Update 30 July 2007

Another successful summer barbecue - this time at Celia & Martin Turner's house in Cousley Wood.  The weather was worrying before the OFF but came good and the pig roast [thanks to John Lamplugh] again delicious.  Thanks to all who helped and all who came.  First photo thanks to Michael Kent ; next rows Peta Hodges

2007 barbecue

Update 11 August 2005

Rotten webmaster this site has - with no updates for nearly a year! Ah well - at least the newsletters are reasonably full! However - the summer barbecue at Walland was a howling success, thanks to the weather, our hosts Marion and Malcolm Williams and the pig roast [thanks to John Lamplugh] -  and to all who helped and to all who came.

Mad Jack Fuller - Walk Sunday 31 July

Organised by the Wadhurst Footpath Society, several members of the WHS joined in - for a wet but interesting walk  round Brightling

Update 23 October

The October meeting was well attended - just under 100 to hear Elizabeth Hughes, Chief Archivist at East Sussex Record Office, talk about graveyards and what one can learn from them.  16 members and friends took up the offer of a visit to Little Scotney Farm  to look at the hop harvesting process - also enjoyable and informative.

The November meeting on Wed 17 is on the Wealden Iron Industry: anyone wanting to do some homework - and take some exercise - is welcome to join a 4 mile guided walk, starting from Brightling Church [map ref TQ683210] on Sat 13 November at 10:00.  Pre-booking is required - phone 01273 482 670 for details

Update 14 September

The September meeting was another success - a large turnout and a fascinating and entertaining talk on "The Medieval Lifestyle" by Pat Wright.

On Friday Sept 15, there is an afternoon visit to Little Scotney Farm to examine the hop harvest and the functioning of an oast: if anyone is interested in joining the 14 members who signed up at the meeting on Wednesday - e-mail now

Anyone who enjoys walking and is also interested in the history of the Iron Industry might like to join one of the guided walks being promoted by East Sussex County Council. The first is a four-mile walk, starting from outside Brightling Church ( map reference TQ683210) on Saturday 13 November at 10:00. Just in time to prepare for the Society's meeting on November 17 - "The Wealden Iron Industry". The walk should take between 2-3 hours, and it is suggested that one takes a drink and/or a snack. Pre-booking is required for this walk - ring 01273 482670 for further details.
A more demanding walk of 12 miles (approximately 6 hours) will start from the main car park in Northiam (map reference TQ829245), starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday 23 March 2005
Both these walks follow routes which reveal evidence of the early iron industry in the Weald. For further details on either of these two guided walks, or for any of the other many (fairly) local special-interest walks being offered over the next few months, (some particularly designed for children, some with scheduled stops for a pub lunch, some where well-behaved dogs can be taken along) ring Vicky Pannell, East Sussex County Council, on 01273 481654. She can provide a copy of the full programme of guided walks or supply further details about the ones mentioned above.

Update 18 August

More World War 1 material - on Percy Thomas Goodsell

Thur July 8: all day walk from St Peter & St Paul in two loops north and south - round the ironmasters' houses = starting at 10:00 and organised by Wealden District Council. An interesting round tour - marred by rain for thsoe who braved the afternoon northern loop [which may be repeated on its own later in the year]

Update 1 July

Wadhurst is part of the East Sussex Extensive Urban Survey programme - and the Society will have the opportunity to participate in the project - details here

Update 23 June

The week 8 - 15 June was 'Wadhurst History Week' - finalising the third newsletter, a Committee meeting, the talk by Dr Sigrid Kahle at Wadhurst Park, the day trip to the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton ending with the monthly meeting at the Commem Hall with a talk on the hop industry. Brief notes on all of these - for those who could not attend: More details in the September newsletter and here on the site.

Committee meeting: we finalised details of next year's talks, looked at the draft Newsletter, agreed to use KallKwik for its production and discussed the barbecue on Aug 1. Membership is now over 200 and funds are in reasonable health - so we are considering acquiring a decent projection screen for use in the Commem.

Talk at Wadhurst Park:on a lovely June afternoon, over 100 - from the History Society and Tidebrook Church - heard a fascinating talk about the Kahle family, who lived at the old Wadhurst Hall after the last war. Dr Sigrid Kahle, who married one of Professor Kahle's sons, took us through the family's life in Germany in the early days of the Nazi regime, their remarkable escape from Germany and their subsequent life in England. We then enjoyed generous hospitality from the owners of the New House and raised £530 for 'Hospice in the Weald'. The Society hopes to obtain a copy of the video or DVD of Dr Kahle's talk for further study and for the benefit of those who were unable to attend or who found the acoustics rather difficult.

Weald and Downland Museum: another lovely day - 40 members and friends took the coach to Singleton for a full day looking round this fascinating museum of mostly medieval buildings. A guided introduction, picnic lunch and individual wandering around the expanding complex of buildings - avoiding the Channel 4 documentary crew with their dead bodies on stretchers and fogging machines to simulate woodsmoke - filled the day. But for many the most interesting part was the tour of the brand new Grid Shell conservation building and artefact store and display - a stunning modern hi-tech timber framed building set almost invisibly into the Singleton slopes and full of treasures.

