POH Transcripts - 1878

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January 1. 1877. New Years Day. It is Monday: and an old proverb says that when Christmas Day and New Years Day occur on a Monday much trouble is impending as great rain, murrain among the cattle, war, distress, and so on. As for the rain, that is true enough. I never remember so wet a winter, or as many disastrous floods. The other evils I hope will not come.

To-day a splendid demonstration is made in most of the great cities of India, in proclaiming the Queen, Empress of that country.

Fri. Jan. 5. – Concert of our Choral society took place this evening in the large room at the London Hotel. The room was crammed, and everything went well. Among the instrumentalists, Mifs Georgina Osborne and Mifs Jervis took second violin parts.

Wed. Jan. 10.- Bought two small Chinese vases, 7 inches high and 3 inches in diameter, with carved wooden stands, at a sale at Rock Cottage. 17/. In the evening went to a party at Captain and Mrs. Lukes at Balsters, where the children acted a play called Perfection.


Th. Jan. 11. – The fishing boats were fortunate last night, and have brought in near 30.000 herrings. Most of them have been sent of to London. London swallows up everything.

Sidmouth Jan. 1877

Fri. Jan. 12. – It is recorded that Trucannini, and old women, and the last remnant of the native race in Tasmania, died May 8. 1876, She had had five husbands, the last having been King Billy, who died in 1869.

Mon. Jan. 15. – Fine day, and without rain. Went to Seaton by rail, to see Mr. S.G.Perceval, and some flint implements found near Godalming in Surrey, and some cores and flakes in black obsidian, from Melos in Greece. They are precisely like what we found on the Sidmouth hills.

Th. Feb. 8. – So the Conference at Constantinopole has ended in nothing, and the plenipotentiaries have left, and the Marquis of Salisbury has returned to England. To keep up appearance, the Turks have gone through the form of publishing a new constitution, in which great reforms are promised; but as they refuse to be bound in any way, everybody looks with mistrust at the proceedings. It is said that Russia has gradually assembled 220,000 troops in Bessarabia, close to the Turkish frontier, The English parliament meet to-day

Th. Feb. 15. Gave a man called Prince 1/6 for an old fashioned iron knocker, which he took from his cottage door in Old Fore Street. Some years ago I procured another of similar pattern. In the month of October 1864, I copied a knocker resembling these in make, but handsomer, in the Cloisters at Windsor Castle.

Sat. Feb. 17. – The weathercock or vane, with its support, on the stair turret of the church tower, was taken down a day or two ago, and reinstated to-day. The iron was rusty, & things were out of order. They have been re-gilt.

Tu. Feb. 20. – last night and this morning the boisterousness of the weather, which has been very great lately, reached its height, and the roaring of the wind in the chimneys, kept me awake.

Dawlish 1877

Sat. Feb. 24. – Went to Dawlish, via Exeter. Passing through Starcross I saw the Swan, [see Aug. 2. 1872.] up on the wharf to be painted. Meeting Captn –Peacock at Ashburton last July, he told me it could be used as a floating bath, and it had cost him upwards of £300.

Sun. Feb. 25. – At St Marks chapel in the morning, and the parish church in the afternoon.

Mon. Feb. 26. – Went to Teignmouth by rail. Called on Mr. G. W. Ormerod, of Brookbank. His father was an ILD and an F.R.S., and author of a History of Cheshire in three volumes folio. He is a scientific man himself, and his house is full of books and works of art. Then called on the Rev. R. Cresswell, who is a clever man. His wife is a sister of Mifs Creighton, of No. 1. Coburg terrace. Walked back along the Railway wall. Approaching the Parson & Clerk tunnel, I sketched the rock that lies off the point. The neck looks so thin that it will apparently fall off before long.

Wed.Feb. 28. – Walked to Little Haldon. Examined some gravel pits and then Smallacombe Goyle geologically, to see whether there is any difference between the capping of yellow clay with flints on Haldon, and on the Sidmouth hills. Amongst the clay and angular flints on Haldon, there is a great mixture of white quartz pebbles, and various pieces of sub-angular rocks, similar apparently to the breccias of the Dawlish and Teignmouth cliffs, and composed mostly of fragments of the primary formations in the neighbourhood. In the stratum of the yellow clay with flints on the Sidmouth hills. I have not detected any pieces of these old rocks. There is a growing feeling amongst geologists that this bed of clay with flints will be decided as of glacial origin, like the boulder clay of the midlands and eastern counties.

I then went and took another look at the camp- See Sep.10. 1873,

Th. Mar. 1. 1877. – After reading all morning by the fire,I took a walk to Langstone Point and back along the Railway wall.

