© Uckfield and District Preservation Society Ltd.          Registered Office - 47 Roman Way, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 1UY  All rights reserved.   Company Registered in England Number 04471316    Registered Charity No 1102573         webadmin@udps.co.uk
Volume 2 – Summer 1996


Hindsight Volume One was sold out!  The editor is immeasurably grateful to all who have researched and written articles about the history of Uckfield and surrounding district.  Please continue writing about your own families and their life in Sussex.

The Ashdown Forest Project
by Dr. Richard L. C. Jones, Project Co-ordinator.

Getting up full steam for the winter of 1996/97, this is a note of an ambitious project, co-ordinated by the Sussex Archaeological Society.  The purpose is to thoroughly investigate, identify and plot the influence of man on Ashdown  Forest over time.  Several features are well-known:  the Gill’s Lap tumulus, sections of the Roman road, and a fort to the east of Chelwood Gate.  The project aims to search out more, for example evidence of the pre-historic landscape, earthworks, and post-medieval enclosures.  Professionals will  be involved in liaison, but volunteers – on whom the project will depend – will be very welcome.  Make contact. 01273 – 474610

John Batchelor
by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

John Batchelor was born in 1854 at No.6 White Rails, Uckfield, son of the parish clerk.  At the age of nineteen years he became convinced that he should devote his life to missionary work.  He joined the Church Missionary Society, then based in Islington and, after initial training, linked up with a  group bound for the Far East.

His first ‘posting’ was to the northernmost island in the Japanese archipelago:  Hokkaido.  Landing at Hakodate, the chief port, he travelled on to Piratori, the region settled by an aboriginal tribe called Ainu;  the Japanese considered them barbarians.  He established a friendship with  the headman of the tribe, Penri  and eventually persuaded his wife Crosia to become a Christian.  Penri did not, but raised no objection.  This initial journey started the first of many years of residence in the region, aimed at converting the Ainu.

John Batchelor learned the Ainu language, translated the first three gospels into it, together with other religious material.  (His memoirs record that the language eventually became unused and replaced by Japanese.)  He also supported and strengthened the Christian traditions at Sapporo, the principal town and seat of the provincial prefecture.  Throughout almost 70 years of commitment he fostered the founding of schools, Christian groups, and the missionary work amongst the Ainu.  On leave in England in 1889 he visited Uckfield.  He told the Parochial School children about his work in Hokkaido and among the Ainu people.

In 1883 he married Louisa Andrews, the daughter of a district clergyman.  Although she was eleven years older than Batchelor, the marriage was successful and she brought great strength and support to his work, assisting with bible teaching and setting up girl’s schools.

Public recognition of his work happened in 1909 when he received the Japanese Government’s Award of the Sacred Treasure, Fourth Class.  In the following year he was presented to the Emperor Meiji at an official garden party.  In 1933 he received the Sacred Treasure Award, Third Class, and in 1937, the OBE (member of the Order of the British Empire).  

During the previous year his wife had died, aged 93.  Sir Hugh writes of her that  “She was clearly a tough and intrepid lady, putting up with many discomforts and difficulties in support of her husband in his endeavours on behalf of the Ainu.”  His niece (Miss Andrews) joined him in Hokkaido thereafter, to help him in his scholarly work.  He remained there until 1941 when he, and his niece were forced to leave, returning to England via Canada.

Throughout his lifetime’s work among the Ainu he became successively a deacon and an ordained priest.  He was awarded a Doctorate, and Sir Hugh says he is   “… rightly revered   “  in Hokkaido, where his house in Sapporo has been preserved as a Batchelor museum.  He died in England, at his home in Hertford, in 1944.

The Hogge House
by Edward Teesdale

Although Ralphe Hogge was reputedly the first cast iron cannon maker in England, Edward Teesdale says he shared the work with Peter Baude, as the chronicler, Holinshed notes.  This version is now generally accepted.  Baude was a bronze cannon maker and joined Hogge in the successful venture.  Hogge had difficulty in selling his product to the Navy whose preference for bronze cannons continued for many years.

