Syrian Refugees


A young woman in Lewes has been collecting clothes, medical items etc all last year for Syrian refugees in camps in Syria and Lebanon. She has just posted an appeal for refugees living in tents in snow in minus 11 centigrade.

She is asking for more winter clothes for both adults and children. If you have any you could donate, please let me have them and I will get them to Samara in Worthing who is organising more lorries to go this month.

I am at 3 Stammers Hill, or can collect them from you.

Chris Gildersleeve

The Clappers of Clappers Lane

Signage at the north end of Clappers Lane

Facilis descensus Averno .. sed revocare gradum superasque
evadere ad auras, hoc opus, hic labor est.

Nowadays the primary function of Clappers Lane, residents apart, is to act as a Bermuda Triangle for credulous users of satellite navigation devices. But, until the road to Poynings was built in the early 1800s, Clappers Lane provided the only public route into Fulking and Edburton from the north. So it is a matter of some interest to ascertain how this once significant thoroughfare came by its curious name. The answer lies in the streams that cross the lane.

Anthony Brooks tells us that:

Until the early 1900s Clappers Lane flooded in three places: by the entrance to Brook House, [at] a ford just north of Knole House and at the junction of Clappers and Holmbush Lanes. Today, the streams at these locations now run under the carriageway, but before that, on the west side of the ford near Knole House, there was a simple, raised footbridge constructed of boards placed length ways. [2008, page 62]

Bridge over stream that borders Boggy Lagg

The bridge over the stream just north of Knole House (looking south)

Clapper is an ancient local word for a bridge across a stream formed by laying a plank on piles of stones, or a similar raised footpath for pedestrians alongside an occasionally flooded lane. According to the English dialect dictionary, a correspondent of Notes and Queries wrote in 1880 that “we have here [at Edburton] a lane called Clappers, so named from its ‘clapper,’ i.e. a raised footpath at side, to keep foot-passengers out of the water”. John Rowe, Lord Bergavenny’s manorial steward in the early seventeenth century, tells us that there were clappers at Fridayesmead, Sandstrete and “in ffulkinge”. F. A. Howe equates the first with the field still marked as Great Fridays on the 1842 tithe map (see 130 on the map below); the second with one which “survive[d] unused” in his day (1958) over the northern branch of the local stream in Clappers Lane, previously known as Sands Lane; and the third with a spot “on the main road where the stream crosses under Stammers Hill near the sheepwash”. These arrangements were obviously of long standing, because one of these, or one in a parish close by, gave its name to John atte Clapere (‘John at the clapper’), recorded in a nearby hundred in 1332.

Bridge outside Brook House and Hillbrook

The bridge over the stream by the entrance to Brook House (looking north)

Anthony Brooks takes up the question of the word’s origin on page 62 of his book. He says that it arose from the fact that the planks were partly unsecured, and “clapped” when walked on. However, clappers in other parts of the country, especially Devon, were made of heavy stone slabs, so that cannot be the whole story; and it cannot be true as early speculators thought, that the word derives from clapboard, which the name of John in 1332 also proves. Clapper also meant ‘stepping stones’, according to the English dialect dictionary, so wood is clearly not a necessary component of the definition.

Extract from the 1842 tithe map of Edburton parish

The 1842 tithe map showing “Clappers house &c”

The first record of the property called Clappers is in the parish registers in 1652: the burial of “the wife of Thomas Smith of the Clappers” (Howe, page 20); and a house with that name shows up on the 1842 tithe map for the parish of Edburton (see 132 on the map above). Thanks to the 1841 census we even know who was living in Clappers at the time. Members of that family were still living in the parish in 1881. The property makes repeat appearances, in the same location*, on the Ordnance Survey maps of 1898, 1920, 1940-45, and 1962. The original house no longer stands but has been replaced by Brook House which is located in a different part of the property (Brooks 2008, page 83). As can be seen, the property borders the stream that runs along the southern edge of Boggy Lagg and crosses the lane just below Clappers Sands where Brookside stands today; and, as noted above, this was the location of a clapper that lasted into the twentieth century.

There are two plausible hypotheses as to how the property came by its name:

  1. It may have taken its name from being adjacent to a clapper (or between two of them, as it was at one time); in more recent times a clapper seems to have been indifferently called by a singular or plural term.
  2. The form of the name, possibly with a possessive –s, suggests that it might comes from the surname, and therefore only indirectly from the clapper(s). On this etymology, an individual associated with a property near a clapper would have become known by reference to the clapper (“John atte Clapere”), the property, in turn would have become known as Clapper’s and then Clappers.

Finally, the property would have given its name to the lane, previously known as Sands Lane, that ran alongside it.

