Brett Volume 5: Chapter XLIX - St. Leonards 1853

From Historical Hastings

Transcriber’s note

[ i ]

Index to volume Five

This table of contents is not alphabetted(sic) beyond the initial letter


Application from Local Board 2
Alteration of Groynes (St Lds) 3
Archery meetings 8,48,153,154
A fact for the curious 7
Athenaeum 35,96
A novel mousetrap 37
Accidents & fatalities 38,46,77,78,157,224
Autumn season 48
Advertising 56
A curious potato 71
An Irish wake 91
Atmospheric & other phenomena 149
Antiquarian discovery 158
Assessment Returns 169
Annual Regatta 196
Archdeacon Hare’s death 188
Anti-church rates 91
Australia, from and to 39,40
A daring feat 90


Baths and Washhouses 90
Baths, removal of 90
Baths,--"--Old Warm” 22,27,29
Baths, soliloquy on 29,30
Baltic Fleet 47
Banks, John’s death 76
“Blind Tom” Bannister’s death 75
Battle of Citate (illustration) 105
Building operations 36
Bill posting 163
Board of Guardians 35,94,206
Boat building 90
Boats, removal of 56
Borough rates 160
Burial Board 43 to 45 & 162 to 166
Burglaries 39,71,224

Brisco’s (Musgrave) death 76
Brutal attack on Viscount Chewton
(illustration) 110


Campbell’s emoluments 25
Cavendish Place 12
Carpenters’ strike 36
Castledown House 36
Cemetery movement 5,6,21,22,164
Census tables 77
Celestial & other phenomena 149 to 152
Censuring the H.I.P.S 219-223
Cinque Ports privileges 16
Cinque Ports Pilots 36
Cinque Ports jurisdiction 66
Change of Commissioners 3
Christians and Savages (curious burial) 7
Chalk road groyne 21
Change of coalmeters 42
Choosing Mayor 69,168
Chalibeate water 90
Church matters 92,211
Church rates defeated 204,206
Charter of Queen Elizabeth 28
Charities trustees 164
Criers fees 17
Cricket on ice 45
Criminal prosecutions 159
Charge of British Infantry (illustration) 109
Charge of French Cavalry (illustration[a]) 109
Condolence (bitter personalities) 19-20
Condemned Hole 28
Concerts 31,146,147
Cost of negligence 37
Coastguards Exodus 89

[ ii ]Coal famine 73-74
Collections, various 47,155,192
Coal tickets receiver 15
Committee for sanitation 3
Commissioners’ reply to local board 3-4
Coroner’s inquests (St. Leonards) 7
Coal dues (St. Leonards[a]) 2
Custom House 17,22,28


Daylight robbery 51
Death of Sir Godfrey Webster 37
--"-- of "Blind Tom” Bannister 75
--"-- of H. W. Tree 75
--"-- of Mrs Simmons 76
--"-- of Joseph Simmons 76
--"-- of Mrs Shoesmith 76
--"-- of Samuel Phillips 76
--"-- of John Banks 76
--"-- of Mr Moggridge "Old Humphrey” 76
--"-- of Mrs Frederick North 188
--"-- of Rev. W Davis 189
--"-- of Rev. J. G. Foyster 189
--"-- of Count De Vandes 190
--"-- of Mr Hoof 191
--"-- of Archdeacon Hare 188
Death Memorials 191
Defensive works asked for 68
Defaulting rate collector 206
Destructive thunderstorm 153
Disputed payment of map 10,11,15,16
Dinners and Balls 33,36, & 78-88
Distressed poor 71,73
Diary of events re the war with Russia 102 to 139
Drainage, Bohemia & Warrior Square 165
Drainage (general) : -
--"-- plans exhibited 56
--"-- Financial conditions 57
--"-- Plans approved 58
--"-- --"--No hurry” 58
--"-- --"--No delay” 59
--"-- --"--Immediate action” 59
--"-- Braithwaite’s high charges 60
Memorial for 62
Drainage (general)
--"-- petition for delay 61
--"-- Putland disapproves 63
--"-- More objections 62
--"-- Another claim 61
--"-- £5000 not to be had 165
--"-- Loan for 159
--"-- Loan declined 165
--"-- Dividing the contract 159
--"-- Committee’s report 169
Drawback tickets 163
Drainage of new houses (St. Leonards) 42
Drowning cases 7


Early Closing 98
Early Closing and Early Rising 207-211
East Parade 69
Election of Mayor 69,168
Election of Aldermen 20
Ellsworth’s Charity 98
Elizabethan Charter 28
Emperor Alexander proclaimed (illustration) 237
“England a naval power” 196
Enlarged Burial Board 168
Enormous catch of herrings 193
Encroachments 31
Entertainment, concerts & balls 88
Escape from gaol 70


Fall of Sebastopol (illustration) 261
Fencing Cemetery ground 168
Financial accounts 14
Financial condition 57
Fight at the Mamelon (illustration) 251
Fortress of Sebastopol (with view) 108
Flower Shows 8,49,158
From and to Australia 39-40
Four-masted ship 196
Foyster legacies 161-162


