Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mad Jack Takes Over Toronto Subway Station

Yesterday I traveled downtown, by subway, to do some research at the Toronto Reference Library (more on that in a future post). To my astonishment, all of Yonge Station, the busiest hub in the system, was covered in Mad Jack Premium Apple Lager ads. See my previous blog post on the topic:

Sunday, July 05, 2015

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES": Pepper Box, Brighton & Deer Tower, Shillinglee

ix. Pepper Box, in Queen's Park, Brighton
OS Grid Reference: TQ3205904811
Date: 1830
Built by: Thomas Atree from plans by architect Charles Barry
Construction: One of the earliest buildings to be built using "Ranger's

Artificial Stone" or "Ranger's Lime Concrete"; 60 feet tall.
Also called the Pepper Pot, this structure has housed various things over the years including a wind-powered water pump, artist's studio and public convenience.

x. Deer Tower at Shillinglee Park, near North Chapel
OS Grid Reference: SU9658131534
Built by: Earl Winterton
Construction: Now faced with cement.

Originally a verderer's look-out or "eye catcher", it is currently a private residence.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES": Firle Gamekeeper's Tower & Selsfield Signaling Tower

vii. Firle Gamekeeper's Tower, West Firle
OS Grid Reference: TQ4809007195
Date: 1819
Built by: 3rd Viscount Gage
Construction: Faced with flints.

Built as a gamekeeper's cottage and signaling tower.

viii. Signaling Tower, Selsfield Common, near Turner's Hill
OS Grid Reference: TQ3492834210
Date: 1903
Built by:
Construction: This water tower has a capacity of 110,000 gallons.

Friday, July 03, 2015

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES": Nore Hill & Michelgrove

v. Nore Hill Folly - South Gateway and Lodge of Slindon Park, Slindon
OS Grid Reference: SU9539707265
Date: 1814
Built by: Anne, Lady Newburgh
Construction: Flint.

Built as a gothic ruin, "eye catcher" and picnic venue.

vi. Castelated Tower, Michelgrove near Patching
OS Grid Reference: TQ0813308352
Date: C 1540
Built by: Sir William Shelley
Construction: Red brick faced with Roman Cement.

Unlike Nore Hill Folly this true ruin is what remains of  the clock tower of Michelgrove, seat of the Shelley baronets, which was destroyed by fire in 1945 when it was being used as a boys' school.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES": Gibraltar Tower & Toat Monument

iii. Gibraltar Tower, Heathfield Park
OS Grid Reference: TQ587902139
Date: 1793
Built by: Francis Newberry from a design by John Crunden.
Construction: Ashlar; 55 feet high.

Built to commemorate the heroism of Lord Heathfield who defended Gibraltar in 1779 - 1783 against Spain and France.

iv. Toat Monument, near Pulborough
OS Grid Reference: TQ0498521583
Date: 1827
Built by: Samuel Drinkwater
Construction: Ashlar; 40 feet high.

A plaque indicates that it was erected in memory of Samuel Drinkald. Legend has it that Drinkald was thrown from his horse and both died on this spot, and that horse and rider are buried upside down underneath the monument.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES": Holmbush Beacon & Racton Tower

i. Holmbush Beacon Tower, at Colgate in St Leonard's Forest
OS Grid Reference: TQ2333
Date: 1857
Built by: Thomas Broadwood from a design by Francis Edwards
Construction: Ashlar; 106 feet high.

Was used by the Home Guard as an observation post during the Second World War. Fell into disrepair and was razed after the war.

ii. Racton Monument, Stanstead Park,  Rowlands Castle
OS Grid Reference: SU7765309470
Date: 1766 to 1775
Built by: 2nd Earl of Halifax from a design by architect Theodosius Kelne
Construction: Red brick faced with flints, most of which have disappeared; 80 feet high.

Its remote location and sinister appearance have led to it being a site for suicides and occult events.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES" by William A. Bagley

"As usual, Sussex can claim its share of interesting things, and when it comes to "Follies," our county possesses some that are unique. The most compact group of these curiosities are those in the neighbourhood of Brightling and Dallington, the work of Squire "Jack" Fuller who made a hobby of erecting these "megalithic" monuments on his native heaths and hills.  He was a real "character" with a will of his own.  He succeeded to a great fortune at an early age, and there is no little doubt that lack of parental control lead to his subsequent eccentricities.  He represented the County in Parliament from 1801-1812, was reprimanded for insulting the Speaker, and refused a peerage, rather than desert his party.  He had two hobbies, music and science, and was a patron of literature.  It was he who saved Bodiam Castle from demolition and he who encouraged Turner, the artist. He liked to be known as "Honest Jack," but apparently did not rely on the honesty of others.  His progress from London to Brightling was almost regal.  The coachmen and footmen were armed with pistols and swords, and the coach provisioned as if for an expedition into the wilds.

