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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Somerset: Jack White's Gibbet; Castle Cary; Yarlington; Wincanton; William Macmillan; Douglas Macmillan (By Camel and Cary); Poems in the Somerset Dialect; Jack White's Ghost

From The Somerset Folk Series, Number 1, 1921, Somerset Folk Press, a section from a longer poem by William Macmillan (1844-1911).

Douglas Macmillan, son of William, also wrote a short account of the events:
"Jack White's Gibbet: the fiction and the facts" (1922), orinally published in The Castle Cary Visitor, April 1898, as "The Truth About Jack White's Gibbet", see scans below.

From William's poem:

"Hip, Hip, Hurrah for Yarlington! For Yarlington girt vair!"

See an earlier account of Jack White's Gibbet by George C. Dyke, The Republic of Letters, ed. A.Whitelaw, pages 334-347 - Glasgow, 1833

Another source (same book)

An even earlier account apparently appeared in the Whitehall Evening Post, April 30, 1730 (the year the murder occurred). Reports also appeared in a London paper on April 11 and April 18, 1730.
Jack White was born in Wincanton (baptised December 16, 1690). He married Sarah Slade in Wincanton Church on May 19th, 1716. His sentence to death for murder was carried out on 19 August, 1730, less than a fortnight after the sentence. It seems that he had met his victim at The Sun (Sign of The Sun), Wincanton, not at The George in Castle Cary, as reported as late as 1929.

Jack White's Gibbet, near Bratton Seymour, just to the right of Yarlington on the map.

Jack White's Gibbet stood at the crossroads of Castle Cary, Wincanton and Holton. There does not seem to be a sign there nowadays.

Detail below

"The hounds of hell had been in pursuit of him"

Reproduced from a magazine cutting, Art Albia, Publishers, Okehampton

The Reverend J.R. Cooper also wrote a pamphlet on the topic in 1841. This was later dismissed as "very far from the truth".

When passing the spot of Jack White's Gibbet on one occasion, Squire Woodforde of Castle Cary apparently 'addressed the corpse' of Jack White, still hanging in its cage - "Well, Jack, how be ye?"
He was shocked when the corpse replied, "Jack's cold - so cold."

Thomas Hardy recorded on September 9th, 1882: "Dr and Mrs Brine...came to tea. Brine says that Jack White's Gibbet (near Wincanton) was standing as late as 1835 - i.e. the oak-post with the iron arm sticking out, and a portion of the cage in which the body had formerly hung. It would have been standing now if some young men had not burnt it down by piling faggots round it one fifth of November".

Poems by Douglas Macmillan:

"When you come to Cary...

I know spots that you would like,
Round the lanes by Cole and Wyke;
Sacred yet from car and bike".

"D.M" is Douglas Macmillan - who also published as Douglas Cary or D. M. Cary

Photo of Douglas Macmillan (Wikipedia)

Walter Raymond, No Soul Above Money
A "Jack White" novel online

See also, Douglas Macmillan, more on The Round House, Castle Cary

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