Brett Volume 2: Chapter XX - Hastings 1838
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Chapter XX - Hastings 1838
Seasonable festivities of balls, dinners etc.
The harbour scheme
Poverty and crime
the bad fellow "Goodfellow"
Dr. Fearon’s sermon on law-breaking propensities
Ore church and Rectory (with view)
Halton Church and Rev. J. Parkin (with portrait)
The soldiers' burying-ground, and "meditation among the tombs"
St. Andrews Church and burials without Christian rites
Bereavements in the Daniel family
The new chapel in Wellington square
Anecdotes of ministers
Death memorials (Mr. Bissenden, Mr. .Giles, Miss Mary Sayers)
The Fortune of War and the supposed tub-hole
The Literary Institution
Mr. Holland, M.P. (with portrait)
Mr. Sutherland Graeme's political-address
Morley versus Harman
Transactions of the Board of Guardians, the Hastings Commissioners and the Town Council
Sir Cloudesly Shovel (arguments for Hastings as his birthplace)
Photo/portrait of R. Hollond, M.P. A view of the old Ore church on the hill and the Rectory in the valley. Portrait of Rev. J. Parkin.
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Balls, Plays and other Amusements - "Queen of All Saints" crowned
Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather and the prevailing distress among the poor as described in Chap.XIX, Hastings seemed to vie with St. Leonards in the customary season's festivities. Hence, the several annual balls at the Royal Oak, the Swan, and the King's Head, were all numerously attended; and among the terpsichoreans, on more than one occasion, were to be seen Mr. Hollond, our popular Liberal representative, and his friend Mr. Richards. Then there was the first annual ball of the Victoria Lodge of Oddfellows which was held at the Crown Inn on the 19th of January, and which proved to be a very unique affair. Among other amusements were the weekly harmonic meetings at the Swan Hotel, where the genial author of "Hart's Lancers" and other quadrilles was the pianist, and a popular local tenor in the person of Arthur Bollinbroke was a highly-complimented vocalist. Even these do not exhaust the list of amusements which while they served to break the gloom of that long and trying winter, also in some cases lightened the burdens of the poor. Amateur theatricals strutted their hour upon the stage at the Anchor and at the Crown for charitable objects; and there are yet persons amongst us who probably can recall to memory the several parts taken in those meritorious performances by Tom Woollett the local personifier of T. P. Cook; Mr. Henry Phillips, the late proprietor of Kite's-nest Hotel; and "Little Cooper," a fellow of infinite jest, who could write a play, mount a play, and paint his own scenery. I remember one of these entertainments taking place in the Anchor Assembly-room on the 28th of March, which so delighted a crowded audience as to evoke an urgent solicitation for a second rehearsal.
Among the epicurean specialities of 1838 were the following: On the 5th of February the Annual Game Dinner at the Royal Oak took place under the presidency of F. Smith, Esq., the pheasants partaken of on that occasion having beeen (sic) selected from sixty of such birds exhibited by poulterer Osborne. Two days later, a sumptuous dinner was given to a party of friends by Mr. Thomas Breeds, a Hastings merchant; and on the 7th of March about fifty members of the Harmonic Society dined together at the Swan hotel, as a concluding meeting of the winter session. On this occasion Mr. Hart was assisted in the musical accessories by the Hastings Old Band, with the addition of Mr. Kidd, of Rye, Mr. Boorman, of Cranbrook, and a few other celebrities. The next public feast was on the thirtieth of April, when Mr. Robinson, as the new lessee of the Swan, was supported by a numerous company at his Opening Dinner. It was about the same time that Mr. Hutchings succeeded Mr. Deudney at the marine (sic) hotel, but his inaugurating feast did not take place until the following spring, in consequence of the alterations and renovations which were effected in the mean time. The only notes which I have of other public feastings that year are those which refer to the Coronation festival on the 17th of August, the Race dinner on the 27th of September, Mr. Brisco's wedding anniversary on the 9th of October, and Dr. MacCabe's civic banquet on the 9th of November. The hospitable entertainment given by Mr. and Mrs. Brisco at Coghurst Hall, was to about 400 of their tenants, labourers, and parishioners, the occasion being the tenth anniversary of their wedding-day. The treat consisted of a sumptuous repast of Old English fare, supplemented by music and dancing. The enjoyment was so thoroughly appreciated, that the liberal donors of the feast promised to repeat it annually - a promise that for many years was duly observed. The Coronation festival was of course, upon a more comprehensive scale than even Mr. Brisco's marriage feast. Its commencement on Thursday the 28th of June was accompanied by meteorological conditions as much the reverse of "Queen's weather" as could be imagined. The morning with its unpropitous (sic) loomings, was ushered in at St. Leonards with the hoisting of flags and the firing of cannon, whilst at Hastings, to a similar introduction was added the ringing of church-bells. It had been arranged to give a dinner to the children of both towns, but the unhappy jealousy which still existed between St. Leonards and Hastings prevented their amalgamating for such purpose. The views taken by the Rev. S. Widdrington and his St. Leonards friends, in reference to the Infirmary and other matters, to the opposite views of Dr. Cooke and his Hastings colleagues, continued to have effect, and thus it was that the celebration was divided in its management.
At ten o'clock the school children of Hastings, to the number of 1600, assembled in Wellington square where they were formed into processional order, headed by the Hastings Band, and attended also by the Fairlight band and a drum-and-fife band. Two or three societies, with their regalia, joined the juvenile throng, whilst Dr. Cooke, Lieut.-Col. Williams, and the rest of the Committee, carrying wands and rosettes, dispersed themselves throughout the procession. Most of the houses were decorated with flowers, garlands or evergreens, and at the Crown Inn a triumphal arch was erected, which but for the miserable weather, would have been radient (sic) with flowers and ribbons. Rain fell incessantly the whole of the route, and when the procession returned to the Square and gave three cheers for the Queen, it was a debatable point whether the good cheer for the children could be partaken of in such cheerless weather. The tables and table-cloths were saturated with rain, and the garments of sixteen hundred children and some ten-thousand adults were almost in a like condition. But the day had been appropriated for a holiday, the bands had been engaged, the roast-beef and plum-puddings had been provided by Messrs. Carswell and Wheeler as per contract, and a resumption of business was out of the question. Then there was no certainty that the next day would bring better weather. With all the discomfort, therefore, the sixteen-hundred children regaled themselves as best they could with the substantial fare placed before them, and with the understanding that they were to meet next day to receive their commemorative medals. Many gentlemen and tradesmen then adjourned to the Swan and the Crown, where public dinners were provided.
The first thing in the public proceedings of the second day was the distribution of medals to the children, a task which was undertaken by Mr. James Troup, of St. Leonards. That gentleman had subscribed to the Hastings fund, apparently to identify himself with the old town, the better to succeed in his avowed intention of fixing the name of Hastings upon a certain district, whose first inhabitants had already named it St. Leonards. The next proceeding was to crown the "Queen of All Saints," a work, by the bye which at the first blush might be interpreted as an act of disloyalty or as a burlesque upon the solemn event which it was intended to commemorate. That in a certain sense it was a burlesque there is no denying; but the object of those who took part in it was simply to gratify a whim of the people living in All Saints' parish, and at the same time to do honour rather than to offer an insult to a beloved monarch. But who was Nan Page? some of my younger readers may ask. Well, she was a sprightly old dame of seventy-two, whose husband had died some years before, and who was to be found at nearly all the dances and merry-makings in and about the town. She was also a vocalist in her own peculiar way, and would undertake to foretell young women's destiny by means of cards. Such divinations could be orally explained, thus obviating any demonstration of her inability to read or write. Whether "Nanny" Page as a fortune-teller acquired the name of Queen as did the Queen of the Gipsies I am unable to say; I only know that she was dubbed the Queen of All Saints, and that it suited the whim of certain maids and matrons of the parish to have her crowned as such on the day of Queen Victoria's coronation festival. For that purpose a platform with dais, was erected across the street from about number 39, on the High pavement, to 117 on the opposite side. The latter house was one that was built that year by Mr. C. Jeudwine, on the site of the reputed birthplace of Sir Cloudesley Shovell[a]. The following pseudo officials took part in the ceremony:- W. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq., as Treasurer of the Household; F. North, Esq., as Groom-in-waiting; Mr. Jeudwine, as Archbishop of Canterbury; Mr. Anthony Harvey, as Arch[ 200 ]bishop of York; and Mr. H. Wood as Gold-stick-in-waiting. The archbishops wore mitres, and after the Queen had been introduced by the officers of State, the two clerical dignities placed a gilded crown on her Majesty's head, and expressed a hope that she would long live to reign over them. The words were barely uttered when Queen Ann was rained over herself by a drenching thunder-shower. This, she afterwards said, was perhaps, a judgement upon her for acting in that way, although when it was first proposed to her she never thought it would be practically carried out. With a determination, however, to be true to her engagement, the newly crowned monarch stood unmoved in the pitiless rain, whilst she made a speech in which she expressed her thanks for the honour that had been conferred upon her. After a regal baptism of so thorough a character, her Majesty retired to change her robes and the weather having then cleared up the tables and "tea-traps" of 230 poor women and their families were taken into the street, to each of whom had been given two ounces of tea, half-a-pound of sugar and a quart loaf, purchased by means of a fund collected by Messrs. Wood and Harvey. The Queen, as might be supposed presided over her tea-drinking lieges, and afterwards joined them in the al fresco dances, for which the High Pavement, on the one side, and the stone pathway, on the other, were utilised.
"Queen of All Saints" - Mr. Frank Bennetts
In this way did the Hastings people celebrate the coronation of the Queen of England and the "Queen of All Saints," while, as before described, did the inhabitants of St. Leonards confine their festivities to the honour of one to whom they were largely indebted for her patronage.
During her husband's life-time the subject of this notice resided with him at Diamond Cottage, leading to the East Hill. Also lodging with them was the late Mr. Frank Bennetts, who had previously lodged with Mr. and Mrs. Harvey, snr., until probably 1828, when Mrs. Harvey died. Mr. Bennetts came to Hastings from Cornwall when a young man, first as an employee at the Custom House, and afterwards as a clerk at the Hastings (Old) Bank. When lodging with Mrs. Page, it was his habit to sometimes try his luck, as he called it, among the small fry of the feathered tribe, but the luck that he set out for on the 20th of November, 1832, was that of securing a wife in the person of Miss Sarah Soane, of Castle Street.
Mrs. Page's husband was said to be of the Bexhill family of that name, and related to John Page, who died in 1825, and another John who died in 1850. Mrs. Page possessed masculine features and of the plainest type, which were but little improved by her efforts to be smartly dressed. There was scarcely an old-fashioned dance of any [ 201 ]sort with which she was not acquainted; and I, as a musician, had been several times asked by the old lady to play one of those obsolete dances or to be her partner in the event of her not getting one who understood the figures - say of "Monty Musk," "Red House", "Hunt the Squirrel," &c. Her death occurred eleven years after her coronation - namely in May, 1849, in the 82nd year of her age. From before the burlesque entertainment and until her death, "Nanny" Page lived in an apartment at Mr. Balding's - a picturesque old house, of which a descendant (Mr. W. F. Balding, of Silverhill), has a valuable oil painting, the site of which said house is now 134 All Saints Street. Of some other picturesque houses in the same neighbourhood, drawings are possessed by Mr. Heathfield, of the Stag inn.
