Some reflections on the natural and human history of Mersea Island, by Willoughby John Bean. From an unknown newspaper.
"In 1845 John Lufkin hired a house in Mersea Lane of Henry May, and at the same time married a Mersea girl. He stayed in Mersea until he died about 1875-80." "During his later years Jack worked on Mr May's oyster layings, andhe told me tales of the smuggling which was carried on when he was a young boy and later. In those days a force of men were employed to counteract smuggling, and these men were called preventive men. For some time those stationed at Mersea, either all or part of them, lived on a big hulk moored in Mersea quarters, and for some time they were lodged ashore. They were succeeded by a force of coastguards, who lived ashore, and who afterwards lived on a Government hulk, hauled up in the coast marsh near the "Ashen Tree" spring. Later barracks were built for the coastguards."
"One of the Mersea preventive men lived in the Lane early one foggy morning was on the Strood, and became aware of some strange noise at the old lime kiln on the mainland side of the creek. He crept close and waited while several carts were loaded and then when the smugglers' land helpers came over the seawall through the only gateway leading to the roadway, he shot the leading horse, so that it fell, blocking the way; and the men were so alarmed, thinking that there was a posse of Government men after them, that they all ran off across the marshes. This courageous man's name was Cardy; some of his descendants still live in the district."
Date: Before 1875
This image is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection.