Charles Hawksley and the ownership of the Cock Inn and the Crown Inn

I was researching the Hawksley branch of my mom’s family when I found the following item: an advert in a November 1780 edition of the Norfolk Chronicle, in which:

“18 November 1780. Page 3, column 2

Charles HAWKSLEY, at the Cock Inn, at Attleburgh, begs Leave to return his Thanks to the Public in general, and his Friends in particular, for the many Favours already conferred, at the same time, at the particular request of Mr R. HOBBLEDAY, of the Crown Inn, he returns Thanks of the said Richard HOBBLEDAY, for Favours received, but who, thro’ Deecline [sic] of Business, has thought proper to give up his House and Post-chaise business to the said Charles HAWKSLEY, who will at all Times endeavour to merit the patronage of the Public, and their Encouragement will be gratefully acknowledged by most humble Servants, Charles HAWKSLEY, R. HOBBLEDAY.”

(transcription from microfilm supplied by the British Library Newspaper Library)

I’m not certain yet whether Charles is my ancestor, but it’s entirely possible. The branch of the family I’m researching was in Thetford, and Attleborough (Attleburgh) is fairly close by, so it’s conceivable they might be the same folks. I’ve got to do a bit more checking around in church records. In any case, I was curious and looked up the Crown Inn in Attleborough, which was closed in 1970, but may still be standing. Here’s a photo from 1968, when it was still open:

The Cock Inn seems to still be operating, and can be found here: link. The Cock is also listed at http://www.norfolkpubs.co.uk/norfolka/attleborough/attlco.htm, and Charles is listed as the licensee from 1779 to 1795, after which an Elizabeth Hawkesley is listed until 1805. I haven’t figured out if this is his wife Elizabeth, or a daughter.

The last items dealing with Charles specifically and the Cock Inn are these, found on the page above:

“In February 1779, Mr. Hawkesley was offering the services of his well-bred Bay Horse, called the Fox, at One Guinea a Mare and One Shilling the Man. It was his third Season.

~

1795 – COCK INN, ATTLEBURGH NORFOLK

CHARLES HAWKSLEY- HUMBLY begs leave to inform his Friends and the Public in general, that through the very alarming price of Horsekeeping and every other necessity of life, it is impossible for him to let his Post-chaise at 9d per mile therefore hopes that the small advance which has been made by his neighbours at Norwich, and on most other Roads, in England for some time will justify his taking the same step.”

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The Norfolk Chronicle from 1780 also includes such interesting tidbits as these:

“Last Monday night RUMNEY, the horse-stealer, now in the City Gaol, made another attempt to break prison. He was confined alone in a cell, chained to a post, notwithstanding which he cut off his irons, made a hole through the plank in the cell, and also the wall, and then worked his way under ground fifteen or sixteen feet, next to Messrs CARTER and COPPING’s, grocers, where he intended to have got out. Immediately after he was missed, several labourers were set to work in order to widen the breach he made in the cell, while others kept digging away on Mr CARTER’s premises. After digging and searching for about five hours, he called out, almost suffocated for want of air, when he was taken out and properly secured, being now double ironed and chained.”

It’s quite a shame he hadn’t access to good scuba equipment. He might have made it, or at least been captured with more dignity. (imagines how most people look in scuba gear) Or not.
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“On Saturday Last, Mr James SEAGON, butcher, dropped down dead in the market with a cleaver in his hand, as he was chopping a piece of beef. He was a friendly well behaved man, and much respected.”

I don’t think we use the phrase “dropped down dead” nearly enough these days. The next obituary had also dropped down dead, although the St. Stephen’s parish Clerk, who was next to go, simply “died” in a more dignified and genteel manner.
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And also a longish and fascinatingly descriptive bit about highwaymen (I’m having Adam & the Ants flashbacks: “Staaaaand and deliver (woah woah woah)…. your money or your life!” –
I can’t resist. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B2a6l6wM2k

“On Friday and Saturday evenings last, 10th and 12th, two highwaymen, (one of whom had a pistol) well mounted, infested the turnpike road between Hockering and Easton, in this county, and about six o’clock in the evening of the 11th stopped and robbed several persons, particularly Mr SMITH, of Beatly, and Mr WIGGETT, of East Bradenham, farmers, and one Lydia SHARDELOW, of East Tuddenham, who were all returning from Norwich market.
They intended to have robbed the Rev. Mr IVES of Bungay, on the Friday, who had been collecting his tithes at Easton Dog, but were prevented by the lucky discovery of a boy who overheard their discourse, as he was setting some rabbet [sic] traps. They were pursued by several persons, towards Mattisall, at one of whom (Mr. ATHOW of Hoe,) they fired a pistol, but escaped through the goodness of their horses, and are supposed to have gone towards the sea coast, having robbed on that road, about eight in the evening, Mr GREEN, who keeps the Bull at Attlebridge, and a person near Reepham. It appears from a number of informations, taken by the Dereham Justices, that one of the highwaymen is very well known; that his name is John EWSTON, was apprentice to Robert CARFOOT, of Ringland, in this county, gardener, and ran away from him about three years since. He is about 22 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, pale complexion, dark brown hair, had on at the time of the robberies a dark-coloured great coat, dark ribb’d fustian breeches, white waistcoat, rode a black hobby, with a white face, two white feet behind, and switch tail cut, and has a wife and children at Drayton. The other appears to be about 24 years of age, low and squattish, wore his own hair, of a darkish colour, had on a dark surtout coat, leather breeches, and rode a sorrel horse, 16 hands high, with a little white down his face, and nick’d tail; they both wore round hats.

