Exeter and its neighbourhood under George 111
Selected and annotated by Robert DYMOND, F.S.A.
A general peace between France, Spain, Great Britain and Portugal had been concluded at Paris in February 1763. The National Debt amounted to £138,865,430. The population of England and Wales estimated at 6,736,000. The three per cent Consols were down to 85 and the quartern loaf sold for 7d.
Sept 15th, "On Saturday last [10th] His Royal Highness the Duke of York passed through the City on his way to Plymouth, he made no longer a stay than while fresh horses were putting to into the carriage at the London Inn." [This was what was afterwards known as the Old London Inn, now the Bude Haven, and the shop of Mr PASSMORE, chemist. The Duke of York was the brother of George 111. He died in Italy in 1767]
Sept 29th, In this year great murmuring and excitement was aroused in the orchard counties by the imposition of a duty on cider. The papers of this time teem with evidence of the dissatisfaction which prevailed in the city and neighbourhood. The impost was felt to be the more galling as the proclamation of peace had led the people to expect that the weight of taxation would be lighter rather than increased. The following paragraph illustrates the temper of the population on the occasion :- "A few days since an Exciseman went to visit the Cellar of a Farmer four miles from Exeter, and having discharged his Duty, went into the Stable to take his Horse, when to his great Surprise, he saw one of his Ears cut off. The Exciseman then flew into the House, and with great Indignation told the Farmer, who very composedly replied that it was very probable the other might be gone by this Time, which on the Exiseman's return into the Stable, he found to be true. "Pray Sir" says the Farmer, "stay and send for our Farrier to shape his Ears a little" "No" says the Exiseman, with an Oath, "by the Time he comes, my Horse's Head may be gone" He therefore rode away to the Sign of the Black Horse at Honiton's Clyst, and sent for a Farrier to exercise his Art. Tis probable these operations may be more expert soon, as it seems, intended every gentleman of the Stick is to ride a cropped Horse"
Edward WALKER Esq, elected Mayor, "A handsome entertainment provided at the Mayoralty House" [The Mayoralty House is now known as "The Civet Cat" at the junction of High St and Gandy St on the west side of the latter. Butalight traces now exist of its former state. Mayor-choosing took place on the Monday before Michaelmas day, at this time it was customary for his newly elected worship to provide a bull to be baited through the streets by the populace]
Oct 14th, "Guildhall, Exon, Oct 4th 1763. At a General Quarterly Court of the Coal Adventurers held this Day, Ordered that a call be made on the subscribers for the sum of 1 guinea, each share, which they desired to pay to John BARING Esq, Treasurer or to John WHITE, Agent to the Committee. The Workmen, this day reported that they had sank 57 fathoms, the Courses dipping near 2ft in a Fathom, the Cliff now being taken up being coated with coals and strongly marked with vegetable impressions, many pieces of which were produced in the presence of the court" [The production of these specimens no doubt stimulated the ready payment of the call. We believe the coal mines were in Holcombe, Burnell and Dunsford. An advertisement in the Exeter Journal of August 1754, describes them as "near the City of Exeter"]
Nov 4th, On Saturday last 30th September, about 3pm, the Honourable and Right Reverend Doctor Frederick KEPPELL, Bishop of Exeter, arrived in this city. The High Sheriff and the Clergy in the neighbourhood of Axminster waited on his Lordship at that town, and he was attended to this City by a great number of Clergy, Gentlemen etc. The Mayor and Chamber with their Recorder, attended by the several Companies, received his Lordship at the East Gate and after having entertained him at the Guildhall, accompanied him to the west end of the Cathedral, where his Lordship was received by the Dean and Chapter, habited in their surplices, who conducted him to the Chapter House and from thence in procession through the West Door to his seat in the Church, the choir attending and singing the Te Deum. The crowd of spectators both in the street and in the Cathedral was greater than can be remembered on the like occasion, and the remarkable Decency of their Behaviour showed the respect they bore to the Station and character of his Lordship and to the worthy Magistracy of this City."
Nov 11th, Yesterday the Cathedral bells were rung and there were grand entertainments at Powderham to celebrate the majority of Lord Viscount Courtenay.
Dec 23rd, "On Tuesday the 27th inst, the most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons will hold their Anniversary Feast of St John the Evangelist at the New Inn Apollo, when the brethren of the most honourable order will be genteelly entertained. Dinner to be on the table at 2pm [The New Inn then the principal hostelry of Exeter, is now Messers GREEN'S establishment in High St, where the Apollo room still retains its splendid ceiling]
March 2nd, "We hear that his Grace the Duke of Bedford has lately sent down his portrait to be put up in the Hall Room there" [at Tavistock]
March 9th, The Freedom of the City of Exeter presented in a circular box to the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Charles PRATT. The box bore an inscription and the City arms on the cover. [A full length portrait by Hudson of his Lordship, afterwards Baron Camden, was presented to the city by John WALTER Esq, its representative in Parliament, and now adorns the Guildhall] The following advertisement furnishes an illustration of the travelling facilities of the period :-
"Notice is hereby given that on Monday the 5th, March 1764
will set out from the New Inn in Fore St and the London Inn without, East Gate, Exon, alternatively, and so continue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, to convey passengers from Exon to London in TWO DAYS, and returns from the Bell Inn and Saracen’s Head in Friday St, London, alternately every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The Machine lies, going up at the White Hart Inn in Salisbury, and coming down at the Red Lion Inn in Blandford. Each passenger to pay two pounds, five shillings to London, and so in proportion to Salisbury, Blandford, Dorchester, Bridport, Axminster, and Honiton. Stout and able horses, with good Machines and careful Drivers, are properly placed on the road, for its being done in the best manner. Each passenger allowed sixteen pounds weight of luggage.
Edward ILIFFE [of the Mermaid]
Thomas PARKER [of the New Inn]
Likewise a MACHINE will set out from the New Inn aforesaid from Plymouth every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 6am. Breakfast at Ashburton [going down] and dine at Plymouth, and will return from the Topsham Inn near Foxhole Quay, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to the New Inn aforesaid. Breakfast at Ashburton and dine at Exeter, as fresh horses are placed at Ashburton for that purpose, and will run it sooner than any Post Chaise can. Each passenger to pay fifteen shillings.
No money, plate, watches, jewels or writings will be accounted for, if lost unless entered as such. No other Coaches or Machines set out from any other place for London of Plymouth.
