In the churchyard of St Nicholas, in Worth Matravers, is the grave of Benjamin Jesty and his wife, Elizabeth.
While Dr Edward Jenner is the man regarded the world over as the man who discovered a vaccine for smallpox, one of the most horrendous illnesses ever, Benjamin Jesty, a Dorset dairy farmer, inoculated his family against the disease 22 years before Jenner’s discovery!
As a farmer he’s become aware that his workers who contracted the mild disease of Cowpox were protected from Smallpox. Thus he gathered some pus from an infected cow and using a knitting needle ‘enoculated’ his family against the disease by inserting said needle into their flesh.
In recognition of his work The Vaccine Pock Institute commissioned this portrait which is now to be found in The Dorset County Museum.