Monday, June 20, 2016

William Dore

Continuing the story of the Dore family ...

The local firm of auctioneers was central to commercial enterprise in any 19th century town and in Swindon one family dominated the scene.

The death of William Dore on July 12, 1877 saw the end of a family business spanning nearly 100 years and three generations. "An instance of the transference of business from father to son in direct succession rarely equalled," the Swindon Advertiser noted in an obituary to the third William Dore.

The Dore 18th century family roots were in the parish of Lydiard Tregoze. William Dore, the first in the auctioneering dynasty was Lord Bolingbroke's tenant and paid rates on Wick Farm and additional land called Prinnels, Blacklands and Greendown between 1806 and his death in 1815.

Baptised at St Mary's Church, Lydiard Tregoze in 1749, the son of Peter and Jone Dore, William married local girl Sarah Hedges.

William fulfilled his parish responsibilities as tenant and rate payer, and clocked up an impressive 13 years service as churchwarden with Jacob Matthews of Toothill, retiring in 1812, possibly due to ill health or just a general infirmity.

In addition to heading the thriving auction business inherited from his father, the second William Dore established a printing works, initially for his own requirements but which later produced an annual Almanack.

But it would be his son, also born in Lydiard Tregoze, who took the family business to new heights.

With the arrival of the GWR and a building boom in New Swindon, the family business flourished with livestock sales remaining central to the business.

Dore began holding cattle sales in a private yard by the Queen's Hotel close to New Swindon station. Increased trade saw him move first to a temporary yard in Lower Town before buying a two acre site which the Advertiser described as "one of the most complete and efficient sale yards of the kind in the west of England."

The opening of the new yard in 1873 was marked by a public luncheon where William Dore was presented with a golden auctioneer's hammer. He told how the wooden hammer he used in his daily work had been first used by his grandfather and passed to him by his father.

In a town once famed for its swine, Dore's new market specialised in the sale of sheep. Today a statue of a ram marks the former market site on Marlborough Road.

In 1875, just two years before his death, the sales at Dore's yard had become a weekly event and totally eclipsed the old High Street market.

Described as 'a man of retiring habits' William Dore had suffered from heart disease for a number of years but had continued to wield his hammer, and a year before his death had entered into a new partnership with Henry Smith. The firm survived into the 20th century as Dore, Field and Co.

images - Wick Farm, home to the Dore family and statue on the site of the former market on Marlborough Road, Swindon.

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