The Harbour Project - County Gaol Question
The harbour scheme received a momentary impetus by an intimation to a member of the committee that the Admiralty would not withhold its consent to the harbour project. The intimation of Government sanction thus conveyed in a letter induced one of the promoters to go into a calculation of the benefits that would be likely to accrue to the town in its acquisition of a harbour. The property at that time, in houses, lands and shipping, was estimated at a value of £1,500,000; and it was argued that if a harbour increased the value by only 5 per cent., the existing property would have an additional worth of £75,000; and that if it were increased by 20 per cent. - a not improbable occurrence - the addition would amount to £300,000. The said promoter expressed it as his decided opinion that the scheme, if carried out, would accomplish the latter value between the east of Hastings and the west of St. Leonards, and that the increase of trade - a circumstance of even greater moment - might be fairly estimated at 30 per cent. Thus viewed, the scene was one of roseate hues, and the prospect was undoubtedly charming; but there were people of a different type, whose pessimistic idiosyncrasies led them to see the view darkened on the one hand by a host of "fashionables" taking flight on the approach of certain associations which harbours of refuge were known to attract, and on the other hand by a crowd of incursionists to compete for any additional trade which might accrue to the town in consequence of new inducements. A sort of apathy was then engendered; and as in addition to the Infirmary question and the formation of new roads, there were other public matters to occupy attention, the harbour project appeared to be sinking into oblivion during the first seven or eight months of 1838; but on the 16th of August a preliminary meeting was held by Mr. Troup and others, with Dr. Mac Cabe[b] in the chair, at which it was resolved to request the Mayor to convene a public meeting for the purpose of ascertaining how far successful the committee had been in the prosecution of the scheme. Such meeting was called, but after certain formalities, informalities, and opposing tactics, the meeting was adjourned until the first of October, when the matter was again discussed by the Rt. Hon. J. Planta M.P., R. Hollond, M.P., Col. Williams, Mr. Troup, and others. Resolutions were passed that a harbour would be preferable to either piers or wharfs, if not exceeding £60,000; and that the best site would be between the Battery and Rock-a-Nore. Col. Williams exhibited a plan of break-water of a circular form, with an estimated cost of £57,000. He also stated his reasons for preferring the eastern site. Another meeting was held on the 26th of December, when Mr. Ginner stated that with a good deal of difficulty he had collected £40. to be added to previous subscriptions. Mr. Clement said he would willingly give £5, but he was satisfied that three-fourths of the large property owners were against them. Mr. Ross, Sen., regretted the spirit thus shown. He remembered that some years back (1825), when he was appointed one of a committee to collect subscriptions for improving the parade as much as £200 was given at the first meeting. After that Mr. Milward subscribed £50, and other people gave lesser sums, until the whole of the twelve hundred pounds was raised; but now they were troubled to get so much as a thousand pounds to pay the preliminary expenses of a harbour. - A second adjournment then took place, and on the latter occasion a long report from the Town Council was read, followed by a warm discussion on Col. Williams versus James Troup, in which the latter gentleman was characterised as always speaking and writing falsely. He had published an apology and had afterwards withdrawn it. This gave rise to an indiscribable (sic) scene of recrimination; yet, as touching the harbour question, every one appeared to be his own harbour master. It was difficult to proceed with the business, and an attempt was made to bring the weight of St. Leonards to bear on the subject. Mr. Briggs proposed that it should be undertaken by a joint-stock company, and Col. Williams proposed that the borough should be taxed at 1 1/2d. in the pound for the expense of carrying a Bill into Parliament and that the deficiency should be made up by a public subscription. It was this proposal which excited the susceptibilities of the St. Leonards Commissioners and induced them to give the before-mentioned instructions to their clerk.
The statement that "poverty and crime go always hand in hand" may, in exceptional circumstances be capable of disproof, but those exceptional conditions did not apply to 1838. The prevalent distress already alluded to continued throughout the spring and to a less extent throughout the year notwithstanding the elements of recovery afforded by the generosity of the wealthy and the means adopted to provide employment as far as the weather and other circumstances would permit. The commission of crime and misdemeanor were on the increase, and the prison was comparatively as full of offenders as the Union-house was of paupers. It was becoming more and more evident that gaol accommodation was inadequate to the requirements; and hence, on the 30th of January a private meeting of magistrates and members of the Town Council, together with the Earl of Chichester was held at Mr. North's residence to consider the question of a county gaol. It is probable that they also discussed the propriety of removing the magisterial sittings from Battle to Hastings in consequence of the difficulty of forming a Bench at the former place. At two preceding sessions Mr. North was the only magistrate present at Battle, and he thus found it necessary on his own responsibility to adjourn the court to Hastings fixing Saturday for such adjournment. As regards the gaol, the question was kept in abeyance until the latter part of August, when the County Magistrates approved of a new one being built, but the approval was in a manner revoked by the Town Council passing Mr. North's proposition "to memoralize (sic) the Secretary of State for the erection of a model prison in London, before going to the expense of building a new gaol in Hastings, in conjunction with the county." It was privately whispered that in Mr. North's opinion, a county gaol and a harbour were alike calculated to bring more notoriety than benefit to a borough that was rapidly rising into importance as a place of fashionable resort. If this was really Mr. North's idea, there are probably but few persons who would not now readily endorse the views of that long-tried representative.
To give even a resume of the trials at the petty sessions, quarter sessions or assizes of the year under notice might be as impolitic on the part of the writer as it would be tedious to the reader, even though it were intended to show the absolute necessity of greater prison accommodation; yet there are a few special cases of crime with sufficient interest by themselves to justify a passing allusion. On the 31st of January a diabolical attempt was made to shoot the Rev. Mr. Richards at Icklesham. That gentleman had invited his neighbours' children to an evening's enjoyment; and as they were taking leave at the door some miscreant from behind a hedge fired a gun among the group. Some of the [ 202 ]shots perforated the clothes of Mr. Richards and others of the party, but fortunately, no personal injury was received. So rife were the animosities, robberies, and incendiary fires (Woodhams's to wit), that in the absence of an organised county police, an application was made and complied with for several of the Metropolitan Police to be sent down. Another case of disreputable conduct occured (sic) on the 24th of February.
Smuggling Fatalities - Sermon by Dr. Fearon at Ore Church
A preventiveman (sic) of the name of Goodfellow, whose behaviour belied his name, seized his officer (Lieut Ewell) in his arms at Bopeep station, and dashed him violently to the ground. The fellow was taken at the Fountain Inn and conveyed to a place of confinement in the Tower. Two days later, the deposition of the Lieutenant was taken by the magistrate, as he was not expected to live. How the affair ended I have neither record nor recollection, but it may be well imagined that this bad fellow "Goodfellow" would be dealt with according to his merits. On the day following the above-named assault, a man named Tapsell, whose previous pugilistic encounter with a David Coussens resulted in the latter's death, was committed to six week's incarceration in the Hastings gaol, he having been adjudged guilty of a desperate assault. But there were more characters a la Tapsell in those days, and I am reminded of the prize-fight which took place on the 19th of March at Barkway in Herefordshire. In that disgraceful affair the man known as "Brighton Bill" was killed by Owen Smith, who had similarly despatched (sic) his antagonist on two preceding occasions. For the last fatality, however, Smith was put upon trial under the indictment of manslaughter.
The next fatality was of a somewhat different character, and although, like the one last named, not a strictly local event, it had local associations, and was one of those sanguinary affairs which, happily, are unknown to the present generation. On Sunday morning the first of April, 300 tubs of contraband spirits were landed near Camber Watchhouse, in which a considerable number of persons belonging to Hastings, St. Leonards, Winchelsea, and other places had shares, or were employed to run the cargo. The smugglers had a strong force at the scene of action, and although they succeeded in carrying off their goods, the fight over them was of a stubborn and murderous nature. Cuts and bruises were dealt out on both sides, and whilst one of the preventivemen (sic) was dangerously wounded, one of the smugglers was killed on the spot. The name of the latter was Thomas Monck, a member of a Winchelsea family, and a man who eked out a precarious living as an inferior fiddler. This sanguinary affair has been regarded as almost the last of a long series of conflicts on the southern coasts between the coastguard and the "freetraders." But if not that it was undoubtedly the last in which human life was sacrificed. Mr. Banks, in his Smugglers and Smuggling, Mr. Durrant Cooper in his Smuggling in Sussex, and a writer in the united Service Journal, all testify to the desperate character of these enterprises; and to the accounts given by the above-named writers I have already added many details from my own reminiscences. It may be permitted me to say that as my personal recollection of these matters extends from the year 1820 to the year now under consideration - thus embracing most eventful period of illicit traffic - it will be posible (sic) at fitting opportunities to give some further particulars of scenes and conflicts which have now happily disappeared, and which can hardly find a place even in the national imagination of the present except by the aid of those whose experiences extend to the past. That it was high time to put an end to the traffic, so that men's efforts might be directed to more legitimate pursuits, hardly admits of a doubt, although there are grounds to believe that for a time the lawessness (sic) in which a great many young men were steeped by smuggling associations only found vent in deeds that were even more reprehensible. From sheer inability to apply themselves to honest industry when their former occupation was gone, many, it is to be feared, turned their sole attention to poaching, pilfering, gambling and other vices. Hence the upper and middle classes, the tradesmen and the farmers - many of whom had hitherto connived at smuggling transactions - began to see the necessity of assisting in the suppression of lawliness, (sic) and hence also the crowding of prisons during the year 1838, already alluded to. But the Union workhouses were filled in similar proportion, and this I have endeavoured to account for by the severity of the weather during the winter and spring of that year, and by diminished employment. It is not unlikely, however, that the almost abrupt cessation of smuggling at that time was a factor in the prevalent distress. In the year following the one under notice, a writer in the United Service Journal refers to the final and successful efforts to put down smuggling on the coasts of Kent and Sussex as having the effect of augmenting the parochial burthens by throwing thousands out of employment and causing their families to become chargeable upon the poor-rates. "So severe," says that authority, "was the local distress occasioned by the sudden suppression of smuggling, that in the town of Deal alone, no less than 600 houses were shut up in one year." I should have thought that 60 would have been nearer the truth; but, admitting the latter number to be a more accurate estimate, there is still sufficient evidence in the fact to strengthen the supposition that a considerable amount of distress did arise from the effective and almost sudden suppression of the contraband traffic. No less probable is it that much of the criminalty (sic) and misdemeanour of the period might be traced to the same cause. I remember the Rev. Dr. Fearon, (at that time Rector of Ore), denouncing from the pulpit the lawlessness which so extensively prevailed, and I have now before me the short-hand notes of a discourse delivered by that venerable gentleman in the - now dismantled - church at Ore, on Sunday, March 11th, 1838. The said short-hand notes were taken by the present proprietor of the GAZETTE, and by means of a system invented by himself during the preceding year. If there be any interest attached to this statement it may be found in the threefold fact that it is original and concise; that it has never been published; and that the inventor once declined to his subsequent regret, the offer of a sum of money for the copyright. The day on which he commenced it was May 23rd 1837, as since intimated in the following anniversary doggerel:-
In Eighteen thirty-sev'n, one T. B. Brett,
With plastic mind upon invention set,
Ingeniously, a writing system framed,
Which judges competent thereafter named
As "Brett's Short Hand - the latest and the best;"
For Pitman's then had not been brought to test.
But that it makes a slight break in the commonplace prose of his history, the quoted doggerel might have been omitted; and indeed, all reference to the shorthand and its author might have shared the same fate but for the associations which have been called up thereby. It is of no significance that a small memorandum-book, yellowed by age, may be seen at the Gazette office, in which a youthful stenographic student recorded some of the pulpit utterances of the Rev. Dr. Fearon, the Rev. P. Saffery, and the Rev. J. Jenkinson by means of characters newly invented; but it may be of interest to those who knew the ministers here named to have placed before them a reproduction of their words which for nearly fifty years have been locked up in the shorthand characters in question, and which almost by accident are now unlocked by the one only hand which holds the key. In the pulpit utterances thus deciphered allusions are made to the prominent vices of the period, and in the sermon by Dr. Fearon special reference is made to the base attempt to shoot the Rev. Mr. Richards, at Icklesham.
