POH Transcripts - 1854

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Mon. January 2. 1854. – All the morning at leather work, making the oak leaves and acorns for the low candlesticks to stand on the brackets on the landing, outside the drawing room door.

Wed. Jan. 4. – Sent a communication to the Archaeological Institute, London, on the subject of a sculptured slab in Iona, having some characters cut on it resembling the Punic letters.

It thawed a little yesterday, and froze again last night, so the country is call covered with ice. I am sure any person with skates on, might have skated up and down the Promenade on the beach.




Sidmouth, March 1854, & Dawlish.


Mon. Mar. 13. – For the second time accompanied Mr. Paul Hayman in surveying the premises and part of the Blackmore field I propose buying of [sic] Sir John Kennaway.

Wed. Mar. 22. – Mozart’s 12 Mass came off to-night in the great room in Exeter by the Exeter Society. Mr Heineken and myself went in and took part in it. We did not get back until near 3 to-morrow morning.

Th. Mar. 30. – Having worked hard in the garden during the last month or two, whilst the weather has been unusually fine and dry, went over to Dawlish to-day to see my cousin Mary Roberton. Went into Exeter by coach through Ottery, and then took the rail to Dawlish.


Sat. April 1, 1854. – So war with Russia is declared at last. Much forbearance have we shown certainly, and tried every argument to try and turn the Emperor from his determination of unscrupulous aggression on Turkey. France and England now unite as friendly allies (unusual alliance) in defending Turkey against the attempts of Russia. The London Gazette of the 28th ultimo contains a Declaration that active hostilities must begin. What with the combined fleets of England and France in the Black Sea, the united armies just on the point of arriving in Bulgaria, to oppose the advance of the Russians towards Adrianople and Constantinople, and the fleets of the two nations just entered the Baltic, Russia will have something to oppose. Nevertheless the allies have a powerful foe to contend with; and everyone looks out anxiously for every morsel of intelligence that may come from the seat of war.


Dawlish, April 1854.


Wed. Ap. 5. – Still splendid weather. To-day the Exeter and South Devon Rifle Corps, assembled on the Lawn for exercise. All Dawlish turned out to see the amusing sight. There was plenty of noise, and plenty of gunpowder set fire to.

Th. Ap. 6. – Letters from Australia. Took a walk with my cousin Anne Stares to the tumulus, which lies on the hill a mile or so north of Dawlish.

Fr. Ap. 7. – Went from Dawlish to Exeter for the day. Saw Mr. G. Down on the subject of removing the trust, now with us, as settled by my brother’s wife’s marriage settlement, to persons in Australia. Called on several friends. Went to Southernhay and heard two military bands play – for the last time previous to their departure on foreign service. The weather was beautiful, and the place crammed with company. When mingling with a crowd in a public place, it is not difficult to discover the well bred from the ill bred. The well bred make way for each other: the ill bred push and elbow without ceremony and without consideration.

Fr. Ap. 14 – Good Friday. Went to the parish church and took the sacrament.

Mon. Ap. 17. – Easter Monday. Dawlish fair, held in the Strand, according to the ancient mode of booths and stalls.

Tu. Ap. 18. – Cousin Anne Stares and myself went to Torquay for the day: she to look after her house, with a view to letting it; and I to see Mrs. Oldham and Miss Watson, whom I have not seen since 1840. A thunder storm came on, and a fall of rain. For two whole months we have only had two or three showers. Such a dry spring has scarcely ever been remembered.


Dawlish & Sidmouth, 1854.


Fr. Ap. 21. – Made a coloured sketch on Dawlish beach.

Mon. Ap. 24. – Returned from Dawlish to Sidmouth. On the mail from Exeter to Ottery, we faced a strong north-east wind; and I can scarcely remember it colder, in the depth of winter.

Tu. Ap. 25 – Princess Alice’s birthday. Flag up in the tree.

Wed. Ap. 26. – To-day is the day of Prayer and Humiliation appointed to be kept, that the nation may humble itself, and beg for divine assistance in what we believe to be a just war against Russia. We had an excellent sermon on the subject: and as it was given out that a collection would be made in aid of the soldiers and sailors who had gone wives and children of the soldiers and sailors, (especially the former) who had gone to fight, allusion was pathetically made to the brave fellows just departed for the seat of war. The women of the congregation plied their handkerchiefs pretty freely; for as there are nearly twenty Sidmouth men, either in the ranks or on board the fleets now in the Black Sea and the Baltic, there were husbands, sons, brothers, and sweethearts to weep for.


Mon. May 1. – May Day – quite an April day. In three months we have scarcely had more than three showers of rain. To-day the gardens rejoiced in a welcome fall. I fear the seeds I sowed more than a month ago, before I went to Dawlish, have too many of them failed to germinate, for few only, as yet, have come up. But, setting gardens aside, it has been most enjoyable weather.


Sidmouth, April 1854, and May


Wed. May, 3. – Spent the evening at Lime Park.

Fri. May, 5. - - Ditto – Ditto.

Mon. May, 15. – Ditto – Ditto. A small party.

At Sid Abbey a few nights ago, where there was mostly music, & where Mrs. John Wolcott, of Knowle, sang several Italian songs, whom [which?] I accompanied on the flute.

Sat. 20. – Yesterday & to-      day, poured nine large watering-pots of water on the rhubarb in the garden. Since the shower on the first we have had no rain scarcely, and only a sprinkle or two during the three preceding months. Gardening of late has made my back ache terribly. Weeding is stooping and tedious work – much digging is tiring – and mowing tires the back, shoulders, and limbs immensely.

Mon. May 22. – Made some blue lights:- The composition being 1 part of sulpharet of antimony, 2 of sulphur, and 6 of nitre: all powdered, well mixed, and driven into a case. Lit two of them successfully up in my summerhouse in the tree by way of experiment. They answered satisfactorily; and illuminated the tree and the objects near very brilliantly – much to the surprise of the neighbours.

Tues. May, 23. – Spent the evening at Mr. Heineken’s. Was introduced to the two Miss Horsfalls, Mr. H’s nieces, by Mis      s. Heineken.

Wed. May, 24. – The Queen’s Birthday. To-day the Yeomanry Cavalry assemble at Sidmouth for eight day’s training. They came in about 500 strong at three in the afternoon, headed by a very creditable band. Two of the officers have their horses in our stable, e.g. Wolcott of Knowle, near at hand in Salcombe parish, and Hume, [?] at present of Sidbury Castle.

Fri. May 26. – Took a walk to the top of Salcombe Hill to see the Yeomanry exercise.

Sat. May 27. – Was awoke at seven this morning by the firing in the Fort Field; but would not bestir myself to go and see the men.

Sun. May 28. – This morning there was a full early service at eight for the soldiers. The red-coats filled the body of the church: the black-coats occupied the galleries.

Tues. May 30. – Went on Salcombe Hill to see the review of the “Royal First Devon Yeomanry Cavalry.” It would have been a pretty sight had not the day been showery. Made a hasty sketch of the scene by way of a memento in Sketchbook  No. 10.


Sun. June 4. – At St. Nicholas’s Church (or rather St. Giles’s) in the morning: at Salcombe church in the afternoon (feeling disposed for a good walk): and at All Saints in the evening.