Gant elected as surveyor 14
Gas Company 35,90
Gas tar 39
[ iii ]General district notes 12, 26, 37
General drainage (See “Drainage”) 56-62
Government approval of Cemetery site 168
Groynes 56
Great gale and high tide 194
Great rise in rates 26
Graves of heroes (illustration) 274
Guy Fawkes scrimmage 91


Harbinger schooner 195
Hastings, Regatta 139
Hastings and St. Vallery 163
Hastings men at the seat of war 102-139 and 226-279
Herrings (a marvellous catch) 193, 73
Hoof’s death 191
Hour fixed for Council meetings 169


Illustrated scenes of the war with Russia 105-110, 113, 114, 130, 227, 232, 237, 242, 251, 261, 274
Inventions 51
Infirmary 96
Inquests 224
Irish Wake 91
Iron stone 67


Jasper gun boat blown up 47
Jas. Mann a little too fast 41


King of the Belgians 197


Lamb fair 91
Landing of passengers 195
Lectures 31-33, 49, 148
Letters from Hastings men 102-139
Lean stock show 20, 36
Literary & Scientific Institution 35, 97, 200
Local health 144, 145


Magdalen Vestries 5
Magdalen Church 37
Magdalen new schools 154-155
Manslaughter 9
Market tolls tendered for 165
Market room memorial 167
Market Room 68
Market lessee “on principle” 17
Maritime casualties 74
Mayor’s banquet 69
Mayor & Corporation at church 36
Meteorological and other phenomena 149 to 152
Measured distances to cemetery 166
Martello Towers 158
Mechanics Institution (St. Leonards) 6, 50, 148, 149
Mechanics Institution (Hastings) 34, 95, 96, 198, 200
Melancholy death 7
Memorial for general drainage 62
Memorial for delay of drainage 61
Monster horse 225
Moggridge’s death 76
Musgrave Brisco’s death 75
Municipal officers 144
Murderous attack on shipwrecked sailors (illustration) 112


Naming of houses 21 to 25 & 67
Names of local men at seat of war
New dispensers 35
New Fishmarket 67
New magistrates 89
New Magdalen Schools 154-155
New galleys 196
Novel cricketing 225
New Assessments (St. Leonards) 2
New ​road​ at Wallingers Walk 65
Novel mousetrap 37


Outside Sebastopol (illustration) 242
Outside & Inside Sebastopol (illustration[a])114
Old Warm Baths 22, 27, 29
Obstructions to be cleared 166
Occurrences, various 225


Parade seats 56, 165
Particular deaths 75-77
[ iv ]Patriotic fund 47
Parochial schools 154
Pelham place improvement 16
Petition to Queen in Council 160a
Pierwardens 69
Pett Clerical case 201-203
Police tipling 56
Postal contention 51 to 54, & 99 to 102
Proposed Cemetery 93
Phenomenal frosts 150
Prejudice against the Surveyor 146-7
Proposed Trinity Church 211
“Political Partnership” 214 to 217
Preferments & promotions 197
Pigs a nuisance 4
Pseudo-blind 37
Portrait & memoirs of Ismail Pacha 106
Poor Law Guardians 35, 94, 206
Public bands 48
Putland’s resignation 12
Putland’s successor 13
Putland criticised 38
Putland thanked for services 14
Putland and the reservoir 22
Putland disapproved of drainage plans 63


Queen Victoria at Hastings 198
Queen visiting soldiers in hospital 232


Rates and assessments 5
Rating the poor 64
Railway matters 164-165
Repairing East Ascent 42
Regatta (Hastings) 139
Removal of Baths 90
Removal of boats 54
Removal of obstructions 166
Removal of rocks 18
Relief Fund 72
Rowing matches 39
Roger Montague North 196
Robberies etc. 158
Russian War 102 to 139, & 226 to 279


Sales of property 226
St. Clement’s organist 35
St. Leonards Commissioners 1,2,3,41,42
St. Leonards Archers 8, 48, 153, 154
St. Leonards Choral Society 157
Sea frozen at Hastings 150
Scenes on the Crimea battlefield 113
Sea wall (St. Leonards) re-pointed 2
School treats & School matters 95, 34, 192
Severe weather 45
Siege of Silistria (illustration) 107
Schooner Harbinger 195
Sheep-stealing 7
Sheepwash bridge 151
Shipping arrivals 195
Shoreham Excursion 225
“Smiler” to be sold 165
Society of Arts in union 7
Soliloquy on Old Warm Baths 29-30
Soldiers families 64
Slanderous reports 145
Sleigh ride 45
Site of Old Lighthouse 14
Special relief fund 192
Spectral phenomena 152
Strange runaway 225
Stoppage of West-hill path 160a, 165
Street lighting 10
Stone steps and crossings 2, 15, 17
Stanhope Place drainage difficulty 41
Surveyor’s enlarged sphere 25
Surveyor, want of confidence in 170
Surveyor’s “extras” demurred to 160,160a
Sureties for rate collector called upon 206