Hogge’s work was finally acknowledged at the outset of Elizabeth I’s reign but his granted monopoly was frequently infringed by rivals, as he complained to the Queen’s Council.  Hogge House, built a short time before his death became part of the Buxted estate inheritance when the 3rd Earl of Liverpool succeeded to the title of his half-brother, the Prime Minister from 1812 to 1827.   Previously it had, with the rest of Hogge’s initially disputed estate, passed to several owners;  the last identified before Lord Liverpool inherited was William Wheatley from 1820 to 1824.

The house continued in the Liverpool (Jenkinson) family ownership as part of the estate.  In 1930 the property was bought by Mr. Basil and the Hon. Nellie Ionides.  When she died in 1965 the house was sold by her Will Trustees to the sitting tenant.

The two Uckfield Richard Harts
by Peter Ferguson

The first of these twain was baptised at Holy Cross Church in 1739.  In 1761 he married Susannah Blackman, daughter of Sir Henry Blackman, a wealthy wine merchant from Barcombe. This first Richard Hart died in August 1796.  The second Richard, (son of the first ) was baptised at Wilmington in 1769, and married (1) Mary Elphicke in 1791, and  (2) Sarah Gibbs in 1809.  

Peter Ferguson has engaged in a very detailed and careful analysis of the two families and their interests which began in Uckfield, extending elsewhere into Sussex including Wilmington and Falmer, close to Brighton.  

The origins of the Harts in Uckfield go back at least to 1737 and possibly earlier.  John Hart, father of Richard the Elder, was apparently the inn-holder of the Maiden’s Head;  he was also a Churchwarden.  John died in Uckfield in 1760.

Richard the Elder inherited his father’s mantle together with the task of Overseer in 1761.  The family had a substantial land holding on the eastern side of the town.  However shortly after the birth of Lucy, in 1766, they moved to Wilmington where Richard the Younger was baptised in 1769.

The most distinguished member of the family was Henry Hart, baptised at Wilmington in 1781.  He joined the navy as an Ensign;  his distinguished career included service in the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence, eventual knighthood and promotion to the rank of Rear-Admiral.  Following his retirement from the Navy Sir Robert Peel appointed him one of the Greenwich Hospital Commissioners. (Peter Ferguson provides a study of Sir Henry’s career in  Hindsight, Volume 5, Summer 1999.)

The younger Richard Hart, baptised at Wilmington, married first in 1791 and second in 1809.  His first seven children were baptised at Falmer.  In 1816 he moved to Uckfield, and from 1819, his last four were baptised at Uckfield.  Later in life he moved to Beddingham, Seaford and Brighton where he died in 1854.

The 1861 Census
by Simon Wright

New occupations, railway staff; a station master, engine drivers, maintenance men, porters (six !), W. W. Townshend printer, and a local photographer, plus some new shops to serve a larger population.  These are some of the interesting features of Simon Wright’s analysis of the 1861 Census.  He says there were no new houses apparently, the number of residents in the existing ones increased.  The Census, he thinks, marks the moment when Uckfield began to develop the characteristics of a mid-Sussex town;  the year marks the prelude to the modern era.  Thomas Pentecost, the Uckfield poet, was one of three census enumerators.

Through the Ages in Framfield and Blackboys
by M.I.Green and P.D.Allsop

This is a book review by Sally Pearce;  a short assessment of a parish history written to raise funds for a new roof to the Framfield Memorial Hall.  Inevitably with such a project, its target became enlarged as word of the book subject grew.  The objective was enlarged to provide some income for the restoration of the church of St. Thomas `a Becket and for the support of two neighbouring Church of England schools.  

Sally Pearce commends Pam Allsop (her co-author sadly died before the work was finished.) for her skill in bringing together details of the national scene to explain happenings locally.  

The Saunders’ Charity School
by John Caffyn

The author has distilled the material in this article from his book: Sussex Schools in the 18th Century.  He discusses the involvement of four perpetual curates of Uckfield as private school and pupil practioners, enhancing their clergyman’s stipend, whilst having a responsibility for the 12 poor boys of the Saunders’ Foundation.  

John Lloyd, succeeded by Robert Gerison, whose successor was William Rose, followed by (not mentioned) John Underwood were the curates involved.  Lloyd began his commitment circa 1719, Gerison in or around 1740.  Rose from Little Horsted arrived at the turn of the century.  Each of these men had, as private pupils, boys who later became fine scholars in a variety of learned fields.  Among them James Stanier Clarke (Chaplain to Prince George, later Geo.IV.) and Edward Daniel Clarke distinguished mineralogist.  William Rose’s own sons were also among them.

