Object Details

John Stanley Purviss Commemorative Stone

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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Church Street
Town:Steyning
Parish:Steyning
Council:Horsham District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:BN44
Location on Google Map
Object setting:On building
Location note:Affixed to the wall at the entrance to the museum.
Page:130
Grid reference:A3
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.
Previous location:Mouse Lane, next to Charlton Court Barn (installed 2000)

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Makers


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General Information

Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Steyning Museum
Object listing:Not listed
Description:Faces north.
Inscription:Inscribed on the stone:

I can't forget the lane that goes from Steyning to the Ring
In summer time and on the downs how larks and linnets sing
High in the sun. The wind comes off the sea, and oh the air!
I never knew till now that life in old days was so fair.
But now I know it in this filthy rat infested ditch
Where every shell must kill or spare, and God alone knows which.
And I am made a beast of prey, and this is my lair.
My God I never knew till now that those days were so fair.
And we assault in half an hour and it's a silly thing
I can't forget the lane that goes from Steyning to the Ring.
Written by John Stanley Purvis - Philip Johnson 5th Battalion
Yorkshire Regiment on 2nd Decbr. 1915 in a trench behind the Somme
This stone was placed in the lane by the people of Steyning
in the year 2000 AD in celebration of their inheritance.

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Classification

Categories:Commemorative, Military
Object type1:Marker
     Object subtype1:Commemorative stone
Subject type1:Non-figurative

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Object Parts

Part 1:Stone
     Material:Concrete
     Height (cm):85
     Width (cm):125
     Depth (cm):9

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
     More details:Cracked straight across the top left hand corner.
Date of on-site inspection:11/12/2007

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History

History:The stone was originally placed on Mouse Lane as part of the Milennium celebrations. It was damaged when a lorry backed into it and it was subsequently placed in its current location when it was replaced on the original site by a new one.

Dedicated to the author, Lt. John Stanley Purvis, who wrote under the pseudonym of Philip Johnson. Engraved on this stone is his poem, ‘Chance Memories’
(http://www.chequerinnsteyning.co.uk/)

British Lieutenant John Stanley Purvis, who wrote under the pseudonym of Philip Johnstone, was invalided out of the army having been wounded during the Battle of the Somme. Following the war he returned to Cranleigh School in Surrey where he had previously taught. He then took holy orders and at the age of 50 he settled in York. Here he gained an international reputation as the translator of the York Mystery Plays and was awarded the OBE for work on the York Minster archives. He died in York in 1968.
(http://oldpoetry.com/oauthor/show/John_Stanley_Purvis)

The mystery is how Purvis came to write the poem sitting in a trench waiting to 'go over the top' when, according to their official history, the 5th Battalion had been at rest from 12th November to 19th December in billets near Outtersteene, some two and a half miles from Bailleul.

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References


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Photographs





Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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