James Warden - Charmouth`s Tragic Hero


This is the fascinating story of a naval hero who bought the Manor of Charmouth in 1788 and built himself a fine Manor House at Langmoor. Just four years later he was killed by a neighbour after an argument over a dog in a famous duel near where the Hunters Lodge Inn is today on the outskirts of the village. His wife, Elizabeth, never really recovered from the tragedy and was buried with her husband in a tomb that stands near the entrance to St. Andrews Church in Charmouth. Both their lives are recorded in inscriptions carved in panels surrounding the memorial to them. The chest tomb is now over 200 years old and in a perilous state. We are hoping that a fund can be raised to restore it before it is too late and is just a pile of rubble. Entry to the talk will be free including refreshments, though it is hoped that money will be donated to the fund as a result.
The story begins in the year 1736 when James is born to Hugh and Sarah Warden who were living in Limehouse near the Tower of London. His father is described as a Mariner, which was the main occupation the Port of London then. James lost both parents by the time he was four and was bought up and educated by his aunt, Hannah and uncle, Captain William Parks who lived nearby in Three Colt Street.
James was educated at Greenwich Hospital School, which now forms part of the National Maritime Museum. He was trained to be a Midshipman between the ages of 12 and 14 before taking up this position in one of the many ships docked in the Port of London.

There is a gap now in our knowledge of his career until 1759, when he would have been 23 years of age. It is the inscription on his tomb which provides us with a clue for it records that “he was in 19 engagements during the memorable expedition against the French fleet under the gallant Hawke and was there at the surrender by the French of Bell Isle off their coast”. This was during the Seven Year War with that country. As a result of his reputation and success he was created Lieutenant in 1760.
The panels surrounding his tomb go on to detail his part in the American War of Independence when he assisted the British Grenadiers in a famous Battle at Kips Bay, where present day Manhattan in New York is today.
When at shore he was living at Wyke Regis, near Weymouth in Dorset. He was to marry Elizabeth in 1762, and they were to have three children, William, Sarah and Hannah.
Tragically Elizabeth was to die in 1773, leaving James with three young children to bring up.
His naval career now changes, and he commands “H. M. Adventure”, which was a 6gun Cutter, along the east coast of England and Scotland apprehending smugglers. A number of letters found in the Dorset Record Office between 1774 and 1775 show him later working for Edward Weld at Lulworth Castle sailing his Cutter between Weymouth and Newcastle carrying goods including lead, glass and wine.
By 1779 he is commanding “H.M. Wells” Intercepting neutral merchant ships as part of the Downs squadron. This appears to be the last of his naval engagements and now aged 43 returns to Lyme Regis, where he meets and later marries Elizabeth Crowter, a young widow. She comes from the wealthy Puddicombe family who own a number of properties including Wood Farm in Charmouth. They choose to live in Charmouth and in 1781 are renting a property that is now known as “The Well Head”.
The year 1788 was to be the turning point in James Warden’s fortunes as a result of the death of his Aunt, Hannah Parks in Limehouse. Her Will has survived and in it she leaves substantial properties and money to James, his wife and family. It coincided with the sale of the Manor of Charmouth which included many of its houses and fields by the Henvill’s, who were Plantation owners on the Island of St. Kitts in the West Indies. He was not able to afford all of it and sold all the fields to the north of the Street, to the village Rector, Brian Coombes, which was renamed “Backlands Farm”. This was the same gentleman he took to court the following year with other villagers for removing sand and stones from his beach.
Whilst here his family prospered and mixed with the higher echelons of society. His two daughters, Ann and Hannah married into the wealthy Liddons of Axminster and his son William went on to be a Captain in the Royal Navy.
All seemed to be going well until an incident regarding a dog led to a fierce argument with his neighbour Norman Bond, which culminated in a duel at Hunters Lodge, near Charmouth. James missed on the first shot and Norman killed him on the return and scared of being charged with murder he fled the country, although he later returned.
The inscriptions and verses around his tomb lament the loss of his life by his wife, Elizabeth which led to early death just a few years later.
Ann Liddon, the daughter of James inherited his estate and lived for a time at Langmoor Manor with her family. This was eventually rented, and she moved to the “The Stone House”, now called Melbourne House in Charmouth with her two unmarried daughters. Another daughter, Ann married Sir Richard Spencer and helped found Albany in Australia. It was her brother, Captain Matthew Liddon who eventually sold their Charmouth Estate in 1853 to George Frean, whose son was famous as founding Peak Frean, the biscuit firm.
Descendants of James Warden still hold him in high regard and in 1944, Prudence F.Liddon Tosetti was christened in Charmouth church on 15th October the same year. She was the great great granddaughter of Captain Matthew Liddon, grandson of James Warden and niece of Harry Liddon R.A.F. killed in action on 5th May 1943 whose name is on the War Memorial. A keepsake has come down to her in the form of a beautiful ring with the inscription To the Memory of James Warden Esq. Who fell in a duel, The 28th of April 1792 in the 56th year of his age”. This is the same as appears on his tomb today. It would be wonderful if the money could be raised to restore his memorial as a reminder of this important chapter in Charmouth`s history.

When you came into the Church tonight you would have walked past the large imposing chest tomb near the door on the right. It has stood here since it was erected over 200 years ago. Both Roberts in his “History of Lyme Regis and Charmouth” in 1827 and Hutchins in his “History of Dorset” in 1864 have detailed accounts of it.
The watercolour on the left was painted shortly after the completion of the church in 1836 with the church  today which replaced an earlier building that was demolished and dated back to the 13th. century. The architect was Charles Fowler who ensured that it rested on the footprint of the earlier church and did not disturb the grave yard. The group of people are standing by the “Clapcott” Chest Tomb  and on their left is Warden`s Tomb.

It must surely be our most important memorial in the village and it will no doubt fall to pieces in a few years unless it is repaired and restored before it is too late. The bottom photograph clearly shows how a vehicle has smashed into and dislodged the corner allowing the elements to get in and rust the supports. It is only a matter of time before the stone panels fall in and break.  One can also see how it has been patched up with cement rather than lime mortar especially on the top.  
After years of research we can at last reveal the full story of the famous gentleman whose body lies with that of his wife under this Tomb. We are very fortunate in that on  its sides are a number of panels with inscriptions relating to his life and the consequences of his tragic death on his wife who was to herself die a few years later.

The first panel you see has the following inscription “ To the Memory of James Warden Esq. Who fell in a duel, The 28th of April 1792 in the 56th year of his age”. This is the clearest as it was recut in 1957. Most of the others are difficult to see. Fortunately there is a record from 1864 in Hutchins History of Dorset and we have used that here on the subsequent slides. It would be wonderful if they too could be recut if sufficient funds were raised.

This panel has been the most important in tracing back James Warden`s exploits before he settled in Charmouth. It records that:
“He was created Lieutenant of his Majesty’s Navy in the year 1760 in which capacity he served his country with reputation and success. He was in 19 engagements during the memorable expedition against the French Fleet under the Gallant Hawke, and was present at the Surrender of Belle Isle.
On the commencement of hostilities with America, he voluntarily came forward to offer his service, and was in the number of those who first landed the British Grenadiers on that shore. After escaping the various dangers inseparable from his profession, he had the misfortune to experience the untimely end above mentioned”.

