POH Transcripts - 1870

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Sidmouth January 1 1870

Saturday, Jan. 1. 1870.- So the years go, one after another - never to stop. Mr F H Vane of Camden, just north of the vicarage, shewed me the draft of a long letter he is going to send to Mr Beauclerk, the brother of Lady Vane (widow of his elder brother) of Hutton Hall and Armathwait, Co. Cumberland. It contains a condensed statement of some family events of great importance. That there has been some mystery in the family, has been whispered about for sixty years, a mystery known not only to the relations, but suspected by the inhabitants generally about Hutton. The late Lady Vane, who died three or four years ago (at 95) revealed the secret which lay on her conscience. She told Mr Vane, her youngest son, and also his wife, that her eldest son, who for many years enjoyed the title, married Miss Beauclerk, and left children, was in reality born a few weeks before marriage. Since his mother’s death Mr Vane has never ceased making enquiries, and he has found much to corroborate the statement. She told him he in fact was the Baronet and the rightful owner of the estates. His elder brother’s only surviving son (about 35) now has the title, but he knows his unstable position. As Mr Vane has a child of his own, a boy about seven, he is doing all he can to collect evidence to reverse these things. My ancestors William and Ann H when in Boston, Massachusetts, knew the younger Sir Harry Vane, who was Governor there.- See Nov. 12 1872

Th. Jan 6.- Mr Ellis, of the Gas Works, up on Land, is at the Old Chancel putting in the gas pipes, whilst carpenters and masons are battening and plastering rooms.

Attended a vestry meeting about new rating the parish, and according to the provisions of a new Act, for enabling the owners of small tenements to compound for their Poor Rates. The Poor Rates of this parish exceed £1400 p an.

Sidmouth Jan 1870

Mon. Jan. 3. 1870– The papers describe the enthronisation of Dr Temple the new Bishop of the diocese, which took place in Exeter Cathedral last Wednesday. He is the author of a paper called “The Education of the World”, bound up with others in a book known as “Essays and reviews”. Most of these have been strongly condemned for their materialistic views and their tendencies towards infidelity. I have recently read the volume. If Dr Temple’s contribution to the book is not the worst of the essays it is certainly found in very bad company. Great opposition, both by clergy and laity, has been made to his appointment; but when the nomination has once taken place, no power can apparently arrest the course of events.

Wed. Jan. 5 - To.day the new church at Croydon is opened. The old one was destroyed by fire a few years ago, and the new one has cost £28,000. My great Grandfather, Governor H., 3 of his children, and two cousins, lie buried under the north transept.

Mon. Jan. 10 – Wind veered yesterday to the N.W. Sharp frost last night. Early this morning three sharks were caught in some herring nets, and brought on shore. The largest was about six feet long. It is not often they are caught on this coast, though I have seen them before. It is still more unusual at this cold season of the year.

Th. Jan 20 - Started to walk to Knowle, but met the Alexanders driving towards Sidmouth. Being near Stephen’s Cross (the carfax near the bottom of Trow Hill) turned down to Sidford, and went to look at the new church, the interior of which I had not seen since it was finished. The church is very large for such a village, but I am told it has been built prospectavely, to suit a larger congregation at some future day. It is of red brick, with Bath stone coins and dressings. The brick is visible inside, which looks rather cold. The style is plain decorated. The columns, corokes(?) & mouldings are massive, bold, and good; and altogether, I like the church very much. The vestry is built, but the chancel is not- only the foundations. The east end is temporarily closed in with felt & boards, with two windows, and looks neat inside. The Rev. Mr Marsland is the Curate, under Mr Coming, Vicar of Sidbury.

Sun. Jan. 23 – Clear north east-wind and cold. After afternoon service, when the Rev. R D Kestall Cornish (of Salcombe) but Vicar of Lankey, preached, I went to the top of Salcombe Hill and back, by the edge of the cliff, before dark.

Th. Jan. 27 - Wind NE. Clear and cold. Freezing everywhere. Though I sleep under seven blankets, I woke two or three times last night feeling chilly. Walked to Knowle near Harcombe this afternoon and found the Alexanders in. Returning, went to Sidford, took the lane opposite the south-west corner of the new church, and came back through the fields.

Fri. Jan 28 – On Monday, Jan. 10, Prince Pierre Bonaparte shot Victor Noir (properly Solomon, a Jew) in the Prince’s drawing room at 59 Rue d’Auteuil, at Auteuil, near Paris. The Prince I believe is 3rd son of Lucien, elder brother of the first Napoleon. He has been a mauvais sujet, not noticed at court, of violent temper, and has shot one or two people before. This affair arose out of some political disputes in the papers. V. Noir and another called with a challenge. Paris much excited, and disturbances feared.

Sidmouth Feb. 1870

Sun. Feb. 6. 1870- Wind south. Incessant rain all day and all night. Got to the parish church and back in the morning.

Mon. Feb. 7.- Engaged all the morning carving the stone boss to go up in the arched ceiling between the hall and the staircase in the Old Chancel. The papers record the death of Belzoni’s widow aged 88. She had a pension of £200 a year from government. Belzoni’s travels in Egypt were my delight as a child.

Wed. Feb. 9 - At a small party at Florence Cottage – Mr, Mrs & Miss Martin, Mr G. Gordon, the Curate was there, Mr Baring-Gould, the Incumbent of All Saints, Mr and the Misses Parker, of the Hermitage, and the Misses Acraman of the Grove. When I went the weather was mild and damp, but when I returned the roads were frozen.

Fri. Feb. 11 - Attended the funeral of Mrs Creighton of 1 Coburg Terrace. I was at the wedding of her son near twenty years ago. He married the eldest daughter of Col. FitzGerald of Mount Edgar, just in Sidbury parish, and we went out to Sidbury Church. He was a Lieutenant in the army, and went in full uniform, but he forgot his hat. He afterwards died of cholera in India. His two boys were at the funeral. Also Col. Darnell, who married the other Miss FitzGerald. I was at their wedding too. Mr Radford, Attorney-at-law, of Sidmount, was there. Dr Hodge. Also the Rev. R.H. Cresswell, son of Mrs Creighton’s eldest daughter, a young clergyman, just ordained, and Mr Clements, the Vicar, who performed the service. There was a strong north-east wind blowing, and the ground frozen. The coffin was of polished oak, and the mountings of brass, or gilt brass. It was lowered into what is called a brick grave. She put up the painted glass window at the NW end of Sidmouth parish church, to the memory of her relative Mrs Pennant.- My MS Hist. of Sidm. Vol IV. P.91.

Sat. Feb. 12. 1870 - A very strong north-east wind. Water and toothbrushes frozen in my bedroom. Nevertheless, as usual, I rubbed myself all over the moment I jumped out of bed, with a piece of flannel folded up and dipped in cold water, dried myself quickly, and put on my clothes. This operation freshens the skin and produces a nice glow. I am told the thermometer was down to 22° last night.

