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Ringmer

Ringmer

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Ringmer is a village and civil parish
Civil parish
In England, a civil parish is a territorial designation and, where they are found, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties...

 in the Lewes District
Lewes (district)
Lewes is a local government district in East Sussex in southern England covering an area of , with of coastline. It is named after its administrative centre, Lewes. Other towns in the district include Newhaven, Peacehaven, and Seaford. Plumpton racecourse is within the district...

 of East Sussex
East Sussex
East Sussex is a county in South East England. It is bordered by the counties of Kent, Surrey and West Sussex, and to the south by the English Channel.-History:...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. The village is located three miles (4.8 km) east of Lewes
Lewes
Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, England and historically of all of Sussex. It is a civil parish and is the centre of the Lewes local government district. The settlement has a history as a bridging point and as a market town, and today as a communications hub and tourist-oriented town...

. Other small settlements in the parish include Upper Wellingham, Ashton Green, Broyle Side and Little Norlington.

There has been human habitation there since at least Roman
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 times . The village church, dedicated to St Mary, was built probably in the 13th century . One of its rectors, named to the living in 1533, was William Levett
William Levett (vicar)
William Levett was an English clergyman. An Oxford-educated country rector, he was a pivotal figure in the use of the blast furnace to manufacture iron...

, named in the same year as rector of Buxted
Buxted
Buxted is a village and civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex in England. The parish is situated on the Weald, north of Uckfield; the settlements of Five Ash Down, Heron's Ghyll and High Hurstwood are included within its boundaries...

, and one of the most improbable figures in English ecclesiastical history. While serving as rector, Levett
Levett
Levett is an Anglo-Norman territorial surname deriving from the village of Livet-en-Ouche, now Jonquerets-de-Livet, in Eure, Normandy. Ancestors of the earliest Levett family in England, the de Livets were lords of the village of Livet, and undertenants of the de Ferrers, among the most powerful of...

 took over the iron foundry business of his deceased brother John, and became the leading manufacturer of armaments in England , as well as the first to cast iron cannons in modern blast furnaces.

Ringmer also has two schools, Ringmer Primary School for ages 4–11 and Ringmer Community College
Ringmer Community College
Ringmer Community College and Sixth Form is located in the village of Ringmer in East Sussex. It was opened in 1958 and serves a catchment area of Lewes and surrounding towns.The current Headteacher is Ms Kathy Stonier who has been Head Mistress since 2002....

 for students aged 11–18. Ringmer Community College also houses the local swimming pool which is run by Wave Leisure.

The symbol of Ringmer is a tortoise named Timothy, after the female tortoise that the naturalist Gilbert White
Gilbert White
Gilbert White FRS was a pioneering English naturalist and ornithologist.-Life:White was born in his grandfather's vicarage at Selborne in Hampshire. He was educated at the Holy Ghost School and by a private tutor in Basingstoke before going to Oriel College, Oxford...

 carried back to Selborne in Hampshire in 1780. White’s aunt Rebecca Snooke lived in Delves House where Timothy had the run of the courtyard garden. Timothy died in 1794, one year after Gilbert White.

Ringmer Mill stood for centuries on Mill Plain overlooking Ringmer. This post mill
Post mill
The post mill is the earliest type of European windmill. The defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind. The earliest post mills in England are thought to have...

 was in operation until 1921 and collapsed in 1925. The mill post, on which the body of the mill rotated, is all that is left today and is a local landmark and memorial to a bygone age.

Ringmer is one of the largest villages in the south of England.

Famous residents

  • James Callaghan
    James Callaghan
    Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

    , British Prime Minister, and his wife Audrey Callaghan
    Audrey Callaghan
    Audrey Elizabeth Callaghan, Lady Callaghan of Cardiff was the wife of British Prime Minister James Callaghan and was herself a politician and campaigner and fundraiser for children's health and welfare....

     purchased Upper Clayhill Farm, Ringmer, in 1967. They moved there permanently after Callaghan's election defeat in 1979; Audrey moved into a care home in 2001, but James lived there until his death in March 2005, just 11 days after the death of his wife.
  • John Harvard
    John Harvard (clergyman)
    John Harvard was an English minister in America whose deathbed bequest to the Massachusetts Bay Colony's fledgling New College was so gratefully received that the school was renamed Harvard College in his honor.-Biography:Harvard was born and raised in Southwark, England, the fourth of nine...

    , after whom Harvard University is named, married in 1636 Ann Sadler, daughter of the Rev John Sadler, Vicar of Ringmer 1626-1640.
  • Wendy James
    Wendy James
    Wendy James is an English singer-songwriter most notable for her work with the pop band Transvision Vamp.-Transvision Vamp:...

    , lead singer of Transvision Vamp and later Racine
  • Gideon Mantell
    Gideon Mantell
    Gideon Algernon Mantell MRCS FRS was an English obstetrician, geologist and palaeontologist...

    , pioneer geologist & Palaeontologist, was a Lewes surgeon who held contracts to serve the poor of Ringmer and the Royal Horse Artillery hospital at Ringmer barracks.
  • William Penn
    William Penn
    William Penn was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful...

    , founder of Pennsylvania, married Gulielma Springett, a member of the Springett family of Broyle Place, Ringmer.

Landmarks


There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest
Site of Special Scientific Interest
A Site of Special Scientific Interest is a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom. SSSIs are the basic building block of site-based nature conservation legislation and most other legal nature/geological conservation designations in Great Britain are based upon...

 partly within the parish. Plashett Park Wood
Plashett Park Wood
Plashett Park Wood is a 154.3 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, located in East Sussex, England. The site was notified in 1991 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. In the centre of the site, there is a rich community of breeding birds, as well as a number of...

 is a site of biological importance as an area of ancient woodland. Plashett Wood and the adjolining Plashett Park Farm provide habitats for a wide variety of breeding birds and bats, plus a number of rarer invertebrates and flora.

2006 fireworks factory fire



On 3 December 2006 the Festival Fireworks factory which is located within the parish, near Shortgate, caught fire detonating the display pyrotechnics stored on the site. Successive explosions then followed for more than eight hours. Sussex Police
Sussex Police
Sussex Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing East Sussex, West Sussex and City of Brighton and Hove in southern England. Its head office is in Lewes, Lewes District, East Sussex.-History:...

, which described it as "a serious incident", established a 200 metres (656.2 ft) exclusion zone around the factory. Television pictures showed a large fireball at the centre of the blaze. Two members of Sussex fire services died. Nine fire service workers were also injured along with two members of the public and a police officer. Hundreds of rockets continued to explode skywards more than five hours after the initial blasts.