HISTORICAL PLACES OF INTEREST
IN THE LANES OF HAMSEY PARISH
Sue Rowland, March 2005
1. The Drove
This is the historical routeway where the sheep from Hamsey Place were driven up on to the Downs to graze. It was originally
much wider but since the decline of sheep farming in the 1930s and 40s it has become overgrown with trees and scrub.
2. Dismantled railway and the old line
The Lewes and Uckfield Railway Company opened the line to Uckfield in 1858. There was a daily service of five trains each
way but only three on Sundays. The following year management of the line was transferred to the LBSCR. For the first ten
years the line ran from a point on the Lewes/Wivelsfield line just south of Hamsey crossing to a point at the north end of
the cut. However, this meant that through trains had to reverse out of Lewes Station to continue on to Brighton. In 1868 a
new track was built giving access to Lewes from the east. At the Lewes end it crossed the 'loop' south of the church before
passing through a cutting under the road to the church. It continued on an embankment to another bridge at the top end of
the cut before joining the original line. The line was axed by ESCC in the 1960s and the last train ran on 23rd February 1969.
The cutting was then used as a landfill site and subsequently has had vents installed to allow the escape of methane gas!
3. The Cut
The area around Hamsey church became virtually an island when a canal was dug by the Upper Ouse Navigation Company
in 1790 to cut off the large river meander, known as the 'loop'. Called 'Mighell's Cut', Joseph Mighell had bought Hamsey
Place Farm in 1777 and also operated the water mill. He was compensated for the destruction of his mill race and retired to
the West country. The navigation with its 19 locks went 22 miles north as far as Upper Ryelands bridge, near Balcombe.
Ironically almost the last commercial traffic contributed to its own demise - the carriage of bricks to build the Balcombe
Viaduct to take the railway over the Upper Ouse Valley. Hamsey Lock had become impassable by 1868.
4. Hamsey Place Farm
In 1838 [Tithe] the farm was in the tenancy of Henry Guy whose brother, Nathaniel was tenant at adjoining Cowlease, both
farms being in the ownership of Sir Charles Burrell. By 1851 [Census] Henry had died and his widow, Dorothy continued
to run the farm which comprised 800 acres and employed 17 men and 6 boys. John Kenward, Jack Harmer's grandfather,
took over both Hamsey Place and Cowlease farms in 1888 bringing all his stock, equipment and possessions by road from
Fletching. His Southdown sheep flock were his pride and joy and were grazed on Hamsey Sheep Down which ran from
Offham over to the racecourse. They were tended by the shepherd who lived in the little cottage (now called Toll Cottage)
the only property in Offham which went with the farm. A photo of the farm workers in the early 1900s shows he was employing
19 men and 6 boys. In the early 1920s his health failed and and son-in-law John Harmer managed the farms along with his
own at Cooksbridge. By this time the sheep had gone and a milking herd was installed producing butter which was sold in
Lewes. John Kenward died in 1929 and the farm was sold to Ralph Botting who continued until the mid 1970s when the
farm returned to the possession of the Harmers.
Today the barns have been converted for residential use. During excavation for a lake at Great North Barn in October
2003 a large quantity of medieval pottery and animal bone was discovered. This is currently being analysed, along with a
similar discovery at North End. It is a very important find and possibly dates back to the thirteenth century.
5. Hamsey Church and Manor
It is believed there was a Saxon settlement at Hamsey. The first known record refers to Athelstan holding a 'Gemotte at Ham
near Lewes' in 925 A.D. This was a court of enquiry to settle local disputes. It is next referred to in the Domesday book
(1080) where 'Ralph(de Cheyney) holds Hame of William (de Warenne). Uleeva held it of King Edward. It was then assessed
at 25 hides; it is now rated at 14 hides; for the remainder, seven hides are included in the rape of Earl Mortain (Pevensey);
and four hides with-hold half a rood land in the rape of Earl Roger, (Arundel). At the present period the moiety of Ralph
pays land tax for 13 hides; the arable is 13 plough lands; there are two ploughs in the desmesne, and 16 villains, and 14
Bondsmen, with 10 ploughs. There is a Church, 200 acres of meadow, a wood of 10 hogs, and 13 shillings of herbage. Hugh
holds one hide of this district. Ralph half a hide. The total value in the reign of the Confessor was £20. It has since been
reduced to £10, at which sum it is now estimated.'
There was probably a wooden church in Saxon times which was demolished and rebuilt in stone and flint by the
de Cheyneys, the Tower being added in the fourteenth century. In 1189 the estate passed to the de Says through the marriage
of Geoffrey to Alice de Cheyney. The de Says held the Manor for 200 years and not only gave Ham-sey its name but also
built a Hall in 1321 for which the contract still survives. The Hall, measuring 60 by 30 feet stood to the east of the church
THE DROVE, HAMSEY, NORTH END and HAMSEY COMMON
in what is now the extended graveyard. Subsequent Lords of the Manor included the de Clinton, Willoughby, Dudley,
Lewknor, Alford and Wenham families. In 1776 it passed to Thomas Whalley Partington of Offham and around 1900 to
Lord Monk Bretton.
There is no evidence (records or archaelogy) to suggest that there was ever a village south of the church or that it
was deserted due to the plague. If there were a larger settlement it was probably in the area around Hamsey House.
Note the weather vane on the church tower. The initials HS/WL refer to Henry Shiffner and William Lambe who
were churchwardens in 1848 and may have been responsible for the existing tower roof.
The house had an open hall to the west of a floored cross-wing and dates to the 1400s. During the second half of the 16th
century the hall was reduced and a new wing built - the two wings then virtually connected by a stack. Towards the end
of the 1800s the old cross-wing was replaced with a smaller wing, gabled to the east. A pencil drawing of 1855 shows a
gabled wing to the north with a jetty along the eastern elevation. The decorative framing to the north elevation is not
characteristic of this area - it is more common in the Midlands. Local similarities are East Mascalls, Lindfield and Clayhill,
Ringmer both associated with the Newton family.
