POH Transcripts - 1864

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Fri. Jan. 8- After a week of harder frost than we have had in Devonshire for several years, today it began to thaw. Down to the end of December the weather was so mild that fine bouquets of flowers were daily gathered in the gardens. A change came in with the new year. For several nights the thermometer in my bedroom was down to 26° fahrenheit. I have two warmer unoccupied rooms in the house, but I prefer the room I have occupied since I was a child. The water in my jug was frozen of course, (and even the pot-de-chambre) but I rubbed myself all over with the water and a flannel every morning as usual in spite, on jumping out of bed. So the Prince and Princess of Wales have got a little boy! And he has come a couple of mouths too soon and quite unexpectedly, but all parties are quite well nevertheless.

Mon. Jan. 25- Went to London to see the Earl and Countess of Donoughmore and talk about pedigrees and sundry family matters. Put up at the Great Western Hotel.

Tue. Jan. 26- Called on the Earl at 52, South Audley Street and had a long chat with him. He is suffering from a sudden attack of gout. He asked me to dine with him and the Countess at eight. Went, and there were three footmen to wait on three people. The French alliance has made a great revolution in dinners. It is all in the French style now. There is little or nothing on the table, perhaps some of the desert and some flowers, but the food is carved by the attendants at a side table and handed round.

Wed. Jan. 27- In the city shopping. The underground railway from Paddington to Farringdon Street is now open, and others are projected. It is like perpetual travelling through tunnels.


Thu. Jan. 28- Took the Great Eastern rail for Stapleford. The country is very flat. The train passes close to the Rye House, noted in history. It is now turned into a place of resort for the amusement of the Londoners. The Rectory of Stapleford was given to my cousin the Rev. W. Oliver about a year and a half ago. It is a comfortable country village, about three miles from Hertford.

Fri. Jan. 29- He drove me, with his wife Rachel, and his daughter Bessie, to an old brick House called Queen Hoo, a house said to have been once occupied by Queen Elizabeth. It is from this place says tradition, that the eatable snails escaped, which had been brought over from France for the use of the court. Certain it is, as I have seen, that the large yellow escargot, such as I have seen at the restaurants of Paris, is to be found crawling all about this neighbourhood.

Sat. Jan. 31- Made a sketch of the north door of Stapleford church which is Norman. Several other days were agreeably passed in visiting other places, as Bramfield, where the church has been stuccoed over, Sacombe Park and Sacombe church, which has been restored since I last saw it, being of black flints with stone coins, and having a curious relic now in the vestry, even the iron frame in which the hour glass was put to regulate the preacher and which ought to be again fixed to the pulpit as before, Bengeo, where there is a new church built and the old one is going to decay, and which has a Norman chancel arch and a circular apse, Hertford, where some of the old castle walls remain, but of bricks and flints intermixed- and so on.


Fri. Feb. 5- Left Stapleford. Took the Great Northern rail to London. Found the Earl of Donoughmore still suffering from gout. Had an hour's chat with him up in his room. Walked to Westminster, took steamer to Hungerford, took steamer thence for Rotherhithe to call on the Blicks at the Rectory, overshot my mark and was put ashore at the Commercial Docks, a mile or more below, walked back, found Mr. and Mrs. Blick and Sarah Hutchinson, returned to Charing Cross by rail, passing over the river by the new bridge, just opened, where the Hungerford suspension Bridge used to be. Walked from thence to the Great Western Hotel, Paddington, and ordered tea.

Sat. Feb. 6- Walked across Kensington Gardens to look at the great building of the Exhibition of 1862. They are pulling it down, the eastern dome being nearly removed. Then went into the South Kensington Museum, where I passed a couple of hours very pleasantly. Walked back to Paddington.

Sun. Feb.7- Went to church in South Audley Street, in the Earl's pew. He was not well enough to come, but the Countess of Donoughmore was there. Said adieu to her after church, as I leave tomorrow. In returning to Paddington I fell in with Mr. Bligh, who married my first cousin Fanny Parker. He took me home with him, and surprised them all at dinner. Went by omnibus to Pimlico, went to Westminster Abbey and then walked back to my hotel.

