Brett Volume 1: Chapter II - Hastings 1828-1829
Chapter II - Hastings 1828 & 1829
| 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
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Hastings in 1828 & 1829
Fatal smuggling conflict (pg. 11)
Conviction and transportation of the smugglers (pg. 11)
A violent storm and its effects (pg. 12)
Court of Record (pg. 12)
Great Fall of cliff (pg. 11)
Choosing Mayor and other officers(pg. 16)
Erection of 1 to 6 Breeds Place (pg. 12)
Accidents and offences (pg. 11)
Launching of cutters (pg. 13)
Anchoring of an emigrant ship and a brig of war(pg. 13)
Exciting galley race (pg. 13)
The Theatre at Ore (pg. 12)
A new coach (pg. 12)
Visibility of the French coast (pg. 12)
Concerts at the Arcade(pg. 13)
Appalling thunderstorm(pg. 13)
Prize fight between Wood and Whiteman (pg. 13)
Hastings Races and the aeronaught Green (pg. 13)
Burglaries and robberies (pg. 13)
160 night watchmen (pg. 13)
Turning out the old year and ushering in the new (pg. 17)
Death of Tomsett and appointment of Shorter as Town Clerk(pg. 16)
Settling Dinners(pg. 18)
Smuggling seizures (pg. 13)
The Blue Room at the Ship (pg. 18)
Comptroller Bevil (pg. 15)
The Condemned Hole (pg. 15) (pg. 16)
Co-operative Stores (pg. 14)
Desperate fight by Whiteman and Neve (pg. 15)
The beadle Chatfield (pg. 15)
The new yacht "Atlanta” (pg. 15)
Lasher's and Saunders Charities (pg. 15)
St. Mary's Chapel defective (pg. 16) Fatal fires (pg. 15)
Sales of stonebeach and paying for new Town Hall, new Light House, etc. (pg. 16)
Corporation demands for encroachments (pg. 17) The Town Walk and Hundred Court (pg. 17)
Extensive bankruptcies. (pg. 17)
It suits my purpose before entering on the consideration of another year, to summarise as much as possible the hitherto unnoticed occurrences of 1828 and '9, as associated more particularly with Hastings.
Smuggling Fatalities - Trial and Transportation of Smugglers
In the first named year, on the 3rd of January, a party of smugglers rushed onto the beach at about two miles west of the embryo St. Leonards and landed a cargo of smuggled goods, which they conveyed in carts, on horses and on men's backs to Bexhill. There they were overtaken by blockadesmen who had been reinforced to about forty in number, when the smuggler's batsmen drew themselves up in regular lines of battle and a desperate fight ensued. In the first volley fired by the blockadesmen, a smuggler named Smith and one of their comrades were killed, and others were wounded, but the defenders fought with such determination as to repulse their assailants, after Quarter-Master Collins had been killed and many others severely bruised. Next morning the dead body of Smith was found with his bat still graped by his hands, the weapon being almost hacked to pieces by the cutlasses and bayonets of the blockadesmen. Some of the men, whose names were known were afterwards captured. These were Spencer Whiteman, Thos. Miller, Hy. Miller, John Spray, Edward Shoesmith, Wm. Bennett, John Foord and Stephen Stubberfield. They were indicted at the Horsham spring assizes and removed to the Old Bailey for trial, where, on the 10th of April, they all pleaded guilty. They were sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to transportation. Such was the afterwards good conduct of Spencer Whiteman (which I lately described in an obituary notice), that he obtained his freedom and died a highly respected nonagenarian at the Antipodes. [More copious details of the fatal fight at Bexhill have been given elsewhere].
January 12 & 13. A violent hurricane swept the Channel and drove all before it, followed by another on the 27th, after a beautiful phosphorescent sea. Among the Hastings fishing boats which came ashore at night was one which was capsized, thus snapping her foremast, throwing one man (Wymark) into the sea and cooping another ("Jane" Phillips) under the upturned boat. The first was rescued by Richard Adams and John Campbell, and the other, much exhausted, was got out with difficulty [ 11 ]by cutting a hole in the hull with an axe.
