HIGH HURSTWOOD

ITS HISTORY from the STONE AGE to the 21st CENTURY

 

ITS BUILDINGS AND LANDS, THE FAMILIES THAT OCCUPIED THEM,

AND THE ACTIVITIES THAT WENT ON THERE

 

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MILL FARM & its Water Mill
Now two properties, OLD MILL FARM
and THE MILL HOUSE

 

 

HISTORY

 

Google Earth placemark for the location of Mill Farm & its Water Mill

 

The first mention so far known of Mill Farm and its Water Mill at High Hurstwood is in an indenture of conveyance dated 27 March 1610 in which James Burges the elder, son of Henry Burges and a yeoman of Maresfield, his wife Eleanor Burges and his eldest son James Burges sell to John Atheroll, yeoman of Maresfield, for £750, the following properties:

1) A messuage or millhouse and two watermills under one roof with all the stones, bines, wheels, troughs and all other the necessaries whatsoever thereunto belonging. Together with the new millpond to the same watermills belonging with all the penstocks, floodgates, millbank, sluices, guthes, and groundworks, with the field called the Millfield containing by estimation four acres in Buxted bordered to the south by the lands of Richard Bennett late Martin's, and now in the occupation of Nicholas Cooke.

2) Ten pieces of land arable, pasture and meadow called Kings Hall, Tuckers Garden, Banckfield, Tanners, Buckhornes, The Acre, The Broomy Croft, The Seven Acres, The Five Acres and Mabsfield, containing in the whole by estimation fifty acres. Being in Buxted and bordered on the east by the road from Buxted to Shadwell, on the north by lands called Shadwell, on the west by the road from Shadwell to Five Ash Down, and on the south by Martins Lane and the lands of Richard Bennett late Martin's.

3) Three pieces of land called by the name of Petfields containing by estimation nine acres. Being in Buxted and bordered on the west by the road from Shadwell to Five Ash Down, on the south and east by the lands of John Button, and on the north by Martins Lane.

4) One piece of woodland and pasture called Pokes field containing by estimation three acres. Being in Uckfield near Shortbridge and in the occupation of Drue Ellis.

The first two properties make up Mill Farm and its Water Mill and seem to agree quite well with the area of land that was recorded as making up Mill Farm some 230 years later on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map. Neither the third property, which is situated in the area where The Bungalow in Perrymans Lane now stands, nor the fourth property, which is not even in High Hurstwood, are part of Mill Farm. This indenture also records that by an indenture dated 21 March 1609 James Burges had leased Mill Farm and its water mill to Nicholas Cooke for a term of five years at £6 per year, which had commenced on 25 March 1609.[1]

 

 

Sometime between his purchase of the mill and its 54 acres of land (above items 1 & 2) on 27 March 1610 and the making of his will on 2 April 1631 John Atheroll sold about 44 acres of the land, which by 1651 was owned by Thomas Argles. John Atheroll died in March 1633 and was buried in the Churchyard of St Bartholomew in Maresfield on 15 March 1633. In his will, proved by the Archdeaconry of Lewes on 23 March 1633, John Atheroll left the house, water mill and ten acres of land to his sister Mary Foord for her life and after her death it was to pass to her son Henry Foord.[2] The following year, by an indenture dated 20 March 1634 (recorded in the conveyance of 1651), Mary Foord and her son Henry sold the house, water mill and ten acres of land to Thomas Argles.

(John Foard married Mary Atheroll and they had a son Henry Foard, who was baptised at the Parish Church of St Bartholomew in Maresfield on 12 January 1614. Then four years later John Foard died intestate and was buried in the Churchyard of St Bartholomew at Maresfield on 6 February 1618. Administration of his estate was granted to his widow by the Archdeaconry of Lewes on 19 February 1619.[3] When he was just on 20 years old Henry Foard married 20-year-old Anne Muddell at the Parish Church of St Bartholomew in Maresfield on 4 December 1633. Henry and Anne had at least two children, son John baptised at the Parish Church of St Bartholomew in Maresfield on 27 December 1633, and daughter Ann buried in the Churchyard of St Bartholomew in Maresfield on 17 March 1640.)

In an indenture of conveyance dated 2 June 1651 Thomas Argles senior, yeoman of Ninfield, sold the house, water mill and ten acres of land to Robert Devenish, tanner of Buxted, for £220. The property was now described as:

One messuage or Millhouse with two watermills under one roof, called Hayhurst Mill, and situated in Buxted with all the buildings, edifices, closes, yards, gardens, orchards, stones, bins, wheels, troughs and all the necessaries there unto belonging, together with the new millpond to the same watermills belonging with all the penstocks, floodgates, millbank, sluices, guthes and groundworks. Also three pieces of land in which the Millhouse and Mills are set, called the Mill Land, and containing by estimation ten acres. Bordered on the south by the lands of John Snatt, on the west by the lands of Thomas Argles, on the north by the road from Hayhurst Wood to Old Lands, and on the east by other lands of Thomas Argles. All now in the occupation of Edward Durrant. And Thomas Angles and his wife Mary were to have the property transfer recorded at the Court of Common Pleas and pay the required fine for doing this.[4]

