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Lots has happened in the past in Horsted Keynes and courtesy of a number of correspondents and with the special assistance of the Women's Institute, we present here a collection of pictures and description of events in our history.
All pictures on this page are available for full quality download. Click the picture then click "Save picture as".
Where available we have included a copy of the group photographs with the names shown - Much of this information comes from 60 year old scraps of paper and may well contain errors. If you see any please do contact the webmasters.

The Queen visits the village Horsted Keynes War Years Mr. and Mrs. Pelling Silver Jubilee Day 1935
Real Sussex Recipes Broadhurst Beagles Mr. and Mrs. Chalmers Mrs. Benson and Miss Tait
Mr. and Mrs. Tidey Treemans Boxes Lane Newly Built Giles Moores' World


Her Majesty The Queen makes surprise* visit to Horsted Keynes

Click here to see Movietone film of the queen's visit to Horsted Keynes.

And just found - here is the alternative Pathé coverage of the same event!

During the war, as a way to save petrol and film stock the cinema newsreels co-operated with their coverage of minor events so as here we have the same (or similar) footage with a different style  commentary. Movietone tended to be the more "formal plumb in mouth BBC" whereas Pathé opted for a "Sky or ITN" style, often as here, bringing rather more humour to the situation. 

Depending on your computer these old films may just play or you may need to play them manually.
We have better quality versions in different formats if required.


November 8th 1939

Horsted Keynes: The Queen walks up St. Gile's Church path. Is that you in the foreground?

Horsted Keynes: Inside the village hall the Queen watches some early motherhood classes! Is the little girl you?

The Queen heads up the Church path towards the school. Some bow, some look at the camera.

In the village hall with "Shirley".

Are you the little lad in front of the picture above who is mentioned in the rather jovial Pathe commentary, or are you in any of the other pictures? If so please get in touch with the webmasters.

Were you evacuated to Horsted Keynes? If so please do contact us - we may be able to reunite you with your friends.

Horsted Keynes: Her Majesty watching evacuees "Digging for Victory" behind the village hall.
The Queen watches some of the Battersea boys "Dig For Victory" behind the village hall.

(If you are young we will remind you that this was not our present Queen but the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.)

The Green, Horsted Keynes.
EVERY TUESDAY 4.30pm - 7.15pm

* Judging by the number of cars parked around the village and the number of people gathered near the village green, as shown on the above films, the "surprise" visit can't have been that great a secret!

The Queen yesterday paid a surprise* visit to Horsted Keynes, a small Sussex village a few miles from Haywards Heath when she saw evacuated children at work and play.

Her Majesty had asked to be shown a typical reception area, and the authorities selected Horsted Keynes, where there are 140 Battersea children with two head teachers and 10 teachers. Plans for the visit had been kept from the children and the villagers.

The Queen was received by Lord De La Warr, President of the Board of Education, and was taken first to the village hall, which has been lent for use as a school for the smaller evacuated children, aged three to seven. In the hall the Queen showed particular interest in a group of little girls who were playing at "mothers". Going up to a four year old girl named Shirley, who was bathing a baby doll, the queen told her to not forget to wash behind its ears. "Oh yes," replied Shirley, and began to scrub the ears.

Next the Queen went to the home of Mr. I. Montiefiore who has placed a large hut in his grounds at the disposal of the older evacuated boys. The Queen saw the boys doing physical exercises, and later visited allotments where they were gardening.

At the village school which the older evacuated boys are sharing with the local children during part of the day, the Queen saw the boys having their midday meal, which is cooked and served by voluntary workers. She expressed great interest in the needlework of the girls, who are embroidering views of the village on canvas. The queen also visited the Balham Nursery School, which has been evacuated to Birch Grove House, Chelwood Gate, the residence of Lady Dorothy Macmillan.

The Daily Express of November 9th. 1939 led on the story the Hitler had escaped an explosion in a beer cellar but also found room for our village.



A newly found photo of the evacuees outside the village hall. Courtesy of Ray Ward.
There is a larger picture showing more of the children further down this page.

