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    Upper & Lower Dicker
(Michelham Priory)

Name Derivation

General Details

Upper Dicker is a small village north west of Eastbourne . It seems to have been created around the priory of Michelham .

In 1229 Gilbert de Laigle , the Lord of Pevensey obtained permission from King Henry III to found a monastry on his lands. He requested that Hastings priory provide him with a prior and twelve canons to occupy the monastry. The monastry was given the park of Pevensey and a number of parishes as far as Seaford . Land was given to the monastry which included parts of Hailsham , Laughton , Mayfield , Cowden , Willingdon and Brighton.

In the middle ages the main road from Battle to Lewes passed from Lewes to Glynde , then across Berwick Common via Michelham and across to Horsebridge ( Hailsham ) then to Herstmonceux , Boreham Street and finally Battle taking in the main manors on the way. Michelham acted as a shelter to travellers between the two centres.

In the 1260's the Abbot of Bayham Abbey at Bells Yew Green attempted to take over the church at Hailsham , ten years of arguements, fighting and legal wrangling cost the priory dear, and in the early 1270's an agreement was made in which Bayham Abbey payed the priory an annual fee to keep the church.

In 1349 the Black Death reduced the number of clergymen from 13 to 5 a significant reduction, which weakened the power of the priory.

While the priory became the stopping point for travellers, the area of Upper Dicker , probably became a trade centre, with the travellers dickering(bartering) for goods from the local tradesmen. The area was cleared of scrub and forest sometime after the 1400's to ease the trade route. Lower Dicker was created later on the Hailsham to Uckfield road. Lowe Dicker became famous for its Dickerware pots and bricks made from the local clay.

In 1536 - 1537 the priory was dissolved by Henry VIII with much of its lands and wealth being split amongst his friends. Anne of Cleves was given the priory land to provide a pension through her life she died in 1557. In 1587 the priory and lands came into the hands of Herbert Pelham . The Pelham family held the lands until 1601, when they became very short of money, and sold it to Thomas Sackville who held it till the late 1890's.

The current St Bedes school was built for Sir Horatio Bottomley the local Member of Parliament in the early 1900's. He was convicted of many cases of fraud and jailed in 1922. He was responsible for the building of Berwick station to provide him with easy access to the capital, this station was originally known as Dicker Halt.

Nowadays the area of both Upper and Lower Dicker are now small commuting centres for workers in Hailsham and Eastbourne .


The Dickers only have limited small village services, however there is a local village shop and café that supplies groceries and cooked food .

The nearest main shopping centre is at Hailsham about 3 miles to the east, with a major shopping centre at Eastbourne , about 7 miles south east.

The nearest train service goes from Berwick station about 2 miles south.


Both Upper and Lower Dicker have some wonderful views of the South Downs towards both Berwick and Firle .

Michelham Priory is a must to visit with its ancient cloisters and gate house from the 1200's .

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