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1933: Cuckfield's tribute to one 'who occupied a great place in the neighbourhood' -Miss Edith Payne

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 15 August 1933


Striking Tributes at the Funeral of Miss E. A. Payne

The funeral of Miss Edith Annie Payne at Cuckfield on Friday was of simple character just as she would have wished it. Miss Payne passed away at her home, Long Acre, Cuckfield on the previous Sunday, at the age of 75 years.

Edith Payne, musician, founder of the Free Lending Library c1920 (colourised) - photograph courtesy of Cuckfield Museum

Nearly every seat in the Congregational Church was occupied for the first part of the funeral service, at which the Rev. Gwilym Thomas (Minister) and the Rev. Walter Huckett officiated. Mr. F. Knight was the organist, and as the mourners were assembling he rendered, with much feeling. "O Rest the Lord” (Mendelssohn) and “Come unto Him” (Handel). Beautiful wreaths were placed around the trestles on which the coffin was rested during the service.

An impressive address given by the Rev. Gwilym Thomas, who said they were mourning that afternoon the loss of one who was very dear to them and one who occupied a great place in the life of that church and of the neighbourhood. Yet the note of the day should not be one of sorrow, but of praise and thanksgiving God for the great gift He had given them in and through the late Miss Payne. They could hardly realise that her pilgrimage here had come to end. They felt that, although dead, she was more eloquent to day than ever. Her whole life spoke to them. She bore


Her parents were deeply interested in Cuckfield and did much for the town, and Miss Payne worthily maintained the family tradition. Her home was Cuckfield and she lived in that little town of theirs and gave herself, without stint, in its service. She was keenly interested in its social and religious life. She had wide interests, but she gave her best to Cuckfield and neighbourhood. Her life was a life of service, and she did a splendid day's work. Virgil said, “The noblest motive is the public good.” This was the motive that inspired the life of their sister. She was not in the least selfish, but gave her life and her strength in ministering to others. Miss Payne took a prominent part in every good movement in the town of Cuckfield. She was a member of the Urban Council and of the Guardians’ Committee. She was keenly interested in the work carried on at the West Hylands Institution and also by the local Nursing Association. For many years she was President of the Women’s Institute and had served faithfully as Hon. Librarian. Whatever work she undertook to do, she did it with all her might and did well. She worked not only in the limelight, but in the background. She not only conducted the Choir on the platform of a musical festival, but did many weeks of hard work before that occasion. Whoever might be absent from the practice, she was there. Wind and weather made but little difference to her. The same was true of her in every sphere— in music, education and all kinds of social work. Although


the late Miss Payne was always ready to help and advise anyone who came to her. Referring to deceased’s work in connection with the Congregational Church, Mr. Thomas said that for years she was teacher in the Sunday School and for many years was the Superintendent. For about 40 years she was organist and choirmaster. The beautiful organ they had was her gift to the church. She remained devoted to the work of the church right up to the end, her last service being to provide flowers for the Communion Table on the previous Sunday morning. On the Thursday before her death she was engaged in getting books ready for the Library. She died in harness, and went straight from her work to receive the “Well done”, of the Master. Mark Rutherford wrote. “We can really enjoy life when we sacrifice it for others. We find our lives in losing them.” Miss Payne found her life in giving it in the service of others was said, continued Mr. Thomas, that the motto Dr. Doddridge was “While we live, let us live “ - very fitting motto for Miss Payne. While she lived, she lived, and made the fullest use her time and powers. She wore herself out in serving others, and now she had gone to her reward. Her outstanding characteristic was loyalty - she was loyal and true in all she did. Thinking of her they were that day, he hoped they would loyally take up the work for which she lived. The late Miss Payne was


the product of a Christian faith, of a Christian home and Christian church. Her whole life was one of practical Christian ministry. She belonged to Jesus Christ, and in all she did she served Him.

During the service the hymns, “O Love, that wilt not let me go” (George Matheson) and “We cannot think of them dead” (Frederick Lucian Hosmer), were sung, and as the coffin was borne from the church the organist played Handel's “Largo.”

The interment took place in the cemetery near the Parish Church, where deceased’s body was laid to rest in the family grave, which was lined with flowers and evergreens. The committal service was conducted by the Kev. Gwilym Thomas. The principal mourners were Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Payne (brother and sister-in-law), Miss Amelia Payne (sister), Miss M. P. Pratt and Miss Winifred Cleare (cousins), Mrs. T. Burtenshaw (Miss Payne's former nurse). Miss Legga (her companion and nurse). Miss Whittle (Superintendent Nurse at the West Hylands Institution). Miss Woodhead (Brighton) and Miss Newman (Brighton).