St. Mary's Chapel Opened - Great fall of Cliff - Other Occurrences
On the 27th of Jan. the Chapel of St. Mary's-in-the-Castle, was first opened for divine services, and the first minister thereat (Rev. Wm. Wallinger) read himself in on the 24th of Feb. After a residence of some years, he removed to Tunbridge Wells, where, at the age of 85, he died in 1880, and his remains were brought to Hastings and interred in the family vault.
At the Court of Record, on the 28th of January, James Edward Ferguson Murray Esq. was admitted a Freeman of Hastings by observing the usual formality and paying the lesser sum of 6/8, to which he was privileged, a the son of a Freeman. His father was Major James Patrick Murray and his grandfather was General James Murray, the hero of Minorca and Quebec. The achievements of the two latter valiants are described in Reminiscences (Torfield House, 1794).On the 27th of February, three large portions of rock detached themselves from the East cliff at Hastings, and fell with an earthquake crash. The several portions thus precipitated constitute what the Postman in his 'Reminiscences of Hastings' says -
The accompanying view represents the scene.
So great was the fall that the oldest of men could tell not its like by tradition or ken.
When Neptune's rude element carried away the thousands of tons of rock, rubble and sand. As twice a day, giant like swept it the stray
Not only were the normal flowings of the sea effective in sweeping away the debris of the fallen cliff at Hastings, but to a still greater extent was the removal I observed when, on the 5th of March, an unusually high tide, gave rise to fears that even St Leonards, just begun, had been projected in too close a proximity to the restless waters of the Channel.
It was on the 17th of that same month of March that Capt. Daniels, a native of Hastings, anchored his barque "Coronet" off Hastings, on route for Van Diemen's Land and received many of his home friends on board for a days entertainment.
The Mayor for the year 1828 was Frederick North Esq. He was elected on Sunday the 27th of April, whilst C. S. Crouch became Deputy Mayor and John Tompsett, Town Clerk. At this time the Corporation availed themselves of Saunder's Charity wherewith to apprentice John, the son of John Fisher, to John Wheeler, as pastry-cook, and William, the son of James Phillips, a fisherman, to Thomas Sinden, a baker.
While the new Mayor and the Corporation were banqueting on the 28th of April, a vestry meeting of the Castle parish appointed Mr. Dickenson as parish surgeon at the usual annuity of five Guineas. The meeting also resolved to pay two Guineas each to Arthur Deudney and Joseph Prior for their services as overseers.
On the 12th of April, the Duchess of Marlborough and party arrived at 2 Breeds Place, and the event is noteworthy in consequence of their being among the first tenants of Nos. 1 to 6 of that stately row of mansions which were just completed. I have intimated that Mr. Lansdell's apparent slowness in erecting Mr. Burton's West Villa arose from the work he had in hand by the building of these six large houses of his own, and I now add that on their completion, Mr Lansdell gave a splendid nearing feast in the four drawing rooms which in Nos. 5 and 6 opened into one. A professional cook and two confectioners were engaged from London and among the viands were a buck (roasted whole) and a baron of beef which weighed 90lbs. The dinner was altogether of a sumptuous character, and was greatly appreciated by the guests. His range of buildings was named Breeds Place, firstly because Mr Lansdell had been mar- [ 12 ]-ried to Martha, the daughter of Mr. Thos. Breeds and secondly because an old woman named Breeds had lived in a cottage or cave before the site had been secured by cutting down the cliff.
Occurrences in 1828
In the latter half of April were recorded the fatal burning of a servant of grocer Trougheck's and the imprisonment of the 'Queen of the Gipsies(sic)' for stealing gownpieces, the death of Mr. Tindall, a Hastings tradesman, the accidental drowning of a fisherman named Southurst and the death of a man named Catt, by a fall of earth.