Richard Coates

*The current Clappers House is not in this location. It is further north, at the summit of a hill and thus far from both streams and clappers. Anthony Brooks reports that it was built and named after 1961 (2008, page 80).


  • Anthony R. Brooks (2008) The changing times of Fulking and Edburton: 1900 to 2007. Chichester: RPM Print & Design.
  • F.A. Howe (1958) A chronicle of Edburton and Fulking in the County of Sussex. Crawley: Hubners Ltd.
  • John Rowe (1622-35) Rentals and custumals of Lord Bergavenny’s manors. MS. now in East Sussex Record Office. Edited for publication by Walter H. Godfrey (1928) as The book of John Rowe, steward of the manors of Lord Bergavenny, 1597-1622. Lewes: Sussex Record Society (vol. 34).
  • Joseph Wright (1898-1905) English dialect dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press

With thanks to Nigel Vincent for the quotation from Vergil and to the local history editor for his help with research assistance and access to local material.

Copyright © Richard Coates, 2012

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2010 07 08 PC Minutes

Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held in the Village Hall, Fulking on Thursday 8 July 2010 at 8.00pm

Present: Chairman Mr Tony Brook, Vice Chairman Mrs Pamela Rowland, Councillors Mr Richard Corner, Ms Jo Hudek, Mrs Jennifer Parmar and Clerk to the Council Mrs Paula Hazard.

Apologies for Absence: None

Declarations of Interest by Members (if any) are shown against the relevant items in the minutes.

Minutes — The minutes of the meeting held on 8 April 2010, as previously circulated, were approved, accepted and signed by the Chairman.

The Chairman introduced Jo Hudek who had been co-opted to the Parish Council at an Extraordinary Parish Council meeting held on 1 July, 2010. This was following the resignation of Jenny Vaughan at the Annual Parish Meeting.

Highways: Non-skid surface Clappers Lane — The recent re-surfacing work of Clappers Lane had included adjusting the gradient of the northern entrance. This had meant that the problem of wheel-spin had been cured. Therefore there was no longer such a pressing need for a non-skid surface.

Flooding problem by the Shepherd and Dog stream culvert — The PC had sent County Councillor Peter Griffith a copy of the correspondence between the PC and WSCC Highways concerning the PC’s request for a more permanent solution. Clerk to follow up with Peter Griffiths.

Tree problem at Stammers Hill — Jamie Thompson, a local Tree Surgeon, had taken down the potentially dangerous sycamore tree that had been identified earlier on in the year. He had saved the village a lot of money by asking that his fee be donated to the Playground Appeal. The PC expressed their thanks to him and his team.

North Town: New Play Equipment — The new play equipment had been installed and the project had now been completed. The Chairman expressed his thanks to everyone involved with the project, particularly Councillor Pam Rowland. Thanks were also given to everyone that donated to the Playground Appeal.

Play Area Surface — The merits of four costed options were debated. The options ranged from upgrading the current barkpit to three other types of surface. It was agreed that the best option would be to replace the current surface with the wet pour surface. This would require a grant. Councillor Hudek to investigate the possibility of obtaining a grant from Viridor. If it was not possible to obtain a grant then the current bark surface would need to be topped up and maintained.

Mowing and Maintenance of field — The field was being maintained by a new person, Mark Stepney, who was doing an excellent job.

Public Liability Insurance — No further update from the NTF Trust.

Diverted Footpath 4dF: There was no further news from the Rights of Way Committee.

Reopening of Bridleway 11F: There was no further news from West Sussex Rights of Way.

Local provision of grit: Jenny Vaughan had kindly donated the money for the village to buy a grit bin for the Clappers Lane/The Street junction. The grit bin had been ordered and grit delivered. The Chairman was working on agreeing a precise location with householders.

Village Plan: Action in Rural Sussex (AirS) had given a talk about the Village Action Plan process at the Annual Parish Meeting. The last two issues of Pigeon Post contained articles requesting volunteers to come forward to join the Village Action Plan team. Several villagers had expressed an interest in joining the team. The Chairman reiterated the request for volunteers at the meeting. AirS had recommended that ideally two members of the PC would be represented on the Village Action Plan team. It was agreed that the two members would be Tony Brooks and Jo Hudek. The next step was for a kick-off Village Plan team meeting to be arranged.

Ram House: The PC had formally written to CC Peter Griffiths, as requested at the previous PC meeting. The letter detailed the need for the roof repair and asked whether a grant would be possible. The PC had also written to the National Trust asking if they would consider taking over ownership. This was on the basis that the National Trust would have the resources to look after this historical structure for future generations. Clerk to follow up.

