POH Transcripts - 1861

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Tue. Jan. 1- Accounts reach us of the unusual severity of the weather all over the country. On Christmas Day the thermometer seems to have fallen lower than on any other day this winter, so far. At Sidmouth it was 23° : in Hertfordshire 0, or zero : at Cheadle, in Staffordshire, 10 below zero, or 42° below freezing. It was 26° in my bedroom and everything frozen hard – jug, water-bottle and toothbrushes. I broke the

ice I my jug and sponged myself with water and then dressed. This is nothing to do, if one does it quickly, the moment one jumps out of bed, glowing hot and immediately rubs oneself dry. I sleep under fifteen blankets ! Some of the blankets are are doubled, but it is fifteen thicknesses of blanket, at all events. This may be added a sheet and counterpane.

Mon. Jan. 7- Last night was the coldest here yet, it being only 19°

Wed. Jan. 10- Four casks of ball cartridge, for the rifled carbines, were sent to me today for safe custody till wanted. Mr. Denison, the Drill Sergeant and myself, stowed them away in the stable.

Thu. Jan. 11- Amused myself all the morning felling, uprooting and cutting up the old laburnum tree, standing about six feet in front of the south side of the Old Chancel. It had the canker in the root. Some 8 or 10 years ago I cut my initials P.H. In the bark. I have preserved a chunk of the tree bearing these letters. It is in the Old Chancel. When Capt. Hamilton had my house in 1855, he cut AH on the bark. I cut off the slice with these letters and have sent it to him.


Sat. Feb. 9- This morning Colonel Hamilton, brother to the vicar called on me in a very excited state, on the subject of our parish affairs (of which he knows nothing) and on the subject of a letter I have written to his mother, regretting that circumstances over which I had no control, should have placed me in opposition to her son the vicar. The vicar has just exchanged parishes with the vicar of Combe St. Nicholas and he has so done because Sidmouth has become too hot for him.

In my letter I remarked that he had been driven from his parish by bad advice and the Col. Took exception to the expression. He said “he would make me pay for it”if I did not mind what I was about etc.,etc. I told him he was a comparative stranger here and knew nothing of our parish affairs, that he had better let them alone – that I knew what I was about, etc.

Tue. Feb.19- Put my name to a petition to the Lords and also to another to the Commons, against the unconditional abolition of church rates. This question of church rates has been much aggravated of late years. I think there is something to be said on both sides.

Thu. Feb. 21- The weather very boisterous. This afternoon, about 5o'clock, a violent gust of wind blew off the head of the elm tree in front of the house and carried it fifty feet away clear of everything. This same afternoon the north wing of the Crystal Palace, Sydenham, near London, was blown down and the spire and central tower of Chichester Cathedral. Much damage has been done everywhere, both by sea and land. The wind was south-west during the afternoon. I mean to have some photographs of the tree made. (they were failures)


Sat. Mar. 16- The Duchess of Kent, the Queen's mother died this morning. She had been suffering from cancer.

Sat. Mar. 23- News arrived at Sidmouth, that Mr. Fish, of Knowle Cottage, had been found dead in his bed at his residence, in London. He will be missed by the radesmen here, as he spent a good deal of money among them. His cottage was shewn to the public during forty years.

Sun. Mar. 24- The Rev. H.J.Hamilton, the vicar, who has exchanged his living with the vicar of Chard, preached his farewell sermon this afternoon at the parish church.

Mon. Mar. 25- This being the day appointed for the funeral of the Queen's mother, we Artillery men turned out in the Fort Field and fired twenty one minute guns from our 24-pounders. One of the guns missed fire, “the tube was blown”, as they say. Unknown to anybody, however I had a spare tube in my hand and the moment the gun missed, I rushed in between the the men, put the tube in the vent and fired. Everybody was struck with astonishment, fancying some accident had happened. I was anxious the time should be well kept, because people sometimes time us with their watches. And curiously enough, Mr. Heineken (who was at home at the time) afterwards meeting the Captain said “you kept your time very well I had my watch in my hand and every gun went off almost to a second”.

