Burial at a Cross-roads

I have just been reading about some of the Eastbourne Parish Registers and noted that several people who had committed suicide were buried at St Mary’s Parish Church.  An entry in 1624 records the burial in the churchyard of John Crunden ‘who drowned himself’ and another in 1650 relates to 21-year-old John Herriot who ‘hanged…

A War-Memorial Mystery!

The War Memorial in the East Sussex village of Bishopstone gives the names of nine men from the village who were killed in the First World War and four from the Second World War.  The memorial includes the name of Eleanor Standish-Barry, an interesting woman who also used the stage name of Nell St John…

A Colourful Sussex Lawyer

St Helen’s Church in Hangleton, to the north-west of Brighton, has a remarkable grave. It is covered in brightly coloured stones set into the grave-slab in the form of a mosaic cross. The grave is that of an Irishman, Edward Kenealy. He was a lawyer who was as colourful as his grave. Edward Vaughan Hyde…

A relic miles from home.

Eastbourne has a poor, lost and overlooked refugee.  Hidden behind a noticeboard in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Eastbourne is an unusual but brilliantly decorated ‘Cornish Cross’.   The cross was kidnapped from its home and brought to Sussex exactly 200 years ago. The culprit was Davies Giddy who lived at Tredrea, St Erth near…

A Wartime Romance

An unusual wedding occurred in Seaford 100 years ago.  Neither were local, but the bride was very well known; she was Gertrude Vanderbilt, the adopted daughter of an American millionaire. Gertrude was born in Bath, England on 13th April 1892. Her father was Benjamin Harry Langley but when her mother died shortly after her birth…

A first for Sussex women

One unexpected outcome of the Great War was the improved rights for women which resulted in (some) women being able to vote in the General Election of 14th December 1918. At the beginning of the war, Suffragettes, who had been campaigning for decades, realised that continuing attacks on the establishment would not assist their cause….

An admirable and practical contrivance!

In 1880 a Mr William Stickney Lamson of Boston, Massachusetts owned a long and narrow shop. In order to get money from the counter at the front of the shop to the cashier’s desk at the rear of the shop he instructed his staff to wrap notes, coins and a receipt in a handkerchief and…

Sussex Survivors of the Fateful Charge

Last week I was taking a group of WI members on an historic tour of Lewes which includes the graveyard of St John-sub-Castro church near to where I used to live. Although I have walked through the churchyard many times before I spotted a grave that I had not previously seen which mentions the Charge…

The butcher who tried to kill a Lamb

The Mayor of Rye in 1743 was James Lamb.   As the Mayor of the ancient Cinque Port he was also responsible for law and order in the town and acted as the Chief Magistrate.    A particular problem for him was a local butcher, John Breads, who could regularly be found drinking at the Flushing Inn.  On one…

When blood spilled in Sussex !

A short announcement appeared in the Morning Chronicle on 2nd October 1805. “The long pending match between the Chicken and the Gulley is fixed for Tuesday next. The combatants are now in training in Sussex in which the battle is to be fought. Most of the amateurs of pugilism have departed for Brighton in the…

Where is the Lewes Lass?

Thanks to a generous benefactor, a couple of years ago Seaford Museum commissioned an old ship’s figurehead to be restored.  Richard Hunter of Yorkshire, a renowned authority on figureheads, expertly restored and repainted an old figurehead (nicknamed Phoebe) to its former glory.  Whilst in Seaford, Richard asked me to help trace another local figurehead, that of…

How Christmas Dinner was invented in Sussex!

Christmas is a time for celebration and what better way to celebrate than with food!?  We all look forward to a succulent turkey with all the trimmings for lunch, although as a youngster I usually had too much chocolate and sweets throughout the morning to appreciate my mums cooking.   In the past Christmas was a…