Object Details

Martyrs Memorial

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General Information
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Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright for Photograph:

Creative Commons

Location

Street:Cliffe Hill
Town:Lewes
Parish:Lewes
Council:Lewes District Council
County:East Sussex
Postcode:BN7
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Garden
Access is:Private
Location note:In a small garden, up a narrow path from the middle of the Cuilfail Estate - monument visible from the Golf Course
In the AZ book:East Sussex
Page:115
Grid reference:L5
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.
OS Reference:TQ424104

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Makers

Company/Group :C.F. Bridgman, Lewes
     Role:Builder

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General Information

Commissioned by: Private sponsorship
Installation date:1901
Unveiling date:08/05/1901
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council
Object listing:Grade II: of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them
Listing date:29/10/1985
Description:Obelisk on tall plinth with rougher stone base. Inscription panel set into the plinth on two sides. The monument is set in a small garden on a private estate.
Inscription:Facing the town:

IN LOVING MEMORY
OF THE UNDERNAMED SEVENTEEN PROTESTANT MARTYRS,
WHO, FOR THEIR FAITHFUL TESTIMONY TO
GOD'S TRUTH,
WERE, DURING THE REIGN OF QUEEN MARY,
BURNED TO DEATH
IN FRONT OF THE THEN STAR INN - NOW THE TOWN HALL - LEWES,
THIS OBELISK,
PROVIDED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTIONS,
WAS ERECTED A.D. 1901

There then follows a list of the seventeen martyrs and their dates of martyrdom. Underneath the list is inscribed:

''AND THEY OVERCAME, BECAUSE OF THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, AND BECAUSE
OF THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY, AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIFE EVEN
UNTO DEATH'' REV. XII. II (R.V.)

The identical inscription appears on the opposite face, looking onto the Golf Course.

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Classification

Categories:Free Standing, Commemorative
Object type1:Shaft
     Object subtype1:Obelisk
Subject type1:Non-figurative

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Object Parts

Part 1:Obelisk
     Material:Grey granite
     Height (cm):1067
Part 2:Base
     Material:Cornish grey granite
     Height (cm):244

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Good
Risk assessment:No known risk
Condition 1 of type:Surface
     Condition 1: Corrosion, Deterioration
     More details:The inscription is slightly eroded on both sides but easily legible.
Date of on-site inspection:22/05/2007

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History

History:Unveiled by the Earl and Countess of Portsmouth. The Lewes War Memorial, Lewes High Street, is on the actual site of the martyrdoms.
('Martyrs of Jesus: The Story of the Sussex Martyrs of the Reformation'.)

The memorial was raised at a cost of £900. The land was given by Mr. Isaac Vinall who developed the Cuilfail Estate. The names of the 17 martyrs are carved on the memorial. It is maintained by the Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council. It overlooks the spot on School Hill where the martyrs were burnt. A small replica of it is in the grounds of the Independent Chapel in Punnets Town near Heathfield.
('Lewes Two Thousand Years of History')

The seventeen martyrs named on the memorial are:
Dirick Carver, of Brighton; date of martyrdom July 22nd. 1555
Thomas Harland and John Oswald, both of Woodmancote; date of martyrdom June 6th 1556
Thomas Avington, and Thomas Reed, both of Ardingly; date of martyrdom June 6th 1556
Thomas Wood (a Minister of the Gospel), of Lewes; date of martyrdom about June 20th 1556
Thomas Myles, of Hellingly; date of martyrdom about June 20th 1556
Richard Woodman, and George Stevens, both of Warbleton; date of martyrdom June 22nd 1557
Alexander Hosman, William Mainard, and Thomasina Wood, all of Mayfield; date of martyrdom June 22nd 1557
Margery Morris and James Morris (her son), both of Heathfield; date of martyrdom June 22nd 1557
Denis Burgess, of Buxted; date of martyrdom June 22nd 1557
Ann Ashdon, of Rotherfield; date of martyrdom June 22nd 1557
Mary Groves, of Lewes; date of martyrdom June 22nd 1557
(spellings from inscription on monument)

