Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIII.]             Bev. T. Pitman.
is :—" Effect of lighting up the church excellent." The cost of the fittings was £128.
Mr. Pitman really was a notable personality, who deserves more space than I can give him. He was essentially a " strong " man, and if he had not been a parson, he had some qualifications for being a Judge of the High Court. He was the only man whom Major N. Willard could not manage. I will mention 2 stories which he told me. Up to the passing of the "Tithe Commutation Act " in 1835, tithes had for centuries been paid in kind, the Tithe-owner's collector going round the farms selecting at his choice whichever one of the 10 sheaves put together for the purpose, or the 10th pig, or the 10th whatever it was. There were obvious incon­veniences attaching to this system from the stand-point both of Tithe-owner and Tithe-payer, and in many places these 2 parties had entered into a voluntary arrangement for the payment in cash of agreed sums. My grandfather had done this, and that arrangement was still subsisting in 1828, when Mr. Pitman became Vicar. I think the agreed sum for the East-Bourne tithes was some such sum as £600 a year. One of the farmers went to the new Vicar and said, " I wish to put an end to the arrangement which I had with Dr. Brodie and to let you have your tithe in the usual way in kind." The new Vicar said "All right, so let it be." A little time afterwards the farmer went to the Vicar and said, "" I think Mr. Vicar it is a pity to disturb the arrangement which Dr. Brodie set up and we farmers have agreed to .go on paying you in cash." The explanation of this volte-face was that the farmers had discovered on looking into the matter that the value in kind of their payments in respect of tithe would be not £600 a year but nearer £1000 a year ; the difference between the 2 sums being the amount which my grandfather had annually sacrificed to save trouble to himself, and to promote peace and goodwill in the Parish.
The peace which began with Waterloo had, as is well-known, a most serious effect upon the trade and commerce of England. A rapid fall ensued in the value
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