Louis Houck.

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* [MS. the watercress-dealer meet would pay me. Perhaps the sentence should
read, the watercress-dealer would meet and pay me.]


him, * Well, how is the watercress trade going on ? ' ' Oh,' he said,
* all right, sir.' * I don't charge you too much ? ' ' No, sir ; I give
you two pound and I make three, and I am well satisfied, sir, I hope
you are the same.'

Bayzand, every morning at 5 o'clock, [used to] attend Billingsgate
fish-market, and buy his fish. One morning his fishmonger [had]
got a lot of very large codfish. ' Yes,' the fish-dealer said, ' I wish
they were somewhere else ; they are so unsaleable.' I said, ' What
for the largest and [a] bushel of native oysters ? ' He said, ' A crown.'
I said, 'Yes.' I made a present [of them] to a lady friend of mine in
Oxford. I asked her how the fish ate, and [the] weight. She said it
weighed 36 lb., and the fish and oysters were the very best she ever
tasted. What a contrast in the price then and now I

Meat and poultry. I have bought little saddles of real Welsh
mutton, fourpence per pound ; eggs, 40 a shilling all the year round ;
fowls, [a] couple, 2 shillings and 3 pence, — extra fine, 2s. 6d. ; ducks,
geese, and turkeys equally cheap. (What a difference !)

63 Old John Spooner drove the Gloucester Mail from Oxford to
Henley and back. One night he had three inside passengers. You
have heard of Jimmy Wood, the great banker at Gloucester — he was
one. At Henley, Spooner asked for his fee. The two gentlemen
gave him a shilling each. Jimmy gave him, as he intended, sixpence.
Spooner jerked his arm as if he had thrown it away. Wood imme-
diately discovered, by mistake, that he had given him half-[a]-
sovereign. He stopped the mail and demanded the money. Old
John said, ' Well, you saw what I did with it, and, by this time,
I should think it is at the bottom of the Thames.' ' I shall write
to Mr. Costar, your proprietor'; and Mr. Costar sent for Spooner
and told him what the banker said in his note. 'I should think
you never was such a silly ass [as] to throw it away.' 'No, sir;
it fell in my little side-pocket, and I did the miserable, niggardly

John Blyth was guard on the opposite side to Bill Bayzand. They
called Blyth ' the musical guard ' — allowed to be [a] first-class
cornopean player; Bill Bayzand, 'the punctual, business guard.'
I remember, near the first of September, Blyth had in his charge
for a sporting gentleman at Hereford, a double, a single gun, powder,
shot, caps, &c., «&c., in a mahogany gun-case. The gent was


anxiously waiting his arrival. ' Oh, Bljth, you have my guns all
right ? ' ' No, sir ; your guns went off in Gloucester. In going over
the rough stones, your case lay on the roof of the coach, fell off, and,
I am sorry to say, was all broke in a hundred pieces.' ' Careless
fellow ! What am I to do, and to-morrow [the] first of September ?
Well, I shall expect you to pay for your carelessness ' ; and I believe
he did pay the damages.

Yes, John Spooner was a funny fellow. We had in Oxford, in p. 64
his time, a sporting parson, very fond of coaching. Some went so
far as to say he horsed the coaches, but I think not. A most
extraordinary thing ! — he was a passenger and riding on the box,
when the Leamington coach upset, and the lamp-iron went through
his skull, and killed him on the spot. His corpse was brought to
Oxford, and he was buried, I believe, at Aylesbury; and old John
Spooner drove the hearse and four, with his body, to the grave.
Spooner was there a long time before the rest of the procession
arrived. Of course, the undertaker made a complaint to Mr. Costar,
and Spooner was asked the reason of such conduct. He made no
excuse, but simply said, 'You could not drive fast enough for him,
when he was alive. I thought I would give him a good shake up,
when he was dead.'