Tackleway improvement 23, 30
Territorial question 54
Tivoli fetes 146-147
Thanks to ex Surveyor Putland 14
The sea frozen 150
The “Wizard of the South” 147
[ v ]“The Soldier’s Dream” (illustrated) 130
Towns Improvement Association 155, 156
Town Council Meetings 10 to 31
Town Clerk’s “extras” objected to 14
Troup’s promised generosity 160
Turbulent Vestry meetings 175-178, 181-183


Vestry Meetings (St. Leonards) 42, 141, 142
Vestry Meetings[a] (St. Mary Magdalen) 43, 143, 144
Vestry Meetings[a] St. Mary in the Castle 175-178, 181-183
Vestry Meetings[a] Other parishes 72,73
Vital statistics 74-77
View of Kertolo 251
Volunteers at a premium 89
Viscount Chewton 69


Water supply 23, 26, 65, 160a
Waterworks manager discharged 160
Western Waterworks 8
Watering ​road​s 25
Welcome home of Captain McClure from the Arctic Regions 79-85
Welcome home of Jeremiah Smith 86-88
Wellington Square 163
War with Russia 102-139 & 226 to 279
Widening the parade & ​road​ 17
“Who stops the Way?” 223
Why Council meetings called special 64
[ - ]

Brett's Manuscript History Volume Five


Chapter Forty Nine St. Leonards 1853 Page 1

Application from the Hastings Local Board to the St. Leonards Commission re drainage The Commissioners' reply- St. Leonards Coal dues Stone crossings (some to be relaid and some to be taken up) Sea-wall to be repointed Groynes to be altered Groynes to be repaired Pigs to be removed as a nuisance. Commissioners disqualified and others elected, Notice that a resolution of the Local Board respecting alteration of groynes had been rescinded Parochial officers of St. Leonards. Ditto of St. Mary Magdalen Rates and new assessments St. Leonards and St. Mary Magdalen Vestries Cemetery movements - Mechanics Institution and its unique Exhibition Mechanics Institution affiliated on the Society of Arts Melancholy deaths and Coroner's Inquests Sheep-stealing Drowning cases Horticultural exhibitions Prize meeting of the Queen's St. Leonards Archers Confirmations. Mrs. Smith convicted of manslaughter for fatally stabbing her ng her hush Sentenced to ten years transportation, but died in gaol. husband.

Chapter Fifty: Hastings 1853 Page 10

Contents: (See also general index) Town Council meetings pages 10- 31 Street lighting, 10 payment of map, 10-11-& 15-16 Baths and Washhouses, 11 District rates, 2,26,37 Cavendish place 12- Putland's resignation, 12-His successor,13 Thanks to ex-Surveyor, 14 Site of old lighthouse, 14 Town Clerk's "extras", 14 Financial a/cs. 14 Steps and crossings, 15 15 Pelham Place improvement, 16- Drainange, 16 & 21 26 Cinque Ports privileges, 16 Custom House 17, 22, 28 Crier's fees, 17 Widening parade and road, 17 Removal of rocks, 18 Watch house 19, 22 Condolence (strange proceedings), 20 Election of Alderman, 20 20 Leanstock show, 20, 36 Cemetery required, 21 Parade improvement, 21 Chalk-road groyne, 19- Old Warm Baths, 22,27,29,30 "Tackleway improvement, 23,30 Water supply, 23, 30 Naming of houses, 21, 23 to to 25 Watering roads, 25 'Surveyor's enlarged sphere, 25 Rise in rates, 26 Condemned Hole, 28 Queen Elizabeth's Charter, 28 Encroachments, 31 Balls, concerts & lectures, 31 to 36 School treats, 34 Mechanics' Institution, 34 Atheneum, 35 Literary Institution 35 Board of Guardians, 35 Gas Company, 35 Cinque ports pilots, 36 Carpenters' strike, 36- Printers' demands 36 Proposed new road, 36 Building operations, 36- Mayor at church 36 Cost of negligence, 37 Death of Sir Godfrey Webster, 37 Magdalen Church, 37 Fishing, 37 Accidents, 38- Burglaries, 39 Rowing matches, 39 From Australia, 39-40.

Chapter Fifty One St. Leonards 1854 Page 41

Contents: Transactions of the Commissioners and parish offers Appointment of a Burial Board Difficulties in the search of site for a cemetery Severe weather and a trying winter The distressed poor Accidents Sudden deaths The Baltic fliet The Jasper gun-boat destroyed by fire off St. Leonards and Hastings Collections for those engaged in war Horticultural shows A sleigh ride in the snowy streets - Railways blocked Fall of Sebastopol Archery meetings The autumn season Public bands The St. Leonards Mechanics Institution Lectures [ - ]

Manuscript History Volume Five continued

Chapter Fifty One continued

in conncection therewith Postal arrangements An attempt to get the St. Leonards post-office abolished For and against memorials there- upon Humurous and serious letters concerning the same."