Altogether a most interesting man, and one whose story was related in a early number of the S.C.M. [Sussex County Magazine], but how many would take the trouble to look up his record were it not for the constant reminder afforded by some of the strange monuments he erected?

On Brightling Down, 646 ft. high, stands an obelisk known as the "Needle," built on the site of an old beacon which blazed its warning of the coming of the Armada, and later, prepared to warn Sussex of the coming of Napoleon.  From this Needle--a great landmark--a superb panorama interrupted only by woods on the S.E. is obtained.  At Dallington, nearby, is a conical, two storied building known as the "Sugar Loaf."  The Observatory, built from the designs of Sir Robert Smirke, stands on Brightling Down.  This same architect designed the ugly pyramid, Fuller's mausoleum, in Brightling churchyard.

Curious tales are told of "Jack" Fuller.  It is said that he sought for a hermit to occupy the mausoleum for one year, during which he was not to shave, wash cut his hair, or hold any intercourse with the outer world.  After this ordeal, he was to be made a gentleman for life.  There were no offers!

It is also said when he was laid to rest in his strange tomb--in 1834, aged 77--he was placed, by desire, in an iron chair, with broken glass strewn all around.  He feared that the Devil would come to claim his own, and in doing so, would cut his hooves on the glass!

Both of the two foregoing stories are, in all probability, just idle legends engendered by the eccentric habits of the Squire.  In many respects, his foibles were exaggerated.  Take for example the massive miles-long wall surrounding his estate (Rose Hill: named after his wife)*. Not many tourists, who come in motor-coaches in the summer, notice this.  Those who do may think it another of his "follies".  One is not so sure.  Like other Grand Old English Gentlemen, Jack had more than his share of poor men at the gate, some of whom professed to be out-of-work masons and labourers.  Rather than give them his charity, he created this artificial job.  The more the beggars came, so did the wall grow, until it reached the proportions seen to-day."

SOME SUSSEX "FOLLIES" by William A. Bagley, Sussex County Magazine, Volume 11, March 1937, Number 3, pp 171- 176.

* Note: John "Mad Jack" Fuller 1757-1834 never married. The Rose Hill estate in Brightling was named by his grandfather, John Fuller 1680-1745 for his wife Elizabeth Rose, Mad Jack's grandmother.

Other Sussex follies mentioned in this article:

i. Holmbush Beacon Tower, at Colgate in St Leonard's Forest
ii. Racton Monument, Rowlands Castle Station
iii. Gibraltar Tower, Heathfield Park
iv. Toat Monument, near Pulborough
v. A gateway at Nore, Hill, Slindon
vi. Castelated Tower, at Michelgrove near Patching
vii. Firle Tower, West Firle
viii. Signaling Tower, Selsfield Common, near Turner's Hill
ix. Pepper Box, in Queen's Park, Brighton
x. Tower at Shillinglee Park, near North Chapel

Monday, April 06, 2015

Waterloo: The Aftermath by Paul O'Keeffe

"Just a week after the dispatch arrived, at one o'clock on 28 June [1815], a large gathering of 'MERCHANTS, BANKERS,TRADERS and others' assembled at the City of London Tavern in Bishopsgate Street, 'to consider the propriety of a PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION for the RELIEF of the SUFFERERS in the late GLORIOUS BATTLES'. The first to donate was a
Mr. John Fuller, who promised 200 guineas and made a speech hoping that other gentlemen would follow his example 'and leave off buying baubles and nonsense, and a pack of fooleries, at the sales and exhibitions of Bond Street'.  The hundred or so individuals and businesses represented at he meeting subscribed immediately the further sum of £9,4898.  On 30 June, the fund had increased to £21,216, an week later to £38, 171, and by 13 July it stood at £74,540. 11s. 8d. The Morning Post of 9 August

Hail, Britain! Thy bounty beyond all dispute,
Must with wonder strike other lands dumb;
When they see that thy heroes, as a victory's fruit,
Receive from they kindness a plumb. *
A plumb for those who fought and bled,
Already they declare;
But some have confidently said,
We'll make that plumb a pair.