Part of this sale was for copyhold property of the Manor of Framfield and was recorded at the manorial court held on 10 December 1651, when it was described as a water grain mill called Heigherst Mill with part of a pond and one acre of new assert land, surrendered by Thomas Argles to Robert Devenish. This manorial record has not survived but can be deduced from information in the manorial record when this property was resold in 1670.[5]

The house and the rest of the land of Mill Farm is thought to have been manorial freehold of the Manor of Shodwell, with the original course of the river being the boundary between the two manors, the Manor of Framfield on the east and the Manor of Shodwell on the west.

So the ownership of Mill Farm and its Water Mill again becomes separated, with Thomas Argles retaining ownership of the major part of the land of Mill Farm and Robert Devenish owning the house and mill with a small section of the farm land. (Robert Devenish had been baptised at the Parish Church of St Dunstan in Mayfield on 7 November 1619 as the son of Robert Devenish. When he was 24 years old he married Margaret Snatt at the Parish Church of St Thomas à Becket in Framfield on 15 April 1644. They had at least one child, a son named John, who was baptised at the Parish Church of St Margaret the Queen in Buxted during March 1651 and buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 1 August 1654, at the age of 3.)

At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 20 September 1670 it was recorded that out of court on 24 May 1670 Robert Devenish senior and his son Robert Devenish junior sold a water grain mill called Heigherst Mill with part of a pond and one acre of new assert land, to William Durrant of Streele in Framfield and his eldest son and heir Richard Durrant, and William and Richard were admitted as tenants of this property on each paying a fine of 2s to the Lord of the Manor.[6]

This sale would almost certainly have included the house and nine acres of manorial freehold of the Manor of Shodwell that Robert Devenish had also purchased with the mill back in 1651. It is possible that it was also around this time that the remainder of Mill Farm, that was also manorial freehold of the Manor of Shodwell, and had remained in the ownership of Thomas Argles passed into the ownership of the Durrant family. Then five years after the sale William Durrant died and was buried in the family vault beneath the Parish Church of St Thomas à Becket in Framfield on 30 November 1675, leaving his son Richard Durrant as the sole tenant and owner.

Edward Durrant, who was recorded as the occupier of the mill and 10 acres of land in 1651, probably continued as the occupier for another 30 years, until his death in 1681 when in his will he describes himself as a miller of Buxted.[7] There are other mills in Buxted Parish but as two of the witnesses to Edward's will were inhabitants of the High Hurstwood area of Buxted Parish it seems reasonable to assume that Edward was still the miller at Hurstwood Mill. It is possible that Edward had been the miller at Hurstwood Mill since his marriage in 1643 as he was certainly resident in Buxted Parish from that date.

Richard Durrant, the owner of the Water Mill at High Hurstwood, died and was buried in the family vault beneath the Parish Church of St Thomas à Becket in Framfield on 24 May 1714 and ownership of the mill passed to his son William Durrant. Then at the Courts of the Manor of Framfield held on 15 October 1745 and 14 October 1746 James Bannister was amerced (fined) 2d for encroaching on the Waste of the Manor by 20 perches at Mr Durrant's mill in High Hurstwood.[8]

It's assumed that James Bannister was living in the Mill House at this time, but then in 1755 he purchased Kingsland Place, a cottage and one acre of land, about 200 yards away on the other side of the road, and stated that he was living there when he made his will in 1766, he stated that he a miller but it seems likely that by then he had retired.

At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 21 April 1757, William Durrant was granted a slip of land of 30 perches from the Waste of the Manor called Hayerst Wood, abutting the millpond on the west and a lane on the north, east and south, as new assert copyhold. (This is plot 1749* on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map, and possibly the same piece of land that James Bannister had been earlier fined for encroaching on.) He was also granted several other parcels of land in Buxted and Framfield at the same time and for them all he paid a fine of £100 to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court he then surrendered these copyhold properties to the uses of his will.[9]

William Page was the next miller at High Hurstwood Mill taking over sometime between James Bannister's purchase of Kingsland Place in 1755 and his death in 1767. William Page died at the age of 47 and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 9 June 1770. He had made his will on 7 May 1770 and probate was granted to his wife Elizabeth Page, the sole executrix, by the Deanery of South Malling on 8 September 1770. In this will William left his personal estate to his wife to use in the bringing up of his children to maturity, and if she was to die before their children's maturity, which didn't happen, William requested that his neighbour, blacksmith Edward Colbran, and the owner of the mill, William Durrant of Framfield, take over the bringing up of his children and in this circumstance left them his estate.[10]