I went to Horsted Keynes on the first of September 1939, as a evacuee from Battersea, I was seven years old, I went to live with a Mr Mrs Pumprey in one of the cottages opposite the village school. I stayed with them until my mother was injured in an air raid and she came to the village to live we stayed at Hamsland cottage with George and Margaret Alcorn.

I remember that we met the Queen Mother in the village hall, that was our first classroom in the village I was writing a letter home and the Queen read it.

There were lots of soldiers in the village and I remember that one Christmas the American soldiers took us to there camp for a Christmas party.

I have many happy memories of the time I lived in the village and we often drive down and have walk to the church.

I hope this letter is of interest to you.

My name then was Lily Vine, it is now Easton.


Did you ask for information?

We now have an overhead view of the old drill hall in Station Road  click here to see, but could still do with more firm information.

If you have first hand local knowledge then a professional researcher has asked to hear from you.

Unfortunately since writing the above we have tried to contact him as we have been offered some good information but the email address we were given for contact is redundant.

If you are the researcher who originally asked for our help please email us as soon as possible.


September 2008

I was one of the children evacuated to Horsted Keynes in Sept 1939. My brother and I were billeted with Mr. & Mrs Tidy at Trevor Cottage. As 69 years have passed since that time,I decided to try and do some research, as I remember the visit by the Queen. .I have visited your website and found a picture of us digging for victory which I thought was taken in the grounds of Mr.Montiefiore on who's grounds Mr Tidy worked as a gardener.

I was 12 years old when we went to Horsted Keynes, and I have some good memories of my time there. After the war when my brother got married he invited Mr & Mrs Tidy to the wedding in London.

I suppose I could rack my brains for more memories, but unfortunately I am getting a bit long in the tooth now.

Ray Ward

Better copy of the Battersea Boys Evacuated to Horsted Keynes in WWII  (Click the picture for larger size view)

Ray Ward sent an old photo of the evacuees from Battersea. He says "From memory this was taken I think at Valley Holme or could have been taken somewhere in the village. I think this may be of some interest to you for your website."
It certainly is! As usual to see the detail just click the photo. Don't forget you can make any photo appear larger to see more details by clicking the bottom right of your browser window.
Chris Anderson has now supplied a better quality copy of the above picture if you would care to look at it closer just click the picture.

An interesting letter from the time and an address in
Valley Holme Cottage, Horsted Keynes.

Another picture from Chris Andrews showing her father Arthur Simpson (tall lad at the back) and some of the boys at Horsted Keynes. (Click picture to see full size). Chris has other pictures from the era and can be contacted at

Another picture supplied by Chris Andrews showing
the queen in that November 1939 field.

My name is Elsie Margaret Barley (nee Wisdom) and was evacuated to Horsted Keynes on the 1st September 1939 and stayed there for three and a half years. I would love to contact anyone who was there at that time especially Roy Ward or Lily Vine.

I remember an Ivy Didcott and Kitty Sleeman. Kitty stayed at the Mc Millan's house. Another name I recall was Ronald Roland whom I met at the school at Haywards Heath. I had with me my three brothers Ron Wisdom, Derek Wisdom who stayed at the Turner Stores who owned the Crown pub opposite and my third brother Jeff who was billeted with me at Council Cottages.

Text of the postcard on the right reads: 'Dear Mum I got your letter today thank you for the comics. Dad sent me a letter today. I am going to write to him. Well hope you are all write (his spelling was never too good) Good by (next word I cannot make out at all) from your ever loving son Arthur xxxx

Another evacuee would like to correspond with his old friends. Please contact Tom Simpson via . Seems Tom was at the event when the Queen visited but can't see himself in any of the pictures!

Postcard sent by a schoolboy from the village in 1939. The front picture of the village in wartime is shown here.


Thanks to Barry Franks we can show a picture of the village VE Day tea.
More details soon - Unfortunately we are having software problems at present!

