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1888: Record of 18th and early 19th Century Cuckfield life destroyed...

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 10 January 1888

Obituary.—We have to record the death, at the age of 82, of Mr. William ____, which occurred on the 2nd inst. For nearly 60 years deceased superintended the highway repairs in the northern part of the parish, his trustworthy and competent abilities being always commended by the parish officers.

His maternal grandfather was the famous John Anscombe, of Hodshrove-farm, in this parish, whose superior scholarship attracted much notice during period of profound ignorance, the more unsophisticated regarding him as a perfect prodigy.

John Anscombe kept a diary for nearly 70 years, commencing with the general election of 1747 and closing with the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

Many very interesting incidents were recorded in this diary, one being the excitement produced by the appearance of the first stage coach, which had six wheels, and was considered by some an unwarrantable innovation.

Another was the finding of the child drowned in a wheel-rut, opposite the ‘’Rose and Crown," which incident effectually abolished the parish road plough. (1)

Rose and Crown circa 1880. The fatal accident occurred on the road opposite according to the diary

The entire record filled nearly a hundred pages. John Anscombe lived to extreme old age, and when he found his dissolution approaching sent for his little grandson, the present deceased, and presented him with his diary.

The lad, who had already learned to read, was very proud of the gift, and prized it for some years, reading at every available opportunity, till he had nearly got the whole by heart. This feeling of attachment, however, eventually wore off, and the manuscript was finally used for pipe lights.

Deceased often said that no sooner was the last leaf incinerated than he at once realised the extreme folly of his proceeding, and maintained that feeling of regret to the last.

(1) for more on 17th century roads please follow the links:-



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