& District Local History Society - 2002 programme
source: The Society's Newsletters
for other recent years, see current programme page
- The Evolution of the Manorial System
February - Cobham houses and their occupants
March - The Civil War in England
April - The Leatherhead and District Census Project
May - Developments at Petworth House
May - Walk across Mickleham Downs
July - Visit to Basingstoke
August - Walk around WWII Defence sites on Box Hill, Dorking
September - Surrey Castles in the Landscape
October - The Dallaway Lecture New Light on the Anglo Saxons
November - Fanny Burney in Surrey
December - Christmas Miscellany: Jubilees in the past
JANUARY - The Evolution of the Manorial System
Lt Col Molyneux-Child is an authority on this subject and was to give local examples. [no report published in the Newsletter]
FEBRUARY - COBHAM HOUSES AND THEIR OCCUPANTS
At our February meeting, David Taylor, a lifelong resident and writer on Cobham, introduced us to its old houses and their occupants. Many of them had been drawn by the leading topographical artists or portrait painters of their day.
'Cobham' meant 'the settlement at the bend' (of the river Mole) and had three parts: Street Cobham (on the turnpike road), Church Cobham (by the parish church) and Tilt Cobham, the ploughed land beside the river. David's talk was so full of information that only some of the highlights can be mentioned here: for further details, read his books.
The most eye catching house in Cobham is Church Stile House; its 'traditional' date of 1432 now has to be always repainted. Leonard Martin, who lived at 'Overbye', restored it and many other local houses. Across the river, Cobham Park was probably designed by a pupil of Lord Burlington, Robert Morris. Its most colourful owners were Lord Ligonier, who kept a harem of young girls, and his nephew, who fought a duel in Green Park with his wife's lover, Count Altieri , but not with the stable boy who also enjoyed her favours.
The Victorian Gothic Rose Lodge had a footbridge to Cobham Park: the paintings by William Stubbs collected by one occupant vanished after her death. Gerrard Winstanley, the leader of the radical 'Diggers' of 1650, married into the King family, whose home later became Conisbee's butchers' shop. 'Longbays' still had its eighteenth-century shop front. 'Pyports' took its name from the fourteenth-century Pipard ('piper') family. It was originally an open-hall house (like Cedar House and the Mill House). Thomas Lucy, a miller, seems to have been supported by the more famous Lucys after he visited Charlecote. Among the owners of 'Pyports' were Henry Skrine, who travelled in the wilds of Wales and Scotland before they were 'discovered' by the Romantic poets and Captain Sir William Poste, 'the second Nelson'.
A Nonconformist school here was
satirised by Thomas Anstey Guthrie in his comic novel 'Vice
Versa'. Painshill Cottage was Matthew Arnold's home for many
years, but was demolished in 1963. Foxwarren, near the M25, was
the inspiration for the drawings of Toad Hall, as the artist,
E.H.Shepard, had confirmed. Notable modern houses included
Bentley Hall, designed by Philip Webb immediately after the Red
House (Bexley) and the modernist, The Homewood, designed by
Patrick Gwynne and Wells Coates, recently acquired (like Cedar
House) by the National Trust.
MARCH - THE CIVIL WAR IN ENGLAND
Anyone who thinks that history is boring should have been at our meeting on Friday 15th March to hear a most entertaining and informative talk by Alan Turton, Curator of Basing House Museum, an expert on the English Civil War. He provided an enthralling evening, telling us about the lot of the 'common soldier' at that period - what he was paid, what he wore, what weapons he had and how he was conscripted.
We saw what Pikemen, Musketeers and Cavalry wore, and one of our members, Tom Lunnon, volunteered to become a Pikeman, and was equipped with all the kit, including a 'snapsack' for his food, hat, helmet, armour and sword, but not with a pike, which was 16 ft. long ! Mr. Turton explained how there was very little difference, if any, between what the Cavaliers and Roundheads wore - often leading to much confusion in battle. The soldiers wore red coats - not to show up on the battlefield, or to hide any bloodstains, but because red dye (made from onion skin) was the cheapest.
