Anns Orchard

Anns Orchard

Ann’s Orchard is a fine example of a mid 19th century house, half hidden from view behind two giant yew trees, situated in Crawley Down Road.

It is a complicated process to try and trace the development of the area now known as Ann’s Orchard, for several reasons:
1) The county boundary used to run behind the area, putting the whole of the plot in Surrey, then between 1729 and 1768 the county boundary moved. The result of this meant that now it runs through the plot, putting the back section in Sussex and the front in Surrey. This means that the back now falls under the jurisdiction of Mid-Sussex County Council and the front falls under Tandridge County Council.
2) The same division affected the civil parish in which it fell. Starting off in the civil parish of Godstone, then splitting, with the back section in the civil parish of East Grinstead and the front in Godstone until 1953, when Felbridge civil parish was formed. The result of this was that the back section remained in the civil parish of East Grinstead, but the front section joined the civil parish of Felbridge.
3) The ecclesiastical parish has also changed over the years. The back section of the plot was in the ecclesiastical parish of East Grinstead and the front section was in the ecclesiastical parish of Godstone up until 1865, when the whole area became part of the ecclesiastical parish of Felbridge.
4) The manorial ownership of the plot changed in the second half of 19th century, from Imberhorne manor to the Felbridge Place Estate.
5) There were major changes in the field boundaries between 1842 and 1876.
6) Historically, there have been at least two properties associated with the area now known as Ann’s Orchard.
7) The area has had at least four property names associated with it, Five Oaks, Five-Oak Cottage, Oak Cottage and Ann’s Orchard.
8) Part of the plot has, in more recent years, been sold creating two more properties on the area, Harborne and Cherry Wood.

However, it is possible to chart the development of the area now known as Ann’s Orchard and the history of the house.

The plot, now known as Ann’s Orchard, was situated in an area of land that was once on the extreme Southern edge of Hedgecourt Common, bounded by the River Fel. The stream originally marked the Northern boundary of lands held by Lewes Priory with which the manor of Imberhorne was associated, and the manor of South-Malling with which Gulledge was associated. However, by 1842 the manor of Imberhorne extended over the stream and at least part of the plot fell within it.

The first appearance of a property in the area now known as Ann’s Orchard, is on the 1768 Rocque map. It was situated some distance from Felbridge Road, now the Crawley Down Road. At this time the county boundary ran to the South of this road, putting the majority of the plot in Sussex. Also depicted on this map is a road joining Felbridge Road and the lane leading to Gulledge. This road ran from opposite the current entrance to McIver Close, curved to the West, ran behind Oak Farm and then joined the lane to Gulledge just before the stream. The property on the plot was situated to the South East of this road where it started to turn West. The same property and road are both shown on the 1842 Tithe Map for East Grinstead. The date of disuse for this road is unclear, but by 1876 it appears as merely a field boundary, and by 1911 was incorporated as part of the property known as Oak Cottage, now Ann’s Orchard.

When the Tithe Maps were completed between 1839 and 1842, the plot now known as Ann’s Orchard was split between the Heath Hatch, Godstone Tithe and the East Grinstead Tithe. In 1840, the Tithe Map for Godstone contained the front section of Ann’s Orchard, from the Crawley Down Road extending to the county boundary. This land comprised of field nos. 268 to 270 and parts of field nos. 271 and 272, totalling just over one acre. Field no. 268 was listed as a gravel pit and pond. The fields were in the copyhold ownership of Thomas Robert Burt, a solicitor of East Grinstead, with true ownership being with the Earl of Liverpool of the Felbridge Place Estate. There was no house listed within this area in 1842, just garden, orchard, pasture and common land.

However, in 1842, the Tithe Map for East Grinstead showed a small cluster of properties to the East of the county boundary around the plot now known as Ann’s Orchard. There was a building depicted within the current plot, on field no. 2137. This field, and part of an adjoining field, formed the current plot. Field no. 2137 formed part of a property occupied by John Burt, which consisted of a cottage, garden, orchard and meadows totalling just over five acres. Adjoining this property was field no. 2139; it was part of this field that was later incorporated in the plot now known as Ann’s Orchard. This field was listed as in the ownership of Mary Southey, although it should be remembered it was only copyhold owner, as all the land East of the county boundary in this area formed part of the manor of Imberhorne in 1842.

By 1851, there was still no property on the site of the current house in Surrey, but the house at the back of the plot, in Sussex, was listed as being occupied by Mrs Fanny Elphick, the wife of a gardener, with their family. The same census listed Thomas R Burt as an attorney, living in the High Street, East Grinstead, but John Burt did not appear. However, by the Census of 1861, it would seem that a property had been constructed on the Surrey side of the plot, called Oak Cottage. Robert Hawes, a farmer of ten acres and his wife and son called Richard occupied this property. It is interesting to note that in 1845 a Robert Hawes was listed as a tenant of ‘a part of Gulledge’, and then in 1855 as a joint copyhold owner. The plot now known as Ann’s Orchard abutted the lands of Gulledge at that time. Also by 1861, the plot had two dwellings on it, one in Surrey and one in Sussex. This is borne out by references made, between 1869 and 1874, about there being a dwelling called Fiveoaks Cottage and another dwelling called Fiveoaks hidden in the woods behind, in Sussex. Certainly on the Ordnance Survey map of 1879, two dwellings are depicted on the plot.