Old Joey Stephens drove opposite days to Bayzand. One morning
I happened to be with him at Abingdon. We picked up a gentleman
Quaker, outside passenger to Newbury. He gave me his bag, taking
me for the guard. Stephens had a young swell on the box : he was
telling him how to drive. ' Now, do you think, if I set these horses
at a full gallop, do you think I could stop them before we got to that
tree?' 'No,' the swell said. He set the team at full speed, and
stopped them at the tree. When we got to Newbury, Stephens asked
the Quaker for his fee. 'No, friend,' he said, 'if thee hadst been
a little stronger in thy head, and not so strong in thy arms, I should
have given thee a shilling. I shall now give it thy guard.'

I shall ever remember one night, in coming up Notting Hill, p- 65
Southam, our book-keeper from the Gloucester Warehouse Office,
Oxford Street, got up behind and said quietly, ' Have you got a
banker's parcel?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Then take care. I have two
policemen at the office, and from the different moves and well-known
bad characters about, you had better take your banker's parcel, with
yourself and police, in a cab at once to Lombard Street. I will take


charge of the passengers and coach.' I delivered the parcel into [the]
hands of the clerk, [who] counted the money and said 'all right,*
taking a very great weight of responsibility and care from my mind.
I shall not tell you the amount, for it was something immense. We
found out, beyond a doubt, that a plant had been arranged to have
the banker's parcel that night. At Hereford, I put the parcel in the
back seat. I had two old ladies from Hereford, and from the time
they got in the coach, they never moved from the seat, and that
kept my parcel secure. At Gloucester, two very suspicious-looking
passengers booked two insides to London, no doubt connected with
the party in London. Had they ^ known that the money was so close
to the gentleman \sic\ inside, it is possible they would, by some means,
[have] quieted [?] the old ladies from seat to seat. Not more than three
feet apart, the notes [were] wrapped carelessly in brown paper,
with simply a bit of red tape, with a seal on the knot where the tape
was tied. The circumstance I [have] endeavoured to describe finished
the responsibility and very great risk 1 ran in conveying safely bankers
parcels. Soon after the occurrence, our coachman wanted more
money for carrying the bank parcel from Hereford to Ross. They
refused his demand. So they sent "^ expressly one of their clerks with
the money, and the very first journey he made to Ross, — I cannot
forget it, for on that morning our branch coach from Monmouth
came up empty, and having little to do at Ross, we came on to
Huntley, [where we had] just pulled up to change, — we heard a great
noise coming along the road, and who should it be ? Why, the banker['s]
clerk that was sent expressly with the money, riding on one of our
leaders — reins, traces hanging about, and the poor clerk looking
frightened to death. He asked me for his bag. I said, 'You gave
me no bag.' * No > I see it ; there it is on the roof of the coach,
where I put it myself.' Half the contents of the bag [were] hanging
outside ; the other half round the guard-iron and on the top of the
coach. 'Ha, well,' he said, 'it is lucky, after all, 250 sovereigns
on the top, and 250 sovereigns hanging outside. Altogether, 500
sovereigns.' Trustworthy clerk ! Ha !

66 Coming down one morning, we had but one passenger, [a] very
unusual thing. I said to Bramble, ' Government will have the best
of this journey.' We did not pay our duty as the raihvay[s] do, on
their receipts; we paid for an empty coach, without passengers, the
same as [for] a full one, which I never thought just. So, when we

1 [MS. Had they have.] » [MS. send.]


got beyond Dorchester Fields, I called out to my coachman, Bramble,
to get down and help. On the footpath I had picked up fifteen
shillings, a yard or two apart, before Bramble came up, and he
pocketed five or six shillings. The gentleman ■ said, ' Come, come ;
if you go on like this, you will make a good day after all.' The
gentleman left us at Oxford, and we had a full load from Oxford
to Cheltenham, and a full load from Cheltenham to Hereford. So
ended that day, started with an empty coach, and finished with a full

Soon after leaving Whitchurch, we had two Fellows of [a] college,
and they made a proposition to Joe Stephens, the coachman, that
a verse of poetry extempore was to be made before they reached the
Chequers Inn, Whitway, and if his was the best composition, they
would give him [a] double fee. They were not long in repeating
their verse. Not so with Stephens, for he was a long time thinking
of his. We had reached the Common, and [were] within a 100
yards of the Chequers, when Stephens said, ' Gentlemen, I am ready,'
— two pigs feeding on the green, belonging to Mr. Perkins, no doubt
gave him the idea :

'Mr. Perkins had two pigs,
As fine as one another;
Robin Wood^ was one's name.
Little John the other.'

