Manuscript History of Hastings and St. Leonards Vol 1

From Historical Hastings

Index to Contents of Volume One 1828 - 34

This is a transcription of the contents of Thomas Brandon Brett's Manuscript History of Hastings & St Leonards Vol 1.[1]

Chapter One: St. Leonards 1828-29 Page 2

Commencement of the town (pg. 2)
Laying the first stone (pg. 3)
Ravages of the sea (pg. 3)
Appalling Thunderstorm (pg. 3)
Its site, the Bullrush pond or Old Womans Tap (pg. 3)
Legendary lore of the Conqueror's Stone and its removal (pg. 3)
57 Marina the first house completed (pg. 4)
Other erections in 1828 and 1829 (pg. 4)
Superb dinner, ball, pyrotechnics and other celebrations (pg. 4)
A view of the Conqueror's table (pg. 3); also of the Royal Victoria Hotel as first designs (pg. 4)
A ludicrous mishap – The men who brought the first load of timber and the first load of stone-lime (pg. 5)
Fatal accidents (pg. 5)
Daily supply of 300 quarts of milk (pg. 5)
A novel sign-board (pg. 5)
Notice to quit squatterland (pg. 5)
Great reversal of population (pg. 5)
A memorable frost (pg. 5)
Storms, floods and fall of five houses (pg. 5)
Numerous Accidents - First Born Children - New Road (pg. 6)
Interpolatory Obituary of Mr. Samuel Chester.[a]

Chapter Two: Hastings 1828-29 Page 9

Fatal smuggling conflict (pg. 11)
Conviction and transportation of the smugglers (pg. 11)
A violent storm and its effects (pg. 12)
Court of Record (pg. 12)
Great Fall of cliff (pg. 11)
Choosing Mayor and other officers(pg. 16)
Erection of 1 to 6 Breeds Place (pg. 12)
Accidents and offences (pg. 11)
Launching of cutters (pg. 13)
Anchoring of an emigrant ship and a brig of war(pg. 13)
Exciting galley race (pg. 13)
The Theatre at Ore (pg. 12)
A new coach (pg. 12)
Visibility of the French coast (pg. 12)
Concerts at the Arcade(pg. 13)
Appalling thunderstorm(pg. 13)
Prize fight between Wood and Whiteman (pg. 13)
Hastings Races and the aeronaught Green (pg. 13)
Burglaries and robberies (pg. 13)
160 night watchmen (pg. 13)
Turning out the old year and ushering in the new (pg. 17)
Death of Tomsett and appointment of Shorter as Town Clerk(pg. 16)
Settling Dinners(pg. 18)
Smuggling seizures (pg. 13)
The Blue Room at the Ship (pg. 18)
Comptroller Bevil (pg. 15)
The Condemned Hole (pg. 15) (pg. 16)
Co-operative Stores (pg. 14)
Desperate fight by Whiteman and Neve (pg. 15)
The beadle Chatfield (pg. 15)
The new yacht "Atlanta” (pg. 15)
Lasher's and Saunders Charities (pg. 15)
St. Mary's Chapel defective (pg. 16) Fatal fires (pg. 15)
Sales of stonebeach and paying for new Town Hall, new Light House, etc. (pg. 16)
Corporation demands for encroachments (pg. 17) The Town Walk and Hundred Court (pg. 17)
Extensive bankruptcies. (pg. 17)

Chapter Three: St. Leonards 1830 Page 18

Lady Lubbock's arrival from the French Revolution
The first religious services
Quadrangle Chapel
Application to Parliament for a church
Burton's boundary wall
Erection of Lavatoria
Removal of the barrier (in 1841)
Removal of the Archway – Harold Hotel
Rivalry and jealousy
First fox-hunt
The St Leonards Tap
Daring act of smuggling
Incidents and accidents – Rapid building
The first three years' erections.

Chapter Four: Hastings 1830 Page 21

Gas works began
Six weeks frost
Brilliant aurora
Prevalence of, poaching burglary and incendiarism
Wreck of a French fishing boat
Opening of the Dispensary
Ball at the Swan Hotel and a criticism thereon in rhyme
Smugglers' losses
Suicides and fatal accidents
Emigrants leaving Hastings
Mr North elected mayor
Addresses by Ottway Cave and J. Ashley Warre on people's rights
Destruction of the Croft railings; £50 reward
A general demand of the scot-and-lot men to be made freemen, the example having been set by the townsmen of Rye: Success of the Ryers, but defeat of the Hastingers
Political movement and enthusiastic reception of Col. De-Lacy-Evans
Proclamation of William IV – Non-successful petition against the return of Planta and Fane
The Bourne street theatre re-opened
Moneys demanded from persons who had built property on the sea-beach
A poacher fatally shot
Successive owners and tenants of Bohemia Farm, erection of the mansion and the residence there at of the Princess Sophia of Gloucester
Medical controversy on the death of John Woodhams
Demands of agricultural labourers
Epistolary contention on the proposed removal of Beach Cottages.