Mon. June 5. – Wrote to Lord Palmerston – see Letter Book. A man may serve his country sometimes without fighting:

Fri. June 9. – Found the heir of the late Sir Richard Dobson (wanting him for Bingham about some land in Australia) in the person of W.F. Dobson, Esquire, Mayor of Gravesend.

Mon. June 12. – Spent the evening, as usual on Mondays, at Mr. Heineken’s.


Sidmouth, June 1854


Wed. June 14. – Walked to Mutters, or Muttles Moor, Bulverton Hill, by appointment; where I was soon followed by Mr. and Miss Heineken, and the two Miss Horsfalls, in a carriage. On the ridge of the hill they got out and admired the view, looking over the valley of the Otter, &c, &c. We then walked through “Lord Rolle’s Plantation” on Bulverton Hill to examine the cairn of dry flints, which is fast vanishing to mend roads with. Having returned to the carriage, we went, some riding, some walking, away all along Peak Hill, out to the cliff. Enjoyed the view, and then returned down Peak Hill to Sidmouth.  The distance by the Ordnance Map, taking all the turnings, was five miles and a fraction.

Passed the evening at Mr Heineken’s, to give the ladies a lesson in leather work.

Tues. June 20. – Anniversary of the Queen’s Accession to the throne. Fired a royal salute from the summer-house in the tree, with my flag flying above, and a “jolly row” it made.

Frid. June 23. – The Miss Horsfalls returned to Yorkshire. What a pity!

Mon. June 26. – Finished my leather-work picture-frame, having the circular opening for the picture, and the oak, thistle and shamrock round it. The design of the frame furnishes a picture as well as the portrait (as intended) for the centre. On the left

right-hand side I have a nest with three eggs, on which the hen bird was supposed to have been sitting: the snake twined round the trunk of the tree, about to attack the hen, frightens her, and she is concluded to have flown to the top of the tree, where she is seen, looking down. The cock bird is fighting with the snake, as he sits on the left side. So much for the frame.

Fri. June 30. – At a party at Lime Park – music. Accompanied the Miss Elphinstones of Livonia, in some music, and Mrs John Wolcot of Knowle.


Mon. July 3. – Spent the evening at the Heinekens – music as usual.

Tues. J. 4. – At a party at the Elphinstones, Livonia – music. Played the Horn and the f     lute.

Wed. J. 5. – At twelve this morning went to Livonia by appointment and tried over some new pieces of music. Lunched with them when it was over. Then went to Lime Park, next door, or next estate, and tried over some pieces with Miss Eleanor Walker.

Spent the evening at Mr. Heineken’s, it being his birthday.

Th. July 6. – Signed the deeds concerning the purchase of the house, Number four, Coburg Terrace, Sidmouth, of Sir John Kennaway, of Escot, Bart., together with the premises, Garden, and strip of the adjoining Lower Blackmoor Field – which strip of field, now being attached to the house, may now be designated Coburg Meadow From Leasehold to Freehold.

Fr. July 7. – Made a new Will. My last was of 1849.


Sidmouth, July 1854.


Hayman, Coles, and Lawrence came this morning by appointment to draw lots to see who should put up the iron fencing on two sides of “Coburg Meadow.” On the long side to the north-east, the calculation was for a five wire fence, the great oak post at Coburg Terrace end, and some 42 feet of old fence, ( now at the end) being given to me: and for an upright-bar railing at the end of 42 or more feet, with a gate. The estimates were – Lawrence £15: Coles £15״10: and Hayman £16. I put three pieces of paper, of three different lengths, seven consecutive times into a book, and they drew. Coles got it. He drew five long pieces out of the seven. The others only one a piece. So he is going to set about the job without loss of time. Iron has now risen to £16״10 a ton, & is likely to rise higher.

Th. July, 13. Walked out to Sidbury, and played chess with the Vicar of Sidbury. Went via Snogbrook and the lanes. Coming home at eleven I picked up some glowworms [sic] in the hedges, and carried them to Sidmouth. Wanting to speak to Mr. Heineken, called on him at this unseasonable hour. Did it in a novel way. As he has been much troubled with the caterwaling [sic] of tom cats of late, I resolved to play him a trick. Stealing under his window, I imitated the thrilling notes. Soon he stealthily opened the front door, and crept out. Then he shied a couple of coals (the first missiles he could lay hold of in his hurry, as he afterwards told me) in the direction of the sound. But when I could contain my laughter no longer, he discovered who and what the tomcat was. We then went in and chatted till nearly two in the morning.

Mon. July 24. – At a small party at Lime Park. Met the Wolcotts of Knowle: the Elphinstones of Livonia Cottage, and their cousins the Miss Holloways, of Plymouth.

Tues. July 25. – Went with Mr. Heineken at the top of Honiton Hill to open a barrow, lying close to the 15 mile stone from Exeter. My how hot it was! The thermometer at home stood at 75, but out here in the sun it was scorching. Nothing to drink but beer and spirits. The attempt to satisfy one’s thirst with such drinks only endangered one’s head. I would have given a great deal for water or tea. We had two men with us with spades and pickaxes. The barrow had been nearly all removed level with the ground. We commenced in the centre of the area, and dug trenches in various directions as per plan annexed. We dug down till we came upon tough yellow clay, which appeared never to have been disturbed. We came upon this clay at depths varying from one to two feet. All our attempts, carried on for several hours, failed to discover any pits in this stratum of yellow clay, such as could lead us to conclude that a cist-vaen [sic] had been made. We either missed the right spot, or else the men who some two or three years ago levelled the mound unconsciously removed an urn or some other depository of bones, ashes, or similar exuvia.

About a hundred or hundred at [sic] fifty yards north-west from the milestone, close by, is a bog of oval form, some 60 yards or so long, known as Ring-in-the-Mire. The circumstances that led to imposing such a name to such a spot are related in most of the county histories. Isabella de Fortibus, Countess of Devon at an early period, owned all the land in this neighbourhood. A dispute having arisen respecting the boundaries of several of the parishes adjacent, this lady settled matters both promptly and permanently. She rode up to this place on horseback, and throwing a gold ring into the mire, told the persons who attended her, that the spot where that ring fell should henceforth indicate the place where the parishes met. True enough, for many centuries, this locality has been known as “Ring-in-the-Mire;” and moreover, the parishes of Farway, Honiton, Gittesham, and I think Sidbury, all meet here. A man whom we found on the hill told us that about ten years ago the boundaries were being fixed, on which occasion a [PAGE INSERTED HERE]

pole was erected in the middle of this bog. So that the spot is still recognised by authority.

Some of the large barrows on the hill varied in construction. The large one close to the road, 170 paces from Hunters’ Lodge, has had a ditch round it. The one about 700 paces from Hunters’ Lodge, and at 150 on the left or north, has a hedge or vallum round it. Can this hedge though now smoothed down, and looking like an ancient vallum, have been only a hedge thrown up to protect the fir trees on it when they were young and first planted?

The barrow that lies on the highest part of the hill, and about 400 paces north west

of Farway Castle, or indeed in a line between Farway

Castle and Hembury Fort, has perpendicular sides, with a ditch, and a vallum outside the ditch. It occurs to me that these outer works may be modern, unless similar features of known antiquity belong to other barrows elsewhere.Having finished our observations, we returned to Sidmouth by nine, having been away just twelve hours.