' Bravo, Stephens ! You have fairly beaten us, and you shall have
the double fee with pleasure.'

The President of a college [had] a particular wish that he would p. 67
like to see every tenant that rented under the college. So the Bursar
wrote a letter to Farmer Gegg, and gave it to Bayzand, and when the
coach arrived, three miles this side of Winchester, there stood the
Farmer Gegg. ' Good day, Bayzand, I must trouble you once more
to take my rent.' Bayzand : ' If you will read this note from the
Bursar, you must go yourself.' ' Bayzand, you are quite right ; I shall
be ready in the morning.' So, full dressed, drab coat, with half-[a]-
dozen capes, pair of leather breeches, top boots, about '^ the same
colour and match, — seated, — ' Well, Bayzand, what sort of a man is
the Bursar ? ' * Oh, Mr. Gegg, you will find him a very nice, agree-
able gentleman.' ' I don't want to get with the big-wigs.' ' That

' [N.B. Wood and Hood are dialectically prononnced ' 'ood.']
' [MS. and about.]


will be all right.' Arrived at the Angel Hotel, Bayzand introduced
Mr. Gegg to the Bursar. [They] shook hands [and] walked into
the house. The Bursar said, ' We can entertain you, but cannot find
you a bed, so you must sleep here. Would you like to see your
room, or you may want a wash ? ' ' No, I am ready now, Mr. Bursar.
I am a plain man, as you can see: I want no fuss.' The Bursar
took him to his rooms, — dinner on the table, — covers taken off, —
a woodcock and rump steak. The Bursar : ' What shall I help you
to?' Mr. Gegg, sticking his fork into the woodcock: 'Oh, I will
take this little bird to begin with.' So the first course was gone, and
the Bursar was obliged to begin and finish with the steak. Sweets
followed, cheese, &c., with a tankard of the proof, home-brewed beer,
which Mr. Gegg pronounced was very good. The cloth cleared,
dessert, port, sherry, and grog. ' What will you take ? ' ' Oh, a
glass of your red port ; I dare say it's good.' * I have got some red
port, old and fine.' So, with the little bird, the strong beer, the red
port, the farmer got very talkative. First, the President came. Intro-
duced. Then four or five of the Fellows, and everything [was] very
jolly. Mr. Gegg volunteered a song of his ow-n composing, and song
after song followed ; then a little conversation. At last they got to
family matters. The President asked Mr. Gegg, ' How many in
family ? ' 'I have three sons, Richard, Thomas, and John ; youngest
is a daughter, Eliza.' ' And what are you going to make of Richard ? '
' Put he to the Church.' ' Thomas ? ' ' Church.' ' John ? ' ' Church.'
* Oh, Mr. Gegg,' one of the Fellows said, * and what shall you do with
Miss Eliza ? ' ' Oh, I['11J make her marry a parson with a good living
of about £800 a year.' Soon after the party broke up, the Bursar
taking the farmer to the Angel, expressing his thanks for ^ the kind
hospitality he had received. The next morning, the farmer [was]
seated on the coach, ready to return ; and that w-as all he saw of
Oxford. Bayzand: 'Mr. Gegg, I hope you enjoyed yourself?' 'Never
better. I shall come again.'

68 I remember, when farm produce was exceeding[ly] high, a ^Ir. D.,
a farmer in the neighbourhood, showed Mr. R. Costar, the great
coach-proprietor, a sample, — 100 quarters of very fine oats, w^eighing
between 45 and 50 to the bushel, — price 300 guineas. Mr. Costar
bid him £300, which the farmer refused. Mr. C. was so displeased
at the exorbitant demand, that he at once drove his favourite black
mare down to Gloucester, and the next morning at the Docks, pur-

1 [MS. with.]


chased a boat-load of Irish oats for about one-half the price, and quite
as good, and a trifle heavier than the sample of the farmer's ; the only
fault, they were not so finely winnowed. The farmer, ever after the
transaction, lost Mr. Costar's trade.

