coming", Bessie Bown; recitation,"We'll march along with you",Lizzie Kift; dialogue, "Six little nurses", Lucy Davis, Marie Bown, Milly Palmer, Emily Hutchins, Annie Martin, and Ella  Chinn ; recitation,"Three little texts", Marie Bown, duet, Miss F and Mr J Bown; recitation"A boy with a purpose" ,Harry Barnett; recitation " A sum in three" , Madora Palmer; hymn 161,choir, recitation, "When I'm a woman" Beatrice Sharman, dialogue, "The landlord in a fix", by Misses A Heal, F Bown, and  Lucy Hutchings.Messrs H Atyeo, J Bown, W Crook, F Crook, J Millard , junior and Mast W Bowles; recitation, "Where the children sleep", Dorcus Davis; recitation, "No", Willie Barnett, song "Killarney", Mr A Hutchins; recitation, "Do you know…..", Milly Palmer; recitation,"The reason why", Minnie Darby, closing hymn , 273, choir. The Benediction by the chairman brought a very enjoyable evening to a close.

(The various Bown family members would have been the following ages at that time; Walter 57,Eliza 48,James 26, Florence 25, Lily 19, Marie 11)


Other Persons  mentioned above : Mr W Merriott, Herbert Martin, Bessie Bown, Lizzie Kift, Lucy Davis, Milly Palmer, Emily Hutchings, Annie Martin, Ella  Chinn, Harry Barnett, Madora Palmer, Beatrice Sharman, Miss A Heal, Lucy Hutchings, H Atyeo, W Crook, F Crook, J Millard  jun,  Mast W Bowles, Dorcus Davis, Willie Barnett, Mr A Hutchings, Minnie Darby.



Jan 30th 1901



Total Abstinence Society-  A meeting of the Band of Hope and Temperance Society was held in the Mission Hall on Wednesday evening January 23rd, under the Presidency of Mr F  Keirle. The hall was well filled, and after the singing of the opening hymn and prayer by Mr W Merriott the following lengthy programme was proceeded with Hymn No 76, chairmans speech, recitation, "A Temperance Boy" Harry Barnett, recitation,"My Little Kite", Maria Palmer;  recitation, "Parents Beware", Minnie Darby; recitation, " I drink water", Mabel Bown; dialogue, "Sowing and Reaping", by Mr E E Millard, Milly Palmer, Polly Barnett, Emily Hutchins, Mark Millard, Harold Millard, Harold Wheller and Herbert Martin; recitation, " Little Things", Sophy Millard; hymn No 207; recitation, " Five Steps", Willie Barnett; dialogue "The Pawnbrokers Shop", Misses A Heal, F Bown, P Millard and D Davis, Messrs J B Millard, H Atyeo, J Bown, W Merriot and J Millard jun; recitation, "The Words She Remembered", Madora Palmer; recitation, "After the Battle", Lucy Davis; recitation,"If you Want", Polly Martin; recitation, "Away with the cup", Bessie Bown; recitation, "Pledge the children", Milly Palmer; recitation, "A boys speech", Alfred Tucker; solo, "Joe Perkins", Mr A Atyeo; hymn No 215.

In the course of his address the chairman briefly referred to the death of our beloved Queen, throughout whose glorious reign the temperance cause has made such grand progress. At the conclusion of the programme the Secretary announced the next meeting for Wednesday February 8th, when all adult members who joined either the adult or junior society in its early years, are specially invited to take part, and thus somewhat commemorate the coming of age of the society.

On Monday February 11th, being the 21st anniversary of the first meeting, a public tea will be held and meetings of a different nature. The Rev J Beale, of Seaton (late of Othery) may be expected to be present. 

Note: The first meeting of the Total Abstinence Society must therefore have been on February11th 1880.


Other Persons  mentioned above : Mr F  Keirle, Mr W Merriott, Harry Barnett, Maria Palmer, ", Minnie Darby, Mabel Bown, Mr E E Millard, Milly Palmer, Polly Barnett, Emily Hutchins, Mark Millard, Harold Millard, Harold Wheller, Herbert Martin, Sophy Millard, Willie Barnett, Misses A Heal, P Millard and D Davis, J B Millard, H Atyeo, J Millard jun, Madora Palmer, Lucy Davis, Polly Martin, Alfred Tucker, Mr A Atyeo, Rev J Beale.

March 27th 1901.


Total Abstinence Society. A succesfull entertainment was given in the Mission Hall on Wednesday evening, the 20th inst, in aid of the funds for defraying the expenses of the hall. Although the weather was very uninviting, the announced chairman, Mr F C Foster, JP QC of Bridgwater, came and presided, with his geniality and brightness, and a large and appreciative audience came together. The opening hymn "Hoyles" No 252, having been rendered by the choir, Mr W Merriott offered prayer, after whichthe Chairman gave a very inspiring introductory address, and the following programme was proceeded with : Solo, " A demon in Solution", Mr J Bown;  recitation, "Queen Philippas Intercession", Mr A H Millard; recitation,"What total abstinence did", Emily Hutchings; duet, "The Childs Pleading", Misses F and L Bown; recitation, "Girls Wanted", Lucy Davis; dialogue, in character, "a bit of a tiff", Misses F Bown, P Millard, Mrs G Sharman,Messrs H Atyeo, and J Millard jun; Hymn 230, choir; recitation, "Bill Small",  Mr S Gillard; recitation, "Big's the Pledge", Madora Palmer; solo, "Ora Fre Nobis", Miss Annie Whittle(engaged); recitation," A Husbands Vow", Miss R Perratt; dialogue, in character," ….. Daggetts wife", Misses Beatrice and Maud Millard,Messrs J Bown, H Atyeo, J B Millard, A R Millard, J Millard jun, and H Marsh; solo, "The Fragrant Cup", Mr H Atyeo(engaged);

At the conclusion of the programme,votes of thanks were passed to the chairman for his kindness in coming out and presiding, and all who had assisted.The chairman briefly replied for himself, the organist,  Miss F Bown, who undertook her duties with her usual ability, and the helpers generally.