Sidmouth, July 1854.


Wed. July 26. – To-day the sultry weather exploded in   thunder, lightening [sic], and rain. William Coles and his men made the pit at the northerly end of “Coburg Meadow” to sink the iron post that the two wire fences are to be strained to.

Th. July 27. – Went out to see the said post lowered into the pit. It is [BLANK HERE] in the ground, and 4 feet out, with two pieces of oak at the bottom, pointing towards the direction of the stretched wires, and with two struts, or diagonal stays, to each piece of oak.


Fri. Aug. 4. – Walked to Mr. Charles Cornish’s farm at Salcombe, occupied by Trump. One appartment [sic] in this old house has a flat ceiling divided into squares by carved cross beams, with bosses in the middle of the pannels, [sic] and escutcheons in the corners. Some of them bear a sort of rude fleur-de-lis, in a position that would be upsidedown [sic], if the shield were upright. Perhaps this is rather a fanciful than an [sic]heraldic device.

Went with Mr Trump to a field westward on the hill, looking down upon Sid Abbey, to see a curious pit, about four feet across, like a well at the top, and the depth uncertain. Stones thrown down rattled a long time. It may be 30 or 40 feet deep. After many strange conjectures, Trump’s idea that springs of water may have excavated a hollow and the top sunk in, may be the likely cause, rather than it should have been a smugglers’ cave.

This man Trump is the nephew of the man whom the tradition of the neighbourhood declares to have found a “crock of gold,” when ploughing in a field near Trow. Trump pointed me out the field at a distance; but to go and examine it will be the subject for another walk. He said, in answer to my questions, that his uncle’s names was Sanders, and that he was still living. The circumstance occurred about 40 years ago. He thinks, however, there is no truth in the tradition. His uncle, he said, speculated in one or two ways, and was fortunate. The story goes, that Sanders was ploughing in the field, and that his horses suddenly sunk down, the ground giving way under them. Wishing to exam into this strange occurrence, he sent away the boy who was with him, on some errand. In this pit he found a large crock full of gold coins. That he became rather “well to do” not long after, set the tale a going; and his own taciturnity or denial, only seemed to spread and confirm the suspicion. But the nephew told me he believes there is no truth in the anecdote.


Sidmouth, August 1854.


Monday Aug. 7. – The box of clothes for Fanny goes to London to-day.

Called at the Elphinstones. Found the Captain all alone. We cut a segar [cigar] in two and each smoked half, neither of us being smokers: and even this made my nerves all of a shake. Then had a cup of coffee, which took away this effect. And then a glass of liquer with a German name, made of white brandy, syrup, and caraway seed. Gossiped for three hours.

Had a practise with Mr. & Miss Heineken, trying over Handel’s “Mount of Olives,” I taking the horn.

Tuesd. Augt. 15. – Heard of the death of my uncle Col. Roberton, St. Andrew’s Street, Tiverton, and am requested to go over on Thursday. He was 86 on Sunday the 13th and he died on Monday, at 2 A.M.

Th. Aug. 17. – Went to Tiverton, - on the mail to Exeter, on the rail to Tiverton.

Fr. Aug. – 18. – The funeral took place this morning, at half past ten, his daughter, and her husband, the Revd. Francis Jones, being in Tiverton, but the former not attending. The latter, myself, Dr. Paterson, and the Revd. Mr. Spurway, being the only persons, except the servants, who went. My uncle was buried, lying across the path, running south from the south door of St. George’s Chapel, at about 20 or 30 yards from the [LETTER TO MR HEINEKEN INSERTED IN DIARY AT THIS POINT]


Tiverton, August 18. 1854


My Dear Mr. Heineken,

I have just stormed Cranmore Castle – and taken it. However I must proceed chronologically, and begin with the beginning. I forgot my flute, but thinking it not likely I should require it, would not take any trouble about recovering it; and not having the flute, I left out all my music. Though rainy at first, the day turned out fine. I took particular note of all the features of Ottery East Hill. These must keep till I return. I saw Rickard and Vinnicombe in Exeter. Besides the Mount of Olives, the latter told me the society had it in serious contemplation to get up Haydn’s Third Mass; and for the same evening. If really so, I requested you might be informed of it, and your part sent you.

I have had no time yet to collect any Tiverton news, but shall look about me early next week. The funeral took place this morning.

This afternoon, feeling inclined for a quiet walk, I went down Collipriest, towards the encampment that lies on the high hill over Collipriest Cottage. (See Ordnance Map.) I stopped all the farmers’ men, and women in the lanes, to enquire of them the name of the Camp on the hill; but none had ever heard a name for it, though they had heard of a great battle once fought there about. On referring to Col. Harding’s history of Tiverton, this Camp turns out to be the veritable “Cranmore Castle,” though the name is quite lost on the spot. Col. Harding’s account is too brief, but he gives a plan. He says, Vol. II Book IV. p.129:-

“Cranmore Castle. – A Considerable point of attraction with many persons is Cranmore Castle, better perhaps known by the name of the Skrinkhills. It consists of an old British Fort of considerable extent, which is easily traced, although the banks are much worn down by continual cultivation. In the centre is a mound, circular in shape, which formed a Noverca, or Citadel, overlooking the Camp and acting as a defence to the station. It was probably intended for a Beacon fire, not an uncommon occurrence in ancient British works. This Camp is so situated as to form an admirable point of communication between Cadbury Castle and Hembury Fort, and corresponding also with the line of British works to the westward from Crediton to Molland, the supposed Termolum of Richard the Monk; and thence from Molland, by Berry Castle in Woolfardisworthy back to Isca, (Exeter) by Woodbury Castle and Hembury Fort. There are other works to the north of Tiverton, in Stoodley parish, Huntsham, and towards East and West Anstey, all, no doubt, once connected with the important [??] port at Molland.” In a foot-note on “Cranmore” he says:- “Crân more, keltic, green moor, or stone moor.” I will bring him to task on these words when I return.


The words “Collipriest Cott.” In the Ordnance Map, lie over the site of Cranmore Castle. There is some probability of my going over to Uffculme for a day or two next week; and if I do I will not forget my duty [?] considering I had stormed Cranmore Castle before I had been 24 hours in Tiverton, and had come over on very different business, I think it was not bad [?] “Though I say it as shouldn’t say it.” The highest part of this Camp is the east end, though it is a good tug to get up the Collipriest end. I had intended to survey it; but its immense size put that out of the question: and as it is divided into several fields of corn and other corps [sic], separated by high thick hedges, the eye cannot see one half of it at one time. I was glad therefore to find Col. Harding’s History in the house. So much for this letter.

And I remain


Yours Sincerely

P. Hutchinson


F If you have anything to say to me you my [sic] direct at

Revd. F. Jones’s

St. Andrews Street




of the path.                           Tiverton, August 1854

lower end: the head turned towards the west. At this spot his eldest daughter Jane was buried some 16 or 17 years ago, and also my mother’s sister Mary, his wife, in May 1848, whose funeral I attended. See back May 10, 1848 In the afternoon the Rev. F. Jones and myself went to look at Cranmore Castle, on the hill over Collipriest.

