Villagers can honour the fallen at last at new war memorial

Cllr Janice Richardson with fellow campaigners
Cllr Janice Richardson with fellow campaigners

When Rotherfield’s parish councillors realised theirs is the only village in East Sussex that did not have a dedicated war memorial that people could visit at any time, they decided to do something about it.

Cllr Janice Richardson said: “We were surprised to find out we were the only parish of 95 in East Sussex where people could not see their memorial whenever they chose.

“We did have one, but it is in St Denys Church. To put this right we organised a working group with members of the council, plus lots of other interested people. We did not think we could raise enough money to create a new memorial and if that had been the case, we would have had to let the matter drop. If people had donated we would return their money and give what remained to our local charity.

“Members of our British Legion went out to deliver letters to everyone in the parish, including Eridge which is about four miles away. We were absolutely amazed at how much enthusiasm there was. The responses flooded in and to our surprise we found we had enough capital to give the go ahead with an outdoor memorial.

“We are delighted to say we have now been able to put a memorial in place on Court Meadow Green, right next to the church. This shows the commitment and dedication of people of the parish to remembering and recognising the past and the contributions the fallen have made to the villages today. The memorial will have the names of the 113 casualties from both world wars, as well as post war conflicts. Names were obtained by an extensive amount of study of the registers of births, Christenings, marriages and deaths in the parish.”

Cllr Richardson and her colleagues are now preparing for the unveiling of the memorial at 11am on Saturday, October 20, a short time before November’s celebrations for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice which ended WWI.

Everyone is welcomed to attend the dedication of the new memorial. Rotherfield is one of the oldest Anglo Saxon settlements in the High Weald and its name probably means ‘country where long horned cattle feed. St Denys Church is one of the oldest in the county, dating from about 1060.