Rev George Downing ALSTON 
- Born: 15 Nov 1799, Nayland SFK
- Baptised: 24 Jun 1802, Nayland SFK
- Marriage (1): Anne Charlotte OXENDEN  on 3 Oct 1828 in Limpsfield SRY
- Marriage (2): Isabella TRAVERS  on 2 Mar 1858 in Swanage, DOR
- Died: 18 Jan 1880, Clifton, GLS at age 80
- Buried: 23 Jan 1880, Studland Graveyard, DOR
Cause of his death was bronchitis.
George was a Mariner, Lawyer, and Priest. The entry in the Nayland baptismal register relates "received into the church 24 June 1802 by the Rev Robert Houghton Curate of Stoke as if baptised George Downing" This full name is proved by an issue of a Writ to George 1826
The following is the entry from Cambridge University Alumni 1261-1900.
Entered Michs (Michaelmas) 1832
Died 1879. (1880 see below)
Adm.pens. at Queens', Apr. 11, 1832. Of Suffolk. [S.of George, attorney-at-law, of Nayland, Suffolk. B.1800]. Previously studied law and afterwards went to sea. Matric. Michs. 1832, Fellow Commoner of Queens College.
Migrated to Trinity College Dublin, Oct. 17, 1834; B.A. (Dublin) 1836.
Ord. deacon (Dublin) 1836;
(Ordained Deacon in Dublin on 22nd October 1837. Source; RCB. Library, Dublin)
Ordained Priest (Ripon) 1838.
Perhaps Curate of Kirkheaton, Yorks., 1841.
P.C. of St. Philip's, Bethnal Green, London, 1843-51.
Vicar of Horndon-on-the-Hill, Essex, 1852-3.
Rector of Studland, Dorset 1853-78.
Lived latterly at Clifton, Bristol.
(Al.Dubl.;Stemmata Alstoniana; Crockford.)"
Alston George Studland Wareham Dublin A.B. 1835 Deacon 1836 by the Archbishop of Dublin. Priest 1838 by Bishop of Ripon. Rector of Studland, Diocese Salisbury 1853 (Patroness Mrs Michel; Tithe, 138L 10s 0d; Glebe 62 acres; Rectors Income 180L and Ho; Pop 472)
Ref: Crockfords 1868
In Crockfords Clergy Register of 1882 it mentions - ALSTON - George, Studland, Rector of Studland, diocese of Salisbury
June 3, 1808
This will all with Mr Lawson's permifsion acquaint you that our Midsummer Vacation will commence on the 15th Inst when, I hope to find you and all friends well at home. - I trust you will find I have in some measure endeavoured to repay your kindnefs towards me by an afsiduous application to my studies during this half year, in which I hope you will find my progrefs equal to your expectations,
I am, Hon'd Parents,
Your dutiful Son
Copy of a letter on file, origional in the possession of Julia Redman 1999, note by George Alston snr "3 June George"
G. Alston Esq
Downs April Wednesday 1813
H. M. Ship Boyne
Having sailed to the Downs (an anchorage off Dover) I consequently could not enquire any more concerning the notes and parcel but when I did enquire I being so small they would not take the trouble of looking back in their books, but if you would send the coach office and Post Office one of your letters they will give you an answer. I send you who the dates and numbers of the notes of the other side
We expect to sale to the Scheld every day and to have an action with the French fleet now lying in the Scheld. Give my love to all at home and believe me ever
Your dutiful Son
G. D. Alston
PS I am afraid I shall not be able to see you now for a great while.
Copy of a letter on file 2007, original in the possession of Julia Redman 1999. Smudged note by George Alston snr "17th May George" postmark "MY 1 . . . . . 13"
George Alston Esq
June 21, 1814
My dear Father
. . . . . which was dated the 6th April . . . . . you're very kind letter I received on the 20th . . . . . . . . . . June I am now living onshore at Genoa with the carpenter of the Boyne who has got to see the Ship that we took here finished which is to be launched on Saturday next which if I see it Launched will be the first I ever saw I dare say I shall receive about 60L prize money for Genoa.
I hope to see you at home quite well as I am about the latter end of August. If the Trunk of cloths is not yet gone from the Admiral's Office which is very likely as I find it is necefsary to have some friends at Portsmouth to forward it from the Admiral's office on board, you have no occasion to send to send it as I shall very soon be with you. I never shall forget Capt Boulton's kindnefs to me especially in allowing me to live onshore for these six weeks.
I intend to be your Clerk when I come home if you have no objections. I have not heard from you for such awhile that this letter gave me as great a pleasure as I have received. I am glad to hear that all my Dear little Brothers and Sister are quite well. I believe I have a little chance of bringing My Dear Mother and Sister some little present from Genoa as this place abounds in Silks and Gold Lockets and earrings of all sorts for very little money.
I have nothing more to say except give my love to all at home.
And believe me to be
your most affectionate son
Copy of a letter on file 2007, original in the position of Julia Redman 1999. Postmarked "Ship-Letter" and "4 AU 4 1814" Small note by George Alston snr "June George"
Such is the life of a middle class youth in the early 19th C, these 3 letters reveal a polite child at boarding school at age 8, waiting to go to war on his ship aged 13, a young man of the world buying silks and gold in Genoa with his Prize money aged 14. It is little wonder George went on to have a long colourful and successful life, he married well and appears to have been a man of some presence. However his financial affairs appear none to solid.
Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies:
Waring family papers
Catalogue Ref. DX55
Waring family of Edwardstone, Suffolk
FILE - Articles of Agreement (copy) - ref. DX55/47 - date: 11 August 1830
1. George Alston the younger of Hadleigh, Suffolk, gent, attorney of His Majesty's Court of Kings Bench.
Alston George, Attorney, Hadleigh.
Ipswich Journal reports 14 Apr 1832 pg 3 col 5. (2003)
Notice of George Alston Solicitor selling elegant modern household furniture and effects on Wed & Thurs 25 & 26 April 1832. At Layham Cottage SFK 1 mile from Hadleigh, who is changing his residence.
Ipswich Journal reports 21 Apr 1832 pg 3 col 4. (2004)
To be Sold by Auction by Bryer & Simpson.
On Wednesday and Thursday April the 25th and 26th 1832.
