SLIDESHOW: Denton village feature

A CHURCH, the small manor house, some pretty flint cottages and the Flying Inn pub are all that remain of the old village of Denton.

Now neighbouring central Newhaven, these few buildings still give a picture of what used to be, when there was a dairy at the back of the pub and a spring at the side where farmers took their cattle to drink.

Denton Village, East Sussex

Denton Village, East Sussex

The village was on the course of a secondary Roman road from Newhaven across the Downs via Alciston to the Lewes to Pevensey main road.

It existed in Saxon times, with a charter for the church land dating from 801AD, and Denton Manor was held by Earl Godwin, the father of King Harold II, killed at the Battle of Hastings.

With the sea then much further inland, Denton was a fishing village through the centuries before the sea level dropped.

It is thought the village was destroyed by Normans during the Saxon Rebellion of 1068, explaining why there is no mention of it in the Domesday Book.

The first toll bridge was built across the Ouse to Newhaven in 1784 and villagers were allowed free passage, probably as they helped run the ferry.

One claim to fame for the village is the late Ralph Reader, the Scout leader of Gang Show fame during the 1950s and 1960s, grew up there and the Scout troop now go by the title of the 2nd Denton and South Heighton (Ralph Reader’s Own)

The church, where Parson Bedford preached for 64 years, had to be reconsecrated after the English Civil War because it was used as a stable by Parliamentarian soldiers billeted there.

Another, more recent, member of the clergy experienced some ghostly goings on at the neighbouring 1724 manor house in the 1930s when a newly arrived family heard mysterious knocking.

Going to their assistance, the Rev E. Pinnix found out resident Sydney King had cut down some trees on the front lawn.

They were planted by a former occupant who made it known in the village they should never be chopped down.

Just the day after her husband set to work Mrs King saw a ghostly figure and was so frightened she screamed.

Mr King rushed to help and hit the figure with a stick but his weapon passed straight through the apparition and snapped against a wall.

The ghost disappeared, never to be seen again, but then the knocking began.

Apparently it followed a pattern - four blows at a time and either 20 minutes before or after the hour, with an interval of five to six hours.

This strange knocking continued despite the Rev Pinnix saying a prayer in the hope of releasing the spirit - and the King family moved out.

Even the local policeman and some villagers keeping watch on the empty manor house that same night heard the phenomena but found nothing when they burst inside and searched the property.

Denton Manor was also reported to be the headquarters of the 521 Coastal Regiment Royal Artillery which controlled all the army artillery gun sites along the shoreline in the area in World War II.

The building has a plaque to the Canadian Corps Coastal Artillery.