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…

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…

Was an Eastbourne man bitten by a lion?

My grandmother Bessie Gordon was born in Eastbourne in 1901 and lived in Taddington Road. (one of the many Eastbourne roads named after a Derbyshire village by the Dukes of Devonshire whose family seat was Chatsworth in that county) In 1911 my grandma became friends with a four-year old girl who lived two doors away….

The Sussex Cyclist and his lasting legacy

Overlooking the Cuckmere Valley between Alfriston and Seaford is a viewing point provided by the Rees Jeffrey Fund.   Rees Jeffrey was a cyclist who did more then most people to ensure our roads are safe. William Rees Jeffreys was born in Paddington, London in 1872 but lived in Sussex.  He was a keen cyclist…

X-IT the Lewes Dwarf

Today we realise that we should not discriminate a person because of their physical appearance but this has not always been the case. It is clear that in the past, dwarves were used for entertainment particularly amongst the royal families of Europe. One of them possibly had a local connection.  His name was XIT and…

Kitchen Tongs of Eastbourne

My great great Auntie was Mercy Bennett and she was married to Oliver Ephraim Mitchell. Oliver was born in Eastbourne in 1880. His father was Ephraim Mitchell (born in West Dean in 1852)   When Oliver was born his father’s occupation is shown as a ‘Farm Bailiff’ however he was apparently also a poet and…

When my Grandma met a Prime Minister

When I visit Parliament I regularly pass the statue of the former Prime-Minister David Lloyd-George. The sculpture shows the great Liberal politician in an animated pose. Lloyd George is remembered for his many reforms including those responsible for welfare and women’s suffrage. As a young lady my Grandmother, Bessie Gordon, was a keen photographer. In…

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)…

Why is Charlie-Joe upside down?

The web-site of the La Trobe University in Australia reports that “Charles La Trobe is much better known in England than he is in Australia”  This I doubt, even though he is buried in the delightful riverside churchyard at Litlington, East Sussex. Charles Joseph La Trobe was born in London on 20th March 1801 and…