Recollections of Fiery Fred

Falmer pond
Falmer pond

People still have bitter sweet recollections of Fiery Fred, the terror of Falmer Pond.

Fred was a swan with a mean streak who took to attacking visitors to his watery domain, chasing after them with a great flapping of wings and snapping at their ankles with his beak.

There were complaints, and the question of what to do to curb the bird’s belligerent character was discussed by the parish council in the early 1970s. Members decided drastic steps would have to be taken before somebody was seriously injured, so it was decreed that Fred should be banished from the village.

He was transported to a new, more remote pond near Poynings where he had fewer opportunities to take out his foul temper on humans. By all accounts Fiery Fred simmered down, raised a family and lived happily ever after.

It was the pond, once 16 feet deep and positively dangerous until it was partly filled in, that gave the village its name (though locals are quick to point out that the early origins were Faelmere, not Foul).

War memorials come in all shapes and sizes, but there are not many in the county that come in the form of a horse trough. It now serves as a flower bed and when the inscription stone became badly worn, local craftsman Owen Williams sculpted a new one for a rededication service in May 1985.

The journalist Godfrey Winn, who had a regular column in the Daily Mirror for many years, lived in the Mill House. It was more than just a bolt-hole in the country to him; he took an active part in community life, and one particular fete he organised to raise money for the church is still talked about.

He died in Falmer in 1971.