Mon. Feb. 14 - “Please sir, the beer barrel is frozen, and I can’t draw any beer for dinner.” So I had a glass of hot brandy & water.

Tu. Feb. 15 - “Please sir, the pump is frozen.” What next? But it was thawed with a kettle of hot water.

Wed. Feb. 16.- The smallest indication of a thaw. Dined at seven at the Vicarage. Besides Mr & Mrs Clements, Mr J Clements the Vicar’s brother, two Mrs Clementses, Mrs C.’s sisters, Mrs…… Dr Radford.

Th. Feb. 17 - Black, cold, cloudy day; wind still NE. No thaw.

Sat. Feb. 19 - Walked out to Core Hill (2¼m.) and called on Mr & Mrs Arnold. They have a story that Captain Arnold (Mrs A’s brother) is the twentieth owner in succession on the old family estate at, I think called Nethercot, near Iddesleigh, or Dolton.

Tu. Feb. 22 - Attended a sale at the York Hotel. Edwin Hook, who has made money in London as a baker, and recently returned to his native place, bought Barton House near Coburg Terrace, and the cottage adjoining it called Axbridge House, for £800 – namely, a mortgage on them for £450 and he bid £350. For the 46 years remainder of a lease under the Manor, of No. 7 York Terrace, at the east end of the beach, there was not a bid.

Fri. Feb. 25 - At a Lecture on Poetry, for the benefit of the Needle Womens Society, by the Rev. H.G.J. Clements, the Vicar, at his Girls’ School Room, in the Marsh, or eastern Town. Very good.

Sidmouth Mar. 1870

Tu. Mar. 15. 1870 - Mrs Willey, a fisherman’s widow brought an old cracked jug for me to buy. I said it was not worth sixpence, it was so injured – for which sum she gave it up. Its probable age, and whether Dutch or English, I may find out some day.

As I once sat on the Scone stone – or rather in the Queen’s chair in Westminster Abbey which holds it (without asking the Verger’s leave.) I thought the annexed paragraph worth a place in this my Diary.

This evening I read a very interesting paper by Dr W.B. Carpenter on the sea dredgings carried on by some of H.M. ships lent for the purpose in 1868 and 1869. These examinations were carried on from the Bay of Biscay, northward to the Faroe Islands, and the bottom of the sea at nearly a depth of three miles, under enormous pressure, and in the dark, is abundant in animal life. Until recently, naturalists thought there was no animal life at the bottom of the sea, at much less depths than 2345 fathoms, to which they have gone. Plenty of animal life down there with a temperature of only 29½ of farenheit.

Facing page has letter attached from Albert Memorial Museum regarding catalogues of coins.

Wed. Mar. 16. 1870 - I hope no harm has come to the tame rook. (July 22. 1869) He has been tame enough to take food out of my hand at the window; and when satisfied and happy, he will sit in the elm tree opposite the house, and chatter to himself by the half hour together. He suddenly ceased coming last week. I hope he has not been maimed or injured by cruel boys, or caught and confined in a cage. I would rather have him dead than suffer that misery. From what I have seen of boys, I am sorry to say I can believe any evil of them.

Th. Mar. 17. 1870 - Picked up a silver 3-penny piece in the middle of the High Street, Sidmouth, near Mill Street.

Sun. Mar. 20 - At the parish church. In the afternoon, being fine, took a walk via Five Fields, Bickwell, to Mutters Moor. Bickwell, written Bekewell, is mentioned in the Otterton Cartulary, circa 1260. Great alterations have been made beyond Bickwell Farm of late years. The last Lord of the Manor, who died recently, had narrowed and fenced the lane, and I am surprised to observe the quantities of large blocks of stone used in the right-hand hedge going up. I suppose they grubbed them up in their operations. All the hollow of Mutters Moor, the slope of Peak Hill, and the slope of Bulverton Hill used to be all open heath, picturesque and beautiful. Gradually it has been encroached upon, but in 1868 the finishing strokes of enclosure and ploughing up, were pretty well completed. This may be very useful, but I grieve to witness the destruction of the wild beauty of this once romantic spot.

Sidmouth March 1870

Tu. Mar. 22 - Finished reading A. Deminiris (sp???) “Weapons of War” from the German by C.C. Black. Very interesting, and full of curious points of antiquity. Speaking of the remote age of flint weapons, mention is made of their being found in the drift, and the picture of a mastodon or mammoth scratched or engraved on a piece of deer antler, found in Perigord. It is curious that the ancient Mexicans only employed flint or obsidian for their weapons, and yet they well knew the use of metal, for they made their armour and ornaments of iron, steel, brass, and even gold. As regards the spur, the Romans seem to have invented it. For centuries it was a single point, but the rowel did not come in till about 1300.

I have an elegant weapon, steel blade, chased and ornamented in gold, long handle, hollow, with a knife or dagger screwed in at the end, given me by Mr Shaw who brought it from India. He told me it came from Nepaul, but he did not know its name or its use. In this book, so profusely illustrated, I do not see any weapon like it. A useful note at the end says that steel weapons may be protected from rust by a light coat of colourless copal varnish, diluted in essential oil. Iron is easily cleansed from rust by rubbing with emery powder or paper, dipped in a composition of petroleum or benzine, essential oil, and spirits of wine. Such articles as rubbing would injure, should be laid from 8 to 30 days in a bath of benzine, and polished with woollen rags.

A short sword 2f 2i long has just been given me – silver mounted with shagreen hilt. Scabbard of leather, silver mounted.

Sat. Ap. 2. 1870 - So Prince Pierre Bonaparte is acquitted, and much to the astonishment of everybody. The trial took place at Tours, and ended last Sunday. Thirty-six jurymen, and they were exactly balanced in their opinion of guilty or not guilty – 18 on each side. In such a case the French law gives the verdict in favour of the prisoner, or gives the prisoner the benefit of the casting vote, not requiring unanimity as with us. – See back Jan. 28

Th. Ap. 7 – Walked this afternoon to Harpford to call at the Vicarage. Took the lanes via Cotmaton to Jenny Pines Corner, along Bulverton lane, so called, having Bulverton Hill on my left, to the Fir Trees, and then down Newton Poppleford Hill. Only saw Mr Gattey, Mrs Gattey being unwell, and Annie preparing for her wedding very shortly. Took a walk round the churchyard. Octagonal stair turret at NE corner of the tower. Vestry half way between the south porch and the south gate into the churchyard. The farm house just below the churchyard towards the river, I believe occupies the site of the old building which some silly writers in old books said was the county jail. They then transferred the jail to Bicton. In my MS History of Sidmouth I have shewn that it was always at Exeter.

Walked home over Bulverton Hill via Salter’s Cross and Mutter’s Moor. Weather clear and dry, and sun very hot.

After being nine times beaten, Cambridge University has won the boat race from Putney to Mortlake.

Sidmouth April 1870

Fr. Ap. 8 – The Great Eastern steamship has completed the task of laying the Indian cable. From Bombay to Aden was completed on March 2 and it was carried to Suez by the 8th.

