Thursday 20 August 2020

A Local History Walk

Seeing as the temperatures had reached much more manageable levels by Sunday it seemed the ideal time to sally forth and follow one of the history walks for the nearby village of Pulborough. I know parts of the district, but not over on this side, so with our flask and packet of biscuits packed we headed out for a spot of local adventuring. 

Knowing my obsession with anything book related you know that spotting something book shaped in the far off distant corner of the carpark was always going to pique my curiosity. It turned out to be a small garden with this Book of Remembrance memorial at the centre. The newer ones seem to take many more forms than the older styles that are familiar from my childhood.

Talking all things war related this WWII gun emplacement was put up in 1941 as part of chain of defence to protect a nearby armaments factory and to stop the enemy reaching London via the roads or railway network. It housed a Hotchkiss anti-tank gun which would have been light, easy to manoeuvre and highly effective. Thankfully the invasion never came. The graffiti inside seemed rather poignant and out of place. I wonder if Suzanne ever saw it and how long it's been there? Sadly we shall never know, but there must have been a story behind it.

Along the side of the Park Mount earthwork [details on last Monday's post] we arrived at the stunning Stopham has to be one of my favourites in the county and it's a bit of a local landmark. It was built in 1309 to give travellers a safe passage across the River Arun on their route from Winchester to Canterbury. One of the arches was raised at a much later date to allow higher boats to get under it safely in the days when the waterway formed part of the local canal network. These days people are able to hire canoes further upstream and while away a couple of relaxing hours meandering down to the bridge and then stopping off at the White Hart inn which stands adjacent to it. 

A little further on you come to the outwardly unassuming whitewashed church of St Botolph's in the hamlet of Hardham. It sits just off the very busy A29, but frankly I think even locally many people have no idea it's there. I've featured it before for it houses the most stunning collection of near complete 12th century wall paintings, but it was closed after the morning service. I thought the exposed bits of Roman tile left in the walls were rather eye-catching.

Moving on and just across the way we were sent down a now bypassed part of the old A283 which sits just off the A29. Along there hidden in the undergrowth is this largely forgotten memorial to Reverend Masefield who was the rector at Hardham. On 4th October 1940 a German plane was trying to strafe a group of children in the road. Masefield bravely got them to the safety of a nearby ditch, but tragically got shot himself. It was sad to see such an act of bravery and courage not being given greater prominence, but its position in the countryside now means it rather out of sight and out of mind. 

After all our exertions it seemed only fair and right that we should fortify ourselves with a light lunch at a local cafe....I needed something to build up my strength [and enthusiasm] to tackle all the blooming ironing upon my return!


1 comment:

  1. So many quiet and forgotten treasures, bet many towns and villages have similar such gems quietly being forgotten. On a different note, for years there was a love note daubed on the underside of a motorway bridge near us and each year another year was added to the work saying how long the 'artist' had loved Denise.
    We moved to Africa for five years and when we came back, it was still there, it had been added to a couple more times then it was all crossed out and a huge declaration that it was over!!
    There was about 17 years difference between the first and final confirmation of 'I love Denise'...
    It has gone now, partly weathered and painted off.


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