POH Transcripts - 1882

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Sun. Jan.1. 1882.—Whatever hopes we may entertain for the new year, it seems that every year that passes, generally goes through pretty much the same routine of events, as the preceding ones.


Sat. Jan.7.—Finished reading an amusing and curious book on the subject of earth worms, by Charles Darwin.  The large share that worms have in the formation of the bed of fine mould that covers the surface of the earth, hitherto ascribed to geological changes, time, and to the solvent powers of the acids in the atmosphere and in water; and their incessant labours in ventilating the subsoil, and turning it over for the benefit of the agriculturalist, are facts very striking, and well worth studying.  [Margin sketch of earth worm.]  I gathered the following condensed facts out of the book.  – Worms burrow down deep in winter, and in very dry weather; more than six feet, some times.  Their holes are commonly not quite perpendicular.  In frosty weather they hibernate, and more than one will lie in a cavity at the bottom.  The two sexes are developed in the same individual, nevertheless they pair.  They are omnivorous, eating leaves, plants, animal substances, dead worms, and swallow great quantities of earth out of which they extract nutriment.  They have usually a number of little pebbles in their gizzard.  They draw leaves and other substances into their holes a few inches down, and lie generally a little below them.  They can turn head downwards in their holes, and the tail end ejects the swallowed earth, making heaps.  They breathe through the skin.  They have no eyes, but they are sensitive to light, touch, and change of temperature.  They often leave their holes and night, and creap about.  From 36 to 40 worm holes have been counted in a square yard.  They bring the under soil to the top:  when spread to the thickness of from one to two tenths per annum, and amounting to 18 tons per acres.  Some species have more gizzards than one.


Th. Jan. 19.—The barometer has been high of late, and to-day reached 30.97.


Sat. Jan. 21.—A telegram arrived here saying the balloon and the body had been found in Spain.  Soon afterwards it was announced that the report was entirely without foundation.  Dec. 13.  [newspaper cutting attached]


Sat. Jan. 28.—Inquest at Sidford on on the body of Harriet Wellsman, who died rather suddenly, from natural causes.


Wed. Feb. 1.—Last year we were all buried in snow at this period of the year.  It has now been beautiful and wonderfully mild since Christmas.  since October.


Sat. Feb. 4. – Nearly finished electrotyping from seals on old letters, soldering on handles, tinning, (boiling with tin filings and bitartrate of potash,) and making labels, a number of seals of family coat armour, to distribute among my relations, some of them not knowing what arms they have inherited.

This evening finished writing an article on THE SITE OF MORIDUNUM, for the next July meeting of the Devonshire Association at Crediton.  This day received 700 copies of a map from London to accompany it, done from my drawing.


Tu. Fe. 7. 1882.—Parliament meets to-day.  A good deal of fighting is expected.  A waggon loaded with straw, standing in the yard behind the Anchor Inn, near the Market Place, and at the lower end of Old Fore Street, was found to be on fire.  Men rushed out from the Inn.  Some proposed to unload the straw, and save the waggon from being burnt.  Others were afraid that this would scatter the fire about, and endanger the houses, most of which at that spot were old, and covered with thatch.  At last it was decided to sieze hold of the shafts and drag it all out.  This they did.  They drew it through the archway into the street – then passed the Market House out upon the beach, on the broad part of the road opposite Marlborough Place, and there unloaded it, throwing all the blazing bundles about, where they burnt out.  It was a fine night, and many of the townspeople ran down to see the fire.  Suspicion suggests that it was not accidental.  £10 reward to find the incendiary.


Sidmouth, 1882.


Th. Feb.16. – George Abbott, overcome by domestic troubles, hanged himself in a stable loft in the town.


Fri. 17.—Great dissatisfaction in the town, because the Board of Trade has put forward a claim to the Foreshore, and has forbidden all persons from taking any sand or gravel from the beach.  This was attempted some years ago, about 1870, but caused such a storm that it was dropped.  Curiously enough, the Trustees of the Manor have immediately put up a counter claim, and have warned all persons not to take any sand or gravel from the beach without paying them, (the Trustees,) a shilling a load.


Th. Feb. 23.—Bradlaugh the professed atheist has been expelled the House of Commons by 297 votes to 80 – majority 217.


Fri. Feb. 24.—Amongst the multitude of coins of all nations and of all ages, from the Bactrian coin, (given to the Exeter Museum,) to the present time, no half-pennies have ever turned up, except the two annexed silver pieces.  [sketch]  They were found and brought to me in Feb. 1879, but they have been lying by.  The weight of the upper one is     grains, and of the lower      grains.  I shall record them in the 1882 Vol. of the Trans. Dev. Assoc, and give them to the Exeter Museum.


Sat. Feb. 25.—My cousin the Rev. William Hutchinson, Vicar of Blurton, co. Staff. and his wife, came to Sidmouth for a short visit.  They brought down a circular medallion in plaster, representing the head of Selwyn, Bishop of Lichfield, in high relief, nearly life size, for me, done by their son Allen, who has been a few months studying in London.  It shews great talent.


Tu. Feb. 28.—The end of Mr. Powell’s case.  They were slow to believe that he was dead, but last night issued a new writ.  Dec. 13, et seq. [newspaper cutting attached]


Wed. Mar. 1.—Gave my cousin, [Feb. 25] half a dozen electrotype seals of arms and crests, mentioned Feb.4.  Also two of the same (all I have finished), for my other cousin, J.R.H. who came here Sep.6. 1881.


