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
The property called the Royal Oak was originally known as Newlands Farm. It was copyhold of the Manor of Framfield and initially consisted of a messuage, barn and one piece of new assert land of 2½ acres called Newlands (plots 1766 & 1768 on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map). Its earliest known owner was Nicholas Collins, who died and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen in Buxted on 22 September 1652. His son Thomas Collins inherited Newlands Farm and at a Court of the Manor of Framfield held the same day, 22 September 1652, was admitted as tenant of Newlands Farm.
Thomas Collins owned Newlands Farm for 22½ years. Then at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 31 March 1675 it was recorded that out of court on 5 February 1675 Thomas Collins sold Newlands Farm to Robert Pettitt. No Heriot was due as Thomas Collins had no living beast, and Robert Pettitt was admitted as tenant on payment of a relief and fine of 5s to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court Robert Pettitt then surrendered this copyhold property to the uses of his will.
Robert Pettitt had already become the owner of nearby land consisting of two pieces of new assert land of 8 acres called Taylors (plots 1769 & 1771 on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map), which he inherited on the death of his father John Pettitt and was admitted to as tenant at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 10 December 1662; as a result, this land called Taylors now became part of Newlands Farm.
Robert Pettitt lived at Sleeches, which he also owned together with Parkhurst Farm, Medleys Farm and Turkland Farm in High Hurstwood. He died and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 16 February 1685. He had made his will on 25 January 1682 and probate was granted to his cousin John Pettitt of Hellingly, the sole executor, by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 14 May 1685. In this will he left Newlands Farm, then in the occupation of Thomas Allan, to his cousin William Pettitt the elder of Buxted for his lifetime and then after his death it was to pass to William's youngest son John Pettitt.
At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 15 April 1685 the death was presented of Robert Pettitt, who had held Newlands Farm for 10 years. For a Heriot a cow sold for £5 had already been seized for Robert's property of Sleeches. John Pettitt of Hellingly, the executor of Robert Pettitt's will, presented Robert's will to the court in which he left Newlands Farm to his cousin William Pettitt the elder of Buxted for his lifetime and then after his death it was to pass to William's youngest son John Pettitt, and the first proclamation made for the heir to this property to come to court to claim it, but nobody came.
Then at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 6 May 1685, on the second proclamation of any claim on Newlands Farm, William Pettitt came to court and was admitted as tenant on payment of a relief and fine of 21s to the Lord of the Manor.
William Pettitt had died by the time the third proclamation of his death was made at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 21 March 1707 in relation to his holding of a cottage and land at Crowborough Gate, to which his only surviving son and heir Robert Pettitt of Tonbridge was admitted as tenant. William youngest son John Pettitt, who was to inherit Newlands Farm, had died and was buried at Framfield on 21 November 1701, so the heir to Newlands Farm became the surviving son Robert Pettitt of Tonbridge. There is no record in the court books of Robert being admitted as tenant of Newlands Farm, though the court seems to have assumed that this had happened when he sells Newlands Farm in 1709.
At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 March 1709 Robert Pettitt of Tonbridge sold Newlands Farm, described as a messuage, barn and one piece of new assert land of 2½ acres called Newlands, late Thomas Collins' and before that Nicholas Collins' his father, and two pieces of new assert land of 8 acres called Taylors, late John Pettitt's (plots 1766, 1768, 1769 & 1771 on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map), to Anthony Saunders a Professor of Sacred Theology and Rector of Buxted. No Heriot was due as Robert Pettitt remain a tenant of the manor, and Anthony Saunders was admitted as a tenant of this property on payment of a relief and fine of 21s to the Lord of the Manor.
Then at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 September 1709 Anthony Saunders surrendered Newlands Farm to the uses of his will.
Anthony Saunders died on 7 January 1719 and in his will made on 31 October 1718 with a codicil and proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury on 5 March 1720, he left his copyhold property of Newlands Farm to his servant Elizabeth Diggens, and also left her an annuity of £10 per year for her lifetime that was to be paid by the trustees of his Rocks Farm property in High Hurstwood.
Then on 12 August 1720 Elizabeth Diggens married Edward Goffe at the Parish Church of St Margaret the Queen in Buxted. With the result that at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 27 October 1720 the death was presented of Anthony Saunders, who held Newlands Farm. For a Heriot a horse valued at £4 4s was seized for the Lord of the Manor, and on presentation of Anthony Saunders's will Elizabeth Goffe was admitted as tenant of this property on payment of relief and fine of 21s to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court Elizabeth then surrenders this property to the use of her husband Edward Goffe during his lifetime and after his death to the use of Elizabeth herself during her lifetime, and then after the death of the longer liver of them to the heirs of their bodies. And on these conditions they were admitted as tenants of this property on payment of a relief and fine of £2 2s to the Lord of the Manor.
Edward Goffe then added half an acre to Newlands Farm, when at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 June 1736 Edward Goffe and his heirs were granted a half-acre of land from the Waste of the Manor called Hayerst Wood Common that adjoined the Waste of the Manor to the north and west and to House Barn and the lands of Edward Goffe to the south and east (plot 1767 on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map). Edward was admitted to this new assert land on payment of a fine of 15s to the Lord of the Manor.
