Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jack Fuller celebrated

LITTLE did Jack Fuller know that 250 years after his birth the villagers of Brightling would be celebrating his birthday. Saturday saw in excess of 160 people crowded into the magnificent church of Brightling to watch Mad Jack live again. Ably depicted by Geoff Hutchinson, the audience was treated to a synopsis of the times in which Mr Fuller lived and then a canter through all the things he achieved in his life, not only for good, but also some activities that in retrospect he might not have made him feel quite so proud. Having completed his short biography he then led over 100 people into Brightling Park, pointing out six of Mad Jack's follies. Returning to the house they were welcomed to a display by the Mad Jack Morris dancers from Hastings. Jack Fuller of course being the origin of their pack. Returning to the village hall, accompanied by Brightling bell ringers, there then echoed up the street the sound of the Section 5 drumming band. Over 20 drummers paraded up the street where they then performed outside the village hall. Once the drummers had processed away the evening continued with the Big Squeeze performing in the village hall to accompany the barn dancing. Although the day was a free event, more than £600 was raised. The money will be split between the Hastings Lifeboat and Brightling Church, two causes close to the heart of Jack Fuller.
Source : Battle & Rye Observer

Saturday, September 01, 2007

On the rocks again: new campaign to save Beachy Head lighthouse

By Amol Rajan Published: 01 September 2007
Eight years ago the future of the Belle Tout lighthouse looked precarious at best. The 850-tonne structure has stood on Beachy Head in Sussex for more than 170 years but was about to fall into the English Channel as the waves below ate into the chalky white cliffs on which the lighthouse sat. A campaign to save the landmark was launched and the lighthouse was moved further back from the sea.
Now another campaign is aiming to give Belle Tout a second makeover and turn it into a bed and breakfast following concerns that the Victorian monument is again falling into disrepair.
The Grade-II listed building, dating from the 1830s, was put on sale by its private owners for £850,000 in January and a small group of local people are hoping to raise enough money to buy the building.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fuller Guns

While researching the Fuller's ironfounding history I got interested in tracking down any surviving guns that were made at their Heathfield Forge. From as early as 1693 until 1763 the Fullers made hundreds, if not thousands, of cannons ranging from 1-pounders to 24-pounders in size.

So far I have found: a 1-pounder at Anne of Cleves House at Lewes, Sussex; two 24-pounders at Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich; two or more guns at the Tower of London; a 4-pounder recovered from the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship the Queen Anne's Revenge now at the North Carolina Maritime Museum; a gun that was reclaimed from the wreck of English merchant slave ship the Henrietta Marie now in the collection of the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, Key West, Florida.
I have some evidence that there is a Fuller gun at Dover Castle.

Any help in locating cannons made at the Heathfield Forge, Sussex by the Fuller family would be gratefully received.
Many thanks to: Les Smith at Firepower - The Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich; Nathan Henry, Assistant State Archaeologist and Conservator, Underwater Archaeology Branch North Carolina Office of State Archaeology; Mark Wilde-Ramsing, Project Manager, Queen Anne's Revenge Shipwreck Unit; Friends of Dover Castle

One Pounder Cannon - c. 1749

"The initials IF of the trunnion normally represent John Fuller of Heathfield 1706-1755 but this may be one of the small guns cast by W & G Jukes of Robertsbridge Abbey Furnace. The Jukes[sometimes Jewkes] were commissioned by Fuller to supply him with a number of small iron guns but they forged his initials on the trunnions which led Fuller - a founder of repute - to terminate the contract. The second reinforce bears a shield with a cornet above the letters D probably relating to the first Duke of Dorset, Lionel Cranfield Sackville (1688-1765) who was Variously Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Constable of Dover Castle and Warden of the Cinque Ports and whose family has long associations with the Weald and Sheffield Park."

Source: Anne of Cleves House Museum, Lewes, East Sussex

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Turner's Painful Memory Displayed for First Time

By Arifa Akbar Published: 30 June 2007
J M W Turner was not just known as a prodigious water-colourist and landscape painter in his lifetime. He was also famed among his nearest and dearest as a bit of a miser.
But now a sketch is going on sale that tells a very different story of the artist: one of close friendship, warmth and generosity. Figures by a fishing boat hauled up on the beach at Brighton was given away by the artist. Now it is priced at £95,000.
The friend who received the sketch as a gift was astonished when Turner handed over the image. Years later, it transpired that the portrayal of the fishing boat on Brighton beach in Turner's sketchbook reminded the artist of the death of his closest friend and that he could not bear to keep it.
Figures by a fishing boat is believed to date from 1824, when Turner made a series of preparatory studies in the southern coastal town.
The work went on sale at Agnew's Gallery in Old Bond Street, London, yesterday, when an exhibition opened entitled Master Drawings, which includes the sketch and many others which have never before been viewed by the public. The work will be exhibited until 6 July.
Turner took the sketchbook, complete with his Brighton sketches, to Yorkshire in the autumn of 1824 to make some local studies while visiting his closest friend, Walter Fawkes, near Otley, North Yorkshire.
But it was to be the artist's last visit to Fawkes, a landowner and MP who had built up a large collection of Turner's work. Fawkes died some months later, in 1825, and the half-filled sketchbook was put to one side by a grief-stricken Turner.
Read full article here.
(Brighton from the Sea by JMW Turner circa 1829)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

250th Anniversary Celebration

Exciting things are being planned in the village of Brightling, East Sussex for the 250th Anniversary Celebration of Mad Jack Fuller.
22nd September 2007 will see Geoff Hutchinson bringing the character back to life and telling his story, once again, in the Church.
Provisional sponsorship for the day has been secured from Harveys of Lewes.

A timetable for the day has been outlined:

11.00 – 13.45 Sussex Bell Ringing Association will perform a quarter peel
14.00 – 15.00 Geoff Hutchinson ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller talk in Church
15.00 – 15.30 Barrel Organ
15.30 – 16.30 Follies Walk
16.30 – 17.30 Mad Jack Morris in front of Brightling Park
17.30 – 18.00 Brightling’s own bell ringers will show how it is done!
19.00 – to late Good Squeeze dancing and singing - Pay Bar and BBQ

More information will be posted as it becomes available.