All the elegant modern household furniture, brewing utensils, beer casks, prints, china, glass, phaeton, road gelding, and other effects of:
Mr George Alston Solicitor at Layham Cottage Suffolk, about a mile from the town of Hadleigh, who is changing his residence.
Comprising lofty 4 post bedsteads, mahogany feet posts; neat dimity hangings, 4 fine bordered goose and other feather beds and bedding, hair wool and palliasse mattresses; mahogany and walnut-tree double and single chests of drawers, beautiful rose wood loo table on pillar and claw, elegantly carved. ditto sofa to match, with blue damask bed, pillow, and cushion; ditto card table to match on pillar and claw, ditto 8 chairs to match, with blue damask seats and striped covers; handsome rose-wood cabinet inlaid with satin wood;a mahogany frame sofa, crimson serge cover, bed and pillow; elegant chimney glass in burnished gold frame, plate 38ins by 38ins; neat rose-wood tea caddie, mahogany dining, dressing and other tables, and wash stands, mahogany and other chairs, handsome swing dressing glass in mahogany frame, plate 24ins by 18ins and other glass;floor and bedside carpets . . . . . wainscot case?, a small collection of prints from Claude, Carlo Dolci, etc etc by some of the most eminent engravers, viz R Morghen, James Fittler, Ravenes, Lowrey etc etc;a painting of dead game, a few lots of elegant foreign china, neat set of blue and white dinner service, ditto red and white dessert service, handsome cut glass, set of beautiful paper tea trays, black and gold; table lamp on bronze pillar; 4 dozen of ivory handle table and dessert knives and forks, 4 pairs of carvers, quantity of books in lots, 2 coombe mash tub, and wort tubs good as new, 8 sweet seasoned beer casks, good kitchen and culinary requisites, with a variety of useful household furniture. Also a handsome Brown Road Gelding 5 years old, about 14 hands 2ins height, gentle in harness, suitable either for the saddle or harness; an excellent double bodied Phaeton nearly new on steel springs with hood curtains, aprons, lamps, poles, and shifting shaft, suitable either for one horse or two ponies, 2 sets of chaise harness, mans saddle and bridles, side saddle, iron garden roll etc with a variety of useful effects which are expressed in catalogues to be had at the Golden Lion Ipswich, Cups Colchester, Rose & Crown Sudbury, at the Inns in the neighbourhood, place of sale, and at the Auctioneers Hadleigh.
Sale to begin each day at 10 o'clock.
The Road Gelding, Phaeton, and outdoor effects will be sold on the second day.
The furniture etc may be viewed on the Tuesday preceeding the sale from Eleven till Four.
Norfolk Circuit - Cambridge.
Before Mr Barron Vaughan.
Mr George Alston, a Fellow Commoner of Queens College, was indicted for an assault on his son, aged 3 years, and pleaded guilty.
Mr Sergeant Storks (with whom was Mr Austin), for the defendant, stated that his client had, under his advice, and the pecular circumstances of the case, consented to plead guilty to the indictment; and he hoped that the prosecutors would not press for any severe punishment on the defendant, who was ready to enter into any recognizances the Court might impose for his good behavious in the future.
Mr Gunning for the prosecution, was content to leave the manner and the degree of punishment entirely in the hands of the learned Judge, who had read the depositions, and was acquainted with the facts of the case. The prosecution had been instituted by the parish officers solely for the protection of the child and the sake of public justice.
Mr Barron Vaughan regretted to see a gentleman and a father standing in the painful situation of the defendant, but he thought that he should not be compromising justice if he ordered the defendant to enter into his own recognizance, and that of two sureties, to keep the peace, and to come up to receive judgement if called upon, which he would be, should he ever be guilty of any breach of the peace in the future. The prosecution was a most proper and useful one, and the defendant, in addition to the recognizances, should pay the expenses of it.
This being done and the recognizances given, the defendant was discharged.
The Times 19 Mar 1834, Pg 6.
EXTRACT FROM THE Cambridge Chronicle dated 21 March 1834
(Case date would have been 14.2.1834)
MR. ALSTON'S CASE.
George Alston, Esq, was charged with a misdemeanour in assaulting George Alston the younger, on the 7th of February, by wounding and ill-treating him - The defendant pleaded guilty.
Mr. Serjt. STOKES said he appeared for the defendant, and that it was under his (Serjt. Stocks') advice that he had in this particular case pleaded guilty. The indictment was for an assault on the defendant's own son, and he therefore hoped the Justice of the case would be fully in possession of the facts of the case.
Mr. Baron VAUGHAN said he had read the depositions; he was sorry to find that one of the witnesses had not appeared before the grand jury - most certainly her recognizance should be estreated.
Mr. Serjt. Stokes said he could satisfactorily account for her absence. The fact was, Mrs. Alston was in the last stage of her confinement, at about twelve miles distance and required, at such a moment, the assistance of the witness, who had for years been a faithful and only domestic in Mr. Alston's family. The moment it was known that the witness was wanted by the grand jury she was sent for, and actually arrived in great haste and hurry just after the bill had been found, and was now present.
Mr. Baron VAUGHAN said, under these circumstances and as the justice of the country did not appear to be defeated, he should not order the recognizance to be estreated.
Mr. GUNNING said, he was sure the prosecutors, who were the parish officers, would best do their duty by not pressing him to say anything in aggravation of the case against the defendant, or anything in his favour.
Mr. Baron VAUGHEN, after lamenting to see a gentleman like the defendant placed in such a situation, expressed his belief that the defendant had determined never to give occasion for the interference of any one in future, directed the defendant to enter into security for his good behaviour, and to come up for judgement when called upon, in case there should be any ground for future complaint.
The defendant, Mr. Richard Wilson and Mr. Richard Manning, then entered into the necessary securities - the defendant in L100 and the others in L50 each
This sad revelation suggests an intemperate side to George, the child's age indicates it was George Fortescue, about whom little is known, he may have left the family. Susan Perrett searched for more about this incident without success - 2009
Was George prompted by his above behaviour to join the priesthood and serve in Bethnal Green? he certainly shows an active, social concience, taking his work as a Parish Parson in a very poor Parish very seriously. Below he uses, his legal training, and strong feelings on social justice, to stir up the "Establishment" through The Times on the plight of the poor.
