Tag Archives: east sussex

Postcard Album: Mr Isaac Ingall

14 Oct

This postcard is a little different from my usual subject matter, very rarely do I stray from my usual topographical collecting themes, but I made an exception for this one because of the interesting story it tells.

The claim that Isaac Ingall lived to a great age is repeated many times on the internet, but I can’t see that any detailed research has been done that backs it up, but equally I can’t see anything that refutes the claim either, but I could be wrong. He is buried at Battle Abbey, where had he seemingly worked as a butler and a photo of his headstone can be seen here.

As for the postcard itself, there are no clues as to the age of the card, it is based on a much older portrait (which looks like it is now in The British Museum).

There is also a good reason why I chose this postcard today, because the 14th October marks the 945th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which every schoolboy knows (or ought to) didn’t take place in Hastings but in nearby Battle, East Sussex, where Isaac Ingall was buried.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Time to think about Sussex Day 2011

23 May

Sussex Day 2011 is fast approaching and like the last two years I want to celebrate the 16th June in some special way. The previous years this has involved spending the day walking and visiting ancestral locations.

Unfortunately this year I will not be able to get the day off work (the 16th June is a Thursday this year), so my options are going to be rather limited in terms of walking. I still hope to be able to spend at least part of the day walking. I should be able to get three or four hours walking in after work so I will be looking for a walking route home that is a little different to my usually walking route.

With limited options for walking I will have to divert my energies to researching and writing about Sussex and my Sussex ancestors. I know I normally write quite a bit about Sussex already but I am thinking of a having a week-long celebration of all things Sussex.

If I am going to do that then I need to start planning, researching and writing now. I won’t have much opportunity to get out and do much new research between now and Sussex Day, but I have plenty of material already at hand that needs writing up, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

For the first time in a few weeks I am starting to get excited at the prospect of have something special to write about. Even if I can’t get out for a decent walk on Sussex Day I will find other ways to celebrate the day.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Wandering: South Downs Way – Exceat to Southease

21 May

When my wife and I left home it looked like it was going to be a nice day, but the weather soon turned misty and before we had reached the south coast the sun had disappeared and we were beginning to wonder whether we would actually be able see anything as we walked along the South Downs.

For the first couple of hours it was somewhat disappointing, with very limited views. The photo below is of one of my favourite views, Cuckmere Haven, but as you can see the mist is creeping in from the sea. Compare this to the crystal clear view I had just over a year ago when I walked the same stretch of the South Downs Way.

Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex

Fortunately the cloud did begin to break up around lunchtime and by the time we left Alfriston it was starting to warm up. There was a slight breeze which helped to keep us still cooler. The mist didn’t clear completely, but the views to the north across the Weald were quite good and eventually the views to the coastal town of Newhaven also improved.

Instead of going into a blow-by-blow account of the walk I am going to give you some facts and figures for today’s walk:

Starting point: Seven Sisters Country Park, Exceat, East Sussex
Finishing point: Southease railway station, Southease, East Sussex
Distance walked: 10.1 miles
Highest point: Firle Beacon (713 ft)
Places of note: Exceat, West Dean, Friston Forest, Litlington, Alfriston, Bostal Hill, Firle Beacon, Beddingham Hill, Itford Hill and Southease
Number of trig points spotted: Two – Firle Beacon and White Lion Pond
Number of sandwiches eaten: One (egg and cress)
Time spent waiting for sandwich: Too long
Number of bus journeys taken: Three
Number of train journeys taken: One
Number of ice creams eaten: Zero
Shorts or long trousers: Long trousers (a bit too breezy)

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Wandering: South Downs Way – Eastbourne to Exceat

7 May

A little over a year since I started walking the South Downs Way I was back in Eastbourne, East Sussex starting it all over again. This time I was accompanied by my wife, who has decided that she would also like to walk the South Downs Way (SDW) this year. This year I had planned to take a week off work and walk the route in one go, but for now we will be walking it together over several months.

The route is now quite familiar to me, I have only walked it a few times but have revisited it in my mind and in my digital photo albums many times. I won’t go into the details of the route here, beyond the basics: head west from Eastbourne up onto the hills, across Beachy Head, past Belle Tout lighthouse, drop down to the National Trust cafe and bar at Birling Gap, up to the start of the Seven Sisters, up and down the Seven Sisters several times and finally down to the Cuckmere River and along to Exceat.

Weather conditions were generally good for walking, probably more a little more sunshine than cloud with a few very light (and brief) showers. All in all it was a good walk, the Seven Sisters didn’t cause me any real problems and although my legs and feet were tired they soon recovered.

I hope to try to make this walk of the first section of the South Downs Way an annual occurrence, at least for as long as I am capable of completing it. For now though I will leave you with a few photos.

