Farewell to popular Charcoal Chris at Elsted

Chris building his house in 2009
Chris building his house in 2009

IT TOOK ‘Charcoal Chris’, the man who lived in the woods, 12 years to win the hearts of neighbours when he bought woodland near Elsted and arrived with his new charcoal kilns and no knowledge of charcoaling.

But he learned to consider wind direction and atmospheric conditions and, together with his wife Lucy and four children, became very much part of community life.

So it was a shocked and saddened gathering of some 200 people who came to say their farewells when was buried in his own woods at Ingram’s Green on Tuesday after a humanist ceremony.

Chris Wall-Palmer who was 50, had been battling illness for two years. He passed away on Sunday.

He finished his dream all-wooden cruck-framed house in 2009, complete with 11,500 wooden shingle tiles he made from nearby red cedar trees.

When in 2008 he applied for revised planning permission, no fewer than 50 neighbours supported him saying they actually wanted him living as their neighbour and the village planning committee, previously opposed, dropped its objections.