DEATH OF MR. JOHN KIDNER, ALMOST A CENTENARIAN
One of the oldest people known ever to have resided in the parish of Milverton passed away in the early morn of Friday last in the person of Mr. John Kidner, who was in his 100th year he having been born at Durston on the 8th December 1804. Strangely enough, when the deceased was in his boyhood he was considered to possess a delicate constitution and at one time was even thought to have symptoms of consumption. But as may be supposed, he has long outstripped in age all the other members of his family, though his father reached the ripe old age of 90 ere he joined the great majority. When four years of age his parents moved to Thurloxton, where the deceased resided until 1884 when he came to live at Blagroves Farm with his son Joseph. He commenced business on his own account in 1837 taking the Thurloxton Glebe Farm, and farming it for over forty years. He was a most hard working and enterprising farmer and continued in active business until he was over 70 years of age, and until after he was ninety he would walk almost every day from Milverton to Blagroves and back, interesting himself in various ways about his garden and farm. In 1837 he married Eliza Phillips of Thurloxton, in whom he had a devoted wife. She died however in 1871. There were 11 children of the marriage, four of whom died in infancy, whilst 4 sons, William of Kingston, John of Kettering, Frank of Charlynch and Joseph of Blagroves Milverton, and 3 daughters went and lived with him at The Hollies, Milverton surviving him.
All his property he divided amongst his children upwards of twenty years ago.
Total abstainers are naturally proud of the fact that for the past seventy years of his life Mr. Kidner was an ardent teetotaller. He was also a non-smoker. In politics he was a life-long liberal.
Highly respected by all his neighbours and acquaintances...he was of a most retiring disposition and unwilling to take any prominent part in public functions of any kind. His counsel and advice, however, were often sought after, and never sought in vain.
It is interesting to mention the fact that only a week prior to the call to go to his long home Mr Kidner had tea with several members of his family in the garden. He was ab le to read the newspapers without artificial assistance and was exceedingly fond of a game of draughts, being ever keen on winning.
Surrounded by his devoted children Mr. Kidner passed away simply and solely as the result of old age and a long useful and beautiful life closed like the setting of the sun at misdsummer.
The funeral took place at Milverton Churchyard on Monday afternoon last, the obsequies being attended by a large number of relatives, friends and residents. The Vicar (Rev. E.F. Felton) and the Rev. H.O. Pealey (curate) conducted the service. The coffin was of polished oak with brass fittings and bore the engraved inscription John Kidner born Dec. 8th. 1804, Died July 8th.1904.
The following is a list of those that sent flowers. Lizzie, Mary and Anna (the three daughters), William and Jessie (of Fennington), John and Fanny (Kettering), Frank and family (Swang), Joe and Esther (Blagroves), sons.
John and Emily (nephew), Dodhill; Annie Kidner (niece); S. Kidner (nephew), Bickley; Marcus and Amy (grandson), Charlie and Mabel Riddell (Sheffield); Rev. E.F. and Mrs Felton; Dr. and Mrs Randolph; Mr and Mrs A.C. Skinner; Messrs Jao and C. Morris; Rev. and Mrs P.O. Broadmead; Mrs and Miss Berry Torr; Miss Stevens; The Misses Petherham; Mrs Eaton; Miss Smith; Florence Seaman (servant); Mrs Jennings; Mrs Westcott and F Taylor; Members of the C.E.T.S. Members of Miss Kidner's Bible Class; and the Milverton and Houndsmoor Mothers' Meeting; Mr Norman Kidner (grandson).
The news of the decease of Mr. John Kidner (reported in another column) came as a surprise to many Milvertonians, who were not aware that he was in anything but his usual good health and were confidently anticipating that he would be spared to reach the century.
An all wise Providence, however, saw fit that he should "cross the bar" when but five months short of his hundredth birthday.
No one who had the pleasure of seeing the deceased gentleman during his later years could fail to be struck with the mental and physical activity of a person who had lived so far beyond the allotted span.
Below: John's three daughters who survived him, photographed enjoying a cup of tea in the garden of The Hollies in about 1922; Lizzie Kidner, on the left; Mary Phillips Kidner and Anna Kidner wearing sunhats (which is which is unknown).
Last updated 10th June 2008