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1822: What you will see in Cuckfield

From the book 'Excursions in the County of Sussex' by Thomas Kitson Cromwell 1822.

Cuckfield stands very central, both in the rape of Lewes, and in the county. It is a small neat town, on the high road to Brighton, being 14 miles distant from that great resort of fashion, and 46 miles from the metropolis. Its site being an acclivity, it forms a very pleasant spot for residence.

The parish contains about 300 houses, and about 1800 inhabitants. The manor anciently belonged to the powerful Earls of Warren and Surrey; one of whom, in the reign of Edward the Second, procured from that monarch a charter for a market and fair at this place. But the existing weekly market, held on Friday, derives its origin from a chalter of James II.

The fairs are two; kept upon Whit-Thursday, and September 16.

On the death of the Earl of Warren and Surrey, who obtained the charter first-mentioned, he having deceased without issue, the manor, along with other large estates, was inherited by the Countess of Arundel, the sister of the late nobleman, and by her carried into the noble family of Fitzalan.

The Free Grammar School of this town, founded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by the bounty of some private individuals, is for the instruction of youth in the Latin language.

The master has a good house, built for his accommodation, at a subsequent period, by the period, by the munificence of Lady Dorothy Shirley.

The Church contains many memorials of different branches of various families of distinction. Among these, monuments of the Burrell family, the ancestors of Lord Gwyder and Sir Charles Merrick Burrell, are the most numerous. They commence with Dr. Gerald Burrell, Vicar of this parish, and Archdeacon of Chichester; and among the cenotaphs, (for such only they are) of a more recent period, is one, executed by Flaxman, for Sir. William Burrell, Bart. the younger brother of Lord Gwyder, and a gentleman already alluded to for his collections relative to the topography, antiquities, and history, of Sussex. In 1754, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Socie-ties, and, in 1774, appointed a Commissioner of Excise.

On the decease of Sir Charles Raymond, Bart. whose daughter he had married, he succeeded to the title, and at his death, in 1796, bequeathed his voluminous records of the county to the British Museum.

The family of Sergison, formerly inhabitants of Cuck-field Place, have also several memorials here. A tablet, of beautiful execution, by Westmacott, records the virtues of the lady of the late Colonel Sergison; and there is a handsome monument in commemoration of Charles Sergison, who, in the reign of Queen Anne, was a Commissioner in the Navy.

The structure itself is large and not unhandsome.

It has a lofty spire, which, of late years, has been furnished with a conductor; having, from its altitude and elevated site, been on several occasions seriously injured by the electric element.

Cuckfield Place, just mentioned, is approached from the Brighton road, at the distance of half a mile from the town, by a broad gravelled walk, bordered with noble trees, and conducting to the gate-house, on the farther side of which is a court, which leads to the grand entrance of the house. The latter is surrounded with a good park, and is altogether picturesquely situated: it was erected towards the end of the sixteenth century. An apartment here is distinguished by the appellation of the ship-room, being provided with different models of ships that are worthy of inspection.

The present proprietor of Cuckfield place is the Rev. William St. Pritchard, who obtained it through his marriage with the sister of the late Colonel Sergison, upon whom, on the death of the Colonel in 1812, it, with other estates, devolved.

Butler's Green, another mansion about a mile east of Cuckfield, is also the property of the same Reverend gentleman, and accrued to him by his marriage like the former seat.

Source text can be found on Google Books:

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


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