Blue Anchor Inn, Blindley Heath
The Blue Anchor Inn rounds off the series on Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge. Although situated in Blindly Heath some 5 miles north of Felbridge and well outside the bounds of the parish it was owned by the Felbridge branch of the Evelyn family until 1855. Also, several of the innkeepers/publicans came from families associated with the eating and drinking establishments discussed in the afore mentioned series, and at least one licensee of the late 19th and early 20th century came from a family connected with the Felbridge Post Office covered in Shopping in Felbridge Pt. I.
This document charts the history and development of the property of the Blue Anchor Inn, now known as Smith & Western, as well as the origin of the name, together with the lives of some of the people associated with it and some of the local stories that have been passed down over the centuries.
References to the property that became the Blue Anchor Inn are few and far between in the surviving records but it was likely to have been constructed on either an early enclosure of the waste held of the manor of Lagham or as part of an early landholding called Bays (Bys/Byes/Byres) in the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield. Unfortunately there are no surviving documents to conclusively prove which manor it was situated in but by the late 16th century both Lagham manor and the freehold of Bays were held by the Evelyn family and therefore fell under the same ownership.
Bays originally gave its name to the area of land to the east of what is now the main A22 and stretched north from the northern edge of Blindley Heath common at Ray Lane to the land opposite Byres Lane. The lands to the west of the road fell within the manor of Lagham, which together with several holdings of the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield were held by the Evelyn family that ultimately established the Felbridge Park Estate. There is some evidence to suggest that Bays was sub-divided over the centuries with a succession of properties assuming that name and eventually spilling over the north/south road into the manor of Lagham by Byres Lane. It is also possible that part of the structure that today forms the inn was the original dwelling house for the freehold of Bays before being split off to become a separate holding and a new dwelling called Bays was constructed at the north end of the land.
Unfortunately it is unlikely that the correct origin of the property will ever surface because the dwelling house precedes any surviving documents. However, whether it was originally part of the wastes of Lagham or part of the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield, the dwelling house would appear to have been a fairly substantial medieval structure, and by the late 16th century was the farmhouse for a farm known as the Blew (Blue) Anchor straddling the north/south road that crossed the common at Blindley Heath, now the main A22. The farmhouse stood on the east of the road whilst its associated farm buildings stood opposite to the west of the road.
A further hindrance in researching this property is the fact that there have been at least two farms known by the name of Blue Anchor, the first associated with the inn and the second, the current Blue Anchor Farm, situated in its entirety on the west side of the main A22 being previously known as Blindley Heath Farm, alias Hurst Farm. Situated in the manor of Lagham, this latter Blue Anchor Farm had been established as a land holding by at least 1559 when the property passed to John Infield on the death of his father Richard, although it was then known as Barnelands and did not have a dwelling house associated with it. The dwelling associated with current Blue Anchor Farm was built by 1805, replacing a dwelling that had been associated with Blindley Turnpike that was erected in 1761.
It has also become apparent whilst researching the Blue Anchor Inn that the term inn was not often applied to the property as it is frequently referred to as only a messuage [a term used to signify a dwelling-house and the surrounding property, including outbuildings] and was held by a major landholder of the manors of Lagham or Sheffield-Lingfield who in turn sub-let the premises. This is especially apparent in the Godstone Land Tax records dating from between 1780 and 1832 when the property was only referred to by the name of The Blue Anchor in 1804, The Anchor between 1805 and 1814 and as just house and land between 1826 and the end of the records in 1832.
Why Blue Anchor? B E Cracknell in his Portrait of Surrey suggests that Blue Anchor is probably a corruption of anker, a measure containing about 10 old wine gallons or 8½ imperial gallons (37.9 litres) which was historically used in England for honey, oil, vinegar, spirits and wine. An alternative suggestion for the name implies the use of symbolism and religion. The colour blue was symbolic of Hope and in a religious context the anchor was also used as a symbol for Hope, although the amount of religious symbolism in tavern, inn and pub names decreased after Henry VIIIs break from Rome in 1533.
Based on the surviving records and documents the evidence would suggest that what became The Blue Anchor Inn began life as a fairly substantial dwelling for the Medieval period with a possible small land holding, part of a much larger land holding known as Bays on the northern edge of the common at Blindley Heath in the manor of SheffieldLingfield, adjoining lands of this area being held by the lords of the manor of Walkhamsted, alias Lagham, alias Godstone, or as a farmstead straddling a trackway leading across the common, a track which later became a main route out of London to the south coast, now the main London road the A22.
It is probable that the wife of the family occupying the property, who would have brewed ale routinely for the household, began to sell off the excess, a common practise whereby an ale pot was displayed outside the house to indicate that there was ale for sale [for further information see Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Pt. I, SJC 05/07]. The sale of this excess brew would have brought extra money into the household and over the years, with the increase in London-bound/south-bound traffic, perhaps the excess home brewed ale was increased to meet a growing demand from passers-by. In turn the original dwelling was extended to accommodate the traveller and by 1693 had sixty acres of land (see below), eventually surrounding itself with all the services required by the traveller, ie; stabling, hostler [a person who takes care of the needs of horses], saddler [a person who makes and repairs horse harness] and blacksmith. The land holding primarily would have provided feed for horses that stopped off at the inn, much like at the Maidenhead situated on the south side of the common at Newchapel [for further information see Handout, The Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Pt. IV, JIC/SJC 03/10]. Bedding for horses may also have been cut from the common itself.
The development of the inn can potentially be chronicled by the study of the structure of the building, with each phase of addition potentially suggesting an increase in business and each extension responding to that need.
The original part of the building was a hall house with a single aisle to the rear (east); the aisle has base cruck timbers. The open hall was two bays long with the service end at the north. The hall has sooted roof timbers with a crown post roof. This hall house would have been constructed in the 14th century.
The upper end of the hall house was replaced by a two bay floored crosswing with the first floor jettied towards the front (west). The rear of the crosswing aligns with the rear of the hall house whilst the ground floor projected slightly in front of the hall with the jettied first floor and gable projecting about 3 feet in front of the original structure. The crosswing has a side purlin roof and is gabled at the front but hipped at the rear. The front ground floor bay of the crosswing has chamfers on the beams whilst the rear bay is undecorated. This wing also has an unlit attic with a small chamfered access through the bay division in the roof space, indicating that the attic space was intended to be used when the crosswing was constructed. The crosswing dates from about 1600 and would appear to be the same time that the larger bay of the adjacent open hall was floored over and a cooking hearth and chimney were inserted into the north end of the open hall.
In the late 17th century the building was extended by the addition of a further two bays including a chimney on the north end of the hall house, these were constructed of re-used timbers. A further extension was built in the early 18th century, this time by adding a two storey two bay face wing to the rear elevation. The rear facewing was extended during the 19th century by the addition of a single storey building with a similar sized footprint to the south. By 1895 a separate single storey building had been built between the 19th century stables and the south west corner of the main building. In the early photographs this building is seen to have had large doors across the front. Between 1895 and 1910, a large single storey flat roof extension was added to the front of the main building, this did not last long as it had been demolished by the 1950s. The separate single storey building and the 19th century stables were demolished in 1989 to make way for an extension to the restaurant. Today the Blue Anchor Inn is Grade II listed.
16th and 17th Centuries
The Evelyn Family
One of the reasons of interest in the Blue Anchor Inn in Blindley Heath is the fact that it was owned by the branch of the Evelyn family who ultimately created the Felbridge Park Estate after its amalgamation with the manor of Hedgecourt in 1747.
It has not yet been possible to determine when or how the Evelyn family acquired the site of the Blue Anchor Inn in Blindley Heath as it has been impossible to determine if it lay within the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield (as part of Bays) or within the manor of Lagham. No purchase record has been identified for the Evelyns acquiring Bays but they held it from at least 1645. George Evelyn purchased the manors of Walkhamsted alias Godstone alias Lagham and Marden from Thomas Powle in 1588, with George gaining full possession in 1591 from Thomas Dilke on the clearance of a mortgage.
An early potential reference to the dwelling house can be found in a counterpart lease dated 20th January 1638, made between John Evelyn of Godstone and Walter Covert, esquire, of Godstone. The lease was for a parcel of land and or meadow called Lords Meade containing 6 acres encompassed with the land of the said Walter and near to the said Walters dwellinghouse at Blindley Heath. The nearest dwelling house to Lords Meade was the Blue Anchor Inn, and it is also known that the Covert family owned the land (but only land with no dwelling) opposite the inn as freehold until 1675 when Walters son and heir Humphrey sold the land west of the London Road (not the dwelling house) to Ralph Pettey of Riverhead.
Walter Covert was born in 1606 the son of George Covert of Cuckfield in Sussex, and his wife Audrey née Makeret, daughter of a London merchant. Walter was one of at least four children, his siblings included: Timmothie (female) born in 1606, John born about 1608 and Thomas born in 1611, all born in Cuckfield. Walter married Ann Covert (the daughter of John Covert of Woodmancote in Sussex) on 18th December 1621, and they had at least four children, Walter born in 1622, Humphrey (date of birth not yet established), Elizabeth born in 1624 and Audrey born in Godstone on 5th April 1625.
The Covert family descend from John Covert who was knighted in 1534, and Walters branch of the family originates from Slaugham and bought into the Blindley Heath area in 1615 when Humphrey Covert (Walters grandfather) purchased property from William Wood. Also, two of Walters aunts married into families from the area, Mary married John Dodd of Tandridge and Frances married John Haselden of Haling in East Grinstead.
By 1623 Walter was referred to as Walter Covert of Woodmancote and by 1631, of Blindly Heath in Godstone had also been added implying that between 1623 and 1631 Walter had gained an interest/property in the Godstone area, which can be identified from the lease of 1638 as the freehold called Blindley Heath Farm with his dwelling house being the building that became the Blue Anchor Inn. In 1635 the will of Sir Walter Covert (godfather to Walters son Walter) refers to Walters dwelling house as Blindley Court, Godstone, implying the building was fairly substantial. As seen in the structure survey a jettied crosswing was added around the 1600s so it is possible that this alteration to the Blue Anchor was made under the occupation of Walter Covert. The will also indicates that the building was not operating as an inn at this date, narrowing the date of establishment to some time after 1635. Walter Covert died in 1673 and was then known as Walter of Bletchingley, and his estates in the Blindley Heath area passed to his son Humphrey who sold the freehold of Blindley Heath Farm to Mr Petley of Riverhaed, Kent, in 1675. The will also details that Richard Bawcomb was the occupier of his land, the farm then known as Blindley Heath Farm, and the Bawcomb family were still tenants in the 1736 with John Bawcomb having succeeded his father Richard in 1685.
Unfortunately it has not been possible to determine the fate of Blindley Court or establish the exact date that the Blue Anchor Inn began to trade from the property but by the will of John Evelyn in 1663 (see below) the Blue Anchor Inn had given its name to an associated farm and by 1668 had become a landmark at Blindley Heath. To concur with this the name Blue Anchor was not used in 1559 as the Court Book for the adjoining manor of Lagham does not use it as a point of reference when the residents of Blindley Heath were required to clear their ditches, with entries like:
10th day of April: and John Pycknett had the same day to scour his Ditches near his land called Byes under the penalty of five shillings ..
Unfortunately there is a large gap in the surviving manorial Court Books for Lagham between 1559 and 1668; however, entries dating to between January and March 1668 found in the later Court Book show the use of the Blue Anchor as a landmark, this time with regards to repairing the road, with entries like:
March, the common highway in Godstone, leading from the place called the Blew Anchor there to Lingfield has been out of repair for a length of 15 perches since 1 February until the taking of this inquisition at Godstone. The Inhabitants of Godstone should repair when necessary, and have wont to do so out of mind.
Based on the available surviving records the assumption is that the Blue Anchor Inn was established between 1635 and 1663 for the name to be used in conjunction with a farm, and was well established by 1668 for its name to have become a reference point for the southern end of the Blindley Heath settlement.
Sir John Evelyn of Godstone acquired the manor of Walkhamstead, alias, Lagham, alias Godstone, from his nephew George (son of John 1554 to 1627), including the Blue Anchor Farm. On the death of Sir John Evelyn in 1663 the manor of Lagham and his lands in the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield passed to his son John, and his will established a charity for the poor of the parish of Godstone whereby a yearly charitable donation of £6 was to be raised out of the proceeds of the farm called the Blue Anchor:
Will of Sir John Evelyn of Godstone, Item I give to twelve people of ye parish of Godstone forever: ye sume of six Pounds a yeare to be equally distributed amongst them upon ye first day Twelve month yt shall next follow after my decease, and see upon it day for ever yearly, yr nomincon of ye said twelve first poore people, to be by my wife: and after her decease by my son George, and after his decease ye nominacon when any dye, to be filled up by ye present Vicar and Churchwardens of ye parish of Godstone for ever, yt six Pound a yeare to be charged, raysed, and paid out of my ffarme called ye Blew Anchor, now in ye Occupacon of Thomas Davey; Provided always yt out of ye Six Pounds a yeare given to ye poore aforesaid, it is my true intent and meaning yt ye Chancell and Vault: by me now erected, may be kept for ever in decent and good reparacons, And it during such times of reparacons all paymt to such poore people to cease but no longer.
From Sir John Evelyns will of 1663 it is evident that the original Blue Anchor Farm was an established, separate entity and was in the occupation of Thomas Davey. However, there is no mention of an inn just a farm, although the inn must have been established by then for the farm to be known by the name Blue Anchor. The most likely scenario is that Thomas Davey was also the victualler that ran the inn from his dwelling house, a fairly common practise around this period. Unfortunately it has not been possible to determine any details on Thomas Davey other than the fact that there was a Thomas Davey still residing in the Blindley Heath area in 1690.
On the death of Sir John Evelyn of Godstone in 1663 his eldest son John inherited his fathers title and much of his estates in Surrey which on his death in 1671 he bequeathed to his mistress Mary Gittings. Within two years Mary had sold her inheritance to Sir Robert Clayton and his partner John Morris. The sale included the manor and farm of Marden and upward of 3,000 acres of land in Godstone, Tandridge and Caterham. What is apparent is that Sir John the younger did not inherit the Blindley Heath area of the manor of Godstone or any of the land held of the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield and thus the site of the Blue Anchor Inn, this passed to his brother George of Nutfield and remained with the branch of the Evelyn family that established the Felbridge Park Estate.
The first reference to the Blue Anchor as an inn is found in an Indenture of Lease and Release dated 2nd/3rd February 1693 made between George Evelyn of Nutfield, Surrey (the second son of Sir John of Godstone), and Thomas Bromefield and Edward Harberfield. The indenture states:
The said George Evelyn in consideration of natural love and affection did convey to the said Thomas Bromefield and Edward Harberfield:
All those burgage messuages in the borough of Bletchingley 4 acres of land used therewith and two farms called Marles and a messauage called the Byes with the Byes Coppice 60 acres of land and three fields called Jenkins Fields formerly part of nobright farm in the said parish of Godstone with the tithes of corn and grain yearly arising thereout together with a wood called Row Jenkins Wood & all the tithe of corn & grain yearly arising out of a farm in Godstone formerly of John Shalcross and also a messuage or inn called the Blue Anchor and 60 acres of land used therewith & all the tithes arising there out and a meadow called the Lords Mead & severall messuages or cottages lying in Blindley Heath in the said parish of Godstone then in the occupation of Matthews Plors Knowlding Brown Bule and the overseer of the poor of Godstone with the tithes arising out of the last mentioned premises and also the tithes of corn & grain yearly arising out of a farm in Godstone called Comports Place & out of the lands of Petley & out of lands called Byesfield Lands of ___ Bennett Land called East Lands, lands called Stanton Lands Land called Jack Harris Fields Whitefoots Land called Hookstile Lands Lands in the occupation of Thomas Morphew Lands called Gage Lands Lands called Shewbridges & out of lands then in the occupation of Nicholas Mason William Bristie John Holland junior all such said premises are situate within the parish of Godstone. [A margin note shows that this was a lease for 1 year and the release has been eaten by rats, and it is known that the lands were still in the possession of Edward Evelyn in 1751]
To hold to them & their heirs in trust for the said George Evelyn for life Rem. [remainder] To Edward Evelyn his third son (being the above named Edward Evelyn) for life Rem. [remainder] To said trustees to preconvey Rem. [remainder] To the first and other sons of the said Edward Evelyn in tail male with several Remts [remnants] over to the other sons of the said George Evelyn Remt [remnants] to heirs Lee in which indenture of release was contained a proviso on power there who shal be in possession of the above forement to settle any part thereof on any wife they should marry suitable to her position not exceeding a £100 part for every £1000 portion as also same apportions for younger children not exceeding the portion of the wife.