Tue. Mar. 26- A public meeting at the Town Hall, at which an Address of Condolence to the Queen was produced, read and approved, on the occasion of the death of her Majesty's mother, the Duchess of Kent.


Mon. Apr. 1- Easter Monday. The Artillery corps turned out in the Fort Field this afternoon, worked the great guns, fired the rifled carbines, went through some company drill and then marched back.

Tue. Apr. 2- Went over to Honiton to witness some rifle shooting as 4 or 5 companies meet there today. About 24 of us took a four horse coach and drove over. Rather noisy fellows we were. The coach was covered with flags and one of the men carried a trumpet. We astonished the natives all along the road. The day turned out fine, but the ground was wet. The shooting I believe was good, but I know nothing for certain, till I see the score. On returning, the coach broke down when descending

Honiton Hill some four miles from Sidmouth. The weight of the men was too much. The woodwork of the “Boot” under the coachman's seat gave way and was crushed. The fore part came down upon the front wheels, but there was no turn over. Mr. Pullin, our Hon. Surgeon, overtook us in his gig and brought me home.

Mon. Apr. 8- Today the census was taken. My tailor Barratt was the person appointed to distribute and to collect the papers in my division of the parish. I had only to fill in for myself and for my housekeeper Mrs. Webber. The result shews that there are 70 people less in the parish now than there were ten years ago and that there are 575 more females than males. All this is unfavourable.

Tue. Apr. 9- Rev. H. Clements, formerly curate here, but now at a district in Torquay, gave a lecture at the ball room at the London Hotel on Oliver Goldsmith.

Mon. Apr. 15- Witnessed the signature of Mrs. Smith, wife of the Captain of my Artillery Corps, also the signature of his brother Mr. Charles Smith.


Sun. Apr. 28- Today, after afternoon service at the parish church, the Artillery Corps attended the funeral of an old Waterloo soldier called Freeman and fired three volleys with their carbines over his grave. The band headed the procession playing the Dead March in Saul, as in the case of the funeral at Sidbury on the 23rd of December. These military funerals, however, being a novelty here attract such a concourse of people, that the solemnity of the thing is quite banished. I doubt whether I should care to be so buried.

Mon. Apr. 29- Sergeant W. Denison left for Plymouth.


Wed. May 8- The Colyton Rifles paid a visit to Sidmouth. The weather was cold and rainy all the morning. By the time they arrived it was fortunately improving. They lunched at the York Hotel. The Artillery men then fell in at the Captain's, when we marched with our band to the Hotel to meet them. They came out, when we led them to the field. We marched past in slow and quick time and then went to the 24-pounders, which they wanted to hear – and they did hear them. They were drawn up rather close and got a terrible shaking when they went off. We escorted them out of the town and bid them a friendly farewell.

Mon. May 13- The Earl of Buckinghamshire called on me and chatted an hour on various matters. He then took a look at the the Old Chancel, which he had not seen since it had been in its present state, with my fossils, antiquities, and various odds and ends in it.

Tue. May 14- Today the Yeomanry Cavalry came in. They assemble this year for ten days. They number about 400. I gave up my stable and spare rooms to Captain Woolcott of Knowle.

Sun. May 19- The Yeomanry Cavalry had a special service at church this morning, commencing at a quarter before nine. The Artillery Corps went also. We filled nearly all the body of the church.

Wed. May 22- Today the Review on Peak Hill took place. The weather was fine, as it has been all through and the evolutions gone through very creditably.

Thu. May 23- They left today. Each man gets £2 – 16 for the week. It is calculated that upwards of £2,000 has been spent in Sidmouth since they have been here. Some of the officers bring their families and there is much feasting, visiting and

giving of suppers.