The papers say that Lord Courtenay’s debts and liabilities amounted to £230,000, and secured debts of £300,000. The assets consist in the Powderham and other estates.

Somewhere else there is an entry describing another revelation of the state of his affairs, in which his liabilities are spoken of as being three quarters of a million. And see 18 years further on, where they again crop up,- Sat. Feb. 4 1888.

Sidmouth April 1870

Wed. Ap 13 - The stack of four large Gothic chimney tops were put up on the Old Chancel. They were made (of terra cotta) at Stamford in Lincolnshire. Whilst I was on the lead roof with the workmen, I saw the first swallow this year. I have been told however, that several were seen last week.

Fri. Ap 15 – Good Friday. At the parish church. Mr G.W. Ormerod, now of Teignmouth, but for 17 years of Chagford, came over and dined with me. He is son of the historian of Cheshire, and himself a geologist and scientific man. He came to examine the cliffs all the way along, gave him several geological sections and drawings which I have recently made for him.

Sun. Ap. 17 – Easter Sunday. At All Saints and the parish church.

Wed. Ap. 20 – Went to Beer with Mr Heineken. Drove over Salcombe Hill, passed the Pound and observed the Ordnance mark got on the Lyme road at Trow: observed the same marks cut on the mile stones: stopped at the Three Horseshoes, and took another look at the Earthworks or Cross Dyke on the north side, and noted especially the sunk road or remains of an entrenchment in the field next the road, and parallel to the road. Drove on: passed Hangman’s Stone and Bovey House. Stopped at Court Barton, a farm house, descending the hill into Beer. Passing this way on former occasions, our attention had been attracted by the remains of a building in the farm yard, having somewhat the appearance of a church. I think I can remember the nave and chancel, dilapidated and altered, and a gable in the middle, like the gable of a transept, with the tracery of a pointed window knocked out, and the hollow filled in with boards. To our dismay, we found everything bright and new. Two or three years ago the old place was all pulled down and rebuilt. With respect to the old building, we could learn nothing definite. They told me that the pulling down revealed many little chambers, passages, and loopholes, but they never knew what the building had been. Much disappointed, we drove down to the end of the street near the sea and saw A new boathouse, covered with corrugated metal. We mounted the high chalk hill on the east side, lay down on the grass, and eat our sandwiches, and enjoyed the view. Our driver, who carried up the hamper, slipped and broke a bottle of ale, and the liquor escaped. Soon after, the bright sun being very hot, the cork of another bottle flew out with the report of a pistol, and we lost half the contents. But as we had a jar of sweet cider, we did very well. Took a lengthened view towards Seaton, and remarked the undulations in the strata of the red marl in the distant cliff. Saw the cemetary and the new cemetary chapel (built about three years ago) from where we stood, but did not go there. Descended the hill and visited the old church or chapel. The remains of the architecture are of the Decorated period. One bell in a small turret. A tablet at the east End records the existence of the plague (spelt plauge) in 1646. I have heard that Beer was nearly depopulated, and that the dead weremostly buried on the left hand side of the road leading from Beer to Seaton, at a spot on the crown of the hill. Another tablet, on the east side of the chancel arch, records that Edward Wood, late a fisherman, left £20 in trust for the use of the poor. He died Nov. 7. 1804. The chancel arch is the best feature. Outside, it looks as if the church had three transepts. It is merely that the north and south aisles are covered by three gables. The west door is plain. The two small doors of the aisles, at the west end, are of the annexed pattern. A fine spring of water rushes down through the street, and over it are built two conduits of stone, and an iron fountain, but they are supplied with water from a reservoir. I once saw a son of Jack Rattenburg the great smuggler here, but I forgot to ask for him today. The evenings being rather cold, we got home soon after six to a good tea – which is always very refreshing.

Th. Ap. 21 - The cuckoo has now arrived among us.

Sat. Ap. 23 - And now Mrs Carew of Ashford has died. Her son Dudley died only last Thursday week. He went up to London and saw the university boat race, caught an inflammation on the lungs, came home and died. His aged mother received a great shock. At first it was thought to be merely at the sudden loss of her only surviving child, of whom she had the highest opinion; now it is said that immediately after his death she came to the knowledge of certain debts and irregularities which so astonished and grieved her, as very soon took to terminate her life. As I cannot prove the truth of the rumours now in everybody’s mouth, the less said the better. Mrs Carew was a Miss Rogers. Her father and mother lived here before my recollection of the place. I have heard that the late Captain Carslake built Cotlands for them, but that owing to some dispute when the house was finished, they never occupied it. Upon this Mr Rogers either built or bought Ashford or Ayshford. He died about 1823 as

William Newman the stone mason who is doing the marble skirting for the hall of the Old Chancel, tells me that as a child he recollects seeing his funeral leave Ayshford for Bath. Mrs Rogers died next. My earliest recollection only carries me back to Mr and Mrs Carew living there, with their son and daughter. Captain Robert Floyd, son of Sir Henry of Powys, ran away with Miss Carew. She was spending the day with the Elphinstones at Livonia, a house a mile out of Sidmouth on the Sidbury Road and now belonging to Col. Curry, and he came in at the drawing room window, opening down to the ground, and she went out with him. Mrs Elphinstone and her three daughters (who have often told me the story) were in the drawing room, Captain Elphinstone and his brother in law Mr Lobach, chatting over their wine in the dining room. The ladies were so astounded at the unexpected occurence, that a few minutes passed before they could recover themselves. When they did they ran and told the gentlemen who were equally astounded. They felt much distressed at the great responsibility resting on them and the blame they might incur. Mrs Elphinstone hastily wrote a note, saying what had occurred, and Mr Lobach ran with it. Soon afterwards Mrs Carew arrived in a carriage with a policeman, and used no small abuse in language seldom heard this side of Billingsgate. Robert Floyd and his wife did not live together above a year or two. She died in childbed but no child was born alive. I have heard her mother went and saw her before her death. About this time (15 – 20 years ago) Mr Carew died. Things have since gone on quietly till now, Robert Floyd married a Mrs Montgomery with one child, a daughter. He comes into something handsome I hear, in right of his first wife. His boy, by his second wife, 14 years old, (my, how the time goes!) he put into the Royal Navy last year.

