Burley has records of several people who seem to have had a big influence on village life in the nineteenth century. They include a lawyer, a vicar, two head teachers, a cobbler, a butcher and a hermit.
Some Burley folk like to claim Sir William Watson, the poet, as a local character. There is a plaque to his memory on the side of the Queens Hall, near the memorial crosses for Fison and Forster, and there is a portrait of him in the Parish Council Office in the Queen’s Hall.
He was certainly born in Peel Place on 02 August 1858. His father was a tea dealer, but they left when William was in his infancy.
It is hardly likely that his poetry was ever influenced by his short stay in the village.
He died on 11 August 1935, at Ditchling, Sussex.