Mon. Feb. 8- After breakfast took a cab from the Great Western Hotel and drove to the Waterloo station, over Waterloo bridge. Started at 10-50 A.M. In passing Basingstoke, I remarked the ruins of an old church in a burial ground (The Chapel of the Holy Ghost), on the north side of the line. There were parts of walls, heads of windows and portions of an octagonal tower. The stone appeared to be freestone of the chalk formation like the Beer stone. Near Porton, Sherborne and Yeovil, the buildings are of the oolite. Arrived at Honiton about 3 P.M., and took coach for Sidmouth


Sat. Feb. 20- Miss. Church, daughter of Col. Church and granddaughter of Mrs. Walker, formerly of Lyme Park, and now of Sid House, was married to Mr. Wright this morning at Salcombe church. Went to the wedding breakfast at Sid House.


Mon. Mar. 28- Went to examine Sidbury Castle, as men are now working on its slopes preparatory to bringing the land into cultivation. Found men there and asked them whether they had met with any old coins or other antiquities ?. They replied no, but that they had found a cave or hole full of round pebbles. They had dug down the ground and dispersed the pebbles, but on going to the spot, at the west end of the inner agger, on the south side of the camp, I found a considerable space strewed with them. They were beach pebbles, totally different from the angular flints of the hill, and resembling the sling-stones of stockland Great Camp, as mentioned on the 14th of April 1863. They varied in size from that of a pigeon's egg to that of a small hen's egg. I put half a dozen in my pocket. They had provably come from Sidmouth beach and there is no doubt what they are. Wrote a fuller account when I got home and sent it to the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, and which may appear next Saturday, week. On returning to Sidmouth I made a circuit to Sidford, and down fields to Seed. Here a man whom I had known before (Park House) told me he had some antiquities which he would sell me. He produced an old jar with a round base and some green glaze about the mouth, made of clay. The children had unfortunately cracked it. He said it was brought from Yarcombe, but he knew nothing of its history. He also produced a Roman coin of Antoninus Pius, which he had dug up at Seed some time ago. These I bought, and have put in the Old Chancel. Not Yarcombe- See in my history.


Fri. Apr. 1- Finished soldering pieces of coloured glass round the old arms, etc. from the Awliscombe window(see back Dec.15.29) and put the whole up in the Old Cancel.

Thu. Apr. 7to14- The Rev. H.T. Ellacombe and myself went to examine some churches. We started about half past nine A.M. And drove to Stephen's Cross and up Trow Hill, passed Slade and entered Branscombe by the Dean. We stopped at the church. Noticed the Norman features outside, the square tower, corbel table and round turret. Some of the windows are decorated, and some perpendicular. Outside south front is an old dial over a former doorway, without the gnomon. Inside is early English arch and tops of three clustered columns in north transept. Made a rubbing of the slate slab or blue lias slab in south transept. There is a good oak chair of the 17th century near altar. Ascended the tower. The newel staircase is arched over. The mortar overhead shows that a number of small pieces of wood were used to turn the arch on, and continually shifted. The marks of the tool still remain on the newel. The bells were all set. They were rung for a wedding yesterday and have not been lowered. We therefore moved between them carefully. The tenor or large bell measured 41

inches in diameter and by that size ought to weigh 13 cwts 3qrs It bore the letters TP EXON 1671. The 4th bell is said to have been re-cast in the churchyard, or on the ground adjoining. Bell founders used to re-cast bells on the spot, to save heavy carriage. It bears the words, T. WROTH FECTT 1747. We then went on to Beer, walking up the steep hill. There is a chapel here but nothing to detain us. So we proceeded to Seaton. On the road I learnt that the tradition of a former plague is remembered (I believe in 1646) and that the dead were buried on Chapel Hill and several other places. Seaton church has traces of decorated work, as the annexed scroll moulding of label over south door.


