05 Nov 2006 • 2,569 views
Buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas in Brockenhurst is Brusher Mills.
I have blacked out the upper part of the background because there are War Graves close to this headstone.
Harry "Brusher" Mills was born near Lyndhurst in 1840. As his stone says, he was a snake catcher, carrying those he captured on a stick over his shoulder. His customers included museums and medical establishments. He was desperately poor, but managed to earn enough to 'get by'.
He was called 'Brusher' because another of his jobs was to keep the local cricket wicket brushed, probably using a home made besom.
Brusher lived for many years in a tiny hut in the Forest, sometimes called a 'bender' (shown on the left of the the tombstone). When it was destroyed by fire he moved into an outbuilding (shed) at the Railway Inn public house in Brockenhurst. It was there that he died shortly after, the pub was re-named in his memory.
According to the Church Warden, Brusher's family erected this rather grand headstone.Brusher Millsmy vfxy
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