POH Transcripts - 1863

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Thu. Jan. 1- New Years Day. Mild and drizzly weather. Dined with Mrs. Walker and her family again.

Mon. Jan. 19- Walked to Harpford and called at the Vicarage, on Mr. Gattey and on Mr. Gardiner. Mr. Gattey tells me his name was originally Italian but I do not know the original form. Gatto is a cat and Gatti, cats: but I suppose that would not do.

Tue. Jan. 20- Walked to Core Hill and called on Mr. Arnold. He bought this place off the Cockburns- off Lady Cockburn, the late Dean's widow. Mrs. Arnold bore the same name before before she was married, being a relative of her husband. They tell me that Mr. Arnold, her father, has an estate in the north of Devon called Nethercot, which his ancestors and himself have had from father to son, for 800 years. I think the family of Purkiss, in the New Forest, have had the same estate since the time of William Rufus, one of the Purkiss family having been the person who took care of the dead body of the King. If these cases are well authenticated, they are rare.

Wed. Jan. 21- At a party at Mrs. Muspratt's, Woodlands.

Fri. Jan. 23- Mr. Arnold returned my visit. He examined everything in the Old Chancel and sat and chatted with me for a couple of hours in the house.

Sun. Jan. 25- After evening church, had tea with the Vanes.

Mon. Jan. 26- A small party at house. A small party at the Lees's, at Mount Pleasant.

Fri. Jan. 30- Ball and supper at the Vanes', at Camden. At the present time the weather is as soft and mild as April. Our cold north- easters will probably set in soon.


Mon. Feb. 9- Started after breakfast at half past nine and walked along the beach eastwards for the purpose of finding fossils pebbles. At "Hook Ebb", a mile and a half east, where the masses of rock lie at the foot of the cliff, I saw and climbed over the trunk of a large elm tree which had probably been lost from some raft and cast in upon the reef by some recent storm. Quantities of sulphate of lime or gypsum, looking like slices of red cheese, lay exposed as usual, at the foot of the cliff in the cracks. I went on to Weston Mouth and to the reef beyond. Now being hungry, I looked out for a spring of water coming down from the cliff of which there are many. Lay down on the pebbles near it, eat my sandwiches, and drank. After examining this locality, where I have not been for a long time, I turned back. I saw very few fossils but what I had procured before. I put one or two echini in my pockets, as they were good specimens, a serpula, etc. and amongst the beach pebble, a conglomerate, a spherical mass of agate in flint as large as two fists, some pieces of mammelated, or bubbly-looking calcedony, a red jasper etc. Got home at five somewhat tired, for it is rather trying to walk all day on loose shingle with a considerable weight of fossils in one's pockets, indeed, the mass of agate I was afraid would go through my pockets, so I carried that in my hands.

Fri. Feb.13- At a party at the Ede's at Lansdown Villa, Elysian Fields.


Tue. Mar. 10- Today Edward Albert, Prince of Wales, was married to the Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Great preparations to celebrate this event loyally have taken place all over the country. At Sidmouth, the Volunteer Artillery began by firing a royal salute of 21 guns at the Battery, or platform, under Peak Hill. When they came back a procession was formed at the top of Fort Field, headed by the Artillery Corps with their drum and fife band. Gentlemen and tradesmen then fell in and walked two and two, and finally the schoolchildren numbering several hundreds. The immense number of these juveniles excited the astonishment of everybody. They carried plenty of flags, and the long string was very amusing to look at.Dinners, tea-drinkings and balls took place afterwards. A general wish had been expressed throughout the country, that every person should wear a rosette or favour of Coventry ribbon, in order to do some good to the trade of that town, which has lately been depressed. The wish seems to have been complied with. Mine cost me a shilling. It is of white silk ribbon with the Prince of Wales's badge in crimson silk.

Wed. Mar. 18- Put my name to a petition to the Board of Trade, asking for a barometer to be placed at Sidmouth and the variations registered by competent people.

Wed. Mar. 25- I hear that the Board of Trade is scarcely disposed to grant the barometer, not thinking Sidmouth of sufficient importance.


