A man who bred a green mouse

ROUSER has always liked the odder bits of information about, rather than the more prosaic. That’s why he enjoys David Arscott’s Little Book of Sussex which is as quirky as can be.

For instance - the armorial bearings of Sussex include six birds known as martlets. They are sometimes described as an heraldic form of the swallow. Martlets, strangely, have no feet.

l The Rector of Herstmonceux from 1923 to 1956 was the Rev Rosslyn Bruce, an animal fanatic.

As a student at Oxford he responded to a ban on keeping a dog in college by parading a cow around the quad.

He kept all kinds of creatures, from pigeons to elephants, wrote a book on breeding fox terriers and, amazingly, managed to breed a green mouse!

l A tortoise adorns the village sign at Ringmer. It is Timothy, who became a pet of the famous naturalist Gilbert White.

Timothy’s shell is preserved in the British Museum.