Thu. Apr. 7to14contd.- Inside there is a large squint on north side of chancel arch and a small one on south side in corner of chancel aisle. Piscina with basin and small hole in bottom. Traces of another piscina in south aisle of chancel, hid under boards. There are two pieces of old glass in head of north window of the chancel, one piece a yellow bird with wings expanded. The steps of tower turret are much worn. There are five bells. The clappers of the bells are hung in the old fashioned plan with the 'baldrick' or rawhide hinge. In some old church- - wardens accounts may be found-Soluta pro baldrickis (or baulderiks) pro tympanis, etc. The 3rd bell bears IP EXON 1663. The tenor measures 41½ inches in diameter. We took rubbings of the inscriptions, which Mr. Ellacombe has. Two or three of the bells are old. Some of the inscriptions are faulty. We got back to Sidmouth by six P.M.

Tue. Apr. 19- Mr. Piper and his men laid the first stone of the first addition to the Old Chancel, being a small room on the north side. This will use up some of the materials of Awliscombe church, bought last January. When I can procure more old church materials perhaps I may go on with further design of the house.

Wed. Apr. 20- Went with Arthur Church over to Budleigh to see Hays Farm, where Sir Walter Raleigh was born. The house is being renovated and I am sorry to see, in some degree modernised with lime wash and partly red brick chimneys. And the old outbuildings are soon to be pulled down, to give place to new. We went up to Sir Walters room, which is on the first floor in the left wing on entering. There are no remains of antiquities here. We took our sandwiches and walked out to the wild moors of Woodbury Hill, where we discussed them. Lady Rolle of Bicton, with her coach and four and outrider, drove by whilst we were there. Returned to Hayes, got out our carriage, drove to Budleigh and through Colyton Raleigh to Harpford to see some friends and then home.


Thu. Apr. 21- Drove with Mr. Heineken, Mr. Chick accompanying us on his horse, to Sidbury Castle, they being desirous of seeing the sling-stones on the spot, as first seen by on the 28th of March. We traversed the camp in various directions, which we had often done before. The quantity of sling-stones at the indicated spot near the west end much surprised them. Leaving this we went on Ottery East Hill and found one of the plantations on fire, the furze and heath being very dry and the wind very strong. It was not without some difficulty that we plunged through the smoke and close to the flames. We went down to Cold Harbour, an ancient name of disputed derivation, hoping to find something. There was nothing but a miserable little cottage and no traditions. Something led the wife of the man living there to mention metheglin, that ancient British drink made of honey, when I said something that made her bring me out a glass of it. It is sweet in taste with a flavour of spirit and in colour it is yellow, like cider, only not so clear or transparent. We returned over the hill, but the fire had nearly burnt out, and then came down the lane on the north side of Core Hill, and then near Manstone Farm towards Sidmouth.


Thu. May 19- Mr. Pile of Woolbrook drove me over to his brother's at Talaton, with whose family I spent the day. Examined Talaton church, which was restored about five years ago. The old oak roofs and screen are solid and handsome. A new north aisle, not running the whole length westward, was added, with a lean-to deal roof. A handsome seventeenth century monument was removed from the church and fixed on the north side of the tower, inside.


Wed. June 1- Let my house, No. 4, Coburg Terrace, to Mrs. Maitland, a widow lady. Her term, for one year, begins today.

Sat. June 4- Masons finished for the present and all the scaffolding removed.

Mon. June 6- Two of Mrs. Maitland's servants came tonight and I procured a bed at No. 2, Coburg Terrace, but pass the day in the Old Chancel.

Thu. June 9- Mrs. Maitland and her two nieces, arrived this evening.

Tue. June 14- Daniells put up roof of lobby to Old Chancel and Godfrey covered it with lead, weighing 4 lb to the square foot

Sat. June 25- Gosling has finished the woodwork of the ceiling and roof of my new room, and Godfrey covered it with zinc. This is only temporary, if I go on with the building.

Wed. June 29- Oak joists of the floor laid.

Thu. June 30- Joined in a boat with Mr. Williams, and went gull shooting along the coast beyond Ladram Bay, nearly to Otterton Head.