 Horsted Keynes Rectory in 1940

Here is a picture of  Horsted Keynes Rectory in 1940. Now much extended and called The Old Rectory. Princess Diana visited here by helicopter when looking for somewhere to live before her marriage to Prince Charles. She was apparently advised that there were security problems if she were to move there.
In the picture are (from left to right)
Mrs. Dora Christian Maycock, (née Sinker)
Dr. Christopher Hugh Maycock, b May 1937, now retired GP in Crediton, Devon
The Revd. Herbert Guy Maycock, Rector of Coates in Gloucestershire, son of Canon Maycock. Rector of Horsted Keynes from 1909 - 1915.
Mrs. Dora Blamire Sinker (née Young) widow of Provost John Sinker of Blackburn Cathedral, mother of Dora Maycock

With thanks to Christopher Maycock for the photo and details of the people pictured.


Village War Years

The war years were busy and dark in Horsted Keynes [It's not much lighter now!] as in other villages. we were a reception area and soon we had Battersea school children and others in our homes (quiet a number have stayed with us which says a lot for our village).


Like other communities Horsted Keynes had its own ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Wardens. Their jobs were various but they are perhaps best known for checking the blackout which was strictly imposed. Miscreants who showed a light that might be useful to enemy bombers were fined or even imprisoned!

Perhaps a visit from the lady sitting on the right hand end at the front was not so unwelcome! If you click on the picture of the man top left you will see a larger view which shows that it has been doctored with the face superimposed on another body. Any idea why this was done?

If you are specially interested you can get a full quality copy by clicking the picture to open it full size, then right click "save as".

Horsted Keynes ARP Wardens. Click below for a copy with the members names attached.
Click picture above for a full size copy, or click HERE for a copy showing many of the wardens names. We have recently amended the names in line with readers recollections

Horsted Keynes First Aid Volunteers. Click below for a copy of the picture with members names.
Click the picture for full size copy or HERE for the group's names, together with some extra notes by Nick Turner.


Now on the left we take a look at the war time village "First Aid Group". We are not sure of their duties, but if you are here we would welcome a short article describing your typical day. No enemy aircraft were shot down in the Parish during hostilities although neighbouring areas were not so fortunate with several temporary airfield nearby. During 1944 we were on the edge of "buzz bomb alley" with many V1 flying bombs flying overhead heading towards London. These sounded like an old car without a silencer as they used an Argus pulse engine that oscillated at about 40 - 60 Hz. [You can see an article and picture of its successor the aurora spy plane flying over the village here]


There was also an A.F.S. unit in the village led by Mr. Lucas the local builder in Bonfire Lane who obtained a somewhat vintage fire engine which distinguished itself by pumping for many hours when Barcome Mills burnt down before the war.
He also built a fire station next to his yard to house it and together with his green van carried the brigade to incendiary bombing fires etc.

In addition there were a number of housewives etc. who were recruited and trained as Fire Watchers and who were supplied with a rudimentary steel helmet and stirrup pump with which to tackle the conflagration.

(If you have a photo of the A.F.S. members please get in touch)



Finally for now we see one village families celebrations on May 8th 1945 which was V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day when for us hostilities ceased.

The picture shows Mr. and Mrs. Joe Awcock and friends celebrating the end of hostilities. We like the impromptu "Churchill salute" on the left hand side!

Horsted Keynes: The Awcock family on VE Day.


The Village and Sign at the end of the '50's

Horsted Keynes: 1960

Horsted Keynes: 1960

Now a couple of colour postcard views dating back to the very late 1950's. Has the village changed much? The butcher's shop isn't there and the church in the distance hasn't yet been converted to a house.

The new village sign was erected shortly before the picture was taken. Metalwork Reg Cook, Ardingly Blacksmiths, and Bob Fry. Woodwork Harry Payne (Snr.). Masonry Tom Farmfield. Painting Bob Fry. General Assistance Will Walden, Stan Turner.

The timber for the post and sign board was given by Busleys the timber merchants. The sign was designed by Bob Fry but Peter Cook suggested and carried out some improvements to the metalwork.


Local characters - Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Pelling
Picture of a villager with an interesting history. The caption, written by Phyllis Aitkens,
speaks for itself and is presented as written.

Horsted Keynes: One of the last Sussex poachers (unless YOU know better)!