The above highwaymen, from their appearance and speeches, are supposed to belong to a large smuggling party; they were at two or three public houses in and about East Tuddenham, Near Hockering, much in liquor, and about four o’clock on Saturday afternoon drank in company with William GOOLD, horse-dealer, and James SHIPLEY, a farmer’s servant, at the sign of the Coach and Horses in East Tuddenham, behaved in the most riotous and daring manner, bought gunpowder, charged and fired their pistol, abused and greatly terrified the landlord and landlady, Mr and Mrs ATHERTON, rent the said William GOOLD’s coat, and threatened his life.

It is melancholy to reflect, that smuggling is at this time got to so daring a height in this county, partly encouraged by the connivance of too many ill-disposed and self-interested persons, and partly from some defect in the laws, insomuch that gangs of 40 or 50, and more, are seen often to ride in the day-time in the most audacious and triumphant manner from the sea-coast, through the middle of this county, towards London, with carts and horses fully laden, and armed with fire-arms and other offensive weapons, to the great disturbance and terror of the industrious and worthy part of his Majesty’s subjects, witness the late attempt made by a desperate and wicked party of them, of near 20, to murder Mr DIGGENS, who keeps the inn at Rainham, in this county, whom they supposed to have informed against them for some smuggled goods which were lately seized. They besat his house in the night, broke all his locks, did other damage, confined his wife and servants, and swore desperately they would murder him unless sixty pounds were paid them, the price of the goods seized, and it is believed would have carried their wicked design into execution, had not Mr DIGGENS been fortunately from home when the house was beset, and had notice given him by his wife, who narrowly escaped from the smugglers, and alarmed Lord TOWNSHEND and his servants, who immediately came to their assistance, and upon whose approach the smugglers thought proper to make off.

Mr DIGGENS has been obliged to abscond from his house and family ever since, and his house is at this time guarded by four dragoons. — Unless Government, and particularly the respectable gentlemen of this county, will exert themselves to redress these very heavy grievances by appointing a Committee to inspect the laws against smuggling, amending such of them as are deficient, or by making new laws, necessary and proper to bring such notorious offenders to public justice, and putting such laws as are already made in execution with the firmness and intrepidity becoming worthy Magistrates zealous for the good of the community; also by appointing proper coasting vessels to prevent the landing of smuggled goods, or by enacting some law whereby it may not worth the while of such a number of stout, idle, and disorderly persons, to engage in this dangerous traffic, the great nursery of highwaymen, housebreakers, and every desperate offender against the laws, through whom it cannot be said that any man’s person or property is safe. — There is a well known reward of forty pounds for taking of each highwayman, besides other privileges, and the real satisfaction of doing so noble an act to serve their country.”

Hmmm. I think I would rather like to be described as having an “audacious and triumphant manner”. I imagine it would involve a lot of feathers, and possibly a small brass band of likewise insouciant musical souls. I’m afraid I’d probably end up described as “low and squattish”, however.
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This last item was found in the same paper on November 11, and I include it because it gives me the chance to type the word “crumpet”. 😀 This makes me feel both audacious and triumphant.

“William HILLING, Muffin and Crumpet Baker, Removed from his House near Charing-cross, to the Lower Goat-lane, Norwich, Takes the Opportunity of acquainting the Public, that he has begun making Muffins, and will continue during the Season; also Manchers, French Rowls [sic], Biscuit, etc every Morning. He begs Leave to return thanks for the Favours already received, and hopes for a Continuance of the same. N.B. Good allowance to Wholesale Dealers in the Country.”

The paper can be found at http://www.origins.org.uk/genuki/NFK/norfolk/newspapers/nfkchron/1780/11.shtml#nov18 and is a great read. There appears to have been rather a great deal of horse-stealing at the time, so be prepared for villiany!!

Follow-up: Bocconoc House today

This is related to the piece I did the other day, about the Bocconoc estate’s devolution out of the Courtenay family, through to the Mohuns, and then Governor Pitt’s purchase of the estate with the funds from the sale of the Pitt, or Regent, Diamond.