Later records show that on William Page's death his widow, Elizabeth Page, must have taken over as the miller at High Hurstwood Mill. In his Settlement Examination of 6 September 1784 John Streeter stated that he had worked for Elizabeth Page of Buxted from about 1780 to 1782 and that he then worked for miller Caleb Pearce at Uckfield from 10 June 1782.[11]

William Durrant, the owner of Mill Farm, died and was buried in the family vault beneath the Parish Church of St Thomas à Becket in Framfield on 27 June 1775. He had made his will on 11 July 1774 and probate was granted to his brother Robert Durrant, the sole executor, by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 25 August 1775. In this will William left all the residue of his property, which included Mill Farm, to his brother Robert Durrant.[12]

At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 May 1776 the death was presented of William Durrant, who held Mill Farm and Nordens Green Farm in High Hurstwood and other copyhold property in the manor. For a Heriot an ox valued at £5 was seized for the Lord of the Manor, and Robert Durrant, brother of William Durrant, came to court and claimed these properties as his right and inheritance according to the custom of the manor. He was admitted as tenant on payment of a relief of £3 15s 4d to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court Robert Durrant then surrenders these properties to the uses of his will.[13]

In the 1785 Land Tax for Buxted, Mill Farm, which had a rental value of £19, was owned by Robert Durrant and occupied by widow Elizabeth Page, who also occupied Nordens Green Farm that was also owned by Robert Durrant.[14]

Robert Durrant died on 13 December 1799, at the age of 84, and was buried in the family vault beneath the Parish Church of St Thomas à Becket in Framfield on 20 December 1799. Robert had made his will on 3 September 1799 and probate was granted to his niece Sarah Woodward, widow, and his great nephew John Woodward, the two executors, by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 2 January 1800. In this will Robert left all his property in Buxted, which was Mill Farm and Nordens Green Farm in the occupation of widow Elizabeth Page, and Crockenhall, to his great nephew Henry Woodward. Of the rest of Robert's extensive property holdings some more went to Henry and the rest to his brother John Woodward.[15]

At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 June 1800 it was recorded that out of court on 3 September 1799 Robert Durrant had surrendered all his copyhold properties to the uses of his will.[16]

Then at the same court the death was presented of Robert Durrant, who held numerous copyhold properties of the manor, including the small copyhold part of Mill Farm. For a Heriot an ox valued at £18 was seized for the Lord of the Manor. Brothers Henry and John Woodward were then each admitted to the properties that they inherited according to the will of Robert Durrant, with Henry Woodward being admitted to Crockenhall, the copyhold parts of Nordens Green Farm and the other properties he had inherited on payment of a relief and fine of £7 14s to the Lord of the Manor. In this court record the slip of land that was the only copyhold part of Mill Farm was incorrectly included in the properties inherited by John Woodward instead of in the properties inherited by his brother Henry. This error was to mean that the small copyhold part of Mill Farm would no longer be recorded in the Court Books of the Manor of Framfield.[17]

As Robert Durrant stated that his properties of Mill Farm and Nordens Green Farm were occupied by widow Elizabeth Page when he made his will in 1799, when Elizabeth was 73, it seems likely that she remained the occupier (probably meaning leaseholder) until her death in 1808 at the age of 81.

 

 

The next period of documented history of the property starts in 1840 when Mill Farm and its Water Mill were in the ownership of Henry Woodward and John Duvall was the occupier. But it seems fairly certain that John Duvall had been the occupier for a considerable number of years before this. When John first married in 1823 he was living at Maresfield and when his child from this marriage was baptised in 1824 he was a miller in Buxted Parish. When his first child from his next marriage was baptised in 1824 he was a miller at Fletching and when his next two children were baptised in 1827 and 1829 he was a miller in Buxted Parish. From this it is thought that John was initially a journeyman miller at Maresfield, then at one of the mills in Buxted Parish, which might even have been the one at Mill Farm, and then at Fletching. It was then when he is a miller back in Buxted Parish in 1827, aged 22, that he becomes the master miller at Mill Farm, though it is equally possible that he is still at this time a journeyman miller. What is known is that by 1836 he was living at High Hurstwood and farming Hurstwood Farm and in 1840 he was not only living at and farming Mill Farm but also farming at Hurstwood Farm and Cocks Brook Land which suggests he had been in business long enough by then to have made sufficient money to pay for the tenancy of three properties in High Hurstwood.

On the Buxted Tithe Map of 1840 and Tithe Apportionments of 26 May 1841 the Mill Farm, plots 1740 to 1756, was owned by Henry Woodward and occupied by John Duvall. The total area was 56 acres, 3 roods, 3 perches, of which 42 acres, 1 rood, 9 perches was productive area, on which the yearly tithe charge was to be £8 13s. About 25 acres were arable, 7 acres pasture, 2½ acres hops, and just over 3 acres were taken up by the mill pond. The following table list the plots that made up the farm with their type of cultivation and out-bound area, the in-bound or productive area of each plot being somewhat smaller.[18]

 

Plot No.

