We return to the curious life of Parson Darby, whose gravestone says he was the sailor’s friend. Was he a hero? Was he helping the smugglers? Emily and Cole are keen to discover more about the local legend who spent his nights keeping a light alive in a hole in the cliffs near Birling Gap and Beachy Head, so visit historian and writer Elizabeth Wright in today’s episode, recorded on a hot summer’s day in 2019. Elizabeth plays valiant referee to Emily and Cole’s theorising and sparring, defends the parson with passionate eloquence and reveals a surprising twist in the tale, after being contacted by members of a family in the United States who claim to have links to the tragic, heroic Darbys.
On a lovely day, with far too many people about (according to Cole), we go in search of the truth about a local legend, Parson Darby. Just who was the vicar who spent hours sitting in a hole in a cliff shining a light? Where was that hole? Did he save lives? Help smugglers? Die of a broken heart? Another fascinating story from the Edge of England, uncovered and told by award-winning broadcasters Cole Moreton and Emily Jeffery.
In which we pick up with part two of the remarkable story of Parson Darby, his hole and his life-saving life. Cole and Emily go to find out the truth about this local legend from historian Elizabeth Wright, who reveals a surprising twist in the tale. Why did a young man turn up in France claiming to be the first-born son of the light keeper of Beachy Head? Why are there no records of his birth? What part did this mystery man play in the fight for an independent America? Are his modern relatives right to claim a link back to the tragic, heroic Darbys?