Sussex Archaeological Society: Textile and dress
Tel: 01273 474610
The Society was founded in 1846 and exists to promote the study and enjoyment of archaeology and history in the counties of East and West Sussex. It runs many properties and amongst them are two which contain specific small collections of local dress and textiles, some of it on permanent display.
Ann of Cleves House
Tel: 01273 474610
This is a 15th century timber-framed Wealden hall-house that formed part of Anne's divorce settlement from Henry VIII in 1541. The house contains wide-ranging collections of Sussex interest, including Sussex pottery, a small number of examples of household textiles and dress with the bedroom and kitchen furnished to reflect an earlier period. Check opening times before visiting, especially on a Saturday. Open March to October.
The Priest House
Tel: 01342 810479
Standing in the beautiful surroundings of a traditional cottage garden on the edge of Ashdown Forest, the Priest House is an early 15th century timber-framed hall-house built as an estate office for the Priory of St. Pancras in Lewes to improve the administration of the Manor of the Rectory of West Hoathly In 1905 it was bought by John Godwin King, of Stonelands, West Hoathly. He carefully restored the building in 1908 opened it to the public, to display his collection of locally gathered artefacts. In 1935 John Godwin King presented The Priest House its contents to the Sussex Archaeological Society. The House now contains a varied collection of 17th and 18th century country furniture, ironwork, embroidery and other domestic bygones, displayed in furnished rooms. It is complemented by a colourful cottage garden and small formal herb garden, which contain over 170 culinary, medicinal and household herbs.
'The Suffragette handkerchief' is one of the house's most famous artefacts. It contains sixty-six suffragette embroidered signatures and two sets of initials of suffragettes who joined demonstrations in London in the March 1912. A few were well known as militant members of the WSPU but the majority were rank file members of the organisation. The handkerchief was probably embroidered during the women’s limited exercise periods, in March 1912 in Holloway Prison, London.