Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Up to a Point by David Winpenny

Order David Winpenny's Up to A Point
from his website 
In search of pyramids in Britain and Ireland

I highly recommend this comprehensive reference book, a mammoth undertaking, which includes historic pyramids as well as those built in recent years. Chock full of pictures and well researched text, I'm sure I'll return to it again and again.

On the two page spread about Mad Jack Fuller's mausoleum (68 & 69), Winpenny begins by wondering why Fuller's pyramid is so well known today, when so many others have faded into obscurity. He proposes that it may be because at 25 feet tall, it's hard to miss. He adds that it may be because Fuller had a number of follies built in and around his Rose Hill, Brightling estate, of which his pyramid mausoleum is only one. There are also the myths surrounding Fuller's pyramid: he's interred seated on a iron chair in a top hat in front of a table with a full dinner and bottle of wine, around him on the floor a circle of broken glass to keep the devil from claiming one of his own. When renovations were made in 1982 this was proved wrong but a stanza from Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard inscribed on an interior wall was revealed.

Perhaps the pyramid's notoriety is just part of the larger legacy left behind by a larger than life Georgian Squire - his parliamentary career; the Fullerian Professorships at the Royal Institution; Eastbourne Lifeboat; Belle Tout Lighthouse; JMW Turner's Views of Sussex and other works; Bodiam Castle; the bells and barrel organ at St Thomas à Beckett Church, Brightling; the Fuller family's Sussex landholdings, ironfounding at Heathfeild and sugar plantations in Jamaica.

Fuller's pyramid was completed on 15 June 1811 and Winpenny writes, "For the remaining 23 years of Fuller's life he could see it from the windows of Rose Hill", Winpenny, pg. 69. An interesting notion. I can't help but wonder if this is still the case. From the aerial view, seen below, it is plausible but it would depend on the height of the trees separating the churchyard and what is now known as Brightling Park.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2014

You can just make out the diagonal lines of John Fuller's snow covered pyramid mausoleum to the left of the church, tucked in behind the trees.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hon. Elinor Daphne Courthope OBE

Sussex Life: The County Magazine July 1967, VOL. 3, No. 7 - page 16

Photo caption: "The Hon. Daphne Courthope, O.B.E., the new Chairman of East Sussex County Council, is the second woman to hold that office. She has been a member of the E.S.C.C. for 12 years and an alderman for six of them. Miss Courthope is an enthusiastic member of the Eridge Hunt and is seen here with her favourite chestnut gelding at her 16th-century family home at Whiligh, near Ticehurst."

The Hon. Elinor Daphne Courthope OBE, DL, MFH and John "Mad Jack" Fuller are 4th cousins 5 times removed. Their common ancestors are Henry Courthope and Anne Burrell. She was born in 1902, never married, died in June of 1980 and is buried at St Mary the Virgin, Ticehurst, Sussex.

Browsing Around Brightling written and illustrated by E. M. and Kenneth Sivers

Sussex Life: The County Magazine
July 1967, VOL. 3, No. 7 - pages 34 and 35

The authors relate their drive and picnic lunch at Brightling, waxing poetic about the "lovely Sussex panorama" and the views painted by JMW Turner. They refer to one of Fuller's follies as, "a little Grecian Temple of Love", which is a name I'd not heard before in reference to Brightling Park's Rotunda Temple.

The caption under a photo of the obelisk reads, "Brightling Needle, one of "Mad Jack" Fuller's famous follies. It stands some 940 feet above sea level in a lovely East Sussex countryside".  The article goes on the say that Sussex feared invasion by Napoleon and, "Indeed so imminent was the danger in 1805 that, on the hill behind us, some 640 ft above the level of the sea, a beacon was made ready to give alarm should enemy ships be sighted". Brightling Down or Brightling Beacon is approximately 646 ft above sea level and the oblelisk or Brightling Needle is about 65 ft tall. So the height of  940 feet mentioned in the photo caption is clearly an error.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Monville & Fuller: a comparison

François Nicolas Henri
Racine de Monville

Born: 4 October 1734, Paris
Died: 9 March 1797, Paris – Aged 64

Portraits: No known portraits

“One of the most handsome eligible bachelors in Paris. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall and looked like a god...his torso and legs would have made Antinous envious…his head was a bit too small, but still attractive”. Dufort de Cheverny , p. 29.

