POH Transcripts - 1872

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Sidmouth, Jan 1, 1872 – Finished reading the “Recovery of Jerusalem”. Very Interesting. The cyclopean massiveness of the old walls, and the amount of subterranean excavations in the rock, are matters of wonder. One course of the masonry of the wall at the south-east angle is from 5 feet 10 inches, to 6 ,,1 thick. The corner stone weighs over 100 tons. Both Greek and Phoenician characters have been freely met with, some incised and some red paint.

The seal of Haggai was found deep in the ground, outside the south-west angle of the Haram area at Jerusalem, in 1867.

Many of the wrought stones shew that they had been tooled with an eight-toothed chisel.

Sidmouth, January 1872

Tu. Jan 2 – If it were worthwhile, on the 28th of last November to jot down a few antiquarian notes on the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages, I may as well put on this page a few remarks by Mr Boyd Dawkins, on the origin of our breeds of cattle in England. He says –

  1. The hornless cattle have lost their horns, or the horns of their ancestors, merely through the selection of the breeder. This is altogether an artificial form, and may be developed in any breed.
  2. Bos Longifrons, a small black or dark brown Welsh or Scotch cattle, having short horns, still surviving in those countries. It appears to have been introduced into Britain as early as the Polished Stone Age; for its remains are found with the implements of that period, and that of the bronze, Iron etc, and so downwards. It is of a stock foreign to Europe, and is supposed to have been brought by the Neolithic herdsmen from an area to the south and east of Europe.
  3. Red and white variegated cattle descended from the Urus. It had large horns. It is now represented by the Chillingham wild oxen. It was introduced by the successors of the Romans, and is found in those districts in Britain that were conquered by the Angles, Jutes, Saxons and Danes; whereas the small black cattle occupy the same parts as have been held by the Celtic tribes to this day. Like the Bos Longifrons, it is believed to have come from the east.

Wed, Jan 3 – The weather was like a spring morning. Had the grass on the north of the chancel rolled and invited over the Lords from Rose Cottage, and had two games of croquet.

Mon, Jan 8 – Mary Gale drowned in the river, 60 yards below the stone bridge.

Sat, Jan 13, 1872 – Attended the funeral of the late Mr Joseph Carslake, who died last Monday, aged 63, who had lived many years at spring gardens, adjoining Woodlands and opposite Powys. He was a younger brother of the late Captain Carslake of Cobbaton (?). He had an only child, a daughter, who married Captain Toller, but no family resulted from the marriage. The pall-bearers were Mr Haughton James of Helens; Captain Joliffe, R.N., Woodlands; Mr C Cornish, J.P., Salcombe House; Dr Radford, M.D., Sidmouth; Mr Heineken, High Street, and Budleigh Salterton; and myself. There were Captain Toller, son-in-law; Mr H Carslake, nephew; and two Messrs Yules, nephews. Also Dr Hodge; also the vicar and the incumbent of All Saints. Funerals are unpleasant occasions at best, but when it is incessant rain, as it was today, everybody was rather out of humour. We went in carriages, but used our umbrellas in the churchyard. The vault was towards the north-west end. The Carslakes are Unitarians. The coffin was solid oak with brass mountings. A small cross about 15 inches long, and an amulet or immortel of leaves and white flowers, plaited together, were placed on the coffin. If it is weather like this when my friends carry me to my narrow house, perhaps they will wish me at Jericho for taking them outside in the rain. Besides, their wives will be vexed that the black silk is spoilt.

Mon, Jan 15. Entertained a party of friends at the Old Chancel this evening, though my building is very incomplete.

Wed, Jan 24. – Last night the river Sid was so swollen with rain that a violent torrent came down, carrying trees and wooden bridges before it. The bridge opposite the mill, 160 yards below the stone bridge was washed away: also a new plank bridge near the bottom of Gas House Lane, up on land: and also a bridge in the grounds of Sid Cliff.

Wed. Feb 7 1872 – Entertained some old friends this evening at the Old Chancel

Th. 8 – Spent the evening with Mr Heineken

Fr. 9 – Dined with Mrs and Mr Warner at Cotmaton House

Su. 11 – Had a quiet tea with the Vanes at Camden, and supper with Mr Heineken.

M. 12 – Spent the evening with the Buttemers at the Elms

Tu. 13 – Spent the evening with the Jenkinses at Radway

W 14 – Ash Wednesday and salt fish. Some people seem to think they will go to the Devil if they omit to eat salt fish today

Fr. 16 – Went into Exeter to attend a council meeting of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science. They meet at Exeter next July and at Sidmouth the year after

News have arrived stating that Lord Mayo, Governor General of India, has been assassinated by some fanatic.

Sat Feb 17 – The Buttemers at the Elms, amongst a number of other curiosities which they have, shewed me a fragment of one of the Temples on the Acropolis at Athens. It is about nine inches long and four deep. It appears to have come from the moulding under the feet of the caryatides in the Temple of the Erecthaeum. Captain Henry Harston, Mrs Buttemers’ brother (with whom I was at school in Tiverton. circa 1824) visited the Piraeus on the Britannia in 1831, and went to the Acropolis at Athens. A Turk broke off this piece of marble and gave it to him. If it were mine I should take it to the British Museum. There is no doubt about the beauty of the work – Nov 8 1876.

Letter inserted between pages:

Richmond Lodge

Feb 26th /72

My dear Sir,

I have had a letter from the vicar saying he has arranged with you to let me see the design for the new pinnacles – may I ask you when you can make it convenient to let you call here be between ½ past 10 and ½ past 12 in the morning - any morning. I say this because I am at that time almost sure to be able to see you and I am always sorry to find you have called in the afternoon and I have not had the pleasure of seeing you – be assured I consider it most kind in you to come and ask after me. It is more than I deserve. I shall be very glad indeed to see you at your convenience.

Ever yours faithfully,


M Feb 26. Called on the Earl of Buckinghamshire and shewed him the model of the pinnacles proposed to be put on the church tower, of which the Earl proposes to give one. Then went to Knowle Cottage to shew it to Mr Thornton, who will give another, but he had just left for London to be at the celebration at St Paul’s tomorrow, when the Queen returns thanks for the recovery of the Prince of Wales. The Ayshford estate of nearly five acres, that he has recently bought, I believe for £2,400, and thrown into the lower part of his own grounds, is now in the course of conversion. The house is nearly pulled down and cleared away, and the grounds are being altered. There has been for some time a large fragment of carved stone preserved at the house, of which I made the annexed rough sketch.

It has been offered to me, but it is of no use, for it is much mutilated. It is part of the canopy, or half an arch over a tomb, said to have been rescued from the alterations in some church, by the late Mr Carew. There are the three lions of the Carews, impaled with the wife’s achievement which I do not recognise. It appears to stand thus: - quarterly, 1 & 4, three crescents, 2 and 1, apparently per fess countercharged, 2 & 3, six mullets, 3,2,1. Tinctures obliterated.

Tu. Feb 27, 1872 – This morning a boy named Thomas Salter brought me a second brass considerably rubbed, but with a fat face on the obverse somewhat resembling Vespasian. He told me he had found on the sand about 300 yards west of the old limekilns. I gave him six pence for it.

Today the Queen and the Royal family go in state to St Paul’s to return thanks for the recovery of the Prince of Wales.

In Sidmouth there was a dinner given to the poor people in the schoolroom of All Saints Church, with many of the gentry, Charles Cornish of Salcombe House, J.P. in the chair. I carved a joint of meat at one of the tables. Also an entertainment for the children at the Infant school. Also, Mr Thornton gave a dinner at the London Hotel to his workmen and their families.

Tu. Mar 5. – Dined at Powys. Besides Captain Robert and Mr Wm Floyd, there were Sir Simeon Stuart, Bart., Mr R Kennet Dawson, of Bedford House, Mr Radford of Sidmount.

Sidmouth and Dawlish, 1872

Wed. Mar 6, 1872 – Went over to Belmont Villa, Dawlish, for a few days. Took coach to Exeter. Went into the Museum in Queen Street. Enquired what are the regulations with respect to readers in the Library and whether there is a good supervision over the readers, so that readers, either by carelessness or through design, could not have the opportunity of injuring books or MSS which they might consult. For nearly forty years I have had the entrée into the British Museum reading room, and in spite of the number of attendants, and the care taken for the safety of the books, much mischief has occasionally been done. Books have been purloined, and the thieves punished before the magistrates; and I remember a case where a reader was detected cutting passages out of a book, in order to save himself the trouble of copying. According to my present will my MS History of Sidmouth is left to the British Museum; but if due care is taken for safety, and if there are good guarantees for the permanence of the Exeter Museum, I should prefer leaving it to the latter.

At the St Thomas Station I fell in with Mr W.G. Ormerod, now at Teignmouth, but formerly of Chagford, who promoted the restoration of the Shilstone Cromlech.

Dawlish and Sidmouth, 1872.

Sat, Mar 9 – Returned to Sidmouth by a very pleasant route in fine weather. Went by rail to Starcross. Men are now employed in making a double line, instead of a single one as hitherto. Took a boat for a shilling and had a pleasant sail down to Exmouth. The sailors told me that there is about twenty feet of water in the channel near Exmouth at low water spring tides, and that they do not think the channel is filling up; but they think that the rest of the river is getting shallower. The sand banks seem to be accumulating.

As the conveyance to Budleigh Salterton would not start for an hour and a half, I started and walked all the way to Sidmouth.

M. Mar 11 – So the extraordinary trial of Tichborne v Lushington has come to an end after 103 days. A man, supposed to be Arthur Orton, son of a butcher of Wapping, and who at one time passed under the name of Castro, laid claim to the Tichborne title and estates. The eldest son of the late baronet was drowned at sea near twenty years ago; but this man, having picked up a few scraps of the family history, came forward, after a long absence in Australia, and declared that he was the lost heir, who was not drowned, but saved in another ship. He succeeded in deceiving an immense number of people; but his case has broken down. He has been apprehended on a charge or perjury, and case into Newgate to take his trial. He is very fat man and weighs 26 stone.

