Monday, July 4, 2016

Thomas Paine/Lewes, East Sussex/Marcus Cornish



For many years, I have passed through Lewes on the train from Eastbourne to London. I always wanted to stop and see this town.  Last year, we were able to do so.  There is a ruin of a Norman castle there and also a house which was once owned by Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII.  (Quick, how many did he have? If you said "six", you are correct!)  I saw both of these places but I also wanted to see "The White Hart Hotel" which is where Thomas Paine spent a good amount of time expounding his opinions on freedom! (Richard and I were amused to find a pub in Lewes called "Rights of Man", named after one of Paine's most famous works.)



You do know Thomas Paine, don't you?  Please say that you do! He is considered to have had a strong influence on the American Revolution by his writings of essays and pamphlets. His life was really quite extraordinary even if in the end, rather sad. I have a link for you, you should read all about him just here.   

Thomas Paine had a series of pamphlets published in late 1776 in order to inspire the troops.  George Washington must have thought very highly of his writing as he had the following read out to them...

These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.











On our way back to the train station, my eye was caught by the most beautiful tree with bright yellow leaves.   Very happy that I insisted on a quick dash to see this tree because very close to it was this statue of Thomas Paine! I had no idea that this was here, it was just a happy accident to find it. (It was just in front of the very lovely Lewes Library.)

Looking into it, the man behind this amazing piece of art is Marcus Cornish.   (Have you seen a Paddington Bear statue at Paddington Station in London? That is also by Marcus Cornish.)

  Thomas Paine as a cornerstone...that seems just right for me.




"May you always be blessed with Love and Freedom."




Oh, and I forgot to mention.  Saw this on the news...  a bald eagle was tangled in a rope and was caught on a branch of a very high tree. It was too high for anyone to reach it, so a former soldier had a gun and...NO! He didn't kill the bird, he shot the branch enough times that the limb fell from the tree, thereby saving the bald eagle! He had to be careful, eagles are protected...had he shot the bird, he would have been in trouble!  Love that story, had to tell you...here is a link army vet with incredible story of bird rsecue.

29 comments:

  1. Thomas Paine is one of my heroes, i'm so glad you got to stop there and shared it with us today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked this too! I find his life story very interesting. I suspect most people just think of him as a footnote to American history.

      Delete
  2. I just finished reading a biography of Thomas Paine. His life was more tragic than anything else. His words were so inspirational. It is sad that his life was such a shambles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I was going to say how sad his life tutned out to be but in the end, I decided not to comment on it, just directed folks to the link instead. What book was it,can you tell me the title?

      Delete
    2. I think it is Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: A Biography by Christopher Hitchens. I read so many biographies that it is hard to keep them in order.

      Delete
  3. I of course know of Thomas Paine, but didn't know about the English connection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He spent time in France too, as I say, his life story is interesting!

      Delete
  4. I think it's great when we get to visit one of those "I'll stop there one of these days" places - and then find treasures we hadn't imagined.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed! I could just see a bit of the castle walls from the train and always wanted to see it!

      Delete
  5. Another very interesting lesson from you, Kay, thank you!
    And beautiful pictures of a very nice looking town. If only there weren't always cars in front of the most beautiful buildings...!
    As for the tree, I think it should not have yellowing leaves just yet; there are still summery green ones on it as well. To me, it looks as if it is due to some illness. You need to go back to Lewes next time you're in England and check on it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, the tree was fine, this was last year in October!
      We have trees here suffering from the drought and they will yellow and drop off if distressed but not in such a gorgeous yellow such as that tree!
      We have always noticed more and more cars as we visit England every year, same as here I suppose.

      Delete
  6. Thomas Paine was definitely a good egg - I remember doing a piece about him at school. And, despite its obvious subversive overtones, I have a copy of 'Rights of Man' in my bookshelves. Lovely photos, Kay - I need to explore Lewes - can't remember the last time I was there. Did you know there was a battle thereabouts in 1264? And the town has a rather interesting way of celebrating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot on 5th November.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw all the pamphlets about Guy Fawkes Day when I was in Lewes, it sounds very popular and well attended.
      Let me know if you get to Lewes, I hope you will have more time to explore than I did! There is also a lovely garden that we walked through and even in October was very pretty.

      Delete
  7. I must admit I have never heard of Thomas Paine, but he does sound very interesting, and the statue is most appealing. I have been through Lewes a couple of times and thought it a very attractive town. Last time I was on a mission to see Charleston, the home of artist Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolff's sister, which is in the area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, my in-laws have been to Charleston! They quite enjoyed it, is that where the walls were even painted by the artists? They were most impressed, as I am sure I would be if I were to ever see it! :-)

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. It was a quiet day which is just as well since the fireworks kept me awake for most of the night! (Nothing to do with me, just the neighbors going crazy!)

      Delete
  9. He must be a pretty good shot. Bet the poor bird was a bit traumatised at first, must have felt it had had a lucky escape! Lewes is interesting, I've always wanted to go on bonfire night.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was a very good shot! I love stories like this one, where everyone gives up but that one person comes forward to save the day. Richard's friend, Henry has gone many times to Lewes on bonfire night, that is really the first time I had heard of Lewes. (And I should have said that it is pronounced like the name "Lewis". Wish I could remember everything I want to say in a post!)

      Delete
  10. Mr Paine definitely had a way with words. That is an incredible way to put it. The bigger the challenge the greater the triumph. Also, if I've read this correctly, we have a monument (and a statue) to one of the driving forces of the American revolution in England?

    Fancy that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! You most certainly have a statue of Thomas Paine in Lewes, East Susssex. The founding fathers had a way with words alright!

      Delete
  11. A wonderful statue, indeed. I don't recall hearing the name Thomas Paine...but maybe I did somewhere along the line during history classes at school.

    That's a great story about the bald eagle...love it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thomas Paine ran into trouble because he criticized organized religion which, for the time, would have been a shocking thing to do.
      And I am so glad you like the bald eagle story too, it is my kind of story!

      Delete
  12. I am so glad that you had even a short time in Lewes and blogged about it. Thomas Paine has always been someone I admired though I never knew much more about him than we learned in grade school. And how glad I am for the saving of that bald eagle. The story was on face book with pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I seem to only have bits and bobs of time when I am in England! Glad you liked the bald eagle story too! I love happy endings.
      xx

      Delete
  13. Yes, what a wonderful statue of Thomas Paine! And love the bald eagle story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would have loved Lewes! Look at Bob's comment below from Scotland and you will see why! :-)

      Delete
  14. Not heard of Mr Paine before but I have heard of Lewes. The Unthanks( English folk singing sisters) did a TV programme a few years ago of all the strange and bizarre ancient winter festivals, many dating back to pagan times and Lewes had a belter. Fireworks in the street, weird street parade and general mayhem during the hours of darkness. I love those old traditions that still endure today, like the fireballs, the green man, the hobby horse and brides...mud swimming... and the giant jumping cheese race down a steep hill. It's what makes English villages so special. Nice post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to go that race where the cheese goes down a steep hill!
      Do they tie it in with cheese and give out samples? I love the cheese over there! Wish I could see more of England one day. And hey, you know you have made me want to see Scotland!

      Delete