Biographies from the churchyard Pt3

Biographies from the churchyard Part 3

This collection of biographies focuses on two of the many extended family groups of the Felbridge area and an out of parish couple that are buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine. At the time of the construction of the church and formation of the ecclesiastical parish in 1865, Felbridge did not exist as a village but was a country estate of about 1000 acres owned by the Gatty family. The construction cost of the church was borne by the Gatty family who had purchased the estate in 1855, and which was to remain with associated members of the family until the break up and sale of the Felbridge Place estate in 1911.

The ecclesiastical parish of Felbridge was created from portions of five abutting parishes, East Grinstead, Worth, Horne, Godstone and Tandridge. As such, the churchyard became the resting place not only for people attached to the Gatty family and their estate workers, but also for people residing outside the bounds of estate. Here then are the stories of some of the extended family groups who all chose the churchyard of St John the Divine as their final resting place.

George and Eleanor Elizabeth ‘Ellen’ Coomber
George and Ellen moved to North End, part of the newly formed ecclesiastical parish of Felbridge, some time between 1871 and 1881, although there is evidence to suggest that George’s employment had brought him into the parish before this date. North End is so called as it is the ‘north end’ of East Grinstead, an area that had formerly been part of East Grinstead Common abutting Felbridge Water. However, the area did not officially acquire the name North End until the last decades of the 19th century being known prior to then as London Road or simply as Grinstead Common. The west side of London Road at North End was extensively developed by two local families, the Stenning family who had moved to the area in the first half of the 19th century, creating Halsford House, now the site of the close of houses called The Stennings, and the Blount family who had purchased Imberhorne farm and manor in 1878, eventually creating an estate totalling more than 1000 acres. [For further information see The Blounts of Imberhorne, Fact Sheet JGS/SJC01/06]

George was born at Legs Heath Farm near the Goat cross-roads on Ashdown Forest in 1840, the fifth child of Edward and Rebecca Coomber. Edward had been born between 1798 and 1800 and had married, on 30th July 1831 in Lingfield, Surrey, Rebecca Apps who had been born about 1809 in the Burstow/Horley area. After their marriage Edward and Rebecca settled in Lingfield where they had their first four children, William baptised on 9th September 1831, Edward baptised on 14th July 1833, Mary Ann baptised on 24th May 1835 and Thomas baptised on 8th October 1837. By 1840, the Coomber family had moved to Legs Heath Farm where George was born in August 1840, being baptised on 30th August 1840 at East Grinstead. George was then followed by a further three children, Edmund born between 1845 and 1847, Eliza baptised on 9th May 1848 and Henry baptised on 30th November 1851.

In 1851, the Coomber family were living at Blackland Farm near Sharpthorne (now the Activity Centre owned by the Guide Association), where Edward was working as an agricultural labourer, and by 1861, the family had moved to Willards [Willetts] Bridge, just down the road from Blackland Farm, still working as an agricultural labourer. Rebecca Coomber died in 1869 and by 1871 Edward was recorded as lodging at the Alms House, London Road, East Grinstead.

By 1871, George had left home, married Ellen Elliot and was living in Glen Vue Road, East Grinstead (now re-named Railway Approach). George married Eleanor Elizabeth Elliot, known as Ellen, on 28th October 1869 at Saint Clements, Hastings, Sussex. Ellen had been born some time between 1849 and 1851 in Hastings, based on the ages given in various census records. George and Ellen appear to have had just one child, Thomas, born between April and June 1867, in East Grinstead. Ellen was between sixteen and eighteen years old when Thomas was born, and it was two years before she married.

The census of 1871 lists George’s occupation as a brewer, although it has not yet been established at which brewery he was brewing. There are at least three possible breweries or brew houses in operation in the area at this date, all addresses being given as London Road or East Grinstead Common. The nearest to Glen Vue Road was in the vicinity of what is now 115, London Road (LA Fitness), which was being operated by Thomas Richmond in 1841, although it has not yet been established if this was still operating in 1871. Next was the Hope Brewery operating from what is now 205, London Road (The Fire Station), which in 1871 was leased by Charles Absolom. The furthest was the Sussex Brewery located on the site of what is now 21, North End, the property occupied by Edmond Wise in 1861, with William Jones listed as ‘brewer, Sussex Brewery’, in 1862 and Edmond Wise as ‘brewer, Sussex Brewery, London Road’ in 1866. This brewery had evolved from being a ‘brew house’ operated by John Pattenden in 1841, his father William being advertised from the property as a ‘beer retailer, East Grinstead Common’ in 1855, with map evidence for buildings on the site dating back to 1795. However, in 1871 the Sussex Brewery was recorded as being occupied by John Gallacher, a gardener, and Edmond Wise, still listed as a brewer, was recorded as living at Glen Vue Road a short distance away from George Coomber.

By 1881, George Coomber was recorded as the brewer of the East Grinstead Brewery, living and operating from 32-33, North End. It has been suggested that George took over from Edmond Wise at the Sussex Brewery as the names of Edmond Wise and the Sussex Brewery disappear from the local directories between 1871 and 1881. If George succeeded Edmond Wise there is map evidence to suggest that he re-located the brewery to 32-33, North End some time between 1874 and 1881, as the East Grinstead Brewery building does not appear on the Ordnance Survey of 1874, but was up and running by 1881 when George was recorded in the census as residing there.

The establishment of the Sussex Brewery and the East Grinstead Brewery coincided with the development of the North End area, being typical small breweries specialising in the production of the working man’s drink, brown ale, which was a hopped beer by the 1800’s similar to today’s mild, and porter a dark beer resembling light stout, originally brewed specifically for porters. However, at the time that the East Grinstead Brewery was established there had been a general decline in the number of brewers in Britain, which had peaked at almost 50,000 known brewers in 1840, the number falling to only half that by 1880.

