Blaker Family of Sussex - Reminiscences


Early Life.

I WAS born at Mays, in the parish of Selmeston, a farm then the property of my maternal grandfather, Joseph Fuller, on January 4th, 1835. My father was a farmer, a member of a family who, for 300 years, had been owners of land and agriculturists at Portslade, Kingston and Shoreham. He was a man of considerable ability, fond of reading and of a scientific bent, who, in a profession, would probably have done well. He was of a very mechanical turn and a great believer in detail, and in his younger days acquired a practical knowledge of all agricultural work.

I cannot forbear relating the following anecdote, which shews the immense leverage and power of practical knowledge. Among other things, my father had learned to "hold plough", a not very easy accomplishment, as anyone not accustomed to it is likely to find by receiving a blow in the face from the plough handles. One day he had occasion to find fault with the carter for not ploughing the ground properly. The man replied: "Then you'd better do it yourself." My father answered: "Stand aside and I will." He ploughed one or two furrows, and handed back the plough to the man, who remained with him, an excellent servant, for fourteen years, and died in the Sussex County Hospital, when I was House Surgeon.

My father was a thorough sportsman and cricketer, but without business habits. My mother had also considerable talent, as some of her paintings testify. She was a lineal descendant of Thomas Fuller, "Loyalist and theologian," of the time of Charles I. She also came of a family who had for generations been ironmasters and agriculturists in East Sussex.

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