Mon. April 25. 1870 A woman from Sidbury brought me a dagger which she begged I would buy for half a crown, as she wanted to pay coach fare to go and see a sick relative:- so I bought it. She said that her son and a man were working in an old house in Sidbury nearly opposite the church. They were engaged pulling down the roof, and they found a sword and a dagger of antique pattern amongst the thatch. They had perhaps been hid there by some former owner, who died, and the circumstance died with him. The man took the sword, and the boy the dagger. I must enquire what the second is like. The dagger I give in the corner. It is 15 inches and five eighths long, blade and hilt together. The blade is thick, with a lozenge section

thus -

Tu. Ap. 26 - The papers say that on Friday last the 22nd Inst. The Exeter Museum in Queen Street was formally transferred to the custody of the Mayor and Town Council of Exeter, to hold as their property as trustees for the public. The Museum was also declared to be open free. Hitherto we have paid a penny. I believe it will be supported by a rate

Wed. Ap. 27 - Report says that Mrs Slessor, widow of General Slessor, has just sold the Broadway estate to the trustees of the late Lord of the Manor (Mr Balfour) for £7500. It consists of the residence, a farmhouse, and I am told about thirty five acres of land. When my late father came to Sidmouth, in

January 1825 it was a new place. I recollect walking out there with my mother and sister and seeing the grounds unfinished. Report also says that Mr Luke has sold Primley Hill, on the Sidbury road. Also that Mr G. Radford the lawyer of Sidmouth has bought Amyatt Place, (opposite Coburg Terrace) of Mrs Farrant, upholsterer. He had two of the houses before, those nearest the Fort Field.

Fri. May 6. 1870 – The stone arched ceiling of the hall of the Old Chancel begun to be put up from my designs. – (June 6).

Sat. May 7 - Cleaned off and put the finishing touches to the four corbels of the small stone ceiling beyond the hall.

Tu. May 10 - Went from Sidmouth to Dawlish. In Exeter my notice was called to an old oak door nearly opposite St Sidwell’s Church. The date 1654 is on it. It would not do for the Chancel. Examined St Ann’s Chapel at the bifurcation at the head of the street. The nave is converted into two dwelling houses and only the chancel is used. Visited the Museum in Queen Street. Did not see my mammoth tooth there. Went to the Cathedral. Took the railroad to Dawlish.

Wed. 11.- Welcome rain all day. It has been unusually dry: only a shower or two for 7 or 8 weeks. Read Mr Ellis’s book, the Martyr church in Madagascar; and very interesting.

Th. 12 - Walked to the Warren and called on some friends near Mount Pleasant. Preserved the following.

Dawlish – May 1870

Fri. May 13 1870 - Went to Teignmouth by rail. Called on Rev. R. Cresswell (see Feb 11) and G.W. Ormerod. Walked back along the railway wall &c.

Sat. May 14 - Walked up to see 15 new houses now building between the church and running eastward. Near the south side I saw the grave of Miss Jane Pritchard where a sentence has caused some talk. On a cross I think the words are - “To the affectionate remembrance of our Jenny”

Sun. May 15 – At St Marks Chapel. Went there again in the afternoon to hear the school children catechised by the Vicar, Mr. Orlando Manley.

Mon. May 16 – Walked to the Holcombe Villas and out to the top of the Parson and Clerk rocks. Returned part way near the cliff. There is a very pretty schooner yacht anchored off, called the “Florence”. She belongs to the Duke of Leeds (Osborne) and the noble owner comes on shore and stays with a family called Holt, sometimes for weeks at a time. Mr Holt generally goes away. It causes a great scandal in the place. There are three daughters and one son. Young Mr Cann married one of the daughters a year or two ago. They were married by the Duke’s chaplain, which caused some talk.

Wed May 18 – Returned to Sidmouth. The morning I left home, I saw two bears with their keepers near the Market Place. They are rarely brought about now-a-days. There is a story going that they have since eaten a boy and have been killed. I have not seen the story in the papers.

Mon. May 23 – Accompanied some friends to the Horsemanship. Some of the performances were good, but others inferior.

Sidmouth May 1870

Tu. May 24 1870 – The Emperor of the French has appealed to the voters of the French nation. Out of 8,900,000 votes, 7,308,535 have given in favour of his throne and policy.

Wed. June 1 – The first of June in English history is generally remembered as Lord Howe’s victory. I have often heard my mother mention it, as her father was made an Admiral for it. I think he commanded the Audacious and engaged the Revolutionaire, a larger ship, which he dismasted. This preceded the great battle, for I believe he fell in with one of the advanced ships a short time before, Jan 4 1876. He was afterwards made a Baronet for his share in the decisive battle of St Vincent. He was known as Sir William Parker of Harburn, co. Warwick, Bart. Vice Admiral of the Blue. He was seized with paralysis - I suppose in the right side, for he was picking a fowl bone at dinner and, (as was then the custom) he held the bone with his fingers, but his hand suddenly gave way. He, however, substituted the other, and went on. But from that time he gradually sunk. He had a ten days illness, and died in the night between the last day of 1802, and the first of January 1803. My mother was in his room up to eleven o’clock at night, and left him alive, and believed he must have died during the early hours of the first. They heard of his death in the morning, and this would make him sixty, for I think his birthday was on New Years Day, yet my mother understood that 59 was put on the coffin plate. He died at Ham near Richmond, Surrey where he had a house and was buried in a vault in Greenwich Church. My mother told me the funeral cost £500, for the undertaker did as he liked, and the panels of the hearse were painted with subjects referring to his naval career. His widow (Jane Collingwood, a near relative of Admiral Lord Collingwood) survived I think till 1815. Their only son William succeeded. He was a Captain in the navy, and might have risen high, but he married young, and would not go to sea afterwards. I knew him and his wife (nee Still) and children when they lived at Plymouth somewhere about 1831. He had a large family, and afterwards went out to Canada, where he settled some of his children. He died I think at Plymouth. I knew his eldest son Sir George. He was in the army in India and was killed at Cawnpore in 1857 or 8. He left a son Sir George, who succeeded. He came home an invalid, went to Madeira and died aged about 24 and unmarried. The title then devolved on the next son, Henry, whom his father had settled near Toronto. He is married, but has no family; but one of his younger brothers has children, but no sons.

Mon. June 6 1870 – Whit Monday. The stone arched ceiling of the Old Chancel hall being now keyed in, the wedges of the centering were partly struck out, and the wooden support lowered about half an inch.

Sidmouth 1870 June

Tu. June 7 1870 – Well here’s an apparition! After an absence of just three months, the lost and lamented rook surprised me by alighting on the window sill, and taking a piece of bread from the inside, which I had placed there to throw to another bird (I suspect his mother) which I have been encouraging of late. From his manner and confidence I have no doubt it is the same, but he is a little altered - his beak is rather whiter. (Perhaps he thinks my whiskers are.) [March 16]

Mon. June 13 - The hall ceiling having settled a week, the centering was entirely removed. The amount of stone in the ceiling is estimated at eight tons; and this, together with the thrust, exerts very great force. I so designed it as to throw the thrust into the corners, where the walls have the greatest powers of resistance. They have yielded enough to shew that the mortar in the joints is compressed hard, but no alteration took place after the first 24 hours. By guaging from the under side of the centre to the floor occasionally during the week, I cannot discover that it has descended so much as the thickness of a penny piece. I hope it is now all firm. I have been rather anxious as this has been an adventurous experiment for an amateur. The finishing and cleaning down of the under side will yet require some time.

