Brett Volume 9: Chapter LXV - St. Leonards 1861
| This is a verbatim transcription of Brett’s work, which comprised both manuscript and typescript cuttings, and therefore reproduces Brett’s variations in style, capitalisation, punctuation and spelling. The only alterations made have been to the pagination and images whereby both page titles and images have been moved to the most appropriate paragraph as opposed to where they were pasted into the texts by the author. Where possible, personal names have been checked against census, parish records, contemporary newspaper reporting and the Central Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths. A number of footnotes have been inserted by the transcriber when this has been thought to be useful.
Generally the transcription follows the guidelines set out by the National Archives. Work is in hand to identify and annotate hand-written sections and other annotations within the transcriptions, the main difference being that hand-written sections are indicated by a Cursive font on screen. If any portions are
Chapter LXV - St Leonards 1861
Commissioners' Meetings (pg. 1)
Archery Meetings – Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows
Accidents at St.Leonards (fatal and otherwise)
Desperate Leaping and Wonderful Escape
Atmospheric Changes (the lowest recorded temperatures)
Storms and floods
Concerts and Musical Entertainments
Sudden deaths and Inquests – Death of Mr. Boykett Breeds
Death and Interment of the Prince Consort
Prince Albert's Death
Predictions touching the death of Prince Albert
Funeral Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Crosse on Prince Albert
Sudden death of the Town Crier
Fire Engines and Fire Brigade
Some curious Occurrences
Trial of The Victoria Life-Boat
Invalid Gentlewomen's Home
St Mary Magdalen Church
Maritime Disaster (A schooner sunk)
The Postal Movement
Post Office Associations
Royal Visitors and Passengers
Robberies and Larcenies
St.Leonards Mechanics' Institution
St. Leonards Temperance Hall & Working Men's Reading Room
School Treats and Workmen's Treats
School Committee's reply to Mr. Hatchard
School Committee's Reply to Mr. Hatchard's charges
St.Leonards National Schools
The Water Supply & Eversfield Works
The Eversfield Waterworks.
[ 1 ]
St. Leonards, 1861
At the quarterly meeting on the 25th of March, there were present Messrs. A Burton (chairman), Hunt, Platt, Parks, Gausden and Carey.
Tenders An offer was accepted from Wm. Mitchell to water the roads at 1/3 per hour; he to keep a correct a/c of the number of bugden fulls that were used.____Tenders for drainage were received from G. H. Broadbridge, £140; William Smith, £109 9s; Carey and Avery, £95;and Hy. Hughes, jun, £68 12s.The last named tender being less than half the highest was, unhesitatingly accepted.
Not again to be employed After being told not to collect any more hard blue stone for the Commissioners, Edward Gould, still collected it and sold it to Hughes and Hunter. It was therefore resolved that Gould be not employed again.
Bills to be paid Were Thos. Skinner's £7 15s. for housing two water carts; and Mr. Williard's £4 3s. 8d. for iron outlets.
Resignation A letter was received from the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, in which he declined to act any longer as a Commissioner.
Waterworks Bill The Clerk reported that he had obtained from Mr. Clarke and his Parliamentary agent an undertaking that the Hastings Western Waterworks Bill would exclude its operations from the Commissioners' district.
Paving Resolved that the pavement at Mrs. Harwood's house, 1 West Ascent, be widened and relaid with flag-stones, Mrs. H. bearing half the expense.
At the next quarterly meeting, on June 24th, the Commissioners present were Messrs. A. Burton (chairman) Wagner, Parks, Southall and Carey.
A Plan of the town as ordered on June 6/59 was produced by the surveyor.
Retaining Wall Resolved to pay half the cost of a retaining wall at the back of 57 Marina, if Messrs. How and Kenwood would pay the other half.
"Kettle Nets" The Clerk was requested to write to the Admiralty respecting these nets, which were placed below low-water mark to the detriment of sea bathing.
[ 2 ]
The St. Leonards Commisssioners.
Garden Ground The Clerk reported that he had been in communication with Messrs. Rogers and Jull respecting the garden ground at the east side of 15 Marina and expected to hear further. This was a piece of ground that, years before, had been walled in from the public footpath in consequence of noise and annoyance to 15 Marina, and no protest having been made for 20 years was now wanted to build a Commissioners' office.
Commissioners' Rate The usual improvement rate at one shilling was agreed to.
