This is a study of the development, ownership, and agricultural practice of the Farm at Imberhorne. Located to the South of Felbridge, West of East Grinstead, Imberhorne Farm stands on an ancient East/West Ridgeway. The current Imberhorne Farm was once part of the parish of East Grinstead, but with the formation of the ecclesiastical parish of Felbridge in 1865, this part of the East Grinstead parish transferred to the newly formed Felbridge parish.
It is evident from the artefacts that have so far been found in the area, that there has been human activity in the vicinity of the current farm since the Mesolithic period, (8,300 700 BC). Field walking has produced a flint arrowhead, microliths and flint cores, by-products of flint tool manufacture, and as there is no natural flint in the area, it would imply that flint was brought in and worked, probably by nomadic people in pursuit of game. The pre-historic Ridgeway that runs East/West through the Farm is intersected by the London to Brighton Roman road that runs North/South to the West of the Farm. Several Roman coins have been found either side of the Ridgeway suggesting that it was also a well-used thoroughfare during the Roman period. A 3rd century bloomery or iron working site has also been discovered within the bounds of the current farm at its Northern boundary, South of the River Fel, within land that once belonged to Gulledge Farm, part of the manor of Broadhurst, now incorporated in the Imberhorne Farm of today. The bloomery is one of at least four that have been identified on the banks of the stream, the other three located at regular intervals heading West, implying that this area was involved in a very early iron industry dating to between the 1st and 3rd centuries.
There are also signs of human settlement dating to the medieval period located to the North West of the house at Gullege, again once part of Gulledge Farm, but now incorporated within the bounds of the modern Imberhorne Farm. Currently, the fields within the bounds of Imberhorne Farm have produced a range of material dating from the Mesolithic period right through to the modern day, implying that there has been human activity in this area for several thousand years. Understanding the pre-history of the area can only be achieved through an archaeological study and/or the interpretation of the artefacts that are found, being that there is no early documentation and only fleeting references to this area in the Doomsday Book. Whilst this is an attempt to trace the development, ownership and agricultural practice of the Farm at Imberhorne, it is not intended to be a detailed study of the development of the manor of Imberhorne, although it is important to try and put the Farm in context within the bounds of the manor, especially as the location of the Farm falls within the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne. The demesne lands of a manor were the lands belonging to a mansion or manor house retained by the feudal lord for his own use.
The origins of the Farm at Imberhorne are unclear, although shortly after the completion of the Doomsday Book, the Farm area formed part of the manor of Imberhorne, and was the most likely site for the original Imberhorne Manor House. The manor of Imberhorne does not appear in the Doomsday Book, although it has been suggested that it may have existed in 1086, either as the 1/2 -hide, (approximately 40 acres), listed under the manor of Sedlescombe or as the 1 1/2 hides of the lost manor of Felsmere. The theory that Imberhorne was the manor of Felsmere rests on whether the pond at Imberhorne is that ancient, as the most likely meaning of Felsmere is pond at Feld. The place-name is derived thus: fel or feld from Old English meaning open land, although, taking its situation on a ridge, it may well come from Old Norse, fjall, meaning hill, which in modern English is used as fell, to denote an upland stretch of open land. Mere has two possibilities, either a boundary, as in Middle English maere, or Old English gemaere, or a small, usually circular, lake or pond also from Old English, the second option being the most likely. However, Imberhorne as a place-name is known to have existed in 1100, being Hymberhorn (e) from Old English meaning corner of land where hindberries [raspberries] grow.
There has been a pond at Imberhorne for over seven hundred years, being documented in the records of St Pancras Priory of Lewes, to which it once belonged, and in 1296, Robert de Wynton, the vicar of East Grinstead, was fined 100 shillings for fishing in the pond at Imberhorne without consent from the Prior of St Pancras. It is assumed that the pond referred to is the one located to the South of the Farm complex, although there is evidence that there were two other ponds in close proximity, one, of reasonable size, located to the West of the Farm at Imberhorne until as recently as 1879. There is also evidence for other ponds within the bounds of Imberhorne, and perhaps Felsmere was associated with one of these. This would account for the dramatic name change from Felsmere to Imberhorne in less than the fourteen years between 1086 and 1100.
In 1121, there is a grant from the Priory at Lewes referring to land called Feltbruge, next to East Grinstead, although this may be a reference to what is now known as Felbridge. In 1275, the Prior of Lewes granted one Walter le Fyke a field of the land of la Feldlond, lying in the parish of East Grinstead, between the lands of the manor of Imberhorne towards the South from the highway that led to East Grinstead from Imberhorne. Also, c1300, the Prior of Lewes granted eighteen acres in East Grinstead that lay upon la Feldlond to Warin le Bat; these two entries imply that Feldlond was a separate entity to the manor of Imberhorne. In 1336, Peter de Joceux, Prior of St Pancras granted another Walter le Fyke and his heirs, land called Feldlonde in the parish of East Grinstead, laying between the manor of Imberhorne towards the South by the highway leading from East Grinstead to Imberhorne. In 1611, Edward Payne was listed as the copyholder of a tenement called Fellands and Chapmans House, with garden and pasture adjoining the heath, with the copyhold of John Cole to the East and South, and in 1693, we find a fine of £10 being paid on the death of Mrs Susan Goodman for a parcel of land called Ffelfields in the manor of Imberhorne. On the death of Richard Auston, in 1811, he leaves to his wife Elizabeth, a messuage, barn and certain lands adjoining and being called Chapmans and Felt Ffield, otherwise Ffeltlands, being 40 acres 2 perches, lying and being near to East Grinstead Common. Perhaps these references are the continuation of the place-name Felsmere. It is apparent is that Imberhorne became a large and important manor, whilst the manor of Felsmere disappeared.
The first documentary evidence that has come to light referring to a possible farm at Imberhorne can be found in the Buckhurst Terrier, compiled between November 1597 and November 1598. This was a survey of holdings in the Northeast of Sussex, with written descriptions and maps, belonging to the Sackville family. It is remarkable that the boundaries of Imberhorne Farm, as shown on the 1842 Tithe map, remain almost identical to those of the demesne land of the manor of Imberhorne as shown on the Buckhurst Terrier. Even as late as the 1890s, the boundaries remain unchanged, only being extended by the addition of the lands of Gulledge Farm, part of the manor of Broadhurst, by the Blount family in 1896. Only when the estate had to be broken up by the Blount family in 1954 to pay off heavy death duties did the boundaries drastically alter. The description in the Buckhurst Terrier reads thus:
Sackville Turnor, gent, holds by indenture dated 11 Feb, 22 Elizabeth  for 99 years, made by Sir Thomas Sackville to John Turnor, gent, deceased, the Site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, with orchards, gardens, and pigeon houses, a little meadow, Little and Great Westfield, Whitefield, Birchenwood, Broomyfields, Upper and Nether Sands, The Upper Wood and Brook Mill with Pightell [a small, irregular shaped piece of land, usually at the edge of cultivation] adjoining. 34 parcels, in all 553ac 0r 8da 1p, viz meadow 67ac 0r 2da 0p, pasture 259ac 0r 4 da 0p, arable 80ac 0r 6da 0p, wood 146ac 3r 5da 2p. all of which demised premises are parcel of the demeanes of the manor of Imberhorne. And all the ore and myne for making of Iron in and upon the premises (exceptional franchise). Except all woods and underwoods and trees, reserved to the Lord with free liberty to hawk, hunt, fish and fowl in and upon the said demised premises at all reasonable and convenient times of the year. Rent of £10.
Customs liberties and priviledges to the said Manor.
Imprimis [firstly] the farmor of the capitall messuage and demeanes of the said mannor haith common of pasture in and upon a parcel of wast ground or common to the said mannor adjoining called Ffelbridge for all manner of his beasts sans [without] number as of right belonging to the said farme of Imberhorne.
From this entry it is evident that John Turner had taken out a 99-year lease on the property at Imberhorne on 11th February 1580, and that he had since died and the said property was, by 1597, in the hands of his son, Sackville Turner. John Turner had also taken out several other leases on the same date including the site, farmhouse and capital messuage of the manor of Tablehurst, near Forest Row, the farm messuage and tenement called Ridge Hill in the parish of East Grinstead, The Priory and 111 acres of land belonging to the Chantrie of St Katherines, and lands called Brokehurst and Harwards in the Chantrie of St Marie. These properties amounted to a total of 473 acres, which when added to the acreage of Imberhorne, brought his holdings to over 1026 acres, with the property at Imberhorne accounting for 54% of the total acreage. On top of this, Sackville Turner held the indenture, also taken out by his father, dated 11th February 1580, for the Glebe Lands, tithes of corn and hay and other tithe rights and profits of the Wards of Forrestrow, Bowre and West in the parish of East Grinstead. It is interesting to note that the Turners had negotiated the rights to the ore and myne in or upon the land of several of the properties, but their only link with the iron industry, that has so far come to light, is a reference to Sackville Turner acquiring Cansiron forge and furnace in 1613, and for the sale of the furnace and forge to the Courthope family in 1627. The right to iron and ore increased the rental of their properties approximately five-fold in comparison to other land in the area.