Fri. May 31- Started with Mr. Heineken for an antiquarian expedition on Aylesbeare Hill, etc., and to look for Belbury Castle, for which we have been inquiring for a dozen years. We drove to Newton Poppleford, where we got out. We examined the government mark left by the officers of the Ordinance Survey, in the north west corner of the pretty little tower and took observations with a 'sympiesometer' we had with us. The mark is the broad arrow beside a copper bolt driven into a large stone, with a horizontal slit, being at 132.8 feet above the level of mean tide. The service was going on. I looked into the church, There was nobody there but the

parson and clerk. On the top of Aylesbeare Hill we again made 'sympiesometer' observations. We also pitched the Water Level, a useful instrument for rough purposes.

It is merely two bottles connected together by a tin tube and placed on a pole. The fluid is water, with some ink or indigo in it. By looking along the edges of the bottles at distant objects, their relative levels can be seen. High Peak seemed the same height as ourselves, or a little higher : Woodbury Castle much higher : also much higher the hills towards Sidmouth, as Bulverton, Beacon, Core and Salcombe Hills. We picked up several pebbles peculiar to this locality. We then examined a number of very curious pits on the open heath, of which we had before heard, but never seen. They lie some 300 or 400 yards north of the two clumps of fir trees. They are called “Soldier's Pits”. Tradition says they were made by


Fri. May 31cont.- soldiers once encamped on this hill. We mean to come another day expressly to examine them.(See June 14.) We then steered north and on Venn Ottery Hill measured a ridge or earthwork in the form of 'S' for 300 paces. Thence we proceeded to look for Belbury Castle. After some trouble, we found its site near ' Brick House', between two and three miles south – west of Ottery, or near the schools. On the flank of the hill, in the plantation, there is a very remarkable sunk road. From Belbury Castle it can be traced all the way north to Sreetway Head. Before the land was enclosed it was perfect, but even now is visible.


Fri. May 31cont.- All our doubts were set at rest by falling in with an old man of 79 called Samuel White, who lives at Castle Farm. He told us that 70 years ago, when he was a boy, the land was wild heath, that he and his father assisted in leveling the earthworks round the camp, that they raised the earth in the middle of the camp from what they got at the banks around it, that there was a great ditch all round outside the bank, that the present road round the south and east sides occupies the bottom of the former ditch, that he never heard of any coins or weapons or other relics, ever having been found in the camp, that the camp was called Belbury, or Belsbury and that the field now occupying its site is known as Castle Field. He also told us he had traced the road all the way to Streetway Head and could point out many portions of it even now. (see June 2, 1874)


Tue. June 4- Went over to Dawlish to make the acquaintance of the Rev. J.M.Roberton, vicar of Aldgate London. Took the route to Honiton and thence by rail to Exeter, not having till now, traveled on that piece of road. Passed through Exeter down to Teignmouth, where I had some business connected with the Volunteer Artillery to transact. Called on our Lieut. Col. Sir Warwick. He first offered me a glass of wine and then sat down to the piano, when he played to me for nearly an hour and sang several songs. Pretty well for some distance on the wrong side of seventy. Having overshot Dawlish, I came back and arrived at my cousins Mrs. Robertons to tea. Wed. June 5- Took Mr. Roberton to the top Little Haldon, to shew him the circular camp and Lidwell Chapel. I found these objects much as I last saw them. It is a pity Lidwell Chapel is not drained. It is a swamp inside. Thu. June 6- Mr. Roberton returned to London. Fri. June 7- Incessant rain. Sat. June 8- Returned to Sidmouth. Mon. June 10- Arrived today......Penman, our new Drill Sergeant.