ILIFF'S and PARTRIDGE'S Fly Waggons to the Bell Inn, in Friday St, London, in four days and a half, continue to set out from his house known as the Mermaid in Exon, every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning, and set out from the Bell Inn aforesaid from Exon every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and a slow waggon almost every day from each place. Plymouth waggons, Wednesdays and Saturday, and Falmouth Waggon every Monday."
[The Mermaid in Sun St as well as the Dolphin opposite were noted hostelries in former times, the former especially so. It was frequented by people of the best quality. There was a large assembly room with an elaborately moulded ceiling, and over its mantelpiece was a shield displaying the arms [probably] of the POLLARD family. It is likely that the civic adventurers of the Elizabethan age met here to arrange their plans for foreign trade or discovery. The Mermaid has now given place to two huge blocks of Industrial Dwellings.
The name of the "machine" having now ceased to have been applied to travelling vehicles, it may be well to refer here to the description given in Howe's History of Progress. He records that in 1605 long waggons for the conveyance of passengers and goods were in use between London and the great towns. These long waggons or machines carried a large number of passengers and travelled at a tedious pace. The boots of these vehicles projected from the sides and their occupants had a lower fare than was charged for those who travelled in the covered interior. An advertisement of 1658 announces the journey from London to Exeter as accomplished in four days. A Sherborne paper advertised "The Frome Stage Machine" and the "One Day Flying Machine" Edward ILIFFE of the Mermaid retired to Exmouth in his latter years, where he lived at Sacheverall Hall. with the title of Esquire, and died on the 17th June 1819, aged 91 years. There is a mural tablet in his memory in Littleham Church. Mr Robert RUSSELL of the extensive carrying establishment in South St, formerly the Bear Inn, also resided in a house which he built on the Quay at Exmouth, and named Russell House. He was familiarly known as Robin RUSSELL and died at Exmouth in 1822, aged 63]
July 13th, A man committed to Southgate prison for picking pockets in the Cathedral during Confirmation Service.
Oct 5th, Lord Viscount Courtenay presented with the Freedom of Exeter.
Oct 19th, John CHOLWICH Esq, from age resigns the Recordership. The Chamber nominate the Hon Mr Sergeant GLYNN his successor, and John LEY Esq, son of Mr John LEY an eminent attorney of this City, Deputy Recorder. [Mr CHOLWICH died in Exeter 10th June following]
Dec 28th, The printing office of this paper "removed from Southgate St, to the house in which the late Mrs Le COMPTE lived behind the Guildhall."
Trewman's Flying Post Jan 8th, 1879
Exeter and its neighbourhood under George 111
Selected and annotated by Robert DYMOND, F.S.A.
Feb 15th, The following advertisement is one of a kind which frequently adorned our columns at this period. " A main of cocks shall be shewn, 31 of a side, on Monday 4th March next, and to fight the two following days at the New Inn, Exon, for 4 guineas a battle, and 60 guineas the odd battle, between the gentlemen of Dorset and the gentlemen of Devon, RUSS and BURT Feeders"
Aug 22nd, "Yesterday about twelve, a fire broke out at Honiton, occasioned by a spark from a smith's forge falling on a house at the back part of the Blacksmith's Arms, in a short time the flames spread with such rapidity that all the houses on that side from the Meeting House to Mr GOOD'S and all the houses from Clapper Lane to the Angel Inn inclusive on the other side, with a back street, were entirely consumed. The Schoolmaster of the Meeting House perished in the flames. The number of houses destroyed are said to be about 150 to 200. [Honiton had been nearly destroyed by fire on the 19th July 1747. On the occasion above described it broke out on the south side of the east part of the town. Damage estimated at £10,544, of which £4,735 was covered by insurance. A subscription was opened for the relief of sufferers]
Prince William Henry Duke of Clarence [afterwards William 1V] was born on the 21st. His brother George, Prince of Wales [afterwards George 1V] on the 12th August 1762, Havannah capitulated on the same day.
Sept 12th, H.R.H, the Duke of Gloucester passed through Exeter at an early hour on the 28th August on his way to visit the Earl Mount Edgcumbe at Plymouth. He took a cursory view of the Cathedral, but as he stayed only half an hour no public compliments passed.
"Yesterday evening a woman was whipped at a cart's tail from the Guildhall to Exe Bridge for slocking the apprentice of Mr LYNN rug maker, and receiving the things which he had from time to time purloined from his master" [slocking means tempting to crime]
Sept 26th, The parishioners of St Mary Major, proposing to take down 30ft of their church tower which had become ruinous and dangerous, and to re-erect it of a lighter form, with a cupola containing only one bell, invite designs and estimates for the work.
Oct 17th, At the County Sessions, a woman for slocking servant maidens, was sentenced to be severely whipped which was accordingly done in court.
Oct 24th, Simon GANDY, attorney, elected Swordbearer in lieu of Matthew PEAR, deceased.
