POH Transcripts - 1853

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Sat. Jan. 1 1853. – Being a fine day, hoisted my flag. Had it rained, I would not thus have honoured New Year’s Day, for the flag is so large (as big as the drawing-room carpet) that when it gets wet, I have not place to dry it under cover.

Wed. Jan. 5. – Received the “Tiverton Papers” from Law, Tindal  & Hussey.[?]

Made and painted a three legged stool for my summerhouse in the tree.

Th. Jan. 23. – Walked out to Knowle with Mrs. Jenkins of Lime Park, and for two or three hours we had Harp, Piano and flute trios [?] in the new house. Mr John Wolcott plays the harp very well.

Returned, and in the evening was at a musical party at Mr Clarke’s, Sid Abbey. I was immensely tired; for I have been at virtually [?] hard work in the garden during some weeks, and at carpentering in the coach-house to drive forward the woodwork of my summerhouse in the elm tree on the Terrace.

Another job too. For a long series of years the plumber has been accustomed to send in a Xmas bill for repairs at the pump. Suspecting that the pump got out of order oftener than it ought to, I took out the sucker about two years ago, and put a new leather to it. The cost about fourpence to do. From that day to the present time it has done admirably, and no plumber has been near it. As the leather was now beginning to wear, and the water to go, I resolved to try my hand again at a new line of occupation; so I have again renewed the leather of the sucker for about fourpence, and matters are likely to go on right and tight for another couple of years. So much for the honesty and good faith of tradesmen.


Feb. 2. – Finished reading Sir John Barrow’s Life of Lord Howe. My mother’s father is incidentally mentioned as captain of the “Audacious” one of the 1st of June fleet. The particulars and termination of the action between the “Audacious” and the “Revolutionaire” are not detailed – indeed, they could not find a place in Lord Howes [sic] log or despatches, for they were not known till the fleet returned to England, as the “Audacious” parted company to engage her opponent, and afterwards started for home in a fog.

Wed. Feb. 9. – A violent snow storm. Our winter is now beginning. For four months we have had little else but rain – mild rain. Now the rain is frozen. But I disregard the weather. Yesterday I was long in the elm tree trimming the branches; and I have plenty of hard work in the coach-house making my summer-house to go up in the tree.


Sidmouth, Feb, 1853.


Monday, Feb. 14. – Valentine’s Day. Received five Valentines! Sent thirteen!! Bless the girls! Why don’t they put their names to them?

Tuesday, Feb. 22. – After ten days dry hard frost, to-day comes a slight thaw. I have been every day busy making the roof of my summer-house. This I have done in the garden, as the most convenient place; and the occupation has kept me warm, though it has been freezing all day in the shade. Even in my bedroom my water jug has been frozen; and I have broken the ice every morning to wash.

Sat. Feb. 26. – Three more Valentines! The lady in one of them asks me to kiss her! Why did she omit to put her name in some sly corner! In times past it has not been the custom for gentlemen to receive Valentines, but only to send them. The times, however, are changed: and the change came in last year. Now (in Sidmouth at all events,) the gentlemen get as many as the ladies.

Monday, Feb. 28. – Myself, and three men, proceeded to hoist the roof of my summer-house up in the Tree. I borrowed a ships’ block and plenty of good rope. I fixed the block to a branch sufficiently high in the tree; and whilst myself and one of the men hoisted the roof, the two others guided it to its place on the top of the upright posts. It was raised above these, and then let down upon them; and the iron bolts, which fixed it to them, made secure.




Sidmouth. March 1853.


Tu. Mar. 22. – Had a cart load of heath cut on the top of Bulverton Hill: but owing to the weather having been so unusually cold, thought certainly somewhat late, the stream of water coming down from Muttles Mutter’s Moor, beyond Bickwell Farm, has become one sheet of ice all across the road, and it has been impossible to bring it down. To-day the men managed to bring a cart that way, though the sharp

north-easters still continue, and the ice is but little thawed, for it not only freezes hard at night, but it freezes all day in the shade. Set to work when it was brought down; and having cut away the grass at the foot of the tree in front of the house, to which my summer-house is fixed, covered the place with bog earth and heath. The heath I fixed firmly on the slope of the mound by pegs of wood.

Sat. Mar. 26. – To-day the cat was discovered playing with a snake on the Terrace. It probably came out of the heath under the tree. The women screamed and ran away. They imagined that it got back to the heath again, but I have not been able to find it. Afterwards I saw the cat playing with a lizard, doubtless from the same place.