These three panels refer to James Warden`s widow whose maiden name was Elizabeth Newell Puddlecombe. They were written by her brother, Rev. John Newell Puddlecombe who was famous as a poet and was a Fellow of Dulwich College.
His brother, Rev Thomas Newell Puddicombe was  Vicar of Branscombe in Devon from 1786 until 1812 and was known for his long florid sermons and often made informative and gossipy comments on the people whose christenings and burials he attended.
One of his entries in 1798 was for his sister and reads as follows :
“Warden, Elizabeth Newell, widow of Lieut. James Warden, of Charmouth (who fell in a duel), and sister of Reverend Thomas Puddicombe, vicar of this parish, she died at the Vicarage, was taken to her own house at Axminster and thence to Charmouth and buried beside her husband.”
Thomas had inherited Wood Farm and other properties in Charmouth, from his sister and may well have been the gentleman to have had the splendid Tomb erected as a memorial to her and her husband.
The main panel reads:
“Sacred to the memory also of Elizabeth Newell Warden, relict of the above named Lt. James Warden, who after lingering upwards of six years, at length put off her mortal part, wasting with pinning sickness, to be clothed upon with immortality, on the 11th day of June 1798 in the 48th year of her age”.
The other panels  have verses  written by John relate to the sad and tragic fate of  Elizabeth after the death of her husband.

We will now attempt to tell you the story of James Warden`s life from the various records that have come down to us.
He was born in Limehouse shown here in 1736. Its position in the Docks of London was an ideal place for the young James to be bought up, especially as his father was a Mariner and his mother’s family came from  a similar background. His Uncle William Parks was described as a Captain in his wife’s Will and both lived in Limehouse with a number of other members of the large family.
In 1776, Limehouse was described by Sir John Fielding:
“as a place chiefly inhabited by sailors, where a man would be apt to suspect himself in another country. Their manner of living, sparking, acting, dressing and behaving, are so peculiar to themselves”.

James`s parents were Hugh and Sarah Warden. Their Marriage Certificate for 1731 still exists and shows them being married at the Collegiate Church of St. Katherine by the Tower of London illustrated here which was demolished in 1825 to build St. Katherines Docks. Hugh was described as a Mariner, born in 1707 and his wife is shown as Sarah Parks, born in 1706, both living in the parish of Limehouse. At that time London was the primary port of the British Empire, home to tens of thousands of Mariners and their dependents.

They had a house in the Parish of St. Anne’s in Limehouse, although early records reveal that Sarah`s family had previously lived in the adjoining parish of All Saints, Stepney, Tower Hamlets illustrated here. She was baptised in this church on the 30th August 1704 and was one of a number of children born to John and Elizabeth Parks including her brother William, who was later to play an important part in James Wardens life.

At the time of their marriage, both Hugh and Sarah were living in the parish of St. Ann`s in Limehouse, whose famous church designed by Nicholas  Hawksmoor in 1730  still stands today.

The Rates Books have survived for 18th century Limehouse and as a result it has been possible to pin point exactly where James and his family lived in Nightingale Lane, close to the River Thames. They reveal that in 1740 Sarah was living on her own  aged 36 at the address and that she was a widow. The following year the next Rate book has the property as empty and she is described as the “late Sarah Warden”.

The house in Nightingale Lane would have been just a short distance from the Wharfs in Limehouse as seen in the contemporary view above. It is just about possible to make out the lane today close to the huge St. Katherine`s docks that were later built nearby. As there are no further references to James`s family, we have to assume that  he had to face an uncertain future as an orphan, aged just five. Fortunately his mother`s brother. Captain William Parks and his wife Hannah,  who had no children of their own, were to adopt and provide him a good education.

The Parks also lived nearby in Limehouse, whose dock is seen here in a splendid contemporary watercolour. The Marriage licenses shown above for William reveal that he had married Margaret Davis in 1738. She may well have died later as another license for 1745 has him remarrying Hannah Woodward of the same parish when he was 35 years of age. There were no children in both marriages and the young James Warden was adopted by William and Hannah.

Again the Limehouse Rate books have proved to be very useful in providing us with information on their time at Three Colt Street near the banks of the Thames. The 1767 List has Captain William Parks  at the address, but two years after it was just Hannah as sadly her husband had died the year before. In his Will he leaves his considerable estate to his wife Hannah who was to live there for a further 20 years.

Three Colt Street in 1900. The image above is superimposed on a current view. The Mediaeval  buildings see on the left were demolished in 1947.

Records for Greenwich Hospital School detail that the young James Warden was  a pupil there and that his parents had been  Hugh and Sarah Warden, with his date of birth being on the 30 March 1735. The School was founded in 1712 as part of Greenwich Hospital, a 'charitable institution for the aged, infirm or young', and was established to provide boys from seafaring backgrounds with the rare privilege of learning arithmetic and navigation. It was at this time located in the spectacular buildings which now house the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. On leaving the School he would be trained as a Midshipman from the age of  twelve, with the eventual aim of being a Lieutenant and ultimately a Captain. Midshipmen were usually the sons of wealthy or aristocratic families training to become commissioned officers.

We the underwritten do hereby certify that James Warden, a youth, was eleven years old on the 30th of March last, and is the son of Hugh Warden, who has been Mate of Ships many years and Master of a Ship called "Ye James" belonging to Greenock and about ten years ago was cast away in "Ye John" of Yarmouth, going to Norway, and was himself drowned and all ye Ship’s Company. as witness our hands Richard Stratton, Willoughby Marchant. April 29th 1746.
It would appear that James Warden`s father died about 1736, soon after he was born and he was bought up my his mother and Aunt until entering School at the age of 11.


There is a gap now in our knowledge of James`s time in the Navy until the age of  23. We have to study the inscription on a panel on his Tomb by the entrance to St. Andrews Church to understand the next chapter in his life. It reads that “He was in 19 engagements during the memorable expedition against the French fleet under the gallant Hawke”. He would still have been a lowly Midshipman, but it would have given him experience of the fighting British Fleet in action at the large number of engagements that he participated in. Sir Edward Hawke went on to achieve a victory over a French fleet at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in November 1759 during the Seven Years' War, preventing a French invasion of Britain. He developed the concept of a Western Squadron, keeping an almost continuous blockade of the French coast throughout the war.

James must have excelled as his Tomb informs us that he achieved the rank of Lieutenant in the year 1760 at the age of 24 – a position he was to hold the rest of his life, never making the senior position of Captain.
Again we return back to the inscription on his tomb to read that he was with “the Gallant Hawke at the Surrender of Belle Isle”. The print of the Battle shown here gives us an idea of how it would have been observed by the young lieutenant in 1761. The Capture of Belle Île was a British amphibious expedition to capture the  French island off the  Brittany coast during the Seven Years War. After an initial British attack was repulsed, there was a second attempt  and a landing was made, and after a six-week siege the island's main citadel at Le Palais was stormed, consolidating British control of the island. A French relief effort from the nearby mainland was unable to succeed because of British control of the sea. The British occupied the island for two years before returning it in 1763 following the Treaty of Paris. James Warden was very proud of his part in the Battle.

