Brett Volume 3: Chapter XL - Hastings 1848

From Historical Hastings

Transcriber’s note

Chapter XL - Hastings 1848

The new bye-laws for flys adopted
"Flys and flies"
Resumption of coach travelling
Snowstorm in April
Health of Towns Bill discussed
Practical application of Chartism declined by a chartist
Proposed new street
Cox the crier :his house and habits
Macadamising All Saints Street
Names and trades of the Commissioners "Donkey Riding"
Friction between Councillors and Commissioners
Warm discussion on a proposed District Prison Bill
Arrangements for bathing and boating. The East Well to be an ornamental fountain
An address to the Queen and Prince Albert
Various occurrences
Philip Kent's run down
Other maritime casualties
Plucky rescue by James Coppard
Immense catch of fish
Regatta and races
Rearing dinner at Mr. Lucas-Shadwell’s mansion
Popular entertainment by the local "Virginian Brothers"
Public performances of. Brett's St.Leonards Band and Wood and Elliott's Hastings Band
Hastings Mechanics' Institution Soiree
Opposition to the Income Tax
Archaeological Society at Hastings
Rev. Canon Bell and Isaac Todhunter at Hastings
Appointments of John Banks to Parkers School, Frederick Foster to Saunders, and Andrew Crawford to the Proprietary
Discovery of Iguanodon remains at the Gasworks
Numerous sudden deaths
on the Descent of the Castle, Rape and Honour of Hastings
Tenements in Hastings of the Abbey of Fecamp
Whitsuntide festivities
Lines on "Liberty"
1848 an important landmark of history
Original lines "Shout Out!”
The Chartist demonstration
Military defence of London
Extracts from a local diary – “Why doth oppression stalk the land”
Revolution in Paris
The Irish Rebellion
Antiquarian relics
View of the ruins at Bulverhythe in 1808.

[ 317 ]

New Bye-laws for flys - Coaches Still Running

Having in chap. 39 referred to the adoption of new bye-laws by the St. Leonards Commissioners in 1848, for the better regulation of flys and hackney carriages, it will be apropos to give some account of a similar proceeding on the part of the Hastings Commissioners in the same year. On the first Monday of the new year a special meeting of the latter was held for the purpose of rescinding so much of the bye-laws of 1835 as related to the regulation of flys. Our old townsmen, Mr. C. J. Womersley, together with Mr. Yates, objected to the proposal as being unnecessary, and as calculated to evoke a strong-opposition. from the fly drivers and proprietors. Mr. Payne argued that the existing laws were obsolete and that the parties directly interested in the question were not opposed to the proposed alteration. Mr. Harvey supported the statement of the previous speaker, and added that he had himself met the flymen at the Marine Hotel and had ascertained that they were quite satisfied with the proposed new conditions. The discussion closed with the carrying of the motion. It would appear, however, that Commissioners Womersley and Yates had pretty fairly guaged(sic) the spirit in which the flymen would receive the contemplated changes; for, while some of them were sullen over the matter, others made known their objections with more freedom than politeness. Hence there was written in the autumn of that year the following observations:-

“FLIES and FLYs. Naturalists usually divide their insects into two species—the aerial and the earthly. The former are endowed with wings for the purpose of flight, and the latter (in the present case) are possessed of wheels wherewith to travel the highways and byeways of this terrestrial sphere. The one species found its way into Egypt about the year 436, and the other first appeared in England about 1823. The vexatious activity of the winged series can be attested in various ways, whilst the inconvenience caused by the other species sometimes arises from its non-activity. Humanity has but to arrange for a siesta, or afternoon nap, to provoke into hasty action the little winged-pest which chooses the nasal organ for its perch; and it will usually insist in occupying and re-occupying that elevated position to the owner's discomfort. This, of course, is one of the ills that flesh is heir to, whilst another ill that inflicts humanity is that which comes from the other species of fly. Singly or collectively these flys have ostensible owners who have been in the habit of giving to distances too full a measure, and claiming as compensation too full a fare. To remedy this evil the Hastings Commissioners have been lately much exercised in the measuring of ​road​s for the adjustment of charges, granting of licenses, taking cognizance of careless driving, and arranging the stands. The owners of the flys are a ‘peculiar people,’ who occasionally speak in an unknown tongue. In dealing with them, therefore, the difficulties of the Hastings Commissioners, as well as of these of the St. Leonards board, have not been few nor far between, but they have succeeded in separating the earthly species in such manner as that the drivers cannot now hold ‘converse sweet’ as was their wont aforetime. Yet this notwithstanding, we are still impressed with the idea that what one sort of fly is to mortals the other is to the Commissioners — a constant plague.”

From fly-drivers to coachmen is an appropriate transition, and I will therefore add to the accounts which I gave of the latter when writing of the years 1846 and ’7, in which was described the withdrawal from the ​road​ of the stage-coaches which were driven by the said coachmen, in consequence of the traffic having been diverted to the London, Brighton and South-coast Railway. But first let me say that at the beginning of the year, Mr. Sutton, the courteous and attentive station-master at St. Leonards, was transferred to the more important station at, Portsmouth, his vacated post being occupied by Mr. Cane, who had taken for his wife a daughter of Mr. Francis Emary, formerly a well-known lessee of the Swan Hotel.

Although it was no longer profitable to horse a daily coach to London, there were still some persons who had either a dread of the railway or a desire of seeing the country from the top of a coach and these, it was thought, would be sufficiently numerous to support one coach to and from the metropolis thrice a week. Acting on this supposition, Mr. Watson, the driver and past-proprietor of the Express, after “lying up in ordinary“ during the winter, re-commenced running his coach to London on Monday, the 10th of April, returning to Hastings journey on alternate days until the end of November, when the coach was again taken off for the winter. The coach started on its first journey in the midst of a snowstorm, there having been also a considerable fall of snow on the preceding Sunday. Such weather on the 10th of April was, of course, regarded as unseasonable, but not more so than the snow, sleet and cold rain, with an easterly gale, which are besetting the 6th of April, 1887, while I am writing — a condition in exact accordance with the forecast published in the Gazette several days in advance, and not in accordance with the forecast issued from the Meteorological Office only the evening before. But, to return to the coach, it also made its first journey of the season to London on that memorable day when the great Chartist demonstration was held, and when 170,000 special constables were sworn in to assist in preventing a riot. How many persons took seats on the coach that morning I cannot say, as I did not see them, but I know that Hastings and St. Leonards were fuller of visitors at that time than is usual in the month of April, many of them, following the example of the Queen, having got away from London under the fear of .a possible insurrection, The coach did the journey. in from 7 to 8 hours, which was about the same rate of speed as that of the four-horse mail for which it was said that the Postmaster-General had to pay a greater proportionate price than for any other mail out of London. What would people to who time is of importance think of such a rate of traveling in the present day? Railway traveling may be less interesting to such as like to see the country, and it may present but few features as materials for the novelist or the poet; but really we have much to be thankful for in the convenience brought about through the instrumentality of science [ 318 ]and inventive genius. It may be also added for the comparative safety of traveling by the more modern mode; for, notwithstanding that railway accidents are sometimes of an appalling character when they occur, it has been shown by competent statisticians that in proportion to the number of persons who have been conveyed by each System the loss of life and limb by coach-traveling has been on the whole very much the greatest.

At their meeting on the 9th of February, the Commissioners appointed Mr. Ginner as receiver of coal duty tickets at the Hastings-hill gate in the place of Mr. W. Henbrey, then deceased. At their next meeting the clerk explained at some length the several clauses of the Health-of-Towns Bill then before Parliament, after which Mr. Paine demurred to what he called the money not being satisfactory. They all knew, he said, that whilst St. Mary Magdalen had no debt whatever, St. Leonards had a heavy one; also that the liabilities of All Saints’ and St. Mary-in-the-Castle were greatly less than those of St. Clement’s. It could not, therefore, be just to spread the debts equally over the whole borough; yet such would be the effect of the 94th clause. Mr. Yates thought it would be useless to oppose the Bill, and that they would have to meet it in some way as best they could. No resolution was then moved, but at an adjourned meeting it was resolved that the Health-of-Towns Bill be approved of, with certain modifications. The remainder of this meeting was occupied in a desultory conversation concerning the Chartist riots at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester, as following so closely on the French Revolution. And here let me interpose an anecdote which I intended giving in the preceding instalment when referring to the Chartist demonstration in London. The late Alderman Ginner had in his employ two men who were brothers, the eldest of whom went to London with a few other Chartists to join in the demonstration. When taking his next week’s wages, Mr. Ginner — who was a Liberal but not a Chartist in politics — suggested as a practical application of his employé’s views of equality and fraternity that two shilling[1]s per week should be deducted from his wages and added to the smaller wages of his younger brother. The would-be Chartist — as the story goes — failed to see the fairness of such a proposal, and from that time seemed to lose heart in the Chartist movement.

At the next meeting of the Hastings Commissioners, Mr. C. J. Womersley (our old townsman who has served us in so many ways) (illegible text) made it known that, in the following week he would be selling some property which, if it could be purchased by the town at a reasonable price, would afford an opportunity of making a street directly connecting Courthouse street and Bourne street with All Saints’ street; an improvement which, both for convenience and sanitary purposes, he held to be very desirable. Hence, he thought he should not be doing his duty if he neglected to bring the matter before his brother Commissioners. This resulted in the appointment of a committee and the purchase at an auction sale of the property in question for £875; also a private arrangement with Mrs. Ann Stone and others for the transfer of their property for widening the intended thoroughfare, the amount of purchase money in the latter negociation(sic) to be £250. Donations to the extent of £36 were promised, and this sum, with the sale of old materials and a loan of £400, it was judged would meet the total cost of purchase. The thoroughfare thus made, and appropriately named Union street, was one of the most desirable. as well as one of the least costly improvements ever accomplished by our local public bodies; and the present writer, together with Mr. Alderman Winter, and perhaps one or two other townsmen who have since grown old, could afford to view with equanimity, if not with positive satisfaction, the demolition of the school-house in which they had received instruction under the direction of Mr. Henry Stone.

At the meeting of the Hastings Commissioners referred to it was resolved, on the motion of Mr. Anthony Harvey, that All Saints’ street and East bourne street be macadamised at an estimated cost of £216, but that the Surveyor be instructed to expend on the work only £100 during that year. Those of the present generation who never saw the streets of a town paved with mitchels and boulders, as were those of Hastings fifty years ago, can hardly imagine the constant noise caused by the numerous coaches, carriages, carts, waggons, brewers’ drays, timber tugs and other vehicles as they rattled over those jolting thoroughfares. If, however, they had their drawbacks, they also had their advantages, one of which was their cleanliness, and another the comparative ease with which they were repaired with materials collected from the foreshore. They were usually kept well swept, and after a smart shower of rain they were all that could be desired in the way of cleanliness. I have stated that East bourne street was one of the thoroughfares that was to be treated a la MacAdam, and I am reminded then a view of the said street — a short one which connects All Saints’ street with Bourne street — appears in the Sussex Archeological Collections as Court-house street — which led in a different direction and was in a different parish. Courthouse street, so named from the Court-house having until 1700 stood at the bottom of it, had no direct communication with All Saints’ street, which condition, to say the least, was an inconvenience. It was on May 3rd, 1848, that at the Commissioners’ meeting the committee reported the completion of the purchase of the old houses for £375, and an agreement with Mrs. Ann Stone and others for other property that was necessary at an additional cost of £259. This latter purchase, it was thought, would be met by the sale of old materials and the £36 which the neighbouring owners of property had subscribed. The report was adopted and Union street soon came into existence.

At the next meeting of the Hastings Commissioners the Clerk detailed at some length the clauses of the Health of Towns Bill, which was then before Parliament. To Mr, Paine it appeared that the money clauses were neither clear nor equitable. They all knew, he remarked, that the Magdalen parish had no debt, whilst St. Leonards, in case of its inclusion, had a heavy one. Also the debts of the Castle and All Saints’ parishes were much lighter than the debt of St. Clement’s parish. It would not be just, therefore, to spread the burden equally over the whole, yet such appeared to be the intention as indicated by the 94th clause. Mr. Yates was of opinion that to oppose the measure would be unavailing, and that the Commissioners would have to meet it as best they could. No decision, however, was arrived at, but at an adjourned meeting it was resolved to approve of the Bull with certain suggestions for alterations and additions. The St. Leonards Commissioners who, for cogent reasons, were opposed to the Health of Towns Act, in its united application to both towns, immediately petitioned for an alteration of certain clauses other than those with which the Hastings Commissioners were concerned. The result will be shown in due course.

At the May meeting of the Hastings Commissioners, permission was given to James Cox to make an opening in the Oak pavement for the purpose of obtaining light to the cellar of his house, but his application to construct an octagon window in the front of his house was rejected. Some of my readers will remember that the said James Cox was a cooper by trade, and that he was also the Parish clerk of St. Clements, the town, crier and the appointed bill-poster. He had a powerful voice which well fitted him for his public duties, although his too frequent pauses caused his sentences to be somewhat broken and less comprehensive than they otherwise would have been, When at church it was a real pleasure to hear his stentorian yet millifluous voice in the invocation “Let us sing to the praise and glory of God the hundred and third Psalm, new version.” Cox was not deficient of other peculiarities, one of which, as also coming within my own knowledge, was his disinclination to spend money in the purchase of even needfully new clothes. So practical indeed was he in this more than fairly economic notion, that, with a view to make him presentable, his wife had to get his garments made, unknown to him, and place them, one at a time, on the bed or in some other conspicious(sic) place. He might even then say he did not want it, but he would take to wearing it. To return, however, to the Commissioners’ meeting, there were present Will Ginner (chairman and afterwards four-times Mayor), Henry Beck, (a baker, and the “Father“ of Hastings Wesleyanism), William Standen, (lodging-house keeper and house-agent), Matthew Kelland, (a retired draper), Anthony Harvey (Town Councillor, solicitor’s agent, and registrar of births and deaths), Roger Bromley, (grocer, and afterwards an Alderman), William Edwards, (carpenter and builder), — Collins, (bookkeeper), — Paine, (reporter and newsagent), C, Duke, (tailor), B. Banks (coal-dealer,) T. Houghton (pawnbroker), S. Gutsell (grocer), H. Thwaites (butcher), W. Breach (fishmonger), J. Mackness (docter(sic) of medicine), John Pearson (tailor), and Edward Elford (organist and music seller).

At the June meeting of Commissioners, Inspector Campbell once more appeared as a complainant. He said the bye-laws continued to be infringed by the flymen and donkey-drivers. The complaint was supported by Mr. A. Vidler (familiarly known as “Sticky“), who remarked that he had that very morning seen the man Powell riding in a gig down Wellington square with five or six donkeys running before him quite unattended. They were going at a rapid pace and nearly ran over some ladies. Mr, Harvey facetiously remarked that perhaps the ladies were not donkeys enough to remain in their way. He suspected that the flymen were jealous of the donkeymen, because the latter had got vehicles that would take small parties at a much cheaper rate and travel nearly as fast. This remark was met by an ironical laugh, which did not in the least disconcert the speaker, who contended that donkeys would travel very fast down hill and nearly as fast up hill, The discussion suggested to Mr, Pittar, the reporter to the new paper (Hastings and St, Leonards News), the following lines on

Donkey Riding,
”Come John, I am weary of plodding along,
Make the donkey to trot, now I pray.”
“Oh dear, Marm! the donkey can’t trot up a hill,
And the sun shines so hot, too, today.”

”Well, now make him trot, it is easy enough,
For a donkey to run down a hill.”
“Oh dear, Marm ! the donkey might fall if he does,
And you'll get sigh a tumble, you will.”

“Come, gee up, my donkey ! its all level ground—
We shall just get a gallop at last!”
Oh dear, Marm ! the donkey can’t trot now I’m sure,
Just see what a hill we have passed.”

