At the Dorking Petty Sessions held at the public hall on Saturday, September 7, before Mr. Gordon W. Clark (chairman), Mr. L. M. Bate, Mr. G. Arbuthnot, Colonel De Cetto, and Mr. Evelyn, Mr. Joseph Harrison of Wotton [later to build and live in Skelmorlie, Abinger Common - later renamed Glebe Gate] was charged with having failed to pay a fine imposed on him on July 6 by the bench for refusing to have his child, Ida Mary, vaccinated, and a similar fine in respect of his other child, Dora Elizabeth. Mr. George Alloway appeared on behalf of the Dorking Board of Guardians; the case having been heard, the defendant (Harrison) was convicted; and committed to prison for fourteen days.
On the announcement of the sentence, Mr. Evelyn expressed publicly to the Court his regret that he could not agree with the decision arrived at by his brother magistrates. In regard to the case of Mr. Joseph Harrison, while giving the Dorking Bench credit for a conscientious discharge of what they deemed to be their duty, we must respectfully express a doubt whether they have not taken an erroneous view of their powers and functions. Our interpretation of the Act of 1867 is that the magistrates, under Sections 29 and 31, have vested in them large discretionary powers; that a justice is bound to make a vaccination order only "if he thinks fit;"and that a parent shall be deemed "guilty of an offence" only if he shall not make "a reasonable excuse for his neglect." What excuse could be more "reasonable" than a strong and conscientious belief, founded on reflection and observation, that the danger attending vaccination outweighs any possible prophylactic benefit, and that therefore he dares not as a parent expose his child to the risk."
On Friday morning, September 20, Mr. Joseph Harrison, having completed his term of fourteen days' imprisonment, was released from Wandsworth gaol at half-past eight. On arriving at Boxhill station he was met by a deputation and placed in a wagonette, and conducted in processional and flag-adorned triumph through High street and West street to the Public Hall, where on arriving, he received an ovation. At 8 P.M. a public meeting was held (in accordance with notice) in the south room of the Public Hall. Mr. James Allanson Picton, a Congregational minister, author of 'The mystery of matter,' etc., Liberal and Home Rule member for the Anti-Vaccination borough of Leicester, most appropriately presided and gave an opening address. Mr. Harrison then gave an account of his prison experiences, stating that he had been treated not as a debtor but as a criminal. A resolution of protest against the vaccination Acts and of sympathy with Mr. Harrison was unanimously carried. Among those present at this numerously attended meeting were Mr. Alfred Milnesy M.A., the Rev. E. J. Hammond, the Rev. G. Ayery, Mr. A. Rawlings (of Guildford), Mr. Uffold, Mr R.J. Kelsey, and Mr. G. Southey.
On Monday, September 28, at a meeting of the Abinger, Shere, and district Anti-Compulsory Vaccination Society, Mr. Joseph Harrison (Chairman) was presented with a testimonial of £5, raised by subscription.
On Tuesday, October 2, at 8 P.M., a meeting will be held in the large Hall, Guildford, to consider compulsory vaccination. Lieut. Colonel Trederoft, J.P., will preside, and Mr. Alfred Milnes, M.A., will deliver an address.
To the historian of the future, the month of May 1890 will be notable for the following events - (1) the great May-day demonstrations of the workmen, in the principle centres of industry on the Continent of Europe, as well as in America, in favour of a reduction in the hours of labour, coupled with a demand for an advancement of wages; (2) the return to this country of the American traveller, H.M. Stanley, after his successful journey across Equatorial Africa.
Local events, May 1890:
Abinger Hall. The grounds of Sir Thomas Farrer were thrown open to the public during the afternoon of Whit Monday. The visitors were regaled with cakes and ginger beer.
Laying the Foundation Stone of Abinger Reading Room. We have the pleasure to announce that the foundation stone of Abinger Reading Room will (D.V.) be laid on Saturday, June 21, at 3 pm, by Miss Evelyn of Wotton, to whom a silver trowel will be presented. The cost of the trowel, amounting to about £10, will, with the sanction of the proprietor, be defrayed from the proceeds of the sale of 'The Abinger Monthly Record.' Mr Evelyn has consented to preside on the interesting occasion.
Dorking Petty Sessions. A special meeting of the Dorking Bench was held on Saturday, May 10th. George Payne, Head Gardener to Sir T. Farrer, and Rector's Churchwarden, was summoned by Philip Muggeridge, the Parish Warden, for destroying a notice posted on the notice board at Abinger Church Porch, and doing damage to the extent of 3d.
