Herstmonceux (pronounced: "Hers-mon-zoo") is a village in the county of East Sussex in the South East of England. It is the location of Herstmonceux Castle and the former site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
Herstmonceux is also famous for trug making. Trugs are small gardening baskets made from willow boards set in an ash or chestnut frame. As with quite a bit in Herstmonceux at the moment, the trug making industry is drying up. However, this tiny village, with its single parade of shops along the busy A271 (Gardner Street), a bottleneck for traffic, is perhaps more famous for The Old Generating Works (Steam House), which together with Rudyard Kipling's Batemans, is the only surviving evidence of the early electricity generating industry in Sussex. This building in included on a Monument Protection Programme (MPP) since it has fallen into a state of disrepair.
Another important, but perhaps not so rare a building, is the windmill at Windmill Hill, which was saved with the help of a £500,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery fund, English Heritage and others. Volunteers and Trustees include: Brian Holdstock, Crispin Freeman, Martyn Mitchell, Paul Frost, John Bishop, Maureen Bishop, Rhys Clatworthy and Bee Frost. Being run by a Trust and a listed building opens up the doors to all kinds of public funding. Without the effort on locals and funding from government, etc, this windmill would be no more. It had been allowed to deteriorate to the stage where collapse was imminent.
This is not the case where a building is unlisted. An unlisted building may be the only one of its kind, but not worthy of private investment where a corrupt council might be working to prevent a reasonable use - even though it is their job to find beneficial uses for buildings that English Heritage have pointed out by inclusion on an MMP.
It has recently been confirmed by English Heritage that there is no public funding for buildings on Monument Protection Programmes no matter how rare they are. From a series of recent correspondence it is clear that where a council is corrupt, English Heritage is powerless. Thus, the future of historic buildings in areas run by corrupt councils is as if there was no MMP.
The English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme was supposed to be a comprehensive review and evaluation of England's archaeological resource, designed to collect information which will enhance the conservation, management and appreciation of the archaeological heritage. Once again dependent on councils being honest. One of its principal aims is to identify monuments and sites whose national importance and conservation needs justify some form of statutory protective designation (generally scheduling).
National importance is decided on the basis of rarity, archaeological potential and vulnerability. Descriptions are based on current knowledge and will therefore always be provisional and subject to change as further research is undertaken - which in reality means it is up to owners to work out for themselves how best to utilise buildings that nobody really cares about. One way to generate an income for old property that is blighted by local corruption is to open them to the public, which does not need planning permission - simply because a building is what it is. With roughly 225 monument class descriptions already, you can begin to grasp the scale of the problem.
Remember this one? Wealden District Council lied to several Inspectors at Appeals from 1986 until 1997, after which the appellant decided the system was so corrupt, that he'd simply show the Secretary of State that Victorio (Vic) Scarpa, Doug Moss, Ian Kay, Ashley Brown, Chezel Bird, Derek Holness, Christine Nuttall and David Phillips were all working together to conceal the truth. They told Inspectors at appeals on oath that the original timber building from 1909 was replaced by a corrugated iron shed at some unspecified time. They called it a "tin shack" during planning committee meetings to instill a sense of lesser importance in the minds of council members. All of which was a deception, and worse, a conspiracy to hide the truth. Where's the 'tin' then blockheads? The original timber building is still there exactly as explained in 1986. An inconvenient truth this may be, but think on the £500,000 of taxpayers money this council spent trying to change history. They used all means at their disposal to try to bury the occupier - including an attempt at bankruptcy. No wonder Britain is in the state it is - when officials in trusted positions cannot be relied on to tell the truth - all at our expense! The question is now, who is going to jail for malfeasance in public office? That is a question for Eric Pickles and Chris Grayling.
Other buildings of note in the locality include Lime House and Lime Cottage. Lime Cottage is a grade 2 listed building. Lime House is the manor house previously owned by the Baron de Roemer and occupied by the famous travel writer Augustus Hare. It was the Baron's son who built the now famous generating building (known as the Old Steam House) and supply network which gave electricity to Herstmonceux far in advance of other towns. Pioneering indeed, but as we say English Heritage recognition is worthless where councils are corrupt. Life goes on in councils no matter if you are honest or not. In fact, dishonest officers at Wealden District Council have been promoted. They earn large sums for lying. Not a new profession we realize, where many a politician has been caught out. Since 1982 Wealden DC have been nursing the lie that the original generating building had been replaced with a pump house - in the process persuading the Secretary of State (via duped Inspectors Danreuther and Michaels) to declare an incorrect finding of fact. Any twit looking at the only pump on the premises would have realised that the pump was three-phase with modern couplings, whereas the timber construction was very much older. 105 years old in fact. Was there 3-phase electricity in 1908? Of course not. How then could 3 intelligent inspectors have swallowed Wealden's lies? The answer is that Inspectors seem to pay no heed to physical facts, but decide on the words of council officers, always taking the side of councils when in doubt. As Jim Carey said in 'Liar Liar,' the pen is blue.
