Adam Philip Shand Crick (1957-2016)

Adam Crick’s friends and admirers in Essex will be sad to learn that he died peacefully after a long illness on Wednesday 2 March 2016. Those who enjoyed his performance in Great Totham on 1 November 2014 will never forget it, and we were honoured that he wrote and delivered a poem especially for the occasion. In many respects he was a worthy successor to Charles Clark, and in some Essex circles he was known as The Tiptree Denier, because of his attitude towards Wilkin’s jam.


Adam was a frequent visitor to Great Totham, often on the way to or from Sixpenny Handley in Dorset, where he lived, to Aldeburgh, where he was a regular at the Literary Festival. He had been President of the Do-Nothing Society (motto: Omne Vivum ex Ovo) since its inauguration in 1973, but in spite of that found time to teach English at Tonbridge School, 1984-7, and at his alma mater, Winchester College, 1990-92. As well as being a first-class shot, representing his school at Bisley, he had also successfully completed the FGASA venomous snake handling course in South Africa, and was gazetted Pilot Officer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) in 1985. He was also co-editor of the satirical magazine Heap, 1975. He will be much missed by his many friends, former pupils, grateful godchildren, and the independent booksellers of Dorset and Suffolk.



The Bard of Totham

At the risk of going round in circles, here’s corroboration of Charles Clark’s place in the literary firmament beyond the confines of Great Totham:

Finding Charles Clark

The Totham 1821 Symposium, organised by James Bettley, will take place this November. We will contribute to it (sadly from afar), and it has already got us thinking about the reputation of Charles Clark in his own time and his status as a literary figure as well as a printer and collector. Its easy at times to forget that Clark – who achieved renown for his printing specimens and his book-collecting activities and whom we associate so much with letter-writing – was an active poet who was called upon to produce second and sometimes even third editions of his works to satisfy the local and the London market. He was very definitely a part of what was undoubtedly a very active and important local literary and cultural circle that included the artist Miss Ann Hayter, the Rev. Thomas Foote Gower and others, and Clark liked to circulate his…

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Thomas Foote Gower was born in Chelmsford in 1763, the eldest son of the Revd Foote Gower (1725/6-1780) and his wife Elizabeth, sister of John Strutt M.P. (1727-1816), the builder of Terling Place. Foote Gower, although born in Chester, lived in Chelmsford, and for a time rented the house known as Guy Harlings in New Street. He had qualified as a physician and seems to have practised to some extent, as well as being rector of the combined parishes of Chignall St James and Mashbury from 1761 to 1777; John Strutt was the patron of the livings. Gower separately held the living of Woodham Walter from 1769 until his death. He was a keen antiquary, and gathered material for a history of Cheshire; Michael Leach has made a case for his being the author of the anonymous New and Complete History of Essex by a Gentleman (1769-72). Foote and Elizabeth Gower had two other sons: Charles (died 1822), a physician at the Middlesex Hospital, London, and Richard Hall (1767-1833), who became a naval architect and settled in Ipswich.

V0002342 Foote Gower. Line engraving by W. Skelton, 1790, after J. Ta

The Revd Foote Gower M.D., 1790 (Wellcome Library, London)

Thomas matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford, on 30 March 1781, and graduated as Bachelor of Arts in 1785. In 1788 he was ordained deacon on 28 July and priest on 4 August by the Rt Revd Claudius Crigan, Bishop of Sodor and Man; this followed his nomination, on 21 July 1788, to the post of curate of Malew, on the Isle of Man, at a stipend of £20. How he came by this obscure post is not recorded. The next we hear of him is in 1810, when he is appointed rector of Snoreham (a sinecure – the church was described by Morant as ‘quite ruinous’ – but in the gift of John Strutt), as well as curate of Langford (£60) and Great Totham (£30). In 1814 he was licenced as stipendiary curate of Great Totham, with an increased stipend of £40 plus surplice fees and parsonage, and also of Little Braxted (£40, no parsonage). The vicar of Great Totham during this period was George Stepney Townley, instituted in 1777, but from 1784 he was also rector of St Stephen Walbrook with St Benet Sherehog in the City of London, where he resided, leaving Gower to his own devices in Great Totham. Townley was declared of unsound mind in 1829 and died in 1835, whereupon Gower became vicar, a post he held until his own death on 7 October 1849.

Charles Hayter - Copy

Thomas Foote Gower sketched by Charles Hayter in 1821: click here for further details

During his time at Great Totham, according to G. W. Johnson’s history of the parish published in 1831, Gower was ‘a very liberal benefactor of the Church: it was much improved and enlarged in 1826, chiefly at his expense’. He also ‘greatly enlarged and improved’ the vicarage house, which had been rebuilt in 1757, and created the garden around it.

Old Vic 1878

Church and vicarage, 1878 (Clive Potter)

He was unmarried, but his sister Elizabeth lived with him (when she died in 1854, at the age of 94, she was described as ‘late of Great Totham Vicarage’), and he also gave a home to his niece Mary Ann Gower following R. H. Gower’s death in 1833; in 1844 she married, at Great Totham, Cuthbert William Johnson (1799-1878), an event celebrated by Charles Clark in an acrostic.