Tu. June 14 – Went into Exeter today. Ordered one or two things for the Old Chancel. Attended a meeting of the Exeter Diocesan Architectural Society at the College Hall. Much discussion on the proposed restoration of Exeter Cathedral. They want to remove the screen, which the Dean and Chapter wish to preserve.

Th. Jun 16 – Thunder storm. It began at sea, but after two hours reached us. It has been remarked that thunder storms are of rare occurence at Sidmouth. I once heard it said that this is because we have no railroads, and that the iron rails of the neighbouring lines (Exmouth, Exeter, Honiton, Axminster, Seaton) attract the electricity away from us. The idea struck me. Can it be true? It rained hard for a couple of hours. Most welcome to vegetation. We have had very little rain since February. Great uneasiness about the crops.

Fri Jun 24 – The poles to carry the electric telegraph wires connecting Sidmouth with the great system overspreading the rest of the country are now being put up. They run from the Post Office in the Market Place across Back Fort Field, and are to be carried over Peak hill to Woodbury and Exeter. From Sidmouth to Honiton would have been the nearest route to London.

Mon. June 27 – Began doing some diaper work in the parish church, as an experiment, similar to what I have been doing in the Old Chancel. About six feet high and three wide on the two flat piers near the transept. Today it was only preparation.

Tu. 28 – The plaster being ready, I impressed the stamps, came home. Painted the garden door of the Old Chancel. Watered the plants. Clear light evening. Swallows flying about after the clock had struck nine.

W. 29 – Finished the two piers, but the work will require a coat of thin lime wash when dry, to fill up cracks. The pattern is in diamonds.

Sidmouth July 1870

Mon. July 4 1870 – The Blackmoor Fields, near the Old Chancel are generally most abundant in grass; but this year the field on the north of the Old Chancel, owing to the drought which still continues, after having been laid up since May the first, is found to be not worth cutting, so they have turned some cattle into it.

The Volunteers Camp out on Woodbury Hill this week. The Sidmouth Corps has marched over.

Wed. July 6 – Review on Woodbury Hill. I had arranged with some friends to go over, but there was not a carriage or a horse to be got.

Th. July 7 – To-day the electric telegraph wire and poles from Sidmouth to Exmouth Junction are arranged to be completed.

Tu. July 12 – A total eclipse of the Moon now going on. 9.P.M. It began 8.45: middle 10.34: end 12.24A.M. Eleven P.M. beginning to go off, and I am going off to bed.

Sat. Jul 16 – So France has declared war with Prussia and all Europe is surprised. The success of Prussia in its war with Austria four or five years ago, and soon after in its war with Denmark, seems to have excited the envy and jealousy of France, as much as it raised the consequence of Prussia and placed her amongst the first-rate nations of Europe. Since those events the two states have been looking at each other like two unfriendly bulldogs, only waiting for an excuse. The state of Spain has furnished it. Since the revolution in the latter country, and the expulsion of the Bourbons a couple of years ago, the provisional government has been looking for a king. The crown has been offered to several princes, but without success. At last it is offered to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern – Sigmaringen, an offshoot of the Prussian royal family. With the feelings of France towards Prussia on her eastern frontier, she thought she saw a second Prussia about to be established over the Pyranees, - so she protested, and the Prince was withdrawn. Peace seemed secured. But the French ambassador said and did things that offended the King of Prussia so much that he refused to see him. Prince Leopold was again put forward and France immediately declared war. The Vicar of Sidmouth and Mrs Clements have just left to make a tour on the continent, but they stayed in London to see what turn events would take. Of course they will not go now. But the Misses Lord of Rose Cottage, with Col. Mrs and Miss Jones (recently tenants of Mr Vane at Camden) are now on their way up the Rhine to Switzerland. It is to be hoped they will hurry home at once, for no-one can say what countries may get entangled in the quarrel.

Wed. Aug. 3 – After a few skirmishes, a battle was fought yesterday when the French captured Saarbruck in Rhenish Bavaria. But the Prussians have gained a victory. They have taken Weissenburg, killed the French General and taken 500 prisoners. A new and destructive engine of war is now first used by the French, mitrailleuse. It appears to be number of barrels on a carriage, discharged together.

Mon. Aug 8 – Went to London and chiefly to verify some dates and look up some further historical facts for my History of Sidmouth, which has stood over too long, having been busy about other matters. To make a fair copy of the whole will occupy the winter evenings. Put up at the Charing Cross Hotel.

London, August 1870 – Stapleford

Tu. Aug 9 1870 – Went to witness a match of croquet for the championship on the Victoria Rifle Drill ground, Marlborough Rd, St Johns Wood.

W. Aug. 10 – Had a long chat with Lady Donoughmore at her house 52 South Audley St. I had not seen her since her husband’s death and she gave me particulars of his illnesses.

Again at St John’s Wood. Dined with Col. French and Mr Vane at the East India Club, St James’s Square.

Th. Aug. 11 – Went from London to Ware, and then to Stapleford to see my cousin, the Rev. Wm Oliver at the Rectory. Caught sight of the Rye House on the right hand side of the railroad going. I think this is the place where the plot was concocted, which cost Lord Russell his head.

Sat 13 – Drove three miles to Hertford. Went inside the Castle walls to examine the place. The old moat is now a garden. Returned. Read “Hertford and its Castle” by R. Dimsdale. William drove me and his daughter Befsy (sic) through Hatfield Park, the property of Abel Smith M.P.

Su. 14 – At Stapleford church twice. The wooden turret has two bells. The yew trees in the churchyard, the Rector told me, were planted by the late Sir Joseph Paxton, when he was a boy working as a gardener at Hatfield.

M. 15 – Returned to London. The news from the Continent are startling. The Prussians are beating the French – are passing over their own frontier, and have now got above 600,000 men and 1500 guns on French territory.

Tu 16. – From 10 till 6 in the Library of the British Museum. At one I eat a bun I had in my pocket.

London, Aug. 1870

Wed. 17 Aug – Again all day in the Library.

Th. 18 – At the Record Office on the east side of Chancery Lane. Since I was last occupied making historical searches, the Records, then kept in various offices, are now concentrated here.

The French are very unfortunate, the Prussians have successfully gained three great victories – at Weissenborg, Forbach and Wörth, and are now approaching Metz. Great excitement and discontent in Paris. The Emperor has resigned the chief command of the army to Marshall Bazaine.

Fr. 19 – At the British Museum again.

S. 20 – Visited the South Kensington Museum, examined the new mosaics on the walls: interesting plaster casts of gateways, doorways: antiques: bronzes: paintings &c.

Went over Westminster Abbey. Examined mostly the new pulpit; the reredos: Henry VIIths Chapel; the ceiling, (from which I got some hints for the hall ceiling of the Old Chancel) the monuments, &c.

Then went into Westminster Hall, and thence down steps into the crypt of St. Stephen’s Chapel, which has been recently restored. It is not underground for there are windows on each side; but they may be half buried, and they are full of coloured glass, and as it was nearly dark, there were one or two lamps burning. The whole surface is elaborately covered with colour and guilding (sic). And profusely decorated with Gothic patterns, quaint, peculiar but still beautiful. The great bell in the clock tower struck five. The tone of that bell is beautiful. Came to my lodging bewildered with what I had seen.