From the commercial entries of various East Grinstead Directories, George Coomber advertised himself as a brewer and maltster, promising ‘all orders punctually attended to’ and family tradition has it that George made his deliveries of beer with a white pony and cart. The description of ‘brewer and maltster’ suggests that George not only brewed but also produced the malt required for the brewing process, as the traditional ingredients used in brewing beer are malt (made from barley), hops, sugar, yeast and water. Malt is the product obtained from steeping barley in water, the grain is then allowed to germinate, and then heated to halt the germination process. It is the heated malt that gives the beer its colour and flavour; the darker the beer the longer the malt had been heated.

As a brewery, the minimum quantity of beer that could be sold at one time was two gallons and drinking was not allowed on the premises. At a time when small independent breweries were fighting for survival, George applied for an off-licence in September 1888. An off-licence would have enabled him to sell smaller quantities than the minimum two gallons to the general public, he reasoned ‘that it was better to buy beer from him for home consumption than to visit the Star Inn at Felbridge’, although at this date the Star Inn was strictly controlled by the Gatty family which included reduced opening hours and no Sunday opening. However, due to strong opposition from Temperance Societies, the local clergy and the Sunday Schools of the area, the off-licence for the East Grinstead Brewery was not granted.

After failure to obtain an off-licence it was suggested that a club be formed which was supported by Mr Stenning, whose family owned much of North End. The club, which became known as the North End Working Men’s Club, was set up in July 1892 with thirty-nine members, all working men living in the area. At or around the same time the East Grinstead Brewery was taken over by Bushell, Watkins & Co Ltd of Westerham, Kent, who installed William George West as the brewer’s agent and manager of the club.

With the change of ownership, George and Ellen Coomber moved to 21, North End, the site of the old Sussex Brewery, where George began operating as a milk dealer. By the 1890’s George and Ellen must have been enjoying a reasonable standard of living as in 1891 they were employing a live-in general servant called Olive Packham. Their son Thomas had married and left home and in 1891 was employed as a dairyman which may have influenced George’s change in occupation from brewer to milk dealer.

Sadly Ellen died in January 1916 from 19, Rowplatt Lane, Felbridge, although it is unclear whether she and George were living there. Ellen’s age at death was recorded as sixty-eight suggesting that she was actually born in 1848. Ellen was buried in the churchyard at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 7th January 1916. Unfortunately the grave number was not recorded and there is no obvious headstone or curb stone.

In 1918, George received a pension of 16s 3d paid by the Beef and Faggot Charity which he continued to receive until 1925. The charity had been set up in 1793 by James Evelyn of Felbridge Place to provide for the needy of Felbridge and surrounding area. [For further details see The Beef and Faggot Charity, Fact Sheet SJC 03/03] The payment of the pension may suggest that George had fallen on hard times after the death of his wife. He died at the Union Infirmary, 98, Railway Approach, at the age of eighty-five in May 1926. George was buried in the churchyard at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 13th May 1926, and like Ellen, the grave number was not recorded and there is no obvious grave marker.

St John’s churchyard also became the resting place for some of George and Ellen’s extended family. Their son Thomas and his wife Maria, George and Ellen’s grandson Leonard and his wife Florence, George and Ellen’s grandson Albert’s father and mother-in-law, James and Susannah Darling, George and Ellen’s grandson-in-law William Alfred Streeter, who had married George and Ellen’s granddaughter Ellen, and their daughter Eileen Streeter, are all buried there.

Thomas and Maria Coomber
As mentioned above, Thomas was the only son of George and Ellen Coomber and was born between April and June 1867 in East Grinstead, his father working as a brewer, with the Coomber family living in Glen Vue Road, East Grinstead, before moving to North End sometime between 1871 and 1881.

At the age of twenty, Thomas married Maria Creas[e]y on 24th December 1887 at St John’s Church, Felbridge. At the time of their marriage Thomas was employed as an agricultural labourer. Maria had been born in June 1866, the eleventh child of George and Amelia Creasy, and was baptised on 24th June 1866 at St John’s Church, Felbridge. At the time of Maria’s birth, George was working as a labourer and the family was living in Copthorne Road, Felbridge. George had been born in Lingfield in about 1824 and had married Amelia Dearling, born in East Grinstead in 1825, although her age at death wrongly suggested she was born in 1823. Maria’s siblings included William born 1844, Mary Ann born 1846, George born 1848, Eliza born 1850, Catherine born 1852, Sarah born 1855, Amelia born 1857, John born 1860, Thomas born 1862, James born 1864 and Edward born 1870.

There are at least twenty-five Creasey’s buried in the churchyard of St John, of which at least six are from Maria’s immediate family, with a number of more distant relations. Her immediate family members include her parents, Amelia buried on 4th February 1896 aged seventy-three, and George buried four months later on 2nd June 1896 aged seventy-two, her brother John buried on 23rd March 1920 aged sixty and his wife Fanny buried on 22nd June 1927 aged sixty-seven, as well as her brother Thomas buried on 19th January 1946 aged eighty-three and his wife Mary Rebecca buried on 20th January 1847 aged eighty-one. Unfortunately the grave numbers have not been recorded for Amelia and George and there are no grave markers, however, John was buried in grave number A5 9 and Fanny in A4 1, their address at time of death given as 7, Rowplatt Lane, Felbridge, and Thomas and Mary were buried in grave number C1 174, marked by a simple square block urn, their address at time of death given as 18, Imberhorne Lane. It has not yet been possible to ascertain exactly how many of the remaining Creasey’s are members of Maria extended family and their stories would be more than enough to fill another handout, although the story of the life of George Creasey, 1830 - 1907, (not yet linked to Maria’s family), has already been documented. [For further information see handout, More Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge – Estate Workers of the Gatty family, SJC 11/03.]