Tue. Apr. 14- Went with Mr. Heineken to examine Stockland Great Castle, which we were unable to do on the 22nd of July (which see) because the corn was on the ground. We took the same route, via Sidbury, Honiton and Cotleigh Hill. We had measured the camp before through its east and west diameter along the road and made it 810 feet. We now examined the north and south halves, being two large fields, and took the dimensions according to the plan. The vallum is perfect all round the northern half. I made the slope of the agger at the east side to be 43 feet. Writers say that a quantity of sling stones have at different times been found within the area, and that a vase or earthen pot was once dug up full of them. The ground was being ploughed, so we had every facility for examining it. We entered at the east corner and had not walked far before we picked up what we had no doubt were the objects in question, at the places where I have put-


Tue. Apr. 14contd.- crosses x x. These stones are so totally different in their form and nature from anything to be found among the natural soil of the hill, which is of the Greensand formation with angular stones, as to be easily detected the moment they are seen. The sling stones are flint or chert pebbles, more or less oviform, about the bigness of a bantam's egg and not unlike the sketch above. They have been picked up on some beach, possibly at Seaton, for they have all been rounded by the action of the sea. We brought away a few as specimens, but left many that we saw lying on the ground. They are most abundant in the northern half of the camp and towards its eastern or lower side. We saw some in the southern half, but not so many. Davidson says the camp contains twelve acres of ground, and that it shows indications of having been enlarged subsequently to its original formation. The northern half is of very irregular form. We did not see any elevated spot on the north side which may have been the place of the commander's tent, as mentioned by Davidson (Notes of the Antiquities of Devonshire In voce “Stockland”) The vallum on the southern side has been totally destroyed. There is nothing but a common hedge. There is a small narrow plot at the eastern end where the old vallum ran. The length of the camp east and west along the road is 810 feet, and north and south 340 + 42 + 513 = 895 feet. We left to return home at five o'clock, taking the route by-


Tue. Apr. 14cont.- Wilmington, Coplestone's Tower, Farway Castle, Putt's Corner and Sidbury. We had not gone far however, before our horse began to give in, so that at last he was scarcely able to put one foot before the other. He was not well and ought not to have been sent out. He dragged us as far as Sidbury, but as he was five hours taking us little more than ten miles, it was ten o'clock at night by the time we arrived there. Seeing no hope of improvement, but rather the contrary, we got out and leaving the driver to bring the horse and carriage on the best way he could, we walked the last three miles to Sidmouth, not much pleased with such a termination to our day's labours.

Wed. Apr. 15- Mrs. Marson's party at Knowle Cottage. After taking tea and coffee, we were entertained by a vocal and instrumental concert, by 14 musicians, of which the annexed is the programme. A sort of orchestra had been erected at the west end of the suite of rooms, close to the painted window and from this point, benches all down the rooms were placed for the visitors. When the concert was over, supper was announced. After supper dancing and this was kept up with great vigour until “the small hours”. I was home at three.


Sun. Apr. 19- Coming home from church this morning, I put up a fine cock pheasant in my little field, about twenty yards north of the Old Chancel. It flew out of the hedge next the Blackmore Field and went away in the same direction as the partridge, on the 31st of last October.


Sat. May 9- Took a walk to Littlecombe Hill and back. Started after breakfast at 9 a.m. Went over Salcombe Hill. On the left hand side, on the crown of the hill, men were cutting and burning turf, as I have seen on Salisbury Plain, that part, though enclosed a few years ago, has not yet been cultivated. Passed through Salcombe, and so on to Dunscombe Farm. Went through the farm yard and again admired the ruins of the old house. Proceeded two or three hundred yards down the road towards the cliffs (the favourite place for picnics) and then took the divergence to the left, which carried me down through a wild scene to the brook, which I crossed at about a quarter of a mile from Weston Mouth, and then climbed to the summit of the opposite hill. I then walked along its summit to Littlecombe valley, towards Branscombe. I had come to look for a reputed or supposed camp, but no such work exists. There are the remains of some old hedges, but they are only hedges. Returned. Descended the side of the hill into Weston valley and looked out for a brook. Found a spring issuing from the side of the hill. Sat down, discussed my sandwiches and drank. The weather was fine and warm, and so much climbing up and down over hills 500 feet high, made it rather fagging work. Descended lower, and passed a stream which possessed the petrifying quality, as some other springs amongst these hills do. At least they hold lime or stony matter in suspension, which is deposited on objects lying in the water. I found some pieces of stick and a snail shell coated with stone, to the thickness of a sixpence. I brought them home and put them in the Old Chancel, amongst my geological collections. Crossed the large stream in the bottom of the valley and climbed up the steep side of the next hill to the Dunscombe Cliffs, where I have had many a pleasant picnic. Proceeded homeward, spring exists, turned inland towards Salcombe and passed through the field where the Ophioglossum Vulgatum grows.


