Category Archives: Book reviews

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Fever! The Year Worthing Died …’

Fever! The Year Worthing Died. A comprehensive account of the 1893 Worthing Typhoid Epidemic.

Edited by Colin Reid. Price £14.99. Published by the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery, October 2023.

The Worthing Typhoid Epidemic of 1893 was the greatest disaster ever to befall this seaside town, made worse at the time by the misguided incompetence of the Town Council and the way certain people exploited the situation to make themselves rich. Nearly 200 people died and the town turned into the ‘city of the dead’. The epidemic destroyed the carefully nurtured image of Worthing as a healthy seaside resort and the town never fully recovered.

This new book is the first comprehensive account of this terrible tragedy, covering many different aspects of the disaster, with detailed analysis and research; including a full list of all those who sadly died from the disease. It was written by a group of local researchers, which includes Colin Reid, Mary Mckeown, Chris Hare, Malcolm Linfield, Caroline Nelson and Marion Woolgar. Full of fascinating photos, it is a compelling read for all those with an interest in the history of Worthing and who may have family connections with the events described.

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Book Review

Downland Portraits – Life in Patcham. Preston. Hangleton and West Blatchington as seen through probate and other records 1650 -1750 by Graham Kean and Tony Ketteman. Available from Tony Ketteman (01903-812380) or Graham Kean (01273-551381) Price 5 plus p & p 2.20p

I have just read this book, which was reviewed recently in the Sussex Archaeological Newsletter, and I think it may interest other members of the Group, particularly those with Lindfield ancestors in the subject area who had migrated from Hurstpierpoint during the l8th century. The possible link lies with the Scrases who are described in the book and who farmed West Blatchington, Hurstpierpoint and elsewhere.

My attention was immediately caught by references to Patcham Preston and West Blatchington because my Lindfield ancestors appear in those parishes. JOHN LINDFIELD was married to MARY ANN KEMPTON in 1755 (at St Nicholas, Brighton) but both were of the parish of West Blatchington and the witnesses were HARRY AND JOHN FARNCOMBE. The book has a substantial section on the Scrase family and their links with other local families and farms including the Farncombes at Patcham. Perhaps John worked on the Farncombe farm at Patcham? John and his young family remained at West Blatchington far a short time (two children were baptised 1756 and 1758) but from 1760 onwards his children were baptised at Patcham. John Lindfield was buried at Patcham in 1816. The eldest son, another John born at West Blatchington in 1756, later appears in the parishes of Falmer and Preston.

This well researched book is based on information taken from surviving probate inventories and related sources concerning four groups of people, Husbandmen; Craftsmen; Yeoman Farmers; Estate Farmers and a Gentleman Steward who lived in the villages concerned. I do not know the occupations of my Lindfields but possible reasons for the Lindfield moves are suggested by the links between farms in these parishes and the information in this book brings these Downland communities very much to life.