Well firstly let me say I never expected to go “blogging”, but according to my son it is the cool thing to do. So let’s meet Teresa Geering!
I was born and raised in Hastings Sussex and was part of the fishing community. My great great (how many do you want to go back?) grandfathers through to modern day were all fishermen or went to sea as sailors.
Yep, somewhere in their one or two were smugglers in the Old Town. Mostly around the old churches, and the Stag Inn which is still there today (The rector of the parish in those days was a bit of a naughty man by all accounts)
My parents on many occasions used to help out in the Inn. I whiled away the time in one of the upstairs room imagining smugglers running riot in the cellars of the pub with the bow street runners in hot pursuit. I had a very vivid imagination even then.
When my son was still quite young I decided to revisit the Stag Inn for a short break and also research my family history. The fishermen in my family were all called “Old Lapper” and all fishermen had nicknames carried down through history.
I took my son to visit the infamous St. Clements Caves which is now a commercial enterprise. I hadn’t been there since my teens. My son had wandered off and I found myself alone in one of the caves surrounded by someone’s vivid imagination of what probably happened to smugglers when they were caught. (I admit it is very realistic and worth a visit – cheque maybe payable to........).
As I stood there absorbing the atmosphere the air became even chillier and I got the feeling that someone was behind me. As I began to turn I heard a voice whisper behind me “So you want to know about Old Lapper then”. Startled I looked to find the owner of the voice – the cave was empty! My son had wandered through to the next cave and was also quite alone preoccupied with the next feature on smuggling.
To this day I have kept an open mind as to what happened.
Oh I forgot apparently another one of my ancestors back in 1800 was the Guestling Murderess Mary Anne Geering!!
I will tell you more about that next time...