‘Dripping Yarns – the story of a Lewes sporting icon’ is the title of the forthcoming talk to Lewes History Group.
It’s being given on Monday, September 8, by Sussex Express ‘County Yarns’ columnist – and Lewes Football Club Life Member – David Arnold.
In words and pictures David will recount the story of The Dripping Pan and highlight some of the people and events that give the ground a unique place in Lewes history.
The origins of the Mountfield Road venue are a mystery. A favourite theory has it starting out as a medieval salt pan linked to the nearby Priory; others have surmised that it was a monastic fish farm.
The spoil from the excavation forms the mount behind the ground and both appear in the very earliest maps of Lewes from 1745.
The ground may merely be the excavation pit for the mount itself, which has been suggested as a ‘temporary’ motte and bailey fortress dating from the 11th century.
What’s not in dispute is that it has been a popular sporting venue for several hundred years and host to cricket, stoolball games and numerous sports days for local schools, the police and fire brigade. Since 1885 it has been home to Lewes FC, affectionately known as the Rooks.
Seven years earlier in 1878 the “ground commonly known as the Dripping Pan” became part of the Mountfield Estate owned by wealthy local landowner, George Molineux.
It was a move popular with the townspeople of Lewes. The Sussex Express of August 24 1878 waxed lyrical: “The sale of the Dripping Pan, the recreation ground of Lewes, last Tuesday, ended in its purchase by George Molineux, Esq, the senior partner in the Lewes Old Bank, for the sum of £4,600; and we are authorised to state that, so long as it is in that gentleman’s hands, it will continue to be devoted to sporting pursuits.”
The venue for the talk is King’s Church building, Brooks Road, opposite the Homebase car park. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and everyone is welcome. There is a small admission charge on the door (£3 non-members and £2 members) and free refreshments. Visit www.leweshistory.org.uk