John and Sackville Turner, being gentlemen, were superior in status to yeomen or working farmers, but inferior to Barons [the lowest rank of peerage], being members of the rural society who did not work with their hands. In fact, John Turner had been granted a coat of arms on 27th June 1579, his family originating from Reading, Berkshire. The date of 1579, along with a reference to proceedings against John Turner of Tablehurst for seditious words spoken on livery and the seizin of Brambletye Chapel for Lord Buckhursts use in May 1579, would imply that the Turner family held Tablehurst prior to 1580, and possibly even Imberhorne. The Buckhurst Terrier lists Sackville Turner as holding the site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, capital messuage being the term used to signify a large residential dwelling house and surrounding property, including outbuildings, in other words, the Manor House and outbuildings of Imberhorne. Together with the manor house were orchards, gardens, pigeon houses, various pieces of land, with field names, and a mill and associated land, totalling just over 553 acres. The whole demised [leased] premises are referred to as parcels of the demeanes of the manor of Imberhorne, meaning that they were the lands of the manor that had been reserved for the lords own use, but were being leased in their entirety for use by the Turners. The terms of the lease also allowed the Turners all the ore and myne for making iron in and upon the premises. This is an unusual term as generally speaking the lord of the manor would exempt these raw materials, especially as there is evidence of iron ore extraction within the manor of Imberhorne as denoted by some of the later field names, Marl Pitt Field and Seven Acre Pitt, indeed, some of the ponds found at Imberhorne may well be old marl pits that have filled with water. However, the lord of the manor did retain the rights over woods and underwoods and the sporting rights on hawking, hunting and fishing. In the privileges section, the Turners, as leaseholders of the saide farme of Imberhorne were entitled to graze their animals on the Common, adjoining Ffelbridge.
From the Buckhurst Terrier it seems likely that there had been a farm with a dwelling house at Imberhorne in 1580, when John Turner took out the original lease, but for how long before that date is unknown. Most references before 1580 are for land at Imberhorne or appurtenances, which meant the rights and duties appended to an agreement over holding land, especially within a manor, including rights to grazing, and use of common land. St Pancras Priory of Lewes held the manor of Imberhorne from around 1100 until 1537 when Henry VIII granted it to Thomas, Lord Cromwell, after the dissolution of the Priory. Thomas Cromwell, Chancellor to Henry VIII, was accused of treason and executed in 1540, at which time the manor of Imberhorne was granted to William Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel, passing to his son Henry on his death in 1544. Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel, was a Godson of Henry VIII and was educated at his palace. He was made Lord Chamberlain and became a Privy Councillor in 1546, and was a member of the council appointed by Henry VIII to govern during the minority of his son Edward VI, after his fathers death in 1547. On the death of Edward in 1553, Henry Fitzalan secured the proclamation of Mary I, under whom he held a series of high appointments, including the Lord Stewardship, which he also retained under Elizabeth I. It was also in 1553, that Henry, 12th Earl of Arundel, granted the manor of Imberhorne to Mary I, in exchange for other lands. It is not known how long Mary held the manor but in 1555, there is a reference to Imberhorne pertaining to Jacob Hawes being granted to Thomas Argall who held it for four years before granting it to Sir Richard Sackville on 23rd February 1560.
It is believed that the Sackville family were lords of Sanqueville in Normandy and had come over with William the Conqueror in 1066. They first settled in Essex, acquiring the manor of Buckhurst in Sussex, through the marriage of one Jordan de Sackville who married Lady Ela de Dene, the heiress of Buckhurst, in the mid 1100s. The manor of Buckhurst then remained in the ownership of the Sackville family for the next four hundred years. In the early 1500s, Sir John Sackville, father of Richard, was made Sheriff of Sussex and Surrey during the reign of Henry VIII, he married Margaret Boleyn, the aunt of the fated Ann Boleyn, which made Richard and Ann Boleyn, first cousins. Sir Richard was a man of outstanding ability, a successful lawyer, businessman and courtier, and in his early life he had been steward to the Earls of Arundel. As Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations that administered the estates of the dissolved monasteries, he was able to exploit the lucrative opportunities afforded by public office. He succeeded in being a Privy Councillor during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I, and grew rich through his dealings in land in many counties, acquiring the manor of Imberhorne in 1560. Later Sackvilles gained more estates in Sussex and Kent, including the Sackville stronghold of Knole in Sevenoaks, acquired by Sir Richards son Thomas, in 1566.