Gower was also hospitable to his nephews Richard Emptage Gower and Charles Foote Gower. In the Essex Record Office (D/DU 456/2) is a letter written by them from Great Totham to their father, R. H. Gower, on 7 June 1818. The boys were then about 13 and 11 years old.

We have had a very grand ball at Totham. There were about 9 couple. We began dancing at about 8 oclock, left off about half past twelve, and went to bed between 3 and 4 in the morning. There were 17 different country dances, and we went down every one. We danced in the drawingroom, and were attended by two musicians, one plaied the violin, and the other the tambarine… I forgot to tell you that after our dance we had a most elegant Supper. When you write again you must tell us whether you have cut any cucumbers.

A less amusing aspect of life came to the surface in 1843 when Gower, then 80 years of age, was the subject of a violent robbery. As he was walking through South Wood towards Maldon he was knocked down from behind and a sack thrown over his head. One man knelt upon his breast and another rifled through his pockets, taken a sovereign, a pair of spectacles, and other items. He begged his assailants not to take his watch, as this was a family heirloom, and they did not do so. Two men were arrested, William Carlow and Nehemiah Bacon. One was carrying a basket containing a piece of sacking similar to that which had been placed over Gower’s head, and shortly afterwards another basket was found which contained a knife bearing the initials and name of Carlow on its handle. Furthermore, Bacon made a violent resistance when taken into custody. But at their trial (reported in The Times, 13 December 1843), the men were acquitted; witnesses testified that at the time of the attack the two men were at work at a farmer’s in the neighbourhood.



ANN HAYTER (1795-1854)

The painter Charles Hayter (1761-1835) and his wife Martha (Stevenson) (1762-1805) had ten children, of whom George (1792-1871), their third child and eldest surviving son , was the most famous; he also was a painter, favoured by Queen Victoria and knighted in 1841.  Ann was the fourth child, the eldest daughter, and the only daughter still alive in 1821 (three others died in 1802, 1805, and 1819).   This means that she can with some certainty be identified as ‘Miss Hayter’.  The spelling ‘Ann’ (rather than ‘Anne’ ) is preferred; that is the form used by Charles Hayter in his book An Introduction to Perspective, adapted to the capacities of youth, in a series of pleasing and familiar dialogues, between the author’s children (1813), of which this forms the unusual frontispiece:



thus giving us a view of the backs of Charles’s children John, Eliza (Elizabeth), and Ann, respectively 13, 17, and 18 in 1813; it purports to be drawn by George.  John was responsible for later editions of the book, including the sixth edition of 1845, which has this as its frontispiece:



which, though charming in its way, must be assumed to be imaginary rather than taken from life.

Ann was born on 31 January 1795 and achieved some distinction as a painter, following in her father’s footsteps by specialising in miniature portraits. She exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy between 1814 and 1830, fourteen works at the Royal Society of British Artists between 1824 and 1830, and two works at the Society of Painters in Oil and Watercolours in 1817 and 1820.  There is no record of her in artistic circles after 1830, for the simple reason that in that year, on 18 September at All Souls Church, St Marylebone, she married Captain Daniel George Duff of the 16th Bombay Native Infantry. She died in Bombay in 1854, apparently of cholera. Lt-Col Duff, as he by then was, died two years later.

What cannot be overlooked is the fact that the painting of Great Totham church has a rather naive quality, and does not appear to be the work of an accomplished artist who, in 1821, had had work selected for the most important exhibitions in London.  There are two answers to this.  The first is that she was a portrait painter, used to working on a small scale, and none of her exhibited works appear to be landscapes.  The second is that she would have been working in a very unfamiliar way, using unconventional paints on thin cloth rather than canvas or ivory — the latter being the support preferred by her father Charles.  These two factors might be enough to account for this painting not showing Ann at her best.

[Biographical information taken from and; there are some discrepanices between the two sources.]


How sure can we be that ‘Miss Hayter’, who painted the picture of Great Totham Church, was Ann Hayter, daughter of Charles Hayter and herself a noted painter of portrait miniatures?  The evidence remains, as yet, circumstantial.  What can be said with certainty is that Charles Hayter was in Essex for some part of 1821, and it is reasonable to assume that his unmarried daughter Ann would have been with him. The list of the Royal Academy exhibitors gives his address in 1821 as ‘Witham, Essex, and 29, High Street, St Marylebone’, and in 1822 he exhibited a portrait of ‘Mrs Morris, Cromwell House, Essex’ – that is, Mrs Morris, head of Cromwell House Seminary in Maldon. Also in 1822 he exhibited ‘Portrait of a clergyman’, possibly ‘Revd Mr Taylor Essex’ of whom there is a sketch in a volume of 443 studies for miniature portraits in the Victoria & Albert Museum (E.3039-1920), and perhaps the Revd John Taylor who was curate of Stanway, near Colchester, from 1818 to 1826 or 1828.