*PLUMB: An hundred thousand pounds (a Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 2nd Edition, corrected and enlarged, 1788)"

Source - Waterloo: The Aftermath by Paul O'Keeffe, published by The Bodley Head, 2014, Page 147.
Painting: The Field of Waterloo by JMW Turner, Tate Britain.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


On Saturday last, the remains of this lamented gentleman were conveyed to the tomb, at Brightling, in this county.  Precisely at two o'clock the procession arrived at the church, and presented one of the most imposing spectacles ever witnessed in that part of the country. The melancholy procession was preceded by a number of girls, dressed in dark coloured frocks, with broad white collars, these were followed by boys, habited in white round frocks, black crape hatbands and gloves -- next came about 66 men (workmen, we believe, on the estate of the deceased) clothed in new white round frocks, crape hatbands and black gloves -- after these were about 100 mounted horsemen, in black cloaks and silk hatbands -- plume of feathers, mutes &c.  The hearse, drawn by six horses, hung with silk escutcheons of the family arms -- the carriage of the deceased with the blinds closed drawn by six horses -- three or four mourning coaches -- followed by a number of gentlemen's carriages.  As soon as the procession arrived at the church gate, those who preceded the hearse formed an avenue to the church, through which the body was borne by eight men; the coffin was covered with a most superb pall, decorated with silk escutcheons.  Immediately the body entered the church yard, the fine organ (gift of the deceased), commenced a solemn dirge, and the usual service was performed; the body was then removed to the place destined for its reception, a large high pyramid, similar, but in miniature, to those of Egypt.  The day being fine, a vast number of sorrowing well dressed persons, of both sexes, amounting to 5,000 were present on the melancholy occasion.

THE SUSSEX ADVERTISER 21 April 1834, page 3

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome

by Gordon Campbell, Oxford University Press, 2013

"In 1777 John Fuller, who is popularly but inaccurately known as Mad Jack Fuller (he seems to have been wholly sane), inherited from his uncle the family estate of Rose Hill, in Brightling (Sussex).  After a tumultuous political career, in the course of which he defended he living conditions of plantation slaves (he owned a plantation in Jamaica) and was ejected from the House of Commons for drunkenness, Fuller left parliament at the dissolution of 1812 and settled at Rose Hill, where he had already embarked on the construction of a memorable set of follies. He began with a Coadestone (i.e. ceramic) summer house with a ‘Tudor’ arch (restored in 1992) and went on to commission his own mausoleum (an 8-metre high pyramid in Brightling churchyard), a rotunda garden temple, an obelisk known as the Needle, a hermit’s tower and a building known as the Sugar Loaf (an 11-metre cone which alludes to his sugar plantation).
The 8-metre hermit’s tower was built with a view to accommodating an ornamental hermit, and Fuller is said to have advertised for a hermit with the usual conditions of service.  Here, for example is the account in Follies: A National Trust Guide:

                "The requirements were a little excessive: no shaving, no washing, no
                cutting of hair and nails, no conversation with any outsider for a period
                of seven years, after which the happy hermit would be made a Gentleman.
                No takers.”

I have not been able to trace the advertisement.  The reason for this failure, I think, is that there was no advertisement.  Fuller’s follies are enigmatic, and myths have emerged from the fog of uncertainty.  Fuller is said, for example, to be interred in his pyramid sitting at a table dressed for dinner, with a bottle of claret awaiting consumption.  In the same way, the tower, which may have been a viewing platform for Bodiam Castle (which Fuller owned and restored), is now known as the hermit’s tower.  It has been expertly restored by the British Gypsum Company, and tourists can climb to the top to enjoy the view, but Fuller’s intention to accommodate a hermit in the building is a harmless fantasy devised long after his death."

[No page numbers give in ebook version]

Georgian Garden Buildings by Sarah Rutherford with Jonathan Lovie

Shire Publications, 2012

This lavishly illustrated book is a super reference guide to Georgian landscape garden buildings. It is organized into chapters on various structural forms from arches to grottoes to temples and towers.

John Fuller’s Brightling follies and other buildings are not mentioned but it is easy to map out into which chapters they would appear.

Fuller’s Building
Mausolea and Monuments
Temples and Pavilions

The suggestion that Fuller advertised for a hermit to live in the tower seems to have been made long after the fact, so I would not include the tower in the “Hermitages and Root Houses” chapter.

The Sugar Loaf, on the other hand, is not so easy to categorize. Legend has it that Fuller had this cone-shaped folly built to win a wager that he could see the spire of St. Giles, Dallington from his home, Rose Hill.


The London Evening Standard, Thursday, Feb 5, 1829.        