Lower Kents: The Chairman had spoken to the landowner who had given an assurance that a planning application would be submitted by the end of July. The Clerk had also spoken to MSDC Development Control asking them to chase up the landowner.

Henfield Medical Centre Link: The PC had decided to donate 100 to the Henfield Medical Centre Link. The service provides transport to hospital, dental and medical centre appointments Centre for people in the Henfield area, including Fulking, who do not have other transport available to them. A significant number of clients are Fulking residents. Users of this service pay a small fee but there is a small shortfall. The PC had agreed that they hoped to make this an annual donation.

Motorbikes on South Downs: Motorbikes had been reported riding on the top of the Downs and across Fulking Escarpment. The problem had been reported to the South Downs Joint Downs Committee who advised that they had set up an initiative called Sussex Pathwatch to address this problem. People could either ring the non-emergency Police telephone number quoting Sussex Pathwatch or report it via the on-line Sussex Pathwatch website. In order to give weight to the problem and support the police in prioritising it, they recommended that as many people as possible registered incidents using this method. The problem was also reported to the National Trust who also advised that more people needed to report the problem in order for the police to give it sufficient priority. Councillor Parmar to alert Farm Manager of issue which could affect the herd of cows on the Escarpment.

Powered Microlights: The issue of the growing number of powered microlights flying over Fulking was discussed. The South Downs Joint Committee had advised that they were not aware of any specific policy on this. Chairman to speak to Mid Sussex District Council about its policy concerning the private use of runways.

Financial Matters: The Chairman and Vice Chairman signed off the interim audit, cheque list and Matters cheque stubs. The Annual Accounts for 2009/2010 had been signed off by the PC and Responsible Financial Officer. The internal audit was being carried out.

AOB: The Chairman and Councillor Corner paid tribute to Gina Field who had sadly died recently. They both spoke of her service and commitment to the village in her role as District Councillor.

Mr Goodridge had raised a concern before the meeting about dog fouling and dogs being out of control along The Backway and asked whether signs could be installed there to address these issues. The Chairman felt that as this was private land it was a private matter that needed to be dealt with by the parties involved and did not fall under the remit of the PC. It was also noted that there was a desire to keep signs in the village to a minimum. However, the PC did understand the general issues raised and agreed to post an article in the Pigeon Post.

The meeting was opened up for local residents to raise any issues.

The location of the sound stage in Small Acres during Fulking Fair was raised as a concern because it had caused a noise nuisance to residents who lived directly next to the stage last year. The Chairman said that he would see if it could be sited in a different position but he thought that the location could be constrained by the wiring.

It was queried as to why the issue of parking in Clappers Lane was not on the Agenda. The Chairman explained that as the purchase of the garages by Preston Nomads was still not complete, it was not possible to progress further with the creation and allocation of parking spaces for residents of Clappers Lane. It was discussed that other solutions to the parking problem had been explored. This had included the involvement of Peter Griffiths, particularly looking at using the banked area on the west side of Clappers Lane which had been viewed as prohibitively expensive.

The issue of external lighting at the Market Garden site was raised. The PC reiterated that they can pursue this as soon as they are provided with photographic evidence by residents which they can then supply to MSDC Development Control

Date of Next Meeting: 14 October.

The meeting closed at 8.55

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2010 04 08 PC Minutes

Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held in the Village Hall, Fulking on Thursday 8 April 2010 at 8.00pm

Present: Chairman Mrs Jenny Vaughan, Vice Chairman Mr Tony Brooks, Councillors Mr Richard Corner, Mrs Jennifer Parmar, Mrs Pamela Rowland and Clerk to the Council Mrs Paula Hazard.

Apologies for Absence: None

Declarations of Interest by Members (if any) are shown against the relevant items in the minutes.

Minutes — The minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2010, as previously circulated, were approved, accepted and signed by the Chairman.

County Council Update — County Councillor Peter Griffiths gave an update to the meeting on Highways, Schools and the National Park. The issue of whether the Planning Authority will lie with the District Council or the National Parks Authority had not been resolved yet. In response to Councillor Brooks query about returning to the method of the County Council paying local farmers to clear the snow, he advised the PC to write to Derek Whittington who is Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport. The PC had already requested a return to this method to the recent WSCC snow summit by writing to WSCC and SALC. Clerk to write to Derek Whittington reiterating this view.

Highways: Flooding problem near The Sands the stream had been cleared out and water was flowing through the pipes.

There was no further information about the request for a non-skid surface at the northern entrance to Clappers Lane. County Councillor Peter Griffiths said that he was chasing up this issue.

