Police Officers of Ringmer
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This list was originally compiled by John Dibley, OBE, former Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex, from a variety of sources as shown, where relevant, against the entries. The list may not be complete and any information to add to it would be welcome. Please click here if you can add to this page.

The East Sussex Constabulary was formed in 1840 with the appointment of the first Chief Constable, Captain Henry Fowler McKay on 16 November of that year. He and the first 15 police officers to be appointed were sworn in before the Justices at Lewes on 8 December 1840.

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The year column gives either the date of start of duty in Ringmer, or the first evidence of the Officer in Ringmer.

Hast & St L Ob stands for Hastings & St Leonards Observer

Sx Exp for Sussex Express

Sx Ad for Sussex Advertiser

 

 

Year
Name
Source / Comment
1846 P.C. Henry Mumford

19 Aug 1845 Sx Ad. Two Ringmer men did not appear before the magistrates when summonsed for careless driving, but as P.C.Mumford, E.S.C. 19, could not prove service of the summons on one, only the other was prosecuted.

P.C. Mumford appears in an article in the Sussex Agricultural Express of 9th and 23rd May 1846 regarding the apprehension and conviction of George Hylands on a charge of sheep stealing.

25 Augt 1846 Sx Ad records a man being charged with the theft of a tame rabbit at Ringme by P.C.Mumford.

1850 P.C. Stephen Doust

Stephen Doust was baptised on 22 Sep 1822 in Goudhurst, Kent the son of Stephen Doust and his wife Eleanor (née Sands) who had married at Cranbrook in 1819. He was appointed to the force on 10 August 1847. The first record of him appearing in Ringmer is on 9 June 1850 on the birth certificate of his son Joseph Elias Doust. The certificate also states that Stephen Doust is a policeman of Ringmer. He had arrived in Ringmer after 1847, as his daughter Elizabeth Ann (birth registered in the Ticehurst registration district in Sep 1847) had been born in Lamberhurst (in the Ticehurst registration district).
At the 1851 census Stephen Doust is listed as living in one of the 6 cottages on Church Hill, was aged 28 and a police officer who had been born at Goudhurst, Kent.
Stephen Doust was also a named tenant of this same cottage on Church Hill in an 1853 record. (Grocer David Martin died that year. He ran the shop until recently the Post Office shop and also owned the row of cottages.)
28 July 1857 Sx Ad. P.C.Doust (Ringmer) amongst a group of police officers promoted, "all exceedingly active officers in the force".

17 Nov 1857 Sx Ad. Sgt Doust of Ringmer went to West Firle to arrest a man alleged to have stabbed another at the West Firle Bonfire celebrations.

27 July 1858 Sx Ad. Sgt Doust proved service of a summons against a Ringmer poacher accused of taking a hare.

Stephen Doust is recorded as being a sergeant in Ringmer in the 1862 Kelly's Directory.
Stephen Doust died 29 October 1863 and was buried at Ringmer 3 Nov 1863 aged 42. His memorial stone is A44 in our churchyard. This also remembers his wife Ann Doust buried here 13 Sep 1898 aged 75, but then from 161 Graham Road [Wimbledon]. When she died she left an estate of just over £1,000. The other person on this memorial is the husband of his daughter Elizabeth.

(Some of this information came from a correspondent to the website. )

1861 P.C. John Rapley Force disposition report 1.1.1861
1862 P.C. Amos Grayling Force disposition report 1.4.1862
1863 P.C. William Elphick

Force disposition report 1.1.1863 (transfer from Eastbourne)

13 Jan 1864 Sx Ad. P.C. Elphick, stationed at Ringmer, gave evidence against a man accused of ill treating a donkey at Ringmer on 30 December.

27 Aug 1864 Sx Ad. P.C. Elphick, stationed at Ringmer, gave evidence against a man accused of highway robbery with violence [taking a watch].

