MORE ITEMS FROM THE DIARIES OF MR JOHN MITCHELL
In 1941 by the permission Mr. W. E. Mitchell of Annandale, Cuckfield, further items from the diaries of his uncle, the late Mr John Mitchell, of Cuckfield were published in the Mid Sussex Times.
January 3rd 1831
To belfry to ring for H.R. Highness, Duke of Sussex (1)
Dinner at Mr Best’s The Prosecuting Society (2)
Revolutions continually breaking out abroad. (3) One has just occurred in Italy, where they have shaken off the power of the Pope
Meeting of the Militia Club (4) at the White Hart: a “soldiering concern”
One of the severest tempests I ever saw.
The King dissolved Parliament to have the sense of the country on the Reform Bill: went personally to the House (5)
Bell ringing for dissolution
The most severe frost last night that was ever recollected in May
Father gone to bury Mr Juniper, Slough Green
Father gone to Scaines Hill to bury Mr Isted’s wife
Ship Club almost a bankrupt
Parliament met this evening
Went to Lindfield to play a match of cricket against Lewes. A good deal of dispute by the objection of two Cliff players. Pleasant afterwards, though the game was not played out. Lindfield, 94 and 48 for two wickets: Lewes 115.
Rode to Lewes in a cart to play return cricket match between them and Cuckfield and Lindfield. Good game, although not played out.
Went up to Ashfold Lodge to play cricket for Mr Trotter. Beat our adversaries. Shocking bad management, not any eatables nor anything else to be got
A barn near Pound Hill caught fire with the lightning
Miss Caffin hurt slightly by lightning in a thunderstorm
James Bannister died this morning; buried on the 10th, Ardingly
Coronation of King William IV. (6) Very dull at Cuckfield, nothing going forward. Went down after dinner, and rung the bells about half an hour, which was all we heard about the concern all day
“Scots Greys” going back to Brighton
Went to Mr Grainger’s harvest supper.
Edward Francis died. His remains consigned to the grave at 4PM on the 23rd, much lamented by his friends and companions: aged 20 years
Father gone to Streat to attend Mrs Ewin’s funeral. She died on the 17th.
Dreadful riots at Bristol (7)
John Turner married to Miss Caffin
Very busy all day distributing Charity School subscriptions
Mrs Booker, Balcombe, died. Funeral there on the 30th
January 25th 1832
Uncle Streeter died this morning, aged 84
White Hart party of ringers met to have a Christmas supper
Mr William Best died. Funeral February 2nd
Funeral of Mrs Mitchell
The cholera reported in London. Very much hope Report will prove false. (8)
Second Foot guards passed through for London
First foot guards going from London to Brighton
We have not had either wind or rain for nearly a month. The most remarkable weather ever known at this season
Father gone to Lindfield with Mr Wileman to have a hunt with Mr Allin
This day is dedicated to His Majesty, William 4th, as a general fast throughout England and Ireland against the alarming approach of “cholera morbus” (9) as apprehended by the Board of Health. It was generally attended to here, and I never knew the church so full before. The sermon preached by Mr Fearon was as his sermons generally are well appropriate to the purpose.
The Reform Bill passed the House of Commons last night
The second reading of the Reform Bill came on tonight in the House of Lords. It was carried on the 14th by 9
Funeral of Mr Ayres at Slaugham
Earl Grey and the present Ministry defeated on Monday evening last (7th): the King declined creating peers: Ministry resigned.
Reported that Earl Grey and his colleagues resumed office.
Rook shooting. Capital morning’s sport. Killed 16.
1st Guards passing through
Reform Bill passed committee.
Reform Bill read last time in Lords.
First feast of the Ship Club since its dissolution. Rather a grand turn-out - the Reigate and about 50 members - Royal Assent given to the Reform Bill by Commission.
A very serious insurrection in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday last (5th and 6th)
Down town to ascertain the news about Jacky Last, who attempted to poison himself.
Father gone to Ship on jury on the body of little Baldwin, who was drowned yesterday
Jacky Last died at the Ship - a most distressing case
Jacky Last, by order of Mr Byass, (10) was interred this afternoon. A most absurd idea, in some way or other, prevented him from being carried into the church. Some imagine they were afraid of the cholera; but it is throughout a most ridiculous thing, for he died and was disposed of as a dog.
Breaking up of the Fox Club of the old party. Met to drink out the forfeit of the old landlord.
The church clock, after being out of repair and standing still for almost two years, was put in order and completed this day. A rather unexpected visit by Mr William McGeorge, who walked from town this morning to see grandmother and relatives in the country.
With Edmond in coach to Brighton to play cricket match for Tester (at the Dolphin) on the Race Ground. A very good match. Our first innings, 97: Brighton 82.
Father gone to St. John’s (Burgess Hill) to see a cricket match between Balcombe and Keymer.