To the Editor of the Times
The Times 2 December 1843
Sir, - The attention of the public having been by yourself and others so forcibly called to the destitute condition of the poor of the metropolis, I feel that, having the charge of a district in which poverty in its most abject form exists to a greater extent, perhaps, than in any other part of London, I should be in some degree culpable if I were to remain silent when the wretchedness and want so extensively prevail around me. I have no wish to excite a morbid sensibility for the sufferings of the poor by any highly-drawn picture of misery and distress - the reality alas! Needs no colouring from fiction - nor do I mean to say that the present state of the poor is worse than it has been for several years past; but this I do say - that the great mass of the people in my district presents a picture of human misery such as this country, abounding in wealth, and professing itself a Christian nation, ought to feel to be a national stigma and reproach. The district of St Philips Bethnal Green, to which I allude, contains 1400 houses, inhabited by 2795 families, comprising altogether a population of about 12,000. Now, the space in which this large amount of people are living is less than 400 yards square, and it is no uncommon thing for a man and his wife, with four or five children, and sometimes the grandfather or grandmother, to be found living in a room from 10 to 12 feet square, and which serves them for eating, working, and sleeping in. I believe that till the Bishop of London called the attention of the public to the state of Bethnal Green about as little was known at the west end of the town of this most destitute parish as of the wilds of Australia or the islands of the South Sea; and even now there are very few who have any idea of the abject poverty which prevails there. If any man doubt my assertion, all I will say to him is, come and see; and I will undertake to conduct him into scenes of wretchedness, such as will, if I am not greatly mistaken, cause him to feel a degree of thankfulness to God for his own abundant blessings, greater, perhaps, than he has ever yet experienced.
Generally speaking, it is not the wandering and clamorous beggar that we meet with in our daily walk that is the most in want, or that has the greatest claims upon the charitable and humane. If we really desire to find out the most destitute and most deserving, we must visit the poor at their dwellings - we must lift the latch of their doors and find them at their scanty meal; we must see them when suffering from sickness and want of work; and if we do this from day to day in such a neighbourhood as Bethnal Green, we shall become acquainted with a mass of wretchedness and misery such as a nation like our own ought to be ashamed to permit. I have had some acquaintance with the state of the poor in other manufacturing districts; I was the curate of a parish near Huddersfield during three years of the greatest manufacturing distress, but I never witnessed such a thorough prostration of the poor as I have seen since I have been in Bethnal Green. It is a rare thing for a weaver in Yorkshire not to possess a Sunday suit of clothes, but I will venture to say there is not one father of a family in 10 throughout my entire district that possesses any other clothes but his working dress, and that too commonly of the most tattered description; and with many this wretched clothing forms there only covering at night, with nothing better than a bag of straw or shavings to lie upon. I dare say I shall be told that this misery and distress had been brought about by the misconduct of the poor themselves, and that they are a drunken and improvident race. That there is much to be lamented in the habits of the poor, I cannot but admit; but that drunkenness prevails amongst them I do most confidently deny, or at any rate it is kept ineffectually out of sight, for I believe I have not seen half a dozen drunken man since I have been in Bethnal Green - a period now of 18 months. But this I can affirm that I have seen - namely, some who have been reduced to the depths of poverty and distress bearing their privations with resignation and even cheerfulness, and though having nothing yet contented as though possessing all things.
I am fearful that I should trespass too much upon your columns were I to extend my remarks to what I consider to have been the various causes which have brought the poor to their present degraded state; but should you think the above remarks worthy of insertion in your paper, I shall probably trouble you with a further communication.
I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Incumbent of St Philips Bethnal Green,
7 December 1843 page 3 col F
The Rev G. Alston begs gratefully to acknowledge the receipt of 2/- from "Y: Z" of Doncaster, for the use of the poor in his district, which the donor requests might be inserted in the Times newspaper.
The Times 16 August 1844 pg 5 col C
Copy of a Memorial addressed to the Poor Law Guardians of St Matthew's Bethnal Green.
We, the undersigned, being the committee of the St Philips District Visiting Society, have been applied to for relief by Matthias Moull, resident in this district, cannot forbear expressing our utmost astonishment at the mere pittance which the guardians of the parish allow to the poor old man. He is now 74 years old, and his wife is about the same age; he has born an air pro chewable character for many years, as the certificate of Messrs J and D Peters, of Ivy Lane Hoxton, for whom he has worked, testifies. The weekly allowance, therefore, of 9d in money and 9d in food for the support of two such aged people, appears to us so exceedingly inadequate, that we shall be compelled to bring the case before the Commissioners at Somerset House.
Signed on behalf of the committee
George Alston, Chairman.
St Philips Vestry, August 5, 1844.
The Editor of The Times
August 16, 1844
Sir, - Although I may incur the reproach of being a "popularity-hunting parson" I nevertheless intreat you to make public the following case of Poor Law tyranny and oppression. The documents enclosed will of themselves tell the tale, but I cannot forbear remarking upon the wisdom, humanity, and Christian principles by which the poor of this nation are governed; so that a man whose early years were spent in the defence of his country, for he was wounded at Copenhagen, and whose after life has been passed in fulfilling the duties of his station with "steadiness sobriety and honesty", should now at the age of 74, in conjunction with his equally aged wife to whom he has been united for 30 years, be offered the cruel alternative of starvation or separation.
I am, Sir, with great respect,
You're very obedient servant
St Philips Bethnal Green August 15
Then follows correspondance between George and the Poor Law Commissioners at Somerset House concerning a Mr & Mrs Mathias Moull who have been refused outdoor relief of 1/6 per week by the Poor Law Guardians of Bethnall Green who insist the couple come into the Workhouse which is segregated. It is claimed the Poor Law Act is to blame.
To the Editor of The Times
September 4, 1844
Sir, - Having within these few days met with the letter addressed to the Bishop of London upon visiting societies and lay readers, and which you recently noticed with approbation in The Times, I must beg the favour of you to insert a few remarks upon that letter, at least so far as respects the writer's objections to the principles and practice of the Metropolitan Destitution Society, whose assistance, on behalf of my poor people, I have thankfully, and I trust beneficially employed. There is so much in the letter of "Prebyter Catholicus" of which, I should think, every true Churchmen must cordially approve, that had I not feared that some of the observations of the writer might tend to injure the welfare of the poor by casting discredit upon a Society which I am very certain has been the instrument of effecting an incalculable amount of good, I should not have presumed to address you. The writer rests his objections to the Metropolitan Society, and to all similar societies, upon two assumed facts; the first, "that all public relief is contrary to our Saviour's command, not to let our left hand know what our right-hand doeth", secondly that public charities "create the necessity they relieve, but do not relieve all the necessity they create". With respect to the first objection, it would be sufficient to answer that our Lord's precept pays reference only to the motive by which the donor is actuated, with a view to the reward he may himself expect for his alms-deed; and has no reference what ever to the good or evil that may result to the recipient of his bounty, accordingly as it is either well or ill applied.
