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  Reprinted from Newsletter 137, dated 2012 July

Sixth-generation descendant visits Dod Lane farm roots John Brunsdon

This photo of Bushy Coombe Farm about 1906 hangs in a frame at 5 Dod Lane, which has been A. K. “Dick” Green’s home for nearly 50 years. The identity of the black child in the doorway is a mystery.

Richard Weaver and his wife called at my house at the bottom of Dod Lane while visiting Glastonbury from Virginia in the United States, researching family connections — from six generations before him.

   His roots reach back to William and Ann Fear. They and eight children lived at Bushy Coombe Farm, which existed in Dod Lane in the mid-19th century. William Fear was born at East Brent in 1796 and died in 1875; Ann Whitting (or Whiting) Fear was born 1799 at Nyland, near Wedmore, and died in 1882.

   The 17th-century thatched farmhouse stood on the site of the present 3 and 5 Dod Lane, whose garden wall is the truncated front wall of the former farmhouse. Outhouses and a barn survive behind number 5. The last residents of the old house were the Snell family, who later lived at Mafeking, 67 Wells Road, and farmed on Common Moor.

    The farmhouse was demolished in 1926 for the manorial estate — Mrs Maclean was Lady of the Manor of the Glaston Twelve Hides; she lived to be 100 at Chalice Hill House, in Dod Lane opposite the farmhouse. The present pair of houses on the site was built by E. G. Wright and Sons in 1927. (Wrights’ shop and office building is now the Hundred Monkeys Cafe in the High Street.)

   William and Ann Fear were buried at the prestigious new cemetery in Wells Road. There are no headstones, but the burial site is recorded. Some of our readers may be cousins.

The fine-quality early photo (left) of Ann Fear (1799–1882), the wife of William Fear, is by the renowned photographer Walter Tully (whose later skylit studio survives, on the top floor of the present Dilliway & Dilliway shop, 19 High Street). William and Ann’s daughter Emma, born 1825, emigrated to the USA in 1857 with her husband Seth Lee (right) of Rodney Stoke. She died in 1865 at Skaneateles in central New York state. Emma and their son Charles, born 1856 in Glastonbury, are in the middle photo. “Charles Fear Lee is my grandmother’s grandfather,” said Richard Weaver, the American visitor to Dod Lane.

Providential delay

  Mr Weaver more recently discovered that Seth Lee and his only surviving child, Charles, revisited England for the winter of 1872–73. Their return passage was to be on HMS Atlantic but at the last minute they changed ship. On arrival they learned that the Atlantic had sunk off Canada.


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