Not only did he describe how the soldier lived, but also what it was like for people in the villages where the soldiers were billeted. It was bad enough for a family in a tiny cottage to have five soldiers billeted on them for just a night or two, but in winter, when battles were not fought, they could be landed with soldiers with them for several months.
Some of the many interesting
snippets of information we learned were the origins of many
sayings such as 'plain as a pikestaff', 'lock, stock and barrel'
and 'a flash in the pan'. Altogether it was a fascinating evening
and was much enjoyed and appreciated by all.
APRIL - THE LEATHERHEAD AND DISTRICT CENSUS PROJECT
Following the AGM at the meeting on 19th April, John Morris, the leader of the Leatherhead Census Project, brought us up-to-date on progress, but before doing so informed us of the history of censuses.
The first was called by Caesar Augustus to ascertain population numbers in order to enable taxes to be levied, to determine both numbers required to garrison each province and also those needed for military service elsewhere in the Roman empire. Everyone was required to return to their place of birth in order to register. In England William I sent out data gatherers, and Elizabeth I obtained data on the cheap by requesting archdeacons to record information during their parish visits.
The first modern census took place in 1801 during the French wars and has occurred every 10 years since. The first three censuses only counted heads, but in 1841 a record was made of who lived where in each parish. This was shortly after changes had been made to the voting system.
Turning to Leatherhead, in 1841 out of one thousand adults recorded, only forty had the vote, including a number of absent landowners. The vote was related to ownership rather than residence. Owners of land with a minimum value of £10 annual rental were entitled to the vote. Schoolmasters were regularly employed as enumerators, often being the only literate members of society other than the gentry. They filled in the forms from verbal information given to them by the residents. In 1841 entries in the town were limited to 'born in Surrey' or 'elsewhere'. Later on the place of birth was recorded.
Turning to the work of the project team, John said that we were indebted to Peter Tilley who was our inspiration following his talk to the society in January 2000: this described his work on the Kingston censuses. It is Peter's computer programme that we are using and he has trained those members who have entered the data on to disk. Very important members of the project team are the pairs who check the computer printouts against the original forms. He said that additional volunteers would be welcomed.
Many interesting variations in
spelling of names and dates of birth have come to light. Four
census records have now been put on to computer and the programme
allows them to be compared and also merged with the church
records of births, marriages and deaths. Anomalies where, for
instance, road or street names have changed, make it sometimes
difficult - but interesting - to make comparisons between one
generation of census returns and another. All available data is
now nearly completely transferred to disk. The 1901 material
should be available shortly; also records of burials in
Leatherhead over 22 years are available to enter. The census
records plus the church records and the street directories should
lead to the better identification of family trees. It is planned
to put copies of computer disks in the local library and for them
to be available for individuals.
MAY - DEVELOPMENTS AT PETWORTH HOUSE
The final lecture in the 2001-2 season was given on 17th May by Judith Mills, speaking on "Petworth - The Carved Room and the Return of the Turners".
Judith began by sketching the history of Petworth House, which was held by the Percy family between the 12th and 17th centuries. It then passed by marriage to the Seymours, who held the Dukedom of Somerset. The duke began rebuilding the mediaeval manor house to create a grander building. In the course of this work Grinling Gibbons was commissioned to create the Carved Room, which was left in the natural colour of the lime wood. After several generations the property passed to the Wyndham family in the shape of the 3rd Earl Egremont, benevolent owner of some 11,000 acres in various parts of the country and breeder of racehorses - he won the Derby and the Oaks on several occasions. He was allegedly the father of many children by various mothers.
Egremont carried out further work, including the doubling of the size of the Carved Room in the 1770's. The room was then used as the earl's grand dining room. Around 1830 the landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner, was commissioned to paint four pictures to go into this room in frames carved by Jonathan Ritson. Using the library as a studio Turner painted eight pictures, of which he retained four which are now in Tate Britain. Egremont was succeeded by his eldest natural son, who later became Lord Leconfield, and Petworth remained in his family until it passed to the National Trust in 1929, having gone to the State in lieu of death duties.
Over the last ten years the Trust has conducted a major programme of refurbishing the house, the final stage being the restoration of the Carved Room to its former glory. Judith showed slides illustrating the magnitude of this task and some of the problems dealt with by the restorers.
