Mum, 90, makes a colourful story about the Battle of Lewes

Peter Cole and mother, 90, with completed Battle of Lewes booklet.
Peter Cole and mother, 90, with completed Battle of Lewes booklet.

Local artist Peter Cole has turned to his 90-year-old mother for help in completing his epic strip cartoon telling the story of the Battle of Lewes.

The man behind the drawings which have been featured in the Sussex Express for the past 10 weeks has now put the complete set together in booklet form.

Peter – who is colour blind – originally drew the strip in black and white, but his mother Annabel, of Lansdown Place, Lewes, said it should be in colour.

In consequence, and to her dismay, she found herself dragooned mercilessly into doing the colouring of every image.

Neither has done anything like this before but between them they have come up with a rich, entertaining and distinctive telling of the tale of 1264.

The booklet ‘Showdown At The Windmill’ is a 16-page A5 format publication priced at £3.50.

It is available locally from Lewes Tourist Information, Lewes Castle Museum shop, the Tom Paine Printing Press, Susanne Wolf The Shop and Pleasant Stores.

It has been produced as part of the commemoration of the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes.

The story is told by John Bevis, who was a real historical character.

It was he who received the sword of King Henry III’s brother Richard, the King of the Romans, after he had found himself cornered in a windmill at the western end of the town and was forced to surrender.

In the strip Bevis, a vassal to the Earl of Gloucester, describes the events of the battle, two days after its occurrence, to his family.

Peter, 61, of Leicester Road, Lewes, said he had been working on the project in his spare time for about a year. His eye-catching illustrations were inspired by The Eagle, the seminal British comic for boys, which had its heyday between 1950 and 1969.

Meanwhile, the 10th instalment of Peter’s story appears today on page 39.

Elsewhere, Baroness Kay Andrews, patron of the Battle of Lewes Project, summed up the importance of marking the 750th anniversary of the clash between the royal and baronial armies.

She said: “There are many ways in which we are celebrating the place we live, and the place the Battle of Lewes occupies in political, parliamentary and military history.

“The popular story of the Battle of Lewes has been told and retold but there are many unanswered questions. Now is the time to learn and share knowledge. What we do know is that the battle did open the way for what eventually became a representative democracy. The battlefield at Lewes marks that point when the world turned in a different direction.”