Sussex Curiosities

A study of the unusual and strange buildings, signs, grave stones and other items found in the County of Sussex.

East Sussex (Part One) features many fascinating buildings including Britain's most expensive folly, Hamilton Palace (nr Uckfield) and the bizarre church crypt at Hythe (Kent) together with a number of curious public signs and the story of Brightling's "Mad" Jack Fuller.

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G H Elliott, buried in 1962, performed as a Music Hall artiste under the stage name "The Chocolate Coloured Coon."  Not strictly PC nowadays - how times have changed !

Isaac Ingall died on the 2nd April, 1798 at the grand old age of 120.He served as butler to the Webster family at Battle Abbey for all of 90 years



The Clergy House was the first house to be acquired by the National Trust way back in the year 1896.

The villagers of Ditchling so loved their local GP, Dr Bogle ,that after his death in 1964 they put up this plaque in the High Street "in grateful affection for the life of our doctor,"



St Leonard's Church, Hythe (Kent) "England's most celebrated and gruesome ossuary" is how author Simon Jenkins described this church in 1999.  The crypt is piled full with bones and skulls from skeletons dug up from the Churchyard  -  the remains of some 4,000 men, women and children including around 2,000 skulls (many arranged neatly on shelves) and 8,000 thigh bones.  Why they were all dug up is not exactly known but the safest explanation suggests the churchyard became full in the late Middle Ages.

A rare sign on the Village Water Pump forbids its use for the filling of steam engines.

A most strange sign under the Town Hall asking you to prevent boys from dirting the place.

What about dirty girls?


Hythe (Kent)

On the left, "Mad" Jack Fuller's Pyramid in the churchyard.  Jack Fuller was a big man, an M.P. for East Sussex, and a true eccentric. He was an ardent folly builder including Belle Tout lighthouse at East Dean and the Sugar Loaf on the right which Jack had built within one morning to win a bet that he could see the church spire at Dallington from his top window.



West Sussex  (Part Two) includes many grave stones which tell their own stories, a number of pub signs and a village sign attacking the local vicar's drinking habits and ends with the story of the most expensive water tower in the County.

Many houses in Bosham are affected by the in-coming tide and their owners have built solid flood barriers across the entrance gate to keep the water out.

Known locally as the Dodo House, Pallant House was built for Henry Peckham who boasted ostriches on his coat of arms.

The weird dodo-like creatures are the best the poor stonemason could manage.



A good early example of Changing Rooms - from a disused railway carriage to a thatched summer house.     Much better than the rubbish on TV nowadays !

A very pretty thatched village well which features a square shaped winching wheel.

A very rare item.


East Marden

A charming little sign on a town centre shop which used to be a boot and shoe repairer.

A sad tale with a strange result.  The vicar  refused to accept the memorial in the churchyard. It was erected in the owner's pub garden where it's message is  more effective.


Dragon’s Green

A beautifully carved grave stone clearly depicting the accident which claimed the life of Charles Cook when a tree fell on him.

Look carefully and you will see poor Charles lying under the tree, the woodman with his axe, Old Father Time, a skeleton with an arrow, trumpeting angels and God                        

This attack on the "Degradation of Drunkenness" was, we believe, directed toward an intemperate vicar who was being taken to task by his flock.

It makes fascinating reading.  


Here are photos of both sides of the pub sign which used to be outside the village pub.  The story goes that the landlady became too involved with a guest from a warmer climate and eventually gave birth to a black boy. Knowing her husband would not be happy, she is depicted scrubbing the infant to make him white.





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