Previous Toc Next

  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM           FAWLER FAMILY    
                           
" Elizabeth, his wife, only child of Hellen Geere, her mother." This Hellen was only sister and heiress to William Poole, gent._ and lies next to the bodies of Thomas and Richard Poole, mentioned on the brass plate in the niche opposite this stone." "Mary, the wife of Captain John Fawler, died December 19th, 1757, aged 40, fourth daughter of John and Elizabeth Poole." " Eleanor Poole, daughter of John Poole, Esq., and Elizabeth, his wife, died, January 6th, 1778."       was dismantled and finally demolished to make room for the Custom House (now the Town Hall), it was quite expected that this would be found. An old inhabitant of the town and friend of the family, Mr. Richard Roberts, was anxious that care should be taken in the work of pulling down, and careful search was made, but in vain. From what this idea of hidden treasure arose, is not clear. Possibly it had its origin in the troublous times of the Civil War.
                 
" Rachel, second daughter of John Poole, Esq., and wife of Siderik Elgar, gent., died June 1st, 1775."       The above Thomas Poole, who was churchwarden of New Shoreham and whose name was inscribed on one of the bells, re-cast in 1767 (not the present peal), died in 1778, as before noted; his sister Eleanor having pre-deceased him in January of that ,year. He left an only sister, Susan or Susannah, the wife of Captain James O'Hara, and she died in the following year.
" Elizabeth Poole, died October 8th, 1762, eldest daughter of John Poole, Esq., and Elizabeth."      
" Thomas Poole, Esq., of New Shoreham, died November 4th, 1778."      
" Susan, youngest daughter of John and Elizabeth Poole, wife of Captain James O'Hara, R.N., 1779."       The family property in Old and New Shoreham then descended to the issue of Captain John Fawler and Mary, his wife, fourth daughter of John and Elizabeth Poole. This marriage was solemnized at St. Peter's Cornhill, 18th October, 1743. They had three children-John, Thomas, and Mary. Of John Fawler little appears to be known beyond the fact that he was in the anny, that he went to " the Indies " and was not again heard of, but is supposed to have died there. Thomas, the younger son, was a medical practitioner at Clapham, Surrey. He married Anna Blisset but had no family, and died and was buried at Clapham, 1st September, 1784. His widow had a life interest in the Poole estate, and it then passed to his sister Mary and her husband, John Hooper, ancestors of the present owners.
               
The residence of the Poole family at Old Shoreham was a good specimen of ancient domestic architecture. It stood in a large garden near to the village, and quite close to the river, and was latterly used as the Parish Workhouse and demolished when no longer needed for this purpose, by the erection of the Union Workhouse at New Shoreham.                  
The family Mansion at New Shoreham was in the High Street, on the site of the present Town Hall and premises adjoining. Its situation is described in the Court Rolls of the Manor, as " lying at the south part of the highway in New Shoreham, on the west side of the Old George Inn."   Both Mansion and Inn are shown in the frontispiece, the Inn being the further building.   The Mansion appears to have been a very fine example of Elizabethan or earlier style having richly carved barge boards and a handsome porch. The entrance hall and principal apartments are said to have been very spacious and elaborate in decoration. Here Thomas Poole, a bachelor, the last of the Shoreham Pooles, and his un-married sister, known locally as " Miss Nelly Poole," lived in good style ; " keeping their carriage, the livery of the coachman and footman being of scarlet plush." Many years later, the same style was adopted by their grand-nephew, Dr. Robert Hooper, of Saville Row and Stanmore, Middlesex.                
  The situation of Old Shoreham Church is both picturesque and romantic. The delightful view of the old bridge and the church from the Lancing side of the river never fails to arrest the eye of the artist, and more than once has found a fitting place on the walls of the Royal Academy.   Nor is the view from the churchyard, across the river to Lancing Downs, less pleasing, and possesses an added interest, when it is said that the late Lord Salisbury and his Countess, with this prospect before them, plighted their troth beneath the shadow of the old church walls.  
               
  Not long since, the writer observed, growing from between the joints of some stonework at Old Shoreham a specimen of the starry clover (Trifolium Stellatum), a plant said to be peculiar to the immediate neighbourhood. It is a native of Mediterranean shores.  
Tradition had long handed down in the Poole family a story of treasure hidden somewhere in this old Mansion, and when it      
                           
    176               177      

Previous Toc Next

Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002