Confirmation at Cuckfield. Supposed about 114 from our own parish
To Board Hill to play the return cricket match with Mr Barwell’s party. Beat them by 9 runs.
With Edmund and two Knowles to the Dyke. Put the horse in at Poynings, a most “elegant” place, a beer shop, the head inn!
Poor old Ned Beeheley fell in a fit yesterday and expired at this morning: much lamented
Nearly to Broad Street with Ellis Turner conversing on the melancholy death of Mr Anthony Tanner, who was found dead last evening about nine at Laine’s Barn
Uncle Thomas Picknell died suddenly last night. Remains deposited in the silent grave on October 2nd, attended by the whole of the family
The water question in the neighbourhood becomes serious. Almost all the wells out, and water never known to be so scarce.
Mr Curteis, the Member for the County, at the Market and gave a speech stating his principles, which seemed to be generally approved by the hearers
The little town of Cuckfield quite a political place. Darby and Cavendish both been spouting in the Market.
Father gone to Mr Wisden’s to assist in the funeral of Mrs W., Who was found dead in her bed a few days since
The parish has got so poor that it cannot afford new ropes for the bells. Poor old Martin died, and the small bell was tolled.
Mr James Webber robbed down the High Bridge by four men: most daring thing.
A very great fire broke out at Ardingly about 8 PM and raged dreadfully. Nearly all the town ran to the Green to see it. Another very large fire was seen to the west at the same time.
The old Rotten Borough Parliament dissolved yesterday
Uncle Samuel Picknell died this afternoon after an illness of three or four days. Interred on December 16th about 5 PM, when there was an immense concourse of people. Obliged to have candles in the church and churchyard. The elections for Boroughs are going on with a great deal of spirit. The Destructives and Conservatives muster all their forces against the Reformers but the people must succeed, in spite of of all their influence. Dreadful work going on at Antwerp between the Dutch and French. (11) The bombardment was commenced this day week by the French forces.
A grand turnout with the voters this morning, with colours and flag for Cavendish (12)
The election over, and Curteis (13) returned with a great majority
High Bridge to see the place where little Wilmer Lost his life by being drawn in between the wheels of the mill.
With Thomas Knowles and William mcGeorge to the Ship to see a badger bait. It began with dogs fighting, and the badger fight was drawn. It was not much of sport, nor was I much gratified with the site, the first time of seeing a badger.
January 29th 1833
This day will not stand out the least in the annals of English history. On this day the first reformed Parliament met. They have plenty of work: the affairs of Belgium are as yet unsettled. Ireland will not be neglected: the Church requires much consideration: the Bank and East India Company’s charters, with many other things: the affairs of Turkey will open a wide field for political discussion, (14) as the Pasha of Egypt has dispersed the Sultan’s army, (15) and Russia wants to assist.
Yesterday was a grand day in London. The King opened Parliament with a most excellent speech from the throne in person.
The day of hearing appeals at the Kings Head. A great number there. The “little devil Winton” find them nearly all
Burial of Thomas Holland (27), Whiteman’s Green.
Grandmother McGeorge departed this life, aged 82 years, funeral March 3rd
Elsey, the man who was killed in the stone pit by a slip of earth caused by heavy rains. A regular Irish Wake
Burial of Stephen Ede
Funeral of Mr Flint
Went to Mr Plimley’s field to decide the statement that if three bullets were put in a gun and fired off the concussion would be so great that they would do no execution at any distance, which, to my expectation, was not the case, for I shot them in a tree at 15 yards, out of sight and out of depth. Mr Anscombe strongly supported the opposition.
A converted Jew has preached several times at the Chapel this week
A meeting was held at the Poor House to elect a Permanent Overseer. It was expected to have been a severe contest, but on the conditions being read, Chilcott resigned. The opposition then was between Noble and Barber, but Barber was elected without a hand for Noble.
This day was appointed for a public thanksgiving for the disappearance of the “cholera morbus". I did not know of the appointment until I heard the prayers read in the church.
A public meeting at the King’s Head to petition against negro slavery (in the British Colonies)
Funeral of Mrs Bashford
The influenza has been almost universal this Spring, and it is as much dreaded in London as the cholera. Attacks most powerful, and many fatal cases.
Dragoon guards passing through for Brighton
A grand match of “four corners” at the Kings Head.
Fair day. The worst fair and the dullest I ever knew. No appearance at all of the second fair day (31st). This has been the hottest May I ever recollect.
Ship club day. About 60 members, second year, a very grand display, more bustle than at the fair.
Pavey, Thomas Mitchell and myself went to the field to lay wait, having lost some ducks last week
Jane Jenner buried. Was taken suddenly ill in London, died in three days and was brought home.