Even now in perversity, this council refuse to admit the deception(s) that their planning (David Phillips, Ian Kay, Ashley Brown and Doug Moss) and legal officers (Vic Scarpa & Christine Nuttall [solicitors]) and Chief Executive, Derek Holness, committed openly and at considerable expense during three public enquiries. Wealden District Council wasted half a million pounds of taxpayers money nursing a lie - and are about to waste a whole lot more, authorizing 180+ enforcement visits in the process - a virtual industry based on deception, the aim of which was to discriminate against the then occupier - which of course is unlawful in the first instance (misfeasance in public office) and illegal where there is a cover up (malfeasance in public office). Where malfeasance is concerned prison is on the cards.
The battle continues with English Heritage content to keeps their records and watch the world go by. Shame on this council which is led by councilor Bob Standley with steerage away from their duty to the historic environment from Trevor Scott. All of the above is documented and verified for accuracy.
Notable absences are any useful representation from local councilor Andrew (Andy) Long, who does not reply to letters and is not contactable by email in a modern age where communication is essential. This matter has now been put before the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Planning. But don't hold your breath. This is merry old England where admission is a dirty word and impropriety is the order of the day - perhaps one day an official: 'order of merit'. For services to what we wonder? Dirty tricks?
For more information on this interesting building, see: ARCHAEOLOGY
Herstmonceux Castle (some 2 miles (3.2 km) south-east of the village) is a former site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. It is now home to the Bader International Study Centre of Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, and the area therefore enjoys an influx of Canadian and other international students each school year. The castle grounds are also home to the Observatory Science Centre, which is operated by Science Projects Limited, and the Herstmonceux Mediaeval Festival.
If Wealden District Council, had got their way, the buildings would now be a haunted place with nothing standing. That is what happens when a council refuse to give a beneficial use to landowners - archaeological remains just rot away - even quicker if the construction is timber. Councils know this. Wealden DC tried to accelerate the rot, by putting tree preservation orders on nearby sycamore trees. It is nothing short of a miracle that Nelson Kruschandl had the stamina to take on a council over what is now 30 years - and finally to prove that what they were saying was bunkum! But then, Mr Kruschandl is a British (Colonial) Bulldog and this was a war. He is quoted as saying: "You need to have the patience of a saint, the courage of a lion and the cunning of a fox."
- places of worship in Wealden
All Saints (Church of England) parish church, with its 12th century west tower and 13th/14th century nave, overlooks the Castle. Herstmonceux Congregational Church, located just outside the village on the way to the castle, was erected in 1811 and is now a listed building.
SUSSEX INDEX A - Z
INDEX OF GRADE I AND GRADE II* LISTED BUILDINGS
FULL LIST OF GRADE I, GRADE II* AND GRADE II LISTED BUILDINGS
This list contains all amendments to 26 March 2003. "Descriptive entries" are confined to century of origin except for the Grade I and II* buildings, where more is reproduced. The accuracy of the listing or entries is not guaranteed by Herstmonceux Parish Council: any question about these or other buildings in the Parish should in the first instance be referred to Conservation & Design, Wealden District Council, Council Offices, Pine Grove, Crowborough, East Sussex TN6 1DH, tel. 01892 602538 or email.
"It must be remembered that listing, NO MATTER WHAT THE GRADE, protects the whole building, both internally and externally, together with any object or structure fixed to the building and any object or structure within the curtilege of the building which, although not fixed to the building, forms part of the land and has done so since before 1st July 1948."
The original title 'Royal Observatory, Greenwich' as decreed by King George VI, was changed to 'Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux'. The site was home to the Nautical Almanac Office and the Time Department.
Until 1990 the BBC linked to Herstmonceux several times a day to get the 'pips' which were relayed to the nation (nd the world) every hour: "This is the BBC World Service" is a familiar message remembered by many.
In 1946 Herstmonceux was chosen form a shortlist of five suitable locations. It is six miles from the sea in quiet Sussex countryside. It was also far enough away from towns to offer protection from light pollution. The site covered 370 acres. The 500 year old castle was the oldest brick building in southern England, built by King Henry VI.
The castle became a home from home for the astronomers who worked the telescopes. It had however fallen into disrepair and was extensively restored, but due to post war shortages and local planning issues, was not completed until 1958.
Patrick Moore had played a role in the 1960s in mapping the moon prior to the Apollo landing. But newer telescopes were being built at higher altitudes elsewhere in the world to escape spreading pollution.
The observatory moved to Cambridge in 1990 (minus the telescopes). Cambridge now houses only the offices and no observations are carried out there. Patrick Moore described the loss as 'One of the worst pieces of scientific vandalism in modern times'. The site was bought by developers to turn into a country hotel despite opposition from local people. But the developer was bankrupted and the site was eventually donated to Queen's University, Ontario Canada by Alfred Bader.
The Old Steam House, Herstmonceux, East Sussex
No proper restoration until history recognised - ongoing 2013
MEDIEVAL FESTIVAL AT HERSTMONCEUX CASTLE 25-27th August 2012
This splendid event was born in 1993 by way of a celebration to mark the opening (reopening) of the 15th century moated castle to the public.
The Medieval Festival is held every August Bank Holiday weekend. This year it is expected to draw its largest attendance. Last year more than 30,000 visitors flocked through the castle gates. The event is thought to be the largest of its kind in Northern Europe.
year the event organisers plan to construct a complete medieval village
where craftsmen and traders will display the wares and skills of a bygone age.
As an archer myself I hope that this event keeps alive the skills that defined us as modern humans.
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