Kingston

In all the excitement of setting up a website about smuggling in and around Kingston, I somehow managed to forget to add a page about Kingston! So here it is, finally!

So what do we have – not an awful lot, I’m afraid; well not definite anyway! However, in the diary of John Evens (see seperate page), which was begun in the February of 1836 , there is a reference to him receiving a ‘thing’ of liquor from a Wm. King. Now, we know that there was a William King living at Wonwell at about this time from the 1841 cencus, so it does not push the boat too far to suggest that this William King had something to do with smuggling on this side of the river. There is also reference to him having met a ‘Steer’ (presumably from Bigbury) in Kingston – according to Evens, this Mr Steer had recently lost 75 ‘things’ dashed on the coast. One can imagine that he may not have been in the best of moods!

From first hand recordings, to fiction. ‘Grace Pensilva’, or ‘The Vindication’ was written by a Mr Michael Weston, and published in 1984, by Good Books Limited, London. Apparently, Mr Weston lived in Kingston – his mother, Mrs Weston, used to live in Old Hundreth, next to the Dolphin – and the village of Kingston in instantly recognisable as the fictionalised ‘Harberscombe’ of the novel. The novel itself, rather excitingly, revolves around tales of smuggling and subsequent death, betrayl and vengeance! It seems that Weston has altered only a few names to nod towards some essence of anonymity, although many family names in the village remain those one might see today. It’s very exciting, being able to follow through physical attachment, roads that characters take, knowing where they are when they pass a certain landmark, or turn up a certain road! If Mr Weston is reading this, please do get in touch, I’d love to talk to you about it!

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