Th. Mar. 2.—Gave him a rattan cane walking-stick with a gold head, with traces of the Parker crest on the top of it, and a boxwood stick, on the head of which I have carved the H. arms.  He and his wife left this afternoon for Exeter.


Fri. Mar. 3.—The Prospectus relating to the sale and the conversion of the Knowle estate is now out.  Great are the changes I have seen!  For 40 years it was a show place, while it was in the possession of the late Mr. Fish.  Mr. Manson, who had it next, made considerable alterations.  Mr. Thornton altered still more: bought a great deal of land, till it amounted to 40 acres:  bought Mrs. Carew’s place called Ayshford, at the Sidmouth end, swept it away, and build the lower Lodge:  built the Upper Lodge:  added immensely to the cottage, (some said the first contract was £8.000,) laid out the grounds, and over planted them.  It all cost £50.000.  I think that since the eldest son has had it, £30.000 was bid at an auction, and refused.  It has now gone for £21.000.  The following are some of the heads of the Prospectus.  The Knowle Hotel and Bath Company. Capital £25.000. in 5000 shares of £5 each.  Also £7000 Debenture Bonds of £100 each at 4 per cent, being part of £12.000.  Directors – Captain W. Barttelot (who married Miss Balfour, sister to the future Lord of the Manor) and three others.  The estate now contains 36 acres.  The Company have bought it for £21.000, and will have possession at Lady Day. – Mar. 14.


Tu.7.—Intending to electrotype a few more seals, made a glass cell by scratching a ring and then cutting a quart bottle in half with the point of a red-hot poker.


Tu. Mar.7.—The man Bradlaugh has been re-elected for Northampton; and last night he was again refused admission into the House.  The numbers were these – For – 257:  against, 242: - majority, 15.  This was, whether he should be allowed to make an affirmation.


Wed. 8.—The annexed cutting [attached] shews that a new election took place yesterday in the room of Mr. Powell.

The weather continues very mild and fine.  This afternoon some friends came to see me, and I took them up to the top of the Old Chancel, where we enjoyed ourselves on the leads for an hour, entertained by the view, using the telescope, chatting, and partaking of cake and cherry-brandy.


Fri.10.—Attended a Burial Board meeting.


Tu. 14.—Three days’ sale going on at Knowle.  Took a walk up around the grounds.  The Fountain and the great blocks of stone that were collected on the neighbouring hills make up the prettiest spot.  The rest is so very artificial.  The grounds are over planted, and the shrubs are now growing large, and are choaking one another.  There is a fine araucaria near the Lower Lodge, formerly in the grounds of Ayshford, and two or three splendid rhododendrons of great size.  Sidmouth people are not very sanguine that the new Hotel will answer.


Tu. 21.—Strong wind from the NW.  Fine, with heavy passing clouds; and one of them gave us for half an hour, a thick fall of hail and snow, which soon thawed.  Though the sun is hot, the upper air is very cold.  I think this is the only snow we have had all through this remarkably mild winter.


W.22.—Through a combination of circumstances, promoted by the joint action of the Western Powers, Turkey, with many wry faces, and much delay, has quietly resigned Thessaly to Greece.  Everything seems to suggest the fact, that the Turks are destined eventually to be driven out of Europe.


Th. Mar. 23.—The house called Somerden, with an acre of land, at the left top of the Elysian Fields, was sold at auction for £1100.  It has passed from Andros to Guille.


Sat. 25. – Lady Day.  At a Vestry meeting.  So full that we adjourned to the large room at the London Hotel.  There was much parish work to do.

The great elephant Jumbo, at the Zoological Gardens, London, has been sold to Americans, report says for £2000, and is to be transported to America.  Being so well known to the public, great regret was felt, and a strong effort made to prevent it.  His cage or box has been made by Mr. Harry Hems of Exeter.  The elephant has been got on board, and sails to-day.


Sat. Ap.8.—Jumbo has arrived safe in America.


W.Ap.12.—They (the Manor people) have pulled down an old house in the middle of þe town, at þe corn. of Fore Street and Russell Street, long inhabitd. by George Russell a Baker.  [sketch map]  They came upon an ancient floor of the shank bones of oxen, or some large animal, driven into þe ground on end, so as to form a pavement.  This was discovd. under 2 separate lime-ash floors.  They are building a new house there out of red brick.


Sat. Ap. 22.—Strong gale suddenly sprung up from the SE.  Fishing boats out.  Running for the shore, James Smith and companion capsized.  With some difficulty escapd drowng.


Tu. 25.—During 8 weeks, endg Ap. 20, no deaths have occurrd eith in þe Sidmouth or Salcombe District, þo þe population is between 4 & 5000.


Sat. Ap. 29.--  Strong gale of wind from þe S. veerg W.  Blew off half an elm tree in my hedge. 19 trees at Bickwell,  numbers in the neighbourhood, & damage done to houses and trees all over the S. of Engd.


Mon. May 1.—Beautiful weather, but the air cold in þe shade.  Swallows have been with us for a fortnight, and the cuckoo þe last few days.  Left off fires, except in þe evening.

Sidmouth. May 1882.