The talk will have whetted the
appetites of those present to visit Petworth to see the final
result and to view the exhibition of Turner's work being mounted
there between July and September this year.
WALK ACROSS MICKLEHAM
On Saturday, 11th May, beneath a canopy of bright green newly-unfurled leaves, contrasting with the gentle haze of underplanted bluebells, we walked across the Downs under the leadership of Alan Hall of the Surrey Archaeological Society. This walk had been postponed for 15 months due to foot and mouth disease, but was a natural corollary to a talk given by Judie English.
We made our way alongside Tyrells Wood Golf Club greens until we reached the remains of a barrow, disguised by course contours. Aerial photography on our left would have shown hidden former mounds where three parish boundaries met on sheep pasture fields. When we reached Stane Street Alan showed us how the original construction had been revealed by recent works, enabling us to appreciate the formidable task of the Romans to build straight, regular and well surfaced roads throughout the country for troop movements. He propounded recent speculation that the Roman occupation predated earlier calculations by more than 100 years. No forts appear to have existed in the South East of England and it may well be therefore that they came here by invitation. It is believed that Roman villa sites were reused, as for example in Ashtead where the church has traces of Roman brick in its construction.
We turned behind Cherkley Court grounds, where the Aitken Trust had fenced off their land. Stane Street plunged off through the woodland, unexcavated, while we walked on up through the now muddy and comparatively badly surfaced lane. Surrey had always been one of the poorest counties and only suitable for sheep grazing on the chalk downland. Landscape archaeology has revealed ancient field margins, the shapes scoured out by iron age men. As recently as 40 years ago this area still held valuable sites but these have all now been destroyed. At that time, also, the shady woodland through which we now walked had been open agricultural grassland. A few iron and bronze age settlements had been excavated in the area but nothing of note found.
We turned up towards the Long Ride, which during wartime had been kept as an emergency aircraft landing strip. The Archaeological Society had excavated a circular hut from clues of broken pottery kicked up by passing horses. Vestiges of field boundaries could be faintly discerned. As we returned to Nower Wood we passed a Saxon parish boundary with a double bank and ditch on the steeply wooded hillside separating Headley and Mickleham.
Our thanks to Alan for a most
interesting afternoon and the reminder that the clues are all
around us, if only we can read them.
JULY - Visit to Basingstoke: Saturday 13th July 2002 was a warm and sunny day. We arrived at the new Milestones Museum at 11.00 and each had an excellent audio guide around the museum which contains replica buildings representing Basingstoke's past, including shops from Victorian times to the 1940's, and the Thornycroft, Tasker and Wallis & Steevens engineering works.
The jeweller's shop was particularly attractive with ornate gas lamps on the outside so that the gas did not tarnish the silver objects in the window. The 1930's shopping parade was based on one at Lee-on Sea epitomising the era, with electrical and other household products then becoming readily available. There was also a saw mill, a saddlers and a pub.
The firm of John I. Thornycroft was founded in Chiswick in 1864 producing steam launches and naval vessels. Commercial vehicle production began in 1895 by installing a steam launch engine in a road wagon. By 1905 the emphasis was on the internal combustion engine. The family were artists as well as engineers. John's brother Hamo and his father Thomas were sculptors. Hamo sculpted the statue of King Alfred which stands in Winchester; Thomas being responsible for Boadicea and her famous horse-drawn chariot on the approach to Westminster bridge.
Thornycroft had a reputation for quality commercial vehicles but sadly after WWII was unable to compete with larger British manufacturers. It was taken over by AEC, itself later being taken over by British Leyland, becoming a specialist manufacturer, most famously producing the Mighty Antar 150 ton capacity tank transporter for the British Army in the 1950's. Boat building was merged with Vosper in 1966 to become Vosper-Thornycroft Ltd.