More important, for present purposes, are two sketches by Hayter which prove that he was on familiar terms with the Revd Thomas Foote Gower, at that time curate of Great Totham.  The first is to be found in the same volume at the V&A, labelled ‘My Double Mask at Mr Gower’s fete May 29 1821’ (E.2895-1920). The second, rather more finished, is captioned ‘sketch’d at Layer Marney May 31 1821 by C. Hayter’ and shows Gower, his manservant James, and five members of the Gower family sitting around and probably sketching — Layer Marney Tower being, then and now, a picturesque site to visit.  The sketch was sold by the auctioneers Cheffins of Cambridge on 26 November 2009 and I am grateful to them for supplying this image:

Charles Hayter


Miss M. A. Gower (No. 3) was Mary Ann Gower, Thomas’s niece (1803/4-1861), who in 1844 married, at Great Totham, Cuthbert William Johnson, an event that was the subject of an epithalamic acrostic by Charles Clark:

Marriage 1844

Unfortunately Clark got the bride’s name wrong, and called her Elizabeth by mistake.  He may have muddled her with Thomas’s sister Elizabeth (died 1854), who is probably Miss Eliza Gower (No. 5) in the sketch.  Mr Foot Gower (No. 6) was probably his nephew Charles (1807-1867), Mr R. Gower (No. 4) another nephew, Richard Emptage Gower, and Mrs E. Gower (No. 7) perhaps his mother Elizabeth. Thomas Foote Gower himself (1762/3-1849) did not marry.  He was appointed curate of Great Totham in 1810 (and simultaneously rector of Snoreham and curate of Langford), and was vicar of Great Totham from 1835 until his death.

Cuthbert William Johnson (1799-1878) was the brother of George William Johnson (1802-1886), author of the History of Great Totham that was printed by Charles Clark in 1831, and that had as its frontispiece the engraving of Miss Hayter’s painting.

Johnson 1831 reduced





Two paintings in St Peter’s Church, Great Totham, are to be conserved and redisplayed in the church, thanks to grants from Heritage Lottery Fund, the Essex Heritage Trust, and the Church Buildings Council, as well as private donations.


Both the oil paintings have been in St Peter’s since at least 1831. This was the year of publication of G. W. Johnson’s History of the Parish of Great Totham, and one of the paintings – ‘Great Totham Church’ by Miss Hayter – was engraved for the frontispiece. The original has not been seen properly for a long time; until last year it was hidden behind a cupboard in the vestry, where it had suffered badly from damp and dirt. It shows the church as it was before changes to the building later in the 19th century, and so is an important historical record as well as a charming work of art. The identity of ‘Miss Hayter’ has not been confirmed, but there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that she was Ann Hayter (1795-1854), daughter of the painter Charles Hayter and herself an accomplished artist who exhibited at the Royal Academy. Charles Hayter lived in Witham for a few months in 1821 and knew the Revd Thomas Foote Gower, the curate (and later vicar) of Great Totham who at one time owned the painting.


The other painting is the ‘Adoration of the Magi’, which was originally given to the church to use as a reredos but in recent years has been hanging by the font. According to Johnson it was given to the church by Mrs Frances Lee of Maldon and came from a chapel attached to Messing House. It is hoped that further investigation will identify Mrs Lee and Messing House, and also the original of which the church’s painting is presumed to be a copy.


Some versions of the engraving of ‘Great Totham Church’ (of which there are various examples in the Essex Record Office) state that Miss Hayter’s painting was in the possession of Charles Clark, the doggerel poet and amateur printer who lived in Great Totham Hall (and printed Johnson’s History). Clark, Gower, and the brothers G. W. and C. W. Johnson were the centre of a social and cultural circle that flourished in Great Totham from the 1820s to the 1840s, and to mark the anticipated return of the paintings an event is being held in the church on Saturday 1 November 2014, provisionally entitled ‘Miss Hayter, Mr Gower, and Mr Clark: Great Totham in 1821 (or thereabouts)’. This will take the form of an afternoon of short talks and related events, including an introduction to Great Totham in the 1820s by Clive Potter; readings of Charles Clark’s poems by poet and art historian Adam Crick (who, it is hoped, will also recite his own poem in the style of Clark written specially for the occasion); demonstrations by amateur printer and Charles Clark aficionado Alan Brignull; and a contribution by Dr Carrie Griffin of the University of Bristol who, with Dr Mary O’Connell, has been studying Clark’s papers in the Essex Record Office (click here to read an account of their visit to Chelmsford and Great Totham in 2013). They uncovered this reference to Miss Hayter’s painting in a letter that Clark wrote to London bookseller John Russell Smith on 16 November 1842 [ERO D/DU 668/6]:


While you were packing up for me on Monday evening I was most comfortably dining & tossing down my wine at our worthy Vicar’s tithe-dinner, according to annual custom, in the very room from which Miss Hayter took her sketch of our Church that was engraved from for our History, & it was suspended against the wall just behind me. About a dozen of us spent a very pleasant 6 or 7 hours of it, I assure you. Most of us, I fear – not excepting even our spiritual pastor! – felt a little the worse for it yesterday, with headaches, &c. &c. Gower gave us some capital old port. We dined at about 4 & broke up at a little after 10, a very sober hour certainly!


Further information will be posted as it becomes available.