Su. Mar 17 – During the afternoon I took a walk in the Salcombe Fields along the banks of the river. I was surprised at seeing eight swallows flying about as if it were summer. They were probably not new arrivals, but have perhaps remained in England. I have before, seen swallows here during the winter months.

Mo, Mar 18, 1872 – To the astonishment of most people in Sidmouth, Webber has been acquitted. The Exeter Gazette of Saturday, and other papers, contains full reports.

Th. Mar. 21 – The weather has been drier latterly, and Mr Heineken and myself have been looking out for a day suitable to make the first antiquarian excursion of the season. This morning there was a north-east wind, and somewhat cool, but the sky was cloudless and the sun hot. Reasoning, from analogy, and probability, he has been disposed to think that, first, as Woodbury Castle is too far from the sea to observe the approach of an enemy from that hill fortress; and secondly, that it would be necessary in common prudence, that the occupiers of that station should keep watch on the coast, and mouth of the river Exe, he thought it likely, that if we examined the southern end of the Woodbury range well, where the ridge of the hill runs out to the cliff between Budleigh Salterton and Exmouth, we might hope to find the traces of some camp or outpost on the edge of the cliff in connection with Woodbury Castle, from which intelligence could have been transmitted. In these views I have coincided.

We drove over Peak Hill, passed Otterton, Budleigh, and stopped for a few minutes at Tidwell to see the alterations recently made, and which I noticed when I returned home on the 9th (see back June 7, 1855). The farm house, the old dwelling of the Arscotts I presume, and two new cottages, dated 1868, occupy the place. The great brick house just beyond, has become the farm house. The fishponds across the road have been mostly drained, and many sad changed made. The terraces in the orchard may still be traced.

Passed Knowle, and looked north up the road towards the Daledich of the Otterton Cartulary, now mis-spelt Daylidgh. Attained the ridge of the hill, where there is a fine view of the valley of the Exe. Stopped to examine the Budleigh pebble bed in the gravel pit at this point, then went towards the cliff. At about a quarter of a mile from the gravel pit there is a very conspicuous tumulus, visible on both the Sidmouth and on the Exmouth sides of the hill to great distances. In modern times a ditch has been cut around it.

It seems to be composed of peat earth and pebbles – the soil of the hill; but the interior does not appear to have been examined. The diameter, measuring outside the trench, from where the mound begins to rise (between the two figures) was sixty feet. The height about five. It would be very interesting to find a thumb flint, or arrow head, or flint flake here, because this is not on the flint district, like Broad down; but the wind was so strong and so cold that we could not delay to look. It is useless to search for spherical sling stones here, because all the pebbles of the hill (unlike Broad Down) are round. We then went out to the last field near the cliff, and eat our sandwiches in a warm corner in the sun, enjoying the splendid view towards Dawlish, Teignmouth, Babbacombe, the Ore Stone and Bury Head at Tor Bay, all which were before us, and watched the manoeuvres of several vessels making for the mouth of the river Exe. How can many people fritter away their days in wearisome idleness, when so much enjoyment awaits them on the wild hills? We then examined the crown of the hill, which rises all the way from the gravel pit to the cliff, so that a most extensive prospect is obtained on all sides, both in the land and towards the sea. Such an advantageous point could never have been overlooked or neglected either by the holders of Woodbury Castle, or by the Count of the Saxon shore. Mr Heineken remembers that forty years ago this place was called “West Down Beacon” so that there was probably an ancient beacon here, as well as at the mouth of the river, there Beacon Place, Exmouth, stands; but we hoped to find the remains of earthworks, as of a small camp or outpost. There are some hedges enclosing a piece of ground where there was a look-out station at the commencement of the present century, when a French invasion was apprehended; but these hedges do not appear to occupy the place of any ancient earthworks. We crossed and recrossed all the ground for some distance, but could not discern any inequalities or undulations as if aggers or fosses had been levelled or filled in. it seems scarcely likely that the cliff should have fallen away so much, as to have carried any former works into the sea? This has well-nigh happened at High Peak Hill certainly but there is no evidence to go by here.

The sky became overcast, and one of two smart snow storms fell, so that we were fain to desist.

We went on and looked at looked at Littleham church. The oldest part is the chancel, where there are two arches, the mouldings plain chamfer of two orders, carried forth from the floor to the top without capitals. The rest is perpendicular, with barrels roofs. There are some fragments of good old coloured glass in the north aisle, amongst which a portrait with a cap on like those in the representations of Henry VII., - the old painting for instance in Kensington Palace.

There is a carved oak screen all across with colouring and gilding on it, In the south aisle of the chancel, there are monuments to Lord Nelson’s widow, &c. East end of the north aisle, called Spratshayes aisle, are Drake monuments.

On the south side a coloured window to Captain Agassis and wife. Five bells in the tower.

Returning home it snowed furiously and was very cold. We could scarcely have chosen a worse day , and yet we enjoyed it.

Sidmouth, Ap. 1872

Th. Ap. 4 – Attended a vestry meeting. Produced the model of the proposed new pinnacles for the corners of the church tower. [Feb 26] This subject has been talked of so long, that I am becoming tired of it, and care little whether it is carried out or not. I suggested it last year, and made the model, but it was then received indifferently. It was even sharply criticised and condemned by some wiseacres, who did not know a pinnacle from a handspike.

W, Ap, 10 – Mr Heineken and myself, wishing to look up some of our old haunts on Broad down, started at eleven. We went over the stone bridge as Holway Foot near the Salcombe Fields to Stephen’s Cross, (Carfoix, near the bottom of Trow Hill) up Trow Hill. And after proceeding some two miles turned northward towards Long Chimney. There the horse cast a shoe; so we turned back a mile out of our way, and drove to the Three Horse Shoes Inn, near which there is a smith’s forge. This however gave us an opportunity of again walking over the Cross Dyke running through the fields on the north of the Inn. The plough is doing its best to level the agger, once from twelve to fourteen feet high, as some old men told us some years ago.

We hunted about for sling-stones and flint flakes in the fields and we found many, one or two of which we brought away as specimens. I am always loath to take away these things, as I think they lose their value by removal. I cannot doubt that these are genuine sling-stones, first , because they are all uniformly so exactly the size, shape , and character lf those found in the cave in the agger of Sidbury Castle, about which there could be no doubt; and secondly, because I have no way of accounting for the presence of these oviform beach pebbles lying on the ground so high above the sea, and in some caves so far inland, except by supposing that they had been carefully collected by the ancient inhabitants and then distributed either at their enemies or at wild beasts. Dr Kenrick of the York Museum asserts that we have no evidence to prove that the ancient Britons used the sling, That the Romans and the subsequent possessors of the soil did, we have abundant proof. This point can only be fully ascertained by constant observation on the interiors of undoubted British tumuli. We now turned our attention to what I have before called a sunk road.

It runs east and west through the grass field on the west of the Three Horseshoes, at about 50 yards north of the public road and parallel with it. Whether this was ever a wide ditch, or any other work of defence connected with the Cross dyke, I cannot with any degree of confidence say. I have not detected any ditch or sunk road of similar character in the field on the south side of the public road.

This done, we turned back, and veered away NW, a mile or two to Rakeway Bridge; then eastward, and had our luncheon on the southern verge of Broad Down. Like giants refreshed we searched over the field A, where I found the two thumb flints on the first of last June. We saw several sling-stones and flakes of black flint, easily discerned among the white chert of the hill. Then to the tumulus B.

On this Mr Heineken turned up the thumb flint last June the first. Having taken light tools, I set to work on the crown of what remains, and raked the loosened earth well. I found nothing but a sling-stone, which was partly washed down by the winter’s rain; but it was a sling-stone that surprised us both. It is an Aylesbeare Hill pebble from beyond the river Otter. The sling-stones are commonly the flint or chert pebbles, such as abound on the beach from Sidmouth eastward. One of the missiles that we met with on the 26th of last October at Sidbury Castle was an Aylesbeare Hill stone, perhaps hurled at the camp by some enemy from Woodbury Castle, and the circumstance astonished us a good deal at the time: and the finding of another today, which is a dark red stone from the Silurian or Devonian deposit of the Budleigh Pebble bed, still further removed from its original place, furnished us with more food for reflection. It is true, such pebbles are to be met with on the beach; but they are so scarce and so few, that I can scarcely take the circumstance into account.

Leaving this we proceeded towards Blackbury Castle, for some labouring men told us they had seen many round pebbles in the fields in that direction when ploughing. We hunted over the large field C; but only saw a few, all precisely like the others in character, and scarcely a single flake. I found however, a stone hammer, rudely chipped out of a flint the size of an orange. The bruises on one side are very plain where it had been used. I have little doubt that it is a genuine hammer, but as I did not find it in a tumulus, perhaps it is not worth of the Exeter museum. The vitreous glaze of antiquity is strong upon it. I also found a fragment of a Budleigh pebble, which had been as large as the hammer before it had been broken, and concluded it had been a heavy missile.

Then we turned back and steered northward all along the eastern side of the down, looking into those wonderfully deep chasms as we passed them; but the road, or rather track, was so rough and so full of ruts and holes. That the carriage could not proceed with us, so we were obliged to walk, and the carriage jossled on the best way it could.

Last year I remarked some springs of water on this side of the Down, and I thought that possible the ancient inhabitants might have built their wigwams near them, and if so possibly heaps of kitchen middens might be found under the turf. I dug in one or two places, but had not time to proceed far enough.

After this we went out beyond the northern edge of the Down to look again at the tumuli: I was grieved at the rough and unscientific way in which some of them had been opened, and the way in which they had been left. Since I was last here last year, I was sorry to see that the circle of detached stones round the most northerly tumulus but one has been carried away, perhaps to build some wall or mend some road. We got over the hedge, and looked at others, but could not espy a flake or a sling-stone upon them.

We drove home by having Roncombe Gurt on our right. Down to Sidbury, and were in Sidmouth by eight.