Wed. Mar. 30. – Having converted the lower half of the garden into a lawn to-day, with the assistance of Frederick May, I began to lay it down in grass, procured from the back of Radway Place at the top of the town.


Sidmouth, April 1853.


April 1, 1853. – Received a sham cheque for £191911¾on Mssrs. Hookey Walker by post. Who made me the April Fool I guess not.

Tuesday, Ap.    . – Drove into Exeter with Mamma. (Why do ladies usually spell this word with only two letters m, and men with three?) We had some shopping. Mother came back in the carriage with Miss Brotherton, and I got on the mail.

Friday, Ap. 15. – Signed my name to a petition to the House of Commons, praying that the Sidmouth Branch of the proposed Exeter and Dorset Railway may not be thrown out. Doubtless a rail to Sidmouth would much benefit the place: and as this conviction is general, of course the Petition is unreservedly signed.

Th. Ap. 21. – Heard the cookoo [sic] for the first time. The weather is cold, and this is ten days earlier than usual here.

Sat. Ap. 23. – Finished reading “Napoleon the Little,” by Victor Hugo. This is a strange book. The violence of the language used against Napoleon is marvelous [sic]. I fear that most of what he says is true, as, indeed, the newspapers have testified; only he tells it in unusually severe language.

Tu. Ap. 26. – Put my name to two Petitions (to the Lords and Commons) the objects of which are the same with that mentioned Ap. 15, only these are drawn up by different parties.

Ap.      At a small party at Livonia. Music, chatting, laughing.



Sidmouth, May 1853.


Sunday, May 1. – A cold dull day, and a sharp north-east wind! More like February or early March. Vegetation is very backward.

Mond. May 2. – At a small party at Lime Park.

Tues. May 3. – At Mr. Heineken’s – music. Took Mr. Ede’s Sax Horn, and tried it. The tone is by no means so mellow as my French horn:- to be sure, it (the Sax) is a 5th higher.

Wed. May 4. – Had a small party at home.

Fri. May 6. – At a small party at the Elphinstones’.

Mon. May 9. – Music at the Heinekens’.

Sat. May 14. – Walked out to the Wolcotts at Knowle ( calling at Livonia for some music) to have some music. Had some Trios – Lady Claridge, piano; Mrs. J. Wolcott, harp; & self flute. Walked back with Sir John and Lady C.



Uffculme, June. 1853.


June 3. Went over to Uffculme to see the Joneses at the School whom I had not seen for two years. Went for ten days, and tarried near ten weeks! My time was fully occupied in mending toys, drawing pictures, and romping with six children. Made three attempts at taking the right hand of my little god-daughter Agnes in plaster of Paris. She did not like the operation at first; and being only four years and

three-quarters old, I had much difficulty in putting her hand into an easy position, and making her keep it quiet. However Mamma sat by, and due attention was purchased at the price of one halfpenny.

Pixie Garden, being the remains of some ancient work on Uffculm Down, mentioned by some of the historians, I had made an attempt to discover by enquiry, during my former visits – but in vain. From an old man working in the gravel pits at the present Uffculme Down, (for the greater part of the old Down has been enclosed and put under cultivation during the last 20 years) I learnt something, though not much. His impression was, that Pixie Garden was an enclosure, like an ancient Camp, about an acre big. To find it, the seeker must go from Uffculme up “Hill Head,” taking the left-hand road – pass Mr. Skinner’s Cottage, perhaps a quarter of a mile (so I understood) and examine what is now a copse on the right – but formerly the open Down. I regret I had had not time to make the search before I came away. – This is erroneous. See Sep. 8. 1854.



Sidmouth Aug. 1853


Sat. Aug. 13. – Returned to Sidmouth.

Sat. Aug. 27. – Saw the Comet! This comet appears at dark in the north-west, but sets so soon after the sun, as to be only a short time visible. A few days ago (when I had not seen it) it set later, and appeared to greater advantage; but it is daily approaching nearer the sun, and consequently cannot be seen for the sun’s light. However I saw it well this evening, both the nucleus, which is very bright, and the tail, which streams far up in the heavens, tending upwards and towards the left. I called out the servants to look at it; and they were much astonished, never having seen such a thing before.

Sun. Aug. 28. – Looked at the comet again, at half past seven. P.M.