William Rose’s practice so developed that he contracted with the National School Master, then in occupation of part of the Saunders’ premises, for him to teach the 12 Charity boys at a rate of £ 20, per annum.  John Caffyn comments about this arrangement, approved by the Trustees of the time:

“ Thus, by early in the 19th Century, Saunders’ Charity school ceased to have any identity – its schoolhouse, and the Saunders’ library, were lost to the private sector, and the Saunders’ endowment was used to put 12 poor boys into the large local school.”

The private pupils and school, became the foundation of the Uckfield Grammar School.

The Uckfield Playhouse
by Sheila Rickards

This venture into what, for the time, was modern drama, opened in 1938 in a purpose constructed theatre sited where today there is a shopping precinct by what was Bell Lane.  The first play was Andre Obey’s Noah, and involved some professional actors, plus members and children from the Newick Amateur Dramatic Society.  The second, just before the outbreak of World War Two, was Glorious Morning  “a heavy play about a democracy being invaded by a fascist state”.  It was Dirk Bogarde’s first professional role;  he had been working, apparently voluntarily, at the Playhouse for some time.

The lady responsible for this achievement was Miss Millicent Eliza (Elissa) Thorburn, a resident of Nutley, and one very determined to establish a theatre in the town.  Sheila Rickards writes a fascinating narrative of Miss Thorburn’s negotiations with officials of the Rural District Council.  She has also gleaned some information from press reports of the time.  She is  astonished that so little is left to remind people, of a very brave, visionary project of the late 30s.  

Local citizens however, did not respond positively;  Sheila Rickards posits that the programme proposals were not to popular taste.  The outbreak of war was the reason given by ‘the council’ – which one and by what right is not certain – for the theatre to be closed.  Later, with the seats removed and a strawed floor, it became a short-term staging post for evacuees and their families.  Post-war the building was bought by a meal and seed preparation company.

Editor’s note.  In 1958 chance took this Editor inside the theatre, just before it became a factory for – possibly the successors of J Picard & Co (Seed Merchants) Ltd. - or perhaps them.  Recollection says that the interior corresponded broadly to the diagram given on p.29.  At the time there was a reviving interest in a local theatre, the nearest being the Lewes Theatre Club.

The stage was wide, projecting out beyond the proscenium arch into the auditorium, and it was raked (sloping down towards the audience).  The wings were shallow;  dressing room space I cannot recall, but there must have been some.

In Service at the Rocks
by Mary Stubbs.

Miss Palmer’s Church Street agency and sweet shop had the job details;  Mary Stubbs, age 18, applied and joined the staff at the Rocks as kitchen maid, four years after the death of Richard James Streatfeild (the Uckfield squire).  His daughter Annette lived on in a semi-isolated, rather lonely state.  Her enjoyments were two: the Uckfield Wolf Cub Pack, of which she was Akela – the leader  - and horse riding.

The daily regime and hours of work were demanding;  apart from sleep, staff had only an hour or two to themselves each day, a half a day weekly and Sundays once a fortnight.  There was the annual up-rooting to Rossington Hall in Yorkshire  between July and October.  She and some of her colleagues went with Annette Streatfeild in the Rolls Royce.  Other staff travelled by specially hired train.  The work was hard and demanding, yet Mary Stubbs found the staff comradeship infinitely preferable to that at the more lively Horsted Place to which she went after two years following the death of Annette Streatfeild in 1937.

Halland House
by June Tidswell

Halland House built in 1559 by Sir Thomas Pelham, was an achievement of a family that were Sussex residents for 300 years and more.  It became a centre of lavish entertainment within the county but, on inheritance by another Sir Thomas in 1768 it was demolished.  

Distinguished guests in the late 1750s included the Earl of Northampton. Lords Viscount Gage and Abergavenny, and   the Earl of Ashburnham.  They were guests of the Duke of Newcastle who was Prime Minister (1754-56 and 1957-62).  He, and members of his family are buried in Laughton Church.

