Hastings and St Leonards Observer, Saturday 05 March 1887


Mr. Carleton J. Lewns, one of the best known figures in public circles Hastings, died of paralysis of the brain, at his residence, 41 Havelock-road, on Saturday last, just before eight o’clock in the evening.  It is with very deep regret that we record the demise of such a widely respected business man as Mr. Lewns, and our sincere sympathies are felt with the bereaved family in their sad loss.  The deceased gentleman had been in failing health for some time previously, but it was only a week before he expired that he had to take to his bed.  Within the last six months he had been about a good deal in public.  He was present at Major Dennett's supper to his Artillery Corps, in September - at the Mayor's banquet, in November; and at Mr. B. Burt's funeral, in December.

He was born in 1847, at Rye, and was therefore, forty years of age when he died.  His family was old and much respected the ancient seaport, his father being a jeweller, and acting as Bailiff to the County Courts of Rye and Hastings.  Mr. Lewns was educated at Rye and Boulogne, at the latter place showing great facility for acquiring foreign languages, as he afterwards did for picking up tunes.  He assisted his father for some time in business at Rye, besides acting a sergeant in the Rifles and then came to Hastings and set up for himself as an auctioneer and house and estate agent.

When his sire died, he succeeded him as Bailiff at Hastings, and only resigned the post through illness last year.  He was at one time a lieutenant in the Artillery Volunteers, and was also connected with the Rifles here. He was too an active member of the Derwent Lodge Freemasons.  He held the post of treasurer to the Borough Fire Brigade to the time of his death.  He was a Conservative, but took no prominent part in local political life beyond running as an unsuccessful candidate for the Town Council in the Tory interest, for the East Ward, in 1S74 and 1875.

It was as a vocalist, however, that he was chiefly known, and principally popular.  He knew nothing, he often said himself, of the theory of music, but was remarkably quick in picking up songs, and sang wholly by ear. His serie-comic airs were always heartily received and warmly applauded, as much in the festive circle as in the public concert hall.  He will missed from many a social club and association, and many .scenes of happing in which he mingled will know him no more.  He was a member of the original Dramatic Club and of the East Sussex Blackbirds, of which he was the centre man and leading spirit.  This latter organisation was a very celebrated troupe at one time, and held a high position as a musical body. Mr. Lewns only occasionally helped the dramatic societies and he achieved his principal success when he played Victor Dubois in Ici on Parle Francais, a character which his knowledge of French enabled him to take with every possible facility.  He also sung in Holy Trinity Church Choir.  He was probably the most versatile amateur, not only in the borough, but in the county.

He married Miss Carrick, a daughter of Mr. Carrick, of the Tower Hotel, Boohemia, and was blessed with four sons and three daughters.   All of his children, as well as his wife, survive him.  The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon, was witnessed by a large number people, both in the town and at the Borough Cemetery, at Ore, where the interment took place.  The Fire Brigade figured principally in the obsequies , being under the command of Captain Glenister and the foremen of the different sections of the Brigade.  The coffin, covered by a Union Jack and surmounted with the helmet of the deceased and some handsome wreaths, was borne to its last resting place on one of the fire-engines.  An imposing cortege formed the funeral procession.  The engine was preceded by a detachment of firemen and police, and the band of the Rifle Volunteers, who played the " Dead March” in Saul  Mr. Secretary Cousins [p.2] followed the temporary hearse, and after him were about 30 members of the Fire-Brigade.  Then came a detachment of the St. Leonards Volunteer Steam Fire Brigade, under Captain Miller, ….. and behind them a detachment of the Eastbourne Manual Fire Brigade, under Captain James Towner, a squad of the Hastings Artillery volunteers, under Quartermaster-Sargeant Waters, and a number of the Hastings Rifles under Lieutenant Pigott.  There were about a hundred men the procession altogether.  .

The Late Mr. Carleton Lewxs. In memory of this gentleman, a handsome stone has been put up in the Borough Cemetery.  ………..

The design, which is of a very neat pattern, bears the- masonic emblems, and was cleverly executed by Messrs. Burchell the well-known sculptors, of Havelock-road, Hastings. [Upright stone with set square and dividers above draped clasped hands]