Crouch's wages - were to be raised from 13/6 to 15/7 for which advance he was to work half an hour longer each day.
Plan of Building The Clerk produced an acknowledgement from Frances Edward Smedley, Esq. of the receipt of communication re the ground on east side of 15 Marina, with plan attached.
At the quarterly meeting held on the 28th of September, the Commissioners present were Messrs. A. Burton (chairman), Wagner, Gausden, Carey, and Sir Woodbine Parish.
Generous Offer A pathway from the west of St. Leonards Church up to West-hill road was offered by Mr. Decimus Burton and accepted with thanks by the Commissioners. This pathway (since improved) was a great convenience.
Mr Gant, in a letter, expressed his readiness to comply with the Commissioners' wish that he should reside in the town - a wish strengthened by damage caused by the late storm - but calling attention to the fact that his salary was reduced on account of the financial position of the Commission, and that he acquiesced therein at the time also because of his early association with the town.
Fire Brigade The offer of Supt. Glenister of a section of the volunteer Fire Brigade was accepted, and a promise was made of subscribing to the fund. £35 was ordered to be paid to Shaw and Mason for new hose to the engine.
Drainage The Commissioners refused to pay any part of the cost of draining Mr. Rodda's new house on the West Hill.
Applications declined Mrs. Henley of 4 West Ascent, having applied for compensation for damage done to her house by the storm in June, last, was informed that the Commissioners had no fund for such a purpose. - Mrs. Harwood also applied to be compensated for the damage done to 1 West Ascent by the floods in June. The Commissioners declined to entertain it.
St. Leonards Commissioners - Vestry Meetings
A Tender of £22 from Mr. Tutt was accepted for the repairs of the steps at East Ascent.
Bathing Mr. A. Burton, as proprietor of most of the bathing machines, applied for rules and orders to be made, pursuant to section 82 of the St. Leonards Improvement Act.
The December Meeting was attended by Sir Woodbine Parish, Alfred Burton, Esq. (chairman), G. H. M. Wager, Esq. - Hunt, Esq. and Mr. C. H. Gausden. The business transacted was as follows:- A foot-pavement under North Lodge was to be laid; gulley-gratings were to be put in on the west side of Maze Hill and south side of East Ascent; groynes on the east side of the Victoria Library were to be repaired by Mr. Selden; articles for the fire-engine applied for by Mr. Glenister were to be ordered; a york-stone pavement was to be put down at from 123 to 126 Marina; and the same kind of pavement, 6 feet wide, was to be laid in front of West-hill terrace, half of the expense to be paid by the owners of the houses. Rate-book at 6/- for the half year as usual.
Vestry Meetings (St. Leonards)
At the first parish meeting of the year - Feb. 22nd - threr were but three persons present and the only business transacted was the election of constables in the persons of ____Hammond and Jesse Cruttenden, of Bopeep; Rich'd Lamb, of St. Leonards Green; and C. Cloake and George Standen of Tivoli.
At the Easter vestry, March 26th, Messrs. Peerless, Hatchman, Grosslob and Starkey were named for overseers; William Payne was elected assistant overseer. J. Phillips was re-elected vestry clerk; and Messrs. Draper and Peerless, surveyors. A poor rate for the borough part of the parish was figured at 6d. and a highway rate at 3d.
At a meeting on Oct. 18th, a poor rte at 6d was passed and the resignation of W. Payne as assistant overseer, was accepted.
Vestry Meetings (St. Mary Magdalen)
At the Easter vestry, held at the Warriors' Gate inn on the 27th of March, with Robert Hempsted presiding, Wm. Callaway, Aaron Sellman, Wm. Ranger, Jos. Boston and Wm. Stone were nominated for overseers; Jos. Yarroll and W. E. Skinner were elected assessors of Property and Income tax; and W. Pain Beecham was elected vestry-clerk.
The making of a rate was postponed. There were twelve signatures to the vestry-book, including those of Ainslie Harwood, T. B. Brett, Chas. Hollebone, Wm. Stoneman and Stephen Putland, jun.
At the adjourned meeting on April 4th, a poor rate at 6d. was agreed upon.
[ 4 ]
At the same adjourned meeting, an assessment committee was elected, consisting of Joseph Boston, Aaron Sellman, Ainslie Harwood, Stephen Putland, sen., Thos. Brandon Brett, Geo. Cuthbert, Stephen Howland Willard, William Callaway, John Kenwood, John Peerless, Robert Hempsted, W. E. Skinner and Henry Hughes, jun. Of that "baker's dozen", two only (Brett and Sellman) have survived a post-period of 39 years.