Edward Goffe died and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 11 October 1749. Then fifteen years later his widow Elizabeth Goffe died and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 13 May 1765. The inheritance of one field of Newlands Farm, the half-acre field next to House Barn, was dependent on the death of only Edward Goffe but the inheritance of the rest of the farm was dependent on the deaths of both Edward Goffe and his wife Elizabeth. This resulted in this one field becoming separated from the rest of the farm in the description of the farm in the manorial records. So over the next half century the transfers of Newland Farm in the manorial records didn't include this field though it seems certain that the people involved in the transactions assumed that it did and that this field continued to be farmed with the rest of the property.
At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 10 October 1749 it was presented that Edward Goffe, one of the customary tenants of the manor, had died, and the first proclamation was made for his heirs to come to court to be admitted, but nobody came to court (this being the day before Edward's funeral).
Edward Goffe had died intestate and on 29 November 1749 at the Consistory Court for the Deanery of South Malling his widow Elizabeth renounced her right to administer his estate and nominated her daughter Lucy, the wife of Stephen Brunsden, to be the administrator. Then on 2 December 1749 Lucy Brunsden was granted administration of her father's estate by the Deanery of South Malling.
At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 29 May 1751 the death was again presented of Edward Goffe, who held the half-acre field next to House Barn. No Heriot was due as Edward Goffe had no living beast. Now on the third proclamation of any claim on this land Lucy, the wife of Stephen Brunsden and only child and heir of Edward Goffe, came to court and claimed it as her right and inheritance, and she was admitted to these premises on payment of a fine of 2d to the Lord of the Manor.
Fifteen years later at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 10 June 1766 it was presented that Edward Goffe and his wife Elizabeth, who held for the term of their lives the property called Newlands Farm at High Hurstwood were now both dead. And Lucy Brunsden, wife of Stephen Brunsden a plasterer of Buxted, and only daughter and heir of Edward and Elizabeth Goffe, came to court and claimed these premises as her right according to a surrender made by Edward and Elizabeth Goffe at a Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 27 October 1720. No Heriot was due as Edward and Elizabeth Goffe had no living beast, and Lucy Brunsden was admitted to these premises on payment of a relief and fine of 3s 6d to the Lord of the Manor.
Even though Stephen and Lucy Brunsden only became the official tenants of Newlands Farm in 1766 after the death of Elizabeth Goffe, it seems that they had probably been the effective tenants since 1749 when Edward Goffe had died and his widow Elizabeth had renounced the administration of his estate. This seems to be proved when Robert East was granted two plots of land from the Waste of the Manor to go with his property of Crockenhall at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 28 December 1756, when it was stated that this was with the agreement of Stephen Brunsden the next adjoining tenant; the fields of Newlands Farm being the closest adjoining property.
Lucy Goffe had married Stephen Brunsden in about 1745 and they lived at Buxted where they had three children, Mary born in 1746, Edward born in 1747 and William born in 1753. Stephen Brunsden died during September 1778 and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 26 September 1778. He had made his will on 11 August 1778 and probate of this will was granted to his widow Lucy Brunsden, the sole executrix, by the Deanery of South Malling on 3 October 1778. In his will Stephen left Newlands Farm to Lucy for her lifetime and requested that she should leave it to their daughter Mary after her death.
Stephen and Lucy Brunsden are not thought to have ever lived at Newlands Farm, Stephen owned several other properties in Buxted and Uckfield including Buxted Water Corn Mill and had the Lordship of the Manor of Tothease in Buxted. In his will of 1778 Stephen stated that Newlands Farm was then in the occupation of Thomas Dray and it seems likely that Thomas Dray had been the occupier since at least the time of his marriage in 1763 when Newlands Farm was already effectively in the ownership of Stephen and Lucy Brunsden, and would continue to be the tenant there until he became the owner when Mary Brunsden sold it to him in 1799.
Six years after Stephen Brunsden's death his widow Lucy died, when just on 64 years old, and was buried in the Churchyard of St Margaret the Queen at Buxted on 19 March 1785. Lucy had made her will on 13 November 1778 and probate of this will was granted to her son William Brunsden, one of the executors, by the Deanery of South Malling on 11 March 1786. In her will Lucy confirmed her late husband's request that Newlands Farm was to be inherited by their daughter Mary Brunsden.
In the 1785 Land Tax for Buxted, Newlands Farm, which had a rental value of £6, was owned by Mary Brunsden and occupied by Thomas Dray, who also occupied the nearby property of Crockenhall owned by Edward Rogers.
At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 June 1785 the death was presented of widow Lucy Brunsden, who held Newlands Farm (the half-acre field next to House Barn was not included in the description). There was no Heriot due as Lucy Brunsden had no living beast, and the first proclamation of any claim on this property was made but nobody came to court.
It was not until two years later at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 29 June 1787, on the third proclamation of the death of widow Lucy Brunsden, who held Newlands Farm, that her only daughter Mary Brunsden came to court and presented her mother's will in which she left this property to her daughter Mary, and Mary was admitted to these premises on payment of a relief and fine of £1 1s 6d to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court Mary Brunsden then surrenders this property to the uses of her will.
