The Constable and the Chicken Leg

Luther Constable (1849-1936) was born and died in Barcombe.  He was a bricklayer and was my great-great-great Uncle.  In June 1893 Luther was a victim of crime when one of his chickens was stolen from the coop at the family home in Hamsey Road, Barcombe. At 2/6d the chicken was quite valuable and Luther suspected the…

Quicksilver and Lemons

The ‘Nympha Americana’ was a Spanish owned American ship of 400 tons however, despite being armed with 23 large guns and 6 swivel guns, she was captured by an English privateer ‘The Royal Family‘ off Cadiz in March 1747.  A privateer was basically a legal pirate ship which was licensed by the British Government to attack enemy…

Caring for the troops

During the Great War, Seaford became a garrison town and thousands of men trained there before experiencing the horrors of the Front.  A tented camp in 1914, soon expanded into two huge hutted camps filled with soldiers from across the country and indeed the world.  At 25,000, the population of the camps was many times larger…

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…

Pinch-Bum Day

Watch out for your bottom if you go out this morning because in Sussex today (29th May) is known as ‘Pinch-bum Day’  although in the rest of the country it is ‘Oak Apple Day’.  During the English Civil War, in 1651 the future King Charles II was pursued by the Roundheads south across England following…

Bumping the Bounds

During May the spring festival of Rogation-tide was celebrated. This word comes from the Latin rogatio which means to ask for or to beg. In spring, seeds were sown and this was the time when God was asked or begged for them to grow. It was during Rogation-tide that the church would sometimes confirm the…

A Sussex May Day

May Day was celebrated by the Romans and the Pagans who knew it as Beltain.  It falls midway between the winter and summer solstices and was a time of change and celebration before the hardships of the agricultural year.  People would feel at one with nature and would be praying for a bountiful harvest ahead. …

The Father of Sussex History

In 1835 a young man published a book, the title of which left no question as to its contents. It was called “Sussex: Being an Historical, Topographical and General Description of every Rape, Hundred, River, Town, Borough, Parish, Village, Hamlet, Castle, Monastery and Gentleman’s Seat in that County, alphabetically arranged with the population of each…

Shrovetide in Sussex

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) is the day before Lent commences. ‘Lent is a corruption of the Old English word ‘Lencten’ meaning ‘Spring’ Our ancestors would have shrove (confessed) themselves of sins in the morning. At noon the Shrovetide bell would ring from Sussex churches which would indicate that it was time to stop confessing and start…

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…

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…

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…