Lewes History Group: Bulletin 9, (7 April 2011)

1.   Next meeting on Monday 11 April 2011: Kim Clark, ‘Lost Lewes’
2.   The Friars, Lewes, by James Lambert
3.   The Government of Lewes, according to John Rowe (1622)
4.   The Bylaws of Lewes, according to John Rowe (1622)

5.   Browne & Crosskey
6.   The Lewes Union in 1845

7.   The National School, by A. Morris
8.   Southover and Lewes viewed from the south, by A. Morris


1.  Next meeting at 7.30 p.m. on Monday 11 April 2011

Kim Clark       ‘Lost Lewes’

Kim’s talk will be illustrated by images created by the Lewes photographer James Cheetham (1854-1941). She will also explain how near Cheetham’s collection of glass negatives came to being lost for ever. They were saved only by a remarkable sequence of coincidences.

As usual the meeting will be held in the King’s Church Building, Brooks Road, and all are welcome. Note that pedestrian access from the Tesco car park to Brooks Road is currently blocked by building works.


2.  The Friars, Lewes

The Friars, by James Lambert

The Friars, Lewes, drawn in 1784 by James Lambert for Sir Walter Burrell. It stood approximately where the Magistrates Court now stands, and Lambert took this view from what is now the pedestrian precinct. It was built about 1673, and was demolished in 1846 to make way for the first Lewes railway station. In 1784 it was occupied by Sir Ferdinando Poole, baronet, a member of the extended Pelham family and a friend of the Prince Regent, who co-founded the Derby with Lord Rosebery. Sir Ferdinando’s racing stables were at Broyle Gate Farm, Ringmer.

Source: This drawing is preserved in the Burrell collection in the British Museum, Add.MSS 5677 f.1 and was reprinted in Sussex Record Society vol. 50.

3.  The Government of Lewes, according to John Rowe (1622)

“Within the Burrough of Lewes time beyond all memory the lawdaye or viewe of ffranke pledge is keapt but once in the yeare, viz: the first Monday after Michaelmas: at which Cort ar chosen these officers following

Two Constables
Two hedborrowes
One scavenger
One Pounder
One searcher of leather
One sealer of leather
One clarke of the corne markett
One clarke of the fysh markett
One clarke of the butchery
One clarke of sparres and withes
Alecunners of St Michaell, St Peter & St Mary Westout, St John sub castro & All Sayntes, one in each parish.

There is and hath bene (time out of minde) within this Burrowe a societye of the wealthier & discreeter sorte of the Townesmen commonly called the Twelve: out of which society the Constables are always chosen; the elder by course according to his seniority, the younger is chosen by thelder (with the consent of the greater number of the Jury) out of such of that society as were never formerly constables within this Burrough (for never was it known that any man was twise yonger Constable or twise hedborrowe), And these Constables thus elected make choise of their  hedborrowes with consent as aforesaid, and of all the other officers before remembred at the Lawday without any contradiccon or alteracon by the Stewardes. Neither is there any common fine paid within this Burrough as in other places.”

“The Society called the Twelve is never so fewe as 12, nor more than 24, and upon death or removal ar supplied by the eleccon of the greater number of the subsisting societye to be made on Whitsonday in the afternoon.”


4. The Bylaws of Lewes, according to John Rowe (1622)

“Over and beside such articles as by the common and statute laws of this kingdom ear to be given in charge at every Lawday, there are three speciall ordinances or Bylawes to be remembred heretofore made by generall consent for the better ordering and keapinge of the Towne sweete and free from annoyances: viz:

1. Clensinge the towneditch, made 42 Eliz: for the clensinge and scowringe of the towns ditch by the landholders yearly at three severall tymes. First tenne days before Christmas. 2. Tenne days before our Lady daye, and lastly tenne days before Michaelmas: the penalty is xii d a time for every rodd thereof not thoroughly scowred. The like order was made 36 Eliz:

