Walter de Brissac - written by my grandfather, Arthur John Hubbard - 21 April 1932

My mother, Emma Hubbard (née EVANS) who died on 2 June 1905, a few years before her death, either became acquainted with, or heard of, a certain Walter de Brissac. I cannot remember, definitely, whether she ever met him or not, but I think not. Neither do I know how she first came to hear of him.

She never had any evidence, except the name, of his relationship with the great Huguenot family, or with the de Brissacs of the younger branch of the family who are now headed by the Duc de Brissac, and own the Chateau de Brissac on the Loire. But the fineness of his character suggested a noble origin, in spite of his extreme poverty.

He was a Private in the English Army. I believe that my mother knew which Regiment he belonged to, but, if she ever told me, I have forgotten it. He was a long-service man, i.e. at least 21 years in the army. After leaving the army, he became a pedlar, and used to go about on foot carrying a tray in front of him with his small wares displayed on it. If anyone bought from him, his custom was to thank them gravely, then take off his cap and bow his acknowledgments.

He was married, and he & his wife used to live in a tiny cottage. I do not know where it was situated. Neither do I know whether they had any children, but I think not. Eventually his wife died.

After her coffin had been carried out through the door of the cottage, he shut it, and never allowed the door to be opened again. He still lived on in the cottage, but always clambered in or out by the window.

I think he died in some Union Infirmary. When she heard of his death, my mother would not allow him to have a Parish Funeral. She bought ground for his grave in the cemetery of the Burial Board of the District of Chatham Extra, in Kent. We have the Certificate of Purchase. It gives her the exclusive right of burial in the grave space in Section P. numbered 162 on the plan, at the burial Ground, situate on the Maidstone Road, Chatham. The document is dated 14 March 1894. She also set up the gravestone, and wrote the epitaph. It stood thus, though I have to omit the date, and she, knowing little, had to omit nearly everything else.

                                                  Walter de Brissac
                                          Soldier – Pedlar - Gentleman

 

Arthur John Hubbard -
Little Dean, Gloucestershire.  21 April 1932

Click on these to read in AJH's handwriting.

walter1 walter2

 

August 2013 - Since putting this page up on the website I have had correspondence with Catharina Clement, a local historian researching the background of Walter de Brisac of Chatham in Kent.

 Here are some key fragments of the correspondence -

 

The following pictures are provided with kind permission of the Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre for use on this website.  © 

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