Sidmouth, April, 1872

Tu. Ap. 16 1872 – The weather being fine, we determined on going again to Knowle Hill. Whilst mounting Peak Hill, we stopped at the two cottages where the road is steepest, at B, and enquired for a man named Pyle, who some years ago had found two coins in the field at A.

He only had one. It was apparently of James I and of silver. On the reverse side is a harp. He was glad to sell it to Mr Heineken for a shilling. We then went on, and stopped at the bottom of Otterton. There is an ancient looking garden near the river, on the north side of the road. We entered it at an old doorway of Salcombe sandstone, formerly much used, and the old quarries may still be seen on the east and south of Salcombe Regis church. Exeter cathedral is said to have been built from there.

Outside the west wall, near the river, there are initials of Richard Duke, 1611, as sketched in the margin

We stopped again at Tidwell, and saw Mr Bastin, the tenant, a gentlemanly and intelligent young man. He took us across the road to the spot where the swamp had been drained. There is the old culvert that I copied, and a little further the well itself, as here in the margin.

It is now merely a spring rising in hole in the ground. It is roughly walled round, and is from 15 to 18 inches in depth. The water now escapes over a small weir or ledge. Whether it still ebbs and flows as of old, Mr Bastin did not know. We went to the great brick house, and in the hall he shewed us some scraps of old oak removed from the other, when it was pulled down in 1868. I annex the coat of arms, being the second branch of Arscott of Annery, with the St Cleere shield of pretence. The majority of the coats I do not recognise, they may not be Devonshire families. The whole affair had been fresh painted, and mostly in the wrong colours.

We then made for the tumulus on Knowle Hill. There was a bright sun, but a cold north wind. We sat on the south side of it, enjoying the splendid view, and eating our dinner. We searched the surface of the mound well, and dug slightly in places, but were not so fortunate as to find a flint flake. I was the more anxious, because this is not on the flint district, It is useless to look for sling-stones, for all the pebbles of the district would answer that purpose. We then proceeded to the point of the cliff, searching the ground, but to no purpose. This commanding site never would have been forgotten by the holders of Woodbury Castle, as a look-out station. It not only commands all the sea, but it commands nearly all the land. We measured the flagpole there, by an angle of 45 degrees, and made it 40 feet high. The circumference near the ground is 2’ 11”.

This done, we directed our course inland, to examine some inequalities which attracted our notice many years ago on the open moor, but which we could not then pursue, as we were going to to Woodbury Castle. We got on the heath and then came down to the Mill above Dayligh, or anciently Dalditch or Daleditch. I presume this is the place mentioned in the Otterton Cartulary circa 1260. There is however, another Daleditch near Luppit. Continuing north, we came to a pond or reservoir, where the water had been stopped back, and a short distance above his there are three barrows close together in a line nearly north and south. They have been tampered with, but not properly examined. I should like to try the ground in this neighbourhood, and see whether the traces of hut circles or other ancient habitation could not be discovered – and possibly kitchen middens, or rubbish heaps. From the east side of those barrows, we proceeded north up an old trackway which pointed towards Woodbury Castle; and then veering away towards Yettington, we came upon the ridges over the moor of which we were in search.

As we looked westward, we could see them running over the hill, like an agger and ditches. We noticed them May 1858, when we were going to measure Woodbury Castle, and have often talked of examining them. When I looked at this work today, I first thought of “The Duke of York’s Ditch” running along the ridge of the Malvern Hills, which I traced many years ago; and then of Offa’s Dyke, which the Saxon King made on the western marches of Mercia to keep the Welsh in check, somewhere about 790. I have a sketch of part of Offa’s Dyke which I made so long ago as may 16 1840, when I was making a walking tour through the Midland counties. Being late, we were obliged to turn homewards; but as this earthwork looks important, we resolved to devote a day to it soon.

Work, instead of diminishing, only seems to increase.

Sidmouth, Ap. 1872

Mon. Ap. 22. 1872 – Gave four shillings to William Ware, a lad of about sixteen, for an immense fossil tooth, which he procured from the bottom of the river Sid last Tuesday. He told me he was wading in the water for lamprey eels when he found it. At this season of the year it is usual for the fishermen to seek lampreys (which look something like eels) in the river. They put them alive into a bottle of water, and reserve them as a good bate for whiting Pollock. I then saw the father and he also corroborated the story about the finding of the tooth. I can have no reason to doubt it. Unfortunately the tooth has been very much abraded by the gravel of the river, though there can be no question as to what it is. This is interesting in a geological point of view, for I imagine it must have come from the bed of alluvium that lies at the bottom of this valley. This alluvium is some 15 to 20 feet thick, and is composed of sub-angular piece of flint and chert, gravel, sand, and earth. The tooth must have been immense, and the mammoth or other animal to which it had belonged, of huge proportions. What remains of it weighs 12 lbs 5 ¾ oz, say 12 ,, 5.

I shall give it to the Exeter museum. This is the fourth from this neighbourhood. No 1 was dredged up from the “Tortoiseshell Reef”, a mile or more west of Sidmouth, in February 1869. It weighed four pounds. No 2, found by a Mrs Walker on Sidmouth beach in January 1871. She took it to Liverpool. No 3, a round piece about the size of an orange, being all that remains of a tooth, and found on the beach near the same reef Feb 1872. Mr Aubrey Strahan, of Blackmore Hall, bought it for 2s/6. No 4 is the great one.

Sidmouth, May 1872

Fri. May 3 – Acting upon the resolution made on the 16th of last month Mr Heineken and myself went to Woodbury Hill to-day. We drove over Peak Hill, through Otterton, and reached Yettington without delay. At the west end of the village we took the left hand road, which leads over the wild hill direct to Lympstone.

On emerging upon the open heath, the commencement of the earthworks is soon seen on the left hand or south side of the road. The actual commencement is obliterated by enclosures and disturbances of the ground. There is the hedge and ditch A, of the section above, and the two ditches with the hedge between them B. these run westward nearly parallel with each other fo about 1000 feet, when a branch of the road takes a turn to the south. Here there are three small circular plantations, and the earthwork B abuts against one of them, and is lost.

On the other side, where is ought to re-appear, it seems to have been obliterated by the road, and the road, in short, seems to occupy the place of it. The southern earthwork A however, continues all along over the hill for a mile or more, until it reaches the point C (in the plan) where the land on the south is enclosed and cultivated. Here the agger A (in the sections) seems to have been made use of to form the hedge on the southern side of the road, and so continues onward. As the hedge H proceeds in the same direction across the field, one is almost invited to imagine that even this hedge may be a continuation of the same agger. This earthwork certainly has all the appearance of antiquity whatever it really may have been. It is hard to resist the conviction that it was a great Cross Dyke, drawn all over the ridge of the hill, from the Yettington valley on the East, to that of Lympstone on the west. And as to its purpose, it looks as if it had been an advanced work, made by the occupiers of Woodbury Castle, as a check against the advance of any marauders that might land at exmouth: and as the Danes are known to have frequently entered the river Exe, and to have committed great devastation along its banks, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it had been made by the Saxons at a time when those pirates were infesting the coast. This work is worth examination. Towards its western end, on its north side, there are a number of oval, square and circular pits and platforms. I believe these are the “soldiers’ Pits” and that they were made at the same time, and for the same purpose by General Simcoe, as those on Aylesbeare Hill.

Having plenty of time, we drove northward to Woodbury Castle. In places there were patches of furze in full bloom, acres and acres of it, all one splendid mass of yellow. I never saw it finer. In some places also there were large gravel pits in the side of the hill, where good sections of the Budleigh Pebble Bed could be obtained.

We had not been in Woodbury Castle for fourteen years. We found that the Keeper’s Cottage had been recently “done up” as they say, and looked new. The Keeper’s wife and children were there, of the name of Woodleigh. They had not heard of any antiquities found there. We walked round the ramparts, over our old ground. I measured the slope of the agger on the south side and made it 40 feet. On the east sideit is more. On the slope of the hill to the north-west is a spring of water, with a bank or covert way running down to it, called Red Slew, where tradition says a battle took place, and where the blood of the slain tinged the water. On looking at it in the present day, I should say that the water is strongly impregnated with oxide of iron, and is very red in consequence. We proceeded northwards to the greate tumulus, which is 114 fee in diameter and ablout 15 feet high. It appearsnever to have been disturbed. Perhaps it was a Teut hill, speculum, or look-out station, and not a burial place. The view from its summit is most commanding. Thence north-east to another tumulus not so large. It measured 78 feet in diameter. We espied several ancient trackways across the moor, and we decided that we ought to walk down them and trace them out. They might lead to important points, or to hut circles, refuse heaps or the like. Work never ends.

But it was now time to return home. We descended the Hockland valley, and through the little hamlet of that name, to Newton Poppleford, then up the long hill, and so to Sidmouth.

P.O Hutchinson

His Diary

Sidmouth, May 1872

Wed. May 15 1872 – Owing to the finding of the great fossil tooth in the bed of the river Sid (Ap 22), I walked up the river to day in order to examine the banks. The winter floods were unusually high and have washed out great portions of the banks on both sides, In this valley there is a bed of alluvium lying to the depth of from 15 to 20 feet on the red rock

It is composed of sand, gravel, and sub-angular stones, in some places cemented together by earth or clay. I examined the banks all the way up nearly as far as Sidbury. I got over the parapet on the north side of Sidford Bridge, and on looking under the bridge, I observed that at some period since its first erection, which was probably a long time ago, it had been widened several feet on the north side. I observed also that they are engaged in building the chancel of Sidford church, the nave having been erected for or five years ago. Following the river through the fields, I searched over the banks of gravel and stones that the floods had scattered about, but was not fortunate enough to discover any indication of a tooth or fossil bone or worked flint, I was surprised to see the numbers of logs of timber, and trunks of trees lying about, that had been uncovered and washed out, and portions of others partly exposed. They looked very old, but I presume not so old as the drift. One of them however, struck me more than the rest. It was a log of oak about 8 or 10 feet long, and 18 inches through. It was as black as ink, all charcoal. The district below Ebdon Farm has always been called “Burnt Oak”. Was an oak tree ever struck here by lightening and burnt? I have now been told that the Manor Mill below Sidbury was burnt about 1800.

