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parochial library. In the tower are eight fine bells. A free school was established here in 1675. The population of Reigate has been estimated at upwards of nine hundred, persons inhabiting two hundred houses.
Gatton, near Reigate, is of very antient date; and though formerl}' a considerable town, is now reduced to a small village. From the number of coins and other antiquities found, it is supposed to have been a Roman station. The town was once destroyed by the Danes The borough consists of onlv a few houses, and was the property of Sir George Colebrookc: after his failure in the funds, it was sold by the assignees, under his commission, to lord Newhaven. Since the year 1786, it has been purchased and repurchased by three or four different persons. The returning officer is the constable appointed at the court-leet of the two proprietors. In this case, the constituent and representative body, who are the same in number, may also possibly be the same persons, as they would have the power to elect each other. Gatton began to send members 29 Henry VI. The river Mole rises in this parish, it is also noted for a quarry of white free-stone, which is soft, and endures the fire admirably well in winter, but neither sun nor air. This stone is much used by chemists, bakers, glass houses, &c.
Horley, near Charlwood, south-east of Reigate, had once a castle on Thunderfield Common, that inclosed near two acres, which are since so overgrown with wood and thorns, that there is hardly any sign of its foundation.
Gatton Park, is the seat of colonel Hay; and Upper Gatton is the mansion of colonel Mark Wood.
At the distance of five miles from Reigate, and twenty from London, is Blechingley, a small antient parliamentary borough by prescription, having enjoyed that privilege from the twenty-third of Edward I.
This borough consists of about sixty small houses, and is a proper companion to Gatton, from which it is distant about three miles. The right of voting is burgage tenure; and the lord of the manor's bailiff was the returning officer; but by the last resolution of the House of Commons in
1723, 1723, he was deprived of that office; and the borough has now the singularity of sending two members to parliament, without a mayor, constable, or any other legal officer, who can claim the exclusive exercise of such an authority. There are several instances of boroughs without electors, but this is the only one that presents itself without a returning officer. Sir Robert Clayton being sole proprietor of the majority of burgage-tenures, has the appointment of the representatives. The right of election is in the borough holders only, without the bailiff; the number of burgage holds is ninety.
This place, though it sends two members to parliament, has no market; but has fairs on June 22, and November 2. The town stands on a hill, on the side of Holmsdale, with a fine prospect as far as the south downs and Sussex ; and from some ruins of its castle, which are still visible, though overgrown with a coppice, there is a prospect east into Kent, and west into Hampshire. Here is an almshouse, and a free-school. Blechingley bas a handsome Gothic churcb, the spire of which in 1606 was consumed by lightning, and all the bells melted.
Nutfield, or rather Northfield, lies between Reigate and Blechingley. In a red sandy common at this place, is a metalline kind of substance, looking like cast iron, and is called ragges, much esteemed for paving; there •re also several pits, from which they dig a great quantity of fuller's earth.
Godstone, near Blechingley, is partly in the great road to Sussex, and partly, with the church, on an eminence about half a mile higher. It has its name from the excellent stone quarries here. At Rooknest is the seat of Sir Harry Strachey, bart.
Passing on to New Chapel Green, on the right of the road is Bysch Court, the seat of John Manship, Esq.; and at the left is situated Storborough Castle, the seat of Sir Thomas Turton, bart. one of the members of parliament for the borough of Southwark.
Proceeding to Fellbridge Park, the seat of John Nichols, Esq. one mile and half brings the traveller to
2 EAST i
EAST GRINSTEAD, m The County Of SUSSEX.
This town is situated at the northern extremity of the county, almost on the borders of Surrey and Kent, and about thirteen miles from Tunbridge, at the distance of thirty miles from London. It is an antient town, which came to the family of the Sackvilles about the time of Henry III.
It is a borough by prescription, of great antiquity, consisting of a bailiff and about thirty-five burgage-holders, who elect two members of parliament. The bailiff is the returning officer, and is chosen by the burgage holders, at the annual court of the lord of the borough, who is the duke of Dorset. The right of voting formerly was allowed to be, by a refolution of the House of Commons, in the inhabitants as well as burgage-holders; but, by a subsequent one, it is confined to the latter description of persons only. The burgage holds here are in number thirtysix. The first return of this borough is anno 1 Edward II.
