18 April 2017

St Helen's Churchyard, Hangleton.

Judy Middleton 2003 (revised 2017)

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The south side of St Helen's churchyard

St Helen's churchyard, Hangleton is situated in a particularly exposed place and many old inscriptions have been completely obliterated by the battering of wind and weather.

The following notes record details about some of the interesting people buried there.

Dame Henrietta Barnett (1851-1936) and Revd Samuel Augustus Barnett (1844-1913)

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Revd Samuel Augustus Barnett & Dame Henrietta Barnett
Henrietta Octavia Weston Rowland was born on 4 May 1851, the youngest of eight children, a clue to her place in the family hierarchy being provided by her second name Octavia. Her father, Alexander Rowland, was a merchant who imported essences and oils from the West Indies. Her forbears founded Rowlands Macassor Oil Company.

Although her family was wealthy, Henrietta had a keen social conscience and she enjoyed working for charity. It was during her voluntary work that she met her future husband Revd Samuel Augustus Barnett and the couple married on 28 January 1873. Revd Barnett was an Anglican clergyman and social reformer who was born at Bristol and educated at Wadham College, Oxford. He was actively involved with poor people in London and served as Rector of St Jude’s Church, Whitechapel from 1873 to 1902.

During these busy years Henrietta co-founded the Children’s Country Holiday Trust while her husband founded the Family Welfare Association and in 1884 Toynbee Hall. The latter institution was the first university settlement to allow students to see at first hand how the other half lived in the East End and to interact with them; the experience must have proved an eye-opener for many a gilded youth.

Beatrice Webb (1858-1943) social reformer and economist, described the young Mrs Barnett as ‘pretty, witty and well-to-do’. Henrietta was also blessed with enormous energy and self-confidence, which other people could find somewhat daunting but nobody could deny she had a warm and caring personality.

Her ultimate dream was to purchase a huge tract of land where people of all classes could live together in neighbourliness. In 1904 she formed the Garden Suburb Trust and in 1906 the Hampstead Garden Suburb Act received the Royal Assent. The land was acquired from Eton College Trustees. The first two cottages were built in 1907 and in 1909 Princess Louise came to open Waterloo Court, a block of flats for single ladies. There were some luxurious houses for the wealthy and simple cottages, many of which unfortunately did not have a bathroom. No public house was allowed within the estate although there was a clubhouse.

True to her beliefs, Henrietta thought a church should occupy the most prominent position at the centre of her suburb and she commissioned Edwin Lutyens to design one; Eric Gill designed the foundation stones. The church was called St Jude-on-the-hill, no doubt as a tribute to their old church in Whitechapel. The church was opened in 1911. For her sixtieth birthday Henrietta’s friends clubbed together and paid for a tower and spire to be added to the structure. A Free Church was built on a site opposite and there was also a Quaker Meeting House and a synagogue.

The Hampstead Garden Suburb was a pioneering scheme and became famous throughout the world. Henrietta was made a Dame of the British Empire as a tribute to her work.

A school for girls in the estate was named after her and in 1994 it had 650 pupils and came top in a survey of state school results. In 2006 it was stated that Ofsted had recommended the school three times, an accolade that has only been afforded to six other schools.

In 1913 the Barnetts retired to Hove where they took a house on King’s Esplanade but Henrietta’s husband died the same year and she moved to 12 Wish Road on the west side of the road. In around 1930 she moved to 45 Wish Road on the west side of the road where she remained until she died in 1936. Her ashes were buried in the churchyard of St Helen, Hangleton where her husband was also buried.  

In 1985 a plaque was unveiled at 45 Wish Road, which was funded by the Hampstead Garden Suburb Archives Trust.

Betty Law, who lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb and attended the famous school, had always been an admirer of Henrietta Barnett. Miss Law could remember seeing her as a child and she resolved to find out where her heroine was buried. After undertaking some research she found the plot in St Helen’s churchyard in 2004. But she was dismayed to see it was somewhat neglected and weed-strewn while the stone badly needed attention. Miss Law lost no time in approaching the school and other institutions connected with the Barnetts including Toynbee Hall and a restoration fund was set up. The stone and grave were restored in time for Henrietta Barnett’s birthday in May 2005.

