NLHG Newsletter Archive
NOTES FROM MEETINGS: We had a proper history lesson from Helen Poole at the September meeting. She spoke about Sir John Gage and Firle Place. Helen is a guide at the house and has a very detailed knowledge about the Gage family. In October there was a detailed review of the archaeological finds at Kitchenham Farm. Lynn Cornwell showed us how an important Roman settlement was identified during the dig. She believes there was a Roman “hotel” for people arriving by sea and also some military installations. Lynn very kindly allowed us to have copies of all the images she used (maps, photos of pottery, tiles, leather sandals etc). Next September the Hastings Area Archaeological Society will be excavating Castle Croft (Rat’s Castle) in more detail. Lynn has offered our group a guided tour when that happens.
Liz and David have shown the children in Miss Watson’s class the ‘Victorian Ninfield’ presentation covering farms, shops & businesses, transport, sports & leisure, church & school. In this session Liz and David, dressed in suitable costumes, also took the roles of three village people from the Victorian period; Elizabeth Goldsmith (1786 – 1859), tenant farmer at Lower Standard Hill, Thomas Avery Weston (b.1792), Schoolmaster & Sub-Postmaster and Agnes Wrenn (b.1865), draper at Morhouse, Lower Street.
The children engaged really well during the lesson, asked lots of questions and made copious amounts of notes. They really enjoyed looking at the old photographs from the NLHG archives and trying to work out where they were taken and the differences between then and now. Liz, Jan W and David will do a follow-up literacy group lesson early in November to explore extracts from the School Log Book from the late Victorian period.
Miss Staplehurst’s class are studying World War II this term and in November David and Esme will lead a session for them about Ninfield School during the war years. Once again the School Log Book from this period is the main source of information for our presentation but Esme’s local knowledge and personal experience are the main focus for the children – they just love her stories!
Did you know? There was a wagon builder’s workshop on the site of the Council Houses in Church Lane. There was a pond (Stock’s Pond) near Mr Pont’s house (what is now Chamberlain House) on the Green. In 1857 the wage for a Head Carter was 12 shillings and sixpence per week. This was in addition to 100 faggots and a cottage. (Thanks to Gwen for the snippets).
We visited The Sussex Archaeological Society property Anne Of Cleves House museum recently, what a little gem. Located in Southover High Street, Lewes, the medieval house (one of several properties gifted to Anne following the divorce from Henry VIII) is set out to show how life in Tudor times was conducted. Although most of the ground floor is now devoted to café space, the kitchens and upstairs bedrooms are amazing. A notable feature is the Iron Foundry display which contains cast and wrought iron items including firebacks, canon, tools etc. Some of the items come from the forge at Ashburnham.
For example, these wooden patterns were made in the 17th century and last used at Ashburnham Forge in about 1812. One depicts the sun god Apollo riding his chariot across the heavens, the second shows Hercules killing the Hydra. I wonder if any local houses retain a cast iron fireback made from this model?
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