On our quest to trace Vine ancestors at Jevington, we spent a night at Hastings. It was my first visit and we were amazed by then tall black timber sheds for storage of seafaring equipment in days when everything was made of natural fibres. A friend showed us around the old town with wonderful old Tudor buildings, and walls jutting out at odd angles. Mellow light from bookshops and old pubs tempted us to linger. We dined with our friend and met her partner’s delightful sons. One lad draws wonderful cartoons of Donald Trump. The other had a delightful image of photographic images, with hand-written text in a style which perfectly complements the images.
The next morning, we took a train to Eastbourne. Melissa had looked up details of the bus to Jevington, including the number, but it wasn’t listed on the shelter. She asked everyone from passengers to other drivers, ‘Is this where the bus to…’ They looked blank. ‘Never seen that.’ We began to fear our ghost-bus would never arrive, or didn’t exist. Had it been cancelled? She asked one official looking gent in uniform. His bristling moustached seemed to confirm it. ‘Small community vehicle. Green and cream.’
We had about given up hope when the little bus drew up, almost apologetic. All its larger cousins, looked down their noses as it crept in and out. We stopped at the Eight Bells Pub, not open until 11. Promising ambience, we’d call back later. Wonderful country of the South Downs on every side, much of it still owned by the Dukes of Devonshire. Not much opportunity for a young couple to acquire their own property then, as now. Probably little changed since they left for Australia in 1884Fields with horses in jackets, fluffy trees on hills. And set off to explore. Walked along the busy road – narrow, edged with leaves turned into mud, no footpath.
Avoiding ruts and water, we reached St Andrew’s Church, Jevington. A squat building in local flint and green sandstone, it dated back a thousand years. The broad proportions of the unbuttressed tower seen as 11th c . Arched headings of outside windows made from re-used Roman bricks. Seems a Roman road once passed through Jevington, and a Roman coin was picked up in the churchyard. It has a Saxon defensive tower, refuge against Viking raids on coastal villages. Seafaring connections are indicated by a rare anchor cross above the South porch and Nave Roof. The chancel dates to 1230, with a quirky mix of restoration architecture, from the original Saxon, to Norman, Roman, Victorian…
A Tudor Wagon Roof in the nave has alternating king posts and hammer beams. And a rare bell 1456-1486 ,is one of two from the Medieval period.
A black marble tablet, memorial to one Rector Nathaniel Collier, highlights the dispute about the date of New Year. Did it start on 25th March, according to the old Julian calendar, or on 1st January as indicated by the new Gregorian one? The date was recorded as 1691/2. An Act of Parliament in 1752, finally confirmed New Years Day as 1st January. It must have seemed very confusing at the time.
Inside we admired framed historical images, depicting many of the above influences, from Saxon kings to our Vine ancestor who drew a map of the village in his time, and wrote of his recollections.
We wandered around the Jevington Churchyard. Was this tablet for a Sarah Pitcher the mother of our Sarah Jane, who married James Stephens at Eastbourne in 1877? There were several Vine headstones of those who are probably relate
We viewed a rare Tapsell gate, characteristic of Sussex Churchyards. Built of oak or other hardwood, with a central spindle to balance the gate, it is often reinforced by iron. It turns at the slightest touch and, when swung full circle, closes on stops of the gate posts. It requires half the radius of a conventional gate, and is excellent for keeping out livestock, or allowing coffin bears to pass through, without missing a beat. The design was first introduced two hundred and fifty years ago.
It was too muddy after recent rain to explore byways, but potholes provided lovely images of bare-branched trees. WordPress seems to have removed the option to add more than one photo to a posting, which is a pity, since visitors enjoy visual images
We lunched at the Eight Bells Inn, popular with walkers and locals alike. It dates back to the 18th C and it is strange to think of my ancestors dining or drinking there in the 1700s.It seems to be the hub of life in the environs, with all sorts of activities listed. The tiny village is served by a volunteer bus service twice weekly, so were lucky to be there on a Tuesday, with a return at 3.17 pm