Fri. June 14- Started with Mr. Heineken to examine the 'Soldiers Pits' on Aylesbeare Hill. They lie some 300 or 400 yards north and north-east of the two tumulus planted with fir trees, on the top of the hill, between Newton Poppleford and the Halfway House. They consist mostly of pits dug in the ground and the earth used to make walls. The pits were evidently residences. A gap or door appears in each. They are 6 feet by 8, 6 by 12 and some larger. They mostly extend like a street in two parallel rows for more than half a mile. There are also several circular trenches. Perhaps these were gutters cut round tents to prevent the wet getting into them. We also found two ridges in the form of circles. One we measured was 60 feet across. The other was larger. Between one of these and a long square pit, we found some pavement made of the pebbles found on the hill. We had been told that many patches of pavement existed in different places. Some had been destroyed by the men cutting turf. Round a bottom, on the north, there are many curious earthworks. There is also a tumulus in the bottom. That all these were pits where soldiers made their camp fires, as tradition says must be incorrect. If they are not the remains of an ancient village, some suppose they may have been made about 1799 when a French invasion was expected, or in 1803, when Lieut. Gen. Simcoe had his forces on Woodbury Hill and perhaps a portion of them here. The following fancy sketch may give some idea of their position.


Tue. June 25- Went with Mr. Williams (Radford & William) at low water under High Peak Hill to shoot gulls. Took my artillery rifled carbine. The young gulls were not out of their nests yet, but I saw a curious thing. Two hawks kept soaring about the face of the cliff, as if watching for prey and the old gulls sometimes flew at them to drive them away. All at once one of the hawks darted into the cliff and one came out bearing something in its talons like a young rabbit. The object was so heavy, that after flying some distance, it was obliged to let it drop. As the hawk seemed disposed to dart down and repossess itself of its theft, I first thought of firing the rifle, for I wanted to see what it was. I however, shouted and clapped my hands and made for the spot, some 200 yards off. On getting there I found a young gull covered with down and hence looking like a rabbit. The bones of both its legs were broken at the thigh, but whether done by the fall, or by the hawk to disable it, I know not. The bird was scarcely dead. Mr. W. brought it back to Sidmouth. Sun. June 30- This evening, as soon as it got moderately dark, everybody was astonished at the appearance of a splendid Comet. The skies have been cloudy of late, and its approach does not seem to have been exactly calculated, for neither the Almanacs nor the papers have said anything about it.


Mon. July 1- At drill this evening, we fired ten rounds of blank cartridge from our 24's in the Fort Field. Tue. July 2- This evening the Comet was beautiful, unlike the Comet of 1858, whose tail was curved, the tail of this one is straight and encompasses the nucleus with mist, which the other one did not. It stretches from the head, which looks like a little Venus star, some 20 degrees above the horizon, right away to the zenith. I urged my housekeeper to bring up the salt-box, suggesting that if she could put some salt on its tail, she might catch this strange bird and see what sort of feathers it had. Wed. July 3- Mr. Heineken and myself went over to examine the earthworks behind the Three Horseshoes, on the Lyme road. See my larger plan. The bank looks very like the west side of a square Roman camp, with the N.W. Corner rounded. What I have got to say about this place I shall embody in my paper to be read before the Archeological association in Exeter next August. Mr. Chick, in another carriage, assisting us, took over


Wed. July 3cont.- a man with tools. Him he set to work to examine the large mound in a field some 300 yards south-east of Blackbury Castle, where tradition says the dead were buried after some desperate battle in the valley. A hole was sunk ten feet perpendicular in the crown of the hill, but it was nothing but fine yellow sand,all the way down which, from the water marks, had evidently never been disturbed since nature deposited it there. This is therefore, a natural hill and not a tumulus. By chance we heard of some trenches on a hill in the parish of Branscombe. We must go soon. Tue. July 9- We carried out our determination. We passed the Three Horseshoes and took the first road to the right, which brought us to the top of one of the Branscombe valleys, where the view is beautiful. We were directed to the chalk quarry. From Mr. Daw, who rents the land, we learned that in excavating this quarry they opened the ends of two trenches in the face of the cliff, and from time to time in them, they came upon bones and crockery – crockery either black or stone colour. This happened some fifteen year ago.


