Friday, 24 February 2012

THE ESTUARY CELEBRATES THE PEACE OF 1814.

In the spring of 1814 the little ports of the Exe Estuary celebrated wildly the coming of peace. They celebrated prematurely because less than a year later Bonaparte had escaped from Elba and the genie had to be put back in the bottle.

Exmouth put on the biggest and best show of all but I am partisan enough to write up the parallel, but naturally more genteel, festivity that took place at Lympstone on Thursday 9th June 1814 as recorded in Woolmer’s Exeter and Plymouth Gazette:

“LYMPSTONE

On Thursday last the inhabitants of the town of Lympstone celebrated the return of the blessings of peace; on which joyous occasion the populace assembled at ten o clock and the procession marched to the Rectory in the following order:-

20 Children with baskets of flowers.
10 Young Suitors with their Lasses.
Vulcan preceded by two Cyclops with hammers.
Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal Bl├╝cher.
Count Platow and a Cassock (sic) as Aid de Camp.
Neptune in a car, arranged in a green mantle.
Two English Admirals with a flag bearer.
Peace, Virtue and Plenty, in a car, wilh a guardian.
The Mayor of Lympstone with Mace Bearer, attendants in office &c.

They proceeded to a delightful field suitable for the festivity, where a handsome and profuse entertainment of roast beef and plum pudding was provided. The town was decorated with garlands, and also with colours from His Majesty’s brig Cracker, by the courtesy of the Officers who afterwards dined with the Rector (the Reverend J.P. Gidoin). The day concluded with the utmost hilarity and sobriety prevailed to the latest hour.”

This is a puzzling reference to a ‘Mayor of Lympstone’ and with a mace! Was he perhaps just ‘mayor’ for the day?

Starcross had already celebrated but not quite so successfully. Woolmer’s reports on the 30th April:

“PROVIDENTIAL ESCAPES:-

On Wednesday last, during a festivity at Starcross, to celebrate the prospect of returning peace, a vessel near the shore, on giving a salute, fired (by accident) two shots, three pounders, which penetrated Mr Buckley’s house, passed close to Lord Courtney’s waggoner and a fine horse, and but a short distance from Mrs Newcombe, the Lady of the High Sheriff of this county. The Captain of the vessel was immediately summoned on shore to explain the cause of the accident.”

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