Sat. May 6.—Mr. Edward Chick, of High Street, Sidmouth, has caught a trout in the Otter weighing five pounds and a half.  Length 21½ inches.


Sun. 7.—Lord Frederick Cavendish, second son of the Duke of Devonshire, just appointed chief Secretary for Ireland, only arrived in Dublin about one o’clock yesterday, was murdered by assassins soon after seven.  He and Mr. Burke, the Under Secretary, were walking in the Phoenix Park  - four men on a car drove up – jumped off – stabbed them many times, leaving them dead on the ground – jumped up – and drove off.

Under Mr. Gladstone’s government, Ireland is worse than the most savage portions of central Africa.  Just before he took office, when addressing the electers in Midlothian on the 31st of March 1880, he said of Ireland – “There was an absence of crime and outrage, and a general sense of comfort and satisfaction, such as was unknown in the previous history of the country.”  See Times, Ap.1.p.7.col.3.

A reward of £10,000 has been offered by the government;  but whoever should give information, would probably not live many hours.


M.8. – Finished Edith O’Gorman’s “Convent Life Unveiled.”  It reminds me of the similar experiences of Maria Monk.  There ought to be periodical visitors to all these places.   – see Nov. 8.1882.


Tu.9.—Thomas Wilmot, a mason my mother used to employ 30 years ago, died in a short time of apoplexy.

Thomas Irish, a man who had been sent by the brewers with ale over to the Yeomanry now exercising on Black Hill near Exmouth, was on the return journey this evening.  The horse and cart were met coming leisurely down Aylesbear Hill into Newtonpoppleford, but without a driver.  His body was found in the road, quite dead.  Top heavy?


Tu. May 16.—Drove out to Core Hill and called on Captain Christie and his niece Miss Steinman.  He is a rose fancier, and cultivates quantities of them.  Went up and had a look at them.  Beautiful weather.  A hot sun, but a rather cold north-east wind.  Drove back.


Wed.May 17.—There was a small eclipse of the sun between 6 & 7, but my vision was eclipsed at the time, and I forgot all about it till after breakfast.

Some sailors brought me a curious fish to look at, which got entangled in a mackerel net.  [two sketches]  It was alive and in a very large tub of water.  They had never caught the like here before, and thought perhaps it was a southern fish from the coast of Spain or Portugal.  It was almost a half a yard long – very thick and heavy – of a red-brown or a purple colour – broad and flat at the bottom, the transverse section of the body being something like the figure at A – eye very prominent, like a red bead -  spines like a carp down the back, sides, and lower corners – and lumps or tubercles on the back, diminishing downwards.  The rough sketch mostly from memory.  There was a curious sucker at B, under the body, circular, about as large as a crown piece, between the pectoral fins, with a fringe round it.  The hinder end of which is seen hanging down at C.  – I believe a northern fish of Greenland, green when young.


Th.18.—To-day the Duke of Edinburgh goes out from Plymouth to “open” the new Eddystone Lighthouse.  It has been designed by J.N.Douglas, C.E.  Foundation stone laid Aug.19.1879: top stone June 1. 1881.  Cost £78,000.  Contains 4668 tons of masonry. Smeaton’s former one contained 988 tons, and 3 or 4 rooms one over another.  This new one has 6 or 7 rooms, with a tank of water, and also a tank for oil, with 2660 gallons in it.  The Plymouth people talk of re-erecting the old one on the Hoe, and it hope they will do it.


Fri. 19.—The fishermen brought a specimen of that hideous fish the Angler; but it was not so large as I have seen caught here.


Th.25.—Unhappy young man that I am, to get two invitations to dinner on the same day.  But the trial proved that it was not difficult to do.  Dined early with the Buttemers at the Elms; and late with the Hine-Haycocks at Belmont, where I met the party from Core Hill.


Sidmouth. 1882. Dawlish.


Sun. May 28. -- Whit Sunday.  At the parish church.  Stayed to the Sacrament.


Mon.29. -- Sidmouth is full of holiday people.  The Rev. Mr. Empson, from beyond Crediton, called, and lunched with me.  Had an afternoon tea at Hillsdon House with the Wrights.


Tu.30. – Dined at The Elms with Mr. and Mrs. Buttemer, and met the eldest and youngest sons, with their wives, who leave tomorrow.


Sat. June.3. – The Queen’s Birthday kept to-day.


Th. 8. -- Was with Mr. and Mrs. Hine-Haycock this forenoon to consult about a design for a summer-house, and went with them up the grounds by the brook, which they have made very pretty.


Mon.12. -- Went down to Dawlish for a few days.  Took my Emhydrite with me into Exeter.  [See back, Sep.26. 1881.]  I have intended it for Exeter Museum in Queen Street some day; but fearing lest it might get injured by any accident, I thought it better to deposit it there at once.  This therefore I did.  Mr. D’Urban, the Curator, then opened a case, and shewed me a number of the large palæolithic implements of flint and chert from the gravel pits at Broom near Axminster.  Their chief forms I give in te margin.  [sketches]  They range in size from 5, 6, 7, 8, to 9 inches long.  He told me they can only be procured now by paying a pound a piece or more to the finders.

Passing through Starcross, I observed the swan floating in the river [Aug.2. 1872.] and at Langstone Point I remarked that the head of the Elephant Rock is falling away very fast.  [Nov. 14. 1878.]


Tu.13. – A very strong cold north wind.