Unless, therefore, he is prepared to show that all those who have contributed to this society were actuated by a spirit of ostentation, and with a view to win the world's applause, his objection on this ground cannot apply. Besides, this is a question into which none but the donors themselves either can or have any right to pry. But we know from several passages of Scripture that in the first ages of Christianity there were public societies formed for the express purpose of affording relief to the poor disciples, as similar to the Metropolitan Society, probably, as the difference of times will allow. What other explanation can be given of the account related in the Acts (vi 1.) of certain widows being neglected in the daily ministrations?. What was this but a public charity for the relief of the indigent widows of the Church? Again what is meant by the disciples determining, every man according to his ability, to send relief unto the Brethren which dwell in Judea, but a public subscription on the occasion of an unexpected public calamity? (Acts xi., 29) And again, what can the directions which Saint Paul gives concerning the collection for the saints refer to, but a public contribution for the relief of the necessitous brethren? (1 Cor., xvi., 1) Other passages might be adduced, but these, I think, are sufficient to prove that public charity was fully recognized and practised by the apostles and the early Christians, and therefore cannot be inconsistent with our Lord's command, " not to let our left hand know what our right-hand doeth" Indeed, if this Divine precept is to be understood as condemning all public charity whatever, then would our hospitals, and almshouses, and asylums, which, as Christians, we are accustomed to look upon as the brightest ornaments of our land, be in danger of being swept away. But if all public relief is to be denied, if every individual is to confine his alms-deeds within the narrow limits of his own personal observation, how, I would ask is the hand of charity to be extended to the suburbs of this vast metropolis? How is she to reach the abodes of the rich and to visit the bed of the sick and the dying? How, in such a district as mine, can this be done, where there are but few, very few, individuals who have the power to minister to the wants of the thousands who surround them? Are the clergy sufficient for this? or would the writer commit the poor entirely to the tender mercies of the relieving-officer, or the hard working, and still harder paid, medical attendant? I am very sure, whoever he may be, that "Presbyter Catholicus" has never had any experience amongst an exclusively poor population, or he would be convinced of the utter insufficiency of the present Poor Law (even where the officers have the will) to minister to the necessities of those whom it professes to guard and protect. I come now to consider the practical working of the society, and into this part of the subject I cannot enter so fully as I could wish, from the fear of trespassing at too great a length upon your columns. The proposition which the author of the letter has adopted as the basis of his argument on this head, he must have chosen for its antithesis, rather than for any truth it contains, notwithstanding the vaunting boast of its universally received celebrity. The public charities do not create the necessities they relieve I will prove by facts that have come under my own personal observation, and, in doing this, I will endeavour to be as brief as possible. A widow, of the name of Bailey, was left with several small children, and, with the assistance of the eldest, a lad of 18 by trade a cabinet maker, was enabled to get on tolerably well. The lad, however, was afflicted with a white swelling and was obliged to undergo amputation of the leg at the London Hospital. While his mother was deprived of his support, the society relieved her occasionally, and, on his discharge from the hospital healed, advanced a small sum to enable him to purchase materials to continue his trade. Did the society create the necessity it relieved? Again, a man of the name of Stully, by trade a painter, was affected with a chronic disease of the joints, and was recommended to try the Sea-bathing Infirmary: the society granted a small sum to aid him in going there, and during his absence, occasionally assisted his wife and family, consisting of small children; the man returned greatly benefited. Did the society create the necessity it relieved? A man of the name of Tarleton dying of consumption applied for relief. He had a wife and three children. When I first visited him, I found him in the last stage of the disorder. He had been confined to his bed three weeks, and his wife during that time had subsisted entirely upon articles which she had taken to the pawnbrokers, and was left almost destitute. I enquired to what parish they belonged; she replied Shoreditch; I remonstrated with her for not applying for relief; she expressed the greatest reluctance to do so, adding she was sure it would be in vain. Upon my stating that I should be compelled to refuse any further relief unless she did, she consented to go that evening (Friday) to the relieving officer of this parish; she went, and the officer promised to call and visit her husband. I called on Monday; the man was dead, but no relieving officer had been near. Once more, did the society create the necessity it relieved? These are but a sample of many, very many such cases as have come under my own observation; I need not enumerate them. That I may have been imposed upon in some instances I do not deny, but that the poor are greater adepts at imposition, or that they practise it to a greater extent than many others in a high walk of life, is an accusation I rather think more easily made them proved. That the society has relieved a vast amount of human misery, and has exerted a moral influence as well, I could, if it were necessary undertake to substantiate, and this I believe is all that its friend's either hoped for or attempted to accomplish. It presumes not to lay claim to perfection, nor does it pretend to say that every visitor has been endowed with gifts and qualifications precisely fitted for the task. All that it could do was to choose from such materials as presented themselves, and make the best selection in its power. In conclusion, I would observe, that I much doubt whether clergyman could be found willing to undertake the charge of such poor districts as mine, when they are compelled to witness during the winter months so much misery, and which they would be quite unable but for this society to relieve.
I am, Sir, with much respect, yours most obediently.
St Philips September 2
19 May 1846 pg 7 col c.
St Philips Church, Bethnal Green.
On Wednesday last the congregation of this church met at the house of Mr Winterborn, the churchwarden, and presented a handsome pocket communion service to their minister, the Rev G. Alston, as a testimonial and mark of their esteem for his liberality to the sick and the poor, and the zeal and activity displayed in the execution of his ministerial duties. A handsome Bible was also presented to the Rev Mr D. Gruchy, the curate.