Bayzand, on his journey to Southampton, snow and sleet falling p. 69
fast, got with great difficulty as far as Gore Hill, one hour behind
time. [It was] still snowing much faster, flakes very large, the coach
all on one side, when the only inside passenger put out his head, and
asked Bayzand if he knew where he was driving to. ' Well, sir, to
tell you the truth, I do not.' ' Oh, indeed ! What a fellow you must
be to be trusted to risk the lives of Her Majesty's subjects.' * Per-
haps, you will be kind enough to get out and show me the right road,
for I don't know it, and I [have] driven ^ along it a great many times,
and with perfect safety.' Showing a little bit of temper, the gentleman
got out, and the first thing that befell him [when] he stepped from the
coach, he fell into six or seven feet of snow, crying out most lustily
that he would be smothered, ' Help ! help ! ' Bayzand and the two
outside passengers released him from his perilous position, and in
a short time they replaced him inside. Just at the time, a farmer's
man belonging to the neighbourhood, with great difficulty had ridden
from llsley and told Bayzand it was useless to attempt to proceed
further on the road, for it was quite blocked up in the hollows with
snow. He could not possibly have been where he was, had he come
by the road ; for he had ridden across the fields. Bayzand thanked
the man for his kind information, and, with great danger and diffi-
culty, turned the coach round. The snow coming down faster than
ever, they made their return journey to Oxford in safety, and did not
make another trial for several days.

In the month of October we had rain, day after day incessantly, p. 70
for nearly a month. I could keep myself quite dry, with [the] one
exception of my seat getting wet. A thought struck me [that] I could
prevent it by procuring a large gridiron. So when I reached Oxford,
I purchased one at Browning's [the] ironmonger cut off the
handle, strapped the gridiron on the seat, with my cushion on the
top. I could defy the rain, as I could see it run underneath in
a regular stream ; so, with a mackintosh apron, and my cape over,
I could keep myself perfectly dry. And ever after, coachmen, and
guards especially, adopted it from the Bolt-in-Tun and BuU-and-
Mouth yards, and called it the Mazeppa Patent.

1 [MS. drove.]


When Bayzand drove the night coach called the Heavy Fly,
Birmingham, six inside and seven outside, through Oxford to London,
after leaving Shipston, no refreshment could be had before reaching
Oxford. So they arranged with the horse-keeper and his wife to get
them every night some little thing very nice to eat. On their journey,
in coming down Long Compton Hill, the near-side wheeler, a five-
year-old mare, faltered and fell, breaking her thigh so badly that she
was obliged to be killed. As usual, Bayzand and Mayo ^ walked into
the stable, and on the corn-bin a clean cloth [was] laid, when they
partook of their little snack, which was nice and hot. They enjoyed
it very much, and when Bayzand had mounted the box, reins in hand,
ready for a start, the horse-keeper, addressing Bayzand, [said], ' How
did you gentlemen enjoy your supper ? ' * Oh,' Bayzand said, ' very
much indeed ; it was delicious.' The horse-keeper, ' I always told the
missus the young mare would eat well.' Bayzand and the guard were
ill all the way to Oxford, and never forgave the horse-keeper and his
wife for the beastly, dirty trick they played them, or never forgot
eating part of a steak from the young five-year-old mare.

7 1 The Oxonian from Oxford to Southampton, at one time, changed
horses at Chilton Pond. Bayzand and Stephens, the coachmen,
complained to Mr, Richard Costar, their proprietor, that the team in
some way[s] did not do so well as they could wish. The horses always
drove to Chilton lively, but from Chilton they seemed to go tired-like^
and empty — no life about them. Mr. Costar asked Bayzand if the
corn and hay were good. ' Yes, sir ; it is our own corn and hay.
We bring the sack full every morning ; the hay comes from Dorchester,
W. D.' At last, the horses began to show for themselves ; they got
very thin and weak. So, one morning, Mr. Costar drove down to
Chilton Pond. Just after the coach had changed, he pulled up, went
into the house, had a chat with the landlord, and quietly walked round
to the stables. I must explain to you that in front of the house called
the Chequers Inn is a little round pond, — hence the name Chilton
Pond, — where Mr. Costar had the mortification of seeing his horses
wallowing in mud and water, and, at the same time, the kind and
good-natured horse-keeper was feeding his half-dozen hogs very
bountifully with the poor horses' provender. ]\Ir. Costar walked
quietly round and addressed " him with, ' Good morning, young man.