Sun. July 10- This afternoon took a walk to the top of High Peak Hill.

Thu. July 14- Started after breakfast for a warm walk to Weston. Went over Salcombe Hill and drank at the pump in Salcombe as I went by. Here I found a man washing the fore legs of his horse, which had come down on the loose flinty roads and cut both its knees very badly. Went on to the Dunscombe Cliffs. It was dangerous to walk near the edge, where the ground was sloping, for the grass, owing to the continued dry weather, was so slippery, and in descending the steep hill to Weston Mouth, I sat down and slid most of the way. Drank out of brook at the bottom near the Preventive station. I observed that the water of this brook has the same petrifying quality as most of the other streams in this neighbourhood, for I saw that sticks and stones and other objects lying in the water were coated with stoney matter. Went about a mile beyond Weston Mouth along the beach to look for a bed of fossil shells, I observed at my last visit. Dug some of them out but doubt whether they are better than what I have in the Old Cancel. Returned. Climbed up the cliffs among the potato plots at the Dunscombe Cliffs and returned through Salcombe (pump again) and down Salcombe Hill.

Thu. July 21- A shower of rain! For nearly four months, we have had dry, hot weather, with scarcely a fall at all. Although so enjoyable for outdoor amusements, vegetation has suffered greatly. There were three young ladies with me in the Old Chancel looking at my curiosities, when one of them, looking out of the great east window, asked 'whether it was real rain'-. The sight of rain was so novel.

Fri. July 22- With the said three young ladies and two gentlemen, went to a pic-nic to Branscombe. We drove all through Branscombe, the scenery round which they admired amazingly, to Sea-Side Farm beyond. Here we got out, took a walk while tea was getting ready,came back to the farm house,


Fri. July 22cont.- where we enjoyed our meal, and then started again. We sent the carriage round to the village of Beer and started for the cliffs, we walked over these, the strangers being much struck with their wildness and picturesque beauty, of course they are not new to me. Arrived at Beer, we stayed a short time to look round and then mounted the carriage. During the long hill from Beer to Bovey House, we discussed cake and drank claret. We did not get home till near ten. I finished the evening by going to a party at the Vane's at Camden, to which I had been expected at an earlier hour.

Sun. July 24- This morning at All Saints Church the Rev. H. Gibbes read the prayer for rain. I do not like tempting God too soon, it is like crying out before we are hurt. Though we have had a wonderfully dry summer, such as we have not had for many years, and though vegetation is very much burnt up, still, we have not yet got a famine, nor are we threatened with it. Besides, we had a hard shower on Thursday and appearances indicate that there is moisture in the air. I therefore felt that we might have endured a little longer.

Sun. July 31- Mr. Gibbes read the same prayer.


Mon. Aug. 1- He called on me at the Old Chancel, to ask me to his School Feast on Wednesday next. I alluded to the prayer. He said he had read it at his own discretion and justified himself by declaring that the poorer people were suffering greatly.

Tue. Aug. 2- Went in a boat with some friends to Seaton. There was a good off-shore breeze. We all admired the splendid and varied colours of the cliffs as we went along and the patches of cultivation, whether of potatoes or corn, now almost ready for the gathering. We landed at Seaton, took a ramble and had our lunch under an awning made of boat sails on the beach. We put to sea again, steered close under Beer Head and landed on the Sidmouth side of it. Some mounted the cliff. I landed further west, rambled through the undercliff to Branscombe Mouth and joined the boat there. We got home by half past eight.

Sun. Aug. 14- My brother's birthday, if he were in England instead of at the antipodes.

Mon. Aug. 15- Went over to the Dunscombe Cliffs, via Salcombe village, to look for fossils, or rather, to look for a certain chalcedonic form of petrifaction, somewhat resembling the Beekite, as found in the Paignton Cliffs, Torbay. Petrified shells of different sorts I have in past times found there, but have not preserved them, but I see that geologists now speak of them as not common. Instead of being converted into carbonate of lime, I believe they silicified in the chalcedonised form and are covered with little knobs surrounded by concentric rings or waved ridges. I was only able to procure fragment today, but enough perhaps to show others what the peculiarity is. When returning I fell in with some Sidbury friends who were pic-nic-ing. I tarried a couple of hours and had tea with them. The weather was extremely hot and cloudless and we are still without rain.


