Drums to mark Southover Bonfire Society’s march


The town always knows when members of the Southover Bonfire Society are on the move. Hooded Cluniac monks and dramatically-costumed Buccaneers and Pirates process from HQ at The King’s Head pub through the town accompanied by a steady, eerie rhythm of the Pentacle Drummers.

This year the programme is dedicated to the memory of Paul Millmore, and tribute paid to his ‘vision, dedication, work and support for SBS, Lewes and its traditions as well as the South Downs Voluntary Ranger Service.’

A piece of history is commemorated with the illuminated piece marking the bravery of the Cockleshell Heroes when over 30 men or women with a Lewes or Southover connection died 70 years ago at the raid on German shipping at St Nazaire.

Southover Society started life in 1886, almost at the height of Empire. It stopped marching after 1905 due to a ban on street bonfires. Reformed in 1950, faltering in the late 1950s but rising like a phoenix from the ashes again in 2005, Southover has grown to a 600-strong membership and is widely regarded as the Society for every member of the family. Its firesite is snugly and picturesquely located on the Stanley Turner Recreation Ground in the South Downs National park.