Then four years before her death spinster Mary Brunsden sells Newlands Farm. At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 24 June 1799 Mary Brunsden sold to Thomas Dray, a yeoman of Buxted, her property of Newlands Farm. There was no Heriot due as Mary Brunsden was a tenant of other land in the manor, and Thomas Dray was admitted to these premises on payment of a relief and fine of £1 0s 6d to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court Thomas Dray then surrenders this property to the uses of his will.
Thomas Dray died in 1806 and in his will made on 26 March 1806 and proved by the Deanery of South Malling on 30 September 1806 he left his copyhold property of Newlands Farm, in which he had been living, to his son Thomas and charged this property with paying his wife Sarah a yearly sum or annuity of £8 per year.
Two years later at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 June 1808 Thomas Dray junior presented the will of his father and was admitted as tenant to his father's property of Newlands Farm on paying a relief and fine of £1 1s to the Lord of the Manor. At the same court Thomas Dray junior then surrenders this property to the uses of his will.
It seems that in 1809 officials of the Manor of Framfield finally realised that the half-acre field next to House Barn had not been included in the description of Newlands Farm during the past half century of transactions for this property, so to correct this, 24 years after Lucy Brunsden's death, at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 June 1809, the death was presented of Lucy Brunsden, who held the half-acre of land next to House Barn, but nobody came to court to claim it.
The following year at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 19 June 1810 Edward Brunsden, the eldest son of the late Lucy Brunsden, came to court and claimed the half-acre of land next to House Barn as his right according to the custom of the manor, and he was admitted on payment of a relief of 2d to the Lord of the Manor. Then at the same court Thomas Dray junior purchases from Edward Brunsden and his wife Sarah for £5, this half-acre of land, as a now recorded and legal part of his Newlands Farm. There was no Heriot as Edward Brunsden had no living beast, and Thomas Dray was admitted on payment of a relief and fine of 1s to the Lord of the Manor.
A year later, at a Special Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 6 May 1811, it was recorded that on 4 March 1811 Thomas Dray junior and his wife Elizabeth had mortgaged Newlands Farm, now including the half-acre field next to House Barn, to Richard Crunden, a yeoman of Ringmer, for £200 at 5% interest.
Then later that year, at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 20 June 1811, it was recorded that on 4 August 1810 Thomas Dray junior purchased from Charles Goring and his wife Elizabeth for £40, as an addition to his Newlands Farm, a croft of new and middle assert land of one acre and one rood called Spencer's lying to the lands called Taylors near Hayerst Wood, late Dame Elizabeth Goring's before Dash's and before Fagge's (plot 1770 on the 1840 Buxted Tithe Map). There was no Heriot due as Charles Goring held other copyhold land of the manor, and Thomas Dray was admitted to these premises on payment of a relief and fine of 1s 3d to the Lord of the Manor. Then at the same court Thomas Dray junior surrenders all his copyhold premises holden of the Manor of Framfield to the uses of his will.
At a Special Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 1 December 1817 it was recorded that in a writing dated 17 October 1817 the executors of Richard Crunden acknowledged satisfaction in the full repayment of the principal and interest of a mortgage given to Thomas Dray on 4 March 1811. Then at the same court it was recorded that on 25 October 1817 Thomas Dray and his wife Elizabeth re-mortgaged Newland Farm, now including the half-acre field next to House Barn and the field called Spencer’s, to James Elphick, a gentleman of Newhaven, for £250 at 5% interest.
The following year at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 25 June 1818 in a writing dated 28 February 1818 James Elphick acknowledges satisfaction on the full repayment of the mortgage given to Thomas Dray on 25 October 1817. Then at the same court it was recorded that on 28 February 1818 Thomas and Elizabeth Dray again re-mortgaged Newlands Farm, this time to Samuel Attree, a blacksmith of Maresfield, for £350 at 5% interest.
Then five years later at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 21 June 1823 Thomas and Elizabeth Dray sell Newlands Farm to Edmund Watson, a yeoman of Buxted, for £425 that included £270 that was still outstanding on the mortgage that Samuel Attree had given Thomas and Elizabeth Dray on Newlands Farm. No Heriot was due as Thomas Dray had no living beast, and Edmund Watson was admitted to these premises on paying reliefs and fines of £1 3s 3d to the Lord of the Manor.
The Buxted Tithe Map of 1840 and Tithe Apportionments of 26 May 1841 recorded that Newlands Farm, here called Hurst Wood Farm, was then owned and occupied by Edmund Watson. Its total area was 13 acres 1 rood 5 perches on which the yearly Tithe Charge was to be £2 15s 0d. It consisted of the following:
The census of 6 June 1841 recorded that Newlands was occupied by farmer Edmund Watson and his wife Mary, both aged 40, and their children; Frederick aged 19, Mary aged 15, James aged 9, Elizabeth aged 5 and Laben aged 1.
