Albino's Memorial

Dragon's Green, Sussex

Though not an actually a grave, the tombstone standing outside the George and Dragon public house at Dragon's Green near Horsham recalls a sad incident in the village's not too distant past.

Walter, the son of the joint landlords, Alfred and Charlotte Budd, was born an albino in February 1867. His physical peculiarities were compounded by epilepsy, and together these joint disadvantages ensured he was the constant object of scorn amongst his peers. When accused, probably falsely, of petty theft his constitution cracked, and he committed suicide by drowning himself. He was buried in Shipley churchyard, his grave being marked by a marble cross bearing these words....

"In loving memory of Walter, the Albino son of Alfred and Charlotte Budd. Born February 12th 1867. Died February 19th 1893. May God forgive those who forgot their duty to him who was just and afflicted"

The vicar, the Rev Gorham, took this final sentence as a personal insult and ordered the memorial to be removed. Being a free house and therefore unfettered by brewery regulations, the parents retaliated by placing the cross on full public view outside their pub, complete with a notice explaining their actions. Shortly after this the Rev. Arkle took over the parish. He too found the situation disturbing, ordering the removal of two wreaths now placed on the unmarked grave by sympathetic relatives. His name was then added to the role of honour displayed outside the hostelry, which now read....

This cross was erected on the grave in Shipley churchyard and removed by order of H. Gorham, vicar. Two globe wreaths were placed on the grave by friends, and after being there for two years were removed by E. Arkle, following vicar.

Location

The memorial is still outside the public house situated at Dragon's Green, between Horsham and Shipley.