I am inclined to view the foregoing effusion as containing more fiction than fact, for I remember that the donkey-man Powell, referred to at the Commissioner’s meeting, with his snowy whiskers and his goat-looking beard, used to drive his donkeys with great speed, and surprise was frequently expressed at the activity of so old a man, and that so few mishaps occurred to the ladies and children who rode upon his donkeys. And here let me say for the information of my younger readers that although in the year under treatment donkey-riding and mule-chaise travelling in Hastings were being to a large extent superseded by more modern modes of transit, there were still a few of the latter to be seen applying for hire, whilst of the former there were still very considerable teams kept by Powell, Kirby, and others in Hastings, as well as by Blake, Gould, and Morris at St, Leonards. But even these were few in comparision(sic) with the large assenine studs — some with saddles and some with baskets, and all with clean white saddle-cloths — which were to be seen on the stands in earlier years, There were the teams owned by the Braziers and Goldings at the Priory Bridge (the present site of the Albert Memorial), and there was the large team owned by sawyer Foord and his wife — a very little man and a very big woman. These animals, from 20 to 30 in number, were driven down to Hastings every morning from Fairlight Down, a distance of nearly two miles, and back again at night. These well-trained beasts of burthen had therefore a very practical experience of uphill and downhill travelling, and had they known how lately they had been misrepresented in rhyme by one party and commended in speech by another, I imagine they would have brayed at the one and licked the hand of the other. They were most of them very docile and willing creatures, and to say of them that they were as “stubborn us an ass” was either a compliment or a libel. In those days, when there were more rustic and romantic walks and drives in and about Hastings than there are now, and when there were more rugged hills to be climbed and more narrow lanes to he traversed, the sure-footed donkeys were not only valuable but also an essential institution. I know of nothing more picturesque than the sketches by artists of the old White Rock,the Old Woman’s Tap, the approaches to the Castle, Cuckoo Hill, Ore Valley, the wind-mills, the Priory Farm the Blacklands Farm, the Mount Pleasant Farm, the Barracks, the Old Roar, Gingerbread Green, Hollington, Fairlight, Meadow ​road​, Torfield ​road​, and numerous other objects and approaches, with a bevy of ladies and children on donkey-back, and gentlemen or other attendants by their side. I have seen many of these sketches in my time, and in later years would have been proud to be their possessor. As a finish to the donkey topic it may be appropriately said that at the July meeting of the Hastings Commissioners the controversy respecting donkeys was again introduced. During that discussion Mr. Vidler expressed an opinion that if a certain stand, then in proximity to York Buildings, could be removed, an eligible spot might be found westward of the Excise Office (the site of which is now the commencement of Robertson street). He was reminded, however, by Mr. Ginner, the Chairman, that they had no power whatever to hire such land, it being entirely out of their jurisdiction.

Having before stated by what means the purchase of property was effected and cleared away for a new thoroughfare by the now defunct Board of Commissioners, it may be well to show a little of the friction which arose from two governing bodies, the definition of whose powers was unsatisfactory and whose actions were sometimes antagonistic. At the Commissioners’ meeting on August 7th, Mrs. Ann Scrivens applied for permission to remove the two steps at 90 High street, and to replace them with two others. Such permission was readily given, it being considered that to remove an obstruction from the foot-path was a public improvement; but some of the Town Councillors thought that the application should have been made to the board of which they were members. Another matter of contention was that of the watch-house and stocks which abutted on the gaol (where now is a police station), and which the Commissioners thought the removal of would be both a necessity and an improvement in its relation to the new street. They opined that as in 1836 the said watch-house was given by themselves to the Council, the latter, under the altered conditions, should give it back for the purpose of taking it down for replacement elsewhere. Mr. Ginner, however, contended that instead of the Commissioners giving the watch-house to the Council, the Municipal Act of 1836 made the transfer without the Commissioners being consulted. After this explanation, it was resolved to ask the Council to remove it. At the same meeting, it was decided, on the proposition of Mr. Harvey, to name the new thoroughfare Union Street. Whatsoever honour there might have been in being a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Improvement of the Town and Port of Hastings, it was evidently waning; for at the September meeting it was reported that 21 persons had become disqualified, either through non-attendance or other causes. Only three of that number are now alive, but the names in the following list will be familiar to some of their surviving townspeople. They were Wm. Burrell, Wm. Blackman Young, Hy. Barham, Philip Kent, Geo. Reeves, Geo. Stanford, W. D. Lucas Shadwell, John Whiting, Wm. Akekurst, T. Waghorne, Thos. Hicks, John Mannington, John Townsend, Geo. Carley, Samuel Espinett, Wm. Huggett, James Hallaway, C. J. Jeudwine, J. G. Langham, D, Murdoch, A. L. Taylor, Jno. Waite and Jas Wenham. On the 9th of October, to fill up the vacancies there were elected for the parish of St, Clement’s, Messrs. Geo. Bartram, J. Spencer, James Catt, John Pankhurst, Chas. Clift and Geo. Hinde. For the parish of St. Mary-in-the-Castle Geo. Bluton, Chas. Vickery, John Sharpe and Wm. Campbell. For the parish of All Saints’ fifteen new members were required, but not one candidate could be obtained, and it was then resolved to adjourn the meeting for three months.

There was sometimes a difficulty in filling up the vacancies on the board of the St. Leonards Improvement Commissioners, but that difficulty never assumed such proportions as are here shown. It was clearly apparent that the honour of being a Commissioner was fast ebbing from the flood-tide of popularity, and that the newer institution of the Town Council was sapping its foundations. Although the fifteen vacant seats for All Saints could not be filled up, there was still an ample — perhaps more than an ample—number of members on the Board of the Hastings Commissioners to transact the comparatively small amount of business that was then left for them to do, and they therefore applied to the Town Council in conformity with a resolution passed at their last meeting, to remove the watchouse(sic), which projected ten feet beyond the line of route to the new thoroughfare which they had named Union street. Councillor Ginner. — who was also a Commissioner — opposed the application and moved that a reply be given that the Council saw no necessity at present for the removal of the ​building​. The public mostly coincided with the views of the Commissioners and regarded the refusal of the Council as an exhibition of ill feeling. But there were other removals which the latter body had been memoralised to effect, namely the so-called Searcher’s office, and other small, unsightly structures opposite to the eastern portion of the houses at East parade. For the principal ​building​, shoemaker Cox had offered a rent of £10 per year, but in a discussion which the matter evoked Mr. Put[ 319 ]and expressed a hope that they would act like men and remove a set of mean erections which were mainly used for Sunday trading and other immoral purposes. Mr. Ross would also like to see them taken down at once. The same desire was expressed by Mr. Ginner, who,however, reminded his colleagues that there were two freeholds which would have to be purchased. The last-named member at the same time stated that a sum of £139 9s. belonging to the Corporation had been in Chancery since the year 1834.

Town Council Meetings - "Hastings News" Established

I will now return to the Commissioners for the remainder of their year’s performances, and then revert to the further transaction of their rivals in the Town Council, At an excited meeting of the Trustees of the Hastings and Flimwell Turnpike Road, which was held on the 1st of November, it was resolved to apply to Parliament to renew the Trust which would expire on the same day twelve months hence. This intention being known to the Commissioners, a notice was issued by them that they would oppose the granting a new Act unless the tolls were to be applied to the repair and proper maintenance of the ​road​s, At the October meeting of the same body, Mr. Ginner remarked that with a view of supporting the Hastings paper, he thought the notices of the Commissioners should be given publicity to through that medium instead of by printed bills, It had, he said, a circulation of 500 copies, and he thought advertising was preferable to the old system. He knew no town in which newspapers had so little support. On the motion of Mr. Pain, the chairman’s views were acceded to. It may be explained that the paper referred to was the Hastings and St. Leonards News which was born on the 5th of May, 1848, died on the 27th of October following, was resuscitated on the 5th of January, 1849,and is still living, in a form of greatly enlarged dimensions, and, apparrently(sic), in a condition of robust health. Of this, the third local paper in numerical order of production and the first to stand its ground; more will be said anon.

At the meeting of the Town Council on the 2nd of February the topic of a District Prison Bill was discussed with considerable warmth, Mr. Frewen having given notice in the public papers of his intention to apply to Parliament “for certain purposes,“ which was understood to mean the abolition of the Borough Magistrates, and an otherwise inteference with municipal management, the non-assenting parties not having been consulted Alderman Scrivens could not believe that Mr. Frewen’s intentions were averse to the Corporation, whilst the Mayor (Mr. Ticehurst) declared that whatsoever might be intended, it had been said by Sir P. Micklethwaite that a jail would be built at Battle, out of the jurisdiction of Hastings. Mr. Chamberlin viewed the proceeding as an intentional insult, whilst Mr, Clement opined that it would not have answered the purpose of the party to show more courtesy. Mr. Ginner declared it to be the most impudent transaction he had ever heard of, and one or two others expressed the same opinion. Alderman Maw, however, with more calmness, thought that they would do well not to take further notice of it, seeing that the danger of disturbing the magisterial and municipal arrangements had been already averted. At the same meeting a communication from the Lords of the Admiralty was read, asking for information on harbours, rivers and tidal waters connected with the town. Such information, my readers can imagine, would be of small amount; but such as it was would, perhaps, at the present time be of some use to Mr. Councillor Idenden and others who are agitating for a harbour which vessels of large tonnage could not and would not use, and for which the dues on small craft would be insufficient to cover interest on outlay. Also at the same meeting, on the motion of Mr. Ross, two lever-jacks were ordered to be purchased for use on the stade, which jacks, I believe, are still in existence, and were found to be of service not very long ago in launching a stranded vessel.

At a special meeting of the Town Council it was resolved to recommend to the Secretary of State as additional magistrates, Messrs. R. Hollond (M.P.), F. Ticehurst, G. Scrivens, W. Crake, A. Burton, W. D. Lucas-Shadwell, N. H. Hall, Edmund Pepys, and Thomas Morris. The last-named gentleman (whose friendship and hospitality the present writer had often enjoyed) was a retired Welsh banker, residing consecutively at 1 Beach Cottages, 10 Pelham crescent and 4 Seymour place (now Grand parade). The gentlemen here named have all passed to that greater world where magisterial distinctions are supposed to have no existence. So also have those members of the Town Council who met to transact business on the 5th of May, namely, Aldermen Farncombe and Scrivens, and Councillors Amoore, Clement, Penfold, Emary, Yates, Hutchings, Burfleld, Ginner, Harvey, Austin, Mann, Putland, Chamberlin, Deudney and Murton. But the matters discussed by the local rulers of 1848 may still have some interest for those survivors who knew both the men and the manners of the time. Permission having been given to Payne and Bumstead to put down a capstan for their new pleasure boat, the British Lion, and Cobby of the bathing machines having objected, the matter was broached by Alderman Scrivens, who reminded the Council that they had got before them two very important questions as connected with the welfare of the town, namely bathing and boating. The former for some years had been in the hands of one family, and their machines were entirely in front of the parade wall at Pelham place. He could remember when they were further to the westward, but the beach had shifted and had thus sent them to where they then were. He could testify favourably to the manner in which the Cobbys conducted the bathing, but they had acquired no right to their present privileges, It was proper they should know that, and he thought they were once aware of it, for when ordered to remove a wooden house they did so with very good grace. It was objectionable to have pleasure-boats among the machines; and while discussing the subject he was anxious that there should be accommodation for visitors to bathe on Sundays at proper hours - say up to 9 o’clock; for many persons, now that the railway was opened, came down on Saturday night and returned on Monday morning. He saw nothing in Scripture to condemn it; on the contrary, cleanliness was next to godliness. Regarding the boats, he thought they should be placed where the British Fair and Emerald were [ Breeds place ]. Mr. Scrivens concluded by moving that a committee be appointed to consider the subject. Mr. Putland strongly objected to Sunday bathing, and thought it unwise of the Council to sanction such a desecration of the Sabbath. It was Customary with some People to do on that day anything which could not conveniently be done on other days, He could not allow the occasion to pass without saying it would be wrong for them to encourage Sabbath breaking, Whether the last-named Speaker was quite consistent in his opposition to Alderman Scrivens’s logical and temperately worded remarks I will leave my readers to determine for themselves after they have become acquainted with the following annecdote(sic).—

The gentleman who objected to bathing on Sunday before church hours as a violation of the Fourth Commandment was a lay preacher, and frequently employed his horse and vehicle to take himself and some other persons for Sunday duty in rural districts. Being reminded that the Fourth Commandment forbade the employment of beasts of burthen on the Sabbath day, it is said that the gentleman in question justified the act by averment that it was better for a hundred horses to be worked than that one poor should perish. But to return to the Council, Alderman Scrivens's motion was carried, the result of which will be shown.

At the May meeting of the Town Council the recommendation of the committee appointed to report on the boats and bathing-machines was adopted, such recommendation being that the whole of the capstans belonging to private persons be purchased; that in case if refusal to sell, the owners have notice to remove them; that the bathing-machines for ladies be placed in front of Pelham parade; that all pleasure-boats using capstans be placed to the west of Beach Cottages; that a certain sum per annum be paid for the use of the stade; and that £130 be paid by the Council to Ransom and Ridley for the capstans hitherto belonging to them. At a subsequent meeting the committee reported the purchase of all the capstans for the sum of £17 8s 6d, except the one used by Mr. Brisco’s pleasure-yatch(sic) British Fair. They also reported the removal of all capstans between Mr. Norton’s stables (present Site of the glass seat near Beach terrace) and the Chalk ​road​ (now Wellington place).

At the same meeting the Council granted permission to J. H. Maw, Esq., to erect an ornamental reservoir, to contain 1500 gallons of excellent water on ground belonging to the corporation at the East Well. The cost of this was to be met by the surplus of a fund subscribed two years before to reimburse the fishermen their losses by the burning down of their rope-shops. The reservoir or tank was also to be for the use of the fishermen. Mr. Maw’s application to the Council was more particularly for the Corporation land, the object itself having been already suggested by Dr. Mac Cabe at a meeting of the subscribers and a committee appointed for the appropriation of the £105 in that way. The committee consisted of Dr Mac Cabe, and Messrs Maw, Phillips, Jolly, Williams, Breath, Richardson, and S. Thwaites. On learning the decision of the Town Council on this matter a person signing himself Aquarius, sent the following to the Hastings News :—

”My Muse did once a joke desire,
And this a docter(sic) taught her,
That money raised because of fire
Was well laid out in water.”

At the same Council meeting it was resolved to forego the £10 a year theretofore paid for the Searcher's Office at East parade, and to raze the ​building​ forthwith as a town’s improvement.

At the same meeting the Mayor reported that, in company of the Town Clerk and Barons of the | Borough he had attended he® Majesty’s levée, had kisséd the hand of her Majesty, and had presented the loyal address, since which the following reply had been received from Buckingham Palace :

“ Sir,—
I have received the commands of His Royal Highness, the Prince Albert to convey to the Mayor» Aldermen and Burgesses of Hastings the expression of His Royal Highness’s thanks for the address which you have delivered to me and which I had the honour to present to His Royal Highness. His Royal Highness receives with sincere gratification the congratulations of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses on Her Majesty’s safe recovery and on the birth of a Princess. The feelings of gratification are considerably enhanced by the expression of loyalty to Her Majesty and attachment to the principles of Constitutional Government which his Royal Highness finds expressed in the address. I have the honour to be your obedient, humble servant,

— C, B. Phipps,
To Robert Hollond, Esq., M.P.”

