|Crowborough and District Historical Society||
|Preacher Pratt by Malcolm Payne published 1996||Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 |
In 1898 Samuel died and was given a wonderful obituary in 'Rotherfield & Mayfield Journal'. After giving some account of Jesse's death in the mill, the text continues:
. . . Samuel thus became the eldest surviving son, and worked all his life in the mill. At his father's instigation he began to supply one or two people with periodicals, often walking four or five miles to deliver them, until at last he sold enough to have a parcel of them delivered from London. And so it went on until his newspaper business became the largest by far in the neighbourhood. It was in connection with the paper trade that the deceased was brought into contact with so many visitors, many of whom, returning year by year, grew quite familiar with him, and nothing pleased them better that a little chat with him (what a source for local history some record of these chats could be!).
Like his father, he was also a minister with the Strict Baptists denomination, and was Deacon at Gethsemane Baptist Chapel, Southview which, by the way was the first chapel in which his father preached . . .
After Samuel's death, his wife is noted as proprietor of the mill. Among the many fascinating tales one hears of this mill is one given to me by former life-resident, the late Mr Alec Markwick, whose family took over newspaper circulation from the Pratts. Alec told me a lock-up building at the mill was used by the military during the Great War, to hold soldiers who had broken the military code of behaviour. From there they were carded or marched back to the Wan-en Camp glasshouse. It was in the little shop in the now demolished Barcombe House, at the entrance of the lane to the mill, that Mrs Lambert, mother of the famous Jackie, (a minute dwarf who measured but 2 feet 10 inches at his death when 36 years old), kept a sweet, tobacco and tea shop. In this house lived for many years, the late Mr Maurice Paige - an excellent source for much of my local history knowledge, on whose family we must have a later record.