Sat. May 9cont- The plants, however, are not yet sufficiently advanced. I must come over in a months time. Going through through Salcombe I took a drink at the pump. The weather for some weeks has been unusually dry, fine, clear and hot during the day, though the nights are cool. Passed over Salcombe Hill and descending into the valley of Sidmouth, I got home at 4 o'clock, having been seven hours on the move, except when I sat down to eat my sandwiches.

Mon. May 11- At last rain. This will be welcome to the fields and gardens. For several years we have had wet,cold and late springs. This year we have had about a mouth of dry weather in April and May.

Fri. May 15- Went to a party at the Arnolds' at Core Hill. They are quite farmers in style, but I am told are a very old family of Norman extraction. Captain Arnold was there. He is Mrs. Arnolds' brother. I understand he is the nineteeth in descent, or in succession who has had the family estate in the north of Devon, and that they have been seated there for nearly 800 years. If this is true, it is unusual.

Sun. May 17- At the service this evening (the Vicar of Sidmouth performing the service) at All Saints Church, a tall old gentleman with curly flaxen hair,came into the pew where I was sitting, accompanied by two ladies, apparently his daughters. I was told afterwards it was the Bishop of Paphlagonia.

Thu. May 28- Small party of a dozen this evening at home.


Mon. June 1- This evening there was a total eclipse of the moon It began at 46 minutes past nine and lasted nearly four hours. The moon, however, was slightly visible through the shadow. I did not observe anything peculiar in the colour of the shadow, as some will have it-as copper, or other tints. I went to bed before it was over.

Fri. June 19- Sir. Henry Dryden of Canons Ashby, Co. Northampton, Bart., came to see me. I used to be much at his house in the autumn of 1857.

Sat. June 20- Sir Henry and myself went to take a walk on the beach. He made two coloured sketches there. Mr. Vane joined us at dinner. After dinner we went to the Elysian Fields, and spent the evening at Mr. & Mrs. Vane's.

Sun. June 21- We went to All Saints in the morning and to the parish church in the afternoon.

Mon. June 22- We walked to Salcombe to examine the church. We noted the well-built tower- the cast lead pipes- the Norman column in the wall on the south of the chancel outside- the chequer work under the east window and the cross over, the window being decorated style- the perpendicular work elsewhere. Inside the church looks clean, it was restored some fifteen years ago. The Norman columns down the nave remain. The building at the west of the north aisle is used as a Vestry and one portion for the sextons tools. We mounted a ladder to look at the roof. Every third or fourth timber groin is moulded.

Tue. June 23- Drove to Ottery to examine the church, which of course was not new to me. Sir Henry began a coloured drawing from the south-west, after having first looked at the inside and out. I made a sketch of the recumbent male figure inside, said to be Bishop Grandisson's father or brother. There are no flying buttresses, through the roof is of stone arched. The side aisles are narrow and massive, and may answer the purpose below, but the clerestory has no support outside.


Tue. June 23cont.- Returned bu half past six.

Wed. June 24- To Ottery again. Sir Henry finished his drawing, whilst I made a sketch of the recumbent female figure. Afterwards I took one or two windows for him. We then went up on the north tower, which carries a steeple of beams covered with lead. We examined the construction of the building between the roofs, and other parts. Having finished here we drove a mile out to look at Cadhay house, where Captain Collins received us. The points most noticeable were the newel staircase on the left of the entrance, the quadrangle with its statues and inscriptions, the great stone trough, just the same shape stone as the base of Alphington Cross, the cast lead pipes,etc. The fish ponds are ancient, I believe. Sir Henry took a sketch in a shower of rain. We got back to Sidmouth soon after six.