In the sermon now transcribed and presented to my readers, not only does the Doctor bewail the house-breaking, the sacrilege and the attempt to shoot a clergyman in a neighbouring parish, which at the time caused much consternation and alarm, but he also deplores the prevalent vice and degeneracy of his own parochial community. He tells his hearers that such depravity did not exist at Ore "twenty years ago," but the "twenty years ago" would mean a period when the population of that parish was probably not one-fourth of what it was in 1838, and when the very small church of St. Helen's (now supplanted by a new one) had not been enlarged by the additional aisle. The reverend gentleman could not, however, have been unmindful of the fact that even at the earlier period his parishioners were largely tainted with the law-breaking propensity of smuggling, and that his little churchyard contained the remains of many who had lost their lives in some of the fatal conflicts which were the outcome of the practice. It was the resting-place of all that was mortal of him who was killed near the west end of St. Leonards (as described in an earlier part of this history), and it was also the depository of the four bodies deprived of life in the year 1826 while engaged in a smuggling affair at Pett. The four young men thus killed were inhabitants of Ore, and their names were Gladwish, Cruttenden and the brothers Page. They were fiercely attacked by the preventivemen (sic) while crossing the Military Canal at Pett - horserace, and death was the result. But now for the sermon. The Doctor selected his text from 1st Thessalonians iv., 1. - "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more." He then proceeded to say -
My dear brethren, - I hope and trust that the words God hath given me to speak to you this morning may not be spoken in vain, but that they may command the reception of all who hear them. I shall endeavour in the first place to show you the duty you owe to yourselves and in the second place your duty to your fellow creatures. I would say, then, firstly, that it is your duty to live honestly, soberly, prudently, and righteously; to follow God's ordinances, to walk in his ways, to cherish the religion of your country and of your souls, and to appreciate the noble morals of Christianity. But what shall we say when robbers, thieves and murderers carry on their depredations with impunity and defiance, setting at nought the commands of God their maker, and thus trifling with their own souls? It was but a few days since that a minister of the gospel was shot at in coming out of his own house. God have mercy on us! This is indeed serious! It is a bodily concern - an act which effects (sic) the lives of our fellow-creatures. It is therefore my duty, and indeed it is the duty of all ministers, to exhort you against such terrible crimes; to tell you the awful consequences of such diabolical conduct, and to warn you of your danger. In the words of our text, "We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus that as you have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more." Consider the duty and responsibility of ministers. It is their duty to preach to you the truths of the gospel, and to train up a people in love and fear of God. But alas! how sad it is to see the Christian religion so abused and despised, and God so mocked. Look at the 17th verse of the 13th chapter of Hebrews. - "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves, for they watch for your souls as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you." Is it not our duty, then to watch over your souls? If so, it is your duty to listen to us. Now read that passage over again. You ought on the one hand to be urging and stimulating us on, and we on the other have to urge you on in every way possible to the good work of Christianity, and to declare to you your duty to your neighbours and yourselves. But you don't regard anything we say to you; or if you do, you don't act upon it. Although many of you come to church Sunday after Sunday, you go away as unedified as you were before you came. What a sad thing it is that men will go on robbing, housebreaking, and shooting their fellow-men; and then for a man to boast after he has done it. I never heard of such things twenty years ago. It is shocking to think of the revellings that take place in our own parish night after night. The beershops are crammed with men revelling in their drunkenness thus disturbing the peace of their families at home, abusing their own bodies, and destroying their own souls. I have nothing to do with politics, but I have to declare to you the sins of all times. I have to tell you the risks you are daily running; I have to tell you of your soul's welfare; and I have to warn you to flee from the wrath to come. Consider my brethren, consider that we have immortal souls that must live for ever and ever, either in a state of happiness or state of misery. This, then, my brethren, is the duty you owe to yourselves. As regards your duty to your neighbour, you are to love and respect him as your selves; you are to do him justice; you are not to steal, nor kill, nor to bear false witness against our neighbour. But if a man will go on in such sinful practices it is my duty to warn him of the evil consequences. But perhaps you will say, surely we may do as we like in these matters! I answer yes, you may! you may kill, you may steal, you may lie, you may defraud your fellow-man; but remember you will not go unpunished for your wickedness. Your name is recorded in God's book, never to be obliterated. You may pass unnoticed by your neighbours, but God's allseeing eye discerns the intentions of your evil heart; he sees all your vile deeds, and marks you out as a subject for his great displeasure. Oh! my brethren, consider the awful situation you are placed in. You who do these things, fully consider the misery and eternal damnation that awaits you after this life. Consider the loss of heavenly joys; is it not a loss far greater than anything you can sustain on earth? And to obtain these joys is of more importance than to possess the greatest earthly treasure. How do even the best of us bow and cringe to a man who has got a little money, but how reluctant are we to bow ourselves in humble submission to God. (sic) God is not in all our thoughts. Oh! that you would consider your ways; that you were wise; that you would consider your latter end! Remember that you are never out of the reach of God, and that therefore you ought to be the more studious to act agreeably to His commands, and say to yourselves, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" You know that you have been visited at your own houses by ministers, and let me ask you what effect (sic) it has had - what has been the result? I will answer the question myself. The moment they have disappeared, all their warnings, all their exhortations, their entreaties, and their preachings have been turned by you into ridicule and contempt. But, my friends, hear what God has said on this subject - "He that despiseth, despiseth not man, But God." You have had instruction enough; let me ask you then, have you received these truths - received them not in understanding merely, but with a practical knowledge, a firm belief, a full reliance on their efficacy, and with a full determination who walk agreeably thereto? In the words of Scripture "Is the Gospel come to you, not in words only, but in power, and with the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance?" You are not then to despise ministers because they tell you the truth, and because they tell you of your sins, for God hath commanded them to preach the gospel to every creature. Oh! what astounding commands! - commands that must be obeyed both by ministers and hearers! Surely we have cause to say, "Who hath believed our report?" It is a question of great importance if God hath said "He that believeth shall inherit eternal life, but he that believeth not shall be dammed."(sic) And not all the infidels, nor the devils themselvs (sic) shall be able to counteract it. But, as I have said, it must be a practical belief, a belief filled up by acts of accordance. I would also exhort to brotherly love, "For this cause also," saith Christ, "we pray without ceasing." Oh! think of the wonderful love of Christ; think of the matchless condescension of Christ; think of His humility; think of his holy life, walk (sic) and conversation; think of his sufferings and cruel death - a death which we mostly rightly deserved. But a worse death than this we must all come to - a death that will plunge us into regions of darkness and endless misery, unless we truly repent and believe the blessed gospel given us through our Lord Jesus Christ. When a man comes to church he comes in a drowsy, sleepy state, but when he goes to market he goes with his eyes open, You will see him there conscious of what he is doing and of what he is going for. I wish from my heart this condition were altered. I wish I could see you paying as much attention to your soul as you do to your body. Why so much concern for this world's goods? "Therefore," says your Lord, "take no thought" - that is take no unnecessary thought - "what we shall eat, nor what ye shall drink, nor of your body, what ye shall put on; is not the life more than meat and the body than raiment?" Now my bretheren, (sic) view Christ in his endeavours to win your souls. Hear him say to you, My Father sends me to die for you; to die that you may live. See Him offering himself, spotless, blameless and sinless, to die on your behalf. Oh! my brethren, could you once see the misery of hell, how horror-stricken you would be. Oh! methinks your hearts would strive as a fainting soul after the water brooks. And Then again if you could but see the joys of heaven - see how glorious is the place - how beautiful the milk white throne, surrounded by stately angels, with all the host of souls, singing and praising their Redeemer, how great would be the contrast in these two views. Oh! let me intreat (sic) you then to strive to obtain the latter inheritance among the blessed of God, there to celebrate his never-ending praise and love, and joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Let me entreat you to forsake your wicked ways to give yourself up to Christ. Let me beg of you to act with brotherly love towards your fellow creatures; to keep your own, and only your own; to do all the good you can to your neighbours; to love, fear and serve God; and to look to the welfare of your everlasting souls. I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, to look until Him as your proffered Saviour; or if my own beseeching will not prevail, then look on me as an ambassador of Christ. Consider as though God did beseech you by me. I pray you in Christ's stead, as though I had a message for the good of your souls, to look unto Christ, Set your hearts to the words which I testify to you this morning; for, believe me, it is not a vain thing. Alas! that I should have need to thus persuade you. What? is Christ not worthy of a place in your hearts? How readily can we think of those we call our friends, whilst He who wishes to be our best friend we treat with the greatest contempt. .... I exhort you, then, "by His agony and bloody sweat, by His cross and passion, by His precious death and burial, and by His glorious resurrection and ascension," to turn from your wicked ways, and live. Finally, in the words of my text, "I beseech you, brethren, I entreat you, by the Lord Jesus Christ, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
If among the elderly denizens of Hastings and St. Leonards there are any besides the writer who once helped to fill that now non-existent little church of unpretentious architecture, they will recognise in the foregoing discourse the candid but earnest style of its popular Rector - a style which, with an eloquence of its own, possessed the power of attracting numbers of church-going people from the town. [ 203 ]
Worshippers at Ore Church - Rev. J. Parkin - Halton Church
When I say that the Rev. Dr. Fearon's sermons had the power of attracting numbers of church-going people from the town, I mean more particularly from the old town of Hastings; for, St. Leonards at that time, had its popular minister in the person of the Rev. Sydney Widdrington, whose discourses, if not of the very highest order of eloquence, were at least sufficient to fill with attentive listeners the only church then existent for the two parishes of St. Leonards and St. Mary Magdalen. The Rev. Dr. Fearon was getting to be an old man, and those who used so frequently to attend his ministrations from the town were mainly members of the old contemporaneous families of the Norths, the Briscos, the Bishops, the gills (sic), the Scrivenses, the Bevills, the Crouches, the Milwards, the Shadwells, the Shorters, the Manningtons, the Thatchers, the Breedses, the Bayleys, and the Amoores. These would be induced during the summer months to take a rural walk to the little beacon church upon the hill at Ore, and during the interval of morning and afternoon services sit beneath the shady pines and elms, discussing the merits of sermons and sandwiches, and thus dilating upon two of the recognised requisites of body and soul. Visitors also would occasionally join these Sunday groups or form small parties by themselves, now and again asking questions of the old church-clerk or his wife, and expatiating upon the beauty of the landscape and sea-scape before them. It was no uncommon thing to see half a dozen vehicles (including mule-chaises and private carriages) waiting in the avenue leading to the church for their occupants. The enjoyably humble part which St. Leonardensis performed in connection with the Ore services has been previously stated. The venerable pastor, in the sermon which I have recently transcribed from the short-hand notes, speaks of a less vicious taint in the conduct of his parishioners "twenty years ago," but when, as already explained, the population of Ore was probably less than a fourth of what it was in 1838, and when even the bulk of that population was nearly as far away from the church as were many of the people who attended it from Hastings. How different, too, were the surroundings of the little church to what they now are in relation to the original site and remaining ruins. The most frequented path thither was over the West hill to the left of the three windmills (now Plynlimmon), down the Long Fields (now St. Mary's terrace), up towards the white-fronted farm-house tenanted by Mr. Tutt (now Mount Pleasant), down to Ore Valley (where stood the Rectory amidst a cluster of trees), and up the steep incline now known as Elphinstone road. This road was, doubtless, named after General Sir Howard Elphinstone, who, about the "twenty years ago," referred to by Dr. Fearon, purchased the house and estate close to the church and known as Ore Place. An engraving is here produced from a sketch taken about 1826, in which the mansion of Sir Howard Elphinstone, the church, and the Rectory are the only buildings in a landscape the site of which is now occupied by five churches as well as by some hundreds of houses. No wonder that the old church, thus standing in "sacred solitude upon a hill," served as a "landmark to mariners upon the sea." Nor wonder was it that Caroline Fry - a long-period visitor at Hastings and a frequent attendant at the church - made it the subject of a poem, commencing thus :-
"Where, amid tumultuous waters,
Sickening with a hope repressed,
Far from all his soul's desires,
Loves the sailor's eye to rest?
Is it not on that far beacon,
Faintly beaming through the gloom,
Which some friendly hand has lighted,
Marks the path which leads him home?"
That Ore Church, like Fairlight Mill, was once a landmark to coasters I do not doubt, but if ever "faintly beaming through the gloom," it was "a beacon which some friendly hand had lighted," it must have been before the present writer had made its acquaintance, and certainly long before 1838, at which time the edifice had again become too small even for the would-be worshippers of its own parish.
But the increase of population was not solely applicable to the parish of Ore. The augmentation of the borough and the growth of its inhabtants (sic) were as general as they were rapid, and in no district, probably, - not even in that of St. Leonards, - was the progress just at that time more apparent than in the locality immediately contiguous to the parish of Ore, and known as Halton, This, the late "Barrack-ground," was the St. Clement's upland district, where the need of spiritual instruction and devotional facilities was felt to be so urgent that, in the same year, the late Countess of Waldegrave (then Mrs. Sarah Milward), gave the ground whereon, and the stone wherewith, to erect a chapel-of-ease together with an endowment of a thousand pounds. The further requirements were met by Society grants and public subscriptions; and on Wednesday, 18th of April, the first stone of the building was laid by the chief benefactress. The weather was very severe for the time of year, yet the interest in the undertaking was sufficient to attract a gathering of from three to four hundred persons, including nearly 100 children, for which latter a school was soon after built, and almost at the sole expense of Mrs. Milward. The Chapel - or, as it is more generally named, Halton Church - was provided with 542 sittings of which two-thirds were to be free and unappropriated. Mr. Catley (the Borough Surveyor) was the architect, and the work was executed so expeditiously as to enable the church to be opened in the same year. It was consecrated by the Bishop of Chichester on the 11th of December and on that occasion the Rev. G. B. Foyster preached the sermon, the Rev. J. Parkin was installed as the Incumbent, and the service was attended by a crowded congregation.