Margaret Grace Bide (1912-1960)

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Margaret Grace Bide (1912-1960)

Margaret was the wife of Revd Peter Bide the first Parish Priest of St Helen’s in nearly 400 years in 1955, their close family friend was one of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis

Mabel Frost Bodinnar (1880-1948)

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Mabel Frost Bodinnar (1880-1948)

Mabel Frost was the wife of Sir John Bodinnar who Served as Commercial Secretary and Head of the Supply Dept. of the Ministry of Food through most of the Second World War. Sir John was a former Mayor of Calne. There is a present day Sir John & Lady Bodinnar’s Trust based in Calne, Wiltshire, a charity for the relief of poverty, which makes grants to individuals in the Calne area.

Lt James Anstruther Bogle-Smith (1897-1944) 

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Lt James Anstruther Bogle-Smith (1897-1944)

Lt James Anstruther Bogle-Smith served in France from 1915 to 1918 with the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards.
In 1919 he was sent to the North West Frontier and is mentioned in the Regiment’s history during actions in the Khyber Pass. His father was Lt-Col Stewart Bogle-Smith of the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards.

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 Sir George Dance (1857-1932)
Sir George Dance (1857-1932)

Sir George Dance is buried on the west side of the churchyard and his memorial takes the form of a Celtic cross. He died on 22 October 1932.

George Dance was knighted in 1923 for his services to the theatre. He was an enormously successful theatrical manager and had several companies touring the country at the same time. He also wrote the words for several popular songs, two of which became favourites of Vesta Tilley, as well as the book for operas and musicals. One of his most popular creations was Chinese Honeymoon and he earned a fortune from it. Gay Parisienne also enjoyed a long run. When he died his estate was worth the large sum of £150,000. How different his financial experiences were compared to his near contemporary the theatrical impresario Andrew Melville (1884-1938) who lived at Whychcote, Portslade and died virtually penniless.

In 1898 George Dance married Grace Spong and they had two sons. Her surname is unusual; was she perhaps related to Revd Ambrose Spong (1842-1912) a celebrated pastor of the Congregational Church in Hove? Revd Spong was buried at Hove cemetery where his memorial stone is also a Celtic cross.

Henry Edmunds

Henry Edmunds and his wife are buried near the south door of the church. Henry Edmunds died in 1757 at the age of 57 and she died in 1769 aged 51. Henry Edmunds’ inventory is the only old one surviving for Hangleton and it is fascinating to learn that as well as owning 21 sheep and some beehives, he was also the possessor of three silver spoons and the usual household effects.

Sir Hildebrand Aubrey Harmsworth (1872-1929)

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Sir Hildebrand Aubrey Harmsworth (1872-1929)
Sir Hildebrand Aubrey Harmsworth is buried on the south side of the church. He was the fifth son of Alfred Harmsworth and there were ten children in the family. Hildebrand and his four brothers grew up to become distinguished newspaper magnates and politicians, including Lord Nothcliffe and Lord Rothermere. The Harmsworth family has been described as the most influential Press dynasty this country has ever known.

Hildebrand was regarded as the family joker and he enjoyed himself with Comic Cuts. But his more serious side came to the fore in 1900 when he helped to found the New Liberal Review. He too became a journalist and has been described as the most eccentric of them all.

He was sole proprietor of the London evening paper The Globe from 1908 to 1911. However, it did not bring him much joy because it lost him £80,000 before he sold it. But he did manage to amass a comfortable fortune from his shareholdings in the Amalgamated Press and the Mail although unfortunately he was said to have lost most of it in the slump.

In 1900 he married Kathleen Mary Berton from New Brunswick and the couple had four sons. He died in April 1929. Revd Noel E.C. Hemsworth, rector of Hangleton, and Bishop Russell Wakefield conducted the funeral at St Helen’s Church.

