Tuesday 14 September 2021

Highlights from Henfield

Henfield is by rights a large village midway betwixt here and the coast. To my mind it's more of  a small bustling market town with an excellent high street full of independent shops and good community facilities. Please allow me to offer up a selection of photos and accompanying snippets and perhaps you'll get a flavour of why I was rather taken with it. 

These two mosaics were made by Creative Waves and installed as part of the 2019 Horsham Year of Culture [it's within the Horsham District]. The first one recalls the violets which were grown locally and the link they had to the suffragette movement which I wrote about here http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/search?q=henfield+violets. Since then I have learnt about a local actor and another suffragist called Elizabeth Robins who's shown in the panel below. She used her 15th century farmhouse to shelter the women who had been on hunger strike after the 1913 Cat and Mouse act. She offered them not only refuge, but a change to recover from the ordeal they had suffered in prison. Unfortunately they would then be returned for the whole terrible cycle to begin again. They fought so hard to get the right to vote for women.

Now you might think that this would be a place you would secure your dog [maybe not wise in these times of canine theft] when you popped into a shop....apparently it's only small 🐘 you can tie up here!

It's not often that I get to admire the herringbone brickwork of old houses at close quarters. This one stands exposed on the corner of a side road so I was able to to admire the handiwork of builders from many generations ago.

These sit outside the firestation..I know not why. Slightly creepy if you ask me😱

A Victorian building with a modern door. The combination of bold design and use of light wood works well to my eyes and compliments the brickwork.

Now for this one you're just going to have to squint and believe me when I say there's a circular earthwork there. Apparently it shows up much better from above with a drone. It's all that remains of Stretham Manor. Rather marvellously we know that this was the home of Count Warbald and his wife Tilburga in 770....such rich sounding Saxon names.

Rye Island is an odd one. The village info confirms that "rye" means island and in this case if you bought the 14th century Rye Farm [see photo below in the distance] you literally needed to buy a houseboat too. The area completely floods most years and the house sits surrounded by water. In order to get anywhere you had to row out in a boat. The situation has improved somewhat for the owners these past few years as there is now a raised causeway running alongside it.

Go large or go home I say...if you're going to have a topiary bird you might aswell enjoy it. I was transfixed by the sheer size of it in that front garden, but in a Wow kind of way. That's one heck of a cat scarer!

Inevitably we did poke our noses round the parish church of St Peter's. It's another one that the Victorians got their sticky paws on and "improved"  cue for took anything out that would have been of interest me, but I did spot a couple of bits of protective graffiti they'd missed high up and this rather charming memorial to a lady who sounds like a really lovely person and enriched the lives of those who met her.

The church is sited on the rather unusually named Pinchnose Green [so named because of the horrible smell of the leather tanning industry that once operated near here] along with the extraordinary Cat House. Last time I visited it it was hissing down with rain, but I did cover its intriguing story here http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-damp-jolly.html It was nice to be able to appreciate it in the sunshine this time!

Frankly words failed me when I encountered these two. I'm still not quite sure what look the makers were going for, but they are vaguely sinister looking without their heads.

As you will know by now I am an avid reader of signs [no doubt I drive my husband quite mad as I'm always getting distracted and wandering off to investigate things I've spotted]. It's proved a great way to learn all sorts of stuff. This little poem was pinned up on a noticeboard as we made our way back to car. It may not be quite Poet Laureate quality, but it was a nice little find to wind up our Sunday afternoon exploration.



  1. You always find so many interesting things wherever you go - I love seeing them all

    1. Thank you so much! I enjoy sharing them. Hopefully there might be a tidbit of info when I finally get round to posting about Bury St Edmunds. Arilx

  2. You can always wear a smile - a lovely sentiment to end on a really interesting post! I love name sources and their modern derivatives 😁

    1. Thank you. The little poem made me smile too. Arilx


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