Nothing has come to light on Thomas Bromefield or Edward Haberfield other than they were both referred to as gentlemen, the former of the Inner Temple and the latter of the Middle Temple, two of the four Inns of Court or professional associations for barristers and judges in London. However, in 1693 the Blue Anchor Inn, also referred to as a messuage, had the use of sixty acres of land, thus this was probably the Blue Anchor Farm referred to in the will of Sir John Evelyn of Godstone in 1663. Unfortunately the lease of 1693 does not give the name of the occupant of the Blue Anchor Inn at the time.
It is not until the early 18th century that surviving documents yield the name of the tenant of the Blue Anchor Farm and that he was also the innkeeper. On the 13th January 1731, a counterpart agreement was made between Edward Evelyn [grandson of Sir John Evelyn of Godstone (see above)] of Godstone (residing at Felbridge Park) [for further details see Handout, The Commonplace Book of Edward Evelyn, JIC/SJC 09/07] and John Wicking, a yeoman of Godstone, for:
The building by the said Edward Evelyn on the Blew Anchor Farm in Walkhamsted alias Godstone leased to the said John Wicking, of a new stable with a granary over it, half the bigness of the present stable, viz: 14ft one way and the breadth in proportionable manner and to drive out the other stable 4ft.
John Wicking was asked to pay an additional yearly rent of 30s for the newly built stable and it may suggest that to require more stabling and an extension to the existing stable the inn was experiencing a growth in passing trade requiring accommodation for travellers horses. This theory is also borne out in the structural survey that identified that the dwelling house was also further extended in the early 18th century. As to John Wickings occupation, his will of 1754 indentifies him as the innkeeper of the Blue Anchor.
John, the son of Ethelbert and Mary Wicking of Cowden, Kent, was baptised on 27th October 1696 and married twice. His first wife was Mary [surname unknown] with whom he had seven children including: William born in 1725, John born in 1727, William born in 1731, Elizabeth born in 1733, Ethelbert born in 1734, Hannah born in 1736 and Joanna born in 1738/39, all baptised in Godstone implying that John was potentially living in the Blindley Heath area as early as 1725. Sadly William only lived for four years as he died in 1730 and there is some evidence to say that Johns wife Mary died in or as a result of child birth as both she and Joanna died in the spring of 1738/39.
John married his second wife, Mary Bysh, in Horne on 10th February 1739/40, and they had six children including: Henry born in 1742, Thomas born in 1744 (sadly he died at or shortly after his birth), James born in 1745, Mary born in 1747 (sadly she had died before 1752), Thomas born in 1748 and Mary born in 1752, again all baptised in Godstone.
Several generations of the Wicking family went on to be involved in eating and drinking establishments in the Felbridge area including Johns great grandson Thomas who was the beer retailer at the Cherry Tree at Froggit Heath in the second half of the 19th century along with his daughter Caroline, wife of William Smeed [for further information see Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge Pt. IV, SJC 03/10].
Little else is known about John Wicking other than the fact that in 1731 he was referred to as a yeoman meaning he was a farmer who was more prosperous than the average husbandsman. This prosperity may have been as a consequence of John being also the innkeeper of The Blue Anchor as referred to at the time of his death in November 1754. His prosperity is apparent from the terms of his will leaving his wife Mary a £300 bond together with their bed and all the linen and household goods that she had brought with her on their marriage, and a third part of the remainder of the linen and another bed that she could choose except the best bed of all. However, she was only to receive this bequest of bed, linen and household goods during her widowhood and should she remarry then the bequest was to go to the three surviving children they had had together. John also gave to his loving wife a cow and the solo use and living in the parlour and parlour chamber at Crowhurst with the privilege also of the other necessary rooms in the house, the keeping of a cow and her fireing to be found by my executors for so long a time as she continues a widow and chooses to live there.
John gave £200 to his son Ethelbert but only £100 each to his sons James and Thomas and daughter Mary when they reached the age of twenty-one. Should any of them die before reaching the age of twenty-one then their £100 was to be equally divided among those surviving. However, should two die before they reached the age of twenty-one then the £100 of the second to die was to go to the executor and not the surviving child, as Johns intent and moaning that if only one of them should live to be of age that then he or she shall have £200 and no more. John asked that his executors do out of my substance and maintain educate and bring up his three surviving younger children and putt them out to some trade or calling as they think most proper. To his eldest son John he gave £100 and to his two eldest sons John and William he gave all the rest residue and remainder of my Goods Chattells Estate and Effects (after my Debts Legacies and funeral expenses) which was to be equally divided between them.
Unfortunately it has not been possible to determine who succeeded John Wicking at the Blue Anchor but a rather sad story dating to shortly after the death of John Wicking can be found in the Court Book for Lagham dated 11th February 1755. The court presented that a black mare, belonging to Knight of Felbridge Water was found in the road near the turnpike at the Blew Anchor. Hanging dead from a stirrup was a young servant lad named Benjamin Lowey who was about 15 years of age and who had been dragged along the ground, for some distance to cause his death.
The Knight family operated a haulage business from the site of what is today Mulberry Gate off Copthorne Road. Surviving accounts of Robert Knight from between 1762 and 1769 show that the business was heavily involved with the iron industry in Felbridge frequently carrying canon to London [for further information see Handouts, Warren Furnace, SJC 01/00, Golards Farmhouse, SJC 11/07 and Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge Pt. II, JIC/SJC 03/08]. Unfortunately, very little is known about Benjamin other than his burial at St Nicholas Church, Godstone, on 13th February 1755.
In 1772, Peter Gray records that William Wicking, presumably the son of John Wicking who died in 1754, held the Blue Anchor which was then in the tenure of William Frith. Unfortunately with just a name it has not yet been possible to identify the said William Frith, however, he must have relinquished his tenure of the Blue Anchor shortly after this date because at the start of the Land Tax records in 1780 John Quartemain sometimes referred to as Quaterman is listed as the innkeeper/victualler of the Blue Anchor Inn.
John Quartemain/Quaterman 1780-1803
One of the strongholds of the Quarteman family in Blindley Heath was Blindley Heath Farm situated opposite the Blue Anchor Inn, with just a few scattered references to the family eg:
Sold by Auction all the neat and genuine Household Furniture, Farming Stock and Utensils of Mr. Richard Quarteman, near the Blue Anchor Inn, Godstone, Road, Surrey.
Public Advertiser, Thursday, May 6, 1776.
However, from the Land Tax records it is known that John Quartermain was paying £4 16/- for the Blue Anchor Inn. In 1801 John Quartermain appears as Jonathan Quartermain paying tithe and rent for Felbridge as part of the Evelyn estate and the Blue Anchor appears as late Quartermains. It is not until 1803 that Isaac Woodroffe appears in the Land Tax records paying the £4 16s for the Blue Anchor, although he probably took it over around 1801.
What is apparent is that the Quartermain/Quarterman family rarely appears in the local parish records of either Godstone or Lingfield and as such it has proved almost impossible to find any personal details on John Quartermain of the Blue Anchor Inn. However, he may the John Quarterman who was buried at St Peters and St Pauls Church, Lingfield, aged seventy-three on 12th June 1808, thus making his birth sometime around 1735. The only other Quarterman to be found in the burial register is Mary who was buried on 8th November 1799, but without an age it is not possible to determine whether she was even related. There are also no burials for Quarterman around this period in the burial register for St Nicholas Church, Godstone, and only a few births are recorded. Marriages for Quarterman are also scant, with just two with the first name John, one to Ann Baily on 18th December 1785 and on to Mary Pinfold on 27th January 1798 both of the parish of Egham in Surrey where both couples children were baptised, thus potentially ruling out either John as the one holding the Blue Anchor Inn unless it was sub-let and was being run by someone else.
The Quarterman family of Godstone appears to have had close connection with smuggling and there are several newspaper articles referring to court cases brought against various members of the family:
This morning about six oclock, one Quarterman, a smuggler, was taken at the Blue Lyon, Croydon, and brought before New-gaol, Southwark. He was wounded in the head.
London Chronicle, Tuesday, September 3, 1776
On Thursday one Quarteman the most famous of all Surrey Smugglers, was apprehended on a capias for a debt of 3000 pounds to government, and lodged in the New Gaol, Southwark.
London Evening Post September 7, 1776
On Sunday last, about two oclock in the afternoon, Mr. Rowley, a riding officer in the service of the Customs, assisted by a party of dragoons, fell in with a gang of smugglers near Croydon, in Surrey, (among whom was the notorious Quarterman) and after most desperate engagement, the smugglers were entirely routed, with the loss of all their goods, to a very considerable amount.
Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, Friday, February 13, 1778
On Tuesday last Mr. Rowley, a Riding Officer in the Services of the Customs, made a considerable Seizure of Tea and India goods, to the amount of 2000 pounds, & upwards; and on Sunday last a desperate Gang of Smugglers belonging to the notorious Quarteman, casually meeting with a Servant of Mr. Rowleys in the lower Parts of Surrey on his Return home, whom they beat and treated in a most horrid Manner; one of the Gang by Craft pinioned his Arms, while the others robbed him of his Pistols, then beat him with their Bludgeons, and had not a Farmer in the Neighbourhood been passing on the Road at the Time of the Assault, in all Probability the Man would have lost his Life. Upon his Return home, Mr. Rowley, with proper Assistance, went down to Godstone, the Place of Residence of Quarterman, where he met with a large Posse of Smugglers, from whom he seized 40 Bags of fine Tea, and apprehended the principal Delinquent, who was on Monday examined at the Rotation Office and committed to the New Jail in the Borough, to take his Trial at the next Surrey Assizes.
St Jamess Chronicle or British Evening Post, Tuesday, April 21, 1778
Thursday at Union Hall, John Quarterman, of Godstone in Surrey, was convicted by the magistrates, under the Excise Law, in the penalty of 153 pounds, being trebled the price of tobacco and spirits he had in his possession.
London Chronicle, Thursday, December 21, 1797
William Quarterman, aged about 30, convicted for a term of seven years at the Surrey Assizes on March 21, 1836, transported on the John to New South Wales departing on September 21, 1836.
John Quarterman remained at the Blue Anchor Inn until around the 1800. He appears in the list of people paying tithes to the Evelyns Felbridge estate in 1800 as Johnathan but in 1801 (and until 1803) he is recorded as late John Quartermans in the Land Tax entries for the Blue Anchor, this would imply that the land tax offices must have known he was no longer there but were unsure of who had succeeded him.
A story recanted in The History of East Grinstead talks about a mail robbery at Wall Hill, Forest Row, where the perpetrates had rested at the Blue Anchor:
On July 19th, 1801 the Beatsons robbed His Majestys mail on Wall Hill, East Grinstead. John Beatson was a Scotchman, who after serving in the merchant service, settled in Edinburgh as an innkeeper. He had adopted a child and named him William Whalley Beatson, who, in due course, married and took over his fathers tavern. His wife dying he sold the house and went to London, where he soon lost all his savings at the hands of some unscrupulous sharps who got hold of him. His father became a butler, and both seem to have got into low water. For a time they lived at Hartfield and then drifted back to London. On Saturday, July 18th, 1801, they left the Metropolis and came as far as the Rose and Crown, at Godstone, where they slept for the night. Next morning they came on the Blue Anchor, at Blindley Heath, and stayed there until evening.
Then they tramped on through East Grinstead to Wall Hill, and there they stopped the mail soon after midnight. They did not injure the driver, but led the horse into an adjoining enclosure and carried off the mail bags to Hartfield, where they hid in a field of standing corn. They opened the letters and took from them the Bank of England and country notes, leaving the remainder of the contents in the field. These were discovered a month later when the reapers got to work. In drafts, bills, &c., over £9,530 had been left behind. This makes the total of £13,000 or £14,000 carried by the mail
Meanwhile the Beatsons had gone to Westerham, thence to Deptford and London and finally on to Liverpool. They had been suspected, their descriptions circulated and, a hue and cry being raised throughout England, they were finally arrested at the port named. Property to the value of close on £3,000, chiefly in bank notes, was found on them. They were taken to Bow Street and thence to Horsham to await their trial at the Assizes. .
The trial took place on March 29th, 1802, before Baron Hotham, and about 30 witnesses were examined. The father acknowledged his guilt and both he and his son denied that the latter has any hand in the robbery. The jury, however, found both guilty and sentence of death was passed. On April 17th they were brought from Horsham to East Grinstead, and, on gallows specially erected in the field where they robbed the cart, were hung in the presence of 3,000 spectators ..
It is possible that John Quarterman was the serving victualler at the Blue Anchor Inn when the Beatsons rested there before carrying out the mail robbery, or it may have been Isaac Woodroffe (or his leasee at the Blue Anchor) who succeeded John Quarterman, as he was listed as paying tithe to the Evelyns Felbridge estate in 1803 although he is not recorded as paying the Land Tax for the Blue Anchor until 1804.
Isaac Woodroffe was born about 1753 and married Mary Johnson on 1st September 1770 at St Saviours Church, Southwark. Unfortunately, like the Quarterman family there are very few entries in parish registers for Woodroffe so it has not been possible to determine whether they had a family but Mary must have died by 1801 as Isaac married Mary Peake at Bath Abbey in Somerset on 11th May 1801. Again it has not been possible to determine whether Isaac had family with his second wife Mary and again she must have died quite young as Isaac Woodroffe, esquire, (widower) married Sarah Willes (spinster) on 24th July 1820 at Christ Church, Soutwark, their marriage announced in the Gentlemans Magazine. The announcement states that Isaac was late of Godstone and that Miss Willes was of Chelsham Court, both from the county of Surrey. To have a marriage announcement in the Gentlemans Magazine implies that Isaac Woodroffe was a fairly eminent person and therefore unlikely to have been the victualler of the Blue Anchor at the time of his third marriage but as yet it has not been possible to determine to whom he had sub-let the inn.
The Land Tax records show that Isaac Woodroffe was paying £4 16/- for the Blue Anchor Inn and £12 17/- for other land up until and including 1814, as had John Quarterman. However in 1815 the format of the Land Tax records alters and instead of listing separate values for each holding per person the total values were lumped together and the value of the rental was also added. From 1815 Isaac Woodroofe was paying £15 2s 1d in Land Tax and £250 10/- rental for his holdings. Identification of the other holdings can be found in the Accounts Book for Comforts Place Farm kept by George Steer in which he details all the land held with the farm in Godstone. The accounts for 1807 show that Isaac Woodroffe held Great Marles and Blue Anchor Farms, a total of 267 acres, rated at £174 with the Great Tythe included. The Account Book also has entries referring to the annuity connected to the charity set up by Sir John Evelyn on his death in 1663 (see above) and one of the entries dated 5th January 1808 reads:
Received of the Guardians of Miss Shuckburgh
Evelyn the Annuity Due from the 5 7 10
Anchor Farm to Godstone Parish after
Allowing for the Property Tax - 12 2
£6 - -
The above Annuity Distributed to
The following Persons
William Briant 8 - 6¾
William Burden 8 - 6¾
John Cartfield 8 - 6¾
William Skinner 8 - 6¾
John Calver 8 - 6¾
John Gatland 8 - 6¾
Michael Watre 8 - 6¾
(Given by Mr Turner)
Richard Titchener 8 - 7¾
Isaac Chalwood 8 - 6¾
Edmund Sayer 8 - 6¾
Michael Wood 8 - 6¾
Henry Skinner 8 - 6¾
(Given by G Steer)
Property Tax 12 -
Receipt stamp - 2
To Mr Turner Parish Clerk 5 -
£6 - - - -
The will of Isaac Woodroffe states that he was formerly of Godstone, now of Croydon, presumably from when he married in 1820. There is no mention of any children in his bequests implying that if hed had a family with any one of his three wives there were none surviving at the time of his will in 1831. The Land Tax records also confirm that Isaac Woodroffe had given up the Blue Anchor Inn by 1820 as his name was replaced by that of David Getting.
David Getting was born in Mile End, Middlesex, on 13th July 1796, the son of Moses David Getting and his wife Sarah Ann née Levy, but was baptised at St Marys Church, Lambeth, on the 3rd February 1813. David was one of at least twelve children, his siblings included: John born in 1797, Henrietta born in 1799, Henry born in 1800, Frieda born in 1801, Jessey born in 1803, Samuel born in 1804, Mary born in 1806, Abraham born in 1808, Eliza Sally born in 1810, Emily Elizabeth born in 1812 and Caroline born in 1815. All the children up to and including Jessey were baptised with David at St Marys Church, Lambeth, on 3rd February 1803, and all subsequent children were also baptised within a short time of their births at the same church.
Not much is known about the early life of David Getting but by 1820 he had taken on the holding of the Blue Anchor Inn and on 24th June 1824 married (by licence) Mary Taylor of Talboys, Oxted, Surrey. David and Mary had at least five children: Charles Talboys born in 1824, Sarah Mary born in 1826, Frederick Henry born in 1829, Frieda Eliza born in 1830 and Lucy Caroline born in 1832. Charles and Sarah were baptised in Godstone, Frederick in Clapham in Surrey, and Frieda and Lucy in Leigh in Kent. From the childrens baptisms it would appear that the Getting family had moved from Blindley Heath sometime between 1826 and 1829 which is borne out in the Land Tax records as the last entry for the David Getting at the Blue Anchor is in 1826. However, David Gettings time at the Blue Anchor Inn was far from uneventful.
A local story that has been passed down over a hundred years is that of bare knuckle fighter the Gas Man. The story tells of how the Gas Man, whilst touring the country, once fought at Blindly Heath and was beaten by a local. This obviously went against the betting and as a result of his defeat the back of the Blue Anchor Inn was set on fire. It is well documented that bare knuckle fighting was staged regularly at Blindley Heath Common and Crawley Down attracting hundreds of people. In a book about coaching ways there is an entry about a championship bare knuckle fight that occurred in 1815 at Blindley Heath which was attended by George the Prince Regent and the Tsar of Russia, both followers of bare knuckle fighting.
It had not been possible to establish whether the Blue Anchor Inn was actually set on fire after a bare knuckle fight but there was a bare knuckle fighter called the Gas Man (sometimes known as the Gaslight Champion) who came to Blindley Heath for a bare knuckle contest on 12th June 1821. The Gas Man, whose real name was Tom Hickman, acquired his nickname because it was said that the speed of his punches caused gaslights to go out. Tom had been born in Dudley, Worcestershire, on 28th January 1785 and in 1821 his fighting weight was 11st 11lb (75kg). His opponent was the Commissary, whose real name was Tom Oliver, who had a 3lb (1.4kg) advantage, weighing in at 12st (76kg) and was four years younger having been born in Buckinghamshire in 1789. The fight took place just one month after the Gas Mans previous fight in which he had beaten G. Cooper in 2 rounds. The Gas Man (Hickman)/Commissary (Oliver) fight lasted 9 rounds, a total of 12½ minutes, resulting in the Commissary being beaten by the Gas Man, with £100 of prize money at stake.
Six months later, on 11th December 1821, the Gas Man faced up to Bill Neat who weighed 10lbs (4.5kg) heavier and was 2ins (5cm) taller than him. It is said that between 22,000 and 25,000 people gathered to watch this fight on Hungerford Common and some £200,000 was wagered on the out-come with Neat the favourite at 5 to 4 against. This gives some idea of the numbers of people that could have turned up for the bare knuckle fights at Blindly Heath. The Gas Man v Neat fight lasted for 18 rounds before the Gas Man accepted defeat.
The Gas Man (Tom Hickman) died in a carriage accident the following year returning from a bare knuckle fight between J Hudson and T Shelton on 10th December 1822. After his death the bare knuckle fighters who had known him collected money for his widow and family in order to purchase a fairground boxing show and volunteered to fight on the booths free of charge for the first year. Out of this developed the Hickman Boxing Show that travelled until the mid 20th century and in 1931 Charlie Hickman (great grandson of Tom the Gas Man) won the Lonsdale Championship under Queensbury rules that had been introduced in 1867 to clean up and legitimise boxing.
In 1821, the same year as the Hickman/Oliver bare knuckle fight, property worth £20 was stolen from David Getting. The court case, held at the Old Bailey on 9th January 1822 records that Samuel Home was indicted for stealing, on the 13th December , two mares, price £20, the property of David Getting, Esq.; and William Smith Cutts was indicted for feloniously receiving the same, knowing them to be stolen.
Those giving evidence on behalf of David Getting included William Skinner and Thomas Piggot. William Skinner stated:
I am servant to Mr Getting, of Godstone, Surrey. He had two cart mares; I saw them last Thursday afternoon, the 13th December, about four oclock, in the field which was fenced round, and the gate fastened with a with. There were four horses, these two were chestnut cart mares, one was six years old, and the other nine. They had no shoes on then, but had worn shoes for years. I missed them the next morning, and traced them out of the gate, but no further; I have not seen them since.
Thomas Piggot stated:
I am hostler at the Blue Anchor, public-house, near Godstone. On the night before the prosecutors mares were missed, I saw the prisoner Home at the house [Blue Anchor Inn] about six oclock in the evening, in company with another (not Cutts), he left at eleven oclock at night. I believe they only had one pint of beer all the time, neither of them had horses I do not know what they came for.
Giving evidence, David Getting stated:
I am proprietor of the two mares. On the morning of the 14th, I was informed they were stolen; they are worth £25 each. I made the best of my way to London, and in consequence of information which I received, went with Rice, an officer of Union Hall, to several places in Paddington, and enquired if any horse-dealers lived there we went to No. 8, Canal wharf, Paddington, to two stables, one was locked and the other padlocked; the door of the padlocked stable was partly open. I looked in, and immediately recognised one of my mares, I could see her distinctly, and the other behind it, I thought was mine, but could not see distinctly. In consequence of information, the officer sent for Cutts, who came; he was known there by the name of Smith, only. I told him I and my man were going to town to buy a car horse (my man was with me), I asked if he had any thing of that description to sell; he said he had, and opened the stable which we had not looked into there were four nags, and one horse rather the cart kind; I said they would not suit we came out and asked if he had any thing of the cart kind, he said
No. I then asked if that stable belonged to him, pointing to the one which we had looked unit, he said
Yes. I asked if there was not any cart horse there; he hesitated, and said no, only two colts that had never been shod, and a nag that belonged to a gentleman, and was rather lame. I said I sometimes bought colts, and asked if he could not shew them to me; he hesitated, and appeared conscious of what we were searching for. He unlocked the stable, I went in, and immediately said
Here is one that will sit me, and here is another, they are both stolen, and are my property. Rice said he belonged to Union Hall, and must take him in charge; he said
But you will give me a chance to get my money back, I will go and shew you the man I received the horses from. I gave the horses in care of my man. It is impossible he could mistake them for colts which had never been shod. He took us to a public-house at Paddington, the other prisoner came to the door; he pointed him out as the man who brought them to him the officer said he apprehended him for felony; he scarcely said a word. We asked how he brought the horses into town, he gave no answer. Cutts was then anxious to go home to change his clothes, and asked if we had not done with him we took him to Union Hall, the Magistrate was not there. Home was locked up, and Cutts taken to a public-house; a person came in and called him Cutts, before that, we understood his name to be Smith. They were afterwards examined, what they said was not taken down no promise or threat were held out to them. Cutts said the horses were brought to his stable the night before (this was Saturday) by two strange men, that Home was one of them, that it was late at night, they could not go to a public-house, and they brought them to his stable, engaged it for the night, and brought a truss of hay for them. He said nothing about having bought them. Home said he came from Shropshire. The Magistrate asked what he had been doing lately; he hesitated, and at last said,
I acknowledge that I stole the horses. The horses appeared to have been brought a considerable distance, they could scarcely walk, their feet were pared down, and could not walk on the road without pain.
Cross examined by Mr Broderick How far is Godstone from town? [answer] Twenty-three miles.
Paddington is about twenty-six miles from Godstone. I was directed to Cutts stable as a horse dealer. I saw my horses by pulling the door open a little. None of the horses in the other stable were exactly of the cart breed, but one was rather heavy. He did not say they were not his; Home did not deny it. Cutts said
The men who brought them were entire strangers; I received the horses as if for sale.
The case continues but the outcome was that There being no evidence to prove Home was possessed of the property in the county of Middlesex, the prisoners were acquitted.
David Getting was succeeded by a Mr Howard at the Blue Anchor in 1827, the Getting family moving to Clapham before moving to Leigh in Kent. However, by 1851 the family were living in the High Street, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, and David Getting had had a change of career and was working as a day School Master. He eventually died in Middlesex on 19th June 1863.
Mr Howard appears in the Land Tax records for the Blue Anchor in 1827 but was not listed in 1828 and without a first name it has proved impossible to determine any information about him. Mr Howard was succeeded at the Blue Anchor by William Mallam.
The Land Tax records show William Mallam holding the Blue Anchor from 1828 until the end of the records in 1832. Unfortunately, even though the first name is known it has proved impossible to determine any information about him, or when he ceased to hold the Blue Anchor, only that by 1841 it was held by a widow named Elizabeth Chandler.
In 1841 the victualler at the Blue Anchor was listed as Elizabeth Chandler, aged thirty-six. Unfortunately the census records for 1841 give no relationships to the head of household and only list if the person was born in the county or not. Elizabeth was residing at the premises with Joseph aged sixteen, Jane aged fourteen and Mary aged eleven (probably her children), together with three servants, John Sherlock, Sarah Clark and Mary Huggett and thirteen other people (the majority not born in Surrey) who were probably lodgers or boarders at the Blue Anchor. The majority of the lodgers or boarders were employed as labourers or masons, with Benjamin King listed as a sadler, Araunah Green listed as an independent and one un-employed woman, Cornelia Smith, with the same surname and similar age as one of the men suggesting she may have been his wife or possible sister. The presence of three masons may suggest that they were working on the new church at Blindly Heath (St John the Evangelist) which is built of local sandstone, completed in 1841 and consecrated on 20th June 1842.
