Ringmer Village Hall

A brief history

The origins of Ringmer Village Hall go back to the 1690’s when two ladies from the family at Broyle Place, Lady Barbara Thomas and Sybilla Stapley, gave £100 each towards the establishment of a charity in Ringmer to educate a small number of poor children.

Originally the school met by the church, but in 1778 land taken from Ringmer Green was granted to trustees for the use of the school, this is the land on which the Village Hall now stands.  A small school building was constructed on the plot by public subscription and a reading room was later added at the expense of the Rev John Constable.

The introduction of compulsory education in the 19th century meant village hall 1that a much larger school building was needed and a new school was built on the corner of Harrison’s Lane. The old school building on the present Village Hall site continued to be used as a Sunday school and for various Parish purposes as a meeting place for village organisations, for concerts and for church meetings. However, with no funds for the maintenance it gradually fell into disrepair.

By 1890 it was agreed that the old building should be pulled down.  William Christie of Glyndebourne offered to donate £200 for a new Parish Room if the villagers contributed a similar sum.  The money was quickly raised, and what we now call the village hall 2Symons Hall (Small Hall) was built.  Unfortunately, at this point a dispute arose between Mr Christie and the then Vicar, Rev. Edward Symons, regarding the ownership of the site and the newly built Parish Room.  Mr Christie took legal action and the Attorney General became involved. However, eventually Mr Christie withdrew his claim.  The Hall was then vested in the Vicar, churchwardens and overseers of the Parish.  The Hall was to be used by the Church on Sundays and on holy days, as a vestry room, for meetings of the Mutual Benefit Society, the Working Men’s Club, and for concerts and similar functions.  Within a few years the vestry became the room used by the Parish Council, who still use the Hall today.

By 1932 management of the Hall was in the hands of a Management Committee. There was for many years a billiard room in what is now the Rogers Room.  Much of what is now the car park was allotments.

village hall extIn the 1950’s a considerable amount of money was raised to improve the hall, a proper level floor was put in and toilets were added.  In the 1960’s planning started for an extension to match the growth of the village, and led to a major fund raising campaign, supported by the Parish Council three-penny rate to raise the £45,000 needed for the New Hall and other extensions that were completed in 1974.

In 2002 substantial refurbishment and improvement of the Village Hall were undertaken financed by fund raising from within the local community, many individual contributions and grants from the District Council, Parish Council and the Lottery Fund.

The Future.

The community of Ringmer continues to grow and demand for use of the halls has grown with it.  Since the last extension 36 years ago, the village has grown, the usage of the Hall has increased and with it the need to think once again how the Village Hall can best support the community.  After much thinking and debate it was clear to the Trustees that there was no quick and easy solution to this problem. So a more radical rethink of how the halls and rooms are used has resulted in a design that has now been given planning permission by the District Council.

village hall model

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