Thursday, 30 May 2013


Towards the end of August 1836 a Mr A Brown was driving his gig back to Exmouth along the Estuary foreshore near where the riverside lodge of Courtlands House stood and still stands.   It was common, before the coming of the railway, for carts and carriages to use the foreshore as a carriageway.   It must have been a bumpy journey and an additional challenge to the driver would be a correct judgement of the state of the tide.  There was at least one case of a carter coming from Exmouth and drowning on the beach under the cliffs while trying to avoid Lympstone Hill but I have, temporarily I hope,  lost my reference to this sad event.   Mr Brown and the unnamed lady who was with him in the gig did not drown but they nevertheless made the columns of the Exeter Flying Post of September 11th 1836 because  "in endeavouring to avoid the tide which was coming in,  he drove onto a bank and upset.    They were both thrown out, but,"  says the Flying Post, "we are happy to add that neither was materially injured though Mr Brown received some bruises on his face.   The horse being a spirited animal,  after much plunging,  freed himself from the vehicle by breaking the shafts,  with which he ran rapidly for upwards of a mile into and through the town of Exmouth,  to its stable."

Courtlands at this time was the home of Sir Walter Roberts the banker who founded the short lived Fowey Bank and who was sometime Sheriff of Devonshire and one who espoused the cause of the cruelly treated climbing boys.  The fact that there was a Lodge to the Estuary argues that there was some considerable coming and going by boat as well as by coach and carriage when the tide was at a safe distance.