Aug 15th, The exorbitant cost of provisions caused disturbances in some parts of Devon. At Uffculme and other places corn mills were destroyed by rioters. Wheat was seized in the farmers granaries and sold in the market for 4s and 5s per bushel, and the money was returned to the farmers in the sacks which contained their corn. The mob alleged that large exportations of corn had caused the scarcity and distress. Wheat at Mark Lane was quoted at 38s to 45s, barley 22s to 25s per quarter. Sept 19th, Death on the 13th of Benjamin HEATH, L.L.D, Town Clerk of Exeter, aged 63. He was an eminent lawyer and scholar, and of excellent private character. On of his sons Dr Benjamin HEATH was headmaster of Harrow and another Dr George HEATH, headmaster of Eton [The full length portrait of Benjamin HEATH, by Pine may bee seen at the Guildhall. It was engraved by J. DIXON]
Oct 17th, On the 12th, the Chamber elected John HEATH, barrister at law, a nephew of the late B. HEATH, and Town Clerk of Plymouth to be Town Clerk of this his native city[ Mr HEATH was elected Recorder of Exeter 25th September 1779, but resigned the following year on his promotion to Bench of the Common Pleas. He died suddenly of apoplexy near London, 16th January 1816, aged 81]
Nov 7th, Quote from a London paper, "They write from Exeter that a coal mine has been lately discovered near Ottery by a tanner of that place"
April 10th, The Parish Church of Newton St Cyres was broken open and robbed of plate, pulpit cloth, communion cloth, surplice and other valuables. In the following August John HOCKADAY was executed for this crime at Heavitree Gallows. Sept 4th, An advertisement of a "Sale by the Candle" of timber at Plymouth. [Advertisements of sales chiefly of shipping goods by this method frequently occur at this period. The custom is supposed to have originated either in the measurement of time by candles, or in the ancient Roman Catholic practise of excommunication by the inch of candle, the sinner being allowed time for repentance before the excommunication was pronounced while the candle yet burnt. A lot was offered to bidders as long as an inch of a candle would burn. Sometimes candles graduated by red circles were used, a lot being knocked down when a circle was reached. The custom still exists in France at sales of real property, and is still observed in the parish of Broadway, near Weymouth, at the annual letting of land by the parish officers, when the inch of candle is lighted and the best bidder when the light goes out becomes the new tenant]
On the 28th August "as some workmen were digging in order to lay the foundation of a house nearly opposite the London Inn, in St Sidwell's they found a large quantity of ancient coins and some small pieces of plate, which the Mayor and Chamber of this city have claimed as Lords of the Manor, but we hear they intend to distribute the amount of it among the poor of this city"
Sept 18th, "This day 17th, and inquest being held on account of some valuable coins being found, it then appeared by grants from the Crown that all such indisputably belonged to the Chamber of Exon, and no other claim appearing it was adjudged their property"
At this time the stained glass in the great West Window of the Cathedral was being inserted by Mr PACKETT of York, "who is esteemed the best of his branch of staining glass" The cost £500 was defrayed by the Dean and Chapter and some noblemen and gentlemen whose arms were introduced. An advertisement also appears announcing the publication of a copper-plate print of the window, to be supplied to subscribers at 3s, and non-subscribers at 4s. The names to be sent to John TOTHILL of Bear Gate, who died in 1799 having been for 40 years, surveyor to the Chapter.
Oct 2nd, William COLLINS apothecary [whose grandfather served in 1709] was unanimously elected Mayor. At the subsequent banquet at the Mayoralty House there were present the Earl of Abingdon, Viscount Courtenay, the Bishop of Exeter, Lord Clifford, Sir Richard Bampfylde and other magistrates.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, the father of our present Queen, was born on the 2nd November.
Dec 25th, John TUCKFIELD, Esq, M.P for Exeter, having died on the 6th, William SPICER Esq of Wear, was elected to succeed him without opposition. Messers John QUIKE and Henry HOBART having retired after issuing addresses [Mr SPICER only survived until the dissolution, which took place a few weeks later]
Feb 19th, Mr W. COLLINS having died during his Mayoralty, Mr Alderman James CROSSING and Mr Humphrey HILL [Mayor in 1766] were proposed to succeed him. After 3 hours polling the former, who had filled the office in 1762, was elected by 274 votes against 232.
March 18th, The election for members for Exeter on the 17th, the candidates being John BULLER Esq, John Rolle WALTER Esq, and William Mackworth PRAED Esq, at the final close of the poll the two former were elected by a majority of about 150. [Mr PRAED represented the Dissenting interests, and in return for their exertions on this occasion he presented them with the large brick house in Paris St, formerly the residence of the CHEEKE family, but which has lately been pulled down to make room for the erection of public schools. Mr PRAED also erected the Clarence Hotel and Assembly Rooms in the Close]
April 1st, Sir Richard Warwick BAMPFYLDE, Bart, and John PARKER Jnr, Esq, elected M.P.S for Devon, without contest.
An advertisement announces that "a Machine with six able horses" would carry passengers from the George Inn, without Temple Gate, Bristol, to the Oxford Inn, without East Gate, Exeter in one and a half days [The Oxford Inn occupied part of the site of the of the present New London Inn, and was pulled down to make room for that structure, which was opened in 1794 by Mr John LAND]
July 22nd, The agitation in which the noted John WILKES was so conspicuous was now at its height. This popular hero was undergoing imprisonment and a zealous clerical admirer is stated to have introduced in the Litany, after the words " to show pity upon all prisoners and captives" the addition "particularly the patriotic John WILKES Esq."
Sept 30th, Alderman WALKER and Philip DACIE, grocer of Northgate St, being candidates for the Mayoralty, the latter was elected after 2 hours polling. Mr DACIE died 7th May 1771, his widow advertised that she would continue the business.
Jan 20th, At the City Quarter Sessions on the 9th a young man for stealing a cock and hen, and a woman for stealing "a scarlet Cardinal" were both whipped in court. A man and wife for keeping a disorderly house were sentenced to three months imprisonment, and the woman to stand one hour in the pillory in front of the Guildhall.
Feb 17th, An advertisement invites persons willing to promote the erection of a bridge at Countess Weir to meet at Berlon's, in the Churchyard Exeter. [Peter Berlon's is now the Clarence Hotel. He became a bankrupt in December 1774, and the new tenant was CONNOR from the Saracen's Head, Friday St, London] A year later it is announced that the bridge is about to be built by contact.