It seems like putting a train before the engine to quote the reply to an address before the address itself appears; yet even engines and their carriages are sometimes reversed, and so let it be for once with the present arrangement. The address, or rather the two addresses, were us follows.:—

”To the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.
The humble and dutiful address of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Hastings, in Common Council assembled. May it please your Majesty, we, your Majesty’s most loyal and dutiful subjects, beg leave to approach your Majesty with feelings of devoted loyalty and attachment; more especially called forth on the present occasion by the assurance we receive of your Majesty's safety. We beg to offer, your Majesty and your illustrious consort our cordial congratulations on the birth of a Princess, Whilst contemplating with deep emotion the already destructive results of recent civil convulsions in neighbouring countries, we are the more deeply sensible of-the great benefits we enjoy under your majesty’s beneficent sway; and we earnestly trust that your Majesty may long live to reign over us and the other subjects of your vast empire in peace and prosperity. Also that under your Majesty’s fostering care the ancient institutions of the land may flourish and endure; and that your Majesty’s throne may be firmly secured in the love and affection of your Majesty’s loyal subjects, We sincerely hope that your Majesty may continue to enjoy, through a long life, that domestic happiness with which Divine Providence has so eminently blessed you,”

”To His Royal Highness, Field-Marshal Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg and Gotha,
We, the Mayor, &c., beg leave most respectfully to present to your Royal Highness our most sincere congratulations on Her Majesty’s safe recovery and on the birth of a Princess, We beg to assure your Royal Highness of our faithful adherence to the principles of Constitutional Government which have made Her Majesty the endeared and beloved monarch of a free and loyal people. That your Royal Highness may long live in the enjoyment of every domestic happiness is our most sincere wish and prayer.”

If the address to her Majesty smacks a little of fulsome adulation it does so no mere than do most of the addresses to royalty; and when we consider what an eventful year was 1848, with France in the throes of a revolution, Spain and other countries in martial strife, Ireland in rebellion, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh in riot, and the Chartist demonstration in London of such a threatening character as to call forth all the energy of Government and the military resources of the country, it ought to be conceded that there was ample justification for the assurance of loyalty and attachment thus expressed. It should be remembered, too, that the tradesmen of Hastings and St. Leonards had derived commercial advantages, and the poor inhabitants pecuniary benefits in consequence of the several prolonged visits of the royal family to these towns. The Queen herself, before she ascended the throne, together with her mother was three months at St. Leonards; her aunt, the Princess Sophia of Gloucester, resided on one occasion at Hastings, and on another at St. Leonards; another aunt, the Dowager Queen Adelaide, also dwelt at St. Leonards for a considerable time; and an uncle and cousin, the Duke and Prince George of Cumberland, had resided several months at 5 nad 6 Breeds place. It is just possible, then, that the Hastings Corporation of 1848, while honestly expressing their loyalty, were at the same time hopeful of more royal visits in the future. If so they were not disappointed, for although her Majesty has not since been among us, her children and her grandchildren have, and more than once. But one of the best grounds for thankfulness is the realisation of the hope expressed in the address “ that your Majesty may long live to reign over us and the other subjects of your vast empire.”

On the 4th of January Mr. Durrant Cooper, of Lewes, lectured in the Hastings Mechanics’ Institution “ On the Antiquities of Britain previous to the Roman Invasion.”

At about the same time

On the 6th of January, Mr. Yates lessee of the Royal Oak Hotel displayed his usually good catering for his guests at his annual tradesmen's dinner, Mr. Burfield presiding.

On the 1st of May Messrs. Payne and Bumstead launched the new pleasure yacht, “ British Lion,” of ten tons, which had been built for them.

On the 2nd of May, Messrs. A. Amoore, J. Bannister, R, Dunk and J. Duke were re-elected directors, at the first annual meeting, of the Hastings Building Society.

On the 4th of May, Mr. John Banks was unanimously elected schoolmaster to Parker's Charity, at a salary of £156 per annum, in lieu of Mr. Rubie, deceased.

On the 5th of May Mr. William Ransom issued the first number of the Hastings and St. Leonards News, of which more particulars hereafter.

On May the 9th, the Rev, H. S. Foyster, brother of the Rev. J. G. Foyster, the esteemed Rector of Hastings, was married at the Episcopalian chapel of St. Mary-in-the-Castle, to Mary, the daughter of G. D. Harvey, Esq. of Stanmore, Middlesex. A long retinue in eight carriages proceeded from Wellington Square to the church, where the marriage rites were conducted by the bride’s brother, the Rev. W. W.Harvey, of Buckland Rectory, Hertfordshire,180 H[ 320 ] the bride being given away by another brother, H. M. Harvey, Esq., of Leytonstone, Essex. The bridesmaids, 7 in number, were the Misses Foyster, the Misses Grenside, Miss Cooper and Miss Anderson. A reserché breakfast was partaken of at the residence of the bride’s mother by about 30 guests, and as the bride had been a much beloved superintendent of the St. Mary’s Sunday School, the children of the same, together with those of St. Clement, were provided with a treat and a holiday. The bells of St. Clement’s and All Saints’ were also rung or the joyous occasion.

Maritime Casualties - Shipping Trade - The "Virginian Brothers"

On May 26th a Servant at Mr. Inskipp’s, in High street, having been scolded for misconduct, obtained from a chemist half an ounce of arsenic, swallowed the greater part of it, and being seized with violent vomiting and purging, the cause of which was unknown to her master, she was sent to her home in St. Leonards, where prompt remedies were applied by surgeon Fry, and death was averted. On the 29th of May, or the Royal Oak Day as the boys used to say in the years passed away, Mr. Hall, one of Mr. Neve’s workmen at St. Leonards, had the misfortune to fall a distance of 20 feet from a window at Mr. Lucas-Shadwell’s new mansion at Fairlight, and being seriously injured, was conveyed to the infirmary.

At about this time Mr. E. Bowmer, of 24½ George street, published four new views, namely, the interior of St. Mary’s and exteriors of St. Clement’s, All Saints’ and Halton churches.

On the 29th of May a young man named Steere while sailing with a pleasure party to Brighton in the new yacht British Lion, attempted to place his hat on the lute and fell overboard, Being unable to swim he struggled in the water for about three minutes until a boat could be lowered, when Bumstead, one of the owners of the yacht; jumped it and saved the young draper’s assistant from his perilous position.

In the month of May, Mr. Henry Winter (afterwards a Town Councillor, Mayor and Guardian) received his appointment as Sub-distributor of Stamps, in the room of Mr. W. Bailey, deceased.

On the 6th of July Mr. Frederick Foster was appointed master of Saunders’s Endowed School, as successor to Mr. W. Bevins, deceased. Thus in the same year and within two months of each other, the schools of both charities were compelled to have new masters in consequence of the death of the preceding ones.

Robert Hollond, the Liberal M.P. for Hastings, and Musgrave Brisco, the Conservative M.P. for ditto, both voted against Hume and Cobden’s Bill or Parliamentary Reform.

On the night of the 6th of July the Henry fishing lugger, known as Philip Kent's, was run down by what was supposed to be a large brig, such a vessel having been seen by other fishermen passing down Channel at about the time. The unfortunate men who were in the lugger were Mark White, aged 68, and J. Swain, aged 48 and others whose names were not known to me. White had a wife and 7 children, and Swain had 3 children.

On the following; day, at about three miles off Fairlight, the masts and some other tackle out of the ill-fated boat were picked up. The boat was found and raised a few days later, when it was discovered to be almost cut in two. The vessel which had caused the fatality and wreckage was believed to have sailed out of Rye harbour, with a bad look-out on board. Neither body was then found, but that of Mark White was washed ashore at Lydd a fortnight later, and was interred at All Saints on the 24th of July. The danger of collision to which our fishing-boats are exposed in the ”narrow sea” receives additional evidence in the fact that on the 17th of September, a boat called the Maria, and owned by fishmonger W. Breach, had to let go and lose her trawling net, worth £14, as the only means of escaping from being run down by a large ship. The “silver streak” is sometimes overcrowded with shipping, particularly after rough weather, and then it is also that our fishermen put to sea in full numbers with an endeavour to make up for compulsory idleness. On Sunday, Dec. 20th, it was computed that no fewer than a thousand sail passed Hastings after detention by gales in the Downs and eastern harbours. It may be imagined to what risks our fishermen are exposed at night in such a crowded sea-way.

The fact of there being only two men on board of the ill-fated Henry, proves that they were not engaged in mackerel-catching, a pursuit which in the season of 1848 was said to be the most unsuccessful of its kind for twenty years. But if the mackerel season was bad, the herring season which followed was undeniably good; and if Mr. Kent’s wrecked fishing-boat brought loss to its owner, another of his boats brought him gain. It landed on a Sunday morning in November no fewer than 7 lasts (70,000) herrings, which realised a good price. One of Breach’s boats had brought to land, a few days previously, 46,000 herrings, which realised £70, whilst several other boats, with lesser quantities obtained an average price of £11 per last. Another £70 was earned by one of Breach’s boats on the 17th of October, by a “sivver” of 5 lasts (50,000) herrings. And now that I am treating of fish it will be appropriate here to state that on the 1st of July, a sturgeon was caught off Hastings which measured 5ft. 10 in. in length, and turned the scale at 68lbs in weight. It was purchased by Mr. T. Price fishmonger of St. Leonards, and sent off to London. Whether, as a “royal fish” this particular specimen ever graced the royal table I cannot say.

Writing to the owners of the sloop Mary and Theodosia of Hastings, of which he was master, James Coppard said “On Thursday last [July 20th] in passing through Boston Deeps we saw a schooner capsize. We took four men from her side, one of whom had a broken leg, and landed them at Hull. The master and his wife were both drowned.” This simple and unadorned statement was the only intimation which for a considerable time our townspeople received of the performance of a brave and humane act. It came afterwards to be known that in rescuing the men from the wreck, Coppard proceeded from his own craft to the disabled schooner in a punt only 12 feet long, and accompanied by a boy, leaving his own vessel in the care of only one man. A heavy gale, by which the schooner was capsized, was in progress at the time and the sea was very rough. Coppard’s heroic conduct was crowned with success, even to the surprise of Coppard himself, as he afterwards viewed it and wondered how he did it. This brave act of Coppard and his boy is a fitting accompaniment to that of Grace Darling and her father.

Of the maritime casualties nearer home was that of the sloop Caroline, of Caen. She had come ashore at the slipway near the Saxon Hotel to deliver her cargo, and before she could again get away to sea, a fierce south-west gale came on, which caused the sloop’s hawser to break and the vessel; itself to be driven on to the groyne. Among other damages which ensued were a rent in the hull and the breaking away of the ”fore foot.” The crew being strangers to the place, rigged up a sort of tent under the parade wall with spars and sails, and there passed the night after the turn of the flood tide. The date, I believe, was the 12th of November.

Another of the freaks of Neptune’s element was on the 25th of October, to get into a rage, thereby compelling a small yacht to be run ashore, where she broke her outrigger, filled with water, and but for good help being at hand, would have gone entirely to pieces. The said yacht was called The Mullet, and was built for the Earl of Ashburnham. It was regarded as a handsome boat and was ' launched from Messrs. Thwaites and Hutchings yard only three weeks before. About the same time the Victoria, a large dismasted ship passed Hastings with passengers from New York to London. On the 28th of September a ship’s boat, apparently of foreign build, was picked up at sea by the Isabel fishing-boat, of Hastings, and delivered to the Officer of Customs.

On the 7th of August a son of the Rev. William Davis, minister of the Croft Chapel, got into deep water while bathing, and was rescued from drowning by the exertions of Thomas Elliott and Frederick Cooper, who got hold of him and brought him ashore insensible. his restoration was effected by suitable means, and his rescuers were afterwards presented with medals by the Royal Humane Society. Cooper had similarly saved a life before.

If before the present enormous traffic by means of steam on land and sea, the sailing vessels in the merchant service were more numerous in days gone by, so also were the hoys and colliers, and chalk-sloops and timber- barges which were ever and anon loading or unloading on the Hastings beach. Even in the year '48, now under notice, the number of vessels which sailed to and from Hastings was not inconsiderable. There were sometimes as many as six or seven craft lying on the beach at one time; and that my readers may have some evidence of this I will enumerate the shipping arrivals during the first twelve days of July as a fair average of what they were in the summer months. They were the Milward, Fisher, master; the Phœnix, Palmer; the Pelican, Phillips; the Hastings, Piper; the Burfield Brothers, another Piper; the Thwaites, Picknell; the Queen Victoria, Young; the Perseverance, Winter; the London, Hibbert; the Mary Theodosia, Coppard; the Fairy, Piper; the Lamburn, Woodgate; the Imperial, Brett; and the Rock Scorpion, Phillips.

The landing of passengers and mails from ab​road​ was also a practice not wholly extinct, although they were reduced to a condition more few and far between by the regular services to and from foreign countries and the large British ports, The arrival at Hastings of Mails by private ships in 1848, so far as I have an account of them were as follows :— On the 9th of May the Monarch, from Calcutta, landed bags of letters and upwards of 20 passengers from Calcutta. The Coromandel, from the Mauritius, also sent a passenger ashore. On the next day the Renown landed three passengers from Port Philip, and the Australasia four passengers from Van Dieman’s Land. On the 21st of June 6 large boxes of letters were landed by the Antilla, from Port Adelaide. To get these boxes unsealed, unpacked stamped and despatched to St. Martin’s-le-grand must have been to the officials a work of no small amount of labour and anxiety, the instructions from the head office being “On no account must the mail be delayed.” As post-clerk for several years in the Hastings office prior to the date here named, when the arrivals by private ships were even more numerous, I had stamped with the words “Ship-letter” or ”Indian letter,” and sometimes with blistered hands, thousands upon thousands of foreign missives thus imported.

Apropos of the Post-office, a memorial was sent to the Postmaster-General in the month of October for increased accommodation in the Priory district, which brought a prompt reply that two receiving houses would be opened as soon as arrangements could be made.

Ere I close my notices of the maritime occurrences of 1848, it will be a fitting association to review the acquatic(sic) sports of that year. On the 29th of Sept. the regatta was well carried out and the races admirably contested in the most charming weather and a favourable sea. The SAILING-BOATS arrived at the goal in the following order:— E. Cubby’s Rosaline, H. Cobby’s Planta, Page’s Helen, Curtis's Sea Flower, Oliver’s Lively, Waters’s Patriot, May’s Queen, Nash’s Admiral, and Golding’s Nancy. The final positions of the PAIR-OARS were Haddon and Kent in French’s Venus, Swain and Enefer in Amoore’s Snowdrop, Brazier and Fryman in Cobby’s Jerry, Page and Carpenter in Stroud’s Prairie-bird, R Brazier and Mann in Nash's Jenny Lind, and Burfield and Stevenson in Wingfield’s Vernon, The succession of AMATEUR PAIRS at the winning post was Delves and Farrol in the Snowdrop, Beck and Orton in the Swift, Hutchinson and Wingfield in the Jerry, Chandler and Thwaites in the Vernon, and Baldock and Tapsell in the Prairie-bird. In the race for SINGLE SCULLS Tom and Jerry were first and second, they being rowed respectively by Enefer and Carpenter. The others were the Snowdrop, by Swain; Venus, by Hadden; Fawn, by Buxted; Prairie-bird by Page; Twin by Mann; and Vernon, by Wingfield. In the TUB RACE, of ten competitors, the lads Hide and Stonham were first and second. In the DUCK HUNT, “Devil“ Taught caused immense amusement by the way in which he eluded his pursuers—Alfred Beck and William Orton (St. Leonards) and T. Vidler (Hastings). The umpires were Charles Amoore and ”Jemmy” Roper.

Excellent as was the above regatta, upon the lines of the old arrangement, it was far surpassed by one that took place on the 29th of October, mainly through the instrumentality of Mr. Charles Amoore. It was, in fact, the most interesting and enjoyable series of aquatic sports ever held in Hastings, the deviation from the old track being a course of about half the distance, with a greater number of turns. This arrangement brought the competitors within the unbroken view of the spectators, and kept up an undimished(sic) interest. The weather was magnificent and the parade was crowded.

The first among the other events of an amusing or festive character was the dinner, on the 19th of January, to about 400 persons, to signalize the rearing of the mansion at Fairlight, known as The Hall. On coming to the estate, end taking the name of his late uncle, Mr. W. D. Lucas-Shadwell determined to erect a stately mansion from the designs of Mr. J. Cooke, of Carlton Chambers. It was to be in the Tudor style of architecture and to be completed within and without in the true Elizabethan order. The guests at the rearing dinner included the whole of the contractors’ workmen and the tradesmen engaged in the erection. The Fairlight band played at intervals, and at the conclusion of the feast, many toasts were proposed and speeches made. The health of the contractors (Benjamin Tree and Charles Neve) was proposed by Mr. Lucas Shadwell, that of Mr. and Mrs. Stent by Mr. Batley, and that of Mr. Lucas-Shadwell by the Rev. W. Pearce.

