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Harvey's Cross

Harvey’s Cross

Location of Harvey’s Cross

A tragic accident

High up on the The Downs, approximately one and a half miles north of  Saltdean, in the vicinity of the long lost hamlet of Balsdean, stands a stone monument. It was placed there in 1873 by the wealthy family of Colonel John Harvey of the 9th Lancers. Harvey was a well to do military gentleman; who as local lore suggests, died tragically as the result of a riding accident on June 20 1819. Colonel Harvey, a family man who had friends in Rottingdean, was 48 years of age when he died. Ironically, he had travelled from his home in Ickwell, Bedfordshire, for his health, and was staying with the vicar, Dr Thomas Redman Hooker(1792-1838).

The ravages of time

For many decades due mainly to the ravages of time, and its remote location ‘Harvey’s Cross’ as it became known, fell into disrepair. During WWII much of the surrounding area was used as target practice; it is believed that the Cross was all but destroyed by Canadian soldiers billeted in Rottingdean and Saltdean. During the 1990s, local historian Douglas d`Enno and John Harvey`s descendants, helped to raise £4,000 to restore the monument; a small curved stone seat donated by ‘Rottingdean Windmill Walks’,was added. The restored cross was unveiled in 1999 by the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Admiral Linsday Bryson.

Victim of mindless vandalism

Sadly since then, the monument has become the victim of mindless vandalism. It is hard to understand, as there is virtually no vehicle access, why anyone would go to all the trouble of carrying a heavy hammer a mile and a half to smash up an historical monument that has no meaning to them. On Sunday June 29th 2014 a dozen or more long time Saltdean and Rottingdean residents,and people from further afield, who were previously involved with the Cross, walked up to the site armed with gloves, tools and cleaning materials.

Cleared and cleaned

The severely vandalized memorial was given a thorough clean, and the surrounding scrub cleared. A picnic lunch was enjoyed on a lovely warm sunny day, and time was spent catching up with local gossip.The views from  ‘Harvey’s Cross‘  and of the undulating gorse-down can only be described as stunning, commanding a panoramic seaward view of Saltdean and the distant English Channel. Many thanks to Douglas d`Enno for organizing this event.

The volunteer group

Comments about this page

  • Its a shame about the vandalism. It is such a beautiful sight and the Harvey family are very lucky to have a group of caring individuals that volunteered to that take care of the site. I understand that the monument is soon to be repaired and I look forward to venturing up the downs to see it! Many thanks for this information Christopher Wrapson.

    By Raymond Gabbard (20/08/2014)
  • Well done to the volunteers.  Can anyone explain please how to get to Harveys Cross?  I would like to see it.

    Editor’s note: Douglas d’Enno has provided a map which as you will see has been added to the page.

    By Suzie S (22/08/2014)

    There are several different ways you can take to get to Harvey`s Cross. (See Douglas`s map). Whichever way you choose the views won’t disappoint. The easiest walking route is from Inland Saltdean. From Brighton by bus use Route 27 alight at Saltdean Vale shops, follow the lane passed Saltdean United football Club, when you reach Pickers Hill Farm turn right follow the farm track / footpath up hill for about 1 mile when you reach the top of the hill turn left (Highdale Hill) and follow the footpath for approx. 1 mile. You will find Harvey`s Cross next to the footpath adjacent to some derelict red bricked farm buildings. Please keep your dog under effective control especially near livestock and always follow the countryside code. Most of it is just good common sense, designed to help us all to respect, protect and enjoy our countryside.          

    By Chris Wrapson (25/08/2014)
  • Thank you for the directions.

    By Suzie S (31/08/2014)
  • Now looking beautiful. Thank you to all those who worked so hard on this unique and oh so English eccentric country item! One of our favourite walks, one of our favourite landmarks.

    By John Austin Locke (18/08/2018)
  • Does anyone know who owns the land around Harvey’s Cross? My mother recently passed and I was hoping for a memorial bench or something there as you can see the house my family and I lived in for 40 years and still live currently. Any information would be much appreciated as my family and I love walking over the downs, seeing all it’s glory.
    Thanks and regards,
    Ray Callister.

    By Ray Callister (30/03/2022)
  • It looks from map evidence that it lies within Lewes District Council, who may be able to give landownership details, but as this is UK…finding out ownership of property is problematic. As it is in the South Downs National Park they are the planning authority for what you are suggesting.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (30/03/2022)

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