East & West Molesey

A Dictionary of Local History

Rowland G. M. Baker, 1972

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Writer. Donor of a number of West Molesey charities. He lived at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries in the house later known as Mole Abbey. Born Joseph Budworth, he served for some time in the army, reached the rank of captain, and then retired to live at West Molesey. He married a rich Irish lady, Elizabeth Palmer, and when through her he inherited large estates in Ireland, he changed his name to Palmer. In spite of his new found affluence he still preferred to live quietly in his small house at West Molesey. One of his poems, "On Simplicity", part of which is quoted in the prologue to this book, tells of rural life in "dear Peaceful Molesey". One of his smaller works describes "A view of Hampton from Molesey Hurst". He was a great campaigner for control of child labour and one of his books, "The Lancashire Colliery Girl", tells of a little girl forced to go down the mines and dig coal in order to bring up her orphaned brothers and sisters. He gave money to provide Christmas cheer for poor people of West Molesey, which is still paid. He presented the village with the clock which still chimes the hours from the church tower. He died in 1815 and lies buried in the churchyard where his tomb can still be seen. He had a great love of children and will soon have an appropriate memorial. When the new First school opens in West Molesey it will be called "The Joseph Palmer School".


The new school was opened in September 1973.

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