Importance of keeping connection with past in Lewes

The Heritage Open Days event in the town was officially launched last week by Baroness Kay Andrews, President of the Friends of Lewes and former Chair of English Heritage.

She acknowledged the debt to all the building owners and managers who generously allow their premises to be open to the public over the weekend, which this year runs from today (Friday) until Sunday.

She also thanked the various sponsors, and the Friends of Lewes team who put together the programme.

Baroness Andrews stressed how important it was for Lewes to retain its connection with its past by promoting interest in its rich variety of buildings and architecture.

The Freemasons Hall is opening for visits this year, and two fascinating historic houses are also taking part for the first time.

There’s also a musical emphasis: as well as rehearsal singing in St Michael’s Church in the High Street, there will be organ recitals in the chapel at Priory School – one of Lewes’s ‘hidden gems’ designed by the architect of Guildford Cathedral – and at All Saints, where the organ was built by William Hill, organist at Canterbury Cathedral.

The chapel, designed by Sir Edward Maufe, was built in honour of the boys from Lewes County Grammar School who lost their lives during the Second World War.

Their names are on the walls of the vestibule of the chapel, which was opened in 1960. The Latin ‘Dare Nec Computare’ above the door translates as ‘To Give and Not to Count the Cost’.

The 16th century building housing the Harpsichord Workshop, off Cliffe High Street, will also be open to visitors.

Tomorrow (Saturday) evening there’s a candlelit event among the 11th century ruins of Lewes Priory, from 6pm until 9.30pm.

Details of all Heritage Open Day events locally are on a leaflet available from the Tourist Information Office, Lewes Town Hall and other outlets across the town.

You can also search for Heritage Open Days events nationwide on www.heritageopendays.org.uk