The Water Supply on the Stanmer Estate.

More stuff on Stanmer from Fredericks memoirs:

In the later part of my fathers life, he was a great sufferer. I have so often seen him sit in his old walnut chair, the sweat rolling of is pale cheeks in an agony of pain: yet not a murmur or groan would escape his lips. He was a martyr to “stone” in the bladder, and eventually his pain was so terrible that his Lordship arranged for an operation in London by Sir Henry Thompson in his private hospital. The operation cost one hundred pounds, Lord Chichester generously paying £50, but the housing and other expenses made a big hole in my fathers savings. The operation was only a partial success. Tom Jones lingered on for four years. Painfully carrying out his multitudinous duties. Only my poor mother, my sister and my wife of whom he was so fond, knew at what a price he carried on his work.

His death was no doubt precipitated by his strenuous exertions at the water works that supplied the mansion with main water and he died after ‘the hardest weeks work he ever did’ as he said to me not many hours before he died. He had no fear of death: he had such faith in the saviour he so greatly loved. Lord Chichester his master and friend, came often to talk and pray with him, and in the midst of his family he passed peacefully away on Bank Holiday August 5th 1876. The people of Stanmer and Falmer all loved him, and sympathised with us in our bereavement. His useful un-ostentatious life, was passed in his village home, and he passed away respected and loved by rich and poor. Lord Chichester erected the stone in his memory, by the path his Lordship would walk on his way to the church, and near the road my father had travelled on for more than fifty years – and not far from the farm house that was his first abode.

Stanmer and Falmer, both situated on the chalky downs were destitute of springs. Falmer had none and was entirely dependant on rain water tanks. Stanmer had two deep wells some hundreds of feet below the surface. The water supply of both villages was a constant source of anxiety and solicitude and many were the consultations my father and the good ‘Earl’ had on this subject. Every cottage had a rain water tank, with filters made by my parent,of well washed sea sand, beach and charcoal. They were mostly constructed of flint, divided into three compartments and were the result of years of experience.

Water Tank at Stanmer

Water Tank at Stanmer

His Lordship stated that the minimum supply of each cottage of rain water must be sixty gallons per week, and the tanks were constructed to supply this amount.

I must give a brief account of two of my fathers sanitary works, which the Earl and he planned. When a young man I was ordered by Lord Chichester, to survey the Pond (Falmer) and give him the number of gallons it contained. I was to make a plan of Falmer, and put all the houses in perspective, so that he could identify them, and allow the requisite quantity of water to each cottage. That year the pond was extremely low and the greater part evaporated. This evaporation was constant and the pond being shallow (Av. 2ft 6′), it was nearly dry at the end of the summer. I mapped the pond took average depths on lines 20ft apart both north and south, and so determined the contents fairly accurately. Under my fathers direction I drew the plan of a gigantic tank, this plan is now hanging in the Venetian room Stanmer, my old Sunday School. The tank when finished contained 91,369 gallons.. At the time it was being constructed the speaker the Hon Brand persuaded his Lordship to use the Glynde Cement (time and experience vastly improved the cement from the Sussex basin). Partly owing to the men being unaccustomed to the new material and partly owing to the inherent imperfections of the new building Substance, my father had a great anxiety and worry. To prevent leakage from the pond he rebuilt with four and half brickwork in Roman cement. Glynde cement is now nearly chemically pure and is extremely popular and very generally used. I after life , for twenty years, when agent for the Stanmer Estate (in Laughton, east Hoathly, Chiddingly, Hellingly, Hailsham, ripe, Bishopstone, Seaford Piddinghoe and Bexshill). I insisted on its use for best results. The tower of Laughton place and church were re-pointed with it. To prevent the rectory at Laughton from collapsing I used fourteen bags, with several tons of beech to underpin the walls. I always made the men. I always made the men use fresh mortar from our Lewis Lime Kilns, well gauged with Silenetic Cement.

A matter of great concern to my Father was the fresh water supply to the mansion. The drinking water was pumped by horse power from a very deep well near the servants hall door, into adjacent tanks. To solve the first problem there was many a consultation after his Lordships Dinner. From 8.30 to 9.30 my father usually went down to the Earls room. They eventually decided to make a ‘Catch’ in the farm lane field near a small belt of trees on the north, and to build three tanks with filters of about 40,000 gallons each – The site was selected so that the levels of the bottoms of the tanks should be on a level with the chimneys of the mansion. So that by the force of gravity the water from the tanks would rise automatically to the top cistern of the closets in the upper part of the house, being controlled by self acting cocks. My father had to endure a deal of criticism, vituperative raillery and malicious sarcasm. The Earl of Course could do no wrong so Tom Jones was the butt. Unfortunately the catch gave him immense trouble and afforded the opponents plenty of scope. Frost expansion and contraction were obstacles to be over come, and the resolute old gentleman learned in the bitter school of experience to gradually master them. At first the catch was cemented over on a foundation of flint which could be picked in unlimited quantities on our Downs and fallows. Proper drains converging to the main pipe supplying the tanks were made. To overcome the frost the thickness of broken flints was increased, the difficulty of expansion was obviated by on the cement in small bands two yards wide. From letters written by his Lordship to my father I find that he made him try the experiment of roofing in with slates the area used to catch the rainwater. This letter has a rae drawing by the Earl. The agent used to call the waterworks ‘Jones’s Folly’ . However for fifty years, when looked after, it supplied the house with pure rain water without the cost of pumping, which previously had been a great item. In practice it was found that ample rainwater was store to supply the gardens, as well as the mansion and its apartments.

My father worked like a slave at his hobby a few days before he died. His anxiety to keep down the expense made him exert himself beyond his power during the sultry July heat. For a week he assisted the state men to put on the slates. This was his last work, and so ended a blameless active career. His great aim was to serve with zeal both then masters he loved.

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This entry was posted in Family, Geneaology, Stanmer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Water Supply on the Stanmer Estate.

  1. jennifer maskell says:

    what an interesting blog on part of my ancestors the picture of jude and family i have never seen trying to find out if my grandfather frank or my dad rupert looked anything like the joneses

    • dacj40 says:

      Hello 4th cousin 2x removed, I have a feeling sometime in the past we have been in touch? Thanks for the comment I try to add something of interest from time to time, it’s nice to hear that others find it interesting.

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