Dragonfly

POH Transcripts - 1875

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Fri. Jan 1. 1875. – The wind veered round to the south. A mild rain came on, and a rapid thaw. All day long it never ceased. Dined again with the Floyds at Powys. Present William M. Floyd, Major Henry Floyd, Benjamin Kennet Dawson, (married to Miss Floyd), Mr Wallis and myself. The dinner was in the old English style, the joints being placed on the table, and not carved at the sideboard, and handed round – a continental practice which has been introduced during the last twenty or thirty years on state occasions. Roast saddle of mutton at one end, and boiled turkey at the other, brussell’s sprouts, masked potatoes, etc. Half moon shred plates for salad, to put beside the round plate, are also a recent introduction. It is not now the fashion for port wine to be handed round at dinner. Claret, sherry, and champaigne are now the usual wines. I went up in a carriage at seven, and there dismissed it, saying I would walk home. About half past ten I left the house, and walked dwon the grounds to the gate A. To my surprise I here found a stream of water running down the lane B in the above map, and another stream running down C. These divided; one portion going down the lane D, and the other down E. I waited awhile, not knowing what to do; but finding no alternative, I made a run and a jump across, not without getting wet in the feet however, and keeping close to the east side of E, got down to F. There was a voluminous meeting of the waters, for another stream was rushing down G. There I had to stop again, and consider what was to be done. Whilst standing here a man came out of a neighbouring cottage with an umbrella over his head; and on my hailing him, he waded up to where I stood. I told him I wanted to get home, but didn’t know how; and he told me he had come out to see if his house was going to be washed away before he went to bed. He said I could not get down to Coburg Terrace, (the lane H) for it was like a river all the way; but that if I could get across and go down to the church, I might perhaps manage it by a circuit. So I made a dash across and went down I, and opposite the church, where it was narrower, I stepped once in and then over, and keeping by the side, at last got to Coburg Terrace and the Old Chancel, by the red line, the blue being water. Took off my things and went to bed.

Sat. Jan 2. 1875. – It is reported that a man has been drowned at East Budleigh by falling into the stream that runs by the house end of the village. It is also reported that a married woman called Barratt was drowned last night in the river Sid at Sidbury, and that her body was taken out of the water at Sidford, a mile below. She was not in her right mind, and it was in contemplation to send her to the asylum. The story goes that her husband got up in the middle of the night and dressed himself, and went downstairs to see the safety of the cottage, for the state of the elements and the rushing of water alarmed him. During his absence she got out of bed, and merely throwing a shawl over her shoulders, ran down to the river as she was, and threw herself in.

Wed. Jan 6. 1875. – So that miserable country Spain, is in the crisis of another revolution, (see Feb.25.1873). After the fierce wars between the Carlists and the republicans, that have desolated the country since Amadeus resigned, Europe is taken by surprise at the announcement that Don Alfonso, second son of the ex-queen Isabella II has been proclaimed king, and that the announcement has been well received. An exile, with his mother in France, he leaves Paris today for Spain. It is to be hoped that his troubles will teach him to rule well. But when did adversity ever teach a Stuart or a Bourbon wisdom?

Th. Jan 7. 1875. – Cold cuts off old people. The frost at the end of the year did so in London. There were 76 more deaths than births that cold week. If this went on, the country would soon be depopulated. It increases 1000 a day.

Fri. Jan 8. 1875. – I think it was at the great Exhibition in 1851 in London, that I saw a gilt pyramid, displaying to the eye the quantity of gold that had been produced in Australia. I see it mentioned in the papers that the stock of gold in the world, about 1850, is calculated at about the sum of £560.000.000. It is now supposed to be double that amount. Australia alone has contributed £300.000.000.

Sat. Jan 9. 1875. – Accounts of several dreadful accidents by railroads and coal pits in England, and disasters at sea, have just come upon us. I note the burning of the emigrant ship Cospatrick, from London to New Zealand, off the Cape, with upwards of 500 souls on board. Only three are known to have survived as yet, and they have come to England. Thirty four got off in a boat, and they were then ten days before they were picked up. They died by threes and fours everyday, and several went raving mad. In his evidence, one survivor says: -  [newspaper cutting describing cannibalism pasted in]

Mon. Jan 11. 1875. Mr Ede of Landsdowne and myself went to Mr Wm Till’s at 2 Seafield, and witnessed his signature to his will. We then warmed us nicely round the fire, with mulled claret and cake. So I told him I hoped he would make another will tomorrow, under the same pleasant circumstances. He is 84.

Th. Jan 14. 1875. – Last spring the skull of some gigantic animal was discovered in the sands at Bude, and Mr Brendon, the landlord of the Falcon Hotel has had it put into a large case at the head of the staircase for preservation. It measures 4 feet five inches across the top, and from there being but little gelatine or animal matter in the tissues of the bone, it is apparently of great age. It has excited much curiosity amongst the learned, under a belief that possibly it must be the cranium of some extinct animal, and a more critical examination of it has therefore been made. The last I hear is that it seems to be only the head of a large whale, of some antiquity however, and that it has been much rubbed and abraded on some parts by the rude action of the sea beach.

Fri. Jan 15. 1875. – The weather is now remarkable for its extreme mildness. The change from what it was at the end of last year being most striking. It is however, almost incessantly wet. The temperature has been 54 out of doors all night. I think the frost generally relaxes in January. I think there is commonly a thaw in America in January.

Sat. Jan 16. 1875. – Whales are as plentiful as herrings just now. A dead one 60ft long, washed on shore at Mevagissey, report says, has been taken to London by the railroad, and that it was laid out upon three trucks. And the papers further say, that a large one, has been taken at Teignmouth – it was 50 feet 6 inches long.

Mon. Jan 15. 1875. – A robbery of money and jewellery took place by a servant girl a couple of months ago in Fortfield Terrace. I annex a cutting from the newspaper giving some account of it. If we cannot put our trust in princes neither can we in servants. The most trustworthy are perhaps those whom you have brought up in your house – who have grown into your ways, and who, by long habit, you mutually look at each other as Friends. The next to that, as I have found out by my own experience, are those whom you take from their own homes. Those .... servants who go from place to place, do not remain long enough to become attached to you or you to them. They seem to pick up a vice or two at each house from other servants, and bring them all in a lump to the last place. Like all other people they receive management, kindness and forbearance. When I was a child in frock and trousers there was an Irish man servant or something of that sort on the premises; and I have heard say that he used to speak of the others as “the devils in the kitchen”. Considering that he lived among them, this was not bad. I remember the man because when he lifted me up into my chair for dinner, he used to bump me down rather hard. Other folks, more choice in their language, call servants “necessary evils”.

Sat. Jan 30. 1875. – Thomasine Peyton mentioned in the annexed cutting I remember some 30 years ago, a tidy looking young woman. Of recent years she has given herself up to strong drink, and thereby has destroyed her health and her mind.

Mon. Feb. 1. 1875. – So the young Earl of Donoughmore, who has recently brought his bride home from Tasmania, moves the address in the House of Lords at the opening of Parliament next. Revolution make some folks and mar others: and the American Revolution reduced the elder branch of  H. family, when the estates, good and chattels of my great-grandfather the governor of Massachusetts were confiscated, whilst the younger branch have retained their estate in Ireland. Three times in 1774 Governor H. was offered a Baronetcy by George III, as I see by his diary, and some old letters, but he was afraid he could not support it properly. The Donoughmore tithe was not conferred for many years after.  So they are Earls and I am nothing.

Fri. Feb. 19. 1875. – Mr W. Ussher, of the geological survey, has for some months been lodging at Sidmouth. He is engaged in perfecting the maps and the geological examination of this district, being on foot over hill and dale every day and all day, unless too much rain or too much snow should prevent a proper examination of the country. I have recently made his acquaintance. He spent this evening with me – from eight till one; and he communicated several highly interesting facts to me on a science of which I have always been very fond. He looked over the Geological chapter in the first vol. of my Ms Hist, of Sidmouth; and he examined with much satisfaction some local specimens which I showed him. Amongst these were some mammoth teeth and lump of wood from the submerged forest on Sidmouth beach: (See Jan. 18.24. 1873) piece of Celestine or sulphate of strontian, found near 50 years ago near Salcombe Mouth: some gypsum in the spongy or fibrous form, like asbestos, known as “mountain leather”, from the gypsum beds at Hook Ebb beyond Salcombe Mouth: specimens of the branch-like forms of from Picket Rock Cove: a “Murchisonite” crystal of feldspar divided diagonally: and a few antiques from this neighbourhood. In answer to my questions respecting the geology of this district, he said that many alterations of opinion were taking place; and that his close examination of the country showed how far from correct were many of the distances and other particulars on the Ordnance maps, and how very imperfect were the geological contours and the geological colouring; but that everything could not be done at once, and that it was now his business, and the business of others stationed in other parts of the country, to go carefully over the ground and note down all the details and all the minutiae omitted before. He showed me some portions of the Ordnance Map on which he had been at work, and I was surprised to see that they were covered all over with minute particulars in various colours.