  • Was an accomplished harp and flute musician as well as an amateur composer,  p 52.
  • Was an expert archer, p 53.
  • In 1756 Monville acquired the post of Grand Master of Waters and Forests of Normandy in Rouen and held the position until 1763.
  • Developed a passion for botany, agronomy and horticulture, p 35.
  • At the age of 27, inherited a considerable fortune in 1761 on the death of his grandfather,  p 36.
  • Sold his properties in 1792 to raise funds in order to escape the fallout of the Revolution. He was unsuccessful however, and in 1794 was arrested on charges of anglomania and sybaritism and was accused of those “crimes,” but was released before trial. [Often, as soon as they were tried, they were convicted and executed the same day.]  He was held in the maison Talaru until the end of the Reign of Terror 28 July 1794.
  • Moved into rented quarters in the Rue Neuve des Mathurins , Paris with young actress ”Sarah”, p 153.
John Fuller

Born: 20 Feb 1757, North Stoneham, Hampshire
Died: 11 April 1834, 36 Devonshire Place, London – Aged 77

Portraits: Painting by Henry Singleton 1806; marble bust by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey 1819; Medallion profile by William Wyon 1834; various political cartoons.

“The Sussex militia, of which the Duke of Richmond is Colonel, is now here. Mr. Fuller, a very intimate young friend of Mr. Thrale, who is Captain of a Company belonging to it, Dined with us. He is a Young man of a very large Fortune, remarkably handsome, and very gay, sensible, unaffected and agreeable.” Fanny Burney, 1779.

  • Developed a Passion for science, music and art.
  • Family money from iron founding and sugar plantations.
  • At the age of 20, inherited a considerable fortune in 1777 upon the death of his uncle Rose Fuller.
  • Appointed High Sheriff of Sussex in 1796.
  • Captain in the Volunteer Sussex Yeomanry Cavalry in 1798.
  • He was a Member of Parliament for Southampton from 1780 to 1784 and for Sussex from 1801 to 1812.
  • Founding member of the Royal Institution which he endowed with two professorships that continue to today.
  • Had only one older sister, Marie Henriette Racine de Jonquoy , whose descendants survive to this day.
  • On September 30, 1755, Monsieur de Monville married his third cousin, Aimable Charles Félicité Lucas de Boncourt.  The marriage was short-lived and produced no progeny.  Monville was widowed in December 1760.
  • No known children.
  • At the age of 27, proposed to Stephanie Felicite Ducrest de Saint-Aubin in 1761 but was refused, p 36.
  • Left the bulk of his estate to two adolescent great grand- nieces Honorine Camille Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco (1784-1879) and her younger sister Athénaïse Euphraisie Louise Philippine Grimaldi (1785-1860), p  168-169. Athénaïse married but had no issue; Honorine’s descendents survive to this day.
  • Two older sisters, Elizabeth whose descendants survive to this day and Frances who had no children.
  • Never married.
  • No known children.
  • At the age of 33, proposed to Susannah Arabella Thrale in 1790 but was refused.
  • Left the bulk of his estate to one nephew Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland and Augustus Elliot Fuller, the son of Fuller’s first cousin, John Trayton Fuller. 
  • Wide circle of friends and acquaintances in the fields of  poetry, music, art, philosophy and sports,  p. 141.
  • Was a great conversationalist.
  • Dr Johnson, Henry and Hester Lynch Thrale visited Grand Hotel de Monville in Paris. Hester described the décor as ‘contrived merely for the purposes of disgusting lewdness”,  p 51. (These are the same Thrales to whose daughter Fuller proposed marriage. )
  • Thomas Jefferson, then American ambassador in Paris, who visited the Désert de Retz accompanied by the English artist Maria Cosway in 1786.
  • King Gustav III of Sweden.
  • Wide circle of friends and acquaintances including scientists, musicians, artists.
  • Fullers known associates included tenor John Braham, composer William Shield, painters JMW Turner and Henry Singleton, scientist Michael Faraday, astronomer and composer William Herschel,  architect Robert Smirke.

Monville designed and constructed the Désert de Retz between 1774 and 1789 as a Jardin Anglo-chinois, or folly garden on his property at Chambourcy, Île-de-France.

Temple: Monville’s first folly was the Temple of Pan built in 1775; has a Doric peristyle probably inspired by the first century BC Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, Italy; dedicated to the god of nature hunting and rustic music an appropriate choice for the Forêt de Marly which was reserved as a royal hunting ground.  Remained in good condition until the mid-20th Century. Complete reconstruction began in 2012, p 65.

Temple of Repose:  Monville’s Temple of Repose consisted of no more than a facade positioned on the circumference of a circle of trees.  The four rusticated columns of this second temple remain; they have been moved from their original location, now part of a golf course adjacent to the garden.

Pyramid Ice House: It was constructed in 1781 and is similar in proportion to the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome, and appears in an engraving by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, p 95. The entrance opened into a 6 m (18”) drop straight down. Interior is a huge chamber where ice was stored in layers separated by straw; a sump at the bottom of the chamber pumped out melted water. Arguably it is the best preserved of Monville’s buildings today.  [In 1791-1792 an almost identical pyramid icehouse, designed by Karl Gotthard Langhans, was built in the New Garden in Potsdam, Germany.