May 5th, "Monday forenoon last a terrible fire broke out at a small public house and bakehouse near the Royal Oak in Crediton, which burnt with fury almost the whole day, by which means upwards of 130 of the best new built houses, together with the Market House, Shambles, Clock House etc, were entirely reduced to ashes. About 6pm, Colonel of the regiment quartered in this city despatched a party of men to assist the inhabitants in securing such part of their properties as they could possibly save from the flames, which the soldiers were very active in performing, and were of great assistance in stopping the progress of the fire. It was got under before evening, but broke out in another part of the street between 10 and 11 at night and burnt with great vehemence till 3 in the morning, which consumed 5 to 6 houses more. The two engines belonging to the town were out of repair, and could therefore be made no use of, but were consumed in the flames. Many of the inhabitants are reduced to the utmost distress as the fire was very rapid and they could save scarce any effects. The Mayor of this city sent out a quantity of bread and cheese to be distributed among the poor of the place in the same evening. We do not as yet hear of any lives lost, except one old gentleman who was confined to bed, and being informed of his situation, that he must submit to being removed or risk being burnt in bed, was so frightened that he expired in less than two hours"
June 9th, " We are desired to insert the following, On Wednesday last very early in the morning, the workmen employed to take down the North Gate of the City of Exeter found in the top of the house over the gate a flying serpent, which they have taken, and we hear has been presented to the Mayor of the said city" [This is the only reference to the destruction of the gate. North Gate was the first to be removed. The "flying serpent" thus referred to was a sarcasm, the point of which is no longer comprehensible, was the brass or copper weathercock in the form of a dragon which now surmounts the Wharfinger's office on the quay]
The Exeter Bank, the oldest existing bank in this city was established 9th July 1769, the original partners being Sir John DUNTZE Bart, and Messers William Mackworth PRAED, Joseph SANDERS and Daniel MAILTON [It does not appear to have occurred to the Editor that this was a local event worth recording in his columns, nor to the founders of the bank in an advertisement]
July 21st, "Last Tuesday morning, 18th, arrived in this city at the house of Sir R. W. BAMPFYLDE, Bart, his Grace the Duke of Bedford, Lord Lieutenant for the County of Devon. The Mayor and Chamber presented him with the freedom of the city at the Guildhall. In the afternoon he was at the Cathedral, attended by the Bishops and Canons etc, and sung in by the choristers. He set out for Tavistock on the 20th.[Event cautiously alluded to was memorable and detailed by Jenkins as follows :- "The Duke of Bedford, who had made himself obnoxious to the people by consenting to a secret article in the late Treaty of Peace, by which the French were allowed to import their silk and other manufactures into this kingdom on the 19th July 1769, paid a visit to this city [The first after his appointment to Lord Lieutenant of Devon] and was very ill-treated by the populace on coming out of the Guildhall, the mob insulted him with hisses , so much that the Mayor, and his officers were obliged to protect and conduct him to Bampfylde House, from thence he went to the Castle, where he received fresh insult, the Bishop, Clergy and choir, waited to receive and pay him the customary honours, but as soon as he alighted the mob rushed on him, dispersed his attendants, and it was with extreme difficulty he got into the choir unhurt. They likewise insulted the Bishop and the Rev Mr Chanter SNOW, being infirm, was thrown down, and miraculously escaped with his life. His Grace to escape the fury of the populace, went back into the Bishop's Palace, where he remained until the evening when the mob had dispersed" [ It is said that the Duke was violently seized at the Cathedral by a journeyman printer, who demanded with an oath "What has become of the French King's picture set in diamonds given you at Paris to sell your country?"]
Napoleon Bonaparte born in Corsica on the 15th August.
Aug 25th, "We hear that the Duke of Bedford intended purchasing the manor of Heavitree in Devonshire, which is advertised for sale, but on being informed that the Gallows which the late libel was struck against stood in the Manor, has declined all thought of it. [The gallows here referred to were at Ringwell, where the Honiton and Sidmouth roads join beyond Heavitree Bridge. Here the county convicts were hung. Several of those who joined the rising of Penruddock and Grove in the time of the Commonwealth were executed at this place. The Manor of Heavitree was purchased off the KELLY family by John BARING Esq, together with Mount Radford, where he built the present mansion and formed a park]
Feb 2nd, On some late alterations to North Gate Street
"Our Castle to the County leased [in 1710]
Made Castle Lane quite common,
Its usual ways and passages
From thence deny'd to no man.
And North Gate thrown quite open now
No'er to be shut again,
The street's as common all allow
And free as Castle Lane"
[Castle Lane a notorious resort for loose characters, was in this year superseded by the formation of the present straighter Castle Street]
An advertisement announces that tenders for the erection of the Exe Bridge will be considered on the 26th.
Feb 23rd, The paper contains some verses by Philorosia against Throwing at Cocks, commencing
"By foreigners tis not quite groundlessly said
That once in the year all the English are mad,
Our pranks on Shrove Tuesdays confirm the assertion,
When throwing at cocks is our barb'rous diversion"
March 9th, "Last Monday evening the Grand Mail from London was stopped between 8 and 9 0' clock near the five mile stone between Honiton and Exeter, and robbed of the Ottery bag containing letters and about 3s -6d in money by two footpads, one of whom presented a pistol at the boy's breast while the other took away the bag. They likewise took from the boy 2s and his hat" [The mail was conveyed on horseback, the man in charge being invariably styled "the boy" or "postboy"]
Oct 4th, [A great concourse of citizens and county gentry assembled to witness the laying of the foundation stone of the new Exe Bridge by the Mayor Mr John FLOUD. Strange to say, the Flying Post does not mention this event, nor the removal of the conduit at Carfoix about this time]
Dec 28th, On and after this date the paper is styled Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser. Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, was born on the 5th June 1771, he succeeded to the throne of Hanover on the death of William 1V.
July 12th, An advertisement invites attendance at the meeting to be held at Moreton Hampstead to consider a proposal and plans for making a road from that town across Dartmoor to Tavistock.
July 26th, Dr Hugh DOWNMAN elected a physician to the Devon and Exeter Hospital on the 19th [This amiable and skilful physician and cultivated writer was designed for the church, and ordained a priest in 1765, but a salary of £30 per annum received with a cursery of Alphington not appearing to open a very tempting prospect in that line he adopted the medical profession instead. He married Frances, daughter of John ANDREW, M.D, and, dying on the 23rd September 1809, was buried in the cancel of the old Church of St David]
Aug 30th, "Thursday last, 22nd, arrived at the Swan Inn, on his return from Cornwall, the Right Hon Lord Chatham, and was presented with the freedom of the city at the Guildhall, by Mr Serjeant GLYNN [the Recorder] amidst the acclamations of an amazing concourse of people, who seemed to vie with each other in their testimonials of gratitude to that truly patriotic nobleman. From the Hall he adjourned to the Mayoralty House [now Civet Cat] where an elegant entertainment was prepared for the purpose by the Mayor and Chamber, the Cathedral and parochial bells ringing incessantly during his stay. He proceeded to Honiton on his way to London the same evening." [The Swan Inn was entered from the High St opposite Martins Lane, and ran back into the Fish Market. Both are now included in the site of Queen St. There are large rooms for meetings and exhibitions upstairs, and the front shop, which occupied the frontage towards High St, is still remembered by early Exonians as a gossiping lounge]
Sept 6th, An auction advertised to be held at Swale's Coffee House in the Serge Market [i.e. the upper part of South St] for sale of "The Exe Engine, with trees, pipes, cisterns thereto belonging" for the remaining 122 years of a term of 200 years at a peppercorn rent. "The above Engine supplies the inhabitants of Exeter with water. The tenants rental amounts to £250 per annum and upwards, it is an increasing estate and very improvable, and there is this particular advantage that the several tenants are by their leasee obliged always to pay a half years rent in advance" [These are the water works established in 1695, under a lease then granted by the Chamber, on the leat just above Engine Bridge, where Exe Lane joins Bonhay Rd. The wooden pipes through which the water was pumped to the houses of consumers were not superseded until 1808, when the late ingenious Mr James GOLSWORTHY substituted iron pipes then quite a novelty. This mode of supply continued till 1832, when Mr GOLSWORTHY sold his undertaking to the Company whose works have recently been transferred to the city authorities, at a period corresponding very nearly with the end of the term of 200 years originally granted by the old Chamber]
Jan 10th, Two women convicted at the Exeter Sessions for stealing pork and receiving stolen goods "were publicly whipped in court"
April 10th, Sudden death by suffocation on the 9th of Mr Simon GANDY, swordbearer.
