Little Edith's Treat, SussexLittle Edith's Treat, Piddinghoe, East Sussex
The story of Little Edith's Treat, though not nearly as ancient as so many of our folk customs, is one of the saddest, pathetic in the true meaning of the word.
Having lost her husband two years previously, in 1868 Elizabeth Croft lost her beloved granddaughter Edith. The child, whose birth perhaps brought solace to the recently widowed Elizabeth, was born in July of 1868, but died just a few months later, in October of that same year. The doting grandmother decided to fund an annual treat for the schoolchildren of the village, and prizes for girls at the school who showed the greatest skill in needlecraft. Prizes for boys were for those who kept tidy, and attended both school and church regularly. Piddinghoe's church , by the way, is well worth a visit, a flint building dating from the 12th century, with a round tower.
The treat took place on the anniversary of Edith's birth, July 19, presided over by the vicar of the local church, and involved races and the playing of games, though the main business of the day was a slap-up tea. For some of the poorer children such a free meal would have been very welcome, a lifesaver even, a day when stomachs would be filled with more than just bread. The school is long gone, but the endowment continues in other ways to commemorate the brief life of little Edith, still giving local children the joy of parties and gatherings that Elizabeth's granddaughter was never to experience.
More British Folk Customs?
1 Response to Little Edith's Treat
From david cartwright on 29th March 2013
I used too live in the Peacehaven Hotel during the last war. Is it still there? Thanks.