Also in the month of May among other deaths were those of three children of the name of Broadbudge, three of the name of Tassell (2 of them twins), three of the name of Phillips, a Mrs. Anthony Harvey (mother of the late Councillor Harvey), and Mr. Mark Breeds (a well known merchant). The last named died on the 6th of May, and, four days later, his remains were conveyed to Guestling for interment, accompanied by 2 mules, 4 sailors, 6 horsemen, a mourning coach and many private carriages. At this time the Duke of Wellington was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and Lady Kensington was residing in Wellington Square, thus named in honour of the Duke. On the 10th of May she was visited by her son, in command of the Garnet, brig of war, which was anchored off Hastings for that purpose. On the 12th of May was launched the new Atlanta, 29 feet by 8 ft. 8in.; and, a fortnight later a great race over a course of 8 miles was rowed by the crews of the Rainbow and Sun, two four-oared galleys, the latter winning by a minute of time. On the 26th of May a grand concert was held at the Hare-and-hounds inn, an old holstery(sic) just outside the borough boundary, which for many years, with its theatre on one side and its tea-gardens on the other was a favourite lounge with the Hastings people. Apropos of musical matters, a third concert by the Cecilian Society took place at the Kings Head on June 5th, the instrumentalists being Majors Ryall, Hart, Wood Wyborne, Fleming, Stewart, Kidd, Campbell and Elliot, all of whom, save one, were occasional performers with the present writer.
In anticipation of as good a fashionable season as was the last, three more houses were added to those already built on Pelham Crescent, and a new coach was started for Battle, Hurst Green, Cranbrook and Maidstone.
At 8.30 p.m., on the 3rd of July, the French coast was distinctly visible from Fairlight, succeeded at 10.10 p.m. by a violent thunderstorm. On the 5th of July, whilst Ewen's Exhibition of Wax-work was taking up position in front of Breeds Place, the Pelham Arcade resumed its promenade concerts under the conductorship of Mr. Joseph Hart, and the management of Messrs Powell and Diplock. At the same time, Mr Young?, a comic vocalist, who had previously been manager, opened a library in the Arcade and published a guide. Rock Fair was held as usual on the 26th and 27th of July, and on the following day, the fairground was the scene of a prize fight, when "Mike" Wood, a local athlete, fought 40 rounds with Fread Whiteman and was declared the winner.
On the day after the fight there was a conflict with the meteorological elements resulting in an appalling thunderstorm which continued for 3 hours, the hailstones from which were found, next morning congealed into swathes as large as cricket balls. The 14th of August witnessed the floating from Ransom and Ridley's Shipyard, the new cutter Diligence of 171½ tons.
Two days later an inquest was held on the body of a supposed smuggler, lost during the late gales, it being the third body similarly picked up. More curious it was that the mutilated remains of a fisherman were trawled up, and recognised by means of a particular seam in the sea-boots, as those of a man named Bumsted who was drowned 22 months before.
During the Hastings Races (a great annual event) on the 26th and 27th of September, the aeronaught Green passed over the course from Lewes. On the 11th of November, another Revenue cutter called The Bee was launched from Ransom and Ridley's yard, and a third one, of even larger dimensions was to be seen on the stocks.