[MS. Maow.] " [MS. like tired.]

^ [ MS. addressing.]


Your pigs look well. They seem to like the mixture, beans and oats,
I never saw pigs fed with it before. They appear to do well — [will J
soon be fit to kill.' ' Yes, sir ; they thrive and do well on it.' So,
after making the hogs comfortable, he walked into the tap, called for
a pint of beer, quietly drank it, and deliberately brought the horses
round. Mr. Costar asked ' Who the horses belonged to, young man ? '
* Old Costar of Oxford.' JMr. Costar glanced round the stable — there
stood the poor horses just as they came in, harness on, wet and dirty,
no straw or litter of any kind under them, empty manger and rack,
and not even tied up. Mr. C, on reaching home that day, consulted
his solicitor. The horse-keeper [was] taken in charge, committed to
Reading Jail for the Assizes, had his trial; found guilty ; sentence, 12
months' hard labour, which he richly deserved.

About this time, coach-proprietors in London, and I think I may p. 72
say throughout England, were at loggerheads with each other, and
were running coaches in strong opposition, London in particular.
Mr. W. Chaplin, Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street, and Swan-with-
Two-Necks, Lad Lane, or the Wonderful Bird in Little Boy Lane ;
John and W. Home, Golden Cross, Charing Cross, White Horse, Fetter
Lane, Holborn ; Mrs. S. Nelson, Bull Inn, Bishopsgate Street, La Belle
Sauvage, Ludgate Hill; Robert Gray and Son, Bolt-in-Tun, Fleet Street,
Angel, St. Clement's, Strand; Ed. Sherman, BuU-and-Mouth, St.
Martin's-le-Grand, and Regent Street Quadrant ; Mr. Fagg, Saracen's
Head, Snow Hill ; Mr. Goodman, and many more that I cannot remem-
ber one and all connected and strongly opposed to each other, more or
less, on different roads : Norwich, Brighton, Ipswich, Southampton,
Birmingham, Oxford, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Hereford, Caermarthen,
Aberystwith, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Taunton, Plymouth ; in fact, every
road you can mention. And at one time Oxford [was] in the ascen-
dant, Chaplin and [the] Homes in great opposition against Gray and
Nelson; Oxford, Costar and Waddell, Christopher Holmes, Haines,
Perrin, [the] ToUits, [the] Snowdens, Walter Pratt, Coles, Shackle-
ford, Beesley, Carruthers, Marshall, Symonds; Cheltenham^ Neilor,
Dangerfield, Haines, Meek; Gloucester, Heath, Rawlins, Dowling;
Ross, Barrett, Hall, Bliss ; Monmouth, Whiting ; Hereford, Bosley p. 73
and Sons. The first coach to oppose Messrs. Costar and Waddell
was the Defiance to London, from the Mitre Hotel, High Street,
Oxford, horsed by Christopher Holmes and Messrs. Fagg and Nelson,
London, a white coach, driven by John Adams, Joe Haines, and
William Foreman. Then the INIagnet against Costar and Co.['s]