When not crowded with worshippers, the accoustics (sic) of the building were somewhat remarkable. The following narration may suffice for an illustration. It happened that a Mr. and Mrs. Giles - who were aunt and uncle to the late organist of that name, and whose aged father and mother were respectively clerk and pew-opener at Ore chuch - were the first appointed clerk and attendant at Halton church; and, as the Halton clerk was a millifluous (sic) vocalist as well as a fair instrumentalist on him devolved the additional duty of leading the choir. "St. Leonardensis" had also transferred his occasional assistance from Ore to Halton, on the score of convenience; and as he was engaged in musical studies which were already in transitu from an amateural to a professional character, his assistance in the new choir and the new church was not wholly despised. During choir-practice, then, it was discovered that even a single instrument - a flute for instance- when properly played upon had a charming effect in certain parts of the slightly occupied building, whilst the harmonious sounds of only a few voices were almost as voluminous as those of a full orchestra in a building less favourable to sweet sounds.
Forty-six years later, Mr. Parkin was presented with a valuable testimonial, and on that occasion the following paragraph appears in Brett's Gazette :-
Never was a testimonial more thoroughly deserved and more condially bestowed than that for which the Rev J. Parkin. M.A. attended in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on Monday last as the recipient, and the clergy and laity as the donors. "St. Leonardensis," of the Gazette, - who many times listened to the earnest exhortations of the Rev J. Parkin as curate of Ore, who was present at the laying of the foundation stone of Halton church on April 18th, 1838, who witnessed the consecration on December 11th of that year, and who heard the Incumbent preach his first sermon - wrote, while giving his remiscences, (sic) in 1880, as follows:-
It is now 42 years since that worthy Incumbent commenced the faithful discharge of his ministerial duties, and the general respect with which he his (sic) surrounded may be taken as an earnest of the wish that he may be spared yet a long time to be the guide and counsellor of his flock." Since the quoted words were written four more years have passed, making with his four years curacy, over fifty years that the receiver of the testimonial has performed his ministrations at Ore and Halton.
Also, when giving a report of the presentation the Hastings Observer gave a portrait of Mr. Parkin, of which the following is a copy :-
It may be stated that the burial ground attached to that church was pre-existent; it having served for the interment of soldiers between the years 1805 - when the Duke of Wellington held the command of troops in this neighborhood - and 1823, when the barrack buildings were sold in lots to the highest bidders. Of those whose ashes found a resting place in the then military burial-ground there were but few memorials, and those few, being of a perishable nature have long since disappeared. There is not one of them that I can recall to mind, although I still remember the interment of a soldier and the military formality usual on such occasions. There are, however, in that modernised old grave-yard many memorials of the departed which serve to reawaken the memories of the past. One of the earliest interments in that ground after the erection of the church was that of Mrs. Mary Roe, to whom I referred in Chapter 48 of this history. The old lady, and her granddaughter, Anna Maria Cooper, had their remains there deposited in the year 1839. In the same year and in the same ground were placed the old mortalities of George Ticehurst a man of three-score and ten, of whom I knew but little. Familiar, however, as household words was the name of the magisterial Crouches, and one of these (Nathaniel Crouch) closed his existence at the age of 64, when his earthly tabernacle found a resting place at Halton in 1841. Thither it was followed by that of his wife Julianna, fourteen years later, after it had borne its living tenant seven years beyond the traditional allotment. The Halton burial-ground also bears record of the bereavement which befel (sic) its (sic) worthy incumbent in the year 1846, when his wife and his first-born son were both taken from him, the former at the age of 30[c] and the latter at the age of nine. A subject for somewhat less sorrowful reflection was the interment (sic) in the same ground of three daughters of another Incumbent, the Rev. John Peers, the said three ladies (Anne, Susanna and Lucy) having reached the respective ages of 50, 67 and 73. The name reminds me that Miss Peers, (another daughter of the Rev. John Pears (sic)) - who had been a patient of Robert Ranking, Esq., commonly known as "Dr." Ranking, became also his second or third wife: and this fact further reminds me that the said Robert Ranking who was a 36-years' resident of Hastings, and was once or twice its mayor, died while at Deal at the age of 83, when his remains were brought to Hastings to be deposited in the little cemetery at Halton. One of that gentleman's local contemporaries and near neighbours was the Rev. Webster Whistler, and it was in the same place of [ 204 ]burial that the latter gentleman's fourth daughter (Sophia) found an abiding place in 1870, after living out a span of 66 years. Nor should I forget that, some ten years earlier the beloved wife of the Rev. Richard Whately, Archbishop of Dublin, finished her career at Hastings and that her body found a sephulchre (sic) in the churchyard at Halton. It is worthy of note that although this crowded home of the dead contains no very elaborate memorials of specially distinguished personages, it at least furnishes us with the simple records of many who have gone before us as representatives of local or other institutions. Among these deceased persons are Thomas Baker Baker (late Clerk-of-the-Peace), who died in 1857, at the age of 57; Mr. James Cox (the well-known town-crier), and Elizabeth, his wife, who died within a year of each other, and within a year of each other's age; Mr. William Ransom (the grandfather of the local press) and Mary his wife, who died, the one in '55 and the other in '68, at the respective ages of 59 and 69; Mr. Henry Beck (the founder of Wesleyan Methodism in Hastings), and Sarah, his wife, who at the respective ages of 84 and 77, severally resigned their spirits unto God in the years '62 and '68; Mr. W. McPherson Rice (for 47 years one of H. M. naval architects), and Fanny, his wife, each dying at the age of 71, and the latter on the 52nd anniversary of her wedding day; Miss Maria Marshall (for 22 years the respected Matron of the Hastings Industrial School), who died in the year 1871; Mr. Tyhurst (the young and respected organist of the new church at Blacklands), who was unfortunately drowned while bathing; and last but not least, the highly esteemed Frederick North, Esq. (who, besides having been a Mayor, a Justice of the Peace, a member of the Hastings Town Council, and a member of the St. Leonards Board of Commissioners, represented the borough of Hastings in no less than eight Parliaments between the years 1831 and 1869. He died on October 29, in the year '69, and at the age of 69. His wife, Janet had preceded him to her long home, fourteen years previously, at the age of 59, and his father, who had passed over to the silent majority in the year 1821, was laid beside the father's father in the little church of Ore.
Ancient site of St. Andrew's Church - Burial place of suicides
Then there is another representative class, which deserves to be noticed, if only to show that however humble may be one's station in life, it is likely to obtain suitable recognition of personal worth and length of service. In the Halton burial-ground lie the remains of Edward Tree, who died suddenly at Broomsgrove, in the parish of Ore, at the age of 52, and to whose worth a monumental stone was erected by a mistress whom he had served with great fidelity for 15 years. At the same spot were interred the remains of Emma Cannon, who was taken off at the age of 26, but who had served her master and mistress so honourably that said master and mistress, Mr. and Mrs. Browning, erected a monumental stone to perpetuate her name. A similar respect was paid to the memory of Elizabeth Robinson "by an attached master and mistress, whom she had faithfully served." Probably nowhere in so small an area is there to be found among the death memorials a greater manifestation of generous sympathy between one representative class and another than in the little cemetery at Halton. Probably also in no other graveyard of the same limited dimensions can there be found a greater average rate of age. I have already referred to many whose ages ranged from 69 to 84, and I will now cite a few more as a further illustration. - Sarah, wife of Samuel Enefer, 69; James Veness, and Ann his wife, each 69; Henry Cruttenden, 69; Mrs. Bonniwell, 70; George Ticehurst, 70; Esther Thomas, 72; Mary, wife of John Tutt; 72; Catherine Mary Barker, 73; Thomas Vine, and Mary, his wife, each 73; Caroline Batley 74; Charlotte, widow of Abraham Wood 75; Selina Schaedtler, daughter of the Rev. Thos. Fuller, 75; George brother to John Coussens, 76; Elizabeth, wife of John Duly, 76; Capt. Richard Turner, 76; Mary, wife of Samuel Sinden, 77; John Lee and Mary, his wife, each 77; Isaac, father of George Curling Hope, 77; James Drurey, 78; Sarah Wybourn, 79; Anne Golding, 79; Sarah Hustwick, 80; Thomas Perkin, 80; Maria wife of J. M. Close, 81; James Putland (a quiet man of business and consistent Wesleyan) 81; Dinah, wife of Thomas Hunt, 81; Sarah Marshall, 81; John Tutt, 82; John Coussens (a facetious innkeeper) 82; Samuel Sinden, 82; Mary Hore, 83; James Hay and Ann, his wife, respectively 83 and 84; Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. John Fuller 84; Thomas Hunt, 86; Sarah Shoesmith 87; Mrs. Judith Druce (many years of 3 Wellington square) 87; Lydia Lemon (many years servant to E. Milward Esq.,) 88; Mary Ann, widow of William Dugdale, 90; and Eliza, wife of Thomas Perkin, 93.
The John Tutt above referred to, who died in his 83rd year, was of an old Hastings family, and the first of four brothers to succumb to the iron grip of death. His brothers, William, Thomas and George, departed life at a later date at the respective ages of 78 ,79 and 88. The last named, as a clever boat-builder, had some remarkable experiences, details of which will be found in an obituary.
It may be opportune to associate with these death memorials a brief notice of Thomas Russell Bissenden, who whilst this was being first written in 1880, closed his mortal career on the 7th of September, in the 87th year of his age. The deceased was of humble birth and bearing, whilst his educational attainments were of an exceedingly rudimentary character. Yet, although living in comparative obscurity, he was a genius in his particular way, and had often been of practical service to those who moved in a higher sphere. Mr. Bissenden came to Hastings about 60 years before the time of his death, and for some time he resided in the Rope-walk, the present site of Carlisle parade. He was clever in shell-work, and was the first lapidary of whom Hastings could boast. His son John followed the same occupation for 33 years at the St. Leonards Archway, and died in 1887. Both men were frequently consulted by geologists, pebble collectors and others, and the father, I remember, once constructed an organ and gave the public an opportunity of hearing its tones and judging of his handiwork. He was a somewhat ardent politician of the Liberal school, and took a pride in preserving a roll of names printed in gold - his own among the number - who, in 1844, voted for the Liberal candidate, Robert Ross Rowan Moore, Esq., nicknamed by his opponents "Rory O'Moore." Mr. Bissenden ended his days at Castle-cross Cottage; and as a matter of history, it may be interesting to know that the house was so named because in one of its walls was inserted a cross which was taken from a grave-stone dug up when the foundation was prepared. The stone itself was placed in front of the said house, or in a narrow avenue leading to it. Some blocks of Caen stone, part of the ruins of St. Andrew's church, it used to be said, were also incorporated with the materials of Castle-cross Cottage. In Horsfield's Sussex it is stated that "The ruins of the Church of St. Andrew stood within the last fifteen years a few yards north of Wellington square, and the site was sold and desecrated to building purposes, in violation of the dead and of the patronage of the rectory, although vested in the corporation by royal grant, and confirmed by act of Parliament." It is also stated in Ross's Guide that "the bones exhumed while digging for Castle terrace were buried in a hole dug for the purpose at the corner of those buildings."
At a more recent date, while the foundation was being prepared for the Railway Mission House, on the west side of Castle-Cross Cottage, some skeletons were also discovered. These might have been the remains of some of those persons who were buried without the rites of Christian burial, one of whom was May Pope, a widow, who, in 1678, was buried "in St. Andrew's Churchyard, under the Castle, who died excommunicated." Another was the body of George Franklin, "servant to William Underwood, without the funeral offices, he having hanged himself." A third person was Ann, the wife of John Hadden, who in 1704, was buried "in a place near the Castle, she having hanged herself."