Yesterday morning, at eleven o’clock, the remains of this most distinguished musician and amiable man were removed from his late residence, in Berners-street, for interment in Westminster Abbey.  The procession moved in the following order: - Two mutes in silk dresses.  A state plume of ostrich feathers, with a page on each side.  The hearse drawn by four horses decorated with ostrich feathers and velvet coverings.  Two mourning coaches, drawn by four horses, each similarly caparisoned, containing the following private friends of the deceased, viz.: Colonel Croasdale, Dr. Cusak, Thomas Broadwood, Esq.[i], Valentine Blake, Esq.[ii], John Bernard Cramer, Esq.[iii], Vincent Novello, Esq.[iv], John Taylor, Esq. (late editor of the Sun)[v], the Alexander Parkinson, Esq. Then followed in the private carriages of John Fuller[vi], Esq., of Devonshire –place, and Thomas Broadwood, Esq.  The funeral arrived at the southern entrance of the Abby by Dean’s-yard precisely at twelve o’clock, and was met at the entrance of the cloisters by the choristers of his Majesty’s Chapel Royal in their state dresses, and also by the choristers belonging to Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, accompanied by the following eminent musical professors: -- Messrs. Braham[vii], Hawes[viii], Welch[ix], Goulden[x], J.O. Atkins[xi], Hobbes, Fitzwilliam, Leete [xii], Terrail[xiii], and Evans[xiv].

The coffin was then borne into the church by the western entrance, and placed on trestles immediately under the organ left, surmounted by the plume of feathers.  The funeral service was then read most impressively by Doctor Dakin[xv], the Precentor of Westminster Cathedral: after which Doctor Greene’s[xvi] beautiful anthem, of “Lord, let me know mine error,” was delightfully sung by Masters Morgan and Monro, of Westminster choir.  The fine toned swell of the organ had a sublime and soul-thrilling effect.  Every stall and seat in the great aisle of the church, as well as the organ loft, was crowded with a most respectable assemblage of persons, particularly ladies.  The body was then removed (in the same order it entered) to the grave, situated in the cloisters on the south side of the Abbey, and deposited next the remains of Mr. Saloman[xvii], a long-esteemed friend of the deceased.  Croft[xviii] and Purcell’s[xix] beautiful Burial Service was then chaunted with unusual effect, by Messrs. Braham, Hawes, Goulden, J.O. Atkins, Leete, Hobbes, Clarke, and Evans. The solemn reverberation of the harmony throughout the adjoining cloisters can be more easily imagined than described. The coffin was then lowered into the earth; it bore the following inscription:--“William Shield, Esq., died January 25th, 1829, aged 80.”  Several theatrical and musical persons of eminence joined the mournful cavalcade on its way to the Abbey.  The entire funeral (which was a private one) was conducted by Messrs. Reid of Goodge-street, Tottenham-court-road.

[i] Thomas Broadwood was a London piano manufacturer.
[ii] Sir John Valentine Blake, 12th Baronet (1780-1847)
[iii] Likely Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858) Celebrated pianist and singer; proprietor of J. B. Cramer & Co, 201 Regent Street London (musical instrument manufacturing, music-publishing and music-selling).
[iv] Vincent Novello (1781-1861) was a chorister, composer of sacred music and music publisher.
[v] John Taylor (1757-1832)
[vi] John “Mad Jack” Fuller (1757-1834) was a Sussex squire, MP, philanthropist, patron of arts and science and eccentric.
[vii] John Braham (1774-1856) was a famous tenor.
[viii] William Hawes (1785–1846) was a composer, master of the choristers at St Paul’s Cathedral and lay vicar at Westminster.
[ix] Mr. T. Welch (1780–1848), was a chorister at Wells Cathedral from the age of 6, was a chorister of Westminster Abbey, and sang at the coronation of George IV in 1821.
[x] Mr. Goulden was a counter-tenor of the Chapel Royal and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
[xi]J.O. Atkins member of the Western City Glee Club.
[xii] Robert Leete ( 1763-1836) was secretary to the Catch Club and Musical Director of the Glee Club and sang at the coronation of George IV in 1821.
[xiii] Mr. Terrail was a much sought after counter-tenor.
[xiv] Mr. Evans was a counter-tenor of the Chapel Royal.
[xv] Rev. Dr. Dakin was the precentor of Westminster Abbey and
[xvi] Maurice Greene (1695-1755) held the title of Composer to the Chapel Royal.
[xvii] Johann Peter Saloman (1745-1815) was a violinist, composer, conductor and musical impresario.
[xviii] Dr. William Croft (1678-1727) was a composer, Doctor of Music and Organist of the Chapel Royal.
[xix] Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was a composer of sacred works and an organist. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Birthday, John Fuller

On this day in 1757, John Fuller was born in North Stoneham, Hampshire to the Rev Henry Fuller and his wife Frances, née Fuller. 

