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LEWES HISTORY GROUP 21 February 2011 . Lewes History Group. Settlement Records in Lewes Parish Chests John Kay 21 February 2011. Everyone had a settlement. Your parish of settlement determined which parish was responsible for your care if you needed help.

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Lewes history group 21 february 2011 l.jpg

LEWES HISTORY GROUP21 February 2011


Lewes history group l.jpg
Lewes History Group

Settlement Records in Lewes Parish Chests

John Kay

21 February 2011


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Everyone had a settlement

  • Your parish of settlement determined which parish was responsible for your care if you needed help.

  • You started with your father’s settlement (if legitimate), and you kept that unless you acquired a new one.

  • You acquired a new settlement by:

  • owning or leasing real estate above a specified value;

  • serving a parish office, such as churchwarden or overseer;

  • joining a new family, as an apprentice, or by living as an unmarried resident servant for a year.

  • A woman (but not any children she already had) acquired her husband’s settlement on marriage.

  • Any other parish could deport you back to your ‘home’ parish if it suspected you might need support, and they normally would do so if you became ill, or fell on hard times


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Common types of settlement records

  • Removal orders to and from the parish –

  • outgoing and incoming

  • Settlement certificates

  • Settlement examinations

  • Apprenticeship indentures

  • Illegitimacy records

  • Warrants to arrest putative fathers

  • Maintenance orders

  • Bonds to reimburse parish expenses


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Settlement records in Lewes parish chests

St Anne St Michael St John-s-C Cliffe

Removal orders

outgoing 33 100 19 158

incoming 25 89 10 66

Settlement certificates 1 94 47 139

Settlement examinations 3 18 2 32

Apprenticeship indentures 2 84 17 70

Illegitimacy records 30 55 16 58

No settlement records at all survive in the parish records

of All Saints, Southover or South Malling


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Dates of surviving Lewes settlement records

<1750 1751-1800 1801-1834 >1834

Removal orders

outgoing 36 96 162 16

incoming 13 53 113 8

Settlement certificates 148 132 1 0

Settlement examinations 9 31 11 3

Apprenticeship indentures 100 35 36 1

Illegitimacy records 28 45 59 2


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Which other parishes were involved?

Data for Lewes St Michael’s parish

Other Nearby Other Out of Lewes parish Sussex county

Removal orders

outgoing 36 14 26 15

incoming 35 16 20 14

Settlement certificates 41 17 26 7

So over 40% were with other Lewes parishes

About 45% with other Sussex parishes

Just over 10% were out-county,

mainly with neighbouring counties and London



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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenturePAR414/33/17 Jun 1652

Margrett Stearnes apprenticed to William Ockenden of Barcombe, tailor

Apprenticeship indenturePAR414/33/715 Aug 1672

Mary Devall, daughter of Robert Devall, late of Lewes St Michael, victualler, deceased, apprenticed to William Jackson of Southwark St Thomas, weaver, and his wife Anne

Apprenticeship indenturePAR414/33/925 Nov 1672

Elizabeth Devall, daughter of Robert Devall, late of Lewes, deceased, to Thomas Fitzharbert of Ringmer, yeoman

Apprenticeships were generally to a master in another parish, and transferred settlement to the new master’s parish.

The parish paid a premium, typically £10.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenturePAR414/33/209 Jun 1704

Ralph Eager, son of Stephen Eager, late of Cliffe, St Thomas, deceased, bargeman,

apprenticed to Thomas Faulkener of Lewes St Peter and St Mary Westout, blacksmith

Apprenticeship indenturePAR414/33/2130 Apr 1705

Walter Apted apprenticed to Thomas Harman of Lewes St Peter and St Mary Westout, pipemaker

Apprenticeship indenturePAR414/33/2214 Feb 1706/7

Gervase Murray apprenticed to Richard Langridge of Fletching, carpenter

Typical examples. Stephen Eager lived in Cliffe, but by a settlement certificate from St Michael’s.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/12   19 Sep 1683

John Brinkhurst, apprenticed to Henry Paine of Streat, yeoman

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/13   19 Sep 1683

Ann Brinkhurst, apprenticed to Henry Paine of Streat, yeoman

In this unusual case two children, probably from the same family, were apprenticed together. Ann the daughter of John & Sara Brinkhurst had been baptised at Lewes St Michael on 11 Apr 1669, so she was about 14.