Alf was born in West Hoathly one of a large family that nominally worked in the woods, but the menfolk were some of the craftiest poachers in Sussex. Alf boasted in his old age to belonging to one of the last gangs of “game runners” between the Weald and London. He served several prison sentences – on one occasion he knocked a policeman unconscious - put him in his own cart, and drove to Lewes jail!

He was the terror of the children going to school for he would roar like a bull – But when he sat in ones garden with a pewter pot of draught cider he was good company indeed, there was nothing he did not know about the wild creatures of the woods.

The keepers couldn’t like him – he was too much like hard work for them – but he had many friends and the village was the poorer for his passing.

Mrs. Pelling was a gentle little lady, a wonderful cook, her cottage was spotless and her home brewed wine was delicious.

Phyllis Aitkens.


Here direct from Horsted Keynes Women's Institute record book we find Mrs. Pelling's 100 year old recipe for Dandelion Wine. Written in Mrs. Pelling's own hand, we have tried to decipher the text correctly, but cannot be responsible for the potency of the result!

Dandelion Wine

To make 9 gallons of wine:-

Boil 27 qts. of flowers in 9 gallons of water for an hour.
Strain and boil again with 13lbs of best Demerara sugar,
10 hops, half a pond of brown ginger, orange and lemon peel to taste.

Slice 18 oranges (Seville) and 12 lemons, add to sugar etc. and boil for 20 minutes.
Remove from fire and when blood warm add a little brewers yeast.
Strain again before putting into a barrel.
Allow to work 3 or 4 days before bunging tight.

Bottle in 6 months.

Mrs. Alfred Pelling


Silver Jubilee Day 1935

The village was certainly en-fate in 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and his consort Queen Mary. Four pictures from this time, which because of their quality we have not uploaded in full quality. If you would like a copy please drop the webmasters a line or give us a ring.

Horsted Keynes: Nellie Tester being crowned 1935.
Above we see Nellie Tester being crowned May Queen by Lady Rachel Egerton no less!

(Another photo from the day here)

On the right the village green is put to use for Maypole dancing. Isn't the Maypole still in the school?

Horsted Keynes: Maypole dancing on the green 1935.

Horsted Keynes: Listening to the 1935 Jubilee broadcast.
This picture is titled "Listening to the Broadcast" which leads one to assume that radio had reached the village by 1935. It is easy to see the three phase electricity poles!

Horsted Keynes: The Green on Jubilee Day 1935
Finally a general view of the village green in 1935.




1933 - The Broadhurst Beagles

Horsted Keynes: Broadhurst beagles. Just look at the state of the grass on the green. Not a mower in sight!

Hunted by Captain James Stobart for about 12 years. The beagles gave much pleasure in the village and the young people went out with them.

Interesting to note that the electricity poles are conspicuous by their absence, so power must have arrived in the two years between 1933 and 1935! Apparently some of the village got electric light before it got electric power. This might explain why some older village homes still have sockets wired up to their lighting circuits - dangerous!

In the background is The Green Man Inn said to stand on the site of an old workhouse. But certainly the village stocks stood on the green in front of it.

The cottage that stands next to the inn is part of the old building - as well as the back of the inn and the old fire place.

The pole in the far left carries telephone wires. The "trunk" circuit ran from Haywards Heath to Uckfield through the village there was a telephone amplifier hut at the top of the village. We are still attached to the Uckfield exchange which is some 15 miles away!

Horsted Keynes: Another view of the Beagles looking down the green.


Some more Women's Institute Recipes
All are said to be "Real Sussex"

Punch - (As served at The Crown Inn)

6 lumps of sugar,
Half lemon thinly sliced,
Quarter egg spoon nutmeg,
                                                           1 gill of shrub, [Orange, lemon, rum, sugar, water]
1 gill brandy,
1 gill rum,
Boiling water to taste,

Sugar, lemon, nutmeg to be put into a warm bowl and crushed with a little hot water (NOT wooden spoon).

Shrub, rum, brandy, mixed in jug -
Boiling kettle (of about 3 pints) -

Pour both together into bowl, letting the water fall onto the spirits as they pour in.

