The Dripping Pan
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|Full name||The Dripping Pan|
|Location||Mountfield Road, Lewes, East Sussex|
|Field size||110 x 72 yards|
The Dripping Pan is a football stadium in Lewes, England. It has been home to Lewes F.C. since their incarnation in 1885. It had previously been used by Lewes Priory Cricket Club, though the ground itself had been used by the people of Lewes as a centre for recreation as far back as records exist, including athletics.
The original purpose of the ground is unclear, although local legend suggests that it was part of a salt making industry run by monks from the adjacent Cluniac Lewes Priory, the ruins of which can still be seen from the ground. The spoil from the excavation forms the Mount behind the Clubhouse and both structures appear in the very earliest maps of Lewes in 1745.
Indeed, the ground may merely be the excavation pit for the Mount itself, which has been suggested as the original 'temporary' motte and bailey fortress constructed by William the Conqueror's close ally, William de Warenne, before he developed Lewes Castle on higher ground. An archaeological survey during construction of the new terrace failed to reveal any further insights into either the purpose or the age of the ground itself.
The earliest known use for cricket was 2nd Duke of Richmond's XI v Sir William Gage's XI on Wednesday, 5 August 1730. It is not clear if the game was started as the announcement states that "it was put off on account of Waymark, the Duke's man, being ill". Thomas Waymark was the outstanding player of the time and a lot of money will have been staked on his expected performance. Two earlier matches are known to have taken place in Lewes but the specific location in each case was not recorded. The first was towards the end of the 1728 season and was a proposed match between the 2nd Duke of Richmond's XI and Sir William Gage's XI. The second was in September 1729 when a combined Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire team played against Kent.
Lewes F.C. have played at the Dripping Pan every year since 1885, apart from a couple of seasons prior to the First World War when the club was banished to the adjoining Convent Field.
The Dripping Pan has seen major redevelopment over recent years in order for it to achieve the necessary ground grading to allow it to be used as a football venue in the Conference South and the Conference National. Developing the ground has had its obstacles as the perimeter walls of the Dripping Pan are listed.
In April 2008, the ground was awarded a 'B' grade allowing it to be used in the Conference National. The ground has been updated further to ensure it is awarded the required 'A' grade by April 2009.
The ground has one covered terrace, one uncovered terrace, a grass bank with walkway and a covered stand; with a capacity of 3,000 with seated accommodation for 600 in the Main Stand.
- Rookery Stand, opened in July 2007 is the newest stand at the ground, replacing the aged wooden South stand. It is a covered, all-seater stand.
- Ham Lane End is a newly built uncovered terrace on the east side of the pitch. During Lewes' season in the Conference Premier strict regulations meant away fans had to be segregated here. However, at the moment it is used by both home and away supporters.
- Philcox Terrace is a covered terrace for the home supporters which was opened in April 2003. From some areas of the terrace the view of one of the corner flags is obscured by the clubhouse.
- Grass Bank. There is one remaining grass bank at the Dripping Pan, opposite the Rookery. Spectators are permitted on the flat walkway on top of the bank, but the slope is fenced off.
There is a car park adjacent to the ground, with limited parking, which is run by the council and not owned by the club.
- Waghorn (CS), p. 1.
- Maun, p. 43.
- Wilson, p. 44.
- McCann, p. 8.
- Waghorn (DC), p. 7.
- Wilson, p. 50.
- Maun, Ian (2009). From Commons to Lord's, Volume One: 1700 to 1750. Roger Heavens. ISBN 978-1-900592-52-9.
- McCann, Tim (2004). Sussex Cricket in the Eighteenth Century. Sussex Record Society.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1899). Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730–1773). Blackwood.
- Waghorn, H. T. (1906). The Dawn of Cricket. Electric Press.
- Wilson, Martin (2005). An Index to Waghorn. Bodyline.