The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Thomas Turners House    East Hoathly Village  East Hoathly  
Thomas Turner's house in 1935
Thomas Turner's house in 1935
It was in the centre of this district, girt in by the sea on one side, and by a moat of mud on the other, that our Sussex Tradesman, the writer of the Diary, Mr. Thomas Turner, a "general shopkeeper" at East Hothly, lived. And what a world of traffic does this phrase suggest! This individual was in old times, and to a certain degree is still, an embodiment of the whole circle of trade. The old Sussex mercer was grocer, draper, haberdasher, hatter, clothier, druggist, ironmonger, stationer, glover, undertaker, and what not!


Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1859Diary of a Sussex Tradesman [Thomas Turner], a Hundred Years Ago by R. W. Blencowe, Esq., M.A. and M. A. Lower, M.A., F.S.A.p. 183
1904Highways and Byways in Sussex by E.V. Lucas ⇒ p. 313
1935Turner Trove - A Link with a Famous Sussex Diarist by L.B. Smith and E.A. Hadley ⇒ p. 546

Historical records

1754 to 1765HistoryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
It was in the centre of this district, girt in by the sea on one side, and by a moat of mud on the other, that our Sussex Tradesman, the writer of the Diary, Mr. Thomas Turner, a "general shopkeeper" at East Hothly, lived. And what a world of traffic does this phrase suggest! This individual was in old times, and to a certain degree is still, an embodiment of the whole circle of trade. The old Sussex mercer was grocer, draper, haberdasher, hatter, clothier, druggist, ironmonger, stationer, glover, undertaker, and what not!

30th Aug 1755Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"This morn my wife and I had words about her going to Lewes to-morrow; Oh, what happiness must there be in the married state, when there is a sincere regard on both sides, and each partie truly satisfied with each other's merits! But it is impossible for tongue or pen to express the uneasiness that attends the contrary."

9th Jul 1756Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Mr. French cal'd me to go to Laughton with him, in order to see a funerall there - to wit, the Hon. Lady Frances, Dowager of Castlecomers, sister to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle. She was brought to Halland about eleven o'clock, but not taken out of the hearse, and was intered in their family vault at Laughton, about thirty minutes past one, in the sixty-ninth year of her age. The pall was supported by the Hon. Col. Pelham, Sir Francis Poole, - Campion, Esq., T. Pelham, Esq., John Pelham, Esq., and Henry Pelham. The funeral service was read by the Bishop of Chichester. There were three mourning coaches, Mr. Pelham's, and Colonel Pelham's, and the Bishop's."

7th Aug 1756Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"This being a publick day at Halland, I spent about two or three hours there in the afternoon, in company with several of our neighbours. There was a great company of people, of all denominations, from a duke to a beggar; among the rest of the nobility were his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Hon. Lord Cholmondely, Lord Gage, Earle of Ashburnham, the Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, and Mr. Justice Dennison, and a great number of gentlemen. I was there three times this day. What a small pleasure it is to be in such a concourse of people! - one hour spent in solitude being, in my oppinion, worth more than a whole day in such a tumult; there being nothing but vanity and tumult in such public assemblies, and their mirth being rather obstreperious than serious and agreeable. Oh! how silly is mankind, to delight so much in vanity and transitory joys! "

26th Jan 1757Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"We went down to Whyly, and staid and supped there; we carne home between twelve and one o'clock - I may say, quite sober, considering the house we was at, though undoubtedly the worst for drinking, having, I believe, contracted a slight impediment in my speech, occasioned by the fumes of the liquor operating too furiously on my brain."

22nd Feb 1757Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"About four P.M., I walked down to Whyly. We played at bragg the first part of the even. After ten we went to supper, on four boiled chicken, four boiled ducks, minced veal, sausages, cold roast goose, chicken pasty, and ham. Our company, Mr. and Mrs. Porter, Mr. and Mrs. Coates, Mrs. Atkins, Mrs. Hicks, Mr. Piper and wife, Joseph Fuller and wife, Tho. Fuller and wife, Dame Durrant, myself and wife, and Mr. French's family. After supper our behaviour was far from that of serious, harmless mirth; it was downright obstreperious, mixed with a great deal of folly and stupidity. Our diversion was dancing or jumping about, without a violin or any musick, singing of foolish healths, and drinking all the time as fast as it could be well poured clown; and the parson of the parish was one among the mixed multitude. If conscience dictates right from wrong, as doubtless it sometimes does, mine is one that I may say is soon offended; for, I must say, I am always very uneasy at such behaviour, thinking it not like the behaviour of the primitive Christians, which I imagine was most in conformity to our Saviour's gosple. Nor would I be thought to be either a cynick or a stoick, but let social improving discourse pass round the company. About three o'clock, finding myself to have as much liquor as would do me good, I slipt away unobserved, leaving my wife to make my excuse. Though I was very far from sober, I came home, thank GOD, very safe and well, without even tumbling; and Mr. French's servant brought my wife home, at ten minutes past five" (probably upon his back).

