EJ Rudsdale on Twitter from 3 September 2019

27th June 1943

At 8am an American tried to get in – I could hear his soft boots padding across the bridge.  Dull morning, low clouds. 

Streets full of Americans wandering aimlessly, their jaws always moving.  Two companies of Canadians marching to St. Botoloph’s Church, Catholics hurrying along Priory Street.

Breakfast and bath.  Mother rather querulous, so did not stay to lunch.  Went to the Mill, found two more hooligans there, chopping down the fence.  

To Higham.  Sun beginning to come through.  Our field at Brookside looks very bad – nothing done there for weeks, weeds and rubbish everywhere.  But these isolated patches are really unworkable.  We must persuade Halsall to take this, as it lies right in with his land.  It is hopelessly uneconomic for the Committee to try to farm small isolated fields, but it is rarely that neighbouring farmers will come to the rescue, except after a great deal of persuasion.

Suddenly decided to have a look at Higham Church.  Got there just at one – as I went in the clock struck.  Never been in there before.  Nothing very remarkable, but the N. aisle arcade is rather nice.  Slight smell of incense about the place, and silence except for the ticking of the church clock. 

There is a monument in the chancel, on the N. wall, in memory of Patty Stutter, of Higham Hall.  She was born in 1795, and died in 1832.  In 1824 she married a Mr. Crawford of East Grinstead, who survived her, dying at the age of 82 in 1883.  What an extraordinary picture of English country life – Mr Crawford marries the lovely heiress (I’m sure she was lovely, with a wide straw hat) 6 years older than himself.  She dies, (unexpectedly?) at only 37.  No mention of any children.  He lives on, for another 51 years, all alone, in his comfortable house in the valley bottom.  How peaceful and quiet that half century must have been at Higham.

There is an interesting original door in the S. wall of the tower, with incised strap hinges, and just inside the main door there is a fine early font, with escutcheons on the panels, dug up in the Rectory garden in May, 1941.  It is described as a “holy water stoup, c.1450”, but is quite obviously a font.

Came out and walked round the churchyard, but no stones of any particular interest.  Behind the fields run very green down to the banks of the Stour.  ‘Planes from Langham were flying over, and wheeling back to the aerodrome.

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