Thursday, December 30, 2004

John Fuller and William Cobbett

"Fuller continued to show a keen interest in the state of farming and on January 3, 1822, he attended a meeting of over 300 farmers and landed gentlemen at The George Hotel in Battle, who had gathered to protest over the 'distressed state of agricultural interest', which they believed had been brought about by the Corn Laws of 1815. Fuller put forward several resolutions, bemoaning 'the fallen state of the landed interest' and pleaded for some form of relief. Present at the meetings was William Cobbett, radical journalist, Member of Parliament and author of Rural Rides, who delivered a supportive speech to the gathering, in which he sympathised with their cause but felt there was little could be done to change the situation. The Corn Laws were not abolished until 1846."
Fuller of Sussex: A Georgian squire, by Geoff Hutchinson, pp. 92.

So we establish that Fuller met Cobbett although Hutchinson does not give any sources. He is also getting ahead of himself as Cobbett, despite a number of attempts, was not a member of Parliament until 1832. Rural Rides was not published in full until 1830 although he had started the rides in the early 1820's and they were serialised in his publication The Register.
We know from the Penguin edition of Rural Rides that Cobbett was elsewhere in Sussex at about this time: "The younger [John] Ellman was also a Sussex farmer, but angered Cobbett by calling for tougher corn laws and by expressing his loyalty to the government. There was a near outbreak of fisticuffs between Cobbett and farmers at a meeting of Sussex farmers at which the younger Ellman was prominent."
This meeting took place at Lewes on 9 January 1882, a week after the meeting at Battle. In fact there were two events - a meeting at the County Hall followed by a dinner at the Star Inn. Cobbett had been warned not to go to Lewes where his criticisms of the farmers would not be welcome. Being Cobbett he liked nothing better than to face down his critics. The meeting at County Hall passed off relatively peacefully. Cobbett was urged to attend the dinner - "...being pressed to go, I finally went." He met with hostility and a proposal that he "be put out of the room!" Despite this Cobbett rose to speak pointing out forcefully the plight of the farm labourers and facing down his opponents. He was exultant.
"...but Cobbett rejoiced in his achievements: 'I beat the cocks upon their own dung-hill', he wrote privately. Eight years later, during the Captain Swing revolts, the Sussex landholders came to see that in rejecting Cobbett in 1822 they had rejected the wants and aspirations of an entire class of agricultural workers." See Dyck, Cobbett and Rural Popular Culture, pp. 70-72.

What happened at Brightling during the Swing Riots? Does anybody know?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Eccentric Britain: A celebration of Britain's bizarre buildings, peculiar places and offbeat events

By Des Hannigan, photography by Chris Coe

A fun and interesting look at what makes Britain unique and a wonderful tourist destination. The text however, does not live up to the standards of the photographs. The author's motto appears to be, "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story".

Fuller's Fabulous Follies, pp.61 -62
Brightling, Sussex


"Down on the Downs round Brightling" - Brightling is located on the High Weald which commands a pleasant view of the South Downs.

"Mad Jack was born in 1757 into a wealthy ironfounding family that made its fortune from slavetrading and producing guns for the British Navy " - The Fuller family certainly made money from its sugar plantations in Jamaica which were worked by slaves. But to say they were slave traders is stretching the point.

"Legend says that Jack's corpse was perched on an iron chair inside the tomb..." - This was discovered to be untrue during renovations in 1982. Fuller is indeed buried in the conventional manner beneath the pyramid as directed in his will.

"Never go anywhere on an empty stomach was Jack's motto." - John "Mad Jack" Fuller's motto was 'Utile nihil quod non henestrum' - Nothing is of use which is not honest.

"Before his friends woke up he sent his workers to erect the top of a false steeple out of stones and clay". - It is not possible that the Sugarloaf was erected in just a few hours.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Willie the Gardener

Sir William Lawrence Bragg was the youngest recipient ever of a Nobel Prize when he shared the honour with his father Sir William Henry Bragg in 1915. The Nobel Prize was for Physics although both father and son where made Fullerian Professors of Chemistry (William Henry Bragg in 1923, William Lawrence Bragg in 1953).