Sidmouth. May 1872

Fri. May 17 – To day there is printed in the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette some account on the sling-stones of this neighbourhood. I subjoin the cutting, which I have taken from the paper.

Sidmouth 1872

Wed. May 22 – Went into Exeter to examine two or three things in the Museum. Procured two of the new catalogues of the library, one for Mr Heineken and one for myself. Then went to the Institution in the Cathedral yard to examine the Woollcombe MS,. Being a work in two vols. quarto. There is a great deal in one vol about Cromlechs, with sketches and plans; and in the other about many of the Hill fortresses. I was not so satisfied with the inspection as I had hoped.

Just before eleven, when I was thinking of going to bed, I looked out of the window, I was startled to observe that the full moon had lost a portion of her disc. I had forgotten that there was an eclipse to night. About one ninth of the lower portion was dark.

Sat June 8 – It was so cold I had a fire.

Th. 13 – The weather having improved, the Vicar drove me to Ottery. He too the road by Bowd (heretofore Boughwood), Tipton, and by Salston (anciently, I believe, Salviston) a red brick house, built by the late Bishop Coleridge of Jamaica, and now the property of his son. I have heard that this son, when he was at College, was called “Billy Barbadoes”, in allusion to his father’s see. We examined Ottery church, where they are renewing the battlements of the south tower, and some of the pinnacles. We returned the same way.

Fri. June 14 – Having heard of some antiques eastward Mr Heineken and myself started off to make enquiry. We stopped at the Three Horseshoes where we were on the 10th of last April, for we had heard of a bronze celt.

Mr Carter, the tenant, was weeding corn in the middle of the field at the north end of the Cross Dyke. I went to him and heard all the story. He said that last year, he was digging earth in the ditch outside the hedge in the lane, on the north side of the gate going into the field, and at about sixty paces north from the old barn (now being removed) and throwing the earth with his spade up on the hedge.

He threw the celt up with the earth, but did not see it at the time, but the rain afterwards washed it clean, when one of his men was a piece of old brass but paid not regard to it , and left it there. As we had charged him to preserve any pieces of old metal he might find, (the proximity of the Cross Dyke and of Blackbury Castle being likely places) he went out and brought it into the house. After negociating for a short time, I bought it from him for two shillings, intending it for Exeter Museum: but as Mr Heineken had a fancy for it, I transferred it to him for the same sum, and he will send it to the same place. There is no reason to doubt his story, or the genuineness of the celt. It is a flat piece of bronze about 5/16ths of an inch thick: it is 4 ½ inches long, and 2 3/8ths wide at the widest end: and it weighs 7 ¼ ounces. Its chief peculiarity is that it is marked on both sides with a number of longitudinal cuts or lines, as if it had been chopped with another celt. Perhaps this was intended as ornament. (see Intellectual Observer, V275; for a paper on Celts)

We then went into the fields at the south end of the Dyke across the road, to see if any sling-stones could be found, as we had found there at the northern part before. We observed many; and as the flints of the hill are angular, they are apparent at first glance. I brought away two, one very large, and two broken by force. Having satisfied our curiosity on this point, we proceed to the hills overlooking the Axe. We went through a field to Seaton Down, and looked at the earthworks, returning by the field, where we saw only two or three sling-stones, one very large. Thence we journeyed south towards Seaton, but we turned into a field to have out luncheon, for we were hungry and thirsty, and it was very warm.

When we were on the beach, we saw the cone of Membury castle, distant, as they said, nearly 12 miles, crowned with trees, rising towards the north, - as per rude sketch.

We examined the great mound, on which a fort was built, when the Spanish Armada was expected in [inserted later - No: to keep off pirates in – see Roberts]. I made it 150 paces in diameter, and Mr Heineken made it about 25 feet high. They say it was once 20 feet higher. It is a heap of red earth. The esplanade is now carried over it.

From this place we went to the river and crossed by the ferry. At the ferry house, we found an intelligent man called Stark, or Start. For some years we have tried to learn something definite concerning the great stone laid down between twenty and thirty years ago by some savans, to mark the level of the spot, levels are being placed at intervals all across the country northward to the neighbourhood of Bridgwater [inserted later - Portishead]. It has been suspected that the land was slowly undergoing some changes of level; and by repeating the levels from time to time along these fixed points, any change of level will be ascertained. We found the stone inside the warehouse.

We entered the western large door (shaded black) and found it at the right-hand further corner. It is a block of granite measuring 5 ft 6 in long. 2,, 4’ wide, and apparently 1,, 6’ deep, lying on the ground, or perhaps there is a bed of concrete under it. In the middle of its western or outer end, there is inserted a brass of copper bolt, green with verdigris, about two inches in diameter and from the centre of this I presume the level was taken. We were both of us however, rather surprised at not finding a horizontal cut across the head of this bolt, as usual in the Ordnance Bench Marks, to mark the exact level. On scratching the bolt with my nail, I fancied I could feel an indentation, but I believe it was nothing but an accidental scratch or mark. Perhaps, as afterwards suggested by Mr Heineken, there may be a cap soldered on the head of the bolt. To preserve such a cut from injury, if it should be there. To protect this stone from being meddled with, a massive arch of masonry has been turned over it. In the Athenaeum, No 566, p 610, some account of these levels is given. The stone was placed here in 1838. We could not learn where the next stone northward was placed. There is a copper bolt in the front of Axmouth church (or tower) put there I believe by the Ordnance surveyors, like those at Salcombe, Newton Poppleford, and other places, to mark elevations above the sea; but whether this has been used in connexion with the great stone, we could not learn. We enquired for the “Bone Bed” mentioned in geological books. The man believed it was nearly a mile to the east, where the lias crops out, and where the undercliff comes down to the beach. The masonry and harbour works, promoted at a great expense by the late Mr Hallet, are being allowed to fall into disuse, as the mouth of the river is too narrow for ships to enter.

We were told that “Dungeon” of which we had heard, was an old, pack-horse road between Seaton and Beer now destroyed; and that “Eye Well” was near it. We were also told that sometimes in the winter, the trades may be observed of the square salt pits or pans on the banks of marshes by the river. They have been pointed out to me at Starcross. Many years ago there was an old anchor, with a very long shank, and of peculiar pattern, dredged up off Seaton of which Mr Heineken sent an account, Lon & Ed, Ph, Mag X, 10. We were told that a similar one has been recently fished up off Beer. We enquired where “Scale Wall” or Castellum Stead” might be, and whether it was the same with Hawkesdown Hill Camp? But we could not learn. Steadcombe is just below the camp. We then drove to Colyford and Colyton, but did not find the persons at home whom we sought, so we returned to Sidmouth. We did not get home till nine, having been out eleven hours.

Fri. June 28 1872 – Mr Kirwan informs me that Mr Drewe told him they had been pulling down an old house near the Grange, and had found a wooden bowl containing twenty-seven Henry VII guineas.

Mon. July 1. 1872 – Who can read the piece of Chinese printing annexed? It was brought to England by some sailor, who gave it to me.

Tu. July 2. – At the Three Horse-Shoes inn, near the ten-mile stone from Lyme to Exeter, there is an old shovel board, now very rarely seen. The game seems also to have been called Slide-shrift and Shove-grote. There is a board or table about five feet long and eighteen inches wide. Upon this are cut a number of lines, marked from one to twelve, as in the scheme below

The game seems to consist in putting a penny or other coin, half on the table at the right-hand end A, and striking it with the hand up the range of figures. If the coin rests on a line it does not count. He who first counts 100, or any other amount agreed on, gets the game – See Aug 9 for further particulars.

Sidmouth. July 1872

Fri. July 5 – Not having quite run out or course, and finding from twenty years’ experience and more, that our antiquarian expeditions constitute a very pleasureable part of our existence, Mr H and myself started again to-day. We first proceeded to Bunch, in front of the entrance to Sidbury Castle. [see Oct. 26. 1871] We wanted to re-examine the deep escarpment with the swamp at the bottom; thinking that if this place had ever been held by an enemy attacking the camp, probably the escarpment had been artificially made, We were soon convinced, however, when we had picked our way all along the base and scrambled up into the lane above, that this precipitous bank of foxmould, is due to the springs of water that come out between it and the red marl, and merely produce effects such as we see on the flanks of most of the hills in this neighbourhood. Thus satisfied, we came away. We then searched over some plots of arable land below the road on the south side of the Bunch, to see if we could detect a chance beach pebble sling-stone, not however with much confidence, as being rather far from the camp. We could not find any; but Mr Heineken picked up a spherical white quartz pebble about three quarters of an inch in diameter, from Aylesbeare Hill; and possible it may have been devoted to such a purpose. We then pushed on to have another examination of the iron pits over Lincombe Farm. We flattered ourselves with the hope that we might find the place of a forge or bloomer in the bottom of one of them – but No. Perhaps the smelting place was in the valley, where wood and charcoal would be more abundant. We must enquire if any pieces of scoria or cinders have been met with.

We counted about 100 pits. Digging at the bottom of several, we only met with pieces of bog iron or haematite. When smelted with charcoal this yields malleable iron at once, [Oct. 10. 1871] Owing to the heat and the motion of the carriage, the cork flew out of the beer jar, but the loss was not great. I had a wine bottle full of water with me. The exercise on the hills of a warm day in July, causes a great waste of moisture in the system. To supply this with beer would make me heavy and sleepy, and unfit for work. We had our dinner in a field, enjoying a fine view towards Sidbury; and we could see the horizon of the sea over all the hills between Sidmouth and Beer Head. When this was over, we descried a tumulus about a quarter of a mile to the south of the iron pits, and we proceeded thither. It was a cairn of dry white flints, which we had not noted down before, It measured 57 feet in diameter. All the centre portion had been removed, and what appeared to have been the large stones of the kist-vaen, we found built into the base of the hedge close by.

