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Continued from the previous page:

 

After James Vanstone had departed for the House of Correction, Robert Pince and his foreman Frederick Brewer seem to have gone back to Pince's Nursery Gardens in Alphington Road and started a massive stock-taking exercise. At some point, they also managed to do a similar exercise at Vanstone's Market stall and at his Nursery Garden in Exwick.

 

Their findings centred around

1 Ericia Viridflora

1 Sandriana

1 Clematis indivisa lobata

Any one of these plants was valued at 7s 6d - then a week's wages for most  working men. Vanstone was hauled back before Baldwin Fulford and confronted with the same witnesses making more allegations about another group of very valuable plants. In his evidence, James Veitch stated that Clematis was very rare in Devon - in fact he had never seen it in anyone else's catalogue except his and that of Robert Pince.

 

A new witness appeared for the prisoner - one William Nott, very well-known throughout the county as a seedsman of note. He added a fresh piece of evidence which was that he knew that until 3 months previously Vanstone had no greenhouses - essential in the winter months for keeping plants like those which were said to have gone missing. He had been at Vanstones on many occasions and had never seen Clematis there.

 

At this point, Baldwin Fulford once again halted the case and this time, pronounced James Vanstone Not Guilty of this particular charge and returned him to prison to serve the years of hard labour which still lay before him..

 

Erica Viridiflora

Ericia Viridflora

Courtesy of the University of California

 

The 1851 Census of prisoners shows Vanstone in the County Gaol at the start of his sentence. He is shown in the 1861 census as being back home with his wife and family at his Nursery in Exwick- he had returned to take up the reigns again. He - and his nursery took on a new lease of life; the nursery got a new name  -  Cleeve Nursery -  and James Vanstone got a new lease of life, living to be 89 when he died in 1891.

 

His wife Mary, helped by two of their sons - John and Robert- and her brother-in-law John, had acted as "Proprietors of the gardens" while James was away. His son John who had tried - and failed- to help his father in court, died in 1878 aged only 46 and only Robert, the third son, remained to support his father in his final years.

 

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