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1723, he was deprived of that office; and the borough has now the singularity of sending two members to parliament, without a mayor, constable, or any other legal officer, who can claim the exclusive exercise of such an authority. There are several instances of boroughs without electors, but this is the only one that presents itself without a returning officer. Sir Robert Clayton being sole proprietor of the majority of burgage-tenures, has the appointment of the representatives. The right of election is in the borough holders only, without the bailiff; the number of burgage holds is ninety.
This place, though it sends two members to parliament, has no market; but has fairs on June 22, and November 2. The town stands on a hill, on the side of Holmsdale, with a fine prospect as far as the south downs and Sussex ; and from some ruins of its castle, which are still visible, though overgrown with a coppice, there is a prospect east into Kent, and west into Hampshire. Here is an almshouse, and a free-school. Blechingley has a handsome Gothic church, the spire of which in 1606 was consumed by lightning, and all the bells melted.
NUTFIELD, or rather NorthFIELD, lies between Reigate and Blechingley. In a red sandy common at this place, is a metalline kind of substance, looking like cast iron, and is called ragges, much esteemed for paving; there are also several pits, from which they dig a great quantity of fuller's earth,
GODSTONE, near Blechingley, is partly in the great road to Sussex, and partly, with the church, on an eminence about half a mile higher. It has its name from the excellent stone quarries here. At Rooknest is the seat of Sir Harry Strachey, bart.
Passing on to New Chapel Green, on the right of the road is Bysch Court, the seat of John Manship, Esq.; and at the left is situated STORBOROUGH CASTLE, the seat of Sir Thomas Turton, bart, one of the members of parliament for the borough of Southwark.
Proceeding to FELLBRIDGE Park, the seat of John Ni. chols, Esq. one mile and half brings the traveller to
EAST GRINSTEAD, IN THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX.
This town is situated at the northern extremity of the county, almost on the borders of Surrey and Kent, and about thirteen miles from Tunbridge, at the distance of thirty miles from London. It is an antient town, which came to the family of the Sackvilles about the time of Henry III.
It is a borough by prescription, of great antiquity, consisting of a bailiff and about thirty-five burgage-holders, who elect two members of parliament. The bailiff is the returning officer, and is chosen by the burgage holders, at the annual court of the lord of the borough, who is the duke of Dorset. The right of voting forinerly was allowed to be, by a resolution of the House of Commons, in the inhabitants as well as burgage-holders; but, by a subsequent one, it is confined to the latter description of persons only. The burgage holds here are in number thirtysix. The first return of this borough is anno 1 Edward II.
This is a market town, pleasantly situated on a hill, commanding a beautiful surrounding prospect. The parish is one of the largest in the county; it had a large handsome church, the spire of which was destroyed by lightning in the year 1685: a very beautiful tower was then built, but, owing to the badness of the materials and the manner of building it, on November 12, 1785, having stood just one hundred years, it fell on the body of the church, and damaged it in such a manner that the whole was obliged to be taken down and rebuilt.
The town is irregularly and ill built, and bas very few houses of much consequence; but the Lent assizes for Sussex are always held here: the county gaol is at Horsham (about eighteen miles distant,) whence the prisoners are brought to this place for trial.
Henry II. granted a charter for a monthly market; and at present here is a weekly corn market on Thursdays; and three annual fairs, namely, April 21, July 13, and December 11 ; the first and last of which are as large fairs for
all kinds of cattle, &c. as any in the county. Tbere are also two fairs at Forest Row, in this parish, about three miles from the town, riz: June 25, and November 8; the latter is a large one for cattle, pedlary wares, &c. &c.
At the east end of the town is a large handsome stone building, erected in the forn of a square, called SackVILLE COLLEGE, founded by James Sackville, earl of Dorset, in the reign of James I. about the year 1616: he endowed it with 3301. a year. Here twenty-four aged persons of both sexes are accommodated each with a comfortable room, and an allowance of 8l. per annum to each person. This college is governed by a warden and two gentlemen assistants. · The duke of Dorset has a suite of rooms in the college, but, as they are seldom occupied by his grace, the judges of the circuit are accommodated with them during the assizes. There is in this college a very neat chapel for the use of the pensioners, where the warden reads prayers every morning: this chapel was used for dirine service while the parish church was rebuilding.
