in 1783, when the Prince of Wales first came to Brighton he was a supporter of the Whig party, and the political face of the town adopted his politics as they adopted the Prince. Although, when in 1811 – as Prince Regent – he swapped sides finding his prospects better served by the Tories, the people of Brighton retained their radical outlook and stayed distinctly whigish, with a nonconformist spirit which remains evident in the present day.
At that time the affairs of the town were managed by the Vestry, responsible for the appointment of various public offices and duties and the setting of rates. In 1838 – making its position on reform amply clear – the Vestry published of copy of the Peoples Charter in its minute book: An ongoing local battle which peaked in the early 1840’s concerned the upkeep and management of the newly built St Peters Church. The Church authorities felt that local rates should contribute to their needs, however the vestry – backed by a nonconformist population – saw it as unfair that the general population regardless of observance, should support the Church of England, whilst other faiths and denominations were required to fend for themselves.
On numerous occasions the Vestry sought to refuse requests from the church for support from the public purse, insisting that such costs should be met from voluntary contribution rather than compulsory levy, and prominent among the opponents of the church was local radical and member of the Vestry – Lieut Colonel Trickey.
In 1841, the Vestry refused funds to the church for the upkeep and winding of the clock of St Peters, and the church wardens duly stopped the clock. Living on Richmond Place, in the shadow of St Peters, Col Trickey was swift to respond. That he was largely responsible for withholding the funds with which to manage the said clock, was sidestepped with political aplomb of a quality displayed locally to this day, and much to the despair of the church authorities who felt that “…there is not another man of his rank in the whole army who could produce such a composition”
Colonel Trickey is remembered at the Brighton Extra Mural Cemetery, however his wife Eliza was buried at the Churchyard in 1830