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Selina of Sussex 1818-1886

by Leonard Holder

Family life in Sussex, southern England, seen through the eyes of Selina, the wife of Eli Page, farmer and Baptist minister

332 pages

22.9 x 15.2 x 2.1 cm

Published by Xlibris

About the Book

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Review

The book ‘Selina of Sussex’ is dedicated to the author’s grandchildren with the hope that the family’s rich heritage of faith in God and love of the English countryside might not be lost to future generations.

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The author of this fascinating book has his roots in the rural countryside of Sussex in southern England. But alas, various circumstances  moved him away from southern England and his seven grandchildren were born in German-speaking Switzerland and are growing up in a very different cultural environment. This book is dedicated to them with the object of ensuring that the family's remarkable heritage is not forever lost through ignorance and that the undauntable spirit of their grandfather's grandfather's grandmother might inspire them and us all to greater heights of vision, perseverance and faith in this twenty-first century.


The book can best be described as a religiously inspired historical novel wrapped around historical facts. Selina Westgate, whose imaginary diary forms the content of this book, was born in the tiny village of Ripe at a period when the effects of the so-called evangelical awakening of the eighteenth century under the nationwide preaching of the Wesley brothers and their followers was still being strongly felt throughout the villages of Sussex. The inspiration for Selina's life comes through her mother's bedtime account, around the kitchen stove, of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon after whom she was named. While still in her teens she marries a local lad, Eli Page, and it is to a large degree her influence which turns him from the village trouble-maker into a hard working and very capable farmer. Whilst producing fourteeen children for her husband, Selina supports Eli not only in his ever increasing farming activities but also in his call by God to become firstly an itinerant preacher and then for twenty-eight years Baptist pastor in Mayfield. Eli‘s bold vision that a larger farm and more income would give him not less but more time for his service for God as a preacher, leads the family from Clifton Farm, Arlinglon, now Upper Dicker, to Limden Farm, Ticehurst 95 acres, and finally to Perching Manor Farm, Edburton 491 acres.


Thirteen of Selina’s children survive infancy and her patience, love and quiet but wise counselling, bathed in prayer, help them all to achieve maturity and to fulfill their own individual role in society. Perching Manor Farmhouse, under her management, becomes an open home where not only her children and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren, but also friends and the wider family love to resort for relaxation and encouragement.


Selina loves to share in her husband‘s pastoral and theological struggles and we see her in her humble way bringing simple, down-to-earth but often profoundly relevant comments into the discussions they have together.


The book is also saturated in interesting facts about nineteenth century Sussex; its countryside and wildlife as also it’s farming methods and country customs. Short chapters make it easy reading and despite not providing any devious plot to intrigue us, Selina’s account of her life with all it’s ups and downs absorbs our interest and not only carries us effortlessly through from cover to cover but leaves us crying out for a sequel.



Click below for excerpts from book

Eli Page   Eli’s call to preach    Women’s talk     Family Worries

A country ride   Contents of Book

Click below for excerpts from book

A country ride    Eli Page   Eli’s call to preach    Family Worries

Women’s talk   Contents of Book