On his return to England after his time with Sir Edward Hawke he met and later married Elizabeth Smith in 1762. We know from Parish records displayed here that in 1763, Hannah Parks Warden was christened in All Saints Church in Wyke Regis, near Weymouth in Dorset to James and Betty Warden. James would have been 27 in that year. He obviously kept his adopted parents in high regard incorporating their names in that of his children. An entry shown above records that Ann  Parks Warden was born the following year to the young couple. This painting is of the  church near the coast  with Weymouth in the distance, where he would set out from on his naval adventures..

In Wyke Regis the majority of the houses were concentrated around the church, square and down the high street towards Portland. This no doubt would have been where the Wardens lived. The Tithe Map shown here with the family tree recording that they were to have three children whilst there. To find out more about James`s life in Wyke Regis we must now go to The Public Record Office at Kew which holds the records  for the Admiralty.

From 1760 it was obligatory for captains and masters of naval ships to record observations about the coasts and ports they visited, and supply this information to the Admiralty in ships' remark books. We are fortunate that James Warden as Commander of the 6 gun HM Cutter “Adventure” from  26 September 1764 until 30 September 1766  wrote in a Record Book which has survived. He was patrolling the east coast of England and Scotland and the English Channel. As a coastal Customs officer his job was that of  apprehending smugglers.  Cutters evolved during the second quarter of the Eighteenth Century in Southeast England as swift channel vessels. They soon gained a deserved reputation for their speed, which was not unnoticed by smugglers who soon adopted the Cutter as their preferred smuggling craft. In turn, Cutters were employed by the British Customs Service to counter the smugglers.  
He was to sail from Leith, near Edinburgh illustrated here on the 15th. October 1764 for Portsmouth after receiving orders to enter as many men as possible.

Unfortunately the Cutter proved to be leaky and James writes that he  had to employ a Master Carpenter at Burntisland to caulk and nail her. He sailed again on the evening of the 25th and  later reports on 7th November that with no Master on board he had had to employ a pilot for the North Coast.
In 1766 the ADVENTURE cutter was based in the Firth of Forth. She was damaged in Leith Harbour at the beginning of August and The damage was confined to the upper works so they could be carried out by John SYME, the Carpenter in Leith. On 29th. November George CLARK, the gunner's mate, was drowned. In March 1767 Thomas RICHMOND, the Master, asked to be replaced due to failing eyesight. By September James had been superseded by Lieutenant George YOUNGHUSBAND. The Adventure ended its days in Sheerness where it was sold for £50 in 1768.
It is interesting to see that his only son, William Weeks Wharton Warden was born at Burntisland in 1766, near Edinburgh, where the family may well have lived briefly.

The family later returned to Wyke Regis as there was an entry in their Parish Records detailing the burial of Elizabeth, the wife of James Warden in the year 1773.  Her death must have had a profound affect on James as he was now just 37 years of age with three young children to bring up without their mother. He may well have left them with his Aunt. Hannah  Parks  who was residing in Wapping at this time. The photograph is of  All Saints  church today with the Parish Record showing

 After the death of his wife James continued to live in Wyke Regis, near Weymouth as  there are a number of letters from there in the Dorset Record Office in Dorchester. They  reveal that from 1774 until 1775 he was sailing to various ports carrying commodities for Edward Weld of Lulworth Castle in Dorset in his Yacht which included Lead, Glass and wine. Edward Weld at that time owned Lulworth Castle and the painting here is of him by the famous Italian artist Pompeo Batoni. His will was proven November 7, 1775, just after he died from a fall from his horse and only four months after he married Maria Smythe, who was later to become Maria Fitzherbert, the secret wife of the future King George IV but, as he didn’t have a chance to update his will, Maria was left with nothing at his death.

The painting is of the “Sherbourne” Cutter which was similar to that used by James along the coast of Dorset. The letters above are just some of those written by James to Edward Weld.
On September 3rd 1774 he writes to Edward at Stoneyhurst, Lancashire, informing him that he had taken on board the Lead, and six crates of glass at Newcastle. Three days on he is writing telling him that he was forced back in a violent gale as far as Flamborough Head. A few days later he sends a further letter from Lulworth to Edward which reads as follows:
“I have the pleasure to acquaint you I arrived safe this day in a hard gale of Wind, easterly and as soon as the unnecessary stores and rigging is taken out of the Cutter, shall lay her up in the back water - your wine is safe on shore, but am afraid the glass has suffered much, owing to the bad weather”.

Later on the 26th September 1774,James writes from Weymouth, where he was living, to Edward. In the letter he recollects “the difficulties you both had undergone in the Cove Cutter, and for these three days past have had as bad weather as ever known on this coast, the 22nd was forced on Portland beach, a Dutch vessel, when only three out of eleven of the crew were saved”. He reports that some of the lead ballast has been embezzled and he would give an account of all disbursements  which he would  send to Lulworth Castle. He signs himself as  Warden, Master of Edward Welds Yacht.

There is now a jump to 1775, with the letters now being sent from Lyme Regis, which may well be where James was living by then. He writes on the 6th February of that year to Edward Weld in a very humbling manner, asking for his assistance in securing command of H.M. Sherborne.
My friend Captain Day having informed me that you were to be at Weymouth one day last week. I waited on purpose to pay my respects to you, and return you thanks for your kind intention to serve me.
From the above information I am emboldened to request your interest with your friends, for their getting me appointed to his Majesty’s Cutter the Sherbourne, which will soon become vacant, but if such appointment should be filled up - your friends requesting to see my name put on said List for the first promotion of Masters and Commanders, and by the Information of the public prints this day - such promotion must very soon take place - your endeavours will lay an everlasting obligation on Him whose greatest Study and Happiness will be to do honour to your recommendation from Sir your obliged and humble servant James Warden".

(HMS Sherborne was a 10-gun Cutter of the Royal Navy.  She served in the English Channel as a Revenue ship operating against smugglers.)
He later wrote to the same gentleman on 4th December of that year trying to gain his favour by presenting him with a Turkey and pair of Soles  Unfortunately he was not successful in getting the commission for HMS Sherborne as sadly Edward Weld died before the year was out.

We now return back to James Wardens Tomb for the next chapter in his eventful life. It records that “on the commencement of hostilities with America he voluntarily came forward to offer his service, and was in the number of those who first landed the British Grenadiers".
A little research shows that must have been in 1776, after his time with Edward Weld, when he would have taken troops to New York before the Battle there between the British and Americans. One wonders what was to become of his three motherless children aged 12, 11 and 10. They may well have been living with their Aunt as we know that William would have been educated like his father at Greenwich College.
The event that the Tomb inscription refers to is The Landing by the British at Kip’s Bay, near present day Manhattan on September 15 1776 during the New York campaign in the American Revolutionary War

The heavy advance fire from British naval forces in the  East River caused the inexperienced militia guarding the landing area to flee, making it possible for the British to land unopposed at Kips Bay. Skirmishes in the aftermath of the landing resulted in the British capture of some of those militia. The flight of American troops was so rapid that George Washington, who was attempting to rally them, was left exposed dangerously close to British lines. The operation was a British success. The painting shows the British Grenadiers referred to at the height of the battle.