Sir Richard, like other later Sackvilles, also derived some of his wealth from the sale of timber from his estates, for charcoal production, the fuel of the iron industry that was thriving in the Wealden area. Sir Richard also invested directly in several ironworks in the Wealden area including Sheffield furnace in Fletching and Worth furnace in Worth, profiting from the production of cast-iron guns and shot, and at one time, even dabbling in arms dealing. Involvement with the iron industry appears to peak with his son Thomas, Baron Buckhurst and 1st Earl of Dorset, who, in the last quarter of the 16th century, was listed as owning and leasing the following furnaces and forges in Sussex: Burchenden forge, Maynards Gate furnace and Sheffield forge at Rotherfield, Brede furnace at Brede, Coushoplay furnace at Mayfield, Fletching forge at Fletching, and Parrock furnace and forge at Hartfield. It is possible that the manor of Imberhorne was acquired for its woodland and with its location being close to the thriving iron industry, with furnaces and forges in the Felbridge and East Grinstead area, would have been an appealing purchase. Imberhorne was to continue in the ownership of the Sackville family for the next 312 years, until the demesne lands of the manor, consisting of nearly 531 acres, (only twenty-four acres smaller than 1597), were purchased by Dr Thomas Fielden Campbell for £16,000, in 1872.
Using the Buckhurst Terrier it is possible to work out the percentage breakdown of the agricultural use of the Farm at Imberhorne in 1597, although when the same area is compared with the Tithe map of 1842, it is evident that nine acres of land termed rough or other are not accounted for. The vast majority of the land was put to pasture, 259 acres, which equates to 46%. This was followed by woodland, at nearly 147 acres or 27%, with arable land slightly higher than meadowland at 80 acres or 15 % compared to 67 acres or 12%. This implies that at that time, the Farm was predominately used for livestock, as the term pasture refers to grass or other vegetation eaten as food by grazing animals. From studies of the parish of East Grinstead during the 16th century, it is evident that there were many tradesmen dependent upon the produce of the farms in the area. There is mention of drapers and clothiers selling cloth in London implying that there was an excess of woven fabric after satisfying local needs. The evidence of excess cloth could mean that at least some of the livestock at the Farm at Imberhorne could have been sheep, their wool being used in the manufacture of cloth. There is also evidence of leather working, with associated tanneries in the East Grinstead and the Crawley Down area, suggesting that there were also cattle for leather, as well as dairy products and food. From as early as 1516, Welsh cattle were driven to the Winter Fair held at East Grinstead. These were purchased locally for fattening, to be driven up to the London markets for Christmas the following year, indeed in 1683 in excess of 900 head of cattle changed hands, meaning that it was big business. All the indications are that it was a time of great prosperity for agriculture and excesses in this area could easily be sold in London, only thirty miles away, as well as the local markets and Fairs held at East Grinstead.
Livestock played a central role in farming in the Weald, of which Imberhorne is a part, and in general the Wealden farmer devoted over half the acreage of his farm to the production of animal foodstuffs. Evidence suggests that arable acreage broadly equated to the size of the farm, with larger farms being able to produce some wheat for market, whilst smaller farms concentrated heavily on animal foodstuffs. The demesne lands of Imberhorne, if farmed as one entity, would have been considered very large by Wealden standards in 1597, and would therefore have been able to support the growing of a cereal cash crop, wheat, along with the required quantities of animal foodstuffs. As well as the pasture for livestock at the Farm, there were eighty acres of arable land. The soil of the Wealden district was considered to be poor quality, but it was recognised that fertilising or marling the land, combined with the rotation of arable and pasture made it possible to farm the Weald. A possible source of fertiliser, apart from dung from the livestock, was marl, a fine-grained mixture of clay, calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, forming a loam, and there is map and field name evidence for several marl pits within the bounds of Imberhorne, supporting the theory that it was used to enrich the soil on the Farm at Imberhorne. This would have allowed the Farm to grow cereals such as wheat, for human consumption, and oats for animal feed, with the straw (the stalks of the threshed grain) making useful bedding for the livestock. The growing of cereals would have operated within a system of crop rotation, along with pulses, such as peas and beans, root vegetables such as turnips or mangolds (primarily used for winter animal feed) and clover, all of which add nitrogen to the soil. The fact that the lease for the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne included a mill, would strongly suggest that grain was being produced in some quantity, requiring milling and the security of owning a mill. The sixty-seven acres of meadowland would have provided grass to be mown for hay, which again was used as winter-feed for the livestock.
