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NLHG Newsletter Archive



















September 2014


Visit to Michelham Priory: A group of our members visited this lovely site near Hailsham which is owned and run by the Sussex Archaeological Society. There has been a settlement there since 1229 when Augustinian Canons set up a monastery there. The site retains a magnificent 14th century gatehouse but the monastery was largely destroyed during the dissolution.  A Tudor country mansion house and farm of about 400 acres was built on the site and parts of the original building were incorporated into the structure. Over the years there have been additions to the house during different eras. For much of its history the estate was owned by the Sackville family. We were given a guided tour of the house and were then free to explore the rest of the site at leisure. The site is surrounded by a moat (the largest in England) which was diverted from the Cuckmere river. There are many interesting displays to see including Tudor kitchens and dining room (opportunities for dressing up in Tudor costume), a Victorian pantry and World War 2 evacuee bedrooms. There is also a working water mill, an Elizabethan barn, a forge and a collection of rope making equipment. There are extensive gardens and riverside walks, a lovely venue for a day out.

The Sussex Archaeological Society own a number of other historical sites including: Lewes Castle, Anne of Cleeves House and the Long Man of Wilmington.



Forthcoming meetings: 7.30pm in the Methodist Hall unless stated otherwise:


September 18th                  Mad Jack Fuller by Geoff Hutchinson

September 27th                  An Afternoon of Local History* 2.00pm at the Memorial Hall

October 16th                       Assisted Passage to the Colonies by Jan Cooper

November 20th                   Tracing Your Ancestors – a family history workshop

December 18th                   Christmas Social an afternoon event, time tbc

January                               tba

Feb 19th 2015                    Sussex Characters-Wacky, Weird & Wonderful by Chris McCooey

March                                  tba



Other Local Events


Eastbourne Ancestors at the Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne: open at The Pavilion, which adjoins the fortress grounds, until 16th November. This ground-breaking exhibition follows the biggest project of its kind, which saw scientific analysis of human remains dating back to the Bronze Age.

With discoveries including a rare African lady dating back to Roman times who was found nearby at Beachy Head, the exhibition includes 3D and 2D facial reconstructions and a chance to understand their life story, using the scientific results of the study which show where they resided, what they ate, what they did for a living, their social status and how they died. Open every day 10.00 until 5.00. Admission is free.


The History of the RIB Boat: the rigid hulled inflatable boat which has been the mainstay of the Lifeboat Service for many years. This free event is on the roof of the De La Warr Pavillion at 12.00 noon on Sunday 7th September.


Outing to Weald & Downland Museum

Tuesday 23rd September. First pick up 8.30. £30 per person. Contact Mr & Mrs Openshaw 01424 846369 (organised by the Museum).


Guided Walk to Buckholt Farm & Local Iron Workings: another in the “Stepping Out” series organised by Bexhill Museum. This one is on Sunday 21st September. Meet at Sidley car park at 2.00pm. £3.00, 3hours & 3 miles.


General News 

A Donation:The NLHG have been given a donation of 15 books on Sussex history from  Keith Elliott. Keith's farther Stanley from Battle, who died recently, was an amateur historian of some merit. Stan Elliott's extensive archive of the history of Battle is amazingly extensive, wonderfully organised and catalogued.


“Our” Spitfire Pilot: You may have seen the article in the Bexhill Observer about the reunion of two WW2 Spitfire crew from 185 Squadron at Mais House, the RBL Home in Bexhill. Brian Bird was one of the volunteers that we interviewed as part of our oral history project last year gave us a fascinating insight into the life of a fighter pilot in the war years. Through writing about his memories he made contact with Ken Hone a Spitfire maintenance engineer stationed at the same base in Italy during the war. The two men were reunited after an intervening 70 years. The event was staged in front of a replica Spitfire as part of the WW2 commemoration on 4th August. Since then, Brian has taken to the skies and was taken up in a Spitfire at Duxford!


An Afternoon of Local History: Tickets priced at £2.00 for adults (children free) are now on sale at the village stores or from John -892248 or Rod -893635. Doors open at 2.00pm prompt seats are limited to 80 places. The program is as follows:

14.30 – 15.30 Ninfield of the Past the Cyril Wells slides and lecture notes (John).

15.30 – 16.00 Refreshments/exhibition

16.00 – 16.45 Shops & Businesses of Ninfield (Liz and Jan C).


A Photo From the Archives:


Ninfield in the harsh winter of 1963 donated to our archives by Maureen “Cheek” Blackman.

Being high on a ridge, Ninfield suffered badly from heavy snowfall and drifting during this extremely bad winter that caused nationwide chaos and disruption. Do you have any photos of significant events tucked away? We would be keen to see them.