Obelisk: It is thought to have been made of painted metal sheets attached to a framework but nothing remains of it, p 94.

Chinese House: Remarkably the first Chinese private residence in Europe when it was built in 1774. Monville lived there during the summer months until the Column House was completed in 1782. Unfortunately, it collapsed in decay in the 1960s.

Column House: The exterior is designed to look like a truncated ruined column. The interior spiral staircase is surrounded by oval, semi-oval, circular and semicircular rooms on four floors above ground and a cellar below.

A Ruin: In 1783, Monville leased the ruined, Gothic church of -Saint-Jacques-et-Saint-Christophe  from the Premonstratensian monks of the Priory of Joyenval, p 99-100.

Other features: Hermitage, Open-air Theatre, Tartar’s Tent, Farm buildings, Greenhouses, Orangery, Herb & Vegetable garden.

Source: Monville- Forgotten Luminary of the French Enlightenment by Ronald W. Kenyon, Second Edition 2013.

For more on Monville and the Désert de Retz, including photographs and guided tours can be found on Ronald W. Kenyon's comprehensive website:

Fuller built a number of follies in and around his Rose Hill estate at Brightling, Sussex, England between 1803 and 1830.

Temple: Known variously as the Greek or Rotunda temple, it was suggested by Sir Humphry Repton in his plans for the garden of Rose Hill. It was built around 1810 and is about 25 feet tall. It has a hollow base that was, perhaps, used to store food and wine.

Pyramid: Fuller's pyramid is a 25 foot high mausoleum built of ashlar in 1811, twenty-three years before his death. It stands in the churchyard of St. Thomas à Becket, Brightling. It is said to be inspired by the Pyramid of Cestius in Rome.

 Obelisk: Known as the Brightling Needle, it is constructed of coursed stone, built in four sections with a stringcourse above each section. The obelisk itself is 65 feet (20 m) high. There is no inscription and it is thought to have been built either to commemorate Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805 or in celebration of Wellington's victory over Napoleon in 1815 In 1985, extensive renovations were carried out to strengthen and stabilize the obelisk

Tower:  A 35’ high folly thought to have been built in the late 1820s located off the Brightling-Darwell Hole road, about a quarter mile south east of Fuller’s estate.

Observatory: Designed by Sir Robert Smirke in 1810 and completed in 1818 the Brightling Observatory was equipped with expensive astronomy equipment including a Camera Obscura.

Sugar Loaf:  Legend has it that Fuller made a bet that he could see the spire of St Giles, Dallington from his house, Rose Hill. When he realized that this was not true he had workmen hurriedly erect this folly in order to win the bet.

A Ruin: In 1829, Fuller bought Bodiam Castle to save it from being completely dismantled by a Hastings building firm. It is  arguably the most photographed castle in the UK.

Other features: Code stone summerhouse, pillars, wall around Rose Hill estate, steps and gate to churchyard of St Thomas a Beckett, Brightling.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Current Research: The Fuller Theodolite

John Fuller, Esq., (1757-1834) was a founding member of the Royal Astronomical Society. On March 9, 1832 Fuller presented the society with a repeating theodolite with a horizontal circle of 20 inches diameter, made by Thomas Jones, of Charing Cross, London in 1813.

  • Sir Thomas Maclear (pictured left) used the Fuller theodolite at the Cape of Good Hope Observatory from 1840 until at least 1848.
  •  From approximately 1867 to 1882 the Fuller theodolite was on loan to the Sydney Observatory.
  • It is listed as belonging to the Royal Astronomical Society until at least 1901. 
  • It is now in the collection of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford (Inventory number 10063; Accession number: 1931-6/12) 
 Thank you for any help you can provide. Please forward this to any one you think may be interested.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fuller Furnace II

Heathfield Park: A private estate and a Wealden town
By Roy Pryce (Author’s Publishing Guild, Hadlow Down, East Sussex; 1996)

Major John Fuller of the Trained Bands bought Bayley Park from Frances Turvin in what would be called in modern terms a distress sale for £900 in 1708. It is not known who lived in the house during the Fuller’s ownership which lasted 13 years.  Tanners Manor at Waldron was home to the Fullers until John’s brother Thomas rebuilt the mansion at Brightling. It was renamed Rose Hill in 1705 by Thomas’ son, another John Fuller in honour of his wife, Jamaican sugar plantation heiress,  Elizabeth Rose.
When Major Fuller sold Bayley Park in 1721 for £2400 it was only a slightly smaller estate of 227 acres.  “But Fuller still contrived to safeguard the all-important rights to its water in a covenant under which he reserved the liberty to draw water from the several ponds belonging to the premise ‘as high as and including the Banqueting House pond’ for the use of his furnaces as long as the level did not go lower than ‘the sluices laid for that purpose’.  ESRO SAS RF 3/95; page 45.

