Lewes History Group: Bulletin 32, (5 March 2013)

Please note: this Bulletin is being put on the website one month after publication. If you would like to receive the Bulletin as soon as it is published, please contact the Membership Secretary about joining the Lewes History Group.

1.   Next meeting, Monday 11 March 2013: John Davey, ‘Lost Industries of

2.   Lewes Cattle Market, 1937
Chapel Hill, by Ali Harris
An Old Part of Lewes, by Ron Gordon & Marion Smith
 The death of William de Warenne, by Arthur Lee
A Lewes House?
The Restless Railways of Lewes
Lewes History Group Membership: your last email Bulletin?


1.   Monday 11 March, 7.30 p.m. at the King’s Church Building, Brooks Road


John Davey           The Lost Industries of Lewes

Mention of Lewes these days does not conjure up images of an industrial town but, during the years that preceded and followed the Industrial Revolution, Lewes might genuinely have been described as a hive of industry. In this talk, John Davey will trace the 19th century growth and the 20th century decline of the manufacturing industries that – for 100 years – provided employment for most of the menfolk of Lewes.

We shall be serving coffee and biscuits prior to the meeting. As usual all will be welcome.


2.   Lewes Cattle Market, 1937

Cattle Market by James Bateman - detail This oil painting of a scene at Lewes Cattle Market in 1937 is by James Bateman (1893-1959). It was presented to the Tate Gallery in 1938, but is not on display. James Bateman was the son of a Lake District farmer and initially studied sculpture, but after a serious injury sustained in the Great War had to switch to painting. He studied at the Slade after the war, and then became an artist and art lecturer. He is particularly known for his paintings of cattle.
Click the cropped image to view the entire painting.

3.  Chapel Hill                                                                        by Ali Harris

 Chapel Hill Lewes, old  Chapel Hill Lewes, new

On the left is a seemingly straightforward view taken from outside No. 7 Chapel Hill, looking up in the direction of the Golf Course.  But if you were to stand on this spot today you will see that, although it is instantly recognisable, almost nothing remains the same.

The nearest cottages are now painted white and the facing cottage now has a simple hedge and no creeper.  But most noticeably the cottages at the far end of the terrace are no longer three-storey gables.


4.  An Old Part of Lewes                                          by Ron Gordon & Marion Smith

Rignall_Old_part_of_LewesThe watercolour offered on ebay recently featuring three-story cobbled houses and titled “An Old Part of Lewes” [Bulletin no.31] has not been recognised as a local scene. Cobbles are sometimes used in Lewes cottages, but rarely on houses of this scale. However, both Ron Gordon and Marion Smith have suggested that the scene is much more likely to be somewhere like Cromer or Holt in Norfolk.

Ron noted that the house in the foreground appears to be offering crabs for sale. Just shows you not to believe everything you read on ebay!


5.   The death of William de Warenne                                               by Arthur Lee

How William de Warenne, son of John, Earl de Warenne, was intercepted and cruelly slain on his way to a tournament at Croydon, Surrey, in 1286.

Tidings were brought to the castle-gate,
For William de Warenne sent –
Of a Passage of Arms at Croyden Town
And a princely Tournament

That Knights were assembled of ev’ry degree,
From Almaine, Spain and France –
“By our Lady!” said William, “tomorrow I’ll hie,
And among them will shiver a lance.”

But Joan his good wife, with a piteous cry,
Besought him is tears not to go –
“For I know by a dream that befell me last night,
It will cause me much dolour and woe.”

“For I saw in my dream an arrow fly
And it entered your faithfull side –
And your scarf of chequers, I wrought myself,
In your pure heart’s blood was dy’d.”

“Tut, tut” with a smile quoth the knight, “dearest Joan,
A dream shall not cause me to stay –
For what would the vaunting challengers think
Were William de Warenne away?”

At earliest dawn, with a gallant train,
To keep him companie,
De Warenne went forth o’er the verdant Down-
‘Twas a goodly sight to see.

He toil’d through the shades of the wooded Weald,
His course it was swift and true –
Nor did he draw bit, till the Surrey hills
Were bursting on his view.

At Riddlesdown dale, he call’d to his squire,
Reginald Fyville by name:
“Our horses have travelled the live long morn,
To harass them further were shame.”

They sate them down on the flow’ry mead,
When a dart from the thicket flew –
And William de Warenne was cruelly slain,
And his Lady’s dream came true.

They bore him home to his weeping wife,
With funeral plumes and palls –
And before the high altar they buried him
In holy Pancras’ walls.

Source: Arthur Lee, ‘The Battaile of Lewes and other legends of St Pancras Priory, Lewes’ (1847), Baxter & Son, Lewes


6.   A Lewes House?

House in Lewes.png

This image is from a postcard mailed from Lewes in 1912 and recently offered for sale on ebay. But is it a Lewes house? Can anyone identify it?


7.    The Restless Railways of Lewes

John Holland & Brian Taylor will be speaking at 7.30 pm on Sunday 31 March at the Linklater Pavilion, Railway Lane, at a fundraising event for the Railway Land Wildlife Trust. John’s father was a Lewes railwayman who had an allotment in what is now Court Road, and John spent much of his early life there, watching the shunting in the goods yard nearby. Brian Taylor is a railway model maker. Tickets from info@railwaylandproject.org or on the door.


8.    Lewes History Group Membership: your last email Bulletin?

Now that the Lewes History Group has now become a formal organisation, with a membership list that has already reached 80, from next month onwards this Bulletin will be distributed only to members. We will, however, continue to circulate details of events to everyone on the current email list. If you are not yet a member, but would like to become one, please sign up at our next meeting, or send a cheque made out to “Lewes History Group” to our membership secretary, Neil Merchant. Please contact Neil for his address. Membership is £8 p.a. for the first member at each address and £4 p.a. for additional members at the same address.


John Kay                                            


Contact details for Friends of the Lewes History Group promoting local historical events
Sussex Archaeological Society: http://sussexpast.co.uk/events
Lewes Priory Trust: http://www.lewespriory.org.uk/news-listing
Lewes Archaeological Group: http://www.lewesarchaeology.org.uk/ and go to ‘Lectures’
Friends of Lewes: http://friends-of-lewes.org.uk/diary/

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