Peter Miles leads walkers on a foray into the history of Mountfield SUS-140624-094905001
Peter Miles leads walkers on a foray into the history of Mountfield SUS-140624-094905001

We start this week’s Village Voice with congratulations to Corporal Michael Smith of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, 2nd Battalion on marrying Charlie (née Gray) last Saturday. The ceremony and wedding bash were at Dale Hill Golf Club in Ticehurst. The weather was glorious (of course), everything went perfectly (of course), and George, Billie and Micky were the bridesmaids (of course). The honeymoon for the happy bride and lucky groom is a regimental posting to Cyprus.

You will remember that Mandy Sutton did the Race for Life from Alexandra Park on Sunday June 15th in aid of Cancer Research UK, with particular emphasis on breast cancer. This was Mandy’s fourth year running (geddit?) and, with the support of one daughter and two grandchildren, she raised £170 pounds for the pink ribbon charity. Mandy would like to thank everyone who sponsored her, particularly the members of the Mountfield Club, the Club’s darts team and the darts league.

We have to put in a final reminder that tomorrow, Saturday June 28th, is Mandy’s Blooming Marvellous Tea Party in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care. Tea and cakes, wonderful raffle prizes, guess the cake weight, or guess teddy’s name — lots of fun in a great cause.

Pete did his final woodland walk, “Through Trees and Time”, on Sunday and writes: “I had another lovely bunch of enthusiastic walkers. It’s such fun when you get such a wide range of interests. You get people who know nothing about certain things but are knowledgeable about others. Some questions are easily answered; others can be really challenging. For example, it was rewarding, on the first of these two church walks, when we came across a nettle patch covered in caterpillars (about which I know almost nothing) and there was someone there (Roderick) who could identify them, speak about them and answer questions. On this final walk though, I really had my bluff called as the walkers included an archæologist and historian, and an emeritus professor of botany and ecology! That was a real test of my historical, archæological and botanic knowledge and research — and they both pitched in with extra and expert insights.

“The walks were originally devised for DACS (the local conservation action group) in April, before all the foliage did its best to hide everything, but they proved easily adaptable and raised just over £200 pounds for All Saints, Mountfield. Such a fascinating landscape, so many nice people, and for a lovely church — pure fun.”

We received a lovely email from a certain Val Miles, formerly of this parish, as follows:

“This is Val Miles (the 1st). To set the history books straight and relate a huge coincidence, I thought I’d send my own contribution to the Village Voice.

“My husband, Michael John Miles, and myself (the aforementioned Val) moved into Rock Cottage on 17th March, 1962 – our wedding day. No honeymoon for us, but a trip to Battle Cattle Market being a big day out.

“We set about making a home out of the derelict cottage we moved into, and raised our two children; Clare (born 1968) and Stephen (born 1970). They had an idyllic childhood, surrounded by countryside and wildlife, and unfettered by ‘health & safety’. They ran around naked in the garden when young, then got more adventurous, riding with a friend for Clare and abseiling in the woods for Steve.

“We enjoyed a very happy relationship with our tenant and next door neighbour, Miss Jessie Butters, which turned into a deep friendship over the next 30 odd years. What a wonderful, dear, kind lady she was. My husband worked so hard on our cottage and was forever rebuilding bits that were falling down. He never stopped, but sadly his health failed and he died in 1990.

“I managed to keep our home going for another eleven years but then had to make the decision to move on to Battle – heartbreaking, but necessary. At that time, Clare had been living in Miss Butters’ cottage next door and had renamed it ‘Butters Cottage’ in honour of that dear lady. We both decided to sell our cottages, and now comes the coincidence! The couple who fell in love with both cottages were Val and Peter Miles, who now write the Village Voice! What chance brought Val Miles the second to Rock Cottage after Val Miles the first had lived there for almost 40 years!

“I know how much Val and Peter love the cottages so that comforts me greatly, but when you see their names at the foot of the Village Voice it isn’t me that has remarried, it’s the Val who has been entrusted, with Peter, to become part of village history and carry on where that young couple with hopes and dreams in 1962 left their own small mark in Mountfield history.

“Sincerely, Val Miles (the 1st!)”

Did you spot the headline on the sports pages of your Battle Observer last week? “Ace Wadeson, 12, claims 4 for 8 in big win for Ashburnham.” On the batting front, Dave Wadeson (a.k.a. Dave the Postie) scored “a useful eight” but the headline was made when Brightling went in to bat. “Early runs came from Henry Haddow (23), but 12-year-old Thomas Wadeson bowled an excellent line and full pace to take 4 for 8 off five overs.” Many Mountfield folk will remember that, after a very shaky start to life with some grim health issues, Thomas spent many months in Great Ormond Street Hospital with even worse. Words fail us — except, perhaps, G.O.S.H!

Sticking with sporting matters, Sue O’Sullivan (from the local pig farm) took part in a hill climb at Chanteloup Les Vignes just outside Paris (France), driving a 1936 Austin 7 Beaufort Number 3 and won a “Gilded Camshaft” for “something awarded me in French so I don’t quite know what it’s for”. She goes on: “I had great fun and scared the daylights out of Barry with my driving”. (Barry was luckier than some: he wasn’t even in the car!)

Finally, we must quote from the visitors’ book in the holiday cottage we run next door (Butter’s Cottage, see Val the 1st’s piece above). Our recent, lovely Dutch family, the De Jagers, wrote: “On Sunday we went to church and Peter had discovered that the service was in Brightling, a small church in a very nice hamlet. It was also Holy Communion. We can follow the sermon; it was a female vicar.” When they came back, they assured us that they much preferred Mountfield Church. But don’t despair Brightling, not bad for a hamlet…

You know where we are: 880614 (evenings) or

Peter and Valerie Miles