I recently acquired this exquisite silver pounce pot. It bears the Fuller of Sussex family crest and was made by Jonathan Hayne of London in 1833. Pounce, often made from powdered cuttlefish bone, was sprinkled on unsized paper before writing. It is approximately 4.3 cm / 1.7 inches in diameter and 8.5 cm / 3.3 inches tall.

It was very possibly owned by John "Mad Jack" Fuller. It was definitely purchased by a member of his family during his lifetime. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Obituary of Peter Fuller Who Claimed the Fuller Estate

HASTINGS AND ST. LEONARDS OBSERVER, Saturday, May 19, 1917. - Page 3

DEATH OF CLAIMANT TO ESTATES. -- News reached Heathfield yesterday (Friday) that Mr. Peter Fuller had died suddenly at Tonbidge at the age of 72 years.  The deceased was the eldest son of the late Mr. Isaac Fuller, who resided at Heathfield for many years, and who claimed to be a descendant of the late Mr. John Fuller, of Rose Hill, Brightling, and made several unsuccessful attempts to establish his rights to the ownership of the extensive Brightling estates in East Sussex.  Mr Peter Fuller also followed up the claim.  He leaves a son, who is in a Colonial Regiment.


The Courier, October 24, 1913 – Page 2


A claim to immensely wealthy estates is being made by Mr. Peter Fuller, of 55, Priory Road, Tonbridge, a jobbing engineer, at present in lowly circumstances.
The estates in question are those in Sussex and Jamaica, which once belonged to the Sussex Fullers, a famous family, once wealthy ironmasters, but now scattered and impoverished.
On Friday a public meeting was held at the Bridge Hotel[i] to promote a company for the purpose of initiating legislation on behalf of Peter Fuller to recover the estates.
There was a good attendance largely consisting of members of various branches of the Fuller family.  Mr. George Webber was elected Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN said that it was a question of right against might.  He had been working for Mr. Peter Fuller for over 15 years.  He was convinced that Mr. Fuller’s claim was just, but the claimant was a poor man and not in a position to help himself.  Hence the meeting.  Mr. Fuller had borne any amount of ridicule in the case, but had still persisted.  He went on to say that he had trespassed on the Sussex Fuller estate and had dared the present holders to touch him.  He maintained that they could not interfere with him rightly, and if they did they must fail.
Mr. Edward DAVIS, a solicitor, representing Messrs. Whitehead and Garton of Regent-street, S.W., who are Mr. Fuller’s solicitors in connection with the claim, outlined Mr. Fuller’s case, saying that the learned counsel employed on behalf of the claimant (Mr. John Duncan, of the Inner Temple) having very carefully perused the documents at the disposal of Mr. Peter Fuller, had advised that gentleman that he appeared to have a rightful title to the estate.  The Sussex estate extended from Brightling to Pevensey, and embraced some 6,000 acres.  It included several farms, etc..  In 1834 they alleged that there was a wrongful devolution of the title to the Brightling and Jamaican Estates.  If this was so, it was due to the fact that John Fuller, the famous Sussex Member of Parliament, who was known to his contemporaries by the Soubriquet of “Mad Jack,” who was he life tenant of the estates, and who died without heir, was not succeeded by the rightful heir.  Augustus Elliott Fuller[ii] acquired the estate upon the death of John Fuller M. P. Augustus Fuller was alleged to be the son of Thomas Fuller and a cousin of “Mad Jack. “but they alleged that Augustus was not the son of Thomas Fuller but was only the adopted son, that he belonged to another family altogether, and was possibly an illegitimate son of John Fuller, M.P.  There was some mystery about this matter when Thomas Fuller the alleged father of Augustus, died, it was supposed, about 1781.  He was succeeded by a younger brother, whereas had an elder brother been alive, he (the elder brother) would have been heir.  They had been able to trace another family of Fullers at Heathfield, and it had been handed down that John Fuller, M.P., a man, it was said, with dissolute habits, carried on a liaison with the wife of Mr. Fuller at Heathfield, and that Augustus was their son.   All possible claimants being apparently extinct at the time, circumstances were of a nature that at the time of the death of John Fuller, M.P., to make it comparatively easy to put the supposed illegitimate son into possession of the estates.  But, of course he did not, if he were illegitimate, as they thought he was, as such, enter into possession of the estates, but as the legitimate son of Thomas Fuller, who died in 1781.  Inquiries had been proceeding regarding the matter since 1834, but they had been hampered by the poverty of the claimants, and it was not until the present time that, after the accumulation of a large number of documents, that a case was made out in favour of Peter fuller, a son of Isaac Fuller.  Isaac who was descended from John fuller, who died in 1847, son of John Fuller who died in 1814, son of Richard Fuller who died in 1764.  He was also descended from Richard who died in 1703, and Thomas who died in 1713. 