London and Southampton

Sun. Aug. 21 1870 – Went to the Chapel Royal in the Savoy. It is on the right hand side going down Savoy Street out of the Strand. It was burnt down a few years ago, and has been rebuilt. It is handsomely decorated in colour and guilding. In the afternoon went to the service at St Paul’s, The Roman style of architecture (of Pagan origin) to me is quite unsuited to a place of worship. It always reminds me of a theatre or a museum. In short, I do not think St. Paul’s can compete with Westminster Abbey in solemn grandeur or religious solemnity. They have recently entered upon the resolution to decorate the interior, as they say Sir Christopher Wren intended. The bare white walls certainly look very cold. They have done some portions with colour and guilding. The triangular spandrills under the dome are being done in mosaic with gold ground. It appears to me that the colours of the paintings inside the dome are much faded since I first remember them.

Mon. Aug 22 – Left London for Sidmouth but made a detour to see Mr & Mrs Lloyd (Miss Heineken) at Wareham. Went by rail to Basingstoke and Southampton: then through the New Forest, and afterwards through a great expanse of wild heath. It is said the Crown has 63,000 acres there, and the public have right of common over 67,000 more. Some of it is being planted. It is mostly sandy poor land. Scores and scores of acres I saw black and charred, that had been burnt by accidental fires during the dry weather

Wareham, Dorchester & Sidmouth

I saw several coveys of partridges feeding within a few yards, but they neither flew nor took much notice of the train as it passed.

At Poole harbour we passed a great expanse of water over a timber bridge or viaduct.

Wareham is a quadrangular town, surrounded by a bold foss and agger, with two principal streets crossing each other in the middle. Like Exeter, it has much the plan of a Roman camp, though Mr Charles Warne a Dorsetshire antiquary of repute, ascribed it to the Saxons. I went nearly all round on the top of the agger. In some places I should think it were 50 feet high. Most perfect on the north and west sides.

Thence to Dorcester, which is another quadrangular town. Had a glimpse at the Roman amphitheatre. After leaving, a tunnel takes the train for Yeovil right under a large camp.

Near Yeovil I got the train to Devonshire. Home at 7.P.M.

Th. Aug. 25 – The Prussians are still carrying everything before them. They are gradually pushing their way westward towards Paris. There have been some great battles near Metz, which they have passed in their onward march. At Gravelotte and Resonville there have been drawn battles. Strange to say, the French have more than once been taken by surprise, and seem to have been ignorant of the number & proximity of their enemy, whilst the Prussians have been well informed on most points. The Parisians are almost frantic. They are putting the city in a posture of defence, and have now got 1000 guns in positions. But Paris could never stand a siege, they would be starved out.

Sidmouth, Aug. Sep. 1870

Tu. Aug 30 – Cottage Garden exhibition, held this year in the field on the north side of the Vicarage.

Sat. Sep. 3 – Astounding news from France! A telegram has just arrived, saying that the Emperor Napoleon and all his army have surrendered to the King of Prussia.

Tu. Sep. 6 – Astounding indeed! The Emperor is sent into Prussia and is assigned Wilhelmshöhe Castle, near Cassel. The Empress, who was left in Paris as Regent, has been obliged to leave and will join her husband. Their boy is to come to England. A Republic is established in Paris, and the Parisians declare they will stand a siege. Marshall MacMahon has not died of his wounds, asserted, and his troops to the amount of 80000, have laid down their arms. Was there ever such a surrender in this world!

Fri. Sep 9 – The battle of Sedan settled the matter on Thursday the first of this month. Report says the French had 110,000 men, and the Prussians 170,000 before the battle. The French got surrounded and were unable to cut their way through. The Emperor is said to have written the following letter to the King of Prussia – “Mon Frere, - N’agant pu mourir a la tête de mon armée, je depose mon epée au pied de vôtre Majesty”. They had an interview soon after.

But the war is not ended. General Trochu is President of the new Republic. The advanced corp of the Prussian army are now within 40 miles of Paris, and the Parisians declare they will not surrender. I think they had better.

Tu. Sep. 13 1870 – A curious thing has just happened in Sidmouth. Mr Pile the carrier had taken his waggon with one horse on it over to Bellmont at the west end of the beach to deliver a package. Whilst his back was turned for a few minutes, the horse turned right outwards towards the sea, and walked out over the Esplanade wall, dragging the waggon partly or entirely down upon him. They fell over a height of six or eight feet. The horse was nearly blind. The strange part of the story is, that when they were extricated and got up, they appeared to have sustained no injury.

Fri. Sep. 16 – The march goes on. The Prussian troops are concentrating on Paris, unopposed. Only two short months ago, the French soldiers, as they marched out of the city for the seat of war, madly cried “A Berlin, A Berlin!” Who would have supposed that just the reverse would have taken place? The death of Marshall MacMahon is contradicted.

Sat. 17 – All day engaged laying the tiles of the Hall floor at the Old Chancel.

Fri. Sep. 23 – We learn that the Prussians have taken up their positions all round Paris and that the city is closely invested. There have been one or two fights in the neighbourhood, but they did not arrest the Prussian advance. The self elected Republican government, which the King of Prussia will not recognise, is endeavouring to get the neutral nations of Europe to intercede. The papers say that the ex-Emperor Napoleon entered France in 1848 a poor man, and that he has left it a poor man, having laid by little or nothing: that he has only a small cottage left him by his mother: that the Empress had some property in Spain, and her jewels: and that Louis, the Prince Imperial has a house near Trieste. We had understood that they had money in the English funds.

Sidmouth Sep – Oct 1870

Fr. Sep. 30 – Called on Mr Haycock at Bellmont. He bought a lease last year, and has much improved the house and grounds.

Sat. Oct. 1 1870 – The new half-penny post cards, and the new half-penny postage heads for newspapers, came into use today.

Mon. Oct. 3 – Paris is closely shut up on all sides. An aeronaut got out the other day in a balloon, above the reach of bullets, and took important information to the ministers, now met at Tours, the fortified town of Toul, in Lorraine, surrendered after a sharp siege on Friday 16th inst. Strasburg has now fallen. It hoisted the white flag on the cathedral on Tuesday 27th inst. Metz still holds out, but I suppose it must go before long. Orleans was occupied without resistance. The Prussians seem to be overrunning all France. We are told that they now have 650,000 men in the country. The King of Prussia and his son are comfortably ensconced in the Palace of Versailles. Who could have believed such things a few months ago?

Th. Oct. 13 – Went to London to see Miss Lucy Hamilton. I knew her father and mother in Staffordshire in 1835, (can it be 35 years ago?) when she was three or four years old, and I used to nurse her in my lap, and carry her about in my arms. Her father and mother emigrated to Adelaide in South Australia more than 20 years ago. She has come back for a few months to see old friends. Took rooms at 27 Conduit Street.