Thu. June 25- Sir Henry Drydon left me this morning to return home. We breakfasted together at six and he took the coach for Feniton, to join the rail for Exeter and the north. About twenty of us had a very agreeable picnic in Harpford Wood:­ the Vanes, Gardiners, Dillons, etc. The weather was beautiful. We have, so far, had a finer, drier and warmer summer this year than any year since 1859. We drove in carriages to the wood, which mostly consists of beech trees, and contains, according to the country people, as many acres of land, as there are days in the year-365. After we had enjoyed a very good dinner, spread on the ground, we dispersed and rambled about. I went with some friends down to Harpford village and called on the elder Gardiners. Again in the wood, we had tea, and chatted till it was time to return home.


Fri. Aug. 14- At last some showers of rain. For mouths we have scarcely had a drop and the heat has been great. We have not had such a splendid summer for many years. Both the hay and the corn harvest are most abundant. I have been to more picnics and outdoor amusements this summer than for several years before. Two or three to Harpford Wood, one to the Woodman's Cottage beyond Springfield, beyond Sidbury and one to Sand. We took long rambles over the neighbouring hills on these occasions. At Sand we wound up with a dance in the hall.

Sun. Aug. 16- Alcander Hutchinson came to pay me a flying visit. (see back, Nov. 20 1859) He has been in China and half over the Indian Archipelago since I saw him hear four years ago. We talked 'sixteen to the dozen' whilst he was with me.

Mon. Aug. 17- He left this morning to return to his wife and three small offshoots in the neighbourhood of Paris.

Aug.- Party at the Vanes at Camden.


Thu. Sept. 3- Ball at 5, York Terrace. The invitations were in the name of Mrs King, a very old lady, who did not appear, but her grand daughters, the two Miss Dillons, the eldest only twenty, did the honours, and very well too.

Fri. Sept. 4- Small party at the Vanes.

Sat. Sept. 19- Party at Mrs Brines at Claremont.

Sat. Sept.26- Walked to Harpford via Mutter's Moor and dined with Mrs Gardiner. Returned same way.

Mon. Sept. 28- Walked up to Peak Cottage and played trios with Capt. And Mrs Hooper for a couple of hours, two flutes & piano.

Tue. Sept. 29- Michaelmas Day. Took goose with Mrs Walker at Sid House. Witnessed Mrs Dunn's signature to a deed of gift, being £ 200 to one or two parishes in Worcestershire.

Wed. Sept. 30- Went to the ploughing match got up for the parishes of Sidbury, Sidmouth and Salcombe. It was held near Cotford. It is the first thing of the kind held in this neighbourhood and is a step in the right direction.

DAWLISH, OCT. 1863 1

Mon. Oct. 5- Went over to stay with Miss Roberton, where I met Marion and Fanny Jones. Took the coach to Feniton Station. Before getting to Exeter by the rail, one obtains a hasty glance of the remains of Polsloe Priory, close to the line. Having been in Exeter a few hours, went on by rail.

Tue. Oct. 6- Beautiful day. Took the opportunity and went to Teignmouth. Walked from thence to Bishops Teignton to call on Col. Mercer and his family. The church here exhibits several Norman features, as circular headed doors with zig-zag mouldings, etc. Took an early dinner with them, walked back to Teignmouth, spent the afternoon with the Rev. R.Cresswell and his family (all Sidmouth friends) and returned to Dawlish by rail.

Wed. Oct. 7- And the weather changed to rain.

Mon. Oct. 12- Spring tide very high, with the wind hard on shore. At high water this evening the waves were rolling up the brook as high as the iron bridge.

Wed. Oct. 14- Took a long walk over Little Haldon. Went up by Oakland and Holcombe Down, though there is no Down now. On the top of the hill,on the right-hand side of the road, on a waste strip, by a gate, there are two large water-worn boulders of red, or brown igneous quartziferous porphyry. They lie on the green sand and flints, though they belong to the red sandstone beneath, as they appear in the cliffs near the Parson & Clerk rocks, but how they got up there so high, is a question that has not been satisfactorily answered by geologists. Got a splinter of one for the Old Chancel. There are others on Haldon.Went on over the hill northwards, where I had not been since the memorable June 12. 1862. Dipped down and looked at Lidwell Chapel, which is much as I left it, the interior being a swamp for want of draining. Found the tops of five similar boulders in the field south of the chapel, nearly buried. Up on the hill again and made for the head of Small-a-combe Goil, as it is called. Then went into the Camp and walked all round

DAWLISH, OCT. 1863 2

Wed. Oct. 14cont.- it. Then turned homeward and passed down the road by Luscombe Park.