They alleged that Augustus, if not the illegitimate son of “Mad Jack”, was the son of John Trayton Fuller[iii] and the grandson of yet another Thomas Fuller, who died in 1773.  They alleged that the real son of Thomas Fuller[iv], who died in 1780, was the John whom, they alleged, was murdered.
There was a bit of romance connected with the story which made it all the more feasible.  Ever since 1834 two rooms had been kept closed at the Manor House (Rose Hill), where so said tradition, it was possible that John Fuller, the real cousin of John Fuller, M.P., and the heir to “Mad Jack’s” estates, vanished –done away with by foul means.  The story went that he was murdered in those rooms, and that they had been closed ever since.
The claimants did not, continued, Mr. Davis, advise that any few people should at this stage of the proceedings incur great expense on behalf of Peter Fuller.  They proposed to form a limited liability company called the Fuller Recovery Company, Limited.  They offered £1 shares accordingly being issued, but it was not necessary for their purposes that they should all be taken up at once.  It was proposed to make the company trustees for the estate in the event of the claim being successful, and debentures would be issued to the shareholders to ten times the amount.  That meant that for every pound a shareholder puts into the company, provided Peter Fuller were successful, he or she would get ten out.  They could easily afford that, as the value of the estates was a matter of several millions.  Peter Fuller and the other claimants would enter into a compact with the company that the company should be the trustees for the estates until the debenture bonds were satisfied.  There were one or two points in the confidence on behalf of the Fuller’s claim, still to be cleared up, and the finding of the necessary documents was very costly.  If they were successful, the paying-off of the debenture holders would be the first charge on the estate.  But unless the chain of evidence were absolutely complete, and unless they were definitely advised by counsel that litigation would in all probability be successful there would be none.  At present they would be satisfied if £1, 000 could be obtained.
Mr. John DUNCAN, barrister-at-law, said that it was possible that certain settlements made to Elisabeth and Frances, sisters of John Fuller, M.P., might result in a descendant, Lord St. Audries (better known as Sir Alexander Acland Hood) making a claim to one-third.  Peter Fuller, however claimed the whole.  The principal claimant traced his ancestry, for the purposes of the case, back to 1653.  The Sussex estate was very valuable, but those in Jamaica, which were part and parcel of the claim, were still more so.   They now wanted more information as to how Augustus Elliott Fuller came into ownership of the estates.  They were satisfied that he could not have been a relation to Thomas, the cousin, was never married and that therefore Augustus Elliott in any case could not have been his legitimate son and rightful heir to the estates.  Augustus died in 1857.
In response to Mr. John Fuller, Mr. DUNCAN said that the estates were at present vested in a number of people, some of them, or their antecedents, having purchased portions of the lands, etc., from Augustus Elliott Fuller.  However, if Augustus were not rightful heir the present owners would have no valid claim to the estates. 
In response to Mrs. Orton (of Southborough), Counsel said that the estates were of little value in 1777, when Rose Fuller made the settlement mentioned, but were of great value now.  The whole of the estates and the accumulation were entailed in the claim.
In a short, pointed speech, Mr. PETER FULLER said that he could produce all the documents necessary to prove his ancestry and his claim.
Mr. DUNCAN said that only a few links were wanted to complete the chain of evidence.  They had put forward a challenge to the effect that Augustus was not a legitimate son and that he had no title to the estates, and if that were not taken up the title of the present owners to the lands, etc., would be killed.
In reply to Mrs. Orton, counsel said that only about 20 guineas was necessary to clear up the outstanding points in the evidence.  It was a case for the pedigree hunters.  The difficulty was in searching for the documents they required, which were very scattered.
The meeting then closed.
The claimant to these estates lives in a humble way in a neat little cottage in Priory-road, Tonbridge.  He is a tall, big-framed man, standing well over six feet in height, and is apparently quite contented with his lot, although very keen on obtaining the millions, which he considers are rightly due to him.  Our representatives found him smoking by his fireside on the day after the meeting in Tunbridge Wells..  Mr. Fuller told his story in a reticent, unassuming way.