Passing over some minor amusements, I come to a pic-nic, which took place in the second week in July, an allusion to which was thus described in a county newspaper;—

“Bright eyes, clear skies and shady groves, together with quadrille, polka and country dance, to the strains of Brett’s St, Leonards Band, kept the “gipsies” in a merry mood until ten o’clock, when instead of falling out, they fell in, for a march homewards; and, being led on by the spirit-moving quickstep of the band, they formed a chain of delightful association.”

Among the most popular entertainments of 1848 were those of the ” Virginian Brothers,” a small troupe of niggers and the first local company of the kind established in the borough. Their first performance Was at the Mayor’s dinner on the 9th of November, 1847, when Mr. Ticehurst was elected a second time to the civic chair, That gentleman, being aware of their existence, and gratified by their performance at a private rehearsal, had arranged for their sudden and unannounced introduction to the mayoral festivities as soon as the loyal toasts had been got over. So taken by surprise and so pleased with their performance were the company present as to make the darkie band from that time the lions of the evening. A considerable sum of money was voluntarily collected, and the vocalists, not unnaturally, conceived that they had plunged into popularity at a single bound, Thus encouraged, they doubled their efforts for increased efficiency, meeting alternately at Hastings and. St. Leonards,and getting up as good a repertory of songs, jokes and conundrums as might suffice for frequent entertainments and changes of programme, Then followed a succession of performances in the Swan Assembly Room - or, we might say, Rooms, for so overflowing was the large room on most occasions as to necessitate the placing of chairs and forms.-in the adjoining room, with the folding doors thrown open. On the 3rd of May the ”Brothers” performed at Rye, relating to which was the the following newspaper paragragh(sic):-

”The Virginian Brothers of Hastings and St, Leonards consisting of Messrs. T. B. , and H. Brett, W. and G. Winter, W. Edwards, T. Collins; — Chatfield and Master Lewns (the latter of Rye) gave a grand performance on Wednesday at the George Hotel to a numerous and gratified audience, Their vocal and instrumental pieces were executed in an admirable manner, which was proved by the rapturous plaudits of the company and the several demands for encores. The entertainment was divided into two parts, in the first of which the niggers appeared in black dresses, and the second part in the white and red costume of the natives of India. Between the parts Mr. T. B.,Brett. who had hitherto been ensconsed behind a Screen, executed a difficult but pleasing overture on the guitar, in which he exhibited some dextrous manipulation and produced a variety of good harmony. We wish the Virginian Brothers all the success that their excellent training entities them to expect,”

In another report, which appeared in the Hastings News, it was said :- ”Altogether, the Virginian Brothers may be considered to have fully established their claim as Nigger melodists.” The editor of the News also remarked in his notice to readers and correspondents that ”A letter from Rye, signed by an Inhabitant [probably Mr. R, E. Kidd] arrived when we were already full, or it would have appeared. The Virginian Brothers of Hastings and St. Leonards will be pleased to learn that the Inhabitant has written to testify to the general satisfaction given at Rye by their nigger performances.”

On the 28th of the same month of May a second grand concert of sacred music in aid of the St. Leonards parochial schools was given in the Assembly Rooms under the management of Mr. E. Elford, who was assisted in the instrumental department by Messrs B. Wood and W. Giles (violins), J. Wise (tenor), Fleming (violoncello), T. Elliott (double-bass), J. Elphick (clarionet), T. Elliott jun. (flute), J. Meadows (horn and cornopean), and F French. ophecleide), The vocalists were the Misses Whiting, Wood, Sinden White and Edwards; Masters Elford and Eaton; and Messrs. Beck, Goddard, Walker, Whiting, Winter, Giles, Parks, Hide, Tutt, Richardson, and Tindall. “ We are glad [said the Hastings News] that these towns possess so great an amount of musical talent as was displayed on this occasion.

For out-door amusements there were the Hastings Band, under the management of Messrs, Wood and Eliott, and the St. Leonards Band, under the management of T. B. Brett The latter commenced its summer season’s performances on the 13th of June, and the former on the 24th of July.

On the 8th of August. a vocal entertainment was given in the Swan Assembly Rooms by Henry Russell the celebrated composer; and on the 22nd of September, equestrian performances by Cooke's Circus troope were commenced on the Priory Brooks.

Archaeological Meeting - Meeting against the Income Tax

Harmonic Societies and Free-and-Easies were much in vogue at the several inns, and in the month of Oct. most of them had commenced their winter sessions, The one at the Royal Oak Hotel began on the 10th. The Virginian Brothers also commenced their second 181H [ 321 ]campaign, to which the Hastings News referred in the following paragraph :—

“This band of eccentrics performed on Monday evening, Oct, 2nd, to 8 large assembly in the Swam room, — We are told that our Hastings darkies are au fait in their business, and sing their songs in good style.”

Of the fashionable assembles the two most prominent were a grand ball given at Coghurst on Tuesday, Nov. 7th, by Musgrave Brisco, Esq., M. P. and an equally brilliant ball given on Friday, Nov. 17th, at the Allegria, by Robert Hollond, Esq., M.P.

Having already treated of the ”Virginian Brothers” and of the Hastings and St. Leonards Bands, it may not be out of Place to quote a letter concerning the latter which appeared in the Hastings News of May 26th, 1848.

—As the managing member of the St. Leonards Band, I think it right to intimate that the ‘ Occasional Visitor ’ noticed in your last week's paper, must have been wrongly informed respecting what he calls the illiberality of the St. Leonards tradesmen towards the support of their band. Permit me to say that, to the best of my belief, the St, Leonards tradesmen, as a body, have ever shown a desire to establish and uphold whatsoever may have been deemed conducive to the welfare of the town; and, in all probability there will be no lack of the proper spirit when the time shall arrive for the re~appearance of the band on the parade. Not the illiberality of the tradesmen, but the rivalry between two or more bands, through an unfortunate misunderstanding has been the greatest evil. But even that, I trust, is now at an end. It might not be altogether inappropriate to suggest the idea of convening a meeting for the purpose of adopting some better method of collecting subscriptions and of appointing the hours and places of performance. Such, if adopted would, I think, secure the regular attendance of the band and afford a better Opportunity to its supporters of knowing when and where to find it.
—I am, sir, yours respectfully,
T. B. Brett ”

The rivalry here alluded to was that of a German Band, with which a few energetic persons sought to supplant both the old Hastings Band and the newer St. Leonards Band, the said latter bands, however, being ready and willing to meet the Germans before competent and unbiased judges for a test of ability. As regards the St. Leonards Band an accidental trial was afforded, when the palm was given to the local musicians by their being retained to play to nobles and gentles, whilst the foreigners were sent to play to the labourers.

Among the public meetings of the year other than those for mere amusement was one at the Town Hall presided over by Mr. Ticehurst, as Mayor, who, in opening the proceedings, said it was time the people of Hastings raised their voice against the Income Tax as an unjust imposition. It might be, he continued, a Radical doctrine, but for all that he would say to the Government, Reduce your expenses and the general expenses of the country. There was, he contended, no good reason to be frightened by the bugbear of a French invasion — Messrs. James Emary and Stephen Thwaites quite agreed with the Mayor in his views of the Income tax, which, being first proposed tor three years, and collected without difficulty, was now found to work unjustly. — Mr. Stephen Putland was not unfavourable to a system of direct taxation, and would willingly pay the tax in question, but only in a just proportion. The year was one of great misfortune and the tax was a disgrace to any Minister.—Mr. Cooper thought that in such a movement to oppose the tax it should not be permitted to go forth to the public that the middle class had no care or consideration for the lower.— Mr, Savery suggested the adoption of a sliding-scale a system of which as applied to other duties, Sir Robert Peel was so fond. - Mr. Rock would heartily support such a suggestion, He felt the oppressiveness of such a measure greatly, there having been no fewer than 1,600 carriages put down when the tax was first imposed; and by the proposed increase of the tax, the coach-builders, gentlemen’s coachmen and other persons would be punished still further. — Mr. H. N. Williams had always been of opinion that direct taxation was inimical to the country at large. — Mr. Kelland [who, as a draper, never bought but one ball of string, and kept a remaining portion of it under a glass shade] was in favour of direct taxation, — Mr. Lucas-Shadwell was sorry he could not help them with his signature, although agreeing with a portion of the petition, that the principle of direct taxation was injurious to industry and the national strength. — Notwithstanding the expression of these somewhat divergent views, the meting, on the motion of Mr. George Scrivens, adopted the petition to Parliament, ”That this meeting views with great apprehension, alarm and mistrust, the proposition to increase the Income-tax from threepence to fivepence per cent. a tax at all times odious and unjust in principle, being a direct tax on industry, and pressing with peculiar severity on the middle classes.”

The above meeting was held on the 24th of February, and it may be remembered by some who read this account that the parliamentary session which opened three weeks previously under the premiership of Lord John Russel, did not find in the budget proposal that evidence of financial skill which in the preceding session was exhibited by Sir Robert Peel. The proposed increase of the Income tax was really from 7d. to 1s. in the pound, but in consequence of the strongly worded petitions against it which went up from Hastings and other towns, the proposition was withdrawn and the Exchequer deficiency was met by two million pounds of borrowed money.

Within a week of the Hastings meeting, the Premier, with Lady Russell and two children, were staying at the Victoria Hotel, St. Leonards.

The next meeting of importance was that of the Sussex Archaeaogical Society on Saturday the 3rd of June, under the presidency ot Sir S, B. Peckham-Michaelthwaite, a gentleman who had been knighted for stopping the runaway horses of royalty at St, Leonards. The meeting was held in the Swan Assembly Room, on which occasion Alderman T. H. Maw, an ex-mayor, was present with his family. Of Mr. Maw and his family a somewhat exhaustive account was given in the 26th Interpolatory section of the 38th chapter of this History at the time of his death, in Shropshire, at the age of 86 years, and it needs to be to be only said here that at the meeting under notice Mr. Maw exhibited some etruscan vases, and peteræ, three antique gems from the Poaiatowski collection, three ancient engraved drinking-glasses, a Raffaelle-ware dish, a dish of early majollica (Italian) ware; an oak miseré carved with the ”Veronica,” a carved oak frame similarly embellished, some vine jugs in old Flemish pottery, two drawings of Michelham Priory, and one of old houses in Sinnock’s Square, Hastings. Mr. J. G. Shorter also exhibited three drawings of old Hastings houses. Mr. T. Ross contributed eight rubbings from monumental, brasses, whose lengths were from 7 to 9 feet, together with some recently discovered mediaeval pottery of the locality. Mr. Brooke showed a number of sketches by his own pencil, including twelve different views of the Hastings old churches. Mr. J. S. Cooper exhibited a curious collection of ancient coins, some of them found in this neighbourhood. Papers were read by Sir H. Ellis, W.D. Cooper, Esq., and W.H. Blaaw, Esq., a resume of which will be given in my next instalment. After the meeting, the members of the Society visited the churches, the Castle, the museum of the Literary Institution and a few other places, and then proceeded, by invitation of Mr. Maw, to West-hill House, where they were generously entertained by that gentleman.

The paper read by Sir H Ellis at the Archaeological meeting was “Concerning the Religions and Political Sentiments of the Sussex Justices of the Peace in 1587.“ — the year, it will be remembered, immediately preceding the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the paper read by W. H. Blaaw, Esq., was “On the Wages paid to the Crews of the Cinque Ports Vessels at Dublin by Edward I, Mr. Blaaw was of opinion that although the Cinque Ports vessels assisted the Crown in all cases of direct need, there were some among the crews who were little better than pirates, for they appropriated to their own use all that came within their reach. Unfortunately for their credit there are not wanting proofs of the rapacity of some of the Cinque Ports crews, although we fain hope they formed an exception to the rule. The paper read by Mr. Durrant Cooper at the same meeting “ On the Descent of the Castle, Rape and Honour of Hastings” went to show that the Pelhams were possessed of the Rape and of the three manors of Crowhurst, Burwash and Benilham by grant from Henry IV., after the death of Ralph, Earl of Westmorland, who held the Honour of Richmond for life. Also that in 1427 Sir John Pelham, who was then in possession of the Rape, re-leased the rents and services of its lands to the Abbey of Battle; but that in the 23rd of Henry VI. the Castle and Honour were granted to Thomas Hoo (Lord Hastings) to whose feoffees Sir John Pelham, in the 24th of Henry VI., conveyed the Rape, while reserving the manors Sir Thomas Pelham, by his will, directed his feoffees to sell the Castle, Honour and Rape to raise the marriage portions for his daughters, and in the 1st of Edward IV., the feoffees accordingly granted the Castle, &c., to William Lord Hastings, which grant was confirmed by the King. Mr. Cooper further showed that as disputes still subsisted as to whether the three manors did or did not form part of the Rape, William, Lord Hastings, on the 28th of January, in the 6th of Ed. IV., confirmed the three manors to the Pelhams; and that it was an error of Dugdale to state that in the 9th of Henry IV. Humphrey, Lord Stafford, who was attainted and executed for not assisting the Earl of Pembroke, died seized; for on examining the escheat toll it turned out that he had no estates in Sussex. Consequently, from the 1st of Edward LV. to the 33rd of Elizabeth (1691), the Castle, Honour and Rape remained in the Hastings family, and then Henry, Earl of Huntingdon alienated them to Sir John Pelham. The lords of the Honour had but little property in Hastings besides the Castle, the manor of Brede being retained by the Abbot of Fecamp. This manor extended over a large portion of All Saints and St. Clement’s parishes, from Mr. Amoore’s house in High street to the reservoir of the waterworks and the Minnis Rock. The Abbot also retained the patronage of the churches, although the Crown had taken Rye and Winchelsea into its own hands. After the dissolution of alien priories, in the 22nd of Henry VI., the manor of Brede was granted to the newly founded monastry of Sion, and on the dissolution of that religious house, Henry VIII. granted the honour of Gostion and Brede to Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague, who had before received a grant of Battle. This was the first time that Brede and Battle were in the same hands, and that the privileges of Gostion and Battle were the same. Gostion was not, as stated by Camden, a branch of Battle. Mr. Cooper remarked that one point in the early history of Queen Mary’s reign had not been mentioned so favourably by any historian as the facts warranted. Francis, Earl of Huntingdon, whose son had married the Lady Catherine Dudley, joined the Duke of Northumberland in proclaiming, and afterwards in entering the field to support Lady Jane Grey. The Earl had an indictment found against him for high treason, and on that occasion not only did Mary, on the 9th of November in the first year of her reign, grant him a free pardon, but also, on the 28th of the same month, directed a writ to Sir Thomas Bromley, Chief Justice of the Queen’s Bench, not to award any process on the indictment; and in the following month of January she made the Earl a lieutenant of the counties of Leicester, Warwick and Rutland.

At the 18th anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society, held at the Swan Hotel on the 5th of September, the Rev, Mark Cooper (deputation) moved, and Mr. George Scrivens seconded, “ That this meeting expresses its thankfulness to Almighty God for the success which has attended the efforts of the Society throughout the world, and especially in this locality.” The other speakers at that meeting were the Revs. T, Vores (Episcopahan), W. Davis (Independent), and J. Bromwell and S. Coley (Wesleyans). Although, except the last-named, these gentlemen have passed away, their names and their virtues are remembered by many townspeople with pleasurable feelings.

The next noteworthy meeting of the year was that of the Society of Friends, who held a public service amidst a crowded congregation in the Swan Assembly Room on Sunday evening, Sept. 24th. The congregation was addressed by two Friends with all the simplicity and gravity of Quakerism. On the following evening the same room was occupied to a similar extent by an audience wishful to hear Mr. J. Glyde’s lecture on Temperance, the lecture being interspersed with temperance melodies.