Excerpt from What Mad Pursuit by Francis Crick (Basic Books, 1988):

"The current Cavendish Professor was Sir Lawrence Bragg (known to his close friends as Willie), the formulator of Bragg's law for X-ray diffraction..... Bragg was one of those scientists with a boyish enthusiasm for research, which he never lost. He also was a keen gardener. When he moved in 1954 from his large house and garden in West Road, Cambridge, to London, to head the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street, he lived in the official apartment at the top of the building. Missing his garden, he arranged that for one afternoon each week he would hire himself out as a gardener to an unknown lady living in The Boltons, a select inner-London suburb. He respectfully tipped his hat to her and told her his name was Willie. For several months all went well till one day a visitor, glancing out of the window, said to her hostess, 'My dear, what is Sir Lawrence Bragg doing in your garden?' "

(with thanks to Pastor Doug Kramer)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Heathfield Memorial: Once despised?

Excerpt from " A guide to St Andrew's Church, Buckland Monachorum"

"Behind the chapel altar, and now rather difficult to see, is a huge monument, once despised, but now recognised as an outstanding example of the work of John Bacon, the 18th Century artist whose monuments also appear in Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. The subject of this particular monument is General Elliott, who successfully defended Gibraltar during the long siege by Spain, from 1770 to 1783. As Baron Heathfield he is buried at Heathfield in Sussex. He had married Lady Anne Drake, and their son inherited the Buckland Abbey estates when the last surviving male of the Drakes died childless. The monument to Francis August Elliott, second Baron Heathfield which was designed by John Bacon, Junior is to be seen on the wall adjacent, next to that of Francis Henry Drake, whose estates he inherited.

At a time when this country's fortunes were at a very low ebb, General Elliott's defence of Gibraltar became a symbol of steadiness, courage and endurance. The amazing details depicted on his memorial well repay careful scrutiny. In order to position the memorial, a door and a window of the chapel had to be blocked up and their outline can be seen from outside. The faculty was granted on condition that a new door on the south wall was made. This little door is still there, but is not used nowadays."

Why was the memorial "once despised"? Was it because of the structural changes that were made to the chapel in order for it to be installed? Was it that the subject matter, miltary defense/war, was deemed inappropriate for the house of God?

Heathfield Memorial, Buckland Monachorum, Devon. Posted by Hello

Detail of Memorial to Lord Heathfield, erected by his nephew Major Thomas Trayton Fuller Eliott Drake. St Andrew's Church, Buckland Monachorum, Devon. Sculpture by John Bacon RA, London 1795. © Annette Lloyd Thomas, 2003. Posted by Hello

How to Prepare for a Siege by Lord Heathfield

In 1775 George Augustus Eliott, Lord Heathfield (1717 - 1790), was appointed Governor of Gibraltar. During the siege of 1779-83 he held the British fortress against Spanish attack, and was made Baron Heathfield 6 July 1787.

"The system of his life, as well as his education, particularly qualified him for this trust. He was perhaps the most abstemious man of the age. His food was vegetables, his drink water. He neither indulged himself in animal food nor wine. He never slept more than four hours at a time so that he was up later and earlier than most men. He had also inured himself to habits of severity that the things which to others are painful, were to him of daily practice and rendered agreeable to use".

Burke's Dormant & Extinct Peerages of the British Empire, pp 188.

Heathfield had a very distiguished military career. In 1759 he formed the King's Light Dragoons and commanded until 1789. During the peace between 1763 and 1775, general Elliot served for a time as commander of the forces in Ireland. He was nicknamed "Old Cock of the Rock" after his sucessful defence of Gibraltar.

Lord Heathfield died at Aix-la-Chapelle, July 6, 1790, of a second stroke of palsy, while endeavouring to reach Gibraltar, where he was anxious to close his life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Henrietta Marie: setting the record straight

The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that sank in the Florida Strait in June of 1700. Her wreck was discovered by treasure hunter Mo Molinar in 1972 but not identified until 1983 when a group of marine archaeologists revisited the site. In 1992 journalist Michael H Cottman started investigating her history. He published an article "The Ghosts of the Henrietta Marie" in the Washington Post on Sunday 7 February, 1999. Cottman writes that, "The Henrietta Marie also carried eight large cannons, commissioned by John "Mad Jack" Fuller, a wealthy arms dealer and Jamaican plantation owner who had a lucrative investment in the slave trade." The John Fuller (1680-1745) who was iron master at Heathfield, where cannons were made, was Jack Fuller's grandfather.
There is no doccumentation to support the notion that John Fuller ever went to Jamaica. His son Stephen (1716-1799), "went into the sugar trade, and from 1760 until his death in 1799 he was the agent in London for the Jamaica assembly." Crossley & Saville, pp. xxv. "Thomas Fuller, named after Thomas Isted [his uncle], was established as a sugar-baker in London , and eventually conducted a wide trade with the island." Crossley & Saville, pp. xxv. Rose Fuller's involvement with the Jamaica Plantations is detailed in this September 14, 2004 blog post.