In the afternoon we visited the remains of Basing House and saw the magnificent Tudor barn which was part of the estate. The timbers of this agricultural warehouse had been dated to Autumn 1534 and the Spring of 1535. Timber was shaped when still green because, if left to mature, it became too hard to work. The barn showed evidence of Parliamentarian cannon damage during the Civil War sieges. The tally marks, scratched on the walls by farm workers, date from Tudor to Victorian times. They could neither read nor write, hence the simple counting system. The barn is impressive, well preserved and of awesome proportions. Constructed from 3.25 million locally fired Tudor bricks, its simple dignity had great presence and was perhaps the most interesting part of the visit, its 'arrow slits' being for ventilation, not defence.
Basingstoke is however just an adjunct to older Basing, as we learnt from our guide, Alan Turton, who gave us a very thorough guided tour and history. Basing House was once the largest in England, larger even than Henry VIII's palace on the Thames at Hampton, which he 'acquired' from Cardinal Wolsey, who made the mistake of building a palace larger than that of his monarch.
It is particularly sad that Basing
House had such varied fortunes and misfortunes, from a
palace entertaining 1,500 guests, to a Royalist Civil War
stronghold. It ended as a quarry to rebuild Basing following the
Civil War siege of 1644. Had it survived, the house could now be
one of the foremost tourist attractions in the country. It was
owned, and extended on a massive scale, by one of the most
remarkable Tudor politicians, Sir William Paulet, first
Marquis of Winchester, who was Treasurer to Edward VI, Mary I and
Elizabeth I. Becoming immensely rich, he died in his nineties,
remaining a Roman Catholic under a Protestant queen until the end
of his days.
AUGUST - Walk around WWII Defence sites on Box Hill, Dorking, 10 August 2002: Despite a forecast of showers the morning stayed dry. Nine members and a dog met our guide, Trevor Marchington, in the car park by Ryka's Cafe and walked a circuit that started on the long slope north above the car park. A fallen tree on the slope served to display the OS map while Trevor outlined the background to the Victorian fort and WW2 GHQ Anti-tank Line.
Further up the hill binoculars allowed a glimpse of a rarely-noticed pillbox near the A24 north of Burford Bridge. Looking westwards across Denbies we saw the line of a 1940 anti-tank ditch, mistakenly believed in the 1960's to be the line of Stane Street. Beyond Denbies the GHQ line continued across the North Downs scarp face as far as Newlands Corner, fortified with pillboxes or ditches. However, the Denbies anti-tank ditch did not extend to the foot of Box Hill, leaving a puzzling gap.
Denbies itself became a leading Home Guard training school, visited by General Lord Alanbrooke in October 1941. He had replaced Ironside, the originator of the GHQ Line, in July 1940 and within a few weeks of his appointment had declared the line already obsolete, stating, "This static rear-line did not fall in with my conception". Joining the rough flint-surfaced track, we followed it to Box Hill Fort. Built in 1899 it was one of thirteen intended to protect the capital. Primarily a tool and weapon store and mobilisation centre, it was also constructed as an infantry redoubt with steel shutters on the windows. It was noted that the loopholes in the concrete walls lacked the more sophisticated 'stepping' of WW2 pillboxes.
The walk continued after a pause for coffee at the National Trust servery. At the foot of Box Hill the GHQ Line abandoned the North Downs and followed the River Mole upstream for several miles before turning eastwards towards the River Medway. From the hillside below the viewpoint we were able to look down to a dozen sites of former defence structures. The most obvious survivor is the group of twelve anti-tank concrete cylinders on the river bank. These guarded a ramp by which cattle could reach the river, the north bank of which had been steepened to prevent the passage of tanks.
Further on down the hill we looked down onto Dorking, which had been an 'Anti-tank island', the detailed defences of which are shown on the 'secret' Home Guard map in Dorking Museum. Shere and Betchworth were also 'islands' intended to delay an enemy breakthrough until a mobile defence force arrived. On the hillside behind Dorking, Deepdene House became the wartime HQ for the Southern Railway, with a nerve centre located in underground chambers. These were forgotten until rediscovered by Firemen in 1997 when called to a fire lit by children in one of the entrances.
A steep descent of the North Downs Way led us to the Stepping Stones where we turned upstream and after 200 yards of nettle bashing reached the massive rectangular anti-tank pillbox that faces westwards. The four foot, six inches thick concrete walls contain a mount for a six-pounder gun which was never fitted. Just upstream, triple concrete pillars had barred passage of the river by tanks; our view of the few which survive was prevented by the dense summer vegetation.