Plot Name

Cultivation

Acres

Roods

Perches

1740

Homestead

Homestead

1

2

8

1741

Mill Pond

Water

3

1

9

1742

Hop Garden Field

 

1

2

8

1743

 

 

 

3

2

1744

House Mead

Pasture

2

1

22

1745

Orchard

Plat

 

 

22

1746

Road, Oast House & Yards

Road

 

2

17

1747

Mill Pond Mead

Pasture

3

1

9

1748

Upper Mill Pond Mead

Pasture

3

1

37

1749

The Tanners

Hops

4

1

32

  1749*

Roadway Slip

 

 

 

27

1750

Beechy Field

Arable

5

3

31

1751

Common

Arable

5

1

27

1752

Gate Field

Arable

5

1

37

1753

Willow Field

Pasture

6

1

5

1754

Barn Field

Arable

3

1

17

1755

Tree Field

Arable

4

0

36

1756

Outer Field

Arable

4

1

17

 

 

Google Earth overlay of Mill Farm on the 1840 Tithe Map

 

The Tithe Map shows that John Duvall also occupied two other properties in High Hurstwood that he was presumably farming together with Mill Farm. These were Cocks Brook Land that was owned by Thomas Wace and consisted of plots 1778 to 1780 with a total area of 8 acres, 3 roods, 36 perches on which the yearly tithe charge was to be £1 10s 6d; and Old Harrys Farm (otherwise known as Hurstwood Farm) that was owned by John Holroyd and consisted of plots 652 to 657 with a total area of 13 acres, 0 roods, 15 perches on which the yearly tithe charge was to be £2.

The census of 6 June 1841 records Henry Woodward, the owner of Mill Farm and also Nordens Green Farm in High Hurstwood, as a 60-year-old bachelor of independent means living in the High Street at Uckfield with four servants. Then in the census of 30 March 1851 he was still living in Uckfield High Street with four servants and now described as a landed proprietor who was insane. Henry died at Uckfield on 30 November 1858, at the age of 77, and he was buried in the Churchyard of St Thomas à Becket in Framfield on 7 December 1858. Henry died intestate and administration of his estate was granted to his nephew Henry Woodward solicitor of 53 Lincoln's Inn Fields in London by the Principal Probate Registry on 8 February 1859. His personal estate was valued at under £25,000 showing that Henry had been a very wealthy man and Mill Farm had only been a small part of his assets.

In the census of 6 June 1841 the Mill House at High Hurstwood was occupied by miller John Duvall with his wife Phoebe and John's four sons by his two previous wives. Living with them was 27-year-old journeyman miller James Muddle, who was from Framfield and would then have been working for John, but who by 1851 had moved on to work for a miller at Ripe and later became a master miller at Portslade.

The 17 May 1842 edition of The Sussex Advertiser reported that Cooper Smith had feloniously broken into the house of John Duvall in Buxted Parish, at half past nine o'clock, on the night of 15 may 1842 and the following day was committed to the House of Correction to await trial. Then the 24 May 1842 edition of The Sussex Advertiser in its report on the adjourned Easter Quarter Sessions at Lewes on 19 May 1842 recorded that Cooper Smith, a 15-year-old labourer, pleaded guilty to having broken into the house of John Duvall and stealing a money pot; and was sentenced to three months' hard labour.

John's youngest son, William, died during July 1847, at the age of 18, while presumably still living at the Mill House, and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted. Then John's son Henry married Elizabeth Olive in December 1847 and went to live at Parkhurst in High Hurstwood though he continued to work for his father. John eldest son, George, had left Mill Farm by 1851 when he was working as a journeyman miller in Hartfield; he never returned to High Hurstwood to live. This left just one of John's sons, John junior, living with his father and stepmother in the Mill House.

The 1851 edition of the Post Office Directory of Sussex lists John Duvall as a farmer and miller in Buxted Parish, but hardly before this directory was published John died, at the age of 46, in early 1851, and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 15 March 1851. Then two weeks later in the census of 30 March 1851 widow Phoebe Duvall was living in the Mill House at High Hurstwood and gave her occupation as a miller employing 6 men, having taken over her husband's business after his death. Those living with her were her stepson John Duvall, who was a miller employed at home; her 82-year-old mother Elizabeth Hammond; her 90-year-old father-in-law George Duvall; her late husband's sister Charlotte Tippin, who was visiting from Lewes; and four servants. The servants were 20-year-old house servant Ann Holmwood; 20-year-old farm labourer Thomas Pilbeam; 18-year-old farm labourer Charles Curer; and 12-year-old carter boy James Parker. Another of the men Phoebe would have been employing was her stepson Henry Duvall, who was then living at Parkhurst in High Hurstwood and describing himself as a master miller.

In 1852 Phoebe's stepson John Duvall junior married Charlotte Winter and they lived at the Mill House in High Hurstwood. In 1853 Phoebe married widowed farmer William Brissenden and together with her mother, Elizabeth Hammond, went to live with him at Pigs Foot Farm in Hadlow Down. Then in late 1855 John and Charlotte's only child, a son, was born. It's assumed that John's grandfather, George Duvall, continued to live with John and Charlotte at the Mill House until his death, at the age of 96, and burial in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 24 November 1856.