After his time in New York, James returned home and  we see him  next in command of H.M. Cutter “Wells”. It had 6 three pounder guns and 8 swivel guns with a crew of 30 men. He served on the Downs Squadron guarding the Straits of Dover, protecting British shipping from French privateers and blockading neutral ships from supplying military goods to French ports. The records reveal that his son, William Weeks Wharton Warden was now a Midshipman aged just 13 under his father`s command.
On 15th March 1779, Rear Admiral Francis Drake reported to the Admiralty that he had directed H.M. Cutter “Wells” and two armed Cutters to cruise between the Dover Sand and Calais to intercept a neutral ship loaded with cannon bound for Toulon. Drakes dispatches to the Admiralty contains scores of accounts of the interception and seizure of neutral merchant ships carrying contraband down the Channel to enemy ports. An incident was recorded of James Warden  seizing a Spanish Ship which was only a quarter of a mile off the coast of Kent when taken and was carrying a cargo destined for a London Merchant in payment of a debt. The outcome of which was that the  merchant had to go to the High Court to get compensation for his loss.

By 1779 James Warden was forty three, residing with his two daughters Hannah, aged 16 and Ann, aged 15 in Lyme Regis . He would have probably known James Crowcher and his young wife Elizabeth who were married in 1770 in the town. The families had lived near each other in Wapping, where his Aunt, Hannah Parks owned a number of properties.
The Crowchers had made a considerable fortune as  Rope Makers and there is a fine Tomb in Wapping for the father Joseph who in 1752, the year of his death, became Master of the Vintners Company in London.
It is difficult to understand why both James Warden and James Crowcher who had both originated from the Port of London should be living in Lyme Regis at that time. It may be that it was already a popular place for Naval officers to reside in. WE can be confident that they must have known each other and no doubt good friends. The young Elizabeth Crowcher must surely have caught James`s eye. For when she lost her husband in 1778, it was James that she turned to and the following year they were married nearby at St. Giles`s Church in Chideock.
James Crowcher had his life cut short in 1778 and his wife, Elizabeth was to later fall for the charms of James, even though there was a large age gap and they were to marry the following year.

Elizabeth Newell Puddicombe came from a distinguished family in Lyme Regis. A John Newell first appears in their records in 1625 as a Merchant and his son played a gallant part in the Siege during the Civil War. Nicholas Newell has been Mayor in 1744 and his grandson, John Puddicombe twice mayor 1768 & 73. The family had links with Charmouth as they owned Wood Farm on its outskirts. There was quite a difference in age between the two with James by then aged 43 and Elizabeth still 28. His  two teenage daughters, Hannah and Ann were to live with them.

The couple seem to have settled down in Charmouth and there is no further information regarding James`s time in the Navy. They were shown as renting “Adcocks” house from 1781 in the Land Tax lists. John Adcock had originally come from London and had paid £105 to a Miss Palmer for the house. James Warden and his new wife, Elizabeth were to continue to live there until 1788. 
The photograph shows it as a fine 5 bay Georgian house, before it was refronted . The property was later called Bruton House and is now known as “The Well Head”. The inset photograph today has a different appearance and the adjoining barns have been rebuilt in brick.
There are some early records of James in the village. In 1786 he appears in the Parish records as objecting to Jethro Cook standing as Church Warden. In the same years he subscribed to a book containing the Sermons of his wife`s distinguished brother. John Puddicombe, M.A. Fellow of Dulwich-College; Late of Pembroke-Hall, Cambridge.

When James`s Aunt - Hannah Parks, died in 1788 she made him the principle beneficiary  and left a lifetime interest in her London properties, upon whose death they passed to "his son William Weekes Wharton Warden". She also made specific bequests to "Mrs Elizabeth Newell Warden wife of the said James Warden" (£100), to Hannah Parks Warden , Ann Warden, and to various cousins. The long document is of great interest and refers to Ann Warden receiving a chain with the name of her mother, Elizabeth Smith on it and William Warden receiving her house in Limehouse on the death of his father.

The year 1788 was to be the turning point in James Warden’s fortunes as a result of the death of his Aunt, Hannah Parks in Limehouse. She was to leave substantial properties and money to him and his family. It coincided in the same year with the sale of the Manor of Charmouth which included many of its houses and fields by Francis Phipps Henvill, who was a Plantation owner on the Island of St. Kitts in the West Indies and had inherited the village from a cousin. After its purchase, James decided to sell  all the fields to the north of the Street, to the village Rector, Brian Coombes, which was renamed “Backlands Farm. The Wardens were to live in the Old Manor opposite the church, shown here. As with many houses in the village it was refronted in the 19th century and hides a  fine 16th century house within. At that time there was a Coach House opposite which was later sold and demolished.

Although James and Elizabeth lived at the Old Manor in Charmouth, soon after buying much of the village they began  construction  on a fine house at Langmoor on the edge of Charmouth which is seen here in as it was in

Langmoor Manor is the building hatched in pink in the centre of the pleasure gardens and 28 acres of  fields and woods that surrounded it. It was to be owned by the family until being purchased in 1853 by George Frean, who re sold it to James Moly from Hawkchurch, who in turn gave it to Lyme Regis Council. They were to sell it  in 1910 and with the funds purchased a field above Lyme Regis  and created the  “Langmoor  Gardens” we know today.

This painting looking across to Lyme Regis is by William Daniels. The shore and most of the land between it and The Street was bought by James Warden in 1788. The Land Tax on the left for that year has Francis Henvill as owner and James Warden renting some from him. By the following year James was the new owner leasing the main farm known as “Sea Lands” to John Bowdridge. The remainder had been sold to village Rector, Brian Coombes and was known as “Backlands”, who is listed below with John Bowdridge as  farming his lands as well.
James  was to fall out with the Rector over his ownership of the beach in a court case  soon after his purchase. The letter to the Court reads as follows:
“Whereas James Warden Esq. the present Lord of the Manor of Charmouth has endeavoured to dispossess us of the ancient right and privileges etc which our ancestors have enjoyed from time immemorial without let or hindrance having free egress from the said parish to the seashore and to take for their own uses seaweed, Ore, stone , sand and gravel which they are entitled to. We the undersigned hereby agree to defend the rights defrayed by a proportion of the parish rates". Signed Brian Coombe, John Bragge and Thomas Edwards.
The village lost the action and the opportunity to remove material from the beach which must have angered them.
Historically the Lord of the Manor had authority over the shore at Charmouth, a privilege our village council as Lords of the Manor still keep which is very unusual as most of the coast is owned by the Crown.

This Tithe Map clearly shows the village mainly confined within the 14th century wall on the north and ditch to the south along the Street. James Warden would have owned most of the land to the south of the Street where so much housing has been built since including many of those sitting in the audience tonight.