The large attendance of friends included members of many public bodies with which the late Miss Payne was connected. The Cuckfield Urban District Council was represented by Messrs. W. Black. H. Bates. B. J. Burtenshaw. J.P., F. Hoadley. R. Harris. H. S. Gunson (Clerk) and A. Croucher (Surveyor). Members of the Cuckfield Women’s Institute Committee in attendance were Miss Dorothy Winder (President). Miss A. Winder (Vice - President). Mrs. Badcock (Hon. Treasurer), Mrs. Glenister (also representing Mr. G.E. Glenister. a member of the Cuckfield Urban Council), Mrs. E. Quickenden and Mrs. A. T. Rapley. Children from the Orchard Cottage were present, and


were Mrs G. Apps, the Rev. Mrs Arthur Applelbe, Mrs H. W. Askew, Mrs Arman, Mrs Ayling, Miss Best (Anstye), Mr. T. Best (Worthing), Miss Blundell (Haywards Heath), Mrs Boarer, Mr. E,.W. Burtenshaw, Mrs Budgen, Mr. J.H.W. Blunden (Master of the West Hylands Institution), Miss E. C. Bevan (East Chiltington), Mrs. H. Bates, Mrs. Blake. Mrs. S. Brown, Mrs. G. Botting, Miss Britten. Mr. and Mrs. H. Caffyn, Mr. S. Rutherford Clark, Mr. T. Canniford. J.P. (Hurstpierpoint), Mrs. A. Dancy. Mrs. Elliott (representing Messrs. Anscombe and Elliott. (Cuckfield). Muss Evenden, Miss Mr. F. E. Fuller Mrs. F. Fuller, Miss Freeman. Mr. A. W. Fuller, Miss Fox, Mrs. Garner. Mr. C. Gibbs. Mrs. Gasson, Mrs. H. Gasson. Mrs. Hillman, Mr. and Mrs. David Harris, Miss Hall, Mr and Mrs. E. Hazelden, Mrs. Huckett, Mrs Hobbs, Mrs. Hodge (Cuckfield Post Office), Mrs. Hoath, Mrs. Humphrey. Mrs. Harris, Miss M. S. Harris. Mrs. Henry Harris, Miss Harris, Mr. F. R. Hounsell. Mrs. J. P. Jenner, Nurse M. E. Knight, Miss F. B. Mitchell (representing Mr. W. E. Mitchell). Mrs. Morrison. Miss Mertens, Mrs. K. Mitchell, Sister Mays (Cuckfield Infirmary). Mr. K. Napper (Lancing). Mrs. C. Newnham, Miss Osborne, Mrs. F. T. Payne (Bolney Post Office). Mr. J. Pinder (representing Mrs. Pinder), Miss Parker, Mrs. Stephen Payne. Mrs. and Mina Pierce. Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Raymond (Haywards Heath). Mr. T. C. Rust. D.S.O. (Haywards Heath). Miss Rich, Mrs. H. Rowland, Mrs. Runkel. Miss Richard,. Mrs. C. Randell (Anstye), Mrs. H. Rhodes, Mr. J. Saunders. Miss Staker. Mr. L. H. B. Shand (member of the North Area Guardians' Committee), Mrs. R. S. F. Simson (Chairman of the Cuckfield and District Nursing Association), Mrs Stride (representative of the Haywards Heath Urban District Council on the North Area Assessment Committee, the East Sussex Public Assistance Committee and the East Sussex Western Small Pox Hospitals Committee), Miss Standing (Anstye), Mrs. H. E. Stewart (also representing Mr. H. E. Stewart), Mr. W. Stevens (Mr. W. Stevens. J. P. A member of the Cuckfield Urban Council was unable to attend because of illness), Mr. F. Bentham Stevens, Mrs. Caleb Stoner, Miss Steele, Mr. J. Steele. Mrs. Gwilym Thomas, Mrs. Towner, Miss A. I. Turner, Miss. O. Upton, the Rev. C. R. P. Vandeleur, Mrs. Wingfield, Miss Wells, Mr. John F. Wilson (representing the Rev- Canon and Mrs. C. W. G. Wilson), Mr. Mrs H. W. Watts. Mrs. Wicks. Mrs. G. Wilson, Mrs. White, Mrs. Watson. Miss Whitford and Mr. and Mrs. J. Young (Anstye). The cards attached to the