W. 14. – Still cold, with a hot sun.  Called on two or three friends.


Th.15. – Sauntered to the bathing Cove, originally I believe called the Bishop’s Parlour.  Some are not quite clear which really is the Bishop’s Parlour.  Came back.  Read the papers an hour in the reading room of the Ladies’ Bathing Pavilion on the beach.


Fri. 16. – At my suggestion the Vicar of Sidmouth, the Rev. H.G.J. Clements, and Mr. Hine-Haycock of Belmont, being Feofees of the Poor Lands, came over to look at the Higher Southwood estate of 51 acres, which they had not seen, but which I had long known.  The earliest mention of this place is in a deed of 3 Edw. 3, or 1329, in which, under the name Souwoda, it is bequeathed by Juliana, the widow of Adam Herbard.  £12 out of the rent has long been set aside to pay for the bread and wine used at the Communion in Sidmouth parish church, and the rest is given away to the poor at Easter.

I had a carriage at the Station, into which we got.  We drove out two miles: spent an hour walking over the land:  came back to my lodgings:  had roast lamb and gooseberry  pie:  sauntered about the beach:  and then took the train.  The weather was beautiful and very enjoyable.


Sat. June 17 1882. – I returned to Sidmouth to-day.


Th. 22. – Had an early dinner with Mrs. Davidson, her three children and the governess, at Sidholme, formerly Richmond Lodge, which her late husband bought of the Earl of Buckinghamshire, but to which she has made great additions.  There is a good copy of a nude group of children after Rubens in the dining room.  I guessed the  painter by the noses.  There are several good landscapes by our Devonshire painter Widgery.  She took me all over the house, and it is very beautiful certainly – herself the greatest ornament.

Had tea with Mr. Heineken.  Coming home at nine, the planet Venus shone out brightly in the clear north-west like a spark, though it was day light, and several swallows were flying about.


Fr. 23. – It was light enough in the evening, now at the summer solstice, to see to read and write in doors after the clock had struck nine.


M. 26. – The weather is very showery, unsettled, and chilly in the shade.  We are in the midst of the hay harvest, and it always grieves me to see the hay wetted, retarded, or spoilt.  Say not that other people’s hay is nothing to me.


Sidmouth, June & July, 1882.


Fri. June 30. 1882. – A very sultry summer day, with a copper colour sky, looking as if it might culminate in a thunder storm.  It all kept off however, and the haymakers in Great Blackmore Field, lying between the Old Chancel and All Saints Church, are busy making a large rick.


M. July 3. – The field between Coburg Terrace and the Old Chancel, was cut to-day.


Tu. 4. – My field, let to my butcher, lying on the north of the Old Chancel, cut to-day.


Fri. 7. – At a garden party at Mr. & Mrs. Wright’s, Hillsdon, olim Grinfield House.


S. 8. – As I was passing down the lane behind Coburg Terrace, some of the women living in the cottages were in a great fuss, when I saw a light yellow Canary bird pitched in the patch of one of the gardens.   It had first flown against the window, where it had seen some others in a cage inside.  After I saw it, it flew right away, and I thought it was gone; but it soon returned, and then flew into one of the open doors of a cottage – went into a cage and eat food.


Tu. 11. – Mr. & Mrs. Stirling, who were here in Sep. 1880, who live in the south during the cold weather, and who have recently left Nice, arrived here to-day, and I got lodgings for them at No. 2, Fortfield Terrace, where they had been before.


W. 12. – Terrible news from Egypt.  Our ships have knocked the batteries of Alexandria to pieces.  It is rather difficult to understand the cause of the quarrel.  For some time past the natives have been looking with a jealous eye at the number, and the business habits, and the comparative wealth of the Europeans, especially the English, to be found in Egypt.  The Kedive, the present ruler, under the Sultan, more enlightened than his people, would wish to educate them and enrich them, and it appears that they have threatened to depose him, because he favours foreigners.  Arabi, Pasha, has gained great power over the Egyptian army, and has become a military Dictator over the whole country.  A tumult and a massacre of Europeans took place in Alexandria a few weeks ago.  We sent out some ships to protect our interests:  the French, Italians, Germans, and Russians also sent ships.  The Sultan was requested to send ships and land forces, in order to put down the rebel Arabi, whom the Kedive himself could not manage.  He sent messages and a Commissioner, whom Arabi regarded not; but intimated to Europeans that he could manage h;is own affairs in Egypt, and did not want any interference.  The Sultan did virtually nothing.  We had now eight ironclads and five gunboats before Alexandria.  By the representatives of the several nations it was urged upon the Sultan to send forces and restore order, or they must.  It began to be suspected that he was conniving at the proceedings against foreigners.  It was discovered from the fleets that all the coast round Alexandria was being fortified by earthworks and batteries.  To this a protest was sent, and the work stopped.  It was seen that they had begun again, and were busy mounting guns.  Several thousand people fled on board the several ships for fear of indiscriminate massacre, and were sent to their various nationalities.  After various warnings, and ultimatum was sent on shore to say, that if the batteries were not surrendered in order to be dismantled, the ships would open fire upon them in so many hours named.  The English have great interests in Egypt, the passage of the Suez Canal being the chief.  The French and the other ships all drew off and put to sea.  The English opened fire soon after four on Tuesday morning the 11th. The power and the effect of the heavy guns of our ironclads had never been tried before.  The Invincible carries four guns of 81 tons each, with a shot weighing three quarters of a ton.  Nothing could resist this.  The batteries were pounded up in a short time.  A flag of truce was displayed from some of the buildings.  The firing ceased, to enquire what it meant.  The Turkish soldiers all fled away into the interior, having first let the convicts out of the hulks and the prisons, and they began to pillage the houses, and then set them on fire, so that Alexandria is now a heap of burnt ruins: - nevertheless we are excellent friends with the Sultan and the Kedive.  We had only five killed, and twenty-seven wounded.