On the 3rd of October, whilst the meeting in St. Leonards was being held to discuss the proposal to form a Mechanics' Institution, a meeting was held in Hastings in aid of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, with Earl Waldegrave in the chair, and the Rev. J. G. Foyster as one of the speakers Mr. Lucas-Shadwell, in pleading for the Society, remarked that as the Society was supporting 300 missionaries, and as the tide of emigration was setting in, soon to increase, Christian men and women should not allow their fellow-beings to leave the country without the means of salvation. Peculiar blessings were just then the happiness of England, seeing that she was then in the enjoyment of peace, while continental nations were being racked with revolutions.

The next meeting of any importance was that of the members of the Hastings Mechanics Institution, who, with their friends, on the 6th of October, held a soiree at the Swan Hotel, the presiding member being Mr. George Scrivens, who expressed the belief that the good order which just then prevailed between the employer and the employed was in a great measure due to Mechanics’ Institutions It was with pleasure that he had seen, a week ago, an announcement that the West Ward was about to establish a similar Institution. He was sure that the movement would meet with the good wishes of all present. The other speakers were Messrs. Jas. Rock, J. Banks, V. Crake, W. Chamberlin, T. Edwards, H. Dunk and F. Webster, the last-named of Battle Abbey. The other items in the evening's entertainment consisted of tea, music, singing and dissolving views.

Spurred on, as it were, by the promised success of the new Institution at St. Leonard, there appeared an excellent article in the Hastings News from which the following is extracted:-

“The use of education is the rule, the abuse is the exception, Here, then, we see the value of Mechanics’ Institutions, where a wise fraternization accomplishes what the unit alone could not do, and the works of the greatest minds are placed in the hands of the humblest labourer. . . Perhaps there are not many of these societies better managed than the one at Hastings. It has now, we believe, two hundred members; can boast of a good library; and is possessed of a respectable quantity of apparatus. This institution has already been of incalculable benefit to many a young man, — moulding the character in early life into the consistency of enduring integrity and active benevolenee. The erudition of a GODLER, the patient industry of a BANK, and the steady purpose of many a local savan besides, will long be held in grateful remembrance by numbers who have entered as gatherers of the fruit into the chosen field of labour of those worthy men.”

Having referred to the soiree of the Hastings Mechanics’ Institution and the founding of the like association at St. Leonards, two conspicuous events of 1848, I may here say that at a qaurterly meeting of the former the number of members was reported to be 214, and the financial condition £20 to the good. At the same meeting, on the motion of Mr. W. Ransom, it was resolved to revise the bye-laws, notwithstanding the objection that as the institution had flourished many years under the original laws, there was no need for change. Mr. Ransom’s contention was that many of the laws were obsolete and some others were ungrammatical. Apropos of bye-laws, I have a notion that at the time of writing the committee of the St. Leonards Mechanics’ Institution are contemplating the adaptation of their bye-laws to also a standard more in keeping with modern requirements.

The Hastings Institution (now defunct) had in its palmy days as one of its early members, young Isaac Todhunter, who, in 1838, resided with his mother at 3 Waterloo Passage, where on more than one occasion I visited him and spent an evening with him in companionship. Before their removal to Waterloo place (then better known as “the Upper Lane“) Mrs. Todhunter and her family resided at 2 Burdett place, [[George Street|George street], where I first became acquainted with them. Although Isaac Todhunter owed much to the moral suasion, the pious intelligence, and the general amiability of his mother, he was naturally studious as a boy, and 1 was not greatly surprised when I afterwards heard he had become Senior Wrangler of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Ten years after our companionship, Mr. Todhunter revisited Hastings, and stayed with the Rev. William Davis, at 1 Gloucester place. Since that time all the civilised world has read or heard of the learned Isaac Todhunter, whose unassuming merit raised him from humble life and comparative obscurity to an elevated position of honour. The having had fellowship with such a student is to me a pleasing reminiscence.

Coincidently with Mr. Todhunter’s visit to Mr. Davis, in 1848, was the rescue of the latter’s son from drowning, he having got out of his depth while bathing. Seeing his peril, Frederick Cooper swam out to him and, with Thomas Elliott's assistance, landed the insensible youth, who afterwards recovered. [ 322 ]

Coroner's Inquests - The Shipping Trade

182 HOn Sunday, July 30th, the Rev. C. D. (now Canon) Bell preached an eloquent sermon at St. Mary in-the-Castle, where he was curate, on the advantages of religious knowledge. He condemned all secular education and acquirements, whether of art, science, profession or trade, unless associated with religious inspection. Much as unrestricted secular education may have been advocated even by myself, there seems to be too much reason to tear that the present increase of juvenile delinquency is due in some measure to a laxity of moral and religious training. I was not unfamiliar with the earnest preaching of the St. Mary's curate of that day, nor of the profound sympathy that was felt and expressed with that gentleman’s bereavement occasioned by the death of his wife in 1861, at the comparatively early age of 32 years. She was a daughter of the Rev. Richard Tillard, who died at, his residence in Wellington Square at the advanced age of 84, and was interred in the St. Mary’s cemetery, where, only fourteen months later, the remains of Mrs, Tillard were placed. Apropos of this event, the Holiday Number of The News, issued in 1890 is before me, with views and sketches of Hastings, to which is appropriately added one of the Rey, Canon Bell's poems. From the foregoing remarks, my readers will, perhaps, better understand the allusions in Canon Bell’s lines, which are here transferred to our columns.

“Hastings ! fair Hastings! I do love thee well,
Shame on this thankless heart, were there not still
Within thy name a power to move and thrill.
It comes upon me like a happy spell,
To summon up from Time’s dark, silent cell,
Thoughts that with brimming tears the eye can fill,
God knows how dear to me each street, each hill,
More dear than I in any words can tell.

“I love the beach, washed by the emerald wave;
Green fields and shady dells, and glades that lie
Under a bright, almost Italian sky.
Nor is there spot that doth not gently blend
With memories of dead or living friend :
But most of all I love one little grave.”

It has been stated that the Rev. C.D. Bell's preaching in St. Leonards Church realised an offertory of £40 4s. for the Church Missionary Society, to which I might have added that on the 15th of October in the same year, a sum of over £54 in aid of the St. Mary’s Schools was the outcome of the pulpit efforts of himself and the Rev. Thomas Vores.

Another of the personal reminiscences of 1848 is that of Mr. Andrew Crawford, who came from Appleby Grammar School to Hastings as Second Master of the Proprietary School, in place of Mr. John Banks, who had been elected Master of Parker’s Endowed School. At the same time Mr. Frederick Foster was chosen Master of Saunders’s Endowed School in the place of young Mr. Bevins, who had recently died. The Proprietary School was at Hill House, Hill street, where Mr Foster (just mentioned) now resides and behind which, on the cliff, Mr, Banks (also just mentioned) built a house for his private residence. The said Proprietary School was once & principal lodging-house, wherein resided the father and family of another gentleman here mentioned (the Rev. G. D. St. Quintin), who married a Miss Wellesley, a niece of the Duke of Wellington, that lady’s father and family having also at one time taken the same house for their place of abode. While the said house was employed as a school, it served for the early training of George and Arthur Maw, whose father, in 1844-5, was an efficient and esteemed Mayor of Hastings, and whose two sons here mentioned completed their education elsewhere, and afterwards made for themselves an imperishable name as the inventors of that species of ornamental tile which now adorns so many public and private ​building​s. A biographic sketch of this family — particularly of Mr. George Maw, the eminent geologist, archeologist and botanist, appeared in the "Historico-Biographies." Some antediluvian remains of the iguanadon species were discovered whilst excavations were being made for a new gasholder. This new erection of the Gas Company - a third one - was of 19 tons weight, 18 feet deep, and 52,000ft. in capacity.

Among the many noteworthy events of 1848 was the more than average number of sudden deaths, either by suicide or by other means.

On the 26th of January, Mr. John Phillips, as Deputy-Coronor, held an inquest on the deceased Rev. James Peters, of the All Souls Convent. He was a priest, but being of weak mind, had not done duty for several years. On the preceding day, while dining from boiled pork, his attendant (Elizabeth Wells) noticed that he ate ravenously, and as she was getting something from the cupboard, with her back towards Mr, Peters, she heard him choking. Surgeon Gilbert was sent for, but life was extinct. Several pieces of meat were taken from the mouth and throat.

Two days later, Mr. Shorter held an inquest on Sophia Monk, who at 64 years of age, was found lifeless in bed. Death in this instance was caused by heart-disease.

On the 27th of March, an inquest was held by Mr. J. G. Shorter on Thomas Fautley Bossora, a carpenter by trade and a drunkard by habit. His age was 56 years, he having been born in the year 1792, and baptized at St. Clement’s Church as a son of Benjamin and Margaret. His body was found in French's pond at the Croft ​road​, and although the jury had no doubt of the man having committed suicide, they recorded an open verdict of “Found drowned“ Our POSTMAN referred to the man and his unfortunate career in the following somewhat jaunty strain:—

“If my footsteps you'll be dogging,
1 to sev’nteen will be jogging.
Where Tom Bossom, as a carpenter,
Appears in "Thirty nine;
And ’tis hither, as reported,
He would sometimes be escorted,
If by accident he rambled
In a pool of beer or wine.

“He’ll remove to Pittman’s passage,
And will sometimes show his crassage
If at any time by strong desire
He seeks to raise the wind;
And some circumstance discloses
That some force his will opposes,
To compel all resolutions
For reforming to rescind.

“He will stray on Sunday morning,
And without the slightest warning,
In a pond well known as French’s,
Inadvertently to slip;
And, as being no opossum,
Thirsty Thomas Fautley Bossom
Cannot swing upon tree branches
While he takes a water-sip,

“If or not the act’s a sin-quest,
There is sure to be an inquest,
And Found drowned is the verdict
That on record will appear;
And if things like port and sherry
Will not come to wake him merry
There is doubtless some sup porter
That will bring him to his bier,

“But I ought to tell you, rather,
That Tom Bossom had a father,
Though you utter exclamation
“Can the parentage be true?”
And to which i’d be replying,
Tis a fact, there's no denying,
And I'd even make a wager
That it’s really nothing new.”

Only three days later, another inquest was held on another carpenter, whose name was Thomas Williams, and whose death was caused by his taking arsenic, and afterwards cutting his throat. He had lodged at the Hare-and- hounds Inn, and had made overtures to the landlady, which were received with disfavour.

On the 22nd of June, an inquest was held at the Angel Inn on a ten years old boy named Henry Davis, who had died from the effects of a wound on the head caused by a stone thrown at him.

Two days after that enquiry, another was held by the Coroner at the Hope Inn on a child, 2½ years of age, who had been drowned in a pond while sailing a toy-boat.

On Saturday, the 2nd of September, an inquest was held on an elderly man named John Noakes, of Ivy house Lane, who died in a quarter of an hour after falling from a waggon-load of wheat sheaves.

Another inquest was held on Monday, Nov. 27th, the subject in this instance being Arthur Barnes, alias Fuller, who died suddenly on the preceding day. On going home at breakfast time, he fell at the door-step, breathed heavily twice and expired, as was afterwards shown from heart disease. He had worked many years for Mr. Deudney, who, being foreman of the jury, said he knew of no man who in so humble a sphere had brought up a large family so respectably as the deceased had done.

On the 8th of December, it became the duty of Mr. J. G. Shorter to hold another inquest, a fatal burning having occurred the day before to Ann Vine, who fell on the fire while in a fit. The poor woman was 74 years old.

Another sudden death occurred on the same day as that of the last-named person, but that was at Hailsham, and is only here recorded in consequence of the person being well known at Hastings as a brother of a Hastings banker. The deceased, Mr. Richard Smith, of Vinehall, had been to the Cattle Show, and being afterwards found lifeless in one of the Marsh ditches it was conjectured that his horse had stumbled and thrown its rider.

But, even excluding this last unfortunate event, it has been shown that the number of sudden deaths in 1848 calling for judicial enquiry was phenomenally large.

To show that in 1848, even when vessels had to compete in the carrying of merchandize(sic) with the South Coast railway they were not yet extinct, it is only necessary to note their arrival and departure at and from the port of Hastings during the year under notice. From the 13th to 17th of May there might have been seen on the Hastings beach delivering their cargoes, and thus giving rise to busy scenes with which both residents and visitors appeared to take a deep interest, the Phoenix (Capt. Palmer) and the Milward (Capt. Fisher), arrived from London, each with a general cargo; the Victoria (Capt. Young) with coals from Seaham; the Lamburn (Capt. Woodgate), and the Perseverance (Capt. Winter), with coals from Hartlepool; the Hope (Capt Rayling) with ​building​ materials from Maldon; and the Thwaites (Capt Picknell), with coals from Llanelly.

During the third week of June the vessels that were beached for landing their cargoes were the Lamburn ( Woodgate), the Burfield Brothers (Piper), the Phoenix (Palmer), the Pelican (Phillips), the Perseverance (Winter), the Thwaites (Picknell), the Queen Victoria (Young), the Mary and Theodosia (Coppard), the Rock Scorpion (Phillips), and the Milward (Fisher). The freights of these vessels were mainly tradesmen’s goods from London and coals from the north of England. [ 323 ]

Tenements and Tenants in the Manor of Brede

183 HIn the following week six large boxes of letters were landed at Hastings, which had been brought by the ship Antilla from Port Adelaide, thus showing also that the conveyance of letters and newspapers by private ship between England and foreign countries had not ceased. The frequent arrival at Hastings of mails from ab​road​ was described by the present writer when detailing his experience of post-office work in 1839. This one fact will call to the minds of my fellow-townsmen who are surviving the period referred to how changed, among other mutable things, is the present aspect of the borough, with its four primary and several subsiduary(sic) post-offices, its sorting-houses, its receiving offices, its numerous pillar-boxes, its penny post, its book-post, its parcel post, its savings bank, its life-insurance and.its telegraphic work — how different, I say — to the solitary post-office, in 1889, with its one postmaster, its one post-clerk, and its three letter-carriers, At that time the Sunday work was the heaviest of any other day in the week, and large freights of ship-letters might be landed at any inconvenient part of the week or the day, and the same have to be counted, paid for, stamped and despatched to the head office in London.

Another week’s arrival of shipping was that of the second in August, which consisted of the following familiar names: the Phoenix, Palmer; the Milward, Fisher; the Hastings, Piper; the Lamburn, Woodgate; the Pelican, Phillips; the London, Deeprose; the Perseverance, Winter; the Thwaites, Picknell; the Queen Victoria, Young; the Rock Scorpion, Phillips; and the Mary and Theodosia, Coppard. The heroic conduct of the last named master, skipper or captain, as he was variously called, in rescuing or captain, as he was variously called, in rescuing the crew of a wrecked schooner in a violent gale, has has been before described, and is here passingly noticed in connection with his name merely as a reminder of an act of bravery performed by himself and a boy in a beat twelve feet in length only. This successful feat was a parallel case with that of Grace Darling and her father.

The shipping arrivals above enumerated, selected almost at random, and a few dates only given, are nevertheless sufficient to show in contrast with present conditions how entirely the system has changed, and how the mercantile marine of Hastings has departed.

I have seen as many as eleven vessels unloading on the beach at one time — seven at the Fishmarket, one at the Priory, two at the Saxon slipway, and one at the West Maria. My readers may picture to themselves the lively scene thus formed, with bogey-fires at yard arms, blazing fires on the beach, and horses and carts moving in all directions.