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/59   29 Apr 1761

George Watson (aged 9) apprenticed to John Watson the elder of Maresfield, husbandman & farmer

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/60   13 Jun 1761

Thomas Watson (aged 7) apprenticed to Henry Watson of Newick, husbandman

Probably “apprenticeships” within a family.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/36   6 Feb 1741/2

Sarah Breach (aged 9) apprenticed to John Edwards of Cuckfield, husbandman

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/37  3 May 1741

John Gilmore (aged 12) apprenticed to William Headley of Newhaven, mariner

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/38   22 Aug 1741

John Breach (aged 12) apprenticed to John Hemsley of Westmeston, yeoman

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/39   24 Aug 1741

Lucy Denman (aged 12) apprenticed to Jared Denman of Lewes St Mary & St Peter Westout, carpenter, to be taught housewifery

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/41   71 Sep 1743

Thomas Breach (aged 13) apprenticed to George Gibson of Middlesex, cook

Apprenticeships were typically young teenagers, but could be under 10


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/56   8 Feb 1758

William Petow

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/57  20 May 1758

Sarah Tanner

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/58   15 Sep 1760

James Percell (aged 16)

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/61  226 Apr 1762

Hannah Shelton (aged 10)

Were all apprenticed to the same man:

Thomas Harding of London, St Andrew Hubbard, feltmaker.


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An example, from St John-sub-Castro

Apprenticeship indenturePAR412/33/73 Jun 1721

Thomas Blaber was apprenticed to Benjamin Mott of Ringmer, flax-dresser

Benjamin Mott will have received a premium of about £10 to instruct Thomas Blaber in his craft, the first step in linen manufacture, then a rural craft.

While Thomas Blaber may have proved an exemplary employee, Benjamin Mott’s decision cost Ringmer parish hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds in supporting Blaber’s, generally rather less than satisfactory, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/30   25 Feb 1726

Benjamin Longley apprenticed to Jonathan Forward of London, merchant, to serve in His Majesty’s plantations in America

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/69   20 Jan 1783

Richard Watson, son of Richard Watson, deceased, apprenticed to John Greathead master of 'The Acorn', lying at Newhaven, to be instructed as a mariner

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/78 & 79 28 Dec 1811

James Parker (10) and William Cole (15) apprenticed to Robert Metcalfe of Uckfield, cotton manufacturer

Some apprenticeships appear

more adventurous than others


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Apprenticeship indenture   PAR414/33/71   9 Sep 1784

Thomas Davis, son of Mary Davis, widow, apprenticed to William Gwynne of Lewes St Peter and St Mary Westout, clerk, to learn reading and writing

Some parish apprenticeships appear to offer real opportunities to the apprentice.

However, careers in surgery and the law, and provisions such as the master guaranteeing that on completion the apprentice would be made a freeman of the City of London, are confined to the more expensive private apprenticeships.



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Removal Orders

  • Could affect any family settled elsewhere than the parish where they lived, but especially any family thought likely to require social assistance or otherwise undesirable, and especially:

  • the unemployed, or under-employed

  • anyone dependent on parish social security

  • widows with children, or orphaned children

  • wives and children of soldiers or convicts

  • anyone ill

  • people too old to support themselves any longer

  • single women who became pregnant

  • beggars and other undesirables (though tramps were generally given a shilling or two to continue on their way)

  • Not every order was enforced, providing the “home” parish accepted responsibility.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Removal order from Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/2/1   10 Apr 1662

Thomas Acton, his wife and four small children, to Southover.

Removal order from Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/2/45   20 Apr 1793

Philadelphia, wife of George Gilbert, a private soldier in the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons, and their son, Isaac, to Heathfield.

Removal order from Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/2/59   20 Jun 1812

Elizabeth Wise, singlewoman (pregnant), to Lewes St John-sub-Castro.

