Lewes History Group talk: Rowland Hawke Halls (1879-1919): Sussex Architect – Monday 12 October 2020, 7:20 for 7:30pm start

A Zoom Webinar

David Scott Cowan: Rowland Hawke Halls (1879-1919): A Sussex Architect

In the second of its online Autumn lectures, Lewes History Group welcomes David Scott Cowan who will talk about his grandfather, Rowland Hawke Halls (1879-1919).

Hawke Halls was a Lewes architect working in the Arts and Crafts tradition in the early years of the 20th century. He worked closely with local craftsmen on both the interior and exterior of his buildings. He was a farmer’s son who studied at the Lewes School of Science and Art, and established a practice based in the Seveirg Building, now replaced by Boots.

His work includes several houses in The Avenue, including one called Rowlands where he lived. He also designed houses in Seaford (to which he moved in 1914) and Rottingdean. His public buildings included the Fisher Street offices for the Borough of Lewes built in 1914 and St John-sub-Castro church hall in the Pells.

In WW1, Hawkes Hall served in France in the Royal Army Service Corps from 1916-1918, but was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after being demobilised.

An exhibition of his work was shown in Lewes Town Hall in 2019, marking the centenary of his death.

Rowlands, Lewes
Rowlands, The Avenue, Lewes

To access this talk, you need to register your intention some days in advance: Click to Register

There is no charge for this talk.

After registering and well before the talk, we will send you a confirmation email containing information about how to join the webinar itself.

Please join the webinar at 7:20pm.

We would recommend a computer screen or an iPad as a minimum screen-size for viewing our webinars.

Our speaker will be present to answer your questions, but for technical reasons he has recorded his talk specially for this occasion. You can ask questions by typing in the Q&A box in Zoom.

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


Heritage Walks in Lewes

The Lewes Heritage Open Days held on 10-13 September 2020 may be over, but you can still enjoy the Friends of Lewes’s three Heritage Walks at any time you wish.

Our self-guided Heritage Walks around Lewes allow visitors to explore the historic, architectural and environmental aspects of the town at their own pace.

The three walks leaflets are: Lewes Local Architects Walk, Lewes Town Nature Walk, and Lewes High Street Walk.

Link to more details and to download the three walk leaflets


Friends of Lewes Heritage Open Days 2020 walk leaflets


Christopher Whittick: Robert Crowham, the Last Prior of Lewes – Friday 2 October 2020, 7:30pm

Lewes Priory Trust’s 39th Emil Godfrey Memorial Lecture, via Zoom 

Christopher Whittick: Robert Crowham otherwise Peterson (c1495–1555), the Last Prior of Lewes: a Born Survivor?

Christopher Whittick is the former County Archivist for East Sussex.

Lewes Priory Emil Godfrey lecture 2.10.20 WhittickThis lecture was postponed from its usual June date due to the Covid-19 virus restrictions. It will now take place as an on-line Zoom event.

All welcome. Admission free.

There is a maximum of 100 places. To attend the meeting you need to register with the Chairman by email. Confirmation will be sent by return and joining instructions will follow in the week of the event.

Artwork © Andy Gammon



Friends of Lewes Family Competition: Design a Nature Trail

Can you design a nature trail around your street, your garden or another space in Lewes? 

Friends of Lewes are organising a family competition linked to their leaflet: Lewes Heritage – A Town Nature Walk which results from a collaboration between Lewes Urban Arboretum, (Trees Committee of Friends of Lewes), and Wildflower Lewes. Although it was launched for Heritage Open Day 2020, it describes an all-year-round walk which you might enjoy!

To share in our celebration of the natural environment of Lewes, we are inviting you to create your own “Nature Walk”. For example, it could be a hand drawn map of your neighbourhood, illustrated with your drawings or photographs of the trees, wildflowers or the wildlife that you have seen there.

To respect social distancing, we are asking entrants to photograph their entries and send them to arboretum@friends-of-lewes.org.uk with your name and contact details. By entering, we will assume that you are giving permission for Friends of Lewes to share your entries on social media but please let us know if you would prefer us not to show your name. The competition is open to individuals or groups of any age and prizes of £15 book tokens will be awarded to three of the lucky entrants.

The deadline for sending in your entries is October 31st 2020. Have fun!

Maidenhair Tree, Scabius, Elms, Squirrel


Friends of Lewes statement to the ESCC about public realm modifications (Lewes High Street/School Hill), July 2020

On 9 May 2020, the Secretary of State for Transport announced a £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund for local authorities to restart local transport as part of the Government’s Covid-19 recovery roadmap.

