William Tilbury, Farnham, Surrey, 1840
Ostler, Post Boy, at the Seven Stars Inn

Father Wm. TILBURY b. c.1771, Mother Jane [CHUTER] b. c.1781:
- Wm. TILBURY Chr. 13 December 1797 Farnham, Surrey
- Elizabeth TILBURY b. c.1801
- Jane TILBURY Chr. 27 March 1805 Farnham, Surrey
- Marianne TILBURY Chr. 9 March 1808 Farnham, Surrey


Melancholy Death of an Extraordinary Individual.

On the morning of Tuesday week, a workman in the employ of Mr. R. Varndell, Waverley, near Farnham was on his way to work; he discovered a man lying in the road in a most emaciated and exhausted state, near what is called Mother Ludlam's Cave, in Moor-park, near the above town. He immediately went and informed his master of the circumstance, who repaired to the spot, and with some assistance conveyed him to the nearest cottage, when the best means which could be thought of for his restoration were resorted to, but, we are sorry to say, with but little effect, as he died the same evening, after having been removed to the parish workhouse.

The deceased has been identified as a person of considerable property of the name of Foot, but we are unable to state exactly where he came from. It appears he was lodging in the month of Deember last, at the Seven Stars, Farnham, and when he left there, which was in the same month, he directed the ostler to follow him with his luggage, which he did; when he arrived near the above cave, which is about a mile and a half from the town, he ordered him to set it down saying somebody was coming there to meet him, when he paid him, and the ostler returned.

At a short distance from the cave, there was a large hole dug, some time ago, on the supposition that a fox had burrowed there. In this hole it is supposed he has ever since that time lived, unknown to every one, coming out only occasionally for bread, which he bought at a baker's in the town, depositing it in a carpet bag that he had with him, and without exciting the least suspicion. When they were removing him from where he was found to the cottage, he motioned towards the hole and muttered something that was not clearly understood; but, after some time, from broken sentences which he uttered, those who were with him could hear him say something about the hole, luggage, &c.; search was immediately made, and after some time a great deal of valuable wearing apparel and other articles, with part of a candle, were found at the extremity of the hole, upward of thirty feet in the earth. From the circumstance of his being found near the stream of water which issues from Mother Ludlam's Cave, it is supposed he was going for water, and was unable from his exhausted state by starvation, to get any farther.

An inquest was held on the body yesterday week at the workhouse, before H. Woods, Esq. and a respectable jury, when the following evidence was given:

- Mrs. Mary Bromley deposed that she saw a gentlemanly looking man staying at her son's house (Seven Stars, East-street, Farnham), for several days, and conversed with him at different times; he said he had not read or learnt much, it came to him naturally.
- Edward Bromley stated the deceased came to his house at the latter end of September, and enquired where Mother Ludlam's Cave was; he directed him to the spot and then he left the house; returned about the 10th of October, and remained eight or nine days, lived regularly every day, and paid well; took his daily walks, and conversed at times with E. Beomley and wife, and said he had found the place he had been looking for, for several years.
- William Tilbury stated he was employed to convey the deceased's luggage to Mother Ludlam's Cave, for which he received 1s. 6d. The deceased told him there was some one coming to fetch it from thence. Recognizes the luggage to be the same he carried there.

Several other witnesses were examined who corroborated the above. After a few minutes deliberation the jury returned the following verdict:

- "That the deceased came to his death by starvation and exposure to the inclemency of the weather."

Further Particulars.

Since wiritng the foregoing, the following particulars have come to hand. That the deceased's name is William Foot, a native of Ashburton, in Devonshire, and was once a tailor in Oxford-street, London, and afterwards an ale brewer, but on his wife's death, which is reported to have taken place about 12 years ago, he declined business, and disposed of his property, which was considerable, and has ever since been wandering from place to place in a most dejected state of mind. On searching the fox's earth stated above, the following articles were discovered, viz., a portmanteau, two carpet bags, all full of wearing apparel, &c., a leather hat case and hat, walking stick, blue cloth coat and cloak, sheep-skin mat, and two small heath brooms, supposed to have been used by him to erase his footmarks after he had retired into the hole, and which were all taken possession of by the parish officers.