Removal order from Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/2/83   3 Jun 1828

Margaret Baldwin, wife of James Baldwin, who has been sentenced to transportation, and children Alfred (4), James (2) and Elizabeth (7 months), to Ticehurst; endorsed with suspension and late execution of removal due to sickness; includes account for the cost of nursing Margaret during her illness.


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Some examples, to St Michael’s

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/2  11 Jan 1732/3

William Holland and his wife, Sarah, from Southover.

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/3   11Apr 1738

John Breach and his children John, Thomas & Sarah, from Burwash

[with a note from the Burwash overseers about the settlement of the children of John Breach, shoemaker, who had left his family; copies of the 1729-1733 baptisms of the children of John & Sarah Breach at Burwash; and a bill for the children’s care there].

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/7   11 Jul 1741

Elizabeth Denman, widow, and her daughter Lucy (12) from Lewes St John-sub-Castro.

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/53   23 Jul 1808

Elizabeth Harris, singlewoman, pregnant, from Brighton.

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/84   11 Oct 1832

James Lintott, blacking maker, his wife Mercilla, and children James (6) and Elizabeth (2) from Norwich.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/8   29 May 1759

Ann Butler (11) and Elizabeth Butler (5), the children of James Butler, deceased, and his wife Elizabeth (now ill and unable to be moved), from St Martin in the Fields, Middlesex

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/9   18 Apr 1768

Elizabeth Butler, singlewoman (14), a vagabond, from Westminster, St Paul Covent Garden; includes examination stating that her father was James Butler

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/10   18 Apr 1768

Ann Butler, singlewoman (21), a vagabond, from Westminister, St Paul Covent Garden; includes examination stating that her father was James Butler

“One would imagine that all the prostitutes in the kingdom had picked upon the rendezvous”

Sir John Fielding


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Removal order from Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/2/28   10 Feb 1772

Samuel Conley, one of the sons of Benjamin Conley, deceased, to Wapping St John; Samuel was born in Lewes St Michael in 1719 where his father was residing by virtue of a settlement certificate dated 28 May 1707, issued by Wapping St John.

Settlement certificates could have long-lasting impact

Samuel Conley had been born in St Michael’s and apparently lived there for over half a century, but was still liable for deportation to his “home” parish of Wapping.


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/3/12   28 Apr 1770

Hannah Western, a vagabond, from Devon House of Correction; includes an examination stating that she is the wife of William Western, a whitesmith

People could travel considerable distances

[And on 23 Jul 1770 Lewes St Michael obtained an order removing Hannah Weston to Crediton, Devon]

A removal order that has not survived deported William Weston, a journeyman whitesmith aged 35 who had fallen ill, from a parish in Yorkshire to St Michael’s. His arrival in Oct 1773 after this long journey in a small open cart, covered only by a little straw and a coat of lice, emaciated and unable to move, was witnessed by Thomas Paine, who as Humanus fulminated about the inhumanity of the system in the Lewes Journal. William Weston died very shortly after his arrival “home”.

[source: Colin Brent, ‘Tom Paine at Bull House’, Sussex Archaeological Collections, 147, p.158, via Paul Myles]


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Removal order to Lewes St Michael   PAR414/32/2/71   12 Oct 1821

Samuel Jenner the elder, his wife Ann (his present wife), Lucy (aged 17) his daughter by his first wife formerly Ann Whiting, widow, Samuel (aged 13), the son of his first marriage), and children John (5), Edward (3) and Elizabeth (11 months), children of his second marriage, all from Lewes St John sub Castro.

One settlement order could transfer responsibility for a large and complex, and potentially expensive, family.


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An example from St Anne’s

Removal order from Lewes St Anne   PAR411/32/2/37   16 Nov 1830

Martha Smith (8) and Joseph Smith (4), the illegitimate children of Martha the wife of Joseph Smith, to Horsham.

Removal order from Lewes St Anne   PAR411/32/2/38   16 Nov 1830

Martha Smith, the wife of Joseph Smith, a prisoner in Horsham gaol, and her daughter Susannah (2), to Horsham.

Members of what we would today consider a single family might have different settlements. If a man married a woman who already had children, she would acquire his settlement, but her existing children would not.

