Dallington in East Sussex

Google map showing area surrounding Dallington
(Custers Last Stand!)
Location: 50.947039,0.357639
General Details
In the Domesday book of 1086 it was called Dalinton, and in 1265 the current Dallington in East Sussex.

This picturesque village lies 5 miles south east of Heathfield off the B2096. There are several attractive brick and tile hung cottages, and next to the church is a fine timber-framed house.

Dallington forest used to manufacture charcoal, an important source of fuel for the Wealden Iron making industry. Much of their supply went to the Heathfield furnace owned by the Fullers of Brightling , and also to the Ashburnham furnace a few miles to the South East.

In a field north of the B2096 lies the 'Sugar Loaf', one of the follies of Mad Jack Fuller .(also see Brightling ) The original church of St Giles, was dismantled in 1864, and rebuilt with only the crenellated tower, and the spire surviving. The spire is a rarity in Sussex, as it is tiled in stone. On the west face of the tower are the carved shield and buckle symbol of the Pelham family. Sir John Pelham fought in the Battle of Poiters in 1356.

The aircraft of Flying Officer Peter Guerin Crofts crashed at Earl's down at precisely 1.55pm on September 28th 1940. The young pilot baled out and landed at nearby South View farm, but died from his wounds. His mother had a memorial cross erected on the spot where he fell. The cross is tended by the Heathfield branch of the R.A.F.A.

The late Captain 'Mac' camouflage expert, war hero and Fleet Street cartoonist lived in Dallington for 45 years. His real name was George Douglas Machin, and was know locally as a charming but eccentric character. He served as a balloon observer in the First World War, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He gained fame as a cartoonist for his work on the soldiers newspaper, 'Blighty'. His output was prolific and his signature, 'Mac' appeared on drawings in scores of publications.

Hemings Place was the manor house of the village, until it burned down in 1803.

It is strongly believed by the villagers, that a man from the village fought with General George Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, in 1876. This belief is not totally far fetched, as many former British Cavalrymen joined the ranks of U.S. cavalry during the Indian Wars.

Unfortunately, there is no-one who can put a name to the East Sussex recruit who died at the hands of the Sioux, in Custers Last Stand at Greasy Grass! (However see below for further contributed information) (The following information about General Custer was contributed by Michael Cheevers - Ontario Canada) There were mainly Irish and German born troopers but there were some English born troopers at the Little Bighorn Battle. Trooper John Hiley born in Rugby England May 28, 1849 real name was Jon Stuart Forbes he was of noble birth and is listed in Fosters Peerage and Baronetgage 1883 Left home due to gambling difficulties. The Second Trooper William James Sgt born in Pembrokeshire Wales 1849 was a coachman in England. Trooper Herod Liddiard Private born Longdon England 1851 formerly a boatman killed at the hilltop siege with Major Reno. (The following information has been provided by Alf Rogers - Australia) First, you have an account of the day in the Battle of Britain when F/O Croft's aircraft (a Hurricane, by the way) was shot down and crashed at Earl's Down. My father and I were out walking that Saturday afternoon and were no more than a quarter of a mile from the crash site. As far as the crash was concerned it was pretty unusual for the Hurricane came down in a near vertical dive but just before striking the ground the wings sheared off and landed comparatively flat and gently while the fuselage buried itself in the ground. Meanwhile in the continuing Battle overhead the descending parachute was clearly visible against the intense blue of the sky (typical of that summer) - and so was the Messerschmitt 109 that circled it and fired at the pilot below on at least two occasions. Such events were often reported but this was the only occasion I saw such an action. Second, you refer to 'Mac' the cartoonist. Additionally to plying his trade with the local papers he was always a popular figure at the various local flower shows and agricultural shows. One never had to look very hard to find him for there would be a queue of enthusiastic locals hoping to be recorded for posterity in one of his very swift sketches.

(The following information about General Custer was contributed by JAMIE NOBLIT) The soldier killed at Custer's last stand from Dallington , was private Timothy Donnelly. He enlisted at Ft Lawton, Boston, Mass. On sept 21st 1875. His enlistment gives age as 21 and 5/12, however I believe he was less than 21 years old. I have been searching my ancestry and the only Tim Donnelly on the ships registry arrived from England 8/30/1869 on a ship name Torpoli or Tripoli and he was 11yrs old.

(The following information was contributed by Patricia Glennon - United States) At the Battle of Little Big Horn there were mainly Irish and German born troopers but there were some English. Timothy Donnelly's family settled in Worcester County, Massachusetts in a town called Spencer , Ma. They owned a farm,which must have been fairly large , as the road the farm stood on is named 'Donnelly Road '. The original barn still stands, but the farm house was torn down about 5 years ago. It had been empty for sometime, but I believe until fairly recently, the land had been owned by a relative.