Burglaries and robberies had become so numerous, that on the 1st of December, 160 inhabitants formed themselves into a body of night-watchmen to serve under certain regulations; yet, as though in defiance of the new movement, on the same night, combustibles were placed against several houses and the windows broken. [ 13 ]
Violent contentions at the Priory Ground claimed by Government
But the most exciting topic of the year was the claim made by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests on that part of the adjoining the western boundary of the town on which some of the Hastings people had built for themselves houses and other property, under the belief then, that the land had once been overrun by the sea, and for a vast period had been left as dry and desert waste, there was no real owner of it. On the 6th of December, however in the preceding year an inquisition was held at the George Hotel, Battle by the Government officials respecting the claim of the Crown to the said waste ground or beach. Among the several persons who were present without ability to produce title-deeds were some representatives of the Hastings Corporation - namely, F. North, E. Milward and J. G. Shorter, Esqs. These three gentlemen together with Mr. John Phillips (assistant to Mr. Tompsett, the Town Clerk), were deputed on the 30th of November to attend the inquisition and to take such other steps as they might judge to be desirable. Their representations, however, had no weight with the Commissioners, and their claims - if considered as such - were held to have no more validity than had those who it was said had illegally appropriated the grounds. In another part of this History it is shown that the said appropriators had squabbled and fought among themselves over their assumed boundary lines, and got into litigations; hence the inquisition and its result - the claim of the Crown to the territory in dispute. What was the precise nature of the Corporation sentiments and proceedings after the deputation at Battle were politely showed to the door has not been revealed, but about five months later (the last week in May 1828), notices were served by the Crown Solicitor on those who were holding property west of the Priory Bridge to appear at the Kings Bench to substantiate their claims. The broad arrow was soon placed on the property and a lease of 7 years was granted to those who had built premises on the land thus secured by the Crown.The Messrs. Breeds had made use of a large portion of the ground for their rope-walks, warehouses and other property and they, as well as others, had frequent disputes over what they claimed to be their own. Some of these disputes were taken before the Hastings Court, as in the case of Boykett Breeds being indicted for an assault on Thos. James Breeds, but which on the 11th of Jan 1827 was withdrawn. Some other cases were injudiciously carried to a higher court thus making known to the Crown Officials the state of affairs and forcing them to interfere. Mr. Boykett Breeds had lime-kilns, timber-yards, proter-stores, coal warehouses and premises where is now Claremont. He also purchased Cuckoo Hill and the estate, but afterwards getting into the meshes of the law, he was only extricated by bankruptcy after a draft from his mercantile exchequer of many thousands of pounds. Even when a bankrupt, the Corporation resolved to take proceedings against him for about £50. I will not give it to the reader as a well-remembered or ascertained fact, although I lived close to Mr. Breed's premises at the time, but I have little doubt that the gentlemen here named and others, were meant by the "Richard Roe" referred to in the following legal document:-
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In the Kings Bench - Easter Term, in the ninth year of the reign of King George the Fourth, Sussex, to wit. - Richard Roe was attached to answer John Doe of a plea, wherefore he the said Richard Roe, with force and arms, &c., entered into thirty messuages, thirty cottages, thirty shops, thirty sheds, thirty warehouses, thirty coach-houses, thirty stables, thirty outhouses, fie forges, five lime kilns, five rope walks, thirty yards and ten acres of land within the appurtenances, situate and being adjoining to the town of Hastings, in the county of Sussex, which our Sovereign Lord, the now King, had demised to the said John Doe for a term which is not yet expired, and ejected him from his said farm, and other wrongs to the said John Doe, and against the peace of our said Lord, the now King &c. And thereupon the said John Doe, by William Green, his attorney, complains that whereas our Sovereign Lord, the now King, on the fourteenth of March in the the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight, at Hastings aforesaid, in the county aforesaid had demised the said tenements with the appurtenances to the said John Doe, to have and to hold the same to the said John Doe and his assigns from the fourteenth day of March in the year aforesaid for and during unto the full end and term of seven years from thence next ensuing, and fully to be complete and ended. By virtue of which said demise the said John Doe entered into the said tenements with the appurtenances, and became and was thereof possessed for the said term so to him thereof granted as aforesaid; and the said John Doe being so thereof possessed, the said Richard Roe afterwards, to wit, on the fifteenth day of the same month of March in the year aforesaid, with force and arms &c., entered into the said tenements with the appurtenances, in which the said John Doe was so interested, in manner and for the term aforesaid, which is not yet expired, and ejected him, the said John Doe, out of his said farm and other wrongs to the said John Doe then and there did, to the great damage of the said John Doe, and against the peace of our Lord the now King: Wherefore the said John Doe saith that he is injured and hath sustained damage to the value of five pounds, and therefore he brings his suit, &c. -James Lansdell, William Vennall, Richard Richardson, Mary Brazier, Thomas Manington, Robert Noakes, Walter Vincett, Thomas Lusted, William Pignell, Samual Chester, and Charles Emary, I am informed that you are in possession of or claim title to the premises in this declaration of ejections mentioned, or to some part thereof; and I, being sued in this action as casual ejector only, and having no claim or title do the same, do advise you to appear in next Trinity Term in His Majesty's Court of Kings bench, wheresoever the King shall then be, in England, by some attorney of that Court, and
then and there, by rule of the same Court, to cause yourselves to be made defendants in my stead, otherwise I shall suffer judgement therein to be entered against me by default, and you will be turned out of possession. - Dated this nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight.— Yours; &c., Richard Roe
All the names above cited were residents or had property on the , the exact sites of which were familiar to the writer. The annexed view shows the said waste beach, separated from Hastings by the Priory River, which was spanned by a wooden Bridge until 1820, when it was washed down by the sea, and a more substantial one of brick, stone and iron erected in its place.
