Object Details

John Stanley Purviss Commemorative Stone - Mouse Lane

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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Mouse Lane
Town:Steyning
Parish:Steyning
Council:Horsham District Council
County:West Sussex
Postcode:BN44
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Road or Wayside
Access is:Public
Location note:Next to Charlton Court Barn
In the AZ book:West Sussex
Page:129
Grid reference:M2
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.

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Makers


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General Information

Installation date:2006
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Steyning Parish Council
Object listing:Not listed
Description:A rough hewn grey granite block with a flat, polished, raised rectangular centre that holds the inscription in carved letters painted black.
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 (using the name Philip Johnson)
5th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, on 2nd December 1915 in a
trench behind the Somme. The original stone was placed in the
lane by the people of Steyning in the year 2000 AD in celebration of their
inheritance, and replaced, after damage to the original, in 2006 A D.

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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:Grey granite
     Height (cm):68
     Width (cm):97
     Depth (cm):23

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Date of on-site inspection:11/12/2007

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History

History:Replaced the original stone that was placed on Mouse Lane as part of the Milennium celebrations. It was damaged when a lorry backed into it and it was subsequently moved to its current location on the exterior wall of the Museum when it was replaced by this 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

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