Brighthelmstone Part 2
1642 – 1651
In the Civil War Brighton came more directly into the limelight of English History.
Apparently the town Cromwellian in sympathies, for Brightonians captured off shore a royalist vessel and twenty-one men. They held these sailors prisoners. The town was also put to ‘Great Charges’ for the safeguarding of the Royalist prisoners that were landed here.
1651 The Battle of Worcester
The Battle of Worcester which took place on 3rd September 1651 would prove to be the final action of the English Civil War.
Charles II at the head of a mainly Scottish army, was attempting to regain the throne that had been lost when his father Charles I was executed.
Charles escape after the Battle involved some adventures in Brighton. Accompanied by the faithful Colonel Gunter, the fugitive prince took shelter at the George Inn. This public house has long disappeared but was probably situated somewhere between Middle Street and West Street. It was here that he had a very lucky escape and was almost arrested. It was also here that he met Captain Tettersall, a local man. Tettersall drove a hard bargain and demanded a high price for taking him to France and safety. After much discussion an agreement was reached. They travelled to Shoreham and boarded Tettersall’s boat and were soon on their way across the Channel to France and safety.
Tettersall must have been paid very well and on his return he stated up a building company and laid out several streets. There is little doubt that Tettersall built the original Old Ship Hotel and may have used some timbers from the boat he used when taking Charles II across to France. However, Tettersall continued to persecute the Quakers in the town.
1555 Protestant Martyrs burned at the stake
One of the Protestant Martyrs who was burned at the stake in Lewes during the ‘Marian Persecution’ was Derek Carver, a brewer. A wall of his old Brewery still stands today, and can be seen in Black Lion Street. As Derek Carver was of Flemish descent and the ‘Black Lion’ was the insignia of Flanders, the explanation of the name of the street and of the weathercock which can be seen on the building to-day is evident.
Dick Carver, a descendent of the martyr, was a mate on Tettersall’s ship, and did in fact carry Charles II on his back through the sea as a way of getting him on board.
Liberty for Quakers
Many years later, when the king was enjoying his own again, Dick Carver managed to obtain admission to the Royal presence, and remind the King of the service he had rendered for him on the day of his escape. Sneeringly, the King, used to being sponged upon, asked him what he really wanted from him. Carver replied that he wanted the release of the Quakers that were being held in prison. Many of these Quakers had been in prison for a long time and they all were being cruelly treated, he told the king. In the end the King, realising that Carver didn’t want anything for himself, proclaimed a proclamation granting the liberty to all the Quakers who were in prison as well as the non-conformists. Among those who were liberated was john Bunyan. So Brighton had its place in the escape of King Charles II as well as its part in the famous book, ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress.’
1705 Brighton washed away by gales
During the past centuries where the records can still be seen, Brighton’s history records its losing battle with the sea. The local records of the 16th and 17th centuries make dreary reading of the acres that have disappeared under the sea. Over the years every winter gale took its toll of the town. After the severe gale of 1705 and according to Defoe, every habitation under the cliffs was utterly demolished, and its very site was concealed under a pile of the beach, which in turn was also washed away.
1687–1759 Dr. Russell and salt waters remedies
The fortunes of Brighton were probably at its lowest ebb when all of a sudden along came Dr. Richard Russell. It was he who started sending people to Brighton to paddler in the sea and obtaining salt water treatment. His treatment was for internal treatment as well as external. The rush of fashionable patients of this worthy doctor caused a sudden spurt of people coming to the town because of the ‘salt water treatment.’ The most fashionable of all was The Prince of Wales in the 1780’s, first as a passing guest of the Duke of Cumberland, then as a regular resident as The Prince Regent and finally as the King. He often held his court at Brighton and he was responsible for the building of the now famous Royal Pavilion. This was the start of an entirely new era for the town and was almost certain the ‘kick-start’ for making it one of the most popular seaside resorts in Great Britain, and even possibly the world.
Doctor Richard Russell was a Lewes physician and born in 1687. It was at the age of 63 that he published a book on the use of sea water for the deceases of the glands. The salt in the water was extremely beneficial for the treatment. Soon after the book was published the patients at his practice swiftly increased. So large did his practice become that he needed larger premises and so at that time he moved to Brighton. He built a house in the town which was called ‘Russell House,’ it occupied rather more than the site where ‘the Royal Albion Hotel’ now stands.
Dr Russell died in 1759, aged 72 years. It was after Richard Russell died that various people rented the house from the family. These people included The Duke of Cumberland and also one of the brothers of George III. In fact for quite a while the house was known as the ‘Duke of Cumberland’s House,’ although he just rented it.
Thanks to the N.U.T. Conference Souvenir Book of 1934
Researched and written by David Rowland.
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David Rowland has just launched his 15th and final book, “The Spirit of Winsome Winn II”, all about the B-17 Flying Fortress which crashed at Patcham after being hit by anti-aircraft fire over Germany.