SIR Goddard Oxenbridge of Brede had the misfortune to be considered an ogre who ate children. This was not helpful in the 15th Century and in 1487 Sir Goddard was executed by being cut in half with a wooden saw.
Sir Goddard’s fate is just one of many fascinating facets of local history which are detailed in Bexhill Museum’s major exhibition for 2013. The Egerton Road museum’s 2013 season opened with Sussex Folklore – Farming, Festivals and Fertility dominating the Costume Gallery and extending down the connecting corridor to the Sargent Gallery.
The rural year in Sussex was governed by the season’s work – ploughing, sowing, reaping, mowing – and the celebrations that followed the hard work, such as harvest festival. From farmers’ smocks, pitchforks and harvest kegs to costumes for the Sussex version of the Mummers’ Play, this is an exhibition designed to appeal to all ages.
A timeline along the corridor details a year of festivities and celebration, from Plough Sunday and Wassailing in January to Saturnalia, Mother’s Night, carolling and Mummers in December.
From May Day and Midsummer to the Romans’ July Neptunalia and the Ebernoe Horn Fair, the exhibition delves into the costumes, customs and curiosities of bygone Sussex. The exhibition includes first roof tile to be manufactured in Sidley (1794), features millstone-dressing, forestry and thatching tools, a sword and pistols used in festivities and a beautifully detailed model of a farm tip-cart. Sussex Folklore – Farming, Festivities and Fertility will remain in place until the end of the independent, voluntarily-run museum’s year in December.
Children’s events themed to the celebrations and festivals explained in the exhibition will be held throughout the year.
Bexhill Museum is open from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Friday and 11am-5pm on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.