We were told that this hedge was made, and the land reduced to cultivation, about 1830. We then proceeded north to Chineway Head. We met two children with baskets full of blackberries wortleberries. The vaccinium however, is not so plenty as it used to be, as much of the wild land has been reclaimed. We went north to look for a place called Belle Vue, and a tumulus of which we had heard, but did not find either. The holes in the plantation at the north-west point of the hill, are much like iron pits. Returned home by Hare-and-Hounds and Sidbury. Never saw the foxglove so abundant and so fine. It made some places quite crimson.

Mon July 15. 1872 – Went to a large Garden party at Powys, given by Lady Floyd, and her son Sir John. There were about 50 people there.

A railway meeting was held to-day at the Town Hall, for the construction of the line from near Feniton to Sidmouth. Many people are dissatisfied that the proposed new road from the Fort Field to Colmaton, Fenny Pines Corner, and then sweeping behind Broadway towards the selected site for a station, should be paid for out of the money invested in railway shares. Perhaps it is rather late to raise these objections, as the Act of parliament is passed which authorises it. We must bear in mind that the Trustees of the Manor, who are promoting the construction of the line for the good of the Manor, and who have laid out this road on the map for that purpose, look at it as a part of the project for the general good; and we must also bear in mind that they undertake to find two thirds or three quarters of the money, and the public only the remainder. We cannot have everything our own way in this world; and as the Sidmouth people only take the second place, they ought perhaps to be not too difficult to please.

Attended the funeral of Mr Butcher, who died, aged 81 at No 9 Fort Field Terrace. He was son of the Rev. Edmond Butcher, sometime minister of the Unitarian congregation here, and the author of the first Sidmouth guide, published, I believe about the beginning of the present century. The deceased was formerly in business in Bristol. He has left two sons, clergymen of the church of England, one of whom, with his son, a boy about fourteen, was at the funeral.

Sidmouth & Taunton 1872

Tu. July 16 – Went to Taunton to see my ancient friend G.E. Hamilton, formerly an engineer and architect in Staffordshire, where he built a church or two near Burton for the Duke of Sutherland, and for my late cousin J.H. the canon of Lichfield, who has been twenty-three years in Australia, and who has recently returned. Took the opportunity of carrying into Exeter several objects of antiquity for the Museum, as calcined bones from Lovehayne tumulus, thumb-flints or scrapers, bones from High Peak Hill, Dunscombe Skeleton, and contents of the stone coffin at Bury. Also six quartzite weapon points from Africa. Got to Taunton by rail before 5 P.M. I had not been to Taunton for many years, and was gratified to see a neat, bustling, and thriving town; but sorry to see that thirty years had made a great difference in my old friend.

Wed. July 17 – Took some walks about Taunton. Examined some of the remains of the Castle, It is a pity that they have been converted into a hotel. The entrance from the street is under massive archways A. Another archway B, has over it two armorial achievements – one being France and England quarterly, and the other a cross charged apparently with four of five roses, and under it the date.

Spent a long time at the Museum wh[ich] is a very good one, It is a pity that it rests only upon voluntary support. The body of a young gorilla attracted my attention. Also several bronze celts, palstaves and spear heads. One celt something like the one found near the Three Horseshoes, (June 14) and very coppery, as the one we there procured seems to be. And this suggest to me a new idea, namely, that if these objects of this early type turn out to be of copper, when further investigation has been made, I shall then venture to declare that there was a Copper Age, which preceded the Age of Bronze. The idea is my own and quite new, but more examples must be found before the point can be established. They have a number of old coins: a good collection of architectural and antique casts; mineralogical specimens: and a rich collection of bones from extinct mammalia from the Banwell and other caves. They also have a number of quarto volumes of indian ink drawings of churches.

I went and had a careful look at St Mary’s church, both inside and out, and admired its architectural features amazingly. Within a few years the tower has been rebuilt but strictly I believe, after the former one, for the former one was badly built, and very shakey.

Th. July 18. – Mr Hamilton gave me two Australian skulls, male and female, which he brought to England on purpose for me. They were procured from a native burial ground about 300 miles below the junction of the Darling river with the Murray, by Mr Moulden. Overseer of the district, in 1852. Mr Hamilton was then Inspector in Chief of the Main roads in south Australia. The male skull is very thick and heavy, and weighs 1lb 8 ½ oz., the female 13 oz. The annexed is a hasty sketch of the male skull.

Returned to Sidmouth

I have given them to the Exeter Museum

Sidmouth & Exeter 1872

Tu. July 30.- Meeting of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature, and Art. Went in to attend it. Was at the meeting of the Council at 12 in the top room of the Guildhall. When we came down stairs, the mayor waylaid us with a splendid champagne luncheon. We were then showed the great two-handed sword and the hat, used on solemn occasions. They were covered with gold embroidery on crimson velvet. The rough sketches in the margin are only from memory.

After an official reception by the Mayor (Mr. Harding) and a General meeting at four in the Guildhall, I went to Dawlish.

Wed July 31. – Came from Dawlish to Exeter after breakfast. Went to the Atheneum to hear the papers read. The Bishop, the president for the year, presided. Fourteen papers, out of thirty-one, were read to-day. At half past five we sat down to a handsome dinner at the entertainment at the Bishop’s palace. It was very full. Did not get to Dawlish till eleven.

Th. Aug 1. – Went again after breakfast. During the day I read three papers – one on the celt procured June 14. The second on the iron pits; and the third on the fossil teeth, especially the great one mentioned April 22. After the readings were over, I deposited in the Museum the celt and the teeth. The Mayor had invited me to a Garden party at Millbrooke, and I had accepted the invitation, but when the time arrived, a thunder storm with violent rain came on, so that I did not go.

Took the train to Dawlish.

Exeter, Dawlish & Sidmouth, 1872

Fri. Aug. 2. 1872 – The work in Exeter being over, I did not leave Dawlish till the afternoon, and then set out to return to Sidmouth. As I passed Starcross, I could not help smiling at that strange piece of naval architecture called the Swan, with its boat in the same form. It is large enough to contain many people. It is generally anchored off Starcross, where the owner, Mr, or Captain Peacock lives. Some say it ought to be painted like a peacock, instead of dead white. There are two sails for it resembling wings, but it is a poor sailor.

Fri. Aug 9 – When Mr Heineken and myself went to Seaton on the 14th of June, we observed, by means of a telescope, that some men were ploughing part of the side and interior of Musbury Castle. We resolved soon to go and search over the newly turned up ground, and see whether we could not find sling-stones or flint flakes, or something better if possible. We went today. We ascended Trow Hill, and stopped at the Three Horseshoes to enquire whether any more celts had been turned up. Took the opportunity of making a better examination of the shuffle or Shovel board, my former plan, of July 2, having only been drawn from memory. To-day I took all the dimensions.

Of course the exact dimensions are not of great consequence, and they might be variable. I had numbered the former wrong. No I is beyond IX, and X nearest. The game may amount to any umber agreed on by the players. Each player has two pence or other coins, and they play alternately with the same coins. If the first coin stops on a line, it does not count, but the second throw may knock it off the line, when it does. I was also told of another way of playing. After your first throw you make a chalk mark on the space or spaces to mark them, when the other party goes on, and does the same. When making the second and subsequent throws, you must avoid stopping on the same spaces, as, if you do, you give the number marked on them to your adversary.

We proceeded to Hangman’s Stone, dismounted, and examined it, to reconsider whether it may have ever been one leg of a Cromlech or “Hanging Stone”. I never remarked till to-day, that on the south side of it there is and Ordnance bench mark but much overgrown with lichen. In a field on the opposite side of the road, or rather to the north-west, we observed a ridge like another Cross Dyke, but there was not time to examine to-day.

We then drove on to Colyford, passed Axe Bridge, and on reaching Musbury, we passed close on the south side of the church, and took the carriage to the top of the first field. There is a farm road all the way, and if it had not been so steep, we could have taken the carriage right up into the camp. Having first had our open-air dinner under the hedge, we ascended into field A on foot. The sketch shows the west flank of Musbury Castle.

I found a black flint core and a sling-stone going up. As all the stones of the hill are angular, and of white chert, they are easily seen. Reaching the summit, we searched it over well from end to end. Of cores, flakes, and sling-stones we saw many, and only brought away a few. The last time we were here was on Tuesday July 14, 1857 – 15 years! At that time I bought the tessera and other remains of the Roman villa at Holcombe near Uplyme, which were sold at the auction at the vicarage of Musbury. I have not yet given these things to the Exeter Museum, but perhaps they are worth sending. [see back] All things considered, and allowing for hedges and a great growth of bushes, the plan of the camp given in Mr Davidson’s British and Roman Remains in the vicinity of Axminster, is substantially correct. The square platform however, near the southern end (the most northerly work there) seems to have been obliterated. The brambles and fern were so abundant at the entrances at the north-west corner, that no examination could be made. The land was stated to belong to Mr Wills of Borough House.

Mr Heineken had his water level with him [see May 31, 1861] ad amused himself looking at the surrounding hills. Shute Hill seemed to be on the same level as ourselves. Danes Hill somewhat higher; Membury Castle higher. Baaly Down considerably higher, what appeared to be Neroche, much higher. Stockland Hill higher. Dumpdon higher, rising like an island above the intermediate hills. Farway Castle much higher. Turning to the south, the horizon of the sea was seen from 50 to 100 feed over Hawksdown Hill camp. Judging from these observations, Musbury Castle probably has an elevation of about 600 feet above the level of the sea.

Having descended the hill, we proceeded to Newenham Abbey. We passed Ash, [July 14 1857] where the great Duke of Marlborough was born, and the brook called War Lake, and going on within a mile of Axminster, turned down to the left. We reached two farm houses, the higher and the lower, close to the Milway, both of which are on the Abbey grounds, the latter among the ruins. But the ruins are gradually vanishing. The gable with the three-light window of the ancient chapel, fell down about 1867. A lithograph of this forms the frontispiece to Davidson’s History of Newenham abbey. By the side of the farm house door in the yard, an old stone fragment has been built in. It is a sort of corbel, that had apparently occupied the corner of some chamber. It represents the head of a monk with the tonsure; or rather two heads moulded into one, those being the three eyes, the middle eye being common to both faces.

