Why not join us at one of our regular drop-in sessions held 2.00 - 5.00 pm every second Wednesday of the month at the White Horse in West Street.  Please contact us to let us know you are coming and what your interest is!

Tom Dufty and Margaret Moore

Very sadly, Ditchling History Project lost two members Margaret Moore and Tom Dufty in March 2024.  Both had been members of DHP since its beginning in 1999 and are greatly missed.

Tom Dufty, left foreground

Margaret Moore, centre back

Margaret, 1938-2024

Margaret lived for many years in Ditchling and was Headmistress of Hamilton Lodge School for the Deaf in Brighton.  After she retired she became Secretary of CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) Sussex and her interest in and love of the countryside led her to complete a course in Landscape Studies at the University of Sussex.  Margaret was able to bring this knowledge and expertise to DHP becoming our ‘go to’ person for all matters relating to land use including farming, sand and chalk quarrying, lime burning and brick and tile making.  Margaret took a very active part in village life, particularly as member of St Margaret’s church choir and as secretary of the Village Association.   She was always so supportive of DHP and is missed by us all.

Tom Dufty 1942-2024

From 1980-2024 Tom played a very significant part in village life and is greatly missed as an enthusiastic and much valued member of Ditchling History Project.  Passionate about his subject, Tom was central to the work of DHP as a researcher, a speaker on all aspects of local history and an engaging leader of village walks.  Always keen to share his knowledge with both residents and visitors to the village, Tom was author of DHP’s popular ‘Walk around Ditchling Village’, as well as several Occasional Papers and regular articles for the local parish magazine. He became an expert on the style and detail of village architecture co-authoring ‘Ditchling in Detail’ for Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft.  .

Tom’s contribution to the village includes his chairmanship of the Ditchling Society, the production of Ditchling’s neighbourhood plan and inclusion of the parish in the South Downs National Park.  He was a founder member of the Ditchling Mummers, a bell-ringer, Fair Master, actor in the Ditchling pageant and producer of plays for Ditchling Players.  All at DHP feel we have lost a very good friend.

“Evidence is always partial.  Facts are not truth, though they are part of it – information is not knowledge.  And history is not the past – it is the method we have evolved of organising our ignorance of the past.  It’s the record of what’s left on the record.  It’s the plan of the positions taken, when we to stop the dance to note them down.  It’s what’s left in the sieve when the centuries have run through it – a few stones, scraps of writing, scraps of cloth.  It is no more “the past” than a birth certificate is a birth, or a script is a performance, or a map is a journey.  It is the multiplication of the evidence of fallible and biased witnesses, combined with incomplete accounts of actions not fully understood by the people who performed them.  It’s no more than the best we can do, and often it falls short of that.”

Hilary Mantel

 'The Stone Carver's Tale' by Ditchling History Project:

We are delighted to announce that we have been chosen as one of three runners up in the  20sStreets competition run by The National Archive (more ...)

Fond memories of Ditchling Resident, Dame Vera Lynn, 1917 - 2020

Crowning the Fair Queen, 1960

'Ban the Lorries' Protest March, 1973

The Fair Proclamation, 1982

Crowning the Fair Queen, 2000

In the Sussex village of Ditchling we are mourning the loss of our long time resident, Vera Lynn.  She was part of the village from the days when she would push, Virginia, her daughter in her pram to do some shopping in the High Street.  She opened many a village fair and enjoyed sitting in the village barn gardens having tea with everyone else.  Many a time she would be seen walking to the village shops with her husband, holding a wicker basket to collect a loaf of bread. They would stay to have a coffee in one of the coffee shops where she would be greeted as Mrs Lewis which she preferred to Vera Lynn when she was in Ditchling.  Even though we have seen little of her in recent years it was always good to know she was here and we would notice the BBC equipment outside her house when there were wartime anniversaries.  She will long remain a source of pride that she lived in our village for so many years.  More ...  Should you wish to add a memory to our tribute page, please contact us.