The Sussex Stile Council

If, like me, you love to wander across the South Downs and the Sussex countryside you will often use gates and stiles. Gates were traditionally wide enough to allow a farmer to manoeuvre a horse drawn hay-cart through and were made of wood.  Today however farm gates are wider and usually made of cylindrical metal….

The Prime Minister who helped a Sussex Coastguardsman.

Not many small towns like Seaford can claim to have had three of its MPs serve as Prime Minister. George Canning was the only one of the three who was MP for Seaford and Prime Minister at the same time.  George Canning was born in Marylebone in 1770 and had a difficult start to life….

The Downland Shepherd-Archaeologist

Stephen Blackmore was born on 1st February 1832 in Falmer, the son of an agricultural labourer. As a young boy he worked at Stanmer House near Falmer in the service the Duke of Newcastle. But it seems he was keen to be outside on the land and soon was working as a labourer on nearby…

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…

The Great Storm of 14th November 1875.

On the morning of Sunday 14th November 1875 the good people of Seaford braved stormy weather to attend church. The town was already on alert as high tide was expected at midday and, although seawalls had been built, the area of land between the sea and the town, (the Beamlands), regularly flooded during the winter…

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 Flying Martello Tower

In 1860 a Mr Anderson published a paper suggesting that guns could be mounted on railway carriages to give them better mobility. Guns on trains may seem to be a good idea, but there is a big problem with recoil which means the size of gun needs to be restricted, especially if it is fired…

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…

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…

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…