Monday 29 May 2023

Walking: The Art of Tides, Stones & a God of the Sea

I went for a walk through Eastbourne's Old Town last week, as I was in Sussex after the Faery Festival. I took these photos of sculptures and art I saw on the route. The structure that looks a bit like Seahenge is called Eighteen Thousand Tides. Artist David Nash constructed it from worn oak groynes that had once been on Eastbourne beach. 

On the right you can see an ancient Cornish Celtic cross - or perhaps a pagan megalith - in the grounds of St Mary the Virgin in Eastbourne. According to Quirky Sussex History by Kevin Gordon, It was effectively stolen 200 years ago by Davies Giddy, an antiquarian and curate from Cornwall. He spotted the cross being used as a gatepost and decided to rescue it, which I guess is a good intention.

He married Mary Jane Gilbert, whose family owned a manor in Eastbourne, and interestingly for the time took her last name. He came to live in Eastbourne and brought the stone with him. 

The cross is unusual and has carvings on it that aren't traditionally Christian. In 1975, pagan historian Colin Murray suggested it was originally a ‘megalithic measuring stone’ dating back to ancient pre-Christian times. However, there isn't enough evidence to be absolutely certain.

The photo at the bottom show a statue of Neptune at Motcombe Pond, the source of the Bourne stream which gives Eastbourne its name. I suspect the god of the sea might have originally been holding a trident or maybe a shell or something, but as he is at the moment, it looks like he's making a rude gesture, don't you think?

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