The farmer’s wife shewed us a fragment of a rib with a very beautiful carved piece of foliage of early English character. It was not unlike a portion of the boss given in the same history, at page 146. A great piece of work six feet thick and twenty or thirty long, I suspect it is a piece of the cloister wall spoken of at page 150, but the three sunk arches cannot now be seen, if they are there, as shed has been built up against it. We went up round the orchard, which is full of mounds and hillocks. In one place we found pieces of floor tiles with glaze on them. These we were allowed to take away. We were told that the heavy rain in the brook that comes down by the further side of the orchard, last winter, washed away one of the banks, and uncovered a quantity of human bones from the site of the ancient burial ground. These bones were placed in a box and re-buried. I should like to go and dig about there.

We did not leave for home until nearly seven. We heard that a boy had picked up a cannon ball on Musbury Castle, and that it was at the toll-gate near Axe Bridge. We halted and enquired for it, The woman brought it out. It was a four-pound shot, The boy (son of this woman) had been working on the hill – perhaps weebling turnips in the very fields we ascended – and found this all, which he brought back. I examined it, but though much rusted, was tolerably sound. This must date about the period of the commonwealth. From Mr Davidson’s little book on the siege of Axminster, and from other sources, we learn that the Parliamentary troops once bombarded old Stedcombe House; and there is a field near Honeyditches called “Bombshot” where they say, the guns were planted. At another time some soldiers were posted on Musbury Castle and it is possible that some of the opposite party in the valley below, had fired this four-pound shot at them. Mount House was also attacked. Query whether this was the house now called Mount Field House in Musbury?

When we were in Colyford it began to rain, and continued all the way. We did not reach Sidmouth till half past nine. It was clod as autumn, and we warmed our fingers at the kitchen fire.

Th. Aug 22 1872. – This year the Cottage Garden exhibition was held in the grounds of the Knowle in Sidmouth parish. A really beautiful place the owner has now made of it, and many many thousands he has laid out there, Fruit has failed very much this year, but the show of vegetables and flowers was extremely good. The grounds are laid out most tastefully, and the flower beds are just now one blaze of brilliant colour. If money and a splendid residence and anything else that money can but could bring happiness, the owner ought to be happy. Here he should have a choice library, full of the handsomest and the best of books, scientific instruments, a workshop, an observatory – in short, everything in the world but---

Fri. Aug. 23 – The ridge like another Cross Dyke which Mr Heineken first espied and pointed out to me, lying in a field to the NW of Hangman’s Stone, we went to-day to examine. But we at once perceived that it was not a cross dyke like that at the Three Horseshoes, because it does not sun at right angles to the road, nor does it cross the road, It runs nearly parallel with the road, and along its north side, and its eastern end curves away slightly to the north. At Hangman’s stone, several roads coming from Beer, Colyford, and Colyton, all converge to a focus; and there is reason to think that this earthwork was thrown up, from which to watch the approaches, and hold any enemy in check, who was coming from the east. The people who would do this are not unlikely to have made the cross dyke, namely who occupied Blackbury Castle; and this earthwork stands between the convergeance of these eastern roads and Blackbury Castle, and on the same side of the road as Blackbury Castle. A glance at the preceding map may make these points clearer. The yellow clay lying along upon the top of the ridge through the recently ploughed field, contrasting as it did with the dark mould, marked the work as having been artificially made. I paced the ridge, and made it 180 paces long from west to east; but my paces must not be reckoned quite so much as yards, especially over rough ground.

Its western end is about 57 paces north of the road; and at about one third of its length from this end, a gap has been made. This gap is not likely to have been original, for in its perfect state the whole agger is likely to have been continuous. The width of the ridge is 24 paces, and is of small elevation. Whilst the western end, as remarked, is 57 paces north of the road, the eastern end is from 80 to 100, because that end curves or trends away somewhat to the north-east. But there is a depression, like the traces of a former foss, all along on the northern side of the agger, which is not the side I had expected to have found it. As a rule, I have generally held that the foss of an earthwork or camp or fortified place, is on the side of the enemy; so that if and invading enemy was expected from the valley of the Axe, the foss ought to have been next the road, which it certainly is not. Of late years however, some savage tribes have been noticed in America and other countries, who, in their barriers against their enemies, put the ditch on the inside, or on their own side, and jump into it to hide themselves when they discharge their arrows or other missiles. Perhaps is it too soon yet to offer any decided theory respecting this work. I found a flint core and several beach pebble sling-stones close to it. Between its eastern end and the road there are two flattened and partly obliterated tumuli, but they are evidently tumuli. These, in connection with the Crossway Close won, indicate a deadly struggle in the neighbourhood. [Sep, 26, 1859] We walked to the north end of this large field, overlooking the valley there, but made no discovery. A man called Day, whom we questioned at the cottage just after passing the brook on the north, told us that this twelve-acre field was first taken in hand and partly tilled, about 1840, but that it was neglected and allowed to go back again into its wild state. It remained so ever since, until about two years ago, when it was taken in hand again. Of the two tumuli, the eastern one is the largest, but its crown seems to have been flattened or removed.

We eat our sandwiches, Mr Heineken sitting upon Hangman’s Stone, and I lying on the grass beside it, under the shade of the hedge. The sun was intensely hot in the field – See also Oct 8, for this earthwork.

Then we descended the lane northward – crossed the brook – talked to Day at the cottage – mounted the next hill – saw something like a cairn of white flints in the plantation up on the left – pushed on over the hill to Southleigh, or Souley, as they call it. Then proceeded on to a farm called Hooperhayne. The termination hayne is very common in this district, Hayes or hayne is said to signify hedges or enclosures, and it was applied to Mr So-and-so’s bit of cultivated ground or farm.

It had been reported that quantities of ancient pottery had been turned up in some parts of the ground, so that if this were the case, it was worth while to institute a search. We were directed into a field where there is a great pit, out of which the clay for the pottery was dug, and then to the next field below the cottage. Here we found plenty of fragments of roofing tiles &c., but they were evidently of modern make. On enquiry, it seemed that a pottery had been established here about forty years before, but that it had failed, and the promoters had been ruined. If ancient pottery is really to be met with on this farm, it must be in some other field.

Somewhat disappointed, we started for home, where we did not arrive till half past nine, having been out since ten in the morning.

Sidmouth, Aug. 1972

Sat. Aug. 24 – Went into Dr Radford at Sidmouth to see some microscopic slides belonging to the Rev the Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne, who has recently taken Cottington. Mr Heineken followed me there. These slides contain specimens of wonderfully minute writing on glass. It is executed I believe with a diamond point, worked by a series of levers, so as to produce extreme smallness. The merest speck on the slide, only to be seen with a magnifying glass, when placed under the microscope, came out like a clearly written sheet of paper. I will only describe the smallest specimen. We could clearly read the Lord’s Prayer written in the 166th /1000th of an inch. In the same scale, the whole bible could be written ten times in a square inch. If this is true, it is almost too minute for the mind to conceive – just as space and eternity are too great for the imagination to grasp. When viewed under a power of about 300, the writing looked as large and as clear as this that am here tracing.

Sat. Aug. 31 – Went to witness a croquet match at Captain Joliffe’s at Woodlands, olim Old hayes. It was between two Miss Lords of Rose Cottage, on one side, with Miss of Blossom House on the beach and the youngest Miss Strahan of Blackmore Hall, on the other. The latter won. Afterwards, Miss Adeline Lord played Miss King. The former won. There were a great may ladies and gentlemen invited to witness it. Ices and wafers were handed round, for it was a warm day.

Finished the first volume of my History of Sidmouth.

Sidmouth. September 1872

Mon. Sep 2. 1872 – This afternoon a little before two, whilst I was in the oak room of the Old Chancel, a gentleman, a stranger to me, was announced. It proved afterwards to be a Mr Andrews, a magistrate of Berkshire, residing at Reading. He apologised for intruding, but said he had understood I was on friendly terms with the Rev. R Kirwan. I said I was. He asked whether he had called on me that morning? I replied N: that I had not seen him since we were together in Exeter, at the meeting of the Devonshire Association a few weeks ago. He then said –

“I am sorry to inform you that he has met with a lamentable accident, and I am afraid he is drowned”

“Drowned!” I exclaimed, “How do mean drowned?” I felt choked, but begged he would proceed.

He then told me that he was a visitor at Sidmouth – that he and some of his family had been taking a walk on the sea shore to the west of the town – that at nearly half a mile from the esplanade they observed a gentleman’s clothes lying the beech, but on looking at the water did not observe any person in sight. He made one of his boys stay by the clothes whilst he took a turn towards High Peak Hill, keeping his eye upon the waves; but on his return, still failing to discover any person in the water, he feared that something serious had happened, and therefore examined the things, and found R. Kirwan upon the towel. He sent his son back to Sidmouth to find the police whilst he tied the things up in the towel. Some sailors with a net proceeded at once to the spot, and commenced dragging the bottom of the sea. When he left me I hurried to the Vicarage, as I had to deliver a book to the Vicar, I related the narrative to him, much to his astonishment, and then directed my steps to the same place. There was a boat with six men in it over there, and a crowd of people on the shore. They were dragging a long mackerel net, which had been cast out in a semicircle from the shore. This they did several times, but they were not rewarded with success. I sketched the scene as it appeared when I arrived. The sea was rough.

I remained till five, when they proposed to desist will the tide turned and the current set in another direction. About seven I heard that the body had been recovered. It was found by Ware, of which I bought the great fossil tooth. I was asked to be one of the Jury at the Inquest. I consented, as I wished to know all the circumstances of the case.

Wed, Sep. 4. 1872 – Painful as it was, I attended, and with the others, looked at the body. It had received many scratches and bruises from the gravel whilst it was in the wash of the sea, for it had been thrown on the shore by the waves.

