Historic stone plaque is recovered at Easebourne

Chairman of Easebourne Parish Council Holly Grantham with the recovered stone pieces
Chairman of Easebourne Parish Council Holly Grantham with the recovered stone pieces

Precious pieces of the historic stone plaque which divides Midhurst and Easebourne have been recovered after vandals attacked it last weekend.

The rectangular stone plaque which has been mounted on the wall of North Mill Bridge for more than 200 years was targeted in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

It is believed vandals tried to remove the plaque but it fell into three pieces and they threw it over the bridge and into the River Rother.

The pieces were seen in the river by a Cowdray Estate worker at 6am on Sunday morning (August 20).

But when chairman of Easebourne Parish Council Holly Grantham went to try and retrieve them they had been removed.

Holly told the Observer: “They had been discovered by a fisherman from the Rother Angling Club and he handed them in to the police.”

She condemned the ‘mindless act of vandalism’ in removing the historic stone plaque.

But she said it was now important to try and repair the damage caused.

“It looks as if it is fixable and Easebourne Parish Council is going to get quotes from stonemasons and see how and if we can get it repaired.”

She said the parish council was working with Midhurst Town Council and highways officers at West Sussex County Council jointly.

“If any other local organisations would like to be involved in this important repair work, we would love to hear from them,” said Holly, “we feel it is important to do all we can to preserve this important piece of our history.”

The plaque depicts two clasped hands and has the words ‘Midhurst Parish’ on one side and ‘Easebourne Parish’ on the other. It sits on the boundary of the two parishes to signify the meeting of the two communities.

Little seems to be known of the origin of the plaque. The date 1776 is carved on a stone beneath the plaque which is half hidden under the tarmac of the walkway.

The plaque was not visible to walkers for many years before the walkway was widened on the bridge in the 1950s.

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