On 17 April 1844 it was recorded in the Court Book of the Manor of Framfield that Benjamin Minns, who was the publican at the Shelley Arms in Nutley, had purchased Newlands Farm from Edmund Watson for a total of £400 that consisted of £270 to repay the outstanding amount still due on the mortgage from Samuel Attree and £130 for Edmund and Mary Watson. For a Heriot a horse valued at £4 was seized for the Lord of the Manor. Benjamin was admitted on payment of reliefs and fines of £1 3s 3d to the Lord of the Manor, and the total yearly rent to the Lord of the Manor on this property was 3s 10½d. This transaction was described in the Manor of Framfield Court Books as follows:
Edmund Watson and his wife Mary in consideration of the principle sum of £270 remaining due on a conditional surrender made on the 28 February 1818 by Thomas Dray and his wife Elizabeth of the hereditaments after mentioned to the use of Samuel Attree and his heirs, and also in the consideration of the sum of £130 to the said Edmund Watson and his wife Mary now paid by Benjamin Minns the younger yeoman of Nutley in the Parish of Maresfield. Do surrender to Benjamin Minns the younger and his heirs, one tenement, one barn, one piece of new assart land adjoining called Newlands containing 2½ acres at Hayerst Wood, late Dray's and formerly Brunsden's, paying yearly 10d, Also two pieces of new assart land called Taylors containing 8 acres at Hayerst Wood, late Dray's and formerly Brunsden's, paying yearly 2s 8d, Also one parcel of new assart land containing half an acre formerly parcel of Hayerst Wood laying to the waste of the manor to the north and west, and to House Barn and land formerly of Edward Goffe to the south and east, late Dray's and formerly Brunsden's, paying yearly 2d, Also one croft of new and middle assart land containing one acre and one rood called Spencer's, laying to the lands called Taylors near Hayerst Wood, late Dray's and before Goring's, paying yearly 2½d. Benjamin Minns admitted on payment of £1 3s 3d.
The lands described in the Court Book are thought that equate to the following plots on the tithe map, though there is little agreement on the acreage this has been found to always be very approximate in the court records, the tithe map acreages are far more accurate:
Tenement, barn and new assart land called Newland, plots 1766 & 1768.
Two pieces of new assart land called Taylors of 8 acres, plots 1769 & 1771.
One piece of new assart land of ½ acre by House Barn, plot 1767
One croft of new and middle assart land called Spencers of 1 acre, plot 1770.
It seems likely that Edmund Watson had to sell as he was in debt because by the 1851 census he was no longer a farmer and just a farm labourer living in Buxted. It was probably at the time Benjamin Minns purchased this property in 1844 that the occupiers became Richard and Dorothy Booker, who had been tenant farmers at the Maypole Farm in the 1841 census and were then tenants at Newlands Farm in the 1851 census.
In the census of 30 March 1851 the occupiers of Newlands Farm were Richard Booker aged 65, a farmer of 15 acres employing one labourer, his wife Dorothy aged 59, their son Charles aged 20 and employed on the farm, their daughter Ann aged 18 and her husband Isaac Veness aged 22, a higler. They also had a lodger, Edmund Isted aged 23, a farm labourer. Though tenants at Newlands both Richard and his wife Dorothy (née Muddle) were owners of other properties in High Hurstwood.
The location of Newlands Farm was always used as one of the way points in describing the boundary of one of Buxted’s census districts; in 1851 it was referred to as Reed’s Shop and then in later censuses as the Hurstwood Grocer’s Shop. So it seems that a man called Reed was operating a shop at Newlands Farm where the Booker family were living and was probably employing Richard Booker’s son Henry as shopman because Henry was described as a grocer’s shopman in the 1851 census when he was living with his wife and her family at Old Hall Cottages. Then in the 1855 Post Office Directory of the Six Home Counties Henry Booker was a beer retailer and shopman at High Hurstwood, so it seems that Henry had taken over the grocer’s shop from Mr Reed and had also started selling beer there.
In the census of 7 April 1861 the occupiers of Newlands Farm were Richard Booker aged 75, a farmer of 16 acres, his wife Dorothy aged 68, their son Henry aged 36, who was an out of business grocer and a visitor (it’s thought that he had separated from his wife), their son Charles aged 30 with his wife and three children were lodgers as was 83-year-old widower John Histed. So as Henry was now out of business it seems that this initial attempt to have a grocer’s shop and sell beer at Newlands was fairly short lived.
When the remaining Wastes of the Manor of Framfield were enclosed in 1862 Benjamin Minns was granted plots 117, 133 & 136 totalling 1 acre and 27 perches as copyhold land, and he purchased plot 113 of 3 acres 2 roods 12 perches for £50 as freehold land. All this land was adjacent to his Newland Farm property and he was to erect and maintain fences on the north-west side of plot 113 and where all the plots had a boundary with the highway.
Richard Booker died on 1 May 1863, at the age of 77, and then five years later in May 1868 Dorothy Booker died at the age of 77. It was probably sometime after Richard’s death that his son William with his wife Mary started to live at Newlands, in the 1861 census they had been living at Morphews in Fowley Lane where William was a farmer and is thought to have run a beer shop during the mid-1860 for the workers when the Buxted to Crowborough railway was being constructed and in particular the nearby viaduct.
In the census of 2 April 1871 Newlands Farm, now referred to as the Grocer’s Shop, was occupied by William Booker aged 53, a master grocer employing one boy, his wife Mary aged 52, two boarders, 84-year-old widow Hannah Cook, who was Mary’s mother, and 84-year-old widower William Williams, and also a lodger 26-year-old William Fernes.