Windsor and Eton Express, and West Surrey Gazette, Saturday Evening

William FOOT d. 1Q 1840 (Farnham 4/97)


1841: East Street, Farnham, Surrey
William TILBURY age 70 b. [1771] [in Scotland, Ireland, or Foreign Parts] (Post Boy)
Jane TILBURY age 60, b. [1781] [in Scotland, Ireland, or Foreign Parts]
William TILBURY d. 1Q 1849 (Farnham 4a/133)
1851: Downing Street, Farnham, Surrey
Jane TILBURY, Head (Widow) age 73 b. [1778] Farnham, Surrey (Parish Pauper, Late Needlewoman)
- Elizabeth TEMPLE, Daughter (Widow) age 50 b. [1801] Hartleyrow*, Hampshire (Staymaker)
- - Jane STEER, Grand Daughter age 18 b. [1833] Farnham, Surrey (Needlewoman)
- - Maria EDWARDS, Grand Daughter age 17 b. [1834] Farnham, Surrey (Staymaker)
- - Ellen EDWARDS, Grand Daughter age 2 b. [1849] Farnham, Surrey
* Wikipedia: "Hartley Row is a former hamlet within Hartley Wintney"


1841: East Street, Farnham, Surrey
Edward BROMLEY age 27 1814 OutofCty (Publican)
Ann BROMLEY age 28 1813 Surrey
- Edward BROMLEY age 2 1839 Surrey
Charlotte ELY age 12 1829 Surrey (F.S.)
1851: East Street, Farnham, Surrey [Seven Stars Inn]
Edward BROMLEY Head age 37 1814 Guildford, Surrey (Innkeeper)
Ann BROMLEY Wife age 34 1817 Farnham, Surrey
- Edward BROMLEY Son age 12 1839 Farnham, Surrey (Scholar)
- George BROMLEY Son age 5 1846 Farnham, Surrey
- William BROMLEY Son age 3 1848 Farnham, Surrey
- Caroline BROMLEY Daughter age 2 1849 Farnham, Surrey
- Celia BROMLEY Daughter age 5 mths. 1850 Farnham, Surrey
- Mary BROMLEY Mother (Widow) age 81 1770 Hutton, Surrey
- Henrietta BROMLEY Sister (Unmarried) age 49 1802 Dartford, Kent
Louisa Painter Servant (Unmarried) age 19 1832 Binsted, Hampshire (House Servant)
Abraham Freeland Servant (Unmarried) age 30 1821 Farnham, Surrey (Groom, Inn Servant)

St. Mary's Well, commonly called Mother Ludlam's Cave

A drawing of the interior of the cave, showing the old gate, the paved path to the well, and the stream disappearing into the depth of the cave; also the benches on either side of the paving and the well

About half a mile from the last mentioned mansion, and at the eastern extremity of the park where it borders on the heaths, is a remarkable cavern known by the above name. It is situated by the road side leading to Moor Park, on the side of a hill covered with wood, and seems to have been hewn out of the sand-stone rock. Since the time of its being described by Grose, its dimensions must have increased considerably. The greatest height of this excavation may be about 12 feet, and its breadth 20; but at the distance of about 30 feet from the entrance, it becomes so low and narrow, as to be passable only by a person crawling on his hands and knees. Its depth is doubtless considerable, but has been much exaggerated by vulgar report. Its course is not straight forward, but at some distance from the mouth it turns to the north. The bottom is partly paved, and has a passage in the middle for a small stream of pure and transparent water, which issues from the bottom of the cave. This place is admirably calculated for meditation; the gloomy and uncertain depth of the receding grotto; the gentle murmurs of the rill; the dark arched entrance shagged with weeds and the roots of trees, inspire a degree of solemnity and dispose the mind to serious reflection. Grose, gives the following amusing account of the vulgar tradition respecting the origin of this cavern.

“This place derives its name from a popular story which makes it formerly the residence of a white witch, called Mother Ludlam or Ludlow; not one of those malevolent beings mentioned in the daemonologia, a repetition of whose pranks as chronicled by Glanvil, Baxter, and Cotton Mather, erects the hair, and closes the circle of the listening rustics round the village fire. This old lady neither killed hogs, rode on broomsticks, nor made children vomit nails or crooked pins, crimes for which many an old woman has been sentenced to death by judges, who, however they may be vilified in this sceptical age, thereby certainly cleared themselves from the imputation of being wizards or conjurors. On the contrary, Mother Ludlam instead of injuring, when properly invoked, kindly assisted her poor neighbours in their necessities, by lending them such culinary utensils and household furniture as they wanted on particular occasions. The business was thus transacted: the petitioner went to the cave at midnight, turned three times round, and thrice repeated aloud, “Pray good Mother Ludlam lend me such a thing, (naming the utensil) and I will return it within two days.” He or she then retired, and coming again the next morning, found at the entrance the requested moveable. This intercourse continued a long time, till once, a person not returning a large cauldron at the stipulated time, Madam Ludlam was so irritated at this want of punctuality, that she refused to take it back, when afterwards left at the cavern, and from that time to this has not accommodated any one with the most trifling loan.”