It seems that soon after John Duvall senior's death two of his sons, Henry and John, who had been working for their father, set themselves up as a partnership to operate Mill Farm and its mill, but this partnership didn't last long because the 26 December 1854 edition of The Sussex Advertiser carried a notice from them that their partnership had been dissolved by mutual consent and that all creditors and debtors of the firm should settle their accounts. So when the 1855 edition of the Post Office Directory of Sussex listed John & Henry Duvall as farmers and millers in Buxted Parish this was either an out-of-date entry or it was indicating a more informal way of working together.

It was probably around the time their partnership was terminated that Henry moved to Carrots Farm in High Hurstwood and started farming there while John remained at Mill Farm. But there must have been some continuing working relationship between Henry and John because they both declare themselves bankrupt on the same day. The 10 November 1857 edition of The Sussex Advertiser carried almost identical notices from each of them that by indentures dated 29 October 1857 they had assigned all their personal estates in trust to farmer John Parris of Chillies Farm and miller William Kenward of Uckfield for the equal benefit of all their creditors. The 8 December 1857 edition of The Sussex Advertiser then carried a notice that on 10 December 1857 there would be a sale by auction at High Hurstwood Mill of farming equipment, live and dead stock, and household furniture by the direction of the assignees of Messrs Duvall. This was followed by a notice in the 16 February 1858 edition of The Sussex Advertiser that on 24 February 1858 there would be a sale by auction at Carrots Farm of the farming equipment and livestock of Henry Duvall of Carrots Farm. The list of items at this sale seems to indicate that it included some unsold items from the earlier sale at High Hurstwood Mill. Then the 13 April 1858 edition of The Sussex Advertiser carried notices from both the brothers to their debtors; John's notice stated that his debtors would be paid ten shillings in the pound of their respective debts, and Henry's notice stated that his debtors would be paid their respective debts in full. Henry presumably had more assets than John because of his sale at Carrots Farm.

After he became bankrupt John and his wife and son would have had to leave Mill Farm where all their furniture and means of livelihood had been sold, and in 1861 they were live-in servants at Clayton in Sussex but later moved back to Buxted Parish where John became the publican at the Crow & Gate and then the Pig & Butcher.

After the bankruptcy in late 1857 of the two Duvall brothers Kendrick Kenward, who had been a blacksmith at Burnt Oak for many years and then a farmer and blacksmith at Burnt Oak for about two years, took over the tenancy of Mill Farm and its mill. But how did Kendrick come to know the milling trade? There seems to be no direct connection between Kendrick and the Kenward milling family of Uckfield, but there are other connections. One is a marriage connection via the Dadswell family. In 1856, a year before he moved to Mill Farm, Kendrick's daughter Mary Ann married David Dadswell and back in 1828 David Dadswell's half-sister Harriet had married William Kenward the miller at Uckfield Mill, who was also one of the trustees in the bankruptcy of the Duvall brothers, so it seems that William Kenward had every reason to help Kendrick learn the milling trade. Also Kendrick's son William was a journeyman miller working for William Kenward at Uckfield Mill and in 1860 married Louisa Duvall, a cousin of the Duvall brothers of Mill Farm. And Kendrick's sister Jane had been the first, but short lived, wife of John Duvall senior, so the two bankrupt Duvall brothers were Kendrick's step-nephews as their mother had been John Duvall's second wife.

In the 1858 edition of Melville & Co’s Directory & Gazetteer of Sussex Kendrick Kenward was listed as a miller and farmer in Buxted Parish and in the 1859 edition of the Post Office Directory of Sussex Kendrick Kenward was listed as a miller in Buxted Parish. This would have been at Mill Farm because in the census of 7 April 1861 Kendrick Kenward, with his wife Charlotte and their three daughters, was living at the Mill House in High Hurstwood, which was still part of Buxted Parish. Kendrick was a miller and farmer of 65 acres, this being 8 acres more than recorded for Mill Farm on the 1840 Tithe Map, so he would have been farming additional land to that of Mill Farm. They had 19-year-old carter Joseph Latter living with them, who would have been working for Kendrick.

The 13 May 1865 edition of The Sussex Advertiser reported that at the Uckfield Petty Sessions held on 11 May 1865 Kendrick Kenward was charged with having a scale at his corn mill in Hurstwood that was 1¾oz against the purchaser. George Fenner, the inspector of weights and measures, had visited the mill on 13 April and found the scale, which was capable of weighing any quantity of flour up to 3 or 4 gallons, defective, though all the other scales were correct. Kendrick stated that he had not been aware that the scale was defective and endeavoured to always have his scales correct, and this had never happened before. Kendrick was fined £1 with 18s costs.

