On Saturday March 13, 1886, the Weston Gazette reported:-
"SCENE" AT THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING - At the meeting of the School Board, on Saturday last, a pugilistic encounter was witnessed by the members, the combatants being a clergyman and two of his parishioners. It appears that whilst one of the members was speaking the clergyman made use of certain objectionable epithets whereupon one of his parishioners asked him what he meant. The only answer was a repetition of the words, whereupon the interlocutor promptly upset the clergyman's equilibrium by knocking him down. Another parishioner came to the cleric's rescue and he was similarly treated. By this time the reverend gentleman had recovered himself but was no sooner again standing before his irate parishioner than he was compelled a second time to measure his length upon the floor. Our correspondent adds that the clergyman's countenance was closely scrutinised the following day by his flock.
A much longer account in the Weston Mercury begins:-
As our readers may be aware, some few years since, the parishes of Loxton and Christon were amalgamated for the carrying out of the provisions of the Elementary Education Act, and a School board was formed for the 'Loxton and Christon United District.' From the first, however, there has been evidence that the word 'united' did not imply unity, and a difference of opinion has always existed between the representatives of the two parishes.
In the account, the members of the Board were named as Messrs. Erasmus Galton (chairman), H. Dibble and J.H. Padfield representing Loxton, and the Rev. J.H. Wilkinson and Mr. C. House representing Christon. The account went onto describe the highlights of a series of meetings. It stated that at the November, 1885 meeting, Mr. Wilkinson used the words 'thieves' and 'robbers' and the members present assumed he had meant themselves. So it was decided at the December meeting to table a motion that the clerk should make a note of the words that had been used at the previous meeting with a view to forwarding the same to the Educational Department. At the next meeting the minute was read and the Rev. Wilkinson became very agitated, called the minute a 'fabrication' and used the words 'liars and thieves' to describe the other members. The chairman had then called the Rev. Wilkinson to order. The newspaper account went on to state:-
Mr Wilkinson retorted that he should speak as long as he thought proper; that he was the representative of the ratepayers of Christon, none of whom sent their children to the Board School but preferred to send them to Banwell(1) for their education.
The account indicated that he had carried on criticising the Loxton members and was politely asked by Mr. Dibble to sit down so that the meeting could carry on, whereupon the Rector had turned upon Mr. Dibble and said that he had no right to be present. Mr. Dibble replied, that he had been elected and was a larger ratepayer than the Rector of Christon. Apparently, Mr. Wilkinson then called Mr. Dibble a 'thief'. Mr. Dibble got very upset and had struck the rev. gentleman a severe blow on the head. Mr. House who went to the assistance of the rector was also hit. Mr. Wilkinson then had protested to the chairman about allowing such behaviour, and the chairman had replied to the effect that he could not help thinking that the party who had induced the melee had received their rights. The Rev. Wilkinson and Mr. House then left the meeting and the remaining members carried on with the routine business. The article stated that:-
The scene caused considerable commotion in the parish, and has since been the talk of the district.
(1) Banwell is adjacent to Christon, and is a village of much larger population.
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