A historical misprint from a Bristol newspaper

Jacob Shartman senior & junior & William Shartman: “This is to certify to all persons that are afflicted by worms in many parts of their bodies or any other distemper that I, William Shartman, one of the meltors belonging to the Brass works in Baptists Mills had a worm upon my right cheek for some considerable time and could get no cure until I applied myself to Benjamin Thornhill at his dwelling house, the Green Door, St Philips Plain who made an easy incision of my worm that I scarce felt him cut it and by the Blessing of God and his choice salves and ointments the Doctor cured me in three weeks’ time. Witness my hand this 26th day of October, 1728. William Shartman.  

“We whose names are underwritten. Being the Master of the Works and chief workmen of the Meltors do testify the above. John Wall, Jacob Shartman senior & Jacob Shartman junior.”’


Photo credit C003/4514 Science Photo Hub.

A correction was placed in the same newspaper the following week. “Through an oversight of the compositor….. WORMS should have read WENS….which our readers are desired to correct.” (NB. Worms are definitely worms, but a wen is a cyst.)

The Shortmans, who had seemingly picked up the West Country accent, i.e. ‘Shartman’, were previously ‘Kurtzman’. They were among the families of skilled workers brought to Bristol to modernise the local brass industry in the early 18th century. They came originally from ‘The Low Countries’ now the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Unless they were French, all foreigners were ‘Dutch’ (Deutsch), thus the brassmen were called collectively ‘The Dutchmen’.

Before arriving in Bristol in 1713, the Shortman family lived at Byfleet, Surrey.  A present day descendant, Eirlys Spawton, has traced them back to Ballenberg, Germany, where the baptisms of John, 1663 and Jacob, 1666, the sons of Peter Kurtzman, brass worker and his wife Magdalena, nee Blofus, took place. Peter Shortman of Byfleet, wiredrawer, a widower aged 28, took out a licence to marry Sarah Newlyn of Wisley, a single woman, aged 18, on 26th July 1734. The couple were married at Ripley and Send, Surrey four days later.

To read more, see the ‘The Dutchmen” – Brassmakers of Bristol, Warmley, Keynsham, Bath & district

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