It is the White family, of Jack Fuller's maternal grandmother, that has its roots in Lewes. Mad Jack Fuller's mother Frances Fuller was christened at All Saints, Lewes on 24 April, 1725. Her parents Thomas Fullerand Frances White were married at All Saints, Lewes on 27 November, 1722. Peter White, father of Frances White was born in Lewes in 1671 and married Susan Tattersall. Peter White's parents were Dr. Benjamin White and Dorothy Courthope.
School Hill House as
viewed from the garden
All Saints Church, Friar's Walk, Lewes
The White Hart Hotel
John Fuller had several connections with Lewes, the county town of East Sussex. His story is linked to Lewes history because:
The building at 55 High Street, Lewes was originally a town house owned by the Pelham family from Tudor times. In 1653 they moved into Pelham House in St. Andrew's Lane and number 55 has been an inn since 1717. Richard Verrall, the first landlord, took over the sign of the White Hart from its previous location at 173 High Street.
The White Hart was an important coaching inn until the railway arrived in Lewes. It was a meeting place for local and parliamentary elections. Jack Fuller made his campaign headquarters here in the infamous 1807 General Election.
The former High Constable of Lewes usually held his annual feast here. The Headstrong Club and Thomas Paine - author of Common Sense (1776)and The Rights of Man (Part I - 1791, Part II - 1792)- met here. Paine was in Lewes between 1768 and 1774.
"Less edifying was the contest at Lewes in 1807. Between Tuesday 12 May and Thursday 28 May 5019 freeholders cast 4333 votes for the Westerner Charles Wyndham, 2530 for John Fuller of Brightling, and 2473 for Colonel Sergison of Cuckfield. The Easterners clashed over Emancipation for Roman Catholics and West Indian slaves. The High-Tory Folly-building Fuller opposed both. The moment the polling ended, the Mobility tore apart the hustings by the Sessions House and carried the fragments away, claiming "immemorial" custom. It greeted the result - Sergison being the "popular" candidate, by tossing rotten eggs into the balconied Great Room at the White Hart, Fuller's campaign headquarters. Sergison then spoke from a window of the Star, assuring his partisans that a Sheriff's scrutiny of the poll would overturn Fuller's trivial majority. So they dragged the Colonel and his carriage in triumph up the High Street, to rendezvous at the barracks with Whig confederates marching in from Brighton. Though the Sheriff refused a scrutiny, Fuller's victory had proved expensive. As well as the No Popery favours, he paid for almost 2000 dinners at the White Hart, and as many at the Dorset Arms, "an East Country House" popular with freeholders from Hastings Rape."
The Star Inn was transformed in to a town hall for the then Lewes Borough Council in 1893.
Now a private home, the Lewes Public Subscription mill is thought to be the only corn mill in Sussex built for public use. During the Napoleonic Wars (1793 - 1815) there was a sharp decrease in amount of corn being imported from Europe. In 1799 heavy rain at harvest time and early frost severely damaged crops. The situation was getting desperate when the spring of 1800 was cold and late arriving. The fear of food riots caused government to pass a series of acts including the Bread Act of 1800 which was meant to control the food given to the workhouse poor and those on parish relief.
In the summer of 1800 the following memorandum was set out in the Town Book of Lewes:
Publick Corn Mill. Waited on the Duke of Norfolk, for the Purpose of obtaining of His Grace, to the extent of his Claim, a Grant of the Brake Mount, whereon to erect, by Subscription a Public Windmill; but His Grace having thought proper to reject the Application the Mill is forthwith to be erected in Smith's Croft, and eligible Spot, near the Southern Boundary of the Castle Precinct, by value of a Grant from Lord Pelham, on a long Lease, at a trifling annual Rent. The Mill is contracted for at Six Hundred Pounds independent of the Round House which the Subscribers are to build at their own cost from the Foundation one Foot above the Surface all below being included in the contract. The hope of obtaining genuine Meal without the Fear of Adulteration of the use of the Inhabitants of the Borough was the Origin of this Plan, and more especially as at this time of Dearth, it regards the Poor most essentially.
Thomas, Earl of Chichester and Thomas, Lord Pelham granted a lease of Smith's Croft to a committee elected to oversee the building of the subscription mill. A list of sixty-five subscribers includes "Fuller, John Esq MP". Each subscriber paid a total £10 was in either three or four installments. Construction began in 1801 and the smock mill was fully operational by February 1802.
St. Anne's house at 111 High Street Lewes was home to Jack Fuller's first cousin two times removed Elizabeth Fuller(1695-1751) and her husband John Apsley (died 1770). The house was built for them in 1719, and remained the property of the Apsley & Dalrymple families until 1803. Until recently, judges stayed at the house when in Lewes for the assizes. The Apsley's grandson John Apsley Dalrymplewas a trustee of Jack Fuller's will.
Dr. Peter White, Jack Fuller's maternal great-grandfather, was a prominent physician in Lewes. He purchased a property at No. 33 School Hill, Lewes from William Thomas (d.1639). On this site School Hill House was built by White in 1715.
John Fuller (1726-1810) inherited School Hill House in 1753. He never married and had no known children so his nephew, John "Mad Jack" Fuller inherited School Hill House as well as the estate at Park Gate, Catsfield in 1810.