The Hop Industry in Kent and Sussex: Gwen Jones from the Centre for Continuing Education at Sussex University entertained and informed some 70 of us to a talk on the industry from early times to the present day. She drew attention to all the ancillary trades, which provided additional employment in the hop fields, and looked at the causes of the decline in hop growing in the area. Her overheads and slides added to our enjoyment.

Apart from the report on June's events above the Society has been busy in other areas. Task Groups are beavering away - DW has acquired a set of Ordnance Survey maps, OH is interviewing and slowly getting to grips with the technology, IA has produced material on brickworks for the latest Newsletter, FH is starting a project on the people in the Victorian High Street and EB is still trying to secure a visit to Bellerby's College. A member has given us a full transcript of the 1901 Census for Wadhurst, as an Access database - which will make exploiting this information source very much easier, and Peter Keyes - from what was the Four Keys and before that The Castle Inn - has given us framed enlargements of the old Castle Inn and the view along the railway line, showing the cottages on the south side [Faircrouch Cottages - or Brick Cottages, where there should be evidence of the brickworks set up to build the tunnel: work for IA]

Update 22 May

This remarkable website has a mass of historic information about the Sussex Weald and is well worth close scrutiny by any of our task groups. There will certainly be something of interest.

A new book "Limen" by Tony Cardwell - a biography of the East Sussex Rother - available from Barnett's - may be outside our area but is also worth reading; as is "The Genealogist's Internet' by Peter Christian - an invaluable compendium of information for those working on their family trees: if you want a signed copy, again go to Barnett's.

Meetings will be in the Commem Hall from now on - we have too many members for the FTA to be an acceptable venue - which is a pity as it was otherwise ideal. The next meeting will be on June 15.

Update 7 Jan

The first meeting of the Society on Dec 12 to establish task groups in the six key areas of interest was highly successful - full notes can be read here The Society's first newsletter was issued to all members in December - either by hand or by post: future issues will be available for collection at the relevant monthly meeting. Contributions for the March issue would be welcome - send them to the Editor Michael Harte by e-mail or post to Greenman Farm, Wadhurst TN5 6LE by mid February. Each newsletter will also contain a summary of the previous quarter's talks, so that those who cannot attend can keep in touch.

The programme of talks and events for 2004 is now complete - details here. Membership totals 43 individuals, 36 families and 10 who have joined but have yet to pay their subscriptions! Membership cards have been sent out to most - those who have joined recently can collect their cards at the meeting on Jan 15. The Committee met on 6 Jan and discussed future work.

Update 12 Nov

The Committee met on 11 Nov and made considerable progress in planning the future of the Society. We decided that meetings would be held monthly with a speaker, except for August and September. We have arranged to meet in the Freight Transport Association Training College in Station Hill; they have extremely pleasant and comfortable facilities - with the use of projection equipment and a bar; it is not perhaps as central as other Wadhurst venues but has a major advantage of being available on a regular basis. We are planning to offer help with transport for any members who would otherwise find it difficult to make the meetings. We also decided to meet on the third Tuesday or third Thursday of alternate months to avoid excluding anyone with a regular monthly date on the third Tuesday or Thursday. This may seem a little complicated - and we will take stock after the first year: but for your diaries the dates of meetings in 2004 are:

Tuesday Thursday
January 15
February 17 March 18
April 20 May 20
June 15 September 16
October 19 November 18
December 16

Speakers are now being selected - watch this space for further details. We are aiming to secure one speaker during the course of the year for each of the subject areas identified on the membership forms.

We also decided that we would hold a special meeting - open to all comers - to set up Task Groups in our six key areas: oral history, medieval buildings, genealogy, industry and agriculture, local development, and the great estates. So anyone interested in doing some research - or in helping with a project - is invited to the FTA on Tuesday Dec 16 from 19:30 to plan a way ahead, decide priorities and identify the next stages.

The Committee has been augmented by two; functions have been allocated as follows:

Michael Harte

Update 8 Nov

Last night's highly successful talk by Chris Whittick from the East Sussex Records Office - held under the auspices of the Charter Committee - demonstrateed the continuing interest of the Wadhurst community in its history. A summary of his talk will feature here shortly

At the meeting a further 20 membership application forms for the Wadhurst History Society were handed out - the membership total [paid up] is now 23 singles and 20 family, with a further 17 forms received [where subscirptions are still awaited]. So the Society is clearly going to have a strong membership base.

The ad-hoc committee

has now been strengthened with the addition of Bryan Bell, who as a long term local resident and surveyor, who is familiar with many of our old buildings, will also provide a formal link with the Bocking Collection, of which he is a trustee and is meeting on Tuesday 11 Nov to plan the way ahead

On current plans a newsletter will be sent to all memebrs and to all those who have expressed an interest in joining the Society early in December, setting out details of meetings scheduled for at least the early part of 2004 - and the location, whcih is proving a little difficult at present - as all the halls that could take a large turnout are heavily booked for the New Year! But we will find a solution

It is cheering that so many members have identified an interest in working on topics of interest to them - it should prove possible to set up several small working groups early in the New Year to take work forward. There are also plenty of ideas for areas that should be studied! Chris Whittick suggested a study of Archbishop Morton's Rent Rolls - any experts in medieval handwritten Latin out there??, and we have made an appointment to talk about the detailed requirements for an oral history project with Al Thomson at Sussex University. We also have several ideas for speakers on the go

So: watch this space!

Michael Harte