I have already referred to the interesting paper read by Mr. W. Durrant Cooper at the meeting of the Archeological Society on the 3rd of June, and have reproduced the principal features of that excellent paper. I will now add some additional particulars some of which were touched upon by Mr. Cooper, and some of which have been derived from other sources The title of Mr. Cooper's paper, as before explained, was ”On the Descent of the Castle, Rape and Honour of Hastings,” in which the essayest(sic) stated that the patronage of the church of All Saints and St. Clement's belonged to the Abbey of Fiscamp, and that a large portion of the land in those parishes, both in and near the town formed also a portion of the manor of Brede, which were likewise part of the - possessions of the Abbey of Fiscamp. The tenements within the town still holden of that manor extend from what was once Mr. Amoore’s at the S. W. corner of Court-house street (adjoining High street, and formerly known as the Maidenhead Inn, where the adjourned Courts-baron for Brede were usually held), and eastward, along the south side of Court-house street, including the new gaol [now police station] into All Saints street to the Great Meadow on the Minnis Rock. Also the Tottye lands (now spelt Totteigh) together with the Grange formed a part of the Brede Manor. The said Tottye lands included what is now the town reservoir near to which, previous to the year 1560, resided John and Margerie Averye, a farmer or husbandman and his wife, both of whom died in that year. Another account of the local pertainings of the Manor of Brede (vide Diplock's Handbook and Sussex Archeological Collections) describes them thus: “The possessions of the Abbey extended from the old Town Hall in Court-house street, southward along Bourne street, thence northward of John street to the corner of High street [which would be along the inside of the old town wall if it means the bottom corner of High street] thence by the Maidenhead Inn (now Mr. Amoore’s) to the Swan Lane, then by Church street to the pathway from the Croft to High street; and then taking in the S. E side of that street,along Court-house street to the old Town Hall.”

In this latter description one would be led to suppose that the Maidenhead Inn was 57 High street, late Amoore’s, but now Stanger’s, instead of 45 High street, adjoining which was the grocery and chandlery stores carried on by Mr. William Amoore (1810 to 1822) before he succeeded to his mother’s premises lower down at 57. If from the latter quoted description the words “ thence by the Maidenhead Inn (now Mr, Amoore’s) ” be omitted, and thence by Mr. Amoore’s to the Swan Lane be substituted, the directions will be more clear and correct, In my early days there was a passage where now is Mr. Stanger’s (late Amoore’s) private door, which led down to the ”Willing Land” (afterwards Winding Lane and Winding street) partly enclosed by the old town wall; but the above description of the Abbot’s land could hardly mean to cross from the lower corner of High street, through that enclosed space to the ancient Maidenhead at an angle formed by High street and Court-house street, and then back to the Swan Lane, and after going round St. Clement's Church, down to the Maidenhead again. Leaving, however, the further elucidation of the seeming incongruity for a future opportunity, I will now add that in 1861 the ruins of a Norman crypt, belonging to a chapel or grange, were uncovered in High street, nearly opposite to the Town Hall, and on a site which was part of the property of the Abbot of Fiscamp, or Fécamp For the information of visitors and strangers it may be said that Hastings was once fortified on the south by a stone wall 1200 feet in length, portions of which still exist in George street, John street and Bourne street. Ingress and egress were obtained through the Drawbridge gate at the foot of High street, Bourne gate at the lower end of Bourne street, and Pulpit gate at the foot of All Saints street. On the south or sea side of the said wall were the Suburbs, and on the land side were the two principal thoroughfares, Market street (now High street) and Fisher street (now All Saints street).

The following is a list of tenements and tenants said to have been holden of the Manor of Brede at the period to which this history has reached :—

Mrs. Morton [43 High street] previously Burbidge, Woodhams, Wooll, Amoore, Carley, and originally the ”Maidenhead Inn”, at the junction of High street and Court-house street.
C. J. Pears [4 Court-house street] previously James Tinman, James Ryall, and widow Deeprose.
Henry Enefer, messuage and brewhouse [probably in Wellington Court, behind the King’s Head Inn] formerly Sargent’s, late Bean’s, and previously Diplock’s.
George Phillips [probably 95 High street ] house and garden, formerly Tebay’s, late Breeds's.
Henry Bishop, a tenement, late Lintott’s and formerly Toule’s [Henry Bishop at that date resided at 4 High street]
Rev. J. G Foyster, two houses and garden [106 and 106½ High street] late Thorpe’s and previously Rev W. Whitear’s.
Willian, Scrivens formerly the “Three Partridges,” late Wimtred Cossum’s and previously Mrs Cossum’s [probably 113 High street, built-in 1721].
Mary Thatcher, house and garden in St. Clement’s and a tenement in Fisher [All Saint’s] street [the latter possibly All Saints’ Cottage ].
Maria Wilmott [widow of Dr. Robert Wilmott] formerly Humphrey’s, afterwards Hall’s, then Cossum’s [and intermediately, Mrs. Witham’s and John Knight’s, No. 6 High street].
C. J. Jeudwine, part of tenement in All Saints, late Mrs. Arrow’s, deceased, and since Perry's [part of 117 All Saints street, the reputed birth-site of Sir Cloudeslev Shovell]
George Smith, the other part of the foregoing tenement.
Richard Harman, two parts of tenements, formerly Pollard’sa nd since Tolhurst’s [probably in All Saints].
T. Breeds’s Trustees, tenement near the Bourne, in St. Clement’s, late Tutt’s, formerly Meudows; and land in All Saints, formerly Wickham’s, Jugith Wood, part of ”Chequers” [now Cinque Port Arms] in All Saint’s street, late James Nash's
Thomas Simmons, part of Chequers, late Dean's.[The tenements which constituted the original Chequers, were afterwards 104 (Normans), 105 (Cinque Port Arms), 106 (Nash’s) and 107 (Peggy Dean’s, then Simmons's), This property in the 17th century belonged to Capt. William Parker, of the family of Lord Morley and Monteagle, who was a jurat and several times Mayor of Hastings.
John Wimble, house and garden in All Saints, late George Robinson's.
H. Wickham, land in All Saints’ parish.
Mrs. ”Walls” [Wallis. widow of William Blyvers, Esq] late Wickham’s, part of Great Meadow, 18 acres on Minnis Rock. Mr. Wallis died in 1842 and Mrs Wallis in 1858. Their ages were 76 and 83 respectively, and their remains were interred at All Saints.
Brooklands, near the Water Mill, in the parish of St. Mary-in-the Castle.
Tenement, late Lucy’s, and previously Purple’s.
The Stone House in St. Clement’s.
Part of Cliff house lands, in All Saints parish, late Carswell’s [Probably Rocklands as now named, which, together with “Pindars,“ was in the possession of the Carswells for some years before 1760.
Joseph Kaye, land adjoining The Grange, part of 7 acres, late Frederick North’s. [Clive Vale].
F. North, lands called The Grange, 8 acres, in All Saints; and 7 acres adjoining.
Hastings Commissioners, 2 acres of land in All Saints, late Edward Ward's, part of Totty Lands [now the Reservoir].
Countess of Waldegrave, 30 acres of Totty Lands, in All Saints, late Collier’s and before Austin’s [described in 1751 as Austin’s Field].
A piece of land, hitherto called Cumbersome Hill {Probably the steep hill between Rocklands and Ecclesbourne, at one time owned by Edward Milward, and a portion of it occupied by Lavender’s strawberry gardens.
Agnes Bournefield. a parcel of Totty lands, 14 acres, late Collier's, in St. Clement's [? All Saints]. Miss M. A. Gordon, Tutty Lands, All Saints.
Rev. — Sheepshanks, 22 acres Totty Lands, late Ward’s, [Mr, Collier Ward died at his residence, North Lodge, now the Hydropathic Establishment on the 8th of August, 1827, and his remains were taken to Sandhurst, for interment].
Joseph Brown, late Wickham’s.
William Ditch, late Wickham’s.
Henry Eaton, late Wickham’s.
Horace Martin, formerly Wickham’s.
Laura Robinson, late James Winter’s, formerly Wickham’s. 5
George Jackson, formerly Wickham’s, late William Boys, and since Routlege. [Mr. Jackson a retired draper, died at High Wickham, Dec. 22nd, 1861. and his wife Sarah. Jan. 27th, 1861. Their ages were 76 and 67, respectively.
Philip Kent, formerly Wickham’s, late Harper’s, part of Great Meadow, also formerly Wickham’s, afterwards Nash’s, and late Pierce.
Phipps, formerly Wickham's, late Hamp’s, and part of Great Meadow, in All Saints. [ George Hamp was a notorious ”body-snatcher” who robbed the Hastings graves of their dead. He, at the age of 73, and his wife at the age of 58, died within a few days of each other in October, 1827.]
The nine tenants last mentioned were those at High Wickham, a range of detached and semi-detached houses, erected for Humphrey Wickham, who accumulated the ways and means as a butcher in High street.

As in the present year of grace, 1891[a], the Whit-Monday procession of the Hastings benefit clubs has been revived after a lapse of several years, it may be interesting to the members of those societies as well as to some other townspeople to reproduce, in a condensed form, the proceedings of the Whit-Monday festival of 1848. The Whit-Monday of that year fell on a day four weeks later than the one of the present year, the actual date being June 12th. The usual scene of preparation and bustle was observed at the hour of ten in the morning, when the Friendly Society (now defunct) was getting into processional order at the Swan Hotel (the venerable hostelry now also non-existent), the Manchester Unity forming its ranks at the King’s Head, and the Benevolent Society (now non-est) similarly preparing at the Anchor. The roll-call was gone through, the banners were poised, the ranks were formed, the bands in the foreground of the societies struck up their merry strains, and the triple phalanx, with flags, scarves, wands, rosettes, and other regalia marched in one long and grand procession round the upper districts of the old town to the St. Clement's Church, where a sermon was preached by the Rector. At half-past one the crowd debouched from the sacred pile, the procession re-formed, the bells rang out their sonorous peals, and the music resumed its inspiriting quick-step. Once more on the march, the long procession wended its way westward between lines of spectators, and on its return performed certain evolutions in which each division in turn opened its ranks to allow the others to pass through to the separate rendezvous from which it set out. Then were banners furled, the club-rooms entered, and positions chosen as a preliminary to the catering for which keen appetites were all expectant. Thus ensconced, the Societies’ members were not sorry that they had gained shelter from an electrical storm that was seen to be hastening to overtake them. It has been noticed as a curious circumstance that notwithstanding the movable character of the Whitsuntide Festival, it had been attended by thunderstorms on an average of about three times in four. On that particular occasion, whilst the procession was en route, the clouds in the south grew dark — as they are now doing on the Monday afternoon in which I am writing - and moved ominously northward as though turned from their course by an east wind. Forked lightning quivered on the horizon, thunder detonations in the distance became audible, and rain was seen to be falling heavily over the Channel. This continued from about two until four o’clock, at which latter hour the darkness was as great as though the 12th of June had exchanged with the 21st of December. Following this were repeated flashes of vivid lightning, accompanied by reverberations of thunder and torrents of rain which flooded the streets and drenched those of the holiday folk who happened to be out of reach of shelter. The latter condition was particularly the case with such as indiscreetly ventured in the face of a threatened storm to go out for a sail in the “British Lion” and the ”Emerald” pleasure-yachts. The cutomary(sic) dance on the East Hill was abandoned, and the Sunday school children had to forego their amusements and refreshments.

The Friendly Society, establised(sic) in 1815, held its 33rd anniversary at the Swan Hotel, and among the dinner party in the crowded Assembly-room, there were, as honorary member, R Hollond (Borough Member), Dr. MacCabe (Hon. Physician), Alderman G. Scrivens, W. D, Lucas-Shadwell, and W. D. Cooper. All these gentlemen made after-dinner speeches, the one by Mr. Scrivens being the most important, as bearing upon the local Society in particular, and the European society in general. He remarked that it might be truly said we lived in troublous times,and although our own lot was cast in quiet parts, it was to be feared that the great continental disturbances would produce some reaction in our own country, notwithstanding the conscientious loyalty which distinguished every true Englishman.

As regarded the Friendly Society, whose anniversary thev were celebrating, he was glad to find that it had no fewer than 356 members and a financial stock amounting to £3,570. He hoped to continue an honorary member as long as he lived. That Mr. Scrivens would have so continued there is no room for doubt; but, unfortunately for the Society, he outlived it, the club itself having become defunct, notwithstanding its large amount of funds and its promise of enduring vitality. Mr. Scrivens also outlived the other honorary members named above, but he did not quite survive the ancient hostelry in which he had addressed more meetings than the one here referred to, and which said house, as the Swan, after an existence of 300 years or more, has given place to structural erections of a totally different character. The younger club, known as the Benevolent Society, held its anniversary festival) in the Market Hall, built in 1833, on the site of the inn known as the Rose and Crown, which was bequeathed to the late Thomas Dunn and his heirs by Richard Roffe, a great uncle of the present writer. The chair and the vice-chair at the festival under notice were respectively, filled by Mr. William Amoore, jun., and Mr. John Inskipp. “ Brett’s St. Leonards Band,” to quote a newspaper report, ”played some lively airs in good style, and thereby contributed greatly to the pleasure of the assembled guests.” A gratifying balance sheet was produced, the amount of stock being £1,160, after a disbursement of £60 to sick members, whilst an addition of 20 new members was registered during the year. In its report of this festive gathering the Hastings News remarked— ”A gentleman who sat next us could not help observing what a contrast was manifested between the members of this society, composed as it mainly is of industrious fishermen, and those discontented parties in London and other places, herding together for the purpose of disturbing the peace, and adding wretchedness to a state already approaching to misery.” [A great depression in commercial circles was one of the serious consequences of such disturbance.] ”And, certainly,” the News added, ”we could not help being forcibly struck with the justness of the remark. Here was all harmony, benevolence and good-will, each one striving to administer to his neighbour’s happiness. . . These remarks we have been induced to make because at the present time the ill-affected would lead us to believe that 4 desire to handle pikes and guns per184 H[ 324 ]vades our labouring classes generally, than which a more erroneous statement cannot be promulgated.” The opinion expressed in the foregoing quotation was in perfect agreement with the political views of him who, for the purpose of writing history, has, these many years past, dubbed himself “St. Leonardensis.”

Irish Rebellion - Chartists Demonstration - French Revolution

In support of this averment it may be permitted to extract from one’s diary of June 6th the following lines on

Oh, what a Patent word is this!
Yet, take it not, my friends, amiss
That I should now attempt to show
How little we its import know,

One thinks it means ”Do as you please!”
Another says, ”Live at your ease!"
A third affirms with all his might,
”Tis that which we believe is right!”

A fourth makes Liberty his theme,
And says ”Let Nature reign supreme !”
Another joins the warm debate,
And shouts, “Let's down with Church and State!”

All over Europe have been heard
Loud cries of this important word;
Yet hath this universal text
The real enquiring mind Perplexed.

We hear the oft repeated strain
“We'll fight, our liberty to gain;
Yet, strange to Say, we sing with glee,
“Ours is the Land of Liberty!”

Go, coul your heads, ye trembling knaves!
For, “Britons never will be slaves !
This is our song and charter, too,
Yet, still for Liberty we sue.

Such various meanings are opined,
Yet still we seek the true to find;
And I will solve the problem right
Ere use I pikes and guns to fight

Having quoted a portion of Alderman Scrivens's speech at the Whitsuntide festival in which allusion was made to the European lawlessness at that time rampant, and coupling therewith some corroborating remarks of the Hastings News, together with the lines on “ Liberty” from my own diary of that year, the present appears to be a fitting time and place to introduce a more extended reference to 1848 as one of the most important years in the landmarks of history. Thomas Carlisle, in one of his “Latter-Day Pamphlets,” wrote of 1848 as ”one of the most singular, disastrous. amazing, and, on the whole, humiliating years the European world ever saw.”

On the very threshold of the year the Irish Rebellion appears to have had its outburst; for, on the eleventh of January, there appeared in the London Times the following remarks—

”It is with feelings of the deepest regret we learn that the spirit of lawless outrage is penetrating the province of Ulster, Many gentlemen and respectable magistrates have been served with notices to prepare for death. The wild spirit of revenge has reached even the peaceful counties of Down and Antrim, and the whole country appears to be on the verge of convulsion.”