At East Grinstead is a charity school for twelve boys, founded by Robert and Edward Payne, Esqrs. in the year 1768, and endowed with a farm called Surries. The town is a great thoroughfare, being the direct post road from London to East Bourn, Lewes, and Bright helmstone.
In the neighbourhood of East Grinstead are several mansions belonging to the nobility and gentry, particularly KIDBROOK, the seat of the right honourable CHARLES ABBOTT, speaker of the House of Commons.
Mount PLEASANT is honoured by having been the residence of the brave captain Farmer, of his majesty's ship Quebec. Being on a cruize off Ushant, in the beginning of October, 1779, in company with the Rambler cutter, be closely engaged a large French frigate called the Survillante, mounting forty guns; while the Rambler was engaged with a French cutter, as superior in force as the French frigate was to the Quebec. The action on both sides was warm and bloody, from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon, when the French cutter set all the
sail she could crowd, and bore away; but the Rambler be. ing much disabled in her masts and rigging, could not follow her with any hopes of success.
The commander, therefore, seeing both the frigates dismasted, and the Quebec take fire, endeavoured to get as near the Quebec as possible, in hopes of saving some of her men ; but no other assistance could be afforded them than by hoisting out the boat, which picked up one master's mate, two midshipmen, and fourteen more of the Quebec's people, the enemy's frigate at the same time firing at the boat. The Quebec continued burning very fiercely, with her colours flying till six o'clock, when she blew up. Words cannot sufficiently display the gallantry and magnanimity of captain Farmer on this occasion, not only in the engagement, but the fatal catastrophe with which it was attended *. Mrs. Farmer, who survived her brave husband three years, was allowed a handsome pension from government; and her eldest son was created a baronet in honour of his father, which he still enjoys.
This town gave birth to the ingenious THOMAS MAY, in 1595. He published a translation of Virgil's Georgics, and Lucan's Pharsalia; also a poem on the wars of Edward III. Having been refused by Charles I. the appointment of poet laureat, in his resentment, urged him to an inVeteracy against the royalists during the Civil Wars; he was consequently appointed chief clerk to the parliament, and published the history of their proceedings, and Historiæ Parliamenti Angliæ Breviarium. The subject of his last tribute to the Muses, was a poem on the life of Henry II. Mr. May expired in his bed, of an apoplexy, on the 13th of November, 1650.
The situation of East Grinstead, and its surrounding hills, is extremely pleasant in summer; but the roads, except merely the turnpike road, are extremely bad in the winter, so that a residence during that season of the year must be very disagreeable.
• Lyttelton's Hist. of England, Vol. III. p. 383. VOL. V. No. 116.
The country from this part of the county to Guildford, has nothing particularly attractive for the traveller, except bad roads and poor villages. The first of these is Okewood, noted for a desolate chapel of ease for five parishes, built by Edward de la Hale, in 1431. The revenues were 2001. per annum, out of which only twenty nobles were paid to the clergyman, who sometimes read prayers. This arose from the circumstance of its baving been esteemed a chantry, though its founder had regularly endowed it as a chapel of ease to the adjoining parishes, the inhabitants of which lived at too great distance from their churches.
Ockley is rendered famous for the discomfiture of the Danes, who had landed in England from three hundred and fifty ships, and destroyed all the country from London to Canterbury. They were met at this place by Æthelwulph, son of king Egbert, who had been bishop of Winton; he destroyed them in battle, so that very few were able to relate their defeat to their companions: this happened A. D. 851.
Wotton is famous for having been the residence of the family of EVELYN; near which is White Down, in which have been found cockle shells, pyrites, &c.
At ALBURY, the great earl of Arundel formed a beautiful mansion ; it was purchased by Heneage Finch, ear? of Aylesford. It is now in the possession of Samuel Thornton, Esq. M.P. This parish is famous for the residence of the Rev. WILLIAM OUGHTRED, a celebrated mathematician of the seventeenth century, who lived and died Rector. On BLACKHEATH, near Albury, have been found many remains of Roman buildings, and other antiquities.
WESTON HOUSE, the seat of the late William Man Godschall, Esq. was purchased of the family of Duncumb, by Sir Robert Godschall, alderman and lord mayor of London in 1742.
St. MARTHA UPON THE Hill, vulgarly called MARTYRS Hill, is so named from an antient chapel, part of which