3rd Aug 1758Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"In the even, the Duke of Newcastle came to Halland, as did Lord Gage, Sir Francis Poole, Mr. Shelley, Colonel Pelham, Mr. Pelham, and several more, and stayed all night. What seems very surprising to me in the Duke of Newcastle, is, that he countenances so many Frenchmen, there being ten of his servants, cooks, & etc., which was down here, of that nation."

23rd Aug 1758Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"About four P.M., I walked down to Halland, with several more of my neighbours, in order for a rejoicing for the taking of Cape Breton, & etc., where there was a bonfire of six hundred of faggots, the cannon fired, and two barrels of beer given to the populace, and a very good supper provided for the principal tradesmen of this and the neighbouring parishes, as there had been a dinner for the gentlemen of Lewes and the neighbouring parishes. After supper we drank a great many loyall healths, and I came home in a manner quite sober. There was, I believe, near one hundred people entertained at Halland this day, besides the populace, and, so far as I see, everything was carried on with decency and regularity ; tho' I must think the most proper way of rejoicing is by having a general thanksgiving, that the whole nation may give thanks to Him that gives success to our armies, both by sea and land; and I think, to show our outward joy, it might be more properly done by distributing something to the poor.

29th Dec 1758Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Mr. French and I set out for Buxted Place. We were prodigious civilly entertained with some bread and cheese, wine and beer. We was showed the house all over, which undoubtedly is a very fine place, built in the modern taste. This even a meteor was seen in this neighbourhood, which appeared like a ball of fire falling from the clouds to the earth; it seemed as if it fell about Waldron, leaving a train of sparks behind it as it descended; its bigness was at last about the size of a large ball, tho' at first almost like a moon, and extremely light. I imagine fear and surprise hath exaggerated many of the above circumstances."

7th Feb 1759Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Molly Bell, Nanny Fuller, Frances Weller, Molly and Sam. French, and Lucy Durrant, together with Joseph Fuller and John French, supped at our house. We played at bragg, in the even, and I and my wife won 19d. They staid till thirty minutes past one, and went away all sober and in good order; and, what is very remarkable, there was not, that I could observe, one oath swore all the even. Huzza! The keeping Christmas I hope is now over, and I think I was never more overjoyed;. for, besides the expences attending it, there is something in it that is quite foreign to my taste or inclinations, I rather chusing a recluse and steady way of living, that may allow time for Reason to exercise her proper faculties, and to breath, as it were, into the mind of man a serener happiness, which, in my opinion, never can be enjoyed when it is so often disjointed and confused by such tumultuous or, at least, merry meetings."

30th May 1759Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"My wife very ill all day. Oh, melancholy time; what will become of me I cannot think! Very little trade, and she always so afflicted with illness; but let me not repine; possibly it is good for us that we have known affliction."

5th Aug 1759Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"I spent most part of to-day in going to and from Halland, there being a public day, where there was to dine with his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, the Earls of Ashburnham and Northampton, Lord Viscount Gage, the Lord Abergavenny, and the two judges of assize, and a great number of gentlemen, there being, I think, upwards of forty coaches, chariots, & etc. I came home about seven, not thoroughly sober. I think it is a scene that loudly calls for the detestation of all serious and considerating people, to see the sabbath prophaned, and turned into a day of luxury and debauchery; there being no less than ten cooks, four of which are French, and perhaps fifty more, as busy as if it had been a rejoicing day. There was such huzzaing that made the very foundations (almost) of the house to shake, and all this by the order and the approbation of almost the next man to the King. Oh, what countenance does such behaviour in a person of his Grace's rank, give to levity, drunkenness, and all sorts of immorality!"

8th Dec 1759Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"I walked down to Halland, there being rejoicing, on account that Admiral Hawk hath dispersed a fleet which was preparing to invade this nation. This engagement is looked on as a great advantage, as it has intirely dispersed the fleet, and wholly disconcerted their schemes, so that probably their thoughts of invading these nations must be laid by for some time. We drank a great many loyal toasts. I came home after eleven, after staying in Mr. Porter's wood near an hour and an half, the liquor opperating so much in the head that it rendered my leggs useless. Oh, how sensible I am of the goodness of the Divine Providence, that I am preserved from harm."

2nd Jan 1760Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Joseph Fuller and Mr. Thornton smoked a pipe with me in the even. Oh, how pleasant has this Christmas been kept as yet; no revelling, nor tumultuous meetings, where there too often is little else but light and trifling discourse; and it's well if it is not intermixed with some obscene talk, and too often with vile and execrable oaths. Not that I am any ways an enemy to innocent mirth; but what I protest against, is that which is not so."