Fri. Mar. 2. – The same again, and went on to the Warren.

Sat. 3. – Returned to Sidmouth. Took the opportunity of having a good look at Exeter Cathedral. The choir is now finished, and the nave will be finished this summer if possible. Since I last saw the reredos they have gilt several parts of it richly. At the first glance, I am not sure I was quite pleased; and yet the effect is very beautiful. I was much struck with the pulpit near the reredos, on the north side. The cluster of columns and base below, looked like red veined Plymouth marble, highly polished, and the body above is of alabaster, slightly mottled with red like reredos, and richly carved. Judging from other works I had seen, I thought to myself that it had probably cost £1000, but I think the verger said £1300.

Th.Mar.15. – It snowed from 5 to 6 this evening. This is the first and only snow I have seen during the winter. The season has been very wet, but not cold.

Th. Mar. 27. – Finished copying the oldest known view of Sidmouth. It is a watercolour drawing measuring about 17X10in, and the artist stood near the mouth of the Sid, looking west. It may be nearly a century old, and it belongs to Mr. W. John Pike, Ironmonger, Fore Street, Sidmouth

Fri. Mar. 30. 1877.- Good Friday. I was surprised to see how few people were at church, and how few remained to the sacrament. There is an old but very reprehensible custom still lingering at Sidmouth, which ought to be put down. I allude to the practice of kicking football on Good Friday: I have seen it done in the Blackmore Fields. Or Church fields, as they are sometimes called, but to day it was in the Western Fields, over “the goyle” and below Witheby. Twenty great rough fellows were shouting & using bad language in a way not appropriate to the day, nor indeed to any other day whatever.

Sun. Ap. 1. – Easter Sunday. To-day the church was very full.

Mon. Ap. 2. – Sidmouth Easter Fair. After having nearly died out, the fair seems to have revived a little.

Tu. Ap. 3. – Col. And Mrs. Hawkens second daughter married to-day to the late Mr. Thoronton’s second son. The only objection I have heard to the match is, that they were both too young – both being children under age. Drink, immorality, waste, extravagance, separation.

Th.Ap. 5. – The local Board have been engaged carrying the drain up the road at the west end of the beach behind Clifton Place. When the men got above Rock Cottage, and at 10 of 12 feet deep, and 27 paces from Rock Cottage, and 9 from Beacon Place, they came upon a cruciform vault a A, some thought it had been a smugglers’ cave, entered from the beach, but I am told it was made in 1836, when the Harbour was projected, and gunpowder was kept in it for blasting purposes.

Sidmouth. April 1877

Mon. Ap. 16. – Wind north-east – cold – very strong – much rain. Quantities of water rushing down the river Sid. The wooden bridge at Seed I am told, and that near the National School, are washed away: and that near the mouth of the river I have been to see, but only half remains. At 7 this evening the tide was nearly high; the waves very large, and rushing in, ran half way up the Ham. A boy of nine years old, son of a baker of Sidbury, called Langdon, was drowned this morning. Carying an umbrella and driving some cows to the field, it is supposed a gust of wind threw him into the water. His body was found half a mile below Sidbury, and the umbrella in the water also.

Fri. Ap. 20. – I subjoin a cutting which speaks of one of the most arduous undertakings in the pedestrianism were accomplished.


Th. Ap. 26. – So it has come at last. As I jotted down Feb.8, things are getting very serious. The Emperor of Russia virtually declared war against the Turks by his address to his army on the 24th at telling them to march at once into the enemy’s country – and which they immediately began to do .A large army is also to invade the Turkish territory on the side of Mount Ararat.

Fri. 27. – I think this vessel was built by a Captain Andrews, then here, and the dockyard was at the east end of the beach.


Mon. May 1. 1877. As cold and black and bleak a May day as ever I saw, and with a cutting north-east wind, and I was glad to sit by a good fire at breakfast.

Tu. May. 2. – So Cornwall has now got a Bishop. Dr. Benson was consecrated at St .Pauls’ London, on the 25th ultimo, and the enthronisation at St. Mary’s, Truro, yesterday the first. The new arms of the sea I annex. Lady Rolles’ manificent donation of £40.000 to the endowment, removed all difficulties.


W. May 3. – The papers state a curious thing. They say there are three elderly maiden ladies, sisters , one earning seven shillings a week “by making button holes” the others being invalids, and that they are great-grandchildren of Daniel Defoe. A motion is being set on foot to assist them.

W. May 17.-I have given the further intelligence, mentioned in the public prints, that the Queen has given £75 a year to each of the above ladies.

