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BENJAMIN JESTY was a farmer from Yetminster in north-west Dorset who performed the first innoculations (see Vaccination) against the killer smallpox using the more benign cow pox many years before Dr Jenner who is creditted with the discovery.

Jesty noticed that dairy maids who had caught cowpox did not catch the killer small-pox and innoculated his whole family with cowpox as a preventative measure using a needle to scratch the skin. The experiment was performed long before Jenner attempted it but, Jenner being a doctor is remembered as performing the first innoclution by posterity.

The Rev Morgan Jones was vicar at Worth Matravers and also rector at Ryme Intrinseca just to the west of Yetminster - he may have been instrumental in the Jesty's decision to move to Worth Matravers.

Jesty's experiment might have been lost to us for ever if it were not for the fact that it attracted attention because his wife grew very sick as a reslut of the innoculation and almost died.

 Grave of Benjamin & Elizabeth Jesty at Worth Matravers
The Jesty's later moved to Worth Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck and both Benjamin and his wife lie side-by-side in the churchyard there.

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Rev Morgan Jones


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