The two key aims of the funding are to:-

  • enable more walking and cycling for everyday journeys, alongside
  • supporting safe social distancing.

The types of measures that they require local authorities to consider delivering include; road closures, widened footways, pop up cycle lanes, temporary cycle parking and social distancing signage.

An application by ESCC was submitted to the Department for Transport on 5th June 2020, to seek approval. Their proposal for Lewes concerns Lewes High Street/School Hill: Footway widening to enable people to social distance and walk along this busy route within the town centre to access key local services. 

Further information at the ESCC website

The Friends of Lewes has submitted the following statement to the ESCC:

“Friends of Lewes has as one of its central goals to work with others to promote and protect the vitality of businesses in and around our High Street, preserve its range of buildings and businesses, and safeguard its community value in the face of commercial change and problematic traffic management.

In these unusual and difficult times we recognise the need to make changes to encourage people to feel safe moving around the town, be they pedestrians or cyclists, whilst at the same time supporting local business and helping those who cannot for a variety of reasons walk or cycle to local destinations.

To maintain the attractiveness of the town, at this difficult time, it is hoped that the Highway Authority will look to reduce as much unnecessary through-traffic from the town centre as possible, not only improving the environmental quality, but also maximising road safety and containing pollution levels.

We recognise the immense challenges which are an integral part of achieving all of these aims.  We hope there will be a wide ranging, informed  debate both over temporary and more permanent changes to the built environment of Lewes.  We look forward to taking an active part in that debate.”

Friends of Lewes, July 2020

Lewes High Street ESCC proposed temporary measures 2020
From ESCC website – Click image to enlarge

We Wunt be Druv – Documentary Film on the Town of Lewes

Made in 2020 by University of Surrey graduates in Film and Video Production as a group final year project, this is an entertaining look at Lewes through the eyes of prominent local people.

Film-maker Martin Kadiev explores the revolutionary side of Lewes, and learns that however independent they appear to be, the people of Lewes are strongly engaged with their community.

The film features Arthur Franklin, Mayor John Lamb, Tom Reeves, Miles Jenner, Carmen Slijpen. Simon March, Julian Bell, and Peter Messer.

Watch the film on YouTube

We Wunt Be Druv
Still taken from the film

Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 2 July 2020

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 2 July 2020: 

SDNP/20/01827/HOUS: Replacement of the existing first floor living room wooden french doors with UPVC wood effect two panel sliding doors.  1, 2 & 3 Friars Mews Pinwell Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the use of uPVC materials in the Conservation Area. The Society has no objection to the change in design of the patio doors and welcomes the coordinated replacement by the owners of the three properties.

SDNP/20/00338/FUL: Replacement of 8 x floodlight masts and lighting. The Dripping Pan Mountfield Road.
Friends of Lewes welcome the more slender and less obtrusive masts and lighting clusters that are designed to avoid light intrusion to the adjacent housing and address the SDNPA dark skies policy. The Society comments that their use outside match events should be carefully managed to minimise light pollution.

SDNP/20/01908/HOUS: Extended driveway with new gate, alteration / modification of garage with new roof, new garden steps and handrail, and associated landscaping. Sunnymead Rotten Row.
Friends of Lewes have no objection in principle to the proposals but are unhappy that work appears to be already in progress. It comments that the vehicle access is not shown on the proposed elevations and considers porous surfacing materials should be used to mitigate surface water run-off.

SDNP/20/01378/HOUS: Demolition of existing garage and replacement with a garden office 3m x 6m. 1A Middle Way.
Friends of Lewes object to this application as it provides inadequate information with respect to plans, layout, construction and materials.

SDNP/20/02078/LIS: Internal alterations to include removal of ground floor partition, creation of hot water cupboard and upgrade existing internal door and external repair works to chimney.  27 Keere Street.
Friends of Lewes are unhappy that the work appears to be already in progress.

SDNP/20/02095/LIS: Removal of loadbearing ground floor partition between the lounge and dining room. 11 Albion Street.
Friends of Lewes are unhappy that the work appears to have already been completed and the application is retrospective. .

SDNP/20/01687/HOUS: Porch to front elevation and new drive and hard standing.  15 Church Lane South Malling.
Friends of Lewes object to the materials proposed for the new drive and hardstanding which should be porous to mitigate surface water run-off.