Chapter Fifty Two Hastings 1854

Contents (See also general index) Town Council meetings, pages 56 to 70 police tipling, 56 Removal of boats, 56 District Page 55 rates, 56, Advertising, 56 Groynes, 56 Parade seats, 56- General drainage plans exhibited 56 Plan approved, 58 Finance condition, 57 "No hurry" 58 "No delay", 59 "Intermediate action", 59 Briathwaite's high charges, 60 Memorial to proceed- 62 More objections, 62, Putland dispapproves, 63 Another claim 61 Petition for delay 61 Rating the poor, 64 New road at Wallinger's Walk proposed, 65 Water supply, 65 Cinque Ports' jurisdiction, 66 No educational help, 66 Numbering of houses, 67 New Fishmarket, 67 Ironstone 67 Defensive works, 68 Market room, 68 Viscount Chewton 69 East parade 69 Pier wardens, 69 Choosing Mayor 69 Curious potato 71 Escape from gaol, 70- burglaries and robberies, 71 72 Vestry meetings, 72, 73 The fishery, 73,74 Maritime Hy Went Tree, Joseph Simmons, Distressed poor, 71, 73 Relief fund, Herrings, 73 Coal famine, 73, 74 casualties, 74 -Deaths of "Blind Tom", Musgrave Brisco, Mrs. Lloyd Shoesmith, Samuel Phillips, John Banks, "Old Humphrey & Mrs Simmonds 75 to 77 -Vital statistics, 74, 77 Census tables 77 Accidents, 77,78 Dinners 78 to 88 Welcome home to Capt. McClure, 79,80,85- Welcome home to Jeremiah Smith, 86, 88 Balls, concerts and entertainments, 88 An outlaw's dividend, 89 New magistrates, 89 Coastguards exodus, 89 Volunteers at a premium, 89- A daring feat, 90 Removal of baths, 90 Chap. LII. The Infirmary, 90 Gas company's new Bill, 90 Chalybeate spring, 90 Anti- Church-rate movement. 91 Annual Lamb Fair, 91 The right of way, 91 Schools, 95, Guy Fawkes scrimmage, 91 An Irish wake 91 Early closing, 98 Mechanics Institution, 95, 96 Atheneum 96, Literary Institution, 97 Hastings Regatta, 139 Church matters, 928 Proposed cemetery, 93 Board of Guardians, 94, Ellsworth's Charity, 98 Postal contention, 99,100,101,102 The Russian War. Letters from Hastings men serving thereat, Local articles, poems, etc., together with pictorial representations (26 engravings), and other special information, compiled from the "Hastings News" and the St. Leonards. Penny Press, 102 to 139.

Chapter Fifty Three St. Leonards 1855 Page 140

Contents: (See also general index) Meetings and transactions of the St. Leonards Commissioners, pages 140 and 141 Vestry meetings and Burial Board proceedings of Leonards parish, 141-142 Ditto of St. Mary Magdalen parish 143-144 Local Health statistics, 144- Slanderous reports refuted, 145 Royal Visitors sojourn, 145-146 Concerts and other amusements, 146-147 Mechanics Institution and its progress, 148-149 Atmospheric, Celestial and metereological phenomena, 149 to 152 prize meetings & the Queen's Royal St. Leonards Archers, 153 & 154 The Parochial Schools, 154 Founding of the St. Mary Magdalen Schools, 154 & 153 Proposed Towns Improvement [ - ]

Manuscript History Volume Five continued.

Chapter Fifty Three continued

Association, 155 & 156 Collections, Offertories, etc., 155 Railway matters (Great fall on the Hastings and Tonbridge route, & the line obstructed for six months) 157 R -Railway accidents (personal) 157 Robberies, etc., 158 Antiquarian discovery, 158 Flower show, 158 Repairing the Martello Towers 158 Fetes and pyrotechnics at the Tivoli Te Tea-Gardens, 146 & 147 The St. Leonards Choral Society, 147 147 153. The St. Leonards Choral Society, 147 The "Wizard of the South", Lectures, various, 148 Phenomenon, 152 Destructive thunderstorm,