I have been told a curious tradition as existing at Gittisham. They say that if the clergyman, when on the pulpit in Gittisham church, should happen to give out the text of his sermon when the clock strikes twelve at noon – or, in other words, if the clock should happen to strike twelve when he is giving out his text – some person belonging to the parish will die before the week is out. In most parishes in this neighbourhood the morning service begins at a quarter before eleven, and it is a very rare thing for the sermon to begin so late as twelve. If, however, the reader should be slow, or if the service should be lengthened by any other way, the circumstance may occur. I am further told that this happened during the hay harvest at the early part of this summer; and that when the Gittisham people heard it, they pointed by a sort of common consent to one of the oldest men in the parish, and feared that he was the person who was destined to be called away before the week was run out. Strange to say however, a son of this old man, strong and hearty, was taken with sunstroke in a hay field and died. Report also declares that it occurred again last Sunday; and that when Mr Kirwan returned to the Rectory, he jokingly said to some of his family. “I wonder who is to go this time” – little thinking it would be himself. Such is the gossip circulating around Sidmouth.

Sidmouth Sep. 1872

Tu. Sep. 10 – All the morning engaged gilding the diaper work on the wall in the doorway, going into the Oak room of the Old Chancel.

Th. Sep. 12 – All this morning I was in the stone mason’s yard cutting out the crookets of the new pinnacles for the church tower. After making one or two, to feel my way, I found I could advance quicker. I mean however that Mr Churchill himself (who did my hall ceiling) should go on with them.

Sun. Sep. 15 – In the afternoon took a quiet solitary walk over Peak hill to the top of the High Peak. Sat down on the summit, 513 feet high, and enjoyed the beautiful view on all sides. The air was very clear. Several of the tors of Dartmoor distinct against the sky, especially Hey Tor and Rippon Tor. I could see Start Point beyond Torbay, being 40 miles distant: Brixham very clear, with sun shining on the roofs of some of the houses. In an easterly direction, Portland being 36, or rather, where I was, 37 miles.

Tu. Sep. 17 – Walked to Colford, beyond Sidbury, and called on the Bayleys. Amongst other things, Mr Bayley told me that Mr Marker of Coombe had just bought the manor of Honiton for £60,000.

Th. Sep. 26 – Drove over with some friends to Ebford Barton, a mile or two beyond Woodbury. It is several years since I was there. General Lee, the owner, was then alive. His sister, Miss Lee, now lives there. There is also her niece, Miss Pennell, sister of Dr Pennell of Exeter, and Mr Pennell of Dawlish and Holcombe; and likewise her relative Colonel Jackson. The Rev. J.B. and Mrs Lloyd, and their little boy are there at present for a short time. She was Miss Heineken.

Sidmouth. Oct. 1872

Fri. Oct. 4 – Some of General Balmain’s family came to look at the Old Chancel. Amongst other things, I shewed them the scotch claymore of Lord Balmerino, who was beheaded on Tower Hill for the affair of 1745, and which I am taking care of for the Elphinstones, his descendants. I believe General Balmain is connected with the same family, and Mrs Balmain took a ring from her finger, declaring that it was worn by the Scotch Lord the day of his execution, and had been taken off his hand after his death. It bears a garnet, or similar stone, of heart shape, or oval form, surmounted by a sort of coronet of diamonds. It much resembles the Douglas device of a heart crowned.

And Mrs Balmain had on a handsome brooch of a peculiar design, and in the form of a half moon. It was made of two tiger’s nails or claws, set in gold; and this reminds me, that when I was at Ebford, Col. Jackson shewed me sixteen claws of a tiger he shot in India. The first joint of the finger (so to speak) was still attached to them.

Tu. Oct. 8. 1872 – My old friend C.J. Williams, now a painter in watercolours, being for a short time at Beer sketching, I went over to see him. I started at 9 and soon after 19 got as far as the THREE HORSESHOES. Ever since Mr Heineken and myself measured the earthwork in the 12 acre field, across the road near Hangman’s Stone on the 23rd of last August, we have been desirous of giving the ground a thorough examination all along the ridge of the hill, feeling that there was still something more to be discovered. Mr H. is just now in Yorkshire, on a visit to his sister Mrs Horsfall, at Hornby Grange, near North Allerton, but I resolved to have a search alone. I decided on traversing all the field the north side of the road. I dismounted at the Horseshoes, and told the driver to go quietly on and wait for me near Hangman’s Stone. I turned over the hedge and zig-zag-ed about all the fields, but could not perceive any traces of a cross dyke, agger or any old earthwork. The first and second fields on the west side of Burcombe Lane had recently been ploughed. Many flint flakes and two or three cores, as if the ancient tribes had been at work there, I saw, and put one or two in my pocket as vouchers to shew to Mr Heineken. Then crossed Burcombe Lane and proceeded eastward. I had soon the pleasure of discovering a long extension of our earthwork, a field and half further west that we had seen before, I had a pencil and memorandum book in my hands as I went along, and the red line in the map at Aug. 22 and 23, is the course I took. This doubles the length of what we had before discovered. Altogether it cannot be much less than 1000 feet. It appears to me to have been a breastwork, thrown up to watch the road; and Blackbury Castle seems to have been the base of operations in all these works on this hill, the enemy apparently expected from the east or south, or both. I will not say that the fields of my map are quite the proper size or proper shape on the north side of the road: but those on the south side I took from a large map of Branscombe, of which I took a tracing many years ago, and still have. Joined the carriage just beyond Hangman’s Stone, and proceeded to the Dolphin Inn, where I was delighted to find everything very comfortable.

We dined together, and then took a walk first on the cliff, and then to the beach. There we sat down and talked over some of the pranks of our green boyhood – how many bells we had pulled and run away, how many gates we had unhung, how many cats we had scared, how many old women we had frightened – and so on, and much we had repented since. I alluded to his late father, whom I remember well; and now I was older, was curious to know something of his residence at Powderham Castle. To this appeal he told me a curious history. His father was the only son of a Mr Williams, who farmed a piece of land of his own near the estate of a Sir Watkin Williams Wynne, in North Wales. There were also some girls who married into different families. He was intended for the same pursuit, but he early shewed a strong passion for music. From Sir Watkins’ Harper, and from the harper of another Baronet then living in the neighbourhood, he was able to follow his bent. This last Baronet had a daughter, whom he taught, or whom he often had opportunities of meeting. Some of the neighbours began to suspect that an intimacy was springing up between the young folks, and informed the father. He summoned Williams to his room one morning, and questioned him on the subject, when the latter admitted he had a preference for her. Upon this the Baronet, (whose name I forget, but I think it began with an H) offered him £500 if he would immediately leave the neighbourhood. This he accepted and started for London. There he lived rather freely for a time, thinking his £500 would be inexhaustible. However, at last it came to an end; and he found himself in the midst of a large city, without a friend to help him. Matters became worse. He wandered down to London Bridge one day, not knowing which way to turn for a bit of bread. Whilst standing here, he heard someone call him by name. He turned round, and it proved to be an old acquaintance from North Wales, who had been several years in London, and who was in good business as an upholsterer, and he was then on top of a furniture van. He made Williams get up – took him home – and gave him something to eat. Finding that he was doing nothing but starving, and that music was his only chance, he told him he would try and introduce him to Mrs Salmon, one of the popular singers of the day: that he was going the next morning to take some furniture to her house, and that he should go too. This they did. When they got there Mrs Salmon was not ready to receive them, but she sent to say she hoped he would amuse himself with the harp till she came. He therefore did so: and he played several pieces after she was in the room. She expressed herself so pleased, that she requested he would take part at a concert she was shortly going to give, at which she expected the Prince of Wales, (afterwards George IV.,) and a number of the nobility. He took subordinate parts at this concert; but before it was over she desired that he would give the company one of the Welsh airs on his national instrument entirely unaccompanied. He gave the that beautiful air – “The Rising of the Lark”,- and this sealed his good fortune. When the concert was over Lord Courtenay came up to him, and offered him £100 a year to be his Harper, and to reside at Powderham Castle. This he gratefully accepted; and he enjoyed this post en every comfort and luxury for twenty-one years. Whilst he was here he formed an attachment to some young lady, and married her twice – the first marriage when she was under age. One of the marriages took place at Heavitree, Who this lady was he never would say. It has been suspected that she was above him in birth but some mystery hung over her. She died young, leaving one child, a boy – the same who was telling me the story. After the death of Lord Courtenay the establishment at Powderham Castle was for a time broken up, and Mr Williams came to Sidmouth, and took a cottage near my father’s residence at No 4 Coburg Terrace. Here I got acquainted with his son, who was about my own age. He was fond of drawing, and was brought up as an artist. Most of my early attempts at sketching were done with him. He afterwards established himself in Exeter, to which place his father removed. He married a Miss Harvey, but this did not turn out well, and they have not lived together there twenty years. He had two children, a girl and a boy: the former is married, and now lives in Russia; the boy married and has since died, leaving no male heir. My friend has for some years lived near Southampton.#

Our long gossip passed the time away. We returned to the inn, had tea, and I left. A young moon, about a quarter old, lighted me back to Sidmouth.

Sidmouth. Oct. 1872

Mon. Oct. 14 – I was a great part of the day in the parish church, whilst the white marble tablet to the memory of the late Mrs Haughton-James of Helens, was being erected by Signor Monte, the sculptor, of 5 Langham Chambers. As Mr Haughton-James was going away (hush – he has gone to be married again, and he is only 77) he requested that I would explain to Signor Monte his wishes as to where he would wish it placed. It is against the east wall of the north transept. The work is certainly exceedingly good when examined closely. The medallion profile of our saviour, placed in the centre, is well done. The price seems very high – but all good work must cost money. Mr H.J. has already paid £124, and the remainder being £19,,5, he left with me. This I gave to the little Italian when the work was done, and got his receipt. He came and had a look at the Old Chancel, and was much amused at my operations.

