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Charles Leeson Prince (1821-1899)

Charles Leeson Prince was born in Uckfield in 1821, son of Charles Prince, a local doctor, and his wife Mary Ann Boys.  He was educated at Uckfield Grammar School, then at Lewes.  He received his medical training at Guy’s Hospital, London and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1843.  Once qualified, he joined his father in the practice at Uckfield.  In 1865, he married Jessie Brass and they had three children. 

Shortly after his father's death in 1872, he retired from general practice and moved to Crowborough, occupying a property at the summit of Crowborough Hill. This is one of the highest points in the South of England and allowed Prince to create an observatory and pursue his interest in astronomy and meteorology (he was a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological and Astronomical Societies).  He published several works on astronomy as well as a volume giving meteorological observations for Uckfield for 1843-1870; a second edition extended this to 1885, using readings taken at Crowborough for the later years.  As a result of this work, he came to the view that Crowborough’s climate was very healthy for invalids and he promoted the place as an alternative to the popular Victorian spa towns with his book 'Observations upon the Topography and Climate of Crowborough Hill, Sussex'.

Prince had a wide range of other interests including photography (he was an early pioneer), archaeology, botany and numismatics.  He also had a fine library with a number of rare and valuable items, many of which came from the library of Uckfield Grammar School which Prince had purchased in 1879.

Prince died at Crowborough in 1899 and was buried at Uckfield.