Tag Archives: hurstpierpoint

Picture Postcard Parade: The Lake, Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint

8 Apr

This slightly battered postcard is of the Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. I’m afraid I don’t know  much about this place, expect that it was near where my great-grandfather lived in Hurstpierpoint and that the gardens have long since gone.

The Lake, Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint

Apart from the fact that it is a delightful picture, probably a group of Victorian day-trippers enjoying a leisurely trip in a boat. Now I come to think about it, the boat looks rather crowded and there doesn’t appear to any visible means of propulsion, so perhaps they have been cast adrift from a sinking ship.

No, the real reason I chose this postcard is because it makes me feel incredibly optimistic about future. The weather here is starting to feel like spring is in full swing, just the sort of weather for messing about in boats, or more importantly for me, suitable for doing some serious walking again.

How not to identify your family photos

4 Mar

Everyone knows that they should put names and dates on photos, and whilst we may curse our ancestors for not doing so, I am sure most of us are guilty of the same crime.

So when this possible family photo turned up today, from another of my father’s boxes, I had to smile, not just because it is such a nice photo.

Photo in envelope

It had been kept in an envelope addressed to my grandmother, then Miss D TROWER of 5 Hazeldene Terrace,  Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. The envelope is postmarked 21st July 1936, but the actual location it was posted from is not clear, but it may be nearby Burgess Hill.

Although someone had written on the back of the photo, as you can see it wasn’t particularly helpful.

Photo in envelope (back)

I couldn’t help smiling, perhaps one of my ancestors had a warped sense of humour, but more than likely it made perfect sense to whoever wrote it at the time.

So I have no idea if this is Dorothy Annie TROWER, I have nothing to compare this against, but it could just as easily have been her sister, cousin or a friend, or the envelope could be a complete red herring.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 9 – Hurstpierpoint Cemetery to Wolstonbury Hill

25 Jun

When I left Hurstpierpoint Cemetery I didn’t really where I was heading. I knew that I was ultimately going to end up at Hassocks railway station, so I could get home, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get there.

The shortest and quickest route would have been to head east out of Hurstpierpoint on the main road, but I wanted to be out in the countryside, so I decided to follow a path just north of the cemetery. Besides it was still early afternoon, far too early to be heading home!

When the path got clear of the houses to the south the views opened up to the South Downs and there looming up in front of me was Wolstonbury Hill, just begging to be climbed.

The walk so far had been pretty flat, Hurstpierpoint Cemetery was really the last genealogical connection, so now it was time to put the family history to one side and to personally challenge myself with a climb up the hill.

It was a nice gentle route to the foot of the Downs, past the magnificent Danny House (currently a retirement home). All the time Wolstonbury Hill getting closer and seeming more and more unclimbable. I reached New Way Lane and approached the foot of the hill, there was no turning back now.

No turning back maybe, but no way forward either! The footpath was blocked, closed to allow repair work, for six months, how could the West Sussex County Council do this to me? Here I was ready to ascend Wolstonbury Hill and they had closed the path!

Of course there was more than one route up to the top, only the northern and western sides were closed, I continued east along the lane and found another path heading south, before long it started to climb and I knew I was on the right path. The path was well shaded, but not particularly smooth, not far up the hill I came to a junction of paths and I wasn’t entirely sure where I was, eastward seemed to take me out into the open and back downhill again, that was no good, so after consulting the map I pressed on south again up further.

A short distance further I came to a gateway that opened out onto the side of the hill, and I could see the path leading right to the top. This was it, after another application of suncream (and a mouthful of drink) I headed out into the blazing sun and launched myself up the hill.

That last section was one of the most exhilarating climbs of my life, the sun was hot, there was little breeze, my leg muscles were complaining, but I was all alone, not another soul in sight, enjoying the beautiful Sussex landscape that emerged once I had cleared the trees.

