Sussex author inspires Rusper vicar to write book

Drawing by Rev Nick Flint, rector of Rusper and Colgate parish, taken from his book Cautionary Pilgrim
Drawing by Rev Nick Flint, rector of Rusper and Colgate parish, taken from his book Cautionary Pilgrim

A parish vicar has written and illustrated a book taking a humorous walk through the Sussex countryside.

Rev Nick Flint, rector of the Rusper and Colgate parish, has penned Cautionary Pilgrim inspired by a book written by the Sussex author Hilaire Belloc more than a century ago.

Belloc wrote Four Men, which saw him walk a trail around the two counties with four imaginary companions.

Nick explains: “His story it very much based on ‘where’s the next pub?’. There’s a lot of drinking and thinking. The three other men are believed to be characters who are aspects of his personality.

“I’m Sussex born and bred and I’ve always wanted to do it. It’s a long held ambition.

“I walked it over six days walking in the opposite direction. Some of the information in the book is a straight telling of what happened. Some if it is embellished and reimagined, so there are bits about my life and my family in a general sense.

“There are some stories around Sussex folklore and some I have completely made up.”

The book is all in the first person with conversations with three imaginary companions and the people he meets along the way.

He said: “I specifically made one of the characters, a priested minister figure. That’s a homage to a lot of the people who have mentored me.

“There are some specific people who I know are in it. It’s a tribute to them.”

When he went to get his book published the publisher discovered he was not the first literary rector in his village.

In 1920 a previous rector, Rev Edward Fitzgerald Synnott, wrote ‘Five Years of Hell in a Country Parish’.

Nick said: “The story there is a record of 100 years ago when the village was a feudal set up. Everyone knew exactly where they were and everything ticked along.

“(The rector) was a Northern Irishman - a no nonsense man. He rubbed up the title people in the village the wrong way.

“It was a small village and it became personal.”

Ever since Nick started leading the parish 17 years ago, has always joked he would write one.

As a result of his book that has now been republished.

Nick’s book can be purchased online at