3rd Oct 1760Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"At home all day, and, thank GOD, pretty busy, but my wife very ill. Oh, how mellancholy a time it is! quite destitute of father and mother, and am in all probability like to loose my wife, the only friend, I believe, I have now in this world, and the alone center of my worldly happiness. When I indulge the serious thought, what imagery can paint the gloomy scene that seems just ready to oppen itself, as it were, for a theatre for my futer troubles to be acted upon ! "

7th Oct 1760Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"In the even there was a rejocing at Halland, and a bonfire, for our army under the command of General Amherst having taken Montreal and all Canada from the French. All the neighbourhood were regaled with a supper, wine, punch, and strong beer. Today I sent Thomas Durrant to Brighthelmstone for Dr. Poole, who came to my wife in the even. She is prodigiously ill. At home all day, and, thank GOD, pretty busy."

26th Oct 1760Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"To-day we had the melancholly newes of the death, by a fit of the apoplexy, of his most august Majesty George II., king and parent of this our most happy isle; had his Majesty lived to the 10th of November, he would have been seventy-seven years of age. He has sit upon the British throne thirty-three years the 22nd of last June."

17th Jan 1761Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"We dined on the remains of yesterday's dinner, with the addition of some sausages, broiled. Oh, my poor wife is most prodigious bad! No, not one gleam of hope have I off her recovery. Oh, how does the thought distract my tumultuous soul ! What shall I do? - what will become of me!"

6th Apr 1761Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"The morn, down at Halland, where there was, I believe, near five hundred people to attend his Grace to Lewes - the election being there for the county, to-day, but no opposition."

19th Apr 1761Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"My wife somewhat easier to-day, tho' still very bad, and dangerous."

23rd Jun 1761Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"About five o'clock in the afternoon, it pleased Almighty GOD to take from me my beloved wife, who, poor creature, has laboured under a severe the lingering illness for these thirty-eight weeks, which she bore with the greatest resignation to the Divine will. In her I have lost a sincere friend, a virtuous wife, a prudent good economist in her family, and a very valuable companion. . . I have lost an invaluable blessing, a wife who, had it pleased GOD to have given her health, would have been of more real excellence to me than the greatest fortune this world can give. I may justly say, with the incomparable Mr. Young, 'Let them whoever lost an angel, pity me.' "

25th Mar 1762Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Joseph Fuller, Tho. Durrant, and Tho. Long, came and smoked a pipe with me in the even. Oh, how does the memory of that evervaluable creature, my deceased wife, come over my thoughts as it were a cloud in May! Who is that man that has once been in the possession of all this world can give to make him happy and then to lose it, but must ever and again think of his former happiness?"

28th Mar 1762Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"In the morn I set out for Hartfield, and dined with my father Slater, and came home at five minutes past six; I cannot say thoroughly sober - I think it almost impossible to be otherwise with the quantity of liquor I drank ... But, however much in liquor I was, my reason was not so far lost but I could see a sufficient difference at my arrival at my own house between the present time and that of my wife's life, highly to the advantage of the latter. Everything then was serene and in order; now, one or both servants out, and everything noise and confusion. Oh! it will not do. No, no I it never will do."

23rd Jun 1763Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"This day two years ago was the day on which it pleased Almighty GOD to take from me my dear wife, during which interval of time the world has many times discovered that I have been on the point of marriage; but I am clear in this, that I have never yet made any offers of love to any one woman; no not anything like courting; not that I have made any resolution to live single. If ever I do marry again, I am sure of this, that I shall never have a more virtuous and prudent wife than I have been already possessed of; may it be the will of Providence for me to have as good an one; I ask no better."

24th Nov 1763Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Mr. Banister having lately taken from the smugglers a freight of brandy, entertained Mr. Carman, Mr. Fuller, and myself, in the even, with a bowl of punch."

25th Nov 1763Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"Mr. --, the curate of Laughton, came to the shop in the forenoon, and he having bought some things of me (and I could wish he had paid for them), dined with me, and also staid in the afternoon till he got in liquor, and being so complaisant as to keep him company, I was quite drunk. How do I detest myself for being so foolish!

1st Jun 1764Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"In the even, Mr. Banister and myself smoked a pipe or two with Tho. Durrant, purely to keep Mr. Banister from quarrelling; his wife, big with child, lame of one hand, and very much in liquor, being out in the middle of the street, amongst a parcil of girls, boys, & etc. Oh, an odious sight, and that more so to an husband!"

