Iden

Iden in East Sussex Village Guide

About Iden in East Sussex

One of the older settlements in this part of East Sussex. Iden probably began like so many other towns and villages in the Weald as a small clearing in the forests that covered the south of England. The wild boar roam again now in this area as they must have done then but little else remains the same. Of Iden’s castle which was similar to (but older) than Bodiam Castle, nothing remains but the moat. It was a home to Alexander Iden who was responsible for capturing and killing the revolutionary Jack Cade. In later times much of the property and nearly all the farmland around Iden was part of the Curteis family Estates. This was broken up in the early 1900’s.

The tower at the All Saints Church is now the main part remaining of the earlier Norman Church, although there are traces from the 12th century. Sensitive restoration has created a simple light-filled interior. Over the West door are the arms of Sir William Scott, one of the inhabitants of Iden’s Castle-the-Mote.

Iden is lucky to still have a shop. It would have been turned into a house but the village intervened and now the shop belongs partly to the villagers. The Bell Inn public house is at the heart of the village next to the shop and thank goodness it is there. The Village Hall is not the most beautiful of buildings but essential to life in Iden and used practically every day of the year. Looked after by a dedicated committee, it is supported financially by a share in the profits of Iden’s annual fete.

The Recreational Ground is a field given to the village by the Mason family.A more perfect setting for a game of cricket could not be imagined. The Fete is held here each July and profits are used amongst other things to care for this wonderful asset. The land for The Bowls Green was given to the village by Miss Josepha Smith, shortly before her death. The Bowls Club have turned this corner of a field into one of the finest greens in the area. New members are always welcome.

Oxenbridge is perhaps the finest house in Iden. Built in the 15th century with unusually high ceilings as the Oxenbridge Family were exceptionally tall by Medieval standards, one being known as “The Oxenbridge Giant”. Erected before the time of chimneys and window glass, the smoke would have drifted up through a hole in the thatched roof.

Text supplied with the kind permission of Christopher Strangeways.

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