Downfall of a dastardly squire

Rouser 2012
Rouser 2012
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Horatio Bottomley was president of Dicker Cricket Club in the early years of the 20th century. He was one of the most colourful characters of his era.

Until recently there were still some local old folks who remembered with affection Upper Dicker’s squire - Bottomley the MP, the financial wizard, the brilliant orator, womaniser and mammoth swindler.

He was recalled as a kind and generous man who built many of the comfortable cottages, livened-up country life with lavish parties, knew everyone by name and made patriotic speeches at the village school.

Bottomley, the orphan who made a fortune through newspapers and publishing, built himself a mansion at Upper Dicker where he had the only telephone in the parish but allowed everyone to use it.

He bought The Sun newspaper in 1898 and founded John Bull in 1906.

And he was engaged to write for The Sunday Pictorial for the then fabulous sum of £100 an article and took on others to write them for a quarter of the fee!

Fraudulent Australian gold boom companies, rigged competitions and lotteries were his undoing and in 1922 he appeared at the Old Bailey on 24 fraud counts and was jailed for seven years.

He came out of prison a broken man and died, bankrupt, in 1933.

His ashes were spread on the Downs above his home.

The Dicker, the mansion home of his heyday and declining years, is now a school.