Benjamin Minns, the owner of Newlands Farm, was living at Massetts Place in Scaynes Hill when he died on 28 July 1874 and was buried in the Churchyard of All Saints at Lindfield on 1 August 1874. Benjamin had made his will on 9 September 1872 and probate was granted to his wife Sarah Minns, the sole executrix, at the Lewes Probate Registry on 26 November 1874. In his will Benjamin gave his wife the income from his real estate for her life, and then after her death his real estate was to be inherited by his son Benjamin John Minns.
At the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 25 June 1875 the death was presented of Benjamin Minns, who held Newlands Farm. For a Heriot a cow valued at £9 was seized for the Lord of the Manor, and the first proclamation was made for the heir to this property to come to court to claim it, but nobody came to court.
Then the following year, at the Court of the Manor of Framfield held on 23 June 1876, on the second proclamation of any claim on Newlands Farm, Sarah Minns, represented by her attorney, came to court and on production of a copy of her husband's will Sarah Minns was admitted as a tenant of this property for her lifetime on payment of reliefs and fines of £1 3s 3d to the Lord of the Manor.
In the census of 3 April 1881 Newlands Farm, now referred to as Hurstwood Grocer’s Shop and Beer Shop, was occupied by William Booker aged 63, a grocer and publican, his wife Mary aged 62, and two lodgers, 51-year-old widower Charles Woodcraft and 12-year-old Wallace Woodcraft. Later in 1881 William Booker died and his wife Mary continued to live at Newlands until it was sold by the Minns family in 1884. Mary then lived in a nearby cottage until her death in 1892.
It was recorded in the Court Book of the Manor of Framfield that on 14 October 1884 Benjamin John Minns, a farmer of Lindfield, came before the Steward of the Manor and on production of a copy of his father's will, was admitted as tenant of the copyhold part Newlands Farm that was to be his inheritance on the death of his mother Sarah Minns, on payment of reliefs and fines of £1 3s 3d to the Lord of the Manor. This was then followed by it being recorded in the Court Book of the Manor of Framfield that on the same day, 14 October 1884, Sarah Minns and her son Benjamin John Minns with his wife Fanny came before the Steward of the Manor and sold the copyhold part Newlands Farm to William Duvall, a grocer of Five Ash Down, for £1000. For a Heriot a cow valued at £7 was seized for the Lord of the Manor, and William Duvall was admitted as tenant of these premises on payment of reliefs and fines of £1 3s 3d to the Lord of the Manor. An indenture, also dated 14 October 1884, recorded that Sarah Minns and her son Benjamin John Minns sold the freehold part of Newlands Farm to William Duvall for £50. An inventory of tenant’s rights, written by Mary Booker on 26 September 1884 for the new owner, William Duvall, states that the new incoming tenant was to be Henry Hoath.
Henry Hoath had married Jemima Homewood in 1858 and they had one child, a daughter called Jemima Elizabeth Hoath, born in 1859, who married James Alfred Bailey in 1878. Henry and Jemima Hoath were the landlords of the Crow & Gate public house in the north of High Hurstwood Parish, on the main road to the south of Crowborough, for six years. They then moved to Newlands Farm that was probably by now called the Royal Oak when it was sold in late 1884. The naming of the pub the Royal Oak was possibly influenced by the majestic oak tree that stands in Sandy Lane only 50 yards from the pub.
In the census of 5 April 1891 the Royal Oak Public House and Shop were occupied by Henry Hoath aged 62, described as a farmer but must also have been a publican, and his wife Jemima aged 53. Henry Hoath died at the Royal Oak on 11 August 1895, at the age of 66, from cancer of the stomach and exhaustion. He was described as being a beer-house keeper on his death certificate. The following month the 28 September 1895 edition of The Sussex Agricultural Express reported that at the 26 September 1895 sitting of the Uckfield Bench of Magistrates Mrs Jemima Hoath was granted the license of the Royal Oak beer-house on production of the probate of her late husband's will.
Ten years after purchasing Newlands Farm William Duvall mortgaged it, both the freehold and copyhold parts, to Phillis Venus on 19 March 1895 for £600 at 5% interest. Then just under four years later William Duvall sold the licensed premises called the Royal Oak with the Dairy and Poultry farm called Newlands Farm at an auction by agents St John Smith at the White Hart Hotel in Lewes on 6 December 1898, and used the proceeds of this sale to pay off, on 3 January 1899, the mortgage of £600 that he had taken out on Newlands Farm. The sale was in 3 lots described in the sales leaflet as:
Licensed premises at High Hurstwood, Buxted, known as The Royal Oak with the Grocer’s Shop adjoining, brick, stone and timber-built and tile-healed.
Containing a Tap Room, with an excellent spacious Beer Cellar; a Dairy, Wash-house, Sale Shop and Private Parlour, with 5 Bedrooms, and an Attic over.
The timber, tile and thatch Farm Buildings consist of a Barn with bay, a Lodge and Stable, a timber and tile-healed Cow Lodge for 4 cows, a Cart Lodge and Fowl House, and an enclosed Yard, also a Piggery.