Mon. Aug. 29. – To-day, just before midnight, my aunt Mrs. Cocks, (my mother’s eldest sister) died.


Wed. Sep. 1. – Went from Sidmouth over to Piermont House, Dawlish, on account of my aunt’s death – she dying at Heightley Cottage, Chudleigh and will be buried in the family vault in the churchyard (some 50 yards south-east of the church.) The Joneses and Uncle Roberton were at Dawlish.

Sat. Sep. 4. – The funeral took place today at two o’clock or soon after. Besides the hearse there were four mourning coaches; and they came from Chudleigh, through King’s Teignton, and Teignmouth. The outer coffin was covered with black cloth and black nails. The


Dawlish, Sep. 1853.


inscription onthe plate was – “Jane Cocks, died Sep. 29, 1853, aged 83.” The weather was very fine and hot.

Sun. Sep. 5. – We all went to the parish church in our crape hat-bands and scarfs, according to a very disagreeable custom.

Tuesday, Sep. 7. – Uncle, Marianne, and the children went over to Heightley to see Mary Roberton, who is still too unwell to leave her bed. Frank Jones and myself went to Teignmouth. We took a ramble on the Ness, and enjoyed the beautiful view. All the hills around Sidmouth were plain, even to the naked eye, though the town was hid by Exmouth Hill; but the glass made every object discernible. We dined with Mr. and Mrs. Lardner [?] at Shaldon. We got back to Dawlish soon after eight.

Wed. Sep. 8. – By permission of the Vicar and churchwardens I made a tracing from the parish map of the lands which belong to the poor of the parish of Sidmouth. I believe it is not known who was the donor of these lands, or when they were given. They comprise            fourteen enclosures, being fields or orchards, and numbered on the parish maps as follows:- 1630, 1631, 1632, 1636, 1636½, 1650, 1651, 1653, 1654, 1657, 1658, 1659, 1641, 1649. The superficial extent is 54 acres and 4 poles; as I ascertained from the Warden’s or rate-collector’s book, containing a list of the enclosures, with the names of the occupiers. The rent-charge to the Vicar is £1547; and that to the appropriators is £2142.

Thurs. Sep. 8. – Took a walk to look at the Sidmouth lands. They lie two miles south-     west at Higher Southwood. I went up the road above Holcombe Down; though the Down as given in the Ordnance map, is now enclosed and cultivated. From the top of this hill there is a fine view. The Sidmouth lands run down the valley at Southwood up to the road on the ridge. Looking over Dawlish and Exmouth, all the Sidmouth hills, and even every field on their sides, are clearly seen with the naked eye. From the neighbourhood of   Sidmouth, therefore, these lands ought to be discernible. I made a coloured sketch of the view looking towards Sidmouth.

Friday. Sep. 9. – This morning after breakfast, with some sandwiches in my pocket, I started for Little Haldon, to look at the Camp. I had a warm walk till I got to the summit of the hill. The Camp is not remarkable for size, position or strength. It is circular, measuring 124 yards in diameter. There is a hole about eight feet across near the centre which may be a modern pit to collect water for cattle; but if ancient it may have been of the nature of a well. The agger is only from 15 to 20 feet from the ditch to its summit. Openings, apparently modern, are found at the four cardinal points. The highest point of Haldon prevents Berry Head, and any camps in that direction from being seen: but the Ugbrook Park Camp was seemingly visible, and all those


Dawlish and Chudleigh. Sep. 1853.


towards the north, and away to Hembury, Dumpdon, Woodbury, High Peak, &c., which latter were very clear.

On leaving the camp I came down over the heath and fields to Smallacombe ran against a wasps’ nest in the hedge; retreated from that; proceeded till I got opposite Higher Southwood and the Sidmouth Lands. Here I pulled up; eat (sic) my sandwiches; and made a coloured sketch of the said Sidmouth lands as they lay spread out before me. Returned home, and got back at five, having been out seven hours.

Sat. Sep. 17. – Being spring tides and low water at noon, took the opportunity and walked along the beach from Dawlish towards the Parson and Clerk Rocks. Got nearly as far as the foot of the Parson; but on no occasion is the tide ever low enough to permit of quite reaching it, and of course not of passing it. Made a sketch of his features and walked back.

Mon. Sep. 19. My article on the subject of the Little Haldon Camp, just completed, is to be printed next Thursday in the Dawlish Directory.