7. Old Parsonage
Shown on map of 1620 of 'Part of Lewes Levell' (ESRO SRA6/13/2) which also shows Edward Alford at Hamsey Place,
Tuppen Scrase at [Woughham] and the chapel at Offham. Also on the map of the Manor of Hamsey c1752 (ESRO MOB
8. Hamsey House (formerly Bretts)
The original house was occupied by the Young family after the Restoration. The 1675 Hearth Tax records Charles Smyth
and in 1706 John Smyth transferred the property to his son-in-law Walter Brett, a Lewes grocer. There followed a succession
of transfers: to Walter's spinster daughter Elizabeth; to her unmarried neice, Catherine; to her sister Elizabeth, who married
Francis Whitfeld (b. 1746). Whitfelds were Lewes bankers, the New Bank becoming known as the Old Bank in 1820.
Whitfelds continued at the bank until Barclays took over in 1896. In 1849 the Whitfelds built Hamsey House, probably
on the site of the old house. Note the Victorian post box in the wall of the converted stable block.
9. Wilmets/ Ades/ Highwell
The type of roof construction and evidence for a single-aisle suggest a date of 1400. It had a single-bay open hall, solar,
end jetty and service bay. The house retained its thatch until the 1960s. In 1752 it was occupied by Cruttenden Weller (ESRO
MOB 1699) and from 1806-46 the Ade family appear in the burials register. Brothers George (20) and Richard (18) drowned
on August 3rd 1819 while bathing in the river. George Willmot was the owner in 1838 (Tithe).
10. Hamsey Rectory (now called Hamsey manor)
In 1818 Sir George Shiffner appointed his 3rd son, George, to the beneficy of Hamsey and the same year to the incumbency
of St Anne's, Lewes. Married to Elizabeth Johnson in 1817 and needing a house he built the Rectory in 1821-2. He was
Rector of Hamsey for 30 years.
This is the site of a long lost house. Fieldwalking in 1999 produced a significant amount of medieval pottery. More recently
the discovery of churchwarden’s reports for the early 1600s states clearly that the house there “is now downe”.
12. North End
There has been a settlement at North End for some time, with some houses disappearing, some re-built and one built in
the mid 20th century. It has always been associated with farming and smallholding. Benjamin Morris farmed there in
1838(Tithe) and at some time Mary Verrall, cowkeeper, was listed. From 1871-1891 Samuel Brooks, agricultural labourer,
and family were there. On the 1752 map (MOB 1699) some buildings are clearly visible to the north of the present drive
to Cowlease and all that remains of a house called Row Croft are the boundary fences.
The barn has been converted to residential use and in April 2004 the owners called in archaeologists when they
found a large amount of medieval pottery. (see 4, Hamsey Place).
13 . Windmill on Hamsey Common.
Built about 1830, the name of the first tenant is not known. However, in 1875 it was being used by Mr J.R. Martin of
Barcombe and described as a post mill in excellent condition, with a brick built round-house, two pairs of stones and a
flour machine. It was then taken over by Charles Saunders but fell into disuse about 1880 and reputedly burned down one
Bonfire night in the mid 1880s. It was believed that Hamsey Mill was quite an ancient structure suggesting it had stood
elsewhere before being re-erected on the south west corner of Hamsey Common.
14. Beechwood Lane.
Connected with Richard ate Beche (1269), the place is recorded as Bechewod in 1439.
15. Cooksbridge Nursery.
Owned by Sir George Shiffner, the 1838 Tithe Map records the nursery as occupied by 65 year old widow, Sarah Aldrich.
Her 30 year old son, Henry, had taken over the tenancy by 1841 (Census) and continued until sometime in the late 1850s.
By 1861 the Woollards had taken over - James, then aged 29, employed 6 men and 2 boys. Married to Fanny, they had 4
sons and 4 daughters. James died in his mid forties leaving Fanny, described as a florist, to run the business (1881 Census).
By 1891 the eldest son, William, was in charge, assisted by brother Albert, who lived in Wellington Villas. Kelly's Directory
of 1913 lists younger brother, Frank, as proprietor. The family also had nurseries at Falmer and Lewes Road, Brighton.
Throughout the 1920s and 30s the Cooksbridge Nursery was managed for them by Mr Alfred Sayers.
16. Recreation Ground.
This was leased from the Shiffner family from 1925 until 1945 when it was sold to Hamsey Parish Council and run as a
recreational charity. Before this time football was played in the field opposite the petrol station; cricket in the field next
to the church at Offham; and stoolball in the park at Conyboro. To commemorate the coronation of George VIth, (May
12th 1937) Mr and Mrs McBean (Orchid Growers) donated the equipment needed for a children's playground as a momento
of their long association with the parish. This was purchased from Charles Wicksteed of Kettering and included a 30ft
metal slide, a small merry-go-round, three 10ft swings and three smaller swings for the younger children - cost, including
installation, was £121 !
17. Fish Pond.
Owned by the Shiffners in 1838 (Tithe Map) and known as the Great Pond, this was part of the Coombe Estate. It was
formed by building a dam across a spring fed tributary of the North End Stream. As with all large estates a pond was
necessary to provide good fish stocks, and in winter ice was cut and stored in the ice house at the back of Coombe Place
to provide the only form of refrigeration available at the time. This practice continued well into the 1920s.
18. Brickyard at Lower Tulleyswells Farm, Cooksbridge.
A brickyard was in existence here by 1808. Owned by the Shiffners, the brickmakers were John and Joseph Back, who
supplied bricks for the building of the original County Hall in Lewes between 1809 and 1811. Richard Verrall took over
in 1813. It was probably out of use by 1838 as the Tithe Map of that date shows it as Brick Yard Farm. Still owned by the
Shiffners, the 112 acres was occupied by Dinah Wadey. Three years later the 1841 Census records her 20 year old son
George Wadey as the farmer. During the 1840s the farm was taken over by Henry Thomas, possibly to grow potatoes for
the Brighton trade, as he became known locally as 'Tater' Thomas. He was followed by son Frank, who married one of
the Woollard daughters from the nursery. Frank was the father-in-law of present owner, Pat Thomas.
19. Holters Green
In 1668 the site was occupied by Edward Verrall and listed as a “Messuage or tenement malthouse, barn etc”. It is most
likely that the present building was not originally domestic. It could have been one of the subsidiary buildings mentioned
in records from the second half of the C17, that was converted into domestic use. At one time the building had been arranged
as 2 dwellings. It could have been the Malthouse and the original house may have stood in the orchard to the west. The
roof had been entirely rebuilt prior to the recent fire making dating impossible.