There is a well of good water.
An enclosure of Pasture and Arable Land and Hop Garden, Orchard and Garden.
Area 3 acres, 2 Roods and 26 perches.
The apportioned Rent of this Lot is £25.
The property is Copyhold of the Manor of Framfield.
OS map numbers 699, 701, 702 & 703.
Three Enclosures of Excellent Pasture Land, being part of Newlands Farm, Buxted.
Separated from Lot 1 by the High Road, and having an extensive frontage thereto, and containing in the whole an area of 13 acres, 3 roods and 32 perches, of which 3 acres, 2 roods and 12 perches is Freehold.
The apportioned Rent of this Lot is £19-10-0.
This property is part Freehold and part Copyhold of the Manor of Framfield.
OS map numbers 609, 610, 685, 686 & 689.
A plot of land at High Hurstwood, adjoining lot 1 and abutting on the High Road, containing an area of 1 rood and 3 perches.
In the occupation of Mr Tourle, as sub-tenant. The erections thereon for poultry fattening are the property of the tenant.
The apportioned Rent of this Lot is 10/-.
The property is Copyhold of the Manor of Framfield.
OS map number 700.
The whole of the property is let to Mrs Jemima Hoath at a Rental of £45 per annum, tenant paying usual outgoings.
The land tax on the whole last paid amounted to £1-10-3, and the tithe to £1-17-10.
The Copyhold portion is subject to a Heriot on death, also Reliefs and Fines.
The annual Quit Rent is 3/10½.
The Rev. John Goring of Wiston Park in Sussex purchased Lot 2 for £450, as he already owned the adjacent property called Carrots Farm, and he then sent Jemima a notice to quit his property:
To Mrs Jemima Hoath
I hereby give you Notice to quit and yield up on the 29th day of September next or on whatsoever other day your Tenancy is Acterminable next after the receipt of this Notice. All and every the Lands and Hereditaments part of Newlands Farm late Duvall's which you now hold use or occupy of or belonging to me situate in the Parish of Buxted or elsewhere in the County of Sussex.
Dated the 2nd day of March 1899
I acknowledge to have received a duplicate of the above written notice this 4th day of March 1899.
March 13th 1899
John Goring then leased Lot 2, on 3 May 1899, to Edward Allfree Smithers and Herbert Welsford Smithers, both brewers of Brighton, for 21 years, at the yearly rent of £21-10-0. It only seems to make sense that brewers from Brighton would lease this farmland if they were the ones who had purchased Lot 1, the licensed premises called the Royal Oak, and Jemima then rented both these properties from them, and a photograph of the Royal Oak dating from about 1910 shows the Smithers name on the front of the building. Records of Tamplins Brewery indicate that Smithers owned the Royal Oak from 1901 so possibly there was another owner of the Royal Oak between 1898 and 1901.
In the census of 31 March 1901 Jemima was living at the Royal Oak and she described herself as a beer retailer working on her own account. Living with her was her granddaughter Alice Mary Bailey, aged 22, who was described as being an assistant to Jemima. It seems likely that Alice had come to live with and assist Jemima around the time of the death of Jemima’s husband in 1895 when Alice would have been 17 years old.
The 26 December 1902 edition of The Courier reported that Jemima Hoath had been before Uckfield Petty Sessions the previous day for permitting drunkenness on her licensed premises, the Royal Oak. Namely that on the evening of 2 December 1902 Police Constable Clarke had found Edward Smith there in a drunken condition. But as witnesses Alfred Martin, Henry Goodsell and Henry Dadswell all stated that Edward Smith had not shown any indication that he was drunk until PC Clarke had entered the premises the case against Jemima was dismissed. Edward Smith, who admitted to having been drunk, was not so lucky, he was fined 10 shillings.
It’s thought that Jemima continued to run the Royal Oak until Charles William Leeves took it over when he married Jemima’s granddaughter Alice Bailey in 1905. Jemima continued to live at the Royal Oak with Charlie and Alice and in about 1907, when she was 70-years-old, she went blind. In the census of 2 April 1911 the Royal Oak was occupied by Charles Leeves aged 32, who described himself as a farmer working at home, which he would have considered to be his main occupation though he was also a publican, together with his wife Alice aged 32, Jemima Hoath aged 73, and Esther Mabel McKie aged 16, who was their general servant. In this census the Royal Oak was recorded as having eight rooms. Jemima died at the Royal Oak on 9 June 1912, at the age of 75, from bronchi pneumonia.
In an indenture dated 19 June 1902 the Rev. John Goring transferred all his properties to a trust with his eldest son, Charles Goring of Wiston Park, having the use during his lifetime of the farmland that had been Lot 2 in the 1898 sale. A valuation for the Inland Revenue of the Lot 2 farmland dated 22 October 1913 gave its value as agricultural land as £455 and stated that the occupier was Charles Leeves as a subtenant of Smithers & Sons Ltd.
On 25 October 1920 Charles Goring, together with the two trustees, Alan Goring and Henry Bucknall Betterton, sold the farmland of Lot 2, now called Newlands Meadows, for £625 to Thomas Lee Hollis, who already owned the properties on either side of this land, namely Carrots Farm and Cherry Gardens.