Tues. Sep. 20. – Started for Heightley, Left the Joneses at Piermont House, Dawlish, in the forenoon, and went by rail to Newton Abbot. From thence to Heightley Cottage, near Chudleigh, five miles and a half, I walked. Found my cousin Mary Roberton, still very unwell, and, the house, since the death of her mother Mrs. Cocks, in a dismantled state, and preparations being made for removal and a sale.


Heightley Cottage, Chudleigh, Sep. 1853.


Thurs. Sep. 22. – Measured the Camp in Ugbrook Park. Made it 270 yards east and west; and 218 north and south. The agger is from 45 to 50 feet on the slope, from the middle of the ditch to the centre of the top of the agger, at its most perfect parts.

Sat. Sep. 24. – Went to the Park again, to examine the outworks. These outworks on the south side form a large curve, nearly concentric with the agger of the camp, and about 300 yards in advance of it. At the south point of this work, which is a ditch and agger, there is a zig-zag work running 100 yards towards the camp, by an opening in the work. The south-west part of this work is as bold in features as the ditch and agger of the camp. This advanced work runs irregularly eastward down the hill to the pond at the head of the Lake. It then turns back at a sharp angle towards the camp for nearly 200 yards; at which point it turns northward flanking all the east side of the camp. There are also slight traces of the same kind of work, commencing from the north-east side of the camp, and running straight away towards the north-east boundary of the Park. It seems obvious that these works were intended as additional security on the south and east sides of the camp: but it is hard to say at what period they were constructed. They are not of a nature to be of equal age with the camp itself. Perhaps they were made by troops that may have occupied the camp during some of the civil wars of the middle ages.



Heightley Cottage, Chudleigh. Sept. 29. 1853,

My dear Mr. H.

Here I am at Heightley, and here I have now been for 10 days. When I left Dawlish for this place, I did not know I should have been detained so long; but my cousin still keeps her bed, and is not able to do anything herself in her affairs here, and preparations are being made for a sale of many things on the premises that she does not want. How much longer I may be kept here, or oscillating between this and Dawlish, I do not exactly know.

I must refer you to Harris for information respecting my investigations on the subject of the Sidmouth Poor Lands in Dawlish parish. Besides a plan of these lands, taken from the parish map, I have in my sketchbook, got a view of them.

The article of mine on Little Haldon Camp was to appear a week ago (and I suppose did) in the Dawlish & Teignmouth Directory. I will either bring you, or send you the number. There are no remains of earthworks on the Ness Rock; but since the British & Saxon periods, much of it may have fallen in the sea. Since I have been here I have been making repeated measurements of the Camp and its remarkable advanced works in Ugbrook Park. Behold!


The foregoing plan will give you an idea of it. It is my wish to visit the Camps on Milber and Denbury Downs: so I may have more materials for the Dawlish & Teignmouth Directory. These things are too far off for the Sidmouth Directory.

Yesterday I took a walk to Bottor Rock near Hennock. It is the nearest “Tor” of the Dartmoor Tors. It is a great mass of rock, standing very high, and the view from it is splendid. I could see Berry Head and the batteries upon it, and the ships on the water. The country all round is very wild and picturesque, especially towards Dartmoor.


And without points too! What do you think of me? I have recently been comparing two or three Grammars with points; and to my surprise, I see that the authors, though all using points, do not all, or at all, agree in the way they should be sounded. They all differ in pronunciation. This was so disheartening, as to disgust me with the additional trouble which they certainly impose on the learner. I began with them; but they are losing favour in my eyes. Are you not ashamed of me?

Just after I left Piermont House, Dawlish, Mrs. Jones (of Uffculme) had a boy there: but it has since died. So that births & deaths have been rife and my mind has been strangely occupied.

I shall be glad to hear from you what you are doing, &c.

And I remain yours faithfully


F What do you think of my new seal.




[PART OF WORD HIDDEN BY INSERTED LETTER TO HEINEKEN BUT THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN - We]d. Sep. 28. – Took a walk to the Bottor Rock near Hennock. This Bot-tor is the first of the Dartmoor “Tors,” from this side. It is a mass of hard green rock associated with the granite, which begins here, cracked and heaped up in great fragments. The view from it is splendid. Bovey Heath, Stover Lodge, the woods of Ugbrook, all at one’s feet. I could see Berry Head, and vessels on the water near it.

Fri. Sep. 30. – Took a walk to Gapper – Gapper I think the hamlet is called – and into the gravel pits. These pits supply gravel for making walks in this neighbourhood; and the quality, by some is preferred to Haldon gravel.