In the 1866 and 1867 editions of the Post Office Directory of Sussex Kendrick Kenward was listed as a miller in Buxted Parish, and it would have been at this time that some of the mill mechanism was replaced by an iron overshot wheel and shaft manufactured by S Medhurst & Son in 1867. This drove two pairs of stones through an iron pit wheel and wallower, and wooden upright shaft spur wheel and crown wheel. This is the mechanism that still exists in the mill.

In the census of 2 April 1871 Kendrick Kenward, with wife Charlotte and daughter Sarah, was living at the Mill House at High Hurstwood. Kendrick was a miller and farmer of 57 acres, this being back to the acreage recorded on the 1840 Tithe Map. He was employing two men, one of whom would have been 19-year-old farm labourer Samuel Horscraft, who was living with them. The other man working for Kendrick was almost certainly his eldest son, Stephen, who with his wife and children was living in the vicinity of Mill Farm. In 1861 Stephen was a farm labourer and probably working for his father on Mill Farm and then in 1871 he was a journeyman miller and presumably operating the mill for his father, who was now in his early 70s.

Kendrick died on 9 December 1873, at the age of 76, and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 13 December 1873. His son Stephen Kenward, who had been a journeyman miller working for his father, then took over the tenancy of the mill and farm in partnership with George Noakes, who was his wife's brother, and both Stephen and his family and George Noakes and his sister Elizabeth moved into the Mill House. In the 1874 and 1878 editions of the Post Office Directory of Sussex Kenward & Noakes are listed as millers at Mill Farm.

In the census of 3 April 1881 both George Noakes and his sister, and Stephen Kenward and his family were living at the Mill House. Both George and Stephen describe themselves as farmers of 57 acres and Stephen also describes himself as a miller. Stephen’s widowed mother, Charlotte Kenward, was now staying with the family of her daughter Margaret Spilsted at Whatlington in Sussex, but she must have later moved back to High Hurstwood to live either with Stephen at the Mill House or the family of her daughter Mary Ann Dadswell at Lane End Cottages, because she died at High Hurstwood in early 1887 and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 8 February 1887.

Archibald Fenner in his reminiscences of his time as a school boy in High Hurstwood during the 1880s, published in the High Hurstwood Parish Review, recalls that George Noakes of Mill Farm was an expert hop drier and was entrusted by all the local farmers to dry their hops for them. In the 1882, 1890 and 1891 editions of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex Kenward & Noakes are listed as millers (water) & farmers at Mill Farm. In the census of 5 April 1891 both George Noakes and his sister, and Stephen Kenward and his wife and daughter were living at the Mill House, and both George & Stephen describe themselves as farmers and millers, so they were still in partnership. This presumably ended in about 1892 when John Hoath and his family moved into the Mill House and John Hoath became the tenant farmer and miller.

 

 

It was probably in 1892 that John and Harriet Hoath with their family and lodger Edwin Brown, who had all been living at New Barn Farm, move into the Mill House.[19] Where John became the tenant and farmed the land while his son James, who had been working in mills at Crowborough learning the trade, returned home to operate the water mill. John Hoath’s daughter Alice married the lodger Edwin Brown at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 27 August 1892; they continued living with Alice’s parents in the Mill House and Edwin continued working for Alice’s father. In the 1899 edition of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex John Hoath was listed as a miller (water) and farmer at High Hurstwood.

In the census of 31 March 1901 John and Harriet Hoath were living at Mill Farm, and living with them were their sons James, who was operating the mill on his own account, and Alfred, who was described as being an imbecile; and their daughter Alice and her husband and two children. Alice’s husband Edwin Brown was then working with John on the farm. John and Harriet’s son James died on 11 April 1902, at the age of 32, and was buried in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 16 April 1902. Their son-in-law Edwin Brown then took over the operation of the mill as well as working with John on the farm. In the 1905 edition of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex Edwin Brown was listed as a miller at High Hurstwood and in a separate entry Hoath and Brown were listed as farmers at High Hurstwood.

On the 17 October 1906 the freehold property of Mill Farm, described as Hurstwood Mill and land, was sold by the trustees of Mrs Foster to James Fitzalan Hope of Heron's Ghyll.[20] It was probably at this time that the tenancy of Mill Farm passed from John Hoath, who was now 75 years old, to his son-in-law Edwin Brown.

 

 

Harriet Hoath died on 6 August 1908, at the age of 78, and was buried in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 9 August 1908. In the census of 2 April 1911 Edwin and Alice Brown and their five children were living at Mill Farm; Edwin was working on his own account as a farmer and miller, and they had Alice’s widowed father John Hoath and imbecile brother Alfred Hoath living with them. Two years later John Hoath died on 31 March 1913, at the age of 81, and was buried with his wife in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 6 April 1913.

