Some “Quite Interesting” Fun Facts!

In  November 2014 CDS prInterior of Holy Trinity, Cuckfieldesented the multi-award winning play “Racing Demon” by Sir David Hare, performed in the stunningly beautiful  Holy Trinity village church.

Here are some amusing and slightly obscure facts loosely related to CDS and Racing Demon, Holy Trinity Church and the village of Cuckfield.

Cuckfield Dramatic Society and Racing Demon

  • Popular BBC Sitcom “Rev” has been called the “son of Racing Demon
  • Racing Demon is the name of a card game played at speed, and which breaks all the usual rules of waiting one’s turn and patience! (Is this why David Hare used that name for his award winning masterpiece?) Explaining the title to an American audience Hare saidIt’s a game of cards in England, like canasta.”
  • As well as playing Lionel in Sheffield in 2011 Malcom Sinclair played the Bishop of Kingston in the original 1990 NT production.
  • Two CDS stalwarts (Harriet Sheldon and Paul Ruse) have been Mayor of the Independent State of Cuckfield (The UK’s most corrupt election!).
  • Ross Bradshaw is standing as CDS candidate for ISOC Mayor on Oct 17th.
  • The president of CDS is Joan Collins (no relation!)
  • Famous actors from Cuckfield include Edward and James Fox, Jamie Theakston, James Bachman, Tara Fitzgerald and Sally Geeson (but they were never CDS members!)
  • Sir David Hare was at school with Sir Tim Rice, but Racing Demon is not a musical!
  • Michael Billington called Hare “a romantic armed with a surgical scalpel. But you feel that, as long as he’s wielding that scalpel to anatomise our present discontents, there is still hope for the British theatre.”
  • A twitter account @LittleSirDavidH, parodied Sir David Hare, but is now suspended

Holy Trinity Church

  • It was founded in the 11th century, with first records of Kukefeld, dating from approximately 1090
  • Holy Trinity Primary School (founded 1512) is the oldest state school in the UK and once supplied its curriculum to Eton. The school was required to use a curriculum “after the form, order and usage” at Eton.  When Eton’s archives were destroyed in a fire they took a copy back from Cuckfield!
  • Local rumour has it that a former pub within the churchyard (and hence owned but not run by the church) used to supply more intimate services than just drink!
  • A Cuckfield vicar has been cited to argue that William Shakespeare was a pseudonym for the author of his plays … Writing in Greek, Thomas Vicars (1589 – 1638) writes of “that well-known poet who takes his name from the shaking of a spear”.
    For more information see Thomas Vicars, his book on rhetoric “Χειραγωγια, Manuductio ad artem rhetoricam”, and Oxfordian 2012 Rubenstein Neville.
  • Holy Trinity church was damaged during the English Civil War. A large crack in the 13th-century font was reputedly caused by a kick from a horse stabled in the church by parliamentarians.
  • Holy Trinity Church has the South East’s largest community assembly of Christmas Trees – including one from CDS – in 2013 there were 72 [see picture of the CDS tree below.  More at

Cuckfield Village

  • Cuckfield has an annual village show with horticultural competitions including Longest Runner Bean, Heaviest Marrow and Most Amusing Vegetable.
  • The Independent State of Cuckfield issued Cuckoo banknotes in the 1960s, with five to a shilling, so Racing Demon will cost you 1000 Cuckoos!
  • George IV travelled regularly through Cuckfield on route by coach to the Brighton Pavillion
  • The last commercial stagecoach called in 1845, and the last mail coach in 1905
  • The first flying bomb in England fell on a farm in Cuckfield.
  • Cuckfield has a Nuclear Bunker/Royal Observer Corp Post with its own Facebook page!
  • Cuckfield opposed a railway route though the village in the 1820s, so a new town grew up at neighbouring Haywards Heath.
  • George IV travelled through #Cuckfield by coach to the Brighton Pavillion.
  • The first dinosaur known to science was discovered in Cuckfield in 1822 (The Iguanodon by Gideon Mantell)
  • Pointless and Two Tribes presenter Richard Osman went to school in Cuckfield
  • Andrew Boorde of Cuckfield (born in 1490) wrote the first printed guidebook to Europe.
  • Cuckfield Park, (home to the annual fireworks display), was supposedly haunted by “Wicked Dame Sergison” but an exorcism was held in Holy Trinity Church
  • Parts of the White Hart Inn have been dated to the beginning of the 13th Century. It is believed to be the oldest building now used as a public house.

With apologies to John Lloyd and Stephen Fry!