The remaining one hundred and forty-seven acres, nearly one quarter of the land at the Farm at Imberhorne was woodland, reserved for use by the lord of the manor, Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, providing a substantial cash crop that could be managed for the manufacture of charcoal, the fuel of the expanding iron industry in the area from the mid 1500s, or other wood dependant trades such as barrel making and trug making, both evident in the area in the 1590s, with a trug maker of East Grinstead being listed in the Calendar of Wills at Lewes in 1592.
Unfortunately, no detailed evidence has emerged as to whether the demesne lands of Imberhorne, leased by John and Sackville Turner from 1580, were farmed as a whole or were divided and sub let. However, from the available evidence it would appear that Sackville Turner may have leased some of the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne, as in 1600, the East Grinstead baptism records list Jon Byrstow, of Imberhorne. Sackville Turner died on 6th December 1636, with forty-five years left to run on the initial lease taken out by his father, John Turner, in 1580. Sackville Turner had no surviving male heir, and unfortunately, nothing has yet come to light detailing what happened to this lease. What is evident, when studying the court books for the manor of Imberhorne, is that the Site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, with orchards, gardens, and pigeon houses does not appear, either in the rent rolls, or lists of copyholders or freeholders.
In 1657, the land would appear to have been sub-let, as a survey of the manor of Imberhorne in that year lists the following:
Goodman Bannister: 159 acres of plain land and 5 or 6 acres of woodland.
Edmund Bristow: Lower Parcell, 59 acres of plain land, Upper Parcell, 126 acres of plain land and 3 acres of wood.
John Bowyer and Robert Bowyer: 106 acres of plain land and 24 acres of coppice.
Mr Sherman hiresth of Mr John Pickering: Mouse Well coppice of 20 acres.
John Budgen hath of Mr Pickering: 16 acres of arable land.
Goodman Greene, the miller: the mill, house and a backfield of 1/2 acre of land.
The area surveyed, totalled 519 acres, only thirty-four acres less than the demesne lands leased by the Sackville Turner in 1597, again there is no mention of the Site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, with orchards, gardens, and pigeon houses which would have been part of the original acreage. Although the survey is listed of the manor of Imberhorne, it would appear that it is actually of the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne, as the total acreage of the manor of Imberhorne was over 2,111 acres. Along with the land there is mention of a mill, house and small back field, which would equate to the entry of Brook Mill with Pightell adjoining, as listed in the Buckhurst Terrier. Another piece of evidence to suggest the Survey refers to the demesne lands, is that on the death of Edward Bannister in 1658, he is listed of Imberhorne. If the demesne lands were sub-divided, as would seem the case, it would make farming the area more in keeping with the Wealden farming practice of the period for smaller farmsteads in preference to one large farm. The Survey of 1657, suggests three possible farms, that of Bannister, that of Bristow, (later referred to as Birstow), and that of Bowyers. In Wealden farming practices of the period, these farms would have been classed as medium sized and more heavily reliant on livestock compared to large farms, as their arable land was devoted to providing crops solely for livestock foods rather than wheat for sale.
Over the next forty years little evidence has come to light that would give an indication as to the sub-division of the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne, apart from a reference in the Sackville papers in 1667, which reveals that a Mr Jones was granted a lease upon Imberhorne desmeane land, but no indication of what was leased. There are also several other leases for various pieces of land being granted to Thomas Chapman, including Mouse Well coppice held by John and Robert Bowyer in the Survey of the manor of Imberhorne in 1657. As a point of interest, it is probably Thomas Chapman, or a descendant of his, that lend their name to Chapmans Lane, replacing the original name of the lane known as Imberhorne Lane, as the Chapman family held land to the North of Chapmans Lane, opposite what is now St Peters School, and further East of the school on the South side of the Lane, for several generations.
