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…

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…