Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

East Dean

East Dean is one of the most remote of Sussex Downland villages. Or, at least, so they say. Actually, with modern roads and so on nothing in Sussex is terribly remote- and East Dean is in the valley which is overlooked by the race track at Goodwood and just down the road from the College at West Dean- both of which draw in lots and lots of people.   The South Downs are, generally speaking, friendly hills.  They welcome people (unlike the Pennines which barely condescend to notice us.) Or perhaps that's just me. I have loved the Downs since I was a boy and have never managed to get on terms with the Pennines- even though I lived in their shadow for thirty years.

East Dean has a pond and a plain little church and used to have a forge. The forge is now a B&B and that's where we stayed. I don't know if it's the same building in which locally famed blacksmith William Peachey worked- but I don't see why it shouldn't be. More on him in a moment.

The village pond

First afternoon we were there I climbed the hill at the back of the village. This is the view looking down at All Saints church.

And here's the top of the hill with its trig point.

Finally the gravestone of William Peachey, now embedded in the church's outer wall. The text reads

1688 Here lyeth the body of William Peachey of East Dean blacksmith who disecased (sic) February ye AOM DOM

Peachey made swords for the Parliamentary cavalry troop known as the Hambledon Boys- and may also have ridden with them. Some of his blades- with their rustic inscriptions- have survived (or been recorded) and provide insights into English as it was spoken and written in rural West Sussex and East Hampshire in the mid 17th century.  It's nice to see he survived the Civil War by over 20 years.
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