The Battle of The Buckle 1545

On 18thJuly 1545, a French fleet led by the High Admiral Claude d’Annabant attacked the south coast of England. He was rather miffed that the English had just captured the port of Boulogne and was after revenge. At Portsmouth, Henry VIIIs ship “Mary Rose” had promptly sunk as it tried to engage them. Further down…

The Trouble with Seaford…

My last post about the preparations for the Dieppe and D-Landings were from an account by Seaford postman George Martin (1908-1976).  He was interviewed by members of Seaford Museum in June 1974.  The follow account is what he remembered about the town and its people…  There were four trains an hour in the 1930s.  The…

Preparations for the Dieppe Raid and the D-Day Landings.

Postman George Martin (1908-1976) lived in Seaford, Sussex.  During the Second World War he was a volunteer fire-warden and ran the Seaford branch of Toc-H, a Christian organisation which helped visiting servicemen. He witnessed the build up of troops in Seaford prior to the Dieppe Raid of 19th August 1942 and the D-Day landings of…

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. …

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…

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…

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…

Look out for a man with Spatterdashes

I am always interested in early reports of crime and disorder especially in the early 19th century when the Police were still in their infancy.  Sussex had no uniformed force to deter and arrest criminals.  There were parish constables of course, but they were used by the parish vestry (a form of early local government)…

Beacons for the Queen (and the French!)

Next week beacons will be lit all over Sussex, and indeed the whole country, to commemorate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. Beacons have been used for many years for celebration and also as a means of communication. This was particularly the case to warn us good Sussex folk from invasion against the…

Of Booze and Bridges

One of my talks that I give to History Societies, Women’s Institutes etc is about the gravestones of Sussex and, despite the gloomy subject it seems to be quite popular! During the talk I show people a couple of my favourite gravestones, including that of Thomas Tipper in the graveyard of at Newhaven. The gravestone…