1980 Restoration

Enzo Plazzotta at the 1980 unveiling



The recently renovated Battle of Lewes Memorial sculpture will be "unveiled" by the Chairman of the Lewes District Council. Councillor Miss Renee Oeters at 10.30 am on Thursday 5 June 1980. This unveiling will be at the original site on the Convent Field and adjacent to the Lewes Priory Ruins.

In 1964. this sculpture which was designed by Enzo Plazzotta. was presented to the people of Lewes by their Member of Parliament, Sir Tufton Beamish MC, (who is now of course, Lord Chelwood); to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes fought on 14 May 1264.

The Memorial was unveiled on 14 May 1964 by the late Duke of Norfolk CM KG.

Following the re-organization of local government in 1974, it was established that this sculpture had been vested in the new Lewes District Council.

The cast aluminium sculpture had been subjected to a certain amount of vandalism and damage over the years and the bronze lacquer coating had been broken in a number of places, allowing oxidization of the aluminium casting to take place. In 1976/77 the Council arranged for an expert inspection of the sculpture to take place and considered whether the problems caused by mis-use and vandalism on the present site would make an alternative site more appropriate prior to a major refurbishment taking place. It was agreed at that time that the renovations would be deferred for one year pending investigation of an alternative site.

The people of Lewes were asked through the local press to give their views on the best alternative site for this Memorial and by a two to one majority suggested relocation within the Lewes Castle precincts. Considerable negotiations then took place with the owners of the land, the Sussex Archeological Society, but eventually it was found to be not possible to site this sculpture within the Castle precincts.

The Lewes Town Council then suggested an alternative suitable site would be in the grounds of Southover Grange and the then Chairman of the Amenities Committee, Councillor H L Johnson, together with Councillor David Williams (who was also the Mayor of Lewes at that time) and the Chief Technical Officer, recommended a particular site within the Southover Grange gardens. Lord Chelwcood gave his blessing to this new site, subject to it being acceptable to the people of Lewes. In the event, very mixed feelings both for and against this new siting were expressed and planning approval was not forthcoming.

The Friends of Lewes meanwhile had offered to "keep an eye on it" and "to keep it clean" if the sculpture was refurbished and replaced in its original situation. The Amenities Committee and the Council considered this offer and were very happy to accept it. The Amenities Committee therefore arranged for the major remedial works to be carried out to the Memorial: the expertise being provided through the auspices of Councillor Harry Johnson , who is himself a qualified metallurgist.

Lord Chelwood himself together with Mr Enzo Plazzotta, the designer of the sculpture, will be present at the unveiling ceremony.

For any further information contact Richard Stammers, Chief Technical Officer or Michael Kinlock, the Recreational Services Officer, Technical Services.