News arrived two days ago of the total annihilation of Don Miguel’s fleet by Capt C. J. Napier, who was in the Portuguese service. (16) It was one of the boldest naval exploits on record. Don Pedro’s squadron consisted of small frigates and Don Miguel’s of first rate vessels: but the former being commanded by an English officer and the crews likewise consisting of British Tars, they were capable of encountering such obstacles. Mr Best’s watercart (with horses) runaway from Bedlam and down as far as the King’s Head. No damage done.
The third time Mr Vincent has preached here. He gave a most excellent sermon, but his delivery was not the most agreeable.
Proceeded to the Ship to meet Mr Trotter’s wagon, then to Mr Barwell's for a cricket match. In the last innings Edmund and myself got upwards of 80, and we so completely beat the “Dons” that they gave up and would not bowl any longer.
Poor old Pink, the celebrated poacher, was consigned to his resting place on Tuesday evening (13th)
Father gone to Brighton to see a cricket match between Sussex and England. Sussex lost by one run only.
To Balcombe to play a cricket match against Reigate. A most capital game, although we got beaten.
Meeting at the Kings Head to consider the propriety of establishing a horticultural society in Cuckfield. Resolutions to do so passed, and 16 signed their names.
To Reigate for a return cricket match which we lost by 80 runs. A party of us went into the cave, almost 200 yards underground, which is supposed to be aware the Barons met before compelling King John to sign “Magna Carta”
Accounts received of the gale on Friday and Saturday week (August 30th and 31st) are most dreadful, it being the most destructive on sea and land ever known at this time of year. There were shipwrecks of all descriptions, the worst being the loss of the convict ship Amphitrite (17) off Boulogne, the whole of the crew, 108 female convicts, 13 children, 12 seamen, Captain, surgeon and wife, being drowned except three seamen. It appears that the whole of them might have been saved but for the obstinacy of the Captain and surgeon who would not suffer then to land, as, should any escape, they would have been responsible. The British Consul was at the time absent from Boulogne. The ship was bound for Van Dieman’s Land.
The tempestuous weather of last month has greatly diminished the number of cases of cholera; the sacrifices made on sea have lessened those on land. We still hear of devastation is of the gale in all quarters of the world.
The Cuckfield Horticultural Society’s first show at the Kings Head. It was excellent, especially considering that the Society had only being established about six weeks, and was considered by judges to exceed the Hurst show, which has been established three years.
Went to assist carrying the remains of poor Thomas Lintott to the grave. He departed this life on Saturday last (12th), universally regretted. I never saw a funeral so strongly attended. A great many of the inhabitants followed, as well as all the children of the Free School, to whom he had been teacher. He was one of the best of our party, and respected by them all. I do not know that he had a single enemy. Had he taken Mr Byass’s advice and had his leg off some time since his life might have been spared.
The bells were rung muffled for poor Thomas Lintott, and had a very solemn effect. The singers mustered in church this morning in full force, as he was a ringer and singer both.
The King has gone to Brighton
Up in the battlement with G. W. and others, firing off rockets out of our guns.
Father gone to Haywards Heath to meet of the foxhounds. Could not find, but got good drag.
The weather throughout the year has been remarkably fair, but the latter part very boisterous and much damage done. A plentiful harvest and a good time for getting it in. Corn of all descriptions has been selling surprisingly low best wheat at £12 and £13 and never recollected to be better or heavier.
January 3rd 1834
Inquest on the body of Mr Tester, who was found dead in his bed yesterday.
The great old sow was raffled for at the Ship on Monday evening (13th). Myself, Joseph Brigden and Gog Evy bought a ticket and Joe won. He was foolish enough to sell his share for 30 shillings.
Continual rains since the beginning of last month. Most of the water mills round here are flooded. Whether remarkably mild. Snowdrops and crocuses in full bloom in the garden, likewise polyanthus, wallflowers, stocks and roses, and the fields are green as in April.
Parliament met for business
Mr John Mitchell, baker, died. He was buried on the 25th and a dumb peal was rung for him, he being an old ringer.
Grenadier Guards from Brighton passing through.
Father gone to bury Major Durrant.
Mr John Wileman met with a serious accident coming Home from Brighton.
A grand show of animals, reptiles, etc opposite. A regular row, and disillusion off partnership between the parties.
The trades unions are becoming very powerful. Many thousands attended a meeting in London on Monday (21st). All peaceable.
The Brighton Glee Singers at the Ship. Went to hear them. Some good singing. The great room was crowded almost to suffocation.
The storm on Saturday (14th) did much damage, and it was heavier at Brighton, Lewes, Ripe etc than for nearly 40 years. Hailstones fell at Cuckfield today as big as marbles, and at Lewes and Ripe on the Saturday as large as 7, 8 and 12 inches in circumference.
There is a chasm in the diaries from July 3rd 1834, to January 1 1836, but among the changes that took place in the meantime, the diarist stated, was “that, abominable and detestable ‘Poor Law Amendment Bill’, which as a whole, is detested by every friend of the poor man, as it falls with equal severity on the evil and well disposed. The system of uniting several parishes in one against their will is, I think, a very arbitrary one, it being impossible for a board of guardians to discriminate as to the wants of a is Poor man as well as a vestry, composed of the parishioners who reside in the same parish as the applicant. With regard to trade, never was there a world of business, all being done by contract; consequently it is impossible for a small trader to complete with a large one.”
TO BE CONTINUED
(1) Augustus Frederick , 1773-1843 was created Duke of Sussex in 1801. He became estranged from his father and the court because of his liberal political views. He supported the abolition of the slave trade, Catholic emancipation, the removal of civil restrictions on Jews and dissenters, the abolition of the Corn Laws, and parliamentary reform.
(2) A prosecution society/association was an organisation of citizens, typically in the same community, who paid dues to cover one another's costs of privately prosecuting offenders should a crime be committed against them.
(3) The Revolutions of 1830 were a revolutionary wave in Europe which took place in 1830. It included two "romantic nationalist" revolutions, the Belgian Revolution in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the July Revolution in France along with revolutions in Congress Poland, Italian states, Portugal and Switzerland. By 1830, revolutionary sentiment in favour of a unified Italy began to experience a resurgence, and a series of insurrections laid the groundwork for the creation of one nation along the Italian peninsula.
(4) A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need.
(5) Prime Minister Grey had been ready to ask for a dissolution, and King William IV reluctantly agreed; the King dissolved Parliament in person (amid a great political tumult) on 22 April
(6) The coronation of King William IV and Queen Adelaide took place on Thursday, 8 September 1831, over fourteen months after he succeeded to the throne of the United Kingdom at the age of 64, the oldest person to assume the monarchy. The ceremony was held in Westminster Abbey after a public procession through the streets from St James's Palace, to which the King and Queen returned later as part of a second procession.
(7) The Bristol Riots of 1831 took place after the House of Lords rejected the second Reform Bill, which aimed to get rid of some of the rotten boroughs and give Britain's fast growing industrial towns such as Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds greater representation in the House of Commons. Four rioters (of about 500-600 young men) were killed and 86 wounded, although many more are believed to have perished in the fires set by the rioters, with a total death toll put as high as 500. Four men were hanged despite a petition of 10,000 Bristolian signatures, which was given to King William IV.
(8) The epidemic actually reached Great Britain in December 1831, appearing in Sunderland, where it was carried by passengers on a ship from the Baltic. It also appeared in Gateshead and Newcastle. In London, the disease claimed 6,536 victims
(9) Cholera morbus is a historical term that was used to refer to gastroenteritis rather than specifically cholera
(10) Dr Lovel Byass (1785-1865) was a Cuckfield surgeon
(11) The Siege of Antwerp took place after fighting in the Belgian Revolution ended. On 15 November 1832, the French Armée du Nord under Marshal Gérard began to lay siege to the Dutch troops there under David Chassé. The siege ended 23 December 1832.
(12) In 1814, at the age of 21, Cavendish was elected Member of Parliament for Aylesbury, a seat he held until 1818, and later sat for Newtown from 1821 to 1830, for Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) from 1831 to 1832, for East Sussex from 1832 to 1841, for Youghal from 1841 to 1847 and for Buckinghamshire from 1847 to 1857.
(13) Herbert Barrett Curteis (1793–1847) was an English Whig politician. He sat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom for 13 years between 1830 and 1837. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Sussex from 1830 to 1832, for East Sussex, and for Rye, Sussex, from 1841 until his death in 1847.
(14) The Treaty of Constantinople was the product of the Constantinople Conference which opened in February 1832 with the participation of the Great Powers (Britain, France and Russia) on the one hand and the Ottoman Empire on the other.
(15) The Battle of Konya was fought on December 21, 1832, between Egypt and the Ottoman Empire, just outside the city of Konya in modern-day Turkey. The Egyptians were led by Ibrahim Pasha, while the Ottomans were led by Reşid Mehmed Pasha. The Egyptians were victorious.
(16) The fourth Battle of Cape St Vincent was fought on 5 July 1833 and was a decisive encounter in Portugal's Liberal Wars. A naval squadron commanded by the British officer Charles Napier, on behalf of Dom Pedro IV, regent for the rightful Queen Maria II, defeated the navy of the usurper Dom Miguel.
(17) Amphitrite was built at Appledore, Torridge, (equally Bideford), and launched in 1802. Under various owners and masters she traded across the North Atlantic and to the Baltic. She wrecked in 1833 with heavy loss of life while transporting female convicts to New South Wales.