In 1688, there is mention of the moiety or half share of the manor of Imberhorne, with 110 acres of land, being granted by Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset, 1st Earl of Middlesex, Baron Cranfield, to James Linfield. The land mentioned in this moiety lease was probably the 106 acres of plain land held by John and Robert Bowyer in the Survey of the manor of Imberhorne in 1657. In 1697, nine years after being granted the moiety lease of the manor of Imberhorne, James Linfield was granted a moiety lease on the farm in East Grinstead, consisting of 110 acres in the tenure or occupation of a James Woodman, with the said premises and also all that messuage, garden and orchard in the occupation of James Linfield. From this entry it seems likely that James Linfield had been granted the use of the Site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, with orchards, gardens, and pigeon houses in 1688, and that the moiety lease of 1697, granted him the 110 acres of land that had once formed part of the demesne lands of the manor. In October the same year, 1697, the burial register for the parish of East Grinstead records the burial of Henry Burstow of Imberhorne. This could imply that Henry was possibly a descendant of the Jon Byrstow of Imberhorne, mentioned in 1600 and a relation of Edmund Bristow who appears in the Survey of the manor of Imberhorne in 1657, as holding Lower Parcell containing 59 acres of plain land, Upper Parcell containing 126 acres, and 3 acres of wood.
1702, sees the return of a Turner family to Imberhorne, when John Turner takes over from James Linfield after his death, by paying the executors of the will of James Linfield, £123. 4s. 6d, the agreed value of the moiety lease. In 1710, John Turner further increases his holding at Imberhorne with a counterpart lease from Lionel Cranfield Sackville, 7th Earl of Dorset, 2nd Earl of Middlesex, for the demesne of the manor, and Imberhorne and a barn lately built, late in the occupation of John Matthews, now in the occupation of John Turner, yeoman, and for Barne Lands and Barnefield. These fields can be identified from the Buckhurst Terrier map as being North of the Site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, with orchards, gardens, and pigeon houses, containing just over 37 acres, indeed a barn in this area is depicted on the draft Ordnance Survey map of 1805/8. The Rent Roll for the manor of Imberhorne for 1718, indicates that John Turner had further increased his holding at Imberhorne as he was listed a paying £28 for the scite and part of the demesnes thereof, £26 for the other part (vice executors of Henry Bristow), and £16 for Cardinals Ffarm. John Turner died in 1733, leaving his estate to his son John, who added to the property inherited from his father, six years later in 1739.
On 6th October 1739, Lionel Cranfield Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset, granted John Turner a lease for the mansion or mansion house wherein the said John Turner dwells, together with a stable and granary over, a cart house, two stalls for beasts, two barns, four closes or yards and a hay barn with the said premises, with orchard and appertainment by estimation 3 acres 2 perches, and all that other house and orchard containing about ¼ acre, called Old Millhouse, late in the occupation of Richard Dawes. Together with pieces or parcels of arable, pasture and woodland of about 230 acres 2 perches, part and parcel of the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne.
Field name Description Acreage
Upper Coles Wood Field Arable 5 2 29
Middle Coles Wood Field Arable 4 3 20
Lower Coles Wood Field Arable 7 0 01
The Scrub Rough 4 2 00
Upper Field leading to Three Gate Coppice Pasture 9 1 26
Next Upper Field Pasture 8 2 16
Coles Wood Coppice Wood 3 1 29
The Great Coppice Wood 9 3 17
Two Acres Arable 2 1 27
Three Acres Pasture 4 1 16
The Seven Acres Pasture 7 0 25
Seven Acre Pitt Rough 7 1 00
The Marl Pitt Field Pasture 8 0 29
Pound Field Pasture 7 3 32
Four Acres Pasture 4 2 15
The Pond Coppice Wood 5 0 04
The Long Four Acres Pasture 4 0 27
The Cross Field Shaw Rough 0 3 06
The Cross Field Pasture 5 2 08
Pond Field Arable 10 2 17
The Six Acres Arable 6 3 16
Nine Acres Arable 9 0 12
The Long Ten Acres Arable 11 0 17
The Second Ten Acres Arable 11 2 39
The First Ten Acres Arable 10 3 34
Barnefield Pasture 7 3 11
Bramble Croft Pasture 9 1 30
Taints Field Pasture 8 3 36
Barnefield Four Acres over against the Leg Arable 4 1 21
The Haugh Field Arable 11 0 03
The Six Acres lying & being against the Leg Arable 6 0 04
The Little Mead Meadow 2 2 39
The Leg Mead Meadow 6 0 02
Soanes Great Mead Meadow 5 0 28
Soanes Little Mead Meadow 2 1 36
Total 230 0 02
Together with all those parcels of arable, meadow, pasture and woodland containing by estimation 111 acres 35 perches called or known by the name of Cardinals Farm, now in the occupation of John Turner. All called as Cardinals, together with ways, wastes, corn on the ground, water etc.