Lady Harmsworth continued to live at Hove. From 1929 to 1931 she occupied the whole house at 3 Adelaide Crescent. Then she moved to 3 Grand Avenue Mansions where she stayed until the late 1960s. 

The Hardwick Family of Hangleton

The Hardwick family was associated with Hangleton for generations and there are three large altar-type tombs to them in the churchyard. Unfortunately, weathering means that one of the few words it is possible to pick out is ‘William’ a favourite Christian name with the family.

According to family legend the Hardwicks were tenants of the important Sackville family at Hangleton Manor for 200 years and did not cease farming there until 1914. Their farm was reputed to produce the best milk in the neighbourhood of Brighton; their cows being grazed on the Downs with a plentiful supply of water.

Also according to family lore the Hardwicks came from the north and claimed to have the celebrated Bess of Hardwick in their family tree. It is said the Hardwicks were invited to move south to try and keep control of the smuggling activities notorious in the area and ended up being involved in the ‘trade’. At any rate the Sussex Weekly Advertiser (28 February 1791) contained a mention of William Curtis, lately a labourer employed by Mr Hardwick of Hangleton Farm, who was thought to be guilty of smuggling in Hampshire and a reward of £150 was offered for information leading to his arrest.

Hardwick baptisms at St Helen’s Church were as follows:

William and Sarah Hardwick (Parents)

28 December 1773 John
3 July 1775 Sarah
29 September 1776 William
21 June 1778 Philadelphia (buried 5 April 1796)
16 January 1780 Elizabeth

John and Mary Hardwick (Parents)

17 March 1802 Louisa
4 August 1803 John George
19 May 1805 William
31 May 1807 Maria (buried 24 March 1808)
17 July 1808 Mary Maria
28 October 1810 Henry
23 May 1813 Charles
26 June 1816 Alfred
24 June 1817 Arthur

Alfred and Jane Hardwick (Parents)

21 June 1874 Ada
30 July 1876 Blanche

Alfred Edwin and Marian Hardwick (Parents)

16 October 1897 Muriel Gwendoline
15 October 1899 Kathleen
26 December 1903 Doris Nowell

Percy and Edith Mary Hardwick (Parents)
(Dairy farmer, 2 Lewers Terrace, Hove, now Church Road)

28 June 1903 John Percy Lynton
16 September 1904 Neville William
5 November 1911 Joyce Mary

John Percy Lynton and Marjorie Howard Hardwick
(Pembroke Gardens, Hove)

23 August 1941 Jane Howard

William Hardwick

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William & Sarah Hardwick

He was probably the first member of the family to live at Hangleton and her served as church warden in 1771 and 1797. In the Land Tax Assessment of 1785 William Hardwick was the assessor for Hangleton and Aldrington and he collected the sum of £110-16s It was also recorded that he occupied lands owned by Lord George Germain. In the same year he held the post of gamekeeper to the Duke of Dorset.

William Hardwick died on 6 February 1799 and his wife Sarah died on 5 November 1831 aged 87. Their son William died aged 66 and he too had held the post of gamekeeper to the Duke of Dorset.

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William the second son of William & Sarah Hardwick

John Hardwick

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William the second son of John & Mary Hardwick

The 1841 census recorded that 65-year old John occupied Hangleton House (Manor) with his wife Mary aged 60 and their four unmarried children, Mary, 27, and Charles, Alfred and Arthur plus six other people. John, Charles and Arthur were all farmers while Alfred was a chemist.

The 1861 census recorded the same six family members together with the additional information that John Hardwick farmed 1,300 acres and employed no less than 56 men. It seems that although John Hardwick was a tenant at Hangleton, he owned some plots of land at Portslade as recorded in the 1841 Tithe Map. This property included the following arable fields:

Cowdown Piece
Dungates (occupied by Thomas Blaker)
Dungate Lane Piece (occupied by Thomas Goddard)
Garden in Vallands Laine, cottage and barn (occupied by Charlotte Peters)
Field by Tenantry Down

The Hardwicks were connected by marriage to other local landowners. For example Jane Hardwick married John Blaker at St Helen’s Church 31 October 1797 while Hugh Fuller, a landowner in Portslade and Aldrington, was a cousin. When Hugh Fuller died in 1851, he left John Hardwick £200 and his cousin Mary Maria Hardwick, daughter of John Hardwick, his house and contents plus several cottages in Portslade.