Th. 13. –The hay in my field carried, but the weather has been wet at intervals.


Fri. 14. – Meeting of Burial Board.  Very little to do.


S. 15. – Florence and Catherine, daughters of my cousin W.H., Vicar of Blurton came, and stayed with the Stirlings.


M.17. – The annexed beautiful thin worked flints I copied from the originals, lent me by Mrs. Cowell, of the Grove: recently from the north of Ireland.  [page of sketches inserted.]


Sidmouth. July 1882.


Sat. July 22. – My cousins had tea with me in the Oak Room of the Old Chancel, after we had walked up the field, and after we had mounted on the flat top of the building, and sat talking whilst sitting on the leads.

Walking down the road before Alma Place, a man with a basket of eggs on his arm was walking in advance of me.  He had a huge black dog running before him.  A boy was driving a cow with her calf up from the town.   The cow made a run at the dog:  the dog ran behind the man’s heels for safety: the cow followed up the charge, and soon brought her horns to bear on the man’s shins before:  then the man began to caper and jump, and scatter the eggs about the road, and mash up the rest that remained in the basket. [sketch] Then the cow came on towards me, so I got into a doorway, not liking the appearance of things.  The neighbours came out to discuss the situation.  You can prosecute the owner of the cow and get damages.  No you can’t, you must prosecute the dog.  No you mustn’t, the dog must prosecute the cow.  I left affairs on the horns of a dilemma/cow.


M.24. – So the stolen body of the Earl of Crawford has been recovered last week.  Charles Souter, now in custody, saw four men carry something into the wood about 500 yards SW. of the mansion, and has given information.  The ground has been probed with an iron rod, and woollen fibre pulled up.  They dug, and found the body wrapped in a blanket, about two feet beneath the surface.  Having been embalmed, it is preserved.  [see Dec. 6, 1881.]

Took part in a carriage to go to Budleigh Salterton with Mrs. Stirling and my two cousins, and put the eldest en route to Exmouth.  Remained an hour or two and then drove back.


Tu. 25. – Afternoon party at Mr. & Mrs. Wrights’ at Hillsdon House.


Th. 27. – Made a cat’s ladder.  My black tom cat Robbie or Robert has now got three ladders at three different side of the Old Chancel, by which he can some in at the windows.


Sat. July 29. – My two cousins left, and Mr. Stirling and self walked up to the Station with them to see them off.

John Parsons, aged 73, fell from the top of a waggon load of hay at Sidbury, and pitching on his head, died soon after.


Th. Aug.3. – Mr. Stirling, and Dr. Pullin, and myself, were in the drawing room of No. 2, Fortfield Terrace talking, when I saw a large black setter dog jump out of the first floor window of the middle house, or No.2, of Denby Place, and come down upon the flag stones.  It is wonderful he was not killed.  Dr. Pullin saw it too.  The dog limped about for a few minutes, and then seemed to recover.  I learnt afterwards on enquiry, that he jumped out after a ball, with which the children of Col. Bolton were playing.


Sat. 5. – Mr. Matchwick, [Sept. 2, 1879] of the S. Kensington Museum, on a visit to Sidmouth, called, and shewed me a very pretty enhydrite, looking like ground glass, smaller and flatter than mine.  [Sep.26.1881.]  He got it for a sovereign.  He told me however, that he had heard of a case where so much as £12 had been given for one,  and of another case where £15 had been given.  He also shewed me the half of one that had been accidentally broken.  This is equally curious and as interesting  as the whole one, because it shews the inside: [sketch] and whereas the crystalization of the outside is of the concentric or Bekeite type, on the inside a number of little prisms are visible.  He also shewed me a cairngorm, having fluid inside, and a movable air bubble.  It was procured in Celone, and he got it for £3.  Likewise, a transparent and colourless crystal of quartz, also containing fluid towards the upper part, and a movable air bubble.  [sketch]


Aug. 1882.


Mon. Aug. 7. – Man nearly drowned whilst bathing, owing to cramp.  James Carnell jumped in with his clothes on, and saved him, when he was insensible.  Knowle Hotel opened.


Tu. 8. – Mr. & Mrs. Stirling left for London, and eventually to Naples for the winter.


Fr. 11. – Dined at the new Knowle Hotel with Mr. Winslow Jones of Exeter, who is staying there for a week – and he was the first visitor there, though others are now arriving.  What changes I have seen there to be sure!   In my childhood a shew place.  It was built about 1810 by Lord Le Despencer – belonged to Farquhar or Fauquier – to Fish, who for 40 years made a shew place of it – to Marson, who altered the grounds – to Thornton, who added greatly to the house, regardless of cost, and who increased the land to 40 acres – to his eldest son, who sold it six months ago to a Hotel Company.  May it thrive – of which the Sidmouth people have their doubts.  In the three drawing-rooms en suite, there are three white marble statuary mantel pieces.  I have been told they cost the late Mr. Thornton £200 apiece: and in the boudoir at the end there is a handsome one, said to have cost £350.  They are too good for a Hotel.  Better sell them.


