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….

A Sussex War Grave and its Literary Connection.

The name Horatio Hornblower will be known as a gallant but fictional Royal Navy Officer during the Napoleonic Wars. He has been played on film by Gregory Peck and more recently Ioan Gruffudd.  But where did this unusual name come from? Edward Sibun Hornblower was born in Southwark, London on 13th November 1873.  His father…

The Sussex Doctor who discovered Dyslexia

About 7,000 miles away from Seaford in the centre of the Argentinean city of Buenos Aires is a clinic specialising in helping children with dyslexia. Amazingly, the W. Pringle Morgan Institute is named after a Sussex doctor. Morgan is one of the unsung heroes of our county and, apart from a brass plaque in the…

The Sad Tale of a Deaf Footballer

The men and women who died in the service of our country are commemorated with Commonwealth War-Graves and every one has a story behind it. I have recently been researching the war-graves at Ocklynge Cemetery in Eastbourne as part of the Commonwealth War Grave Commissions ‘Living Memory’ project.  The war grave of John Tosswill is…

Seaford’s Saddest Day

TODAY 100 years ago 3rd September 1916 was one of the darkest days in Seaford’s history with five local men being killed within 24 hours. They were all members of the Royal Sussex Regiment. Four of the men were members of the 11th (South Downs) Battalion.  Known as Lowther’s Lambs as they had been recruited…

How Exceat was discovered

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the death of Maurice Lawrance of West Dean. The summer of 1913 was dry and hot and Maurice Theodore Lawrance, the 15 year old son of the rector of West Dean Church, was in the fields above the Cuckmere River when he spotted some indentations in the field which…

A Sussex Corn-cure

In the late 1920s poor old Mr W. S. Galloway from Seaford had very bad feet, but rather than complain about his ailments he decided to do something about it. He began to experiment with various solutions in order to relieve and remove his corns. Some accounts (possibly libellous) say that he used as a…

A Chubby but Cheerful Soldier

This afternoon I did one of my Guided Tours of Lewes and took people through the lovely churchyard of St John Sub-Castro.  I pointed out some interesting graves but noticed something today that I had no seen before. It was a Memorial Plaque – known as a Death Penny or Widow’s Penny, which had been inserted…

Winifred’s Service in the Great War

Winifred Mary Wilcox was born in Condover a few miles to the south of Shrewsbury in Shropshire.  He parents were Edward and Edith Mary Wilcox. Her father was an Agricultural Labourer.  In 1906 Winifred’s father died and the family moved to Liverpool where they took a house at 78, Macdonald Road, Wavertree.  The 1911 Census…

60 years in the Police!

Today it is not unusual for Police Officers to transfer into the British Transport Police from other forces and it is not unknown for some officers to spend a few years in the BTP having retired from another force.   After Walter Hebborn retired from the Metropolitan Police, he joined the Railway Police in Sussex…