24th Jun 1764Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"In the morn, at thirty minutes past five, Tho. Durrant and I set out for Newhaven, to see my very worthy friend Mr. Tipper, where we arrived at fifty minutes past seven, and breakfasted with my friend Tipper; after which we walked down to the sea, where we entertained ourselves very agreably an hour or two. We also had the pleasure to see a lunet battery, erected there to guard the entrance of the harbour; it consists of five guns, 18-pounders, mounted, and everything ready for action. There is a very neat house and magazine belonging to the fort, and a gunner resident there. We dined with my friend Tipper, on a legg of lamb boiled, a hot baked rice pudding, a gooseberry pye, a very fine lobster, green sallet, and fine white cabbage. We staid with my friend Tipper till thirty minutes past four, and then came away, and came home safe and well about three minutes past nine."

13th Aug 1764Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"I spent the even till near ten o'clock in company with Joseph Fuller's family, Mr. Banister, and Tho. Durrant, but I cannot say I came home sober. How do I lament my present irregular and very unpleasant way of life, for what I used to lead in my dear Peggy's time. I know not the comfort of an agreable friend and virtuous fair; no, I have not spent an agreable hour in the company of a woman since I lost my wife, for really there seem very few whoes education and way of thinking is agreable and suitable with my own."

28th Mar 1765Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"In the afternoon rode over to Chiddingly, to pay my charmer, or intended wife, or sweetheart, or whatever other name may be more proper, a visit at her father's, where I drank tea, in company with their family and Miss Ann Thatcher. I supped there on some rasures of bacon. It being an excessive wet and windy night, I had the opportunity, sure I should say the pleasure, or perhaps some might say the unspeakable happiness, to sit up with Molly Hicks, or my charmer, all night. I came home at forty minutes past five in the morning - I must not say fatigued; no, no, that could not be; it could be only a little sleepy for want of rest. Well, to be sure, she is a most clever girl; but however, to be serious in the affair, I certainly esteem the girl, and think she appears worthy of my esteem."

3rd Jul 1765Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
"From the day last mentioned (Sunday, June 16), I have been so embarrassed with a multiplicity of business, that I was not able to continue my journal, being, on the 19th day of June, married, at our church, to Mary Hicks, servant, to Luke Spence, Esq., of South Malling, by the Rev. Mr. Porter; and for about fourteen days was very ill with a tertian ague, or, rather, an intermitting fever; then the ceremony of receiving visitors, and again the returning of them, has indeed, together with the business of my trade, taking up so much of my time, that I was obliged to omit that which would have given me the greatest pleasure imaginable to have continued; but, however, thank GOD, I begin once more to be a little settled, and am happy in my choice. I have, it 's true, not married a learned lady, nor is she a gay one; but I trust she is good-natured, and one that will use her utmost endeavour to make me happy. As to her fortune, I shall one day have something considerable, and there seems to be rather a flowing stream. Well, here let us drop the subject, and begin a new one.

18th Nov 1768Diary entryThomas TurnerThomas Turners HouseThomas Turner's Diary
One record more he left, and that is an account of the stately funeral of the Duke of Newcastle, who was interred in the family vault at Laughton, on Nov. 18, 1768. "Atchievements very large, embellished and emblazoned,, were placed on Newcastle House and Clearmont House ; two more, of smaller size, on Halland House and Bishopstone House." Twenty-four escutcheons, twelve stars with garters, twelve crests, and a very large ducal coronet, glittered among the funeral trappings. The Bishop of Norwich read the service; four mourning coaches, each drawn by 11 six full-tailed horses, "followed the hearse, which 11 was finely dressed with escutcheons, pendants, shields, starrs and garters, and banners," but with the exception of the first, in which sat John Pelham, Esq., chief mourner, the Bishop of Norwich in his rocket, the Rev. Dr. Hurdis, his Grace's chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Thomas Hurdis, they were all filled with domestic servants. "His Grace's tenants and the principal inhabitants of East Hothly and Laughton, as also many others of the adjoining parishes, on horseback, two and two, closed the procession;" but not one of the many noble and gentle guests who, as we have seen, had been so often partakers of his noisy but splendid hospitality, followed to the grave the remains of the first and last Duke of Newcastle of the ancient line of Pelham.

1935The House of Thomas TurnerThe House of Thomas Turner, East HoathlyThomas TurnerTurner Trove

The Weald is at  Database version 12.4 which has ongoing updates to the 379,932 people; 9,000 places; 613 maps; 3,308 pictures, engravings and photographs; and 244 books loaded in the previous version

Fasthosts web site  
ODNB  
British Libarary  
High Weald  
Sussex Family History Group  
Sussex Record Society  
Sussex Archaeological Society  
Kent Archaeological Society  
Mid Kent Marriages  
Ancestry  
Genes Reunited  
International Genealogical Index  
National Archives  

Top
of the
page