Chapter Fifty Four Hastings 1855 Page 158a

Contents (See also Index) General Drainage, pages 159,165,169 Prejudice against the Surveyor, 159 Want of confidence vote, 170- Sheepwash Bridge, 161 The Foyster Legacies, 161-2 Bill posting, 163 -Hastings & St. Vallery communication, 163 Railway matters, 164-5 Parade seats, 165 Election of Mayor, 168 Assessment returns, 169 Vestry Burial-Board meetings (Turbulence and personalities) 171 to 188 School items, 191 Collections, various 192 Special Relief Fund, 192 The Fishery (Marvellous and enormous catch of Herrings), 193- Four-masted ship, 196 The Annual Regatta, 196 Surveyors "extras" objected to, 100 Troup's promised generosity, 160 Borough rates, 100 Water supply 160a -Waterworks manager's defalcations and discharge, 160 Town Council's petition to the Queen to assume the functions of a Burial-Board granted, 160a, & 162 to 166 Cemetery question, 164 Distances to cemetery site, 166- Enlarged Burial Board, 168 In search of cemetery site, 171 A site at last, 166 Cemetery plans, 171- Fencing cemetery ground, 168 Wellington Square, 163 Charities Trustees, 164 Deaths of Archdeacon Hare, Mrs. Frederick North, Rev. W. Davis, Rev.J.G.Foyter, Count de Vandes and Mr. Hoof 188 to 191 Death memorials, 191 Market tolls, 165 Corn-dealers' memorial, 167 Westhill path obstructed, 165; Removal of same ordered, 166- "Smiler" to be sold, 165 Great gale and high tide (cause and effect), 194 Shipping arrivals & landing of passengers from abroad, 195 The schooner Herbinger, 195 King of the Belgians at Hastings, 19 197 - Prince Albert and the Queen at Hastings, 198 The Pett Clerical case (Rev. R.West sus suspended) 201-203 Early closing and early rising, 207 to 2011 Proposed Holy Trinity Church, 311 Municipal Elections (remarkable addresses) 212 Political Partnership condemned, 214-217 Accidents, 224 Curiosities, 225 "England a naval power", 196- Church rates defeated ated, 204 to 206 Mechanics Institution, 198-200 Literary Institution, 200 Rate-collector's defalcation (sureties called upon,) 206 Inquests and Burglaries, 224 The H.I.P.S. severely censured, 219-223 The Russian War, with numerous letters from Hastings, men serving thereat, together with local articles, poems, diary of events, and six illustration, making 32 with those given in chapter LII. This History of the war, as compiled from local sources (Hastings News) and St. Leonards Penny Press) is altogether. unique pages 226 to 279,

Vol. Five End

[ 1 ]

Chapter XLIX St. Leonards 1853

Commissioners’ Meetings 1853

The first meeting of the year 1853 was held at the Victoria Hotel on the 31st of January, when it was decided to leave the question of liability to pay for the local Board map, over (of which there had been so much contention) to the decision of Mr Turner, the County Court Judge. The any other business was a resolution to reduce the assessment on Mr Mann’s house at Mount Pleasant by £15, and on that of Mr Chapman’s at Mercatoria from £15 to £12.
Draining Stanhope Place. At the meeting held on the 24th March, when there were present Messrs A and D Burton, Rev. G. D. St. Quintin, Mr Carey and Mr Chester, it was agreed that Mr Smith should be allowed to drain his 14 houses at Stanhope Place into the main sewer at a charge of 4d in the pound, instead of 6d as at first demanded. The said houses being outside of the Commissioners’ jurisdiction and rated to the Local Board of Health. Mr Smith would be thus helped out of 
[ 2 ]his dilemma, noticed in a previous chapter. The owners of 8-11 Mercatoria were to be permitted also to drain on the same terms, and the same rule to apply to a house on the west side of the Archery Gardens, which Lady Boothby had given notice of her intention to build.

Coal Dues. At the meeting on June 24th, it was stated that the coal duties which had been put up by auction not having commanded the reserve price, were bought in at £250. They were sold, last year, for £275.

Stone Crossing. Mrs Mills having applied for the stone crossing at 57 Marina to be removed to avoid noise in her delicate state of health, the request was granted on the condition that the removal be at her own expense, and its restoration also if required.

New Assessments. Resolutions were passed for the following new assessments:-

25 East Ascent £30 Mrs Braham’s 80 Marina £120
Mr Turner’s new house at the Fountain £18 Mr Simmons’s 81 “ £120

Sea Wall etc. At the meeting on August the 1st, an order was given to re-point the sea-wall nearly opposite the church, and to relay the crossing on the east side of the Victoria Hotel.

Can you help us! Such, in effect was an application by the Local Board of health to the St. Leonards Commissioners at a time when the former were persistently pursuing, in various ways, an imperious attitude towards the latter. The same kind of spirit was evinced when Mr Smith, finding that his 14 new houses at Stanhope Place were rated to the Local Board, naturally applied to that Board for the means of draining them, and received in reply the cold comfort that if people built houses where there was no drainage they must put up with the consequence. The Local Board appeared to forget that Mr Smith was a pioneer builder on land which had theretofore not required any drainage appliances; also that the drainage of new, as well as old habitations was the great sanitary object for which the Town Council obtained the additional powers as a Local Board of Health. Mr Smith, in his dilemma, allowed the soil to run from his houses into the St. Leonards Mews and was summonsed for the same, but the summons was dismissed, the magistrates declaring that the St. Leonards Commissioners had no jurisdiction. If, however, Mr Smith had not afterwards availed himself of the Commissioners’ offer to drain into their sewer, the case would have been carried to a higher Court, where either Mr Smith or the Local Board might have found that the Commissioners had at least a jurisdiction against the committal of nuisances. But, now for the application received from Mr John Phillips, acting for the Town Clerk, who was then ill.

“Gentlemen – there is a considerable tract of land within the district of the Local Board of Health to the north of the limits of the St. Leonards Commissioners’ Improvement Act which has its natural drainage for surface water to the sea through the sewers of your Commission, which must of necessity be continued. As, however, houses continue to be built upon the [ 3 ]district of the Local Board, so, a proper receptacle must be provided for the drainage soil of such houses, which according to the natural fall of the land must also be conveyed through your commission. I am therefore directed by the Local Board to apply to you on what terms the Local Board may have the use of your sewers for such soil drainage? The only three connections required are, I believe, at or near the Park, the North Lodge and north of the Mews."

