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It appears that a Dorset farmer, Benjamin Jesty vaccinated his family successfully against smallpox using material from cowpox sores on the family farm near Yetminster. The event might have gone unrecorded had not Benjamin's wife become seriously ill as a result of the innoculation and it was feared for a time that she might die.

The Jesty family moved to Downshey manor on the Isle of Purbeck and Benjamin and his wife are buried in the churchyard at Worth Matravers.

Dr. Edward Jenner (1749-1823) announced his discovery of vaccination as a preventative measure against smallpox in 1798 having noticed that dairy maids who had suffered from the less virulent cow pox did not get small pox.

Although vaccination was made compulsory in England in 1853, there was considerable opposition to it and an anti-vaccination society was formed in London in 1870. "Conscientious objectors" recieved legal exemption from vaccination in 1898.

In London, in 1723, smallpox caused one out of fourteen of all deaths. The number of deaths from smallpox had greatly diminished after Jenner's announcement in 1798.

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1723Smallpox causes one out of fourteen of all deaths in London
1789Small pox outbreak at Highworth, Wilts.
1796.May.14First vaccination against smallpox performed by Dr Edward Jenner
Dr Jenner creditted with the discovery of vaccination against the deadly smallpox although such a vaccination is recorded as having been used by the Yetminster farmer Benjamin Jesty many years before
1798Dr Edward Jenner (1749-1823) announces his discovery of vaccination against smallpox using cowpox
1823Death of Dr Edward Jenner (1749-), creditted with the discovery of vaccination (against smallpox)
1853Vaccination against smallpox made compulsory in England
There was considerable opposition to it
1870Formation of an anti-vaccination society (smallpox vaccination was compulsory) in London
1898Conscientious objectors recieve legal exemption from smallpox vaccination

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