Sat. Aug. 19. – Went again to examine Cranmore Castle, after reading the remarks on it in Col. Harding’s History of Tiverton.

Sun. Aug. 20. – Submitted to the disagreeable custom of going to church with my funeral mourning on.

Tu. Aug. 22. – Went into St. Peter’s Church to see what progress had been made since last year on the rebuilding. With the exception of the tower, Greenways Chapel, and the south wall, it will be a new church. The ancient circular-headed zig-zag doorway in the north wall, I see they have preserved, and built in again.

Then went to look at the Castle. Sir Walter Carew has been recently having the battlements over the East Gateway repaired, or added, or altered; and the adjoining turret, known as the “Duke of Devonshire’s Chair,” repaired, and somewhat altered. Some persons were alarmed lest injudicious alterations were likely to be made in the venerable building; and I cannot say that the repairs are satisfactory, inasmuch as they are not strict restorations. One day, when a boy, I climbed up in the Duke of Devonshire’s Chair with Timothy Featherstonehaugh, whose mother was a Carew.


Tiverton, Augt. 1854.


Th. Augt. 24. – The curious brass gun given me by my cousin Marianne Jones, I conveyed this morning to the Station to go by the Luggage Train to Exeter; and thence by Carrier to Sidmouth. This gun was captured by my cousin (Marianne’s brother) the late John Roberton, on the 29th of January, 1845, from a pirate prahu on the east coast of Borneo, in Latitude 4o 10ʹ North. The circumstance is mentioned in mentioned in Captain Sir Edward Belcher’s “Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Samarang during the years 1843-46” in the eastern archipelago, Vol. I. pp. 250, 251. John Roberton was lieutenant on board the Samarang; and Sir Edward was so pleased at the gallant way in which he attacked and took the pirate, that he made him a present of the gun when he brought it on board. My cousin’s health failed so much on the voyage home, that he was put on shore at the Cape, where he died. The gun was sent to Tiverton, where it remained till it was given to me. It is four feet long, small bore, about an inch and a quarter, and ornamented with arabesques and scrolls. I must have a carriage made for it. – Dec. 7. 1854 – Now in Exeter Museum.

Sun. Aug. 27. – Went to the eleven o’clock service at St. George’s Chapel. There are five services here, now that St. Peter’s is under repair, and the new church in Westexe not finished. Eating a pear after dinner, a wasp was attracted to my face by the smell of the fruit. He stung me on the left cheek. It swelled considerably. The pain, to me, very much resembled that of a scald or burn: but different persons are differently affected by stings. I applied ammonia, being a strong alkali; for the poison of stings is said to be an acid. The pain, however, did not entirely cease until the next day. Some years ago a small black insect flew into my left eye, and stung me in the lower part of the iris. I felt no particular pain; but the effect of the poison on the optic nerve and brain was such that I felt quite giddy and qualmish for ten minutes or more. Wasps are unusually abundant this year.



Wed. Aug. Sep. 7. Walked out to “Seven Crosses” near Tiverton. At this spot there is nothing now but the divergence of three or four roads; tho’ formerly I believe there existed some monument commemorative of a curious circumstance which the historians of the neighbourhood relate – as how a certain Countess of Devon passing that way one day met a man carrying a basket, the contents of which he seemed anxious to conceal – how she asked him what he had got there? to which he hesitatingly answered, “seven puppies which he was going to drown in the river exe” – how she forced him to uncover and shew his “puppies,” which turned out to be seven male children. When she drove him to an explanation he confessed that he had deserted his wife for seven years in dread of a large family, but having returned a twelvemonth ago, his wife had recently presented him with seven boys at a birth! The Countess having severely reprimanded him for the course he was pursuing, directed him to take the contents of his basket to her residence, Tiverton Castle, saying that she would in future take them under her own care. The story goes, that she brought them all up and put them into the church, where, through her influence, they all rose to be high dignitaries.

Thursday & Friday, Sep. 1. – Yesterday and to-day the sale of the furniture of the late Col. Roberton’s house in St. Andrews Street Tiverton took place. All I bought was a Canadian Indian box made of bark, worked with varicoloured porcupine quills, with several circular ones inside, for six shillings; and a defective telescope for a shilling. The sale brought upwards of £150.

Sun. Sep. 3. – Went to the eleven o’clock service at St. George’s Chapel. Whilst St. Peter’s is now rebuilding there are five services here.

Tu. Sep. 5. – Splendid weather! Took a delightful walk.

Wed. Sep. 6. – Returned Major Hole’s book on Artillery, which I borrowed to get some hints out of for the benefit of my gun.

Th. Sep. 7. – Left Tiverton with the Rev. and Mrs Jones for Uffculme.

Fr. Sep. 8. – Went out with a determination to find “Pixie Garden” on Uffculme Down, if possible, a thing I had many times resolved to do before. The description given of this place by Lysons and others is, that it is a rectangular enclosure,  about 20 paces, square, with an opening at the corners, the enclsing hedge being about two feet high – that it is divided into four compartments by a hedge each way – and that there was a mound in each compartment. I proceeded from Uffculme to “Hill head,” all the summit of which fifty years ago was open down. After rambling over hedge and ditch for an hour or two in various directions without discovering the sign of an earthwork, and after failing to obtain any information from persons I met on the hill or at Hillhead Farm, I espied an old fellow on a corn stack thatching. Him I hailed, and demanded whether he had ever heard of such a place as Pixie Garden? “Yes to be sure,” was his reply; “and when I was a boy I have run over it scores of times.” This was encouraging. After some parleying I bribed him to come down and lead me to the place. If I refer to the Ordnance Map, he led me to a spot about a tenth of an inch below the letter n of the word Down in the words Uffculm Down. This region is now enclosed and under cultivation. If I make a hap-hazard plan of the enclosures, as far as I now recollect, Pixie Garden stood on the corner of a field where I have placed it. The man whose name was Baker, so asserted. He took my walking-stick and drew a plan of what he can

remember to the earthworks;

and they were like the annexed. He said there was a “mump” in the middle, which may have been a tumulus; but Lysons speaks of a mound in each compartment. He agreed with Lysons in describing the ridges as about two feet high, over which he had run and jumped many times with his schoolfellows. It was destroyed some 40 or fifty years ago, when this part of the Down was enclosed. What this small but curious work could have been, it is hard to conjecture. That it is of considerable antiquity seems generally supposed. It was from 20 to 30 yards square.

Wed. Sep. 13. – Walked from Uffculme, via Ashill and Allhallows, (which they pronounce “Allers”) to Blackborough hill and Puckey Down. A tolerably fagging walk I had. Put my sketchbook and colour-box in one pocket, and my lunch in the other, and was out all day. Witnessed the process of making whetstones (this range is called the Whetstone Hills;) went part way into one of the burrows in the side of the hill where they are dug (I was told it entered 300 yards:) walked to “Garnsey’s Tower,” (the correct word I have heard is Gainsworthy:) measured and sketched it. It is a circular tower three storeys high, though the floors are ruined and fallen down, with traces of fireplaces. The wall is two feet thick, but cracked from top to bottom. The windows have been blocked up to strengthen the building: nevertheless it is so tottering that it threatens to fall. The tower is twelve feet in diameter. The conical hill near the church with the fir trees on it is called Beacon Hill. From it the view is splendid. I could see Aylesbear [sic] Hill, and the sea beyond: also some of the hills near Sidmouth, as Pinn Beacon, and some others. In other directions it was equally extentive[sic].

