The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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SOME LOCAL WORTHIES.                          177
ancestors established themselves in East Grinstead prior to 1571. They were originally bailiffs under the Duchy of Lancaster for part of Ashdown Forest. Richard Kidder's father was William Kidder and his mother's maiden name was Wickenden. The father was a mercer, but possibly fell on hard times, for both he and his wife died while inmates of Sackville College. Richard was the youngest but one of a family of nine, and in his early days was taught to read by a lady living in the neighbourhood. He made such good progress that he was sent to a grammar school carried on by Reyner Herman, who was Warden of Sackville College from 1646 to 1656. At the age of 15 he was so far advanced that he was fitted for a University, but as his relatives did not possess the means to enable them to continue his education he was sent to Sevenoaks to learn the business of an apothecary. Some friends, however, took pity on the lad and raised enough money to send him to Cambridge. Here he made good use of his time and in 1659 was presented to the living of Standground, Hunts. After the Restoration of 1662 he declined to subscribe to the revised liturgy, so was one of the 2,000 clergy ejected from their benefices on that account. At length the Earl of Essex offered him the living of Raine, near Braintree, and Kidder lived there for 10 years in great discomfort. Other incumbencies followed and on the accession of William and Mary he was made Dean of Peterborough and one of the King's Chaplains, and the degree of D.D. was conferred on him in the King's presence. Finally he was consecrated Bishop of Bath and Wells on August 30th, 1691, and controlled this diocese with much zeal and ability until his awful death during the night of November 26-27th, 1703. That night a storm of almost unparalleled fury passed over England. It did enormous damage in East Grinstead and also swept down a stack of chimneys in the episcopal palace at Wells, and the good Bishop and his wife were killed as they slept and both buried in the ruins.
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