The Manor of Maresfield in the Township of Marefield
by Colin Hobbs

Colin Hobbs has carefully researched these two connected areas from Tudor times up to those of Queen Victoria.  The Manor was first noted when Henry VIII in 1537 granted it to Sir John Gage, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at a cost of twenty times the net rental: an approximate sum of £480 at the time.  It was a wide spread territory including the old parishes of Maresfield, Fletching, West Hoathly, East Grinstead, Hartfield, Withyham and Buxted.  It was intermingled with the Manor of Duddleswell and outside the bounds of Ashdown Forest.

“Four long-established families owned much of the township”:  Rootes, Kidders, Hoaths and Normans.  Colin Hobbs says that at the mid-16th Century there was a well balanced “little” community, despite the non-residence of the Lord, Sir John Gage whose family home was Firle Place. There were the Rootes,  then  “ 8 or so reasonably prosperous yeomen, ten or so husbandmen, and perhaps as many landless labourers together with a miller, blacksmith, and a shopkeeper, in all perhaps 35 families of 160/70 persons”.

From the late 17th Century the Newnham family increased in local dominance and land ownership.  “By 1746 John and William Newnham were the largest property holders”.  John died in the early 1800s;  his daughter and heir married Sir John Shelley (5th Baronet), by which means the latter received the estate.  He made further purchases, including most of the Gage land, becoming in 1873, the main property owner in the district.  

The writer says it is fortunate for contemporary local research that it became fashionable in the 18th and 19th Century for special estate maps to be made.  

The development of Policing in Uckfield
by John Dibley

Until the 1840s the Parish Vestry and their appointed Parish Constable were responsible for law and order.  The system was one of variable efficiency and in 1829 a Metropolitan Police force was created for London.  Its success was such that Parliament passed a broader Police Act in 1839 enabling county councils to establish their own force.  That for East Sussex was set up in 1840 with the appointment of a Chief Constable (Captain Henry Mackay) and two Superintendents (Henry Harper and Francis Fagan) recruited from the Metropolitan force.

Policemen worked from home;  Mackay’s headquarters was initially at St. Leonards-on-Sea, from 1841 at Uckfield and in 1846 became established in Lewes.  The Uckfield station was eventually built on land offered (and sold) by John Newnham (of Uckfield),  An initial building, including cells, was put up in Hempstead Road, south of the Kings Head;  this later became Arnold Cottage.  It proved inadequate to the purpose and was superseded by a larger building which, eventually, when the local station closed, became part of the residential home, ‘Thornbury’.

The Police Diary of PC Realf in the 1840s and early 50s reveals how extended and committed the first local force was;  similarly that of PC. Start, later based at Fletching, illustrates the level of officer dedication.  In 1856 PC Baldwin did an initial 5 hours duty in Uckfield, returned again at 8.p.m for further duty and went to Framfield where  “I was at Framfield Street with PC Realf from 9.pm. till 2.am. there being a great number of people there to see the Fireworks, in Memmoration of Peace”.  (The end of the Crimea War and hostilities against Russia.)

Hours of work were long;  PC Baldwin logged 16 in one day.  A split shift system was operated, a formula that continued until the 1950s, although hours were reduced to eight per day.
NB John Dibley gives 1855 as the date for the railway – Uckfield to Lewes.  This should be 1858

More about Names and Numbers in Uckfield
by Norman Edwards

Norman Edwards offers further interesting insights into late 19th Century Uckfield before and following the development of a house numbering system, continuing his study begun in Volume One.  His focus is upon New Town, and the expansion of house building by the Henry Tyhurst and others, recording villa and cottage names that, in some instances have fallen out of use.

There are person touches too: William Reeves, railway stationmaster in the 1880s lived ‘North View’, 19 Framfield Road.  He was also secretary of the local Music Society.  John Funnell, the Halland Baker who founded a business known as the ‘Wheatsheaf Bakery, is mentioned,  as is Walter Charles Hunt who built some houses in Mill Drove.  Finally Norman Edwards wonders how many realise that Charles Dawson lodged at No.1 Aylesford Terrace, for many years.

Casual Wards at Uckfield Union Workhouse
by Ron Martin

The Casual Wards were built between 1899 and 1910 to meet the problem of itinerant paupers and tramps.  The policy of ‘no outdoor relief’ instituted in 1834 had proved to be unworkable.  Casual wards were a compromise formula.

Ron Martin ends with a short, pertinent paragraph which says much that people felt about the Poor Law as a whole.
“….one realises what a hard life these itinerant tramps led in the early part of this century (20th), when they came to places like this for a bath and food and a night’s rest in exchange for some menial work. “

Corrections and Comments

Vol 1 p.4.  Correction of date, 1890  not  1980
On p.6      Congregational Church illustration facing wrong way
Line 8, p.8  .. sentence should begin:  “He married Sarah ….”
On p.9      other Weston children to be added.
On p 11    correction.  Jane Weston inherited Butts Croft
On p.31    picture printed in reverse
On p.45  ..Weston family recollections of the purchase and merchandising of Leicester House.

Performing for Charity 1883-1889
by Sheila Rickards

Entertainment provided by local amateur players, artistes and performers, presenting plays, musical offerings and recitations, in aid of various local charities and causes.  Causes included the Holy Cross Organ Fund, the Church of England Temperance Society, the Uckfield Soup Kitchen, and new hoses for the Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Notable performers were Mr. G Barchard, Miss Florence Thornton, Mr. H.Scarlett, the Misses Cheale, Miss L. Donavan, Miss F.M.Thornton, Miss A.Fanshawe and Major Harold Parminter Molineux who came from Isfield and featured in 33 programmes.

Bentley Farm
by Ingrid Christophersen

Bentley Farm was owned by the Gage family who, after the Reformation, maintained their Catholic faith despite fines and royal pressure for them to conform to the Elizabethan Settlement.  Richard Gage was imprisoned for recusancy in Marshalsea during the Queen’s reign (1556-1603).  The farm was frequently used by priests travelling (illegally) into England from the Continent.  During the Civil War (1642-51) William Gage apparently closed the house and went to France, returning in quieter times.

The Gage family eventually sold the property to the sitting tenant in 1904.  
In 1937 it was bought by Gerald Askew who, in 1962 started a small wildfowl collection.  On his death in 1970, his wife Mary gave the collection, the ground floor of the house, the garden and 100 acres to East Sussex County Council who opened them to the public.  

How fortune came and went:  the story of four Baronets.
by Simon Wright

The story begins in 1729 with the marriage at Uckfield parish church of Edward Inskip, a currier and small craftsman (leather cutter) to Philadelphia Lade, niece of John Lade a wealthy Southwark brewer.  During the next 100 years a considerable fortune was built by the Lade family among whom were the descendents of Edward and Philadephia – she inheriting a portion from the now knighted (Sir) John Lade her uncle.  

The story describes the complexities of how this fortune was won and subsequently lost.  It includes a link with the colourful ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller of Brightling,  the Duke of Newcastle (Prime Minister in the mid-18th Century), and a gentleman’s marriage to Ann Thrale, sister-in-law to Mrs. Henry Thrale.  

Its conclusion is presented by Simon Wright in this graphic paragraph:  

“Even such a considerable fortune as Sir John’s (the fourth with that name and title) could not last for ever and he ended his career as coachman to the Earl of Anglesey (Hart) who as one of the heroes of Waterloo was unlikely to have become alarmed at mere reckless driving.  Lady Lade died in 1823 but Sir John lived on into the reign of Queen Victoria, dying in 1838 having managed to dissipate the entire fortune of the first baronet.”

Links between Kent and Sussex families in the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries
by Simon Wright

Simon Wright reflects upon his discovery, during research into the Lade baronetcy (described in the previous article), of the numerous links by marriage, dowry and inheritance existing between families in Kent and Sussex.

He was excited by the connections he found and the incidental outcomes that flow from them.

 “A fascinating by-product of this research for me, was to discover famous names linked, however tenuously, to these families: Mad Jack Fuller of Brightling and the girl he hopes to marry, Susannah Thrale;  Susannah’s mother, Mrs. Henry Thrale , friend of Dr. Johnson;  Admirtal Lord Keith, a distinguished figure in the Napoleonic Wars;  and Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister for three years (1809-12), who was assassinated by a madman.”

Another family found in the research was that of Thomas Nutt, a London merchant, who bequeathed his fortune to his son, John.  This man became clerk, patron and parson of Berwick, rector of Bexhill with a house and estate at Selmeston.  A great-grandsonof Thomas married Ann Hart, creating a link with the family at Lullingston Castle.  Another linking by marriage was with Peter Holford of Westonbirt, in Gloucestershire.  

The Lade family tree appears as an Appendix at the end of the Volume.