Thu. Oct. 15- At low water went along the beach westward nearly as far as the Parson & Clerk.

Fri. Oct. 16- Took a drive with my cousins to Starcross, Cofton Chapel, etc. Near Starcross we passed an apparatus for preserving timber for piles, posts, etc. There is a stage some 30 or 40 feet high on poles. On this floor there are two or three large tubs full of the solution, (I think sulphate of copper) which descends to the ground by tubes. The lower extremity of each tube is fixed against the end of the fir pole or other piece of timber to be operated upon. At the other end of the pole a cross or other mark of paint or some colouring matter. Things being ready and the work begun, it is found that the pressure of the fluid descending from the tubs, is enough to force out the sap of the tree from one end to the other in the space of a few hours, the solution of course taking its place. The operator knows when the solution has gone all through and reached the further end, by observing the cross or mark of paint, as it changes colour when the solution reaches it. The apparatus is here used by the Railway Company, for the poles of the Electric Telegraph wires.

Sat. Oct. 17- Went to Teignmouth and took a rubbing of the inscription on the third bell at West Teignmouth. The 1st and 4th bells are comparatively modern, the 2nd and 3rd are old. The fourth bell,dated 1738(?) has a large piece, about 8 inches by 5, knocked out of its edge, said to have bee done by a drunken blacksmith.

Wed. Oct. 21- Went in a boat with my cousins Marion and Fanny Jones to the Parson & Clerk Rocks, the sea being as calm as a pond. The girls and myself rowed the boat. We passed between the Parson Rock and the cliff. The space was only six or seven feet. The water rather deep, I could not reach the bottom with the oar. The cove just beyond was full of fish,

DAWLISH, OCT. 1863 3

Wed. Oct. 21cont.- quantities of mackerel , and still greater quantities of little fish called 'brits' The mackerel were darting after them and devouring them. We saw them carry them away in their mouths, the water was so transparent.

Thu. Oct. 22- Walked to the Holcombe new villas and then out to the top of the cliff over the Parson Rock. Sat down to enjoy the view. The flagstaff that the railway people planted on the Parson's head some years ago, still remains, but it is decaying, and the storms are doing their best to break it off.

Tue. Oct. 27- Made a long expedition. Took the rail to Exeter to shop. Took the rail four miles to Topsham. Got out and walked a mile and a half to Ebford, and called on General Lee, some of whose family I had seen at Sidmouth. The house is large and built of brick. The iron gates came from the Duke of Chandos's many years ago, and I believe the tall mantelpiece inside. There are some good old books in the library. Went and looked at the summerhouse in the wood and examined the old chairs. One bears the name 'Shillebeer', with a coat of arms and the date 1685. Walked back to Topsham and visited the museum of the late Mr. Ross. This is a capital museum, especially for objects of natural history. The stuffed birds are admirably done. There is a sword fish caught in the Ex. The The sword is flat horizontally, not up and down, and not toothed, but smooth. I saw Mr. Ross's drawing books, in which he has beautifully done drawings of birds, fish, zoophites, seaweeds, etc. This museum ought to be preserved. The river was between me and Dawlish. Crossed the ferry for Exminster. I was deposited on the marshes as night was coming on, and had to find my way as I could. I should certainly have been benighted and lost had I not called to a man who was fetching some sheet at a distance. These flat meadows are traversed by ditches, which are crossed by planks wholly invisible, except to those who know where to find them. By his directions, scarcely audible at the distance, I got

DAWLISH, OCT. 1863 4

Tue. Oct. 27cont- across and reached the station in the dark. Waited for the train and then got to Dawlish.

Thu. Oct. 29- Had another go at the Parson & Clerk, this time geological. I have been collecting specimens of all the different kinds of rock in the red conglomerate,which is here very coarse. Visited new ground today by going to the Teignmouth side of the said Parson. Being low water spring tide, found I could get as near as the cove in which we saw the fish. The rocks are very bold here, and the Clerk, standing off at sea, very picturesque.


Mon. Nov. 2- Returned home to Sidmouth.