Thomas and Maria Coomber had at least nine children, George born in 1891 but who had sadly died before 1899, Leonard Edward born on 26th December 1892, Alfred Henry born on 24th May 1895, Edmund James born on 18th August 1897, George Thomas born 8th January 1899, Ellen Amelia, known as Nellie, born 18th April 1900, Albert Richard born 21st August 1902 and Alice Maud born on 8th June 1905.

In 1891, Thomas and Maria were living at 39, North End, six houses down from the East Grinstead Brewery where Thomas’s parents were living at the time. Thomas was working as a dairyman but it has not yet been possible to determine where he worked. The definition of a dairyman is ‘a farmer who specialises in milk products, or someone who deals in cheese, milk etc’, and it has not yet been possible to ascertain which line of dairying he was carrying out. However, by 1901, Thomas was again recorded as an agricultural labourer and the family was living in one of the old cottages in Imberhorne Lane backing onto the allotments, now demolished and re-placed by two rows of flats.

Thomas and Maria had a relatively short married life together, as Maria died on 11th April 1909 at the age of just forty-two, being buried in the churchyard at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 16th April 1909. Unfortunately her grave number has not been recorded and there is no obvious grave marker. The death of Maria left Thomas with several children between the ages of four and ten, the remaining children being of employable ages. From family sources, the solution to this situation was that the younger children were cared for by Maria’s sister-in-law, Mary Rebecca Creasey née Hewitt, known affectionately as Aunt Polly, who lived at 18, Imberhorne Lane, opposite the Coomber family home.

By 1919, Thomas was employed as a labourer by the East Grinstead Urban District Council and, again from family sources, worked as the road man responsible for the upkeep of the road from London Road to Saint Hill [Imberhorne Lane] in East Grinstead, a job he continued for the rest of his working life.

Apart from the death of Maria at a relatively young age, Thomas also lived to see the tragic death of his granddaughter, Eileen Streeter, his son Alfred and son-in-law, William Streeter, husband of his daughter Ellen. The details of these people are provided below.

Alfred had married Frances Zilpah N Goatcher of Steyning in Sussex in 1918 and they had settled at 6 Mercread Road, Seaford. Alfred and Frances had two children Alfred, known as Alfie, born in 1919 and Audrey born in 1927. Initially Alfred [senior] worked for a firm of agricultural contractors called Messer’s French & Sons, but when the firm ceased to exist in 1926, Alfred went to work for Lionel Willett of Manor Farm, Bishopstone, Sussex. It was whilst under his employ that Alfred met with a serious accident. A local newspaper article of the time takes up the story:
‘Both he [Alfred] and Mr J [John Alexander] Ellis, of South Heighton, were in charge of a threshing machine, which was being taken from Bishopstone to Saltdean, Ellis being the steersman, and when they were about to descend the hill towards Portobello, at Telscombe, apparently the engine got out of control, and its speed so quickly increased that the driver [Alfred] thought the only possible thing to do under the circumstances was to turn the engine into the bank at the side of the road. The result was that the front wheels jumped the kerb and ran up the bank to some considerable height, the engine coming to rest at an acute angle and almost toppling over. Coomber shouted to Ellis to jump, and he did so, thus escaping injury, but, unfortunately, Coomber, who also jumped out on to the bank, rolled back under the threshing drum, and a jack had to be used to extricate him. It was then found that he had sustained serious injuries to his ribs, shoulder and back, and he was subsequently removed to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton’.
A second newspaper article continues the story [abridged].
‘Doctor Paul W Houghton, house surgeon at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, stated that [Alfred Coomber] was admitted to the hospital on February 7th. An X-ray examination revealed that the fifth to the twelfth ribs on the left side had been fractured. On February 7th [he] developed pleurisy, and after an operation he seemed to improve. He was discharged on May 13th, but was re-admitted on June 3rd suffering from severe headaches and a temperature. An operation was performed on the following day on the left side of his chest, but nothing could be found to account for his condition. On the following day [he] contracted meningitis and died at 12.15 am on June 6th.’
The conclusion reached at the Coroner’s Court was that death was due to an abscess of the brain, arising, indirectly, from the fractured ribs. After hearing all the evidence, the Coroner concluded:
‘No doubt both men on the engine were very experienced at their work. The engine had negotiated hills on that trip which were quite as difficult as the one near Fairlight Avenue. The driver reversed the engine [in an attempt to slow it down], but this had no effect, and he turned the engine into the bank. Apparently there was no choice, as a vehicle of that kind would, no doubt, be very dangerous if it had been allowed to go on. The driver shouted to his mate and he was able to jump clear. He himself tried to jump, but was unable to grasp the top of the bank and fell and a wheel caused the injuries. Engines of that type vibrated very much. There was no doubt that the pin [held in place by a split key that was missing] was in its proper place earlier in the journey or Coomber would have not been able to drive the engine. Coomber received every care and attention. After three month’s treatment he was discharged, apparently as a fit man. Then, unfortunately, further trouble developed.

The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death”. The jury added they appreciated the deceased’s bravery in sticking to his post and telling his mate to jump clear and then turning the engine into the bank’.

Alfred was not buried at St John’s Church, Felbridge, although, two deaths in his sister Ellen’s family, not a year after Alfred’s death, saw William and Eileen Streeter buried there.

