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Volume 7 – Summer 2001


Comments and Corrections

A brief review and provision of extra records about Anne Shuttleworth Streatfeild and her second husband, Richard Prime. (See Hindsight, Volume 6, Summer 2000).

“It is not known if by Licence or not” – Uckfield’s medieval borough and market
by Brian Phillips.

This skilful, careful, precisely drawn analysis by Brian Phillips seeks to establish whether a borough and market were extant in Uckfield before the late 18th Century.  21 different sources, documents and authorities have been consulted;  all appear to be supportive of the case.

Twelve burgesses are identified living during the Middle Ages.  However none were sufficiently wealthy to warrant taxation by the authorities at the ‘round shilling’ level.  None-the-less there are other pointers all indicating the need for further detailed research which may lead to more certainty for the hypothesis.  An intricate, detailed study searching into the bounds of distant time.

Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson (1726-1798)
by Simon Wright

Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson who, on marriage to Jane Weller, adopted for his heirs the addition Maryon making Maryon-Wilson the family name, rose from the status of a humble Ensign in the 8th Foot, to that of Lieutenant-General on retirement in 1782.

He served with distinction in Germany during the Seven Years War (1756-63) and received a commendation for gallantry.  He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel rank in 1761, serving later in Canada at the time of General Wolfe.

His marriage (1767) to the heiress of the Maryon and Weller estates in Essex, London and Kent enhanced his family’s status which had been in decline.  The couple settled in Uckfield, remaining for seven years.  Thereafter they moved to Charlton House, near Woolwich that had been recently vacated by the Earl of Ancram and where, in a private chapel, they had been betrothed.

The article details both the course of the Seven Year’s War and the personalities involved, noting Sir Thomas’ participation and subsequent progress to General’s rank.  He left the army on moving to Charlton House (Kent) but, ironically, was nominated by electors to stand for a Sussex parliamentary seat.  Coming second in the ballot he, and the winner, Lord George Lennox, became the two representatives for Sussex allowed by law.
He served until 1782, did not align himself to any particular political group and retired when Parliament was  dissolved.  

He withdrew from public and military life at the age of 60, living quietly at Charlton House until his death in 1798,  His Sussex estates were bequeathed to his heir, Sir Thomas Mary-Wilson, 7th Baronet who later became prominent in the life  of Uckfield and neighbouring district.

Dame Jane Wilson
by Simon Wright

This article is a companion to that recording the life of Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson who married Dame Jane (nee Weller) in 1767.  When he died she began enthusiastically to develop interests which had been life-long.  She did so with the positive and active support of Eliza and Millicent Rant who accompanied her on some of her journeys and recorded much of the shared experiences.  Dame Jane’s pursuits included a passionate interest in the natural environment, and a caring empathy with many of the poor, spectacularly evident in the victory celebrations following Waterloo.  Her travels throughout Britain amounted to some 3,000 miles by that year.

She collected examples of natural history; on her death in 1818   “…her magnificent … collection, the piece-de-resistance of which was a very fine coralline formed by insect architects in semblance of a mighty goblet”  was bequeathed to her youngest daughter.  She was the wife of Sir John Trevelyan;  he also had a similar collection and ‘the two combined are still to be seen at the Trevelyan home, Wallington in Northumberland’.    

Malting and Brewing in Uckfield in the 18th and 19th Centuries
by Dawn Harker

Of three breweries in Uckfield during the 19th Century, the Uckfield (and Newick) in Barefoot Square was the largest and the longest survivor.  The latter part of the Century saw the progressive decline in the industry during which first the Rose Brewery, short-lived and supplying the Slip Inn, and then the larger Lion Brewery in Framfield Road, ended production.  By 1900, it appears that the Lion property and the Alma Arms associated with it, had been taken over by Harvey’s Brewery of Lewes.  

The Malthouse, close to Holy Cross Church, was owned (or leased) first by John Whapman, and then by William Kenward succeeded by Edward, his son.  Dawn Harker hypothesises that its decline in importance followed the arrival of the railway in 1858*.  Today part of its premises are owned by the Kenward Trust – not directly associated with the family.  They support a drug user’s recovery and rehabilitation centre.  Other former brewery buildings in the town have similarly been found suitable for alternative uses:  stables, workshops, offices and a funeral parlour.  

The Uckfield industry was small compared to that of Lewes and Brighton;  however, it contained all three elements appropriate to an integrated industry:  use of local raw materials, local manufacture and local sale and distribution to pubs, taverns and coaching inns.
(*not 1848 as printed.)

A Sussex Family:  A brief history of a Markwick Family from Uckfield
by David Markwick.