The Editor of the Times
12 March 1847.
Sir, - From a letter which appeared in the Times a day or two since, from your correspondant " S.G.O." it would seem that the Irish members of the House of Commons, and I fear many English members as well, are utterly ignorant of the state of a vast proportion of the poor of this country; and because they hear no outcry or clamour from the industrious classes in their own city, therefore they conclude that there is no suffering - no distress. I feel it therefore to be my duty, having about 14,000 persons in my parish entirely dependent upon a precarious description of employment, to assure them that the state of the poor is such as now one can contemplate without the most painful apprehension. There are at this moment many families who have scarcely bread to eat, who are utterly without bedding, and their children almost naked; and most certainly the state of the poor is far worse now than at any time within the last five years. Fresh families amongst the weavers are daily being added to the number of those previously out of work; and from all that I can learn from the manufacturers themselves, there appears to be little but very little probability of any fresh work being given out till after Easter, if then. In the meantime, therefore, I can see no prospect for the great majority of the poor in this parish but the alternative of starvation or the workhouse. I am thankful to say that the Metropolitan Relief Association, through our visiting society, has rendered the most seasonal relief to many destitute families, but the number of applicants have lately so much increased that we are compelled to overlook many deserving cases for relief. If I were to enter into the details of the sufferings of the poor, I could fill your entire paper, but I cannot but bear witness to the patience and fortitude with which they bear them, and to the few expressions I have heard of murmuring and complaint - not that they do not feel their sad condition - they feel it deeply, but they appear determined to bear their privations in silence, and to hide their sorrow in their own breasts. To what extent of suffering human nature may be able to bear up, I cannot say; there are appearances, however, which indicate that it cannot last much longer without event being given to some general expression of their wrongs. While, therefore, so much of sympathy has been shown to the suffering poor in Ireland, I would claim for our deserving and uncomplaining sufferers at home a share of the same Christian feeling and goodwill. And, how ever great that the stress may be in other parts, I must beg to contradict the assertion that there is no approximation to a similar state of suffering at home.
I am, Sir, yours most obediently,
St Philips, Bethnal Green, March 10 1847
The Times 7 September 1847 pg 5 col F.
The Victoria Park
To the Editor of The Times
Tuesday, September 7, 1847
Sir, - Now that the bustle and excitement consequent upon the elections have nearly subsided, I have thought that possibly it might not be uninteresting to your readers to hear how the experiment of the Government in forming a park for the recreation of the poor at the east side of London has succeeded; and whether the good it was intended to effect has been in any degree promoted or attained. Of the manner in which the park has been laid out by the experienced gentleman (Mr Curtis) to whom this part of the undertaking has been entrusted it is impossible to speak too highly; indeed, but one opinion prevails fears viz., that the Victoria Park in the course of a few years will be amongst the number of the chief ornaments of metropolis. There is, I believe, a very general opinion entertained, though I think a very erroneous one, that the poorer classes in this country cannot be trusted, unless under the surveillance of the police, in any place of public amusement, from a wanton disposition to injure or destroy whatever is beautiful in nature or curious in art, and that a custom which so generally prevails on the continent of throwing open all places of amusement, cannot with safety be adopted in this country. Now, when it is known that there have been planted in various parts of the park roses and other flowers of various kinds entirely unprotected, and that in only one solitary instance throughout the summer has a rose or flower of any kind been either plucked or injured, this fact alone is sufficient to refute the unjust aspiration that the poorer classes are not to be trusted in public places without the dread of the police before their eyes. Their principal good, however, which the formation of the park has effected is in the inducement it holds out to the artisan and labourer to benefit their own health and that of their families by inhaling the fresh air at least once in the week, at a distance from their own confined and wretched habitations. An and that much good has been produced in this way I can most confidently state. Many a man whom I was accustomed to see passing the Sunday in utter idleness, smoking at his door in his shirt sleeves, unwashed and unshaven, now dresses himself as neatly and cleanly as he is able, and with his wife or children is seen walking in the park on the Sunday evening. Indeed the multitudes who avail themselves of this recreation speak very plainly how much it is esteemed and valued. But perhaps it may be objected, that walking in the park is not the way in which Sunday evenings ought to be spent. In answer to this I will only say, that if a man can be induced to wash his face on the Sunday, which in all previous years he had suffered to remain unwashed on that day, one step has been gained in the right direction. In like manner the man who, from having spent his Sundays in utter idleness and dirt should be induced to become cleanly and to pass a portion of the day in walking out with his family, will much more likely be prevailed on to attend church, and become a better husband and parent than if he had continued in his former state of reckless indifference to his own appearance, and that of his wife and children. But I trust that the noble Lord now at the head of her Majesty's Woods and Forests will not stop in his humane and truly patriotic measures for the comfort and recreation of the humbler classes. In addition to the cricket ground and gymnasium which Lord Morpeth has so considerately and kindly formed, and which afford so much amusement and healthful recreation to hundreds, I trust that at no distant time his Lordship may be induced to turn his attention to the erection of a reading room and library for the use of the working classes. I am persuaded that under judicious management such a provision would be productive of the greatest good, and would obtain more than anything else besides to preserve and foster in manhood whatever amount of Christian principles and correctness of conduct may have been taught and implanted in youth. It has been a want of some such resource as this that has caused many a promising and well conducted lad to become the companion of the idle and profane; whilst the labour bestowed upon their education has in consequence but too often been almost thrown away. Every clergyman who has had the charge of extensive and populous parish must have experienced the difficulty of continuing that pastoral superintendence and friendly intercourse with the younger portion of his flock after they have grown up and gone forth into the world. Now, a reading room and library would tend to supply this desideratum, by affording a place where these young men could assemble who had imbibed a taste for reading and a desire to improvement when at school. I hope, therefore, that the truly patriotic nobleman who has now these matters under his charge will not think such a major undeserving his attention. Indeed I do not doubt that his Lordship has the welfare of the poor truly at heart; and from a long and intimate knowledge of the poor, I feel confident he will receive the gratitude of an intelligent and most deserving class of persons.
I am, Sir, yours most obediently,
St Philips, Bethnal Green September 4
The Times 21 November 1848 pg 8 col A.