“I am 68 years of age, “ he said, “ and earn my living as s jobbing engineer.  I am the direct descendant of Captain Samuel Fuller, who died in 1678[v], the founder of the Waldron branch of the family.  I was born at Waldron.  Under the will of Rose Fuller, the first owner of the whole of the estates as at present claimed, in default of direct male issue in his family the estate was to revert to my grandfather, John Fuller, who died in 1847.  It appears, however, that my grandfather did not understand the position of affairs, and therefore never stood up for his rights.  Hence, if I prove that ‘Mad Jack’s’ successor was not the rightful heir, the estates are bound to come to me.
“The Jamaican estates mainly consist of sugar plantations.  The family bought the Sussex estates cheaply, but its value has since gone up to an immense extent.
“ I can produce a complete history of the Fuller family, ironmasters of Sussex.  They rose from being nail-makers, and their success was largely due to lucky marrying.  They are now poor and scattered.  They have been very unfortunate.  The family, once upon a time, must have been very wealthy.  When the country was depressed, the farmers in Sussex had not the money to buy corn to seed the land.  The Fullers loaned them their money, and thus created the Fuller titles on the lands in Mid-Sussex, where they invested their money.  The tithes are still being paid, though to whom I do not know.  The Jamaican estates came through lucky marrying.  In or about 1705, Major John Fuller[vi] married a rich Creole, and thereby acquired a large estate.  Rose Fuller obtained another large estate in an exactly similar manner[vii].
“We are living in humble circumstances now, but I hope to enter into my heritage within a year, and when I do I shall give greatly to the poor.  My own heir is prison warder in New Zealand.
“Only a few more documents are necessary to complete the evidence.  It is not a question  of expense so much as of untiring search.  We have even acquired documentary evidence from North Wales.  It has involved most careful scrutiny of church books, and even tombstones have been pulled up to obtain details.
“We are nearing the end now,” concluded Mr. Fuller.
In the course of a chat with our representative, Mr. Webber, who presided at last Friday’s meeting who has the case at his fingers’ ends, said.—
“I have been working on Mr. Fuller’s behalf for over 15 years, and have spent some thousands of hours in writing in connection with the case.  It is most complex and beset with legal difficulties.  the whole of the transactions after the death of John Fuller, M. P., in 1834, are shrouded in mystery.  We have learnt, however, that when Augustus Elliott Fuller took possession, he married into the Meyrick family[viii], of Bodorgan, and the issue of that marriage was a son, Owen John Augustus Fuller-Meyrick [ix].  With that soon Augustus entered into a deed of gift, selling him  the whole of the estates for five shillings!  When Augustus died he gave the estates to his son in his will –a quite unnecessary step, seeing that he had already sold them.
“The original testator, Rose Fuller, entailed the estates for 500 years.  Augustus entered into a deed of disentail, which nullified the will of Rose Fuller.  Owen Fuller-Meyrick sold the Brightling estates by auction and created another entail for 500 years of the Jamaican estates, each holder thereof to take the name of Meyrick.  The Meyrick family now holds those estates.  We claim that the original entail of Rose Fuller still obtains, as Augustus and his descendants, we allege, had no right to the property.
“Peter Fuller’s father, Isaac Fuller, and others carried on a regular feud with the present occupiers of the Brightling estates.   They once took possession of the mansion, but were turned out.  Then they claimed a cottage from a lady who paid them rent for a time.  The law officers stopped that.  Later, Isaac and his friends went into a certain farm and attempted to take possession.  They were there for about three weeks, during which time they cut down a lot of trees.  The gates were locked against them, but they turned the timber tug round, smashed down the gates, went in, got their timber and took it to Lewes and sold it.  An injunction was granted against them, but it was not perpetual.  For want of means they could not carry their campaign any further.  Some of Peter Fuller’s friends have ‘trespassed ‘on the estate frequently.
“In hunting for the pedigrees several peculiar things have been discovered.  Many registry books containing entries of importance to our case have been missing for years, and one in particular case, after we had searched for a long time for a certain marriage entry, the clergyman of the church in question found that another piece of paper had been skillfully stuck over the page in question as to absolutely cover it.  On separating the page from the piece of paper we found the entry we wanted.
“We are now occupied in tracing these missing registers”.