Ellen had married William Alfred Streeter, known as Bill, on 10th August 1922 at St John’s Church, Felbridge. William was the son of William and Emma Streeter and had been born on 9th March 1900, being baptised at St John’s Church, Felbridge, on 24th April 1900. At the time of their marriage William was working as an agricultural labourer and was living at Hedgecourt Mill Cottage, Mill Lane, Felbridge, working at Park Farm, Woodcock Hill. Ellen and William had five children, Gladys, Edward born about 1925, Ronald, Margaret, and Eileen born in 1933. Sadly, Eileen only survived for forty-minutes and was buried at St John’s on 4th April 1933 in grave number C2 71 116. Ellen suffered a second death in her immediate family four years later, as within eleven months of the death of her brother Alfred Coomber, she saw the untimely death of her husband William Streeter, who died in November 1937, aged just thirty seven, being buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine on 4th December 1937 in grave number D9 83. Ellen’s story does have a happier ending, as in the last quarter of 1943 she married James Darling, the brother of her sister-in-law Agnes, wife of Ellen’s brother Albert.

Thomas lived for a further eight years after the death of his son-in-law, some of that time with his son Albert and family at 4, Imberhorne Farm Cottage, until they moved from the area, when Thomas went to live with his son George and family at Charlwood. In 1942, whilst still living with his son Albert, Thomas was one of only two surviving original members of the North End Working Men’s Club to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Three years later Thomas died, aged seventy-nine, from Ricketts Wood Cottages, Norwood Hill, Charlwood, Surrey, and was buried in the churchyard of St John’s the Divine on 14th June 1945, in grave number C1 167.

As mentioned above there are several of members of Maria’s family of Creasey’s buried at St John’s, and also several members of William Streeter’s extended family, again more than enough stories to fill yet another handout. However, there are also several members of Thomas and Maria’s immediate family buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, including their son Leonard and his wife Florence, and James and Susannah Darling, the parents-in-law of Thomas and Maria’s son Albert.

Leonard Edward and Florence Fanny Coomber
Leonard, known as Len, was the second son of Thomas and Maria Coomber and married Florence Fanny Stripp on 7th June 1919 at St John’s Church, Felbridge. Florence, known as Flo, was the daughter of Arthur Edward Stripp and his wife Fanny née Creasey of Yew Tree Farm, Felbridge, and was born in 1895.

Like Leonard’s mother’s maiden name of Creasey, there are at least twelve people with Florence’s maiden name of Stripp buried in the churchyard at St John’s, again, yet more life stories that could fill another handout. However, there are also several members of Florence’s immediate family buried there. Her grandfather Thomas Stripp was buried there on 15th March 1902 aged seventy-six and her grandmother Sarah Salome Stripp on 12th July 1897 aged sixty-eight. Also, her maternal grandfather George Creasey was buried there on 6th October 1906 at the age of seventy-six, he was the Uncle once removed of Maria Coomber née Creasey discussed earlier. The grave numbers for George Creasey and Thomas Stripp have not been recorded, and there is no obvious grave marker for George Creasey. However, Thomas Stripp appears to have been buried with his wife Sarah, whose grave number was recorded as D2 38, as the inscription on the head stone reads:



As well as Thomas and Sarah Stripp, four of their children are also buried there, all aunts and uncles that Florence was never to meet as they all died before she was born. These include Ellen who died on 30th December 1869 aged just two years and was buried on 5th January 1870 in grave number D1 32, Edmund who died on 16th January 1878 aged six and was buried on 21st January 1878 in grave no. D1 38, Amos who was killed by a tragic accident at the age of sixteen and was buried on 16th July 1878 in grave number D1 38, [for further details see Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02vi], and Fanny, who never married, and died on 14th March 1892 aged thirty-nine and was buried on 17th March 1892 in grave number D1 41.

Memorials to Ellen, Edmund and Amos appear on the head stone erected for their sister Fanny Stripp. However, the entry in the burial register records that Ellen was buried on 5th January 1870 and Amos on 16th July 1878, both differing to the head stone implying that perhaps the wrong years has been carved for their deaths on the stone which reads thus:




Leonard and Florence did not move far from his family roots, living at 23, Imberhorne Lane in one of the old cottages that backed onto the allotments at North End. Just a short distance from the East Grinstead Brewery where his grandfather George Coomber had worked; 39, North End where his father and mother, Thomas and Maria Coomber, had started their married life; and opposite his aunt Mary Creasey (‘Aunt Polly’) who cared for his younger brothers and sisters after the death of their mother. Len and Florence did not have a family and Florence was remembered by one of her nephews as a ‘very prim and proper’ woman.

Leonard died from 23, Imberhorne Lane, East Grinstead, at the age of fifty-three and was buried at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 30th October 1946, in grave number C1 180. Florence continued to live at 23, Imberhorne Lane until her death at the age of fifty-four, being buried with her husband at St John’s on 19th May 1949 in the grave number C1 180.

James Egbert and Susannah Maud Darling
James and Susannah Darling, both buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine, were the parents of Agnes Ethel Grace, and as already mentioned, Agnes married Albert Richard Coomber, a grandson of George Coomber, youngest son of Thomas and Maria Coomber and brother of Leonard Coomber. James and Susannah’s son Richard also married Ellen Streeter, the widowed daughter of Thomas and Maria Coomber.

James, known as Jim, was born James Egbert Langridge, the son of Martha Langridge, on 12th October 1873, at Five Oak Green, Capel in Kent. At the time of his birth, Martha, who was born about 1848 in Capel, was recorded as working as a house keeper. James’ father was Thomas Darling who had been born about 1843 in Aston, Berkshire, and worked as a barber. Although Thomas and Martha appear not to have ever married they still had at least three other children, Thomas born about 1872, Emma F born about 1877 and William G born about 1879. The first three children, including James, were born in Capel, the last child in East Peckham in Kent, and in 1881 the family were living at The Pound, East Peckham, with Thomas and Martha recorded as husband and wife, although no marriage certificate has yet come to light.