The 1911, 1913 and 1915 editions of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex all list Edwin Brown as a miller at High Hurstwood, and the 1918 edition lists Edwin Brown as a miller (water) and farmer at High Hurstwood. Edwin and Alice’s son Charles was killed on 22 October 1918, at the age of 19, while serving in the First World War and then Alice’s brother Alfred Hoath died on 21 September 1920, at the age of 47, and was buried with his brother James in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity in High Hurstwood on 25 September 1920.

On 22 April 1921 James Fitzalan Hope transferred Mill Farm and its Mill, together with all his other properties, to his property company, Heron's Ghyll Estates Ltd.

The 1930 and 1938 editions of Kelly’s Directory of Sussex both list Edwin Brown as a farmer at High Hurstwood. And in an article on High Hurstwood in the 22 January 1938 edition of the Southern Weekly News Edwin Brown states that he had then been at Mill Farm for 45 years and that it was 15 years ago [about 1922] that he gave up milling when the mill machinery broke down and was not repaired. He then continued as a farmer working 50 to 60 acres, and the article has a photo of Edwin and Alice standing outside the front door of the Mill House.

 

 

In the National Register of 29 September 1939 Mill Farm was occupied by 74-year-old farmer Edwin Brown and his 65-year-old wife Alice. Also living at Mill Farm were their two bachelor sons, 44-year-old Edwin Brown, who was a farm carter assisting his father, and 30-year-old Jim Brown, who was a cowman and part-time postman. There were also three other occupants whose records are blanked out and are thought to be three evacuee children that belonged to the school that had recently been evacuated from London with its teachers and was sharing High Hurstwood School with the local school children.

James Fitzalan Hope, who became Baron Rankeillour of Buxted in 1932 and had owned Mill Farm since 1906, latterly as part of Heron's Ghyll Estates Ltd., died on 14 February 1949. This resulted in his Heron's Ghyll Estates, including Mill Farm, being sold to Metropolitan Railway Country Estates on 5 January 1950, who then sold off the estate piecemeal.[21] On 12 October 1950 Metropolitan Railway Country Estates sold Mill Farm (Lot 1) and a field near Parkhurst (Lot 2) for £5,355, to be paid equally by the two purchasers, Stanley Heywood Smalley of Hurstwood House and Kenneth Embden Archer of Old Hall, who were to be joint tenants in fee simple subject to an existing tenancy agreement on the field at Parkhurst. The total area of the property was 59.029 acres on which the Tithe Redemption Annuity to the Church Commissioners was £9 7s and the Tithe Redemption Annuity to the Tithe Redemption Commission was 10s 2d.[22]

 

 

This coincides with Edwin Brown giving up the tenancy of Mill Farm as Edwin and his son Jim purchased, on 3 April 1949, land 200 yards down the road from Mill Farm that was part of Forge Farm, on which they built a house called Hoathley to which they moved, leaving Mill Farm in 1950 when Edwin retired at the age of 85. The 11 August 1950 edition of the Kent & Sussex Courier carried the notice that the live and dead farming stock of Messrs Brown & Son would be auctioned at Mill Farm on 30 September 1950.

The new owners of Mill Farm, Stanley Smalley and Kenneth Archer, didn't have a tenant but farmed it themselves, employing Walter Woodgate as a farm labourer to help them. They had a herd of Sussex cattle with about 25 cows having calves each year that were fattened and sold to Bishop, the Uckfield butcher. There was a flock of Southdown sheep, chicken in the top two floors of the old mill and in the field behind Old Hall, Aylesbury ducks on the pond at the entrance to Old Hall, and turkeys in the months before Christmas. They even grew watercress in the river.

 

 

On the 24 March 1952 Kenneth Archer, one of the partners in the ownership of Mill Farm, now called Old Mill Farm, sold his share in the farmhouse and its garden that was now called Old Mill Cottage and outlined in pink on the plan, to the other partner, Stanley Smalley, for £2125. This was to include a right of way to the property, coloured brown on the plan, and restrictions on the area coloured blue on the plan, which were the type of business that could be carried on there and what changes could be made to the exterior of the buildings in this area including the mill building. On the same day there was a legal agreement that if Stanley Smalley died then the other partner, Kenneth Archer, had the right to repurchase the farmhouse at an independent valuation, if he so desired. Stanley Smalley then moved from Hurstwood House to live at Old Mill Cottage.

 

 

Two years later East Sussex County Council intended to straighten-out a sharp corner in the road just to the north of the entrance to Old Mill Farm for which they purchased the required land, a very small piece of this land, .0006 of an acre and coloured pink on the plan, was part of Old Mill Farm and on 19 February 1954 they purchased this for 11 shillings. The Council took out the old hedge and erected a new fence and hedge on the new boundary as required in the conveyance but the road has never been straightened out.