This view, sketched from near the White Rock, exhibits in the foreground only the bare posts and beams of the rope walk, together with the Government Watch-house, a few small workshops and the larger building known as Bowmer's mast and block shop. But at the time when the Woods and Forests Commissioners seized the ground in 1828, the entire area was built upon. In 1824, however on the 24th of November, the sea destroyed much of the property then existing, some of which was afterwards only temporarily rebuild.
On the 19th of March, the smugglers were again unfortunate through the seizure of a fishing boat on the beach which was discovered to have 16 secreted casks of spirits, and on the 3rd of April the contrabanders were further discouraged in the seizure of the boat Rose with 115 tubs of brandy by Mr Bevill and his crew - the Soloman Bevill who as before stated[Notes 2], was married in January to Miss Knight. I have often wondered if the pleasure-boat that Mr Bevill afterwards owned named the Rose was the same Rose that had contravened the laws of her country and was handed over to her captor for a consideration instead of being placed in the Condemned Hole as was the fishing boat. (The same Sol. Bevill and crew made a still greater seizure at sea on the 7th of May when a fishing boat with 55 packages of contraband, and three men and two boys, fell into their hands. This boat, I believe, shared the fate of many others that were sawn assunder(sic) and placed in the Condemned Hole. Does any reader ask where was the Condemned Hole? It was a railed in depository on a space of waste beach where is now that portion of the parade between the rear of Beach Terrace and the Pelham Arcade. In the annexed view may be seen Pelham Crescent, Pelham Arcade and Pelham Place on the north side, and the Condemned Hole, with an impounded boat on the south side. The so-called "Hole" is between the boat-builder's blacksmith shop on the east, and Mr Carmac's stables on the west. Outside of the stables is that gentleman and groom with one of the horses. This sketch was taken in 1829, the year now under review, and associated both with the place and the year are other transactions noted further on.
An event of great attraction was that of March 31st, when several hundred visitors and residents witnessed the launch from Ransom and Ridley's Shipyard of Lord Chesterfield's new cutter, as did the owner himself, who had come for that purpose in his carriage and horse. On the 6th of April, Co-operative Stores were opened in Winding Street, which, notwithstanding that the members numbered 160, failed, as have others at a later date.
The number of fishing boats employed at Hastings in 1829 was forty-three, a fewer number by four than in 1812. But the present mackerel season was more early and more prosperous than the oldest fisherman could remember. On the 13th of April there were caught in one night no fewer than 140,000 which realised a sum of over £1,000. Forty thousand of them were taken to London in two sloops. [ 15 ]
Occurences in 1828
The merchant Mr. James Breeds was entertained at dinner on the 27th of April by 20 persons who had been in his employ from 21 to 26 years.
Another pugilistic encounter came off on the 9th of May, which was witnessed by about 600 persons, and when Fred. Whiteman who, in the preceding year had been vanquished by Mike Wood, was again beaten after a desperate encounter with a man named Neves, the number of rounds being 135, and the fight enduring 1¾ hours.
On Sunday, the 10th of May, the choice of Mayor fell upon Mr. S. L. Crouch, while Mr. F. North was appointed Deputy Mayor and Mr. J. G. Shorter, Town Clerk. The church bells rang merrily as usual between the services, and the Mayor's banquet was held on the following day. There were at 'that' time only two beadles to keep unruly people in order, and one of these, named Chatfield, fell dead under the Elms while conducting a vagrant out of town. This was on the 13th or 14th of May. - A week later, Mr. Robert Weston was appointed Postmaster in lieu of Benjamin Bossom, then deceased.