To the Editor of The Times
21 November 1848
Sir, - As by far the most fatal attacks of cholera that haven't yet been reported have occurred in the district of which I am the incumbent, and as the parties were well-known to me, I have thought that the facts of the case may possibly not be altogether devoid of use, as tending to elucidate what may be the primary cause, in many instances at least, of this appalling disorder. There have been altogether nine persons residing in one house attacked with cholera, of whom seven have died; and the two at present surviving are not yet out of danger. The house in which the parties resided consists of three rooms, each of about 9 feet square, inhabited by three families. Tyler, his wife, and for young children, occupied the lower front room. The husband obtained his living principally by selling pin patches and other articles about the streets; and his wife having so young a family was not able to do much for their support. Indeed, they had been for some time past in great destitution, and had been repeatedly relieved by our Visiting Society during the whole of last winter, and indeed, up to the present time. The members of this family were all ceased with the premonitory symptoms of cholera on Thursday, the ninth inst.; and the mother of Tyler, a widow woman, being sent for to render assistance to the family, was also attacked on the following Sunday morning, and died the same evening. On the Monday Tyler and his family were removed to the workhouse; and by Thursday in that week the mother and three of the children were dead.
Another room in the house was tenanted by a man of the name of Lucas, his wife, and seven children; two of these children were attacked with cholera on the Monday that Tyler's family were removed, and both died in the course of that day and night. These two children were quite well and at school the previous day; nor, indeed, do I understand that any of the deceased persons had not previously been in their usual health.
The question then is, what was the primary cause of these simultaneous and fatal attacks? The parties were not more destitute than hundreds of the same class living around; the rooms were not more densely crowded; nor is the localities at all worse than, or even said they had as many parts of the same neighbourhood. Having myself examined the premises, and those adjoining, I think there can be no doubt whatever that the primary cause of this fatal malady has arisen from the astonishingly filthy state of the drains. In the house occupied by Tyler, and in that adjoining, two drains and cesspools filled to the very brim with the most offensive matter, both of which drains run under these houses. Tyler's house is not more than 25 yards distant from the churchyard of Shoreditch, which is notoriously crowded with graves. Now, everybody knows that in rainy weather all drains are much more offensive than at other times, which arises from decomposed matter being then put into education, causing the mephitic gases to escape. It will be in the memory of your readers that the week in which Tyler's family were attacked was a very rainy week, and it is not at all improbable that some noxious matter may have flowed from the churchyard into these drains, the gases from which may have been inhaled by the several persons, and have caused their deaths. At any rate, whatever may have been the cause, the state of the drainage in many parts of this district is such as to occasion no surprise at these truly melancholy results. I do hope, therefore, that the subject will be enquired into by the proper authorities, and that they may have the will, as well as the power, to apply a remedy for these frightful attacks, so as to constitute themselves in reality, as well as in name, a "Board of Health".
I am, Sir, your very obedient servant,
St Philips Vestry November 20.
King v Alston
The Times 6 Dec 1848 pg 6 col B
King the plaintiff claimed he was the Rector of St Mathew Bethnal Green, George Alston the defendant, the vicar of the District church of St Phillips Bethnal Green.
King was seeking to enforce collection by George and payment to King of his share (2/3) of customary fees (baptisms marriages burials etc) from the Parish of St Philips to him as Rector of St Mathew. King had accepted and was resident in another living, Woodchurch, George's counsel contended this voided his claim, and further, nothing could impose a duty on George to collect fees for King. The Court agreed
The Times 2 January 1849 pg 5 col F.
To the Editor of The Times.
2 January 1849.
Sir, - The public, I think, will be glad to know, and certainly it is no more than an act of justice to state, that the Board of Health have employed themselves in earnest to remedy the very defective drainage in this densely populated locality. Engineers, civil and military, have been employed the last few weeks in surveying the courts and alleys of this wretched neighbourhood with a view to its more effective drainage. The water-plugs are drawn every morning, and, by means of hose, the water is conveyed into all these parts more difficult of access, the beneficial effect of which is already seen in the greatly improved state of the public health. As I was one of those who exclaimed against the long neglected state of the drainage in this poor neighbourhood, I am no less anxious to express my very humble and grateful thanks to you, Sir, for permitting me to give utterance to my cry in your widely-circulating columns, as well as to the constituted authorities for having so heartily set themselves to remedy this grievous defect.
I am, Sir, yours obliged,
St Philips, Bethnal Green, December 30, 1848
The Times 6 August 1849 pg 5 col F.
Deaths from Cholera.
To the Editor of The Times.
23 August 1849
Sir, - the following incident relative to the cholera now unhappily so fatal in my parish, may possibly tend to throw some little light upon the nature of the disease, as to the treatment of which medical authority is so unusually divided. During my visits upon the sick yesterday morning I observed a great crowd round the door of a house in Jolson Street, where a poor man had died of cholera, after a few hours illness, the previous night. Upon enquiring of the cause, I learnt to my utter amazement that the man had come to life again and on preceding upstairs, I found three or four women rubbing the dead body with spirits of ammonia. I enquired the cause of their doing this, when they said that the man had come to life again, and they had formed this opinion from one of the women having bled the corpse in the arm, from which certainly a quantity of blood had proceeded. Now, I believe that in ordinary cases it is impossible to cause blood to flow from a wound after death, and if at all, it is more or less coagulated. Now, in this instance for the size of the puncture, the blood had flowed freely, and it was not in the least coagulated, but rather thinner than blood usually is, and of a lighter and brighter red. There was not, however, the most remote reason to suppose that the man was not a corpse, and had been so for upwards of 12 hours; the rigidly of form and feature, which no one at all accustomed to the sight of death could for a moment mistake, at once convinced me that death had done his work too surely. My object, therefore, in troubling you with this letter is merely to suggest whether it may not be worth the attention of the medical profession to ascertain whether in death from cholera the blood does, or does not, coagulate as in ordinary cases of disease; and whether some method of treatment may not be devised which may have a reference especially to the state of the blood, which, from the peculiar blue appearance of the skin, would lead us to suppose was more especially the seat of the disorder.
I am, Sir, yours most obediently,
St Philips Bethnal Green August 15.
The Times 23 August 1849 pg 3 col F.
The Cholera in Bethnal Green
To the Editor of The Times.