6 Nov 1866 Sx Ad. P.C. Elphick, gave evidence in the case of some men being drunk and using obscene language near the Anchor Inn, Ringmer.
Force disposition report 1.12.1866

4 Dec 1866 Sx Ad. P.C. Elphick, gave evidence against a Lewes man charged with driving an unlicensed cart in Ringmer.

15 Dec 1866 Sx Ad. P.C.Wm Elphick gave evidence against a man accused of stealing a faggot of firewood from a Ringmer man's wood stack.

27 Apr 1867 Sx Ad. P.C. Elphick, 43, [might be police number rather than age], stationed at Ringmer, gave evidence of arresting a man accused of theft.
William Elphick is listed as constable in the 1867 Kelly's Directory

1878 Sgt. George Diplock

11 Nov 1876 The Hast & St L Ob has Sgt George Diplock on duty at Ringmer Green when he found some boys misbehaving.

1881 Census shows him living in Harrisons Lane. This house was built for him by his brother-in-law. Diplock was then aged 39, having been born at Hamsey in 1842. His wife, Laura, née Martin, aged 34, is shown as being born at Ringmer. They were married on 19 June 1878. See 'Duty Reports' for sample of duties. Diplock went on to become a Superintendent at Uckfield from 1889 to 1897.

1878 P.C. William Green

1 Jan 1876 The Hast & St L Ob has P.C. Green, stationed at Ringmer, giving evidence against some defendants he first saw at the Prince of Wales public house who later created a disturbance on the road to Ringmer.

Duty report - same dates as Sgt Diplock.

The great great grandson of William Green reports that he had a son called Albert who also became a policeman. He married Mary Annie Springett of the Hawkhurst line of the Springett family, 16/4/1894. They had 2 sons, Rowland Albert b 21/6/1895 and William Ernest b 6/8/1898.

8.8.1882 P.C. Thomas Moore Order Book - posted from Bexhill. He left for Eastbourne on 30.7.1884
Thomas Henry Moore is listed at the County Police Station in Kelly's Directory of 1887
9.11.1886 P.C. Steer

27 Feb 1891 Sx Exp. P.C. Steer discovered three horses careering over the highway at Clayhill at 10 pm one night.

18 Apr 1891 Sx Exp. P C Steer prosecuted a Ringmer man for keepinh a dog without a licence.

Order Book - from Newhaven. He left for Pevensey on 22.5.1891

31 Jul 1891 Sx Exp. P C Steer was presented with a handsome marble 14-day clock upon being transferred from this parish to Pevensey

