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HMS Sceptre

In 1819 John Pain of Popeshall in the parish of Coldred, acquired from the estate of the late Thomas Stokes all that “Freehold Messuage (a dwelling house with land assigned) divided into 2 tenements with the Barn, Stable, Outhouses, Garden, Orchard and several pieces or parcels of Land thereto belonging containing by estimation 8 acres more or less situate being at Upper Eythorne in said Parish of Eythorne”. This land is broadly that occupied by the Crown Inn, although the Inn didn’t exist then, and the land surrounding it and behind which was known as Church Field. At this time, the only buildings on this plot of land were the farm buildings described above and Langdown House (built in the 18th Century) on the corner of The Street and Sandwich Road. There were no other buildings along the Sandwich Road side of Church Field. Although John Pain was described as being a Yeoman, traditionally that meant he owned and farmed land as opposed to being a tenant farmer. There is no evidence that John Pain owned land before this transaction although he was a man of substance and standing in the community being a tenant farmer occupying four farms. These were Popeshall, Newsole, and Coldred Court Farms close together (see marked map, the first two owned by the Earl of Guilford) and Cox Hill Farm, Shepherdswell owned by James Gunman of Dover.
John Pain died in 1821 and his last will and testament left the land in Upper Eythorne to his second wife Alice (nee Mancer of Ashley). In the event of her death or re-marrying, the land was to be equally divided between his three sons Richard (aged 36 in 1821), Robert (aged 30) and William Clement (aged 22). In the event this isn’t quite what happened with the land being sold to William Horn Harvey in 1839, before Alice’s death in 1846.
John Pain actually had another son born in 1795 who died tragically on the 5th June 1812 by overreaching himself and thereby falling overboard from His Majesty’s Ship Sceptre, when off the coast of Holland. Mr John Pain, midshipman aged 17, third son of Mr Pain of Popeshall, was described as a young man of most amiable disposition and fairest promise was lost”. The ship was watching out for the enemy (the French) during the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815).

No photo description available.

The Sceptre (see picture) was a third rate ship of the line (the term third rate relates to the number of guns and not its seaworthiness!) at the time attached to the North Sea Fleet under orders of Admiral Young. A third rate was a ship of the line which mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks. To be a Midshipman (an officer of the lowest rank in the Royal Navy) John would have joined the Navy at the age of 12 and served at least three years as a volunteer, officers servant or able seaman and would have lived in the gun room of a ship of the line. Its not known what prompted John Pain’s third born son to join the Navy

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