Several dozen villagers and well wishers gathered at Cora’s Corner on a rare sunny Saturday morning back in soggy June to watch the new Village Sign being dedicated.
The sign, which was hand made and painted by Malcolm Johnson, had been set on an oak post set 4 ½ feet in the, very hard, ground a few weeks before.
West Sussex Councillor Peter Griffiths, who had helped the Parish Council secure a grant of £1000 towards the cost of the sign, made a short speech before Margaret Cuttress untied a red ribbon from the sign.
Champagne, provided by Bob Powell and Malcolm, was duly handed round to mark a special village event which had brought together all ages from toddlers to those in their eighties.
A photographer from the Mid-Sussex Times was on hand to record the moment, and the paper ran an article the following week with a fine group photo of all those present; the event also got coverage in The Argus and South Downs Living magazine.
Someone from the Village Sign Society (yes, there is one…) spotted the feature in the magazine and wanted details for their publication ‘Village Sign Times’, so, all in all, our new sign is well and truly on the map.
What’s on the Sign?
Most locals have no trouble in recognising the story spelt out in the centre panel of the sign; the legend of the Devils Dyke. A few, though, have asked me about the shield which sits as the centrepiece at the top, thinking it must be the “Sussex Shield”. It is actually our very own piece of heraldry; the shield of the Poynings family, who were the ancient Lords of the manor.
There is a version, carved in stone, set over the church porch door, which I photographed to make sure I got the design right. For the technically minded, the bands across the shield are known as ‘Bars’ and the diagonal is a ‘Band Dexter’. To find the correct colours, I did some research on the Internet and found a photo showing it as one of the roof bosses of the cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral.
By co-incidence, I paid a visit to Canterbury recently and so made a point of trying to track down the shield at the Cathedral. I was surprised, and pleased, to find not just one but several; either on their own or joined with the shields of other families. Poynings was clearly once a great name in the land.
Just for the record, the cockerel on the sign is a ‘Speckled Sussex’, the oldest of the Sussex breeds. The oak leaves and acorns are there as another link to the past, when the county was one huge forest and oaks were known as ‘the Sussex weed’. The wheat sheaf commemorates not just our local farms but also the fact that the village once boasted not one but two mills.
The Village Sign opening Video
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The sign is now up and it was well worth the wait. It must be the best village sign in Sussex if not the whole world or even the Universe!
Did you have a meccano set when you were a boy?
It looks straight to me!
Don’t scratch it!
I reckon I could do this on my own.
This ladder doesn’t go anywhere.
Don’t let go, it takes 28 days for the concrete to go off!
How many men does it take to get it straight?
I think it should go 1mm to the left.
If you want it moved, move it yourself.
The Grand Opening