According to the family legend of a branch of the family now living in Canada, Thomas was of aristocratic birth and under the circumstances could not bring himself to pass the name of Darling to the children he fathered with Martha, a coachman’s daughter. Thomas was supposed to have been disinherited as a result of their union and joined the Metropolitan Police where he was injured in a riot, finally moving back to Five Oak Green where he took up barbering. However, the same family from Canada have identified that although Thomas was recorded as lame in the 1871 census, perhaps bearing out the story of the riot injury, he was actually born the son of a Berkshire labourer whose wife took in washing to support herself after she was widowed, and that Martha’s father was consistently recorded as an agricultural labourer, never a coachman.

In 1901, at the age of twenty-seven, James had moved to Hadlow in Kent and was working as a general labourer, along with his brothers Thomas and William. A year later on 12th October 1902, James married Susannah Maude Mobbs, the daughter of Thomas and Susannah Mobbs, who had been born about 1870. At the time of their marriage James and Susannah were recorded as both living at 9, Sussex Road, South Croydon, and James was working as a plate layer on the railway, either laying or maintaining the railway track. The marriage certificate lists James’ name as James Egbert Langridge Darling, using his father’s surname from that date.

The Mobbs family came from the London area, Thomas had been born in Camberwell in 1840 and his wife Susannah had been born in Stepney in 1841. Thomas and Susannah had four children including Susannah, Thomas William born about 1866, Charles Joseph born about 1867 and Marie E born about 1873. The first three children, including Susannah, were born in Finsbury, the last in Hoxton. In 1881 Thomas was working as a cheese monger’s assistant and the family were living at 167, Copenhagen Street, Islington.

Although Susannah was thirty-one when she married, she and James went on to have at least four children, each born from a different address. Annie Maude Gwendolen born on 29th July 1903 at 62, Exeter Road, South Croydon, but who sadly died at a young age, James George Herbert born on 21st April 1905 at 10, Dominion Road, South Croydon, who eventually married Ellen Streeter, the widowed daughter of Thomas and Maria Coomber, Agnes Ethel Grace born at 39, Dominion Road, who went on to marry Albert Richard Coomber the son of Thomas and Maria Coomber, and Kathleen Miriam Gladys born on 9th September 1911 at Westfield Farm, Charlwood in Surrey. Family sources also record a son Edward and an adopted son Wilfred who was known as Bunny.

Between 1905 and 1907, James ceased working as a plate layer on the railway and became a general labourer and by 1911 a farm labourer. It is unclear what brought James Darling and his family to Felbridge but when they arrived they lived at 1 Park Cottages, Copthorne Road, and family sources say that he was working as a builder/labourer.

On 22nd December 1928, James and Susannah’s daughter Agnes married Albert Richard Coomber at St John’s Church, Felbridge. They lived first at 1, Firs Cottage, Crawley Down Road, before moving to Yew Tree Cottage, just behind Firs Cottage. In 1935, the Coomber family moved to 4, Imberhorne Farm Cottages where Albert was working as a cowman and Agnes worked as a maid, gradually working her way up to the position of cook.

James and Susannah Darling continued to live at Park Cottages where James died in April 1949, aged seventy-five, being buried at St John the Divine on 21st April 1949 in grave number C1 149. Susannah survived James by over seven years and died at the age of eighty-seven from St Anne’s, Redhill, Surrey, being buried with her husband at St John’s on 31st October 1956, in grave number C1 149.

Thomas and Eliza Jupp
The second extended family group whose chosen resting place was the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, descend from Thomas and Eliza Jupp.

Thomas Jupp was born about 1829 the sixth child of Stephen Jupp and Jane Payne, and was baptised on 3rd March 1829. Stephen had been born about 1796 and Jane about 1789. Stephen and Jane had at least seven children, Mariana Jupp Payne, also known as Mary Ann, baptised on 21st August 1814 at Horsted Keynes, Ellen Jupp Payne, also known as Helen, baptised on 17th August 1817 at Worth, Jane Jupp Payne baptised on 16th April 1820 at West Hoathly, Stephen Payne Jupp baptised on 8th December 1822 at Worth, John P Jupp baptised on 16th October 1825 at Worth, Eliza Jupp baptised on 6th April 1828 at Worth and finally Thomas Jupp Payne, later known as Thomas Jupp. Stephen and Jane appear to have lived together as a married couple although they did not actually get married until 15th April 1832, three years after the birth of their last child. The reason for their marriage appears to be that Jane and the children had been issued with a Removal Order from Worth, where they were living with Stephen, to East Grinstead on 5th April 1832. As a result of their marriage on 15th April the family were able to remain together in Worth.

Thomas Jupp married Eliza Carman, the daughter of William and Martha Carmen, on 29th July 1855 at St Swithun’s Church in East Grinstead and from then on, Thomas assumed the surname Jupp. William Carman was born about 1781 and married Martha Roser on 20th July 1824, at St Swithun’s, Martha being born about 1799 in Horsted Keynes. William and Martha had at least six children, Elizabeth baptised on 8th May 1825, later marrying Thomas’s brother Stephen Jupp Payne, Charles baptised on 20th July 1828, William baptised on 19th September 1830, James born about 1833, Mary Ann baptised on 31st July 1836 and lastly, Eliza born between April and June 1839, all born or baptised in East Grinstead.

Thomas and Eliza had at least eleven children, Stephen born on 23rd June 1858 at Mount Noddy, Worth, being baptised on 1st August 1858, Mary Ann baptised on 14th March 1860, but who sadly died in the first quarter of 1868 aged only seven years, Emily baptised 31st August 1862, Sarah baptised 30th October 1864, Martha Jane baptised on 25th November 1866, Kate baptised on 26th September 1869 in, Ellen baptised on 29th October 1871 at St John’s, Felbridge, Annie baptised on 29th March 1874, Thomas born about 1877, Mabel known as May baptised on 29th December 1878, and Frances Edith baptised on 24th April 1881, but who sadly died in the last quarter of 1883 aged just two years old. Unless otherwise stated, the children were born or baptised in East Grinstead.