were worded as follow ; —Our loving thoughts, from Susie and Ernest. In loving memory, Miss Amelia E. Payne (Knotts, 114 Heene Road, Worthing). With much love and happy memories, from May and Winifred. In loving remembrance from Herts. From her devoted friend and nurse, Joey, with her love. With affectionate remembrance, from her old gardener and his wife (Mr. and Mrs. Hazelden). Mrs. Ellen Burtenshaw, with loving remembrance (32 St. Botolphs Road, Worthing). From the members of the Cuckfield Urban District Council in remembrance of our esteemed colleague and of an association of over 30 years. To the honoured memory of a great-hearted Liberal, from the East Grinstead Division Liberal Association. In loving remembrance, from some of her Sunday School Scholars. With deepest sympathy, from those who will miss her able leadership, Cuckfield Congregational Church Choir. A small tribute, from all the members of her last "Lewes” Choir; held in high esteem and loved by us all. With kindest remembrance, from the Cuckfield Guardians’ Committee. A token of deep affection and love, from the Congregational Church. In affectionate remembrance and gratitude, from the members of the Cuckfield Women's Institute. In affectionate remembrance, from the Cuckfield and District Nursing Association. In very kindly remembrance, from the Rev. Canon and Mrs. Wilson and family (Cuckfield Vicarage). From Mrs. Montagu Turner, Miss Turner and Miss Olive Turner (Hortons, Cuckfield). In loving and thankful memory of a great lady, Grace. With deep regret and love, from Zoe Raymond. A token of love and esteem, from Harry and Olive Askew. In sympathy, from Miss Stephens and Dorothy. In affectionate memory of a dear friend, from Major and Mrs. G. E. Glenister and Nancy. In memory and with deepest regret, from Mrs. Lionel A. Stride (The Green, Haywards Heath). Kind remembrance and sympathy, from Miss Smith and Miss C. Ball. With sympathy, from the little children at Orchard Cottage. In affectionate remembrance. from Eleanor G. Newman. In affectionate remembrance, from Dorothy, Mr. and Mrs. Runkel. In kind memory, from C.M.Capon. In kindest remembrance and deep sympathy, from the Misses Steele and Mr. Steele (Hatchlands. Cuckfield). With sincere sympathy, from Mr.and Mrs. Montagu T. Turner and Miss Diana Turner (Bylanes, Cuckfield), kindest remembrances, from Mr. R. Winder and the Misses Winder (Broad Street House. Cuckfield). With deepest sympathy from Mr. and Mrs. Caleb Stoner. To dear Miss Payne, with loving memory and sympathy, from Miss Blundell. With sympathy, from Mrs. Percy T. Reid and Miss Shirley Reid (Mill Hall, Cuckfield). In remembrance, from Edith Norris, Patrick and Edward. With kind remembrance, from Nurse M. E. Knight. In affectionate remembrance, from the Rev. W. and Mrs. Walter Huckett. With affectionate remembrance, from Mr. and Mrs. C. Gibbs. With sincere sympathy, from Mrs. Launcelot P. Bevan (Whitmore. Cuckfield). In affectionate memory. from Mr. and Mr. A. T. Rapley. Mr. and Mrs. W. Stevens and Mr. F. B. Stevens. In grateful remembrance from The Downs School. In remembrance, from the Nursing Staff of the Infirmary (Cuckfield).

The funeral arrangements were carried out Messrs. H. Askew and Son of Cuckfield.

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 03 October 1933



Probate of the will of the late Miss Edith Annie Payne, of Long Acre, Cuckfield, who for many years prior to her death on August 6th last had been a member of the Cuckfield Urban District Council, has now been granted to the Executors, Mr. Ernest Payne arid Miss Winifred Fanny Cleare.

By her will Miss Payne gave the freehold premises known as Long Acre, Cuckfield, to the Urban District Council of Cuckfield, or any other local authority or public body which, as the successor to the said Council, may be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Free Library and Reading Room at Cuckfield at present carried on at the Queen’s Hall, Cuckfield. The Council may either retain the property or sell it and invest the proceeds of sale trust investments. The income of the property, or of such investments, is to be called the


And to be applied towards the maintenance of the Free Library and Reading Room for the benefit of the inhabitants of the town and parish of Cuckfield. If the Free Library and Reading Room shall at any time cease to be maintained, or be considered unnecessary, the fund is to be devoted to such other public educational purposes of a charitable nature as the Council may consider to be for the benefit of the inhabitants of Cuckfield. By a codicil made a few days before her death. Miss Payne explained that the gift was intended solely for the benefit of the Free Library and Reading Room at Cuckfield with the organisation and working of which she had been concerned for many years past (as distinct from the Queen’s Hall) or of any other Free Library or Reading Room which should be maintained by the Urban District Council of Cuckfield or its successor by the East Sussex County Council or any other Local Authority for the benefit of any Local Government area which should include the present urban district of Cuckfield.

The Council Office at the Queen's Hall was formerly the Library, then known as the The Edith Payne Library

In the administration of the said trust fund Miss Payne wished consideration to be given primarily to the requirements of the inhabitants of the present urban district of Cuckfield, but this should not prevent the inhabitants of any larger district in which the present urban district is included from sharing in the benefits. The gift is subject to an option given to a legatee to retain sufficient ground for the erection a small bungalow.


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