The terms resolved upon were 4d in the pound on the poor-rate, the connections to be made at the expense of the Local Board, and power reserved to cancel the agreement at any time should the sewerage become too great, or the cancelling to be necessitated by any other cause.

Change of Commissioners Robert Holland, Esq (late MP) W D Davies, Esq and Mr. T. Brown having become disqualified, a public meeting was held on the 29th of September, and the following gentlemen were elected to fill up the vacancies:- Sir Woodbine Parish, James Coster Esq., and Arthur Ogle Esq.

On the same day, after the public meeting, the Commissioners held their quarterly meeting, and accepted Burchell and Welch’s tender of £31 5s. for paving 117 to 121 Marina. They also agreed to pay half the cost of paving, kerbing and draining Mr Batstone’s new house at West Marina.

Sanitation In consequence of the cholera epidemic in many parts of England, the Commissioners resolved that there be a committee for sanitary purposes and that the vigilance of the Surveyor be specially urged for the removal of nuisances.

Altering Groynes. At a special meeting on the 1st of December, a communication was received from Mr Phillips (acting for the Town Clerk, who was ill) as follows:-

“Gentlemen, I am desired by the Council of the Borough of Hastings, to inform you that they have had a survey made of the groynes within the limit of the Local Board with a view to their alteration and improvement, and have been recommended to lower the upper part of their groynes in order to permit a larger accumulation of shingle to take place. They have accordingly given directions to Mr Gant, their surveyor, to reduce the height of several of their groins, and in order to further the intended improvement, they are advised that it is necessary to have the groin near the Archway, belonging to the St. Leonards Commissioners, reduced in height in the same manner. I am therefore directed to ask you to be pleased to order that the above mentioned groin be reduced one foot in height at the distance of 50 feet from the parade wall, and from thence on a regular inclined plane into the sand; and that the groin be cut down horizontally to the distance of 50 feet from the wall.”

The Commissioners’ Reply. The object of the communication was well [ 4 ]discussed and a resolution passed

“That the Commissioners, having regard to the reported proceedings of the Council (Mr Ross’s motion to claim a right to the stone-beach as far as Bulverhithe) , which they apprehend were intended to declare not only the beach, but the groins between the east end of St. Leonards and the Priory wall the property of the Corporation, the effect of which in the future maintenance of the groins would be an illegal application of the Borough Fund, and would be palpably inequitable towards the district of St. Leonards, which has to bear the expense of its own groins, the Commissioners can give no definite reply to Mr Phillips’s letter until the more important question raised by the proceedings referred to be settled. And they desire to call the attention of the Council to the fact that whoever may be the owners of the beach within the district of the Local Board of Health, the erection and maintenance of groins is committed to the management of the Local Board of Health, and therefore they must express their decided opinion that the Council cannot legally or equitably apply the Borough fund in the maintenance of groins belonging to the Local Board.’

This reply, though adopted was not sent until after the general meeting on the 23rd of December, when it was resolved “That Mr. Phillips’s letter of the 23rd of November be now replied to, and that Mr. Phillips be informed that the groyne near the Archway is very old, and the Commissioners find that any alteration of it would be injudicious; also that when it may be necessary to put down a new one, the Commissioners will be happy to give the application of the Local Board their best consideration.

Pigs a nuisance. Mr Batstone having complained of the nuisance of pigs kept by Stephen Turner and Stanton Noakes at the back of houses in Fountain Road, an order was resolved upon that such nuisance be immediately removed. At the same time Mr Batstone was to be reminded that Mr Charles Young’s tender of £68 10s for draining his house had not been acted upon in consequence of himself not being willing to bear any part of the expense.

The Commissioners’ rate was passed as usual, and the groins 2 and 3, as reckoned from the east end of the town, were ordered to be repaired. Mr Batstone was also to be made to understand that he must now drain his house himself. Mr Wellsted was also requested to attend to his drains at East Ascent.

Further Sanitary Precautions.The meeting resolved that notice be sent to the Board of Guardians that the Commissioners would be glad to co-operate in any steps that were desirable to be taken for the prevention of the cholera epidemic in this locality.

Resolution Rescinded. Another communication was received from Mr Phillips, which stated that at their meeting on the 2nd of December the Local Board rescinded their former resolution relative to repairing the Eversfield groins with the Borough funds, to which the Commissioners objected.
[ 5 ]

Parochial Matters 1853

The St. Leonards vestry meetings during 1853 were held at the Railway Terminus Inn, the new house that superseded the old wayside inn known as the “New England Bank”, the said new house now more appropriately named “Bopeep Hotel”.

Parochial Officers. At the meeting on the 29th of March the persons named for overseers were Wm Paine, Richard Lamb, Richard Gausden and Charles Farncomb. The inbounds assessors were Messrs. Noon and Parks, and the outbounds assessors were C. Farncomb and W. Draper. The surveyors were Robt. Deudney and W. Draper. Mr J. Phillips was re-elected Vestry clerk and Messrs. Bird, Gower and Catt were appointed constables. It was resolved that Mr Paine be paid £12 per year for collecting borough rates, poor rates and highway rates.