Sun. Oct. 2. – Went to Chudleigh Church.

Mon. Oct. 3. – Walked from Heightley Cottage to Newton – a beautiful day, and very hot in the sun. Called at Martins’ in Newton Abbot, and paid for my new seal (16s) bearing the words Peter Orlando Hutchinson, Sidmouth, Devon,[in a Gothic style]on an engine-turned ground, within an Egyptian border. The seal is oval; and requires a magnifier to read it comfortably. Took the rail to Dawlish.

Tues. Oct. 4. – Incessant rain all day. Well I travelled yesterday.

Friday, Oct. 7. – Walked out from Dawlish past Luscombe, and partly up Haldon, and saw Mr. Saunders, agent to Mrs. Hoare, of the Luscombe property. The map of Sidmouth Poor Lands, and the parish map at Dawlish map [sic] do not agree. Mr Saunders’ map agreed with the Dawlish parish map.


Dawlish & Heightley, Oct. 1853.


Sat. Oct. 8. – We received intelligence from Chudleigh that Mary Roberton was worse. I started off, taking the rail to Newton Abbott, and then walked five miles and a half to Heightley Cottage, found her better.

Mon. Oct. 10. – Returned. Walked to Newton, and took the rail to Dawlish.

Tues. Oct. 11. – Went again to the Vestry and re-examined the parish map, and compared my tracing with it. Then walked out to the Pennywells estate, at Higher Southwood, and found William Wood, a former tenant of the Sidmouth Lands. From him I gained that the Dawlish parish map is wrong.

Th. Oct. 20. – My article on Ugbrook Park Camp is in the Dawlish and Teignmouth Directory to-day.

Sat. 22. – Took the rail from Dawlish to Newton, in order to examine Milber Down Camp. The interior area is squarish in form, measuring 134 by 154 yards, with the road from Newton running through it. There are three aggers and ditches. Outside these there are some extensive circumvallations, too irregular to describe; but I have a plan of them in sketchbook No. 9 Now vol. 4. After being 5 hours on the hill in a sharp wind, and examining and measuring the interior works, and the exterior ones, which are probably modern, returned to Newton, and then by rail to Dawlish. The outworks of this Camp (locally called the Castle) were probably thrown up by the Prince of Orange, - William the Third, at least Lysons says so. The land is Sir Walter Carew’s. One of the game keepers told me that about seven years ago, at a spot a half mile north, or north by east of the camp (where the outworks extend) some “pence” were dug up: also a coin like a sixpence, and some knives and forks decayed with rust.



Piermont House, Dawlish, Oct. 28. 1853,


Mon Cher Monsieur,

I begin to look forward to my return, and think I may be released from this place in a week or two. As I have not blown a note since I left (though I have my flute with me) it is likely, as you say, that I have by this time forgotten which end to blow into it, or into the horn. As for the horn I left it at home, and I can scarcely recollect what shape it was, or how it was twisted. If I recollect right, it was a brass tube, big at one end, and small at the other. I think I used to blow into the big end – but I am not quite sure. I have been three times to Heightley Cottage (I was there last Tuesday) and as my cousin is at last mending, and hopes to move in a week or two, I think I may not be required there again.

FI spent last Saturday in examining Milber Down Camp. I never sat down for six hours, except in the train home to Newton & back, but walked all the time on the hills in a pretty sharp wind; and omitting to lay in stores, I went all day upon blackberries, and in sucking some liquorice I happened to have in my pocket. What do you think of that! But I got through my toils capitally, for I assure you I never travelled lighter. This Camp surprised me, I can tell you. In your former letter you quote Lysons, where he says:- “Camp on hill above Newton Abbot, square; triple ditch about 112 paces by 90. Camp on Milberdown elliptical, triple ditch; contains about 6 acres. Prince of Orange stationed his artillery here when he landed at Torbay.” Why these two camps are one and the same. This Milber Down Camp is a mile and a quarter or so from Newton. The interior area is nearly square. The outer aggers, from having the corners rounded off, become almost circles. There are three aggers: one, where most perfect, I make 10 yards, or 30 feet high. Between each agger there is a broad (40 yards broad) space all round. The out works are remarkable and most extensive. These may be the work of the Prince of Orange. I send you a plan on a small scale – lines only where the works run.


