Ruins, Remains and Relics: Sussex

Review by Robin Hughes.

Ruins, Remains and Relics: Sussex is a miscellany, organised into the three titular groups, of various historical curiosities from across the historic county of Sussex. Horlock explicitly emphasises the ‘unusual, offbeat, and decidedly quirky’, and the items range widely, from entire castles to a single spoon, from a sliver of stone (on display at St Mary’s Church in Pevensey, where it is labelled as a ‘fragment of Solomon’s Temple’) to Beeding Cement Factory (closed in 1991).

‘Ruins’, for instance, discusses Lewes Priory, but gives equal space to the Victorian school at Bedham. This one-room building also served as the local chapel, before falling out of use, and, after a final wedding in 1959, into disrepair. Of the ‘Remains’, particularly interesting is the Etchingham Church brass, the oldest in Sussex, depicting Sir William de Etchingham, who built the church in 1358. ‘Relics’, meanwhile, includes the story of the murderer John Breads, whose skull is still stored, in its gibbeting cage, above Rye Town Hall.

Overall, this small, illustrated book provides an entertaining meander through a variety of local items and areas of interest.

Ruins, Remains and Relics: Sussex, Christopher Horlock, Amberley, £15.99, ISBN 978-1398111141.