Lewes appears to be a tranquil and attractive place but its alleyways and buildings conceal many stories. The town’s origins can be traced back to prehistory and the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and Normans have all left their mark.
Author Terry Philpot takes the reader on a fascinating journey through streets that have been walked by artists like Eric Gill and writers from John Evelyn to Virginia Woolf, as well revolutionaries and reformers from Thomas Paine to Eamon de Valera, and some remarkable local people. The annual Bonfire Night, when an effigy of the pope is burned, is a reminder of a vibrant religious history that includes the Norman foundation of the Priory of St Pancras to the execution of seventeen Protestant martyrs in the 16th century. From the decisive battle the Second Barons’ War, England’s “unknown” civil war of the 13th century, to its prison, which held Finnish soldiers captured during the Crimean War 600 years later, English history echoes in Lewes. But it is also a place where eccentrics have had a place, inventors and pioneers have thrived, and entrepreneurs, whose names are now known in today’s fashionable shopping places, have flourished.
Secret Lewes delves beneath the surface of this attractive East Sussex county town, revealing a lesser-known and less savoury past that even most local people don’t know.
15 Jan 2017