The History of ILHBS
Bonfire societies of Sussex are an age-old tradition dating back to the first two Lewes societies, Cliffe and Borough, which were set up in the 1850’s, whilst the other Lewes societies were founded later in the 19th century. Although the ‘Remembrance of the Gunpowder Plot’ decreed by King James has been celebrated throughout the country since 1606, the Lewes societies are also marking the deaths of the seventeen Lewes Martyrs who were burned at the stake between 1555 and 1557.
Towns and villages throughout Sussex have their own bonfire society and the Isfield and Little Horsted Bonfire Society was formed in 2008, making us one of the youngest societies. The foundation of the Society was an evolution of bonfire related activity in the village which goes back some decades, originally under the auspices of the Little Horsted Primary School PTFA and then landlord of the Halfway House, Paul Mundy followed by Andy and Linda Brooks of The Laughing Fish pub
By 2008 the costs and effort in organising the bonfire night became prohibitive but fortunately at the same time local residents Chris Ashford and Beth Hazelwood (now Hall) decided to set up a society in the village and in January 2009 the Isfield and Little Horsted Bonfire Society was launched with 19 members, most of whom are still involved to this day. Immediately the tradition of fundraising to pay for the annual fireworks display was established, with a race night being organised on 15 March.
Each bonfire society has its own banner which is proudly carried at the head of their society in all marches. The ILHBS is no different and our banner was designed by Nic Ashford, winner of a design competition. It reflects images of the villages, with the steam train of the Lavender Line spouting flames of a bonfire, supported by two laughing fish, symbols of the Society’s headquarters: the Laughing Fish pub.