The History of the Memorials

Lewes: This magnificent memorial stands on Cliffe Hill, Lewes and is visible from outside the Lewes Town Hall where the Martyrs were burned. The obelisk was erected in 1901 and its cost of £900 was met by public subscription and was unveiled in 1905 by the Earl of Portsmouth. With the exception of about three years during the war, an annual commemoration service has been held at the foot of the memorial. The inscription on the memorial states that it was erected in loving memory of the seventeen martyrs (whose names are recorded) who for their faithful testimony to God’s Truth were , during the reign of Queen Mary burned to death in front of the Star Inn, now the Town Hall, Lewes. Since its formation the Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council has borne the expense of maintaining it and has arranged for it to be floodlit at the time of the special Protestant celebrations in November each year.In June 1949 a plaque was placed, by permission of the Town Council, on the façade of the Town Hall, over the vaults in which ten martyrs were imprisoned the night before their death. It states: “In the vaults beneath this building were imprisoned ten of the seventeen Protestant martyrs who were burned at the stake within a few yards of this site (1555-1557). Their names are recorded on the Memorial to be seen on Cliffe Hill. ‘Faithful unto Death’ “

There is a small Tablet in the wall of Eastgate Baptist Church, Lewes placed by Mr Arthur Morris in Memory of the 17 Sussex Men and Women who died at the stake in Lewes during the reign of Queen Mary 1554-1557.

Directions: Cliffe Hill, Cuilfail Estate, Lewes BN7 2BE Access is through a private road, Cuilfail, belonging to Cuilfail Estate.    

Brighton: Now built into the wall of the Black Lion on the corner of Black Lion Street with Black Lion lane is a small tablet in memory of Deryk Carver. Carver’s home, once one of the oldest buildings in Brighton has now been re-constructed. The inscription on the memorial reads: ‘Deryk Carver First Protestant Martyr burnt at Lewes July 22nd 1555, lived in this brewery’.

  Directions: Black Lion, 14 Black Lion Street, Brighton BN1 1ND    

Chichester: A memorial to Thomas Iveson (Godstone, Surrey) and Richard Hook (Alfriston, Sussex) was erected in 1948 and unveiled by the Hon. L. W. Joynson-Hicks, MP for the town.

  Directions: The tablet is placed on the front façade of Providence Chapel in Chapel Street, Chichester, PO19 1BU      

East Grinstead: The memorial in this town is a very unusual one, in the form of three flat slabs, the centre one being largest. They lie in the churchyard of the Parish Church of St Swithuns near the main entrance and were placed there by Lady Musgrave of Hurst-on-Clays The inscription runs across the three stones and reads: ‘Beneath the stones are interred (as is believed) the ashes of Thomas Dungate, Anne Tree and John Forman who were burned to death in High St., East Grinstead in 1556 for adherence to the Reformed Faith. FIDELES USQUE AD MORTEM’.

  Directions: St Swithun’s Church, St Swithun’s Close, East Grinstead, RH19 3AZ    

Warbleton: In 1888 a large tablet was placed in the south wall of the graveyard next to the parish Church of Warbleton, St Mary the Virgin. It reads: ‘Close by, on the meadow behind, stood the abode of Richard Woodman, farmer and ironmaster. Burnt at Lewes, 22nd June, 1557’. St John XVI,2. In the church tower is an interesting door known as Woodman’s door.

  Directions: St Mary the Virgin, Church Hill, Warbleton, East Sussex TN21 9BD is opposite The Black Duck Pub.    

Punnetts Town: Although much smaller, this memorial which was unveiled on 27 September 1905 by Sir James Stirling bears a striking resemblance to that at Lewes. It was erected by public subscription in the grounds of the Independent Chapel on the border of Heathfield and the hamlet of Punnetts Town. It was the idea of the Rev Josephus Lemm, who was for 29 years Pastor of the Independent Chapel to place this monument in the grounds of the Chapel. Built 1767, the Chapel is just 2 miles from Heathfield. The inscription on the Memorial reads: ‘Protestant martyrs memorial. Erected to the memory of Richard Woodman and George Stevens of Warbleton and Margery Morris and James Morris her son of Cade Street, Heathfield, who, with six others were burnt to death at Lewes (by the Roman Catholics) June 22nd 1557. Because they dared to worship God as the Word of God directs. ‘The Noble Army of Martyrs praise Thee O God’.

  Directions: Independent Chapel, Cade Street, TN21 9BS is on the B2096        

Steyning: designed and erected by the Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council and unveiled 22 May 1997. John Launder having been arrested in Deryk Carver’s house in Brighton was brought here following his trial in London and condemnation on 10 June 1555. It is believed the stake was placed on Chantry Green close to the Parish Church of St Andrew and St Cuthman. The memorial is to be seen close to the Library and the inscription reads: ‘Near this spot on Chantry Green John Launder was burned at the stake 23rd July 1555 for refusing to renounce his Protestant beliefs during the reign of Queen Mary ’.

  Directions: The Launder Memorial, Church Street, Steyning, BN44 3YB    

West Hoathly: A brass memorial to Ann (Mother) Tree of this village is found on the south wall of St Margaret’s, the Parish Church. It depicts Mother Treeholding a Bible, and carries this inscription: ‘Ann Tree of this parish who for her faith was burnt at the stake in High Street of East Grinstead on 18th July 1556. She was remembered in 1940. George Friend made this’.

  Directions: St Margaret’s Church, North Lane, West Hoathly, RH19 4QF    

Mayfield: A Memorial to the six Martyrs of Mayfield and one of Rotherfield was erected and unveiled in October 1950. It was unveiled by G.W.J. Cole, Esq., M.C. and dedicated by the Rev. Canon Ferguson. The site, the nearest possible to the supposed place of burnings in Mayfield, was initially in the forecourt of the United Reformed Church. In 1983 the use of the Chapel transferred to the Colkins Mill Church. In 2008 the memorial was renovated after which it was positioned outside the front fence of the church, beside the footpath of the main road in front of the Church.

    Directions: Colkins Mill Church, Station Road, Mayfield, TN20 6BT
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