Tue. July 9cont.- None has been saved. In the plan below, the white is the part excavated; 'a' all that remains of the trench, but full of loose flints: It turns at an angle 'b': 'cc' direction of trenches over the quarry, before dug away: 'd' tumulus within the trench, dug away. In or near this tumulus was found a slab of stone, about 3feet by 2 by 9 inches thick. Under it were bones in a cavity. The stone now forms the floor of the 'eye' of the lower kiln, close by. The spot was called 'Castle Close' and possibly these trenches may have formed two sides of a Roman camp. Bury Camp is visible on the cliff about a mile south-west by south. Fri. July 26- Sold my 3lb gun, limber and side arms, to Mr. B. Sampson, of Great Wood near Penryn near Falmouth. I advertised it once in Woolmers Exeter Gazette a fortnight ago and it got me a purchaser.I asked £20 and he gave me my price The limber and gun were yoked to the carrier's wagon. I went in by coach. I met it at the station and saw it safe. Returned by coach.



Wed. Aug. 7- All Saint's Church School feast, held in the field opposite Coburg Terrace. I also threw open my premises, but afterwards regretted that I did, for the children trampled over everything. Their curiosity also, to see the 'Old Chancel', was was intense. A few entered – I followed to see that my curiosities were not hurt – the others crowded in, till at last we were as tight as-as-as-anchovies in a bottle. Thu. Aug. 15- Was at the wedding of Miss. Fanny Muspratt (Woodlands) and Lieut. Douglas Bolton. The ceremony went off well at church and we had a very pleasant breakfast. In the evening we had an agreeable ball. Mon. Aug. 19- Meeting of the Archaeological Association in Exeter. Went in to join them, taking my paper on the 'Hill Fortresses, Tumuli and some other Antiquities of Eastern Devon' and some of my illustrations. The papers will be read and a temporary museum is formed in the ballroom close to the New London Inn. Went there and saw all my objects of antiquity and drawings safe. Took rail down to Dawlish, after visiting some parts of Exeter with the Associates, witnessing their reception by the Mayor at the Guildhall and listening to Sir Stafford Northcote's introductory speech.

Tue. Aug. 20- Went to Teignmouth and visited some friends.

Wed. Aug. 21- Visited some in Dawlish.

Thu. Aug. 22- This evening I read my paper, Mr. Pettigrew, the Vice President, in the chair. Fri. Aug. 23- Mr. Till, of Sidmouth, came over and we drove together to Aller and then to Higher Southwood, an estate of 51 acres, belonging to the Feoffees of the Sidmouth Poor Lands. We examined the estate, saw the tenant, and came back. Sat. Aug. 24- Returned to Sidmouth. Went to the rooms in Exeter, packed-up and removed my antiques and illustrations, and removed them to the coach office. Returned by coach. The Exeter papers of today contain full reports of the proceedings. The fruit trees in my garden have borne very well this year.


Sat. Aug. 24contd- On the south side of the garden, which is on the north side of the garden wall, there is a greengage, a morello cherry and a magnum bonum plum. As these trees were too close together and wanted room to spread. I trained the branches over the wall and down the other side.These branches consequently grow downwards, like cows tails and in some places have reached the ground. Some of my friends said they would not bear fruit in this position: but this is a mistake. It is on the sunny side of the wall and the blossoms and fruit are not only much more abundant, but the fruit is ripe a fortnight earlier on the cows tail side. The cherry tree was one mass of red, the fruit was so thick. The magnum bonum has 19 plums on the north side and 111 on the south or cows tail side. And the greengage has 35 on the north side and 151 on the south.


Wed. Sept. 11- Today Colonel Maberley came and inspected our Volunteer Artillery Corps. We assembled at 2 P.M. in the Fort Field. We had intended to fire twenty rounds of blank cartridge, but owing to the dangerous illness of a gentleman residing in the immediate neighbourhood, the order was countermanded. We first fell-in two deep as a company – took open order – and were inspected. We marched past in slow and quick time, the band playing. The men then went to the great gun drill without firing. The officers, after it was all over, repaired to the Captains, where we had a very nice cold lunch. Mon. Sept. 16- Rifle match for our own Artillery Corps. The target (iron, 6feet by 2) was removed from the beach to a field near Boomer. We used the short carbine. It passed off tolerably well. Fri. Sept. 27- All the morning engaged in taking the paint off some old oak panelling, which I destine for the old chancel, used fresh lime, slacked with water, to which I added potash. Made it about as thick as milk or cream and applied it boiling hot. Let it be an hour on the panelling. But the paint was old and thick and I had much trouble to remove it. After washed off and the wood dry, I was directed to wash the wood with vinegar – I suppose to neutralize the alkali.