Sat. Sep. 16. – Went from Uffculme to Dawlish on a visit to my cousin Mary Roberton.

Sun. Sep. 17. – At the old church in the morning, and at St. Mark’s in the evening.

Mon. Sep. 18. – The cholera is very bad in London. The accounts for several weeks recently passed, and ending on the 17th. Instant exhibit the following number of deaths severally in each week. For instance – 1, 5, 26,133, 399, 644, 729, 849, 1287, 2050, and last 1542, which is less fortunately, than the week preceding. As 1542, the number of deaths in the last week, is less by 508 than the amount in the preceding week, we may hope that the numbers will gradually decrease.

Fri. Sep. 22. – After many enquiries, discovered where Lidwell Chapel was situated, and went there. Took a sketch of it, and made measurements. – See on, Septr. 27.

Sun. Sep. 24. – As last Sunday.

Tu. Sep. 26. – Went to Teignmouth & Shaldon, and called on several friends.


Dawlish. Sep. 1854.


Wed. Sep. 27. – Went to Lidwell Chapel again. Mrs. Willis, the wife of the farmer who rents the estate of Lidwell Farm of [sic] the Revd. Mr. Whidborne, lent me a paper today, drawn up by the Revd. owner, in order that I might copy it. It contains some memorandums relating to the chapel, and the following is the copy:- “The ruined chapel which stands on this estate was dedicated to the V. Mary. At the west end there is a spring of water, with the remains of some artificial stonework, which I suppose once constituted a Well; so that the chapel was dedicated to Our-Lady-of-the-Well; and from which the name of the estate, anciently written ‘Lythewill’ or ‘Lyddewill’ was borrowed.

“The length is 35 (or 37?) feet within the walls, and the breadth 17 feet [within] and the west wall is 26 inches thick. The ruins consist only of the western gable, containing an arched doorway, composed of four large stones, 4 feet broad, and

6 4 in. high; over which is a square or oblong window. The line of the walls may be traced round the other side by the stones which still remain.

“The following are the only notices which I have found of it.

“ ‘At Ludwell, or Lythewyll,  an estate of Mr. Richard Whidborne, near Haldon, in a field called Chapel Park, is the ruinated chapel of St. Mary, of which the proprietor can give no other account than that he has heard his father say, it is prayed for in Roman Catholic countries, by the name of the Holy Chapel of Ludwell. He added that his father, when he gave him the estate, exacted a promise from him, that he would never remove any of the stones, or any part of the building. There are no monuments remaining of any person buried there. This chapel is called in the Liber Regis, Lythewyll.” *

“* Note. Lithewyll (St. Mary) olim cap. to Dawlish, demolished. – Lib. Regis.”

“Polwhele, V. 2. p.150. Fol. edit. 1797.

“Of the other chapel (he had spoken before of Coketon chapel) ‘de Lydewill, in honore sce. [?] Marie infra parochiam de Dawlish constructa [?] et situata’ I find no mention before 11 August 1411. It lies near Haldon; ’tis a complete ruin.

“Bishop Stafford ‘further licenced him (Thomas Fayrforde) on 11 August 1411 to celebrate mass in St. Mary’s chapel at Lidwell, on the 15th August, the feast of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary.’

“ ‘ N.B. On 25 May 1426 Bishop Lacy licenced this Vicar (Walter Chiterwell) to officiate ‘in capellis beate Marie de Coketon et Lydewill infra parochiam de Dowlysh.’

“See Fol. 131. 133 Vol. I. Stafford’s Register.

“Oliver’s Ecc. Antiq. in Devon V. 2. pp.143 144

“N.B. Lysons speaks of the Hamlet of Lithwell, perhaps misled by the chapel.”


So much for the mems.[? memories?] of the owner of the place. In “White’s History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Devonshire” for 1850, one of the legendary notices of the chapel is alluded to. At page 416 it says:- “About 3½ miles N.W. of the town [of Teignmouth] are the venerable ruins of Lithwell, or Lidwell Chapel, where a villainous priest, popularly called St. Simon, is said, in a legendary tale of the 16th century, to have committed many murders on the surrounding heath, for the sake of hoarding up gold in a secret chest under the altar, at the foot of which was a deep well, in which he is said to have buried his victims. This chapel was in Dawlish parish, and the well may still be seen in the middle of the ruined walls, covered with a large granite slab.”

Nothing, however, seems to be known of such a well in the present day. Examination might decide. A more amplified version of the above tale I have read somewhere; but where I cannot think, unless it were in Woolmer’s Gazette about the year 1850. I was told at Lidwell Farm that the monk above alluded to died at last in prosecuting his nefarious practices. The legend says he one night attacked a traveller on Haldon, to rob him, but the traveller drew some weapon and so wounded the monk that he drew off. He was just able to get back to his chapel, where he died. His ghost is said still to haunt the spot. See my later accounts –

I have another legend of two children, Jon and Janthe who died and were buried there. It is entitled “The Little Chapel, or The Children of Consolation.”  The writing (on a sheet of note paper) is all lithographed, and a lithographed view of the building is given at the head.

No author’s or publisher’s name is given, and no date.


This evening signed my name five times, as witness (with Dr. Baker) to Mary Roberton’s signature, on some papers connected with the transfer of her late mother’s property to herself.

Th. Sep. 28. – Witnessed Mary Roberton’s and Ann Catherine Stare’s signatures on a parchment deed of Release of 5 or 6 skins [?] by which their two mothers’ funded property is released from the Trustees under my grandfather Sir William Parker’s will and transferred to them:- this being a joint deed to save expense.

Fri. Sep. 29. – Michaelmas Day! more like midsummer. We have a most unusually fine autumn and it is still oppressively warm, and the sky cloudless. Before leaving Dawlish to return home, made a trip to Torquay to see some friends. Took a return ticket on the rail. On arriving, walked from the station to Hesketh Crescent. Found them at home – had bridecake and wine – and then got into their carriage with them to take a drive. They took me to see some of the beauties of the neighbourhood, and then set me down at the station. I got back to Dawlish to dinner.

In the “Illustrated London News” of the 23rd. Instant I see the following paragraph at page 274:- The Committee of Ordnance have had their attention drawn to a new projectile: it is a shell charged with a liquid which, when released by the concussion of the ball, becomes a sheet of liquid fire, consuming all within its influence, the smoke emitted also destroying human life.” Now, I have reason to suspect that this is my shell, it is so exactly like what I communicated to the government in my letter to Lord Palmerston of last [SPACE HERE]


Sun. Oct. 1. 1854. – To-day was set apart as a day of thanksgiving for the most abundant harvest – and splendid it has been, and the weather beautiful. The services at the churches, however, were the same as usual, only with the addition of the new prayer, which I stick in my diary.