The writer introduces several lines of the Markwick family all, apparently, stemming from a Richard Markwick who was baptised on 10th May 1761;  he married Mary Tutt in November 1784.  One son became a timber merchant, another an auctioneer.  Later male descendents entered the building trade, or became carpenters.  Another branch of Markwicks took up undertaking and in the days prior to the A22 by-pass construction, travellers entering Uckfield from the south, passed the business on the left, as they approached the railway crossing.  David Markwick recalls this when, as a child he asked his father whether there was a relative connection.  At the time he was told ‘No’.

Years later he investigated his family history and found a connection with the undertakers, and other branches of the Markwick family including a Charles Markwick (one of several of that name).  The latter was trained as a trooper in the Royal Fusiliers at Maresfield Park during the first world war.  Other branches of the family were identified at Barcombe, Hamsey near Lewes, and one line is found in the North-West of England.

The name Markwyck occurs in Leatherhead in the Middle Ages;  a Richard Markwyk was vicar of Little Horsted in 1381, and there is reference to Maurice de Markwyk in the Close Rolls of 1318.  
The author invites anyone with more detail to contact him

Anthony Saunders (1645-1720)
by Simon Wright

Anthony Saunders, benefactor of education in Uckfield and founder of a charity school for poor boys from Buxted and Uckfield, became Rector of Buxted in 1674.  This article focuses most of what is known about his career and discusses his contribution to the education of poor children in the district.  He may have founded a similar school for girls in Buxted;  the record is uncertain.

Matriculated at Wadham College, Oxford he subsequently graduated BA (1664), and MA (1667) at Christ Church College.  He received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity from Archbishop Sheldon in 1672.  Appointed one of several domestic chaplains to the Archbishop, he was collated to the Rectory at Buxted in 1674.  Oxford conferred a Doctorate of Divinity.  

Simon Wright outlines the factors contributing to  the establishment of the Uckfield school, and its endowment under Anthony Saunder’s Will.  He touches upon the matter of how this became one of the antecedents of Uckfield Grammar School.  

Anthony Saunders was clearly a clergyman of considerable attainments and ecclesiastical connections.  The writer reflects on the fact that he chose to remain a country parson when there was clearly the the possibility of his advancement in the Church’s  hierarchy.

A Family Firm – Tyhurst & Co of Uckfield  
by John Reginald Tyhurst

“On April 29th, 2000, Tyhurst & Co closed its doors for the last time after 142 years ….”.

These are the opening words of the article which discusses the family business begun by Henry Tyhurst.  The family was very poor.  Henry’s father died aged 39, when the boy, fifth of six children, was five years old.  In 1848 Henry married Eliza Avery, having learned the trade of brickmaker.  She died shortly after their first child was born;  sixteen months later Henry re-married, to Anne Potter.  The couple and their young family came to live in Uckfield in 1858.  

Soon after they were settled Henry entered into partnership with Benjamin Ware at that time developing his company in Ridgewood.  This association continued for several years before Ware opened a new site leaving Henry to develop his own at Union Point.

Henry’ next venture was to consolidate activity in Framfield Road, opening up a brickworks there in the 1880s and, by purchasing land in the vicinity, and  with the materials he manufactured, building terraces of small, modest houses.  These he sold, leased or rented, and later through an agency, provided house insurance.  

Henry’s son, Robert Francis succeeded his father, and in turn was later succeeded by a son named Robert Guy (known as Guy).  Father and son developed the business, building and selling houses and supplying the building trade.  They also sold coal, garden manure, and bean sticks.  

Guy continued the business after his father’s death in 1928, until he died in 1952.  The company was bought by E G Bailey, who traded under the name of Tyhurst Ltd, for the next 48 years.  The firm was sold in 2000 to Starnes, a Tunbridge Wells developer, thus ending its 142 year existence..

How Uckfield people celebrated the 1911 coronation
by Jennifer Belsham-Revell

Most of the population at the time (3,334) sat down to a celebration dinner at the Victoria Pleasure Ground when, on the second day of celebrations 2,700 people were served.  These festivities coincided with the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary (formerly Mary of Teck), on 22 June 1911.  The town was en fete for three days with services of thanksgiving at Holy Cross, and the Congregational Church on the Thursday and Friday, and a drumhead service on Sunday 25th June.  

There were processions, awards for the best dressed vehicle – one of which was a bicycle;  another was for the ‘Best Dressed House’.  A ‘Komik Kricket Match’ was held with the players processing to the town thereafter, there was dancing at the Pleasure ground in the evening, and a host of celebration sporting events for children and adults.