Chapter Five: St.Leonards 1831 Page 34

Departures from original designs
Arrival of the Princess Sophia
Laying memorial stone of the church by Her Royal Highness
Grand dinner and fete
Roasting an ox
Damaging storms
Fall of five houses
Six weeks' frost
St.Leonards beadle and an amusing incident
Races at Bulverhythe and Bopeep
First bachelor's ball
Mike Wood, the athlete
Boats and bathing machines
Mounted patrols
Smuggling fatalities
A Hastings M.P. and the Bristol Riots
The Conqueror and Harold Hotels
Poetic vision of the town
Erection of the Colonnade
First residents thereat ~ Faggot roads
Rough travelling over the
Presents to the first three native born children
Deaths of early inhabitants
The first Hastings and St. Leonards races
Accidents to workmen
The French coast visible
Incendiarism: a man wrongfully hanged
Sunday newspaper readings
Hastings money tokens
Commencement of "St.Leonards Without"
The sea's non-encroachment
Adelaide Place and Goats Point
Finding of war instruments and other relics
Stage coaches and their drivers
New road from St.Leonards
New coach to London, beating the old ones by two hours
The "Doctress" Dabney
Mr. Burton's tollgate
The Commissioners' Improvement Act obtained
Maze Hill formed
Miss Burton's residence: her death at 91 years
Fall of another house
The Gardens laid out
A man of many pursuits
An eccentric Colonel
A timely warning
Doings at Quarry Castle.

Chapter Six: Hastings 1831 Page;14

Smuggling fatalities
Political meetings and dinners
Parliamentary Reform
Five candidates to represent Hastings and Rye, with rioting at the latter
Terrible riots at Bristol caused by a farmer. Hastings M.P., and nearly 500 persons killed
Life sketches of Sir Charles Wetherall and Col. de Lacy Evans
Population of Hastings
Making of 276 freemen
Copy of the decree of 1725
Names of the new freemen
Death of the Iris newspaper
Accidents, incidents and miscellaneous occurrences. Completion of the Gas Works
Proceedings of the Corporation.

Chapter Seven: St. Leonards 1832 Page 55

Memoirs of Lady Boothby and family
More about Quarry Castle
Sir Woodbine Parish; his family; his various services under Government
Swimming Baths
Curious church bell
Hook's Tabernacle
Building of West Ascent
Marvelously low rents
Township jealousy
More events
The submerged "Amsterdam"
A facetious huckster and his practical jokes
Storms, wrecks, and accidents
Sir Godfrey Webster's "One-two-three"
Additional buildings
The early Royalty and Nobility
Revival of Hawking by the Grand Falconer
Inundations and tenantless property
An acoustical rarity
The New England Bank
Bopeep Fair
The Fountain
Memorials in St Leonards Cemetery
Opening of St Leonards Church
More encounters
Finding a smuggler's skeleton
Fatal conflicts
Reform demonstrations
The Grand Reform Banquet (full details)
Mysterious disappearance of the “American" banner
A marvelous dancing crush at an election ball
The St. Leonards Assembly Rooms.
Frederick North, M.P.
Sir Howard Elphinstone (1773-1846), M.P.
Further extension of the town
A gay season
The first baker's oven
The Rev. Joseph Wood
Distinguished visitors: Royalty and Nobility
Two views of the Marina and two of the Assembly Rooms.

Chapter Eight: Hastings 1832 Page 63

Investigation of the Charities
Corrective items in 1781, 1787, 1796, 1801, 1807 & 1809
The Chancery suit
£1232 borrowed for defending the suit, and more than £1000 otherwise paid to the Chancery Court
A gift by Mr. Milward of £492 to the Corporation. Explanation of the Drowned lands. Successive schoolmasters
The Enquiry of 1832, and report of committee
Death of C.S. Crouch, 8 times Mayor
Reform celebrations
Important political and: municipal changes
The Commissioners' new Act obtained and the old one repealed
Deaths and fatal accidents
An exciting race
a violent hurricane
Arrival of the Duke, Duchess and Prince George of Cumberland for 6 months
First election under the provisions of the Reform Bill. political dinners, balls, etc.