The following year after becoming Lord of the Manor of Charmouth and its principle Land Owner we find from newspaper reports that he took out a license to kill Game on his estate. There is also a notice in the Bath Chronicle that:
“Lately was married at Axminster, Matthew Liddon. Esq., of Weycroft House to Miss Ann Warden, youngest daughter of James Warden, Esq., of Charmouth”.
The Liddons were one of the principle families in Axminster at that time as Farmers and Tanners. Matthew is a Captain in the East Devon Fussilers , ready to fight for his country against the French. The following year the young couple were to have a son who was born in Axminster, who they named James Warden Liddon after her father.
Just two years later James and Elizabeth Warden are at another wedding in Axminster, this time his daughter, Hannah Parks Warden was to marry William, cousin of Matthew Liddon.
The Quarter Session reports that in 1790: James Warden of Charmouth had appointed his son in law, Matthew Liddon of Waycroft to be the new Gamekeeper on his Charmouth Estate.
James could be proud of his only son, William who had followed his fathers path at Naval College before becoming a midshipman serving with him on HMS Wells.

The photograph is of Weycroft today and a sketch of how it would have looked when the Liddons lived there at the end of the 18th century.
The painting is of Matthew Liddon as a child painted in 1770`s which has come down through the family.

James it would seem had everything going for him with a young attractive wife, successful children  and a privileged life in Charmouth.
Unfortunately that was all to change as a result of  an incident on the 28th April 1792,that will forever darken James Warden and his families name.
I think we all have had arguments, but it would seem nothing like that which James Warden had with his neighbour over his dogs. Even when he had the chance of keeping his life it would seem he forsake it rather than apologise. His antagonist seemed equally to blame for initiating the duel, which ultimately led him to leave the country rather than be hung for murder. It is an astonishing tale which is till remembered today two centuries on. A contemporary report by The Bath Chronicle gives little away as it describes the event as follows:
“On Saturday morning, at 5 o’clock, a duel was fought in a field at Hunters’ Lodge, near Axminster between Captain. W. And Mr. B. Of Charmouth, in which the former was unhappily killed upon the spot. The Captain`s ball grazed the flap of Mr. B’s hat, and he instantly returned the fire, and shot him through the body”.
Another from Lloyds Evening Post provides further insight into the events outcome of Wilful Murder.
“ Yesterday morning, at half after four o’ clock. Mr. Warden, of the Navy, and a Mr. Bond. Both residents at Charmouth, met in a field near Lyme, to terminate an unhappy difference by duel. Warden made the first fire, and missed his antagonist. Bond returned it, and his shot unfortunately taking place in the breast of Mr. Warden, killing him on the spot. A doctor of Lyme, called on at four in the morning to accompany them, was the only attendant on the unhappy occasion. The Coroners Jury, which sat last night on the body of the deceased, bought on their verdict - Wilful Murder.
As this event is full of question marks we have thoroughly researched it and provide you with the evidence from a number of reports , some of which were from those who witnessed it. It is difficult to judge whether James was in the wrong or not. What ever the truth there is no doubt that as a consequence he lost his life at a young age after only briefly taking on the role of Lord of the Manor of Charmouth.
As usual it is the famous Charmouth Historian, Reginald Pavey who provides us with the most accurate reports of the event. For in 1950 he contacted the Rev. George Yonge, then living in the Old Cleeve Rectory at Watchet in  Somerset. This gentleman was the great great grandson of Norman Bond, who had shot the bullet that had killed James on that fateful day. He provided some contemporary correspondence which makes for fascinating reading, although it may be biased towards his ancestor.

The following is a Statement by John Bragge., who at that time was living in Luttrell House shown here.
“In the morning of the 24th day of April 1792 as I was sitting on horseback talking with Mr. Bond at the door of his house in Charmouth, Mr Warden came up the street to whom (as soon as he had approached within a few paces, Mr. Bond, in a civil manner said “Good morning to you sir”. To which Mr. Warden made no answer, but with a look of scorne and displeasure turned from him and after speaking a few words with me was passing on. After he had walked a few paces, Mr. Bond called to him saying “Sir I would wish to speak to you” and on Mr. Warden turning round said “I received a message in your name just before I left home imparting that’s you would shoot my dogs if I did not keep them up. I really can scarce believe that you sent such an ungentlemanlike message.” Mr Warden then in a loud and menacing tone, answered “ Yes sir, I did send it” and now also tell you that you are a dammed scoundrel” at the same time lifting up a stick he had in his hand threatened to knock him down, poured forth a torrent of oaths and abuse and even struck on him several times, which Mr. Bond avoided and came up to me and asked me for a whip, which on my refusing, very cool told Mr. Warden that he was altogether unaccustomed to abusive language and would not contend with him in that way. To which Mr. Warden answered “He was ready to meet him in any way whatever” walked off uttering abuses all the way until out of hearing.
During the whole of the above altercation Mr. Bond was perfectly cool and collected, whereas Mr. Warden, on the contrary, was in the highest passion, malicious and vengeful.
To the best of my recollection the foregoing is the substance of what passed between Mr. Warden and Mr. Bond in my presence.

Signed John Bragge.

Hutchins in his History of Dorset has a contemporary report of the Duel
Mr Warden having a dispute with his neighbour and former friend Mr Bond, on the subject of game, and language having passed on both sides which the feelings of gentlemen could not brook, a duel was a consequence. The parties met early in the morning in a field near the Hunters Lodge between Charmouth and Axminster. Mr Warden attended by a second, his son in law, Matthew Liddon, and Mr. Bond without one, having found it difficult from a secrecy usually observed on such occasions to procure any gentleman to accompany him, and the more so as his residence at Charmouth had been too short a date to firm acquaintances. The first fire fell to the lot of Mr. Warden, whose ball passed through Mr. Bond’s hat. Mr. Bond was a more unerring marksman, immediately on his firing Mr. Warden fell, being shot through the heart.
The coroner’s inquest having brought to their verdict wilful murder against Mr. Bond (being perhaps compelled to do so by the circumstance of Mr. Bond having given the challenge, though his behaviour was no other than that of a man of honour, in a truly delicate and distressing situation), he was obliged to seek refuge in a foreign land”.

The western Antiquary has a long report on the Duel and some useful information can be gathered from it. It describes Norman Bond as a lawyer.
So high did the quarrel rise, and James Warden  refusing to qualify or retract what he had said, the lawyer sent him a challenge. The story goes, the officer declined it, not from fear but an aversion he has to this method of settling such a difference but being upbraided by those who should have known better, and used to fight it out, at last decided to do so. The parties met on a heath on a high hill between Charmouth and Axminster.
The officer fired first and missed his antagonist. There on Norman Bond dropped his weapon and said “ Now, you have shot at me and missed, retract what you have said, or acknowledge that you are wrong, and I will fire mine into the air, if you do not there will be nothing left for me but to shoot you”. This however, James Warden refused to do, and the lawyer again raised his pistol, and taking careful aim, fired at the officer, shooting him through the heart, and he staggered a pace or so and fell instantly dead. The terrified seconds, and a surgeon who was with the party, rushed forward to the prostate man. Norman Bond, who appeared a person of cool and determined disposition, walked slowly over, gazed steadily a moment at his lifeless foe, and in answer to the upturned glances of those kneeling beside him said, very quietly and with no trace of emotion, “ I believed he is dead, gentlemen,” then without semblance of hurry, walked back to his post- chaise, drove rapidly off, and was never heard of afterwards.”