May 15th 1901.


Census   UK in 1891 was 32,525,746,  in 1901 was + 3,523,191.

Somerset       in 1891 was      378,166   in 1901 was 385,059.


June 12th 1901.



TEMPERANCE  FETE.- The annual fete in connection with the Middlezoy and Othery Total Abstinence Society was held on Thursday last, and, being favoured by glorious weather, turned out to be a very successful affair. A procession was formed by the Band of Hope children at Mr Walter Bown's at half past two, in which a number of the adult members joined, and, preceded by the temperence banner and the Street Brass Band, paraded the Village. Calls were made at several premises,where refreshments were dispensed, and temperance hymns were nicely sung. The village looked quite gay with the many flags and streamers displayed and a goodly number of flags and floral displays added to the joyful appearance of the procession. A public tea was held in the Mission hall, which had been very nicely decorated, at five o'clock. More than a hundred sat down to enjoy the many good things provided, while all the children were entertained to a sumptuous repast outside the hall , where seats were arranged for them. The remainder of the evening was devoted to racing, swinging, cricket, football, and other outdoor sports, in a field at Nethermoor, kindly lent for the occasion by Mr.A.Kiddle. A good number of visitors from the neighbouring villages helped to swell the large concourse of people gathered there. The swing boats belonging to the society were in great demand, and helped to make the evening one long to be remembered. It is a fact worthy of note that nearly all the children in the village are members of the band of Hope.


October 16th 1901.



A very successful temperence meeting was held in the Misssion Hall on Wednesday evening, October 9th. The chair was taken by Mr F Keirl (vice president)and addresses were delivered by the Rev T Jones, Othery, the Rev J Haydon, Burrowbridge, and Mr Musgrove, Stoke St Gregory. The speeches were remarkably good and dwelt upon the importance of total abstinence. The music and singing were well rendered by the temperence choir. Miss F Bound(Bown) ably presided at the organ. Two pledges were taken at the close. Mr W Bound (Bown) opened the meeting with prayer, and Mr W Merriott closed.



November 20th 1901.



Temperance. The members of the temperence society gave a capital entertainment in the Mission Hall on Wednesday evening. The room was quite crowded, and Mr William Merriott, in the unavoidable absence of the Rev T Jones, ably presided over a delighted audience. The following programme was carried through in a most satisfactory and enjoyable manner: Hymn, "Firm and united we gaily march along", choir; chairman's address; hymn 241, "It pays the best", choir; recitation, "A boys sermon", Harry Barnett; dialogue, "Red white and blue", Sophie Millard, Ella Chinn, and Maria Palmer; recitation, "Ten little Friends", Myrtle Millard; recitation, "Dropped stitches", Beatrice Sharman; recitation, "Only try", Mabel Bown; dialogue, "Who will win the prize", Lucy Davis,Milly Palmer, Emily Hutchings,  Marie Bown, Bessie Bown, and Rose Carroll; recitation, "The beggar", Brida Barnett; recitation,"What I Mean to do", Alfred Tucker; hymn242, "We are the merry friends of truth", the choir; dialogue, "Temperance wives", Medora Palmer, Emily Hutchings, Lucy Davis, Beatrice Sharman, Mabel Bown, and Lizzie Kift; recitation, "The trumpet", Willie Barnett; recitation,"A boys plea", Tom Bown; recitation, "Like a vigil by angels", Bessie Bown; dialogue in character, "Business as usual during alterations", Misses P Millard, F Bown, and Messrs H Sharman, J Bown, W Crook, F Crook, and H Atyeo; recitation, "Mothers letter", Rose Carroll; hymn 219, "Come, cheer up", choir; prayer offered by chairman.



December 11th 1901.



Concert. The Mission hall was quite crowded on Wednesday, when the members of the Middlezoy and Othery Total Abstinence Society gave a most successful concert. Mr G Musgrave, of Stoke St Gregory, was the chairman.The whole of the items in a lengthy programme were carried out without a hitch, many of them being heartily encored. The following was the programme. Song, "Welcome, friends of old", Miss B Jenkins; song, "Look out for the thorne", Mr J Bown; duet, "The convent bells", Misses F and L Bown(encored); recitation, "The old mans story", Mr J Whittle; duet, "Home sweet home", W and A Bowles; chorus, "Song of hope", Minnie Darby, Lucy davis, Marie Bown, Emily Hutchings, B Sharman, R Carroll, M Palmer, Ella Chinn and B Bown(encored); solo, "My father knoweth it", Mrs W Bown(Eliza?); song, "The sailors anchor", Mr  O Keirle(encored); dialogue, F Kift, R Hutchings and Messrs A Millard, H Sharman, Henry Atyeo, J Davis, J Bown,W Crook; song, "Song that reached my heart",Miss A Whittle(encored); duet Mrs F Callow and Miss F Bown; duet "Mama's in de cold ground", W and A Bowles(encored)