For the last several months, that is since the commencement of hostilities with Russia, the prayer “In the time of War and Tumults” has been read, - a novelty which at first I could not comprehend. And more recently, since the appearance of the cholera in London, we have had the prayer headed “In the time of any common Plague or Sickness.”

Mon. Oct. 2. – Mother and myself returned home from Dawlish to Sidmouth – first taking the rail to Exeter, and then a carriage to Sidmouth. Yesterday there was a rumour that the allies, to wit, the English, French, and Turks, had taken Sebastopol, in the Crimea, and to-day it is alleged to be confirmed. True or no, people are beginning to rejoice, in all directions. In Exeter the church bells were jingling on all sides, and the roofs of the houses were decorated with flags. On arriving in Sidmouth we found the bells ringing, and a band of music parading the streets.

Before I left Dawlish Mary Roberton gave me her late mother’s Guard Ring – a gold hoop embossed outside.



Sidmouth, Oct. 1854.


Oct. 3. –The news of the alleged fall of Sebastopol has set Sidmouth rejoicing – I fear prematurely. This evening the Sidmouth band paraded the parish. When the players came near our house into Coburg Terrace, by way of a lark I took my French horn, and went out and mingled with them. I had a good blow with them for half an hour.

Oct. 6. – So Sebastopol has not fallen! No, it was too good to be true so soon. There has been a great battle however, on the River Alma, between Kalamita Bay, [?] in the Crimea, and the city, where the allies attacked a Russian camp. The loss of the English in killed and wounded was 1895 rank and file, 90 officers, 114 sergeants, and 23 drummers: and of the French 1400 men, and 60 officers. The Russians were driven from their camp. The victory has been celebrated in London.

Sat. Oct. 7. – Letter from Bingham, with £20172 for me, and £30126 for mother. Also an improved plan of Goolwa.

Painted the new water-but [sic] to be put up on Monday.

Mon. Oct. 9. – Music this evening at the Heinekens, as usual.

Wed. Oct. 11. – Called on Sir John and Lady Claridge, and afterwards on Sir George and Lady Pocock. Found them all at home.


Sidmouth. Oct. 1854.


Fri. Oct. 13. – Had a capital musical meeting this morning at the Heinekens. Played

Reifseger’s Trio in F., the first movement being in 12/8 time. Took the violin part on the flute – Sir George Pocock the violincello, and Miss Heineken the piano forte. Mr. Heineken put in a few deep notes with his double bass. After that we went through Hummel’s 6th trio. Our audience consisted of Lady and Miss Pocock, Lady Knowles, and Sir John and Lady Claridge. Lady Claridge and Miss Heineken then played some things from Mozart’s 12th Mass. Before we broke up, appointments were made for tomorrow.

Sat. Oct. 14. – As by appointment, had an hour’s practice with Lady Claridge at Don Juan; and subsequently with Sir George Pocock and the Heinekens.

Mon. Oct. 16. – Had a “grand crash” at the Heinekens, in concert with Lady Claridge, Sir G. Pocock, Miss and Mr. Heineken.

Fri. Oct. 20. – At the Heinekens this morning, where I met Sir George Pocock and Lady Claridge. We had a turn at Weber’s 1st Trio, in two flats, and then the greater part of Don Giovanni. After that Miss Heineken and Lady Claridge went to the organ, Mr. Heineken took his double bass, and I exchanged the flute for the horn, when we played part of Mozart’s 12 Mass. Sir John Claridge and Mrs. Brine [?] came in; and Mr. Waterhouse has recently come down from Yorkshire.


Sidmouth, October, 1854.


Sat. Oct. 21. – Went with Mr. Heineken and Mr. Waterhouse on Ottery East Hill, to enjoy the view, and show the latter a piece of Devonshire. Took the route in our vehicle by way of Sidford, and then to the left up the old Roman road [?] High Street. From that we turned into the lane which took us all along the north side of Core Hill, and so on, till we reached the top of Ottery East Hill. Here we halted, and taking out our spyglasses, searched the country for half an hour on all sides, - naming the Tors of Dartmoor, the camps on the principal eminences, and examining the houses of Exeter, Ottery, and some other places just discernible. Thence we steered northward until we came to three barrows the situations of which we noted, in order to lay them down on the Ordnance Map, where they are not.

These barrows are cut into peculiar forms by the ditches which have been made round them. The most southern one is in the shape of a star with six points, like a fort or battery: the second is like a square, but bounded by curved lines bowing inwards: and the most northern, toward Chineway Head, is merely circular. These ditches are not likely to be ancient. Perhaps they were made at the time the barrows were planted with fir trees, some of which still remain growing on them.

From these we went along Chineway Head to Honiton Hill – the scene of our operations on the 25th of last July. Having taken our station on the great barrow, some 170 paces east of “Hunter’s-Lodge” inn, we looked about and pointed out the most remarkable sites within view to our Yorkshire friend, especially “Ring-in-the-Mire.” Again entering the carriage, we descended Honiton Hill homewards, and turned out of our way to give him a look at Sand, he being connected with the Huyshes, the owners. We entered the house, and the garden; and having satisfied our curiosity, drove through Sidbury, and so on by Sidford to Sidmouth.

Mon. Oct. 23. – Had a trio with Sir George Pocock and Miss Heineken.

Fri. Oct. 27. – And to-day had a regular spell at music with him and her and Mr Heineken and Lady Claridge. In came Lady P., Miss P., Lady Knowles (Sir G’s sister) and Sir J. Claridge to listen. Sir G.P. gave me the flute parts of Reisseger’s 8th, and 10th, trios.

Sat. Oct. 28. – Great anxiety exists at the present moment by everybody for news from Sebastopol. The allied forces are said to amount to 120,000 men, though all are not in the Crimea. The siege operations commenced on the 9th and it was thought that on the 17th 200 guns of large calibre would be ready to open fire upon the devoted city. It seems scarcely possible that the Russians can withstand this; and yet, the nation naturally feels anxious. By this time we ought to have had ample intelligence up to a period long after that of the purposed attack; and some persons are loudly complaining that news should be so long coming. The exact amount of English killed and wounded at the battle of the Alma was 2106, as now stated. A Sidmouth woman named Hill stopped me the other day to enquire if I knew the results of the battle, as one of her dear boys enlisted last June in Sidmouth unknown to her, and was out there. I did not know her before, but I am frequently asked questions about the war; for those sort of people fancy the gentry, by going to reading rooms and reading the papers, have superior advantages to themselves in picking up information. I have not seen the name of Edwd. Hill of the 95th amongst the killed or wounded, so I hope he is safe. She had heard that another Sidmouth man got through the battle quite safe. It would not be easy to describe the look of surprise and horror she gave me when I laughed at her fears, and said I was sorry I was not out there myself in the midst of the fun. Howard Elphinstone, son of Captain Elphinstone of Livonia, near this place is now before Sebastopol in the Engineers. These are the only Sidmouth people out there that I know of. There are, however, about twenty Sidmouth men in the Black Sea and Baltic fleets. There are, however, one or two more men in the Crimea, now besieging Sebastopol, whose families happen to be here, although they are not strictly residents.


Sidmouth – Oct. & Dec. 1854.


Tuesd. Oct. 31. – At a small party at the Elphinstones’, at Livonia, where we had plenty of music and chatting.