He told me that the line of junction of the Trias with the Permian had not been marked out or decided on, though some suggested the valley of the Exe: and to be short, some questioned whether the Permian was present at all in South Devon.

In the low red sandstone cliff near Slough Farm, along the east bank of the river Otter, small beds of conglomerate may be seen, in which certain organic remains have been detected. – The Hyperodapidon. He said that the patches of greensand coloured in the Ordnance Map on Woodbury Hill are mistaken: there are no patches of the greensand formation there, but only some traces of the white angular chert of the other hills. Sidbury Castle ought to be a detached island of greensand, and not a promontory as marked.

The capping of yellow clay with angular pieces of white chert, lying over the greensand on these hills, has generally been set down as the remains or sediment of an extension of the chalk formation. This idea is now questioned, upon the ground that the flints of chalk are nodules, and are more or less black inside: whereas these are angular and are white; having no resemblance to chalk flints, nor the yellow clay to the chalk formation. The opinion now on the ascendant is that this is an independent deposit, and perhaps glacial. On Luxen Hill and Birch Hill, a mile or two N.W. from Yarcombe, are appearances more resembling glacial drift, and white quartz pebbles have been found there, like those found on Haldon. The great masses of breccias on our hills are white angular flints or chert embedded in a paste, now silicious, as hard as the flint, and taking as fine a polish. The rumour, prevalent in 1874, of subterranean fire near Shute, he assured me was only some smouldering vegetation in a plantation.

The annexed cutting, which i took from a newspaper, refers to Mr Ussher [rescued from rising tide]. In reply to my enquiries, he said that he was anxious to examine the sea-face of the cliff, and he was told that he could get round Otterton Point. I believe this never could be done – at least I never heard so. When he got a bit beyond the “two-penny loaf”, (see Sep 2. 1873) he found the tide gaining on him and shutting him in. At last the waves knocked him down and knocked his hat off, so that he was quite drenched through. He thought of getting to the Two-penny loaf, and of getting on it but was unable. By dint of toes and finger nails, he climbed high enough up the cliff to be above the tide.

Fri. Feb. 12. 1875. – So the venerable Baronet Sir Edmund Prideaux has gone at last. People are at a loss to know who is his heir. His first wife I believe was a Miss Fitzthomas. I can remember a boy or a girl, with the governess, at Sidmouth, but they both died young. His second, a Miss Bernard of Cottington. She caught small pox at the New London Inn, Exeter, and died at Netherton Hall, only three months after her marriage. My late father attended her. It was said she brought her husband £13,000: but after her death, and I think her mother’s, he put in a claim for her alleged reversion of several more, but which the Bernards resisted. On this he brought an action at law – but he lost his cause. His third wife was a Miss Irton: and his fourth a rich widow lady, who had had two husbands before, so the gossips said. She survives him. Is the saying true, that “No man outlives his fourth wife.” Sir Edmund’s father it was, who was obliged to sell the manor of Sidmouth, (when Jenkins bought it in 1787 for £15,600) to pay off a debt that had accumulated. Sir Edmund’s father married three times. His first wife was a well born woman, by whom he had no family I believe: his second I have been told by Farway people, was a farmer’s daughter of the neighbourhood, as was Sir Edmund’s mother. (Aug. 27.1866). After Sir Edmund’s mother had been 40 years in her coffin, the coffin became decayed and she was put into a new one. Farway people have told me that when the coffin was opened in the vault, her body did not look decayed, and that in transferring her, no accident occurred, except that a nail of her big toe came off.  The third wife was only a farmer’s common apprentice girl. After she was a widow and up in years, she lodged at Sidbury, where I knew her well. She was more vulgar and more ignorant than most apprentices have been since. It was fine fun to hear her talk of London life and going to the opera. Her husband however, could not take either of his last two wives into good society. What a position for a gentleman! The following story, long current in this neighbourhood, was told I believe of the second wife, the farmer’s daughter. It is said that there was one day a dinner party at Netherton Hall, and she was sitting at the head of the table with her hands folded, listening to the conversation. A cessation or blank occurred in the conversation, causing a sudden silence, such as will now and then happen, in like cases. A gentleman sitting near her, turned and said to her quietly – “Awful pause”. She thought he said “paws”, and that he glanced at her hands, which may not have been very delicate, considering her early life at the farm. “Awful paws!” she retorted, “and yours would be ‘awful paws too’, if they had done as much hard work as mine have!” He was speechless afterwards.

Wed, Feb. 24. 1875 -  The weather for the past week has been dry, with a cold North-east wind, almost as cold as last December. The papers say the cold has been very severe in the north, with much snow in Scotland, Today the Bath stone caps and the granite balls were put up on the columns at my new entrance from Blackmore Lane (misnamed Haydon’s Lane by the Local Board) on the NW of the Old Chancel. The granite balls were given me somewhere about 1860 or 1861 by the Earl of Buckinghamshire at Richmond Lodge.

Thurs, Feb. 25. 1875. – Fine dry morning. Walked to the station to get warm, and took the rail for Exeter. In the same carriage were Miss Wolridge of Coburg Terrace, and Mrs and two Misses Bayleys of Cotford, Sidbury. I took the wood and the mammoth teeth to the museum (Jan 18, 24, 1873) and the Dance of Death to the free library. Attended a council meeting of the Devonshire Association to arrange for the July meeting at Torrington. It came on to rain and snow. I had several things to do, so I went about them. Got back to Sidmouth wet and cold, but warmed myself with hot tea.

Th. Mar.11.1875 – Weather very cold with a violent North-East. Out all morning at work with spade and rake. The weather does not affect me. A sailor boy brought a bird to me this morning, which he had picked up dead on the beach, and desired if I could tell him what it was, but I could not. It was not web-footed. After he was gone I made the sketch annexed; but it was only done from memory, I dare say it is not so correct as it might have been.

Mon. Mar.22.1875. – Sir John de la Pole having died, there was a sale of everything at Shute House today: including all the furniture, curiosities, old armour, books, etc. I did not go over.

Wed. Mar.24.1875. – Today there was a sale of several houses in Sidmouth, I believe freehold. Three in the High Street, and some cottages in Mill Street at the spot shaded. They are sixty or more years old. Rent of the whole £70. They went for £1320.

Th. Mar.25.1875. – Lady Day

Th. Mar.11.1875. – Good Friday.

Th. Ap. 1. 1875 -  At a vestry meeting. Churchwardens for year elected. After which Lord Sidney Osborne introduced a complaint that several people had made respecting burial and other fees: for, notwithstanding a scale of fees was agreed to in 1858 and, printed, in which the Vicar was to receive half a guinea and the clerk one and sixpence, the ‘customary fee’ to the vicar and half a guinea to the clerk had been received and written receipts given, one of which was produced. The parties declared in their defence that gratuities had been voluntarily offered, and that there was no law against receiving presents. But the paying party certainly did not give voluntarily, or they would not have complained. We can understand a soft and spoony young fellow presenting the vicar with a liberal sum at a wedding, for whi...? him to the girl he loves; but fancy a man saying to the vicar after a funeral – “My dear Sir, - I know your fee is half a guinea, but as you have put my late friend so securely underground, here’s a guinea.” The vicar, clerk and sexton are rather annoyed about this; and from long observation on human nature I have come to the conclusion, that people have no objection to do what is wrong, but they hate to be found out.

Mon. Ap. 5. 1875 -  I finished the second volume of my quarto History of Sidmouth bound in green vellum. If I do not get on a little quicker, I fear I shall not live to complete the work, in spite of my youth and good health. I have too many occupations and too many irons in the fire, so that there is too much running from one thing to another. Better give up carving oak, or gilding picture frames or gardening, and one half of my reading, (all just at present in hand) and then there would be more time to attend to fewer things. I thought that three volumes would have completed the work, but I now begin to suspect that they will not, so I have just ordered a fourth to be made in London, and I shall work away at the third.

Tu. Ap. 6. 1875 – Having prepared and levelled the ground and planted the shrubs near my new entrance, sowed grass seed. It is very difficult to get turf now. We used to get plenty from the tops of the hills, but owners now object. The price is a half penny the square foot.

Th. Ap. 8. 1875 -  The choral society gave its third concert.

Sat. Ap. 10. 1875 -   A captain Boyton, an American, tried to cross the Channel from Dover to Calais, clothed in a waterproof dress inflated with air cells. He paddles and swam, and even hoisted a small sail. The papers describe him something like the sketch annexed. He started at 3.20 this morning; and after 15 hours in the water, that is, at six in the evening, he was still six miles from the coast of  France, having drifted by the currents, and he was picked up by the steamer that accompanied him. He proposes to try again. – See May 31.

Fri. Ap. 16. 1875 -  Dined at the vicarage at 7.00 pm. Besides Mr and Mrs Clements, there were Miss Clements of Sidmouth, Captain Hamilton, Mr W. Lloyd, an agreeable Irish lady who sat on my left, and Mr Clements, the vicar’s brother. These, with myself, made thirteen, an unlucky number at dinner. It is only recently that the origin of this old superstition has been explained to me. At the last supper, Christ and his 12 disciples made 13. The second Miss Quin or O’Quin was sent for jokingly, so we sat down 14.