It felt fantastic to be pushing myself to climb this hill, I had never witnessed the views from the top before, but I am sure many of my ancestors had before me. It had been a struggle but the reward was well worth it. It was a clear day, a little bit hazy in the distance but that didn’t matter, and I could see for miles in all directions. I wandered around the earthworks at the top of the hill, visited the trig point and just savoured the moment. There was a slight breeze here, but little shelter apart from a few gorse bushes. I found some shade and sat down, quenching my thirst with more drink and applying more suncream.

I sat and admired the view, it was breathtaking. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know what half of the places were, what mattered was that it was Sussex, my Sussex, my ancestors Sussex. I could think of no better place to be on Sussex Day. The sense of achievement was tremendous, I felt physically and emotionally that I was on top of the world.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 8 – Hazeldene Terrace to Hurstpierpoint Cemetery (hang on in there, I’ve almost reached the end!)

24 Jun

This stage of my Sussex Day walk was another quite short section with the destination being more interesting than the actual walk.

From Hazeldene Terrace it was a case of retracing my steps up Western Road, taking a short-cut through Manor Road onto Cuckfield Road and following that to the High Street. The cemetery is a short way along the High Street at the end of South Avenue.

A couple of relations are buried here or have their ashes interred here, although I only knew the exact location of one, my great grandfather Henry John TROWER. His grave is marked by a small headstone and a holly tree.

It occurs to me as I write this that my great grandfather has unintentionally become a constant theme running through this walk. He was baptised at Henfield Church, married (twice) at Sayers Common Church, lived at Vicarage Cottage, worked at Cobbs Mill, lived in Hazeldene Terrace, his funeral was held at Hurstpierpoint Church and he was buried in Hurstpierpoint Cemetery.

I wandered around the cemetery in the hope of discovering another relation, it wasn’t a methodical search, just a random wandering checking out the names. To my surprise I did find someone. A simple plaque marked the location of the ashes of William BURT, my great grandfather’s second wife’s second husband (we knew him as Uncle Bill, which was a lot easier).

I like Hurstpierpoint Cemetery, it is well looked after (the north-west corner has been kept uncut to allow wild flowers to grow) and still in use, it is quite small and compact, with a nice brick chapel and all enclosed by a solid brick wall, to the south the view is across to the South Downs and Wolstonbury Hill.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 6 – Hurst Wickham to Hurstpierpoint Church

22 Jun

Hurst Wickham is practically on the edge of Hurstpierpoint village, so it didn’t take long to get to the High Street, especially as I took a short cut, along a twitten which took me to St George’s Church.

I had no idea that there was a St George’s Church in Hurstpierpoint up to this point. It was a nice looking little church, but sadly it has now been closed and getting a little enclosed by the trees and undergrowth. A path leading around the back of the church took me through the St George’s Millennium Garden (quiet and some shade, with nice views to the north) and out into a residential area, and from there I found my way out onto the High Street.

I had several places to visit in Hurstpierpoint, and I began by making my way to Holy Trinity Church, stopping at a bakery along the way to buy a sandwich and some more drink. The church itself is next to a crossroads, and hemmed in by buildings and roads, so I didn’t attempt to get any photos. The church was open and it was nice to get inside and out of the sun for a while (sadly most of my photos inside didn’t come out very well, I should have had a tripod!).

The church is quite modern in terms of Sussex churches, built in 1843-45 to replace an earlier one. This is the church where my father was baptised (and his brother and sister). Several family marriages and one or two funerals have also taken place here, although I don’t believe there are any relations buried here.

For me the highlight was stepping round the back of the church and witnessing the wonderful view across to the South Downs. If there was an award for the graveyard with the best view, then Hurstpierpoint would be in the top ten. I found a bench in the churchyard and sat down and ate my sandwich. There was no shade and it was too hot to sit still for long in the midday sun so I soon moved on. After all there were still a couple of other places to visit before I could leave Hurstpierpoint.

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