Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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16S                Old Memories of East-Bourne. [Chap. XIII.
1810, my grandfather started a great innovation—a Sunday Evening Service. This was such a success that the church wras not large enough for the congregation, and so he put up at his own expense the galleries in the N. and S. aisles already mentioned. These were much appreciated by the poorer parishioners, who always occupied them, especially after the restoration of 1851 had concentrated all the free seats in the far-off S.W. corner of the S. aisle. These galleries were removed by Mr. Pitman, mero motu, without, I believe, any Faculty, that is, legal authority to do so. This was about 1868. The effect on the poor was that, having nowhere to go, many of them ceased to attend the church, which more than ever has now become a rich man's church, rather than a poor man's church. The entrance to the N. gallery was up what had been the staircase to the rood-loft in olden times. The S. gallery was reached by a staircase from the aisle direct.
My grandfather died in June, 1828, as the result of being thrown out of his carriage^ coming down the hill which is now a part of Ocklynge Road. He had been offered some time previously, but had refused, the Bishopric of Chichester — an offer presumably made partly because he was one of the King's Chaplains.
Mr. Pitman took up his residence at East-Bourne in the winter of 1828, and signalised his arrival by discontinuing the evening service and dismantling the lamps. These he packed up and sent back to my grandmother, announcing that they would never be wranted again—a prediction which proved painfully true, and by the effective operation of which the Wesleyan Chapel profited. Later in his life Mr. Pitman took a different view of the advantages or disadvantages of evening services, for in 1860 he invited my assistance in printing circulars and canvassing for subscriptions for fitting up the church with gas for a regular evening service every Sunday, assistance which my " progressive ideas led me to give gladly. The service was inaugurated on Sunday, January 13, 1861. The entry in my diary
(b) The Gentleman's Magazine records it as " gig."
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