To set the record straight: Jack Fuller could not have "commissioned" any cannons in the 1690's as he was born in 1757. He did not have any children so was not the father of Stephen and Rose.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Jamaican Plantations and Slavery

I have recently received several questions and comments about John "Mad Jack" Fuller's connection to the sugar industry and slave trade in Jamaica. I believe that the slave trade is a subject that deserves to be treated seriously and with due respect. Upon the completion of further research I plan to publish a page on the main website on the topic. Until then, here is what is currently known.

" The Fuller family benefited by inheritance from the business activities of one of the original Jamaica settlers, Captain Fulke Rose, a landowner, merchant and physician. Rose became an important island personage: in 1675, 1677-9 and 1682-3 he was a member, for St Thomas in the Vale, of the Jamaica assembly; in 1680 he became a JP and was subsequently listed as among the 'fittest men in Jamaica to be Councillors' for the island. "
The Fuller Letters; Guns, slaves and finance 1728-1755, Crossley & Saville, pp xxiv

Fulke Rose died in 1694 and his estates and business were left to his widow and her four daughters. The eldest daughter Elizabeth Rose (1681-1728) married John Fuller (1680-1745) in July 1703. (Elizabeth & John Fuller are "Mad Jack" Fuller's paternal grandparents) The part of the estate that came to the Fullers in 1703, " consisted of Mickelton (Knollis) Plantation, which comprised 1128 acres in several parcels in St Katherines and St Johns parishes; 820 acres in several blocks known as the Bullers Savanna Pen land; 195 acres in the Lower Sop Garden Land in St Katherines parish, and a house and parcel of land in Spanish Town (St Jago de la Vega). There were also lands in St Marys and St Georges, and some not referred to in the letter book. Fuller also shared half of 766 acres at Rose Penn with Thomas Isted.", Crossley & Saville, pp xxvi-xxv. Thomas Isted (1677-1731) had married another of Fulke Rose's daughters, Ann Rose (c. 1679-1733) on 20 July 1703.

John Fuller (1680-1745) was an absentee owner and relied on the efficiency and honesty of several distant relatives, attorneys and factors to run the business until his son Rose Fuller (1708-1777) went to Jamaica in 1732. (There are several male members of the Fuller family with Rose as a first or second name). A medical doctor trained at Leyden and Cambridge, Rose Fuller was appointed as physician to the British troops in Jamaica.

"Yet, despite the wealth created by sugar and slaves, the contribution of plantation profits to industrial investment is not clear-cut. In some cases a direct connection existed. Among the familes that transferred funds from their Jamaican sugar estates to domestic industrial enterprise were the Pennants and the Fullers. Rose Fuller ran his family's Jamaican estates betwetten 1734 and 1755 and later became MP for Rye and a prominent member of the West India Interest. Other members of the family also had Caribbean connections. The Fullers put some of their capital into charcoal ironworks and gun foundries in the wealden part of Sussex (Crossley and Saville, 1991). " Slavery, Atlantic Trade and the British Economy, 1660-1800, Kenneth Morgan, 2000, pp. 53.

Rose Fuller married Ithamar Mill (c. 1721-1738), the daughter of Richard Mill and Anna Maria Herring, in St Katherines Jamaica on 26 April 1737. Sadly Ithamar died at the age of 17 in childbirth. The infant did not survive and Rose Fuller did not remarry. He died without issue on 7 May 1777 and his property including Rose Hill, Brightling and the Jamaica estates were left to his nephew John "Mad Jack" Fuller.

Jack Fuller left the estates to his nephew Sir Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland.
"... and also of my negroes and other Slaves and all my horses Mules Asses Sheep Cattle carriages Mills Coppers Stills Worms Worm Tubs and all other goods tools implements utensils and things whatsoever being in or upon or about the plantations Sugar Works lands
tenements or hereditaments in the Island of Jamaica now in my possession under or by virtue of the will of my late Uncle Rose Fuller Esquire deceased " The last will and testament (with codicils) of Mr John Fuller of Rose Hill in Brightling, 5 November 1823.