[i] Possibly the Station Bridge Hotel, Tonbridge.
[ii] Augustus Elliot Fuller (1777–1857) was the son of John Trayton Fuller (1743-1811) and his second wife Anne Elliot(1754-1835), the daughter of Lord Heathfield George Augustus Elliot (1717-1790), the defender of Gibraltar.

[iii] John Trayton Fuller (1743-1811) was a first cousin of “Mad Jack” Fuller.

[iv] Thomas Fuller (1715-1780) was the father of John Trayton Fuller and the brother of “Mad Jack” Fuller’s father Henry Fuller(1713-1761). This makes John “Mad Jack” Fuller and Augustus Elliot Fuller first cousins, once removed.

[v] Samuel Fuller (1620-1678)was “Mad Jack” Fuller’s second great grand uncle.

[vi] John Fuller (1680-1745) was “Mad Jack” Fuller’s paternal grandfather. He was not a “Major”. He married Elizabeth Rose who was born in Jamaica, the daughter of Dr. Fulke Rose. This is where the name Rose (Rose Hill; Rose Fuller) enters the Fuller family lexicon.

[vii] Dr. Rose Fuller (1708-1777), another brother of “Mad Jack’s” father Henry Fuller, married Ithamar Mill (1721-1738) daughter and heiress of Richard Mill (sometimes Mills) of Jamaica in 1737. Sadly she died the following year at the age of 17, either while pregnant or during childbirth.  Her father , who was much taken with Rose Fuller, settled her portion of his Jamaican estates on his surviving son-in-law Rose.

[viii] Augustus Elliot Fuller married Clara Meyrick (1775-1856), of Bodorgan, Anglesey, Wales in 1801. They had ten children, the only one to have children was their oldest child, Clara Meyrick Fuller (1802-1831).

[ix] Owen John Augustus Fuller Meyrick (1804-1876)  succeeded to the Bodorgan estate, which is one of the largest in Anglesey on the death of his grandfather Owen Putland Meyrick in 1858. He inherited Rose Hill, Brightling, Sussex from his father Augustus Elliot Fuller, in 1857. Since O.J.A. Fuller Meyrick died without issue, his estate was passed on to the son of his sister Clara Meyrick Fuller, Sir George Augustus Elliot-Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick.  In 1879 Sir George Augustus Elliot Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick sold the Rose Hill estate to Percy Tew who renamed the house Brightling Park.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ashdown House, Forest Row, East Sussex

The Sphere February 12, 1955 – page 268
STATE AID FOR A REGENCY MANSION[i]: Ashdown, in Sussex, Receives a government Grant for Urgent Structural Repairs

AN HISTORIC SUSSEX MANSION WHICH HAS A LINK WITH THE UNITED STATES:  Ashdown House[ii], near Forest Row, was built in the late eighteenth century by Benjamin Latrobe the architect responsible for part of the Capitol, in Washington [iii].
Among the latest recipients of Government grants for urgent repairs is Ashdown House, in Sussex.  It is one of the two works in this country[iv] of Benjamin Latrobe [v], whose name is better known in the United States.  He finished Ashdown[vi] in 1791, five years before he emigrated.  It is a fine example of early Regency.  It consists of a square main block which the architect added to a partly-seventeenth-century gabled building.  One of its best features is the porch of stone columns with Ionic capitals.  Inside the entrance an elegant staircase leads to a lobby, with columns, on the first floor.  Ashdown is now a preparatory school for boys [vii] [viii].
Financial help is being given towards eradicating dry-rot and other repairs.  Ashdown benefits by the scheme administered by the Minister of Works under the terms of the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act of 1953.  Each year he is allowed  £250,000 to allocate to historic buildings in Britain for repairs or maintenance.  In making the grants he is advised by three committees, for England, Wales and Scotland respectively, whose members are public figures or architectural experts.  So far the grand total of buildings thus assisted is 114 at a cost of £285, 000.
[photo captions] Below –
A GRACEFUL EXAMPLE OF A REGENCY INTERIOR: Columns form a lobby on the first-floor landing of Ashdown House.  Above them is a plaster dome with coloured coffers.  Below the landing the porch projects into the entrance hall.  Benjamin Latrobe, the architect, emigrated to America in 1796 five years after he had completed this building.  The Government grant is towards the cost of repairs and the eradication of dry-rot.  Ashdown is now a preparatory school for boys.
On left –
THE COLUMNED PORCH: The front entrance is semi-circular, with stone columns with Ionic capitals and enriched bases of terra-cotta.  Under its roof is a domed ceiling, with finely-decorated reliefs.
THE EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR OF ASHDOWN HOUSE: On left – Latrobe’s masterpiece is in the center.  He added it to a seventeenth-century gabled stone building, which is behind.  The chapel is on the left of the picture.  On right—The entrance hall and staircase are among the best interior features.  Latrobe became surveyor of public buildings to the American Government in 1803.  Besides the south wing of the Capital, he designed the cathedral in Baltimore.

[i] This is a misnomer. The Regency period started in 1811, twenty years after Ashdown House was built.
[iii] Read more about Latrobe’s work on the Capitol here:
[iv] Hammerwood Park, near East Grinstead is the other private house built by Latrobe. See:
[v] Benjamin Henry Boneval Latrobe (May 1, 1764 – September 3, 1820- Wikipedia Biography:
[vi] Ashdown House was built by Latrobe for John Trayton Fuller (1743-1811) John ”Mad Jack” Fuller’s first cousin.
[vii] Ashdown House preparatory school official website is here: