Village Feature: Bury

AT the foot of an imposing hill on the banks of the River Arun lies the characterful village of Bury.

A nostalgic signpost in the centre of the village shows the residents are fond of its history. It points to the church and river, but stipulates the ferry, which operated for many years, is now ‘closed’.

Bury Cubs performing an acrostic poem.  Picture by Kate Bryant

Bury Cubs performing an acrostic poem. Picture by Kate Bryant

The village, is perhaps best-known for its association with Nobel Prize winning author John Galsworthy.

The English novelist and playwright lived out the final years of his life in 
Bury and put the finishing touches to The Forsyte Saga before his death in 1933. His ashes were said to be scattered near Bury Hill.

The Edwardian Grade II listed three-storey stone property was a nursing home, but a savvy developer has now transformed Bury House into modern apartments.

The village is home to two schools set against picturesque backdrops – Bury Primary School and Dorset House School, which is one of the oldest prep schools in the country.

Ann Bage, headteacher of Bury Primary School, said the church school had strong links with St John the Evangelist church and the wider village community.

The school received an outstanding judgement from the statutory inspection of Anglican schools last year.

“It was fantastic news,” said Mrs Bage, who congratulated everyone involved.

A Christmas fair with some stalls run by pupils made more than £1,500 for the school, which has big plans for 2014.

“The school council is organising and designing an outside reflection area,” said Mrs Bage.

“They are very involved in the decision-making for it. It will be a nice place for the children to have some quiet time for thinking.

“We are also going to have a new arts and crafts area.”

The school is also set to hold a swimathon later in the year. “The children really enjoy it – everyone gets involved,” said Mrs Bage.

Friends of Bury school are fundraising for more playground equipment and refurbishing the outside area.

Pupils at Dorset House School, described as a ‘nurturing’ environment by headteacher Richard Brown, have also been busy helping charities.

Pupils and their families have been donating warm clothes and food to a 
drop-in centre in Hove over the festive period.

The village hall hosts dozens of activities, including the popular Chuckleberries pre-school, which is managed by parents as a not-for-profit organisation.

The hall is right next to the village green, where the Chuckleberries can spill out on to the grass and enjoy the playground.

“We are currently developing what will become an excellent free-flow outdoor area, pretty much an extension of what we do inside to the outdoors,” said a spokesman for the group.

Villagers also enjoy regular performances from the talented Bury Players which have included Dick Whittington, Rebecca and Little Red Riding Hood.

A small farm honesty shop, which has sold milk, cream and eggs for 40 years, was given a well-deserved revamp last year.

Charlie Hughes and Sarah Butler from Southview Farm in Bury opened Charlie’s Farm Shop last spring.

It sells a range of farm produce and locally-sourced food in a brand-new building.

Charlie is a third-generation dairy farmer who has expanded the business, which not only has its own home-made ice cream, but now delivers milk around Sussex and Surrey.

Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs, visited the shop in June 2013

“Charlie’s Farm Shop is really impressive and I am sure it will be a huge success,” said Mr Herbert.

“It’s a true farm shop, with meat and dairy products from his own farm. And it’s great to see so much other West Sussex produce on the shelves, too.”

Sussex Farm Foods is also popular with villagers. The shop, which was set up in 1996, was one of the first of its kind in the area.

A horticultural society, music appreciation group, the Squire and Horse pub and the Bury Ramblers make up the fabric of village life, which is looked over by the active parish council.