Horace Field - The "Looker"

Old Mrs Field, Horace's wife, was one of those typically warm, round ladies with grey-white hair who always wore a wrap-round brown housecoat-cum-apron, except, of course, when she was out in her Sunday best.

Horace Field was a legend in his own lifetime. He worked on the marshes as a “looker” for many years. As a looker, his job was to visit and count every day – twice a day at and after lambing time – all the cattle and sheep, numbering thousands during the summer – in fields spread over hundreds of acres of grazing land on Pevensey Marsh.

He had to know exactly the number of animals in each field,and count and inspect them to ensure their safety and well-being. He performed many other related jobs:

ditching – keeping the ditches clear for drainage and to provide water for the animals;

gripping  – digging shallow channels in the fields to drain off surface water to the larger ditches;

repairing gates, posts and fences;

driving cattle and sheep from place to place as needed;

and always working at Pevensey's weekly cattle market on Tuesdays.

Horace had a typical countryman’s bearing, a magnificent face of beard and whiskers, and a glorious Sussex accent. His stories were legion, and his singing of old country songs was renowned far and wide. Visitors flocked to the New Inn for a sight of Horace, a chat, and – if they were lucky – to hear his old songs, most of which were recorded  and some of which were broadcast on radio programs.

There was always some visitor eager for the privilege to buy Horace a drink, and a fair part of his considerable thirst for beer was satisfied free, gratis and for nothing.

Horace was rarely missing form his church seat next to the aisle half way back in the north side pews. From there his strong voice could be heard above the whole congregation in his enthusiasm to sing the praises of his Lord.

Horace died in 1957 aged 80.

H.M.

The photograph of Horace Field was taken in 1930. Horace is using a hand-cranked sheep shearing machine.









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