William Francis Tronson

Born in Calcutta in 1862, William Francis Tronson was the son of a master mariner. He was educated at Blundell’s - his parents lived at Ashley House, Tiverton. He qualified at Guys in 1884, and after working for a short while in Preston he was appointed as a surgeon in Morchard Bishop in 1889.


In 1893 he contributed a short article to the British Medical Journal about “Displacement of the Ulnar Nerve”.


MY brother, who has just returned from America, had a fall upon his elbow several years ago. I found that the ulnar nerve, instead of being outside the inner condyle, runs over the prominence, and the slightest touch on it causes tingling of the fingers supplied by the nerve.

Morchard Bishop, Devon. W. F. TRONSON, M.R.C.S.

In 1891 he was living in “Rectory Cottage” in Church Lane in Morchard. This was probably owned by Rev John Chanter Blackmore (1847-1917) who was not only Rector, but also Lord of the Manor. The son of a tax official, he too had been educated at Blundell’s. He had been appointed to Morchard Bishop living in 1878.

Around 1890 his services were being boycotted by some parishioners, one of whom he had referred to from the pulpit as a “scorpion” who “should be excommunicated”. This was probably a neighbouring farmer, Thomas Bennett, who early the following year successfully sued Blackmore after one of his horses cut itself on Blackmore’s barbed wire fence.


In 1892 the following story made the headlines:


On Wednesday Crediton Petty Sessions , before Mr. C. Ireland (in the chair), and Lieutenant-Colonel Wyatt-Edgell, the Rev. John Chanter Blackmore, rector of Morchard Bishop, was summoned by William Tronson, M.R.C.S, of the same place, for unlawfully assaulting and beating him at Morchard on April 11th — The assault arose out of defendant sending his men to a stable rented from defendant by complainant, and taking therefrom a chaff cutter which had been kept in the stable for over three years. Defendant, who was accommodated with a chair, pleaded not guilty.

Since the summons had been issued defendant had written several threatening letters to complainant, which with the consent of the Bench he would read in Court. —Defendant: I strongly object those letters being read and made public. They were written subsequent to the assault and are not relative to the case.—Mr Martin: I can quite understand your desire to prevent them being made public. The Bench decided not to hear the letters. Complainant saw defendant on the day in question near the stables and he asked him what he meant by trespassing on his property without consent? Defendant became very violent and called complainant a liar, used very abusive language, threatened to kick him, and then took him by the collar, During the disturbance Mrs. Blackmore came upon the scene and called out to her husband “John, John, remember yourself-"—(laughter). She then got between them and prevented any further assault. Subsequently Mr. Blackmore came to complainant and offered an apology, but witness would not then accept it, unless defendant made it publicly and gave £5 for distribution amongst the poor of the parish. This defendant refused to do and used further threats. Mr. Blackmore proceeded to question defendant as to the language made use of, after his replies he said, “I admit that I made use of the expression you're a D-- liar and I regret it. "— Arthur Burrows, a carpenter said he was at work at the Rectory on the day of the assault. He was on the roof and saw Mr. Blackmore take hold of complainant by the collar of his coat. He was very violent and called complainant a d filthy, stinking liar.