The Prince honoured our course with his presence on the first and last days. On the first day, after the morning race, his Royal Highness, accompanied by The Duke of Clarence, The Duke of Orleans, Lord Lauderdale, Lord Erskine and General Gwynne, in his Barouche, proceeded across the turf to Combe Place, the seat of George Shiffner, who had made every suitable preparation for their reception. After dinner, the illustrious party returned in high spirits to the course and remained till the sport concluded, a little before eight o'clock. On Saturday, the Prince, accompanied by the Duke of Clarence, Lord and Lady Mellbourne, Lady Haggerstone, Mrs Fitzherbert, Col.Hanger and another Gentleman, whom we did not know, honoured Lieut. Col. Newton with his company to dinner, which consisted of every delicacy that could be procured. About hallf past seven the Royal Barouche came to door, when the party retired, and returned to the Pavilion.
The Amusements on the course were greatly enlivened by the presence of the Prince of Wales, who after honouring the Marquis of Tavisstock and Lady A Stanhope with his assistance at the hymeneal alter on Monday, left London the same night, for the purpose of visiting us. Indeed, His Royal Highness's partiality to Lewes, on similar and on many other public occasions, has long been made manifest and the honor of such distinguished patronage, it inhabitants know well how to appreciate. The fineness of the morning attracted a numerous company to the Race Hill. Every vehicle was in motion and by eleven o'clock, Brighton was entirely deserted. Carriages of every description ascended Lewes Hill, which was enlivened at one o'clock by the arrival of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, mounted on a beautiful grey horse. His Royal Highness was dressed in a dark blue coat, white pantaloons, a low crowned hat and a black silk handkerchief round his neck. Two of his carriages followed the landau barouche with six bays and Major Lee, of the 10th Light Dragoons, seated on the box in the other carriage, which was drawn by four horses, were several Officers belonging to the 10th. They took their station near the Grand Stand. The following elegant carriage drew up close to the Royal Highness. On the first day, the Prince, accompanied by Mrs Fitzherbert and a few select friends, dined with Lieut.Col. Newton, at Southover and on Wednesday, with George Shiffner of Comb Place. The Royal party, after dinner on each day, returned to the course about six in the evening, and it was generally allowed that the Prince never appeared in better health and spirits. The two last days of the racing were fine ones and particularly auspicious to the company who took their dinners A-LA-GYPSIE among the furzess. These parties, which were numerous than usual, appeared to enjoy their respective collations and the beautiful scenery around them, with unusual zest. A serene sky canopied their heads, the verdant turf formed their seats and their tables, the bleating flocks furnished them with music and all was jollity and rural mirth.The turf was this year quite deserted by the tribe of Flocton, the minstrels of St Bartholomew's Fair, and all the wild beasts usually attendant on such occasions.The only booths of any notoriety were those occupied by Mann's approved tumblers, and the Yorkshire Giant, and the Fat Pig, weighing 100 stone at the age of sixteen months, bred and fatted by Sir Thomas Carr, of Beddingham.
Two Gentlemen matched their horses to run the last half mile for a 50 guinea match, and they were rode by regular Jockey's, but the race was nevertheless very unequally contested. These races, like those at many other places, it must be admitted, have for some years past been sadly dropping under a decline, but as they are now placed under the care of skilful practitioners we hope at the next period of the visitation to see them completely renovated. His Grace, The Duke of Norfolk, Lord Egremont, Lord Gorge Cavendish, Lord C Somerset, Mr Fuller, Admiral Markham, Mr Shiffner and a number of other Noblemen and Gentlemen. We understand they all have subscribed for fresh Plates, and Sweepstakes, to be run next year, and the inhabitants of the Borough of the Cliff and Southover has entered into subscription for the Gold Cup, the value of 100 guineas to be run for on the second day of the meeting. We think there is a reasonable hope of seeing the National amusement revived here at these Races again considered as the annual meeting in the Country. One of the most dashing carriages at our races was that of Mr Hawke, a member of the Four in Hand Club, who drove a very elegant barouche, pulled by four beautiful iron greys. Sir George Prescott was thrown from a Gig on Saturday and had the small bone of his leg broken.
Although we had racing both before and after dinner in the three day meeting this year, it produced no running that deserves the character of good sport. We never knew the numbers of horses so limited, nor the powers of those which were entered so unequal. Severe competition therefore could not be expected, but this probably would not have been the case had Brighton Races existed, as it is the declared opinion of some distinguished persons, who are the best able to judge, that the late sporting arrangement alluded to always proved beneficial to the turf-establishment of this town and in that opinion, we must decidedly concur. The company assembled on the public occasion, was not so numerous as we have before seen it, but it was highly respectable, being chiefly composed of the principal Nobility and Gentry of the county, which brought to our recollection the races of former times. The Ordinaries were but thinly attended but the Race Ball's had to boast of much elegance, beauty and fashion, and particularly that on Friday night, which was opened about 10 pm, to the tune of Calder Fair, by Captain Fuller and Lady Harriet Nevill, followed by Mr Gage and Miss Magens, Mr Larne and Miss Shiffner, Rev. W Campion and Mrs Camack & c.&c. The Countess of Chichester, Lady Gage, Lady Poole, Lady Davis, Mrs Magens, Mrs Shiffner, Mrs Thomas and many other Ladies of Fashion, were present, who did not join in the amusements of the (Light Fantastic Toe).