SDNP/20/00245/CND: Section 73A retrospective application for the variation of condition 1 (plans) relating to planning approval SDNP/17/06391/FUL. Land West of Pipe Passage.
Friends of Lewes maintain their objection to this application because it remains unclear what is actually proposed to mitigate the breach of planning consent.  The Society is unable to support a proposal to simply screen what has been built by planting. It remains of the view that the building should be reduced in height to that consented, but recognises that this may not be realistic. The Society considers it is essential that the structures are stained dark to reduce the visual impact of the buildings on this very sensitive part of the Conservation Area.  It has guided the owners towards specialist consultants who can advise on this aspect of the development, which is achievable and a deadline should therefore be set for its completion. Further screening with planting is supported but the Society has major reservations about if and how it can be delivered effectively and how its future maintenance can be guaranteed.


The Committee examined the following applications and had no observations to make:

SDNP/20/02182/HOUS 114 High Street.   Replace gutter, repaint front render and front windows.
SDNP/20/02287/HOUS 2 Deanery Close.   Single storey ground floor rear extension.
SDNP/20/00860/LIS 13 Southover High Street.   Replace three rear casement windows.
SDNP/20/01844/FUL Southover C of E. Primary School, Potters Lane. New and replacement gates and fences.

Planning Application Approved

Historical and Heritage Plaques in Lewes – the back story

Early this year Lewes Town Council and the Friends of Lewes arranged for three new cast-iron plaques to be put on buildings in the town that have an interesting connection or history: sometimes this is fairly obvious, sometimes totally hidden. These are the latest in a series that began about 40 years ago.

Lewes House, School Hill

Lewes House, plaque and building
Lewes House, 32 High Street

In the case of 32, High Street – Lewes House on School Hill – it is perhaps remarkable that this significant building had not had its history noted before. Though there has been a house on this site since 1609, the present house dates from the 18th century, with a new front added in 1812. The main story here relates to the years 1890 to 1928 when it was owned by Edward Perry Warren, an American antiquarian and art buyer. His purchase of Rodin’s statue The Kiss caused a furore when he wanted it to be shown.

It is quite hard to capture even the outline of this in the 45 or so words, which is all that space on a plaque allows!  The permission of the owner is always a pre-condition and the District Council were happy to agree. The plaque was put on the wall outside, rather than on the listed building to ensure maximum visibility to passers-by.

Grace Kimmins and 43 Cliffe High Street

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

Sometimes it is the invisible connection with a person that is the story. 43 Cliffe High Street is now Louis Potts’ shop and the owner was unaware that the house had once been the childhood home of Grace Kimmins, who founded Chailey Heritage in 1903: a very special Hospital and School only a few miles away. In this case the connection was first drawn to the attention of Friends of Lewes by the Heritage in 2017.

Architect Rowland Hawke Halls and 4 Fisher Street

4 Fisher Street, Lewes, plaque and building
Rowland Hawke Halls building on Fisher Street

The third plaque was suggested by a grandson of the architect, Rowland Hawke Halls. He lived in Lewes and designed many building in the area, including several of the first houses on the Avenue and Kingston Village Hall.  No 4 Fisher Street is also owned by the District Council and served as Council Finance Offices until a few years ago. The timbered front with plaster relief panels of rural life by a local artist and the carved heads by the doorways are best viewed from across the street. Background information was plentiful in this case, but restricting the story to so few words was again a challenge.

Suggestions are welcome for additional plaques which will bring parts of the town’s past into focus and which are on frequently-used routes, where they can inform local residents and visitors to the town alike of our rich heritage.

Marcus Taylor – Email Marcus Taylor

Friends of Lewes Planning Committee Report 4 June 2020

Representations made on planning applications following the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 4 June 2020: 

SDNP/20/00313/LIS: Retention of works, including the demolition of the rear extension and addition of a single storey extension, including replacement of stairs and provision of ramp to the main access, and enlargement of main entrance gate, including the replacement of both posts. 4 St James Street.
Friends of Lewes have no objection to the extension. However, the Society objects to the enlargement of the main entrance gate because inadequate details have been provided of the proposed work. There is no east elevation to show the proposed entrance as seen from the street or details of the materials to be used. Both are required.

SDNP/20/01552/LIS: Investigation works and repairs to minaret over central stair of Tyne House. 140 High Street.
Friends of Lewes have no objection to the proposed investigation but consider that more details of the minaret are required and the investigation should provide further drawings. The raised rooflight appears to be modern, from the 1960’s, and the opportunity should be taken to reinstate traditional detailing in accordance with the principles of the adopted Lewes Conservation Area Management Plan. The Society therefore objects to any repair works, which should be the subject of a further application once investigations are complete.

SDNP/20/01646/HOUS: Demolition of existing conservatory and erection of single storey extension, replacement front porch, and changes to external fenestration, including cladding at first floor. Heath Cottage Stables Spital Road.
Friends of Lewes regard the proposed timber cladding to be an improvement but comment that further details of the cladding to be used should be provided for approval.