Rates and Assessments. At the meeting on September 29th, a borough rate at 3½d and a poor rate at 3d. were agreed to. Lady Boothby’s new house was assessed at £100 (gross), and John Batstone’s new house at £45. Mrs Moore’s house on the West Hill was raised from £105 to £110; Wm Paine’s from £70 to £80 (gross), Wm Bennett’s, Marina Inn, from £30 to £40, and Sir Woodbine Parish’s from £225 to £240 (gross).

A New Cemetery. At the meeting on Nov 11th, with the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, as chairman, it was resolved “That it is expedient and desirable to provide a new cemetery for the parish, under the provisions of the late Act, 16 & 17 vic. c. 134; and that it is the opinion of this vestry that it would be desirable to concur with other parishes in the borough in providing a general cemetery, if a suitable site can be selected; and that with this view the overseers are requested to confer with other parish officers, that a vestry may be called to more fully consider the subject” Among the parishioners present were the Rev. G. D. St. Quintin, the Rev. J. A. Hatchard, A. Burton Esq., and Capt Hull.

The Magdalen Vestries.

The Magdalen parochial meetings were variously held at the Bricklayer’s Arms, the Albert Inn, the Horse and Groom, the Coach and Horses, the Derby Arms, the Warriors’ Gate Inn, and the Norman Hotel.

Selection of Officers. At the first meeting on the 28th of March, with C. T. How in the chair, the persons named for overseers were Samuel Sinden, Charles Paine, Newton Parks, Wm Hunter and James Ball. Mr C. N. Levett was again appointed collector of the borough rate at a remuneration of 6½d in the pound. A committee was formed to wait on Mr Everett, collector of the highway rate, and demand settlement.

The only business transacted on April 7th, was the passing of a borough rate at 3d in the pound. At the meeting, a week later, Mr S. Putland took the chair, when the overseers borough a/cs were audited and a balance of £10 15s 6d paid over to the new overseers Paine and Sinden. The Collectors a/c was also audited, and found to leave £25 7s 7d in hand. Mr Levett consented to be the collector for another year. [ 6 ]At the next meeting, April 7th, all that the eight persons accomplished was to agree upon a poor-rate at 3d in the pound; the same sum for a similar rate being also figured at the September meeting. At a later meeting in the same month an order was received from the Mayor to collect £232 16s for a borough-rate, at 3d in the pound.

The Cemetery Movement. At a meeting on the 17th of November, with the Rev. W. W. Hume presiding, a resolution was passed similar to that of the St. Leonards Vestry – namely “That it is expedient that this parish concur with other parishes in providing a general cemetery, and that the overseers, together with Mr. S. Putland, confer with other parishes for that purpose”.

The Mechanics' Institution 1853

Although the Literary Institution at Hastings was under difficulties and the Mechanics’ Institution of that town appeared to be declining, the kindred society at St. Leonards was steadily progressing, and at its quarterly meeting on the 24th of February, the Secretary (Mr. C. T. How) in submitting the Committee’s report showed that the withdrawal of members was fewer than the additions. The thanks of the meeting were voted to those gentlemen and other residents of the town and neighbourhood who contributed to the late successful exhibition. The Treasurer’s ordinary a/c showed a favourable balance of £5 9s, whilst the receipts from the Exhibition were £185 10s 2d, and the expenses £102 0s 9d leaving a balance of £83 9s 5d in favour of the Institution. A vote of thanks was also passed to those members of the Institution (T. B. Brett, J. Skinner, P. Hook and others) who so zealously aided the special committee in the important work of the Exhibition; and another sub-committee was formed for looking out a site for a new ​building​. A warm discussion, however, ensued on the alleged excess of power indulged in by the Exhibition Committee in acting imperiously against the wish of the general committee and that of the public to keep the show open for another week, when visitors thereto were increasing and additional exhibits (not in the catalogue) were being offered. The abrupt refusal of the committee to give the opportunity to see the Exhibition by persons who were increasingly coming from provincial towns and villages, and to the prospective benefit of the Institution, led to considerable unpleasantness, and to the resignation of the Secretary. This unique and well arranged exhibition, which occupied the entire ​building​ of the St. Leonards Assembly Rooms, was pronounced to be the best show of its kind ever held in the borough. It consisted of superb paintings, and other works of Art, ancient armoury, geological specimens, autographs, inventions, needle work, curious productions, etc., accompanied by lectures, music etc. details of which will be found in the separate “History of the Mechanics’ Institution.”
[ 7 ] In the same rooms, and in connection with the Institution, Mr Marriott delivered an able lecture on Phrenology, on the 16th of March.

The Society of Arts. This Institution was one of the 270 societies in union with the Society of Arts, to which Mr. A. Burton, as our own President, paid an annual subscription of two guineas. That gentleman, on the 9th of June was present with other delegates at a conference of the Society of Arts, and on the following day a special train conveyed the whole party to the Crystal Palace. The next day, which was Wednesday, found the delegates by invitation at the Mansion House, there to enjoy the proceedings at a conversation.

