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Ringmer in East Sussex

Google map showing area surrounding Ringmer
(Poor Roads and riots)
Location: 50.892596,0.054667
General Details

Archaeology reveals an early use by the English of the Romano-British cemetery at Ringmer in East Sussex. The majority of the graves contain inhumation burials which either points to late colonization or close contact with the British population. Saucer brooches found in the graves indicates the presence of Saxons from the Elbe-Weser area, so presumably the Saxons lead by Aella came here.

The church is a good example of one of those in the area which is roofed in Horsham Tiles .

In the 1600's the vicars daughter married John Harvard , the founder of Harvard University in the United States of America and the daughter of Sir William Springett married William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania.

Ringmer must have had very poor roads as in a letter in 1743, the Wealden Ironmaster John Fuller admitted that he had sent 29 x 9 pounder cannons from Heathfield to Lewes , which passed through Ringmer , and these had torn the road with the carts and oxen such that no one could follow them.

Gilbert White, the naturalist visited the Snooke family at the vicarage during the late 1700's. The vicars wife Rebecca had a tortoise which Gilbert wrote about. When Mrs Snooke died, the tortoise went to live with Gilbert in his home at Selbourne in Hampshire. The tortoise is remembered in the village sign, and its shell is preserved in the British Museum.

(Many thanks to John Kay of the Ringmer History Study Group for the following clarification) It is true that Ringmer had a vicar called Rev Henry Snooke (vicar 1690-1727: who lived at the vicarage, and it is also true that Gilbert White's aunt Rebecca Snooke was the widow of a Henry Snooke, but they are father and son, not the same person. When Gilbert White visited his aunt Rebecca in the 1770s and early 1780s she lived at Delves House, a pleasant house in large grounds facing Ringmer Green, on the other side of the church from the vicarage (as GW makes clear in his letters and journal, especially when writing about the tortoise). The tortoise was called Timothy, and her shell is preserved in the Natural History Museum in Kensington (not the British Museum). Ringmer Green was the meeting point for local farm labourers in 1831, 150 of them met Lord Gage from nearby Firle to complain of mistreatment by his overseer, he sacked the overseer and gave the workers a pay rise. The riots were the last peasant revolts in the UK and were known as the Swing Riots .

(Many thanks to John Kay of the Ringmer History Study Group for the following clarification) The target of the Ringmer Swing Riot was primarily the wage rates paid to labourers 'on the parish' and other social security benefits, but they did also complain about the Ringmer parish assistant overseer John Finch [paid parish official who had for several years run the Old Poor Law on behalf of the (unpaid) parish Overseers of the Poor]. There was also a separate complaint against Lord Gage's woodreeve, for participating in the 'roundsman' system, which was designed to stimulate employment but easily lent itself to abuse.

This event took place on Ringmer Green in November 1830, not in 1831, and was reported at length in the Times and local newspapers. The number of labourers who gathered, fairly peaceably, on Ringmer Green was variously estimated at 150-300, but was certainly a lot larger than the number of vestrymen gathered, with the Vicar, inside the Workhouse. The labourers did gain a 50% pay rise - for married men from 1s 8d per day (10s 0d per week) to 2s 6d per day (15s 0d per week). This new rate lasted all of 6 weeks, but some gains persisted until wages were finally cut right back to 1s 8d per day in May 1832. However, neither the Overseers of the Poor nor the Assistant Overseer were sacked - the voluminous parish records continue in John Finch's firm and legible hand for several more years, as do his regular salary payments. Lord Gage couldn't sack his Plashett Park woodreeve - Richard Devenish had already died.

Views
The churchyard contains some unusual wooden graveboards, which are worth investigating, and also the church roof contains Horsham roofing slabs .

The village Green is large and pleasant to look at, with a pair of old hand water pumps, on at the north and one at the south edge of the green.

Mount Caburn towers over the village to the south.
Services
Ringmer in East Sussex has quite a few local shops, but the main shopping centre is in nearby Lewes about 3 miles to the west.

Trains can be caught again at Lewes , and busses pass through the village from Heathfield and Hailsham to Lewes .
Map
Ringmer is shown as the red symbol on the map.

Nearby Villages

(click on symbol to see the village page)
Arlington (Peaceful Saxon Village)6.84 miles
Barcombe (Village in three places)2.17 miles
Beddingham (At the base of Mount Caburn)2.68 miles
Chalvington (The miniature church)5.00 miles
Chiddingly (Walking on Cheese ??)6.24 miles
East Hoathly (Another Sussex Cannibal?)5.38 miles
Glynde (Home of English Opera)2.20 miles
Halland (Ancient Slaughter)4.38 miles
Isfield (Simon de Montfort and the Lavender Line)2.97 miles
Laughton (Knight captures King of France)3.53 miles
Ripe (Earl Harolds estate)4.18 miles
Selmeston (Tomb to store the Contraband)5.19 miles
West Dean (Alfred the Great's Palace)36.64 miles
Firle (Home of the Greengage)3.57 miles
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Local Businesses
Battle Brewery
Richard Vobes
Tenderheart
Ella Clarke