Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Georgian Lewes By Colin Brent

[extracted from Georgian Lewes, 1714-1830, The Heyday of a County Town by Colin Brent]
"Less edifying was the contest at Lewes in 1807. Between Tuesday 12 May and Thursday 28 May 5019 freeholders cast 4333 votes for the Westerner Charles Wyndham, 2530 for John Fuller of Brightling, and 2473 for Colonel Sergison of Cuckfield. The Easterners clashed over Emancipation for Roman Catholics and West Indian slaves. The High-Tory Folly-building Fuller opposed both. The moment the polling ended, the Mobility tore apart the hustings by the Sessions House and carried the fragments away, claiming "immemorial" custom. It greeted the result - Sergison being the "popular" candidate, by tossing rotten eggs into the balconied Great Room at the White Hart, Fuller's campaign headquarters. Sergison then spoke from a window of the Star, assuring his partisans that a Sheriff's scrutiny of the poll would overturn Fuller's trivial majority. So they dragged the Colonel and his carriage in triumph up the High Street, to rendezvous at the barracks with Whig confederates marching in from Brighton. Though the Sheriff refused a scrutiny, Fuller's victory had proved expensive. As well as the No Popery favours, he paid for almost 2000 dinners at the White Hart, and as many at the Dorset Arms, "an East Country House" popular with freeholders from Hastings Rape."

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