Field name Description Acreage
First Common Field Pasture 5 2 07
Second Common Field Pasture 4 0 13
Barnefield Arable 8 2 00
The Five Acres Arable 4 3 38
The Nine Acres Arable 9 1 36
The Four Acres Arable 4 0 25
Shaw Field Arable 9 0 21
The Shaw Wood 3 2 28
The Shaw lying & being over against the Five Acres Wood 3 2 05
Flatt Heath Field Pasture 12 0 16
Great Heath Field Pasture 14 2 02
First Heath Field Pasture 3 0 17
Second Heath Field Pasture 2 3 26
Third Heath Field Pasture 4 3 14
Fourth Heath Field Pasture 6 0 06
Heath Coppice Wood 2 3 11
The Three Acres Arable 3 2 35
Fifth Heath Field Pasture 6 0 05
Martins Mead Meadow 2 0 00
Total 111 0 35
The lease refers to the Site and capital messuage of the manor of Imberhorne, with orchards, gardens, and pigeon houses as described in the Buckhurst Terrier, together with Brook Mill with Pightell adjoining. It would appear that by 1739 the mill was possibly no longer in use, being referred to as Old Millhouse with no mention of a mill, supporting the theory that medium sized farms produced little excess grain for milling. The acreage of these two leases totals 344 acres a shortfall of 209 acres compared to the Buckhurst Terrier, although it is evident from the Rent Roll of 1718, that John Turner (senior) had acquired the land that had belonged to James Linfield, 110 acres, therefore John Turner (junior) would appear to be leasing 455 acres of the original 553 acres of demesne land referred to in the Buckhurst Terrier, 99 acres less. In 1728, John Turner (senior) was listed as occupying the site and part of the demesne lands of Imberhorne, with Thomas Chapman occupying part of the demesnes and John Knight another part, all paying rent to the Duke of Dorset, therefore Thomas Chapman and John Knight were probably leasing the remaining 99 acres of the demesne lands between them.
The leases granted in 1739, reunites the dwelling house at Imberhorne with the majority of the original demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne, although the Land Tax Records suggest that the farms were known as two separate farms. A breakdown of the total acreage for the two farms in 1739 reveals several changes from the Buckhurst Terrier details of 1597:
Land Usage 1597 Acreage %
Pasture 259 46
Wood 147 27
Arable 80 15
Meadow 67 12
Land Usage 1739 Acreage %
Arable 142 41
Pasture 140 41
Wood 28 8
Meadow 18 5
Rough 13 4
Other 3 1
For a comparison between the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne as detailed in the Buckhurst Terrier of 1597 and the land detailed in the leases for Imberhorne and Cardinals Farms of 1739, it is necessary to amalgamate the acreage of the two farms. From these figures it is evident that pasture was still a dominant land usage. This would imply that the farm was still fairly reliant on livestock. However, by 1739, the proportion of arable land had greatly increased, being only 15% in 1597, compared to 41% in 1739. The proportion of meadowland had decreased from 12% in 1597, to 5% in 1739, but by far the biggest difference in land usage was woodland, decreasing from 27% in 1597, to only 8% by 1739. The reduction in woodland could be influenced by the usage of the unaccounted 99 acres. However, the reduced area of woodland is consistent with the reduction in iron working activity in the region during the early to mid 1700s. It would appear that with a less buoyant iron industry requiring less charcoal, much of the woodland may not have been restocked and was cleared, therefore providing open land which was then turned over to arable. To convert the open land to arable land would have required heavy applications of fertilizer, initially marl, perhaps as much as 500 loads per acre of pasture or woodland that was ploughed up to sow corn. Despite the effort required to convert the open land, the increase in arable land would have enabled the Farm to produce wheat to sell at market as well as the required animal foodstuffs, and therefore create more profit.
Farming practices had also moved on by the 18th century and it was accepted that improved crop yield could be gained with the intensive application of lime. As the use of lime as a fertiliser became more general, the earlier traditional Wealden use of marl lost its position in farming practice. The use of lime required cartloads of chalk to be transported to the area, where it would be burnt in kilns and converted to quicklime. Every two tons of chalk or limestone, when burnt, would produce one ton of quicklime. The average quantity required for agriculture was one to two tons of quicklime per acre, added as a rotational dressing every four to six years. There is much evidence that the Farm at Imberhorne practiced liming, as small pieces of semi-fired chalk can still be found in the soil to this day. By the 18th century most major farms had their own limekiln, often in the corner of a field, or on a road verge. However, there is no evidence, to date, for the existence of a limekiln at Imberhorne, although perhaps they did not need one of their own as there were two locally, the first was a public limekiln located in the vicinity of what are now the Allotment Gardens between Imberhorne Lane and the London Road and the other a short journey Westwards along the East/West Ridgeway (then called Kiln Lane), at Hophurst.
