Buxted Treacle Mines
"Next to the
near the harbour..."
Published by the
'Friends of Horwich' 1998
Many claim to know that there
were Treacle Mines in Buxted, but few know the full story. They
will tell you that the treacle mines of Buxted were sited next
to the lighthouse near the harbour. They will not tell you that,
in the 17th century, barges came up he river Uck and berthed
on the quay-side, where treacle rock was loaded and transported
to the coast; where it was taken by oxen driven wagons to larger
towns, where the treacle was used to make treacle floss, treacle
tarts, treacle toffee and surprisingly limpet mines! (All stored
in the Lighthouse).
The lighthouse was a focal
point of the old village of Bukktsted. The treacle miners operating
in the area used the lighthouse as a lookout-post (camera obscura);
as a bank for treacle nuggets; the storage for the miners' candles
and products produced and as a meeting point for the village
Most of the treacle miners
came from three of the families living in Bukktsted (Buxted)
and they successfully mined treacle for two hundred years, from
1628 to 1828.
The treacle seams followed
the ley lines stretching from old Buxted through Etchingwood
beyond the Spotted Cow Ale House, along the Hadlow Down ridge
and beyond to Hadlow Down, Jarvis Brook, Steel Cross and the
The successful families, with
others, included the Appleyards, Fowles and Luxffords. They made
a reasonable living out of their mining activities, provided
much entertainment in the village where Fred Appleyard was the
'fool' (leader of the Morris Men) and also dubbed the 'Village
There was a dramatic change
in the village when Lord Liverpool of 'Jam Butty' fame inherited
the Buxted Estate and being a man of some importance, he did
not wish to associate with the treacle people. So he persuaded
the families to move their homes and resume their mining activities
east of Coopers Green towards Hadlow Down.
When the exodus was completed,
he had successfully wiped the old village off the map and had
established the Buxted Deer Park, which was his intention. The
Manor house was extended and the old church remained. Surprisingly,
the families that had vacated Lord Liverpool's estate, remained
faithful to their church.
In its new location (with
no lighthouse) and no river transport, the treacle mining became
uneconomic and was continued for a few more years under the patronage
of some of the local gentry.
In an old log book, found
at a car boot sale in 1990, Fred Appleyard tells the story of
'You Faull', it would seem that at a meeting of the Parish of
Buxted on January 2nd, 1613, where thirty-eight local people
determined that the Parish Feast should be kept on St James's
Day, July 25th.
At this feast the 'Faull'
= 'Fool' would preside over the feast, which would be followed
with Morris Dancing and much drinking.
Fred Appleyard was the most
famous of the Treacle Miners' Morris, achieving the distinction
of being toasted by the village folk with - "to Yon Fool
Fred" - after the many story-telling sessions which attracted
many of his friends to he Spotted Cow Ale House.
The 'log-book' records these
There are stories of Fred
Appleyard getting lost in the Buxted Treacle Mine and after an
underground adventure, coming to the surface at Boar's Head Rock
near Crowborough. Later he find himself crossing an underground
lake and is rescued by Jonah Wickens through -"Wicken's
A visit to Wicken's Drift
Mine in Jarvis Brook leads to the discovery of a sea of treacle.
Following a dispute of ownership, Mr Wickens blows up the 'treacle
lake' and it rains treacle for several hours over Hadlow Down.
Ghostly stories tell of underground
caves in Jarvis Brook and of an entrance near the Plough and
Horses. Here Matt Malone uses a 'treacle twitching' walking stick,
which after his death, haunts Tubwell Lane.
'YON FOOL FESTIVAL'
Fred Appleyard is remembered
in an annual festival held in July. At the Treacle Miners' Dinner,
held at the Plough and Horses in Jarvis Brook, members of the
Ancient Order of Treacle Miners, their friends and anyone seeking
a good night out, assemble for the election of the Treacle Miners's
Monarch chosen by finding a hidden coin in the pudding!
If the coin is found by man
or woman - the Monarch is 'crowned' and royally robed. The toast
is "to the memory of Yon Fool Fred". Entertainment,
follows the meal.