The census information suggests that Elizabeth Chandler, born about 1805, was the head of the household and being a female head would suggest that she was probably a widow. It has not yet been possible to determine the name of her husband but in 1838 there is an entry in the Godstone parish registers for the burial of George Chandler of Godstone (the parish in which Blindley Heath fell at that time) aged thirty-eight, this would make him about six years older than Elizabeth and as such a possible contender for a husband and as such a potential victualler at the Blue Anchor prior to his death in 1838.
Unfortunately no further conclusive information has yet come to light about Elizabeth Chandler and it is not known when she left the Blue Anchor Inn but by 1851 she had been succeeded by Eliza Paget.
In 1851, the innkeeper at the Blue Anchor was listed as Eliza Paget aged twenty-seven. The census records Eliza as the widowed head of the household with one other Paget some way down the list of other occupants George P Paget recorded as a son aged twelve. Other member of the household include Jane Rye aged twenty-one employed as a house servant, John Isted aged twenty-three employed as a hostler, Elizas brother Ambrose Glover aged twenty-two working as a poulterer, and two visitors, William Jones, a widower and innkeeper aged thirty-two, and Hannah Taylor a dressmaker aged thirty-five.
Eliza Paget had been born Eliza Glover, the daughter of Ambrose Glover and Sarah née Lampon, on 11th November 1825 in Edenbridge, Kent, but was baptised on 13th June 1830 at St Peters Church Lingfield. Eliza married widower John Paget on the 14th December 1843, the couple not having any children. John Paget had been born about 1816 in Surrey, and had had a child, George Paget Bartholomew with Frances Bartholomew on 10th March 1839. Frances had been born about 1816 in Edenbridge, Kent, and in 1841 was living with her son George, in John Pagets household working as a servant. In 1841 John Paget was listed as a farmer working a farm at Frogwood Heath next to Bones Farm. John and Frances appear not to have married and on 13th December 1843 John married Eliza Glover.
It is not known when John and Eliza Paget moved to the Blue Anchor but they were married for only seven years before John died in 1851 leaving Eliza to assume the responsibility of his son George Paget Bartholomew (listed as George P Paget in the census) and take over the role of innkeeper of the Blue Anchor. Eliza Paget did not remain a widow for long as she married William Jones (the visiting innkeeper listed in the 1851 census) on 2nd November 1851. William Jones ran the Dorset Arms in the High Street, East Grinstead, between 1848 and 1856, moving with Eliza to run the Railway Hotel at East Grinstead, although in 1862 William Jones was listed as the brewer at the Sussex Brewery, London Road, East Grinstead [for further information see Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Pt. I, SJC 05/07].
For the Blue Anchor to have a live-in hostler means that in 1851 the premises were definitely catering for a travelling clientele as the job of John Isted as hostler was to tend to and take care of any horses that stopped at the inn. However, it is known that from at least 1824 (and probably as early as 1792) the London to Brighton stage coach stopped at Blindley Heath yet this is the first census entry for some one dealing with the care of horses actually attached to the Blue Anchor, although in 1841 boarder Benjamin King the sadler was obviously making, selling and repairing horse equipment.
Eliza Paget was succeeded by Joseph Wornham sometime between 1851 and 1855 as he is listed as the occupier of the Blue Anchor Public House when the premises were put up for auction on the 18th May 1855 by Selina, Vicountess Milton (descendant of the Evelyn family) as part of the 2,200 acre Felbridge Park Estate.
AN OLD-ESTABLISHED PUBLIC HOUSE,
Known as the BLUE ANCHOR,
Near Blindley Heath or Common, & on the High Road from Godstone to Lingfield, East Grinstead, &c.
In the occupation of Mr. Joseph Wornham.
The HOUSE is chiefly Brick and Tiled and contains 4 Bed Rooms, and 5 Garrets and Attics; 2 Parlours, Bar, large Tap, small Pantry, Dairy and Washhouse, Cellars &c.
LARGE GARDEN, ORCHARD, AND PADDOCK.
A HARNESS MAKERSS SHOP (underlet).
The OUTBUILDINGS consist of 2 Stables for 4 Horses each, part Boarded and Tiled; Coach House, a large Stable for 10 or 12 Horses, Cow Shed, Well and Pump;
Containing, together 3a 3r 6p
House, Buildings, Garden, &c.
Rent charge to Vicar of Godstone, 17s
The catalogue entry gives a good description of the property and implies that it at one time, if not still in 1855, the premises would have been very busy with travelling clientele as it had a good number of rooms to let and could accommodate up to fourteen horses at any one time. It is interesting to note that the land holding that had originally been listed as sixty acres in 1693 had dropped to just short of three acres, two and half of which was pasture, providing grazing for livestock. Also of note is the harness makers shop, no doubt continuing the trade of supplying and repairing equipment for passing horses, much like Benjamin King had in 1841. Adjacent to the Blue Anchor was a blacksmiths shop that had been run by the Head family since before 1841, thus this little cluster of buildings could offer all the running repairs required by passing horse traffic together with accommodation for the traveller.
A possible candidate for Joseph Wornham of the Blue Anchor was born in Slaugham, Sussex, in 1805, the son of James and Philadelphia Warnham. Joseph married Ann Midgely in Worth on 8th July 1837 and by 1841 the couple were living at the Greyhound, Tinsley Green, Sussex, where Joseph was working as the publican. Unfortunately there is very little other information and it is not clear when Joseph Wornham left the Blue Anchor but it was probably when the premises sold, being succeeded by Richard Scott.
Using the birth data of his children, it would suggest that Richard Scott took over the Blue Anchor at the time of (or shortly after) its sale as the birth of his fourth child was registered at Godstone in 1856. Richard Scott had been born about 1802 in Wandsworth, Surrey, and married Lucy Peters (twenty years his junior) in 1850 in Newington. To have such a large age gap suggests that this may have been a second marriage but this cannot be conclusively proved. By 1861 the Scott family were living at the Blue Anchor having moved from the Dukes Head, South End, Croydon, where Richard was listed as a licensed victualler in 1851. In 1861 Richard was listed as an innkeeper and his family consisted of Lucy, also listed as an innkeeper, and their children Richard born on 15th August 1850, John born on 25th April 1852, Walter born on 23rd April 1854, Albert born in 1856 and Lucy born in 1859. The births of the first three children were registered in Croydon, whilst the last two were at Godstone.
Richard Scott remained at the Blue Anchor until his death in 1867 and by 1871 his wife Lucy and children Walter and Lucy had moved to 2, Brackpool Cottages, Plaistow Street, Lingfield, later moving to Rose Cottages, Plaistow Street, from where Lucy senior died in 1888.
It would appear that after the death of Richard Scott the Scott family installed Robert Webb as the victualler/publican although in 1878 Richard Scott, son of the deceased Richard, was listed in the Post Office directory as the licensee of the Blue Anchor. In 1871 the census records list Robert Webb as resident at the Blue Anchor with the occupation of publican. However, the sale catalogue of 1881 (see below) states that The House [the Blue Anchor] has been in the hands of Mr Scott for many years implying that perhaps Richard Scott and Robert Webb both worked at the Blue Anchor.
Using the birth data of his children, Robert Webb took over the Blue Anchor in 1867, shortly after the death of Richard Scott. Robert Webb was born about 1837 at Capel, Kent, the son of publican Robert Webb, who held the Kings Head at Capel in 1841, and his wife Frances.
Robert junior began his working life as a farmer before becoming the publican at the Blue Anchor. He married Isabella Monkton on 29th October 1864 and they had at least seven children including; Robert Monson born in 1865, Frank born in 1866, Arthur born in 1867, Annie Isabel born in 1868, Rowland Marshal born in 1869, Beatrice born in 1870 and Mortimer born in 1871. The birth registrations of the last five children was at Godstone, whilst the first was a Maidstone and the second at East Grinstead implying the Scott family may have moved from East Grinstead to take over the Blue Anchor at Blindley Heath.
