Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XIII.]            St. Johns Church.
Parsonage-house attached. She met with success to the extent of 6997. Since her time, a very large additional amount has been spent in re-casting the whole plan of the Church. The Duke of Devonshire gave the site and 1000. The patronage is vested in 5 Trustees who are expected to belong to the Evangelical school.
There is an ecclesiastical mystery attaching to Meads which nobody has ever solved, and my endeavours to elucidate it have been wholly unsuccessful. In the old Guide-book, published in 1787, which I have already quoted, there occurs the following passage : " Near the road leading down to the chalk cliffs [Holywell] are the remains of a building called St. Gregory's Chapel (so named in Letters Patent establishing the Corporation of Pevensey), and the fields and hill are now distinguished by that name. The bells belonging to it are said to have been carried to France, and now actually used at Rouen or Dieppe in Normandy."
I remember having had a conversation with Mr. Caldecott on the subject in 1868, and he told me that he had heard this Chapel spoken of by old inhabitants who had known a remnant of the ruins, with brambles growing around it, and that one piece of ornamental stone wThich had come from the Chapel was then in his museum. This implies that the foundations had remained till the beginning of the 19th Century. It is not permissible to imagine that this is fiction, because a tract of land over which, or about over which, the highways called St. John's Road, Bolsover Road, and Buxton Road now run, was certainly called for parochial purposes within my recollection " Hobby Bank" and " Chapel Piece," or " Chapel Bank," but the situation thus defined hardly tallies with the quotation from the Guide-Book that the Chapel was " near the road leading down to the chalk cliffs," unless another road than the Waterworks road is meant. It is to be regretted, under the circumstances, that St. John's Church was not called " St. Gregory's Church," for I think that old names and associations should be perpetuated and kept alive as often as possible.
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