John George Hardwick

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John George Hardwick and his wife Eliza

He was the son of John and Mary Hardwick and following family tradition he became churchwarden of St Helen’s Church in 1828. When John Brooker Vallance of Hove signed his will on 10 October 1850, he named J.G. Hardwick as one of his trustees. J.B. Vallance died 26 February 1852.

Alfred Hardwick

He appeared to be the only Hardwick who did not wish to pursue a career in farming and he became a manufacturing chemist in London. But unfortunately for him, his two brothers who were managing the farm at Hangleton, began to run up debts. Alfred was thus obliged to leave London and return to his roots to manage the farm instead

The Brighton Gazette (25 June 1874) carried a report about the curious case of Alfred Hardwick who was up before Hove Police Court on a charge of attempting to defraud the Railway Company. It appeared he was travelling in a first-class carriage with a ticket that had expired ten months previously. It was stated that Mr Hardwick was ‘a very impressive man’ by which description the newspaper reported concluded that the unfortunate ticket collector was somewhat overawed. Whatever, the truth of the matter, the case was undecided at the conclusion.

When Alfred Hardwick died, Thomas Dudney became acting trustee in the management of the ‘large agricultural holding of the late Alfred Hardwick’, which included land in Hangleton, Aldrington, Portslade and Henfield. By 1881 Dudney had been trustee for some years.

Alfred Hardwick’s widow Jane who had been born in Pulborough continued to live at Hangleton Manor with her children. According to the 1881 census she was aged 39 and the children were Agnes, 21, Julia, 20, Maude 8, Ada, 7 and Blanche aged four. The gap between the children’s ages lead to the supposition that Alfred was married twice. Also present in the household were five servants, a visitor, plus Thomas Dudney, farmer and trustee, who was a lodger. 

Percy Hardwick

He farmed the land at Hangleton together with his brother Alfred. In 1898 four Portslade poachers were discovered in a field of oats belonging to Mr Hardwick. Partridge feathers collected from the scene were displayed in court. Percy Hardwick said he had not given permission to any of the men to be on his land and he knew there were partridges and herons there. The men had guns but only one of them held the appropriate licence. The poachers were fined 10/- each with costs. The poachers were:

Oliver West, 3 Hangleton Court
Edward Goff, St Aubyn’s House
Alfred Percival, Speeds Cottages
George Cooper, Manor Cottages

The Hardwicks had an outlet for selling their dairy produce at 2 Lewers Terrace, Hove. This terrace still exists but is now numbered in Church Road; it is located on the south side and west of Hove Library. The premises were described as ‘a very neat shop, which has always a very clean and inviting appearance and seems cool even in the hottest weather’.

William Hamshar Hardwick

It seems probable that this man was connected with the Hardwicks at Hangleton. In 1860 he was described as a Southwick ship-owner and co-owned the 169-ton snow Julia. A snow was a small vessel like a brig and it had a trysail mast). Hardwick died on 16 March 1867 and Sarah Ann Hardwick and William Marsh Rigden of Hove, gentleman, were his executors, being also co-owners of the ship. In 1870 the Julia foundered in the Bristol Channel.

Doris Hardwick

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This Hardwick memorial records the names of Florence, Agnes, Jane, Doris, Kathleen, Julia, Ada, Blance and Horace.

She died in October 1956 aged 65 in her bungalow in Broadrig Avenue. Her father Alfred Hardwick was obliged to relinquish farming in 1914 when the Government requisitioned all 40 of his horses and he was unable to continue. Doris’ sister Kathleen lived with her and she was the last of Alfred’s family.