The aftermath of the Duel is revealed in a letter from the Lawyer, John Palmer to Mr. Mellor. Attorney at Law. New Bridge Street, London. Lyme Regis February 19th 1793
Sir,Not being able to see Mr. Forward till yesterday I could not answer your letter sooner. Unless Mr. Bond should surrender or be apprehended he may rest assured of no danger from that quarter. He is bound over to prosecute merely by being overseer of Axminster at the time of the duel. Mrs Wardens attorney is Mr. Brown of Bedford Row to whom Mr. Forward says he referred you in answer to your letter. I am happy to find that Matthew Liddon the Captain`s Second had Mr. Bond`s first challenge and I have convinced his cousin how much it is in his interest that it should be given up and I expect it Friday. He if convicted may under no circumstances expect a reprieve. Mrs Warden on  Sunday took Sergeant Rockes opinion how she should act and the Sergeant told her that however unsafe you might be, she, Mr. Liddon and even Mr. Hingeston were in a much worse predicament, for they had the kind of excuse to plead on their parts.
There are circumstances relative to her omitted in your case, tending greatly to aggravate the part she took in the business, such as choosing the pistols. Thanking by message the gentleman who had lent them. Taking leave of her husband who left her regretting his fears that he should never return.
Her indifference at hearing of his death which gave her an opportunity in the afternoon of preventing as she knew of the appointment, lives in sight of the home of the magistrate and he left her for hours under the pretence of borrowing Pistols he never made use of or took out with him for no other purpose than to give her that opportunity.
In short she seemed determined that one of them should fall. If Mr Bond, that her husband must be hanged and if the latter she was fair rid of him, and however she may give out and threaten ( which I hear she does) what she will do, she is no fool and therefore I would, was I Mr. Bond, settle in some other part of England and not surrender at the Assizes.
I am Sir your most obedient servant

John Palmer.
The letter does not hold James Wardens widow in a very good light.
John Palmer was a Lawyer based in Lyme Regis, and appeared as a witness to James Wardens Will.
Samuel Forward was a Lawyer in Axminster. Ironically his son married James Warden`s grand daughter Harriet Liddon.

You may wonder what happened to  Norman Bond, after the duel as at that time it was a criminal offence. It would seem from the last letter that he looked into standing Trial, but was warned against it by his lawyer, John Palmer. As a consequence he went to Barbados and one would assume never seen again. But it seemed he must have returned as in 1817 he was at the wedding of his daughter, Mary Bond. She married Weston Yonge of Charnos Hall in Stafford which is illustrated here. They must have still held their father in high regard as their first son was christened Norman Bond Yonge after him.
As to Norman, he returned to his small estate in the parish of Aberguilly, close to Carmarthen. The 1841 Census for that year has him aged 80 living with a servant in the village. This was the year that he died and his Will leaves a considerable Estate to his family. Sadly there is no reference to his brief time in Charmouth over 40 years before.

The slide is of  the first page of James Warden`s long Will which makes for interesting reading. It mentions his three children – Hannah, William and Anne. The latter inherits most of his estate after his wife. It is difficult to reason why he leaves little to the others. It may well be that they were comfortably off and had already inherited from their Aunt Hannah Parks and Ann and her husband were closer to him. His friend James Harvey Pierce is mentioned in a favourable light as Trustee. James was still clearly living at The Old Manor, with his new house at Langmoor still to be completed. John Palmer, his lawyer was one of the witnesses and you may remember as making a statement earlier about the events that led up to the infamous Duel.

The first page of the detailed Will of Elizabeth Warden in 1798 gives us an insight into her closeness to her stepchildren. To each she gives various items which had once been their fathers. Included amongst these are his clothes, Swords, Spy glasses and a bracelet containing his portrait. There are bequests to various members of her family and friends. She is obviously not residing at Langmoor as she refers to her tenant Mr. Dicken as living there. Finally she gave a number of houses, warehouses and wharfs at Wapping. to John Harvey Pierce a family friend to provide an income of £25 half yearly to her sister and brother. These were obviously those inherited by her husband from his Aunt, Hannah Parks.

This map shows Hermitage Lane, which is very near to Nightingale Lane, where the young James warden lived. John Harvey Pierce died in 1818 and his Will refers to 8 houses in Hermitage street and a public house in Union Stairs called The Edinburgh Castle with the Warehouses, Stable and dwelling House adjoining situated in Wapping near the Hermitage. These had formerly  belonged to James and Elizabeth Warden. An abstract of James Pierce`s Will is shown on the right detailing the estate.

James Warden`s widow, Elizabeth  was to spend her last few days with her brother, Rev. Thomas Puddlecombe at the Rectory in Branscombe in Devon.  On her death her body was returned to Charmouth where she was buried with her late husband. Her three  stepchildren  would have mourned her death in 1798. The Manor of Charmouth then passed to her stepdaughter, Ann Liddon, who was to have at least five children with her husband Matthew and were shown as living at Furzleigh in Axminster. Tragically her husband`s life was cut short in 1803 when he died at the age of 40 and she had to bring up her young children on her own. Although she had inherited the Langmoor Manor and the  Charmouth estate she found it difficult to make ends meet and both were mortgaged or rented out. Her eldest son, named  after her father - James Warden Liddon, was born in 1790, trained as a Surgeon, but tragically in 1830  died on board The “James” off the coast of Mauritius. Research into his past has drawn a blank so far and no doubt if circumstances had been different he would have inherited her Estate. Instead it was her younger son, Matthew John and his family who were to benefit after her death in 1849. The family tree shows the family descent in the bolder frames.  

Ann  Liddon was to live for a time at Langmoor Manor and bring her young family up there. This is clearly shown with the painting of her young daughter, Ann with the house in the background., c.1810 which now hangs in the Albany Museum in Australia. Her name appears as Lady of the Manor and as the largest Land owner in the village  in the Land Tax lists. In 1811 she was advertising for a tenant for “Sealands Farm”, where Higher Sea Lane is today. It consisted of 40 acres of fields and a Lime Kiln, near  where the Heritage Centre is today. The year 1812 was to prove an expensive time for her seeking to find the £2000 settlement for the marriage of her daughter, Ann Warden Liddon to Captain Richard Spencer. This  resulted in her selling some of her Charmouth properties and taking out a mortgage from a family friend - Rev. Charles Forward. By 1821 her creditors wanted payment, as she had not paid any interest on the loan. She was fortunate to borrow £1500 from Sarah Northcote using the security of Charmouth Manor to pay off the other creditors and merge her debts.
Tragedy was to hit the family in 1830 when her eldest son James , a Surgeon in the Navy died at sea. He would have been 40 years of age.