The story adds, that the cauldron was carried to Waverley Abbey; and after the dissolution of that monastery deposited in Frensham Church. There is to this day a huge copper cauldron hammered out of a single piece, hanging in the vestry of that edifice, and antiquaries themselves have been puzzled to account for its origin, and some have supposed that it was brought from Waverley Abbey after the dissolution of religious houses. Salmon observes,

“The great cauldron which lay in the vestry beyond the memory of man, was no more brought thither from Waverley, than, as report goes, by the fairies. It need not raise any man's wonder for what use it was, there having been many in England till very lately to be seen; as well as very large spits, which were given for the entertainment of the parish at the wedding of poor maids; so in some places a sum of money was charged on lands for them, and a house for them to dwell in for a year after marriage. If these utensils of hospitality, which drew the neighbourhood to contribute upon so laudable an occasion, had committed treason as the property of a convent, they had not been too heavy to be carried off.”

In the porch of the same church is deposited a stone coffin, removed thither from Waverley, which may have suggested the idea that the cauldron also came from that place.

But to return to the mysterious cave, of which I have in some of my prospectuses promised something like the true history. I am afraid I shall be reckoned a sad heretic by half the old women of Farnham, for daring to doubt that there was a duck turned into this cave, which after some days found its way out again somewhere in the neighbourhood of Guildford, and a worse heretic for questioning the existence of the renowned Mother Ludlam, and indeed of any witch at all. I know the sticklers for the existence of these wholesale dealers with the Evil One, never fail to quote Holy writ in support of their arguments, and to refer us to the 28th Chapter of 1st Samuel for the narrative of the witch of Endor; ... but leaving that subject to be farther discussed by the curious in such matters, I shall proceed with the information I have obtained relative to the origin of this place, partly from Mr. Thomson's manuscript, and partly from other sources. I shall first quote the words of the former. After stating that the lavatory and aqueduct were finished in 1179. It goes on to say that “the lavatory was not long serviceable" to them (it appears to have answered the purpose thirtyseven years.), the spring which supplied it called Ludewell, was dried up, which very much surprised the monks; this had before supplied the offices with plenty of water, but now failing, put the house to very great inconveniences.

A certain monk, brother Simon, applied himself with very great attention to remedy this misfortune; he exerted his invention to the utmost, and engaged in a laborious undertaking to find out new springs: these he discovered with vast difficulty, and with infinite pains reduced the several veins into one channel, and by means of a subterraneous passage (the present cave) emptied them into a common reservoir:” hence, we are informed, a perpetual fountain arose, not the product of nature, but the effect of art; this inmortal exploit, so happily executed, brought very large, useful, and perpetual supplies to the offices of the Abbey. The name of the fountain thus formed, was called Saint Mary.

The Annalist, as may be seen, repaid the greatness of this invention with a pompous profusion of words, and has recorded this stupendous discovery, for the honour of Simon, and the benefit of posterity in the following lines, which were probably thought beautiful at the time they were composed,

Vena nova fontis,
Ope Simonis,
In pede montis
Fixa fluit jugiter
Fistula format iter.

Another account confirming the above, says,

“This pellucid spring of pure and transparent water was anciently called Ludwell, and from it the several offices of Waverley Abbey were supplied with water by ducts for that purpose, although at the distance of half a mile. By some means the course of this stream in 1216 became interrupted, not by any breach in the ducts, but by a diversion of the smaller springs which supplied the reservoir itself; for the well is said to have been exhausted. When Simon, one of the monks of Waverley, discovered the cause, he reduced the springs to their proper channel, united them in the present Ludwell, and furnished his convent. From the day when he completed his task, this place was called by the monks Saint Mary's Well."

For the above purpose, there is no doubt the excavation was originally made, (at any rate partially) though the busy hand of time has now given it every appearance of a natural grotto. It seems from the laboured praises of the monk of Waverley, given to Simon for conducting a few springs into a common basin, that all mechanical knowledge must have been very low in his time; but if this conveyance was performed by pipes, as the word fistula intimates, and these were leaden ones, the invention was indeed a very great one, and deserved the praises of the monkish panegyrist. This latter supposition is strongly corroborated by several leaden pipes having been dug up near this place in 1740, under very ancient walls, though leaden pipes are generally supposed to have been invented by Robert Brook, Chaplain to King Henry VIII; and Robert Cooper, Goldsmith, is said to have been the first who applied them to the conveyance of water underground.

Fresh-formed - a fountain's sparkling rill
Through Simon's means,
Flows from the bottom of the hill,
And ceaseless pours its waters still,
A Pipe conducts its streams.

From "The History of Farnham and the Ancient Cistercian Abbey of Waverley", by W. C. Smith, printed and published by and for J. Nichols and Sons, and sold by Longman and Co. Booksellers, London. Farnham, 1829

Another account of Mr. Foot's misadventure, and of the cave:

A Hermit near Mother Ludlam's Cave.

