Left: The little pump-house, with its lovely twiddly gothic ironwork, next to a stone basin beside it, which was once used a sheep wash (see "Ruskin's Spring"). Right: The inscription on its side: "HE SENDETH SPRINGS / INTO THE VALLEYS / WHICH RUN AMONG / THE HILLS / OH THAT MEN WOULD / PRAISE THE LORD / FOR HIS GOODNESS"

Ruskin's Spring and Fountain, Fulking, Sussex. Arthur Mee described Fulking as "one of the charming little dells in Sussex by the sea, where nothing seems to have happened except that John Ruskin used to love to see the sunsets here and helped people to solve the problem of how to get water" (170). Apparently, knowing of his visits to the place, the villagers had solicited his advice: "The request was a strange one, but Ruskin began to think what could be done, and in the end devised a scheme which has given Fulking as much water as it can ever hope to consume. Works have of course been required, but they did not cost very much, and they certainly do not disfigure the locality" (qtd. in Works, Vol. 34).

The escarpment above the village, where Ruskin must have seen the sunsets. The view is from a path near the spring.

Left: Fountain, erected in about 1886 in honour of Ruskin: "TO THE GLORY OF GOD / AND IN HONOUR OF JOHN RUSKIN / PSALM XXVIII / "That they might see their hope / in God / and not forget / But keep his Commandments / who brought Streams also / out of the Rock." Right: looking along the village road.

The villagers were so grateful that they erected a fountain to Ruskin, as shown above. However, Ruskin does not seem to have enjoyed the tribute. He wrote to tell his friend Henry Willett in Brighton that the inscription grieved him, "for it made my name far too conspicuous, nor did I feel that the slightest honour was owing to me in the matter" (qd. in Works 37). However, it seems appropriate that he should be remembered for his contribution to the village, and the structures that resulted add to the attractions of this lovely spot on the edge of the South Downs. The fountain is Grade II listed.

Photographs in the second row by Anthony McIntosh, and available for reuse under the terms of this Creative Commons Licence. Many thanks! Captions, commentary and remaining photographs by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Sources

McIntosh, Anthony. "Ruskin Drinking Fountain." Public Sculptures of Sussex. Web. 6 May 2013.

Mee, Arthur. Sussex: The Garden by the Sea.. The King's England series. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1937.

Ruskin, John. The Works of John Ruskin, Vol. 34. Edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. Library Edition. London: George Allan, 1908. Internet Archive. Web. 6 May 2013.

Ruskin, John. The Works of John Ruskin, Vol. 37. Edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. Library Edition. London: George Allan, 1908. Internet Archive. Web. 6 May 2013

"Ruskin's Spring." Springs, Spouts, Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malvern Hills. Web. 6 May 2013


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Last modified 6 May 2013