Based on the baptism records of the children of Thomas and Eliza, the Jupp family appear to have moved from Mount Noddy, Worth, to Woodlands Cottage on East Grinstead Common, just north of the site of Halsford [now the close of houses called The Stennings], between 1858 and 1860. The move also brought a change of occupation for Thomas who had been working as an agricultural labourer at Mount Noddy but became a stone mason when the family moved to East Grinstead Common, an occupation he continued until his retirement. It would appear that Thomas had not learned his trade from his father who had always been listed as an agricultural or farm labourer in Turners Hill and West Hoathly, but possibly from his father-in-law, William Carman, who had been working as a stone mason from before 1855.

By 1871, Thomas and Eliza had moved from Woodlands Cottage to Imberhorne Road [Lane] but by 1881 they had moved to Glen Vue Road, East Grinstead, and by 1891 they had moved to 34, North End, next door to the East Grinstead Brewery and Working Men’s Club. In 1901, Thomas and Eliza were still living at 34, North End, and living with them was their daughter Martha who was working as a needlewoman. Thomas had retired from being a stone mason, but two of his sons, Thomas and Stephen, had followed him into the trade, although by 1901 Thomas [junior] had changed occupations and was working as a house painter.

Thomas saw out his days at 34, North End and died in June 1905 aged sixty-nine, being buried at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 7th August 1905. Unfortunately the grave number was not recorded and there is no obvious grave marker.

Sometime after the death of Thomas Jupp, his widow Eliza moved to 18, North End to share the home of their son Stephen and his wife Caroline, remaining with them until shortly before her death when she moved to the Union Infirmary at 98, Railway Approach, where she died on 28th December 1928, aged eighty-nine. Eliza was buried at St John the Divine on 1st January 1929, and like Thomas, her grave number was not recorded and there is no obvious headstone or curb stone.

Apart from Thomas and Eliza there are eight other Jupp’s buried in the churchyard of St John’s, which include Barbara Jane, Benjamin, Caroline, Elizabeth, Ernest, Maria, Stephen and Thomas Henry. Family connections with Thomas and Eliza have only been established with three of the names, Stephen and Caroline who were their son and daughter-in-law, and Thomas Henry who was their grandson, the son of Stephen and Caroline. Of the remaining names there is a second family group, Benjamin and Elizabeth and their son Ernest [for further details see More Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge – Estate Workers of the Gatty Family, Fact Sheet SJC 11/03], but as yet Barbara and Maria remain detached from either of these two Jupp families.


Stephen and Caroline Jupp
Stephen was the son of Thomas and Eliza Jupp and as already established was born in on 23rd June 1858, at Mount Noddy in Worth. By the age of two, Stephen had moved from Worth to Woodlands Cottage on East Grinstead Common with his parents and one sister called Mary Ann. By 1881, Stephen had followed in his father’s trade as a stone mason and was still living with his parents, at this time in Glen Vue Road. However, on 12th August 1882, Stephen married Caroline Longhurst and by 1891 they were living at 18, North End.

Caroline was the daughter of James and Mary Ann Longhurst, and had been baptised on 15th June 1856 at Wisborough Green in Sussex. Caroline was one of nine children, her siblings being Charlotte baptised on 22nd November 1840, James baptised on 16th October 1842, Sarah baptised on 21st July 1844, Mary Ann baptised on 19th July 1846, Elizabeth baptised on 12th March 1848, Henry baptised on 8th September 1850, John Tegg (taking his mother’s maiden name) baptised on 29th August 1852 and Edwin baptised on 1st April 1860, all at Wisborough Green.

Stephen and Caroline had three children, Caroline, known as Carrie, born in 1883, Stephen born in 1885 and Thomas Henry born in 1887. Their daughter Caroline married Ernest Clement in 1907 and they spent most of their married life at Mabledon Park at Tonbridge in Kent, where Ernest worked for the Deacon family of Mabeldon Park as a gardener, progressing to head gardener with twenty-two gardeners under him and eventually estate manager. One of their nieces recalls that the gardens were ‘wonderful’ and ‘they grew peaches, pineapples and even bananas!’

Stephen and Caroline’s son Stephen married Naomi Foster in 1911. Naomi’s father was Isaac Foster who ran Hurley Farm, between Kingscote and Turners Hill, and her mother was Jane Goodwin who came from the Goodwin family that ran the public house, The Prince of Wales, in Lingfield Road, East Grinstead, and also the hardware store in Railway Approach that was called Goodwins. Stephen was a painter and decorator by trade and also a French polisher. One of the last jobs of work he carried out was to reinstate or restore the damaged beams at Cromwell House in the High Street in East Grinstead after the fire it suffered in 1928. Stephen and Naomi started their married life in Dunnings Road before moving to 1, Forest View Road in East Grinstead until Stephen’s death in 1930, after which Naomi moved back to her parent’s farm with their two children, Kathleen and Wilfred.

Thomas Henry, the last child of Stephen and Caroline, moved from the North End area to Brighton and his story follows later.

Evidence suggests that Stephen and Caroline continued to live at 18, North End until about 1922/3 when Caroline, possibly in declining health, went to stay with their daughter Caroline and her husband Ernest Clement and family at Mabledon Park, where she died in 1923 at the age of sixty-six. Caroline’s body was returned to Felbridge and was buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 24th February 1923 in grave number D12 112.