With the present number we celebrate our first anniversary. In reviewing the work of the past year, we have the gratification to feel that the pledges given in the July number, 1889, have been faithfully carried out. At that time the parish of Abinger was very inadequately supplied with an organ for placing on record the passing events within its borders. One of the results of our publication was the dissolution of this editorial co-partnership; and the issue of an Abinger Parish Magazine, pure and simple - a monthly leaflet that has acquired some degree of notoriety in the district, under its appropriate cognomen of 'The Cat-call.'
Our efforts to supply a more wholesome article of mental diet than had previously been vouchsafed to the parishioners of this picturesque village have been most successful and encouraging, if our steadily increasing circulation be taken as a test.
In many respects the past year has been an eventful one in the history of Abinger. An internecine aggressive warfare has been waged, and, unhappily, still continues to rage between the Rector and his followers, on the one hand, against the parish officers, supported by the great bulk of the parishioners, on the other. The foul and cowardly weapon of anonymous defamation has been employed by the Rector's party; whilst, it may be noted, the parish officers have shewn themselves worthy of the confidence reposed in them. Retreat from this position would be fatal to their aspirations.
The 21st of June will be a red-letter day in the annals of Abinger, for on that day was laid the foundation stone of the new Abinger Reading Room by Miss Evelyn of Wotton, who performed the interesting ceremony with becoming grace, in the presence of sympaphising spectators.
On Friday, 8 May, it was noticed that the house-martins had re-appeared, and on the same day a few swifts were observed.
Abinger Notes. Mr Evelyn has placed on the wall of the new Reading to a tablet in memory of his late uncle, the Rev. John Massey-Dawson, rector of Abinger from 1835 to 1886. The predecessor of Mr Massey-Dawson in the benefice of Abinger was the Rev. Henry Ridley. Mr Ridley married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr Lee Steere Steere, of Jayes, Ockley, who survived him, and later married the first Lord Abinger. Both Mr and Mrs Ridley were much esteemed at Abinger. Mr Ridley was a kind-hearted man, and interested himself in obtaining good situations for cottage girls; he was also the last rector of Abinger who occasionally employed the parish stocks as a mode of punishment for refractory boys. In the time of Mr Ridley and Mr Dawson the parish vestries were held in the eastern end of the patron's chancel at Abinger Church; the parish charities were distributed there, and it was also used as the parish schoolroom.
The Influenza Epidemic. This epidemic has prevailed to a very great extent in England during the past month, and has attacked many of our public men... A teaspoon of ammoniated quinine taken in water every morning is generally believed to be the best preventative, whilst eucalyptus oil is said to be a certain cure for the disease.
Abinger Fair. This fair was held as usual on the feast of St James the Greater, to whom Abinger Church is dedicated. There were the usual amusements, such as merry-go-rounds and music, and the fair was kept up from about 8pm till 11pm. There was no interruption on this occasion either from aggressive Church Army people or over-officious police-constables. In consequence of this non-interference the whole affair from first to last, was perfectly quiet and orderly".
With the present number we celebrate our second anniversary. We have every reason to be satisfied with the result of our labours during the past year, and we thank our subscribers and friends for their continued support. Dorking District Highway Board. At a meeting of this Board held on Thursday, June 18, a letter was read from Colonel Lewin of Parkhurst, asking for permission to divert the road leading from Abinger Common by Parkhurst to Pitland Street to a line from a gate near the post-office to a point near Wilcox Corner. The Board ordered the Churchwardens of Abinger to call a vestry to consider the matter.
From a letter by a farmer who had received a demand for £7.10s income tax:- "I recently received the Income Tax paper for this year, and as I am prepared to prove that my net income has not amounted to £150, I intend to claim total exemption. Possibly some of your readers may have been imposed on in a similar way, and might be able to render me some support in the matter. I certainly think we ought all to appeal against this Income Tax." Abinger Glebe. A sale is announced to take place on July 1, at the Auction Mart, Tokenhouse Yard, of the two lots of the Abinger Glebe which were purchased by Mr Sheffield for £430. We understand that Mr Sheffield purchased these lots for building purposes, but finding that the value for building purposes was much lowered by the disfiguring buildings erected by the rector and the Messrs Harrison, he thought it better to sell this land, which he never would have purchased could he have foreseen the action of rector Hill, who certainly shewed little consideration for the purchasers of the glebe lots. Note: These lots are now The White House and Hedges, but continued through to Hollow Lane.
