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The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 39, May 2012


Programme for Summer and Autumn 2012

Sunday 27th May
Walk in Vale Wood

Meet at Crossfields Car Park at 1.30pm

Ian Brown will lead a walk to Vale Wood on the Sussex/Surrey Border to see one of the richest wild flower areas in the country, and normally covered in orchids at this time of the year.

Saturday 2nd June
Exhibition by Fernhurst Archives

Village Hall 10 to 12am

To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the Archives are planning an exhibition entitled ‘Jubilees and Jubilations’. The Archives are asking for contributions or loans of any Royal related memorabilia.

Monday 4th June
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Event on the Fernhurst Village Green

The Parish Council is organising a picnic on the Village Green complete with jazz band etc.This may now include parts of the cancelled Revels programme

Funhurst Furnace Open Weekend
Early September tbc

Open Weekend at the Fernhurst Furnace, organised by the Ferhurst Furnace Preservation Society. Normally a fascinating weekend.

Sunday 30th September
Walk on Hankley Common

Meet at the Crossfields Carpark at 1.30pm

A chance to see the fortifications constructed during the war which were used while practising  for the D-Day landings.

Wednesday 10th October
Talk by Tony Creasey

Village Hall 7.30pm for 8pm

Local antiques dealer Tony Creasey will give an inside view of the antiques trade, and may run a bring and discuss session if members bring along interesting portable antiques.

Thursday 23rd November
AGM and Talk by Tanya Pons

Village Hall 7.30pm for 8pm
see Newsletter 40

Tanya will talk on The Lost Cowdray Airfield – otherwise known as the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) at Selham.


The Localism Act and Neighbourhood Planning

The Localism Act was passed into law in November 2011 and forms part of the current government’s aim of decentralising decision making.
In simple terms, the measures covered by the Act come under 4 headings:

  • New Freedoms and Flexibilities for Local Government
    • The Power of Competence
    • Local authorities can go about their business in a way that suits local circumstances
  • New Rights, Powers for Communities and Individuals
    • The Right to Challenge (the local authority)
    • E.g. ability to take over certain local services and amenities
    • The right to veto excessive council tax rises !!
  • Reforms to Ensure Decisions about Housing are taken locally
    • Reform of social housing allocation, tenure, finance and regulations.
    • Abolition of home information packs
  • Reforms to Make the Planning system more Democratic and Effective
    • Abolition of Regional Strategies
    • Reform the way local plans are made
    • Neighbourhood Planning

The act introduces a new right for local communities to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan, which gives local residents and businesses a say where they think new houses, businesses, shops etc should go, how many of them, and what they should look like.


Current Status on the Fernhurst Neighbourhood Plan

The Fernhurst Parish Council held their first public meeting on 3rd April to consider what Fernhurst should look like in the next 15-20 years.  Fernhurst has been selected to be one of the few Parishes to take part in a pilot project with the SDNPA, with professional facilitator help. The idea is that we should look at all aspects of Fernhurst village and parish life and consider the future that we would like to map out so that when our planning Authority, the SDNPA, come to write their local plans in 2 years time, Fernhurst’s wishes will be recognised ie have legal teeth.

A number of Working Parties of volunteers have been formed subsequent to this first Public meeting with topics and leaders as follows:-

Employment  -  Ralph Carver / Geoff Walls
Housing Needs  -  Nicki Braithwaite
Transport  -  Heather Bicknell
Youth Issues  -  John Smith / Sue Ogilvy / Peter Hudson
Older Peoples Issues  -  John Self
Landscape / Environment  -  Iain Brown
Leisure / Sport  -  Keith Harding
Health and basic services  -  Maureen Timms
Syngenta  -  James Cottam
Hurstfold Industrial Estate  -  Vacant

A further Public meeting is to be held on Tuesday, 22nd of May at the Village Hall at 7 pm and if you have not yet got involved, we urge you to attend and contribute to the thinking for the future as it is a requirement that full consultation takes place before a Neighbourhood Plan can be adopted.

Review of Recent Events

23rd February 2012: Organised Crime Gangs – A behind the Scenes View by John Burrow
Organised crime gangs used to rob banks but now that’s too dangerous so they concentrate on attacking the wealth of individuals and whole nations. In the UK, organised crime takes £20 billion/yr out of the economy. This is almost as much as the tax gap between the governments tax income (£469 billion) and expenditure, a gap of £26 billion.
Crime gangs do anything that makes money including drugs, money laundering, fraud, human trafficing, identity crime. London 2012 and the Olympics will prove a major target.
Crime gangs can attack the individual by:

  • Telemarketing from outside the UK
  • Email spam
  • Direct harvesting attacks
  • Brute force attacks
  • Breach of security

Consumer frauds such as Land Banking – selling building plots and even though there is no planning permission- and Boiler Room fraud – selling penny stocks in  pump & dump schemes are typical
However much larger sums of money are involved in attacks against nations, mainly through different types of fraud, especially VAT fraud.
VAT is worth £100 billion across Europe and is a tempting target. Carousel fraud involving VAT on mobile phones stole £250m in 8 weeks at its height even now looses £20m/month. Duty fraud on cigarettes, booze and fuel is also common.
In 2011, VAT fraud on copper trading was most prevalent, while 2 years ago it was VAT fraud on the sale of carbon credits, with the government losing £1million/day.
In the UK, crime gangs are controlled by about 20 key individuals along with a vast network specialists and disposable associates. Many of the key players live in Dubai which is well located with good hotels and lax regulations. Disposing of the vast wealth is becoming more difficult but involves the use of banks both real and virtual, property, investments, terrorist funding and leading an expensive lifestyle.
In turn, the government is working hard to both predict where new attacks will come from, and closing down current ones.