The land is Sir Walter Carew’s. One of Sir Walter’s Game-keepers told me that about 7 years ago, at the distance of half a mile north, or north-east of the Camp (where the works extend) some “pence” were dug up: also a coin like a silver sixpence; and likewise some rusty knives and forks. These are perhaps not older than 1688. The plantations are so dense I could not explore the outworks north of the camp. Two features attracted my attention. One is a ditch connecting the inner and second ditches round the camp at the north point. The other a hedge or agger and ditch connecting the inner and second agger of the camp at the south-east side, parallel and near the road. I have not room to make many other remarks, but I may embody them in an article when I come home.

It is my wish to visit Denbury Down before I leave: but the weather is so bad, and the country so wet, and the distance from Newton nearly four miles, that I am not sure I shall be able.

If you want to know what I have been doing in respect of the Poor Lands, ask Harris or Paul Hayman. I have not been idle there. A week ago we all of us had a pleasant day at Teignmouth & Shaldon; and at low water had a ramble all round the foot of the Ness.

I have no more news, and my paper is ended. So I remain Yours Faithfully

P Hutchinson



Dawlish & Heightley, Oct. 1853.


Tuesday, Oct. 25. – A beautiful day. Mrs Jones and myself went over to Heightley Cottage, taking the road all up the stream of Dawlish Water, through Ashcombe, and over Great Haldon. Though not the shortest way, the driver preferred it. Left Marianne at Heightley with Mary Roberton, and returned solus [sic]. On returning through Ashcombe, the Rev. Mr Palk’s manservant came out and told me his master had picked up the fur boa he held in his hand, and wished to know whether it belonged to the lady I had travelled with? I take so little notice of ladies’ costume that I was not able to say she had worn it. We had walked up the steep hill in Ashcombe, between the church and the Vicarage, and it is possible she may have dropped it then. After some consultation I consented to take it back to Dawlish (giving the man my card) and promised that enquiry should be made.

Fri. Oct. 28. – The boa did belong to my cousin; and she has written to Mr Palk to thank him for the trouble he took about it.

Sat. Oct. 29. – Went over to examine Denbury Down Camp. Took the rail to Newton; and from that place walked to the neat village of Denbury (where Archdeacon Froude has a house) distant three miles, or three and a half from the station. This camp occupies the crown of a conical hill, which rises by itself out of the plain, like a molehill in a field. A horizontal section of the hill, shows, not a circle, but an ellipse: and the form of the camp, naturally enough, assumes the elliptical shape, according to the shape of the hill. The sides of the hill are cultivated: but the summit, which was first planted about forty years ago, is not only covered with large trees over head, but is so matted and tangled below with fern, weeds, brambles, and coppice wood, that there is no getting through it, and no means of examining the earthworks satisfactorily. There is a kind of trackway from north-east to south-west, across it; and from an imperfect measurement through this, I am disposed to think the long diameter may be about 250 yards. Near the middle of the area there is a great mound like a tumulus; and towards the west end apparently another visible among the brambles and bushes. There is a ditch, with a small agger outside, and the high acclivity of a steep agger inside. The most perfect parts are at the west end and south side. The short diameter I could not measure for underwood. From the ditch to the top of the agger on the south (the only place I could get at it) the measurement was 18 yards, or 54 feet. It may be still bolder in other places. The views all round are very fine. All the Haldon range lies spread out, with nothing intervening. Milber Down Camp is visible, and many others. The sea and the cliffs towards Lyme are discernible. On the south Totnes and many other towns are at the spectator’s feet as it were. There is a tradition at Denbury that this Camp was either attacked by the Danes, or occupied by that people. Query whether the word Denbury comes from the two words Dane and Bury? The town or fortress of the Danes.

Mon. Nov. 1. Oct. 31. – Having become a member of the Dawlish Literary Society, (by payment of s6/- and s1/- entrance fee, as one year’s subscription) went to the rooms to night [sic] and heard a Lecture read by the Rev. Sloane-Sloane Evans on “A September in Switzerland.” Last week I heard one on “Delusions” by a Mr. Cuming.




Piermont House, Dawlish. Nov. 2/53

My Dear Mr. H,

But I have been to Denbury Down Camp; and here goes for a description. Let me, however, remove a false impression, if you are labouring under one. By your mentioning so many varied objects of interest for me to search out, you may possibly imagine that I am foraging any where after anything without plan. This is not so. I have had an object in view, and I have been confining myself to this plan, without turning to the right or left. I have been looking up the old Camps within reach of Dawlish & Teignmouth, merely to print accounts of them in the Dawlish & Teignmouth Directory.