The late Mr Redgrave, C.B., R.A., and Abinger. (A review of a book on Redgrave by his daughter). Mr Redgrave' s first acquaintance with Abinger appears to have been in the summer of 1851, though it is not unlikely that he may have first discovered it during a stay at Westcott in 1849. "In 1851 my father first went to Abinger, a charming Surrey village on the slopes of Leith Hill, the butcher came but once a week, and other adjuncts of civilisation were unknown. We spent the summer at a dear old farm-house,Crossways, in Abinger. My holiday was much broken into by my duties at the Great Exhibition..." (1854) It was one of the clearest, sunniest summers I have known for many years. Hook (J.C. Hook, R.A.) and his wife were staying at Abinger, and we were often all together, sketching at the little spring-head of the Tillingbourne, at the top of Friday Street - sweet, sunny hours we had! How can life offer anything happier? We consulted about giving up Abinger, as rather worked out; but I could not make up my mind to leave a place we all love so much."
The last picture exhibited by him in the Royal Academy was in 1881, after having been represented on its wall for 52 consecutive years. The beauties of Abinger and its neighbourhood have formed the theme of some of Mr Redgrave's best and most admired pictures.
"The Fair was held as usual on July 25th. Though it has lost the importance which once belonged to it, yet the old custom is still kept up. The Fair generally presents a scene of harmless merriment. On the present occasion, there were swings, there was throwing at cocoa-nuts, and a new game called Knives and Rings, which seemed very popular. The Abinger Hammer Drum and Fife Bank attended. Dancing commenced in the field opposite to Abinger Hatch at 8 pm. The harmony of the meeting was disturbed by the appearance of Mr John Rowberry, leading a chorus of three or four girls, who sang hymns as a kind of protest against the sinfulness of the Fair, and endeavoured to drown the music. Mr Rowberry's action being calculated to produce a breach of the peace, he was very properly ordered to leave the field by Mr Muggeridge. The meeting at the Fair broke up about 11 pm, and nothing except the intrusion of Mr Rowberry occurred to disturb the order and harmony which prevailed.
Church Army Inconsistency. The Rector and Mr John Rowberry disapprove of the dancing at Abinger Fair, yet they were both present at the Garden Party given at Abinger Hall two days afterwards, when there was rustic dancing to the music of the same band (the Abinger Drum and Fife Band) which played at the Fair. "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander", and what is right and proper at Abinger Hall cannot be very wicked on Abinger Manor". (Mr Rowberry was a Church Army Captain, and Mr Muggeridge, landlord of the Abinger Hatch, was a Churchwarden).
"The Fair this year was of an unusually festive character, and lasted two days. It was attended by a large number of persons, in addition to most of the parishioners, who were evidently attracted in the expectation of witnessing a repetition of the fanatical proceedings of last year. The ghost-frightened Captain, it is true, put in a personal appearance. But his stay was brief, for, having taken a careful survey of the horse-pond, he seems to have arrived at the conclusion that discretion is the better part of valour, and forthwith departed. Harmony reigned supreme throughout both days".
This fair took place as usual on July 25th. There were the usual amusements. No interruption from the Church Army or the ex. Church Army Captain occurred on this occasion, and consequently the gathering from first to last was quiet and orderly. An extension of one hour was granted to Mr Muggeridge of Abinger Hatch.
In this months issue of our journal we present our readers with a picture of Parkhurst, a well-known residence of some antiquity, which is perhaps the most interesting in associations in the parish of Abinger, and it may not be unacceptable at the same time to give a short account of what is known of the old house.
The origin of the name of Parkhurst is uncertain, but the most probably conjecture is that the name was conferred on the place from its having belonged to the well-known and ancient Surrey family of the same name. Instances of this practice are most common in the neighbourhood such as Redford Farm, Ockley, formerly belonging to the Redfords of Shere; Dendys at Holmbury; Evershed's Farm in Abinger; Spencer's Farm, Wallis Wood; and many others, all of which have taken their names from the families to Whom they belonged.
It may have been, however, that the name of Parkhurst is descriptive merely as being a park in a "hurst" or wood, but against this theory may be set the fact that in all the earlier title-deeds and documents relating to the ownership of the property to the year 1814 Parkhurst is described as a "messuage [a dwelling house], tenement, and farm, called or known by the name of Parkhurst". In a deed of 1814 it is for the first time mentioned as a "Mansion".