Wed. Oct. 2- Walked to Packham, or as some say, Packcombe, to look for the Osmunda Regalis fern. Found plenty in a swamp about 200 yards up under the hill above the house, inclining towards Harcombe Hill.

Sat. Oct. 12- Gilt with leaf gold, the pedestal on which I am mounting the three humming birds given me by the Earl of Buckinghamshire. By the bye, the Earl sent me this morning the head of a ram carved in white marble, brought from Cyrene (where excavations are going on) by his son, Captain the Hon. Augustus Hobart R.N. Unfortunately the face is injured. Called this afternoon at Richmond Lodge, Elysian Fields, to thank him. He read me a letter about his son's sojourn at Cyrene and some account of the discoveries, many things being sent to the British Museum, and then kept me talking on various subjects for an hour and a half. The head is in the Old Chancel.

Fri. Oct. 17- At 8 o'clock in the evening of the 17th of October 1861, I took to spectacles, being 50 years old, and eleven months to a day. For the last two or three years I have not seen small print so clearly as heretofore; but before then no one ever had better eyes, either for the closest or longest distances. But even now, I can see through some of my neighbours without spectacles.

Tue. Oct. 21- The members of the Sidmouth Institution, founded by Captain Brine R.E., dined together at the Royal York Hotel. Captain Brine in the chair. We had a very jolly meeting. See Harvey's Sidmouth Directory for next mouth.

Thu. Oct. 24- Mr. Heineken and myself went over to the barrow on Lovehayne Farm, as we had been informed by the present tenant (Mr. J. Dawe of Branscombe) that it was being removed for the sake of the stone. (see September 19,1859) As it turned out a wet day, no workmen were there but a man with a cart, who came to take away stones. We arranged to come again next Tuesday.


Tue. Oct. 29- And we went. They had cruelly destroyed the barrow and were carrying away the stones to build a barn or other outhouse at Lovehayne Farm. We now discovered that at some former period a trench had been cut from the south into the centre of the barrow, for the purpose of examination; and we inferred that the urn, of which we had found pieces had been broken at this time. The trench had been filled in with earth and stones, a good section of which remained. We paid the workmen to dig. The following articles were found, which I have. Two pieces of bone, one about the size of a bean, a part of some joint, the other a piece of a left side lower human jaw bone with holes for three teeth. 2nd A piece of a coarse, rude urn of clay, apparently not kiln baked, three- sixteenths of an inch thick, about two inches long and one and a half wide, but of very irregular shape. 3rd A portion of another urn apparently of the form annexed when perfect. The clay is finer and there is some glaze on it. The thickness is nearly half an inch. It seems to have had a flat top, either for the purpose of covering with a tile or of inverting it on one.


Tue. Oct. 29- A flat stone with some charcoal on it was found, but unfortunately carted away before we arrived. Perhaps this urn had been inverted over it. 4th A good deal of charcoal in small pieces, scattered among the earth. If all these fragments are genuine, this makes three different urns, which were buried here. The fragments of the first, we found in the centre, that of 2nd above, I think about 3 or four feet south of the centre, and that of no.3 above, some 8 or 9 feet south of the centre and the flat stone near it. The bronze instruments said to have been found in the barrow may have been met with by those who cut the trench. One is said to have been sold for old metal at Colyton (the land at Lovehayne belonging to the feoffees), the other, if in existence, we are trying to trace-----found it!

See Friday Nov. 22.

