The Story of a Pock-marked Grave

The grave of Mary Ann and Edmund Sinden in Ocklynge Cemetery, Eastbourne is badly damaged. 

The couple married at Folkington Church on 11th May 1856. Edmund was then living in Brighton and Mary Ann was from Wannock. She was the daughter of Henry Thomas who was a farmer there. Edmund’s father was also a farmer, John Sinden from Sidley, Bexhill. 

Edmund was a brewer by trade and is shown on the 1871 census as a ‘Master Brewer’ running a brewery in the High Street, Uckfield. By 1881 the census was showing that he was employing 17 men.  At this time, Mary Ann’s father was also living with them, but his occupation is shown as a retired brewer rather than a farmer. 

The 1891 census shows the couple had moved to Southover High Street in Lewes. Two years later Edmund was called to Uckfield Coroners Court to give evidence regarding the suicide of James Woodman.  The deceased had left a suicide note blaming Edmund for his death saying that he had money troubles because of the 15 shillings and sixpence owed to him. 

By  1901 the couple were living at 1, Priory Terrace, Southover, Lewes. The census shows his occupation as a retired brewer.  But he didn’t stay retired for long as in 1905 he took up residence at Isfield Mill working as the ‘Isfield Milling and Baking Company’. 

Isfield Mill in 1939

He was still running the mill aged 78 in 1911.  A short time later however they must have retired and moved to Pevensey Road, Eastbourne.  Mary Ann died in Eastbourne in 1915. Edmund died on 8th February 1923. They were both buried at Ocklynge cemetery. 

Edmund and Mary Ann laid at rest and in peace together until 1pm on Sunday 7thMarch 1943. Sixteen Luftwaffe bombers attacked Eastbourne and fourteen people were killed in the carnage they left. One 500 lb bomb landed in the centre of Monceux Road, bouncing over Green Street and Milton Road before landing in the cemetery.  Two people visiting the cemetery were killed in the subsequent explosion.  Shrapnel shattered windows in Willingdon Road and damaged many graves.  Most of the damaged graves were repaired but, as Edmund and Mary Ann had no family, their grave still clearly shows the damage caused by the bomb. 

It is not many obituaries which have an interesting story to tell before andafter they died!


Chichester Express & West Sussex Journal 17th May 1864

Sussex Agricultural Express 4th November 1893

Eastbourne 1939-1945 Published by Strange the Printers, Eastbourne, 1945

Watermills of Sussex Derek Stidder & Colin Smith 1997 (Photo of Isfield Mill) (Photo of Uckfield High Street)

Peter Hibbs of 


One Comment Add yours

  1. Nicola Stone says:

    Very interesting


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