Despite bad weather, and heavy rain on one day, ‘Uckfield people refused to let it interfere with their participation and enjoyment’.  Events were marked by the “utmost decorum and good order” as one report said.  The influence of the occasion was further marked at the Musical Society’s concert on the following Wednesday.  The programme included Handel’s Coronation Anthem, Mendelssohn’s Cantata: Hymn of Praise, and Pomp and Circumstance No.1 by Elgar.  

Organisation was in the care of a Committee and several sub-groups, key parts being played by the Chairman, R. J. Streatfeild, and the Vice-Chairman, S. S. Avis.  Contributions were received from private citizens, and the Urban District Council, and the chief administrator was Mr Hart, of Dawson & Hart. When the final business management was complete, and the accounts wound up, Mr. Hart was presented with an inscribed salver and an album of photographs in acknowledgement of his contributiojn to the success of the festivities.

Richard Realf
by Sheila Smith

In the course of a relatively short life (1832-1878) Richard Realf was a footman, steward, secretary to a Brighton physician’s wife, associate of Lady Byron, companion revolutionary to John Brown the negro slave rescuer, soldier on the Union side in the American Civil War rising from private to lieutenant and  reverting to private thereafter, lecturer and jobbing workman.  Throughout this kaleidoscopic life, and during three marriages one of which ended in divorce with the former wife continually in pursuit, Realf wrote poetry.  His works are recorded by his American biographer, Colonel Richard Hinton who published his poems in 1898.  

Richard Realf was born in Framfield of parents who, in later life, lived at Buxted.  He married thirdly, Eliza Anne Whapham sister of his Uckfield brother-in-law, and died by his own hand in California in October 1878.

Uckfield in World War II  
by Simon Wright

In a short prelude Simon Wright explains that the text is taken (with permission) from a 72 page booklet ‘The War in East Sussex’ published by the Sussex Express in August 1945.  The pages relating to Uckfield Rural District are reproduced in full.  

The copy relates to the following incidents and others:

Villages and Farms bombed and shot up – attacks in the rural district  and on the ARP HQ in Crowborough.

The award of a George Medal to Rose Eade for a courageous act when Button’s Farm, Wadhurst was bombed.

The bombing of Pounsley Farmhouse, and Readings Farm near Framfield.

Damage to Hadlow Down School, and other places in the area.

The arrival of the flying bombs (doodlebugs).

The extracts end with reference to the good work carried out by the Civil Defence personnel and the County WVS “who promptly sent mobile canteens whenever they were needed.”

Tithes – a Tenth of Everything
by Jill O’Rourke

Tithe dues had their origins in the early church practices and the sharing of goods among Christians.  Jill O’Rourke gives a short summary of its main features, how they came to be part of civil law and were commuted to cash payments after the Act of 1836, being finally abolished one hundred years later

She then provides a short commentary upon three East Sussex tithe barns, two of which are extant.  That at Charleston was converted into a painter’s studio in the post-war period.  The Wilmington barn, at one time part of Wilmington Priory, collapsed and was finally demolished some years ago.  At Alciston the very large example is still in use at the farm.

Local Newspaper items from David Ridley’s collection
(undated but all 1880-1900)

A presentation at Nutley to a retiring police constable of a silver watch and pencil as a ‘token of esteem and regard of the inhabitants’.

The organisation of a flower, fruit and vegetable show on behalf of the Uckfield Cottage Hospital with a ‘welcome addition to it’s (the Hospital’s) funds’ when all expenses are paid.

A mad dog at large in Nutley

The Morris Family in Uckfield
introduced and annotated by Simon Wright

This is the second article about the Morris family and set of extracts from Robert Morris’ diary.  They relate to the first residential period beginning in July 1899 with the family’s arrival from Eastbourne to live at Fernhurst on the London Road, and concluding on 12 December 1907.

As with the earlier extracts (Volume 6 – Summer 2000), these show Robert Morris’ continuing interest in both local, national and international affairs.  The latter are represented by, among others, the commencement of the Boer War and the relief of Mafeking (1901), the strike and petition of Russian workers in St. Petersburg (1905), and the Russo-Japanese war (1905).  

Nationally the death of Queen Victoria is recorded, and the postponement of Edward VII’s coronation consequent upon his illness.  He refers to Christobel Pankhurst being removed from a political meeting, and the Women’ Suffrage Movement.  Locally there are entries about the activity and happenings of Uckfield people:  marriages, accidents, new motor cars and the completion of their garden.  

These are delightful vignettes of daily middle class life in a small East Sussex town just after the turn of the Century and before the first World War.  The annotating and brief interventions into the text by Simon Wright, add to the reader’s enlightenment and appreciation.  There remains a mystery:  what connection did the Morris family have with Wilfred Carter ?