Mrs. Reuben Baker

Pot Pourri

Rose Leaves, dark red and coppery pink (8 yellows)
Caruatious Clove
Sweet Peas - Hues for colours,
Lay leaves on flat surface, sprinkle a little Bay salt - leave for a day or two keeping not stuck together.
Next sprinkle some Orris powder mixed with allspice powder.

When all is quite dry add bits of fine lemon peel (dried),
lavender, vertua leaves, Bay leaves, sweet geranium, all dried and broken.

Stick a Seville orange or tangerine with cloves and dry in a cool oven. Then mix.

(Used by P. Aitkens – Strouds)


Boil the stalks of Angelica in water till they are tender and then put them in other warm water and cover them.
Let them stand over a gentle fire till they become very green, then lay on a cloth to dry.
Take the weight in fair sugar with a little rose water, and boil it to a candy height,
put in the stalks, and boil them up quick.

Then take them out and dry them for use.

John Nott 1723 – Cook to Duke of Bolton (Used by Mrs. A. Gifoes)

Rosemary Tea

One pint of boiling water poured on one ounce of young tips – or sage may be used.

For a sore throat or cough – Sage

Pour a pint of boiling water on a handful of sage leaves and when moderately cool add a little vinegar and honey.
Take a teaspoonful at a time and also use as a gargle.

Mrs. A. Gifoes.


Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Chalmers.

Horsted Keynes: Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Chalmers outside The Crown Inn in 1923
1922 - Mr. and Mrs. Chalmers "Jack in the Green"
Mrs. Chalmers trained local children in songs and dance.

Came to live at Cheeleys, Horsted Keynes, after the first world war which was a most fortunate thing for Sussex and for us. Mr. Chalmers became Hon. Secretary to the Sussex Archaeological Society and did some wonderful work for them. In the village he was elected Church Warden, at Miss. Marshall’s death, and for the newly formed Horsted Keynes Women’s Institute he gave a lecture every year to a packed hall on such divers subjects as “History Of Our Village”, “Six Roads” and "Sussex in the Iron Age”, etc.

With Mrs. Chalmers (the daughter of Sir. Frank and Lady Benson) he brought new life again to the village after the War Years with “May Day Revels and Drama”.

Mr. Chalmers died in 1928 and then Mrs. Chalmers left the village often returning to entertain us or speak at Women’s Institute meetings.

She is now Mrs. Richard Kelly.


"Land of Hope and Glory" author's connection with Horsted Keynes

Mrs. Benson and Miss Tait

Esteemed meeting at Horsted Keynes: Mrs Davidson, A.C. Benson who wrote "Land of Hope and Glory",  Miss Tait, Archbishop Davidson - The Archbishop of Canterbury, Mrs. Benson, Mrs. Cooper.
The above photo which was taken in the garden at Treemans in the Summer of 1911, comes from a magazine article.

Lived for some years at Treemans [see later article]. Miss Benson was the widow of Archbishop Benson a most loving and lovable person she had a most beautiful sense of humour. Her bible study talks were a great joy and help to the village.

Her sons A.C. (Who wrote "Land of Hope and Glory") E.F. and R.H. Benson mention the village and their old house they all loved so much, in several of their books.

Miss Tait a daughter of Archbishop Tait and a life long friend of the family lived with them until Mrs. Benson’s death in 1918 when she moved to Ludwell which had just been enlarged and restored by Mrs. C.B.O. Clarke. Archbishop and Mrs. Davidson were regular viitors both to Treemains and Ludwell.

Beth Cooper, in the photo, is buried in St Giles Churchyard where there is a memorial to her in the church. (The Benson Society made a trip to Horsted Keynes several years ago and had tea at Treemans, and visited St Giles and Beth's grave.) Beth was Mrs. Benson's nurse when she was a child and stayed with her to become the beloved nurse to Mrs. Benson's 6 children. Three of the Benson sons became writers - most famous was E.F. Benson, whose MAPP AND LUCIA series of novels is still in print.

The brothers Benson
A. C. Benson. Aged 51.
R. H. Benson. Aged 42.
E. F. Benson. Aged 46.
Photo by H. Abbott, Lindfield
From Project Gutenberg "Hugh" by Arthur Christopher Benson
Selected Poetry

Land of Hope and Glory

Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned.
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'reign brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider
Shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet.

Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.

Arthur C Benson (1862 - 1925)

Click this line to hear Dame Clara Butt singing an original version in 1911 (mp3 484Kb)

Note, from your webmasters. We just love the different pace and phraseology of this version of "Land of Hope and Glory". It quite simply makes sense of the words, where the version sung at the "Last Night of the Proms" does not. Do please listen, and yes we appreciate that the orchestra sounds like a group of musicians dragged in after a long session in The Green Man, but still an historic recording now well over 100 years old!



Horsted Keynes: Treemans looking West in 1932.

Horsted Keynes: Treemans looking South East photographed in 1932.

Looking West                   Historic Treemans photographed in 1932             Looking South East
The house is now used by a large riding stables.

The old 17th Century manor house of Treemans (pronounced Trem-ans) lies to the South of Horsted Keynes with the avenue of ancient Scotch firs, and was originally owned by the Wyatt family, infamous in the days of Elizabeth
1st, and famed for poetry and statesmanship.

The small wing of grey stone was built by Thomas Wyatt, kinsman of the poet. The rest of the brickwork was completed in the 17th century.

The interior is mostly panelled in oak, partly Elizabethan and partly William and Mary, with large open fireplaces backed with old Sussex ironwork. In one of the chimneys a small chamber still exists which is said to have been used as a priest hiding place or "priest hole".

One large room is thought to have formed the upper part of the original great hall with its ancient beams and vaulted roof, presumably dated back to the 14th or 15th century. The whole property is described by A.C. Benson, author of "Land of Hope and Glory", elder son of Archbishop Benson whose widow lived at Treemans for many years, as “An almost incredibly picturesque house”.


Mr. and Mrs. Tidey married in 1926

Mrs. Tidey was nurse in the Harmsworth family and Mr. Tidey was gardener. The reception was given by Mr. and Mrs. V. Harmsworth at Valley Holme, Horsted Keynes. This house features above in the village of Her Majesty the Queen in 1939.

Mr. Tidey acted as sidesman in the church. They lived in a house opposite Lincoln Cottage.

It seems that most of the village were at the reception so a full quality copy is available by clicking the picture. If you can identify the guests please get in touch.

Horsted Keynes: The wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Tidey in 1926.


Newly Built - Boxes Lane Estate, Horsted Keynes.

Horsted Keynes: Boxes Lane as built in 1955. A most unusual subject for a postcard, but very interesting to us is this view of newly built estate of houses in Boxes Lane. We would guess the date as 1955, if you can be more accurate please get in touch.In the past this area of land was an orchard beside Boxes Farm with a hovel in the corner occupied by a lady who bred donkeys. A road ran in from the left of this picture leading directly from Ludwell to the village bakery in what is now Lewes Road. Part of this road still exists at the back of the gardens in Sugar Lane, and the rest continues as a public footpath. In some places the old road has been buried under tons of garden rubbish!
You can see how the village roads used to be in 1842 here.


Giles Moore's World

From the 1950's we go back more than 300 years for the last item on this page. Development work reveals part of the rectory which The Reverend Giles Moore mentions in his day book or journal, which is a fascinating read, and which we hope to feature on this web site in the future. These pictures were taken by Mrs. Holt of the Sussex Archaeological Society who provided the date information here.

Part of the east wall of the old Rectory exposed during demolition in 1971 showing late Elizabethan bricks.

The well uncovered during demolition inside the house. Money spent by Giles Moore on the well and its mechanism is on page 202 of his Journal.

The inside of the barn in the field south of the Churchyard. The picture shows the east-west wing believed to be late 16th or early 17th century.

The wing running south declared to be fifty years later in date. This must have been built when Giles Moore was rector and probably was the cart lodge which he describes on page 30 of his journal.


Even more updates

We have received a large amount of information about the history of the village from former resident Bob Fry and will try to incorporate these additions as we update each page. We ask readers to indulge us as the updates may take some time to complete.

We have many Megabytes of images waiting to be coded and uploaded to the web site.
Most of the pictures have not been seen for many, many years. Please look back!

The ISP that we recommend and use.


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