Sun. May 27. – Trinity Sunday. Richard Thornton, eldest son of the late Mr. Thornton of Knowle, [Nov. 3. 1873] was ordained Deacon to-day at Exeter Cathedral, and appointed to the curacy of Sidmouth

Sun.June 3. – To-day the Rev. Richard Thornton read himself in at Sidmouth parish church.

W. 6. – Made a coloured drawing of the mammoth tusk lately found at the mouth of the river Sid, (probably washed out of the alluvium up the valley) which will soon be deposited in the Exeter Museum. Taken in connection with the teeth, this is an interesting find. – See Jan. 18. 24. 1873. Finished the Third Volume of my History of Sidmouth

Th. June 7. 1877. – Began the Fourth Vol. Of My History, and mean it to be the last. Sat. June 9. – Miss Price has started to walk 1000 miles in a 1000 hour at Exeter - see July 30.

Th. June 14. – The New Parsonage house of All Saints Church is finished, and the Incumbent, the Rev. B. Barring-Gould gone in.

Sidmouth.June. 1877.

Sat. June 16. – After a cold late spring with fires in our houses and frosty nights, the thermometer has recently run up to 70º [82º in London] and summer has arrived.

Mon. June 18. – To-day there is a sad rumour about Sidmouth, that my old friend Mr. Stapleton of Sidbury, who made my acquaintance on the 20th of September 1875, had destroyed himself. It proved true.

Tu. June 19. – To-day Mr. Heineken and myself drove to the neighbourhood of Ottery, to look for the remains of an old Chapel. In ancient charters of the 12th and 13th centuries, mention is made of a chapel in the parish of Ottery, under the name of De la Hedreland, or De la Hetheland, quasi up among the heather. [See my M S. Hist, of Sidm. I 183;] Bishop Brantyngham in 1388 granted a licence for a domestic chapel at Holcombe, about a mile and a half east of Ottery, and I presume this must have been the ancient De La Hetherland,

No – it appears to have been a mistake, and was near Washfield above Tiverton. See my MS. Hist, of Sidmouth, Vol. IV. Pp. 12, 22.


Under a new regime: at least I do not know where else to look for it. In Donn’s Map of 1765 a little church is shewn.

The estates of Higher and Lower Holcombe, comprising about 400 acres, now belongs to Mr Pidsley. They are farmed by Mr. Page, son of Butcher Page, formerly of Sidmouth. We were told that the remains of the chapel had been pulled down many years ago, and a former house built out of them, parts of which are behind, or eastwards of the present dwelling house; that the present house was erected twenty years ago , partly out of old materials; and that when excavating a circular place to the west, or in front of the new house, to make a pond, (which we saw) they turned up a quantity of bones, from which they inferred that the spot had been the burial ground. I went up behind the present dwelling, to examine parts of the old house. There is a large square stone chimney, and the walls were of brown chert, well squared out, and in some places good size blocks of wrought Beer stone, such as might have once belonged to an ecclesiastical building.

We then drove through Ottery and down to the river. At the foot of Ottery town, near the river there was once a chapel, dedicated to St. Saviour, we presumed under the hill or cliff opposite the bridge.

We crossed the bridge and drove to Thorn. This is a very ancient place. The original of the painted standing figure in the north aisle of Ottery church – John Cook of Thorn – lived here. The house is all modernised: but the old coat of arms cut in stone is over the door. – See Jull 23. 1874.

We then drove home.

Mon. July 2. 1877. – Went into Exeter for the day. Met Miss Venn of Payhembury at the Junction, with two young ladies. Got into the same carriage and travelled with them to Exeter. Returned in the same evening. Mrs. Strong cut her throat in the garden at new Cotmaton, walked in and died.

Tu. 3. – Lord Sidney Osboune asked me to go again with him to Dorsetshire, and we travelled there to-day, and followed the same route as last year, June 23.

W. 4. – Embarked in the Cutter at 11A.M.Beat up to Swanage. Stone quarries all round here. Went ashore. Lunched at the Royal Victoria Hotel. Sir John D’ Oyley, Bt came in, whom his Lordship knew. Mr. Bernard of Luppit and Cottington, Sidmouth, married Mifs D’Oyley. Came back. Admired chalk cliffs, sailed up Poole harbour before we landed.

Th. 5. – Embarked at 2, and back at 6. Made a sketch of the house.

Fri. 6. – Embarked at 2. Went E, past Bournemouth to Christchurch Head and back.

Sat. 7. – Out again. Went west off St. Aldhelm’s Head, past Swanage, and returned .I could see the cromlech called the Agglestone, on the hill above Studland.

Sun. 8. Walked along the sand to the point, where the new houses for the men in the employ of the Preventive Service are now being built where we got in a boat, and were rowed by young Stokes across to Branksea Island and went to church. The service was performed by the vicar of Parkstone to-day, and the Lessons read by young Bentinck, son of the owner of the island, a young gentleman who I hope is not going into the church. We returned the same way.