My stay here is too uncertain to permit me to scour the country satisfactorily as you suggest: I have therefore laid down a system, and stuck to it. I return the printed [PAGE ENDS HERE]

[WRITTEN VERTICALLY ACROSS THIS PAGE IS ‘I suppose you have seen what the Dasher has been about’]


I managed to get a measurement of the agger, and made it 18 yards, or 54 feet on the slope. The works are like those at Sidbury Castle, to wit – a ditch, with an agger on each side, the inner slope being high and steep. In Denbury there is a tradition which reports that the Danes once either occupied or besieged the camp. By the bye – Query – Denbury, quasi Dane-bury – the Danes’ town. The works are more perfect on the south side; hence the Ordnance Map is correct. The view on all sides is very fine. Nothing intervenes between it and Haldon. The sea and some white cliffs are visible towards Beer Head or Lyme. In the south Totnes and other places are looked down upon. You must be content with this brief sketch until we meet. I do not contemplate visiting any more camps. Last Saturday was fine, and that was the day I went. If I knew the exact sites of the Great Haldon Camps, I would search for them if I go to Chudleigh. You cannot tell me I suppose? But farewell


Wed. Nov. 2. – Took a walk from Dawlish to the “Smugglers’ Path” on the Teignmouth road. How different this is now from what it was as I remember it when a child! It was then a narrow obscure path: now it is an open road, with a railway bridge at the bottom. Went also across the fields to the edge of the cliff and looked down upon the “Parson & Clerk” rocks.

Th. Nov. 3. – Frank Jones walked over to Heightley Cottage to join his wife. Myself, I took a walk to the Warren, and had a distant look at Exmouth. Went along the railway walk – except for the first half mile, which was washed away  by the sea some three years ago, and omitted by the Company to be replaced.(Aside – On this grievance I have some remarks in the Dawlish Directory issued to-day.) Being low water I passed through the arches outside Langstone Point, and so to the Warren. In returning I went over the wooden bridge that the Company have made over the rail in the chasm where they cut through Langstone Point; and then ascending the steps, returned to Dawlish through the fields.

Sat. Nov. 5. – Sundry “Old Popes” or “Guys” were brought about this morning, by the boys, something after the Sidmouth fashion, only they were mounted on donkey back; and the verses the boys repeated were something like those I have heard at Sidmouth, but not exactly. In the evening tar-barrels predominated over fireworks. Took a walk on the eastern hill that bounds Dawlish, where the view is fine on all sides.


Dawlish, Nov. 1853.


Sun. Nov. 6. – Received the sacrament at the parish church, Dawlish:- The bread from The Vicar, Mr. Fursdon, and the wine from the Rev. Mr. Price.

Fri. Nov. 11. – On taking a walk on the high hill on the east side of Dawlish Water, I espied some sheep feeding on a mound in a grass field. Having an eye to antiquities, I at once conjured up a tumulus in imagination; and at once scrambled over the hedge to make a closer examination. Sure enough it was – a mound like a molehill about 14 yards in diameter. Some persons have been endeavouring to sink a hole in the centre, doubtless to find the treasure – “the crock of gold” – which universal tradition affirms to be usually buried under such mounds.

Mon. Novr. 14. – Finished reading, or rather “skimming” through the eight volumes of Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” The style and language are certainly very polished, lofty and eloquent. Gibbon is generally charged with having been an infidel; and, certainly, there are many passages which it would be difficult for any of Gibbon’s apologists to explain or defend.

This evening heard a lecture on “The Beauties of our Native Land” by Major Hall. It is a pity he rambled so much from his subject.

Open hostilities have at last commenced between the Turks and the Russians; and every lover of justice hopes the Russians will get well beaten, and driven out of the two principalities Wallachia and Moldavia, which she is trying to pilfer. Turkey, however, has got a sturdy foe in Russia.


Dawlish & Sidmouth


Th. Nov. 17. – Discovered a tumulus on the crown of a high hill north of Dawlish - about half a mile north-by-west of the church. Espied it from some distance when taking a walk (having an eye for antiquities) and suspecting the nature of the mound, made for it to examine. It is in a grass field, but almost as round as a mole-hill. It measures fourteen yards in diameter. Endeavours have been made to sink a hole on the summit, probably under the impression, according to the common notion, the treasure is buried within such heaps of earth. Made a drawing of it.