To return to Mr. Bissenden, it may be remarked that for an old man, who had cut many a cross from the Hastings pebbles, to finish his days in a house in which was imbedded an ancient cross, and thence to cross that bourne whence no traveller returns, is perhaps, not altogether inappropriate; but it must be understood that the subject of this obituary was in no way responsible for the desecration spoken of by the Sussex historian. He came to Hastings at about that time; but as already stated, he took up his abode at the Priory. In 1838, he and his family might have been found at 2 Cobourg cottages; and this reminds me that although I have here again been digressive, I am still supposed to be writing of the events of 1839. It will be apposite then to append to the foregoing death memorials a few obituary notices of that year.
About the middle of January the death was announced of Mrs. Rachel Buckland, the second daughter of Mr. Thomas Daniel, the well-known landlord of the Anchor Inn, in George street. The Public had sympathised with the family two years before, when Mr. Daniel's eldest son was drowned, and now, in his second bereavement, the same genuine sorrow was evinced. Of Mrs. Buckland it was said that she was an exemplary wife, an affectionate parent, and a generous friend. Her death then, and at a valuable period of life, was felt to be more than an ordinary loss to the family. Of her brother, Capt. T. B. Daniel, I gave some account when narrating the events of 1836, and I will now simply say that he was washed overboard, on the11th of March while rounding Cape Horn in a terrific gale. The family of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel consisted of five sons and five daughters; and as the family name was of Hebrew origin it need not much surprise us that the Christian names were mostly those that are found in Scripture, and that the others were from a classical source. I do not remember them all, but there was Thomas, the maritime captain who was drowned; Elizabeth, who died in 1870 at Watford; Rachel, who died in 1838 as Mrs. Buckland; Gabriel, deceased, who spoke six or seven languages, received valuable presents from the family of Louis Phillipe and other notables for services rendered, and whose third son was in 1879 Mayor of Queenstown; Alphonso, who, before his death, was one of the principal citizens at the antipodes; Theophilus, who was a Freemason, an Oddfellow, an ex-Mayor, a teetotaller, and the holder of other important offices at Riverton, New Zealand. [ 205 ]
Opening of Baptist Church Wellington Square - Ruins of Ore Church - Tub Hole Store
Dorothy Louisa (Mrs. Soane), who died on the 17th of June, 1896 in her 88th year, and Mrs. Smith, a still surviving octogenarian.
The last-named lady, who through an accident became blind in childhood, has displayed a marvelous application of her other faculties. As long back as the year under consideration (1838) I had many opportunities of witnessing the dexterity with which she counted out any amount of change, and the facility with which she detected counterfeit coin. Then as to her needlework, both plain and fancy, the quantity that she has accomplished is simply incredible. Of curtains alone I have been told that she has knitted as many as a hundred pairs. In this particular usefulness, as well as in her general intelligence and activity for a woman of her years, deprived of sight, Mrs. Smith is quite an exceptional woman.
I have taken my readers a sort of excursion to Ore and Halton, returning to St. Leonards by way of Hastings; and if I have just glanced across the sea to the far-off land of New Zealand, which a considerable number of St. Leonards people have adopted as their new homes, I have done so by a process by no means strained. And now if they will permit me, I will take them a few miles in an opposite direction by a process equally natural. The head of the Daniel family having retired from business, spent his declining years with the partner of his joys and sorrows in quiet seclusion at the village of Bexhill. It was there that Mr. and Mrs. Daniel commenced a long and active life, and it was there, after prolonging the same at Hastings for forty or more years, closed it in peace, the husband in 1859 at the age of 73, and the wife in 1862, at the age of 84.
Just a week previous to the laying of the foundation stone of Halton church, the Rev. P. Saffery removed the venu (sic) of his ministrations from the Swan Assembly-room to the new chapel just then completed in Wellington square. A month later, namely, May the 8th, the formal opening sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Cox (author of the prize essay over which, as told in a foregoing chapter, Mr. Saffery and the present writer had some curious experiences), and the evening sermon by the Rev. Eustace Carey. Two days later, and again two months later, the four Episcopalian ministers of Hastings and St. Leonards issued an address against Sunday trading. The Rev. E. Auriol, a gentleman who having[d] departed from this sublunary sphere, at a ripe age[e], afterwards[f] was one whose signature was attached to the document, and the Rev. H. S. Widdrington was another. The other two names I purposely withhold, because I have something to relate from my own experience in connection with these names that may seem less inviduous (sic) by such omission, but which will, nevertheless, detract somewhat from the consistency of the undoubtedly well-meaning address thus put forth. One of the un-named clergymen used to make it his regular habit to call at the Post Office on Sunday afternoons during the only two hours in the day in which the window was closed to the public and when a notice was put up "This office will re-open after divine service”. The attendant would be thus disturbed by a loud knocking from his reading, or it might be from a short sleep which he was trying to steal from his 18 1/2 hours of Sunday duty but that did not matter; the public were importuned to abstain from trade labour on Sundays, and the hard-worked servants of the Post-office were summoned to labour for those who exclaimed against Sunday labour. The other unnamed clergyman received his letters by the postman on Sunday morning, but on religious grounds, declined to pay for them until Monday. There was no penny postage in those days, and the cost of a gentleman's letters sometimes amounted to three or four shillings. Yet while that clergyman deemed it sinful to pay money on Sundays, he did not object to receive it. He not only caused frequent collections to be made at his church, but he employed two vergers to stand at the church-doors to sell tickets for sittings at a shilling each. I can relate an amusing anecdote in connection with the last-named practice, which not improbably led to a different and more consistent arrangement. To put it briefly it was thus:- A gentleman wanted a sitting in the body of the church where there were no free seats, and on being told that the price was a shilling, he replied that his religious scruples forbade his paying money on Sunday; so, if the Rev. -- would kindly call for the money on Monday he would pay him, in like manner as the Rev. -- did the postman. This was a home thrust, and the moral is that our want of consistency sometimes arises from our not seeing ourselves as others see us.
Whilst I am still writing, two events have transpired, both of a relative character to this History which induces me to make an episodical (sic) break in its continuity. The first is a letter received from London concerning the ruins of Ore Church, and the second is the supposed discovery of a "tub hole," as described by a contemporary. It is pretty well known by those who lived in smuggling times that the ingenuity of the "freetraders" in landing and secreting their goods was almost without a parallel. We could, from our own knowledge, point to houses with artificial walls and ceilings, concealed cellars, stairs with movable risers, cavities in cultivated gardens, etc.; yet we are not disposed to give full credence to the recent "discovery of a tub-hole at the Fortune-of-War." It appears that the dilapidated and never-too-well-constructed inn of that name, which was frequented by soldiers during the 19 years' existence of the barracks at Halton, was about to be replaced by a larger and more substantial building, and that in the process of construction a vault was found for which no other use could be attributed than that of depositing tubs of contraband spirits. Perhaps the following explanation will throw a new light on the subject. About 60 years ago, when High street was the great emporium, there were no fewer than five pastry-cooks and confectioners in that same street; namely, Wheeler, Newberry, Shaw, Austin and Payne. Shaw's establishment was that which is now numbered 71 or 72, whilst Payne's was that which is now Spencer's furniture and carpet warehouse (59). These being the two principal persons in that line of business they each of them had an ice-vault or ice-well, Shaw's being under the hill behind Croft field, and Payne's under the bank or road at the "Fortune of War." The innkeeper at that time was either Harvey (a milkman) or Stonestreet (a hairdresser) - most likely the former. Soon after that, when trade began to go westward, Mr. Payne removed to the Pelham Arcade, having a branch also at Grand parade; but, whether he kept on his ice-well at the Fortune-of-War I am unable to say. Of course it is not entirely out of the range of possibility for cubes of ice and kegs of brandy to have kept company in that same vault on occasions of emergency; but, that the supposed "tub-hole" at Halton was really as well as ostensibly an ice-well I have no manner of doubt. My contention, indeed, is supported by an action that was taken by the Corporation against Harvey, the landlord of the Fortune of War, and Payne, the occupier of the ice-vault for encroachment. This was in 1834 when at a meeting of the Corporation it was "Resolved that Messrs. Payne and Harvey (the defendants re Parker's Charity) having applied to be relieved of a part of costs sent into them, this court refuses to comply, and orders that the whole amount be paid forthwith." [g]And now as to the correspondence respecting Ore church. Among the many assurances of personal interest which have been communicated to the Editor of the Gazette since this history was commenced, there probably has not been any one of more genuine sincerity than that which was contained in the letter received on the 8th of September, 1880. The following extract will show the earnestness of the writer.
I have been very much interested, and not a little amused, in the perusal of the papers
which I have received. They bring the good old times so vividly before my mind, that I almost seem to go over them again, even in their minutest details ... I had a good laugh over that Rev. somebody about his letters, and the gentleman with his religious scruples not paying for his seat in church on Sunday, but wishing the Reverend -- to call on him on Monday for the money. Oh! I say, what a bone was that for the inconsistent clergyman to pick! Ah! but when I think of the old church at Ore, and the state it now is in, I can but grieve from my inmost heart. I am obliged to confess that when I saw the dear old church for the first time in ruins - 'the home of my childhood so dear to me' - I felt as though I could have sat down on one of the graves and wept. This venerated building could easily have been restored, and even enlarged, if parties had so minded; and at a comparatively small cost could have been made comfortable. But now, in its hand-made ruins, it seems to say, 'Behold in me the capriciousness of man!' May God, in his mercy, grant that you and I, who have worshipped within its sacred walls, may be found citizens of that more adorable city
which is eternal in the heavens!— London, Sept. 17th, 1880.
Mr. Benjamin Giles the writer of the above letter died fifteen years later, and curious as it may be - devout churchman as he was - he got chilled in a cold church when less warmly clad than usual, and died within a few days. He was born on Christmas Day, 1809, and died on April 23rd 1895; consequently in his 87th year.
The year 1838 is indeed still bristling with local events, a record of which should not be entirely devoid of interest. Among the occurrences of an accidental nature, not already enumerated, was a collision on the 27th of January at the foot of High street, between one of the Hastings and St. Leonards coaches and a brewer's dray. One might imagine that the latter's sturdiness and lower centre of gravity would have enabled it to come off best in the encounter but it was not so; for it was made to do duty as a battering-ram against Mr. Cork's drapery store, No. 58, the effect of which was to crash in the plate-glass window. This accident excited a good deal of curiosity, as, apart from the demolition of the shop-front, the existence of a plate-glass window in those days was of itself a novelty.
Three months later, on the 15th of April (a squally and snowy Easter Sunday), a workman at Mr. Rock's coach factory, named Mc Laughlen, incautiously bathed in the sea, and was drowned. In consequence of the non-rigidity of the body, a rumour was circulated that the man was not really dead, but in a trance; so that when Mr. Rock assembled his employees to assist in the funeral obsequies of their late fellow workman, he found the sensational rumour had gained so great a hold on the public as to induce him to postpone the interment until the ninth day after the event when decomposition having set in there was no longer room for the least doubt. It was certainly a curious circumstance that for a whole week the body retained its flexibility and had more the appearance of sleep than of death.
Miss Catherine Sayer - Literary Institutions - The Rev. W. Wallinger - Politics
I had bethought me now to turn from accidents and death-memorials to topics of a different character, but even to do that my reminiscences receive a new direction while I write by the death of a lady well known in Hastings and St. Leonards for her benevolence and philanthropy. Miss Mary Sayer, of Parade House, Hastings, died on the 21st of October, at the age of 79, and was followed to the Borough Cemetery by numerous relatives and friends to whom she was endeared. The deceased lady, in conjunction with her sister, founded the Girls' Industrial School on the West Hill, and contributed largely to the erection of the St. Andrew's and Emmanuel Churches. She was a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Jenkinson Sayer,
Pg.206 and niece of the late Miss Catherine Sayer, whose property the deceased lady and her sister were the chief inheritors of. The elder Miss Sayer was as noted for her benevolence as her nieces have subsequently been, although in a different manner and with different surroundings. She was also remarkable for her activity in her old age and for her courteous and chatty demeanour towards those of an inferior status. The writer remembers receiving a small silver coin from the old lady which she said she had picked up in crossing what used to be the field between Blackland's Farm and Breed's Barn, or between nearly what are now Baldslow road and Laton road. "Take the money" said the affable Miss Sayer, "for it is better for a poor lad to have what perhaps some poor person has lost than for me to keep it who do not need it." It was but a simple incident, but it was one that made a lasting impression. The Miss Sayer here referred to resided at Parade House, which after her death was occupied by her nieces, Mary and Maria Jane Sayer, one of whom has now also gone to her account. Miss Catherine Sayer, in the later part of her life paid a sum of money to Mr. Diplock as compensation for not building to obstruct the view from her house; hence the cause of the shop or shops at the western end of the Marine parade being only one storey high. She was residing at Parade House in 1838, and it was in the same year and in close proximity to Miss Sayer's house that the first stone of the Literary Institution was laid. The place chosen for the new building was what had been the site of the old St. Clement's poor-house adjacent to the spot where, some four years previously,
In timber-yard of Ball's - now Albion Mews -
One "Mud Jack's" wife some brute did badly use;
Whose lifeless form, as seen by morning light
Had undergone ill-treatment in the night.
