Tingle’s Way – an eco-walk through Lewes

Tingle’s Way is a self-guided trail with themed stories linking the town of Lewes with our natural surroundings. It’s intended as a lasting memorial to Dr Colin Tingle, who died in 2017.

Colin was a Lewesian and respected scientist who specialised in sustainability and the benefits we derive from the natural world’s processes. These benefits are known as ecosystem services, or “Naturegain”. Simple examples are carbon sequestration in trees and plants as an inherent part of their growth, and flood water retention in woods and wetlands through absorption or by acting as natural barriers. Colin was also a major contributor to Lewes’ Neighbourhood Plan, the first in the country to employ an ecosystem approach as its guiding principle.

Tingle’s Way is becoming part of the South Downs Way, offering a route through Lewes, and is being supported by the South Downs National Park Authority, the National Trust and the Sussex Wildlife Trust, amongst others.

Tingle’s Way was piloted with an initial walk in September, and has now been beautifully documented by Lynda Durrant in this guide. Plans for 2019 include the official launch, an exhibition, and the erection of QR-code based way marks by the SDNPA along the route.

Tingles Way guide map
Click map for the Tingle’s Way guide






Lewes History Group 2019 season of talks

The Lewes History Group is announcing an engaging new series of talks for 2019.

These events take place on the second Monday of each month, beginning at 7:30pm and finishing by 9.00pm. Doors open at 7:00pm for free refreshments and updates on the Group’s activities.

We welcome Lewes History Group members and non-members.

Entry fee for the talks is payable at the door: £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)

Lewes All Saints Church before and after building of new nave
All Saints Church, Lewes, before and after the nave was demolished (left) and replaced in 1806 (right). Images courtesy of Sussex Archaeological Society




New book on Thomas Paine, and event on 7 December 2018, 6:00pm

Paul Myles: The Rise of Thomas Paine: and the Case of the Officers of Excise, etc, Lewes 1772. Thomas Paine Society UK, 2018.

Thomas Paine is known by all Americans as one of their founding fathers: his seminal publication Common Sense kindled the War of Independence.

This original and scholarly work by Paul Myles explains the rise of Thomas Paine, who was chosen by a Commissioner of Excise, George Lewis Scott, to write The Case of the Officers of Excise, while Paine was in Lewes in 1772.

This work identified and condemned the deep corruption within the English excise service, and called for the organization of workers to improve their pay and conditions. The origins of Paine’s links with figures such as Benjamin Franklin, so important when Paine moved to North America, is thereby explained.

The Mayor of Lewes, Councillor Janet Baah, and Paul, are pleased to invite members of the Friends of Lewes to the presentation of this new book at Lewes Town Hall in the Yarrow Room at 6.00 pm on the 7th of December 2018. The event will last for one hour, and Paul will talk about the contents of the book and how missing signatures were found, leading to a new telling of this story.

Myles-The Rise of Thomas Paine, book cover





Friends of Lewes position statement on the proposed Old Malling Farm development site submitted to the Inquiry into the South Downs Local Plan

The South Downs National Park Authority Local Plan sets the policies against which planning applications will be considered and allocates land for a variety of uses. In April 2018 the SDNPA submitted the first Local Plan for the whole of the South Downs National Park to the Government for examination. Once adopted, the new South Downs Local Plan will replace the existing planning policies operating across the South Downs National Park.

Friends of Lewes position statement submitted to the South Downs Local Plan Inquiry commenting on Policy SD79 (Old Malling Farm) of the draft SDNPA’s Local Plan, November 2018 [pdf 116kb]

Outline of Old Malling Farm proposed development site, Lewes
Old Malling Farm proposed development site outlined in red




Friends of Lewes plant trees near Mount Harry Stores, and on Houndean Rise

Lewes Urban Arboretum, Trees Committee of Friends of Lewes planted four more trees on 18 November 2018. At the request of residents living nearby, a Ginkgo biloba, (Maidenhair Tree), Sorbus aria Magnifica, (Whitebeam) and an Acer campestre Louisa Red Shine, (Field Maple with especially red leaves in Autumn), were planted outside Mount Harry Stores. Another Liquidambar styraciflua Worplesdon, (Sweet Gum), was planted in Houndean Rise to add to the twelve which we planted there in March 2018: as a project in consultation with residents to replace trees which have been lost over the years. The residents have taken very good care of the trees by watering them regularly over the dry summer which we have just had.

Trees planted in Lewes by the Friends of Lewes
Liquidambar planted on Houndean Rise, and planting outside Mount Harry Stores, Lewes






Lewes History Group talk: Lewes Business Stories – Monday 12 November 2018, 7:00 for 7:30pm

Michael Parrish: Wightman & Parrish, Lewes ironmongers

Andrew Buxton: Cash carriers in Lewes shops

John Kay: Wycherleys Estate Agency

In November three short talks will focus on different aspects of the business life of Lewes.

The first speaker will be Michael Parrish, whose grandfather joined the Lewes ironmongers business of George John Wightman in 1915, after which it became Wightman and Parrish, which many older residents will remember. Ironmongers were a key feature of every market town, serving the surrounding rural area as well as the town itself. The Wightman and Parrish retail shop had a central position near the War Memorial but its warehouses and workshops spread across the town, incorporating at one time the former Morris foundry in the Cliffe, later spun off as the agricultural merchants Culverwells. China also became an important aspect of the business.

The business flourished with the secret of success being to keep up with the times, and to diversify. Michael Parrish explains, “The company started as a country ironmongers supplying blacksmiths and wheelwrights throughout Sussex. With the arrival of motor cars, the second generation of the family started selling building materials. Later on, it developed the retail side of the business with hardware, china & glass. The third generation began selling industrial cleaning products and then the current generation has introduced healthcare equipment.”  The business expanded into other towns, and although the Lewes shop closed some thirty years ago, the business still continues today from its base in Hailsham. It has recently celebrated its centenary, in the hands of the fourth generation of the Parrish family.

The second talk will be from Andrew Buxton. Older members will remember the cash carrying systems that used to whiz around some older stores, carrying money payments to a central location, and then returning with change. Andrew will tell us about the various Lewes shops that used to use such systems.

John Kay will complete the programme with a short talk about the long history of Wycherleys, the estate agency that was originated by Alfred Wycherley well over a century ago.

Wightman and Parrish Lewes shop
Old Wightman & Parrish storefront in Lewes. Image Courtesy of Wightman & Parrish

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 for these meetings, 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 Meetings page for a list of  forthcoming monthly talks organised by the Lewes History Group.