In 1870, there were two conveyances made between Robert Hawes and Frances Gatty of the Felbridge Place Estate regarding the area now known as Ann’s Orchard. Unfortunately, the schedule detailing exactly what was conveyed is missing. However, being that there are two conveyances made on the same day it is probable that they are the two outlined in the schedule of the 1911 conveyance. The first part details field no. 2, an orchard being in East Grinstead and field no.217 with Oak Cottage and garden being in Godstone, total area .889 acres. The second part details field no. 1 as plantation and part of field no. 35 as pasture being in East Grinstead, and field no. 215 as plantation and field no. 216 as pasture being in Godstone, total area one acre.

Referring again to the Ordnance Survey map of 1879, the road that appeared on the Rocque map of 1768 was by then depicted as merely a field boundary. This suggests the road was no longer in use, and it appears that a copse of trees had grown where the road left Felbridge Road, now Crawley Down Road. Also, across the county boundary in Sussex, slightly behind the new property in Surrey, another building had appeared. It is not clear whether this belonged to the property in Surrey or Sussex. Later evidence suggests that this was a barn/stable and is still standing to the East of the current driveway for Ann’s Orchard. It is also interesting to note that the current driveway aligns with the old road of 1768. The Ordnance Survey map of 1879 also depicts that the field boundaries had changed in this area. This may have pre-empted a purchase by, or may have been as a result of a purchase by the Gatty family of the Felbridge Place Estate. It is also interesting to note that in 1880, when the Gatty’s acquired ‘part of Gulledge’, the last joint tenant for this ‘part of Gulledge’ was listed as a Richard Hawes. What is obvious is that by 1880, the area now known as Ann’s Orchard was in the sole ownership of the Felbridge Place Estate.

It is unclear how long the dwelling in Sussex remained in use, or who were occupying either properties on the plot towards the end of the 19th century. The Census records for both Godstone and East Grinstead, of 1881, refer to most of the dwellings in the area as ‘cottage’. However, in 1909, the Kelly’s Directory for Surrey lists James Reid/Redpath as occupying Oak Cottage, now known as Ann’s Orchard. In 1911, he still appears in the Kelly’s Directory as occupying Oak Cottage and he also appears in the ‘Schedule of Tenancies’ for the Felbridge Place as paying £26 per annum for the property.

In February 1911, the property of Oak Cottage, now Ann’s Orchard, was conveyed by Charles Lane Sayer and Alfred Leighton Sayer, the trustees of the Felbridge Place Estate, to Mrs Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Co. Ltd. They in turn conveyed the property to Mrs Susannah Emma West, wife of Samuel Joseph West, in May 1911, for £550. The plot included a cottage and garden, orchard, pasture and plantation, partly in the parishes of East Grinstead and Godstone, totalling about 1.889 acres. The sale plan shows Oak Cottage, now Ann’s Orchard, in Surrey, and the barn/stable and another building, in Sussex, as depicted on the Ordnance Survey map of 1879. However, there is no mention of the building in Sussex being a dwelling, so it would appear to have been uninhabited or classed as an outbuilding. The copse area on the old road that appeared on the 1879 map was classed as a plantation in 1911 and was incorporated as part of the property of Oak Cottage. This area had two rectangular ponds depicted on it.

In 1912, Mr Tyson Crawford was listed as the occupier of Oak Cottage paying a rent of £40 on a three-year agreement with Mrs Susannah West. This is recorded on the East Surrey Water Co. Fitting Notice dated 8th February 1912 when mains water was connected to the property. In 1913, the Kelly’s Directory for Surrey listed Tyson Crawford as residing at Oak Cottage and again in 1922 and 1927. As a point of interest, Tyson Crawford was as a School Manager for Felbridge School from the mid to the late 1920’s, and several Managers meetings were held at Ann’s Orchard. Susannah West died in 1921 and it would appear that Tyson Crawford continued to lease the property until shortly after the death of Samuel Joseph West, widower of Susannah, in 1927. In 1928/29, Mrs Florence Chevalier moved to Oak Cottage from Ringmere, Town Hill, Lingfield. Florrie had been a music hall comedienne in her younger days. She was also the widow of Albert Chevalier the ‘Coster Laureate’ of the music halls and leading figure in ‘Variety’ as a form of entertainment for the general public. Florrie Chevalier gave piano lessons from Oak Cottage and was known by Felbridge school children for giving apples to them on their way home from school.

