Lewes History Group Bulletin 1, 8 August 2010

1. NEXT MEETING, Monday 9 August

2. Newhaven Workhouse visit, Saturday 14 August

3. Lewes at the Old Bailey

NEXT MEETING, 7.30 p.m. Monday 9 August

Diana Crook, ‘The Ladies of Miller’s’

King’s Church Building, Brooks Road

Diana Crook’s subjects will be two eccentric sisters who thought the depths of World War II was the right time to start a new gallery in Lewes to promote the visual arts in Sussex. Events proved them correct, and their various activities in the town flourished for the next two decades. This is a change to the advertised programme, which has been postponed.

NEWHAVEN WORKHOUSE VISIT, 2.00-4.00 p.m., Saturday 14 August

The former Newhaven Union workhouse building has been stripped back to its original structure prior to conversion to flats. The History Group has been invited by Paul Myles to visit this listed building at this particular stage in its evolution. The workhouse grounds now house the Newhaven Rehabilitation Centre (formerly Newhaven Community Hospital), Church Hill, Newhaven. The postcode is BN9 9HH, if you navigate that way. Local parking is available in the hospital grounds, but car sharing is of course encouraged.

LEWES & THE OLD BAILEY

Proceedings of cases tried at the Old Bailey between 1674 and 1913 are now online in a searchable archive at www.oldbaileyonline.org. Each case report includes a transcript of the evidence, the verdict and, where appropriate, the penalty.

Searching the archive for ‘Ringmer’ revealed just one case. A village gardener, setting out for a new post in London, was sentenced to hang for stealing a horse from a Rodmell farmer to help him on his way. His plea, that he had set out on foot, but on nearing East Grinstead had accepted a lift from another man riding one horse and leading another, was not believed.

Searching the archive for ‘Lewes’ reveals over 150 cases. About half have prisoners, witnesses or magistrates with the surname Lewes, but the others appear to relate to our town. In many the Lewes connection will doubtless prove tangential, but there will probably be others that illuminate the story of Lewes and its inhabitants.

Would anyone be interested in researching this topic, from the comfort of your own home? If so, please do email me first. There is probably quite enough information for more than one researcher, but it would not be sensible to have too many different people researching independently.

John Kay

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