A Ditchling Winter's Tale - the Holly and the Ivy

As a small boy, Frank Goddard, (1912 - 2002) lived in the High Street, now the office of Clifford Dann Estate Agents. Amongst his many childhood memories he recalls the pranks the older boys used to play on the younger ones:

“… when we were in school at Christmas time we were taught about the holly and the ivy. We never knew that Holly could grow with no thorns so the elder boys would go up and grab it and make out they were being brave; we ourselves would never touch it because we were always told at school that Jesus Christ, when he was crucified, had a crown of thorns. These were made out of holly bushes and that’s why they pricked you. One day Buster tormented me to grab the holly bush as one of the older boys had just done and so I grabbed to take hold of it and to my surprise the more I pushed it, it didn’t prick me, it didn’t touch me at all. I took my hand away and asked one of the elders … ‘why didn’t it prick us when all the other holly does?’ and they were the ones that explained to us that some holly bushes do not have prickly thorns on them. So the myth was bust at the school.”