Lewes History Group talk: Lewes between the Twittens – Monday 10 February 2020, 7:00 for 7:30pm

Dan Swift: Lewes between the Twittens

Archaeologist Dan Swift provides an update on the four Lewes excavations undertaken from 2004 to 2008 by Archaeology South-East in advance of new development. These were in Styles Field (the new Lewes Library site), the garden of Lewes House, the Baxters site, and a site in St John’s Street.

These excavations all revealed new evidence of Iron Age, medieval and post-medieval activity in the town. Whilst these archaeological studies fully reflected the importance and standing of Lewes in later Saxon and Norman times, and its continued growth through the medieval period up until the mid-14th century, the revived success of Lewes in the Tudor period, leading ultimately to its elevation in status to County Town by the 16th century, was not so evident.

Dan’s talk will include the post-excavation analysis and research that has been undertaken since the excavations themselves were completed, which make an important contribution to a forthcoming book in the SpoilHeap monograph series, published jointly by Archaeology South East and the Surrey County Archaeological Unit, that pulls together the results of recent archaeological investigations across South-East England.

Lewes House excavation
Lewes House excavation. Copyright Dan Swift, Archaeology South-East, UCL

All are welcome from 7.00pm for free refreshments and updates on the Group’s activities. The talk will begin promptly at 7:30pm and will finish by 9.00pm.

There is an entry fee, payable at the door, of £1 for members, and £3 for non-members.

Venue: The King’s Church building on Brooks Road, Lewes, BN7 2BY. (Between Tesco car park and Homebase)

See the Talks page for a list of  forthcoming monthly events organised by the Lewes History Group.


LewesLight Festival of Light 2020 – call for volunteers

This year the LewesLight festival has a more environmental theme – looking at light, water and the moon. The installation narratives will touch on dark skies, climate change and sea level rise, and the sites are less urban this time, centering on some of the most special places in Lewes.

The festival takes place over the weekend of 28th February to 1st March 2020 and the organisers are looking for volunteers to help steward the event.

Things will be slightly differently this year – rather than running guided tours, the focus will be on interpretation at the installation sites, and consequently they are looking for people who are happy to engage with the public about the event and its narratives, and to provide general information for visitors.

If you would like to help with this event, please contact the Festival Director

Image from 2018 at LewesLight website, © Edward Reeves


Announcing Nature 2020

Nature2020 is a year of events and activities to celebrate and highlight the natural environment of The Living Coast, Brighton and Lewes Downs local biosphere reserve.

The Nature2020 programme aims to raise awareness of, and connect people to, the environment we live and work in. They have a calendar of events at www.nature2020.org.uk/whats-on

The official launch of Nature2020 takes place on Friday, January 31, 2020 from 11:00 to 15:00 – meet at Saltdean Library and walk to Brighton Marina along Undercliff Path by the chalk cliffs Site of Special Scientific Interest. Register for this event.

More about Nature2020



Three new historical plaques for Lewes

Three new historic plaques went up in Lewes recently to highlight buildings of historical interest, thanks to Lewes Town Council and the Friends of Lewes.

The three can be found on Lewes House (on School Hill), the former council offices on Fisher Street, and on 43 Cliffe High Street. The first two buildings were designed by the Lewes architect Rowland Hawke Halls, and the third marks where Dame Grace Kimmins, founder of what is now the Chailey Heritage Foundation lived as a child in the 1870s.

The Lewes Town Council and the Friends of Lewes have installed more than 70 plaques across the town to highlight the histories of buildings that may be unknown to visitors or residents.

For the full list, see our Historical Plaques web page.

Grace Kimmins and Lewes plaque
Grace Kimmins and the new plaque on 43 Cliffe High Street

If you have suggestions for other locations where a plaque should be installed, please contact the Friends of Lewes at enquiries@friends-of-lewes.org.uk


Sustainable Energy Generation in a Historic Town – talk by OVESCO’s Chris Rowland, Wednesday 29 January 2020, 7:45pm

Chris Rowland: The opportunities and challenges of generating alternative energy in the historic town of Lewes

How do we address the need to take climate change action while preserving Lewes’ historic architecture and streetscapes? What are the town’s options to reduce and/or offset its carbon emissions?

Chris Rowland, Director of OVESCO (Ouse Valley Energy Supply Company), will discuss the challenges involved in making the UK’s older buildings housing stock highly energy efficient in response to climate change. Chris will cover current planning policy, with a focus on solar panel planning and the challenges of an historic town like Lewes.

Solar panels installed by OVESCO at Priory School, Lewes
Image from David Hicks article on ResearchGate

Venue: Lecture Room, Lewes Town Hall (Fisher Street entrance)

Entry: Free for Friends of Lewes members, £3 for non-members

Wine and juice can be purchased in the interval

See the Diary page for a list of  forthcoming events organised by the Friends of Lewes


Friends of Lewes aims to Keep Lewes Special

We have set these goals for 2020:

  • we will influence relevant policy makers at national, regional and local levels in areas like housing and transport
  • work with others to promote and protect the vitality of businesses in Lewes
  • protect our Conservation Areas
  • encourage developers to adopt carbon neutral and other ecologically sound innovations
  • increase tree canopy cover in Lewes
  • mitigate risks resulting from climate change by collaborating with other Lewes-based groups
  • learn and seek support from civic societies nationally

If you share these aims, become a member and we can tackle this together.

Join Us

Our 2020 Goals in full

More about the Friends of Lewes

Tree planting at Cross Way, Nevill, Lewes
Community tree planting in Cross Way, the Nevill, in November 2019


Friends of Lewes plant street trees for National Trees Week

On Sunday 24th November 2019 the Trees Committee of Friends of Lewes, and friends and family, were able to celebrate National Trees Week by planting seven more street trees in Lewes.

Tree planting at Cross Way, Nevill, LewesWe began in Prince Edwards Road where we planted a white Hawthorn, (Crataegus monogyna), a Hornbeam, (Carpinus betulus), and a Wild Cherry, (Prunus avium). This project was in response to a request from three of the residents, who have each “adopted” a tree to help to look after them.

After watering the trees in, we moved on to the green in Cross Way, on the Nevill. There we planted four more trees, two at each end of the green, to allow plenty of room for play space between them. The trees chosen, following consultations with nearby residents, were: a Wild Cherry, (Prunus avium), a Hornbeam, (Carpinus betulus), a Rowan, (Sorbus aucuparia), and an Ornamental Pear, (Pyrus calleryana “Chanticleer”). (Click on image to enlarge)

Nevill Residents’ Association not only asked for some trees here, but they also donated £300 to us so that we might be able to plant some more around Nevill in the future.

If you have a green space or verge near your home, and you would like us to plant a tree there, please do not hesitate to contact us. We investigate all requests to try to gain planting permission from the landowners. You may contact us using the form at the bottom of our Lewes Urban Arboretum web page.