Lewes And Sussex Protestant Martyrs History : The Reformation : 6
There are seven long pages here altogether and they are best read in sequence. The information and images have been sourced from the web, books and my grey matter or my own camera. I have done my best to verify the contents, I hope that all of you that read the pages will learn something. p1 p2 p3 p4 p5 p6 p7
The Lewes And Sussex Protestant Martyrs Memorials.
The finest of these Protestant Martyrs Memorials, stands on the Cliffe Hill, Lewes. It is a simple dignified obelisk, 35 feet high, and can be seen for a considerable distance. It cost about £900.
Since its unveiling by the Earl of Portsmouth in 1901, with the exception of about three years during the war, an annual commemoration has been held at the foot of the memorial. On the monument it states that it is erected in loving memory of the Seventeen Martyrs (whose names are recorded) who for their faithful testimony to God’s Truth were, during the reign of Queen Mary, burned to death in front of the Star Inn, now the Town Hall, Lewes.
IN LOVING MEMORY
OF THE UNDERNAMED SEVENTEEN PROTESTANT MARTYRS,
WHO, FOR THEIR FAITHFUL TESTIMONY TO
WERE, DURING THE REIGN OF QUEEN MARY,
BURNED TO DEATH
IN FRONT OF THE THEN STAR INN – NOW THE TOWN HALL – LEWES,
PROVIDED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTIONS,
WAS ERECTED A.D. 1901
DATES OF MARTYRDOM
DIRICK CARVER, OF BRIGHTON.
THOMAS HARLAND, AND JOHN OSWALD, BOTH OF WOODMANCOTE.
THOMAS AVINGTON, AND THOMAS REED, BOTH OF ARDINGLY.
THOMAS WOOD (A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL) OF LEWES.
THOMAS MYLES, OF HELLIGLY.
RICHARD WOODMAN, AND GEORGE STEVENS, BOTH OF WARBLETON.
ALEXANDER HOSMAN, WILLIAM MAINARD, AND THOMASINA WOOD, ALL OF MAYFIELD.
MARCERY MORRIS, AND JAMES MORRIS (HER SON) BOTH OF HEATHFIELD.
DENIS BURCIS, OF BUXTED.
ANN ASHDON, OF ROTHERFIELD.
MARY GROVES, OF LEWES
JULY 22ND 1555
JUNE 6TH 1556
ABOUT JUNE 20TH 1556
JUNE 22ND 1557
”AND THEY OVERCAME, BECAUSE OF THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, AND BECAUSE
OF THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY, AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIFE EVEN
UNTO DEATH” REV. XII. II (R.V.)
The site upon which it stands was provided by the late Isaac Vinall, Esq, and the untiring efforts of the late Arthur Morris, Esq, contributed largely to the success in raising the necessary funds. It is now in the care of a small body of trustees. Since its formation the Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council have borne the expense of maintaining it. In 1934, at the Protestant celebrations in November, the monument was floodlit, whilst thousands of people were in the town. The floodlighting was repeated on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of His Majesty King George V.
In June, 1949, as part of the Annual Commemoration in Lewes, a new plaque was placed by permission of the Lewes Town Council, on the facade of the Lewes Town Hall, over the vaults in which the 10 Martyrs were imprisoned the night before their death. It states “In the vaults beneath this building were imprisoned 10 of 17 Protestant Martyrs who were burned at the stake within a few yards of this site (1555 – 1557) Their names are recorded on the Memorial at Cliffe Hill Lewes” . “Faithful Unto Death” The above plaque is on the wall of the now Town Hall in Lewes, facing the High Street, Site of the old Star Inn, effective help was given in this matter by Councillor Penfold, at whose suggestion the Lewes Council granted the necessary permission, and who presided at the unveiling.
Mr. H. Aylmore of Chichester, who was known in the town as an authority on its history, believed that the martyrs were burnt in the Cathedral precincts, now known as Vicars Close. The buildings now in the Close have been built since the martyrdoms. A Memorial to Richard Hook and Thomas Iveson was erected in 1948 and unveiled by the Hon. L. W. Joynson-Hicks, M.P. for the town, It is in the Coronation Hall, the Memorial states, ”Faithful Unto Death, To the memory of Thomas Iveson and Richard Hook who were martyred at Chichester 1555 for their faith” The memorial is now on the front of the Providence Chapel in Chapel Street, Chichester.
PUNNETTS TOWN, NEAR HEATHFIELD
This memorial is in appearance much like that at Lewes, but it is much smaller. It was erected by public subscription in 1905, and unveiled on September 27th by Sir James Stirling. The idea to place the monument was originated by Rev. Josephus Lemm, who died shortly afterwards, in 1906. It stands in the grounds of the Independent Chapel, Heathfield, on the borders of Punnetts Town, a hamlet. Mr. Lemm was Pastor of the chapel.
A plaque states that it was “Erected to the memory of Richard Woodman and George Stevens of Warbleton and Margery Morris and James Morris her son of Cade Street, Heathfield, who with six others, were burnt to death at Lewes (by the Roman Catholics), June 22nd, 1557″ . ”The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee O God”
In Warbleton church yard, on the south wall, is a tablet which records
“Close by, on the meadow behind, stood the abode of Richard Woodman, farmer and ironmaster. Burnt at Lewes, 22nd June, 1557″ In the church tower is an interesting door known as Woodman’s door.
In Black Lion Street, on the walls of the brewery (Now The Black Lion Pub) which belonged to Deryk Carver, is a modest plaque bearing the words.
“Deryk Carver First Protestant Martyr burnt at Lewes July 22nd, 1555, lived in this brewery”
The memorial in this town is a very unusual one. It takes the form of three flat slabs, the centre one being largest. They lie in the churchyard of the parish church, near the main entrance. They were placed there by the late Lady Musgrave of Hurst-on-Clays. The inscription runs across the three stones, and is as follows.
“Beneath these stones are interred (as is believed) the ashes of Thomas Dungate, Anne Tree, and John Forman, who were burned to death in High St, East Grinstead, in 1556 for adherence to the Reformed Faith. FIDELES USQUE AD MORTEM” As already mentioned, the Sussex Martyrs Council have recently much improved the appearance of the memorial by having the letters re-leaded and a neat stone surround made.
MAYFIELD / ROTHERFIELD
A Memorial to the 6 martyrs of Mayfield and 1 of Rotherfield was erected and unveiled in October, 1950. The site, the nearest possible to the supposed place of the burnings in Mayfield, is in the forecourt of the Congregational Church, and was kindly given by the Deacons and members of the Church. It was unveiled by G.W.J. Cole, Esq. M.C. and dedicated by the Rev. Canon Ferguson.
The Inscriptions read, On the open book, “THY WORD IS TRUTH” On The South face, “IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THE PROTESTANT MARTYRS OF MAYFIELD & ROTHERFIELD 1556-7″ On The West face, ”JOHN HART. THOMAS RAVENSDALE AND TWO MEN NAMES UNKNOWN” On The North face, “Burnt at Lewes 1557 ALEXANDER HOSMAN of Rotherfield” On The East face, “Burnt at Lewes 1557 WILLIAM MAYNARD THOMASINA WOOD both of Mayfield” East Face Is Shown.
There is a small dignified memorial on the south wall in the Church. It is in the form of a brass, let into the wall and depicts Mother Anne Tree holding a Bible, with the following inscription.
“Anne Tree of this parish who for her faith was burnt at the stake in the High Street of East Grinstead on 18th July, 1556 She was remembered in 1940″ Made by George Friend and the memorial was dedicated by Dr. Bell, Bishop of Chichester.
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