Fri. Aug. 19-Walked over to Harpford and called at the Gardiners. Saw Dr. Muller (nephew of Max Muller) who is soon to marry Miss. Florence. The Vanes arrived soon after. The Vanes drove me home.

Mon. Aug. 29- Went over to Dawlish to see my cousin Mary Roberton at Belmont Villa. Walked to Budleigh Salterton, six miles, took the omnibus to Exmouth, four, hired a boat to Starcross and then took the rail. This is a varied and pleasant trip in fine weather, and the weather was charming.

Tue. Aug. 30- Rain, rain, rain, nearly all day. This will be most welcome to the country.

Wed. Aug. 31- Rev. Roberton and his wife arrived from London.


Sun. Sept. 4- Went to the parish church with Mr.&Mrs. Roberton. Mr. Rashdall, the new Vicar preached. At St. Marks in the evening.

Mon. Sept. 5- Returned home by the same route as I went.

Tue. Sept. 6- Had croquet and tea at the Vane's, where I met some of the Shaws, now of Woodlands.

Wed. Sept. 7- Mr. and the Misses Shaw, Mrs. Fullerton, Mr.&Mrs. Vane and Miss. Forbes, came to look at the Old Chancel.

Tue. Sept. 13- At a small party at Mrs. Walkers, Sid House, late of Lime Park.

Wed. Sept. 14- The same again.

Thu. Sept. 15- At a party at the Vane's.

Fri. Sept. 16- At a small party at Mrs.Maitland's (my house)

Sat. Sept. 17- Went to see Ottery church with Mrs. Maitland, Lady Dowling (who is staying with her) and the two girls, Lady D's granddaughters and Mrs. M's nieces. After we had returned and had tea, Lady D. , who is fond of natural history, amused us by dissecting a cuttle fish, which had been brought from the sea shore.

Wed. Sept. 21- Examined the bells in four church towers today with the Rev. H.T. Ellacombe of St. George's Clist. On looking up under the bells of Sidmouth church tower, I saw that all had baldrics to the clappers, except the last or smallest of 1824, by which I mean that the clappers are hung with a leather strap instead of a metal hinge as is the custom now. In the church wardens' accounts of some parishes, I am told that such entries as the following occur, Soluta pro baldrickis 2s. It has been supposed that this must refer to the piece of leather for the hinge. We then drove to Branscombe. At our last trip, last April, the bells were all set. Today they were not. The Norman features in the tower of this church are very interesting, also a decorated window on south side of church. After copying the I inscription on all the bells and measuring their sizes, etc., we drove on to Beer, to look at the bell there.


Wed. Sept. 21cont.- This chapel of ease to Seaton exhibits decorated features at the east end, but the building has been sadly marred by 'Churchwardens' Gothic' at various times. We took off our coats and managed to get up to the bell turret. The bell is ancient. It bears the words A ve MARIA in old letters, divided or distributed on several cartouches round the bell. Just on emerging from Beer, and ascending the hill that leads towards Bovey House, there is an old building on the left or west side, just like the remains of a cruciform church. It is now converted into barns and farm buildings. There is the nave and chancel crossed by the transepts, and corners strengthened by buttresses. I must some day enquire what this is. We made for Sidbury and examined the six bells there. The plan of the bell chamber is here annexed. On the 4th bell, besides the inscription and the date 1712, there is a Louis XIV shield with the words Bailey & Smith. On the 5thbell there is a stamp of the Huyshe arms.3 fish on a bend. The tenor or largest bell weighs from 19 to 20 hundredweight. Mr. Ellacombe and self had tea in the Old Chancel, before he joined his party to return to Clyst St. George.

Fri. Sept. 23- Had the gas brought into my house No. 4 Coburg Terrace and lighted a first time.