Apparently the estate went through a restoration a few years ago. I actually saw a show about this on TV a couple of years ago, not knowing my connection to the house… I wish I could remember the “after” images from the show. lol Alas. Still, there are some interesting images in this article, including the tidbit that Charles I hid there during the British Civil War. I found some information about this in a book recently and am hoping to write that up soon. 😀

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the restoration of a Cornish country house, enjoy.
Award-winning restoration for Cornwall country house

Great video about women’s undergarments throughout history

Ok. We can file this under “errata” – The Indianapolis Museum of Art posted this very interesting presentation about women’s undergarments and how they’ve changed over the years. I find it fascinating how fashions in history were influenced not only by the materials one could afford, but also by the amount of support staff required to create and maintain garments, and to dress the final consumer in them. And it’s fascinating to consider how some garments shape and control the activities that can be performed while wearing them.

In any case, I thought I’d pop this up here for future reference.

History of Women’s Undergarments

Death, Disgrace, And A Great Whacking Diamond

I love all the connections and random chances of history. This was one of those little after-stories you find if you look into what happens *after* your line wanders off somewhere less interesting. I was reading up on the Courtenay Earls of Devon, who were part of my mom’s heritage, when I followed my curiosity to the next page of the book and found this bit about the eventual fate of their estate, Boconnoc, after the line had died out (“for the compound name, “Bo-connoc”, it is taken from the barton and manor of land still extant there, with reference to the beasts that depastured thereon; and signifies prosperous, successful, thriving cows, kine, or cattle.” – “The Parochial History of Cornwall”, edited by Davies Gilbert).

I was following the line of Sir Hugh (“Boconnoc”) Courtenay of Haccombe. He was my 16th great-grandfather, and had a strong and thriving descent; but eventually the lands and title went out of the family. This seems to have been when Henry Courtenay, Marquess of Exeter and husband of Gertrude Blount (listed in the book as “Elizabeth Blount”, but I believe this is in error; more about Gertrude here) was executed for treason by Henry VIII in 1538. (Henry Courtenay and Gertrude Blount had one child, the 18th Earl of Devon, who died without issue in Padua on the 4th Oct. 1556. Well, if you’ve got to go, Padua seems like a nice place for it.)   In any case, the estate left the family (the author isn’t quite certain whether it was purchased from the Crown or disposed of in some other way), and passed through several hands before coming to rest in possession of a certain Reginald Mohun (incidentally. my 14th great grandfather in the Speccot line) in 1566.

Now, Reginald Mohun was the son or grandson of a William Moune, who married Isabel Courtenay, sister of Edward Courtenay, 16th Earl of Devon. So it was rather nice that the estate had come back into the hands of a branch of the family. Reginald duly married and got heirs, and 6 generations later – no longer in my line – they come to the last of their descendants: Charles, Lord Mohun.

Whew. Is your head spinning yet? Because mine is. But wait — there’s more. Charles, Lord Mohun, married twice. The first wife was Charlotte, daughter of _______ Mainwaring, Esq., and the author doesn’t seem to think much of her:

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 12.13.46 AM

Meow. Apparently, the duel that killed Charles was an argument over an estate left to Charlotte (that baggage). Wow. Chuck, with wives like that, who needs enemies? But I digress.

Here's the little sexypants himself.

Here’s the little sexypants himself.

Charles had a second wife, with whom he had no children; and after his death by duel, she sold all the Cornish and Devonshire estates in 1717 for fifty-four thousand pounds (a pittance) to Mr. Thomas Pitt, also known as Governor Pitt. When I read that name, it rang a bell, so I forged ahead.

Interestingly, this is the Mr. Pitt who came back from India with the Regent Diamond (more about that here). The Regent Diamond was a 141 carat diamond that was set into the crowns of Louis the XV and XVI, and Marie Antoinette wore it as a wee sparkly on her hat… as who would not? (Answer: anybody who didn’t want a headache from wearing around a bloody great diamond, that’s who.) The stone was stolen, found in the timbers of an attic in Paris, adorned Napoleon’s sword, and is now in the Empress Eugenie’s crown in the French Royal Treasury at the Louvre (where it was probably seen by my niece when she was on her recent honeymoon in Paris, or at least I hope so).

Empress Eugenie's crown, featuring the Regent Diamond

Empress Eugenie’s crown, featuring the Regent Diamond

So when Governor Pitt purchased the Boconnoc estate from Charles Mohun’s second wife, he did so with the money from the French purchase of the Regent Diamond.

I’m not sure if anyone else would have followed this rabbit hole quite so far, but… I do love jewelry so. It makes me happy to put together all these little pieces and come up DIAMOND. 😀

(Oh. And William Makepeace Thackeray fictionalised Mohun’s duels in his novel “The History of Henry Esmond”. So there’s that too, for you literature lovers.)

And now I need to unpretzel my brain.

—For more about Boconnoc and the adventures of the estate, “The Parochial History of Cornwall” is here.