More to follow.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Additions to Jack Fuller’s Obituary

Gentleman’s Magazine
Additions to Obituary [Dec. 1834]

VOL. II. p. 106.—John Fuller, esq.,
of Rosehill, was the only son of the
Rev. Henry Fuller, of Stonham, Hants,
who was younger brother of John Fuller,
esq., of Brightling, who died in 1775, and
of Rose Fuller, esq. M.P., of Bright-
ling, who died in 1777. Their father’s
name was John, not Thomas. The wife
of the Rev. Henry Fuller, and the mother
of the late John Fuller, esq., was Frances,
dau. of Thomas Fuller, esq., of Cutfield,
another branch of the family. Mr.
Fuller was an only son; he had two
sisters, Elizabeth, the wife of Sir John
Palmer Acland, Bart., and Frances, wife
of the Rev. George Lewis. The family
of Fuller-Elliott-Drake (see the Ba-
ronetage), to whom Mr. Fuller has
left his West India estates, are descended
from his Uncle Thomas Fuller, esq. the
fourth son of John Fuller, of Bright-
ling, who died in 1745, by Elizabeth,
eldest daughter and coheir of Fulke
Rose, esq.

Corrections by Annette Lloyd Thomas:
Jack Fuller's father, the Rev. Henry Fuller was born at Waldron, Sussex and he was the vicar of North Stoneham, Hampshire. Jack Fuller was born on 20 February 1757 at North Stoneham, Hampshire. Thomas Fuller, father of Frances Fuller lived at Park Gate, Catsfield, Sussex not Cutfield. Jack Fuller's sister Frances married Lancelot Brown the son of landscape gardener Lancelot "Capability" Brown. The Rev. George Lewis (1712-1771) married Frances (nee White) Fuller, the widow of the aforementioned Thomas Fuller, in 1743. Frances and Thomas Fuller were Jack Fuller's maternal grandparents.

Mad Jack Fuller's Obituary

Gentleman's Magazine
July 1834 pp 106 - 107

April 11. In Devonshire place, aged
77, John Fuller, Esq. of Rose Hill, Sus-
sex, formerly M.P. for that county.
This gentleman was the son of John
Rose Fuller, esq. He succeeded in es-
tate his uncle Rose Fuller, Esq. M.P.
for Rye (ob. 1777) who was the younger
son of Mr. Thomas Fuller, the purchaser
of the estate, and builder of the house,
Rose Hill, by Elizabeth, daughter of Mr.
Rose, of Jamaica.
Mr. Fuller was first elected to Parlia-
ment for Southampton in Feb. 1780, and
having been rechosen at the general elec-
tion of the same year, he sat for that town
until the dissolution in 1784. He served
the office of Sheriff of Sussex in 1797.
In 1801, on the elevation to the peer-
age of the Rt. Hon. T. Pelham (by the
title of Earl of Chichester), Mr. Fuller
became a candidate for the representation
of the county of Sussex, and was success-
ful after an arduous contest with Col.
Sergison, which lasted sixteen days, and
cost him 20,000 l. in addition to a sub-
scription purse for 30,000 l. made by the
county. He was re-chosen in 1802, 1806,
and 1807, and sat until the dissolution of
1812. He generally voted with Mr. Fox;
and is said to have indignantly refused
the offer of a peerage from Mr. Pitt,
deeming it a trial of his integrity. It is
related that he threw the Minister's
into the fire, in the presence of a large
party of friends, declaring "I was born
Jack Fuller, and Jack Fuller I will die!"
In 1810, during the inquiry on the
Walcheren expedition, Mr. Fuller got
embroiled in an insane contest with the
supreme authority of the House of Com-
mons. On the 22d of Feb. he was re-
peatedly called to order; but on the 27th
no appeal from the Speaker or remon-
strances from his friends, could restrain
him within the bounds of propriety.
The House was in consequence resumed
from the Committee into which it had of
resolved itself, and Mr. Fuller was
immediately voted into the custody of
the Sergeant at Arms; when he vio-
lently rushed into the House, vehemently
asserting that the Speaker, whom he
designated as "the little insignificant
fellow in the wig," was the servant of the
House, and had no authority over the
Members, who had converted him into
their Master. He was at length carried
off the field by the united efforts of four
of the messengers of the House. He
remained two days in custody; and was
then discharged with a very severe repri-
mand from the Speaker, who threatened
him with summary expulsion on a repe-
tition of his offence. After this memo-
rable scene, he was not returned to ano-
ther Parliament.
Mr. Fuller was distinguished through
life by much eccentricity; but it was
mingled with a kind heart, that displayed
itself in deeds of princely munificence.
The favourite object of his liberality was
the Royal Institution, where he first
founded a Professorship of Electricity,
in the year 182.., and subsequently, a
few weeks before his death, a Professor-
ship of Comparative Anatomy and Phy-
siology. He also gave the Institution at
the same time the sum of 3000 l. to accu-
mulate in the funds; making the sum
total of his benefactions amount to
10,000 l. On the 24th of March last the
members were specially convened to
thank him; and it was resolved that a
age of the Rt. Hon. T. Pelham (by the
subscription should be made for a Bust
of their munificent Patron, to be placed
in a prominent situation in this Institution.
Mr. Fuller erected an observatory at
his house of Rose Hill About twenty
years ago it was expected that he would
promote the publication of a history of the
three Eastern rapes of Sussex; for which
it was supposed that the large collections
of the Rev. Mr. Hayley, which were in
his possession, would furnish very exten-
sive materials.
Mr. Fuller has died extremely rich.
The bulk of his fortune, consisting of
estates in Sussex and in the island of
Jamaica, are left to Augustus Elliot
Fuller, esq. brother to Capt. Fuller,
R.N. and a nephew of the deceased, as
also of Lord Heathfield. The estates in
London are left to Sir Peregrine Palmer
Acland, Bart. another nephew. He has
also left very numerous legacies. His
remains were taken to the family vault at
Brightling in Sussex for interment, at-
tended out of London by twenty-four pri-
vate carriages.