Wed. Ap.21. 1875 -  Heard the cuckoo for the first time, near Bickwell Farm. The cold North East wind still continues, and the swallows delay coming. The papers say they have appeared in some places.

Fri. Ap. 23. 1875 -  There is a project for building a Parsonage House for the incumbent of All Saints Church, as soon as they can obtain £1000. The trustees have £812 in hand, which is allowed to accumulate at compound interest. The only endowment on the church is about £100 given by the late Sir John Kennaway which brings in £4 6s a year.

Sat. Ap. 24. 1875 – That old woman in Italy, having sat 29 years in St Peter’s chair has made 99 cardinals of whom 50 are since dead. With respect to gold, I see it stated that the mines yielded the greatest amount in 1856, when it was £32 millions, the United States of America giving £15m, Australia £14m and Russia £3m. The yield is now declining. The wear and tear of the gold in circulation, in the world, is estimated at £3 millions a year. Since 1848 the yield of gold from the various mines of the world is estimated at £548,540,000. In 1848 it was supposed that the stock of gold in the world was £560.000.000; so that this sum added to the former, with a deduction of the £3,000,000 a year for loss, makes about £1000,000,000 as the stock of gold now in the world. How much is in current coin cannot be ascertained.

Tues. Ap. 27. 1875 – Finished reading Mr Boyd-Dawkins interesting volume on, “Cave Hunting”, which might be called cave exploration. The result of his searches throws additional light on the question of the antiquity of the human race on the earth, and many new facts bearing on ethnology and palaeontology. It appears that, so far, no indications of the human race have been discovered since, earlier than the Pleistocene period, though before the last glacial period. Before this, in the Pliocene period, or last division of the tertiary, a period of warmth, or at least, a temperate atmosphere, a few characteristic animals existed in England, and Britain was united to the continent, as the tapir machairodius cultridens, rhinoceros megarhinus, hippotamus major, elephas antiques, etc. Then followed the Pleistocene or Quartenary period, the temperature of which slowly began to decrease. Some of the animals of this period, are the lepus diluvianis, arvicola gulietmi, cave bear, elephas antiques, rhinosceros hemitachus, R. Tichorhinus, mammoth, - all of which seven are now extinct:  but representatives of the following are still found in Europe and Africa – the Glutton, spotted hyena, panther, lion, lynx, Felix caffer, musk dheep, bison, lemming, pouched marmot, tailleh? Hare, and hippopotamus again, which was still found in England, which the increasing cold killed it or drove it south. Homo or Palaeolithic man, first appears with the remains of these animals. He used unpolished flint implements and objects of bone. He seems to have lived all through the glacial period; and his modern representative is the Esquimaux or Eskimo, as Dawkins spells it. He was dolicho-cephalic or long-headed, (see back Dec.17. 1862; Jan 226.1866, and for the glacial period, Feb. 13. 1869). Small in stature, with black hair, he lived in caves, caverns and rock shelters. The glacial period seems to have had a temperature interval in the middle, during which the land sank under water, the temperature rose, the glaciers and ice sheets receded, the hippopotamus and other southern animals came north, and the boulder clay or glacial drift was laid down under water. After this, in the early Neolithic period, the Basques or Iberians came from the East and over-ran Europe, driving the Eskimos before them. They were swarthy, small, apparently long-headed, dark hair and eyes, and also lived in caves. Traces of them in Britain remain with the Silures and elsewhere in patches. A peculiar form of the femur and of the tibia appears in remains of about this period. The annexed are sections of a femur and two tibia. The femur No1 (Cave Hunting, p.172) shows in section the projection of the linea aspera, or projecting ridge A. No 2 is a tibia of normal form, and no 3 a platycynemic tibia, p.176. The line b c are drawn through the longest diameter, and a d in a transverse direction. In No 2 the distance from c to the  transverse line, as compared with that point to b, is as 274 to 1000, whereas in No 3, it is as 623 to 1000. Another section of tibia is given at p.219, which I here copy. In the former case the skulls were dolicho-cephalic, but in the case to which this annexed belongs, the accompanying skulls were bracho-cephalic. After all things considered, it does not seem that the platynemism of the tibia, is a characteristic of any particular race. The Basques were succeeded, in the late Neolithic and early bronze age, by the Celts or Kelta, who gradually spread themselves over all Europe, as the Iberians had done so before them. About this period the domestic animals, as the horse, pig, Rabbit, dog, etc., first made their appearance. The Celts were a taller race, with round heads and rugged features, light hair and blue eyes; and it was they who under Brennus, threatened the very existence of the empire of Rome. Theirs was the Bronze Age. The Belgae followed. They seem to have pressed forward from the continent into England about a century or two before the Christian era. They also were fair haired, with staure inkling to tall, and brachy-cephalic. Lastly, the innumerable hoards of Germans over-ran Europe. They comprised Scandinavians, Franks, Normans, red-haired Caledonians, etc. Although Caesar speaks of Britons of the south (who may have been Belgae) as refusing to eat the hare, it is certain it was eaten, as well as the horse, by the Neolithic races, (who may have been Iberians in some part of England as the refuse heaps fully prove. – four ages of caves: e.g. – No 1. Those of the cave bear, 2. mammoth and woolly Rhinosceros. 3. Reindeer. 4. Bison. These, however, are not conclusive. In the Pleistocene period the land was at least 600 feet higher than now in England, and in the Mediterranean probably 3000. Hence the then cold.

Thu. Ap. 29. 1875 -  We were much surprised in Sidmouth this morning, by the announcement in the papers of the death, at Madras, of Lord Hobart, the eldest son of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, residing at Richmond Lodge, Sidmouth. I sent a letter to his lordship to say how much I was grieved at the news, and received the annexed friendly reply.

Sat. May 1. 1875 – This morning there was a report in the town that a woman servant at Dr Atkin’s at West Mount had been found dead in her room. The verdict of a jury declared her to have died of apoplexy brought on by strong drink. She was lying on her bed but had not undressed. Another report came from Sidbury. Some ladies called Price and Brown who have been lodging at Court Hall, and have taken pupils, who used to drive into Sidmouth in a pony carriage, have vanished, having forgotten to settle with their tradesmen. Such pranks are nothing new in this neighbourhood. I heard that Wheaton the butcher of, of Church St, who had claims against them, having found out that they were likely to steal off, went out and demanded his money, and declared that he would not leave the house till he got his money, if he stayed there all day and night. At last he got it and came away. So the world wags.

Tu. May 4. 1875 -    Mr William Lloyd and myself drove out to Sidbury, and called on the Bayleys at Cotford.

Fri. May 7. 1875 – Had a game of Croquet at Powys. The ground was in beautiful order. It had been mowed and rolled, and was as smooth as a billiard table. This is a great assistance in making good shots. Had tea on the lawn though the air is still cold.

Sat. May 8. 1875 – Luncheon at Powys.

Mon. May 10. 1875 – I was much amused this morning at watching a number of jackdaws pulling the hair out of a calf’s back to line their nests with. At one time there were six of them all together, besides others pulling at him from the ground, he took no notice. Had another game of croquet at Powys. The weather has now become fine and warm, after a long continuance of North-East winds. A cuckoo amused us with his voice, and by flying over us from tree to tree. It is not often that we can get a sight of these birds. The game consisted of Mr William Lloyd and Miss Campbell (daughter of the principal of Aberdeen College, now staying here) against Captain Nicolas and myself. The captain is the son of Admiral J. N. N., who was the brother of Sir Harris Nicolas, the great historical and antiquarian writer.

Tues. May 11. 1875 – A motion was brought forward a few evenings ago in the house of commons by Dr Henealy, asking for a royal commission to re-consider the verdict on the Tichborne case. The motion was negative by 433 to 1. That remarkable one was a Major O’Gorman. See back March 14. 1874. A curious anagram has been made on this subject. It is as follows – Sir Roger Charles Doughty Tichborne, Baronet: which sentence contains the same letters as the following – You horrid butcher Orton, biggest rascal.

Tu. May 13. 1875 – Had luncheon with Mr William Lloyd at Powys; after which we walked to Salcombe, to call on Mrs Gordon at Sunny Bank. She married her daughter to Mr Long of Knowle, and has recently left Asherton, and gone to the secluded village of Salcombe. Spent the evening with Mr Heineken.

Fri. May 14. 1875 – A dreadful wreck of a German steamer from America took place last night at the Scilly Isles. She ran on the rocks in a fog. Her name was the Schiller. There were 312 drowned.

Mon. May 24. 1875 – The two paragraphs above I cut from the papers: and the second refers to Sidmouth , I sent the the annexed in reply to it. The catapult is a small engine with an elastic indiarubber band, in the middle of which is a pocket to hold a stone or bullet; and by pulling this back the missile may be sent with violence to a great distance. The sketch shows the mode of use. It is rather too popular with schoolboys at the present time.