A fallen creature was that "Mud Jack's" wife,
Yet God alone should take away the life.
This is not a happy association,but these impromtu (sic) reminiscences will not always conform to what is called the fitness of things. It was my chance opportunity to see the body of the poor woman as it lay in the van[h], and it was my more pleasing privilege to witness the formality of founding the Literary Institute on an adjacent site. In a cavity of the foundation-stone were placed several new coins together with a scroll of parchment on which was written in Latin that of which the following is a translation:- "The Hastings Literary Society caused this building for promoting the Arts and Sciences to be erected on the ninth of May in the year of Salvation 1838. That it may be successful and prosperous and from day to day more vigorously flourish, is the supplication of this Society to the Almighty. Frederick North, president of the Society, laid this stone." The building was estimated to cost £1,500, and when once commenced it was proceeded with in an expeditious manner. On the 28th of December in the same year, the first meeting was held within its walls, when many new members were enrolled. During the following year, Dr. Cooke delivered some of his anatomical lectures - those lectures which "L.E.L." so rapturously and graphically described in verse. The amount of subscription for annual members was to be 25s., and for life-members twelve guineas. The library, by donations and purchases of books gradually increased until it reached the number of 3,000 volumes, whilst the reading-room was fairly supplied with magazines and newspapers. The last-named commodity reminds me that an attempt was made in 1838 to resuscitate the Cinque Ports Chronicle, and that a controversy was carried on in one of the county journals respecting it. Dame Rumour set it about that Mr. Southall, the St. Leonards librarian, was a partner in the project, but the gentleman in question repudiated such connection, he averring that he had "nothing whatever to do with the Cinque Ports Chronicle, with which the late Commander of the Arial ship would gull the public a second time." To this, Mr. Charles Bond retorted that Mr. Southall had promised to take shares in the paper, but that he could not print it in consequence of his not having sufficient type. The paper did, however, re-appear, as the Cinque Ports' Chronicle and Southern Advertiser. It was about half the size of the ST. LEONARDS GAZETTE, and its price was fivepence. The first number I believe was published on Saturday, September 9th. It was neatly printed on good paper by Mr. W. Ransom, of 42 George street, and published by M. W. Arundale, of Castle street, Mr. Charles Bond being the nominal proprietor. It should be stated that 42 George street was the new Literary Institution described above, the rooms there set apart for the members being on the first floor, whilst Mr. Ransom's printing-offices were on the ground floor. Both printer and publisher have long since made their exeunt from the stage of life, the former's remains having been placed at the Halton burial-ground, and the latter's in the cemetery of St. Mary-in-the castle. Not long since a son of Mr. Charles Bond, from a distant town, called on me to make my acquaintance and to gossip on bygone times.
It was my intention, further on, to notice the interments of Dr. Harwood and other St. Leonards, as well as Hastings, people in the St. Mary's ground which has been many years closed against all but those possessing family vaults; but a solemn ceremonial at that cemetery taking place during the week when I was writing in 1880 impelled me to anticipate a few of the associations reserved for a later period. The event here alluded to was the interment (sic) of the remains of the late Rev. William Wallinger who was Prebendary of Chichester and the first Perpetual Curate of St. Mary's-in-the-Castle. His ministrations commenced in 1828 when that handsome edifice was opened, and continued until 1834, when they were succeeded by those of the Rev. W. T. Marychurch, whose name and that of the new house of devotion were singularly in keeping. The latter gentleman, however, made way in 1835 for the Rev. J. S. Jenkinson, who was in turn succeeded in 1841 by the Rev. Thomas Vores, whose venerated name and faithful ministrations will be as long remembered as had been the piety and benevolence of his predecessor, a few of whose antecedents I am about to notice. The pleasantly-situated mansion known as Castledown House was built for Mr. Wallinger by, I believe, Mr. Carey, of St. Leonards, and in this house the reverend gentleman resided until he left Hastings, and the pathway leading up to the West hill between that house and the St. Mary's Cemetery is still known as "Wallinger's Walk." At the top of that pathway is a building which Mr. Wallinger erected as a school-house at his own cost, the builder of which, I rather think, was Mr. John Austin, also of St. Leonards. Mr. Wallinger, who was not married, was about 33 years of age when, through the patronage of the Earl of Chichester he commenced his ministrations at Hastings, he having been born in the year 1795. He read himself in at St. Mary's on Sunday the 24th of February 1828, the chapel having been opened with much solemnity four weeks previously. During the month of August, in the following year, a defect in the roof of the chapel was discovered, and the services were obliged to be suspended for a time. The Theological Library, once kept by Mrs. Thatcher, of the Pelham Baths, and subsequently transferred to the Young Men's Christian Association, was established by the Rev. W. Wallinger and many were the personal acts of kindness and benevolence performed by that worthy man. Among his proteges was a Mr. Burt for whom he purchased a horse and set him up in business as a milkman. The reverend gentleman, who was sensitively nervous, left Hastings in consequence of a painful event over which he had no control, and for a number of years past had resided at Tunbridge Wells. It was there that he died, in the 86th year of his age, and his remains were brought to Hastings to be interred in the cemetery which was formed during the reverend gentleman's ministrations at St. Mary's, service being first held in the church. The coffin was covered with black cloth, and on it was a plain brass plate with the following simple inscription:-
REV. WILLIAM WALLINGER,
Born 21st Oct., 1795; died 3rd Nov., 1880,
In his 86th year.
Reverting now to political conditions of 1838, it will be recollected that the Conservatives had banded themselves together in a "Loyal and Constitutional Association," and that, as a counter move, the Liberals formed themselves into a "Liberal and Constitutional Society." These latter politicians met at the Swan Hotel on Friday the 12th of January to discuss the propriety of preparing a petition to Parliament in favour of voting by Ballot. Mr. Alfred Vidler was chairman, and among the members present were Robt. Hollond, Esq., M.P., and his friend Mr. Richards. Mr. Edward Honiss (six months before his death) in proposing the petition, contended that the Ballot was the foundation of all reform. This opinion was endorsed by Mr. G. Clement, who seconded the motion. The chairman remarked that he had done the dirty work for Mrs. Camac,but he would not do it again, although he had been much abused because he dared in future to vote according to his conscience.
Mr. Hollond said the Association had more than anticipated his wishes, and it would be a proud thing for him to present and support the petition. He would advise them to petition for that alone, and not mix it up with other questions. If they obtained the Ballot, then would be the time to move for an extension of the suffrage and for shortening the duration of Parliaments.
Referring to some political sarcasm, out of doors, that he had been ill, Mr. Hollond said he had not been at all aware of such disability. He had hitherto done his best to support their principles, and was then ready to answer any question which might be put to him. - The motion having been put by the chairman, and carried, Mr. Richards proposed that the Rt. Hon. J. Planta be also requested to support the petition. He then, in some humorous remarks, said Mr. Hollond had divided sixteen times, notwithstanding his "illness," whilst Mr. Planta had divided only nine times. - This Association met again on the 6th of February. Their place of meeting was in the "Star of the East," and their chairman was Mr. Thomas Brown; but what matters were then and there discussed by the Magi I am not in a position to say. Nor beyond a few personal encounters and recriminations, do I know very much what the Liberal Constitutional Association did during the remainder of the year. It may be fairly assumed that there was a gradual accession of numbers to their ranks as young men came into possession of the franchise, for in the following year they met in good force to celebrate their anniversary. In the mean time the Conservative Constitutional Association was holding its own, if one may judge from the following address of its President:
"GENTLEMEN, - On the 21st of this month our Association will have existed one year, and not doubting but that you will meet to celebrate the first Anniversary, I avail myself of the present mode of addressing you, regretting that circumstances will deprive me of being present and personally congratulating you upon the signal success which has hitherto attended the formation of a society founded upon Loyal and Constitutional principles. I should indeed but indifferently appreciate the honorable post which your kind confidence assigned to me on the first night of our meeting could I permit the present occasion to pass away unnoticed; and though unavoidably absent from that post yet I would prove by my present address to you that my earnest and heartfelt interest in the increasing prosperity, and ultimate success of our good cause is as warm and energetic as ever. It is accordance with (sic) established usage for a committee or secretary to make a report upon each anniversary of the progress and results attending the labours of an association. For such report I must look to you; but I hold it to be part of my province to draw your attention to passing political events, with the view of ascertaining whether the principles which we profess, and under the animating impression of which we orignally (sic) determined to associate ourselves have not made such advance among the intelligent and well-disposed classes of society as to warrant the renewed expression of our anxious hoped, that they will eventually prevail to such an extent in the great council of the nation as to secure the re-establishment of a wise and efficient Government, founded upon strictly constitutional principles in Church and State. Since we first met great events have taken place, the most important of which has been that appeal to the electors of the United Kingdom which has been made in consequence of the lamented death of our late Sovereign William the Fourth, and it is upon the result of that appeal, that we should in the first place cordially congratulate ourselves. Before however, entering upon that subject generally, permit me to remind you that in the course of the few observations which I made on the first night of our meeting I thus spoke with reference to the position in which our own borough was then placed:- 'When the proper time shall arrive the members of this association will possess the usual opportunity (through the medium of different addreses) (sic) of becoming acquainted with the political sentiments entertained by the respective candidates, and we shall then be able to judge whose are most in accordance with those principles, upon which it is proposed to form this Association.' I have seen no poll-book, and of course must of necessity be ignorant of the vote which each member gave at the last Election, but I have every reason to believe that all tendered their suffrages in support of that candidate who most undoubtedly professed, and who has never shrunk from the profession of principles in accordance with those entertained by the Association. And if it should, unfortunately, have happened that in one or more instances this should not have been the case, it can afford no triumph to our opponents; because, then either undue influence must have wrought upon the mind of the elector, or he could never have been originally honest in his desire to co-operate with ourselves. To return to the General Election, and in the language of those who supported the Reform Bill, in the belief that through its medium the real wants and wishes of the people would be made known, I unhesitatingly declare that the result of the late contest throughout the country had been of a nature to diffuse satisfaction in the minds of all real Conservatives. I well remember, on more than one occasion, telling you that the majority of the reflecting people of this country were not in favour of the destructive measures introduced by Her Majesty's Ministers. I well remember, while addressing you, calling upon the noble Viscount at the head of Her Majesty's Government to dissolve the Parliament, and by so doing, ask the people these questions: 'Are you willing to sacrifice your Church? Are you willing to destroy the institutions of your country?'