Finally we followed the river
downstream back to Burford Bridge, completing a circuit that had
given us a comprehensive overview of the former defences around
Box Hill. Our thanks to Trevor for guiding us without mishap over
some rugged ground and for so eloquently informing us on an
aspect of our more recent history which he had obviously
Trevor Marchington and Gordon Knowles
SEPTEMBER - Surrey Castles in the Landscape: The first lecture of the 2002/2003 season was given by Dr. Derek Renn, our immediate past president. His theme was the castle in its community and local surroundings. Derek gave his definition of a castle as 'a fortified residence' and gave a brief overview of the castles along the south coast from Pevensey to Dover, Deal and Rayleigh, illustrating the early Saxon forts, the Roman castles and the Gun Forts of Henry VIII.
Surrey was along the Pilgrim's Way with few roads in Roman and Mediaeval times. The landscape was largely forest until the end of the 12th c. Surrey castles were more numerous that many thought, Guildford, a Royal castle, and Farnham, a Bishop's, being the best known. There were a number of early forts, mainly of timber and earthworks, and Barons' castles which were smaller and not so long lasting as Guildford and Farnham.
There was a 9th c. fort at Eashing, and the large castle at Guildford built on a mound of chalk, created from digging the surrounding ditch, was of the same period. The king stayed here overnight on a few occasions during his frequent journeys around his kingdom. In the 13th c., after the death of King John, Henry III set about building palaces and Guildford was developed as part of the scheme. The mound was given over to the Sheriff and a wooden building was erected for the king in the grounds. Other castles and palaces built by the crown in the County were at Richmond, Hampton Court, Nonsuch - of which no trace remains - Bagshot and Mortlake.
The Bishopric of Winchester extended into Surrey and a castle was built over a pre-historic fort at Farnham. The Bishops built their own castles partly as a sign of their power and wealth and partly as a fortification against the Barons and any insurrection by the populace. Farnham was built by Bishop Wainfleet, who also built a tower at Esher, which survives as a residence. Farnham was later developed into a palace and embellished with Tudor lodgings.
Among the privately built castles and fortified houses was the one at Bletchingley, built in the 11th c. and which stood outside the village in a large park, itself extended in 1448. Parts of the mound survive in the grounds of a private house. Reigate castle was also away from the town and had chalk tunnels underneath, some of which survive. There was a small fortified house at Abinger, to counter the crown-owned one at Shere. It was a manor house built alongside a mound and fort, a timber palisade with re-inforcement and a central timber watch tower.
Walton-on-the-Hill had a 14th c. fortified manor house with 12th c. earthworks. Further south into the weald, Thunderfield near Horley had wet moats surrounding a fortified house. Later buildings were built of stone, such as that at Betchworth, the date of which is not known and which is currently in the news with debate over possible restoration.
Derek gave us much detail on both Guildford and
Farnham castles, sites that many were familiar with, and also
information on others that were new to most.
Gordon Knowles 8 Dec 2002
OCTOBER - The Dallaway
Light on the Anglo Saxons
This year's Dallaway lecture was given by Dr. Martin Welch of University College, London, a leading authority on the Anglo-Saxons. He began by describing the finds from the cemetery at Park Lane, Croydon, partly discovered and looted in the 1890's. Its importance lay in the discovery there of ceremonial belts and quoit-shaped brooches, evidence of links with Saxony and Normandy in the fifth century A.D.
Further finds made in 1992, since when there had been trial archaeological excavations on sites damaged by old foundations, which shewed that the cemetery was extended southwards until A.D. 700 or even later. There had been extensive-and-expensive arguments on various planning applications for possible development of the sites as office blocks and car parks. The main debate was still whether the site should be entirely excavated first, or preserved ( and how this might be done).