coaches from the West, driven by James Witherington^, sometimes

called * B y Jimmy.' They say he could hit a horse at any time

and fetch blood. The Berkeley Hunt, a green coach, started in oppo-
sition to the Magnet ; proprietors, Neilor, Dangerfield, Cheltenham ;
Costar and Co., Oxford; Chaplin and [the] Homes, London; coach-
men below, Richard Grover and Frank Martindale; above, Jonty Hobbs
and James Clinch. The Retaliator, horsed from London, Home and
Co. ; Oxford, Costar and Co. ; Cheltenham, Dangerfield and Co. ;
Gloucester, Dowling and Co. ; coachmen, John Francis, Tom Hooper,
below ; John Ritton, James Clinch, above. Regulator, opposition,
London proprietors, Gray and Fagg ; Oxford, Walter Pratt, New Inn,
Oxford ; Cheltenham and Gloucester, Isaac Day, Heath, Dowling and
Co.; coachmen, Eager — a man weighing 22 stone — and John Murphy,
below ; James Shilleto, James lies, above. The Tantivy opposed the
Aurora ; the Paul Pry in opposition to the Champion ; the Mazeppa
against the Rapid ; the Union opposed the Telegraph ; the Bath,
Christopher Holmes, against the Bath, Costar and Co., and all parts
P- 74 from Oxford, were opposition coaches. Banbury, very strong, Dick
Bolton against Jack Vigers ; Warwick and Leamington, Drinkwater
and Probert ; Birmingham, Northampton, Beesley, against Costar and
Waddell; Bath, Powney against Carruthers; Southampton, Marshall
against Stephens; and the rest I have touched upon.

The book-keepers at the different coach-offices that I remember : old
Mr. W. Jacobs, Mr. Acock, Angel, High Street ; Star Hotel, Mr. R.
Scott, Josh Barnett, Ned Worth, and John Hutton; Mitre Hotel,
Snealus [?], Margetts, Josh Barnett ; Roebuck office, John Hughes ;
Golden Cross, Richard Prestidge, Bill White; the Vine oflSce, Bill

Porters : old Ned Hutton and his son Jack, and Tom Hunt, Angel
office; Star office, Bill Ludlow, Barnett, and Cheeseman; Mitre office,
T. Allsop, T. Allsop \stc\ B. AUsop, Payne; Roebuck office, David
Blay; Golden Cross, Bouncer.

Head ostlers : Allsop, King and Keek, Angel ; Star Hotel, Bourchier ;
Mitre Hotel, Robert Kemble ; King's Arms, Creed.

P" 75 Farewell to the Reader.

It is no easy matter to pull up in going down in the middle of
a very steep hill, so wait till you get to the bottom, for sooner or
later there must be a finish. And I do not think I can praise myself

' [See Annals of the Road, p. 261.]


that my scrawl [which] I have penned has given much amusement to
my readers, and that circumstances that happened in my time do not
tally with the speed nowadays, and especially, that I have talked too
much of myself, — that my anecdotes and reminiscences are silly and
by no means amusing. It may be so ; but I have attempted to
describe [them] in my rough style, and I ask you, kind reader, to be
pleased with the Chip of the Old Block, and not [to] think or say
that I have blown my old tin horn too much for myself and my old

[It must be understood that the foregoing Reminiscences make no pretence to
literary style, or even grammatical correctness. In Mr. Bayzand's autograph MS.
the solecisms and errors of spelling are endless ; and they have been corrected,
where necessary, without destroying, it is hoped, the directness and raciness of the
original. Among the persistent peculiarities of spelling are odd tricks such as the
frequent omission of the letter r before a vowel, e. g. ' tavelling,' ' dive,'' Gover,' for
'travelling,' 'drive,' ' Grover,' and the substitution of i for r after a vowel, as
' laige,' ' aims,' ' Poitsmouth,' for ' large,' ' arms,' ' Portsmouth.' — A. F. P.]



Aaron (Aron) the Jew, holds messuages

in St. Aldate's, ii.
Abbot, arms of, Ii8.
Abbottesley, manor of, 211.
Abdy, arms of, 11 7- 11 9.
Abdy, Robert, master of Balliol, brass

to (1483^ 109.
Abergavenny, 293, 308.
Aberystvvith, 276, 308.
Abingdon, 210, 291.

— Lamb Inn at, 282.

Abingdon, abbey of, tenements, &c. of,
in Oxford, 4, 7, 10-13, 19, 24, 31-34,

Online LibraryLouis HouckCollectanea, fourth series ; → online text (page 28 of 34)