After the death of Caroline, according to family legend, Stephen married a widow, although no marriage certificate has yet been found and the thought has occurred that she may only have been a housekeeper. The motive behind this relationship is believed to have been for companionship in Stephen’s advancing years, however, when his health began to deteriorate Stephen went to live with his son Stephen and wife Naomi and their children Wilfred and Kathleen at 1, Forest View Gardens, leaving his ‘wife’ at 18, North End.

Stephen’s granddaughter Kathleen recalls that he was a very patient, pleasant man and loved fruit. One day, when he was half asleep in a chair, she asked if he’d like some fruit, a pear, he replied ‘Yes’, and she, being rather mischievous, handed him a lemon from which he took a big bite, ‘that woke him up’! She also recalls that when she used to visit him as a small child at North End his garden had wonderful flowers, and smelt beautiful as he used to grow herbs, lavender and honeysuckle, and there were highly scented roses round the door. He also used to have an allotment plot, (the allotments being just at the back of his garden, off Imberhorne Lane), where he grew his own food. She also recalls that Stephen’s sister Mabel, (known as Aunt May), who had married Walter Mason, lived in one of the old cottages in Imberhorne Lane, now demolished and replaced by two rows of flats, and his sister Sarah, who had married William Webber, lived in another in Imberhorne Lane. As for Kathleen’s grandmother Caroline, she remembers her as a gentile lady, very sweet and a good cook.

In 1930, Stephen’s son Stephen died. With the loss of her husband, Naomi found it too much to care for two children and her father-in-law who was living with them, so Stephen went to live with his daughter Caroline and husband Ernest at Mabeldon Park, and Naomi moved back to her parent’s home at Hurley Farm, with the two children.

Stephen remained with his daughter’s family until 1937 when he died at the age of seventy-nine. His body was returned to Felbridge and he was buried with his wife Caroline in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 7th January 1937, in grave number D12 112. The inscription on the curb stone of this double-width grave, originally topped with pink granite chips, reads, IN MEMORIAL on the west side, STEPHEN JUPP DIED 1937 on the south side, CAROLINE JUPP DIED 1923 on the east side, and THOMAS HENRY JUPP 1916 on the north side.

Thomas Henry Jupp
As already established, Thomas was the second son of Stephen and Caroline Jupp, being born in 1887 in East Grinstead. Little information has yet come to light on Thomas other than he left the North End area and moved to Brighton in Sussex. However, there are conflicting family stories about him, one story is that he never married but did have a girl friend or fiancé and the other story is that he married. Family legend also has it that the girl in question was an actress, but unfortunately these still remain family stories as no conclusive evidence has yet emerged to confirm any of the stories.

What can be said with certainty is that by 1916, Thomas was working as a grocer’s assistant and was living at 83, Hanover Street in Brighton. The move to Brighton may have been influenced by his uncle, Henry Longhurst, who lived at 3, Clarence Gardens in Brighton, and who had spent part of his working life as a grocer’s porter.

Whatever the reason for his move to Brighton, Thomas’ life there was short lived as he died there on 13th June 1916, aged just twenty-eight. His body was returned to Felbridge and he was buried at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 17th June 1916 in grave number D12 109.

Joseph Valentine and Annie Stone
The final biographies are of Joseph and Annie Stone, and although there are eleven other Stone names buried in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, they have no obvious extended family connections with Joseph and Annie, who were both born out of parish but whose chosen final resting place was the churchyard of St John the Divine.

Joseph Valentine was born on 14th February 1866, hence his second name, in Yardley in Northampton. Joseph was the first son born to George Stone, an agricultural labourer and Joanna, his wife. George Stone had been born in 1842 in Hanslope, Buckingham, and married Joanna in about 1865, Joanna having been born in Yardley in about 1846. In the 1881 census, the Stone family is recorded as living at Green End in Hanslope, and as well as Joseph born in 1866, it included John born in 1869 in Pury Potter, Northampton, Flora born about 1871 in West Bromich, Staffordshire, Rubena born about 1873 in Hanslope, Ada born about 1879 in Hanslope and Jacob, known as Jake, born in 1880, being recorded as seven months old at the time of the census, also in Hanslope.

Family legend has it that Joseph and his brother Jacob moved to the area to work and this is partially confirmed by the census of 1891 as Joseph, his wife Annie and son Joseph were recorded as living in Brewery Cottage, Gas House Lane, East Grinstead, close to the site of the Hope Brewery. The census records that Joseph was working as a sawyer’s labourer and his granddaughter confirmed that he worked at the local timber yard, not far from his home, run by the Stenning family of North End. However, the whereabouts of Jacob in 1891, by then aged only eleven years, has not yet been established, although it is known that he and his family were living at 4, Wellington Town Road, East Grinstead, under the surname of Stones, by 1928.

Joseph had married Annie Buckland on 14th July 1889, the marriage certificate records that the father of Annie was unknown. Annie had been born about 1865 in Lingfield, and is recorded as the daughter of Mary Anne Buckland, single woman, in the baptism register at St John’s church, Felbridge, on 31st July 1870, together with, Ellen (the daughter of James and Mary Ann Buckland), both aged five. Evidence suggests that Annie joined her youngest aunts and uncles and was brought up by her grandparents, James and Mary Anne Buckland. Annie’s mother, Mary Ann Buckland, was born in December 1850, Annie’s aunts and uncles included Helen born about 1846, Elisabeth Ann baptised on 22nd May 1853, Emily baptised on 28th October 1855, Charles William baptised on 26th April 1857, Caroline baptised on 27th June 1858, Spencer Trayton baptised 14th May 1860, Eliza baptised 30th June 1861, Joseph Henry baptised on 29th March 1863, and Ellen (also recorded as Helen) born in 1865, baptised with Annie on 31st July 1870.