This is a market town, pleasantly situated on a hill, commanding a beautiful surrounding prospect. The parish is one of the largest in the county; it had a large handsome church, the spire of which was destroyed by lightning in the year 16S5: a very beautiful tower was then built, but, owing to the badness of the materials and the manner of building it, on November 12, 1785, having stood just oner hundred years, it fell on the body of the church, and damaged it in such a manner that the whole was obliged to be taken down and rebuilt.
The town is irregularly" and ill built, and has very few houses of much consequence; but the Lent assizes for Sussex are always held here: the county gaol is at Horsham (about eighteen miles distant,) whence the prisoners are brought to this place for trial.
Henry II. granted a charter for a monthly market; and at present here is a weekly corn market on Thursdays; and three annual fairs, namely, April 21, July 13, and December 11; the first and last of which are as large fairs for
all all kinds of cattle, &e. as any in the county. There are also two fairs at Forest Row, in this parish, about three miles from the town, viz. June 25, and November 8; the latter is a large one for cattle, pedlary wares, &c. &c.
At the east end of the town is a large handsome stone building, erected in the form of a square, called SackVille College, founded by James Sackville, earl of Dorset, in the reign of James I. about the year 1616: he endowed it with 330/. a year. Here twenty-four aged persons of both sexes are accommodated each with a comfortable room, and an allowance of 8/. per annum to each person. This college is governed by a warden and two gentlemen assistants. The duke of Dorset has a suite of rooms in the, college, but, as they are seldom occupied by his grace, the judges of the circuit are accommodated with them during the assizes. There is in this college a very neat chapel for the use of the pensioners, where the warden reads prayers every morning: this chapel was used for divine service while the parish church was rebuilding.
At East Grinstead is a charity school for twelve boys, founded by Robert and Edward Payne, Esqrs. in the year 1768, and endowed with a farm called Surries. The town is a great thoroughfare, being the direct post road from London to East Bourn, Lewes, and Brighthelmstone.
In the neighbourhood of East Grinstead are several mansions belonging to the nobility and gentry, particularly Kidbrook, the seat of the right honourable Charles AbBott, speaker of the House of Commons.
Mount Pleasant is honoured by having been the residence of the brave captain Farmer, of his majesty's ship Quebec. Being on a cruize off Ushant, in the beginning of October, 1779, in company with the Rambler cutter, he closely engaged a large French frigate called the Survillante, mounting forty guns; while the Rambler was engaged with a French cutter, as superior in force as the French frigate was to the Quebec. The action on both sides was warm and bloody, from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon, when the French cutter set all the sail she could crowd, and bore away i lWit the Rambler being much disabled in her masts and 'rigging, could not follow her with any hopes of success. The commander* therefore, seeing both the frigates dismasted, and the Quebec take fire, endeavoured to get as near the Quebec as possible, in hopes of saving some of her men; bat no other assistance could be afforded them than by hoisting out the boat, which picked up one master's mate, two midshipmen, and fourteen more of the Quebec's people, the enemy's frigate at the same time firing at the boat. The Quebec continued burning very fiercely, with her co-i lours flying till six o'clock, when she blew up. Words cannot sufficiently display the gallantry and magnanimity of captain Farmer on this occasion, not only in the engagement, but the fatal catastrophe with which it was attended*. Mrs. Farmer, who survived her brave husband three years, was allowed a handsome pension from government; and her eldest son was created a baronet in honour of his father, which he strll enjoys.
This town gave birth to the ingenious Thomas May, ift 1595. He published a translation of Virgil's Georgics, and Lucan*s Pharsalia; also a poem on the wars of Edward III. Having been refufed by Charles I. the appointment of poet laureat, in his resentment, urged him to an inveteracy against the royalists during the Civil Wars; he Was consequently appointed chief clerk to the parliament, and publislied the history of thcif proceedings, and Historic Parliamenti Anglite Breviarium. The subject of his last tribute to the Muses, Was a poem on the life of Henry II. Mr. May expired in his bed, of an apoplexy, on the 13th of November, 1650.
The situation of East Grinstead, and its surrounding hills, is extremely pleasant in summer; but the roads, except merely the turnpike road, are extremely bad in the winter, so that a residence during that season of the year must be very disagreeable.
• Lyttehon's Hist, of England, Vol. III. p. 383.
Vol. V. No. 116. Xx The