M. July 9. 1877. – Embarked, and hove to off Studland. Walked to the village and church. Nave, tower, and chancel Early English. Massive buttresses outside.

Tu. 10. – Took a walk on the sound. Embarked at 2P.M. and cruised off Swanage. Returned, and took a sail up and down Poole harbour. Landed at seven, and walked to the house called the Hive.

Wed. 11.- His Lordship and myself returned in the same carriage to Sidmouth.


Th. July 12. . The Russian and Turkish war goes on.The Russian invasion on the Eastern side in Armenia, between Mount Ararat and the Black sea, does not prosper. On the other side, the Russians are crossing the Danube at several places in great force; and surprise has been felt that the Turks have not resisted them more determinedly, but perhaps they did not expect them at those places. Either by boat or by pontoon bridges they have crossed at Ibraila, Silistrin, Sinnitza, Nicopolis, and others. Rustchac and Giwgero are bombarding each other. It was thought that the Turks would make a great stand at the Balkan mountains, for that is the last barrier; but the Russians have taken Tirnova without much opposition, and have even sent a few troops through one of the passes. It is not the policy of England to let Russia take Constantinople, and our Mediterranean fleet has been sent to the entrance of Dardanelles, I am anxious to know what has become of Dr Cullen, formally of Sidmouth, and his second wife Miss Jane Fellowes, daughter of the late Vicar of Sidbury, whom I knew well. For some years they have been living at Kustendzie; but it is said that the inhabitants fled on the approach of the Russians – Nov. 3.

Fri. 20. – To-day some 800 children from the schools at Sherborne came over with a good band and their teachers to enjoy a holyday. They swarmed on the esplanade and on the shingle, and paddled in the water, and went out in boats, and had their tea in the open air in the hollow at the south-east corner of the Fort Field.

Sat. 21. – Mr Perceval, now staying at Sidmouth, has learnt that Mr. W. Toby has sent down from London a bronze celt and a broken piece to his sister Mrs Drake of Lower Pinn Farm, Otterton. We walked over and procured them for the Exeter Museum. The story is that they were found “on Woodbury Hill”, or ”Under Woodbury Hill”, but when we showed them to Mr. Heineken, he recognised them as what he had seen at the late General Lee’s at Ebford near Topsham. Mathew Lee, the grandfather, got four from the barrow at Lovehayne in 1763, and took them to Ebford. Soon after they were missed from Ebford, these same were found in the hands of some workmen near Colyton Rawleigh, and one of them called Toby, as I was told at the time, had taken them to London, when he had settled as a baker. This is several years ago. I got his address and wrote to him, but at that time he would not part with them. Mr Heineken saw them in the Summer House, where other curiosities were kept, and there is very little doubt that they were purloined by some workmen. – See Nov. 22. 1861, for Mr. Snooks’ palstave, found in the tumulus at the same time. In my MS. Hist. of Sidmouth, I. 78. These things are alluded to. See, also Trans. Dev. Aso. II. 647, for the quotation from Mr. Matthews Lee’s Diary, given by Mr.Heineken.

Tu. July 24. 1877. – Packed up in a box 100 ancient worked flints which I had found on the hills during the last seven years ,and sent them to Mr D.Urban the Curator of the Exeter Museum. Also three spindle whorles – one found by myself, and two by Mr. Ede of Lansdowne. He wished to arrange them at once, as the members of the British Association have been invited to visit Exeter after the Plymouth meeting next month.

Mon. July 30. – So Miss Price has accomplished her walking feat.


Went from Sidmouth to attend the meeting of the Devonshire Afsociation at Kingsbridge.

61 Onwards POH

Letter from the Devon and Exeter Albert Memorial museum and free Library

Exeter 26th July 1877

My Dear Sir

I have safely received your box of worked flints and am very much obliged for them. They will be very useful to me – I am particularly pleased with the Spindle whorls for we had none in this museum. I regret that I was prevented writing to thank you yesterday but the arrival of some relations must be my excuse

Yours very truly

N. M. Urban Curator

P.O. Hutchinson Esq.

Kingsbridge 1877.

Tu.July.31. 1877. – The business began to-day. there was a committee meeting, a Reception, a Council meeting, a General meeting- according to rule. At six I dinned with Mr. And Mrs. Harrell, at Buttville, a quarter of a mile SE of Kingsbridge: there were 18 at Dinner. At 8 we went to the Town Hall, to hear the new President read his inaugural Address.