Wed. Nov. 1. – The news from the besieging armies before Sebastopol is not good to-day. It is said that Menschikoff, having rallied his troops since his dressing at Alma, has attacked the allies with 30000 men, dreadfully cut up the cavalry, and put Lord Cardigan, who commands it, in considerable peril. We are also told that among other casualties, a son of the Marquis of Clanricarde has been taken. What would his ancestor in Shakspere’s [sic] “King John,” to wit, Hubert de Burgh, say to this?

If we can only take Sebastopol at last, we must not mind a few reverses in the interim. However, the account has come, not from the official despatches published by our government, which alone can be depended on, but through the Vienna electric telegraph, which had told many fibs of late. Let us hope this is a fib also.

Sat. Nov. 4. – This turns out to be, not quite a fib, but much exaggerated.

Had lunch with the Elphinstones: and then had a private confab with the Captain on the subject of my gunboat, some further particulars about which I am soon about to send to the government.

Sun. Nov. 5. – Gunpowder Plot. Hoisted my flag, though the noisy demonstrations are reserved for tomorrow.


Sidmouth. Nov. 1854


Mon. Nov. 6. – And a noise I made, as well as other folks.

Th. Nov. 9. – Prince of Wales’s birthday – up flag. – Hole made through the wall  from the Terrace to the field.

Fri. Nov. 10. – To-day a meeting was held in the Market House, on the subject of the “Patriotic Fund,” for the benefit of the widows and orphans of those who fall in the Russian war. Sent down my flag, which was fastened up against the wall at the end of the room, where it made a very good background. The speeches made were very appropriate, and the room well filled with company.

It is expected, on sufficient grounds, that about or nearly, £300 will be collected in this parish and neighbourhood. I was applied to, to know whether I would assist in collecting from the inhabitants? I said I would rather be excused if the could do without me, though I would not shirk from a disagreeable duty if requisite. They did excuse me. Some people are fond of running about from house to house gossiping – I am not. To thrust myself into half the houses in the parish and ask for money, even for a good purpose, is most repugnant to my feelings. But I was let off.

Th. Nov. 17. – Ebdon and his assistant finished putting putting up the wooden palings along the path by the hedge in the field adjoining No. 4 Coburg Terrace.


Sidmouth, Nov. 1854.


Sat. Nov. 18. – The accounts from the seat of war are most trying. The Siege of Sebastopol is going on slowly, - we hope surely: but the task is a most arduous one, and the frequent encounters with the enemy are harassing and diminishing the troops of the allies. News are sought after with the greatest anxiety. Two curious circumstances are related to have occurred in the siege batteries before Sebastopol. One was that a cannon ball, fired by the Russians, entered the mouth of an empty gun on the English lines, and stuck fast about one third down the bore. This strange event caused much amusement amongst the soldiers. The other was somewhat similar, but more remarkable if possible. The besiegers were on the point of firing a shell; when another shell, fired by the Russians, entered the mouth of the piece, thus charged and on the point of going off. The two shells exploded together inside the howitzer (or whatever it was) and burst it, killing and wounding most of those who were standing near. Strange chances were these.

Th. Nov. 23. – At a party at Lime Park – music, dancing, supper: 65 there.


Th. Dec. 1. – Read two interesting letters from the seat of war, written by Seymour Blane to his parents Sir Seymour and Lady Blane. They give descriptions of the battles of Balaklava of Oct. 25 & 26, and Inkerman of Nov. 5. – These letters corroborate Lord Raglan’s account, that 15000 English, French and Turks, withstood, and finally routed 60000 Russians, including, along with the Russian army, those who made a sortie from Sebastopol, and the garrison who directed their fire from the walls. The Russian loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, amounted to about the whole number of the allies engaged. The progress of the siege is slow and most arduous. Whether it is sure, even now seems a question. Considering the advanced state of the season, and the approach of winter, the position of the allied armies is most critical. Speaking of the prevailing opinion out there, Seymour Blane says – that they do not clearly see their way into Sebastopol, nor out of the Crimea. He further says that the guns of the fleet can do very little against the batteries. This answers one of the great questions which has been mooted since the commencement of the war – Whether the guns of a man-of-war can successfully attack stone walls? – Aye – try 110 ton guns.

I learn that the subscriptions to the Patriotic Fund, in aid of the widows and orphans of those who fall in battle, is now closed in this neighbourhood; and that the sums raised are as follows:- For Sidmouth £200010; for the adjoining parish if Sidbury £36176; and for the adjoining parish of Salcombe £28196; making a total of


Mon. Dec. 4. – Spent the evening at the Heinekens’. Coloured a Coat of Arms (the Heineken arms) during tea. Then music for a couple of hours. Supper and gossip till two.


Sidmouth, Dec. 1854.


Th. Dec. 7. – The carriage of my gun (see back Augt. 24) is at last so far completed as to have it home. Richards made the wheels and woodwork; Coles the elevating screw; Burgoyne the rest of the iron work; and Hayman bouched the touchhole. The browning of the elevating screw box, and giving the carriage its last coat of paint, I mean to do myself. A brief history of it is contained in the following inscription, which I have recently engraved on a brass plate, and which I mean to screw on the trail  piece, namely – “This gun was captured from a pirate on the East coast of Borneo, Lat. 4o10ʹʹ N., Jan 29 1845; by Lieut. J. Roberton, H.M.S. Samarang (Captn. Sir Ed. Belcher, Bart.,) on whose death it went to his father, Col. Roberton; on the death of the latter it passed to his Nephew P.O. Hutchinson, 1854.” Besides the printed account of the encounter with the pirate prahu, as given by Sir Edward Belcher, in his Narrative of the voyage of the Samarang in the years 1843-1846, Vol. I. p.250, I have a letter of John Roberton’s, given me with the gun, giving his own details of the affair, and dated the day one [sic] which it took place. It is a rough draft of a letter intended for the captain; and though his signature is not appended, I recognise the hand writing to be his, as does his sister Mrs Francis Jones. It runs as follows:-   “Her Majesty’s Ship Samarang, Legretan,

29 January 1845.

“Sir – I have the honour to inform you that, in compliance with your orders, I proceeded in the first cutter to speak the prahu, and succeeded in coming up with her at the entrance of a small river. On closing I hoisted the ensign, and a white flag, which was taken no notice of. On a nearer approach I observed a long gun turned on the cutter; and on arriving within hail, I directed the Interpreter to say we were friends, and wished him to send a man, or come himself in the Prahu to find out a place to water the ship. He said he would go himself: if we would go out in the cutter, he would follow us. Instead of which he commenced pulling his boat into shoal water, evidently endeavouring to escape up the river. On seeing this, I pulled between him and the shore; and said I would come along side [sic] him, which he positively refused, accompanied with the usual attitudes of defiance. Seeing further parley was useless, I directed musquetry to be opened on her, which was briskly returned from their gun with grape. In a few minutes the crew deserted the Prahu, escaping to the jungle. On


boarding, I found her to be a large Prahu with provisions and water for a number of men, and a large quantity of powder, armed with a long brass swivel gun. Her crew consisted of about 30 men, three of whom were shot in escaping to the shore, and I should think as many wounded in the boat, from the quantity of blood in different parts. After taking the gun into the Cutter, and destroying the powder, she was set on fire, and burnt to the water’s edge.