Major General Sir Charles Holled Smith (1865-1925)

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Major General Sir Charles Holled Smith (1865-1925)
(unfortunately the large stone Cross that once stood on the plinth is
 now laying on the grave, the metal fixings have corroded away)
He was educated at Shrewsbury and entered the Army in 1865. On 20 November 1865 he was appointed ensign in the 60th of Duke of York’s Own Rifle Brigade (after 1881 it became the King’s Royal Rifle Corps). On 19 December 1877 he was appointed Captain and in 1882 he was promoted to Major. He became a Lieutenant Colonel in 1885, a Colonel in 1888 and a Major General in 1905.

He served as a Captain in the Zulu Wars  of 1879 and was Mentioned in Dispatches and received the medal and clasp for the Zulu Campaign.

In the 1st Boer War from 1880 to 1881, he was in action at Laing’s Neck, Ingogo and Majuba.

He was again Mentioned in Dispatches during the Egyptian Campaign of 1882 and was awarded the medal with clasp and bronze star. He was present at Kassassin and Tel-el-Kebir.

In 1883 Charles Holled Smith married Maud Mary the daughter of Major Fearnley Whittingstall and in the same year he was transferred to the Egyptian Army.

In 1884-1885 he took part in the Nile Expedition in the failed attempt to rescue General Gordon at the Siege of Khartoum.

In 1885-1892 while attached to the Egyptian Army he became Governor General of the Red Sea Littoral (lands surrounding the Red Sea) succeeding the wounded Lord Kitchener and was titled Pasha Holled Smith.

He received a royal licence on 30 April 1886 to accept and wear the insignia of Medjideh (3rd class) awarded by the Khedive of Egypt.

 In 1888 he was in command of a Brigade of the Sudan Field Force at the action at Gamaizah.

He was Commandant at Suakin (north eastern Sudan) 1888-1894.

In 1891 he commanded  the Tokar Expeditionary Force and was awarded clasp to bronze star and a 2nd Class Medjidie.

He became a Companion (Military Division) of the Order of the Bath on 30 May 1891 and on 16 August 1892 he became a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George. He was invested with the latter at Windsor Castle on 28 November 1892. The official invitation carried the information that the train left Paddington Station at 1 o’clock and carriages would be provided to convey people to the castle. Luncheon was to be served at 2 o’clock while the ceremony would begin at 3 o’clock.

From 1894-1900 he served as Commander of the Victoria Defence Force in Australia.

Holled Smith lived in Hove at 11 Albany Villas before moving to 33 Gwydyr Mansions and his funeral was held at St Helen’s Church, Hangleton, on 26 March 1925.

In November 1926 his family presented his orders and decorations to Hove Museum while some of his papers, including the invitation just mentioned, are stored in East Sussex Record Office.

During Holled Smith’s lifetime he presented to the British Museum 15 objects of ancient antiquity he had collected while serving in Egypt and the Sudan.

In Ballarat, Victoria, Australia there is a hill in Victoria Park named ‘Mount Holled Smith’ in his honour.

Edward Vaughan Kenealy (1819-1880)

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Edward Vaughan Kenealy (1819-1880)

No visitor can fail to notice this magnificent tomb of Edward Kenealy, the most splendid in the churchyard, with its polished marble and rich mosaic work. Perhaps the most interesting part of the tomb is that it was not erected by his doting family but was paid for by public subscription. It thus stands as tangible evidence of the great esteem he inspired in ordinary people. 

His fame rested on his being the defence counsel for the Tichbourne Trial, which became one of the most celebrated of the day. There were in fact two trials, one civil and the other criminal. Kenealy was not retained until the second trial, thereby putting him at some disadvantage because he was not so familiar with the vast mass of evidence as was the prosecuting counsel. Even so Kenealy defended his client to the best of his ability.

His client was known universally as ‘The Claimant’ because he claimed to be Roger Tichbourne, heir to a title and estates. But Roger Tichbourne had been presumed lost at sea aboard the Bella in 1854. The prosecution maintained that The Claimant was in fact Arthur Orton.

