Ever wondered who Tadley Mulford’s Hill was named after?
John Mulford was born on the 1st October 1720. His name is perpetuated in the local street name, Mulford’s Hill. While no longer a commonly used name, the metal Mulford’s Bridge (601 616), still exists where the A340 road crosses Bishopswood Stream.
The New Monthly Magazine 1st Feb 1814 Vol 1
At Tadley, John Mulford, Esq – died age 95. This gentleman’s extended life has been remarkable for several eccentricities. In his early days he associated for some time with the gipsy tribe. When his conduct assumed a more sober complexion, he resided in different places as a respectable gentleman, attracting notice by the peculiarity and even splendour of his dress. He afterwards professed an attention to the duties of a religious life; and being possessed of considerable property, he devoted a portion of it to religious purposes. He built two chapels, with dwelling-houses for the ministers, at his own expense. His generous disposition attracted the notice and frequent visits of the friends and patrons of public institutions and charitable societies, who seldom waited on Mr. Mulford with their cases in vain. His own expenditure, however, in his kitchen, parlour, and wardrobe,was of the most frugal kind, though he was always neat in his person and dress. His manner of life was somewhat in the hermit style. It need scarcely be said, that he never entered into the matrimonial state.
He was considered as a man of intellectual ability, and well acquainted with the concerns of life. It is certain, he had seen life’s varieties more than most men, having made so many experiments to find out its ‘summum bonum’. As to his family and its antiquity, Mr. Mulford once said, “My arms are three moles and three mole-hills, and my great ancestor was mole-catcher to William the Conqueror.” About a year before his death, he found out that beards were never designed to fall beneath the tonsor’s razor, and therefore his own chin was indulged with the venerable luxury of a very big beard, which completed the costume of the patriarch. It was his wish for many years to leave the world suddenly, if it pleased God, that he might not occasion much trouble to any attendants. In this respect is wish was granted. He died in his chair in his parlour, across which he had walked several times, without pain. A few hours before his departure, having looked out of the window, he observed, what a fine day it was for gossiping people to go about and say, “Old Mulford is dead!” It is said he has left behind him about £20,000, a considerable part of which is bequeathed to some poor relations, nor has he forgotten the two chapels which he created. While his death is gain to several, it will be a loss to many more,who will miss his frequent acts of benevolence, particularly the poor in his own neighbourhood.
He died on 7th January 1814. His tombstone is in the graveyard of Mortimer West End Chapel. Ernie Kimber, writing in Tadley During My Time and Before, recounts how on the day he died he was reported to have looked out the window and said, ‘This is a fine day for the gossips to go about and say “Old Mulford is dead”’.
We have a copy of his will. As you can see it is difficult to read. We are looking for volunteers to type out the contents of such documents. So if you fancy a good puzzle during the current situation try and decide what is said on this will and email your efforts to firstname.lastname@example.org. More generally, contact us if you are interested in doing more investigations into local history.
The epitaph on the stone reads
“Gone to know more, adore more, love more; Christ is victorious. Satan vanquished. Here on earth take thy part of John Mulford”.