A Sussex Scrapbook 2

On 30 June Ferring Conservation Group had another talk by Sussex historian Chris Horlock – on some of the curious things to be seen in the county’s churches and graveyards, on village signs, in records of its folklore, old recipes and health cures.

He began with St Bartholomew’s Church in Brighton, an enormous building, in brick. A photograph of it under construction in 1874 showed how it dwarfed all its neighbours, including all other churches in the town. Rather dull on the outside, the interior was a ‘High Church’ masterpiece of architecture and decoration – more like a cathedral than a parish church. He went from there to possibly the smallest church in England at Lullington, near Alfriston, a mere 16ft by 16ft. And on to Isfield. Burton, Boxgrove, each with curious features, and the gravestone at Walberton depicting a tree falling on the deceased and our own carrier-pigeon memorial in Worthing.

Chris moved on to Sussex health cures, including mistletoe tea, red flannel dressings, keeping a potato in your pocket, swallowing live frogs and ‘bumping the corpse’ to revive the apparently dead; then to some enigmatic village signs and some very strange recipes. It was a fascinating collection of photographs, facts and anecdotes from the Sussex heritage that needs conservation just as much as its countryside and wildlife.

Also, very enjoyable was the news from the Court of Appeal, only a few hours earlier, that Persimmon had lost their case on Chatsmore Farm – their last opportunity to overturn Worthing Council’s refusal of the developer’s application for a 485-house estate in the north Goring Gap. Ed Miller said this was a landmark judgment which would protect the other green spaces along Littlehampton Road.