It was during the occupation of Florrie Chevalier that Oak Cottage was renamed Ann’s Orchard. It is thought that the name was chosen because of a suggested link with Ann Boleyn. According to local lore, the Boleyn family gave Gulledge to Henry VIII as a dowry. It is suggested that this piece of land was a cherry orchard belonging to Gulledge, hence Ann’s Orchard. However, Gulledge was in the occupation of the Alfrey family during the 16th century and it would seem, although a romantic notion, unlikely that there is a connection with the Boleyn family. Also the whole of the Ann’s Orchard plot was in Surrey during the 16th century, as the county boundary ran along the River Fel, and was therefore not part of Gulledge at that time.

In 1947/48, Mr and Mrs Cox bought the property. In the early 1960’s, the Cox’s sold off the plantation area of Ann’s Orchard, to the West, and the house called Cherry Wood was constructed, and later in 1965 the house called Harborne was built. In 1976, John and Vivienne Brown, who reside there to this day, bought Ann’s Orchard.

The house is a fine example of the early 19th century style, although evidence suggests that it was not constructed until sometime between 1842 and 1861. The arched window at the front is known as a Venetian or Palladian window and was usually found on the first floor level. It was used to enhance many facades towards the end of the 18th century and early 19th century. Under the window there is a porch, built of the pagoda type that shows the influence of chinoisorie that was fashionable at the end of the 18th century. From its elegant appearance it would seem more likely that the property was built for Thomas R Burt, the solicitor, than as a farmhouse for Robert Hawes who was residing there as a farmer in 1861. The choice of the late 18th and early 19th century styles may reflect a delay in these influences filtering down from ‘Society’ to the rural area of Felbridge.

Entrance, by foot to the property, is via a small white gate in the hedge line and along a path, between two huge yew trees, leading to the pagoda style porch. This gate is a copy, made by the students of Crawley College, from one made locally by a carpenter for Ann’s Orchard. The driveway is accessed through a white five-bar gate to the West of the small gate. This follows the line of the old road that appears on the Rocque map of 1768, curving past the barn/stable that appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1879, and then heads off towards the boundary hedge. On entry to the driveway there is a side gate of wrought iron under an arch, Tim Reddick of Reddick Forge made this in 1976, before the Forge moved to Crawley Down Road.

The house is virtually square in shape with a single gabled roof running East /West at the front, and three gabled roofs butted at the back running North/South. The two outer gables are both wider and taller than the central one. The whole roof is made of slate. The walls are white washed brick. The porch is not the original as this had originally been wooden lattice either side. This, at a later date, had been covered with clapboard but both had deteriorated, beyond repair, so they were replaced by brick. The lattice theme of the original porch was continued by re-using the original doors that have lattice glass panels and by use of lattice glass in the side windows. However, the roof was retained that was made of lead and the base is a thick slate slab. Most of the windows are typical of the early 19th century sash type. Attached to the rear are a single storey scullery extension and a glass Edwardian lean-to conservatory that leads to the garden. There is also a single storey extension to the West of the building, attached to a brick built apple store. The apple store was originally racked out with wooden trays to store fruit from the orchard.

Beside the driveway is the barn/stable. This is a single storey building built of brick, and wood under a tiled roof. The brickwork is Flemish bond, like the house itself, and about eight inches thick with no cavity. The left-hand section has a small hayloft, wooden walls on two sides, windows and a single width door. The middle section is now open to the roof with a brick support in the middle at the front and brick back wall. Originally there was a smaller opening here with a wooden stall dividing this section from the far right-hand section. The right-hand section has a manger in it and the back end the wall is made of brick. It has been suggested that it may have been a stable and carriage block. In the grounds there is an Edwardian style wooden framed glasshouse, in which a grapevine had been growing at some time. There is also a revolving summerhouse, also typical of the Edwardian age, which catches the sun’s rays all day. At the back of the garden there are some large oak trees that may have lent themselves to the name Oak Cottage. There were also four yew trees, planted one at each corner of the house, of which three remain. Also, there are remnants of an apple orchard to the East of the house and one at the rear of the garden, perhaps giving their name to Ann’s Orchard.

John Senex Map 1729
Rocque Map 1768
Godstone Tithe Map and apportionment 1840
East Grinstead Tithe Map and apportionment 1842
Ordnance Survey Map 1879, 1912, 1934, 2000
Felbridge Place Sale Map 1911
Post Office Directory 1839, 1845
Kelly’s Directory for Surrey, 1909, 1911, 1913, 1922, 1927
Felbridge School Log
List of land acquisitions by Gatty from 1856-1899, SHC
Sale of part of Gulledge, 1880, SHC
Census Records 1851, 1861 and 1881
Schedule of Tenancies for Felbridge Place Estate, 1911
The East Surrey Water Co. Fitting Notice, 1912
Title Deeds for Ann’s Orchard 1911
Title Deeds for Gulledge 1841-1891
Court Book for South-Malling, ESRC
Period Details by J & M Miller
Research notes compiled by John and Vivienne Brown

SJC 05/01