SDNP/20/01660/ADV: Wooden hanging sign to be attached to brick of building via iron bracket with acrylic sign to be attached to side elevation near front entrance door, and internal privacy film with company logo to be attached to lower section of first window in east elevation of building. Suite 1 23 East Street.
Friends of Lewes object to the hanging sign which it considers to be an unsympathetic addition to the listed building in the Conservation Area. The Society also objects to the proposed acrylic sign and plastic window film which are inappropriate materials for use on a listed building.

SDNP/20/01707/HOUS: Proposed rooflights and rear dormer. Brendon Rotten Row.
Friends of Lewes do not support the proposal to add a new conservation rooflight on the eastern catslide roof as this will result in an unbalanced design. It comments that a more balanced design would result from widening the existing dormer to incorporate the proposed rooflight. The design should match the other dormer proposed for the second floor.

SDNP/20/01738/ADV: Installation of four non-illuminated free standing signs to each roundabout. Multiple Roundabouts within Lewes.
Friends of Lewes object to the excessive number of signs per roundabout which are far too large, will distract road users and be detrimental to the wider street scene. No more than two modest sized signs per roundabout would be adequate, set low down and integrated into an overall scheme for improving the appearance of the roundabouts.

SDNP/20/01791/HOUS: Single storey rear ground floor extension and loft conversion with rear dormer. 10 Churchill Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the excessive massing of the proposed dormer which should be set further down from the ridge and reduced in size in accordance with the Friends of Lewes ‘The Design of Dormer Windows Planning Advice Note’.

SDNP/20/01914/CND: Variation of condition 2 of application SDNP/18/03889/FUL to include two ventilation stacks to the roof. Malling Community Centre Spences Lane.
Friends of Lewes comments that the ventilation stacks are very high and the need for such a height should be justified.

SDNP/20/01941/HOUS: Alterations to dwelling including single storey rear extension to replace existing extension and conservatory, alterations to main roof form including enlargement of existing rear-facing dormer, and new garden room to replace existing shed. 28 Ferrers Road.
Friends of Lewes object to the rear dormer which is too wide and out of proportion with the rest of the building. The proposed fenestration is inconsistent with the existing and the four lights proposed should be reduced to three. Access to the timber cladding for maintenance will be difficult and the use of more durable materials such a zinc or lead is encouraged.

SDNP/20/00928/HOUS: Erection of conservatory to the rear, replacement of existing porch with three storey extension, alterations to the existing roof by raising roof ridge height and roof extension from hip to gable, insert rooflights, solar panels and dormers and alterations to fenestration. Home Furlong The Motor Road Old Racecourse.
Friends of Lewes object to the increased mass of the building which is in a prominent open downland location that is visible from a distance, as is the whole racecourse site. The proposed three storey porch is out of proportion with the existing property and the materials proposed are unsuitable for this rural location. The dormer windows are up to the roof ridge, too high and use inappropriate materials. Changing the roof from hip to gable emphasises the mass of the building as does increasing the overall height of the ridge by up to one metre.

SDNP/20/01837/FUL: Installation of gates on both ends of Green Wall. Green Wall.
Although sympathetic to the reasons behind this application Friends of Lewes object to the proposal to create a gated community. Green Wall is a public footpath and follows the position of the old town wall, a scheduled ancient monument. Its closure is unlawful without public consultation by East Sussex County Council and consideration of any objections. Closure is not in the interests of the wider pedestrian movement in the town and sets a dangerous precedent which could be repeated in many twittens and cut throughs affecting the enjoyment of many areas of the historic town. The public footpath along the Green Wall is also an important interface with the planned North Street Quarter redevelopment proposals.


The Committee examined the following applications and had no observations to make:

SDNP/20/01236/FUL South Malling Church Of England Primary School Church Lane. Enlarge reception area
SDNP/20/01552/LIS Garden House, Rotten Row.   Replace garage with driveway.
SDNP/20/01562/HOUS Vipers Wharf, Railway Lane.   Pergola and trellis including flood barriers, replace double door with single door and sidelight.
SDNP/20/01707/HOUS 1 Malling Street.   Replace flat roof.
SDNP/20/01914/CND 204 High Street.   Remove paint from interior beams and chimney stack.
SDNP/20/01941/HOUS 14 Hill Road.   Alterations including replacement of joinery, modifying external openings and replacement of chimney.
SDNP/20/01945/HOUS 1 Crosshaven Place.   Front porch.

Planning Application Approved