22.5.1891 P.C. Edward Gladwish Order Book - from Patcham. Was discharged from the Force on 11.10.1892, after 5 yrs service, with a gratuity of £23.16s.8d.
21.8.1892 P.C. John Hills Order Book - posted from Glynde. He left for Danehill on 1.8.1895
1.8.1895 P.C. George Ireland Order Book - posted from Danehill. He left for Coldstock on 25.5.1900
25.5.1900 P.C. Skelton Order Book - posted from Lewes. He left for Lewes on 12.2.1907
18.3.1907 P.C. William Rhoades Order Book - posted from Lewes. He left for Northiam on 26.4.1911
26.4.1911 P.C. Fred Ockenden Order Book - posted from Lewes. He left for Hailsham on 2.2.1917
5.4.1919 P.C. Chester Perrin Order Book - posted from Lewes. He left for Scaynes Hill on 7.11.1919. Perrin's police service was interrupted by the Great War and he was re-appointed after war service on 1.4.1919
26.2.1920 P.C. Walter Glazier Order Book - posted from Lewes. He left for Lewes on 23.9.1920
23.9.1920 P.C. Walter Lamberth Order Book - posted from Lewes. On 18.4.1921 Lamberth was reprimanded for doing less than 8 hours duty! He then moved to Newhaven. He retired in the rank of Inspector.
1921 P.C. Austin Hopper Born 1900, he enlisted in the 5th Battn Royal Sussex Regiment in 1915 and served in France whilst only 16. Joined police in 1919. Married Emily Rose Valentine of Sylvester Cottage, Lewes Road, Ringmer, on 24.11.1922. They lived at Sylvester Cottage for a short while before moving to Rodmell in 1923. Hopper became Superintendent at Battle in 1937, moving later to Uckfield and then to Lewes in 1942. He was Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable from 1947 until he retired in 1951. Austin Hopper died in 1973.
1922-3 P.C. P.T. Butler Union Terrace. W.E. Baxter & Sons local directory
? Sgt. Ernest Willard As a P.C. he prosecuted a cyclist during the First World War (23/2/1917) for not having lights, and the Headmaster (9/3/1917) for not having a dog licence. He was promoted Sergeant on 18.11.1919. Believed to have moved into the Police House in 1921 from Chailey. He is certainly listed as living there in the Baxter's Blue Book of 1927-8. He died in service at Ringmer on 18.11.1929 and was buried at Ringmer Church on 22.11.1929.
The Sussex Express of 29 November 1929, reported the funeral of Sgt Willard as follows (not exactly word for word!):
'The Funeral of Sergeant Willard took place at Ringmer on 22 November. The bearers were Sergeants Foord, Francis, Hambleton, Johnston, Mockford and Swainston. Police constables Butler, Gabbitas, Hopper and Smithers acted as pall bearers. Over 70 members of the Force attended and a long line of police preceded the hearse from the house to the Church. Many other people joined to pay a last tribute to the memory of one whom everyone respected and whose sudden passing was mourned by all.'
-.1.1929 P.C. Cyril Gabbitas From Lewes. Left in July 1930. Retired in the rank of Inspector.
1929-30 P.C. F. Beard Listed in W.E. Baxter & Sons local directory as living at 4 North Road. This is in addition to Sergeant WILLARD, who is specified as in charge.
-.11.1930 P.C. Raymond Skinner Married Elsie --, then living at Ashton Green, Ringmer, on 4.6.1932 and left Ringmer 9.2.1934. On 30.9.1931 Skinner was fined £1 for failing to work his beat.
8.1.1930 Sgt. Sidney Johnston From Peacehaven to Ringmer
14.12.1933 Sgt Thomas Parrott

Two sources of information regarding Thomas Parrott’s birth and early life are contradictory. If someone can confirm either, I’d be glad to hear from them.

1. Born in Cardington, Bedfordshire, in 1894, his father was a farm bailiff.

2. Thomas Parrott was born at Lightlands Farm, Frant in 1896. He had two brothers and four sisters. He was subsequently employed as a Poultryman on the farm.

On 17 March 1914 he was appointed as a Constable in the East Sussex Constabulary, being stationed firstly at Lewes and then at Seaford. He volunteered for Military Service in the Great War and enlisted in the Military Foot Police on 22 June 1915.

As a lance-corporal he was on his way to Gallipoli and on board HMS Hythe, an auxiliary minesweeper, when, on 28 October 1915, it was in collision with the armed boarding steamer Sania and sank. He was reported as one of only two survivors able to swim before being rescued, but in fact there were a several survivors. Two other ex-East Sussex Policemen, also in the Military Foot Police, were lost in the collision. They were Herbert Morris and John Scott.

Thomas Parrott returned to the UK in August 1916 and was eventually discharged from the Army on 30 September 1919, rejoining the East Sussex Constabulary on 7 October 1919. Whilst in the Army in Scotland, Parrott met his future wife, Winifred Robertson - a young lady from Angus, Scotland and they were married on 26 April 1918.

Constable Parrott was stationed thereafter at Bexhill, Guestling and Little Common. He was promoted to Sergeant on 14 December 1929 and posted to Peacehaven on 8 January 1930. On 28 October 1932 he was posted to Lewes and then, on 14 December 1933 to Ringmer. While at Ringmer his beat extended to Selmeston, Southease and Cooksbridge and he initially patrolled it by bicycle, before being allocated a motorcycle. He was especially busy when there were outbreaks of anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease on local farms, and was required to superintend the burning of the affected animals.

He remained in Ringmer until 15 February 1938 when he returned to Peacehaven. Thomas retired on pension on 1 July 1945 but re-enlisted in the police reserves to perform station duties until 1962. He lived in retirement in Telscombe Cliffs and died in 1973.

1932 P.C. William Russell Moved from Ringmer to Bexhill on 11.7.1933
16.10.1933 P.C. Sidney George Leader Stationed at Ringmer until 11.2.1935. Went on to become Assistant Chief Constable of East Sussex.
10.2.1935 P.C. John Bridger 17.12.1912 - 24.1.2000 Came from Lewes. Before marriage John lodged with Bessie Martin at 6 The Green, Ringmer (info from Cyril Tasker). Other single policemen may also have lodged there. On 28.4.1937 he married Kathleen Mackerness (16.12.1911 - 11.3.2002) of The Green Man Hotel, Ringmer. Kathleen's father was the Licensee and had previously been Huntsman with the Southdown Hunt. John Bridger left Ringmer in 1937 and retired in 1965, having achieved the rank of Superintendent. John's ashes, and those of his wife, are interred in Kathleen's parents' grave in Ringmer.
15.2.1938 P.C. Walter Robert Lord From Peacehaven - left for Forest Row on 7.6.1939. The 1938-40 Baxter's Blue Book lists him as living at the Police Station [House].
7.6.1939 P.C. George Denman From East Grinstead. Remained at Ringmer until 11.3.1955 when posted to Seaford, from where he retired.
2.5.1955 P.C. Douglas Morley From Haywards Heath. Promoted Sergeant on 2.8.58 and went to Headquarters. Left the Police House on 1.1.59. Retired in the rank of Superintendent.
26.1.59 P.C. Jack Greenaway From Bexhill. Left on 21.12.1965 on promotion to Sergeant. Retired in the rank of Inspector.
14.7.1966 P.C. Brian Cawthorne At Ringmer until 8.9.1968.
3.10.1968 P.C. Dennis Miles At Ringmer until 6.1.1974 when he left for Uckfield on promotion to Sergeant. He retired in 1989 but continued as a member of the civilian support staff at Uckfield until 1999.
25.3.1974 P.C. Malcolm Richards At Ringmer until 17.3.1978. PC Richards gained national publicity as the 'skateboard cop' when he set up a skateboard club for local youngsters at Ringmer School as his way of dealing with this so called 'menace' to the peace of the village. He went on to serve with the Traffic Division at Lewes and Brighton. On promotion to Sergeant in 1988 he served in Eastbourne on patrol duties. He was subsequently promoted to Inspector remaining at Eastbourne until his retirement in 2000. He then went on to serve as a Community Policing advisor on the island colony of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. On return to the UK in 2001 he rejoined Sussex Police in a civilian capacity as a Planning & Logistics Manager, responsible for, amongst other things, planning the police operation in relation to the famous Lewes Bonfire Celebrations.
21.3.1978 P.C. Gary Hayes At Ringmer until 25.10.1984. For part of this period his wife Gill was Secretary to Assistant Chief Constable John Dibley.
31.1.1983 P.C. Don Marsh Marsh was an additional officer for Ringmer, also covering Glynde and Firle. He continued to live in Lewes and was at Ringmer until 17.1.1991 when he retired.
2.11.1984 P.C. Stephen Mann At Ringmer until 8.11.1987.
8.8.1988 P.C. Nicholas Witchell Occupied the Police House - transferred to City of London Police on 30.6.1992. On being asked about his time in Ringmer, P.C. Witchell said that the worst part of being the resident bobby was trying to keep the police house garden in order!
19.1.1991 P.C. Peter Saunders Worked the Ringmer area although living at Woodingdean, until 12.1.1997.
1.7.1992 P.C. David Wickham At Ringmer until 24.9.1993 when he retired.
28.1.1994 P.C. David Bielkus From Lewes, remaining until 12.1.1997 when he returned to Lewes.

 

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