Early morning walks around Lewes are good for witnessing the town come to life, as the townsfolk emerge in an ever-increasing stream, gradually filling all corners of every street, shop and café. These dawn strolls can also be good opportunities to see remnants of the night before — often simply trash that’s yet to be cleared, but in the summer of 2009 I came upon this red padded bra hanging from the 15th Century Bookshop at the top of Keere Street. How it got there, I’ve no idea.
Keere Street — once known as Scare Hill because a local man would jump out and scare people — dates back to 1272 and is the steepest of all the roads and twittens* that run downhill from the High Street to Southover Road. In the 19th century the Prince Regent (later George IV) apparently drove a carriage down its cobblestone hill for a wager.
When I first moved to Lewes I lived just a few houses away from this bookshop and I’d walk past it most days on my way into town. On weekdays, twice a day, I’d turn the corner into Keere Street for the short walk to the primary school my daughter attended. En route I’d pass the Old Toll House (next door), once the entry point to the town and where one of my friends now lives.
As I now live further down the High Street, I have less reason to walk up or down Keere Street on a regular basis. Recently, reminiscing about the days when my daughter was a young child, I realised how grateful I was that we had such a picturesque ‘school run’.
My daughter, now 22 and six inches taller than me, is currently in the US with her grandfather, who’s taking her on a road trip to Las Vegas and Death Valley.
* Twitten is an old Sussex word for a path or alleyway.*