Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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12                   Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. II.
For some years during the early part of the 19th Century, say from about 1820 onwards, a merchant of London, named James Peppercorne, who lived at Stepney, then a pleasant suburban neighbourhood, was in the habit of taking his wife and family to East-Bourne as summer visitors. Those visits led to their making the acquaintance of the various residents, including especially the Willards and the Brodies. This was the commence­ment of an intimacy which lasted till the end of the lives of all concerned, and of those then associated, 1910 sees but one survivor. A certain Miss Willard once lived in a housed in the Ocklynge Road, the second to the N. of the Lamb, on the right hand side, and opposite to The Lawn. This lady was a sister of the brothers Willard mentioned elsewhere, tall and prim in person, a typical old maid of her generation. In the course of time Miss Willard went to stay with the Peppercorne family in Stepney, and following the usual custom, invited two of the young ladies of the house at which she was staying to pay her a return visit at East-Bourne. Father and mother consented, and the two girls, one about 17 and the other two or three years younger, were started off from London by the coach, and safely arrived at East-Bourne one day about the year 1831. They were soon waited upon by the gallant Major " Nick " Willard, who as Churchwarden, offered them seats in his pew on the following Sunday, and said he would fetch them and escort them to church. When they were ushered in to the pew, it was quite evident that they were neither ■expected nor wanted by the female members of the Willard family already in the pew, and their demeanour very much disconcerted the two young visitors whose shyness was aggravated by reason of the fact that the Churchwarden had walked away, no doubt to perform his official duties and seat himself somewhere else. The two visitors wore hats of some special form or trimming, which though perhaps of the newest London fashion did
(d) This House, known as Franklin House, at the end of its career, was pulled down in 1909. After the death of Miss Willard it was occupied by an old Clergyman, the Rev. W. B. Robinson, Vicar of Litlington, and passed to his son-in-law, Mr. Franklin Travers.
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