Page 44
“Bayley Park  [now Heathfield Park] occupied a strategic position up-stream from the Furnace where a number of springs were located and where water could be collected in holding (’pen’) ponds ready for use when needed. Although it is not known precisely when those in the Park were constructed, it is almost certainly at this time: William Figg’s map of 1819 shows five of them.  According to one account they formed part of a continuing chain three miles in length containing eleven ponds in all. Even so they were not sufficient to enable the furnace to function throughout the year: its operations were largely confined to the winter months, and sometimes had to be curtailed as early as April.” 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Postcard 8: The Fuller's Arms, Oxleys Green

Photograph by Mrs. B Cornwell ,Barcombe WI

Published by East Sussex Federation of Women's Institutes
Judges of Hastings

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Fuller Furnace I

Hammer and Furnace Ponds: Relics of the Wealden Iron Industry
 An introduction and guide 

By Helen Pearce (Pomegranate Press, Lewes, East Sussex; 2011)
This well researched book provides a concise history of Wealden Iron Industry and a gazetteer of hammer and furnace ponds in East & West Sussex, Kent and Surrey.  Included is a list of museums with relevant artifacts in their collections. It mentions a Fuller falconet or small cannon at the Tunbridge Wells Museum which is currently closed for renovations.
An abbreviated version of the book can be read at Helen Pearce’s website here: . The site is periodically updated with revised and new information.

Page 76

TQ 594196
Ex 123 (Ordnance Survey Explorer Map)
Private Property – no access

John Fuller of Brightling built Heathfield Furnace in 1693. He was a primary ordnance supplier to Ireland, Sardinia and Naples as well as the British government: two of his guns stand by the Tower of London.  The ironworks ceased production in 1793.  The furnace pond was near the hamlet of Old Heathfield, but has since been drained and the bay damaged.  A chain of four pen ponds survives upstream within the private Heathfield Park.  Originally there were twelve according to a 1795 estate map. (Cleere & Crossley, 1995: 335), presumably necessary due to local watershed difficulties.
Another small pen pond survives together with part of the old brick spillway at TQ 594196, down a muddy public footpath. Old Heathfield can be reached by travelling west along the B2069 road, turning right down School Hill just before Cade Street . John Fuller’s great-grandson was the infamous ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller, who built several follies around the Brightling area.

Fuller one-pounder at Anne of Cleves Museum, Lewes.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Postcard 7: The Rectory, Brightling

Published by T. Croft, Hellingrove, Brightling





Fuller +‎ -ian


Fullerian (comparative more Fulleriansuperlative most Fullerian)
  1. Of or relating to Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983), American architectinventor, and futurist.
  2. Of or relating to John Fuller (1757–1834), builder of follies and philanthropist who established the Fullerian Professor of Chemistry.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Postcard 6: Brightling School

Published by The R.A.P. Co. Ltd., London, E.C.4

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Sugar Loaf Band

The Sugar Loaf Celidh bandThe Sugar Loaf Band play in a traditional English style but draw from many sources which are both traditional and recently penned.

They were formed from within Mad Jack's Morris for a ceilidh at which they were dancing at Battle in 2007. This was so successful that they carried on to include other local musicians and have decades of experience between them with other bands such as Banjax and the Catsfield Steamers.

The band takes its name from a folly built by Mad Jack Fuller at Dallington, East Sussex.

Visit their web site to hear samples of their music
You can book the Sugar Loaf Ceilidh Band for dances weddings and parties

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Postcard 5: Fuller's Pyramid, Brightling Churchyard

Published by The R.A.P. Co. Ltd., London, E. C. 4

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Highways & Byways in Sussex by E.V. Lucas

Title: Highways Byways in Sussex
Author: Edward Verrall Lucas
Illustrator: Frederick Griggs
First Published: 1904,
Release Date: February 27, 2007 [EBook #20696]

Excerpt from pages 380 & 381


Four miles west of Robertsbridge, up hill and down, is Brightling, whose Needle, standing on Brightling Down, 646 feet high, is visible from most of the eminences in this part of Sussex. The obelisk, together with the neighbouring observatory, was built on the site of an old beacon by the famous Jack Fuller—famous no longer, but in his day (he died in 1834 aged seventy-seven) a character both in London and in Sussex. He was big and bluff and wealthy and the squire of Rose Hill. He sat for Sussex from 1801 to 1812, and was once carried from the House by the Sergeant at Arms and his minions, for refusing to give way in a debate and calling the Speaker "the insignificant little fellow in a wig." His election cost him £20,000 plus £30,000 subscribed by the county. When Pitt offered him a peerage he said no: "I was born Jack Fuller and Jack Fuller I'll die." When he travelled from Rose Hill to London Mr. Fuller's progresses were almost regal. The coach was provisioned as if for arctic exploration and coachman and footmen alike were armed with swords and pistols. ("Honest Jack," as Mr. Lower remarks, put a small value upon the honesty of others.) Mr. Fuller had two hobbies, music and science. He founded the Fullerian professorships (which he called his two children), and contributed liberally to the Royal Institution; and his musical parties in London were famous. But whether it is true that when the Brightling choir [Pg 381]dissatisfied him he presented the church with nine bassoons, I cannot say.