[i] and I also remember musing these prophetic words, little imagining then that the truth of them would so soon become apparent - 'Then shall the united voices of the people of Great Britain reply in the negative; through the mouths of their Representatives they will say they are not content to do this great wrong, and that they have proved their sincerity by sending men to Parliament who shall oppose those Ministers who have insulted their Sovereign and outraged the feelings of the people! And has it not been even so? From a careful analysis drawn up by an ultra Radical paper, THE SPECTATOR, I find it thus stated: The Liberal majority elected to the Peel Parliament was 356 to 302; the majority elected to the Melbourne Parliament is 366 to 322; the balance against the latter being 40 votes." But I will not rest satisfied with this mere numerical difference in our favour. Look to the counties of England and Wales. In one only has a Liberal displaced a Conservative, whereas in the following twenty-one counties Conservatives have displaced Liberals - Carmarthenshire, East Cornwall, North Devonshire, North Durham, Flintshire, Glamorganshire, North Hampshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, North Leicestershire, Middlesex, West Norfolk, South Nottinghamshire, West Somersetshire, North Staffordshire. East Surrey, West, Suffolk, East Sussex, North Wiltshire, East Worcestershire, and East Yorkshire. In the large towns, also, there has been no lack of Conservative feeling manifested. Liverpool, Hull, Bath, Brighton, Beverley, Greenwich, Hereford, Lancaster, Preston, and Wakefield have all elected Conservatives in the place of Liberals; and the altered state of the polls for the city of London and the great West Riding of Yorkshire most forcibly demonstrate the change of opinion. At the time of the contest for the West-Riding of Yorkshire in 1835 the numbers were at the close of the poll:- Lord Morpeth 9066, Mr. S. Wortley 6259. At the election just over  Lord Morpeth 12,576; Sir George Strickland 11,892; Mr. S. Wortley, 11,489; thus giving to Sir G. Stickland a majority of 403 over Mr. Wortley out of a constituency of 25,000 voters. At the close of the poll for the city of London in 1835,Mr. Grote the lowest of the Liberal candidates had a majority of 1356 over Mr. Lyall, the highest of the Conservative candidates; but at the election just over, Mr. Grote obtained a bare majority of 6 votes over Mr. Horsley Palmer, and the Conservatives have presented a petition with the view of substituting Mr. Horsley Palmer in the place of Mr. Grote. I repeat, am I therefore not fully justified in expressing my unfeigned satisfaction at the result of the late appeal to the people. You cannot fail to observe that I am altogether silent upon Ireland; but, believe me, I am not so because I conceive the spirit of Conservatives has retrograded in that country, but rather that as the mode in which the elections have been there conducted has caused very numerous petitions to be presented, it would be premature to offer any opinion upon the returns made until the decisions of the tribunals appointed to try their validity shall have been made. Upon those decisions will rest the question whether the Government or the Opposition possess a majority in the House of Commons; but whether the Conservatives shall possess a majority or not they are sufficiently powerful to resist the carrying (sic) any measure which would be subversive to the principles of the Constitution. The Ministers are well aware of this fact, and therefore they availed themselves of the earliest op Pg.207 portunity to declare their adherence to the principle of the Reform Bill - the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. But though they made this anti Radical declaration on the first night of the Session, they have since displayed such a servile disposition to cringe to their former allies - the ultra-Liberals, and such shameless apostacy (sic) from their former professions, that it will be imperatively necessary for the Conservatives, as a body, to narrowly watch their proceedings, and to view with a jealous eye every measure which may be brought forward by them, or which may receive their support. At the close of the address which our Association adopted and published is the following passage to which I again particularly invite your attention:- 'We have, in common with others, formed ourselves into an Association for the purpose of upholding the Prerogatives of the Crown inviolate, and for the preservation of the Protestant Established Church as an integral part of the State; for preserving the application of church property to Protestant ecclesiastical purposes alone; for maintaining integrity, independence and freedom of deliberation, not only to the House of Commons, but also to the House of Lords, as equally constituent parts of the Legislature; for securing to every voter in the kingdom the free and manly declaration of his opinions, of his political sentiments, and the right of recording his vote at elections as an Englishman - openly, and in the face of day; and, lastly, for diffusing among the people at large a regard for such healthy and honest principles as afford the best security of their prosperity and the firmest bulwark of their liberties. That we shall finally secure these great results upon a foundation never again to be shaken, I confidently expect. And when that happy period shall arrive, we will dissolve our Association upon the same principle on which we originally founded it; but, until such time, I earnestly call on you, my friends and brother-members of our Loyal and Constitutional Association to continue to advance its success by every lawful means in your power, firmly convinced, as I trust you all are, that by so doing you are promoting the true happiness of your fellow countrymen throughout all classes of society, and strengthening, to the utmost of your ability, those institutions of our common country to which we look up to with respect and attachment. I have the honour to remain, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,— ALEXANDER SUTHERLAND GRAEME
Cossington House Bridgewater."
Failure of political prophecies - Morley vs Harman
On the 20th of March the Crown Inn was the scene of a violent assault upon Mr. Henry Morley by Mr. Jas. Harman, in consequence, as it was supposed, of the former having written something about the latter's political conduct which provoked his displeasure. Morley was a Radical in politics, and reported the Hastings and St. Leonards news for the Brighton Guardian. Harman (better known as "Spike Harman") was a tailor, at 6 Grand parade, and although usually professing to be a Liberal, he had thrust himself on Mr. Planta's committee in 1837, and had assisted in the return of the Conservative candidate; but in so doing he incurred- as it was shown at an important trial, two years later - unauthorised expenses. For the time however, he had identified himself with the Conservative party, and although no specific charge was made against Morley as a cause for the violent assault upon him it was generally believed that the following remarks, which doubtless emanated from Morley's pen, were the incentive to the cruel beating which Morley received.
The Tories are greatley (sic) alarmed because we gave a hint about their election expenses. We are told that Planta is not wealthy, and that his bills will be very heavy. Admitted. But this ought to have deterred a set of reckless jobbers, who if they had the feeling of common honesty, would not have plunged an otherwise amiable man into ruinous costs. They promised, it was said, to bring him in for about six or seven hundred pounds, but it has since been discovered that matters will not be cleared up even for £2,500. We are in possesson (sic) of some curious facts in connection with the business, and when the time for disclosing them arrives we shall make that disclosure without at all consulting the refined ideas of the party who have unblushingly brought their victim into so unenviable a position. The sun of Toryism is for ever set in this borough; the faction is on its last legs, and we may with great safety say that Planta will never stand again for Hastings. The straightforward course pursued by his colleague Holland (sic) has completely changed the aspect of affairs. The ultras even are turning round, and many of them have signed the petition for the ballot. Were there an election to-morrow, two Liberals would certainly be returned. The majority of this constituency are decidedly Radicals, and however much the Whigs may stave off the introduction of such Radical measures as the ballot, extension of the franchise, short Parliaments, &c., any man who votes against them will certainly lose his seat. It may be well to talk about extending education, but the feeling is that taxation without representation is robbery.
Someone has said "Never prophesy unless you are sure" and the advice in this case receives support in the fact that the Rt. Hon. Joseph Planta did offer himself again and was re-elected. Neither was Toryism so defunct as was alleged, for in the 16 elections which have since taken place up to 1896, a Tory has been returned on 13 occasions. Then as to the "ultras" - the thoroughgoing Tories - turning round in favou of the ballot, if such was their conduct, it was justified by the great Conservative majority returned to Parliament under its first application. That even the ballot was not a panacea for all the evils of electioneering contests has, unfortunately, been proved by the disclosures of bribery and corruption at the numerous petition trials of 1880. That such a state of political dishonesty on all sides should exist in modern times is indeed lamentable, but it is no worse than many non-partizans (sic) had expected. Even St. Leonardensis - who if he has any personal influence, it is as much due to his political foresight as to his known moderation - has more than once recorded his opinion that the abrogation of canvassing would be more conducive to purity of election than the abolition of open voting. But this by the way! The reporter Morley might have been ever so wrong in his political forecasts, and he might have been a little tantalizing to the so-called "Jim Crow" who had played fast and loose with friends and foes for certain ends, the description of which it was his fault or misfortune to evoke more by his own newspaper communications than by anything that the victim of his revenge had written. What this was will be best seen by a long letter in reply, inserted as an advertisement in the Brighton Guardian by one of the party with whom, for the nonce he had professed to identfy (sic) himself, but who had offended him because they repudiated his acts and alleged expenses. The reply in question was as follows:-
"Mr. James Harman's letter which appeared in your columns having produced an extraordinary sensation in certain political circles the following is a reply to the same. Mr. H. says truly that every horse ought to bear his own load; and it shall not be my fault if this Jim Crow of a scribbler does not have a heavy burthen (sic) placed upon his own shoulders whether he can trot with it or not I shall reply by a statement of facts taken from documents which were never in Mr. Harman's possession. In the first place, that individual was never the principal "organ" of Mr. Planta's committee. In looking through the list of that committee, written by the Right Hon. gentleman himself, I find the simple name of Jas. Harman at the bottom, while Mr. Sutherland Graeme is named as the principal. In fact it is not unknown to me, nor was it unknown to others that we had Harman's presence because no one else would. Without talent, without influence, without principle, though possessing no small share of impudence he forced himself into the Conservative camp; and the Committee, though anxiously wishing they could be-rid themselves of him, were unable to do so. Mr. Planta, himself, knew perfectly well what Harman was, and constantly kept him at a convenient distance. It is false, too, that Mr. Planta was brought down to Hastings for the late contest by Harman and Amoore. On the contrary, Mr. W. Edwards, sen., was the person who induced Planta to try the experiment. So much for the veracity of this would-be electioneering agent for Hastings, Rye and East Sussex - The man who professes to "make a matter of business of it." Good heavens! Who would confide their cause to the hands of such a notorious whirligig? In reference to Planta being promised that his election expenses should not exceed six or seven hundred pounds, I was no party to such promise. Let it suffice that I gave my own time and expenses from February until the conclusion of the election, during which period it was not "necessary that Mr. Fuller should, to save me from arrest, pay my creditors in London." I am aware that this is an awkward as well as a strong exposure but it is the truth. Harman says he is a loser by £50. This is ridiculous. The truth is that he has carried imposition on as far as he could with all parties; and, as a finale, he would bully Planta out of a few pounds to enable him "to cut to fit the human shape." But the friends of Mr. Planta have wisely recommended that no further imposition should be tolerated. They know the man, and they know what he wants. They also know he would sacrifice his best friends to put a few pounds in his pocket. In reference to the heavy expenses attending Planta's election, I ask, Who ordered the luncheon at the Crown? Why, Harman; but he did not pay for it nor is it paid for to this moment. Harman was a party to the expenses going on. The amiable gentleman incurred nearly the whole of such expense himself, and would not fain shift the burthen on to the shoulders of others. He further states that he paid £3 for borough lists. I give the lie direct to that statement. He gave £1 and no more. He admits pledging himself that the costs should not exceed £700. What has, unfortunately, been the result? Alas! the real friends of Mr. Planta can well prove that Harman is no prophet. Can he tell your readers what was the amount of his ribbon bill? He is too wily to do that, Mr. Editor. But, thanks to the good sense of all others (sic) parties in the town they deprecate his dishonourable conduct on this occasion. He has irrevocably forfeited his fair fame, if he ever possessed any, and has consigned himself to everlasting contempt and obloquy. His remarks about my wishing him to write to Planta for £300 to bride the electors is as "false as hell." Is it likely? Is it probable, situated as I have been with Mr. Planta these last four years, that I should have so committed myself as to place my prospects and those of my family - nay, all - in the hands of an individual like this, who, reckless of the common rules necessary for the well-being of society, would, to save himself, plunge all into one general ruin? Would that James Harman had a dwelling-place for an honest heart! It would indeed be well for him if he could lay his hand on his heart and say, as I can, that he never was a gainer by being a pilot. Those who best know me can vouch for that fact; and it is equally well known that as a party however unfit we may be to conduct our ship "o'er the mighty deep," it is an easy task, as coasters, to bring her to anchor in the haven of common honesty, and where no man - be he ever so opposed to us in politics - would refuse to share with us his company. Mr. Harman says something about paying Pearce and other clerks. Who authorised him to engage clerks? No one! Moreover, Harman informed Planta that his canvassing books were made out by his own confidential clerk. This out-Herods Herod! Is it not laughable? But when pressed by the committee, he explained that it was Mrs. Harman. What a phenomenon! But the fact is I paid Mr. Pearce and the whole of the clerks myself. It was very kind of Harman to give refreshments to Banks, Water &c., but would it not have been better for him to have fed the indigent in his own house before he gave to others what they needed? I admit that I am an ex-publican, but I ask whether previously to becoming one I acted dishonestly? On leaving the Nelson I paid 20s. in the £, and although Harman has trifled with my feelings I will not hurt his by asking him whether that has been his practice. ... I had hoped that when the election was over we should all meet as friends, and with this exception it has been so. Nor do I envy the feelings of that man who so outrageously insulted the borough by fabricating the statement which was one tissue of falsehoods from beginning to end. Those who were warmly opposed to me during the election have exchanged the hand of friendship; and it is my wish and that of Mr. Planta that mutually kind feelings should be still cultivated. The watchword on my part is "Good will to all," and while I give to others the right of judging for themselves, I claim to be allowed the same privilege myself,— I am, &c., GEORGE WINGFIELD
P.S. - Mr. Planta's committee were : Sutherland Graeme, Esq., Francis Smith, Esq., W. Amoore, N. Williams, R. Harman, G. Wingfield, Jas Harman.
