High on the Downs, in the vicinity of the long-lost hamlet of Balsdean, stands a stone monument bearing the inscription:
JOHN HARVEY ESQ.
OF ICKWELL BURY IN THE COUNTY OF BEDFORD
DIED SUDDENLY ON THIS SPOT
ON THE 20TH DAY OF JUNE 1819
It was erected in 1873 by the wealthy family of Colonel John Harvey of the 9th Lancers. He died tragically in a riding accident in 1819, aged 48. Ironically, he had travelled from Bedfordshire for his health. He was either staying with the Rottingdean vicar, Dr Hooker, or at Down House with Mrs Dealtry.
His body was taken to Rottingdean and was attended to by the servants of Mrs Dealtry at Down House.
His funeral cortege included carriages for the mourners, who included Dr Hooker and Mrs Dealtry. It travelled to Bedford at a cost of £300…£13,000 in today’s money!
‘Harvey’s Cross,’ fell into disrepair but the final straw was during World War Two when Canadian soldiers used the area for target practice. Local historian Douglas d`Enno and John Harvey's descendants helped to raise £4,000 to restore the monument and in 1999 it was unveiled by Admiral Lindsay Bryson, the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex. Sadly, since then, the monument has become the victim of more vandalism.
If you wish to enjoy the view from Harvey’s Cross you may walk up Bazehill Road. Passing Balsdean reservoir on your left, descend towards the pumping station then turn right for the steep climb up to Pickers Hill.
Click on image or File Download to view