John Fuller has a better claim to be remembered in Sussex by his purchase of Bodiam Castle, when its demolition was threatened, and by his commission to Turner to make pictures in the Rape of Hastings, five of which were engraved and published in folio form, in 1819, under the title Views in Sussex. One of these represents the Brightling Observatory as seen from Rosehill Park. As a matter of fact, the observatory, being of no interest, is almost invisible, although Mr. Reinagle, A.R.A., who supplies the words to the pictures, calls it the "most important point in the scene." Furthermore, he says that the artist has expressed a shower proceeding "from the left corner." Another picture is the Vale of Ashburnham, with the house in the middle distance, Beachy Head beyond, and in the foreground woodcutters carrying wood in an ox waggon. "The whole," says Mr. Reinagle, A.R.A., "is happily composed, if I may use the term." He then adds: "The eye of the spectator, on looking at this beautifully painted scene, roves with an eager delight from one hill to another, and seems to play on the dappled woods till arrested by the seat of Lord Ashburnham." Other pictures in the folio are "Pevensey Bay from Crowhurst Park," a very beautiful scene, "Battle Abbey," and "The Vale of Heathfield," painted from a point above the road, with Heathfield House on the left, the tower on the right, the church in the centre in the middle distance, and the sea on the horizon: an impressive but not strictly veracious landscape. In Brightling church is a bust to John Fuller, with the motto: "Utile nihil quod non honestum." A rector in Fuller's early days was William Hayley, who died in 1789, a zealous antiquary. His papers relating to the history of Sussex, are now, like those of Sir William Burrell, in the British Museum.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Postcard 4: Brighling Church, Sussex

Hand coloured postcard shows Jack Fuller's pyramid mausoleum in the churchyard

Printed by A. H. Homewood, Burgess Hill
Postmarked Robertsbridge July 7 1906

Miss Butlers
Hilders Court

Dear E.
I think this a good Photo of
Brightling. We are
haveing it very
hot to day hope
you are well.
Yours Sincerely,
G T.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Landscapes of East Sussex by David Sellman & Rupert Taylor

Published by Countryside Books (Nov 10 2000)

In the chapter called Commanding the Rother a description of Bodiam Castle mentions John "Mad Jack" Fuller and his ownership of this much photographed landmark:

"But the arrow slits, cannon ports and 'murder holes' (through which missiles could be dropped through the cieling on attackers) were never used in anger.  The castle fell into decay and was rescued in 1829 by 'Mad Jack' Fuller of Brightling when a Hastings builder planned to demolish it, and was then restored by two later owners, George Cubitt and Lord Curzon who presented it to the nation.  Under the care of the National Trust is is now a breathtaking if incongruous part of the landscape. The moat is fed by springs and the water is certainly purer now than in medieval times - there are no fewer than 28 garderobes or latrines at Bodiam, each with a drain shaft to the moat. "

There is an error in the section about Heathfield Park in which the authors confuse a noted local diarist with a famed landscape painter:

"The view south they may or may not have noticed. But it has barely changed since Thomas Turner painted The Vale of Heathfield two centuries ago."

Thomas Turner (1729 -1793) was a shopkeeper in East Hoathly, Sussex whose eleven year diary makes interesting reading and provides insight into life in an Eighteenth Century village. Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was commissioned by Jack Fuller to paint views of Sussex, which included The Vale of Heathfield (1815), The Vale of Ashburnham, Brightling Observatory from Rosehill Park, The Vale of Pevensey and Battle Abbey, the Spot Where Harold Fell. 

The Vale of Heathfield - 1815
The Vale of Heathfield by JMW Turner

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Pinterest Board

I have recently become a member of Pinterest and started a John "Mad Jack" Fuller board.

Many images from my website had already been "pinned" by other users and I have added some myself.
As always, I strive for accuarcy and greatly appreciate people who contact me to help in this regard.