It announced that the Act of making a turnpike road from Morston to Tavistock has passed in spite of the opposition of Okehampton, Launceston, Bodmin and other boroughs, whose inhabitants imagined that their interests would suffer from the diversion of the western traffic.
April 17th, Thomas WILCOCKS, apothecary, died on the 9th while serving the office of Sheriff of Exeter, Henry KITSON, attorney, was elected on the 11th in his place.
May 1st, John LAND, who had hitherto kept the Half Moon, advertises his removal to the London Inn lately kept by Mrs MONEYPENNY, whose husband [then recently deceased] had occupied it for many years. [It is hardly necessary to repeat that the London Inn here referred to was commonly known as Pratt's Old London Inn, and comprised the Bude Haven Inn and the chemist's shop now kept by Mr PASSMORE. The prefix "Old" was acquired when Mr LAND left this house for the New London Inn, which he completed in 1794]
July 17th, [At this period a street improvement epidemic prevailed in Exeter. The present bridge over the Exe was in course of construction, the ruined church of Allhallows on the Walls was cleared away, and the wall itself pierced to form the viaduct, now called Bridge St. The North Gate had already disappeared, and the others were threatened. The Conduit at Carfoix was removed, and an architectural monstrosity, characteristic of British taste in the Georgian era, erected in lieu of it in the Serge Market, South St. A new Castle St gave an improved approach to the Assizes Courts.
Trewman's Flying Post Jan 22nd, 1879
Exeter and its neighbourhood under George 111
Selected and annotated by Robert DYMOND, F.S.A.
Aug 28th, The leasehold interest under the Dean and Chapter in the New Inn, High St, is advertised to be sold [The New Inn now Messers GREEN and Son's] was then occupied by Thomas PARKER]
Nov 13th, This paper gives particulars of a great flood in the Exe by which much of the work done in the erection of the new Exe Bridge was injured, and the greater part of the temporary bridge carried away. Great injury was done to the Countess Weir Bridge.
Mr Serjeant GLYNN, the Recorder of Exeter, is elected Recorder of London by the casting vote of the Lord Mayor.
Jan 8th, A paragraph condemns the proposal of the Turnpike Trustees to apply for an Act authorizing them to raise a further £7,000 towards building the new Exe Bridge "£17,000 have been or are intended to be taken from the produce of tolls, and applied to the building of a bridge which is extravagant in its dimensions, of partial use, and for its ill chosen situation, and steep avenues must be a lasting subject of ridicule in general as well as highly injurious to the properties of many."
April 13th, Two women publicly whipped at the Guildhall for theft.
39 houses destroyed by fire at Crediton on the 1st May.
May 7th, A letter from "Exonians" announces that the public crier has proclaimed an intended sale of some ancient suits of armour, which for many years have been deposited in the Castle of Exeter, and suggesting that they be fixed on proper stands for exhibition in the intended new Courts of Justice [ This was no doubt that the ancient armour belonged to the county of Devon, but which was unfortunately lost to the county many years after the above date, under circumstances alluded to by the Rev Dr OLIVER in his History of Exeter "A quantity of ancient armour which had been deposited in the Chapel [in the Castle Yard] was given by Lieutenant General SIMCOE, the commander of the district, to John HOULTON Esq of Farleigh Castle, Colonel of the Wiltshire Militia, an act of questionable legality, and much to be regretted by those who take an interest in the preservation of local vestiges and memorials of bygone times"]
Oct 1st, A fire at the Royal Oak, Crediton, destroyed 9 houses.
Nov 12th, The life of Andrew BRICE, the eccentric journalist, closed at the age of 82, at his house near where the Exeter Dispensary now stands, on the 7th of this month. An advertisement in this paper announced in accordance with his will the brethren of St John's Lodge would carry his body in procession from the New Inn Apollo to Bartholomew Yard.
Nov 19th, "On Sunday last were interred in St Bartholomew's Yard the remains of Andrew BRICE. The procession, agreeable to the plan above mentioned was numerous and respectable and consisted of several Lodges, each of whom proceeded regularly, according to seniority, with their proper insignia. The funeral service was performed by the Rev Brother WALKER, who was so obliging to attend the procession from the New Inn to the place of interment. There were nearly 200 brethren attending the corpse, and notwithstanding the vast concourse of spectators, the utmost decency was observed, and the whole ceremony conducted with a solemnity becoming to the occasion. An elegy was performed at the grave by Brothers, GAUDRY, SULLY etc, accompanied by a band of music."
March 18th, The foundation stone of the new Shire Hall for Devon advertised to be laid in the Castle Yard on the 25th
July 29th, Messers DUNTZE, PRAED, SAUNDERS and HAMILTON proprietors of the Exeter Bank, and Messers BARING, JACKSON, SHORT and Co of the Devonshire Bank, advertise that they will receive light gold then being called in.
Oct 14th, On the dissolution of Parliament, John Rolle WALTER and Charles Warwick BAMPFYLDE, were elected for Exeter, and Sir Richard Warwick BAMPFYLDE and John PARKER were re-elected for Devon in both cases without opposition.
Oct 28th, Announcement of the breaking out of the American War of Independence.
Jan 13th, By the death on the 8th of Mrs Amy GIBSON of Kenn, aged 66, "a considerable fortune" devolved on Mr FOOTE, the noted manager of the Exeter Theatre. Besides legacies to all her relatives, the testatrix left £100 to the poor of Kenn.
