WISBOROUGH GREEN CHURCH
(See Sussex Churches No. 10, p. 14).
During repairs in August, 1957, the Victorian tiles were removed from the flooring on the north side of the nave and below was found a flat gravestone over what had once been a vault but which had been filled with earth. The stone is now replaced in front of the pulpit. It is divided into two parts by a vertical line in the centre, that on the left reads:
In Memory of / ANN LAKER / Who died the 1st of April / 1791 / Aged 98 years.
That on the right reads:
In Memory of / SARAH Wife of / BENJAMIN FLINT / Who died the 8th of June / 1801 / Aged 57 years.
In a half-moon space at the foot of the dividing line is:- Page / Horsham.
presumably the monumental mason.
Ann Laker, the daughter of Edward Laker by Ann nee Oram, was baptised at Billingshurst, 17th January, 1704/5, and buried at Wisborough Green, 5th April, 1791, aged 98, according to the Register, so unless her baptism was delayed this is not actually her true age.
Sarah Flint, the daughter of Henry Napper by Mary Hayne, was baptised at Cranleigh, Surrey in 1741 and so was aged about 60 at her death.
W. H. CHALLEN
OLD BRIDGE AT BRAMBER
(S.A.C. ii 63 and lxxxvi 102; S.N.Q. xiv 239).
Although samples of the timber were sent to various places for identification, it has not been possible to date the wood. The excavations have now been filled in.
DUNCTON CHURCH BELL.
Duncton Church has but one bell, but it is a remarkable one. It has the distinction of being the second oldest dated church bell in Great Britain. The inscription, in primitive lettering, as recorded by Dr. Tyssen in 1864. runs
DE FLOTHE A ... E. : LA : HAGUE : FET : LAN MCCCLXIX
Recent rubbings show that the H in FLOTHE is very indistinct, and there seems to be an N before LA. LA HAGUE is quite clear.
It has generally been assumed that the bell is of Dutch origin, and Dr. Tyssen regarded De Flothe as the name of the founder. During 1955-6 I made enquiries on the Continent, the result of which indicate almost conclusively that the bell is Norman in origin. The authorities of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, say that they can find no trace of a bellfounder of the name of De Flothe, and, further, that Flothe is not a Dutch name. They add that the Dutch Hague at so early a date as 1369 was only a very small village. So one turned to France, which has its Hagues and Hogues. Monsieur de Bouard, Dean of the Faculty of Letters at Caen University, points out that there is in the la Hague peninsula a small village called Flottemanville-hague. So the inscription may refer to a place and not to a founder. A rubbing was sent to M. Bouard, who asserts quite definitely that the inscription is Norman, This is also the judgment of the Conservateur des Objets d'Art of the Department of La Manche, Monsieur l'Abbe Lelegard.
Documentary evidence on the original location of the bell will probably never be forthcoming. Perhaps it formed part of the booty brought back from one of the numerous commando raids between France and England, and vice versa, in the 14th century.
The Duncton bell has no religious symbol on it---a very unusual occurrence for those days. A rather rash suggestion, perhaps, would be that it may have been a bell attached to a buoy off the Norman coast. Flotte ancree is French for buoy. Farfetched?
FREDK. T. BARRETT
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