Pinterest Corrections:
  • John Fuller was a Georgian Squire - not Victorian as one Pinterest user states. Queen Victoria's reign began in 1837, three years after Fuller's death. During his lifetime Britain's ruling monarchs were - George II (11 June 1727 – 25 October 1760); George III (25 October 1760 – 29 January 1820); George IV (1820 – 26 June 1830, Prince Regent since 1811); William IV (26 June 1830 – 20 June 1837).
  • Britain Express eroneously labelled photos of the tower as "The Observatory".
  • With a photo of Bodiam Castle, one  Pinterest user claims that "This Castle was owned by my husband's ancestor, Mad Jack Fuller." Fuller never married and had no known children. It is however possible that there is a family connection of some sort. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

Fuller Biography on Royal Institution of Great Britain Website

A member of a prominent family of Sussex iron masters with an extensive sugar estate in Jamaica, he attended Eton College between 1767 and 1774. In 1777 he inherited the entire family fortune and thereafter split his time between Rose-Hill, his Sussex house, and London. As a wealthy unmarried man, he was able to indulge his many interests including politics and building a number of follies in Sussex. He was Tory MP for Southampton between 1780 and 1784 and spent an enormous sum to be elected MP for Sussex in 1801. He held the seat until 1812 and pursued a colourful parliamentary career, even by the standards of the time. In 1810, after swearing in a committee, he reportedly called the Speaker ‘the little insignificant fellow in the wig' for which he spent two nights in Parliament's prison. He was a prominent patron of both art (commissioning J.M.W. Turner) and science. For the latter he supported the Royal Institution to which he made considerable loans (later written off), established the Fuller Medal and endowed, with £10,000, the Fullerian Professorships of Chemistry and of Physiology and Comparative Anatomy. Source: Royal Institution

Friday, May 31, 2013

Augustus Eliott Fuller and the Sussex Spaniel

This article presents a good history of the origin of the Sussex Spaniel. There are some sources that give the name of the breeder as "Mr. Fuller of Rose Hill, Sussex" and this creates some confusion. To date, I have no evidence that John "Mad Jack" Fuller kept Sussex Spaniels. His heir, the son of his cousin John Trayton Fuller, Augustus Elliot Fuller inherited Rose Hill upon Jack's death in 1834 was an avid hunter and is credited with developing the breed.

Augustus Eliott Fuller and the Sussex Spaniel
by Ria Hörter published in the magazine of the Canadian Kennel Club, December 2010, pages 59 - 63. "A breeder/exhibitor/judge and retired bookseller and publisher, Ria Hörter is a contributing editor of De Hondenwereld, the national dog magazine of Holland."

Excerpts from page 59:

"Most dogs were developed after hundreds of years of evolution and lengthy selection by
breeders. However, some breeds owe their existence to just one person.Most dogs were developed after hundreds of years of evolution and lengthy selection by breeders. However, some breeds owe their existence to just one person."

"Augustus Elliot (also Eliot, Elliott and Eliott) Fuller (1777- 1857) was an extremely rich British landowner who lived in Sussex, Wales and London, and owned property in Jamaica. Around 1795 he began to develop a line of working spaniels, bred for hunting in the heavy cover and clay soil of Sussex – heavily built dogs for a heavy job.

Business with pleasure
The Fuller family had its roots in Uckfield and Waldron (east Sussex). In 1776, John Trayton Fuller married Anne Elliot, daughter of George Augustus Elliot (1st Baron Heathfield) and Anne Pollexon Drake. Their oldest son, Augustus Elliott, was born on May 7, 1777, and the young family settled in Brayley Park, later renamed Heathfield Park. When he was 14, the family moved to Ashdown House in East Grinstead. Augustus and his 10 brothers and sisters were raised as members of the privileged class of aristocratic, well-to-do 18th- and 19th-century families that combined business with pleasure, where pleasure meant hunting with dogs."

  • Anne Pollexfen Drake was christened on 4 Aug 1726 in Buckland Monachorum, Devon. She died on 13 Feb 1772. She was buried in South Audley Chapel, Buckland, Devon. She married Lord Heathfield George Augustus Elliot on 8 Jun 1748 in St Sepulchre, London.
  • Heathfield Park was formerly called Bayley Park
Excerpt from page 61:

"The Rose Hill connection

A distant and unmarried family member named Rose Fuller died in the same year Augustus was born (1777). For 22 years, Rose Fuller (the name suggests a woman, but Rose was a man) was squire of Rose Hill, situated close to the village of Brightling in Sussex. After his death in 1777, his properties were inherited by his nephew John Fuller, known as “Mad Jack.” When Mad Jack died in 1834, Rose Hill was inherited by another nephew, Augustus Elliot Fuller. By that time, Augustus was an immensely rich man. In 1811 he inherited Ashdown House from his father, and in 1834 Rose Hill, Waldron Estate and Bodiam Castle (then already a ruin) from Mad Jack. Augustus also owned the estates Catsfield and Hooe, a house in London and Rose Fuller’s “sugar works, lands and hereditaments in the island of Jamaica.”