In 1831 Ann bought “The Stone House”, now called Melbourne House from the Miss Rickards, whose father had been Steward to Benedicta Durston, Lady of the Manor. 
The Census for the year 1841 reveals that she was 70 in that year and was living in Melbourne House with her daughters- Sophia, aged 35 and Lucy aged 30. She continued there until her death in 1849, aged 85. Her two remaining daughters never married and spent the rest of their years there. Sophia dying in 1853 and Lucy in 1879, both were buried at St. Andrews Church in Charmouth. The house was to  remain empty until 1884, when her niece, Ann Liddon inherited the house on her attaining the age of 21.  She later married Frank Martin Vines, a Farmer from Gloucester in 1886 and soon after sold Melbourne House to Richard Oliver for £450 ending over a 100 years of the family in Charmouth.

The same view today of Melbourne House and to the left of it is “Water Head House” where James Warden first lived when he came to Charmouth with his young bride in 1781.

It is fascinating to compare the two daughters of James Warden and his first wife Elizabeth. Both were born within a year of each other and then married  cousins of the Liddon family and died in 1849 in weeks of each other. Hannah was the elder of the two sisters and was to marry William Liddon of Axminster in 1791. We do not know too much about her life apart from the fact that her husband was a farmer with lands in Kilmington, which is where he died in 1831. They had a large family with at least 5 boys and 2 girls. After her husbands death the 1841 census shows her living with some of her family in Cowick Street in Exeter.

William Weeks Wharton Warden, was James`s only son, born in 1766 at the port of Burntisland near Edinburgh whilst his family were staying there. He was to follow his father and uncles path into the Navy. After his time at Greenwich College he served as a midshipman with his father on HMS. Wells and then with Captain Jonathan Faulknor in the 98-gun HMS Princess Royal in May 1782 and went out with Richard Howe, 1st Earl Howe's fleet to relieve Gibraltar. He later saw action at the Battle of Cape Spartel on 20 October 1782, shown here in this famous painting of the naval battle off Morocco. No doubt aged just 16 he returned for shore leave with his father and new wife at their house in Charmouth. He later served on a number of ships and reached the rank of Lieutenant in 1796.

The earliest record we have of him living in the area is in 1804 when he rented a house in Lyme Regis from Eleanor Coade. It must have been at this time that he married Elizabeth, who a later Census reveals as being born in Kent. The following year they have a daughter Sarah Ann who was christened in Axminster and in 1807 another daughter, Harriet was christened at St. Osyth in Essex.  This is the year where Lieutenant William Warden,  commands  the sloop, Rattlesnake, shown in this slide  with the capture and subsequent destruction of the French privateer Deux Soeurs. He then went on to command Signal posts along the coasts of Essex and Sussex and retired as a Commander in 1830.

William Warden had received an annuity from his father and property from his Aunt Hannah Parks and was able by 1851 to live in a fine house in Chichester shown here called East Pallant, which is an Art Galley today. By then he was  aged 85  and his wife Elizabeth,68 and daughter Sarah Ann Warden  who lived with them, was aged 40.
He spent his final days in Brighton where he died in1856 aged 90 and was buried in the Extra Mural Cemetery  which has a memorial to him, his wife and daughter.

William Weeks Warden had two daughters. Sarah Ann who never married  and  Harriet who married Samuel Forward in 1822. He came from a family of wealthy solicitors in Axminster, whose names regularly  appears on legal documents of the time.  They were to lease a house where the Court is today in Charmouth, shown in this photograph c.1900. The advert from 1848 is when the property came up for sale with its neighbour. Samuel was to die in 1859 and Harriet in 1878, by which time she was living in Chard in Somerset.

On 31 August 1812 Richard Spencer married Ann Warden Liddon of Charmouth, Dorset. Her wedding Dowry was £2000. a considerable  amount for her mother to find. She had to sell some of her properties and mortgage the remainder to raise the money.
A large house called Streets on the corner of Barrs Lane, where the parade of shops is today, had previously been owned by the village Rector, Brian Combes and was bought by them in 1818.  With it they bought a narrow strip of the common, which in 1924 had five houses built on it shown on the map -Orchard End, Pembroke, Tideswell, Bracoden, Broadlands. After they were married they must have lived in the village as they had 2 sons -James Spencer was born in 1814 and their second, Hugh, the following year and were both christened at St. Andrews.
Ann was to accompany her husband and brother, Matthew John  Liddon  on HMS Erne in that year to the Mediterranean where Richard and his ship were based. Tragically, whilst there the Spencers  were to lose their first born, James in Malta.

Richard Spencer  entered the navy at 14 as a midshipman, serving in Channel patrols and later on North American and West Indian Stations. He Transferred to the Mediterranean at 21, where he was promoted lieutenant in the captured French Guillaume Tell. In the brig Camelion he commanded a unit of a gunboat patrol for some years. Spencer was then sent to join HMS Victory and Nelson appointed him to command the captured French ship Le Renard (Renamed HMS Crafty), which he did for five eventful years.
Early in 1808, he was appointed commander of the corvette Semarang on the East Indies Station, where his service in the subjection of Amboina and adjacent islands brought promotion to command the Blanche, and post rank early in 1812. Soon afterwards he went on half pay until June 1815 he was appointed to HMS Eurdice shown in this painting and sent to Ireland. Three months later he transferred to the Mediterranean and was stationed at Malta with HMS Erne The war with France was finally over and Richard was made Companion of the Bath for all his gallantry in the Navy.

When his naval career ended in 1817 he settled in the house shown here near the Cobb in Lyme Regis with his wife during which seven of their ten children were born. After the great storm of 1824 which destroyed much of the town he was engaged in pioneering ideas for a buoyant and self-righting lifeboat. This was an adapted pilot boat, with copper buoyancy tanks fitted. In 1833 he was knighted and gained the office of  government resident of Albany in Western Australia, on the recommendation of Sir James Stirling. In the same year Spencer and his family sailed in the store ship Buffalo, loaded  with plants, livestock, farm implements, stores and servants to Albany in Western Australia which he reached in September of that year.

Albany's development in the next six years was largely due to Spencer's energy. On arrival he bought Strawberry Hill and extended the farm and house. Spencer died suddenly there on 24 July 1839. His grave, as he wished, overlooked King George Sound. In 1843 Lady Ann Spencer took three of her sons to England for education, but later one was drowned, another was sent to New Zealand and a third was killed by a falling tree. Her daughter, Eliza Lucy Spencer married Captain Sir George Grey on 2 November 1839 who  was later to become  Premier of New Zealand.
In 1864 Eliza Grey came to Charmouth to visit her Aunt Lucy at Melbourne House and may well have attended the funeral of her uncle Mathew John Liddon who had been very close the family. The painting is of Albany as it was when the Spencers were there. There is a book on the life of Sir Richard Spencer by Gwen Chessell which goes into much more detail about his adventurous life for those wishing to find out more.

The Spencers are very well regarded in Albany and descendants often visit Charmouth. The town has a number of memorials to Sir Richard and his house, shown here has been restored and is now owned by the National Trust of Australia.