Thus a widow who re-married might be separated from the children of her first marriage. Illegitimate children would also be left behind when their mother married, even if the new husband was their father. In this case, both Martha and her illegitimate children happened to have the same settlement.


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Another example from St Anne’s

Removal order from Lewes St Anne   PAR411/32/2/39   10 Jun1834

Mary Twigg, otherwise Mary Divall, pregnant with an illegitimate child, and the wife of John Divall, now on board the hulks as Gosport under sentence of transportation, to Ringmer.

Transportation left a man’s wife and family in limbo. They were very unlikely to meet again, or even hear of each other again.

A woman was unlikely to be able to earn enough to support a family. The wife left behind could not easily “move on” to another man. If she tried to, as Mary Divall evidently did here, the parish officers could forcibly deport her to her legal husband’s parish, where her new man would be unlikely to be able to follow.


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Settlement examinations, from St Michael’s

Settlement examination  PAR414/32/4/1   13 Jan 1752/3

Edward Cossam

Born in Ringmer. [Baptised at Ringmer 1725]

Hired as a yearly servant to Thomas Relfe of Ripe, 1749-50.

Married and since lived chiefly in Lewes St John sub Castro & St Michael.

Holds a settlement certificate from Ripe.

Settlement examinations in particular often contain details of lives

that would otherwise be entirely unrecoverable


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Settlement examinations, from St Michael’s

Settlement examination  PAR414/32/4/6   18 Jul 1770

Ann Chapman

About Oct 1760 she married Thomas Robson, a soldier in Mordaunt’s Light Troop at St Michael’s.

She marched with Robson to Croyden, Surrey, where she had a daughter.

She then went to Canterbury with Robson, where he deserted the troop (and her).

She returned to St Michael’s, but was removed to Lamberhurst, Kent.

It was then proved that Robson already had a wife when he married her.

So Ann, and her child, are settled in St Michael’s, where they have since lived.

Settlement examinations in particular often contain details of lives

that would otherwise be entirely unrecoverable


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Settlement examinations, from St Michael’s

Settlement examination  PAR414/32/4/16   c.1815

[from watermark]

William Dicker

Residing in Lewes All Saints.

Born in Ringmer, where his father legally settled.

About 30 years ago hired the house in Lewes St Michael where Mr Smart the mealman now resides. He hired it from Mr Trinity, deceased, land steward of the late Mr Knott.

Rented a house in St Thomas, Cliffe.

Lived in Lewes St John, rented a house in Russell Row from Serjeant Kempe; while he was there his wife and the greatest part of his family died.

He then went to Brighton and married Eleanor Smith, who kept a small grocer’s shop in a small house or cottage built on wheels, which he later sold to Mr Piercy of North Street.

Settlement examinations in particular often contain details of lives

that would otherwise be entirely unrecoverable


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Settlement examinations, from St Michael’s

Settlement examination  PAR414/32/4/14   6 Jan 1825

Ann Bailey

She was born in Lewes St John, her maiden name Clark.

She was a servant to the late Henry Verrall of St Michael’s for 3 years.

While there she married Collin Terrill, a soldier quartered there.

He went to America, where she believed that he died.

She was married again in Bloomsbury, London, to Thomas Bailey, a tailor, and lived near Tottenham Court Road.

She separated from him 20 years ago and does not know his place of settlement.

It was not enough to show a person’s settlement was not in the parish where they lived. To remove a person the parish had to establish where they were really settled.


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Settlement examinations, from St Michael’s

Settlement examination  PAR414/32/4/11   28 Dec 1807

John Williams

Now a private soldier.

Born in “Bethgelart, Carnarvon”.

At age 15 was hired by John Hughes of Chester Trinity.

(does not specify whether he completed a year’s service)

Has this day married Lucy Gates of Lewes St Michael, singlewoman.

Marriage could transfer your settlement to a place hundreds of miles away, and which you had never visited



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Bastardy Records

  • Parish strategy 1:

  • Transfer the problem to another parish, if at all possible, using the settlement laws.

