According to local legend, a child eating ogre in Brede Park was identified as the Sheriff of Surrey and Sussex, Sir Goddard Oxenbridge of Brede Place. Said to have stood seven foot tall (most likely just over 5 foot), he was also known as the Brede Giant. Oxenbridge died on 10 February 1531 and his tomb (constructed in 1537) can be found in the Parish Church of St George in Brede. Described as pious and generous, Sir Goddard was an usher at the funeral of King Henry VII and on 23 June 1509, Sir Goddard was one of twenty six honourable people made a Knight of the Bath marking the coronation of Henry VIII (Born 28 June 1491 – Died 28 January 1547) and Catherine of Aragon (Born 16 December 1485 – Died 7 January 1536).
According to ‘Black’s guide to the county of Sussex and its watering-places’ (1886), ‘Sir Goddard, ..is traditionally reported to have lived upon human flesh, with a particular relish for that of infants. Neither bow and arrow, nor axe, nor sword, nor spear, could slay this redoubtable giant, but some of the country folk about here succeeded at length in making him drunk, and sawing him in half with a wooden saw.’
The killing of the Ogre was thought to be on Stubb’s Lane, by Groaning Bridge, Brede Park.
It has been suggested that the story may have developed as Sir Goddard was a Catholic during a time when they were hated. Another suggestion about the story’s origin is that smugglers occupying Brede Place may have used the tale, as well other accounts of ghosts to frighten potentially nosy people away and keep their activities secret. The following extract is also from Blacks Guide (1886), ‘His house, about a century ago, was tenanted by a gang of smugglers, who, by inventing strange sights, and uttering unearthly noises, contrived very effectually to secure it to themselves, undisturbed by any over-curious hind.’