Sir, - I feel that I should not be doing my duty in the situation I now fill if I were to remain silent, and not to use my best endeavours to call the attention of those in authority to the state of the district of which I am the incumbent; and I am well satisfied that I cannot do this half so effectively as through the medium of your columns, if you will kindly permit me to use them. The district of St Philips contains a population of 14,000 persons living in a space of less than quarter of a mile square. This district is entirely without drainage of any kind, and the mortality that has taken place there from cholera within the last three weeks is enough to make the stoutest tremble. I have witnessed many painful scenes in the course of my life; I have seen the cockpit of a line-of-battleship (The Boyne) filled with wounded seamen after a general engagement; but nothing that I have ever seen equals in intensity the extent of human suffering that I have been compelled to bear a part in during the last three weeks. Families rendered orphans, parents bereft of their children, husbands deprived of their wives, and wives of their husbands, and, in one instance, husband and wife both lying dead in the same bed; in short out at nearly 100 cases that I have visited as a clergyman of the parish, I believe not more than half a dozen at the most have recovered, the great majority of those attacked having expired after 24 hours acute suffering. Within the last day or two, however, the parish authorities have very properly fitted up an infirmary in Bonners-fields, whither those seized with cholera are immediately taken, and I am happy to say that the great majority of those that have been removed are in a fair way of recovery. This fact, therefore, must I think lead to the conviction that the fearful mortality that has taken place in this district has arisen, in part at least, if not entirely, from the impure state of the air, caused by the absence of any drainage whatever. It is therefore to such districts as these that the efforts of the Board of Health ought to be directed; but as far as I can learn, nothing whatever has yet been done, or even attempted, to remedy this grievous defect. At the close of last year, when the Colorado slightly visited this neighbourhood, the water-plugs were drawn, and the streets were kept constantly flowing with water; and the beneficial effects resulting from this wholesome step were visibly manifested in the restored health of the neighbourhood. But even this simple step has not been had recourse to now; or, if at all, but very slightly, and not regularly from day to day. Pray, therefore, permit me to cry aloud on behalf of myself and my poor people, through the medium of your column is, and earnestly to besiege the Board of Health to come and visit this charnelhouse, and, if possible, to devise some sanitary measure, that we may not every one of us be swept away into the land of the shadow of death.
I am, Sir, yours very obediently,
Incumbent of St Philips Bethnal Green. August 22
George appears to have worked with the poor
for about 8 years.
The Rev George Alston, BA has been presented to the vicarage of Horndon-on-the-Hill, in this county, vacant by the resignation of the Rev James Trevett; patrons, the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's.
Ipswich Journal 13 December 1851.
Ref: Bury Record Office Ref. HA541/11253
It appears from the following angry correspondance from George that he was somewhat estranged from his fathers second family by his marriage to Anne Vandezee. Anne in an indenture of settlement dated 26th April 1850 appointed her son Samuel Alston attorney, Thomas Fenn and Robert Fenn trustees for a sum of L3801.13.6. Interest on this to be payable to Anne during her lifetime then to her step son (described at the time as son-in-law) Rev George Alston. At his decease the capital to be divided between his surviving sons. Also an indenture dated 4 Oct 1850 placing L7693 in trust with Samuel Alston Thomas Fenn and Robert Fenn which George Alston and his heirs have a quarter interest in.
However Waldon one of the sons having died George and his remaining three sons decided amoungst themselves to seek capital owed to them and divide it between themselves in equal shares. This is set out in a Power of Attorney dated 1 May 1857 see Alfred Henry Alston  where he appoints his father George his attorney in the matter.
George, as the oldest son, appears somewhat aggrieved with them as follows in letters to George's solicitor Frederick Hand , Anne also executed a further indenture dated 4th October 1850 which included a financial benefit for George.
A draft copy of a Release of the disputed funds dated 13 July 1856/7, sets out the payment of the funds in trust, and discharge of the trustees, but it very difficult to understand and is displayed in George Alston's picture file.
Letter from Samuel Alston:
16 Sept 1856
Having consulted my Co trustees we consider Alfreds requative (?) is the principle of one of all. We do not consent to a sale before a Probate has been duly signed with the age of the youngest now. I have to remind you of the birthdays and pray when was Waldon Alston Christened, if I am not to have a certificate of his baptism I can't seek one (?).
Letter from Samuel Alston:
The first instalment of the Succession duty being now payable, I retain the dividend that it may be paid forthwith when you shall hear again in about a fortnight. I am afraid the duty will absorb the dividend
I am D'r Sir
15th Jan 1857
Letter from Samuel Alston:
My intention is to have the duty assessed the beginning of next week and I do not promise to reply to any further letter until that has been completed.
20 Jan 1857
Letter from George Alston to Frederick J Hand
My Dear Hand
I see no reason whatsoever that I should not claim from Sam every shilling to which I am justly entitled, a man who refused me a nights lodging in my fathers house and which if I had justice done me would be mine now and not his. The interest you have calculated only up to the last tripartite division which was in April 1871 Consequently I am entitled to two years interest on L270 19s 9d which at 4% amounts to more than L20. Now this sum Sam can better afford to pay than I to lose. Be so good therefore as to make him understand this or perhaps you had better forward him this letter.
Yours very truly
Letter from George Alston to Frederick J Hand
My Dear Hand
I have this morning received the Power from Alfred duly signed and sealed in the presence of two witnesses. I find that that beggar Fenn had written to Alfred trying to dissuade him from executing the Power and I have no doubt indulged in an abuse of me, but it wouldn't do. I shall be up in town tomorrow or next day so you may expect me in for a few hours. You will of course write to Nayland to say that the Stock must be sold at once. When do Freds holidays begin as I should hope to bring him down here with me.
Kind regards to all
Ever yours truly (In great haste)
Letter from George Alston to Frederick J Hand
F Hand Esq
14 Southampton Buildings
Aug 10th '57
My Dear Hand
I am delighted to hear that you have brought Sam to his senses; but this is not enough; a fellow who has shewn no little consideration for others and moreover who has afsumed so ridiculous a at. . . . . of his own consequence, must be made to feel his own insignificance and as he vouchsafed to declare he would not object to consider any memorial that might be addrefsed to him he must be made to cry peace (?) So I must beg that you will at once write to him and say that unless the difference in the duty is paid to you on Monday next with interest from the time that it was improperly paid a writ will most certainly be issued against him and co Trustees if he puts in appeaseance it is of no consequence as the money is not wanted at present. I must beg therefore that you will not fail in doing this as I consider it will do immense good to the mind of Sam and his followers. If you feel any reluctance in taking this step I beg you will do it in some other persons name and be so good as to let me hear that it is done.
I get home all right Fred is well . . . . . Will is the . . . . . and has been since I have returned.