  • Parish strategy 2:

  • Avoid illegitimate children being born, by “encouraging” a marriage

  • Parish strategy 3:

  • If all else fails, make sure the father contributes to the cost.

  • Records left

  • Examination of expectant mothers

  • Warrants for the parish to arrest putative fathers

  • Maintenance orders

  • Bastardy bonds


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Some examples, from St Michael’s

Maintenance order   PAR414/34/3/4   8 Feb 1806

George Newman late of Lewes, coachman, for the support of the daughter of Frances Davey, born on the 21 Dec [1805] at the poor house

Warrant to arrest putative father   PAR414/34/2/9   22 Jul 1807

Edward Hudson of Lewes St Peter and St Mary, labourer, father of the bastard son of Elizabeth Goodyear of Lewes St Michael, which was born in Horsham following a removal order which was later quashed

Maintenance order   PAR414/34/3/6   24 Jul 1807

Edward Hudson for the support of the son of Elizabeth Goodyear, born 4 Dec 1805 at Horsham

Bastardy Bond PAR414/34/4/4   14 Oct 1709

Bastardy bond binding William Lane, Lewes St Peter and St Mary Westout, gentleman, and Elizabeth Payne, widow.  

Bound in £50 for the support of the child of Elizabeth Kingers fathered by Lane


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Some examples, from St Anne’s

Removal order to Lewes St Anne PAR411/32/3/15   14 Aug 1826

Frances Crossland the younger was removed from Chichester

Removal order to Lewes St Anne PAR411/32/3/19   26 Apr 1828

Frances Crossland, singlewoman, pregnant, was removed from Chichester St Martin

Warrant to arrest putative father   PAR411/34/2/12   12 Jul 1831

George Budd of Chichester, cabinet maker, father of the son of Frances Crossland born 13 Aug 1828

Maintenance order   PAR411/34/3/9   26 Jul 1831

George Budd of Chichester, cabinet maker, father of the son of Frances Crossland born 13 Aug 1828

Maintenance order PAR411/34/3/12   6 Mar 1832

John Triggs of Chichester, whitesmith, father of the daughter of Frances Crossland born 14 Oct 1831

Some recidivists are encountered


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Some examples, from St Anne’s

Warrant to arrest putative father PAR411/34/2/5   7 Dec 1819

George Ade, late of Lewes, baker, father of the son of Susannah Lower born 13 Oct 1819, with a note that the child, Jeremiah Lower, died 17 Nov 1825.

Maintenance order   PAR411/34/3/4  2 May 1820

George Ade, late of Lewes, baker, father of the son of Susannah Lower born 13 Oct 1819

Maintenance order PAR411/34/3/6   26 Feb 1822

Richard Leggatt of Lewes St Michael, bricklayer, father of the son of Susannah Lower born 6 Jan 1822

Maintenance order   PAR411/34/3/11   3 Mar 1832

James Lambert of Brighton, bricklayer, father of the daughter of Susannah Lower born 9 Nov 1831, with reference to payment of the balance owing in 1835

Warrant to arrest putative father   PAR411/34/2/13   19 Mar 1833

James Lambert of Brighton, bricklayer, father of the daughter of Susannah Lower

Some recidivists are encountered


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How reliable is our information?

All may not be as it seems – there may be key information that is unrecorded or deliberately hidden.

What proportion of the overseers’ activities is actually recorded in the surviving information? Are the records of the parishes with good collections substantially complete, or are they just the tip of the iceberg?

Records survive only for cases that resulted in formal action. Are they too just the tip of the iceberg?


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How reliable is our information?

Where both parishes have large numbers of removal records, we can cross-check, to determine correlations.

Exporter Both Importer Total

only only

St Michael to Cliffe 2 2 0 4

Cliffe to St Michael 5 4 2 11

St Michael to Ringmer 0 0 1 1

Ringmer to St Michael 1 3 1 5

Cliffe to Ringmer 1 1 0 2

Ringmer to Cliffe 1 0 0 1

So, for a total of 24 deportations between these three parishes for which at least one parish retained records, both parishes retained records in 10 cases (42%).


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LEWES HISTORY GROUP21 February 2010


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