Matthew John Liddon followed a similar path to his grandfather in the Navy. He was born in 1801 in Axminster, the youngest of 5 children. He was to lose his father just two years later. He had an older brother, James who was to become a Surgeon in the Navy. Matthew may have been at the Royal Naval College in Portsmouth to train as a Midshipman. He had his first opportunity in that role when he sailed under Captain Richard Spencer, his brother in law, in 1815, at the age of 15 on the 20 gun HMS Erne. His sister Ann accompanied them to the Mediterranean, where they were based in Malta. Matthew obtained his commission of Lieutenant in 1828 and sailed under Captain Richard Keane on HMS Victor to Jamaica.  He was to join his sister and her family when they left on 12 May 1833 for Albany in Australia. They all arrived on 13th September and Matthew was to assist them down under until he sailed for home three years later. 

From 1836 until 1860 Matthew served as a Coast Guard at Southampton and later Harwich where he retired in 1860 on reaching the age of 60. His mother Ann had died in 1849 and 4 years later he sold the Manor of Charmouth for £9100 to George Frean There was still a large mortgage on it and the balance was spilt between him and his sisters.
You would wonder if that was the end of his story, but you would be wrong. For astonishingly he was to meet 21-year-old Honor Marsh and they were to marry in Stepney in that year and move into Walnut Cottage in Andover, Hampshire. They were to have two children, Matthew the following year and Ann in 1863. Sadly, Matthew died in 1864 leaving his wife to bring up the two young children. His body  was bought back to Charmouth where he was buried and a marble memorial recording his life placed up high in the church.

To follow the family tree up to date we must now return back to Captain Mathew John Liddon who you may remember waited until he was 60 to marry and as a result had two children. The eldest Matthew was to die very young at 18 in 1879 and his sister Ann, was to inherit Melbourne House in Charmouth on the death of her aunt Lucy, in 1878. She may well have lived in it, but in 1886 she sold it to Richard Oliver for £425. In the same year she married Frank Martin Vines, of Oxstalls Farm in Gloucester. They were to prosper and bought the impressive Twigworth Court on 1909 shown in this slide and had 7 Children. The oldest, Frank Martin Liddon Vines was born in 1893. Ann was to die in 1863, aged 60 and her husband in 1945, aged 82.

Frank Martin Liddon Vines was a member of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Yeomanry in pre war days and in 1914 was mobilised with the unit and served in Gallipoli and with the regiment in later actions. He was at Katia in Egypt on Easter Day, 1916, when the Yeomanry suffered heavily. During the campaign he was twice wounded. After the war he farmed at Dymock , near Ledbury for some years and later went to Pamington Court Farm, near Tewkesbury. He married Miss Marie Slinn, daughter of the late Mr. Harry Slinn, formerly a Chemist in Gloucester in 1920.  In September 1931 he was fatally injured while at work on a field on his Farm. He was in charge of a horse and wagon when the horse was startled by a shooting party. The horse bolted and the wagon passed over Mr. Vines, who received such injuries that death took place within half an hour. He was just 38 years of age and  left a son and a daughter – Frank Harry Liddon Vines, born in 1922 and Lynette Liddon Vines, born in 1920.

These family photographs are of Frank Martin Liddon Vines with his daughter, Lynette and son, Frank . The others are of his wife Marie and their daughter, Lynette

When Frank died in 1931 his wife, Marie had to bring up Frank, aged 9 and Lynette, ages 11 on her own. She may well have had assistance from Franks father who himself was widowed by then. Her families fortunes was to change for the better when she met and married Major Eric Hugh Wilkinson in 1936.  He was born in Hong Kong and appears to have lived in Canada for awhile. A local newspaper refers to him writing a play for the Lyme Players, when he was living at that time at Raymond's Hill, Axminster  which coincidentally was where James Warden had his infamous Duel. After their time there they built a fine house in Charmouth on the Old Lyme Road which they called Foxley Dene , after the farm that had once stood there. In 1939 the wartime census shows him as an "Author", and she amusingly as an "Unpaid Domestic Servant.

Mary and Hugh Wilkinson lived at Foxley Dene from 1936 until 1950. It is difficult to recognise their original House as it has changed dramatically and a new house is being built at the bottom of its garden.

The painting shown here is of a Lancaster Bomber of the type that was flown by Sergeant Frank Harry Liddon Vines, son of Frank and Marie Vines. Tragically he was  to lose his life on the 5th March 1943 when his plane was hit whilst flying over the North sea off Texel in North Holland. His was one of  14 aircraft and crew lost that evening on a mission to Essen to destroy the Krupps works. He was just 21 years of age.

Frank`s name is inscribed on the Charmouth War Memorial as well as the Book of Remembrance in the church. He is also commemorated at the RAF memorial at Runnymede.

In 1943 Frank and Marie Liddon Vines daughter, Lynette married John Douglas Tosetti and were to have two children, Prudence, born in 1944 and Gail in 1948. They would visit their mother who had remarried Major Eric Wilkinson at their house in Charmouth. There are some lovely photos of their time here in this slide.

In 1943 Frank and Marie Liddon Vines daughter, Lynette married John Douglas Tosetti and were to have two children, Prudence, born in 1944 and Gail in 1948. They would visit their mother who had remarried Major Eric Wilkinson at their house in Charmouth. There are some lovely photos of their time here in this slide.Lynette was to later divorce John and in 1958 remarried Derick Francis Bedwell. There son Garth continues to live in Looe in Cornwall and has been exceedingly helpful in providing information and photos of his family.

After progressing though the descent of the family from James Warden, we have compiled a family tree which is as accurate as we can be with the information that has come to light and provided by members of the family. Garth Bedwell and Prudence Liddon Taylor have been especially helpful filling in the many gaps and providing photographs. Prudence has a direct link with Charmouth as she was baptised in St. Andrews Church in 1944, whilst her grand mother Marie was living nearby at Foxley Dene on Old Lyme Hill.

These photos are of a golden ring that belonged to James Warden`s widow, Elizabeth  that has been handed down through the generations and is treasured by the family today.
The inscription reads the same as that seen today on the front of his tomb:

We would like to finish with a lovely photo of me and Neil standing by the Warden Tomb, in case you missed it as you came in. It is surrounded by three other similar chest tombs of Charmouth Worthies all of which are listed by English Heritage. The Tomb has been patched up with cement and filler over the years and worse still a vehicle has hit into the corner and one of the inscribed panels is cracked and will cave in soon.

If we are not careful it could end up like this one, which will be a tragedy for both the Liddon family and Charmouth

This is Symondsbury Church yard with a number of their finely restored Chest Tombs. It would be wonderful if sufficient money could be raised to save Warden`s Tomb before it is too late and it collapses in the near future. If you feel you can contribute to a fighting fund please give a donation towards its restoration in the bucket by the door.

Thank you all for coming here tonight and we hope you go a way with a greater undertstanding of Charmouth Tragic Hero- James Warden.
This is the story of James Warden. If you wish to read more about the families and houses associated with him click on the following links:
Langmoor Manor
, Well Head House, Melbourne House, Charmouth Old Manor House, Backlands Farm, Liddons,William Warden, Hannah Parks Warden, Puddicombes, Parks, Spencers, Crowter,