Wed. Aug. 1. – Council meeting, and then the reading of the Papers in the Town Hall. At one there was a Luncheon daily provided for the members, by the inhabitants of Kingsbridge. At six we dined at the King’s Arms Hotel. There was a large party and speechifying abundant. Lady Bowring, who was a Miss Castle of Bristol, and widow of the late Sir John Bowing, made a very good speech. We then adjourned to the Vicarage, and had tea and coloured lamps on the lawn. I found out the Rev. A. N. Hingston, the vicar of Kingsbridge, is a nephew of the late Dr. Hingston of Plymouth, who married a daughter of Sir W. Parker, my mother’s brother.

Th. Aug. 2. – Reading papers. One paper was on White Ale, and I had some white ale at Luncheon. I brought forward my Scheme for a History of Devonshire, and exhibited the four 4 to volumes of my History of Sidmouth, which I offered as my contribution, and urged other people to endeavour also to undertake the histories of their several parishes. I got great praise for my work, though the last volume is not finished. At five we started in a variety of vehicles – I counted 13 – to make an excursion south westward.

We stopped at Bowringsleigh, a fine Elizabethan mansion, which we examined inside and out. Then we proceed to Thurlestone, looked at the church, and found tea and cakes and wine awaiting us on the vicarage lawn. I found out that the vicar, the Rev. Peregrine Ilbert, was at Tiverton school, and I knew him when I was a boy. His wife was Miss Rose Owen, whose family I remember at Tiverton. We then went on to the bay, and looked at Thurlestone Rock, here again.

Kingsbridge 1877

There is a patch of the New red sandstone here in the Devonian slate. Mounting the carriages, we veered about on our return, and at 8 in the evening arrived at the Vicarage of West Alvington, where the Archdeacon and Mrs. Earle received us, as the shades of evening were closing in. Here there was a splendid supper laid out in a large tent. There could not have been less than 200 people on the ground. Among the crowd on the gravel walk in front of the house, I nearly stepped upon a lady’s brooch. I picked it up, and deliberated how I could find the owner among so many strangers. I took I to the Archdeacon, who was settling himself at the head of the supper table. He proclaimed aloud what had been picked up, and the owner was soon found.

Before we left, a large paper fire balloon was sent off, with a magnesium light suspended from it.

Fir. Aug. 3. – This morning we started on a pleasant excursion down the arm of the sea called Salcombe river.. The tide flows up to Kingsbridge, and we took the steamer at high water a little below. There was scarcely standing room on board. The views down the estuary were delightful. The vessels lying off Salcombe were all dressed in flags. WE passed the ruins of Salcombe Castle a mile below at the entrance, a half a mile in from the sea. It looks like the outer wall of an octagonal building of no great size – a mere shell – half covered with ivy. It is built on a ledge of rocks at the foot of the cliff on the west side of the harbour, and when anybody is on the edge of the cliff, they could throw a stone into it: and yet Cromwell was four months taking it. [See Miss S.P. Fox’s Hist. of Kingsbridge.] Half our passengers landed on the west shore below the Castle, at a place called the South Sands, but the rest remained on board, to go outside and look at the coast, First we looked at Bolt Head; then we turned eastward to Prawle Point, though the end of which there is a hole, something like Thurlestone Rock; then we got a sight of the Start Point, further east, with Light House, and Fog Horn; and then we returned and disembarked at South Sands. The sea was rough outside, and most of us unwell. There was a splendid cold collation, laid out up the grafs and rocks, which we enjoyed amazingly. As to the geological construction of the district here.


I may observe that this promontory is cut across by a line running east and west just above Salcombe: the strata north of that line consists of slate, but much more contorted and tilted up on end; whilst south of that line the slate appears to have been subjected to intense heat, being vitreous, glistening, metallic, and interstratified with great quantities of quartz rock. I brought away specimens, took a hasty sketch of Salcombe Castle, and then we started to return. The tide was low, but rising; and about halfway up we stuck on a sand bank. In half an hour we floated off, and by seven we were in Kingsbridge.

Sat. Aug. 4. At noon I got a good 4 horse coach, and proceeded nine miles north to the rail. The road is hilly but good. It crosses the Avon – which they pronounce Ah-von-then through Loddiswell, and attains very high ground. Took the rail through Totnes, Newton, Teignmouth to Dawlish where I stopped.

Wed. Aug. 8. – After a week of beautiful weather at Kingsbridge, this is very wet. I hear that a coal vessel anchored off Sidmouth, was in such danger from the gale of wind and heavy sea yesterday, expecting her cables to part, that she hoisted signals of difstress. The Sidmouth Lifeboat went off and brought her creir on shore. She however rode out the gale, and they went out to her again.

