Charles Cooksey instructing students in Southampton

19th century
Robin Bryer
Charles Cooksey was the agent who bought Bustard Farm on behalf of the French monks of Briquebec Abbey  in 1901. Punitive French laws made religious life difficult and the order was looking for a refuge, intending to move around forty monks to England. In a daring escapade, Charles Cooksey sailed to Calais and secretly loaded up the monks' valuable posessions, which they'd hidden in wagons of hay, to bring to England. However, the french customs became suspicious and pursued Cooksey across the channel. Luckily for the monks, the speed of the chase caused the customs' steam boat to explode and Cooksey made it safely back to Southampton with the monastery's belongings.