There appeared to be an excess of duty on the part of the Revenue officers, when, on the 22nd of June, they seized the new 'Atlanta' because it had on board (contrary to law as alleged) a flying fish preserved in a bottle of spirits and two bottles of pickles. The boat was placed in the Condemned Hole, but was afterwards restored to its owner.
The yearly distribution of Lasher's Charity (rent of 16 acres of land in All Saints) to seven old men was duly performed, the recipients being John Swaine, who had had it for two years; John Whyborn (2); Paul Hew 5; John Phillips 9; Richard Adams 5; Geo. Sargent, 5; and Wm. Foord, 5. The Corporation also applied the Saunders Charity to its legitimate purpose in apprenticing James, the son of Thos. Ranger, to David Delves, shoemaker, and Edward, son of Edward Sharpe, of All Saints Street to Thos. Thorne, plasterer.
On the 2nd of July there was an examination of 100 children at the Cavendish Place new Infant School, in which he who now writes, was one of the first assistant teachers. I am reminded that at the second time there were nearly 400 children in the Wesleyan Sunday school in Waterloo Place.
Among the misfortunes of the year were a defect in the roof of the Pelham Crescent Chapel, which necessitated a suspension of services for some time; the fatal fall of a young man named Easton over the[ 16 ]cliff; a fire at the Bohemia Mansion while occupied by Earl Sheffield and the death of a young lady named Clackett, at 2 Marine Parade through the sleeve of her dress taking fire while arranging her toilette.
Occurrences in 1829 and 1829
At that time the Marine Parade, 500 feet long, but narrow in width was daily thronged with fashionable company, and in the month of July, a stand was erected for the town band outside of the parade wall, so as to afford more prom for the promenaders. The said parade had then be(sic) added to by the presentation to the Corporation of a new piece in front of Pelham Place by the Earl of Chichester, the site for which in 1820, the Earl had paid the Corporation £200. This money, together with the revenue from Leasements(sic) of stone beach granted to several other persons, had, in 1829, amounted to £2,200 which sum was applied to the expense incurred for building a new Town Hall, repairing the town clock, the erection of a new pier-shop, the covering over the Bourne's mouth and the construction of a new light house. This outlay was the means of realising a yearly income of about £90 [Notes 3]. And now, as to the blacksmith's shop which is represented in the preceding view as abutting against the Condemned Hole, the corporation in 1829 gave notice to Thomas Thwaites to pull down the blacksmith's shop erected by him, some years before, on the shipyard ground in front of the Pelham Arcade, and to remove the other encroachments he had made contrary to the covenant in his grant. Mr. Thwaites apologised for his tenants building the shop and the boiling apparatus and acknowledged the right of the Corporation, but at the same time he hoped the building might be allowed to remain by his paying rent for the encroachment. The result was that he had to pay 20/ a year for the shop and 5/ for the boiler. During the same year, the Corporation consented to the retention of waste beach already built upon by "Trewyer" (Thos.) Mann, paying £40; Mr Golden, £15; W. Kirby, £25; Mrs Rogers, on behalf of her brother, Thos. Davies, £20; Wm. Brazier, £30; Edward Stevens, £25; and Thos. Thwaites, for 3½ ft. by 22 ft adjoining the Royal Oak in Castle Street, £5; Also, for the sum of £20, the Corporation granted to Wm. Campbell, jun., a piece of stone-beach near the Priory water (now Pelham Street) on which three small tenements were erected. Another grant was that of a triangular piece of waste beach to Mr. Geo. Clement, nearly in front of his drapers shop, the latter adjoining the Cutter Inn, the same to be his and his heirs for £30. As an assistant at the said shop, it was a part of the current writer's duty to place the shutters every morning on that piece of ground.
To prevent nuisances, a small semicircular rail had been placed against Mr. Camac's stables at the west end of the parade at Beach Cottages and a notice was given by the Corporation to Mr. Lucas Shadwell to remove the encroachment.
The commercial failures in 1828 were very serious, one of them, as stated by the Rev. W. Whistler, in a letter to his son, involving liabilities of £15,000. It is hardly a case for wonderment, therefore, that the bankruptcy of Mr. Breeds, already referred to, became inevitable when are taken into account his enormous law-suit expenses, and his several trade losses.
Occurences in 1829
In 1829, the now almost obsolete practice of turning out the old year and heralding in the new was in full vigour, and all private houses and shopkeepers premises were besieged by boys and a sprinkling of girls, with the cry (corrupted from the original) of "Turn 'em out, rout 'em out, bundle 'em out!" A large gang of shouting applicants on the first morning of the year wended their way in a systemised[ 17 ]order to the principal inhabitants, such as Mr. Shadwell, Mr. Milward, the Misses Milward, Mr. Bishop, Mrs. North, Mrs Cannac and other rich or influential people, all of whom had previously provided themselves with halfpences or other articles to scatter among the crowd for a general scramble. In some cases the coppers were heated in a frying pan or some other utensil, and much hilarity ensued when the boys picked them up and found them too hot to hold.
On the 6th of January, Mr. John Tompsett was too ill for the performance of his duties as Town Clerk, and Mr. J. G. Shorter, jun. was provisionally appointed in his stead. The first-named gentleman died, and on the 25th, his remains were conveyed for interment to Battle followed by members of the Corporation and other persons.
Mr Boykett Breeds, who spent many thousand pounds in unfortunate law-suits, sustained another loss, when, on the 13th of January, 46 bales of timber worth about £4 each, got adrift whilst being towed by a Rye smack, and floated out to sea. On the following day, at a Castle parish meeting held at the Royal Oak, when Mr. John Phillips had succeeded Mr. Tompsett as Vestry Clerk, £30 were given to John Ranger, to assist him and his family to emigrate to America and ten guineas each were voted to Arther Deudney and Wm. Longley for their services as overseers.
At St. Clement's Church, on the 26th of January, Mr. Sol. Bevill, our expert Revenue officer was married to Miss Knight, whilst Mr. Bossom, a well-known tradesman, was married to Miss Ryall, an excellent pianist. Another of the now obsolete institutions was the annual "Settling Dinner" which was generally pre-arranged to take place on certain days at certain inns, when the heads of trading communities, it was supposed, woud be ready, after a good entertainment with the wherewithal to square accounts. On this particular occasion, the Messrs. James, Thomas and Boykett Breets (all merchants) held what I may call their audit severally at the Kings Head, the Hastings Arms, and the Anchor, whilst a more promiscuous one was held at the Crown followed by a ball. The first three were held on the 26th of January, and the later one on the 28th.
Smuggling ventures were still engaged in, and on the 16th of February with a loss to the freetraders of a full cart-load of tubs that had been seized. On the same day, Mr. John Coussens, who had become a new landlord of the Ship Inn gave a "house-warming" dinner, and as there was an apartment in the house known as the "Blue Room", where smugglers used to meet to arrange private matters, it may be readily believed that some members of this secret society, were among the invited guests. As an incidental reminiscence, let me say that when the Bourne Street Theatre was sold, it was at the Ship where Thos. Wollett, Idry Phillips, Stephen Cooper and other native theatricals occasionally gave entertainments.
References & Notes
- In the manuscript, this name is illegible, however the record of All Saints Burials in 1828, compiled by Baines, has this lady as being aged 97 at the time of her death - Transcriber
- This actually appears after this page - Transcriber
- In the preceding year (1828), the conveyance was offered to John Wenham Lewis, Esq. of a piece of ground adjoining the messuage belonging to him, in the occupation of Wm. Amoore, in St. Clements, and forming part of ground previously known as the Town Walk, (where it was the practice to hold the Hundred Count), subject however to the passage and right of way still existing for the sum of £10, provided he paid 4/6 per year for the property in his possession, which for 20 had remained unsettled. This was a thoroughfare behind the old Town Wall, which led from Winding Street, by Amoore's candle making factory into High Street, the exit of which afterwards formed the private entrance to the house 57 High Street occupied successively by Messrs. Amoore and Stanger.