We have visited Lewes many times and many times stood outside the town hall and read the sad plaque about the 17 Martyrs and looked across to the Martyrs memorial in Cliffe Hill. We had always said that we would walk up and see it one day and so being in Lewes today, with the sun shining we thought - this was the day. It never occured to me that such a famous local landmark would be so hard to find.
I asked several local shop keepers / locals, visitors and no one had any idea how to find it ( most seemed completely unaware of it.) I googled it and finally found the post code. Other comments said access was via a narrow path on the Cuilfaile estate and that it could be seen from the golf course. Putting the post code into google maps I began to follow the directions ( we were at the bottom of Cliffe high street). Google maps led us up a private road into the Cuilfaile estate. This is a lovely setting with beautiful houses on a high cliff over looking Lewes. When the map said we had arrived there was no monument in sight and no open ground on which it was likely to be. Signs at the entrance it the estate had said residents only and no access to downs or golf course so it was puzzling. We tried a couple of paths that would have led to the golf course but we we’re barred from access by a locked gate.
At this point , rather belatedly, I phoned tourist information. The very helpful lady there looked it up and said there was access from the golf course via Cliffe Hill.
I felt rather dismayed as the Hill we had walked up was VERY steep and I was afraid we would have to retrace our steps and begin again.
Google maps again came to our aid and led us along paths to Cliffe Hill without going right back to our starting point.
Cliffe hill runs from Cliffe high street up to the golf course. It is VERY steep to walk up so only attempt if able to cope with hills.
At no point was there’s any sign or directions to the the memorial. I went into the golf club bar and finally one member remebered seeing it down by the 18th hole. Following his directions we followed the tree line and to the left of the practice holes ( a sign post in the distance indicates a permissive path) and finally found it hidden among the trees.
As we stood there we could see that infact we were only seeing the back of the memorial and there’s did indeed seem to another side, accessed from the road we had walked along ( I.e in the Cuilfaile Estate). We retraced our steps along the tree line and took a steep footpath down the trees ( extremely slippery and steep so do take care) - which took us back to the entrance to the estate. We went through the gate, along the path, turning right at the end up a Hill following the road which bears left. We finally saw what we had missed before . A narrow path between two houses with a broken gate propped on its side, with a notice declaring the presence of the memorial. The one and only sign we had seen in all of our walk.
A short path brings you into a clearing and a much better opportunity to appreciate the memorial than the view from the golf course.
I have gone at length because I am amazed that such an important part of Lewes history should be so hard to find.
It is of course not the site of the martyrdom but a memorial erected in 1905 but definately worth a visit. Please note that you would need need to walk though the private estate. The roads are narrow and there are notices everywhere saying all the verges are private!
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.