The next meeting was held at the Albert Inn, with Joseph Boston as chairman. There were eight parishioners present to pass a poor-rate at 6d. The date of the meeting was Oct. 10th.
Archery Prize Meetings
According to annual custom, her Majesty's birthday was celebrated on the 24th of May by a meeting of the Queen's Royal St. Leonards Archers to shoot for prizes. The day came with the proverbial Queen's Weather and the attendance was good. The fortunate competitors were Mr. G. Norris and Miss. Julia Brown.
The second meeting was held on the 23rd of June and was less numerously attended. The prizes were awarded to Miss Julia Brown, Mr. Frances, Miss Faulkner and Mr. Norris.
The annual Grand Meeting on the 17th of August was not quite so numerously attended as on previous occasions, but the shooting was said to have been better than ever before known. The winners of prizes (fully detailed in Brett's Gazette) were Miss Julia Brown, Miss Bramley, Mr. G. Gipps, Rev. J. Simpson, Mr. G. Norris, Dr. Drozier, Capt. Dawes, Miss. Birch, Miss Cancellor, Rev. G. Hawley, Miss Campbell and Lieut.-Col. Mackay. The prizes were distributed by the president, P. F. Robertson, Esq.
The next fashionable gathering was on the 24th of August, at which the prize winners were Miss. Julia Brown, Dr. Drozier, Miss Pennethorne and Miss Mackay.
Mr. P. F. Robertson's handsome prizes were shot for on the 7th of September, and the fortunate competitors were Mrs. Thompson, Miss Rose Pennethorne, Miss Birch, Dr. Drozier, Capt. Dawes, and Mr. G. Gipps.
At the 6th prize-meeting, which was held on the 14th of September, during rather unfavourable weather and with a smaller company than usual, the prize winners were Miss. Julia Brown, Dr. Drozier and the Rev. J. M. Crosker.
The next general meeting was on Saturday Sept. 21st, but a heavy storm of rain soon caused the order to be given to "cease firing" until Monday; nor was the said Monday at all nice for the shooters or a good assembly of visitors. The competition was completed, however,[ 5 ]and the ladies and gentlemen who carried off the prizes were Miss Mackay, Miss Julia Brown, Miss Pigow, Miss Birch, Mr. G. Gipps, Dr. Drozier, and the Rev. J. N. Croker. Two of the prizes were given by Dr. Drozier and the Rev. J. N. Croker.
The last assembly for the season was on the 5th of October, a day that was in every way suitable both for a good attendance and excellent shooting. The winners were Miss
Brown, Miss Jane Brown, Miss Butt, Miss Grace Mackay, Mr. G. Gipps, and Miss Julia Brown. The scores and other details were fully reported at the times of the several meetings in the St. Leonards Gazette and other local journals.
Adelaide Lodge of Oddfellows
Election of Surgeon - This branch of the Manchester Unity named after Queen Adelaide in consequence of her residence at St. Leonards - held a special meeting on the 28th of January to elect a fresh medical officer to take the place of Dr. Marks, who had removed, with his family, to Ireland. There were five candidates for choice - namely, Mr. Penhall, who obtained 72 votes; Mr. Roger Duke, 71; Mr. J. G. Savery, 42; Mr. R.J. Wilson, 41; and Dr. Turner, 11. The mode of voting was by ballot, but notwithstanding that every precaution was apparently taken against the possibility of error, it was found that there were four more votes than voters. The meeting was consequently adjourned for a fortnight, when another ballot was taken, which resulted in the election of Mr. Penhall.
The Annual Soiree of the same lodge was held at the Warrior's Gate Inn on the 11th of February, when about 100 partook of tea, and afterwards danced in right good time and temper to the strains of Mr. Barnett's band till the night was far advanced.
