Our past

The short video 'Arun Valley Postcard Trail – Bury' with Tony Pratt, is a collection of people and places in Bury.

The last Ferryman, Bob Dudden, 1931 (© WSCC Garland Collection)

The last Ferryman, Bob Dudden, 1931 (© WSCC Garland Collection)

Bury Wharf

Extract from 'Anglo-Saxon Bury' by Matthew De La Pole with additional notes:

Though only first recorded in Domesday (1086) as Berie, the village actually has origins as an important royal estate prior to the Norman Conquest (1066).

Domesday Book is again the source for this, recording Bury’s proprietor as Godgifu, daughter of Æthelred the Unready (d.1016) and sister to Edward the Confessor (d.1066).

Though the status of Bury might well be a result of its political importance as a Hundred site, its function as a port may also have influenced both this and its royal tenure under Godgifu.

Fécamp had been granted estates both at Rye and Steyning before the Conquest because they were important ports during this period. For English based lands to be useful and pro table to the Norman abbey, links to the continent would have been essential and the bestowment of Bury suggests that it was at least a basic port or landing site for ships in the pre-Norman period.

The ‘Right of Ferry’ is held by the Dukes of Norfolk who appointed the ferryman and provided a cottage and boat. The timber-framed ‘Jessamine Cottage’ was the original home for ferry workers. Bob Dudden (1882-1964), an ex-naval man, lived at Ferry Cottage. He held the office from 1927 to 1955 when he became ill and the ferry was closed soon after.

Church of St John the Evangelist and Bury Manor

On the far left is the cottage now known as Manor Cottage. To the right is the church and Bury Manor, with the barn far right. The building that goes across with a sloping roofline was once attached to the barn and was part of the farmyard, shown as Manor Farm on the map (C. 1911). The boat and landing stage were not part of the old ferry.

manor farm map 1911-13 copy.pdf

John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy OM was an English novelist and playwright. Notable works include The Forsyte Saga and its sequels, A Modern Comedy and End of the Chapter. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1932.

Galsworthy lived for the final seven years of his life at Bury House. He died from a brain tumour at his London home, Grove Lodge, Hampstead. In accordance with his will he was cremated at Woking, with his ashes then being scattered over the South Downs from an aeroplane. The popularity of his fiction dwindled after his death but the hugely successful television adaptation of The Forsyte Saga in 1967 renewed interest in his work.

An annual cricket match was held between Bury & West Burton Cricket Club and John Galsworthy's publishers, The Windmill Press. There is a very handsome trophy to mark the event.

The Galsworthy Cup
John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy

Anglo-Saxon Bury

Anglo-Saxon Bury (SAC, 2017).pdf

The article 'Anglo-Saxon Bury' reproduced by kind permission of Matthew De La Pole, as published in ‘Sussex Past & Present’ in April 2017.

Anglo-Saxon Bury - MA Dissertation.pdf

Dissertation ‘The Anglo-Saxon Estates of the Arun River Valley, Sussex: A Study of Amberley, Bury, Coldwaltham and Houghton’ reproduced by kind permission of Matthew De La Pole.

Pill Pond

Pill Pond is believed to have been a mill pond, and could possibly have been the mill that supplied the Roman villa with flour, as it is the only location in the vicinity where the topography and river would be suitable for a mill. (There is also an extant footpath leading directly from the villa to the pond.) The water level in the pond has recently been restored with a wooden weir that joins a concrete fish pass that was constructed in the 1980s. The topography suggests that the remains of a bund a little further downstream would have been the original margin of the pond, which would have been larger than the present pond.

The pond isn’t shown on the Bury Tithe Award Map (c.1839), it could have been abandoned by the time of the 1839 map. By that time, local windmills would have been milling on an industrial scale. It is shown on the OS 25” 1st edition (c.1875), on which it looks as if it’s an integral part of a little system of trackways that no longer exists. At that time it could have been a sheepwash.

Paul Driver

Pill Pond, West Burton

Pill Pond, West Burton

Contributions needed…

Contributions, both written and illustrative, would be appreciated for this section.

Would anyone with local knowledge and photographs or post cards please get in touch. Thank you.