Wed. Oct. 30- I stood godfather today to the second child of Mrs. Henry Luke (nee Fanny Larkins) it being a boy and christened Edmund William. I never took this responsibility on myself but once before and that was in the case of Agnes Jones, since dead, and would not now if I could have helped it. Fanny Larkins's father's sister, Mrs. Luke of Primley Hill, near Sidmouth, (who was at the christening) had my grandfather Sir Wm. Parker for her godfather. The other godfather today was her husband Mr. Luke of Primley Hill and the godmother his daughter Miss. Julia Luke, of that ilk. N.B. The baby did not cry.


Sat. Nov. 9- Prince of Wales's birthday. We turned out in the Fort Field and fired a Royal Salute from our 24 pounders.

Tue. Nov. 12- Finished a large map of The Crimea on glazed calico for Captain Brine R.E., recently left for Hong Kong. Forwarded it to Mrs. Brine, to send after him.

Wed. Nov. 13- Sent the large map of The Crimea (from which I took Brine's map) to the secretary of The Royal Geographical Society. Sent my paper on The Hill Fortresses etc. of South - East Devon to Mr. Pettigrew, treasurer of the Archeological Association and fifteen plans of camps, etc. They propose publishing portions in their journal next year. Also send £1-1-0 for subscription.

Fri. Nov.15- Began making the illustrations for a book on the Ferns of Sidmouth. My plan is a novel one and not hitherto tried that I am aware of. I take a fern leaf and ink it with printers ink. I then press it upon a piece of lithographic transfer paper, which I send to the printers to be transferred to the lithographic stone. The process however, requires much care and each leaf must be first pressed once or twice upon spare pieces of common paper, to take off the superfluous ink. To ink the leaf, the best way is to first dab the ink over the surface of a sheet of hard paper and press the fern upon it. I propose having from 12 to 20 plates.

Fri. Nov. 22- Made a plaster cast of a bronze celt, found about 60 years ago in the barrow in 'Stone Barrow Plot' (see Oct.29) It now belongs to Mr. Snook of Colyton, grandson of the first possessor. It is 5¼ inches long and 1¾ wide at the cutting edge.


Mon. Dec. 2- An accident occurred when firing the guns today. We were firing 3lb. Blank cartridges in the Fort Field. The gun I commanded was fired and the moment afterwards the other gun, which was behind me. I turned quickly round; but to my surprise, in the cloud of smoke, saw the man who had rammed home the charge (No.2) stagger, let fall the rammer and something flew over the wall towards the beach. I saw something had gone wrong and I believed the man's head had been blown off. It proved, however, to have been his cap, but the leather peak, torn off, was picked up near the gun. He had rammed home the charge, withdrawn the rammer and was apparently turning to deliver it to No.6, when the gun went off, the charge passing close in front of his face. He was dreadfully burnt and blackened, and the eyelid of one eye hurt. He was led home in a grievous state. The error was this—No.7 fired before the word 'Fire' was given.

Tue. Dec. 3- The Captain and myself accepted the tender of G.Gosling, to make the place for our battery beyond the old Limekilns for £50.

Sat. Dec. 14- Today, at Windsor Price Albert died. The whole nation has been struck with surprise and regret. He has been ailing only about ten days. I believe his illness terminated in fever. He is truly a national loss.

Mon. Dec. 23- Prince Albert's funeral took place today. A special service took place at the churches. The Volunteer Artillery attended in uniform. Went to the Fort Field, the band playing the dead march in 'Saul' and fired 21 minute guns.

Wed. Dec. 25- Christmas Day. Had my Christmas dinner with Mr. Larkins, at 2. Denby Place. He is the son of the late John Larkins of Blackheath--one of twins.

DAWLISH, DEC. 1861 2

Thu. Dec. 26- Went to Dawlish for a week and stayed as usual at Belmont Villa. During the time I was there I walked one day eastwards across the Warren to the river Exe, crossed by the ferry for two pence and then walked to examine the three-gun battery, now in course of building. Another, went over to Teignmouth by walking and again by railway, etc.

Adieu 1861: Good morning 1862

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