It has not been possible to determine when the Scott family left the Blue Anchor but by 1881 Robert Webb was listed as the licensed victualler at the British Hotel, St Clements, Hastings, Sussex, later moving as hotel keeper at 29, London Road, Tonbridge, Kent where he remained until after 1901, dying in Tonbridge in 1914. Also, it has not yet been possible to determine when Robert Webb left the Blue Anchor but the likelihood is it was around the time of the auction of the property on 27th January 1881:
A Freehold Fully-Licensed Public House,
The Blue Anchor,
The HOUSE is Brick and Stone Built and Tiled, and contains NINE BEDROOMS, Landing and Two Staircases,
Bar, Two Parlours, Tap room, Larder, Kitchen, Scullery (with Brick Oven, Sink and Pump, with Piping to WELL of
Excellent Wine & Beer Cellars, capital Garden,
DETACHED BOARDED AND TILED
Stabling for 8 Horses, and Coach-House
Two Wood Sheds, and a Terrace of FOUR COTTAGES
(Boarded and Tiled), each having Four Rooms, a Wood Shed, and small Garden, and in the rear is A SMALL
PADDOCK, the total area being nearly
3A. 2R. 0P.
AND HAS A FRONTAGE TO THE TURNPIKE ROAD OF ABOUT 230 ft.
The Property has enjoyed a Right of Common on Blindley Heath, and such right as it possesses will be
Included in the Sale.
The House has been in the hands of Mr Scott for many years, but the trade may be considerably increased under
Energetic management, as there is no other Public House within a radius of two miles.
POSSESSION WILL BE GIVEN ON COMPLETION OF THE PURCHASE
The Purchaser to take by Valuation (to be made in the usual manner) all Stock-in-Trade, Fixtures, Fittings, Utensils & Effects, and such Furniture as the present occupant may leave in the house, and in addition thereto to pay for the unexpired term in License.
The Cricket Ground on Blindley Heath is kept in excellent condition, and the Club is held at the Blue Anchor.
The License to the House is very moderate.
A Compact Freehold Property,
ADJOINING LOT 1, and Comprising
A Detached Double Match Boarded
Provision and General Store Shop,
(With Corrugated Iron Roof), 25ft 6 by 19ft, standing on Brick Piers.
A Detached Brick-built Paraffin Store,
An Enclosed COAL YARD and PIECE of MEADOW LAND,
Having a FRONTAGE of 82 FEET TO THE TURNPIKE ROAD,
An increasing Business is being carried on, but POSSESSION MAY BE HAD
ON COMPLETION OF PURCHASE.
The Trade Fixtures, Fittings, and Utensils and Stock-in-trade, to be taken by the Purchaser by valuation
It is also evident from the sale catalogue that four cottages had been built since the sale of the Blue Anchor in 1855, together with a Provisions and General Store, although this, standing on Brick Piers, may once have been a granary and may have been the harness makers shop referred to in the 1855 auction. Note written in the 1881 sale catalogue detail that the Blue Anchor Public House sold for £2,210 and was purchased by Mr. H M Page (possibly of Page & Overton Brewery Ltd of Shirley in Croydon) and the Provision and General Store Shop sold for £285, no name given. What is evident is that Mr Page did not run the Blue Anchor; instead he installed David Longley to run the business.
It has not yet been possible to determine the exact date that David Longley took over the Blue Anchor but he was listed as the publican there in 1881 census, shortly after the auction of January 1881. David Longley had been born in 1849, the son of Samuel and Mary, and began his working life as a butcher journeyman working for Henry Bassett at Dormansland, Surrey. In 1872 he married Mary Ann Meades, the daughter of Peter and Mary Meades, who had been born in 1853 in Lingfield. David and Mary Ann had at least eight children including; Charles Alfred born in 1873, David born in 1875, George born in 1876,William John born in 1878, Ellen Elizabeth born in 1880, Eli born about 1880, Samuel James born in 1881 and Minnie Partridge born in 1889.
Unfortunately it is not known when David Longley left the Blue Anchor, but by 1891 he and his family were at the Haycutter Inn, Oxted, Surrey where David was working as an innkeeper and dealer, later moving to Godstone Road, Lingfield, where he worked as a cattle dealer. David died in the Lingfield area in 1918.
Local sources suggest that at the time that David Longley left, the Blue Anchor was in the ownership of the East Grinstead Brewery and that the landlord was Teddy Miles who was followed by Arthur Worsell, and later, around 1905, by John Knell. Unfortunately nothing has yet surfaced about Teddy Miles but Arthur Worsell did take over the Blue Anchor in 1890, and a trust deed to secure perpetual debenture stock of the South Down & East Grinstead Breweries Ltd. survives dated 2nd July 1895, for certain inns and pubs including the Blue Anchor at Blindley Heath. However, the Southdown & East Grinstead Breweries Ltd. was not formed until 1895 when the Hope Brewery (formerly Burts Brewery) of East Grinstead merged with the Southdown Brewery of Lewes becoming Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries.
Another local source states that the Blue Anchor was owned by John Dashwood of the East Grinstead Brewery in 1892 and confirming that Arthur Worsell was the licensee, this source also states that the inn was frequented by labouring classes and dealers [for a brief history of the Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries see below]. There is some evidence to suggest that John Dashwood of Hope Brewery East Grinstead purchased the Blue Anchor Inn in 1895.
Arthur George Worsell was born about 1860 in Felbridge, the son of George Worsell and his wife Caroline née Wren. George Worsell had moved from Newchapel Stores (opposite Rabies at Newchapel) in 1867 to take over the Star Inn at Felbridge where he remained until his death in 1876. On his death Caroline took over the Star until her death in 1880 when their son Arthur took it over until his move to the Blue Anchor in 1890 [for further details see Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge Pt. II, JIC/SJC 03/08]. As a side line, Arthur was also the local horse slaughterer at Blindley Heath and could only have been at the Blue Anchor for about four years before he died in May 1894.
Local memories that date to this period in time documented in A Short History of the Parish of Blindley Heath include:
The horses for visiting coaches and pentechnicons were stabled close to the Inn. The drivers had a room over the Tap room which they entered from an outside staircase. Inside the Inn there was a bottle and jug bar, also a coffee bar. Beer cost 2d a pint; cigarettes 5½ d for a packet of 20 Players; tobacco 4d an ounce; Woodbines 1d for five cigarettes and cigars 1/8d.
The earliest meeting place, long before the creation of the new parish, had been the coach halt the Blue Anchor. Festive occasions were an important part of village life. Such events as weddings and baptisms, observed with great solemnity whether simple or grand, had been celebrated by bygone days at home or, on occasion, at the Inn [the Inn remained as such until the construction of the Assembly Room c1900].
Court Sessions were held at Godstone but, on occasion, the Blue Anchor Inn provided the setting for visiting magistrates to deal with local crime, inquests, civil disputes etc. No-one was immune from the sharp eye of the law. In 1891, Mr Worsell, the licensee of the Blue Anchor Inn found himself at the Court House, Godstone Green, to answer a summons for keeping his house open after hours. At a quarter past ten p.m. two police constables had found half-a-dozen customers singing, their glasses on the bar. The defence that there was no church clock nor any prominent clock in the village against which to check the unreliable Inn clock stood the innkeeper in good stead. There was no conviction, although he was required to keep to closing times in the future.
Brief history of the Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries
The earliest roots of the Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries can be traced back to at least 1762 with a succession of brewers plying their trade from this part of what was East Grinstead Common. By 1839 the brewery had been taken over by Burt and Hooker, brewers at the Hope Brewery, London Road (now the site of Norton house, the car park and area abutting London Road and Moat Road). In 1844 Thomas Burt put the brewery up for auction stating that it had been built within the last few years and that the next nearest brewery was at Godstone (although this statement only held true until circa 1881 when George Coomber established his brewery the East Grinstead Brewery at North End [for further details see Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge Pt. I, SJC 05/07]). It is also known that although called the East Grinstead Brewery it is not the same brewery as referred to in regards to the Blue Anchor because George Coombers East Grinstead Brewery was bought out by Bushell, Watkins and Co in 1892, whereas the East Grinstead Brewery of local memory holding the Blue Anchor was eventually bought out by Tamplin & Sons Ltd. of Brighton, Sussex.
In 1844 the Hope Brewery was bought by Edward Kenward who ran the brewery until 1877 when he leased it to John Dashwood. In 1892 the brewery was registered as Dashwood & Company Ltd., Hope Brewery and was amalgamated with the Southdown Brewery of Lewes becoming Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries in 1895, which in turn was eventually bought out by Tamplin & Sons Ltd. in 1923. From the surviving Tamplin records at the East Sussex Record Office, the Blue Anchor had been owned by the Hope Brewery although the date at which they acquired it has not yet been established. It was later owned by Dashwood & Company Ltd., from the companys registration in 1892 before being taken over by Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries in 1895. The Blue Anchor remained with Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries until 1920 when it was sold (purchaser not established).