 

 

The following year Stanley Heywood Smalley died in The Brook General Hospital, Woolwich, London on 22 March 1955, at the age of 40. Stanley's birth had been registered in Rochdale registration district in Lancashire during the 4th quarter of 1914, two years before his parents, Bertram Smalley and Lily Haywood, married. Probate of Stanley's will was granted to the sole executor, Westminster Bank, by Lewes Probate Registry on 18 July 1955, when the gross value of his estate was £33962 4s 11d with a net value of £29893 4s 11d on which £8782 8s 11d death duty was paid. As a result of Stanley's death his executors, Westminster Bank, transferred Stanley's half share in Old Hall Farm to Kenneth Embden Archer, who now became sole owner. It's not know if Kenneth Archer took up his option to repurchase Old Mill Cottage but it's thought that he probably didn't and continued to live just across the road at Old Hall.

Kenneth Archer was still living at Old Hall when on 17 August 1956 he purchased from Archibald Thomas Fenner for £600, Ordnance Survey field numbers 829, 831 and part of 818, totalling 7.798 acres that were part of Forge Farm on the southern boundary of Mill Farm, and added them to Old Mill Farm.

 

 

On 27 April 1962 Kenneth Archer sold Old Mill Farm including field numbers 829 and 818, but not field number 831 that had been part of Forge Farm and field number 844 that had been Lot 2 of the original 1950 purchase of Mill Farm, to Leslie Murray Ross and Nora Julia Wilmot Ross. There was an error in the documentation of this sale with field 818 not being included that was to create difficulties some forty years later when this field was transferred from the Old Mill Farm to The Mill House. Two years later, on 20 August 1964, Leslie and Nora Ross transferred Old Mill Farm to David Leslie Ross of Pinehurst Farm in Jarvis Brook who mortgaged it with the Midland Bank on 13 November 1965.

By 1967 John Jeffrey Richardson had become the owner and occupier of the farmhouse that was now called The Mill House and on the 24 August 1967 he purchased from David Ross for £1000 the land and buildings in front of the house that included the mill building and are outlined in pink on the map.[23]

 

 

In about 1968 the part of Old Mill Farm still owned by David Ross was sold to John and Patricia Sharpe and in a conveyance dated 17 April 1969 made between them, in alliance with John Richardson, and East Sussex County Council the southern of the two entrances to the farm and mill was stopped up to enable the council to construct a footpath along the side of the road.

John Jeffrey Richardson was the son of Ernest and Emma Richardson and he had been born at Hornsey in Middlesex on 26 November 1907. During the Second World War John became a POW of the Japanese and when he returned home he found that he had been presumed dead and his wife had remarried. John lived at The Mill House from about 1960 with his partner until she died, and then lived there by himself until his death in October 1999, at the age of 91.


[1] ESRO: ACC 4113/5/2 Conveyance of Mill Farm & Mill from James Burges to John Atheroll.

[2] ESRO: PBT 1/1/22/99 Will of John Atheroll proved by the Archdeaconry of Lewes.

[3] ESRO: PBT 1/3/4/186A Administration of John Foord granted by Archdeaconry of Lewes.

[4] ESRO: ACC 4113/5/4 Conveyance of Hurstwood Mill from Thomas Argles to Robert Devenish.

[5] ESRO: AMS 6546/1 page 52A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1665-1675.

[6] ESRO: AMS 6546/1 page 52A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1665-1675.

[7] ESRO: PBT 2/2/8/166 Will of Edward Durrant proved by the Deanery of South Malling.

[8] ESRO: ADA 117 pages 128A-139A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 4.

[9] ESRO: ADA 118 pages 146-147, Manor of Framfield Court Book 5.

[10] ESRO: PBT 2/1/9/34 Will of William Page proved by the Deanery of South Malling.

[11] ESRO: PAR 496/32/4/9 Uckfield Settlement Examination of John Streeter.

[12] TNA: PROB 11/1010, Will of William Durrant proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

[13] ESRO: ADA 119 pages 419-422, Manor of Framfield Court Book 6.

[14] ESRO: LT/BUXTED, Land Tax Assessments for Buxted 1780-1832.

[15] TNA: PROB 11/1335, Will of Robert Durrant proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.

[16] ESRO: ADA 121 page 334, Manor of Framfield Court Book 8.

[17] ESRO: ADA 121 pages 348-356, Manor of Framfield Court Book 8.

[18] ESRO: TDE 135/1&2 Buxted Tithe Map and Apportionment.

[19] Their son-in-law, Edwin Brown, who lived with them, stated in an article on High Hurstwood in the Southern Weekly News of 22 January 1938 that he had been at Mill Farm for 45 years. i.e. from 1892.

[20] ESRO: BMW A/14/3/42 Strutt & Parker Purchase Book B &

        ESRO: BMW A/1/17/57 Strutt & Parker Valuation Books, first series, volume 17.

[21] ESRO: BMW A/14/18/43 Strutt & Parker Sales & Purchases Book L.

[22] ESRO: BMW A/14/18/60 Strutt & Parker Sales & Purchases Book L.

[23] ESRO: ACC 12022/2 Deeds of Old Mill Farm from 1950 to 1967.

 

Copyright © Derek Miller 2014-2016

Last updated 3 July 2016

 

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