18th March:Wild Daffodil Walk in West Dean Woods
17 members attended on a dry, sunny but at times cold afternoon. The walk was lead by Iain Brown who the previous day had participated in an identical walk with the Haslemere Natural History Group, this time lead by the Sussex Wildlife Trust (SWT) Warden, Mark Monk-Terry who members may remember from an earlier walk on the Men’s Reserve.

SWT have leased the Reserve of 40 odd acres from the West Dean Estate since 1975.  The main reason for the lease was the stand of wild daffodils
(Narcissus pseudonarcissus) which covers only about 4 acres. There are ongoing research studies into the best management for their conservation, primarily round the level of shade and competition from other vegetation. On average only 8-9% of daffodil bulbs flower each year with a range of 1.4-16% and this year unfortunately is a poor flowering year with many of the plants blind and putting energy into bulb production rather than flowering. A warm dry spring with a wet, cold autumn the previous year favours flowering but there is a tendency to alternate between high and low flowering years.. Reproduction, ( mainly from bulbs) and establishment are at their best under light shade, free from competition with bracken, brambles and grasses. Daughter bulbs which form from the mother bulbs in years like this of low flowering take 5 years to develop and to send up their first flower.

There was discussion too on the forest management practices of hazel coppice rotation and the policy of the WD Estate to produce fuel for their wood-chip boilers.

Although the daffodils were sparse the wild flowers were beginning, primroses, bluebells, and anemones and with a little less chatter, we might have seen more birds although the appearance of some siskins quietened the crowd. (The previous day with the HNHS and its ornithological educated membership, flocks of siskins were identified plus redpolls and crossbills and a solitary goshawk?)

15th April: Talk on Life in a Medieval Sussex Village by Mark Perry-Nash
There were settlements in Sussex from Roman times but population increased after arrival of Saxons in 5th Century.

Villages were a bit like shanty towns with rustic buildings. Many consisted of a single room with bower for animals either attached or in the same room. A fire was in the centre of the room, and with no chimney, small windows covered in oiled cloth or leather, the interior was dark and smoky.

Families generally built their own houses on their croft, with wattle and daub walls and a thatched roof. Furniture was homemade with both tables and chairs being 3 legged as these were more stable on the uneven earth floors. Lighting was by tallow dip. Beds were simple pallets raised off the earth floor, and people generally slept in their clothes.

The average villager had a very basic existence which was a hard and uncomfortable life. They rarely washed – even Queen Elizabeth I bathed only once every 3 to 4 months.
Each family grew its own food on their croft, in the limited spare time when they weren’t required to work on the common land. They grew wheat, rye, barley, oats, with onions, cabbage, beans, peas and garlic – spices only came after the Crusades and potatoes after the discovery of the Americas. They also grew apples, pears, cherries and plums – all smaller and less sweet than now. Honey was the only available sweetener. Many kept chickens and a pig or sheep, but they also ate a lot of wild birds, blackbirds, crows and sparrows.

Bread was the main carbohydrate but overall the diet was poor, with fatty rib sticking food. Beer was the main alcoholic drink and was the only form of solace from the drudgery of working from dawn to dusk.

The medieval church was the centre of the village and often the only stone building. Life revolved around the church with all expected to believe in the Mass and the importance of the after-life in the next world. The annual calendar was divided up according to the saints’ days.

In Saxon times, the Lord of the Manor was generally on integral part of the community and was well regarded by villagers. However after the Norman invasion, Saxon Lords were dispossessed and land given to invading Norman knights. These regarded the Saxons as inferior and life for the average villager became harder – they were effectively serfs who had to work extremely hard for the new Lord and provide him with food.

Mark gave a very graphic account of village medieval life and made us realise how lucky we are not to live in medieval times.

Archive Report: April 2012

We (mostly Brenda) spent a day with an Australian visitor researching her Fernhurst connections with the Hope, Ellington and Balfour families, which incidentally includes Martin Muncaster. It was mutually beneficial, as we were able to add to our information on those families. A visit to the cemetery and then to the properties associated with the families, of Kingshot and Ropes (Ropes at the time being all one large house), were of great interest to the visitor.

Darren Wells, ‘our’ metal detectonist, brought in an intriguing metal ring found locally. It is the size of a small bangle decorated with a snakeskin pattern. He is going to research it and let us know his findings.

Another enquiry came from a teacher involved in a project about school life in the past, who was very interested in using our Edwardian Fernhurst material.

More items for our Jubilees & Jubilations Exhibition on 2 June are continuing to trickle in, but if you have any interesting items or experiences with a Royal connection, please share with us. As well as that, we are putting together a display for the Good Companions when they mark Operation Overlord in May, and they also want a display of Coronation memorabilia for their Jubilee tea party on 13 June.

Thanks to Richard, we now have an Archive email account!

Christine Maynard : Fernhurst Archive

*** STOP PRESS ***
Do you have any DUDMAN family ancestry?  If so, the Fernhurst Archive have been contacted by a DUDMAN family member, who has been researching the family history on and off for a few years and who would like to share/compare notes. For details, please contact:

Fernhurst Junior Society Walks in 2012

May 19th – Petworth Park
June 9th – Frensham big pond
July 14th – Ebernoe Common
Sept 8th – Fernhurst Furnace
Oct 13th – Marley Common – roasting chestnuts
Nov 10th – Lynchmere Common
Dec 22nd – Around Fernhurst – finish  with mince pies

For further details on each walk call Dave or Sue  Gibbon for times and meeting places. All young people should be accompanied by a parent or designated responsible adult