Sun. Oct. 20 – For the second lesson we had Ch. VI. St. Luke the first verse of which begins, - “And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the cornfields,” the word occurs here: and on a brass plate on the south wall of the chancel of Sidbury church, erected in 1650 to the memory of Robert Parsons, occur the two words

, when he died – but from these words, no-one seems to know when that was.

Aug 22, 1857 I had a note on this in Notes and Queries. It elicited two answers. One writer thought he was 63, but the other 81.

Sidmouth, Oct. 1872

Mon. Oct. 21 – There is a dispute going on just now between the Feoffees of the Sidmouth Poor Lands, on the one side, and Mr Charles Cornish of Salcombe House on the other, about a spring of water that issues from the side of Salcombe Hill, at the junction of the red marl with the yellow sand above. It is the spring at the top of the Poor Lands on the north or left hand side going up. Both sides claim it. The Feoffees propose that Mr Cornish should have a trough or drinking-place for his cattle at the top of his field, but that the stream should be used by the Feoffees. It flows for some distance down on the north side of the road; then crosses the road by the covered gutter; and then lower down, goes through the hedge into the fields on the south. Mr Cornish wants to divert it down his own fields on the north, and this they resist. The other spring, on the south side, there is no dispute about. I remember the swampy place where the disputed one comes out of the bank, as I used to walk along there when I was a boy. I went up this morning to look at the spot. The place is much altered since the top of the hill was enclosed about 1851.

Mon, Oct. 28 – I was honoured this morning by a visit from the two Misses Osborne of Cottington, and one of the Miss Balmains of Camden, who wanted to look at the Old Chancel. I showed them my building, my antiques, and my curiosities.

Tu. Oct. 29 – I called on the Rev. the Lord Sidney Godolphin Osborne at Cottington. Found him at home, Lady S.G. Osborne, and the two Misses Osborne. They appear to be a clever family. Miss Osborne carves oak capitally. She showed me her tools and her work, with which I was much pleased. Lord Sidney Osborne’s room is full of such things as a scientific man delights in. I was with him more than an hour.

Fri, Nov. 8. 1872 – I was told an amusing story by a fisherman this morning. Some of our Sidmouth boats have recently been out fishing for whiting. They have to go ten or a dozen miles out, where the sea is 50 or 60 fathoms deep, and let down their long lines. They tell me that the hill which they can best discern at that distance, is the top of High Peak, the second to the westward of Sidmouth. About a week ago three or four boat were out, in a group, and nearly within speaking distance of each other, when a rushing noise was heard, and something black was for a short distance seen to pass along, and then vanish. It was between them and the land, and so far off as to appear nearer the land than it really was.

“What was that?” cried one of them looking up.

“I don’t know” said another, in the nearest boat, “but perhaps it was the train going down near Dawlish, and it vanished in a tunnel.”

In a few minutes they were better informed, for an immense black fish, “very like a whale,” came up much nearer to them. They did not quite like his proximity; but they were next put into a state of great terror, by his again coming up, lashing the ocean white and spouting water, and making the sea so turbulent as to rock the boats. A boy in one of the boats, they say, had not ceased trembling when they brought him on shore. This fish has been seen once or twice since. They suppose it is after whiting and pilchards.

More recently it has been seen from the esplanade, distant about two miles.

Sidmouth, Nov, 1872

Mon. Nov. 11 – Today the Bishop of Exeter, (Temple) held a confirmation in Sidmouth parish church. I went to see it.

Tu. Nov. 12 – So the case, Vane v Vane is drifting into a lawsuit. I am sorry for it; for, although I have no doubt in my own mind that he is right, and he has been the Baronet since his father’s death, I do not see that he has got the proof that one can eject his nephew from the estates. See back, Jan 1 1870. He eventually lost the case in 1876

Fri. Nov 15 1872 – One or two persons, sent here by the government, have been looking about for a place to build some new hoses for the accommodation of men employed in the coast guard or Preventive service. They have been examining the ground on the Sidmouth side of the river, but come to no conclusion. At present the men mostly reside in cottages in the low ground near the station. They have also been on the point of the cliff on the eastern side of the river. Mr Grundy, who has a lease of Beetlands, built a little further inland, tells me they came to him, but he warned them that he had a clause in his lease, which would forbid their obstructing the view from his windows, either by planting or by building. The matter stands over.

Sun. Nov. 24 – Anniversary of the great storm of 1824, when half the town was under water. And truly, the gales of wind of late have been so violent and the weather so stormy, that we should probably have had the water in the town again, had it not fortunately been neap tides just now. I never recollect a twelvemonth so unsettled, with so much electricity in the air, accompanied by an unusual amount of thunder and lightening, as we have now had. We have had more rain, more gales of wind, and more storms than I ever remember in the same space of time.

Th. Nov. 28 – Went to Gen. Balmain’s at Camden and tried over some songs and pieces of music with the young ladies. After having laid aside my music for some time, having been busy in other ways, I have again taken up the flute. In the afternoon I went to a musical party at Captain and Mrs Joliffe’s at Woodlands. Those who played and sang were Mrs and Miss Joliffe, Misses Balmain, Misses Strahan, of Blackmore Hall &c.

Sidmouth 1872

Sat. Nov. 30 – I am told that the fields shaded in this plan, belonging to Lady Cockburn widow of the late Dean of York (now married to a Rev. Mr Wale or Whale) have been purchased by the trustees of the manor for £1250. They comprise about five acres. A month or two ago they bought back No. 9 in Fort Field Terrace, which had been alienated from the manor, I believe in Jenkins’ time. Also a year or two ago, I think for £650, No. 4, which had been alienated in the same way.

Mon. Dec. 2 – Lady Sidney Osborne sent me down a fine hare.

Wed. 4 – After storms people go down on the beach and look for treasure. They have recently picked up four gold rings, half a sovereign, a “spade guinea” of Geo. III, some silver, and many copper pieces. None of the money is ancient. Some think the rings may have been lost by the ladies bathing.

Th. Dec. 5 – The Joliffes at Woodlands had a music party from three till five this afternoon. Played two flute and piano pieces, but I am woefully out of practise.

Th. Dec. 12 – I have recently been reading Mr John Evans’s book on Flint implements, and remembering the few objects of that sort I have picked up on the hills, with indications of more. I am persuaded that many things are to be met with if we only search diligently for them. I took a walk this morning on Peak Hill with the resolution of having a regular good hunt, and I was rewarded.

The day was calm, clear, and after the storms, very pleasant. From the cliff I steered inland, zig-zag-ing about. I searched two hours. I only saw one flake of black flint, which probably came from Beer Head, a square worked flint of light colour, a leaf-shape flint, but of doubtful character, and lastly, I was delighted to pounce upon the hatchet or wedge of chert or light flint, of which I give a sketch, one half of the original size. I shall keep this for the Exeter Museum. Some parts shew the polish or glassy look of great age, very different from the dull surface of recent fracture. The core from Seven Barrow Field, and the chert hammer from near Blackbury Castle, have it still stronger.

Fri. Dec 13 – The gales of wind have blown down a great mass of ivy that ran up the NE buttress of the Old Chancel. Unfortunately it had twined around a small stone cross on the front of the gable, and the weight broke this off, and the whole came down together. The cross is not an ancient one: it was put on the church about fifty years ago. I have told the vicar he can have the ivy if he wants it to decorate the church with.

Mon. Dec. 16 – The following printed article entitled NAMES, OLD AND NEW, I have taken from Lethaby’s Sidmouth Journal. I save it because it contains a few facts about Sidmouth – and facts are always worth preserving. Very little of fiction is.

Sidmouth. Dec 1872

Tu. Dec. 17 – The large standard lamp that the admiring tradesmen if the town formerly presented to Mr Fish, the then owner of the Knowle, and which was placed before the entrance gate, the present owner, Mr Thornton gave to the town, and it now stands in the middle of the Esplanade, as a light for the sailors. It has a red bullseye on the outside. It has recently been lighted for the first time. [discontinued]

Mon. Dec. 23 – Counted sixty-seven boats on the beach

Wed. Dec. 25 – Christmas Day, Mild and drizzling.

Friday. Dec 27 – Took a walk to the top of High Peak Hill. The weather dark and threatening, and the ground muddy from the quantities of rain. Hunted about all such fields as were fallow or any way bare for flint flakes or implements. Since my find on the 12th, I am persuaded that diligent searching is likely to meet with something worth having some day. Only found a core and two or three flakes, but this much is an encouragement to look again. Observed several beach pebbles like sling-stones. If not used in actual warfare, it is possible that they had been slung by some of the ancient tribes at the rabbits. This is a very likely supposition. The soft soil of the summit of High Peak has been much washed down by the rain. All these cliffs are wearing away fast. The wind was south, and so strong that I could scarcely approach the edge of the cliff.

From this lofty station I could see pieces of timber scattered about the beach. For the last two or three days quantities of balks of deal and fragments of some vessel have been coming onshore. They are strewed all along from Teignmouth to Beer. Men were engaged in securing them as they were thrown on the shore. It is supposed that some timber vessel has gone to pieces, but as yet no particulars have been ascertained.

Mon. Dec. 30 1872 – Called on Lord Sidney G Osborne, who has taken Cottington for three years, to wish him “the compliments of the season. “ He is a man of art and science, as I wish more of our noble families were. Found him engaged making experiments with the magnetic needle and the electric telegraph, models of which of his own making, he had on the table. He has an idea that it may be possible to get rid of the electric wire, and make the earth the only channel of communication between station and station. But in making the circuit the returning spark might clash with the out-going spark. If the out-going spark could be made to travel a little faster than the returning spark, (or vice-versa) then the currents wd be separated. I advised him to make experiments out of doors in the grounds near the house.

Tu. Dec. 31 1872 – And out goes the old year, never to come back. What a wonderful thing time is. On – on – on.

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'In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson' outputs

An introductory leaflet to 'In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson' (pdf)

A summary of our Peter Orlando Hutchinson Year 1 achievements (pdf)

About 'In the Footsteps of Peter Orlando Hutchinson'

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

Phil Planel is your first point of contact for this cultural and historic landscapes project.

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