The family headstone, which is in the Catholic Cemetery in town. Timothy's date of birth, place of birth and date of death are all on the stone. His remains are buried at the Little Big Horn. He was quite young when he died- probably closer to 19. He was one of the older of many children. His father was a 'teamster'- he drove a team of horses on what would have been fairly long hauls in the late 1800's. I believe his route went from Spencer, into Worcester and possibly towards Boston. Worcester is about 12 miles from where their farm stood. My father, Leo Glennon, was in 1935, a young teacher in Worcester. He was mentored and became very close friends with Mary 'Molly' Donnelly, who was Timothy's younger sister.I remember her very clearly- she was a kind, lovely, cultured lady who often came to visit and have dinner with my parents. I became aware of Timothy, because I would drive my father to the cemetery. He always planted flowers on Molly's (and Timothy's ) grave, from the time of her death ( around 1962) , until he passed away in 2007. I now have been doing this for him. Each year, when I visit the grave, someone has placed a very large feather,inside of a rifle casing, up against the headstone. My guess is, that it's of some significance to what happened at the Little Big Horn. I may leave a note there this year, to see if I get a response. There are probably still family members in the area, but several generations removed from Molly and her sister Florence, whom we were also close to. If I find out any more, I'll gladly pass it along.
Dallington in East Sussex lies down a quiet back lane, which has the prettiest houses on both sides of the narrow road.

If however you travel to Woods Corner and Look south, the wide vista of the Pevensey Levels lies ahead, with the South Downs at Eastbourne in the background.

Carry on down the hill towards Battle , and a view of rolling hills, topped with Forestry Commission Forests lies ahead.
Dallington in East Sussex as a small village has few local services, with the exception of the St Giles C.E. church. At Woods Corner there is a public house. The nearest small towns are Battle about 7 miles to the South East, and Heathfield about 7 miles to the North West.

An infrequent bus service from Battle to Heathfield passes through the village.

The nearest trains can be caught at Etchingham about 6 miles, and Robertsbridge about 5 miles.

The nearest large town shopping centres are in Hastings about 11 miles South East, and Tunbridge Wells 18 miles to the North.
Dallington is shown as the red symbol on the map.

Nearby Villages

(click on symbol to see the village page)
Village= Town= Recorded in Domesday=
Ashburnham (Last Iron Furnace in Sussex)
3.04 miles
Battle (William the Conqueror prevails)5.89 miles
Bodle Street (White Horse on the roof)2.39 miles
Brightling (famous for Mad Jack Fuller)
2.16 miles
Broad Oak (Smallpox at the Academy)3.76 miles
Burwash (The home of Rudyard Kipling)3.84 miles
Burwash Common (Roughest pub in the South East)2.68 miles
Burwash Weald (Roughest pub in the South East)2.64 miles
Cade Street (Jack Cade and the Kentish rebellion)3.50 miles
Catsfield (Iron, Railways and Clocks)
5.33 miles
Cross in Hand (The Crusaders Assembly)6.14 miles
Five Ashes (Vast collection of rock plants)7.18 miles
Heathfield (19th Century Natural Gas)
4.64 miles
Herstmonceux (Castle and Observatory)
4.30 miles
Horam (Which Station do we get off at ?)5.09 miles
Mountfield (17th Century Coal !!)
5.39 miles
Netherfield (Village at the top of the Hill)
3.30 miles
Penhurst (Beautiful yet Remote)
2.83 miles
Punnetts Town (The Windmill on the Hill)1.88 miles
Robertsbridge (The Home of Modern Cricket)5.71 miles
Rushlake Green (Open Village and Nuclear Bunker)1.89 miles
Salehurst (Richard the Lion Heart's Gift)
6.61 miles
Vines Cross (Cannons and Doodlebugs)4.04 miles
Waldron (Fullers Earth)
6.72 miles
Warbleton (The Iron Man)
3.07 miles
Whatlington (King Harold's Manor)
6.56 miles
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Local Interest
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Ninfield History Group
Battle Museum of Local History
(Hard to find but worth the Visit)
Wealden Iron Research Group
Talk in Code fabulous new Album
The Bald Explorer for local documentaries
Roman, Saxon and Norman History of the South East
The Rudes as lots of people call us, are an outdoor touring theatre company specialising in taking new & original theatre to mainly small rural communities and a few towns across the South of England. We were founded in 1998 & first toured in the Summer of 1999. Currently we tour only in the summer performing 50+ times nightly during June, July & August.
Battle and District Historical Society
World War 2 Vehicle database
Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group
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