Jan 20th, Advertisement, "The great flood which happened last Monday 16th, having totally destroyed the bridge which was being built over the Exe, the Commissioners are earnestly desired to meet at the Guildhall of the City of Exeter on Tuesday, the 24th inst at 11am to consider what is to be done thereto, Adam PIERCE, Clerk to the Trustees."
"On Monday last owing to the repeated rains, the river Exe rose to a great height an overflowed its banks. It came down with such amazing rapidity that it entirely destroyed the Foundation and carried away all the arches of the new bridge, and greatly terrified the neighbouring inhabitants lest it would damage the old one, the loss on the occasion was very considerable."
March 3rd, On Sunday last, "A small but elegant organ" built by Mr Paul MICHEAU of this city, and paid for by the subscriptions of the parishioners, was used for the first time in St Mary's Church. Prebendary SHORT preached on the occasion [St Mary Major's. Paul MICHEAU was a clever mechanic and organ builder, who died in 1824, aged 89. His portrait in crayons may be seen at the Workhouse]
The national debt had now reached 136 millions.
May 5th, Died at Tavistock, of paralysis on the 7th, Richard TURNER, Clerk of the Peace for Devon and Steward to the Duke of Bedford.
May 26th, John HEATH Esq, Town Clerk of Exeter, made a Sergeant-at-Law.
June 17th, The Americans defeated by the Royalist's at Bunker's Hill.
Aug 18th, This paper gives an account of an entertainment and marine fete by the "Starcross Society" still known as the "Starcross Club" At 8am the Exmouth yacht, with a band on board brought over several members, and, having saluted the King's cutter and the village of Starcross, anchored off the Octagon building in Lord Courtenay's Park, and was there joined by his Lordship’s yacht and several other of the members. In company with many other boats and members all proceeded to sea, sailing to Teignmouth and back. There was boat racing at Starcross for a 10 guinea prize. The platform at Starcross quay, in front of the Courtenay Arms, was laid out in walks planted with trees for the occasion, and further embellished with arches and several thousand lamps. There was also fireworks and illuminations, a ball at 9pm, and supper at 12, the company separated at 3am.
Sept 15th, An advertisement signed by Adam PIERCE, Clerk, to the trustees of the Exeter Turnpikes, announces that at the contract entered into by Mr DIXON for building Exe Bridge, and the security given for the performance of the work will be forfeited on this Michaelmas Day by the neglect of the contractor, the Trustees are desired to meet at the Guildhall, on the 10th October, to consider the measures to be taken thereupon.
"Tuesday last, 26th, passed through this city with a grand retinue, on his way to Launceston, his Grace the Duke of Northumberland. He has purchased the seat and estate of Sir William MORRICE near that place and intends, we are informed, to reside there the great part of his time." [This fine estate Werrington, once belonged to Sir Francis Drake, was sold by him in 1651 to Sir William MORRICE, afterwards Secretary of State to King Charles 11. It commands the parliamentary representation of the neighbouring borough of Launceston]
"Friday last, 22nd, died at an advanced age at his house at Trehill, near this city, Mr John LEY, Attorney-at-Law, which profession he followed many years in this city with satisfaction to his clients and reputation to himself." [He was the father of the late John Henry LEY Esq, Clerk to the House of Commons and great grandfather of the present squire of Trehill]
Oct 6th, Messers WALTER and BAMPFYLDE members for Exeter, present an address dated 25th September, from the Chamber to the King "on the unhappy differences" with the North American Colonies. They urge that the "unjustifiable resistance" to the royal forces calls for firm measures to reduce them to a sense of their duty and hope that a reconciliation may be effected.
Oct 16th, A meeting of the Turnpike Trustees was called by advertisement for the 9th January next to treat with contactors for the completion of the Exe Bridge "on the like terms as we agreed on with Mr DIXON, the late contractor."
Oct 20th, The Justices of Devon present an address to the King on the American "Rebellion" signed by John HELLIER, Clerk of the Peace, and several magistrates. Similar addresses were sent by the North Devon Militia and by the High Sheriff and freeholders of Devon.
Dec 1st, The freedom of Exeter presented on the 23rd ult, to Edward DREWE Esq, Captain 35th Regiment for his gallant behaviour in America. [Captain afterwards Major DREWE was severely wounded at Bunkers Hill and other American engagements. He died 21st February 1793, after a short illness at his house in Cathedral Close, now occupied by Mrs TREADWIN the well known lace manufacturer].
Dec 15th, "Tuesday last, 12th, between 6 and 7am, a dreadful fire broke out at a public house the Fortune of War, on Exe Bridge, which entirely consumed the same and the adjoining house. The flames were so exceedingly rapid that, notwithstanding it being so near the river, and several engines and other assistance being employed, it was with great difficulty got under and prevented from spreading further. The house has been for some time a receptacle for common vagrants, who lodged there in great numbers at a penny a night, and it is supposed upwards of 30 were in the house at the time of the fire breaking out, which was occasioned by some of them melting sulphur for matches, in a room where there was no chimney, which boiling over, set fire to the house and suffocated the poor wretches before they could attempt to escape, two of them were perceived at the top of the house, but too late, as the roof instantly fell in and they perished in the flames, two others attempted getting through the necessary under the house, but the passage being very narrow, they suffocated in the attempt, 9 dead bodies have been dug out and several more are supposed to be wanting. Three of them, endeavouring to escape, were dreadfully scorched and hurt by the fall, and were immediately carried to the hospital." [ This catastrophe occurred in one of the houses then standing on the old Exe Bridge of many arches, which crossed the river in a straight line from St Edmund's Church to the Seven Stars in St Thomas. The roadway over the bridge being only 12 feet wide, it was necessary for foot passengers to stand out of the way of passing vehicles in the angular bays formed on the piers. The viaduct now called Bridge St, and the present three arched Exe Bridge were then in course of construction. The cause of the fire affords an illustration of the changes which have since occurred. The manufacture of the thin strips of wood about 6 inches long into matches, by tipping them with brimetone was a trade exclusively exercised by tramps. The accompanying apparatus of a tinder box with flint and steel, once so familiar, have since the invention of lucifer matches become objects of curiosity, fit for a place in a museum]
Jan 19th, Travelling rendered almost impracticable by the inclemency of the weather, coaches, waggons and posts all detained. The snow in many parts fell to a depth of 8 to 12 feet, many animals were dug out dead, and two horses were buried in the snow on Roborough Down, near Plymouth. A forest deer supposed to have missed his way in the snow, swam across the river near Exeter Quay and went towards Crediton. It was killed after a chase of 13 miles by men and dogs. The markets were affected by the weather, butter rose to 1s per lb, but soon afterwards fell to 8d. The severe frost lasted from Epiphany to Candlemass.
