top of page

1950: Cuckfield Sign presented by WI in grateful thanks for preservation of the town



Mid Sussex Times April 19th 1950

“So we arrive at the conclusion that Cuckfield means cuckoo hunted open land", declared Captain A.C.Fawssett, D.S.O., R.N., J.P. (Chairman of the Cuckfield U.D.C) when accepting on behalf of the council, a delightfully designed place sign given by Cuckfield Women's Institute in memory of the Second World War 1939–45.

The sign, which was designed and executed by Mr Joseph Cribb, of Ditchling, has the cuckoo as a prominent feature against a woodland background. The sign has been erected in a prominent position at Whitemans Green, where the pleasing little handing-over ceremony took place on Friday. It was attended by a good number of counsellors, officials and members of the Women's Institute.

Presentation ceremony - Cuckfield Sign 1950

Mrs Greig, (President of the Cuckfield W. I.), said that the W. I. thought that it might make some gift to Cuckfield in celebration of victory. As time went on they had come to regard the gift as more in the nature of a thanks offering for the preservation of the town and homes of Cuckfield during the war, and as a reminder of the sacrifices and sense of fellowship called forth by all who worked together during the war years. To Miss Knight should be given the credit of thinking of this place-sign as a suitable gift. The W.I. were grateful to Mr Cribb for his beautiful work and to the Cuckfield U.D.C. for their kind help and co-operation and for undertaking the responsibility of the upkeep of the sign. She had much pleasure in handing over the sign to Captain Fawssett as the Council’s representative.

The W.I. Cuckfield sign still welcomes visitors to the town

Captain Fawssett, in accepting the gift on behalf of the council, hoped that the sign would be looked after by the council as the W.I. would wish. The council were most grateful to the W.I. for their initiative in the matter, and he thought the site chosen by the W.I. was an admirable one, and that the sign would be of very considerable interest to people who used the road.

Commenting on the design of the sign, Captain Fawssett said that he had consulted that well-known local historian, Miss Helena Hall, of Lindfield, who had supplied him with the following information.

“In 1093, Cuckfield was spelt Kukefeld, but in 1121 it was Cucufeld. It is therefore more than likely that the name Cuckfield was derived from the cuckoo, especially as we read that the well-known name for this bird (brought to this country by the Normans) was originally spelt Cucu for Cuccu. In ancient times feld meant a clearing in the wood, and at this period most of England was either wood lor forest. So we arrive at the conclusion that Cuckfield meant cuckoo-haunted open land”


bottom of page