  • Rose Fuller was Augustus Elliot Fuller's great-uncle; his grandfather Thomas Fuller's brother.
  • Augustus Elliot Fuller was the son of John Trayton Fuller, Jack Fuller's first cousin. They were not nephew and uncle. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Postcard 3: Fuller's Temple, Brightling Park

Produced by H. Camburn, Tunbridge Wells, for Weston, Post Office, Brightling. (Undated)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wild Wales: the Bulkeley family and Baron Hill

Driving north from Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey, one can’t help noticing an obelisk on a prominent hill. We stopped briefly to photograph it and continued on our journey to Bodorgan. Upon returning home to Canada, some days later I began to search for information about the obelisk. I found out that the 90 foot tall Bulkeley Monument on Cremlyn Hill was unveiled on 1st June 1882. It is described in the Cadw (Historic Environment Service of the Welsh Assembly) report as: 'Hard ashlar, probably Penmon stone, on panelled plinth with a moulded base and cornice, standing on a square stone platform.' 1   It was built to commemorate Sir Richard Bulkeley Williams Bulkeley, 10th Bart who was born in 1801 and died 28 August 1875, after having “dominated local government and politics in Anglesey for half a century.” 2

Photo by Annette Lloyd Thomas 2013

Upon further investigation I found that the nearby Bulkeley estate, Baron Hill , has been derelict since the 1940s. We had noticed one of the gates and stopped to take photos but did not realize the connection to the obelisk and how close we were to exploring the large estate left untouched for over 60 years and now overgrown by woods.

Photo by Annette Lloyd Thomas 2013

Baron Hill was built in 1618 and underwent a massive rebuild in the Neo-Palladian style in 1776 by  architect Samuel Wyatt. Death duties during the First World War eroded the Bulkeley fortune to the extent that they could no longer maintain the estate. During the Second World War the house was occupied by the Royal Engineers. Legend has it that Polish prisoners set fire to the place in the hopes of being moved to better accommodation. Much to their chagrin, they were subsequently housed in tents on the grounds of the ruined mansion.

In recent years, the construction firm Watkin Jones has employed architects Willacyhorsewood to design the multi-million pound transformation of the Baron Hill Estate into 43 luxury apartments.3 An application for planning permission was reviewed by the Isle of Angelesey County Council on
1 December 2010 (12.3 – 12C368A – Baron Hill, Beaumaris). I am presently unable to discern the status of the application.

These amazing photos of the Baron Hill Estate, below, are reproduced here with the kind permission of North Wales photographer David Roberts.

Rear Facade and Portico 
Photo by David Roberts

Front Facade
Photo by David Roberts

The Temple
Photo by David Roberts

To see more, go to David Roberts Flickr set here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Bodorgan Connection 4

This large cross in the churchyard of St Cadwaladr's Church, Langadwaladr, Wales bear the following inscription: 

This cross erected by Sir George [Augustus Elliot Tapps-Gervis-] Meyrick Bart 
in loving memory of his uncle
Owen John Augustus Fuller Meyrick Esq
of Bodorgan
Died Feb 12 1876 aged 72
The memory of the just is blessed

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

The Bodorgan Connection 3

Of Augustus Elliot Fuller's ten children, only one, Clara Meyrick Fuller, had children. She married Sir George William Gervis-Tapps 2nd Bart on the 26th of  September 1826 in St James's, Piccadilly. Sadly, two weeks after the birth of their fourth child Clara died on the 27th of December 1832, aged 29. Their oldest son George Augustus Eliott Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick became the 3rd Baronet Meyrick and inherited John "Mad Jack" Fuller's country estate Rose Hill, Brightling Sussex. In 1879 he sold Rose Hill to Percy Tew who renamed it Brightling Park.

Memorial in St Cadwaladr church, Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, Wales:







Monday, April 08, 2013

The Bodorgan Connection 2

Catherine Sarah Fuller was born in St James, Westminster and died unmarried in Clifford Street, London. She was the third of five daughters of Augustus Elliot Fuller, one of John Fuller's heirs. She was buried in the churchyard of St Cadwaladr church in Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, Wales on the 12th of June 1858. A memorial in the church reads:
In Memory of 
Catherine Sarah 
daughter of 
Augustus Elliot Fuller 
of Rose Hill and Ashdown House Sussex 
and Clara his wife 
the ninth of November mdcccxiv [1814] 
and died 
the sixth of June  mdccclviii [1858]

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Bodorgan Connection 1

We are now on holiday in Wales and have visited St. Cadwaladr Church in Llangwaladr, which is on the Bodorgan Estate. Jack Fuller's will provided for two main beneficiaries: his nephew (by his sister Elizabeth) Peregrine Palmer Fuller Palmer Acland and Augustus Elliot Fuller, the son of his first cousin John Trayton Fuller of Forest Row, Sussex. Augustus Elliot Fuller married Clara Meyrick of Bodorgan, Anglesey, Wales. This memorial, in the church, is to Clara Meyrick's father Owen Putland Meyrick:


He married Clara, daughter of Richard Garth, 
Esqr of Morden, Surry (sic), with whom he lived in happy 
union 50 years, and by her has left two only 
surviving children, CLARA, the Wife of 
now the widow of ISAAC HARTMAN, Esqr. His only 
son, OWEN GARTH, was born August the 16th 1776
 and died September 1783, aged 7 Years.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

William Mackenzie's Pyramid, Church of Saint Andrew, Liverpool

In the churchyard of this Presbyterian church, closed since 1975, stands a pyramid mausoleum dedicated to William Mackenzie. He was born on the 20th of March in 1794 at Nelson, Lancashire and died on 29 October 1851 at his home at 74 Grove Street, Liverpool. Mackenzie was a civil engineer and contractor who worked on canals, tunnels and railways throughout the United Kingdom and parts of Europe.

Legend has it that Mackenzie was a gambler who had a wager with the devil and so asked to be interred seated upright holding a winning hand of cards so Satan couldn't claim his soul after his death.

This seems highly unlikely as the pyramid was commissioned by his younger brother, and sole heir, Edward, in 1868 which was seventeen years after his death. An inscription reads: "In the vault beneath lie the remains of William Mackenzie of Newbie, Dumfriesshire, Esquire who died 29th October 1851 aged 57 years. Also, Mary his wife, who died 19th December 1838 aged 48 years and Sarah, his second wife who died 9th December 1867 aged 60 years. This monument was erected by his Brother Edward as a token of love and affection A.D. 1868. The memory of the just is blessed". Source:

The day we visited was cold, overcast and light snow was falling. The church is under extensive renovations but I believe it has been decommissioned so more research is needed to find out about its future.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Postcard 3: John Fullers Tomb, Brightling Churchyard

Pub. by T. Croft, Hollingrove, Brightling - undated

Notice that the entrance is bricked up. Wondering when that was done and when the bricks were removed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Did the Pyramid of Cestius inspire Fuller to build his mausoleum?

The Pyramid of Caius Cestius with the Aurelian Walls, Rome
Victor-Jean Nicolle (1754-1826)

The Pyramid of Caius Cestius with the Aurelian Walls, Rome

A page about St Thomas a Beckett Church, Brightling  on the Britain Express website states that Jack Fuller's pyramid mausoleum was modelled after the Tomb of Cestius in Rome. The illustration above, by Parisian artist Victor-Jean Nicolle was done during one of his trips to Rome of either 1787–89 or 1806–11. The Pyramid of Cestius dates to about 12 BC and is approximately 120 feet (36 m) high and made of brick and cement, faced with white marble. 
"The pyramid was an essential sight for many who undertook the Grand Tour in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was much admired by architects, becoming the primary model for pyramids built in the West during this period." Source: Wikipedia

File:Comparison of pyramids.svg

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Site Unseen The Pyramid, Brightling

This article, by Andrew John Davies, appeared in The Independent on Tuesday 12 December 1995. Davies likens actor Sir Robert Stephens, who died on 12 November 1995, to "those full-bodied and memorable individuals who live life to its utmost and devil take the consequences" .  Mad Jack Mytton, Lord Rokeby,  John Elwes and Mad Jack Fuller are offered as examples of larger than life characters. 

Of Fuller, Davies writes, "His house has an observatory which allowed the servants to peer through a telescope and spot the master returning home from London.". It seems he is confusing The Tower with the Observatory, neither of which are actually in Fuller's house Rose Hill.  He also states the the Obelisk or Brightling Needle was erected to "commemorate the defeat of Napoleon in 1815." Although one may conjecture that this is the case, there is scant evidence to support this claim. 

I wonder what Davies is referring to when he closes with, "Guide books are normally available inside the church". Does he mean the Brightling Church Guide by Diana Boyd?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Postcard 2: The Tower, Brightling

Published by T.P. Croft, Station Road, Robertsbridge
Postmarked 10:35 am, 5 Nov 1927, Vinehall St, Robertsbridge S.O. Sussex

To Mr & Mrs Rachett, Elm Villa, Station Road, Sandown, I of W (Isle of Wight)

Friday Whatlington
Thanks so much for all news delighted to hear Aunt P is getting on so nicey & I am feeling all the better for the change. Fireworks are being practiced & we are jumping out of our skins. Kit the dog jumped right out of the fireplace. I have been to Brightling for one night, this strange Tower is there. We had a car Wednesday & went all round to see the relatives. 35 miles it was very foggy indeed. I missed my bus yesterday & had to walk 5 miles, glad to get back here. Love to Mrs Vince and yourselves from Ida Aunt P & myself. Yours M. K.