London, Oct. 1870

Fr. Oct. 14 1870 – walked nearly four miles out north-west to Ladbrook Grove to see friends. Came back to Portland road by rail.

Sat. Oct 15 – Went to look at the Houses of Parliament. The frescoes in the Royal Gallery &c are improved. They are softer and more mellow than when I saw them last. The Cript (sic) of St Stephan’ s is worth visiting (see Aug. 20th). Went to the National Gallery

Miss Hamilton reminds me of her mother: but it is hard to fill up the gap, and hard to realise what I am obliged to believe is true, i.e. that she is the little round face girl I remember.

Su. Oct. 16 – Rain all day. Went to St. George’s Church, Hanover Square. Went in the afternoon and evening to St. James’s, Piccadilly. The oak carving, light and freely executed, over the communion table, caught my eye. I believe it is by Grinling Gibbons.

Mon. 17 – Went with Miss Hamilton and Dr & Mrs Taylor of Adelaide, to see the Crystal Palace at Sydenham. The grounds are much improved, and the shrubs grown larger since my last visit. We dined in the building. We were amused at the tameness of the sparrows, we threw crumbs on the floor, and they came close to our chairs to eat them. I like making my visits studies, but it is impossible when one is with friends.

Tu. Oct 18 – Having recently heard of the death of my brother in Australia, I wished to see my cousin, the Rev. Wm Oliver, Rector of Stapleford, Herts, who is my executor in England. Took the rail from Kings Cross. Changed trains at Hatfield, where I got a glimpse of the Marquis of Salisbury’s mansion. Got to Hertford, walked between three and four miles to Stapleford. My brother died of apoplexy on 3rd of August, at his seat, Beaudesert, Hindmarsh Valley, near Port Elliot , South Australia. He was my father’s and mother’s eldest child (I was the fourth). His first name, Young, he had from an intimate friend of my father’s: his second, Bingham, from Admiral Bingham, who married one of my mother’s sisters - daughter of Vice Admiral Sir Wm Parker of Harburn co. Warwick, Bt. He was educated at Tiverton School: went some years into the Royal Navy: left it: accompanied the first governor Sir John Hindmarsh, in 1836, to found the Colony of South Australia: he bought about 1000 acres of land, mostly near Port Elliot and Goolwa: returned to England: married Miss Augusta Kingdon at Heavitree in 1851: and returned that year to Australia. His wife and four children survive him.

Made a coloured sketch (in one of my sketchbooks) of an old silver cup or tankard just rescued from America. It was given to the Second Church, in Boston, Massachusetts, by Thomas Hutchinson, my great-great-grandfather (father of the Governor) for the communion wine. The plate has been sold. This fetched 63.70 dollars. It holds near three pints and a half. The Hutchinson arms are on it.

Wed. Oct. 19 – Returned to London.

Thu. Oct. 30 - Returned to Devonshire.

Sidmouth Oct

Sat. Oct. 29 – The continental war goes on in the same course. Metz has now surrendered to the Prussians, with 150,000 prisoners including 20,000 sick and wounded. These things are astonishing. In every battle of any pretentions the French have been uniformly beaten. What has become of their ancient martial skill, of which we used to hear so much? Metz surrendered from want of provisions, and I suppose that Paris, before Christmas, must follow. The city continues closely invested. Many sorties have been made on the besiegers, but the French cannot beat off the Prussians. The King of Prussia is ensconced at Versailles. The French, by means of shells thrown from the fort of Mount Valerien, have set fire to the Palace of St. Cloud – perhaps not intentionally. Balloons ascend almost daily from Paris, carrying people, letters and carrier pidgeons. This is how we get news from the interior, and the pidgeons carry news back.

Tu. Nov. 1 1870 – Began transcribing my History of Sidmouth into two quarto volumes, bound in green vellum, which I have had made on purpose. This is the third time of transcribing. The first draft consisted of mere notes, with copies of old charters, deed &c; the second was pretty fairly written; the third, if I live to complete it, will be an improvement on the second.

Sidmouth November 1870

Wed. Nov. 2 1870 – More particulars about the fall of Metz. This capitulation beats Sedan, which astonished the world. At Metz there were 3 Field Marshals, 50 generals, 6000 officers, and 173,000 soldiers! The Prussians outside did not exceed 200,000. The number of French prisoners now in Prussia is enormous. The blockade of Paris continues. The provisions are already getting short.

Sat. Nov. 5 – I was up on top of the church tower during the greater part of the day superintending the putting up a sham pinnacle on the north-west corner of the tower. It is proposed to put up four stone pinnacles (as there probably once were) to give the tower height and lightness. This is the moor needed since the roof of the church has been raised, when it was rebuilt. The scheme has always been mine since the rebuilding ten years ago. This experimental pinnacle is merely a framework of wood covered with canvas.

This evening there was great rioting in the town. Under the idea of celebrating the 5th of November, a low mob of idle and dissolute fellows, disguised in masks, and some in women’s clothes, placed a tar barrel all on fire against the shop of a sadler called Bennet, living about the middle of the south side of New Street, east of the market place. They also forced in the shutters and broke the glass, and then threw fire into the house. It was with great difficulty the house was saved from being burnt. He had had a dispute with his apprentice boy, and this was a piece of revenge. Several other persons had been threatened.

Wed. Nov. 9 1870 – Meeting at the Town Hall, called to take into consideration the disgraceful outrage committed on Mr Bennet’s house on 5th and other disturbances on several previous occasions. Mr Lousada of Peak House was in the chair. He is the only magistrate in this parish. There was a great deal of excited talk. Some people blamed Mr Lousada severely to his face for not having taken precautions, to which he replied. Mr Clements, the Vicar, was present; Mr Thornton, of Knowle Cottage, Captain Joliffe of Woodlands, Mr Ede of Lansdowne, Mr Till of Seafield, Mr Gordon the Curate, Mr Warner of Cotmaton, myself and some others, with most of the shopkeepers in trepidation. The meeting was finally adjourned to October 20 1871.

Th. Nov.10 – Some more particulars of Lord Courtenay’s bankruptcy have recently appeared. He owes £215,292 to unsecured creditors and £502,362 to creditors secured on the Devonshire estates. This seems to imply utter ruin to himself, to his relations, and to all those who may come after him. How could any man, not in madhouse, have been such a intense ass to have got into such a gigantic predicament!

Th. Nov. 17 - My birthday. I am sixty, but I feel as young and active as thirty. I was born at Winchester Nov. 17. 1810. My father then being Physician to Winchester Hospital. I believe he had previously been Physician to Exeter Hospital. I was baptised at Heavitree in 1811, at the time, I have heard, that my father’s only sister Mary married Captain Oliver R.N.; - but I never examined the register.

Sidmouth Nov. 1870

Fri. Nov. 18 - Finished some more diaper work in the church. This time in rectangular or square pattern, being on the north and south aisle sides of the flat piers before treated. – June 27

Th. Nov. 24 – So the Spaniards have found a king at last. They have elected the Duke of Aosta, second son of the King of Italy, and he has accepted the difficult post.