A fact for the Curious. There were many curiosities at the local exhibition referred to in connection with the Institution, but not any of so personal a nature as the following:- A funeral took place at Bexhill, in the same year, remarkable for its circumstances. The name of the deceased was Philadelphia, the wife or widow of John Christian, and her age was 77 years. The bearers were four Savages and the followers were seven Christians – seven of the ten sons of whom she was the mother. (Vide “The Brooks of Bexhill and Hastings”)

Inquests at St. Leonards

A Melancholy Death. On the 20th May, an assistant to Mr Robert Hempsted, chemist, of 14 Grand Parade, named Frances Mott, (a son of the same named person at Brighton) committed suicide by taking Prussic acid. His age was 18 years, and at the inquest Mr Hempsted said the youth was very circumspect and temperate in his habits, and so punctual in everything, that he was very fond of him. He could not in any way account for the rash act, nor for the writing in pencil on the back of a letter, which was as follows:- “Oh pa! Grieve not for me; I have been so wicked. It is better, I am sure, not to live at all than to go the way I have been. I have had every wish gratified, but not satisfied. I have had the best master and mistress in the world – so kind to me. Oh, bless them, I pray thee father. Goodbye dearest father. Pray for me.” The young man had gone to his room after breakfast to dress for the day, and had come down and staggered in a dying state at the door leading into the shop.

Drowning Cases. Inquests were held on the 25th and 27th of June respectively on Alfred Harland, 11 years of age, who was drowned while bathing near 40 Martello Tower, west of St. Leonards, and John Bundock, better known as “Margate Jack” who was drowned while bathing at Rock-a-Nore, East of Hastings.


A sheep was stolen during the night of June 3rd, at the back of Warrior Square. The animal, which belonged to Peter Banks, was slaughtered on the spot, and the skin left in the field. A reward of £10 was offered. [ 8 ]

Western Waterworks - Archery Meetings - Confirmations

Western Waterworks

In reply to remarks made at a Council meeting, Mr. Chas. Clark, for himself and Mr. Eversfield, published a statement, which asserts, positively, that an abundant supply would be furnished throughout the year, of water which for pureness and softness, reference was kindly permitted to Dr. Blakiston and Dr. Duke, the two most eminent physicians in the borough. Also that use was wanted to be found for the thousands of gallons that daily ran to waste. At the same time a correspondent of the Hastings News, stated that there were some excellent springs, a little to the west of Ore church that might be made available for the town, and probably, also, abundant water might be found in the neighborhood of the Priory valley at a greater altitude than that of the Gasworks.

Horticultural Society

The Hastings and St. Leonards Horticultural Society held their first meeting for the season, on the 30th June, in the St. Leonards Subscription (now the Public) Gardens, kindly lent by Mr. Burton for the occasion. The day was fine, the show was good, and the proceedings were enlivened by Brett’s St. Leonards Band.

Archery Meetings

The season was opened as usual by the Queen’s St. Leonards Archers, on her Majesty’s natal day, May 24th, when the prizes were carried off by Mrs Bramley, Mr Knapp, Mrs H. Wood and Mr G Willis.

At another meeting, on July 23rd, Mr A Foord won the Gentlemen’s prize, and Mrs Yeoman the Ladies’ prize.

The grand meeting was held, according to custom, on the 17th of August, in honour of the Duchess of Kent’s birthday, when the gold bracelet and silver cup were won by Mrs Yeoman and Mr Knapp respectively.


The rite of confirmation at the church of St. Mary Magdalen was performed on the 29th of June on 273 young persons; that parish contributing 69, St. Leonards 48, St. Mary-in-the-Castle 117, Ore 25, and Hollington 14. On the following day, confirmation was administered to 200 persons at All Saints church. St. Mary Magdalen’s being a new church, it would be readily understood that this would be its first use for confirmation service, but it is not easy to account for it having been the first time that the same rite was performed at so old a church as that of All Saints, as it was believed to be. [ 9 ]

Public Bands.

Grimm’s German Band was engaged for the season to play for St. Leonards, within the Archway, whilst Young’s German Band was engaged to play at Hastings, the latter commencing on the 10th of July. Brett’s Hastings and St. Leonards Brass Band, then in a state of efficiency, took up its station in various parts of both towns, but mainly between the two – namely Eversfield Place, Grand Parade and Warrior Square, where it was well patronised by those who preferred what they called “home musical talent”.

A Murder.

At the Sussex Summer Assizes, Sarah Smith, aged 43, was sentenced to ten years transportation for the murder, or, according to the indictment, the manslaughter of her husband by stabbing him in the breast during a drunken quarrel at Harold Mews, St. Leonards. The man was a shoemaker, and the woman appeared to feel no remorse when sentence was passed upon her. She was not, however sent out of the country, because no order was received by the gaol authorities from the Secretary of State. She was probably in bad health, which terminated in death in the gaol infirmary on the 4th of June, 1854, twelve months after the crime for which she was to suffer was committed.


  1. a b c d e f Brett used ditto here, but it is expanded for clarity - Editor

Transcribed by Sally Morris