Joseph and Edith Featherstone, who lived at Jarvis Brook, used to play the piano and sing at the Royal Oak. Edith (née Relf) was Jemima's niece. Charlie Leeves had to collect his beer from Maresfield with a horse and cart, and Alice made homemade wine for sale in the pub. Alice's young sister Mabel Bailey worked for them from 1912 to about 1916 and Esther McKie continued working for them until about 1925. Then Alice Carr worked for them until about 1932 when Annie Cole took over.
Charlie and Alice didn’t have any children. While they were at the Royal Oak Charlie kept cows on the small farm that went with the pub, from which they made butter for sale, and he also had force-feed chicken that he kept at Hurstwood Farm in an arrangement with the Tidy family, who occupied it, the wife being his sister. The records of Tamplins Brewery show that they purchased the Royal Oak from the brewers Smithers in 1929.
Alice died on 13 April 1937 at the age of 58 from cancer; she had a growth under her ribs. Charlie continued to run the pub for a short time with the help of Annie Cole, and a photo of the pub from about this time shows that it sold ‘Tamplin’s Ales from the wood or in bottle’. When Charlie gave up the pub his nephew Len Tidy took it over and Charlie went to live with his sister-in-law Laura Muddle and her husband Percy at the Maypole Farm, and Annie Cole went to work for Alice’s brother Albert Bailey and his wife Eva at the Lewes Road Tavern in Newhaven.
Charlie Leeves was probably the last occupant of the Royal Oak who farmed the fields called Newlands Meadows (originally the lands called Spencer's and Taylor's) as part of Newlands Farm. The owner, Thomas Lee Hollis, had sold his adjacent property called Carrots Farm in 1924, and then in 1939 gifted his adjacent property of Cherry Gardens to his daughter Dora Russell Gammon. He retained ownership of Newlands Meadow, but it effectively became part of Cherry Gardens and was rented out to the Holmes family who, from 1937, lived at Hurstwood Farm.
Leonard Robert Tidy was the youngest son of the Tidy family that had lived across the road from the Royal Oak at Hurstwood Farm. He had married Mabel Maria Hunt in early 1937 and after moving into the Royal Oak they had two sons, born in 1938 and 1942. As well as running the pub Len and Mabel farmed the remaining land that went with the Royal Oak. In the National Register of 29 September 1939 the Royal Oak was occupied by 27-year-old dairy farmer Len Tidy together with his 37-year-old wife Mabel and their one-year-old son. Len was then a member of the Reserve Fire Service of Uckfield Rural District Council.
On the evening of 17 July 1944, during the Second World War, while the Tidy family were living at the Royal Oak, a German V1 flying bomb, known as a doodlebug, landed about 200 yards to the south and the blast damaged the rear wall of the house, which had to be propped up with timber. Their son Bob, aged 6, who had been sent to bed before the pub opened in the evening, remembers the glass of his bedroom window flying across the room.
In late 1947 photographer John Topham visited Rocks Farm in High Hurstwood to photograph some cattle that were going to be exported. Tom Rigby, who worked on the farm, persuaded him to stay for the day and go round the village taking photos of the farmers and other workers as they were working and then in the evening as they enjoyed a relaxing pint at the Royal Oak. Bob Tidy, who was then 9 years old, remembers holding the photographer’s light while the photographs were being taken in his father’s pub.
Len Tidy and his family left the Royal Oak in 1951 to go to Claygates Farm at Herons Ghyll that they had purchased on 20 December 1950. The next landlord at the Royal Oak was Mr Constable, who kept pigs and had a business felling trees; he stayed for about two years.
When Mr Constable wished to give up the licence of the Royal Oak his relatives living in Hove, Charles and Gladys Dicker, persuaded their neighbour Arthur Prior, who was working as a Brighton bus conductor, to take over the licence. So in 1953 Arthur Alfred Prior and his wife Lily Sophie Prior, who were both in their 50s moved to the Royal Oak. Lily was Arthur's second wife, his first wife Winnifred had died in 1938, and Arthur's three sons by his first wife had all left home by 1953. As well as running the pub Arthur kept chickens in a large hen house that he had built and also kept pigs. The only farmland that now went with the Royal Oak was the field behind the pub, and this they rented out to a local farmer.
The pub was no longer a viable business due to a lack of customers, the Maypole Inn, the other pub in the village, was better positioned for passing trade and it also had a beer and spirit licence where the Royal Oak only had a beer licence. It's understood that at this time the one regular customer and frequently only customer at the Royal Oak was 'Son' Harold Muddle. To try to and get more customers Arthur tried having his mates on the buses bring mystery coach tours to the Royal Oak.
Together with Lily hating being out in the countryside away from all the town facilities that she had been used to, and especially the cold outside toilets; after two years of trying to make a go of it they decided to give up the licence and at the same time the brewery decided to sell the property as it was now a loss maker for them. The records of Tamplins Brewery show that they sold the Royal Oak in 1955. Arthur and Lily moved back to Hove and Arthur went back to being a bus conductor until he retired. To be near two of Arthur's sons they later moved to Crawley where Lily died in 1975 and Arthur in 1984.