Sat. 12. – Thunder storm.  One flash about 6.30 P.M. quite close.  It was like a 6-pounder close to one’s head, with volleys of musketry and more 6-pounders.  The electric telegraph at the post office ceased to work.


M.14. – Called at Mr. Heineken’s.  Met his daughter Mrs. Lloyd, and two Miss Horsefalls, his nieces, who are here just now.


Th.16. – Spent the evening at Mr. Buttermer’s.  Fourteen at tea.


Sun.19. – Four services at the Parish church.


M.20. – Walked over Salcombe Hill to Salcombe, and called on Mr. Frank Morshead, son of the late Vicar, at Sunny Bank.  He shewed me an interesting collection of English birds’ eggs, some very rare, of his own making.  I mean he made the Collection, and not the eggs.  Then called on Mrs. and Miss Soulsby, at the lower house.


Tu. 29. – At Sidholme, late Richmond Lodge, at Mrs. Davidson’s, to see some private theatricals, in the great ballroom.  Everything very handsome.


W.30. – Had the elm tree in front of No. 4 trimmed.  Dined at Mr. & Mrs. Tollar’s at Oaklands – once Green Bank, and once Belle Vue.  Why do people introduce confusion into their title-deeds by changing the names of their places?  Eight at dinner.


Sidmouth. Oct. 1882.


Sat. Oct. 14. – Went into Exeter by the 12.10 train.  Took two things to the Museum.  One of them was the handsome Nepaul knife sketched in this Diary, at March 22, 1870 – a weapon that I have given to the Museum because it will be more accessible to the eyes of the public and of the many than in private hands, and in an endowed building it is likely to be well taken care of:  and the other is a sort of sword, like a saw, made of sharks’ teeth.  It is a piece of hard wood, about two feet long, with sharks teeth sewed on all down each edge.  The handle is very unscientifically made.  [sketch]  It is rather formed to slip out of the hand; but there is a hole for a string.  The sketch will shew its form.  There is nothing like the sketch of an object, however rude:  it gives a better idea of it than all the verbal description in the world.  This would be a worse weapon than a steel sword in a close fight, especially to men without clothes on.  A scrape with it against their sides would make them howl, and then run.  The teeth are so placed as to be retractible.  William Hart, formerly a sailor at Sidmouth, brought it from the Fiji Islands, and gave it to me.

Walked down over the Bridge and out 200 or 300 yards beyond St. Thomas’s church to a house that juts out, to look again at the old granite stone or cross, built into the brick wall of this house.  I came out and sketched it in June 1868.  It is about a yard high.  A person called Nicholls how occupies the house.  I went in to make enquiry.  [sketch]  The woman told me that though the street is now even and level, she had understood that before the house extended out so far, and when it was a country district, a brook or open stream used to run across the road, over which stream there was a Bridge, (and the stream might still pass under the road for all she knew,)  - that latterly the Bridge went by the name of “Cockle’s Bridge”, and a Court in the corner near the house “Cockle’s Court” – that the old Cross is said to have stood on or near the Bridge – that the land was enclosed, built on, and the bridge destroyed – that the father of the present owner built the house, and finding this old stone lying about and taken no account of, he built it into the wall to preserve it.


Sun. Oct. 15. – Rain all day.


Mon. Oct. 16. – Rain all day.


Tu. 17. – River Sid very high.  Rushing down with violence or, as the country people say,  - “There’s Lord Roncombe coming down, booted and spurred.”  Much rain lately, and the low lands in many parts of the country under water.


Mon. 23. – Saw the Comet at last!  I believe it is the finest we have had since 1861.  [July 2. 1861.]  I happened to wake this morning at 5.20, so I got out of bed, for the sky was clear.  The nucleus is circular, and it apparently has concentric rings of light round it.  Measuring rather roughly, it was about 18 degrees above the horizon:  the tail sloping upwards at an angle of about 25 degrees: and the tail about 19 or 20 degrees long.  [sketch]  Some have spoken of the tail as being curved, but if so, it was scarcely perceptible.  The Comet, we are told, in passing round the sun, almost brushed its surface, and that its next perihelion it will probably plunge into it.  I left off looking before six, when the first faint indication of daylight was beginning to appear.

A lady writing to me from Exeter, says the tail looked as if it were ten inches broad: and a friend in my house, in speaking of the size of the whole affair, said it appeared large enough to cover the door.  These measurements are worth recording, as they may be useful to astronomers.


Wed. Nov. 1. – The boisterous, showery, and unsettled weather has continued all over the country, and the low lands have been much flooded and the trains stopped.  Violent wind from the south to-day, and a heavy sea on the beach.  A “billy-boy,” or vessel somewhat of the Dutch build, and schooner rigged, was driven high and dry on the rocks some three miles east of Sidmouth at Longebb, so called.  She came out of Exmouth yesterday, in ballast, to go up Channel, but she was caught by the violent southerly wind, which was too much for her.  The Exmouth Life Boat went off, but the Sidmouth one did not.  It is extremely difficult to launch anything from the open beach of Sidmouth in rough weather.  The vessel is called the Lady Elizabeth:  she is 100 tons burden, as I am told, and her crew of three men, got safe on shore.  Small hope of saving her.


