The job of Tranter or Carrier was important for a village in the eighteenth or nineteenth century. He used a horse and cart to transport any manner of things near or far. We know from Thomas Hardy’s description of the business of Dewy and Son, Mellstock in Under the Greenwood Tree that they built up a profitable business, advertizing their trade as ‘furniture, coals, potatoes, live and dead stock, removed to any distance on the shortest notice’. Dick Dewy possessed more than one suit of clothes and was respectable enough to marry the novel’s heroine.
At a similar time in Bitton, John Wilton was the tranter, as shown in an illustration by M Holnes in 1845. His bus went to Old Market Bristol. We don’t know what his carriage was like, but there is an illustration of the ‘Van’ used locally by F Freemont in 1857 (shown below).
F Freemont van, 1857, an Illustration; courtesy Bath In Time/Bath Central Library
Frank Williams was a local carter who drank copiously, which necessitated his relieving himself from time to time. Norman points to a law which permitted a carter to relieve himself by the back wheel of his cart, as it may have been dangerous for him to leave it.
The coming of the railway (to Bitton in 1869) would have had a big impact on their trade, but there was still the business of taking goods ‘the last mile’. J.P. Bishop of Swineford provided a service to collect from Keynsham station as shown by his poster opposite.
John Wilton, illustration by M Holnes, 1845; courtesy Bath In Time/Bath Central Library
According to David Norman in his Reminiscences of Upton Cheyney, Joseph Hook was the carter in Upton Cheyney. He looked after two carthorses and took the produce into Bristol Market. The choicest fruits and flowers from Pipley were sold to Miss Hughes who had a fruit and flower shop in Park Street. All fruit boxes were marked “PP” and an advertising alliteration was “Parker’s Pipley Produce Packed in Purple Paper.