SLIDESHOW: Soldiers, statesman, cricketers and sheep - the great and the good of Glynde

THE odds were certainly stacked against William Hay, born at Glynde in 1695.

He was scarcely five feet in height, had a hump-back and misshapen limbs.

Glynde Village

Glynde Village

But he was elected Member of Parliament for Seaford and became Keeper of the Records at the Tower of London, in addition to travelling widely and writing essays and poems.

He wrote an essay on deformity, describing in a pleasant, bantering style how he had come to terms with his afflictions, in which he states: “When I am in a coach with a fair lady, I am hid by silk and whalebone.

“When I sit next to her at table, my arm is pinioned, I can neither help her nor myself.

“We are deprived of the pleasure of seeing each other; she would scarce know I was there if she did not sometimes hear me under her wing.

“I am in Purgatory, on the confines of Paradise! I therefore beg one favour which she may grant with honour, that - since I despair of supplanting her lap-dog - she will allow me a cushion to raise me above such misfortunes.”

The success of the renowned South Down sheep is down to John Ellman, who lived in Glynde for 60 years until the dawn of the Victorian era and during that time reformed and refined the thin, scraggy and coarse-woolled sheep of Sussex.

He developed a breed that retained its small stature, was a pleasant mixture of fat and lean with the sweetness that comes from hilly pastures. In addition to bringing the dinner tables a superior mutton he brought about a similar improvement in the quantity and quality of the wool.

Ellman’s success as a breeder made him a wealthy man and Glynde a place of agricultural pilgrimage.

He was a model employer, lodging all his unmarried servants in his own house and when they married giving them a cottage and enough land for a pig, a cow and a garden.

He built the school and kept the village free from public houses (The Trevor Arms came along later).

At the annual Glynde sale, rams often commanded three-figure fees and sheep were transported all over England, and to New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

Ellman’s Home Farm was later the 19th century residence of one of the most famous soldiers of the Queen, Field Marshal Viscount Wolseley.

Quick-witted and energetic, ‘Britain’s Only General’ did much to improve the lot of the enlisted man and the phrase ‘All Sir Garnet’ passed briefly into the language.

The pretty village huddles under the massive dome of Mount Caburn and the Romans are supposed to have cultivated grapevines in these parts.

Perhaps this prompted one cynic of long ago to christen a valley of the hill Vinegar Bottom.

They love their cricket in this part of the world - and they’re particularly good at it. Glynde were the National Village Cricket Champions in 2009.

Apart from the great arch in the shape of a horseshoe at the old village forge, Glynde’s most striking piece of architecture is its church, a controversial Grecian creation built for Bishop Trevor in 1763 on the site of an old church that was falling down.

It has been variously described as being ‘in very bad taste’ and ‘uninteresting, chiefly because it is quite out of the picture’. Others have spoken of its elegance and charm.