Curious enough, after I had the gun at Sidmouth, on sounding it, an iron ball was found jammed at the entrance to the chamber. The blacksmith and myself, at different times, tried various ways to extract it; but it was jammed so tight we were unable. He bored it out with a drill. Now on consideration it appears that the last charge of powder, instead of driving out the ball, all exploded at the vent, which had become very large from use; so that, this being the case, the pirates were immediately deprived of the use of their gun. Perhaps this fact will account for the precipitate retreat which they made to the shore, on abandoning their vessel so suddenly.


Sidmouth, Dec. 1854


Sat. Dec. 9. – Painted the carriage of the gun; and proceeded to brown the elevating screw box and handles.


This afternoon went into Exeter with Mr. Heineken and Mr. H. Johnson. Played the horn at the Oratorio – The Mount of Olives, and part of the Creation. Mr Heineken played double bass. Mr Johnson was among the audience. Did not get in till nearly dark, for we stopped on the top of Aylesbear [sic] Hill to examine two barrows planted with firs that lie about 100 yards on the north side of the road. However, before the Concert, I found time to go and see the works at Bodley’s Iron Foundry. We had a moonlight night returning; but did not get home till three hours after midnight.

Tu. Dec. 12. – Picked out the iron work of the gun carriage with black.

The accounts from the Crimea are tedious on the one hand, and painful on the other:- tedious, because the siege of Sebastopol, partly for want of reinforcements, (which are now happily arriving) and partly owing to the advanced state of the season, drags itself on most wearisomely; and painful because, in addition to the accustomed accounts of the toils and privations endured by soldiers and sailors of all ranks, news have just arrived of a most terrible hurricane, which swept over the Black Sea and the Crimea on the 14th of last month. Such a storm is not remembered by any living there. Once is [sic] about 30 or 40 years the Empire is liable to such visitations. Violent wind, which overturned the tents and scattered the clothing of the troops on the hills – torrents of rain, sleet and snow – no fires – no food to be dressed, and scarcely any to be got. Many men and horses died of the miseries of that pitiless storm. So suddenly did it arise, that the shipping of Frence [sic], English and Turks was take [sic] by surprise. Some 30 or 40 transports and men-of-war were either driven on a hostile shore, or were sent to the bottom with their crews on board, together with the stores, munitions, food, and winter clothing for the troops. Every effort is being [sic] both in England and in the Crimea, to repair this great disaster.

Sat. Dec. 16. – So the Pope, his Cardinals and sundry Roman Catholic Bishops, have ventured to declare on the long mooted dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. Are such questions necessary? And are they not repugnant? They have decided amongst themselves that the conception and birth of the Virgin Mary herself, was immaculate and without sin. Those who pray to her and through her perhaps found it necessary to settle the question this way: and yet former Popes, though they have ventured to discuss this question; have always shrunk from pronouncing on it. The number of “votes” was 576. Of these, 540 pronounced for the dogma: 32 questioned the appropriateness of the discussion just now: 4 protested against it. So the Virgin Mary, at their hands, has been promoted in the celestial peerage.


Sidmouth. Dec. 1854.


Th. Dec. 21. – All England – especially the ladies of England – now having merely finished the making of flannel shirts, “mitts,” and sundry other articles of warm clothing for our brave soldiers shivering there in the Crimea, outside the walls of Sebastopol, it struck me, that as they had prepared to send out so many things of which the army was in need, I myself I, would send something which it so well deserved. The victors of Alma, Balaklava, and Inkermann, thought I, merited a wreath of laurel: so a crown of laurel I made, and enclosing it in a light box, together with some verses, of which the following is a copy, sent the whole by post to London, to the Agents there.

Palmam qui meruit ferat.

To the Army in the Crimea


I wish I were a wounded soldier lying

Hard by Sebastopol, upon the ground;

Or else in Scutaris Hospital a dying

Where “ministering angels” now are found

To abound.

So here in England, we must get our clothes

As best we may, after the ancient plan;

Whilst all the ladies now are making hose,

And woollen shirts, and “mitts,” for every man,

Fast as they can.

You lucky dogs! You favourites of the women –

You’ve won their hearts by winning many fights.

You have done wonders – you, and those brave seamen,

All in the valleys, and upon the heights,

Both days and nights.

What you have suffered since the summer ended,

We are not ignorant. Without a roof,

In hail, sleet, snow, with rain and drizzle blended,

And clothes against the elements scarce proof

In warp and woof.

Hold on brave lads! We’ll send you something yet.

You’ve braved the foe, can you brave bleak December?

We’ve not forgot the glorious Fifth, so wet,

And that same miserable Fourteenth of November,

We remember.

Hold on brave lads! We’re busily intent

Collecting thousands here for yours and you.

Take these as but a small acknowledgement

From us, for shooting, and being shot at through

And through.

All England, Europe, all the world looks on

In admiration what you’ve done, and do.

Can we believe the glory partly gone

Of Badajos, Sobraon, Waterloo?

That can’t be true.

Yet Alma, Balaklava, Inkermann,

These glittering words have dazzled every eye.

They’re in the mouths of every woman and man

Who swears that those who fought them cannot die –

Your fame knows why.

You dirty dogs! Pray how’re you off for soap?

Not very well I fear, or water either.

You are the true unwashed! Yet where’s the scope

For washing, shaving, when you see there


Your brilliant uniforms are seedy grown,

Not bearing now the gloss that they have borne,

Besmeared with blood and mud; rent, patched, and sewn,

Threadbare and faded, rubbed and sadly worn,

And torn.

You lousy fellows! (So the papers say)

Well, never mind, you’re splendid fellows too;

Your country is enraptured with you – ay,

She quite adores her lousy heroes, who

Fight as you do.

All England sends you what you greatly need;

Sidmouth now sends you what you well deserve –

A wreath of Laurel. This the victors’ meed [sic].

Go on as you have gone. Men of your nerve

Will never swerve.

Go henceforth costumed by the ladies too,

Ornatisque cornis virgine lauro: why,

You unwashed, dirty, lousy, fellows, you

Are England’s pride and glory. You stand high

In her approving eye.

Adieu, brave lads! You’re not forgotten here.

We’re growing proud – not of ourselves, but you.

You’re not forgotten, though you are not near.

Forgive our pride, though rather fragrant too –

Pray do.

Sidmouth.                                                                   P.O.H.


Sat. Dec. 30. 1854. – My brass gun, which I took into Exeter a few days ago to Bodley’s Iron Foundry, to be more perfectly bored, was sent back to-day. Where this gun was originally cast, it is hard to say, though many of my friends have offered their opinions on this point. Some think in Malacca, some in China and some at Manilla. The Illañon pirates who last had it are not likely to have been able to cast such a thing as a piece of ordnance. The gun had been cast with a block or core, which had afterwards been removed, leaving the bore very irregular. The drill however will remove the irregularities and make it true.







END OF 1854.










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'In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson' outputs

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In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson (2010-2013) has been delivered by the East Devon AONB Partnership on behalf of and with the financial support of Defra, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund (Your Heritage) and the Sid Vale Association's Keith Owen Trust Fund.

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