Corrections by Annette Lloyd Thomas: Jack Fuller's Father was the Rev. Henry Fuller (1713-1761). Rose Fuller (1708-1777) was the son of John Fuller (1680-1745) and Elizabeth Rose (1681-1726). Thomas Fuller (1655-1720) bought the mansion at Brightling c. 1697. He left the property to his nephew John Fuller (1680-1745) who named the estate Rose Hill in honour of his wife Elizabeth Rose, the daughter of Dr. Fulke Rose of Jamaica.
Jack Fuller founded the Professorship of Chemistry in 1833 (not of Electricity) and the Professorship of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology in early 1834. The observatory at Brightling is not at the mansion at Rose Hill but nearby on the Brightling-Burwash road. Augustus Elliot Fuller was not technically a nephew - he was the son of Jack Fuller's first cousin John Trayton Fuller.
Sir Peregrine Palmer Acland was the son of Jack Fuller's sister Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Palmer Acland.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Continued Research

We have recently visited the Regency Town House in Brunswick Square, Brighton. After an informative slide show presented by Brione, we were given a tour of the house which is under renovation. This Labour of Love is being meticulously restored to its original splendor and is a real treasure. We met Clare who seems to be as obsessed with the life and times of Jack Fuller as we are. We have visited many village churches in East Sussex and gathered a lot more data about the Fuller Genealogy which will be republished on our return to Canada.

We made our annual pilgrimage to Brightling including the required stop at the Jack Fuller Pub for a drink. It remains much the same, a fairly typical village pub, and despite recent criticism it is still a good value for money. I must admit though, if I were managing it I would make much more of a connection to the man Jack Fuller than is currently being done.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Jack Fuller's Pub, Oxley Green

The following message was sent to the main Jack Fuller
website on July 1, 2004:

"I've been meaning to visit Jack Fuller's for some time, as we live in the area. I found your website through Google and saw your recommend-ation. We booked a table and turned up for dinner. We found the pub unfriendly, the ambience(sic)unpleasant, the service poor and the only wine on offer undrinkable. We paid for our drinks and left without eating (or finishing our drinks) - we will not return until it changes hands. Just thought you might want to re-consider your recommendation."

The recommendation on the Jack Fuller Pub page says:

Jack Fuller's, was for several years a restaurant, but re-opened under new ownership as a pub in the spring of 2002. The ambiance, food and beer at this "free house" are a great value and well worth the trip to Brightling. Publicans Colin and Barbara Wood, known to all as Woody and Babs, will definitely make you feel at home. Jack Fuller's is located at Oxley Green, just outside Brightling village on the road to Robertsbridge.

I appreciate any feed back regarding my website and seriously consider all comments made. Although the wine at Jack Fuller's was not recommended I am surprised to hear that the guests (who did not leave a name or email address)found the service poor and unfriendly. I will visit the pub later this month and re-evaluate my recommendation.