But to return to the assault, the case was brought before the magistrates, and thence turned over for adjudication to the Quarter sessions. In the meanwhile the subject was much talked about and several other letters bearing upon it appeared in the county papers. When the trial came on, the parties were advised to come to an arrangement without the further aid of the law in carrying on the trial to its bitter end. The defendant was advised to pay a certain amount of money and to make a suitable apology, which he did by signing a document, of which the following is a copy .-
To Mr. Henry Morley. - In consideration of your withdrawing the prosecution against me for an assault on your person at the Crown Inn on the 20th of March, I humbly apologize for the same, and consent to pay the expense of the prosecution, not exceeding £10, and to pay a further sum of £5 to the Infirmary Building-fund.— JAMES HARMAN.
Two years later, Mr. Harman sued Mr. Planta for his claim at the Lewes Assizes, and the trial - in which the plaintiff was partially successful - was an intensely exciting one. I purpose giving an account of that musing political episode when this history shall have reached the period to which the trial applies. And now I will close the political chapter for 1838, with another remark and another vaticination (sic) by the local reporter already named. He said -
Beyond wriggling into the Exchequer and the Customs the sons of a few partizans, Mr. Planta has done nothing for the town. The attention of the Government should be called to this injustice to more deserving talent. The union of our Association has scattered broadcast the boasted phalanx of the Tory stronghold. Let them but diffuse their principles still more generally, and East-Sussex in the future will not be disgraced by a single Tory member.
That Mr. Planta did "wriggle" or otherwise get young men into Government situations there is no denying, and St. Leonardensis happens to know that the efforts thus made by the hon. gentleman were not in every case confined to the sons of partizans. As regards the wiping away the "disgrace" of East Sussex, the irony of events was too strong for the politician's logic; for in after years there came an election when the two Members for Hastings were the only Liberals returned throughout the county. Such is the uncertainty of political life.
I now turn to a few transactions of the Hastings Commissioners, for, be it known, that even as a Municipal Corporation, the Town Council had not as yet entirely superseded the functions of the Old Commission. At a meeting of the latter board in the month of April it was resolved that the Gas Company be fined 1/- each for as many public lamps as there were, in consequence of their having been extinguished at three o'clock in the morning. As a set-off against this resolution the Chairman, on behalf of the Gas Company, politely suggested that perhaps the Commissions would not object at the same time to pay the £77 8s.2d. that had been due since Oct. 1837, together with interest. The gas account was then ordered to be paid at once, but whether the fines were ever realised I know not. This was not the Commissioners' only transaction during that year in which the "irony of events" caused them to come off second best. The surveyor reported that Mr. Barry, of the Marine Library, had incroached (sic) about three inches on the Commissions' ground, although he had given up more than the equivalent in another part. There might have been no harm in this giving and taking but as it had been done without sanction Mr. Barry was ordered to pay a fine of 5s. Very soon after that in consequence of some improvement to the Marine parade - that parade the erection of which, many years before, Mr. Barry had been the prime mover of - a letter was received from the Board of Ordnance, complaining that the Commissioners had encroached upon Government ground near the Battery, and demanding that a shilling per year be paid as quit-rent. This was complied with, and the concession may be regarded as a quid pro quo for the fine inflicted on Mr. Barry.
Having thus touched upon a few items in the career of the Hastings Commissioners during 1838, and having also noticed in an earlier chapter the transactions of the St. Leonards Commissioners for the same period I turn not to an act of the Board of Guardians to show that the last-named body were not quite so willing to obey the behest of Government as were their contemporary officials. There came a mandate from the Poor Law Commissioners that no departure from the ordinary diet and ordinary rules was to be made on Christmas Day towards the inmates of the Union House; but in defiance of this order the Guardians provided the said inmates with a dinner of roast-beef, plum-pudding, and to each adult a pint of porter. The practice once adopted, to the gratification of the recipients and to the equal satisfaction of the ratepayers, it has been kept up I believe, with but few, if any, exception, ever since. It has been objected to by a few persons only on the score of there being in the house at that time of year a number whose idleness more than their misfortune takes them thither, and who therefore are quite undeserving of any consideration of that kind. But who is there with thoroughly generous impulses that would have the deserving suffer for the undeserving? Anyhow, by their general treatment of the poor on Christmas Day, and by the permission given them to visit their friends the day after, the Government-defying Guardians of 1838 acquired considerable popularity among those of the community who still wanted a good deal of persuading that Union-houses were anything better than prisons.
Sad deaths through a pretended Saviour - Cinque-Ports claims at the Coronation
Pg.208 Perhaps it was the prevalence of such a notion that caused so many ill-informed persons to espouse the cause of John Thom, alias Sir William Courtenay, a Kentish lunatic, who under the assumed character of a political reformer, avowed his intention of relieving the country from the terrors of the new Poor Law. But, sad to say! this was not the only aspiration of the psuedo (sic) Sir William Courtenay. Having been released from a lunatic asylum, he lived among the peasantry in the neighbourhood of Canterbury, calling himself the Saviour of the World, and at the same time complaining of the great earthly possessions of which he had been deprived. He drew around him about a hundred discontented people, who presented a menacing attitude on the 30th of May, and on the following morning he shot with his own hand a constable named Mears. The news soon spread, even in those non-telegraphic days, and gentlemen as they received their letters at the Hastings and St. Leonards post-offices, made known such of their contents as referred to the terror inspired by John Thom and his disciples. As the news circulated, the country became alarmed, and felt it as a relief when informed that a detachment of the 45th Regiment had been sent from Canterbury to Bossenden Farm to take or disperse the deluded gang. Lieut Bennett was in charge of the soldiers, and on his approach, Courtenay fired his pistol and shot him dead on the spot. The soldiers then discharged their muskets and shot Courtenay and eight of his followers, besides wounding and crippling a number of others. Such was the infatuation of those people that they previously received the sacrament as administered by their blasphemous leader in a wood, who addressed them as their Saviour, and received their prostrate adoration and worship. And so strong was their faith that they expected him to rise from the dead as he had promised. Notwithstanding that the circumstances ought of themselves to have been sufficient to dispel the delusion, believers, or at least sympathisers, multiplied for a time, even after Courtenay's death. From this belief or sympathy our own locality was not entirely free; just as there were still believers in the "Claimant" Arthur Orton who had suffered as a convict the penalty of his unrighteous representations.
Of Corporation matters not already noticed the proceedings were as follows :- At a January meeting it was resolved to allow the Hastings Commissioners to quit the occupation of the fire-engine house and the same to be offered to Ransom and Ridley, who were then owners of the ground. At the same meeting, the committee appointed to view the East well groyne reported that the old vessels might perhaps, be laid up with safety under the cliff during summers, but only smaller craft would be safe in the winter. Also that the delimitation (or boundary lines) proposed by the Woods and Forests Commissioners for the Government land in the Holy Trinity parish should be 90 feet from the Denmark-place house, and thence in a straight line to the centre of the arch of the bridge. At the monthly meeting in April, Mr. Putland's motion to reduce the number of policemen by four was negatived (sic) by a large majority. At a special meeting in the same month it was resolved that the Mayor and Town Clerk take such steps as they might judge necessary to prevent the dispensation of canopy-bearing and other coronation services as directed in her Majesty's proclamation from operating in any way as a bar to our claim as one of the Cinque Ports for the performance of such services at any future coronation. Shortly after such meeting the Mayor received the usual circular from the Mayor of Rye as the then Speaker of the Ports, which communication was as follows:-
"Right Worshipful Sir, Loving Brethren, Combarons and Friends. After our hearty salutations, we beg leave to inform you that Her Majesty hath appointed the 26th day of June next for solemnising her coronation, and that the first meeting of the Court of Claims will be held in the Council Chamber at Whitehall on the 20th day of April, inst., and, considering that it is incumbent on us, as Speaker of the Ports, to propose a person or persons to solicit the Ports' claim for the canopy service, we, for our parts, propose William Stringer, gent., and George William Ledger, gent., to appear as our solicitors in the said Court of Claims, and when the ceremony is over, that the bill of charges be defrayed in the first instance out of the money now belonging to the ports, and if the same be insufficient then by a proportionate allotment on the Cinque Ports and Two Ancient Towns. Nevertheless, we submit to your grave consideration and brotherly request, subscriptions of your several opinions. We are, Right Worshipful Sirs, Your Loving Brethren, Combarons and Friends, the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgers of the Ancient Town and Borough of Tye, under the seal of the office of Mayoralty, the 12th day of April 1838, David Manser, Speaker.”
The reply of the Hastings Corporation was to the effect that in consequence of the canopy and other services by the Cinque ports barons being dispensed with by the Queen's proclamation of the 10th instant, which contained a reserva- Pg.209 -tion against its operating prejudicially to such service in future, no claim on the part of the Ports' barons were necessary to be made; nevertheless, the Corporation were willing to give Messrs. Stringer and Ledger, as solicitors to the ports, to communicate with the Committee of Privileges, provided that all the expenses be defrayed out of the moneys now in their hands. Signed by Wm. Duke, Mayor, on behalf of himself and the Aldermen and Burgesses of Hastings,, April 20 1838.
Sir Cloudesley-Shovell House
A noted character is brought to mind by a somewhat ordinary event which occurred in Hastings during the year under consideration. It was in 1838, that the house now known as 117 All Saints' street, replaced an older building that was the reputed dwelling of Mrs Shovel(sic), the mother of Sir Cloudesley Shovel(sic), who, with the whole of his crew, perished by shipwreck off the Scilly Isles n the 20th of October, 1705. It is stated in De la Pryme's Diary, quoted in the Sussex Archaeological Collection, as well as in some of the local guides, that as Sir Cloudesley was sailing over against the town of Hastings, he called out "Pilot put in here; I have a little business on shore." He went on shore, accompanied by a gentleman; and, having walked about half a mile came to a little house. "Come," said he, "my business is here; I came on purpose to see the good woman of this house." Upon this they knocked at the door and out came a poor old woman when Sir Cloudesley kissed her and then falling down on his knees, begged her blessing. He was mightily kind to her, and she to him; and after he had made his visit he left her ten guineas, and took leave with tears in his eyes and departed to his ship.
For a full account of Sir Cloudesley Shovell (who spelt his name Showell) see Historico-Biographies vol. III pp. 130 & 135 to 145.
And now, as Sir Cloudesley Shovel took leave of his mother to again try his fortune on the sea, so I will take leave of 1838 with a notice of those who on the 8th of November were the recipients of good fortune on the sea. The Hastings fishermen on that date landed no fewer than 127 lasts of herrings each last containing 13,200 fish, which being sold for as little as 1/- the long hundred (132 fish), realised at even that low price, the sum of £838 4s.
- Whilst it has long been the case that the property was his birth-place or residence, that has not been proven; current thinking being that his birthplace was in the vicinity of Cockthorpe, Norfolk, only that his mother was resident there and Sir Cloudesley visited her there - Editor
- This is the same Dr. MacCabe referred to elsewhere - Brett appears to have inserted a space in the typesetting process - Transcriber
- The preceding age is illegible due to an ink blot. Research elsewhere gives the age of 30 - Editor
- The previous word is covered in the original by an inkblot from some other piece of writing, but has a descender at the end, so most likely 'having' - Editor
- The Rev. Edward Auriol died in 1880 aged 75 - Transcriber
- The word 'afterwards' appears to have been handwritten to insert at this point - Transcriber
- The Rev. Edward Auriol died in 1880 aged 75 - Transcriber
- Brett's assertion here may well be in error - he also makes an assertion elsewhere that there was no murders in a 100 year period during which this event took place - Editor
- The closing quotation mark inserted by editor here
Transcribed by Jan Gilham
- An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022
- An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022
- An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022