The Royal Oak now became a private house and the next owner and occupier from 1955 was a woman who had a restaurant in London for which she raised chicken and grew vegetables that she sent up to London. She stayed for about four years.
The next owner and occupier was Martin Hayes and his widowed mother Sybil who purchased the Royal Oak in about 1959. Then in 1960 Martin Hayes purchased the nearby cottage and farm of Mount Pleasant and married Jeanne Brodie on 17 November 1960. The Hayes family now moved to Mount Pleasant and sold the Royal Oak to Edward and Nora Lydall in about 1961. Edward had been in the diplomatic service and served in India. Edward and Nora remained frequent travellers and had another home in Geneva.
Edward and Nora Lydall stayed at the Royal Oak for several years before selling it to Mason Charles Scott and his wife Judith of Manor Farm, Heyshott. Mason was a furniture renovator and antiques dealer with a shop in Olives Yard in Uckfield, and is known to have been living at the Royal Oak in the period 1972 to 1976 while he was a registered bankrupt. The Scott family sold the Royal Oak to Andrew and Rosalind Topham who stayed until 2007 when they sold the Royal Oak to Adrian Dalton and Louise Vetch.
 ESRO: AMS 6546/1 page 111B note in margin, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1665-1675.
 ESRO: AMS 6546/1 page 111B, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1665-1675.
 ESRO: ADA 114 page 112A note in margin, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1.
 ESRO: ADA 114 page 112A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1.
 ESRO: ADA 114 page 115B, Manor of Framfield Court Book 1.
 ESRO: ADA 116 page 24B, Manor of Framfield Court Book 3.
 ESRO: ADA 116 page 26A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 3.
 TNA: PROB 11/573, Will of Anthony Saunders proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.
 ESRO: ADA 116 pages 130B-131A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 3.
 ESRO: ADA 117 page 31B, Manor of Framfield Court Book 4.
 ESRO: ADA 117 page 177A, Manor of Framfield Court Book 4.
 ESRO: PBT 2/5/22 Renunciation by Elizabeth Goffe of administration of Edward Goffe.
 ESRO: PBT 2/1/7/392B Administration of Edward Goffe granted by Deanery of South Malling.
 ESRO: ADA 117 pages 191A-191B, Manor of Framfield Court Book 4.
 ESRO: ADA 118 pages 376-377, Manor of Framfield Court Book 5.
 ESRO: ADA 118 page 137, Manor of Framfield Court Book 5.
 ESRO: PBT 2/1/9/254, Will of Stephen Brunsden proved by the Deanery of South Malling.
 ESRO: PBT 2/1/9/453, Will of Lucy Brunsden proved by the Deanery of South Malling.
 ESRO: LT/BUXTED, Land Tax Assessments for Buxted 1780-1832.
 ESRO: ADA 120 page 226, Manor of Framfield Court Book 7.
 ESRO: ADA 120 pages 280-281, Manor of Framfield Court Book 7.
 ESRO: ADA 121 page 313, Manor of Framfield Court Book 8.
 ESRO: PBT 2/1/11/64 Will of Thomas Dray proved by the Deanery of South Malling.
 ESRO: ADA 122 pages 260-262, Manor of Framfield Court Book 9.
 ESRO: ADA 122 pages 349-350, Manor of Framfield Court Book 9.
 ESRO: ADA 122 pages 403-404, Manor of Framfield Court Book 9.
 ESRO: ADA 122 pages 424-425, Manor of Framfield Court Book 9.
 ESRO: ADA 123 pages 8-9, Manor of Framfield Court Book 10.
 ESRO: ADA 123 pages 371-373, Manor of Framfield Court Book 10.
 ESRO: ADA 123 pages 406-407, Manor of Framfield Court Book 10.
 ESRO: ADA 124 pages 139-140, Manor of Framfield Court Book 11.
 ESRO: TDE 135/1&2 Buxted Tithe Map and Apportionments.
 ESRO: ADA 126 pages 303-305, Manor of Framfield Court Book 13.
 ESRO: QDD/6/12/1 pages 19 & 51, Manor of Framfield 1862 enclosure award.
 ESRO: ADA 131 pages 243-244, Manor of Framfield Court Book 18.
 ESRO: ADA 131 pages 262-264, Manor of Framfield Court Book 18.
 ESRO: ADA 132 pages 347-348, Manor of Framfield Court Book 19.
 ESRO: ADA 132 pages 349-351, Manor of Framfield Court Book 19.
 WSRO: WISTON/781 Indenture for sale of freehold part of Newlands Farm, 14 Oct 1884.
 WSRO: WISTON/791 Inventory & valuation of tenant's rights for Newlands Farm, 26 Sep 1884.
 WSRO: WISTON/782 Mortgage of freehold & copyhold parts of Newlands Farm, 19 Mar 1895.
 WSRO: WISTON/783 Sales leaflet for auction of Newlands Farm, 6 Dec 1898.
 WSRO: WISTON/786 Notice for Jemima Hoath to quit Newlands Farm, 2 Mar 1899.
 WSRO: WISTON/788 Lease of part of Newlands Farm to brewers Smithers, 3 May 1899.