The £50 Hack Stakes, won run on the first day, but is not listed in the Racing Calendar. It was won the Duke of Richmond's black mare, winning two one mile heats. The weather has been cloudy, not altogether unfavorable, but with flying showers. The races this year, from some cause or other, did not produce the sport we had reason to expect from the number of horses that were in the town. On the last day the sport could not be complained of the contest between Little John and Antar in the first race, being such as would have excited much interest even on the course at Newmarket. The company on the first day was certainly limited, but on the two following days it was numerous and fashionable. Among the most dignified present we observed, The Duke and Duchess of Richmond, The Duke and Duchess of Argyll, The Earl of Egremont, The Earl and Countess of Chichester, Lord and Lady George Cavendish. The greater part of our fashionable population have also partaken of the same turf amusements and the display of company on the Downs has been gay and interesting. A larger space on the common was occupied by Booths, which were more or less commodious, and various from the spacious Crown and Anchor Tavern and Ball Room to the Bell-fashioned Tent with Whirligig Tables. Their was some London Pickpockets on the course, but we believe they were not very successful in the practice of their profession, non having heard of any actual lost, one gentlemen however who a year or two ago, suffered considerable by this species of Legerdemain, had a narrow escape on Friday, the hand of the professor being discovered in the pocket, by a bye-stander just in time to save his property. The thief who was genteelly dressed made his escape through the crowd, and after a visit to the neighboring furze,s appeared in the costume of a begger. The evening of the last day of the races, a desperate gang of thieves congregated in the vicinity of the Booths, and committed the most outrages upon many of the country people, and other, who were silly enough to remain on the downs after night fall, every person met by the gang was indiscriminately knocked down and robbed, the country people who had been attacked made very motley appearance, on their arrival in the town, between eleven and midnight some without their smock frocks, others without hats, to supply the place of which handkerchiefs were tied about their heads, and many with the loss of their watches, and money, besides which there were not a few whose feathers bore strong marks of violence to which the thieves ha resorted to possess themselves of the booty. Four fellows suspected of being a part of the gang were on Saturday apprehended, not many miles from the town, and now in custody, and await their examination before a Magistrate.
The Race Ball and supper at the County Hall, on Friday night was unusually large and brilliant, being composed of a great part of the Nobility and Gentry, of our County, including many from the Eastern and Western extremities, our knowledge does not sufficiently enable us to enumerate all persons of distinction present we shall therefore content ourselves by mentioning those only whom we noticed of the neighborhood as follows
The Earl and Countess of Chichester,Lady Mary Pelham, Lady Harriet Nevill, Lord and Lady Clinton, Lord and Lady Cavendish, Misses Cavendish, Sir John and Lady Shiffner, &c. &c. About 1am the company withdrew from the Ball Room, and 240 sat down to an elegant Supper, served up in turn, by Mr Insoll, after which the dancing was renewed and kept up great spirit and pleasantly, until four in the morning, this was the largest Race Ball, that had been witnessed for many years.
Our Theater Thursday evening had a audience less numerous than fasionable, the performances were Richard the Third, the singular feats of Ramo Samee, the indian juggler, and the Rival Soldiers. Wallack appeared as Gloucester. It was truly respectable performance, we were often reminded of Cooke, Kean,and Macready.It was something between the three, and decidedly, not inferior to the best efforts of the latter,Brunton,s Richmond had many good points. Miss Campbell's Queen had all the feeling that should distinguish the part, and all the force that gives felling its effect.
The Race Ordinary at the White Hart, on Wednesday, where a most excellent dinner of venison,&c. was served up by Mr Hodd, was respectably but not numerously attended.That at the Star on Thursday, had a larger share of company, upwards of 50 being present. C.C.Cavendish, one of the stewards, presided on both occasions, Col. Wyndham, the other steward, being in Ireland, with his regiment. Among the company present on the latter day, we noticed Lord George Cavendish, Sir George Shiffner, Sir Thomas Dyke, Sir Henry Blackman (vice president) General Crosby, E.J.Curteis, T.Partington, Mr Law, Mr Mabbot, Mr Diggens, Mr Blackman, &c.&c. &c.- Captain Shiffner, and Mr Diggens were appointed stewards for next year. Both houses were liberally supplied with Venison by the stewards. The smoking haunches at the Star were preceded by turtle soup, fresh salmon, &c. &c.
The course, the limited sport considered, was very well attended. The sharp running we spoke of in our Journal, was indeed looked for, but we regret to say, not found. Amongst the nobility we observed the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Egremont, Lord Gage, Lord George Lennox, Lord George Cavendish, &c.&c.&c. The weather was wholly favorable to the sport, except on the first day, when a sharp shower fell, which summoned the nimble-fingered corps to action, and principally about the stand -entrance, where a gentleman had a pocket picked of 5 or 6 one pound notes. On Saturday, a gentleman had a pocket-book containing £20, cut from his side-pocket,and numberless silk and other handkerchiefs changed owners. Where were all the show folk to whom our races used to be so attractive? There being but one exhibition of the kind upon the ground, namely that of the learned pig, there was also on E.O. table erected, but it should seem that the slats where to wise for the sharps, as it appeared to have little or nothing to do.
At the conclusion of our second day's races a fight took place for a subscription purse raise on the ground, between Joel Wren, a provincial pugilist of some note, from Brighton, and Jacobs, who was said to be down to all the sort of thing from London. A ring being formed, the combatants hurled their castors into it seriatim they shook hands and went to work. The fight lasted 30 minutes, during which time 16 rounds were fought, decidedly in favor of Wren, from the onset, Jacobs never had a chance and received severe punishment.
The Ordinaries at both Inns were pretty well attended and especially that of the second day at the Star. The dinners on both occasion were highly spoken of.
The Friday night Ball and Supper, at the County Hall, was most numerously attended, so brilliant a display of beauty and fashion was never before witnessed in the town upon any similar occasion, 273 of the Nobility and Gentry having honored it with their presence. Among the Company were observed, The Duchess of Richmond, The Earl of Egremont, Earl and Countess of Chichester, Lord and Lady Gage, Lord George, Lady, and Mr C Cavendish, Lord George Lennox, Sir C.M.Burrell, Sir J Shelley, Sir George and Lady Shiffner,E J Curteis, Walter Burrell, R Prime, The High Sheriff, &c. &c.
The races seem to be falling back to what they were between 50 and 60 years ago, when there was one solitary race for each day. On Thursday the 25th July, in 1771, Mr Sparrow's bay horse, Minor, walked over the course in the King's Plate. Mr Salt's chestnut horse, Cicero, was entered but did not run. On Friday the 26th, The Duke of Richmond's Plate of £50 was won in three heats by Sir f Poole's well known horse Sharpshins.
Lord G.H.Cavendish's brown colt, Mina, won the 100 guinea Kings Plate, winning the last two four mile heats. Augusta, won the first heat, Spermaceti (fell lame).