At a later period of the year, one of the gentlemen thus threatened, feeling that his life was unsafe, came to England and left his estates to be managed by an agent. That same gentleman found his way. to St. Leonards, and at his apartments in East Ascent it was my invited opportunity to listen to his tale of woe. I there spent a few evenings with him, and was convinced from his voice, his manner and his countenance, that he possessed a naturally affable and amiable disposition that was incapable of coping with the threatened tyranny — the painful necessity, as he described it, of carrying his life in one hand and a revolver in the other. He had until then, he told me, always been on the best of terms with his tenants, and they would be the first to protect him, but they were equally under the surveillance of a gang of hired ruffians. From this time Irish matters went on from bad to worse, and to add to the anxieties and troubles of the Queen and Government, the Chartist Demonstration took place on the tenth of April, causing stupendous precautions to be taken, which included the mounting the Bank of England with guns and the hastening of her Majesty to Osborne, three weeks after her confinement. I will not go into the details of that memorable event, such details being already accessible in other ways. Suffice it to say that the lines on “Liberty“ had reference both to the Chartist demonstration and the Irish revolt. A few days after the said Demonstration, a special meeting was proposed by Liberal Members of parliament for the avowed purpose of more effectually carrying out the principles of progressive reform. This proposed meeting suggested some more metrical reflections which in their impromptu construction were diaried on the 19th of April, and are here produced. —

Shout out! if time it be to shout!
Let every true born son
Shout out! but not with rabble rout
For use of pike and gun.

Speak out! speak oft ! ’tis good to speak
With order, sense and reason;
But not as those who madly seek
To lead you on to treason.

Think much! think well ! yea, wisely think !
Ye honest sons of toil;
And not as idle men who shrink
From tilling of the soil.

Rise up! for it is well to rise,
Injustice to repel;
But heed ye not false men whose cries
Excite you to rebel.

League also, for ’tis meet to league
In one strong, mighty band;
But not with those whose vile intrigue
Would desolate the land.

Your rights — your free born rights proclaim!
Declare them wide and far!
But not as demagogues, whose aim
Is anarchy and war.

Your birth-right liberties demand
With firm, but peaceful creed;
Then must the rulers of the land
Those liberties concede.”

Simple and crude_as may be the composition of the foregoing lines, they as faithfully represent the writer's views after 43 years as they did at the time they were written, which, as before stated, was on the 19th of April, 1848. It may be permitted to add that similar views were put forth in an abler manner and at greater length by the proprietor-editor of the Hastings and St. Leonards News — the oldest local paper — whose first number was published a fortnight later, and whose initial leader ran as follows :—

“Our determination will be to avoid at once the absurdity and dishonesty of standing forth as the unconditional adherent of any faction whatever, Moreover, the terms Tory, Whig and Radical are becoming obsolete as intelligible designations of political Parties; and we frankly confess that in examining the nomenclature of the world of politics, we find no name that would correctly represent our views, If we advocate Conservatism, it is not the’ Conservatism of wrong, nor the maintenance of antiquated error. If we are Liberal, it is not for the licensciousness(sic) of a mobocracy that we contend, nor for the mischievous laxity of a latitudinarian indifference, We stand on higher ground than that of the mere partizan(sic) in whose jaundiced eyes that faction is always wrong, and before whose partial vision this party ever shines in the lovely hues of perfect rectitude. The excellence of measures, not the pretensions of men, will be the gage of our opinions; and the boldness of honesty, not the price of the hireling, the rule of our expression, There are some points on which the public mind is becoming unceasingly agitated, about which it will be expected we should have an opinion; we mean the questions involved in the ’People’s Charter,’ The grand aim of the democratic movement is to gain an extension of electoral privileges to the thousands of working men who, it is alleged, are now unrepresented. Whether some extension might not soon advantageously be made a fair question for national debate, but to the application of the nostrum of Universal Suffrage as a panacea for the evils under which the working-classes labour, we have at present a decided objection. Educate the people; raise them above the probability of their being carried away by the artfulness of unprincipled demagogues; teach them to think for themselves, and then, when fitted for the exercise of increased power, entrust them with it. We believe the thoughtful and competent among those excluded from political suffrage by the present system to constitute the exception — the reckless and ignorant the rule. While the O'Connors and Cuffays of Chartism are clamouring about the rights of the people, it is marvellous how little is heard about their duties. Many are showing them what they fancy to be the one,—and surely they should also be made to understand the other, Towards effecting thie educational work, a faithful mediam of intelligence, an unbiassed(sic) journal of information must be infinitely preferable to a vituperative vehicle of factious misrepresentation and personal accrimony(sic), which only increases the wrongheadedneas of its readers, and rivets more securely the chains of mental thraldom. The other points may be more summarily disposed of, Annual Parliaments we view as synonimous(sic) with annual confusion. The Ballot would oftener shield hypocrisy than protect the honest voter. Paid Membership would be a premium to the cupidity and indolence of mouthing ranters, rather than an encouragement to talent and worth. Property qualification is not without its evils; but its abolition might bring with it more serious grievances. If the possession of property does not infer intellectual capability, it certainly does impart a measure of caution, — no mean guarantee for a safe use of electoral power. The demand for Equal Electoral Districts has reason in it, but is by no means peculiar to Chartism. So much for our political creed... . Ours is a mission of peace; and our course, we trust, will prove one of public and honourable utility. Ours is no mercenary design of living upon the political sores of a community - of inflaming the wounds of party rancour for private emolument, Perish the hireling pen so basely employed.”

Such were the principles enunciated by the News in its first issue, and such, if I understand it aright, are its principles at the present time. notwithstanding the several changes that have taken place in its proprietors and editors. To myself, individually, this is a source of some amount of gratification, showing, as I have done — and hoping yet further to do that they were only slightly less progressive than those which I espoused before the News made its appearance, and which I have consistently adhered to, albeit the writer of the article—and long may he live ! — is judged to have made a great leap from his original stand-point.

A friendly critic is of opinion that the preceding metrical lines as they first appeared in the weekly contributions to the Gazette are ”very contradictory”, and that if the last two of the lines on ‘Liberty’? in the previous week's news are intended to apply to the Chartist Demonstration ”they are a little wide of the mark.” My critical friend will pardon me, I hope, if in reply I feel constrained to say that in reference to the last set of verses he has failed to interpret their meaning and that as regards the lust couplet in the first set the application is not ”so wide of the mark ” as he imagines. In each case the lines were intended to apply in a general way to the European commotions and revolutions as a whole, and in a special manner to the revolt in Ireland and the menacing attitude of the Chartists in London Equally applicable was the quotation from the Hastings News, the intention of such quotation being to show how thoroughly in agreement — although unpreconcerted — were the two writers, the one in prose and the other in verse. The couplet specially selected for criticism was this :-

“And I will solve the problem right
Ere use I pikes and guns to fight.”

If my correspondent means to say that the “Physical-force” Chartists were not possessed of pikes and guns, then, to convince him of his error it is only necessary to transfer to these columns a passage from Cassell’s Life and Times of Queen Victoria, which opportunely and singularly comes before me in the current part of that work. It states that on the 10th of April

“All the public ​building​s were garrisoned with troops, the clerks in public offices formed special corps of defence and many gentlemen of rank brought up their gamekeepers from the country and prepared their mansions for a regular siege. Trafalgar square was occupied by 200 police. The parks were closed; a corporal’s guard of the Household Troops held each entrance to them, and patrols of the Guards marched up and down the Mall. Apsley House was barricaded, and inside stood a score of mounted Guardsmen privately drawn up under the arch. Buckingham Palace was protected by a strong force under arms at Wellington barracks, ready to march on it the moment it was threatened, The Bank was fortified by a company of Miners, who built on the roof platforms for cannon, and guarded them with loopholed breastwork of sand bags, so that a mob could be swept away with grapeshot at a moment’s notice, and special constables organised by Aldermen of the Wards guarded the City.”

The magnitude of these preparations under the direction of the Duke of Wellington, together with a proclamation that was issued, deterred the Chartists from carrying out their programme, and so, unarmed, they met on Kennington Common to the number of about 20,000 only, instead of the promised 150,000. It is this affair, probably, that my critic is thinking of when he demurs — as I suppose he does — to the Chartists being armed with pikes and guns. But now comes the proof of the accuracy of my contention. The work from which the foregoing extract has been made continues thus :—

”When the fiasco of the 10th of April put the Chartist organisation under the control of the ‘physical force’ party, the first step was initiated by Mr. Ernest Jones in the National Convention. It was to re-construct the whole Chartist body as a secret society on the pattern of the United Irishmen. Moderate men were removed from the Executive Council, and agitators, like Dr. Macdowall, who had taken a prominent part in the troubles of '89 and ’42, were elected in their places. The change in their methods was first illustrated by the sudden assemblage, without warning, of 80,000 men on Clerkenwell Green and Stepney Green on the evening of the 29th of May, when processions from all parts of London also moved by converging routes to Smithfield, and then marched along Holborn, Oxford street, Pall Mall, the Strand, Fleet street, Ludgate Hill, to Finsbury square, where they dispersed. This was a demonstration to test the working of the new secret organisation. Pikes and rifles began to appear in the lodgings of the Chartists, An alliance was formed with some of the turbulent leaders of the Young Ireland Party, Spies were swarming in every city, and a Secret Committee consisting of seven men, named Cuffey, Ritchie, Lacey, Fay, Rose. Mullins, and Powell, alias Johnson, who began to plot a regular insurrection. Whit-Monday, the 12th of June, was the day fixed on for the revolution.”

Apropos of the Chartist demonstration and the metrical lines applying thereto, which a mild critic failed to see were in advocacy of ”Liberty” as against libertinism, it may not be amiss to describe a few freaks of our liberty-loving subjects in Hastings, by way of illustration or elucidation. In the month of August, a Chartist tailor of the name of Ward, having been charged at the Hastings Petty Sessions with wilfully and malicious!y breaking a shop window, said he committed the offence because the country had an incapable Government, and he as an individual did not get his rights. He had come from Birmingham, and had been six months out of work, a condition of things which never ought to be allowed. He considered he was quite at liberty to do what he had done. The magistrates’ views of liberty were, however, at variance with those of the Chartist. Two other liberty-loving subjects were the worthies Macfarlane and Palmer, both of them rejoicing in the baptismal of William. These two “sweet Williams” had been taken care of, as it was thought for the public good, in a certain ​building​ in Bourne street which then did duty for one of a similar character since erected in Queen’s ​road​. Awaiting there for the next visit of the Recorder to receive o digest of the laws of the realm, and getting impatient at their restraint from liberty, they took advantage of the temporary absence of the keeper, and being successful in their attempt to disarrange the lock of the outer door, they soon found themselves at liberty, as they believed, to pursue a course more in consonance with their own desires. Macfarlane, however, had not proceeded far up the High street when he found himself arrested by a pair of rude hands, by which he was reconducted to the abode he had so clandestinely forsaken, Palmer, being more agile, made off for the rural districts, with the keeper at his heels. He thus managed to elude his pursuer or pursuers until the next morning, by which time he had reached the Kentish village of Sandhurst. But although he had stepped over the border, he was again deprived of liberty and brought back to the domicile which he had so unceremoniously quitted. He was then and there strongly advised not to seek liberty in such a fashion and not again to set forth without a guide. But Macfarlane and Palmer were not the only liberty-loving subjects who received a practical lesson in 1848. A certain workman, who shall be nameless, was employed by a Hastings merchant, who by industry and perseverance had raised himself from a humble position to that of a Town Councillor and afterwards to that of Mayor. The said workman was strong!y embued with Chartism and had obtained leave to attend the London demonstration. He was, moreover, in sympathy with the Frenchmen’s cry of “Liberty, fraternity and equality.“

On his return from London his employer suggested the liberty, fraternity and equality of deducting a couple of shilling[2]s from his wages of 22/- and adding them to his younger brother's wages of 18/-. This was strongly objected to, but the suggestion was nevertheless effective in subduing the workman’s ardour for the levelling up and levelling down process.

The French King and Coercion - The Newcastle Congress

Lest it be thought that the writer (who has always counselled moderation) is an antiquated Tory or in some other way a non-progressionist, he will now quote from his diary some reflections on the most significant political outburst of the present century. The quotation is this :— {{Quote|“Monday, Feb, 28, After a repose of 4½ hours, I have risen to make myself acquainted with the particulars of an event that seems to have created a universal consternation. I learn from the public journals that a revolt has taken place in Paris; that the Tuileries, together with the Palais Royale, has been besieged by the French people and, after a sanguinary conflict with the troops, has been taken possession of. Louis Phillipe has abdicated his throne in favour of his grandson, the Count de Paris. The French people, however, refuse to ace knowledge the young Count, and the Duc de Nemours has been rejected as Regent. The streets are barricaded, from four to five hundred persons have been slain or wounded, bands of citizens are parading the streets, a provisional government has been formed, and Republican principles have been proclaimed, The National Guards are fraternising with the people, the people will not oppose the National Guards, and the King, with his family, is fleeing from his country with all possible expedition,185H[ 325 ]Louis Phillipe is thus doomed to feel again the bitterness of a losing cause, Such an event, however much it may be deplored, is, unquestionably, the result of that fatal policy which denied to the French nation the right of meeting ‘for the discussion of public questions, The attempt to suppress, by military force, an agitation more general and more profound than any that had arisen since 1830 has recoiled with tremendous power upon the King and his advisers, With an elaborate system of fortifications and a well-trained army of 100,000 men, an attempt was vainly made to awe France into submission. Oh, shortsighted policy ! When will the rulers of the earth be wise, and learn to respect the feelings of their subjects? France has set an example in favour of her rights which, I trow, will reverberate throughout Europe with the rapidity of electric power, May she use her victory with moderation and follow up the advantage she has gained by a judicious development of those principles for which she has so energetically contended.”}} It will have been seen that while I censured the French King and his advisers: for their coercive measures, I at the same time expressed a hope that the people would use their victory with moderation, and follow up their advantages with a just appreciation of the rights of all classes This sentence was really the key to the lines on “Liberty,” and numerous other effusions of a similar character that have been written by the same hand. I will now make another extract: from my diary of 1848 —

“Monday, March 6th, Another week has passed amidst the greatest excitement that has occurred for many years. So sudden and stupendous, yet so definite and complete was the overthrow of the Orleans dynasty on the 24th ultimo, that I ventured to record an opinion that its effects would be reverberated throughout Europe, Already are those effects becoming speedily manifest. Austria, Prussia, Poland, Greece, Italy, and Spain are all in commotion. From the example of France, those countries are endeavouring to burst the fetters of tyranny. Piles of combustible material are being heaped up, ready to explode by the least spark of revolutionary fire, Prussia has extorted from her sovereign[3] a Liberal constitution; the populations under the sway of Austria are on the point of asserting their independence; and judging from political manifestations generally, I have no doubt that a mighty spirit of reform will be forced upon the Governments of nearly all the countries from the north of Poland to the south of Spain. It may be inferred that the fate of Louis Phillipe has had already a beneficial effect on our own Government, Liberal though it be; for no sooner does the disquieting intelligence reach this country than Lord John Russell withdraws his favourite measure for the already too oppressive Income Tax, lest the rapidly convened and numerously attended meetings should create disaffection towards the Government and sow the seeds of future revolt. Well had it been for the King of the French and his Prime Minister had they, like Lord John Russell, paid deference to public opinion, and abandoned their projects when they found them distasteful to the nation. It is a remarkable circumstance that daring the political disturbances in France, the insurrectional movements in Italy, the warlike preparations of Russia, Prussia and Austria, the riots in Germany, and the demonstrations against an increase of the Income tax in England — all occurring simultaneously — the elements of nature were also contending with each other with the greatest. fury. Wind, hail, rain, sleet, lightning, thunder, aurora, inundations, &c., intermingled or followed each other in rapid succession; and not in one country alone, but in all the countries that were politically convulsed, Thus was the greater part of Europe in a state of unusual disturbance — naturally, physically and politically. Sceptics, if they have an opportunity of perusing this journal, will not fail to denounce this and others of my observations as being tinged with superstition, but let them attentively observe these coincidences themselves, and I warrant they will find that this is not a solitary instance of extensive political changes coeval with violent atmospherical mutations,”