The Memorial was unveiled in the presence of 5,812 people, despite poor weather, including many dignitaries (detailed in newspaper article). The Memorial had cost £900. The support of the general populus to create the Memorial had been so great that rather than use the planned Portland Stone, there had been enough money raised to construct in granite (contributions from 850 people worldwide). The Memorial was constructed from 133 stones, the weight of the largest being 1 ton 6 cwts and of the smallest 5 cwts. The total weight is about 210 tons. In 1895 the Town Council of Lewes had refused to allow the placement of a memorial tablet in the Town Hall. The unveiling revealed a surge of Protestant fervour, 'It was a lesson in zeal and earnestness of purpose to watch the people as they toiled up the heights. Here women with children in their arms, there an old man who had come eighty miles to ''make one'' as he said, in a great Protestant demonstration'. The opening ceremony commenced at 3.15pm. A crimson carpeted dais had been set up around the base of the obelisk to hold the many dignitaries, with the Mayor of Lewes, Councillor Holman, J.P. presiding in the company of the Earl and Countess of Portsmouth. The proceedings commenced with the hymn, 'All Praise the Power of Jesu's Name'. The initial prayers by the Rev. B. Wilkinson contained words such as 'superstition','intolerance' and 'tyranny'. Following the initial prayers, successive speakers attacked 'Rome and her ways'. Mr. B. Nicholson, in his speech also said that there were many sympathisers in the clergy of Sussex with 'our persecutors'; this was met with cries of 'traitors' from the crowd.
The opening ceremony was followed by a large reception at Lewes Town Hall; hundreds of people overflowed into the Corn Exchange; 'The sight was indeed inspirited and one could not but think of the exhortation of Latimer: ''Be of good courage Master Ridley, and play the man. The candle which we have lighted this day in England shall, by the Grace of God, never be put out - Amen''. The reception was opened with a rendition of 'O God Our Help in Ages Past'. There were verbal attacks particularly on the Bishop of the Diocese who had not attended the ceremony. This was particularly noted by the Earl of Portsmouth who had recently taken a petition up to the House of Lords objecting to the alteration of the words of the Coronation Oath because of concerns that ' ...the Protestant succession was manintained and established'. In his speech he stated that '…they had a right to object to men who were members of the Church of England adopting the principles and practices of the Church of Rome'. He went on to say that, '…the laity was Protestant, but most of the clergy were sacerdotal and unless they gave the laity a ruling voice in the Government of the Church he could not see how they could maintain the establishment, and they must give the laity the power… the Church of England as it is at present constituted was nothing but a ''hypocrisy and a sham'' (loud applause), and he put it that it was the knowledge of that fact that was the sectret of the great popular support given to the Memorial Fund. Continuing, he said the martyrs, did not only die for freedom of judgment, but because they hated - what those all present hated - the ineterference of the Priest in the family (loud applause).' Rev. A.J. Baxter from Eastbourne asserted that '…there was a great movement prevalent throughout the country to remove the last vestige of the Protestant constitution, and in fact to perjure the King himself.'
(The Sussex Advertiser 13/05/1901)

A special hymn was composed for the occasion of the unveiling. (The Sussex Advertiser, 06/05/1901, p4)

The five-verse hymn was composed by Dr. Henry Grattan Guinness (F.W.R. Wallace from the Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council)
Hard archive file:Yes

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References

Source 1 :
     Title:The Sussex Advertiser
     Type:Newspaper
     Date:13/05/1901
     Page:6
     Publisher:The Sussex Advertiser. Lewes.

Source 2 :
     Title:'Martyrs of Jesus: The Story of the Sussex Martyrs of the Reformation'.
     Type:Book
     Author:Stoneham, Edward T.
     Edition:2nd.
     Date:00/00/1952
     Page:44
     Publisher:Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council. Burgess Hill

Source 3 :
     Title:'Lewes Two Thousand Years of History'
     Type:Book
     Author:Fleming, Barbara.
     Date:00/00/1994
     Page:49
     Publisher:S.B. Publications. Seaford.


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Photographs





Date: 22/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 22/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 22/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons




Date: 22/05/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

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