When blood spilled in Sussex !

A short announcement appeared in the Morning Chronicle on 2nd October 1805. “The long pending match between the Chicken and the Gulley is fixed for Tuesday next. The combatants are now in training in Sussex in which the battle is to be fought. Most of the amateurs of pugilism have departed for Brighton in the…

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…

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…

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 Bow Street Runners and the Sussex Shipwreck

The origins of our Police are interesting.  Although most people have heard of the Bow Street Runners, they were not like the police of today and surprisingly they operated not only in London, but across the country, often in Sussex. The Middlesex Justices Act 1792 saw the creation of seven offices in the capital, each…

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…

How to celebrate St Clement’s Day

Will you be celebrating St Clements Day on 23rd November? Your ancestors did! It is believed that Clement was an early Pope imprisoned by the Roman Emperor Trajan who packed him off to the Crimea to work in a mine.   Undaunted, he miraculously made a spring appear to help his fellow workers. These men…

Remember Remember

Last month I had the honour of introducing the visiting Bonfire Societies to Seaford for the annual Guy Fawkes celebrations.  I love bonfire and probably recite the Bonfire Prayers – “Remember Remember the Fifth of November” more than most people. As a tour guide in the Palace of Westminster – the Houses of Parliament I recite…

A Respected Sussex Policeman

A few weeks ago, Dr June Goodfield, the President of the Alfriston & Cuckmere Valley Historical Society had an unexpected visitor with an interesting item.  John Enever called in with his great-grandfathers watch.  His ancestor was a policeman who was so respected by the good people of Alfriston that they presented him with the watch…

The Oldest man in Sussex

Isaac Ingall was a grumpy old man but I suppose , given his age he had reason to be; he worked as a servant for no less than 90 years! Isaac was born in Yorkshire in the 1670s. He worked for the Post Office in York in the early 1700s but in 1719 he become…

The only female Sussex Saint

Last week I visited the Church of St Candida in the isolated Dorset village of Whitchurch Canonicorum.   It is the only parish church in England to contain the relic of a saint.  Saint Wite.  The Latin name for Wite is Candida, hence the name of the church. The shrine of the saint contains three…