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Marching on November 5th in Lewes, East Sussex

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Nov 2012, 12:04


Fig.1. Preparing to march - Commercial Square Bonfire Society - Lewes, East Sussex

You move to Lewes and once a year you find yourself dressed up with several thousand other people in the town. We alternate between Buccaneers, Confederate Soldiers or Smugglers. You go out as families, meet up with friends then during and between seven marches - starting at 5.15pm with the last procession at 11.30pm - you drop in to eat, stop to eat, go to 'your' pub ... and carry in quick rotation a dozen or so burning torches. You must be dressed correctly. You must march in threes. You have to replace any torch that goes out immediately.

The atmosphere in the town since 2.00pm is carnival time. All parking places are suspended so streets are clear. Schools close early or have the day off. Business close early. Shops on the procession routes board up the windows.

The hub is the town war memorial, while the six societies (or is it seven now), each fan out to different parts of the town for their bonfire and fireworks display.

What's this got to do with learning?

Experiential - Tom Paine, Martyrs burned at the stake, The Gunpowder Plot and remembrance of the fallen at the Town War Memorial. Not so sure about the dressing up though - Confederate Soldiers, Zulu Warriors, 'Red Indians' (sic), Monks, Smugglers, Victorian Ladies and assorted others ...

A sense of community?

We came to the town with a 2 and a 4 year old in 2000 and were promptly enrolled.

More photos from last year HERE

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ROSIE Rushton-Stone

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Every time I've been to Lewes there's been something entertaining going on.  That may be part of the reason I was there of course, but still, it had the vibe of a living breathing community which is rare nowadays.  Nice picture. smile

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Have a great night!



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Sounds great fun Jonathan and a great sense of community smile .  Nice photo too.


Design Museum

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Just in after nearly 5 hours marching around Lewes, on parade in processions as a 'smuggler' carrying a borning torch. Every body out. A ban on bangers after 115 injuries last year had the police arresting persistent offenders. Angela Merkel was the huge effigy that had fireworks coming out of her for 10 minutes before the thing was torn apart by two huge explosions.
Joyce Rae

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Looks like great fun. I hope you enjoyed yourself.