The trial began at Westminster Hall on 23 April 1873 and was spread over 188 days. Kenealy’s opening speech lasted a whole month, as did Lord Chief Cockburn’s summing up. In February 1874 The Claimant was declared to be Arthur Orton and was sentenced to fourteen years of penal servitude.

However, there are many aspects of the case that still present an intriguing mystery. The Claimant was recognised as Roger Tichbourne by Tichbourne’s mother as well as by Andrew Bogle, an old black servant, and other people too. Moreover, Arthur Orton’s sisters declared that The Claimant was certainly not their brother. There is also the point that the prosecution had far greater financial backing, whereas The Claimant had been declared bankrupt in 1869.

The jury added a rider that they regretted ‘the violent language and demeanour of the leading counsel for the defendant’. Within weeks Kenealy’s patent as Queen’s Counsel had been revoked and he was debarred by the Benchers of Gray’s Inn. Nothing daunted, Kenealy continued to agitate on behalf of The Claimant.    

It is interesting to note that Edward Kenealy had local connections because he lived in Wellington Road, Portslade, which in those days was a salubrious spot before the advent of Portslade Gas Works and Power Station. The 1861 census records 40-year old Edward Kenealy, barrister-at-law, living there. Also resident in Wellington Road at the same time was Charles Russell Stewart, a journalist and editor of newspapers.

David Mather Robson (1868-1947) and Eliza Robson (1870-1955)

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David Mather Robson and Eliza Robson

David Mather Robson and Eliza Robson were the parents of Dame Flora Robson, the renowned and Academy award winning actress from 1921 to the early 1980s.

The design of David and Eliza’s monument is quite significant, a ship represents where they met, the sunflowers signify their love of gardening. The monument was designed by Eric Kennington, the celebrated, sculptor, artist and illustrator, and an official war artist of both World Wars. Eric Kennington was the illustrator for T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom and also designed the tomb-effigy of Lawrence of Arabia at Wareham Church in Dorset.

Herbert and Walter Mews

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Walter and  Herbert Mews

The two men were brothers as well as business partners and prominent in local affairs as well as being owners of Portslade Brewery.

Walter Mews, who lived in Loxdale, Locks Hill, Portslade, died aged 65 on 11 March 1922 and his grave is surmounted by a rugged, granite cross.

Herbert Mews, who lived at Whychcote, South Street, Portslade, died on 5 March 1929 and was buried next to his brother after a funeral service at  St Nicolas Church, Portslade. His memorial stone is an oblong slab with an incised cross.

St Helen's Churchyard on the 'Silver Screen'

James Williamson (1855-1933) was one of the early pioneers of British film making and ran his Williamson Kinematograph Company studios at various locations in Hove until 1902 when he finally located his studios in Cambridge Grove off Wilbury Villas. Williamson's dramas and comedies were sold all across Europe and America. In 1909 Williamson produced the film ‘The Boy and the Convict’. This 12 minute length silent drama film (a feature film in its time) was a very condensed version of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. The scene with the boy at his Mother’s grave and his meeting with the escaped convict was filmed in St Helen’s churchyard by the west wall.

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The north side of St Helen's churchyard with Foredown Tower on the far hill in Portslade

See also St Helen's Church history page


Internet searches
Slack, Kathleen D. Henrietta’s Dream (1986)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Sussex Archaeological Collections
The Parish of St Helen's & St Richard's Hangleton
Woodruff, Douglas The Tichbourne Claimant (1957)
Additional research by D.Sharp

The Friends of St. Helen's campaigning group, has been set up to raise awareness of the plight of St. Helen's, which is the oldest surviving building in the City of Brighton & Hove, as there is a very real threat,  and a distinct possibility that this beautiful 11th century medieval church may have to close due to dwindling finances, To become a member of the Friends of St Helen’s only requires a modest membership fee annually, you do not have to live in Hangleton or Sussex or even in the UK to become a member of the Friends of St Helen’s.
 see:- The Friends of St. Helen's web page for more detailed information.

Copyright © J.Middleton 2017
page layout by D.Sharp