Wedding bells still rang in Great War

Cissie and Ted Holden (left and right) who had just been married with John's mother Lily and sister Edith Florence as bridesmaids and are seen in the centre of the picture

Cissie and Ted Holden (left and right) who had just been married with John's mother Lily and sister Edith Florence as bridesmaids and are seen in the centre of the picture

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The Great War may have been raging on the Western Front and in various theatres of conflict around the world but folk in Sussex tried to live as normal lives as possible.

The splendid photograph reproduced here has been made available by John Cooper of Wellington Street, Lewes.

It shows Cissie and Ted Holden (left and right) who had just been married at the town’s St John sub Castro church.

John’s mother Lily and sister Edith Florence were bridesmaids and are seen in the centre of the picture.

At the time of the wedding (February 1916) the Cooper family lived in Toronto Terrace near the church and John remembers his mother telling him how they had soldiers billeted with them in the Great War.

John himself wasn’t born until March 1923 by which time the family had moved across town to Lansdown Place.

Incidentally, the “sub Castro” in the name of the church does not have a religious connotation – it refers to the fact that the church is “below the castle”. St John is set on the site of a Roman encampment that looked down on the River Ouse.

John was also able to shed light on the identity of the gentleman pictured (right) standing next to an ox yoke in Friars Walk, Lewes, that was featured in the Sussex Express of July 25. It is “Banana Bill” Penfold, a colourful character who played a big role in the Cliffe Bonfire Society last century. Even before the Second World War he had a junk shop halfway down Station Street and also sold fruit from a handcart. He was very proud to be elected as a town councilor. “Banana Bill” lived to a ripe old age and I can remember seeing him wrapped up warm and snug in his wheelchair beside the War Memorial on Bonfire Nights some four or so decades ago.