In 1871, Annie Buckland was living with her grandparents, and her uncle Joseph aged eight and aunt Ellen [Helen] aged five, the same age as Annie, at Felbridge Lane, Lingfield. In 1881, Annie had left home and was working as a general servant for the Police Constable in Lingfield. At the time of her marriage to Joseph Stone in 1889, they are both recorded of Baldwins Hill, but by 1891 they had moved to Brewery Cottage.

Joseph and Annie Stone had six sons, Joseph Cyril, known as Cyril, born about 1890, Edgar born about 1894, Walter, known as Wally, born about 1897, John, known as Jack, born about 1898, Robert Edward born about 1900 and Harry born about 1901, all in East Grinstead.

In 1901, the Stone family was living in the middle property in Hackenden Lane, East Grinstead, and Joseph was working as a wood sawyer. By 1926, the Stone family had moved to The Old Stone House in Hermitage Road off Baldwins Hill. When Joseph and Annie’s eldest son Joseph married Connie, they started their married life living with them at The Stone Cottage. Shortly after their marriage, Joseph and Connie emigrated to Canada where they had three children, Clarence, Ethel and Walter. After the birth of Walter they returned to England where Ethel died at the young age of twelve and was buried at Forest Row. Clarence went back to Canada, but having gained an English girlfriend, soon returned to England to marry her. However, Walter married a Canadian girl in England and returned to Canada, where he served with the Canadian Air Force. Joseph and Annie’s son Edgar married Ethel and they had a son called Keith, and their family also emigrated to Canada. Joseph and Annie’s son Walter was badly burnt in an accident as a youngster; he never married and died in his early twenties. Their son John married Nell [Nellie] Holden from Dormansland, Surrey, and they had Basil, Harry, Roy, Derek and Alan. Son Robert married Sarah Dorothy Skinner, also of Dormansland, and they had Ronald and Ivy. According to family tradition, Sarah’s father was fairly well off and owned property in Dormansland. Joseph and Annie’s last son, Harry, married Rhoda Still from Imberhorne Lane, East Grinstead, and they had Evelyn and Nora. Rhoda was related to Joyce Still who married John Albert Coomber and who was killed in the Whitehall cinema bombing on 9th July 1943. [For further details see Wartime Memories of Felbridge, Fact Sheet no.70]

Apart from having six sons, Joseph and Annie also adopted a Banardo’s boy called John Hudson. Little else is known about Joseph, except that apart from owing his own property, The Old Stone House, he also owned the four cottages opposite the Prince of Wales in Lingfield Road, East Grinstead, which he rented out, a task that fell to Annie after his death in 1925, aged only fifty-nine. Joseph was buried in the churchyard at St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 14th April 1925, in grave number D12 127. At one time the grave was marked by a glass dome memorial filled with parianware flowers, but sadly over the years this has been broken and unfortunately, now there is no grave marker.

Annie continued to live at The Old Stone House and was joined by her son Robert and his new wife Sarah, their children Ronald and Ivy both born in the cottage. Ivy recalls that her grandmother was very good hearted and generous. She loved horse racing and would study form in the newspaper over a cup of coffee and a biscuit and then place a bet through her daughter-in-law Nellie who worked as a Book Maker’s agent. Ivy and her brother would often get extra pocket money after a good win. Ivy also recalls that her grandmother was a very precise and particular lady, she remembers that she had lump sugar in a cut glass bowl that was served with sugar tongs, and tea was to be taken in a china cup.

Eventually, after twenty-nine years of widowhood, Annie died at the age of eighty-seven and was buried with her husband Joseph in the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, on 7th January 1954, in grave number D12 127.

Reflections on Felbridge Churchyard
by Olive ‘Tom’ Sharman

Here in this quiet place we left him,
How often had we helped him cut the grass,
Where birds sing softly for an anthem,
And swallows twitter as they pass.

Here he will sleep, while soft above him,
The wild flowers bloom and grasses wave,
In spirit he is always with us,
Although today we left him in the grave.


Parish Registers for St John the Divine, FHA
The Blounts of Imberhorne, (Fact Sheet JGS/SJC 01/06, or booklet), FHA
Surrey Marriage Index, FHA
Sussex Marriage Index, FHA
Census records 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
Documented memories of J Coomber, FHA
Gardner and Gream map, 1795, FHA
Ordnance Survey map, 1874, FHA
East Grinstead Directories, 1850-1903, EGL
East Grinstead Directory, 1928, FHA
The Hope Brewery, EG Bulletin, vol. 30, p12/13,
Brewing in East Grinstead, EG Bulletin, vol. 31, p7/8
100 Buildings of East Grinstead by M Leppard
Brewing and Breweries by M Lovett
Records of Tamplin Brewery, Ref: TAM/4/1/1/6, ESRO
Documented memories of J Coomber, FHA
The Beef and Faggot Charity, (Fact Sheet SJC 03/03), FHA
More Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, Estate Workers of the Gatty family, (Fact Sheet SJC 11/03), FHA
Mid Sussex Poor Law Records, 1601-1835
Dictionary of old trades, titles and occupations, by C Waters
Seaford Man’s Death, Traction Engine Fatality, newspaper article, 1936, FHA
Seaford Man’s Death, Fatal End to an Accident, newspaper article, 1936, FHA
Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, (Fact Sheet SJC 07/02vi), FHA
Documented memories of Mrs E Towns, FHA
Documented memories of Mrs I Brooker, FHA
Wartime Memories of Felbridge, (Fact Sheet no.70), FHA

Thanks are extended to Jim Coomber for information on the Coomber/Darling families, to Sandra Fudge and Kathleen Towns for information on the Jupp family, to Ivy Brooker for information on the Stone family, and to the Lingfield branch of Howard Cundy for allowing access to the site of the East Grinstead Brewery.

SJC 09/06