Fri. Aug. 10. – Went from Dawlish to Sidmouth

Sat. Aug. 11. – Called at Cottington and saw Mifses Osborne

Tu. Aug. 21. – The Cottage garden show took place to-day at Knowle, at Mr. Thornton’s.

Mon. Aug. 27. – Went out after breakfast this morning, along the beach under Peak Hill, where I have been several times lately, to look for some specimens of celestine or sulphate of strontia for the Exeter Museum. I have some, but I want to find better.

Mon. Sep. 3.- Spent the evening with Mr. And Mrs. Veral, and their friends at Seafield, and listened to some very nice singing and playing.

Tu. Sep. 4. Started in a boat with same party as last night to go to Beer. The sea quite calm, and an easy breeze from the NW. The weather was bright and beautiful, and the sail most enjoyable.

September; 1877.

The variety of colour in the cliffs between Sidmouth and Beer cannot be exceeded; and this arises from the red, crimson, and purple of the Red marl; the brown, gray, buff, orange and yellow of the Green sand Formation; and the white and the light black of the chalk. To these may be added the greens and the approaching autumnal tints of autumn. I enjoyed my examination of the cliffs, & remarked the dip of the red and yellow strata eastward under Beer Head, and rising again near Seaton. On approaching Beer we saw several pleasure parties in boats on the water. We landed, and soon after we mounted the white cliff on the east to enjoy the view. From this place the point towards Beer Head looks something like a person sitting with their feet in the water: but we remarked as we passed it the head looks very tottering, as if it would soon fall off. The new church at Beer is progressing, the walls being 12 or 14 feet high. We had our sandwiches & claret on the hill, and took a ramble before we descended to the beach. A lady and gentleman of the party, with their three children, have recently come from New Zealand, across the Pacific, and the Continent of North America, and gave us some interesting descriptions of their long and varied journey. I steered coming home, the wind rather against us.

Fri. Sep. 21. 1877. Called on Dr. Radford at Sidmouth. He showed me a specimen of the new glass – a blown vase or basin, exhibiting a beautiful variety of prismatic colours, and also another, which though clear, looks at a little distance as if it were silvered. He also showed me a portfolio of Albert Durer’s engravings. The nude figures represented by him are disgusting from their fat, flabby, and ungainly shapes. The women of Rubens are fat and vulgar enough, but those of Albert Durer are truly laughable


Fri. Sep. 21. – Took a walk on the beach eastward over to Hook Ebb and back. My object was to examine the cliffs and see whether any celestine could be met with, as on the western side of the town. I met with hollow nodules full of crystals of carbonate of lime, but they had no Celestine in them. I do not however, despair. Above the horizon of the carbonate of lime nodules, I met with a line of water stones with ripple marks, and pseudomorphous crystals of salt. A mile and three quarters east, at the rocks called Hook Ebb, the gypsum dips down to the beach. The strata containing the gypsum occupy 60 to 80 feet in thickness. The gypsum is crystallised in sheets, occupying the cracks in the red marl, running either horizontally, perpendicularly, or diagonally. Finding a spring of water issuing from the cliff, I sat on a rock and eat my sandwiches. When under the high part of Salcombe Hill I saw a rabbit lying on the beach bleeding at the mouth, as if recently dead; and not far from it another, which I thought dead, though when I approached it, it moved its eyes, but it died soon after. I suppose they had fallen over the cliff. I got back to the Old Chancel by five, having been out seven hours.- See Nov. 17.

Th. Sep. 27. – At Mr Heineken’s this evening. Observing Mars and Saturn, conveniently situated, as regards his drawing room window, he got out his astronomical telescope, and we examined them for a considerable time. At the south pole of Mars a white spot or patch is distinctly visible. This, we are told by astronomers, is supposed to be ice or snow. If so, the drift of the argument would be, that the climate there would be pretty much the same as it is with us. As for Saturn, he is turning the edge of his ring towards us, so that it begins to look a little more than a line of light. I suppose that wonderful ring will one day break up, and perhaps add to the number of his satellites. – On the 3rd of November they were close together; only an angle of eleven minutes between them, and looked beautiful. They could both be seen in the field of the telescope together.


Mon. Oct. 1. – My tenant Mr. Merrington, having given up No. 4,Colburg Terrace Sept 29 I must have it “done up”, as they phrase it, and look for another tenant.