Tue. Sept. 27- Went to London to see Alcander Hutchinson, his wife and family. Mrs. Alcander, the daughter of a French Count, had ( and has) an English mother. In this house, there was quite a medley of languages, a Chinese footman, pig tail and all, who spoke several Eastern languages and snatches of European, a French coachman, who knew nothing of English and whose great desire was to get back to his own country, and a German governess for the three young children.

Wed. Sept. 28- Went into the City with Alcander.

LONDON, OCT. 1864 1

Sat. Oct. 1- Went over the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. I am disappointed in the water-glass frescoes, about which so much has been said in praise, especially the great one of the scene at Waterloo in the Royal Gallery. (The one of Nelson, on the opposite wall, is not yet finished). To my eye they are hard, or harsh, or raw, or crude, and therefore not so pleasing as an oil painting. Made sketches of panels of the ceiling here and in the House of Lords and other places, to do which the Earl of Buckinghamshire in Sidmouth had given me letters to the Lord Chamberlain. I wish to pick up a few ideas for the decoration of the ceiling of the library or new room now building on the north side of the Old Chancel.

Sun. Oct. 2- In the afternoon Mrs. Alcander drove me in the pony carriage to Croydon , whilst Alcander drove the governess and children in the two horse phaeton. We went down to see Governor Hutchinson's burial place in the north transept. He lies I believe in the vault of the Apthorpes. Frances Hutchinson just outside. We inspected the register and extracted these memorandums.

Mon. Oct. 3- In London all day. Went over the South Kensington Museum. Got Ah-heen, the Chinese footman to write me something in Chinese. I append it annexed. I think it reads from top to bottom. The words 'Orlando' and 'Hutchinson' occur,(I presume only from sound). They generally write with a small brush and Indian ink, but he here used a pencil.

Tue. Oct. 4- Left for Sidmouth. Went to Windsor to see the Castle. Copied an old fashioned knocker in the cloisters. When I was a child my late father and mother lived for a time in the cloisters. The 100 steps I am informed, are not now as they were, steep and straight. They have been made more easy to mount, more in number and zig-zag. Went over the state apartments. Mounted to the top of the keep or round tower. Disappointed at finding the upper half of the Round Tower hollow. Counted 220 steps from the top to the bottom.


Tue. Oct. 4cont.- Went over St. George's Chapel. Went on to Reading, where I slept.

Wed. Oct. 5- Examined the ruins of Reading Abbey. Glad to see they are being taken care of. Went on to Basingstoke. Got time to go into the pretty cemetery and make a sketch in the ruins of the Holy Ghost Chapel. Arrived at Sidmouth, where I remained only a fortnight.

Tue. Oct. 18- Went to Lichfield to see my cousin the Rev. John Hutchinson, Canon of the Cathedral, and now in residence. Not being in his own house, that is, the one belonging to his Canonry, on the south side of the Close, (now occupied by Mr. Babbington) he is in Canon Lonsdale's at the north- west corner. Since I was in Lichfield some six or seven years ago, the restoration of the Cathedral has progressed very far. Made many sketches in the Cathedral during my stay. Made many walks in the neighbourhood and was surprised to observe what a multitude of picturesque paths there are, either through fields, or between hedges in almost every direction. Rambled all over the Cathedral, high and low. Discovered one day that the joints between the stonework of the great column in the middle of the Chapter House, are filled with lead instead of mortar. During my stay I made rubbings of all the medallions in the floor of the Presbytery, 4 large and 16 small, either my cousin will keep them, or he talked of depositing them in the Chapter Library. Made rubbings of a number of ancient Masons' marks on the stonework of the Cathedral. This is a field for antiquarian investigation.


Mon. Nov. 21- Left Lichfield for home. Slept in Bristol.

Tue. Nov. 22- Took a run about Bristol, saw the Cathedral. Examined St. Mary, Redcliffe. Curious Moorish arch of north porch. Took rail to Exeter, and then coach to Sidmouth.

Peter Orlando Hutchinson

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