Famous Connections

Girl guides

Olave St. Clair Soames was born on 22 February 1889 and baptised on April 28th in Buxted Church. She became Lady Baden Powell, wife of the Founder of the Boy Scout Movement. We are rightly proud of Buxted Church’s close connection with this great lady and patriot who did so much for the general well-being and spiritual and physical nurture, of girls of nearly all nations.

And another story…

Beware travellers from London

A Buxted resident, Frances Hall, who ‘travelled down from London by stage coach and alighting at Maresfield (the coach obviously going on to Lewes) one Christmas evening had the strange experience of being accompanied (to Buxted) by a courteous and kindly old gentleman, who made the peculiar and disconcerting request that she should refrain from speaking throughout the journey. On taking leave of her, he complimented her on her silence, saying she was the first woman he had ever met who could hold her tongue. His identity remained a mystery to her, but it has since been suggested that it may have been William Wordsworth, the poet, paying a visit to his brother, Christopher, who was Rector of Buxted at that time.’

This story was told by Mrs. Charles Wood, the lady’s niece and is recorded in the Women’s Institute Book for Buxted. It is entirely in keeping with the nature of Wordsworth. His wife once observed that she was used to distracting his attention suddenly because he was in the habit of staying so still, that seemingly he would forget to breathe, so injuring his health in such fits of deep abstraction. He had lived for so long in the depths of the Lake country, roaming its solitudes and recesses and peaks, that often, particularly when composing, he would sit perfectly still in suspended animation. We know he was in Buxted in 1831 and he probably came south many times during his brother’s incumbency here. A room in the Old Rectory is traditionally associated with him (the first on the right at the top of the stairs) and he doubtless found inspiration in the beauty of the garden and in our superb countryside.