Sat. Dec. 3 – Another week gone and Paris is still in the grasp of her enemies. A short time ago the French beat the Prussians in a battle near Orleans, and if the could have followed up their success and have marched northward to the relief of Paris, they might have done some good, but the Prussians brought up re-enforcements and stopped them. More recently, the army in Paris marched out and attacked their besiegers on a large scale, and temporarily broke their line; but they were eventually obliged to retire within their own lines. The circuit of the Prussian army round Paris, measures about 26 miles. I think they have 400,000 men there. The force in Paris of all sorts, new levies, volunteers &c., I believe is about half that amount. The forts round the city are mostly manned by sailors. Meanwhile provisions are growing short.

Mon. Dec. 4 – Dined at the vicarage. Besides the Vicar and his wife, there were two Misses Clementses, Captain Lindsay Brine, R.N., Rev. George Gordon, the curate, and Miss Cave, sister of Stephan Cave, M.P.

Th. Dec. 8 – Spent the evening with Mr Heineken – a scientific evening.

Fr. Dec. 9 – Spent the evening with the Vanes – a gossiping evening.

Sat. Dec 10 – Walked to Ladram Bay and back on the beach. I wanted to look at old scenes, for the use of the geological chapter in my History of Sidmouth, not having been there for several years. I was surprised to see how many falls of the cliff there had been in many places, and how much the features of some points in the coast have been thereby altered. Took sketchbooks, and revised some of my old sketches of the “Tortoiseshell Rock” (so called) and some others. The point of rock between Sandy Cove and Hern Rock Cove, has been entirely detached from the main land since my last visit, by the falling away of the soft cliff at the neck of the promontory (as I may call it) so that the end has now become a complete island or separate mass of rock. Went through the Ladram Bay arch. This beautiful arch must go like the rest some day. The tide was not low enough to let me get into Ladram Bay, so I turned about and walked back the same way. It is rather a fagging walk; - slipping and sliding over seaweed, springing over pools of water, short steps, longs steps, high steps, low steps, over a great block of stone, then carefully across some stepping stones, then over some other great blocks. The sun was bright but the air very cold, and though the “conkerbells”, as they are pleased to term icicles in Devonshire, fringed the cliffs, I was frequently in a good perspiration. Started at 11A.M. and got back at 3P.M.

Sidmouth Dec. 1870

Sun. Dec. 11 1870 – Dr Temple, Bishop of Exeter, held a confirmation in the parish church (I was confirmed there by the late bishop). There were about 80 candidates. They sat together in the middle of the transept, the girls on the south side of the centre aisle, the boys on the north. The morning service went on to the end of the Litany. Then, after a short piece of music on the organ, the bishop came to the chancel steps, close to the candidates, and asked them the prescribed questions, to which they responded. That done, he went inside the communion rails, and the young folks, the girls first, went up and each one successfully knelt down, when he put his hands upon his or her head and said a short prayer. They went up mostly on the south side of the chancel middle passage, and came back on the north. “Amen” was said at the end of each, accompanied by the organ.

In the afternoon service he preached in the parish church, extempore mostly. He wore a black gown with white lawn sleeves. He looks about 40 to 45. The candles were lit in the pulpit in the afternoon and many persons were apprehensive, (myself amongst the number) that he would have set his lawn sleeves on fire, for he put them too near the candles several times.

Mon. Dec. 19 – Called at the Vicarage. Gave the Vicar a copy of my History of the Restoration of Sidmouth Church, brought down to the present time by a supplementary chapter. Also one for the parish chest, at his request.

Then went on to Richmond Lodge and saw the Earl of Buckinghamshire. Gave him one, he having done so much for the church. He had one of the early ones nearly ten years ago. Had half an hour’s chat with him on things in general. I have three copies remaining – one for myself, one for the British Museum, and one either for the Institution in the Cathedral Yard, Exeter, or the Albert Museum in Queen Street.

Th. Dec 22 – An eclipse of the sun, and now going on. Though the light is considerably lessened, it is not so dark as I expected. The moon came on on the right or west side of the sun’s disc, passed below the centre, and went off at the east. At the greatest obscuration about one fifth of the upper part of the sun was uncovered. There was (not yet over) a peculiar and beautiful bluish subdued light over the landscape, like looking through tinted gray glass.

Fr. Dec. 23 – Spent the evening at Mr Heineken’s, and four of us went through Correlli’s sonatas for a couple of hours:- viola, flute, violincello and organ. I was obliged to take second fiddle part on the flute.

Weather again set in cold. Thermometer last night 18°, wind NE.

Sat. Dec. 24 – Walked to Core Hill, near 2½ miles, and called on the Arnolds. On my way, about 3PM and opposite the sun, saw a white rainbow, as it appeared to be. Could it have been caused by the particles of water being in a frozen state? It looked like a faint white cloud occupying the form of a rainbow. It lasted about 15 minutes. Saw a large heap of apples in an orchard at Lower Woolbrook, still lying on the ground not yet made into cider. This is unusually late.

Sun. Dec. 25 – Christmas Day. Choral service at the parish church. I have heard choral service there before. It was very absurdly done.

Tu. Dec. 27 – Taking advantage of the dry cold weather, I walked to Harpford. Went via Broadway, Bulverton, Bowde and down through Harpford Wood. Called at the Vicarage and saw the Gattis: on Capt. Lang, who married one of the Miss Wolcots of Knowle: on the Rev. S. Walker. Returned over Peak Hill, via Salters Cross, Lower Bickwell, Cotmaton.

Sidmouth Dec. 1870

Th. Dec. 29 1870. Walked out to the pond in the meadow below Sid Abbey on the Sidmouth side of the river. It has been frozen hard all the week. It was quite a gay scene, there were so many people sliding and skating, ladies as well as gentlemen.

Sat. Dec. 31 1870. The siege of Paris still goes on and it is now between three and four months since it has been closely invested by a 30 mile circuit of Germans. The King of Prussia (there is a proposal to create him Emperor of Germany) has hitherto refrained from assaulting or bombarding the city, out of regard it is said to its numerous works of art, but his troops are becoming impatient, and so are their friends in Germany, at this long delay. A new fort, eastward of the city, called Fort Mont Avron, has just been assaulted and some of the missiles reached the enceinte, but whether this means a positive ?? on that side, subsequent movements must show. It has generally been said that the S or SW was the weakest; and forts Issy, Yanvres, Arcueil and Bicetres would be the first attacked.

Amongst noteable events, Prince Amadeus, second son of the King of Italy, the newly elected King of Spain, left Florence for his new kingdom last Tuesday the 27th.

Now that Rome has fallen into the Italian kingdom, the king means soon to make that city his capital. Meanwhile the Pope protests and whines and pines, and excommunicates all members of the Italian government, but their appetites still continue very good.

And so ends 1870.

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