The recent death of an inoffensive individual in the neighbourhood of Farnham, in Surrey, has been attended with circumstances of so interesting a character as at once to enlist our sympathies, and induce us to record them in these pages.

It appears that, in September last, a poor man, named Foote, or Foot, “all in decay,” (as Swift quaintly characterizes this unenviahle phase of life,) took up his abode at the Seven Stars public-house, in the above neighbourhood. He stated himself to have been, about fifteen years previously, a brewer in London, "rich in this world’s goods;” that, about twelve years since, his wife had died, and thence fell his prosperity. He lodged at the little inn until the 12th of October, when, taking with him his few spare clothes, but no money, he removed to the cavern, popularly known as “Mother Ludlam’s Hole," in Moor Park. Its locality is just such as would feed a melancholy mind; lymg about three-quarters of a mile from the Moor mansion, half way down the side of a sandstone rock, covered with wood, towards the southern extremity of the park.

Since the days of Mother Lndlam, or Ludlow, and witchcraft, the excavation has been considerably enlarged: its greatest height is about twelve feet, and its breadth about twelve feet; but, at thirty feet from the entrance, it becomes unpenetrable, save upon the hands and knees. From the bottom of the cave, “welleth forth away” a stream of clear water. It is, altogether, one of the most genmne relics of monastic life in the kmgdom; for, according to the Annals of Waverley, the cavern was formed in‘the year 1216, for the purpose of collecting the several adjacent springs of water for the use of the monastery, about a quarter of a mile distant.* On each side of the spring is placed a stone seat, which seems, quoting Grose, “to invite the visitor to that meditation for which this place is admirably calculated. The gloomy and uncertain depth of the receding grotto, the gentle murmurs of the rill, and the beauty of the prospect seen through the dark-arched entrance, shagged with weeds and the roots of trees, seem to conspire to excite solemn contemplation, and to fill the soul with rapturous admiration of the Creator."

* The first Cistercian convent in England, founded in the twelfth century. Its ivy-mantled ruins present, to this day, the most interesting spectacle of antiquity in the county of Surrey.

Our “poor man” did not avail himself of this ready-made excavation, but chose his resting-place just above, upon a spot where a fox had been run to ground, and dug out not long since. He occasionally walked out, wearing a blue cloak; but, strange to say, was little noticed even by boys, who are proverbial for annoying eccentric persons: neither did he attract attention from the cottagers by Waverley Mill; although, from the bareness of the trees, his retreat was seen at a distance by all. He soon excavated for himself twenty-five feet in the sandstone, and about five feet in height; with a shaft to the summit of the hill for the admission of light and air. Here, in unbroken solitude, with fewer luxuries than the hermit of Parnell’s brilliant muse

"His food the fruits, his drink the crystal well"

- our Surrey hermit subsisted almost entirely upon fem, which abounds in this neighbourhood*, until January 11, when he was met by three labourers, who described him as not having “two pounds of flesh on all his bones.” He was carried to the nearest cottage, placed in a warm bath, next wrapped in blankets, and taken to the poorhouse of Farnham, where he soon died; his last words being: “Do take me to the cave again.” ... Already, "Foot’s Cave,” as the excavation is named in contradistinction from Ludlam’s, has been visited by hundreds of persons, curious to witness this eccentric abode of Woe; and, perchance, to sympathize in the sorrows of one whose poor heart could neither bear the dispensations of Provideuce, nor “the whips and frowns” of fortune; which, indeed, have overthrown many a nobler mind.

The spot chosen by our hermit is, from its associations, one of the most attractive localities of Surrey. Who can forget the attachment of Sir William Temple to his dear Moor Park; or the intimacy of Swift, his secretary, with his beloved Stella, first contracted there. Temple’s heart is buried in a silver box under a sun-dial in his garden, opposite to a window at which he delighted to sit and enjoy the beauties of the place. Even the churlish Cobbett, (who, by the way, was a native of Farnham) was charmed with this scene; and hear his simple record of it:

“I have stood for hours to look at the canal, which the good-natured manners of those days had led the proprietor to make an opening in the outer wall, in order that his neighbours might enjoy it as well as himself; I have stood for hours, when a little boy, looking at this object; I have travelled far since, and have seen a great deal; but I have never seen anything of the gardening kind so beautiful in the whole course of my life.”

* Hence Furn-ham.
Ferns abound with a nauseous mucilaginous juice. The root of the common brake is, indeed, when ground to powder, and mixed with a little barley-meal, used as food by the Palma and Gomera; but this, as Humboldt justly observes, is only a proof of the extreme penury of the lower classes in the Canary islands

The Literary World: A Journal of Popular Information and Entertainment, with Numerous Engravings conducted by John Timbs, eleven years editor of "The Mirror" - vol. II; Published for the proprietors, by G. Berger, Holywell Street, Strand, London, 1840

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