Dr. Welch then moved on to more local seventh-century cemeteries, such as that found when the Goblin Works, and later Esso House, were built on the Leatherhead/Ashtead border, and that at Headley Drive, Tadworth. At Ashtead, at the Gally Hills barrow at Banstead and on Guildown near Guildford, there were later burials of people who had been either hanged or beheaded. Dr. Welch said that limb amputations seemed to be mainly as punishment rather than medical treatment. At Banstead there was an earlier burial of a tall young man, with his weapons and a metal bowl full of crab apples covered with a cloth tied with string. At Lakenheath in Suffolk, one Saxon skeleton was accompanied by a leg of lamb and a bucket of ale.
Horses, or at least ponies, about six years old, complete with their harness were found in East Anglia, sometimes buried in the same grave as humans. A new cemetery had been found at Sutton Hoo, some distance from the great ship-burial mounds, probably of middle-class Saxons. Dr. Welch showed us pictures of the various great helmets from elsewhere, the most striking being that from Coppergate, York.
In answering questions, the
speaker pointed out that scarce resources were often buried and
so lost to the community. Jewelry was sometimes hidden behind the
head, and coins replaced valuable weapons. He said that, as well
as DNA, the structure and shape of heel-bones differed between
racial groups, assisting identification A national database of
Anglo-Saxon burials was planned, with an appeal for local
unpublished information to make it comprehensive.
NOVEMBER - Fanny Burney in Surrey, given by our president, Linda Heath, on the 250th anniversary of the death of the writer, the first English authoress to make a name for herself, before Jane Austen, the Brontes or George Elliot.
Fanny was born in Kings Lynn the daughter of Charles Burney, a Doctor of Music and eminent musicologist. She was one of 8 children, joined by 5 more when her father married for a second time. She was especially close to her sister Susan and it was through her that she eventually came to live in Surrey. The family was a cultured one and Fanny met Dr. Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke and other celebrities when the family moved to live in London. She became influenced by a family friend, Samuel Crisp, who lived at Chessington, then in the depths of the Surrey countryside.
Fanny was of small build and in indifferent health throughout her life, always frail and easily fatigued. She was shy and hated publicity, and was a mixture of conservatism and progressiveness, with a desire to please, timid yet morally and physically courageous. She started writing her journal at the age of 15 and her first novel, Evelina, was written in 1778 when aged 26 and staying with Samuel Crisp at Chessington. It is written in the form of correspondence and is perhaps the most difficult of her novels for a modern reader to enjoy.
It was published anonymously and in great secrecy, her stepmother having warned her that to be known as a 'scribbler' would count against her eligibility in marriage. The book was an enormous success, everyone trying to guess who might have written it, no-one identifying Fanny as the author, or even that it was by a woman. Eventually the truth came out and she was hailed as a real authoress and achieved considerable fame and celebrity, though alas not a deal of money, owing to the terms of her contract.
In 1782 her second novel, Cecilia was published, again selling well and again making more money for the publisher than for Fanny. She was particularly good at writing of events and people and their dialogues, but rarely gave visual descriptions of places or people, maybe due to her poor eyesight. Jane Austen always gave due acknowledgement to the debt she owed to Fanny for her character writing. In 1786 Fanny, now 34, was offered a position at Court as second keeper of the Robes to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. She took the post mainly to please her father, realising that it would curtail her writing. She left the court in 1791 with a pension of £100 p.a. for life.
Meanwhile the French Revolution had created havoc and a group of emigrés, known as Constitutionalists, came and settled in Juniper Hall at Mickleham. Fanny was appraised of this by her sister Susan who was living at Mickleham. Susan and her husband, Capt. Phillips were great friends of William Lock and his wife of Norbury. They all visited the emigrés at Juniper Hall and they in turn were welcome guests of the Locks. Fanny came to visit her sister in late January 1793 to find the emigrés in a state of distress following the execution of their king, Louis XVI.
At Juniper Hall she met General Comte Alexandre d'Arblay who had been adjutant to Lafayette but was now penniless in a foreign country. Fanny wrote to her father that she was staying on with her sister to teach d'Arblay English while he would teach her French. She could already read French but was diffident in speaking it.