Chapter Nine: St. Leonards 1833 Page 82

Turbulent weather and property in danger
Continued jealousy between town and town.
Parry's prophetic remarks
Extremely low rents and rates
A street discussion
Magdalen parish with only 3 ratepayers
An Election ball
The first Reform Parliament
Destruction of the House of Commons
Arrival of Royalty
A four-horse omnibus
Riding "Squimirington" by "Tawnser" Adams and “Jemmy" Hyland
Coach-competition: a ride of 40 miles for a shilling[2]
political galley races and sailing matches
Archery Society established
Death of old inhabitants
Smith and Brett on the destructive tide of 1824
Cost of Commissioners' Act
£3,000 wherewith to pay £7,026
appointment of officers
Commissioners declining to be enrolled
Incessant changes
The .first assessment and numerous protests
makeshift places of business
Commercial depression
The obstructional Archway
Practical misnomer of the "Eastern Boundary"
New parade wall
proposed new town of "St. Mary's
Mr. Troup's fruitless efforts – “King” Eldridge beating the magistrates
The Saxon, the Harold and the Conqueror hotels
The builders of Verulam place
Discovery of ecclesiastical remains
The first National schools
Disagreement of parson and pedagogue
The Act and its provisions for the first church-Site of the St. Leonards…?

Chapter Ten: Hastings 1833 Page 90

Elphinstone's Election Ball and Testimonial
An unfortunate episode
The Palmy days of the Pelham Arcade
Disaster to the “Lamburn", submergence (by collision) of the “Cobourg", and total loss of the "Four Sisters"
Collections for the fishery
More fatalities
Rifle Brigade assisting Coastguards
Duke Duchess and Prince George of Cumberland at Breeds Place. Commissioners under the Act
Proceedings of the Corporation
Purchase of a new fire-engine
Death of Mr. Milward
More seizures of contraband
Fatal falls from the East Cliff
Exciting boat races
[[Joseph Planta (1787–1847)|Mr. Planta's election entertainment.

Chapter Eleven: St.Leonards 1834 Page 96

Rating protests
Mackerel caught at the water's edge by hand
An additional seawall
A winter without frost
Destruction of the new wall
Removal of pig pounds from East Ascent
Further infringements of the Local Act
Abnormal temperatures and their effects
Pecuniary difficulties of the Commissioners
Reminiscences of "Tubal Cain"
Destructive gales and tides
White Rock Brewery and Rock's factory undermined
Rope-walk houses swept away
Destruction of Batty's Circus_
Arrival of the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria (full particulars)
Sad accidents and incidents during the royal visit
Great storm and maritime disasters
Royal patronage of the St.Leonards Archers
Drowning of Lieutenant. Gilly and five preventive men
Rare doings at the Horse and Groom
Fashionable gaiety at St.Leonards
Pre railway customs
The pleasure of being cheated
Situation of the old workhouses
Overseers arrangements
Specimens of parish-book orthography
Poor-rates at 10/6 and 23/- in the £
Commissioners doings
Wheat at £40 per load
Loans not obtainable
Rates in arrears
Length of roads
Discovery of hidden money
The rich beggar Bennett
Establishment of All Souls Church
Chapel Barn Farm
Successive owners and occupiers of Bohemia; Princess Sophia thereat
The Whyborn brothers and centenarian sister.
Addition to the Charity estate by an exchange of lands
Searching of records
Committee's report
Gensing House and its predecessor
Reminiscences of St. Mary Magdalen parish
Pre-historic St.Leonards
Old parish accounts.
"Old Sarah" and her son
The Royal George steam-ship passing Hastings in 1821
The White Rock battery
"Shepherds Hole" and smuggled brandy
The two Rope-walks
An aged cicerone
Dame Dabney, Dame Fowler, Old Jan Whyborn, Tom Standen, Ned Burchatt and draper Cossum
The eccentric doctors, Satterly and Dutton
Queer orthography
The new Commissioners
Mr. Chester's movements
No offers for an eight-hundred pounds load
Clothing the beadle
The tailors' strike
Espousal of Chartism
Tailors superceded by tailoresses.

Chapter Twelve: Hastings 1834 Page 109

Prolonged rough weather
Extraordinary catch of mackerel
Bursting of a reservoir
Earthquake shocks
Roads undermined
Sketch from the White Rock
Driven out of house and home
Wrecks at the Fishmarket
Work of the enlarged Corporation and the new Commissioners
Committal of fishermen for breaking open the gaol
Removal of the Meat Market
Another new groyne
The Market tariff
Two jurats fined
Corporation enquiry and detailed explanations
Mr. Shorter's resignation
Corporation reforms
Annual Regatta and exciting episodes
Fresh investigation of the Charities
Money recovered from the Chancery Court, entailing a loss of £45
Other lawsuits by the Corporation
The political situation
Meeting for a harbour and failure of the scheme
Smugglers sentenced to death
Fined for riding Skimmington
Appalling hailstorm
Serious poaching affair
Petitions against heriots, quit-rents, etc.
Notice to clear off the Priory ground property.

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  1. Although Brett provides for this in his index, it does not appear in the scanned versions of the Histories, so is omitted - Editor

References & Notes

  1. ESCC Library
  2. An explanation of old currency and coinage may be found at the following website Pre-decimal currency, accessdate: 16 June 2022