Victorian/Edwardian Lamps in Maresfield Village
For the past few years, the Maresfield Conservation Group (MCG) has been involved with work on 3 “Victorian Lamps” in the village. This work came to a satisfying conclusion in June 2020. All 3 lamps have been fully restored and the lamp located in the churchyard is now lit for the first time in living memory.
Church wall Corner of Cemetery Entrance to Recreation Ground
To learn more about the provenance of these lamps we need to go back more than 120 years.
Recreation Ground Lamp
In March 1897, a Lewes photographer took a photograph of Empress Frederick (Queen Victoria’s daughter) planting an oak tree on the recreation ground to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
The lady planting the tree is Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Empress Frederick of Germany. The man holding the big bouquet of flowers is Count Munster. The man on the other side of Empress Frederik is Mr Mark Sandford, the Maresfield Park superintendent. He is holding a Sussex trug with soil in it.
On the same day as the tree planting, the same photographer also took a picture of the entrance to the recreation ground. This clearly shows the lamp in place, although it appears this has since been moved slightly back since this photo was taken.
We can therefore be reasonably confident in describing this as a “Victorian” lamp.
There is a plaque on the cemetery lamp pillar which says “This lamp was erected by public subscription to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra 1902."
So perhaps it would be more reasonable to describe this as an “Edwardian lamp”.
The plaque on this lamp reads “In memory of M. V. Sandford who died Nov. 9th 1889”.
It would appear from churchyard records that there were two M V Sandford’s! Two died in 1899, one aged 17yrs and the other was either stillborn or died before reaching his first birthday. A very sad story as almost certainly these were brothers who died in the same year. Further research shows their parents were probably Mark and Harriet Sandford? Presumably this was the same Mark Sandford, Maresfield Park Superintendent, as was present in the tree planting photograph taken in 1897.
Whether or not this lamp was already in place at the time that this plaque was made, we do not know as the above is a recent photograph. So, is this one Victorian or Edwardian?
Thanks to the efforts of the MCG all the lamps, whether Victorian or Edwardian,
are all now refurbished and lit.
Recreation ground Cemetery
MCG would welcome any comments, corrections or other information about the village lamps which you may have to offer. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the envellope to leave your remarks here.