Tu. Oct. 2. – The Russians were prevailing when I alluded to them on July 12, All at once however, the Turks seemed to arouse themselves to a sense of danger, and they have not only fought very determinedly but very successfully. The Russians have been beaten by them over and over again, and they are worse off now than they were three months ago. The destruction to life caused by the precision of modern artillery and modern rifles, is something extraordinary. I have seen it stated that with “old brown Refs” as the old muskets was called, a soldier was supposed to fire away his weight in lead, for every man he knocked over. It is not so now. The great bone of contention of late has been the town of Pleuvna, S.W. of Nicopolis, where the most desperate fighting has taken place. The Russians have assaulted it six or seven times, and have been beaten off with lofs. They own to 6000 wounded on Sep. 11.and 7000 the day after: killed not stated. In Armenia the Turks have been equally victorious. The barbarities perpetrated on both sides have been most inhuman. There are a good many Europeans Officers in the Turkish armies. The Russian Generals have proved themselves very inefficient, and the prestige of the Russian armies has been swept away. It is supposed however that Russia will in the need prevail, merely from numbers. Seeing no end to the struggle, each side is preparing for a winter campaign. England, and some other European nations, have been talking about intervention, with a view to bring about peace before winter; but both parties are too proud to listen as yet.

Mon. 8. – Took another walk under Salcombe Hill to look for Celestine, but was unsuccessul. Had a long chat with a gentleman who was fishing for bass and conger eels from the shore. He had recently caught some there, weighing from 10 to 14lbs.


Tu. Oct. 9. Went to the dinner of the Agricultural Association at the London Hotel. Nearly 200 people there; amongst whom Sir Lawrence Palk, and Sir John Kennaway, M.P.s, for this division of the county, the Hon. Bernard Coleridge, Mr. Haycock of Belmont, Mr.Bayley, J.P. of Cotford, Dr. Pullin, etc,etc

Sat. Oct. 13. – A most extraordinary catch of sprats. A number of boats came in loaded till they were ready to sink. The weather fine and calm. Quantities were send away to the London and other markets. Thousands or millions also came in and the beach was covered at the water’s edge. People scooped up any amount they wanted, and they were retailed about the town and neighbourhood at a penny a quart. I dined off them and they were very fine and good.

Sun. Oct. 14. – Weather mild and fine, and a strong south wind.

Mon. 15. – The wind increased last night to one of the strongest gales I can ever remember. The roaring of it kept me awake for two or three hours. I was apprehensive lest any of the large terra cotta chimney pots on the Old Chancel might be blown over, but they stood well. The salt air from the sea has cut and blighted the vegetation and the trees every where, and several trees have blown down. Slates and broken chimney tops lie about the streets every where ; and most of the old thatched houses about the town have been stripped and unrobed. A vessel has been driven on the shore a mile eastward. I walked over this afternoon to look at her, and make a sketch (in my sketchbook) but under difficulties, the wind being strong and cold, and showers frequent. She is a round –stern schooner Teignmouth with pipe clay, bound up channel.She lies knocked about in the wash of the sea, and will soon go to pieces; for her planks are opening, and the lumps of pipe clay are coming through a hole in her side.

She becomes a wreck. Her hull and lower masts were sold by auction for £20, and her rigging and stores in various lots. She was called the Sarah of Yarmouth

Sidmouth. Oct. 1877

Th. Oct. 18. – The ceremony of opening Exeter Cathedral after its repairs and restoration by Sir Gilbert Scott, was held yesterday and to-day. There are some who run after ecclesiastical displays, and delight in seeing troops of clergy in surplices and “vestments” trying to imitate in an English church, all the gorgeous ritual of Rome.

Yesterday the Prince of Wales went down to Dartmouth, and took his two eldest boys, Prince Albert Victor, born Jan. 8. 1864, and Prince George, born June 3, 1865, and put them on board the Britannia Training ship, moored in the harbour, and entered them as naval Cadets. I once went all over this fine old three-decker, so different in appearance, and so much more picturesque, than the low and ugly ironclads. Wonderful is the revolution that has taken place in naval architecture.

Sat. Nov. 3. – During the past few weeks the Russians have been turning the fortunes of war in their favour. In Armenia, they have taken Kars, and are befseging Erllown. In Bulgaria they go on slowly ,and having entirely invested Pleuna, will probably take it before long. England, and other European nations, have made attempts to intercede, for the purpose of brining about peace; but neither party will listen to terms yet. – July 12. 1877. Dec. 11.

Mon. Nov. 5. – A number of lighted tar barrels and fire balls were carried about the esplanade but the police prevented their being brought into town. Later in the evening however, the police were attacked, and roughly handled, when two or three arrests with some difficulty were made. The offenders were afterwards brought before the magistrates, and heavily fined.

Sat. Nov. 17. – My birthday. The day being clear and fine, I started immediately after breakfast on the beach under Peak Hill, to look for some good specimens of celestine for the Exeter Museum. I have got one or two pretty good of the light brown crystals, but I cannot get any of the blue to satisfy me.


