Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VI.]                  Naval Episodes.                               83
The remaining years of the great European War, which terminated in 1815 with the crowning victory of Waterloo, do not appear to have left any particular impress upon the history of our parish. I may, however, mention the fact that the Allied Sovereigns, the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia, on the occasion of their visit to England as the guests of the Prince Regent, passed very near East-Bourne in travelling from Portsmouth to Dover, for they halted in the middle of the day near Hailsham and lunched at the Amberstone Farm.a
Though the heading of this chapter includes Naval episodes, there is not very much for me to say of things naval directly connected with East-Bourne. I remember one day in the summer of 1849 (I think that was the year), going down to the sea-front and seeing a ship named the Mayflower with her sails set and apparently pursuing a voyage. As a matter of fact, she had sprung a leak, and after getting only a little way Westwards to nearly opposite to where the Pier was afterwards erected, she sank in shallow water. Her cargo being blocks of granite, rendered salvage virtually impossible, and she became a total wreck. The hull remained visible for a long time ; in fact, the lowermost part of it could be seen at very low water for a great many years, and traces of it may be seen now, covered with seaweed and marine incrustation.
On October 19, 1853, a very disastrous wreck occurred off Beachy Head. In a very severe gale, a large ship the Dalhousie of 800 tons was overwhelmed by being thrown on her beam-ends and sank almost immediately. Of the passengers and crew, which num≠bered about GO, one seaman only was saved, who was picked up after many hours exposure. Ship and cargo were estimated to be worth £100,000. A picture of her
(a) A good deal of uncertainty exists as to the origin of this word "Amberstone"; what the word means, or what the said stone was. I remember many years ago a former inhabitant of Hailsham having told me of someone, known I think to him, having made a diligent, but unsuccessful, search for this " amber stone," reputed to have been a Druidical relic which had been buried or had sunk into the stream, which runs through the parish of Hellingly.
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