July 19th, On Monday the 5th a foundation stone of new Exe Bridge was again laid.
Aug 12th, The election of John Rolle WALTER Esq, as M.P, for Devon, created a vacancy for the city. Sir Charles RAYMOND, John ROLLE, John BARING and John Burridge CHOLWICH, Esquires, were candidates, but only the two latter went to the poll, which lasted 4 days. At the conclusion on the 9th November, there were 659 votes for BARING, 558 for CHOLWICH. An election "was never conducted with so much order, sobriety, and peace from the beginning to the close of it" [Six months later Mr CHOLWICH was consoled for his defeat by his marriage to Frances, eldest daughter of Sir John DUNTZE, Bart]
Sept 27th, Charles EDWARDS, druggist, and Mr Henry KITSON, competed for Mayoralty, when the former was elected by a majority of 151 [The election of our Mayors then took place on the Monday before Michaelmas Day]
Jan 31st, The freedom of Exeter presented to its M.P, John BARING Esq. [Mr BARING built Mount Radford House, where he resides at this time. In conjunction with his brother Francis he founded the great firm of Baring Brothers. He represented Exeter in 5 successive Parliaments, but finally declined to offer himself at the general election of 1802, and died at Mount Radford on the 1st February 1816, aged 85]
Feb 28th, "The great quantity of snow which fell last week rendered the roads almost impossible. On Hall Down the snow was so drifted that the Plymouth chaise was obliged to be left on the Down the whole night and one passenger remained in it, but happily received no hurt "
March 7th, "Launceston, March 3, This evening a duel was fought by two attorneys of this town, in the kitchen of the White Hart, the Seconds loaded the pistols, the gentlemen sat one on each side of the chimney, about 3 yards from each other, they fired at the same instant, Mr H, happened to turn his head, and the ball of Mr L's pistol grazed his nose and went through a window, the Seconds then interposed, the parties being satisfied with each others courage, were reconciled and happily no other mischief was done.
April 4th, A letter to the Editor by "A friend to trade and the poor" endeavours to excite popular feeling against the newly introduced spinning jenny. The writer commences thus :-"It is with deepest concern, I see a blow aimed at the subsistence of thousands of your industrious poor, by the introduction of Spinning Jennies, a kind of utensils, the most destructive in itself, and which will be attended with the most direful consequences. The quantities of this machine and the good effects its constructors would insinuate to the world it would be productive of, are that one woman with its assistance will in the same time spin as much wool into good worsted as eight women can do without it" etc. [Spinning had hitherto been done by hand, but, in 1769, ARKWRIGHT patented his improvement of HARGREAVE'S invention of the spinning jenny for the manufacture of cotton. Its use for wool appears to have been slowly introduced]
April 11th, Richard LLOYD, of The Hotel, [now the Clarence] advertises a "Bristol and Exeter Diligence", or post chaise, to accomplish the journey in one day, taking three passengers at a guinea each.
May 16th, The following advertisement refers to a re-arrangement of the places for holding the various markets in Exeter :- "Exeter, May 5th, 1777, The Chamber, whereas by means of a new bridge now building over the river Exe, and the making of an avenue thereto from the City of Exeter, this body is obliged to alter the plan of almost every market within the said city, and the Commissioners for building the said bridge having acquainted the Mayor that they intend very soon to break up the pavement at the bottom of Fore St, in order to make the said avenue, it is therefore ordered that in future the Swine or Pig Market, be held from the corner of the house in which Mr Thomas HAINE now lives at the foot of Fore St, Northward to the house of the late Captain BURROWES, and that the Calf and Sheep Market be held from the house of the late Captain BURROWES, Eastward to the head of St Bartholomew’s Yard, and that the Bullock and Hide Market, be held from the Eastern Gate of the said yard to the new Alms Houses near the site of the old North Gate, and that the Cloth Fair be held at the New Inn as usual until public notice be given of its being removed therefrom. By order LEY, Town Clerk.
June 20th, An advertisement announces the sale of a commodious mansion, with gardens etc, in Allhallows on the Walls and near Bartholomew Yard, in which the late Mrs DUNTZE [mother of the first baronet] dwelt, and which has been newly rebuilt within a few years. Apply to Sir John DUNTZE Bart, at his house in Exeter. [This house is now the residence of Mr Thomas LATIMER and the office of the Western Times on Fore St, Hill]
Sept 5th, Inoculation, then the only means of palliating the terrible scourge of smallpox, was in full vogue at this time, and a committee of citizens was appointed to establish an Inoculation Hospital in Exeter.
Nov 28th, An advertisement announces the sale of "Mol's Coffee House" held by lease under the Dean and Chapter.
Feb 20th, "Tuesday last, in consequence of an advertisement published for that purpose, a great number of the principal inhabitants of this city attended at the Guildhall to consider the plan for establishing a "Nightly Watch" which after several arguments was opposed by a great majority, and considered not only a burthensome and unnecessary tax on the public, but attended with many other disagreeable consequences. This, however, produced a motion, which was unanimously agreed to, for increasing the number of lamps and better paving the streets of this city, and a committee was immediately appointed to consider of the most proper method of carrying this most necessary and laudable undertaking into execution."