I know they are to be met with, for last summer Mr. Perceval showed me a very pretty specimen. He procured it from some fallen masses near Windgate, where the Celestine band rises higher than I can reach. Perhaps I must wait till another fall of cliff takes place.


Tu. Nov. 27. – And a fall took place about this time: and I have got some bluish. I have been mapping the sea face of the cliffs lately, to see in what order various strata lie, and the small sections above may give some indication. The celsetine in this locality is mostly in tabular or flat crystals, some of a blue or greenish blue, and others a light brown. I have procured some almost colourlefs, and nearly as transparent as window glass.

A few feet below the celestine band in May, 1878, I discovered the fossil stems. – See Trans. Dev. Ass. XI.

idmouth. Dec. 1877

Th. Dec. 6. – Finished making the Index to Vol. IX., of the Transactions of the Devonshire association, and sent it to the Rev. W. Harpley, the Secretary.

Tu. Dec. 11. – So the Russians have taken Plevna – a small place but important in a strategic point of view, and so the Turks had strongly fortified it. For the last month or two it has been closely invested on all sides, and failing provisions with an outbreak of fever, compelled the Turks to make a desperate effort to break through, but they were overpowered by numbers. Osman Pasha, the commander in Chief there, has proved himself to be a brave man and a great General. The Russians themselves, to whom he was obliged to surrender, expressed high admiration of him. The event took place yesterday. the Turks lost about 40,000 men killed, wounded, and prisoners, 400 guns, and everything the place contained. We anxiously look for the next move. – Nov. 3.

Th. Dec. 13. Temple Bar, London long condemned, was taken in hand yesterday, and preparations made to remove it. I hope it will be carefully re-erected some where else.

Sat. 15. – The herrings have been most abundant during the last 2 or 3 weeks, and the papers say that our fishermen have taken upwards of 200,000. The railroad carries the greater portion off to London. They have been selling here at two to three shillings a hundred and retailed and brought to your door for sixpence a dozen. I have nearly lived upon them for ten days. They are going up Channel, and will not last much longer. The migration of the herring, like that of the swallow, is very wonderful.

Fir. Dec. 21. – Shortest day. In clear weather the first appearance or glimmer of daylight is before seven and it is scarcely quite dark by half past five in the evening. Standing on the Esplanade, I remarked that the sun now goes down at a point nearly half way out between High Peak Hill and Otterton Point.

Tu. Dec. 25. – Christmas Day. Rather fine, and not cold enough to freeze – indeed we have had no frost this autumn yet. The parish church was tolerably well filled. This evening I dinned with the Buttemers (pronounced But – ter- mere), at the Elms, their house on the west of All Saints Church. When I was a child at Tiverton, Mrs. Buttemere family, the Harsdons, lived there; so the acquaintance is rather a long one. I doubt whether dinner parties, even with old friends, is the proper mode of spending Christmas day. People say – oh, but it is a season of joy. So it is; but what sort of joy? It is the anniversary of the birth of the saviour of mankind. A season of solemn and religious joy; but is that consistent with feasting on turkey, roast beef, plum pudding and mince pies – and peradventure drinking a glass or two more wine than might accord with strict temperance – and winding up with whist, or loo or amateur theatricals, or the mummers, a blind man’s buff, or any game you please?

Th. Dec. 27. – Spent the evening with Mr. Heineken. Amongst other things we set about making improvements in his kaleidoscope – a child’s toy, generally so accounted but which, by introduction of glass figures of people of different countries, of trees, animals. a church window or two, or a house, can be made amusing to children of larger growth – more so than I had expected. We also examined through the microscope, a microscopic slide given him by Lord Sidney Osborne, continuing the Lord Prayer in the 51.000th of an inch in area, which is dividing the length of an inch into 226, nearly. The square patch of writing on the glass was quite invisible to the naked eye, but the writing clearly readable in the microscope. This recalls some former minute writing to my memory.

Sat.Dec. 29. – Dinned at Cottington with Lord Sidney Osborne, and the Misses Osborne.

Mon. Dec. 31. – Last day of the year. The morning was calm and bright, and the sun shinning beautifully, so I took a walk after breakfast on the beach over under Peak Hill to the commencement of Windgate to look again for a good specimen of Celestine of a blue, the brown being common. In seeking for Celestine I was at the foot of Peak Hill, but I recently took a pleasant walk over Peak Hill, and then along the hollow between, where the road was lost when the earth fell away to the beach, (in April 1811 I have been told) and then to the top of High Peak. The Ordnance Survey makes this hill 513ft high, reduced to mean tide at Liverpool. From this place, looking westward, I made the sketch of the coast, as shown above.

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