A Sussex MP I would like to meet!

Seaford on the Sussex coast was a Cinque Port and as such was able to return two Members of Parliament.  Many men represented the town but usually they lived far away and paid little heed to to local constituents.   William Hay who represented Seaford between 1734 and his death in 1755 however was different…

A unique Sussex Church

St Mary-in-the Castle in Hastings is one of the finest English churches I have visited and although it is now a thriving performance venue it is full of ecclesiastical interest. Strangely the best place to get a good view of the exterior of the church is on Google Maps as it is set back into…

Railway Jack

Railway Jack was a dog.  To be honest Railway Jack was several dogs but this item will be about the original one who was based in Sussex.  The Victorians loved their pets and they loved their railways so they were particularly sentimental about railway dogs. Railway Jack was a fox-terrier who entertained and amused passengers…

Killed during the Opium Wars

The Rason family go back in Eastbourne for generations. They are closely connected with St Mary’s Church as over the centuries many of them have been churchwardens. There is an interesting monument in the north aisle of the church to William Rason.   It reads: Sacred to the memory of William Hector Rason Lieut. R.N., aged…

A Grave with a French Connection

Every morning I pass a gravestone in St Mary’s Churchyard, Eastbourne and have often wondered about it.  The grave is at the apex of the triangle of land as you walk from the northside of the church towards the Lamb Inn. It is in the form of a ‘grave rail’ – a horizontal slab between…

The Railway Police of Eastbourne

I joined the British Transport Police as a Cadet in 1973 a few days after my 16th birthday. Although I was from Eastbourne I was posted to Brighton but I would regularly visit the Eastbourne office which was manned by an old officer, PC Jack Carter.   Jack was a friendly chap who seemed to be…

The Sussex fife that remains mute!

It is amazing what you can find when you root around an old attic or garage. Ten years ago in 2009 I worked for a few months at Seaford Town Council. When I was filing some documents, I came across a box of old bits and pieces including battered pewter trophies  and some old certificates. Amongst…

A Sussex Camera Obscura

Paul Dixon’s wife knows that there is another love of his life –  a beautiful if rather elderly lady whose recent makeover has given her a new lease of life.  Paul is the Chief Engineer for Eastbourne Pier and it is clear that he loves the old lady very much indeed. I met Paul a…

Rioting that led to the death of a policeman.

100 years ago the Canadian soldiers stationed across England and Wales were not happy.  The armistice of November 1918 effectively ended the War and thousands of men returned from the battlefields of Flanders to Britain awaiting repatriation to Canada. This was a slow process. Most of the troopships that had been used to bring the…

An Irish Soldier in Seaford

In the Summer of 1915 and with the Great War in its second year, thousands of soldiers from Ireland arrived in Sussex for training before being transferred to the front.  One of these men was Private McClure of the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles.  I have not been able to trace any…

A King’s escape through Sussex

Louis-Philippe of France had a troublesome life; his father had initially supported the Revolution but when Louis-Phillipe escaped to exile he called for his execution.  There can’t be many people whose own father wanted them dead! After the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 the monarchy was restored to France and on 9th August…

The Hidden Frescoes of Alfriston

John Mason Neale (1818 – 1866) was the Warden of Sackville College, a large group of Almshouses in East Grinstead.  He was an avid writer of hymns and carols, his most famous work being the evergreen Christmas Carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’. John loved visiting churches and certainly visited St Andrews Church in Alfriston.  In 1843…