Miracle in Cuckfield High Street

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 05 September 1807

A very extraordinary occurrence has transpired at Cuckfield*, Sussex;—

A servant girl, living with a widow lady of that place, complained of illness, accompanied with extreme drowsiness; her mistress advised her to lie down, and she would soon be better. The girl went to bed, and fell into a profound sleep. On Saturday last she had been sleeping seven days, and though attended by several medical men, who had bled and blistered her, yet she shewed no signs of waking. She appeared much reduced; and breathed faintly, but the colour of health still remained in her cheeks. Many hundreds had at that time been to see her, and the fact is incontrovertible.


Oxford University and City Herald - Saturday 05 September 1807

The Sleeping Beauty.

The drowsy nymph of Cuckfield, it seems, awoke from her slumbers after eight days repose. This fact is stated in the Lewes Journal, which gives a more particular account of this extraordinary lethargy than that which has already appeared.


"On Saturday the 15th inst. a young woman, servant to Mrs. Wood, a widow lady of Cuckfield, complained of a head-ache and drowsiness, when her mistress advised her to take some balm-tea, and lie down; she accordingly went to bed, and immediately after dropped into a profound sleep, and continued sleeping, though proper means were used by the faculty to arouse her, till Sunday, the 23rd inst. (8 days) when she awoke, apparently from the sound of the church bells, which were then chiming, and occasioned her to remark, that her yesterday’s indisposition had caused her to lie beyond her ordinary hour, as it was church time.


She got up without much assistance, but complained of excessive thirst, and appeared extremely weak. Mrs. Wood took all possible care of her, and she is now perfectly recovered. During the whole of this wonderful suspension of the faculties of the mind, the flush of health appeared on her cheeks, but their fullness diminished considerably after the third day, when her pulsation grew weaker, and her breathing could hardly be perceived. No sustenance could be administered to her".


Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Friday 25 September 1807

Sarah Smith, whose sleeping propensity has rend her an object of great curiosity, in the neighbourhood of Cuckfield, last week left her service at that place, and returned to her friend at Twineham. At her departure, she was presented with five pounds, which some inhabitants of the town had subscribed for that purpose. The cause of her lethargic visitations is said to be some extraordinary affection of the brain, for the cure of which we understand, she will shortly be admitted into a hospital in London.


* This event took place at Marshalls in the High Street