Flooding problem by the Shepherd and Dog stream culvert: The owner of the Shepherd and Dog, Geoff Moseley, had had a meeting with WSCC Highways and it was understood that the outcome was that he was going to fit a larger overflow pipe. He expressed at the meeting that there was a problem with clearing the gulley and felt that not enough maintenance had been carried out by Highways in the past. It was agreed that the PC should send CC Peter Griffiths the correspondence between the PC and Highways about this issue so that he could look into the matter.

Tree problem at Stammers Hill: A tree surgeon who had carried out previous work in the North Town Field had identified a potentially dangerous sycamore tree. The local tree warden, Barry Leppard, also agreed there was a problem and had reported this to WSCC Highways. The Arboriculturalist Southern Area WSCC had inspected the tree in March and had concluded that it was not a health and safety risk. He also stated that the tree was not on Highways land. An independent tree surgeon was asked to quote for the required work as the PC would have to pay the bill. The quote was around 700 which was not an immediately manageable sum. As the WSCC Inspector had judged it not to be of any immediate danger, the PC had decided to monitor the situation and ask for another assessment by WSCC at the end of the summer. It was agreed that the PC should ask for the opinion of another tree surgeon as soon as possible.

North Town Field: Cost of Maintaining Play Area — It was noted that the costs of maintaining the Field play area were escalating and were becoming beyond the budget of the PC. The costs included maintenance of the play equipment, tree work around the playground and a replacement surface for the barkpit. A quote for wetpour rubber had been received of 8500. Geoff Moseley was able to recommend a company that could provide a better value rubber surface that would comply with Health and Safety Guidelines as he had experience in this area.

New Play Equipment — The PC had submitted an application for a grant from WSCC County Local Committee who would be meeting on 27 April. Fund raising was under way in the village. An appeal flyer had been sent to every household in the village. The PC had also approached local businesses and applied for a grant from West Sussex Community Chest (run by Hall and Woodhouse) with a decision due before July.

Play Area Surface — quotes were being obtained for replacing the barkpit as a surface. The PC has looked at an ecomulch and wetpour rubber surface. It would be necessary to apply for a further grant to cover these costs.

Mowing and Maintenance of field — The first mow of the year had been done. Some tree work had also been carried out.

Public Liability Insurance: No further update from the NTF Trust.

Fly-Tipping at the Bostal: There was no further update about the ownership of the entrance area.

Phone Box: The Clerk had written to BT and they had confirmed that they did not currently have any plans to remove the telephone service.

Diverted Footpath 4dF: There was no further news from the Rights of Way Committee.

Reopening of Bridleway 11F: There was no further news from West Sussex Rights of Way.

Local provision of grit: The PC discussed the problem of where to locate grit bins. The eastern bank of Clappers Lane near The Street junction had been looked at but it was agreed that it would mean the grit bin would be placed too high and be difficult to access. Other suggestions were by the bus stop. Precise locations for the bins remain to be decided.

Village Plan: There had been a good response to Councillor Brooks’s discussion document in the Pigeon Post. All the replies would be kept and used to formulate the Village Action Plan. A talk would be given at the APM by a representative from Action in Rural Sussex about the process. The next stage would be to form a committee of representatives from the village to produce the Village Action Plan.

Market Garden Site: The PC had not been able to write to MSDC Enforcement as no evidence had been forthcoming that there was another family living on the site.

Ram House: The PC had asked the National Trust to carry out the repairs to the roof of the Ram House. However they had responded that they did not own it and therefore did not bear any responsibility for it. It appeared that this was borne out by historical documents and that ownership did rest with the Parish Council. The previous PC had asked the National Trust to take over ownership of the Ram House but they had not responded. As it is a historical structure the PC agreed that ownership of the Ram House by the National Trust fell within their remit. It was agreed that the PC should write to the National Trust again asking that they take over ownership.

The fountain had been repaired in 1995 with the aid of grants from West Sussex County Council, Mid Sussex District Council and Sussex Rural Community Council. The Chairman asked CC Peter Griffiths if there was a possibility of grant aid for the Ram House.. He advised that the PC should put this request in writing explaining the problems caused by the damaged roof.

Financial Matters: The Chairman and Vice Chairman signed off the interim audit, cheque list and cheque stubs.

AOB: Councillor Brooks updated the meeting about the goal of improving broadband access with a fibre optic system. Whereas previously it was envisaged that this would cause huge disruption with road digging and replacing the telegraph poles, it appeared that there were now new methods of installing fibre optic cables involving the use of existing sewer networks which would greatly reduce disruption.

The meeting was opened up for local residents to raise any issues.

The issue of affordable housing was raised. It was discussed that Mid Sussex District Council had in the past identified the need for 4 houses but this had not been followed up in detail and there were no concrete plans.

Date of Next Meeting: 8 July 2010, 14 October. APM 13 May.

The meeting closed at 8.50.

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