2. Keapinge of the hyestreate cleane, made 43 Eliz: Keapinge of the hyestreate cleane between the westgate and the broken church, every inhabitant before his doore after warning given by the constable, scavenger or hedborrowe upon payne of vi d lost toties quoties  and to be levied by distresse. The like order was made 37 Eliz:

3. Against wandringe hogges, made 4 Jac: That no person should suffer their hogges or swine of any sort or kinde to wander in any of the streetes or lanes of this Burrough upon payne to forfeit vi d for every hogge. The third part of which forfeiture is payable to the pounder for his paynes if he impound them, or els to be divided between the pounder and the person impounding for the better incouragement of such as shall execute this order. The like bylaws to this purpose you may find in 13, 16, 18, 19 Eliz:

One other Bylawe I find made 3 Jac. That no person should lay any dounge or noisome thinge at Aylardes corner within 40 foote of any dwelling house, or within 10 foote of any barne or stable upon payne to forfeit x s toties quoties.”

Another passage identifies Aylards Corner as near the broken church, so the present junction between High Street and Market Street. Altogether there seems a commendable emphasis on cleanliness.


5. Browne & Crosskey

Browne and Crosskey's, Lewes

For much of the 20th century Browne & Crosskey’s stores were an important part of the commercial life of Lewes. These images, taken from advertisements in F.W. Jackson’s Lewes guidebook (c.1926) show their drapers, outfitters & hosiers store, at the bottom of School Hill (left) and their furniture showroom on Friars Walk (right). The furniture store also sold floor coverings, Browne and Crosskeys, Lewesglass, china & earthenware, brooms and brushes, and domestic ironmongery. You could also have your mattresses purified and re-made there.





6.  The Lewes Union in 1845

Source: Mark Antony Lower, ‘Hand-book for Lewes’ (1845)

“The Union comprises the seven parishes, embracing an area of about the same number of square miles. The number of Guardians is eleven, viz for St Anne’s one, St Michael’s two, All Saints two, St John’s two, Cliffe two, Malling one, Southover one, besides the ex-officio Guardians. The average annual expenditure during the three years preceding the formation of the Union was £5,770. The expenditure for the year ending 25th March 1845 was £5,384 14s. No general poor-house has been established, but the old parochial houses have been appropriated to the purposes of the Union. The able-bodied paupers occupy the poor-house of the Cliffe, the aged poor that of All Saints and the children that of St Anne’s. The number of persons who received relief last year was 1,268, and the number admitted to the poor-houses 181. The Chairman of the Board is Mr J. Berry, the Deputy Chairman Mr Thos. Davey, the Clerk W.P. Kell, Esq, and the Relieving Officer Mr J. Cooke. The Board Day is Saturday.”

Mr Kell, a solicitor, was also clerk to the magistrates, while John Cooke was also registrar of births, marriages and deaths. James Berry was a prominent builder and developer based in South Malling, and contractor for the early phases of Duke of Devonshire’s development of Eastbourne. Thomas Davey led the local Temperance Society.

7. The National School

National School, Lewes

This print, published by A. Morris, shows the old National School on Southover Road, just round the corner from Station Street. The view looks towards the Grange Gardens. The building later became Hammonds furniture store and is now a doctors’ surgery

Source: ‘Lewes from Old Prints’, based on materials in Lewes Library


8.  Southover and Lewes viewed from the south

Southover from the South

This Victorian print, published by A. Morris, shows a view of Lewes from the south. The prison on the left and the scar of the Brighton-Lewes railway cutting confirm a post-1850 date, but there is no sign of the 1857 railway station at the bottom of St Mary’s Lane. Two windmills on the Downs, and the spires of St Anne’s and St Michael’s are prominent landscape features. Southover and All Saints churches are clearly visible. The tower of St John-sub-Castro rises just above the skyline.

Source: ‘Lewes from Old Prints’, based on materials in Lewes Library

John Kay

This entry was posted in Art & Architectural History, Legal History, Lewes, Local History, Political History, Social History and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.