Letter from Samuel Alston:
6 mths intst at 3 pc cash 2.10
Amt Power of Att 1. -
2 / 183.10
3 / 91.15
I will forward directions on Tuesday for the above 183.10 to be paid on your application at Mefses Barnetts on Tuesday
12 August 1857
Ref: Bury Record Office Ref. HA541/11253
England Return of Owners of Land 1873. Dorset.
Alston Rev George. Studland 66a 3r 8p gross estimated rental value. L82/0s/0.
The living at Studland was not a wealthy one, lack of money may have been an issue for George, his estate at under L1000 was not affluent.
George is buried in Studland Church Graveyard in a plot beside an altar tomb (Waldon Alston), under an ancient yew tree, uphill (west) from the church. It is marked with a horizontal cross (broken in two), inscribed under the cross arms, "In loving rememberence of George Alston 25 years Rector of this Parish. Died at Clifton 18th Jan 1880 Aged 79. Blessed are the dead that die in the . . . . . ?. . . . . ". (the last word has 5 letters, now illegible 1999).
The Will of the Rev George Alston Clerk of 17 Cambridge Plc Clifton Bristol who died 18 Jan 1880 at 17 Cambridge Plc. was Proved 1 Sept 1880 by William Evelyn Alston M.D. Surgeon Major of the Royal Artillery of the Barracks Chichester SSX his son at under L1000
This is the Last Will and Testament
Of me George Alston clerk now residing at Clifton of which I constitute and appoint my dear wife and my son William Evelyn Executors of all my personal estate and effects of what kind . . . . . and whereever consisting of Railway Stock furniture plate linen and china I give and bequeath unto my said dear wife for her sole use and benefit In witness whereof I have here placed my hand and seal this 30th day of July in the year of our Lord 1878
G Alston (LY)
Signed sealed and delivered by the said testator as & for his last Will and Testament in our presence and in the presence of each other: Maude M Alston Ethel J Alston
Proved: Affidavit of due execution filed at London 1st September 1880 by the oath of William Evelyn Alston Doctor of Medicine the son one of the Executors to whom Admon. was granted. Power reserved of making the like grant to Isabella Alston widow the relict the other Executor.
On the first day of September 1880 the Will of the Reverend George Alston late of No 17 Cambridge Clifton, in the city of Bristol Clerk deceased who died on the 18th day of January 1880 at No 17 Cambridge Place aforesaid was proved at the Principle Registry of the Probate Division of the High Court of Justice, by the Oath of William Evelyn Alston of the Barracks Chichester, in the County of Sussex Doctor of Medicine Surgeon Major in the Royal Artillery the son of the said deceased one of the Executors named in the said Will he having been first sworn duly to administer, power being reserved of granting Probate of the said Will to Isabella Alston Widow the Relict of the said deceased the other Executor named in the said Will.
Personal Estate under L1000. No Leaseholds.
The parish warden a Mr Mitchell of Swanage has a graveyard plan which records the Alston graves in line 13. 1999.
In the General Register Office under Deaths is the following:
Alston - George - 79 - Barton Regis - Vol. 6a page 49 - 1880 March quarter Fiche 2622 - Gloucester.
Clifton is in the Registration District of Barton Regis, Glos.
(no.504 Pg. 63)
PRO - C202 = Chancery: Petty Bag Office: Writ Files
C 202/215/18 Stafford - John Armishaw, John Cooper Beckett, John Plant Harding, James Mauger Holmes, John Thornewill, Charles Henry Webb, George Young; Suffolk - Richard Almack, George Downing Alston, Richard Bohun, Thomas French, Jonathan Gooding, John Wardale King,Sturley Nunn, William Weatherby, Philip Wilson; Sussex - James Powell; Warwick - Thomas Colmore, John Swinnerton Cudlipp, Clement Cotterill Redfern, Anthony Sprowle, Robert Tibbits, Thomas Samuel Wright; Wilts - Daniel Fisher Green, Charles Hill. 1826
There is a Court Case listed in the INDEX OF CASES in the records of The Court of Arches at Lambeth Palace Library. No. 120. ALSTON v KING, 1849; Rev. Geo. A., of Finsbury, Middx. (office) v Joshua K., R. of St. Matt., Bethnal Green, Middx., and of Woodchurch Cheshire; holding two livings without dispensation. (L. R.) H 749/1.
1. Census: England, 7 Jun 1841, Ever Green Cottage Lepton Kirk Heaton Yorkshire. George is recorded as a clerk aged 40 not born in Yorkshire
2. Census: England, 30 Mar 1851, St Peters Tce Stepney Tower Hamlets LND. George is recorded as head of house a widower aged 51 Perpetual Curate of St Phillips born Nayland SFK
3. Census: England, 8 Apr 1861, Vicarage Studland Dorset. George is recorded as head of house married aged 59 Rector of Studland born Nayland SFK RG9/1343
4. Census: England, 2 Apr 1871, Rectory Studland Dorset. George is recorded as head of house married aged 71 Rector born Nayland SFK Also in the house was a governess. RG10/1992
5. Death Certificate, 18 Jan 1880, 17 Cambridge Plc Clifton. Certificate on file
George married Anne Charlotte OXENDEN  [MRIN: 59], daughter of Sir Henry OXENDEN OF BROOME PARK 7th Bart  and Mary GRAHAM , on 3 Oct 1828 in Limpsfield SRY. (Anne Charlotte OXENDEN  was born about 1806 in Kent England, died on 28 Jun 1841 in Lepton, YKS and was buried on 30 Jun 1841 in Kirkheaton, West Yorkshire..). The cause of her death was Typhus.
On the 3d instant was married at Limpsfield in Surrey, by the Rev Robert Mayne, George Alston, Esq. Jnr. of Hadleigh, in this county, to Anne Charlotte, third daughter of Sir Henry Oxenden, of Broome Park, in the county of Kent, Bart.
The Ipswich Journal 11 Oct 1828 issue 4725.
George next married Isabella TRAVERS  [MRIN: 21], daughter of Admiral Sir Eaton Stannard TRAVERS K.H.  and Lady Ann Palmer STEWARD , on 2 Mar 1858 in Swanage, DOR. (Isabella TRAVERS  was born in 1822 in Gorleston NFK, died on 9 Jan 1883 in Ravenstone Leicester. and was buried in Studland.)