Sun. Nov. 20. – Went to the parish church in the morning, and to the chapel on the west side of the Lawn in the evening.

Tu. Nov. 22. – Made a coloured drawing of the Bishop’s Parlour.

Sat. Nov. 26. – Returned home. Took the express train at Dawlish for Exeter; where I did a little shopping, and a little gazing into shop windows, to see if there was anything new. Got on the mail at half past three – past [sic] through Ottery, and arrived in Sidmouth by six.


Th. Dec. 1. – People in Sidmouth are beginning to resist the payment of pew rents to the Vicar. For twenty years my late father paid four guineas a year for a pew in the parish church – a sum amounting to 80 guineas, knowing that the law did not require him to do so. Many persons have been quietly growling for some time past, but now several families have declared that as residents in the parish they have a right to seats in the church without such a demand, and they consequently decline paying any more. Such is the state of rebellion in which I find Sidmouth on my return. After being five days in the parish, I have openly joined the rebels


Sidmouth, Dec. 1853.


by the letter I have just written to the churchwardens. Pretending to understand that a general distribution of seats is about to be made to the parishioners, I have requested, on the part of my mother, that they will assign to her use, and the use of her household, four sittings. The Vicar need not charge me with wronging him. If he has asked and taken 80 guineas from my father illegally, on which side does the commission of wrong lie? I believe the living of Sidmouth is worth £350 or more per annum; to which may be added the Vicarage House and some thirty acres of glebe. Besides this, there are, the surplice fees, which are very high in this parish. It is not, therefore, on the score of poverty that the Rev. William Jenkins, the Vicar, has let out the pews in the church at a guinea a sitting. I await an answer to my letter.

Fr. Dec. 2. – Took a walk on the beach to Picket Rock, and made some sketches of the Alcyonites? and got some specimens.

Went to the Heinekens to meet  Lady Claridge to have some music – which we had for a couple of hours.

Mon. Dec. 12. – Finished my leather-work picture frame having Ivy round it. Things which I have seen done by my friends in this pretty, and by no means useless art, are, as I think, usually too dark, I think a middle tint of brown is better than attempting to imitate oak that is down right black, or almost black, from supposed age.


Sidmouth, Dec. 1853.


Thursday, Dec. 15. 1853. – This morning, after breakfast, at low water, as I was walking over the Chit Rocks towards High Peak Hill, to look for some fossils in the red rock, something shining attracted my attention that I at first thought was an oyster shell. I passed it several paces; and thinking that the glitter was more like that of a silvery metal than mother-of-pearl, I turned back to look again. Nothing was visible but a piece about the size of a dollar; but on pulling it out of the sand and gravel, it proved to be a silver plated square dish. After having washed it in a pool of water, I discovered a crest, a Leopard’s Head, or something of that nature, with the initials “T.L.F.” underneath. Remembering that about six months ago a robbery of plate had been committed at Mr Fish’s, at Knowle Cottage, and knowing these to be the initials of his name, it occurred to me that I had found part of the lost plate, the thief having secured to himself all that was of pure silver, and thrown away that which was only plated. A short time ago Harding the watch maker found a tray in the river, and Sweet the rope maker another, at a different place, also in the river. On these, the marks of the chisel are plain, where the solid silver edgings were ripped off. My portion of the treasure trove I took to the Reading Room and Billiard Room in order to make the circumstance known. The magistrates were afterwards told of it, and the piece of plate given into the custody of the policeman.


Sidmouth, 1853, and 1854


Sat. Dec. 24.   Finished my water colour drawing of the destroyed weir in the Salcombe Fields, for my leather work frame of Ivy – and now it is done don’t like it.

Sun. Dec. 25. – Christmas Day, very rainy and disagreeable. A quiet Christmas I have had this year.

Wed. Dec. 28. – Finished engraving on wood a coin of Faustina Augusta, as an illustration to an article in the Sidmouth Directory in January.

This evening went to a small party at Lime Park.

Thurs. Dec. 29. – This evening when I went to my room to go to bed, in taking up a toothbrush, two or three all came up together. They were frozen together. There was a coating on the water in my jug. The weather has been very cold during the last ten days, with the wind in the north-east. The thermometer I think has been down to 19o at night.

Fri. Dec. 30. – Etched Miss E. Y.[?] Heineken’s name on the mother-of-pearl outside of her nest of three magnifying glasses.

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