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Henry, Charles and George Kingsley

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 13 June 1933



To the Editor of The Mid-Sussex Times.

Dear Sir, —I was glad to see in your issue of May 8th the letter from your outspoken correspondent at Ardlngly, as I find there are rumours going round the old town that Cuckfield people are rather doubtful themselves as to which of the Kingsley brothers lived at the Attrees. Sir, we all know perfectly well that it was Henry Kingsley who lived and died there, and we do not think Charles Kingsley ever came to Cuckfield.

We know it was the author of “Ravenshoe,” “Geoffrey Hamlin”, “The Hillyars and the Burtons ’’—some of the best novels and the most charming tales in the English language—who lived at the old home of the Attrees.

Northern Breach (with Southern Breach to the right)

During the time the Kingsleys were in Cuckfield, my wife and her mother, Mrs. Ovenden, lived at Northern Breach, the house opposite to the Attrees, and Henry Kingsley - at this time a very quiet and reserved man - often came across in a neighbourly way to speak of gardening matters or to make enquiries of local affairs, and Mrs. Bates feels sure that they would have known if Charles Kingsley had been staying at the Attrees.

Dr. George Kingsley, who came to his brother’s funeral, slept that night at Northern Breach. Of this Dr. Kingsley, it has been said that when a visitor politely remarked to him “You are, I think, the brother of Charles Kingsley,” the doctor drew himself up a little proudly and said “Sir, I am a brother of Henry Kingsley.”

Henry Kingsley’s last work, which he wrote at the Attrees, was two volumes of essays called “Fireside Studies,” published in 1876. They contain a charming description of Cuckfield. I should be pleased to lend them to any interested reader.

An exhaustive and interesting biography of Henry Kingsley has been written by Mr. S. M. Ellis, which can be obtained from the Cuckfield Public Free Library, next door to the Attrees, in the High Street.

Yours faithfully,




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