Tue. Nov. 24- A small party at home, fourteen of us, ladies and gentlemen. We had music and dancing, then supper at 11.30, then the same till two.


Tue. Dec. 1- The weather, through occasionally rainy and boisterous, has been remarkably mild. Sidmouth has been rather gay for this usually dull season of the year and I have been out a good deal since I returned from Dawlish.

Tue. Dec. 15- Went over to Awliscombe to look after an old church window. Ever since I erected the 'Old Chancel' I have contemplated adding to it in the same antique style and thereby converting the whole affair into a residence. Took coach to Honiton, nine miles, and then walked out two further to the village. The large window of the south transept has been taken out and replaced by a new one. The floor of this church rises from the west door towards the east. I think the same peculiarity may be seen at Payhembury. The stone screen across the interior of this church is very good. The windows are perpendicular. The glass in the east one, I believe by O'connor, that in the new south transept, I think by Wales. The south porch good, with arched stone roof. Small north door four centred. Tower has square stair turret in stages at south east corner of tower. The pieces of the window taken out were lying in the south east corner of the churchyard. In the churchyard, outside the south transept, there were two young ladies painting a tomb. I heard afterwards that their name was Jackson and that it was the tomb of their mother recently dead. Wanting to see the churchwarden, Mr. Banfield, about the window, I walked a mile further to Wadhay. Over the door is cut the name of Pearce 1621. Banfield's father desired to be buried in a field close to the house, and there is his grave sure enough, and enclosed within an iron railing. Mr. Banfield told me he understood the old window was worth £6, but that I might have it for £5. Did not then conclude any bargain. Walked back to Honiton and took the coach to Sidmouth, where I arrived before seven.

Wed. Dec. 23- Party at the Vane's at Camden.


Thu. Dec. 24- Went with Mr. Horace Marryat to the vestry to look over some of the old deeds, especially Randolph Mainwaring's will, and the inventory of Minshull's effects. Mr. Marryat, who is a brother of the late Captain Marryat the novelist, is assisting a sister of his, in collecting materials for a history of Lace, ancient and modern. There was no mention of lace in the Parish Chest. We have also here a son of the late Mrs. Hemans, the poetess, with his wife and family, and back in the summer there were several Miss Trimmers.

Fri. Dec.25- Christmas day and as mild as spring. Had an early dinner of goose with Vanes and a late dinner of Turkey at Mrs. Walker's, late of Lime Park, now Sidbrook. This was pretty well for one day.

Mon. Dec. 28- Mr. Wm. Banfield, churchwarden of Awliscombe, came over on business and called on me at 9 A.M. He had breakfast with me. We concluded our bargain about our church window. I gave him £4, and conditionally one more if worth it. A shark was brought me this morning to look at. It ran ashore near the Chit Rocks yesterday and was caught. I found it 7f -3in long on measuring it. From its colour and shape, I suspect it is the Blue Shark, or SQUALUS GLAUCUS.


Tue. Dec. 29- John White the carrier, with his waggon and two horses, went over to Awliscombe and brought over about half of the great stone window. S. Churchill, stone-cutter, accompanied him.

Wed. Dec. 30- The waggon was unloaded in the back yard.

Thu. Dec. 31- Evening party at Mr.&Mrs. Alexander's, Woolbrook Glen. Mr. Alexander again related to me the particulars of the unexpected visit of the Prince of Wales, to the house where his grandfather died and where his mother was nursed. The Prince and the gentlemen by whom he was attended came into the grounds and walked about. One of the called at the house and informed Mr. Alexander that the Prince of Wales would be glad to see the interior if not inconvenient,


Thu Dec. 31cont.- or something to that effect. Mr. Alexander, not aware that the Prince was so near, enquired when it would suit his Royal Highness to come, on which the attendant said that the Prince was now in the grounds. At this unexpected announcement, Mr. A. ran to tell his wife (his first wife) and when he came back into the drawing room, he found the Prince seated in an armchair, in which I was then sitting. After a little conversation on various subjects, the Royal visitor was shewn into the room in which the Duke of Kent died, and into the room over,which was then the nursery. It became suspected who the visitor was and a considerable crowd had assembled at the gate. As the Prince was traveling incognito, he wished to avoid public demonstrations and he emerged from the grounds in another direction, and gave the crowd the slip

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