March 6th, "A few days since, died at Totnes, in Devonshire, Sir John ELWILL, Bart, and yesterday his remains were conveyed through this city in funeral procession to his late seat at Egham, for interment in his family vault. [Dr OLIVER mentions in his History of Exeter, that the hearse containing the body of Sir John ELWILL was said to have been the first carriage that passed over the new Exe Bridge, but that he had sought in vain for the precise date of the opening. It is strange that so great an improvement, attended with such difficulties in its accomplishment, should have been completed without an opening ceremony]
May 22nd, The Committee appointed to enquire into the question of paving and better lighting Exeter, report that the whole city may be paved for £6,000. Fore St, Northgate and Southgate St, Maudlin, Holloway and some parts of the Churchyard [the Cathedral Yard was at this period always styled The Churchyard or St Peter's Yard] to have footpaths of broad stones, the other streets that are of sufficient width to have raised footpaths secured by a kerb and paved with small pebbles, and the narrow lanes to be done as conveniently as can be. At a meeting of the citizens subsequently convened by the Mayor, this proposal "was over ruled, it being judged at present an improper time to lay an additional tax on the inhabitants" [The country was engaged in war with France and the American Colonies, and Consoles were down to 60]
An official advertisement announces the removal of the Cloth Fair from the New Inn "to St John's Hospital [the original place] where warehouses for the reception of goods and proper persons to take charge of them are now ready" The proprietors of the New Inn appear to have been unwilling to lose so valuable a source of custom to their hostelry, and advertised that notwithstanding the above official notice, a Cloth Fair would be held at the New Inn as heretofore. 6 months later they repeat their advertisement adding that they had appointed Richard LLOYD late of the Swan Tavern, to be their manager. The affair seems to have occasioned much excitement, and the cloth merchants themselves advertised their preference for their old quarters [Both the New Inn and St John's Hospital might claim ancient usage as their title to be regarded as stores or markets for woollen merchandise. In 1640 we find the Chamber of Exeter petitioned to prevent "foreigners" from buying and selling to one another in the city and it was suggested that "the hygher roome of Sent John's be ordenyd to be a store as a roome annyxt unto the New In Halle, to reseve all wole browght into this cyttaye by forenors"
June 9th, Public funeral of the Earl of Chatham
Aug 28th, Privateering was rife at this time, as evidenced by frequent advertisements. One in this paper invites sailors to join "The Molly" under letters of marque, about to sail from Starcross with a commission against the French. This ship carried 16 carriage guns and 10 swivels.
Dec 11th, An advertisement of the sale of prize ships and goods are very numerous at this time. The paper contains 17 advertisements for prize ships to be sold by the candle at Plymouth.
"A Diligence" advertised to run from the Hotel in St Peter's Churchyard [now the Clarence] to Barnstable via Southmolton in 8 hours. This hotel has recently passed from the occupation of Richard LLOYD to that of his waiter, Thomas THOMPSON.
Trewman's Flying Post Jan 29th 1879
Exeter and its neighbourhood under George 11 - 1V
Selected and annotated by Robert DYMOND, F.S.A.
Feb 19, Illuminations at Exeter, and other places on the receipt of the news of the acquittal of Admiral KEPPEL, by Court-martial.
June 25th, The freedom of Exeter presented to Alexander HOOD, Esq, late captain H.M.S. Robust. In this month the circumnavigator Captain James COOK, was killed by the natives of Owyhee.
July 30th, Barnstable, July 22nd, There has been an American privateer in our bay three days and has taken eight of our coasting vessels. She lays at anchor the tide of ebb and on the flood sets sail and picks up everything that attempts to cross the channel, has 8 ransoms on board for upwards of £2,000 [Was the privateer the famous Paul Jones, a Scotchman in the American service, whose depredations on the western coasts of England created so much alarm?]
Aug 20, On the 17th the combined French and Spanish fleets appeared off Plymouth to the great consternation of the inhabitants "Every person is packing and removing such valuables as they can" On the following day the fleets bore off to the westward to the intense relief of the alarmed Plymothians.
Aug 27th, "No sooner had the alarm of the combined fleets being on our coast reached this place [Exeter] than every individual seemed anxious to enrol himself in support of his King and Country. On Friday information was received from Sir David LINDSAY [we presume he was commanding at Plymouth] that the French prisoners were to be removed here, till a more secure place could be provided for them" The Mayor called a meeting to arrange for assisting the Military in guarding them.
Mr HAMILTON, Mr WELDON, and Mr BYNE, all experienced officers were to act as Town Majors, and a body of citizens to be assembled on Southernhay to be formed into companies. Three companies were drawn up and armed and received charge of 1,600 prisoners from Plymouth, under escort of two companies of the Sussex Militia, and 300 volunteers raised by Messers BASTARD, VEALE, and others. They were lodged in Bridewell and some houses at Alphington, where the Exeter Volunteers were to guard them. It appears that the volunteers were under the command of William BASTARD Esq of Kitley and his two sons. The alarm subsided when the East winds blew the combined fleets away.
Sept 3rd, in the pursuance of Resolutions passed at the County Meeting, subscriptions were entered into for raising and training bodies of Volunteers. Robert Lidstone NEWCOMBE Esq, the High Sheriff, headed the list with £100, Lord Courtenay's name appeared for £400. The two County Members, J. PARKER and J. R. WALTER, £300 each, Sir George YONGE, Sir John POLE, Sir T. D. ACLAND, Bart, Robert FALK and Henry Arthur FELLOWES, Esg'rs gave £200 each, and several other landowners followed with sums of £100 or less.
Sept 10th, The French prisoners at Exeter were marched off to Winchester under guard of the Sussex Militia.
Oct 1st, Serjeant HEATH, elected Recorder of Exeter on the 25th ult, in room of Serjeant GLYNN deceased.
Nov 5th, "Humanitas" writes to the editor as follows on the practise of bull baiting after the election of a Mayor. "Passing through your City a few days ago I saw a great multitude of people of all ranks and denominations gathered together before the New Inn, as I drew towards them to my great astonishment I found they had staked a bull to the ground and were baiting him with dogs, and the louder the poor creature roared with pain, the greater the joy expressed by the barbarous spectators." This brutalizing sport was carried on in the High St without interference by the civic authorities !
Dec 3rd, Death at Bieton, on the 27th ult, of John Rolle WALTER, Esq, M.P, for Devon, aged 56. On the 4th his remains were carried through Exeter on their way to Stevenstone for interment. His nephew John ROLLE Esq [afterwards Lord ROLLE] was elected in his room without opposition. [The deceased had taken his mother's name as WALTER]
Dec 24th, Great damage done by a thunderstorm to Manaton Church. The north side of the tower was shattered from the top to within 5ft of the bottom. Two pinnacles fell breaking through the roof and damaging the seats [A memorandum of the event is entered in the parish records. It mentions that "several stones were carried from the tower, above 36yds north, into a field beyond the churchyard, though all accounts agree that the storm came from the N.W, and directed its course to the S.E"]
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1780 to 1799