The Annual Festival, which, for several years, had been held on the anniversary of the society in November, was this year held on the general gala day of Whit-Monday. It was, however, somewhat exceptional to the other societies in the fact that it was the only benefit club in St. Leonards; it perambulated a different district to that of the others; had the greatest number of annual subscribers; was led in procession by an excellent military band, and had a smartness and completeness in his regalia not observed in the perambulation of kindred societies. The dinner was provided at the "Warrior's Gate"; the chairman was H. Selmes, Esq., supported by J. Gibbs, Esq.; and the vice-chairman was J. Penhall, Esq. A full report appeared at the time in Brett's St. Leonards and Hastings Gazette
The Annual Soirée on the 11th of Feb. was attended by about 100, who after tea, danced merrily to the strains of Barnett's Band, till the night was far advanced[Notes 1]. [ 6 ]An accident occurred on the 26th of February in front of the Saxon hotel, by which John Jones was killed, and two other men - Henry Towner and George Reeves - were slightly injured (See Inquests).
A Triplet of Equine Accidents. During the last three or four days of January no fewer than three youths were carried to the Infirmary suffering injuries by horses. Charles Huggins, carter to Mr. Parks, of St. Leonards, while turning the corner at Warrior's Gate with a cart load of bricks, was knocked down by a van, and one wheel of the laden cart passed over his right wrist and right leg near the ankle. After being carried to the Infirmary it was discovered to the surprise of all that no bones were broken. The two other accidents arose through horses slipping down whilst being exercised. Alfred Goodsell sustained a broken leg and lacerated face, and John Lansdell suffered from a serious contusion of the ankle and other injuries.
Mrs. Hale (wife of Dr. Hale, of St. Leonards) was greatly shaken and a young lady bruised and contused over the right eye by being thrown out of an overthrown carriage at the east end of George street, to which spot it had rapidly descended at the will of a frightened and galloping horse all the way from the Hare-and-hounds at Ore. The driver was also much injured by his head being forced through a square of plate glass.
A Fatal Burn - A melancholy accident occurred at a house in Lavatoria on the 21st of May, which resulted in the death of an interesting child, four years of age. The accident was of such a nature as to suggest the propriety of placing a fire-guard in all cases where children are left in room by themselves (See Inquests)
Desperate Leaping and Wonderful Escape
A Madman's Freak - On the afternoon of the 29th of August, while some gentlemen were engaged on some parochial business in a private room at the back of the British Hotel, East Ascent, a loud crash was heard close to the window. This was followed by another and another crash, whereupon Messrs. Beecham and Sellman, rushed out of the house to institute a search for the cause, and soon discovered that a man had thrown himself over a wall to a great depth below. The result of this search and enquiry was the finding of a man [ 7 ]with no other clothes than his shirt on, standing in the kitchen of 14 Undercliff in a trembling condition and supporting himself with his hands on a table. To have thus found him breathing the "breath of life" and apparently, without a broken bone, was an event little short of a miracle. The man who had thus produced such a consternation was a shoemaker named Laker, respectably connected and a native of Ashford. He seemed at times to have been afflicted with intellectual aberation(sic) and was known to have been medically treated for that or some other ailment which he professed to have had. On the evening preceding the occurrence, Mr. Barrett, shoemaker at 2 St. Clement's place (with whom Laker worked and lodged) noticed something peculiar in his manner, and in the course of some conversation discovered that the poor man was dwelling upon the delusion of an attempt being made to send him to an asylum. He, however, became more composed and was got to bed. In the mean time, medical advice was obtained, but nothing of a decisive character was determined on. The next phase of this affair was the one described at the commencement of this narrative. Getting quietly out of bed, he appeared to have climed(sic) up to a window placed above the half-landing of the stairs, and to have thrown himself over the sash on to the roof of a scullery, about 20 feet below the window, breaking through the roof and carrying away a rafter or two by his weight. Then running across the yard, he sprang to the top of a wall, 7 or 8 feet high with the agility of a cat. Crouching on the wall but for a moment, he again precipitated himself to a depth of 20 or 30 feet, alighting on the roof of a building below the cliff. From this he made another perilous descent to a still lower building, breaking in the slated roof and falling, it was supposed, backwards into the yards. Thence he walked or crawled into the kitchen where he was found. On being questioned by Mr. Sellman as to his motive for committing so rash an act, he replied that he would sooner do anything than be taken to an asylum. Whilst this was going on, Mr. Beecham, as one who had exposed himself to such imminent peril, obtained the medical assistance of Mr. Wilson. The poor man was very much cut about, but beyond that, he did not appear to have sustained any serious injury. The distance comprised in the three leaps was measured and found to be 61 feet. The escape from destruction or broken limbs was marvellous.
- It is uncertain why Brett repeated this sentence