Winning Jockey W Arnull
Mr Brown's brown gelding, Marksman, won the £50 Members Plate, winning the last two heats. Roulette, won the first heat (run on the new course).
Winning Jockey, F Boyce
Mr Brown's brown gelding, Marksman, won a Sweepstakes, winning both heats,(Run on the new course).
Winning Jockey, T Brown
The sport at the above races, truth compels us to say, was the reverse of good and very unlike that which on former similar occasions we had to boast of. The turf nevertheless, was well attended by persons of distinction and consequence, among whom we observed his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, promenading arm in arm with the Earl of Chichester, their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Richmond, and the Ladies Paget, Lord George Lennox, the Marquis and beautiful Marchioness of Exeter, and Miss Poyntz,(sister of the Marchioness) the Countess of Chichester, Ladies Pelham, Lord and Lady Gage, Lord George, Mr C.C.Cavendish, Lord Dunwich, Lord Verulam, Walter Burrell, E.J.Curteis, Members of the County, Sir John Shelley, Sir George Shiffner, our Borough Members, Lady Shelley, W S Poyniz, Major-Gen. Hepburn, Stewards of the Races, Colonel Wyndham, Colonel, Lee, Colonel Morsett, and many other County Gentlemen, with a large of Company from Brighton. There was many splendid equipages, but we saw none that pleased us better than that of the Duke of Richmond. The only accident that happened entitled to notice was the overturning of an unoccupied Chariot, (we believe the Rev. Mr Constable's) by getting into contact with Mr Foley's Curricle, by which the carriages were some degree injured, but not expensively so. The detachments from the Metropolitan rifle corps, who practiced their maneuvers so successfully on the Brighton Race Down, marched hither, took their ground on the course, prepared for action, and would have made some bold advances, but for the appearance of the local sharp-shooters, by whose prudent activity they were disappointed of their meditated achievements. In other words, there were on the Course, many of the most dexterous of London thieves, but they were so closely looked after and watched by our regular peace officers, and some active young men who were especially made constables for the purpose that the rogues remained quite inactive, not a single pocket having been picked, nor a depredation of any kind committed or even attempted, that we have heard of. Some noted gamblers exhibited under Marques, on the Downs, three E.O. tables of elegant manufacture, (and made suitable to their own purposes, no doubt) with their inexhanstable banks of sovereigns shining conspicuously, but they had not long commenced their operations before those in authority put a stop to them, but to the great joy of the proprietors, left their tables in stain quo. In the absence of better sport, on Friday Lord L-----, with all his native good humour and pleasantry, for the amusement of himself, two or three of his friends, and all around him, tried his skill at the pinnacled prizes, or three throws for a penny. His Lordship was congratulated on his success and received the repeated cheers of the admiring spectators.
The Race Ordinaries at the White Hart, on Wednesday, and the Star on Thursday, were thinly attended. The Gentlemen present at the latter, (generally and largest) we believe did not exceed fifty.
Our dress Race Ball, which took place on Friday evening at the County Hall, was more numerously and fashionably attended, than upon any former similar occasion, upwards of 300 of the Nobility and Gentry, from all parts of the county, having honoured it with their presence, among the most distinguished of who we observed. The Duchess of Richmond, Lord G Lennox, Marques and Marchioness of Exeter, Countess of Chichester, and Ladies Mary and A Pelham, Lady Charlotte Neville, Lord G Cavendish,C.C.Cavendish, and Lady the Misses Cavendish, Lord and Lady Gage, Sir John Gage, and Lady, Sir John and Lady Shelley, Sir George and Lady Shiffner,the Misses Shiffner,Count Bourbell, General Crosbie, Mr Mrs and Misses Thomas,Mr Mrs and Misses Curteis, Mr Mrs and Misses Law, Mr Mrs and Misses Campion, Mr Mrs and Misses Magens, W S Poyntz, Walter Burrell, Major-Gen. Hepburn, Col. Austin, Capt. Abbott, &c. &c. &c. The company began to arrive at about ten o'clock, and soon after eleven the dancing commenced and continued until two when the court, generally appropriated as a supper room, was thrown open, but it was found far two small to accommodate the whole of the numerous assemblage, tables were therefore immediately laid in the Ball Room, and room adjoining, which was effected in a very short time after dancing had ceased, owing to the judicious and excellent arrangements of Mr Cowper, the hall keeper, who anticipating the want of accommodation that would be felt in the supper room, have provided accordingly, and thus prevented that bustle and confusion which would otherwise have arisen. The supper, which consisted of the choicest delicacies, was served up from the Star Inn, under the directions of Mr Hancock, of Brighton, who superintended the decorations of the tables, which where tasteful and appropriate. Soon after three the dancing was resumed, and kept up with great spirit and vivacity, until five, when the company separated.
The Performances at the Theater on Thursday evening, under the patronage of the Stewards of the Races, were The Belles Stratagem and a Roland for an Oliver. The house was respectably though not so numerously attended as on former occasions.The pieces throughout were well performed and obtained the merited approbation of the audience. On Friday the House was nearly as well attended as on the preceding evening.
The Nobility and Gentry of the county have expressed a determination to ensure a prospect of better sport for the ensuing year's Races. There are already 21 names to a subscription of 5 sovereign each to raise a fund for that purpose. Lord G H Cavendish and R Prime are appointed Stewards for the ensuing year.
The Races commenced today at noon, which is the time parties usually set out for the course, a storm came from the south west and the rain descended in torrent. The Equipages, which were in waiting at the doors of many of the mansions, were countermanded to their mews, and probably this place contributed fewer spectators of the sports than on any former occasion. The rain fell during the greater part of the day and proved, no doubt, more acceptable to farmers than to the turf lovers. The attendance on the second day was rather more numerous than yesterday, owing to the fineness of the day. A little after one o'clock his Royal Highness the Duke of York appeared on the ground, in his traveling carriage, and as soon as he was recognized was greeted with every demonstration of respect. His Royal highness continued only a short time on the course, as he left it shortly after the first race. The Duchess of Argyll, accompanied by the Ladies Paget and their brother, Lord Paget, the Earl of Egremont, and Abingdon, were on the course.
The Race Ball and Supper, at the County Hall on Friday, was numerously and most fashionable attended. Nearly 300 of the Nobility and Gentry of the neighborhood being present upon the occasion, among whom were,The Earl and Countess of Chichester, Lord G.H. Cavendish, Lord and Lady Dacre, Lord Pelham,Lady Gage, Lord and Lady Abingdon, Honourable Mr Mrs Gage, Lady Mary Pelham, Mr Neville, Mr Abbott, Mr Thomas Gage, Mr St Quintin and family, General Crosbie, Sir Thomas Langham, Admiral Markham, Sir Thomas Apreece, Major Hind, Mr Poyntz, Sir John and Lady Shelley, Sir George and Lady Shiffner, Sir John Hope, Sir W Ashburnham, Sir H Blackman, E.J.Curteis (MP), General Trevor, Mr Prime, Mr Fuller, Mr Masbbott, Col. Llewellyn, Mr Law, Mr Donovan, Mrs Donovan, Mr Langham, Major Cator,Mr W J and Mrs Campion,Captain and Mrs Spence, Mr Inigo Thomas, Mr Mrs W Camac, Mr M Brisco, Misses Shelley, Mr Woodward, Mr Cripps, Mr Partington, Mr Tredcrost, Mr and Miss Downman, Captain and Miss Shiffner, Rev G and Mrs Shiffner, Mr Trebec, &c. &c.
The company began to arrive at eleven o'clock and the dancing soon after commenced which was continued with great spirit until one, at which hour the supper rooms were thrown open and displayed a rich profusion of delicacies. The pines and Mellon were particularly fine. The wines were excellent and the arrangements under the direction of Mr Pollard of the White Hart Inn (who served the supper) gave general satisfaction. At four o'clock the party withdrew from the supper rooms and dancing was resumed, the fascinating pleasures of which kept some of the company together till six o'clock in the morning.
At our Theater, on Saturday, the School for Seandal and Broken Sword, were performed by desire of Lord G H Cavendish and R Prime, the Stewards of our Races. The house was nearly a bumper and the performers were quite at home in their respective characters.
There was something like running on the last day, but these races taken altogether were the worst we ever witnessed. The weather being invitingly fine, the course exhibited a tolerably good show of company, among whom we observed the Duke of Richmond, Earl of Egremont, Lord Dunwich, Lord Mount Charles, Lord John Fitzroy, Mr C C Grevelle, Gen. Trevor, Sir John Shelley, &c. &c. The pickpockets have been, we are sorry to say, extremely active and successful. There was several robberies on the Course. Mr Craven, had his pocket picked of a purse with two or £3 and some keys, a lady lost her reticule, in which was £2-5s and a gentleman's silver Snuff box. In one case the thieves were taken in. A gentleman who is well known to be very rich, having been attacked by them every year, put a bag with some halfpenny's only in his pocket, of which he was robbed in the Stand, the thieves thinking no doubt they had a valuable booty.
The Race Ordinary on Thursday, at the White Hart Inn, was numerously and highly respectably attended. Between fifty and sixty gentlemen sat down to an excellent dinner, comprising venison, turtle, and every delicacy of the season. The wines were of the choicest quality and in the greatest profusion. Among the company were General Trevor, and Mr Tredcrost (Stewards of the Races). Lord G H Cavendish, Lord W Lennox, Sir John Shelley, Sir George Prescott, Sir H Blackman, Messrs C C Cavendish,(M P), E J Curteis (MP), Mr T R Kemp (M P). Col. Goldfinch, Captain Spence, Captain Shiffner, Captain Hare, Captain Richardson, Captain Crofts Rev.Trebeck, Rev. Courthope, Rev.Crofts, Rev.Shiffner, Rev. Hare, Rev. Harison,Messrs, Partington, Messrs. Courthope, Messrs.Hoper, Messrs. Mabbott, Messrs. Slater, Messrs. Campion, Messrs. Dudley, Messrs. North, &c. &c. &c.
The first Ball was on Wednesday night, was fashionably attended, and not being crowded, passed off the more pleasantly.
The Grand Ball and Supper, on Friday night, had to boast a very large assemblage of Nobility and Gentry, upwards of 300 being present. The dancing commenced at half-past ten and continued until past one, when the supper rooms were thrown open and displayed a rich profusion of delicacies, tastefully and judiciously arranged. There was an abundance of the finest pines and other fruit, and the wines were of the choicest description. After supper the company again repaired to the Ball room, when the enlivening dance was resumed and kept up with spirit, until five o'clock. The supper was served up by Mr Insoll, of the Star Inn, and the decorations were under the management and direction of Mr Mutten, from Miss Hill's at Brighton.
The Theater on Thursday night, the performances, A Bold Stroke for a Husband, and Youth,Love, and Folly, were by the desire of the Stewards of the Races. The House was by no means crowded, but the audience was fashionable, and the performance appeared to give great satisfaction.
The race for the King's Plate, on Thursday, was followed by a most impudent and insulting exultation and it has since been generally regretted that those who could so disgrace the turf were not driven from it, under the merited smartings of the Horse-Whip. The wind, on Saturday, was so turbulent that the booths upon our Race Hill were stripped of their coverings and many a belle and beau had to deplore the loss of their hats and bonnets which were whirled about the downs in every direction.
The Race Ordinary, at the White Hart Inn on Friday, was more numerously attended than for many years past. Turtle and venison were in profusion, and the fine quality, the wines were excellent, and obtained for Mr Pollard, the landlord, the approbation of the company. Among the Noblemen and Gentlemen were, The Earl of Chichester, Mr H T Lane, the Race Stewards, Lord Ranelagh, Sir George Shiffner, Sir William Ball, Sir John Nisbett, Sir Henry Blackman. General Hepburn, Mr Curteis (M.P), Mr Poyniz (M.P), Mr Craven, Mr Kemp (M.P), Mr Storey, Mr J W Campion. Mr H Campion, Mr W Campion, Mr Courthope, Mr Inigo Thomas, Mr W W Richardson, Mr Barton, (Battle Abbey), Mr Donovan, Mr J Hoper, Mr Blackman, Mr Brencow, Col. Goldfinch, Captain Shelley, Captain Richardson, Captain Curteis, Captain Dixon, Captain Simpson, Captair Hare, Mr Luxford. Mr Willoughby, Captain Abbot, (R N) &c. &c. &c.
The Race Ball, on Friday night, was very fashionably and numerously attended. The supper apartment was thrown open at one o'clock when the tables (under the able superintendence of Mr Mutton) presented every delicacy in season and to the credit of Mr Insoll, gave great satisfaction to the company, in number 2 & 300.
The Theater, on Saturday night, the performances bring under the patronage of the Race Stewards, the Earl of Chichester, and H T Lane, exhibited a bumper, as is common on such occasions.
The Races came off on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, this year and not withstanding the largeness of entry and the fineness of the weather they were but thinly attended by the surrounding Nobility and Gentry. These races were originally considered as a County Meeting and all the influential families, for miles around, made a point of honouring them. The equipage of Sir Charles Blunt, (M.P), One of the Stewards, was almost the only one on the hill which attracted particular notice. The postillions wore red satin jackets, white hats, and cord breeches, and the turn out altogether had a very neat appearance. Alexandra Donovan, in his carriage and four, was on the ground the last day, on the first and second days the running was not very good, but on Friday there was excellent racing. We never remember to have seen as many gambling boots, and thimble rig gentry as made their appearance on the Downs.
The Dress Ball and Supper, at the County Hall on Thursday, was not so well attended as on former occasions. 191 fashionables were present among whom we noticed, Mr & Mrs Gage, Lady Bolingbroke, Lady Shiffner & Daughter, Sir C Blunt,& Lady Blunt, Mr Maynard, Lady Darell, Misses Darell, Lady Nightingale, Sir George Anson, Misses Anson, Mrs & Miss Stevens, Captain & Mrs Burton, Miss Roche, Mr Mrs & Miss Bonham, Mr Fitzherbert, Mr Maynard, Mr Stanley, General & Mrs St John, Lady & Miss Shelley, Mr C C & Lady Cavendish, Mr Kemp & Family, Mr & Mrs Partington, with Family, Mr & Mrs Thomas, with Family, Mr Mrs & Miss Rideout, Mr J Pelham, General Crosbi, Misses Crosbi, Captain & Mrs Frankland, Admiral Tomlinson, Mr & Mrs Courthope, with family, Mrs & Misses Campion (Danny), Mr & Mrs William Campion (jun), Col. & Mrs Elwood, Mr H B Curties, Mr Mrs & Miss Thompson, Mrs Field, Mr Hussey, Mrs & the Misses Walter Young, Mr Wilkinson. Mrs Cope & Family, Mr & Mrs Hardy, Mr & Mrs Day, Mrs & Miss Lewis, Mr & Misses Haley,Mr & Mrs Duke, Mr & Miss Gardner, &c. &c. &c. Dancing commenced soon after ten o'clock, and was continued until one, when the party repaired to the Supper Room, the tables of which were spread with the choicest delicacies, and beautifully decorated, by Mr Insoll. of the Star Inn, in his usual excellent style. Dancing was resumed at about two o'clock and was kept up with the greatest vivacity until five, when the company separated.
Excellent provision was made for the Race Ordinary on Thursday, by Mr Pollard, at the White Hart Inn. The tables were supplied with fine turtle soup, venison &c.but the attendance was exceedingly short, about 22 only having sat down to dinner, among the company we observed the Stewards of the Races,Hon. C C Cavendish, H B Curteis (M.P) and T R. Kemp (M.P)
Death of the King of the Gypsies, died in his tent on the race ground, on Wednesday. The venerable Charles Lee denominated the King of the Gypsies.The age of this monarch of the murky tribe was not correctly known, they called him 74, but it is conjectured that he was much older.He has left about 50 children and grandchildren behind him. He was interred in St Ann's churchyard on Sunday afternoon, followed by ten of his relatives, the rest of the family being absent at different fairs, races,&c., in the presence of at least 1,000, spectators, who had from curiosity been attracted to the churchyard to witness the funeral of so exalted a character.
There were some good sport witnessed this year, the company on the first day was not very large, but on the second day there was a better attendance, especially of pedestrians. The course was literally covered with gambling booths, and thimble rig-gentry, who practiced with impunity their callings on second and last day, the magistrates swore in a considerable number of special constables on the course with posting-bills stating their determination to prevent the nuisance. The Booths of the roulette gangs were pulled down by the magistrates and why should not a similar line of conduct to be adopted every where else to put an end to these nuisances.
The Race Ball at the County Hall on Thursday, was honored by the attendance of 170 of the neighborhood Nobility and Gentry, among those were there was Mr C.C..& Lady Cavendish, Mr H.B. Curties, Captain Curties, John Villiers, Lady Shelley, Lady Shiffner & daughters, General St John & daughters, Colonel & Lay Mabbott,Sir Charles & Lady Blunt, Lady Gage & daughters, Colonel & Mr Willard, Colonel & Mrs Goldfinch, Mr & Mrs W Frankland, Mr & Mrs Cotterall, Rev & Mrs Crofts, Mrs Tourle & daughters, Mr J & Miss Ingram, Inigo Thomas & family, Mrs & Miss Trebeck, Mr T Partington & family, Mr & Mrs Streatfield, Mr & Mrs W.J.Campion,Ladt Bolingbroke & family, Mr Gage, Marquis of Worcester, Mr & Mrs R.Gray, Misses Tomlinson, Mr Walker, Mr & Mrs Gardiner, Mrs Cope & family, Rev.Woodman, Rev.& Misses Courthope,& several Offices from Brighton. The dancing commenced at 11pm,and was kept up with great spirit until 2 am, when the company sat down to supper, served by Mr Pollard of the White Hart Inn at Lewes, under the superintendence of Mr Mutton of Brighton. The repast consisted of the most delicate viands, interspersed with a profusion of choicest fruits consisting of pines. melons grapes, &c. &c.,and the wines were superior quality. At the conclusion of supper, the company again repaired to the Ball Room, where the dancing was continued until 4 am, when the party separated.
The Race Ordinary this year was but thinly attended, not more than seventeen having dined on this occasion.
These Races were held on Wednesday and Thursday and two good days sport repaid those who attended the Lewes Downs. The damper thrown on the meeting however, by the late failure of the Brighton Races, doubtless kept many away.
The Race Ball at the County Hall, on Thursday, was numerously and fashionably attended Among the company were Lady Gage and two daughters, Lady Shiffner and daughter, C.C.Cavendish, Admiral Tomlinson, General and Mrs St John and daughter's, Mr and Mrs Partington and daughters, Captain Barchard, Mr and Mrs Slater and family, Mr and Mrs J.V.Shelley, the Misses Campion, Mr and Mrs Blencowe, Mr Thomas and family, Mr and Mrs Blanuw, Rev. Mr and Mrs Crofts and family, Mr and Mrs Streatfield, Mr and Mrs Sergison, Mr Hodson, Mr Fuller, Mr and Mrs Darby, Captain Crotts, Mr W.V.Langridge with Misses Stutely, &c. &c. &c.,
The quadrille band, under the direction of Kirchner, gave great satisfaction, at 5 o'clock in the morning the company broke up.
The course was but thinly attended on the first day, but although those who came to see the company and not the races were doubtless disappointed, the lovers of sport had no cause to regret their journey to the Downs. The running was throughout excellent as the subscribed account will show. Among the company present we observed was Lord Waldegrave and party, Sir Charles Blunt (M.P), Sir John Shelley, Henry Fitzroy (M.P), G Darby (M.P), Mr Harboad, Captain Rous, Captain Dalbiac,Captain Shiffner, Messrs Mabbott, Messrs Shelley, Messrs Shackell, Messrs Theobald, Messrs Davies, &c. &c.The celebrated theatricals Mrs Honey, Charles Kean, Anderson, and Sam, were also on the course. A contemporary has stated that there was only one carriage and four on the course, there were several and among these Lord Waldegrave and Mr Harboard each drove a slap-up four-in-hand equipage.
Sir Charles Blunt, upon meeting our old and respected member, Sir John Shelley, on the course, said, "How well you are looking, Sir John. I wish I was as well as you appear to be. How do you manage to keep your health? I wish you would tell me.
Sir John said, "I can easily do. My recipe is simple. Get out of Parliament as soon as you can and you will then be well."
Seventeen winners have been trained this year at Mr Thomas Brown's Stables, at Lewes, by August 2nd he had won 9 races from 11 starts. He train's for Mr Shelley, Mr Treobald, Mr Goodman and Mr Monk.
Owing to the excellent arrangements of the Stewards and the Clerk of the Course, Mr Thomas Brown (jun), the meeting passed of admirably. The sport altogether was not of the high character which we have been accustomed to witness at this meeting and the attendance on the course both days were not so numerous, as was expected, owing probably to the threatening state of the weather. There appears a disposition to redeem the character of these races next year, and the liberal subscriptions have already been entered into several leading and influential persons in the County, as an earnest of their intentions. The town of Lewes is much indebted to the Stewards Mr W.C.Mabbott, and Lord Cantilupe, for the energetic measures which they have taken to produce a good fund for 1841. Within a few weeks of these races there was not a subscriber to the Lewes Stakes, but judging from the spirit with which they have begun this year for Lewes Stakes of 1841, we may anticipate a splendid Stakes, there being at present no less than eight subscribers, and we are happy to add that there are also ten subscribers of the Count Found. These prospects look cheering.
Lewes, in the velvet of its turf and the peculiar facilities its narrowed horse-shoe course presents for really seeing a race, was worthy of the estimation in which it was once held. When Sancho and Pavilion, Haphazard, Dick Andrews, Whalebone and a string of other Magnates, graced its arena to contest for immense stakes, the former ran the two matches, one of them for the trivial sum of 3000 guineas. It seems but a thing of yesterday, when these races formed the cynosure of attraction, and Goodwood was left (To waste its fragrance on the desert air). What wonderful mutations doth time achieve.
At the close of the first day's races, on Wednesday, about 50 gentlemen sat down to an excellent ordinary furnished in Mr Geere's, best style at the White Hart at Lewes. Viscount Cantilupe took the chair and Mr W.C.Mabbott, officiated as deputy. During the evening the subject of the Lewes Races formed one of the leading topics of conversation and Mr Cavendish suggested that the old preliminary to the races should in future be adopted of having just previous to the time for holding them a County Meeting of the Sussex gentry at Lewes. He said he would for one, use his best efforts to attain this importing object and would make it his business to see the Duke of Richmond and other eminent breeders of race horses and get them to give the warmest support to our races. If we may judge of the present meeting as a presage of the future, it is but fair to conclude that the Lewes Races will again resume their former standing in the sporting world. The Meeting was kept together by the noble chairman to the late hour.
The Race Ball and Supper was held in the County Hall, on Thursday evening, the attendance of company was not large not more than 100 fashionables being present, among whom we noticed the Earl and Countess Delawarr, Lady Mary and Elizabeth West, Mr West, Lady Grace, Misses Gore, Captain and Mrs Shiffner, Mr Barchard, Mrs and Misses Thomas, Mr Mrs W.C.Mabbott, Mr Slater, Mr Russell, Misses Partington. Mr Mrs Fitzhugh, Viscount Cantilupe (M.P), Mr C.C.Cavendish (M.P.), Mr Mortimer, Major and Lady Jenkins, Miss Singer, Mrs M'Queen, Captain Sutton, Mr Forest, Mr Woodward, Mrs and Misses Campion, Captain Law with two Ladies. Mr Lee, with Ladies, Mr Thomas Shiffner, Mr Mrs Blencowe, Mr Hepburn, Mr Keen, Mrs Storey, and family, Mr H Blackman, Rev. W Thompson, Mr C Craven and Ladies, Mrs Knight and Family, Captain Mitchell, Captain Ives,Mr Mrs Blahuw, &c. &c. About 1am the company retired to the Supper Room, which was furnished with the choicest viands and richest delicacies of the season. We have not at any time seen the tables better furnished or more tastefully set out than on the present occasion, the whole of the arrangements for which were conducted by Mr Rose of the Star Inn, in Lewes. Nearly the whole of the fruit at the supper was obtained from the private gardens of Mr Edwin Neal of this town.