Birling Gap and the Seven Sisters, East Sussex (7th May 2011)

Seaford Head and Cuckmere Haven, East Sussex (7th May 2011)

The obligatory trig point photo - Cliff End trig point, Seven Sisters, East Sussex (7th May 2011)

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Wandering: East Grinstead to Groombridge

2 Apr

Today’s weather was almost perfect for walking, spring is well and truly here, in fact it almost felt like summer. At home the temperature reached 20°c, the highest of the year so far, but I wasn’t at home, I was out walking the Forest Way Country Park with my friend Chris.

The name country park is a little misleading, painting pictures of large open spaces, instead this country park is actually a long thin strip of land, another disused railway line, and an extension of the Worth Way which we walked just over a couple of months ago.

The route runs from East Grinstead, West Sussex to Groombridge, East Sussex and is about 10 miles in length. Apart from the distance it is not a particularly challenging walk, the path is mostly level and well surfaced with only a few wet patches which were easily negotiated.

East Grinstead was a little awkward to negotiate, the actual railway line is now a busy road with no pavements so the path makes its way unsignposted through the streets of the town. This was the only part of the route that required a map because once on the railway line proper it was just a case of keeping on heading the same direction. There is a section of the path between Forest Row and Hartfield with is almost as straight an arrow for over two miles.

The route can be quite easily (and almost equally) divided into three sections by the villages along the route the first being Forest Row, which the route just clips on the northern side of the village. Next along the line is Hartfield, which at first glance doesn’t seem to be very large, but it does have two pubs which are almost neighbours. We stopped here briefly for refreshments before heading off at a rapid rate to catch the bus from Groombridge.

The first half of the route was largely devoid of anything of railway interest, besides a few bridges, but further on Hartfield and Withyham still have station buildings and remains of platforms in evidence. At Groombridge the disused railway line meets the present railway line, but it wasn’t trains we were looking for but a bus. A rather quick walk up the hill got us into Groombridge with literally minutes to spare before the bus was due. As it happened we needn’t have rushed because the bus was 10 minutes late.

What really pleased me was to see so many Millennium Mileposts along this route. I think there were seven in all, in varying conditions. The one below is at Forest Row and has been carefully painted and looks stunning. In the absence of trig points I am finding “collecting” these mileposts to be equally rewarding!


Something Sussex: The Keep – the next step

2 Dec

Plans for The Keep moved another step forward with the submission of a planning application to Brighton & Hove City Council in October 2010.

The Keep is destined to be the new home for the collections of the East Sussex Record Office and the Brighton History Centre among others, and if all goes according to plan (and funding is forthcoming) it should be opened to the public in 2013.

The hope is that a decision will be reached by the 14th January 2011 and all the documentation about the application can be found on the Brighton & Hove City Council website in their planning register (application number BH2010/03259).

The application itself is described as being for the “Construction of an archive centre comprising lecture and educational facilities, reading room, conservation laboratories, archivist study areas, offices, cleaning and repair facilities for archives, repository block and refreshment area. Associated energy centre, car, coach and cycle parking, waste and recycling storage, landscaping including public open space and access.”

Delving into the documentation provides some interesting reading. The first document on the list is the application form and this includes opening hours which it gives as 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, with two evenings during the week and one Sunday a month. I fully expect these to change by the time it opens, but being able to visit on a Sunday would be a great advantage for me.

There is still much consultation and discussion to be done, but at least the plans have moved another step closer to completion.

Which West Dean?

12 Oct

One hazard that has the potential to trip up unwary family historians (and postcard collectors) is the presence of two West Deans in the county of Sussex. There is one in the present day East Sussex and another in the present day West Sussex, but family historians will be mostly dealing with a time when the two halves of the county were considered as one.

The potential for confusion is described in Black’s Guide to Sussex and its Watering-places (published by Adam and Charles Black, London in 1898):

This West Dean and its neighbour East Dean are likely to be confused with a pair of villages of the same names in the other division of the county, discriminated in ecclesiastical forms as orientalis and occidentalis; we shall come to that West Dean farther on. Dean of course is a valley or ravine, otherwise written dene or den.

In terms of Sussex family history research, it is important to make sure you have identified the correct West Dean. It could mean the difference between having to visit the East Sussex Record Office (in Lewes, East Sussex) or the West Sussex Record Office (in Chichester, West Sussex) to find your ancestors.

I have a large number of ancestors from the western West Dean (near Chichester) and things were nice and straightforward until a couple of months ago when I ran across a distant relation who married someone from the eastern West Dean (near Seaford). Then I was faced with making a decision on how to record this other West Dean.

I certainly didn’t consider using the words orientalis or occidentalis, instead I chose to record the eastern West Dean as West Dean (near Seaford), Sussex, England, because although I consider it to look a little untidy it is quite possibly going to be the only occurrence of this place name in my database, and I should try not to lose too much sleep over how to record it.

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