The Pelhams

So my family worked for the Earls of Chichester for many years. Here are some of Frederick’s thoughts on them.

The Pelhams were always splendid men physically and intellectually. Living under, and having the honour of serving four Earls of Chichesters I have had the best of opportunities of knowing their moral characters and noble characteristics. One of the earliest recollections I have of the Third Earl was when a boy about nine years old. The Earl at that time was a magnificent example of a British Officer. Mounted on his fiery charger a while [a sat], whom none but his noble master could sit, The Earl as indeed reputed to be the “best horseman in Sussex.” At this time boys were under very strict control, we were not allowed beyond the farm house. With the gardener’s son and others I was sitting on the Pleasure ground wall watching a game of marbles when a lad shouted, “Here comes Lordy”! I lay alongside the low wall on the Pleasure ground side of the road, hoping to escape observation. His Lordships tall stature well over six feet towered about me, and of course I was seen! Wheeling his charger, he caught me a fine stripe with his riding whip and with a smile he passed on: leaving me to guess the reason of his action.

The night before I was married on the last day of 1864 The Earl sent for me and I shall always love his blessed memory for his kind advice and wishes for my welfare. On leaving he said, “Always keep two bears in the house, Ned, bear and forbear” at the same time putting three guineas in my hand!

For many years I enjoyed his patronage and friendship, drawing plans for Bushby (agent), through Bentley (sub-agent) of all work done on the Laughton Estate. I was very well paid but had to allow Bentley to sign his name on them instead of my own. Cottages at Blackstowe, Colbrams Stonecross, and Chynston [?] and the Deans I had the pleasure of designing. Later years I unfortunately offended the Earl, and remained for some time under his displeasure. This was the source of great displeasure and annoyance to me. It arose from the following incident. Bentley told me that George and Jack, the sons of the agent were putting him in a false position. They frequently visited the Loughton Estate, generally ending in an afternoon at the Kings Head. I felt it a duty to tell his Lordship, as they ordered dinners, drink, and cigars ‘ad limitum,’ and the sub agent had told me he did not know how to change for them, and the publican began to talk about their visits. His Lordship told me he did not believe me! I meekly replied that time would prove I was correct. But I lost his favour, and for several years deeply felt it. I don’t think his lordship ever lost faith in his agents sons, but Lord Pelham proved the matter, and satisfied himself and exonerated me. George came to poverty and died at Worthing, after driving a fly! Jack was seen in N.Z. by Isaaac Hutton playing pan pipes with a Punch and Judy show! The usual fate of dissipation and drink!

On the occasion of a cricket match at Stanmer between ‘Pelhams and Jones’. His Lordship did not speak to me! The knowledge that I was quite right did not militate against the poignancy of my affront and grief, but I never ceased to love the dear old Master; and through Bentley did a lot of work for the Estate, a pleasure inexpressible! At the funeral of the late Earl at Laughton Church, I met the Honourable Francis after many a long years separation. He caught my hand as he passed the west door of the tower that silent [grip] awakened pleasant memories of boyhood days. Some years afterwards I had the loving duty of serving, for too short a time the fifth Earl. Only those who had lived with him could realize his noble, amiable disposition. He had a fine manly presence, tall, nimble, and sound as an athlete, and he was the idol of my young days. In memory I can see the golden rays of the setting sun filtering through the dense foliage of the ‘big wood’ and glittering on the dark sombre branches of the Cedars of the pleasure ground, casting lovely shadows over the smooth level cricket pitch on the lawn fronting the mansion. Since four o’clock the young gentlemen, fresh from Eton and Trinity had played cricket, with an enthusiasm which only youth and health can supply. Suddenly a handsome lady appeared in the doorway of the porch leading to the front Hall, and all our game was finished! ‘Frank,’ as we were allowed to call him would in a few strides appeal this whole indulgent mother for just one more ‘over,’ this granted the boys had a few minutes to dress for dinner often poor old Lloyd was sent to summon them. He pleaded in vain; the game could not be ended until the last minute was played out. Nothing we lads enjoyed more than to see Francis, Tom, or Arthur lift a ball into the windows of the house or into the east Front. My brother Reuben was the only Stanmer boy on a par with them. He was a splendid wicket keeper and bat.

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One Response to The Pelhams

  1. Pingback: Sussex and tye Jones Family’s Association | D A C Jones Blog

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