Tu. May 25. 1875 – The annexed appeared in the Exeter papers. Some 30 or 40 years ago the Cunningham family were living in affluence at Witheby, where they used to give grand ball and suppers, at one or two of which I went. They had been West India merchants, and were believed to be very rich, and they bought the manor of Sidbury from the Hunts. At last a boy and a black nurse appeared in Sidmouth; and it soon got whispered about that this boy was the son of the elder brother, and the rightful owner of all the property, on which the others were living. I have alluded to this, Dec. 30. 1869. Mr Cunningham, the father, had several children. John, the eldest son, went into the army, and in due time his father paid his debts for him, to the amount it was said, of £16,000. Some time afterwards of about £4,000 more.  When John

Mon. May 31. 1875 – We hear that Captain Boyton has crossed the channel at last. This time he had tried it from France to England. He left Cape Grisnez at about three on Friday morning last, and landed in Fair Bay, near the South Foreland lighthouse at half past two on Saturday morning. It is partly an advertisement to sell (?). I was returning from the town this morning, coming up Church St, and when I got as high as the lane leading to westerntown, just below the churchyard, a boy of about 15 mounted a horse, with a basket containing two joints of meat on his arm, from the butcher’s shop at that point. He trotted up the road a little way, and I stood aside to let him pass. He had not gone twenty yards when a child of five years old from the shop of Russell the baker, threw a handful of rubbish out against the horse’s legs. The horse shied and started and threw the boy. He fell off on the near side, and under the horse’s feet; and I expected every moment to see his brain trampled out by his hoofs. It is rather remarkable that he landed the basket down on the ground without spilling the meat. When he let go the bridle the horse started off, breaking the girth, and sending the saddle flying. When he got up nearly up as far as Coburg Terrace, he was stopped and brought back. I heard afterwards that a child thoughtlessly threw some rubbish out of a doorway just as the horse was approaching, but without seeing the horse, and that some of it struck the horse’s legs.

Th. June 3. 1875 – After several resolutions, which other occupations had interfered with, Mr Heineken and myself went over to examine Whimple church and neighbourhood. We went to the Sidmouth station: took the rail: went down the steep incline through Harpford Wood, 1 in 41 it is said: stopped at Tipton, sometimes called Tipton St Johns: proceeded towards Ottery: before getting there saw the holes in the sand bank, over the river, looking across the fields to the right, which people commonly call “Pixie Parlour”, but which I believe is no more than a place where children have been digging sand out of the soft sand rock to sand their cottage floors in Ottery, because the children do the same thing in Sidmouth: then stopped at Ottery: went on half a mile: observed the interesting old bridge of red rock over the river Otter, and after that the stakes in the fields, marking the distances of the rifle range, where the volunteers practice, and then we got to the junction. We took the main line, and soon got to Whimple. The church is noteworthy for presenting a fine range of perpendicular windows down the nave aisles, and has a massive tower of no great height. The stone used seems to be red rocks, the brown igneous rock of Thorverton. A very pleasing church inside. There is an organ in the NE corner, with 8 feet diapason. There is a good monument to Dr Heberdon, who died in 1843. A monument to Newcombe dated 1732, but I am not able to explain the armorials.

There is a modern brass to a member of the Buller family, for though Downes may be the head quarters, there are many offshoots scattered about the county. This brass bears the date of 1860. Among the coloured glass windows, there is one at the east end of the south aisle bearing the Arms of Buller quartered with others, and impaled with the wife’s.

In a south side window the Buller family again is seen, but this time on the female side, the husband’s side being represented by Hughes and the date is 1872.

Over the south door there is a large Jacobean monument to Dr Hickes, bearing date 1707.

On the south wall is a Brass to E. J. Honeywood, born at Honiton June 26, 1790, died at Whimple Dec. 12. 1867. Some people do not like Brasses, because, when time wears off the lacquer, and they begin to tarnish, they get dull and look dirty. They could be repolished and lacquered. Myself, I have rather a liking for them.

The arcade down the nave has depressed pointed arches of the Perpendicular period. The font is octangular. The old oak seat ends are worthy of notice. The strange devices of hearts transfixed by arrows in different lines and directions are novel and fanciful, and so I have copied some of them in the margin.

W. June 9.1875. – The Sulton of Syyid of Zanzibari is arrived

June 21. – A three day inquiry before the Magistrates has taken place at the Town Hall, against James Govier and his wife Emma (Clode), for having neglected and ill-treaded their relative Thomasone Payton, a lunatic, under whose care she has been for some time. Lord Sidney Osborne, Mr Ede, of Lonsdowne, Dr. Pullin, Dr. Fox, and others, gave evidence. They were committed for trail. Bail £300.

The trail began in Exeter, July 27, and terminated the next day. The question for the Jury were sufficiently indefinite to puzzle them, so that their answers virtually amounted to acquittal, so the Goviers got off, rather to the suprise of Sidmouth people.

Another trialtook place, e.g. – Relf v.Sidmouth Railway co. Relf contracted to make the railway for £50mil.The Stations were not then designed, but were estimated at £7000. He did the work, but found that it involved £17.000. They offered him £2000 besides the £7000. Not being satisfied he brought an action for £9000. After reading the Agreement, the Judge thought he was liable, Judgement accordingly. A hard case.

W. June 23 1875, --- How much further will the madness of the present age go? I thought that the insane measures of some of our republican M.P.s were far gone enough: or the pratings of some of our mob-orators: or the present fashion of ladies dress but now, from the living we turn to the dead, and here we have new and fantastic modes of disposing of their bodies. The burning of bodies was recently advocated by a few persons in Germany; and last year the republican M.P. Sir Charles Duke (see July 24.1886) sent his dead wife over, and had back four or five pounds of calcined bones in an urn. Now we have got a Cremation Society started in England; but as it does not seem to take as readily as might be, some other moventor, willing to meet the thirst for the novell has just brought out coffins made of wicker work like log baskets. The Duke and Duchess of Southerland, to humour the inventor, or perhaps for the fun of the thing, allowed him a short time ago to exhibit them to a large party of friends on the grounds of his house in St. James’ Park. The object of these is, not to preserve the body, but to promote its more speedy decay.

William Newman, the stone mason of High Street, a year or two ago became agent for a Coffin Company. The coffins were made of sheet zinc, covered outside with a black cloth, and inside with white serge pillows, etc., and the inventordeclared them to be very comfortable. I went to his house and saw a room full of them. But they did not take, and he was so laughed at that he gave up the agency. His son used to like his glass of beer at the public house of an evening; but there he got no peace, and they threatened that if he didn’t behave himself, they would send him to sea in one of his own coffins.- Took my servant Ann Newton to my cousin’s (Miss Robertson’s) and left her there, returning this evening

Sidmouth 1875

W. June 30. 1875

Mr. W. Floyd and myself went over to Lyme in a carriage the object being to chiefly to examine the piers of the Cobb or harbour; for some well meaning, but I fear rather visionary people in Sidmouth, have recently raised the question of constructing a pier or piers on the Chit rocks, as a protection to the lower or rather the west end of the Esplanade, forgetting how much money such as a work would cost, or where the money was to come from, The Cobb is a very old work: and there are some interesting notices of it in Robert’s History of Lyme. It is a long pier of massive stonework in an irregularly curved form, With branching arms near the end and a piece from the end (but leaving a space of about 50 feet forthe vessels to come through) extending in a direction towards the shore, but stopping short of it. The whole work may be 1000feet long and upwards: and it is from 40 to 50 feet thick.

We lunched at a hotel in the main street and walked about the town, but there is not much to see. The churchyard will fall into the sea some day. The soil of this blue lias district, looks cold and barren, and very different from the red marl of Sidmouth

Fri. July 9. Yesterday Mr. Disraeli the Prime Minster proposed a vote of £142,000 to defray the expenses of the Prince of Wales’s visit to India this autumn.

M. July 12. The weather has been cold and unsettled, but to-day Mr. W. Floyd and myself went to Torquay in a boat. We went to examine the new pier, made of brick or blocks of concrete, which we saw in course of construction some years ago. We had a brisk NW wind, which served as a ‘soldier’s wind’ to go as well as to come back with. We were nearly five miles from the land when we were off Exmouth and Teignmouth, and somewhat knocked about, and for half an hour I was very sick, as I go to sea so seldom. Our course was nearly over the ten fathom line on the Ordnance map. We were three hours reaching the Flat Rock and the Ore stone at the entrance to Torbay. No one could have an idea of the great size of these rocks until one gets close to them. Many years ago I landed on the Ore Stone. The Thatcher is an immense conical rock further in the bay, with gray peaks on it resembling the ruins of a castle, especially as seen from the south. It took us nearly another hour to beat up the bay. Torquay looks beautiful from the water.

The pier is made of concrete blocks of great size, plastered over in some places. Easterly gales have shaken it a little. I was told it is 800 feet long, and it is 50 feet thick, and consequently opposes great weight to the waves.

We were nearly four hours getting back.

W. July 14.It rained and blew the whole day incessantly, and as cold as November.

Th. July 15. The Sultan of Seyyid as they call him, of Zanzibar left to day for Paris on his way home

 

W. July 21. Went to Dawlish

Th. July 22. Returned: bringing my invalid servant back with me.

Fri. Aug. 6. Mr. Harding the Organist gave a concert at the London Hotel, at which most of the members of the Choral Society afsisted. Soon after it was over, a thunder storm with rain came on, and continued nearly all night.

Sidmouth Aug. 1875

Wed. Aug. 25.- So Captain Boyton is now eclipsed [April 10. May 31]

Captain Webb has crossed the Channel by the strength of his arms alone. It is wonderful that he was not benumbed and chilled to death by being twenty two hours in the water. Such a feat as this I should think has never been accomplished before in any age or in any country.

 

A terrible accident has occurred in the Solent. The Queen’s yacht, with her Majesty on board, has run down another vessel.

W. Aug. 25.- Mr Heineken and myself had another dig at the cairn on Salcombe Hill [See May 26, June 6, 1873 etc] We enlarged the trench on the east and north sides: came to some large stones, and hoped we were nearing the kist-ven, but were not successful: and so went on disappointed. We picked up a missile made of jagged flint from the interior of the cairn, and one or two smooth beach-pebble-sling stones, which appear to have been in the interior of the heap, and consequently as old as the heap, but not with the burial or any sepulchral remains. These missiles and sling-stones, being objects of rude and very early we, may have been thrown about the hill at enemies or rabbits before the cairn was made, and to their appearance will not prove anything. It is alleged that no proof has yet been brought forward to show that the British used sling, though the Romans and Saxons did; but amongst all those early people, it is not possible to say who had thrown those sling-stones actually in the kist-ven along with the remains, and associated with such objects as will prove their nationality. – Sep. 23. 1874

W. Sep. 1. – The Valorous has returned, and brought the last news of the arctic expedition. She arrived at Disco [?] June 26, and after heavy weather they got there June 28. The Valorous gave up her coals and stores and all three ships proceeded further north, among icebergs, and on July 16 the Valorous finally left them and returned to England. If the Alert and the Discovery reach 83º or 84º N. L. They hope, by exploring parties to get to the pole by April or May 1876, or later in the summer. – Th. Jan. 13. 1876

Th. Sep. 2. – Had an early dinner at Cottington to eat some venison, and very nice it was.

Sat. Sep. 4. – This morning a butcher in the Market House shewed me 19 pebbles that he had taken from the stomach of a cow. They were in average size, as large as pigeons’ eggs and small hens’ eggs. They would have half filled a hat, and must have been very heavy in the animals’ stomach. He told me that the cow was fat and healthy. I suprised him by saying that she had not picked them up in Sidmouth valley, but somewhere beyond or near the river Ottery. He answered that she had been fed near Ottery. They were Alysbeare Hill pebbles, some or most of them of white quartz, and they were polished by attrition.

Sun. Sep. 5. 1875.- After church took a quiet walk up Salcombe Hill by the cliff. Looking over I saw beneath me a shoal of 8 or 10 porpoises very near the shore. Very little is seen of them beyond the black fin, and that only momentarily when they come up to breath. Went up over the hill till it began to descend the other side and, then turned inland till I reached the road: crossed it, and went further north till I looked down upon the valley of Sidmouth, over Milltown Lane: took a look at the barrow, [Aug. 25] and returned down the hill. The furze was yellow and the heath crimson and purple, and intermingled with the green, the colouring was beautiful.

Fri.Sep.10 - In all our antiquarian excursions Mr. Heineken and myself had never been to Axminster, though we had often intended it; but the new railroad to Sidmouth enabled us to do it to-day. We had long been familiar with the accounts given by Mr. Davidson of Secktor, of the places and objects of interest in the neighbourhood – his plan of the town and the many scraps of its early history. We left by 10.10 train, and got to Axminster at 11.17. The church has a central tower, with a stair turret. The south aisle runs all along the building, from the west to the east end, the south transept being a portion of it. The same I think on the north. The tower and the south front are covered with rough-cast, but the north front shows all its stonework, and has some interesting features. There is a handsome parapet all along, with the pattern pierced through. There are also many coats of arms, but the stone is so decayed that I could only make out Courtenay and Stafford Knot. There is a good north porch with parvise over. The greater part of the building is perpendicular work; but the chancel is of the decorated period; and the gem of the building is a Norman doorway at the east end of the south chancel aisle, which I had not time to copy.

In the southern part of the churchyard we saw the following names on a tombstone: - Gill, Chapel, Robert Lincoln Lendey, Bonner, Hammond, Pilkington of Hilary House, Priddis, Northcotte, Webber, Miller, Edwards, Anning, Gage, Pryer, Pound, Keech,Tytherley, Cox, Linton, Greig, Symes, Cort, Perring, Nowlan, Burnett, Bastyan, Hayman, Akerman, Thorn, Robinson, Daniel, Finnemore, Seward, Corner, Willis, Pulman, King, Coombs, Sweetland, Rigney, Gapper, Bucknole, Williams, Naish, etc. There is an Ordnance level mark, with copper bolt and horizontal cut across the head of it, in the west door jamb of the north porch, about 15 or 16inches above the ground.

The interior was restored and renovated about 1870.The new seats are only of deal, but the carving on them is good. Tablets on south wall of chancel to Rev. C. Steer, Gunter, Edward Kennet Dawson, and his mother formerly of Sidmouth. There are two recumbent figures under recesses in the chancel,

 

A female figure on the south side, and a male figure on the north, with the top half of the head gone.

There is a new organ by Dickens of Exeter in the south side of the chancel, with 16 foot G. There are two large squints or hagioscopes, which go through the two eastern supports of the tower. In the south west support is the newell stair case of the tower.

Tablets to N.Bragge, Gundry, and Drake, the armorial bearings of which I copy.To J. Alexander, as also another to Ann his wife, born Knight, all on south side of the tower, and Gundry’s over the door of the tower stairs. There is an old slab in the pavement on the south west of the tower of fifteen hundred and odd (date broken out) in black letter, and the name something like John Watis. In the nave floor is an old slab with date worn out, recording John Young, with the arms nearly gone. Another near it, of 1790, to the local name of Gammes.

The font is the old one cleaned, and I fear re-dressed, lined with lead, and perhaps the foot or pedestal may not be original.The arcadine down each side of the nave, of perpendicular work, is good, and the capitals particularly so.

The tablets against the west wall, about 2 feet, or 2 feet 6 high are peculiar, and of inferior work. There is a peculiar smirk in the mouths of both figures.

There is an oval tablet near the pulpit Benjamin Prince and his wife erected by his son Rev. John Prince, Vicar of Totnes and Berry Pomeroy.

It is not often that I admire Jacobean work, but I was delighted with the pulpit. Together with the reading desk they were both made out of the old pulpit. The carving is the best in that style I recollect to have seen in Devonshire.

Sidmouth, Sep.1875

Mon. Sep. 13. Miss Creighton of Nº1 Coburg Terrace, gave a picnicto a few friends, the place of meeting being at the cottages close under the SE end of Blackbury Castle, She drove me there in her carriage. We mounted Trow Hill and just on nearing the summit we passed the spot on the left hand, where the old fir tree used to stand, in the hedge. When it was felled, or fell down, a few years ago, a young one was planted in its place. I did not observe it to-day: perhaps it is dead. It is at this place that the apparition of a woman used to terrify the simple folk of bye-gone times, according to tradition.

Going along the road for two or three miles, we turned off north to Long Chimney Farm and Rakeway Bridge and then east to Blackbury Castle. We turned in over the wild heath immediately round the east end; and as it was impossible to take the carriage down the steep pitch to the cottages, it was left on the heath, and everything carried down. As a dozen or more people were soon expected in a brake or char-a-banc, and as they did not know where to find the cottages, I decided on being in the camp, and hailing them when they came near. Besides, I had an eye to business, and I thought I might poke about, and see what I could discover. The calcined flints still contain a mystery, though I have endeavoured to solve it on conjecture, -------See MS Hist. Of Sidmouth, 1 54.

As yet I have only met with them on the south side. I wandered about the area, which has been in a great degree cleared of trees, but much covered with fern. Wherever I saw a bare spot, I examined it for calcined flints, but found none. At last I came upon a place, a little south of south-east of the middle I think, where some picnicers or gypsies had made a fire to boil their kettle, and I perceived that the flint among the ashes were all split up by the heat. Such appearances might easily deceive and lead to false conclusions, but this fire was quite recent. At last I heard carriage wheels. I hurried to the top of the northern agger and hailed the party, and directed them to turn in round the east end of the camp. On descending, it appeared that the two westerly cottages had fallen half down from sheer bad building, so we went on to the easterly one. We had an excellent dinner on the grass in the orchard, where I carved two fine young ducks. Everything was cold but the potatoes. We then rambled about, and gathered nuts and blackberries. I went and examined the mound on the crown of which a pit was sunk some years ago, and I could still see traces of our work.

We had a nice tea in the cottage; and after more rambling about we started for home. By way of varying the route we turned eastward—went down by some cottages opposite Bovey House, crossed a brook, and ascending a steep lane, came out by Hangman’s Stone. The country people are afraid to pass this spot at night. They say that the man who was hanged or strangled there by the sheep comes back once a year to this place, and on the anniversary of the fatal event; and as nobody knows on what date the event took place, every night in the year has its terrors. We then proceeded home almost in the dark, without further incident.

Fri. Sep. 17. Early this morning, before daylight there occurred a storm of thunder, lightening and rain. Two cottages in Otterton were set on fire and burnt by it. One was occupied by a man called Vinnicombe. They were at the lower end of the village, close to the grove of trees. Dinned at the vicarage. Besides Mr.and Mrs Clements and two Miss O’Guins, staying there, the party consisted of Mrs Radford of Sidmouth and a lady, Mr Wilkinson the curate, Mr Moysey (son of our former Vicar) and his sister Mrs Marker,

Sidmouth Sep. 1875

Mon. Sep. 20 An old gentleman, a Mr. Stapleton residing at Sidbury, has twice called on me lately in Sidmouth, to interest me in a young man in Sidbury called Daniells, who is paralysed in the lower limbs, but has a great talent for wood carving. Walked out to-day. First went into the church and took rubbings of the two brasses on the south chancel wall, inside----- to the names of Parsons and Fellowes. Then went to Daniells, who sits up in his bed, and uses his hands the best way he can. Gave him a small drawing book, urging him to make drawings of his subjects before he attempts to carve them ---to be very particular as to the correctness of his patterns---not to mix styles—and when he represented natural objects, as leaves, flowers, or fruit, to have some of them before him whilst he is at work, if possible, or else drawings of them, which he had previously made.

Whilst here Mr Stapleton came in, He took me to his house, and we had tea together. Until recently he had been absent from England for 45 years. He appears to have been all over the world, and told me many very interesting anecdotes of his travels both in the tropics and in the arctic regions. It was nearly dark when I reached home.- See June 18. 1877

Fri. Sep. 24 Got a letter from my agent Mr Sandford at Adelaide, in which he says that the gentleman who wants to buy my section of land at Victor Harbour has now run up his price to £600. It was my wish to write a good humoured and courteous reply, regretting that I could not accommodate his client, amongst other things I said: -- ‘I am afraid that your client will think that I am a great screw, or a great grasper after money: but I am merely saying that I am indifferent about selling Section 18, because I wish to keep it for my nephew. I rather look to the future value of it than the present value. As time goes on it is certain to increase in value. I have recently been led by several circumstances to consider the relative advantages of money, or the advantages of land. It is certain that, from looking back into the early history of England, it is plain that in all ages money has been decreasing in value. Time was when a hen could be brought for half penny, and a sheep for a shilling. Those animals were obliged to be reared and fed in that day as well as now, though they were not such fine specimens. In the present day in England it is not easy to get a fowl so cheap as 2s/0, or a sheep for 50 shillings on £2.10.0 My butcher told me the other day that a fine sheep is worth £3. From this it seems that, to purchase a fowl, we must give 50 half pence instead of one: and this shows that money is of 50 times less value than it was at the former period. The same with the sheep. If a person offers to exchange a large object for a small piece of money, we may infer that money is very valuable. A shilling for a sheep. But as the shilling has depreciated so much in value since that day, instead of the whole animal, we can only get a pound or two of his flesh for a shilling. This process of depreciation has in all ages been uniformly going on. A notable instance has recently occurred in England before our own eyes. The disturbances in the mining and manufacturing districts, very much promoted by mob orators and interested persons; the strikers, combinations, and lock-outs, have all tended to make a revolution in prices. Workmen not only demand higher wages, but they work fewer hours in the week. All the necessaries of life, and all building materials, have gone up, or, in other words, money has gone down. In 1870 I was making additions to the Old Chancel, where I live; and I find a calculation, that what I could then do for £100, would require £120 or £125 now. This indicates that money has depreciated in value from 20 to 25 per cent in only five years; by a remarkable jump.

“But how is it with land? If we look back we shall see that whilst money is always going down, land is always going up. As each lease drops in, we generally see, except in some unusual circumstances, that on granting a new lease, an advance is made on the rental, and commonly the new tenant agrees to it. Even in the manor of Sidmouth, where I reside, an instance of a very striking advance occurs. In 1787 it was purchased for £15:600, but in 1866, after an interval of 79 years, it changed hands, and fetched rather more than £80.000. And the owners in the interval had done nothing to improve it: on the contrary, they had wasted it, racked it out, mortgaged it, and impoverished it in every possible way. In 1634 my ancestors went to America, and assisted in founding the colony at Boston. Massachusetts, and bought tracts of land in the neighbourhood at mere nominal prices. My great grandfather was Governor there in 1774 when the Revolution broke out and England lost the colonies. He took the English side and came to England, and in the end the American government confiscated his estates, and sold them to their own advantage. I have found out that they got £38,000 for one of them, and that was a remarkable rise. The ruin we received there was one of the causes that sent my brother to Australia, to begin the same process over again. I am extremely sorry if I disappoint your client. I hope he will forgive me for adhering to my former arrangement. If he is ever on my Section, which will rise in value, as time goes on, I hope he will have perpetual sunshine there, and perpetual haymaking” Aside - his name is Hay. (Mar, 13. 20.1876)

Mr. and Mrs. King, and Miss King, of Beach House, Mr Vibart, (her adorable) and Mr Levien, Mrs King’s brother, and his wife, came to have a look at the Old Chancel. They were with me an hour or more, chatting and examining my things, during which time I gave them “an afternoon tea”, originally a Russian custom, I have heard, but now not unusual in England. I heard this evening, that somewhere on the road she lost a gold bracelet. I sincerely hope it may be recovered.

Th. Sep. 30 - Took a walk along the beach and beyond High Peak and back at low water. The tide was very low, for the moon changed yesterday, and there was a small eclipse of the sun, which I saw. It began at 11.13; greatest 12.2; and 12.51. There will be no eclipse of the sun again till 1880, that is, in England.

 

Mr Lavis, an amateur geologist of London, but here on a visit, found in the red rock in Picket Rock cove, where there had been a fall of cliff, some organic remains like bones of plates of the head of a saurian or batrachians. The little drawing annexed is from the coloured drawing in my Sketchbook, which I did from the object itself, he having brought it for my examination. It is rather more than a foot long. I went over to hunt for more, but was not successful.

Along the beach I found many hollow bamboo canes, five or six feet long, thrown up by the sea and mostly split and broken. They are the gifts of some violent weather we had a few days ago. And an empty boat was picked up off here, which I have been examining on Sidmouth beach, and which suggests the occurrence of some fatal wreck. The boat appeared to be French: clumsily built, and sharp at both ends.

Sidmouth. Oct. 1875

Mon. Oct. 4 Dreamt last night that there the northern half of my new iron gate, put up last winter [Feb. 24] had got broken by some carelessness. Dreamt also that on going into to my little field on the north side of the Old Chancel, to my surprise I saw several masons busily engaged in beginning to build a cottage or small house, only a few feet from the Old Chancel. On asking them what they were about, and expostulating with them, they coolly told me that the field was not mine, and that they were going to build there. I also saw an affiche fixed to the gate of the field, with these words written on it: - This field belongs to Mr. - , I forgot the name of the usurper. In the midst of my dismay, I woke, or my dream ended. What can put such strange ideas into peoples’ heads?

Tu. Oct. 5. The government works have just completed the largest gun ever made in this country. It weighs 81 tons. They are going to make three more. I took the annexed cutting describing it from a newspaper.

POH then wrote Bigger again. They now make 100 ton guns, where is this to end?

Mon. Oct, 11. – To-day the Prince of Wales leaves England, in order to pay a visit of several months to our East Indian possessions. He crosses France and Italy, and meets the Serapis at Brindisi, and then goes through the Suze canal to Bombay.

Tu. Oct, 12. – Now that the gas and gas pipes are being introduced into the parish church, and the matting that generally covers the floor has been temporarily taken up, I took the opportunity of copying all the inscriptions cut on the flag stone. In the middle aisle are two inscriptions to the family of Connant or Conant, once a name of repute in this place, but now only found among the fisherman. One inscription runs thus: - Here lyeth y Body of Henry Connant Gent who Dyed y 10th day of June, anno Dom. 1684. The other is on the slab with the armorial achievement, as above, and is the following:- Here lyeth the Body of John Conant Esq. Who died y. 13th, - of Jan. 1736. Aged 38.he was perhaps a grandson of the former, and judging by the arms, seems to have married a Miss Duke, of Otterton.

Th. Oct, 14. – Started after breakfast and took a walk along the beach eastward at the base of Salcombe Hill, as far as the Hook Ebb reef of rocks and back. Beyond Salcombe Mouth at about a mile and a half from Sidmouth, there are quantities of blackberries at the base of the cliff, and I eat more of that native fruit than I have done for years.

Fri. 15. – By a return on the church door I see that this year in Sidmouth, s game licences have been taken out, and 74 dog licences. Almost 150 pay armorial bearings, 142 of which being at £1., 1., 0. About 400 houses and cottages are rated to the poor: and there were 178 voters in the parish last year. The Post says the drawings are ready, and the machinery is preparing, for the production, at the Royal Gun Factories, of guns of 160 tons, or as much larger as may be called for.

POH then wrote Bigger again See Sep. 28.1876 And Nov.

Sidmouth. Oct. 1875

Th. Oct. 7- Went into Exeter for the day. Our new branch railway is certainly very convenient. Gave Dean Milles account of finding the Roman Penates in Exeter 100 years ago, to the Free Library at the Museum.

Went to Mr. Brand, the dentist, at his new house at the N.W. side of the Cathedral yard, and had the fang of an incisor taken out. Five shillings! Quickly earned! He then took me over his house, not yet finished. He is so exceedingly enthusiastic as to what he intends to do there, that I fear he is almost visionary. The lower rooms are furnished and are full of works of art, which he is fond on collecting. Bronzes, old china, paintings, engravings, cases, cabinets, and so on, crowd the rooms, so that it is difficult to move. Up stairs every place is crammed with a most varied collection of all sorts of things, waiting for places. He has some things of value, and many that have cost a great deal. I was shown a small vessel of blue and white china ware, something like a milk jug, which cost £3.and for which he has refused £5. A chelsea china (for which there is now a rage) sort of vase, with two dolphins for handles, only about nine inches high £17. There are two handsome real china vases about three feet high, elaborately painted, worth about £60 apiece: and two others about five feet high £100 each. I admired these amazingly. There is an organ that plays by itself – I think of German work: and a piano of English manufacture, with manual, to play by hand, or by itself. One would suppose that he had attended all the sales in the country for years past.

Then went to Mr. Dicker, the organ builder, and heard an organ performance on a new instrument, just made for a church at Weston super Mare, Got back to the Old Chancel in the evening.

Fr. Oct. 22 Dined with the Floyds at Powys. Lady F. from her age, now keeps to her rooms upstairs. There were at dinner Captain and Mrs Toup, Nicolas, RN, Mrs B. Kennet- Dawson, (Miss Floyd) whom I took to the dinning room: Major Hurry I, Mr. W. I. and myself

Tu. Oct. 26 Dined at Mrs. Mackintosh’s at Villa Verde. Herself, Miss Mackintosh, Miss Butler, and P. O. Hutchinson – qui hoc scripsit.

W. Oct. 27 The Exeter papers this week have the account of a disgraceful robbery, by means of false keys, of three specimens of native gold in auriferous quartz, and a silver coin, from the Museum in Exeter. The thief is the son of a clergy man, and an undergraduate of Cambridge. I say disgraceful, for the first time he was had up, he said to the magistrates – “ I assure you on my word and honour as a gentleman, that I know nothing about the robbery”. They have given him six months with hard labour in Exeter jail. More than twenty keys were found on him and in his boxes, some filed into new shapes, two flies and a chisel.

M.Nov.1.1875 Since Michaelmas the weather has been unusually wet and stormy with the wind shifting quickly from one point of the compass to another, and then back again, with once or twice thunder and lightening. Scarcely, if ever, have such deluges of rain been known to fall in short periods of time. One evening in Exeter, there fell more than three inches of rain in three hours. This is about the average for the whole month. As a consequence of this, the lower grounds all over the country have been flooded. Rivers have overflowed their banks, cattle have been swept away, houses destroyed, and many people drowned. No very serious accidents has occurred in Sidmouth, beyond leakages in roofs of houses.

Th. Nov. 4 Went over to Beer to see C. F. Williams, who has been here a month or more. Carried over several of my sketchbooks at his request; for some of my early attempts were made with him when we were boys and he wanted to look back and contemplate the exploits of our juvenile days. I saw a curious flat fish, dark brown on top, and white under, about 22 inches long, with no visible head, two nostrils above, and two eyes behind, and near the tail two things like the hind legs of a hare. On the underside was the mouth, and two rows, each having 5 half moons slits for breathing. The old fishermen had never seen the like before. I only sketch from memory. Since then I have been told it is the Electric Rae.

LONDON 1875

I was told in Beer by an old sailor that all male descendants of Jack Rattenbury as well as those of his brother William, had died out and become extinct. He said he had known them both well, and had often been smuggling with them. I got back to the Old Chancel soon after eight.

Tu. Nov. 16. 1875 Went to London. Put up at Charing Cross Hotel. They were very full; and the only bachelor’s room they could assign me was No. 196, at the top of the house. I amused myself with counting from the bottom to the top, and the flights contained the following steps, 43, 32, 33, 25, 20 – in toto 153

W. Nov. 17. 1875. My Birthday. Went to have a good look round at the British Museum, Dwelt first upon the Nineveh sculptures, which of course I had seen before. Examined on or two large tessellated pavements, which were new to me. Contemplated the spirited battle of the Amazons and their ungallant opponents: the frieze of the Parthenon; and busts of Roman Emperors, whose types of features in most cases, only resemble common and rather vulgar every day English faces. I am at a loss to know where the so called “Roman Nose” comes from, if it ever had an existence. Up stairs I examine the great meteorites: the geological remains: the extinct mammalian, and remarked on the very small amount of brain given to the mammoth. In the medal room I looked at the ancient gems: the golden British breast plate, torques, armlets, jewellery, and money: and lastly the cracked Portland Vase. I don’t think I had seen this since it was broken in 1845 by a maniac muddled with drink.

Fri. Nov. 19. Went to the Tower, after an interval I think of 24 years. Went over the Keep or White Tower. Saw the place, at the foot of the stairs, where the young princes were buried, after being murdered. Examined the armour, weapons, and numerous other interesting things. Went into the Council Chamber, being the upper floor, where Richard III so madly accused Lord Hastings, and had him immediately beheaded on a log of timber in the yard. Then went to examine the Regalia. In reply to my questions, we were told that everything was of solid gold, except the maces, and they were of silver gilt: and further, that the worth of the Regalia was rather more than £3.500.000.

As I was returning along the Strand, I noticed an elegant dress sword at the shop of Mr. Attenborough, No. 27. An inscription written on a card stated it to be the sword of Lord St Vincent, and that the price was 300 guineas. Soon after I noticed the annexed the letter in the newspaper

Sat. Nov. 20 Transacted a little business, for which I came to town. Called on some friends at No. 21a Hanover Square. Then examined the case of Mr. and Mrs Vanes, or Sir Frederick and Lady Vane, as I believe them to be, though the difficulty is to prove it in a court of law. See Nov. 12. 1872.

Looked at the old Water Gate at the bottom of Villiers Street, Strand, which a few years ago, as I well remember, before the embankment was made used to be washed by the waters of the Thames. Walked down to St Paul’s, and resolved to see it thoroughly. Examined the crypt. Saw the Duke of Wellington’s bronze funeral car, and his sarcophagus of Cornish serpentine, in which he lies; and near it the sarcophagus of Lord Nelson, and many other interesting memorials. All my life I have been intending to go up into the ball, and I did it today. It is 616 steps; but the ascent is very easy, except the last climb, which is a perpendicular ladder. I have made the annexed sketch from a somewhat confused memory, so that its accuracy is not insisted on. The Ball and Cross are supported on a series of long upright iron bars about as thick as ones wrists. The scrolls below the Ball are bronze castings, fixed to the bars. One can look out.

LONDON. Nov. 1875

Between these I could only see the tops of the houses below me, as everything in a horizontal direction was hid by smoke. A keen north east wind was blowing, it was rather a difficult job to pull oneself up between the bars and get into the Ball. A fat person could not do it. And the aperture is still more confined by a large iron nut, as large as a plate, just over head on entering, so that it is necessary to squeeze by the side of it. I suppose this nut is to screw up something tight; but I did not notice what, and it is dark inside the Ball. This queer place is six feet in diameter.

The Golden Gallery, at the foot of the lantern is as high as most people go.

The Whispering Gallery, lower down, is a very amusing place. It is 140 feet in diameter. Whilst the attendant was on one side and I on the other, we could carry on an easy conversation without exertion. The voice did not come straight across the circle, but seemed to run round the surface of the smooth wall.

I went also to the Library. The floor is of parquetry, and they tell you that it is made up of 2376 pieces of oak. It contains about 7000 volumes.

I went also to the south-west tower or turret, where the bells are; and whilst there the clock struck twelve.

The style of architecture of St Pauls, to my taste, is not so suitable for a place of worship as that of the greater solemnity of Westminster Abbey: nevertheless this visit has made me entertain a high opinion of the knowledge and the genius of Sir Christopher Wren.

In the afternoon I went to see the Houses of Parliament, after some considerable interval. The Queen’s Robing Room, and one or two other chambers or galleries, have been completed since my last visit. I spent an hour or two in the building, then went to Westminster Abbey. I had not been here long when they began to light the lamp, for the daylight soon ends this time of year. I remained to the service at four o’clock.

After this I took the Metropoliton Railway, or Underground Railway, as it is often called, to South Kensington, for the purpose of seeing the Museum lighted by gas: and the effect, I must say, is very pretty, indeed. Had tea in the Refreshment Room - the walls all porcelain.

Sun. Nov. 21. 1875:- Came down rather tired after yesterday’s sight-seeing: but I rather like the feel of being somewhat tired. One sits in a chair so heavily and so contentedly. Had breakfast in the handsome Coffee Room, and then started off a mile north to All Saints, Margaret Street. Mr Hoyte the organist there was a little boy at Sidmouth some years ago. His father, who I think died there, kept a bookseller’s shop in the Fore Street. The widow afterwards took her children to London, and opened a shop there. Young Hoyte, the boy, had a great fashion for music, and began learning the piano before they left Sidmouth; and I have heard say that whilst he was playing he would kick against a box with one foot, in order to produce the effect of a drum accompaniment. The church was so full I Cld not get in, so I went to the church in Regent Street, near the circus.

In the evening dined with the Vanes in Palace Garden terrace, Bayswater.

Mon.Nov. 22 Brought two Chinese plates with light green ground, 7.2 inches in diameter in Regent Street. Went out and looked at the Albert Memorial, near then Albert Hall and Botanic Gardens. They were engaged in drawing up the statue of Prince Albert, wrapped up in canvass. This is a beautiful piece of architectural work certainly, the design of Sir Gilbert Scott. It is too beautiful and delicate to be out of doors in this climate. I should think that the mosaic in the spandrels, done by Salviati, (who is doing those in the inside of St Pauls) will be soon torn to pieces by the frost of our winters. Of the four colossal groups outside the corners, I must admire the south-east emblematic of Asia. This is by Foley.

Went again to the South Kensington Museum. Examined the crown of King Theodore, late of Abyssinia: the steel eagle from Japan, which cost £1000: The plaster cast of the Trojan Column: of Roslyn chapel, etc: the tessellated pavement in this chamber, which are transparent and serve for skylights: the admirable facsimile of the Bayeux Tapestry, the original of which I saw at Bayeux August 20, 1855, etc, etc,

Tu. Nov. 23 Returned to Sidmouth by rail.

Sidmouth.Nov. Dec. 1875

Wed. Nov. 24.1875 If bankruptcy ruins individuals, it may also be the ruin of nations. At the present moment Turkey is reported to be nearly in a state of collapse. Her debts are enormous, and are constantly increasing. Ever since the accession of the present Sultan the palace expenditure has been £2,000,000 a year. His servants number 5.500 of all sorts. There are 21 palaces, and over 1200 ladies. He has had a passion of late of building or buying iron clad ships; though it is doubtful whether the genius of the Turks is of a sufficiently active; or a resolute nature, to enable them to work such ships before an enemy. These, and the ladies are swamping him; and insurrections are breaking out.

Sat. 27. And the Kedive of Egypt is almost in a similar predicament; and all Europe is astounded at the amount announcement that he has sold part of his interest in the Suez canal to the English government. Most of the governments of Europe betray much dissatisfaction at this unexpected stroke of policy on the part of England. The price given is £4,000,000 sterling.

Wed. Dec. 1.1875 I have been much interested in reading Mr Smith’s recent exploration at Ninevek and Babylon for the British Museum. From the clay tablets and cylinders which he has discovered, it appears that the Babylonian monarchy existed so far back as 2500 years before the Christian era. At Ninerrk he prosecuted many researchers. The Izdubar (if that is the right reading) in the Izdubar Legends, is supposed to be the same with Nimrod. Tablet No. 11, gives an account of the building of the Ark and of the Deluge.

Th. Dec. 2. By misprint in the Times of Nov. 26, there is a clash between the numbers 117,000 and 177,000.

 

Fri. Dec. 3. Went to Belmont Villa, Dawlish, to see my cousin Miss Roberton.

Sat. Dec. 4 Dawlish was dreadfully flooded by rain a month ago: [Nov. 1.] and traces of the mischief done are visible in many places. When torrents of rain were falling, and the brook or river was rushing down and overflowing its banks, a reservoir up under Haldon gave way and completed the deluge. Bridges were carried away: a man fell in with part of a bridge and was drowned, his body being carried out to sea, and afterwards found in the bathing cove west of the town: houses flooded, and much property destroyed: and as it happened a high tide, the sea kept the fresh water back, so that by the iron bridge at the lower part of the Lawn, the water reached all across the valley from the houses on one side to those on the other.

Sun. Dec. 5. At St Mark’s in the morning, and the parish church in the afternoon, the rebuilding of the eastern portion of the later is now completed and a considerable debt incurred- as in commonly the case in such matters: but I doubt the good morals of such custom.

Mon. Dec. 6. Went down to Newton Abbot to examine some antiques which Messrs Watts, Blake, Rearne, and Co. Have discovered in the Xitherixon Clay works. The chief was a wooden figure, 13.3 inches high, resembling the rude and ugly gods carved by the South Sea islanders, found near the trunk of an oak tree black with age (from which tree they had made a walking stick, which I had in my hand) and from 23 to 25 feet beneath the surface. There was likewise Roman pottery; and a bronze Roman spear head. [See Trans. Of Dev. Asso. VII 200, where a lithograph is given.] Also they have the bones of the face or forehead of an ox [Bos longifrons?] leg bone, femur of dog apparently, ribs, Etc. As I was anxious to collect all the particulars,

Dawlish. Dec. 1875

I could, on order send an exhaustive account to the Society of Antiquarians of London, together with photographs and full size drawings, I expressed a wish to be directed to the spot where they were found, when one of them offered to walk out with me. The wind was north-east, and sharp enough, as the sportsmen say “to cut a snipe in two”. The ponds were frozen, and the boys were sliding and skating. We went along the road for half a mile towards Kingsteignton, and soon after crossing the river Teign, turned up a lane on the left or west for perhaps 300yards or more, at the end of which is a lake or sheet of water several acres in extent, with an island in it; and this is the great clay pit, which had been long worked, but which had been abandoned last year, so that the rain and the floods, had taken possession of it. There was about 20feet of “heading” over the pottery clay, which is disintegrated feldspar derived from the decomposed granite of Dartmoor, the kneading being composed of beds of gravel, stones, and sand, resting unconformably on the clay which here dips to the west.

Fri. Dec. 10. 1875 Though cold it was fine. Took a walk to the Warren on the railway wall, Went to the targets at which our volunteer riflemen practise. Scraped up several bullets in the sand with my hands, which had hit the iron plate, of which it is composed, and which has been strangely flattered, and driven into queer shapes.

Sat. Dec. 11. Returned to Sidmouth, Took a present from my cousin Miss R., and deposited it in the Free Library attached to the Museum. It consisted of a folio volume in French, full of engravings, printed at Paris just after the events of the Revolution and decollation of Louis XVI. My cousin’s father, Cap, Roberton, R. A. brought it at a sale at Cape Town about 1800, where he was then quartered. At that time this was the only volume published, but I believe another came out afterwards, And I also left a large folio vol., illustrated with coloured engravings, detailing the events connected with Queen Caroline’s trail, and other circumstances mixed up with it.

Th. Dec. 16. The Sidmouth Choral society, which continues in a very flourishing state, gave its winter concert this evening, in the Ball room of the London Hotel. The first Part was sacred, (mostly from Haydon’s Creation,) and the second secular. The room was full.

Fri. Dec. 17. Two more new bells are added to the peal of six in the church tower, there by making an octave of eight. During the past week they have been fixing the two highest, which are the new ones, and they have been chipping them, and some of the old ones, in order to make them in tune. If they had them in their workshop they would turn off a shaving by Machinery, as I once saw at Mears, but in default of that they are use hammers and chisel. If they want to lower the pitch of a bell I am told they chip all round inside at A and B, which thins it, and if they require to raise it, they cut away all round the lower edge at C and D, which makes a smaller bell of it.

I went up into the tower to-day to see the work, and found the two new bells fixed with their mouths upwards. They had been chipping round their insides, and the bright brass looking chips lay in the bottom of the two great basins. I scooped these up with my hands and got as much as I could hold in my two hands together. Perhaps I shall be able to cast something out of this metal. The fourth bell of the eight has been reduced round the edge.

Sun. Dec. 19. 1875 The Hon. Lady Sidney Godolphin Osborne died this morning at Cottington, since I lost my own mother I have not been so much impressed with a death as this. Her uniform kindness, and the kindness of all the family, may well make me regret any loss occurring in that house.

Mon.Dec.20. – Had a quiet evening with the Buttemers at the Elms. The eight bells in the church tower were rung for the first time this evening. I did not think they sounded much in tune.

Tu.Dec. 21. Shortest day “Long days to-morrow. Get up at six o’clock,” So my father used to say to his children.

M. Dec. 27, Went again to Dawlish as my last visit was rather hurried

Tu. 28. Read one or two amusing old articles in the Quarterly Review of 1819 and 1820.I think there is rather a spiteful and a carping sprit in most of the reviews

Th. 30. Very cold north-east wind, but dry. Walked again to the Warren, [Dec. 10.] scraped up several fragments of bullets at the Targets, and found one that had missed the target and stuck in the sand. They were all flattened at the point; which shows that they had hit point first, though at great distances, con-trary to the arguments of some artillery men. – See Trans. Dev. Asso. IV. 137

Fri. Dec.31. Last day of the year

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