Category Archives: Prose & Poetry

Chalk Pit disaster – Epitaph

Thanks to Sarah for finding this:
Submitted on 2012/06/19 at 7:20 pm

I wonder could this be the same chalk pit mentioned in this wonderful epitaph in Lancing Churchyard?

Sacred to the Memory of John Gomery aged 16 years William Harwood aged 15 and James Tate aged 10 who were killed by the falling-in of a Chalk Pit on Lancing Downs the 29th of July 1822

WHERE yonder chalky cliff extends its side,
We from descending torrents sought to hide,
The treacherous pit o’erwhelming laid us low,
And life forc’d out by one tremendous blow.
At once from light, from friends, from kindred torn,
Our sorrowing parents o’er our ashes mourn.
O thou who treads’t this consecrated earth,
Let our sad fate to solemn thoughts give birth!
Then conscience ask should death this day await,
What, O my soul, would be thy future state!

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The People Of Lancing Down

The People Of Lancing Down

Rest awhile and catch your breath, it’s been a steepish climb
And let the ghosts of yesterday come back to you in time.
Faintly as a whisper there’s the sound of flint on stone
And you know that in your solitude you’re never quite alone.

For on the ridge behind you, the legions marching still
Are on their way to worship at the temple on the hill.
Then if you look towards the sea, you’ll see the longboats manned
By W’Lencing’s men, the Saxons who settled on this land.

Can you hear the sound of digging, turn your head, the straw is well
Trampled in the muddy surface for the dewpond in the dell.
Water that for generations served both animal and man
And though allowed to disappear, has been restored again.

Wagons up the hillside, men with pick and spade
Plant trees upon the summit and the Lancing Ring is made.
Locals called it Lancing Clump for a century or more,
And stories of it’s haunted past belong to Sussex lore.

The Only people on the Downs in nineteen-forty-four
Are serving in the army, for England is at war.
A searchlight from the gun site picks out a German plane.
Is George who used to live here, protecting us again ?

The air is full of torment, as trees, torn from the ground
By winds of high velocity, fall groaning to the ground.
The Lancing Ring lies beaten in the early morning light
But the many Friends of Lancing Ring come by to make it right.

Conn Gardner