The lands of "Parkhurst" and their tenants owned allegiance to the Evelyn fami1y, as Lords of the Manor of Abinger, and until quite recently Mr. Evelyn had a right of heriot [a feudal death-duty] on the property. It is therefore probable that some light may be thrown on the early history of the place by a reference to the muniment at Wotton. Time however, and the cursory character of this notice, precludes a more detailed enquiry into this matter, which is, indeed, one of only antiquarian interest.
The first recorded possessor of Parkhurst was one of Mr. John Spencer, described as "formerly of Wandsworth, Dyer," who in 1766 sold the property to Richard Durnford of Gracechurch Street, Pinmaker, who again in 1779 sold it to Charles Lynd Esq. of Berners Street, from whom it passed to his nephew and heir at law, Charles Lynd, Esq., of Belfast. The estate was again sold, and conveyed in 1786 to the Right Honourable Lord Macartney, who in 1799 sold it to Mr. William Phillip Perrin, "of West Farleigh, Kent and of Tanhurst, Surrey, Esq."
Mr.Perrin died in the year 1820, and the property than descended to his nenphew and heir at law sir Henry Fitzherbert Lomax of Shere and Abinger. On the death of Mr. Lomax the property devolved by his will on his daughter Frances who was married to the Honourable Peter Campbell Scarlett, third son of James, first Lord Abinger, and on her death it passed to her son Colonel Leopold Scarlett, who in 1865 sold the property to its present possessor Colonel Thomas Herbert Lewin.
Such is briefly what is known of the history of Parkhurst. We may add a few notes as to the house itself and its traditions.
The old ivy-coloured north front of the house was undoubtably the ancient messuage or farmhouse spoken of in the earliest documents. It is over two hundred years old, as is shown by the character of the internal architecture, and by an ancient hiding place or "priest's hole", which is cunningly hidden in the Walls of this part of the house. The large reception rooms on the south side of the mansion were built by its former owner Mr. Phillip Perrin.
In the year l796 Lord Macartney was granted an Irish earldom with the English title of Baron Parkhurst of Parkhurst in the county of Surrey. It was by him that the cedars to the south side of the house were planted, also a group of Chinese acasias, the seeds of which it is supposed he brought with him on his return from the memorable first embassage to China. The walk all round the park which bears his name is also said to have been laid out by him. The large Norway spruce in Lord Macartney's walk, whioh is a landmark for miles around, Wss planted in l781, on the authority of the late Mr. Bray of Shere, who died in 1880.
In our November number of 1889, will be found an interesting account from the pen of Mr.Evelyn, in which it is recorded the celebrated French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, during his visit to England in 1766, passed some time as the guest of Mr. Spence, the then owner of Parkhurst, and an old yew-tree walk, in the grounds still goes by the name of "Rousseau's Walk". The house lays no claim to architectural beauty, but' has recently been restored and enlarged by its present owner, so as to fulfill the requirements of modern comfort.
Of the career of the present owner of ParKhurst we are enabled to give the following imperfect but as we believe accurate sketch.
Thomas Herbert, Lewin went to India as a "Company's cadet" in 1857, the year of the mutiny. Through that terrible crisis in Indian history he served at Cawnpore, Lucknow, and elswehere, and when it was over accepted the offer of a commission in a "Queen's Regiment", the rule of the Company having been by Act of Parliament superseded. Having passed through a very honourable military career, he afterwards accepted a civil employment in a district, where he quickly distinguished himself by his great influence over the natives, whose language he acquired. In the Lushai War of 1869-70 he served with distinction as political officer, under General sir Charles Bronlow. Had the policy recommended by Colonel Levrin been adopted we should have been spared the frontier war now being waged in the Lushai district.
Other honourable offices were subsequently held by Colonel Lewin, but our limited space permits us only to give a brief notice of his career. As an author he has written besides a work on the"Wild Tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts" and various magazine articles illustrated autobiographical sketch, describing his Indian experiences. Besides being an author of no little merit, Colonel Lewin is a good musician, a skilful wood-carver, and in every sense an accomplished gentleman. Our Abinger readers need hardly be told that the Parkhurst family take the kindest interest in the welfare of their poorer neighbours.
Our readers are aware, in the late Abinger troubles, we wish that Colonel Lewin had taken a somewhat different course on two or three occasions. Nevertheless, respecting as we do his motives and intentions, we earnestly hope that he and his family may long be spared to enjoy the quiet of the beautiful country seat of Parkhurst, adorned and improved with so much good taste and judgement by its present possessor, with its portal surmounted by the armorial bearings of the family.
Re-published in Abinger and Coldharbour Parish News