Dr. Burney, a staunch royalist, was unhappy, looking on all French emigrés as potential revolutionaries. Although Fanny was by now 40 her father forbade her to accept an invitation to stay at Juniper Hall. She reluctantly acquiesced, largely for fear of upsetting Queen Charlotte and jeopardising her pension which was her sole source of income.
d'Arblay, within two months of meeting Fanny, proposed marriage, but he had neither money or position, his estates had been confiscated, he was a Catholic and England was at war with France. Dr. Burney was dismayed and Fanny realised the potential social ostracism that she would face if she married d'Arblay and was worried that their financial impecunity might ultimately cause him regrets, for they would only have Fanny's £100 pension to live on.
They decided to marry anyway and the ceremony took place at Mickleham church on 28 July 1793, six months after they had met. They started life in rented rooms at Phenice Farm in Dorking Road at the foot of Blagden Hill. By November they moved to the house now known as The Hermitage in Lower Road. Bookham, opposite the church.
Dr. Burney became reconciled to the marriage and corresponded regularly with Fanny. In December 1794, when Fanny was 41, their only child was born. He was christened Alexandre in St. Nicholas church by the Rev. Samuel Cooke, Jane Austen's godfather. Fanny revised a play, Edwy and Edwiga which was read by Sheridan and performed in London in March 1795. It was under-rehearsed and poorly produced and was taken off after one performance.
Fanny now published her third novel, Camilla, or A Picture of Youth, which was written almost entirely at Bookham in less than six months. It is in five volumes, reaching over 900 pages in today's paperback edition. It had mixed reviews but sold well, 3,500 copies being bought in the first three months. Fanny was delighted as it turned out a financial success for her.
With the money from Camilla the d'Arblays built a cottage on a plot of land given them by William Lock, which was called Camilla Lacey. Unfortunately they did not own the land and when William Lock's son in due course sold Norbury Park the cottage too had to be sold. In 1801, d'Arblay was free once more to return to France, which he did with his family. Unfortunately war once again broke out and it was not until after Waterloo that Fanny was able to return to England. She subsequently said that her years in Surrey were the happiest of her life.
To conclude her most informative and
interesting lecture Linda read extracts from Fanny Burney's work
and showed some excellent slides of the area in which Fanny and
her husband had lived in Surrey.
DECEMBER - Christmas Miscellany
Jubilees in the past were the topical theme of our meeting which was attended by the Rev Dr Stephen Sheppard from Hereford, who had joined the Society at its foundation.
In 1977, Jack Barker had been responsible for
the loyal address from the Greater London Council to Her
Majesty and had ridden on one of the two silver-painted
Routemaster buses which carried the presentation deputation into
the courtyard of Buckingham Palace.
Gordon Knowles, who had organized the evening, described the streamlining of the mainline railway locomotives of the 'Thirties', including those named the Silver Jubilee (of King George V) and one which still held the world speed record for steam trains, the Mallard.
Linda Heath read extracts from the Leatherhead parish magazine giving an account of the children's parties held to celebrate Queen Victoria's jubilees. She also told us of the Rev Sidney Sedgwick, curate of Leatherhead 1897-1905, author of the Leatherhead Legends and also composer of the words and music of many operettas in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan which had been staged here. Graham Evans had found copies of the librettos and Linda, ably partnered by John Wettern, gave us extracts from The Heart of the Griffin. King Trilobite, out walking with his shrewish wife, meets a dinosaur and flees. His wife disappears and the king declares that no-one should marry until he had taken his pick, much to the dismay of various other couples. Fortunately, the queen reappears and discomfits her husband.
Peter Tarplee gave a wide-ranging talk on the history of water supplies, from private wells with the water raised in buckets by horse-powered winding gear (as at Bocketts and Highlands farms) or by wind pumps or waterwheels (Painshill, Cobham Park). Many local villages had public wells on their greens, supplemented or replaced by troughs and drinking fountains erected by local worthies in commemoration of important events. In 1738, a Quaker had created a public supply in Dorking, over a century and a half before the Leatherhead Company's borehole of 1884 and the later piping from the springs at Fetcham.
Derek Renn spoke of the introduction of
the pillar box into the British Isles in 1852, following
the explosion of letter writing due to the introduction of the
penny post. He showed pictures of boxes of the 1850's still in
use and appealed for details of the audience's local boxes, as
part of a survey it was hoped to publish soon.