John Knell probably became the licensee of the Blue Anchor on the death of Arthur Worsell in 1894, although the exact date that he took over the Blue Anchor has not yet been established. John Lawrence Knell was born in 1854, the son of John Knell and his wife Sarah née Ellis. John senior worked as a grocer and draper for most of his life taking over the Post Office, Felbridge, some time between 1871 and 1881 [for further information see Handout, Shopping in Felbridge, Pt. I, SJC 07/10].
In 1871, John junior was working as a miller and married Louisa Ford in Isfield, Sussex, in 1877. They had at least eight children including; John William born in 1878, Louisa Mary born in 1879, Charlotte Lucy born in 1882, Florence Sarah born in 1884, Ethel Matilda born in 1885, William john born in 1886, Laura Ellen born in 1888 and Alfred Frank born in 1888.
At some time between 1881 and 1891 John Knell made a career change and went from being a miller at Rottingdean, Sussex, to a licensed victualler at The Bell, Bell Street, Reigate, Surrey, moving to the Blue Anchor by 1901. The Knell family remained at the Blue Anchor until at least 1911, although the exact date at which John left the Blue Anchor has not yet been established, he and Louisa did spent the rest of their lives in Blindley Heath, Louisa died there in February 1940 followed by John in March 1940, the pair being buried at St Johns Church, Felbridge, near his parents John and Sarah.
Local memories from the mid to late 20th century documented in A Short History of the Parish of Blindley Heath state that:
The Blue Anchor Inn was altered. The stables remained although no longer used for horses. Later Mr Bowler used them for the Boys Club.
Some years ago villagers could talk about the parish pubs as the red, white and blue and the other two. Now such a reference has little meaning as the popular Red Barn is better known as the Fryers Fayre [now a Geronimo Inn], the White Lodge Hotel has gone, burnt to the ground, and the Blue Anchor has adopted the sobriquet The Farmhouse Table [now Smith & Western], the 2 other pubs are the Blacksmiths Head [at Newchapel] and Brickmakers Arms in Tandridge Lane, now in Crowhurst after the boundary change.
By 1910 the Blue Anchor was altered with the construction of a large box-shaped entrance on the west face of the building, which was later demolished. During the mid 1940s the Osborne family had taken over the Blue Anchor and opened a Tea Rooms offering alternative refreshments to those found in to the bar area for travellers passing on their way to and from the coast on day trips. When they left the Blue Anchor, shortly after the war, the Osborne family moved to the Tally Ho at Caterham, Surrey.
More local stories, this time recanted by Les Oppitz writing in the local press in the 1970s and 80s include:
Its a sobering thought that the last two men to be publically hanged in England are said to have come from Blindley Heath. After a robbery in London, they took a stage coach to the village to stay at the Blue Anchor to share their loot. On their return journey they were caught.
The Blue Anchor, prominently situated on the busy A22, dates back to the late 14th century. It has served many years as a coaching inn and the present function room [the room to the south] was once a coach house. Apparently memories of the past remain. The apparition of a small boy, who died many years ago of gangrene of the leg, is still often seen by an old coaching wheel which has been kept. Lights are known to flick on and off and footsteps are heard upstairs .
It has not been possible to confirm any information about the two men in the article or the robbery in London but the last public hanging in Britain was actually of one man, named Michael Bennett, who was hanged on 26th May 1868 for causing an explosion in Clerkenwell. Perhaps over the years the memory of the mail robbery of Wall Hill and the Beatsons who rested at the Blue Anchor has become blurred and confused.
Again with the apparition of the small boy, this also has not been confirmed although in 1903 a young six year-old boy was knocked down, run over and killed by a car near the Blue Anchor. The boy was called John Edward Haig who was the son of Albert and Nellie Haig of West View, Blindley Heath, a small cottage just south of the Blue Anchor.
At the time of Les Oppitzs article landlords Ian and Scarlett Morrison were implementing plans to encourage and cater for families with the construction of an adventure playground for children on land at the rear of the Blue Anchor. Attractions included a Shetland pony, an aviary, rabbits and guinea pigs. In 1990 the Blue Anchor Inn, under new management, was re-named Farmhouse table trading as Blue Anchor Farmhouse until 2005.
Since 2008 the Blue Anchor has been the home of Smith and Western, a small chain of Wild West themed restaurants established in 1995. Today there is no sign of the stabling or the General Store and the ancient timber framed walls of the Blue Anchor Inn are now virtually hidden adorned with memorabilia of life on the ranch, although the impressive inglenook fireplace still has a dominant effect in what had been the original open hall and the few visible original heavy timber beams hint at the age of the original structure.
Portrait of Surrey by B E Cracknell
A short history of the parish of Blindley Heath by Eric Lanning
Will of John Evelyn, 1663, Archdeaconry Court of Surrey LMA:DW/PA/7/14 f332
Presentment of the death of Richard Infield, 1559, Lagham Court Book, P25/21/11, SHC
Court Books for the manor of Sheffield-Lingfield, WSRO AddMss 17704-7
Indenture of Lease and Release, 1693, ADMS 3840, Folio 258, BL
Oxford Companion to Local and Family History by D Hay
Godstone Land Tax, QS6/7, SHC
Portrait of Surrey by BE Cracknell
Dictionary of Pub Names
Handout, The Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Pt. IV, JIC/SJC 03/10, FHWS
Blue Anchor structural survey report, Peter Gray, English Heritage BF078449
Blue Anchor listing, Ref: HER 11112
Will of Walter Cover, 1673, Ref: 11/342
The Evelyn family by Evelyn Evelyn
Lagham Court Books 1559 to 1846, P25/21/11, SHC
Session Rolls, vol. IX, NA
Counterpart Lease, Evelyn/Covert, 1638, SAS/PN/1359, ESRO
Conveyance, Covert/Pettey, 1675, Lagham Court Book, P25/21/11, SHC
Evelyn/Wicking agreement, 1731, 17SAS/PN/1360, ESRO
Handout, The Commonplace Book of Edward Evelyn, JIC/SJC 09/07, FHWS
Wicking Family, part of the Peter Brown Family History, www.peter-brown.net
Parish Registers for St Nicholas Church, Godstone
Will of John Wicking, Ref: X/32/20
Presentment of the death of B Lowey, 1755, Lagham Court P25/21/11, SHC
Knights Carriers Accounts, WSRO
Handout, Warren Furnace, SJC 01/00, FHWS
Handout, Golards Farmhouse, SJC 11/07, FHWS
Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge Pt. II, JIC/SJC 03/08, FHWS
Baptism and burial registers of St Nicholas, Godstone, FHA
Tithe payments of Felbridge estate, 1800 & 1803, 3069/1 & 2, SHC
Surrey Land Tax, QS/6/7, SHC
Wall Hill mail robbery, 1801, The History of East Grinstead by Wallace H Hills
IGI index, www.familysearch.org
Gentlemans Magazine, Aug. 1820
Comforts Place Farm Account Book, 1807-1814, 557/1, SHC
Will of I Woodroffe, 1831, REF: TNA Prob 11/1784/438
Stage Coaches, RH7 History Group Factsheet
Coaching days and Coaching ways by W Outram Tristram
Tom Hickman, Boxing Encyclopaedia, www.boxrec.com
The Fight from Essays of William Hazlitt
Bare Knuckle Boxing Facts, www.ragebareknuckleboxing.com
Queensbury Rules, Encyclopaedia Britannica
Getting V Home & Cutts, www.oldbaileyonline.org
Census records, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911
BMD Indexes and Registers
Felbridge Park Estate sale catalogue, FHA
East Grinstead Post Office Directory, 1862, FHA
Blue Anchor sale catalogue, 1881, SP/2788, SHC
Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Pt. I, SJC 05/07, FHWS
Trust deed for South Down & East Grinstead Breweries Ltd, 1895, TAM/4/1/1/3, ESRO
Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries, East Grinstead Bulletin 31, p7/8, FHA
Godstone Pubs & Breweries
Dashwood & Co Ltd, 1892, TAM/4/1/6, ESRO
Southdown and East Grinstead Breweries, East Grinstead Bulletin 31, p7/8, FHA
Tamplin & Sons Ltd, Brighton, The Brewery History Society
Page & Overtons Brewery, Croydon, The Brewery History Society
Handout, Shopping in Felbridge, Pt. I, SJC 07/10, FHWS
Blindley Heath, local newspaper article by Les Oppitz
Coroners report, Haig, Ref: COR/1/3/1903
Smith & Western Lingfield Restaurant,
Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website: www.felbridge.org.uk