Mon. Nov.6. – The two gentlemen represented opposite [sketch] called upon me this morning.  The 5th this year, fell upon a Sunday, so that the Gunpowder Treason display of Old Popes and fireworks took place to day with much vigour.  When I was a lad I used to hear the boys sing the lines annexed.


Remember, remember,

The 5th of November,

The Gunpowder Treason and plot;

I see no reason

Why Gunpowder Treason

Should ever be forgot.


Holla boys!  Holla boys!

God save the King!

Holla boys!  Holla boys!

Make the bells ring!


Up with the ladder and down with the rope,

Please to give me something to burn the Old Pope!


They now shout parts of them, tho’ only in a fragmentary way, having learnt them imperfectly.  The High Church or Ritualistic party are now beginning to poo-poo this demonstration, and say it is high time that it should be put down.  The Roman Catholics say the same.  The Roman Catholics may take things complacently, for they are increasing in England very fast; and they declare with a chuckle that the Ritualistic party are preparing the way for them.  It is not hard to read the signs of the times, or to predict, by an arithmetical calculation, what this will ultimately lead to.  Guy Fawkes is beginning to be sympathised with, and Ridley and Latimer will be laughed at.


Wed. Nov. 8. – Edith O’Gorman, who escaped from a Convent, now Mrs. Auffrey, whose book I read last May, (May 8,) gave two lectures to-day at the London Hotel, Sidmouth.  I went to one of them.  Didn’t she give it to the priests!


Fri. 10. – Mr. Beard, a draper of High Street, getting out of a gig, fell and broke his collar bone, and dislocated one shoulder.


W. 15. – Mr. Whitton, Butcher, of Fore Street, walking near Honiton, fell & broke his leg.


Th. 16. – A cold clear night.  The comet still lingers with us, though it is smaller in size, and fainter in light.  It has moved from the SE to the SSE.  The tail about 12 degrees long instead of 19o.  [sketch]


Fri. 17. – My birthday.  I woke quite by chance before daylight, on both these mornings.  In one case the comet was rising, and was behind the tower, from the Old Chancel, with the tail sloping more upwards, [sketch] and the other morning higher, and the tail more horizontal; just as we sometimes see the three stars in Orion’s Belt rise almost perpendicular [ ]  horizontal [  ] in the zenith and nearly perpendicular again [  ] when setting in the west.  A few sleepy observations comprised all that could be done of a cold night by a person in his night-dress, at the chilly window.


S. 18. – My cousin the Rev. John R. Hutchinson, Vicar of Normacot, in Staffordshire, married Miss Kate Hombersley on the 19th of last month, and they have been to the Scilly Isles.  They came here to pay me a visit on the way back.  Their description of those islands, the energy of Mr. Smith the lessee under the crown, the remarkable way in which he is developing the resources of them, the climate, favourable to the growth of aloes, tree-ferns, and palms, and the photographs they shewed me of something like tropical scenery, was altogether very interesting.


Sidmouth, Dec. 1882.


Sun. Nov. 20. – The parish church and All Saints.  My cousins had tea with the Rev. and Mrs. Jenkinson, the Curate.


M. 21. – Lord and Lady Sidney Osborne, and their family used to tell me many tales about those islands, for I think that Lord Godolphin, Lord S.G.O.’s father, had the islands before Mr. Smith’s uncle.  Many years ago, when Mr. Smith’s uncle was a young man, he was engaged to be married to a lady – I think a Miss Dorian, - but when the wedding day was approaching, she unexpectedly eloped or got married to his brother.  This shock so affected Mr. Smith that he never made up his mind to marry at all.  He could not very well ever meet his brother or this lady again, so that a life-long estrangement ensued.  Towards the latter part of his life however, he made over his interest in the islands, before he died, to his nephew, the present holder, the son of his brother and this lady.

My cousins left to-day.


Wed. Dec. 6. – The transit of Mercury to-day across the disc of the sun was a sight worth seeing.  The wind north, and strong, and very cold.  This morning there was a slight coating of snow on the ground, the first appearance of winter, which did not thaw in the shade all day.  The afternoon was clear.  The first contact was at A, at 1..55..57, or just before two in the afternoon, [sketch] and it looked as if there were a small notch or indentation in the edge of the sun: and at 2..16..18, the planet was entirely upon the disc of the sun: so that the planet had taken 20 minutes and 21 seconds to travel the space of its own diameter, not forgetting the motion of the earth, &c.  About half past two it was at the third spot, and soon after three at the fourth.  I was only using a three-feet telescope.  I then went on the lead roof of the Old Chancel, and watched it a quarter of an hour longer, when it was getting down to the haze of the horizon, and the sun set at 3..51.  The planet looked like a jet black spot.  I could see it with an Opera glass, and with smoked glass, even with the naked eye.


Th. Dec.7. – Cold.


Fri. Dec.8. – Colder.


Sat. Dec.9. – Coldest.


Sun. Dec.10. – The same.  The north-east wind very searching and penetrating.


Mon. Dec. 11. – The pump frozen.  Great consternation below stairs.  Took some hot water and thawed it.  Then took a large piece of matting, in reserve for the purpose, which I bound round with a cord.  Pumps and men need overcoats in December.