Since the foregoing was written - now 43 years ago - the same writer has given publicity to some noteworthy instances of this character, and it is not improbable that, if his life be sufficiently prolonged, he may repeat them, if only as curiosities But 1 will again betake me to reviewing some of the political phases and occurrences of 1848. I had only just recently commended the action of Lord John Russell in withdrawing the proposal to increase the Income tax, such withdrawal being in deference to meetings and memorials then prevalent, and I had hoped that some of the points of the Charter in a a(sic) modified form would have been dealt with by the Russell Administration. I had an opportunity of knowing that even in Hastings there was a considerable party — tailors, shoemakers and others — ready to join in the agitation for further reform, notwithstanding that at the club dinners of that year the speakers complimented the inhabitants of the borough on their law. abiding proclivities and peaceable attitude, in contrast to the propagandists in other towns and countries, I was, therefore, disappointed when the Liberal Premier expressed himself unfavourable to further legislation in that direction; and under the impulse of that disappointment I wrote in my diary on the 2nd of Jane as follows: {{Quote|“The Premier of England has at length shown himself in his true colours. He has thrown down a challenge to the people of this realm. He has declared in the House of Commons that the working, and middle classes neither wish nor require reform, Now, let me ask, will the care-worn sons of toil, whose ill paid labour has created the wealth, of this mighty empire, calmly submit to such an arrogant (illegible text)} assertion? Will the enlightened commercial men of the country who are writhing under the burthens of overgrown taxation, be content to lire and die beneath the yoke of political tyranny? Will those who do not fatten on the accumulations of aristocratic rule, but live by the sweat of honest toil, submit to be trampled down by champions of despotism? Will the wealth producers of England, whose wrongs reverberate through the length and breadth of the land, suffer themselves to be struck down by this aristocratic lord, who, not content with the withholding from them their birthright, but must also brand thee; with falsehood? But, alas! it is not one lord only who; defies a nation; it is the whole House of Lords, or the House of Lords as a whole, that has, by its rejection of the Bill for the admission of the Jews to the Legislature, insulted the intelligence of the people's representatives who passed the said Bill by a large majority through the House of Commons, rejected the choice of the greatest city in the world, treated with contempt the sanction of eighty principal towns of the empire, and spurned the petitions of 350,000 Englishmen. All this has been done when, as it were by Heaven's decree, the monarchies of Europe are falling and the ‘shaking of nations‘ is being accomplished whilst Ireland, or the land of ire, is frantic for Repeal and England is shouting for the Charter. Yea! whilst Government itself is at its wit’s end for the preservation of social order, the Lords have the unwisdom - not to use a stronger term — to throw down a challenge to the nation to try whether a people’s will or a Lord’s veto is the strongest. Rise, then, ye sons of Britain and rally round the standard ‘of Reform! Unfurl the banner and flaunt it in the breeze! March on to the field of conquest in peaceful but overwhelming numbers, and never halt nor retreat until victory is yours, and with it an end to aristocratic domination !”

“Why doth oppression stalk the land,
And tyrant lords, a few,
Unite to crash the peasant band,
And feudal strife renew ?

“Why revel they in rigorous power,
And, with despotic sway,
Proclaim ‘ These lands, yon hills, that tower
Are ours to endless day ?

“Behold, ye serfs, our proud domains,
Our castles and our lands—
All, all are ours, despite your claims,
Despite your rebel bands !

“We hold them from our ancient sires,
Of noble blood are we;
We're lords and dukes, and knights and squires,
And such will ever be.

“Put down your vile insurgent arm !
Go, hide your rebel head !
To us your threats give no alarm,
No power of yours we dread.

“Such are the views expressed or meant
By those of lordly mind;
And thus do they, with mal intent,
 Make war upon their kind.

“But, doubtless, soon a time will come —
More soon than they expect —
When Justice, with her heat of drum,
Their ways will counteract.

“Be firm, then, all ye sons of toil!
United you shall stand;
And lordly arrogations foil,
And gain your just demand.

“Your triumph will the greater be
When you have victory won,
And crowned your efforts to be free
Without the pike and gun,”

In reviewing the political disturbances of the memorable year 1848, 1 have referred at some length to the Insh rebellion as well as to the Chartist Demonstrations and the continental revolutions. My own opinions on these events have been expressed with sufficient candour, and, it is hoped, with becoming moderation. I have also quoted from the new local journal of that year (the Hastings and St. Leonards News) some editerial comments with which I felt myself to be generally, or mostly in accord, and I now add from the same source the following:-

ALARMING NEWS FROM IRELAND. - News comes [July 27th] that some of the troops in Ireland have revolted, and that several parts of the country are in flames.

IRISH INSURRECTION. (Aug. 4th. ]. - French fashions would seem to be at a discount on this side of the Channel, The Chartists in England, who were to have awed the Government into submission to the insolence of an ignorant rabble, only made themselves look ridiculous by the futility of their treasonable attempts; and the disaffected in Ireland, although representing a far more serious conspiracy, have failed most miserably in their efforts to emulate the Republicans of France, . . . Whatever may have been the faults of our Government with regard to the administration of Irish affairs generally, we think their present determined course worthy the commendation of all friends of justice, both towards England and the Emerald Isle itself, The wrongs of Ireland at the hands of British statesmen have been many and great; but the kindness and consideration of the British people in times of Irish trouble and distress have also liberally abounded, And it strikes Englishmen as a painful piece of ingratitude just as our sympathy for Ireland was waxing warm, and the cry of 'Justice to Ireland' is really assuming a tangible shape, those objects of our interest and pity should sound a louder curse against the Saxon race, and thirst more ravenously for their blood, A growing feeling of indignation among our countrymen is the natural result of this blind ingratitude — this stupid barbarity. When starvation and disease were depopulating our sister country it was English bounty which alleviated the sufferers woes, even to the prejudice of the poor at home, Forgetting the graceless epithets so freely and so often given him, the ‘ alien’ Saxon then clothed the naked and fed the starving by thousands and tens of -thousands, Yet is he the hated alien still! Yet anathemas and pikes and rifle-balls — altar denunciations and wholesale murders — his best rewards, Surely the man must be mad or a fool who can sympathise with such absurd fanatics as this.

The same Hastings News of October 13th, in commenting on O’Brien’s sentence, remarked :—

“Justice has at length found a voice through an Irish jury, and treason has met with appropriate reward. O’Brien has been pronounced Guilty and sentenced to death. . . It is not with the mode of punishment that we agree when we confess our satisfaction at the result of this trial; we rejoice because an important principle of Justice has been vindicated. There is a maudlin sympathy ab​road​ for every species of culprits and traitors which we strongly deprecate; a sympathy which seems to be proportioned to the magnitude of the crime—the greater the offence, the more popular the offender. Surely it is better that the law should punish — ay ! even severely — the one political incendiary than that such single pest should be suffered to curse the whole community. . . Against this spurious charity we pledge ourselves to endless war. To excite respect for peaceful rhetoric, for quiet suffering, and for honest industry is a far more honourable vocation than to call forth sickly tears over frustrated rebellion or defeated treason.”

This is language which the present writer believes might have been as appropriately employed at any time during the last decade as at the time when it first appeared in print; and, indeed, with still greater fitness, if we but take into consideration the vast changes effected by the British Parliament for the amelioration of the Irish people and the immense sums contributed by the British public for their relief in the hour of need. All, and more than all that St. Leonardensis ever pleaded for in his metrical musings and prose writings has been conceded, and yet the discontent of a disaffected race, goaded on by ceaseless agitators, has remained as rampant as ever.

Forty-three years have passed since I wrote the several odes to “ Liberty,” “Injustice,” and ”Why doth Oppression stalk the Land?” and at the same time counselled moderation and a process of redress by legal and constitutional means, without recourse to “pikes and guns.” Forty-three years have also run their course since the Hastings News — then a new journal — concurrently favoured my views, but in a more condemnatory tone anent the Irish agitators and English Chartists. I have already stated that all, and more than all that St. Leonardensis ever pleaded for has since been conceded, and yet the discontent of a disaffected race, goaded on by ceaseless agitators, has remained as rampant as ever.

This remark was intended to apply more particularly to Ireland, although it must be admitted that notwithstanding the almost inconceivable improvment in the condition of the English artizans and labourers in the present day as compared with that of 1848, the clamour of the working-classes for better — and, as we view it, unattainable—terms is still paramount. The so-called New Unionism, besides embracing a demand for one or more of the unconceded points of the “ People’s Charter” of 1848, also practically includes the somewhat farcical programme of “Eight hours work, eight hours play, eight hours sleep, and eight shilling[4]s a day.“ This has been shewn by the attitude of a majority of the delegates at the recent Newcastle Congress. Much has been written on this great meeting of Tyneside, and now that the 500 delegates have returned to their homes, ample time has been afforded for a few reflections, In many respects this Parliament of Labour was a remarkable one, it being the largest of its kind that had ever assembled, and representing as it did, over a million and a quarter of Trades Unionists, including women as well as men, and yet telling us very little more than we before knew. In the studiously moderate speech of the President, when alluding to strikes, he remarked that there were some that were not only blunders, but almost crimes. As a cautious Liberal, who believes in self help as against state interference, he defined the true aim of Trades Unionism to be the better distribution of wealth, but he did not advise the meeting to invoke the aid of Parliament in the solution of so difficult a problem.

If they were united, he observed, they could do anything they chose, but they were not so; and this was shown when the test question was put on the 8-hours proposition, although it must be admitted that those of what is called the New Unionism were in the majority. A compromise of a permissive character was after wards effected, but whilst it served to accentuate differences of opinion among different trades, it appeared to bring out the certainty that unless the day of eight hours could be enforced all over Europe, the British workman would lose by its adoption. If French, German or Belgian operatives were allowed to work as many hours as they chose, while English. men were restricted to the legal eight, the former would obvious!y be able to undersell the latter. The English manufacturer would also lose trade, and would have either to give up business or reduce their workmen’s wages. We still hear the French talk a good deal about “liberty, equality and fraternity,” as they did in the year 1848, but while their “equality” is to get all they can for themselves, they show their brotherly love for their neighbours by the adoption of a high protective tariff, calculated to injure British industry.

If we look to another Republican community — that on the other side of the Atlantic — we find the same kind of anti-equality, anti-fraternity policy pursued. Russia, also, helps us in her peculiar way by sending us cargoes of starving Jews to compete with London’s workpeople in a struggle for bread. If, therefore, we look at facts with an undistorted vision, we find that instead of a universal brotherhood being carried out in practice, the disposition of one country is both to obstruct as far as in it lies the trade of another, and to take advantage of sought for beneficial changes by other people than themselves.

The strike at the London docks was regarded at the time as one that had reason and justice on its side, but it has since been shown that foreign ports benefitted(sic) immensely as a consequence. Another proposition at the Labour Congress was to make payment of Members of Parliament a test question at the next election. This was also one of the points of the Carter in 1848; but should it ever be carried out in practice, its benefit to the community is open to great doubt. Theoretically, it may be a hardship that a poor but intelligent man is debarred a seat in Parliament, but we have seen that working-men of commanding abilities have been able to get some association to contribute to their election and maintenance; and we come to the conclusion that the present system, with all its faults, is distinctly preferable to that which prevails in France, America and Australia. Even in England at the present time the legislative tone is not anything too high, but in the countries named, the tone of political life is far below what it ought to be, and is therefore a tolerably sure indication that paid members are politicians by profession rather than from conviction. [ 326 ]

Antiquarian Relics - Ruins at Bulverhythe



Antiquarian Relics

A leaderette in Brett's Gazette of March 23rd, 1889 states that two curious discoveries have been made in the outbounds of Hastings which are suggestive of enquiry. There is mystery in both cases, and our assistance has been asked for by way of elucidation. We will, therefore first describe the discoveries as we have seen them and then proceed to throw what light we can upon them. In the rear of a row. of houses at Silverhill, known as Grove Cottages are some gardens, and in digging up the one attached to No. 3, the residence of Mrs. Lucas, a laundress, a considerable portion of a memorial grave-stone was found about two feet ‘below the surface. The stone, although but a fragment, is in a good state of preservation and bears the following portion of the original inscription :

“Sacred to the Memory of
Thomas Wimble, Ge ..,
Who departed this life,
.... of a Blessed Re.... 17..”

A previous occupier of the house had kept chickens, and it is believed that the ground during that tenancy had not been dug up for cultivation. Also a small pond it is thought once existed at that spot. Question - How came the stone to be there buried? Had it been sacrilegiously removed from some burial place in the vicinity and there put underground; or had it been accidentally fractured, and in its broken condition, used, with other material, for filling up the pond? The incomplete word at the end of the second line undoubtedly should be “ Gent.,” and this will give us a little clue to the person whose memory the stone was intended to perpetuate. On looking over our records of burials, we find that a Mrs. Wimble, relict of Thomas Wimble, Gent., of Hastings, died at Newhaven on Sunday, Jan. 17th, 1802, aged 81 years. We next find that Thomas Wimble was buriéd at Hastings on July 14th, 1779, aged 80 years. Supposing, however, these persons to have been man and wife there would have been about 22 years difference in their ages, which though not an improbability would be somewhat of a rarety(sic). Here we will leave the matter for further investigation by whomsoever it may concern.

The second discovery is that of a skull and other bones of a human skeleton which a Mr. Cockett has dug up at Bulverhithe. A portion of the Chapel field—in which are situate the ruins of the church of St. Mary-the-Virgin — has not been ploughed or harrowed for many years, and anything that may have lain buried near the surface has therefore been undisturbed. Quite recently the ground has been turned up for cultivation, and Mr. Cockett, with his spade, has unearthed the said bones, There were no traces of a coffin, but the position in which the fragments were found, bore - evidence that the corpse had originally been placed longitudinally in the ordinary burial fashion. It was not more than a foot deep, and close to the west end of the ruins. The skull, which we have seen, is a very thick one, and the teeth are perfect except those which should be in the front. The church, as History tells us, has been in ruins for centuries, and its exact form and size were not traceable. until 1861, when under the guidance of our townsman, Mr. Ross, the interior was excavated. It is too much, however, to suppose that the human remains now discovered are those of anyone whose had received the usual church rites of interment so many centuries ago; and a question is now naturally suggested, how came they there, and at so short a distance below the surface? If it would at all assist the enquiry we might propound other questions and this we will venture to do. Was it the body of someone who in the days of highway robbers and footpads had been the victim of foul-play; or was it one of the two men, who, when there were barracks at Bopeep and Bulverhithe, were shot after receiving sentence of death at a trial by court-martial? Was it one who died with fever or who was said to have mutinied on board the Dutch ship Amsterdam, which was run ashore within gun-shot distance of the spot, the hull of which ship, with much of his treasure still lies submerged in the sand ? Some of that crew, it has been stated, were buried at Hastings, but no record has been found. Also the date of that event has been variously stated in guide-books as 1749, 1751 and 1754. But our “St. Leonardensis,” who has given a more extended account of it than any that had been previously published, proves it to have been on Sunday, January 15th, 1748 O.S. or as we now reckon it, 1749. For full and interesting details of this ship, see special chapter. But (continues the Gazette) after all, our own theory is that the human skull now in Mr. Cockett’s possession is that of some unfortunate smuggler, who having been slain in one of the many conflicts described by ”St. Leonardensis” in his local history, was secretly put. under, ground by his comrades. Such interments were not uncommon, and more than one of them have been since brought to light.

Ruins of St. Mary's, Bulverhithe - 1808

Of the church ruins it may be said that by means of Mr. Ross's excavations, to the depth of about 6 feet it was found that the church within its walls had an area a length of 101 feet; that the nave was 57ft 8in. by 23ft 6in. and that the chancel was 25ft by 17ft 9in. The tower, which appeared to have fallen in one mass, had been 12 1/2 feet square. The church was originally Norman, with additions of Early English, and built by an Earl of Eu. The earliest mention of it was in 1372, under the seal of the Hastings Bailiff (probably William Haylman). But even before such record in connection with Hastings, it is said that in 1212, John Earl of Eu presented the church to Daniel, son of Richard Clerck. The ruins are now very insignificant, but in 1808 they were somewhat picturesque, as in the annexed view.

References & Notes

  1. This reveals that Brett is putting together the histories some forty years after the event. Whilst the typeset portions (the main body of this chapter) are closer in time to the events, the hand-written portions are subject to his own note-keeping/memory - Transcriber
  1. An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022
  2. An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022
  3. An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022
  4. An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022