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1896: Armour loaned by Cuckfield

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

Was this the 'armour'loaned to the exhibition?

The loan exhibition

On Monday next the Loan Exhibition, illustrating the Age of Chivalry and the Religious and Civil Life of the Middle Ages and Tudor and Stuart Periods, will be opened at the Brassey Institute [Hastings]. The chief raison d'etre of the Exhibition will be the ornamental brasses, which will be one of the finest collections that have ever been brought together in one building.

They will be reproduced by various processes, and have been collected from all parts of the country and Continent. The display has been arranged by Dr Fairbank, FSA. To illustrate these there has been got together, from all parts of the country a magnificent collection of arms, armour, ecclesiastical vestments, etc. Assaults-of-arms, with ancient arms, will be given by Capt. Kesron, assisted by three other gentlemen, on Saturday and Monday, April 11th and 13th.

Descriptive papers will also be read from time to time on Armour, Brasses, and Heraldry. Amongst those who have kindly sent valuable things from their collections to be on view at this Exhibition may be mentioned:

The Duke of Norfolk, the Marquess of Abergavenny, Cardinal Vaughan, the South Kensington Museum, the Sussex Archaeological Society, the members of the Kernoozer's Club, the Hon, TA Brassey, the Duchess of Cleveland, the Earl of Ashburnham, Sir A Lamb, Bart., the Rev. W Creeney, Mr Seymour Lucas, ABA, Mr Mill Stevenson (secretary Royal Archaeological Institute), Mr J.Waller, FSA, Mr. Augustus Hare, etc. The Dover Corporation has sent loans, and there will also be 18 from our own town [Hastings], 18 from London, and contributions also from Surrey, Devonshire, Cheltenham, Malvern, Norwich, Exeter. Birmingham, and Cuckfield*. The collections of the Earl of Ashburnham and Sir A Lamb have never before left the private houses.

Lord de la Zouche, of Parham, has also sent a valuable exhibit. The Duke of Norfolk's loans include portraits of historical personages, and Cardinal Vaughan’s collection will consist of carved ivories, paintings, objects of ceremonial use and metal work, Limoges enamel, etc. Two specialists have been engaged from London to arrange the loans, and the Exhibition has been well advertised in the London


Walter Hendley's helmet in the Chancel c1980s

On the opening day a musical concert will be given, under the management of Mr Val Marriott and Mr Goss Custard. An orchestra of 30 performers will play.

An illustrated catalogue, with more than 20 pictures, and containing over 100 pages of closely-printed matter, is now in course of publication, and no efforts are being spared to make it as complete as possible. We are informed that Thursday, and not Wednesday, evenings, as stated on the bills, will be free, for the sake of artisans and the working classes.

The Exhibition will be opened on Monday by Mr W Lucas-Shadwell, MP Amongst the most interesting exhibits will be a lay figure, attired in the distinctive uniform of the Hastings Squadron of the Cinque Ports Royal Navy (time of Elizabeth), a cap which Charles I: wore on the morning of his execution, a fine suit of armour worn by one of Sir Archibald Lamb's ancestors at the Eglinton Tournament, and the robes worn by Henry Lord Abergavenny, at the trial and execution of Mary Queen of Scots.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 14 March 1896

* NOTE Walter Hendley of Copshorn in Cranbrook (born about 1500) was the grandson of Henry Bowyer who inherited Cuckfield Park. His funerary helmet with its crest of a golden martlet hung for many decades on the south wall of the chancel flanked by the funerary banners of the Bowyer (left facing) and Hendley families, both of which were renewed in 1988. Walter's daughter, Helen Hendley, was the second wife of Thomas Culpeper of Bedgebury and they had four children. Sir Walter’s daughter, Mrs Mary Clark, sold Cuckfield Place to Charles Sergison in 1691.

Walter's wife survived him five years, as is shown by the entry in the register: 'The lady Francos Hondley, ye widow of Sir Walter Hendley was buried December 27th, 1680.'

Could the helmet have been the armour that was loaned for the exhibition?

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


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