Tu. 12. – Mr. & Mrs. Geo. Buttemer and Miss Fawcett called in and had an afternoon tea with me – a sociable modern institution.


Th. 14. – I wonder whether I am drifting into the compilation of a book?  Ever since my late cousin J.H., one of the Canons of Lichfield died [Ap.28,1865,] and indeed I may say, ever since he superintended Governor H.’s 3rd vol. of the History of Massachusetts, some 54 years ago, it has been intended to publish a volume or two compiled from the Gov.’s Diary and quantities of the letters we have of the period of the Revolutionary war – but nobody has been able to find time to attend to it.  At J.H.’s death the collection of mss. was handed over to me.  It was a mass of confusion.  Bags and bundles of letters, and loose fragments of Diaries all mixed together.  At odd times I looked them over – pasted and repaired – strengthened rotten paper with a solution of isinglass size – smoothed and ironed them out – arranged chronologically  - and finally bound into volumes.  Not till then could the contents be got at or understood.  Having got rid of my Hist. of Sidmouth, I looked closer into the subject and arranged plans.  Last Lady Day I set to work and made a regular beginning, and I have been hoping that by the next Lady Day I might accomplish a volume of some 600 pages, but I see I cannot.  I have got to about 390, which is not quite two thirds.  Selections from these mss. ought to be published if only in the cause of truth.  Hitherto the Americans have had all the say; and they have said everything to suit their own views, to proclaim a great deal of self-glorification, and to vilify everything English.  These papers would put the dispute between England and her Colonies in a very different light.  I hope I may live to do something with them.  – Published in due course.  –


Dec. 1882.


Th. Dec. 21. 1882. – Shortest day, but not so dark as some we have had.

Mr. & Lady Katherine Buchanan, (she was Lady Katherine Hely-Hutchinson) are at 2 Fortfield Terrace.  They have taken a house half a mile west of Honiton, and are here until it is ready for them.  Called to-day.  Told her some of the family links which she did not know, and some that her late brother (or half brother) the Earl of Donoughmore told me eighteen years ago. [Jan.25. 1864.]  Edw. Hutchinson of Alford in Lincolnshire, whose eldest son William was born there in 1586, as I have seen in the Parish Register, and who died in 1631, was the common ancestor.  I am the eighth in descent from his eldest son William – as 1. William and Anne Marbury:  2. Edward H. and Catherine Hanby:  3.  Elisha H. and Hannah Hawkins:  4. Thomas H. and Sarah Foster:  5. Thomas H. and Margaret Sanforde:  6. Thomas H. and Sarah Oliver:  7. Andrew H. and Anne Parker:  8. Peter Orlando H.  Edward had a second son called Samuel, who never married, and a third son Richard, who purchased the estates in Ireland that the earls of Donoughmore now have, and from whom they derive.


M. 25. – The wind having got round to the south-west, it has become extremely mild.  I disapprove of dining out on Christmas Day, and yet I always do it.  This is Christmas Day.  Received two invitations to dine out, and only accepted one.  Our boiled turkey was so immensely large, I had the curiosity to ask, what it had weighed?  Nineteen pounds and a half.


W. 27. – Unusually mild.  Lunched with Mr. & Mrs. Ede at Lansdowne.  At 9 this morning the thermometer out of doors was 56, and it was the same after dark this evening.  Those who have kept a register here for many years, tell me that this high temperature, at this time of year, appears to be wholly unprecedented.  Of course it will not last long.  Some warm current over the Gulf Stream perhaps.  Called on Mrs. Davidson at Sidholme, and found her home.

Mr. Darke, driver of the Mail-cart, driving out of town at 7 yesterday evening, past Radway, a vehicle coming up from Salcombe ran against him.  He was thrown out:  his tore away the shafts and galloped to Bowd.


Th. Dec. 28. – Called at the Vicarage, and had a long chat with Mr. & Mrs. Clements.


Fri. 29. – Called at Oakland, and passed half an hour talking with Mr. & Mrs. Toller.  Morning calls run away with a good deal of time, but one is obliged to do it to keep up friendships.


Sat. 30. – Miss Steinman and her nephew, from Core Hill, called, and had an afternoon tea with me, and walked back some two miles before dark.  Amongst the wild rooks that came to be fed under my window, (some of them wonderfully tame) there are three or four jackdaws, that come I believe from the cliff of Salcombe Hill, and one or two as tame as the rooks.  Last autumn some horrible boy shot off the left leg and foot of one of them, and for some weeks it was in a dreadful state; but it is now able to come with the others. [sketch]    It stands upon one leg, but frequently goes down upon the stump, and even uses the stump in walking or hobbling along, and sometimes assists itself with its wings.  One of the others, and the tamest of the jackdaws, has a long white feather in its right wing,


Sunday, Dec. 31. – Last day of the year.  Incessant bell ringing.  The peal of bells in the Tower, now, from the last addition, amounting to an octave of eight, are in the key of F.  Being odds and ends they are very imperfect, - in short, they are very much out of tune.  Nothing proves this so clearly as playing psalm tunes on them, as I used to do.  I told the Vicar the other day that as soon as I had enough and to spare, I would give him a new set of bells for the tower.  Very few of us have got enough; and still fewer “enough and to spare.”

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