A new system of rotating crops was introduced to Britain from Holland in the 18th century, known as four-course rotation. In each field, the farmer grew wheat one year, turnips the next, then barley or oats and finally clover. This system of rotation meant that crops could be grown all the time and the soil was still kept fertile, whilst still providing animal foodstuffs for the winter. There is evidence from the Knights Carriers Accounts that the Farm at Imberhorne had probably adopted this new system, as there are many references to the types of arable produce being transported to and from the Farm:
1763 9th April Carried up to Caterham for Mr Turner at Timber Hurn, 6 quarts of weat.
12th April Carried 1 Bushel of Clover seed to Mr Butcher.
Carried 2 Bushel of Clover seed and 2 sacks of Peas to Godstone.
5th September Master Turner, bought 2 halfe a loade of ots.
1768 12th March Mr John Turner of Ember Hurn, Bill
Brought from Croydon and Ridleys Down, 11 sacks of Peas and Beans.
3rd November Brought 1 sack of weat for seed, £1. 2s. 0d.
Farming was still the most important industry in Britain and most people still worked on the land. Wealden farming was particularly labour intensive, especially with the existence of the clay soil, as found on the Farm at Imberhorne, which needed fertilising and was heavy to plough. Ploughing was generally carried out using teams of oxen, as the clay soil was too heavy for horses, and ox shoes have been found in the fields at Hill Place Farm, to the Southeast of Imberhorne, implying that the use of oxen was general practice in the area. To back this up, there is an entry in the Knights Carriers Accounts that states, 3rd June 1775, Paid to Master Turner for oxen £8. 0s. 0d. The livestock element of the Farm at Imberhorne would have generated much employment, especially with the maintenance of shaws, (strips of woodland retained around fields, particularly in the Weald), hedges and ditches that surrounded the fields to contain the livestock and prevent them from trampling arable fields. The Farm at Imberhorne would probably have continued to fatten cattle and run a dairy herd, which would have also provided constant employment with milking and processing dairy products such as butter and cheese. As farming practices improved, more grain, milk and dairy products were produced, making food cheaper than ever before and Britain became one of the best-fed countries in the world.
Despite the reduction in woodland acreage, it is also evident from the Knights Carrier Accounts that the Farm was still producing wood as a cash crop with numerous entries referring to the carriage of wood from the Farm:
1767 4th August, Had of Master Turner of Ember Hurn,
1 stake and 5 foot of cord wood.
1 stake and 8 foot of cord wood.
5th August, 1 Hundred and quarter of Top faggotts.
15th August, 1 stake and 5 foot of cord wood
1 stake and 8 foot of cord wood, being 2 staked and 13 in all.
1 stake and 4 foot.
1 stake and 5 foot
1 stake and 5 foot.
From these entries it would imply that wood was still being sold for charcoal production, as a cord of wood is a unit of quantity for cut wood for charcoal making, being equal to about 128 cubic feet/3.625 cubic metre, in a stack measuring 4ft/1.2m by 4ft/1.2m by 8 ft/2.4m, and charcoal production requires a stake or motty-peg to be erected at the centre of the clamp (the stack of wood to be burnt for charcoal). The faggots were probably being used to fire kilns, such as a limekiln. The sale of faggots for firing limekilns is backed up by an entry in 1769, for the Lime Kell, 2 Hundred and 3 quarters of Kell faggotts. However, other entries imply that large quantities of timber were also being transported, generally to Vauxhall possibly for shipbuilding. Between the years of 1767 and 1768, Knights Carriers carted timber from the Farm at Imberhorne on no less than eighty-seven occasions.
The lease of 1739, gives a description of the farm buildings that went with the manor or mansion house wherein the said John Turner dwells. The lease lists, a stable and granary over, a cart house, 2 stalls for beast, 2 barns, 4 closes or yards and a hay barn. The evidence of a granary supports the theory that wheat or grain was being grown on the farm. Stables imply that some horses were present on the farm, and the stalls for beast suggest the presence of oxen. The four closes or yards imply that cattle featured highly in the livestock of the farm. It is interesting to note there is no mention of sties for pigs, pigs normally being a mainstay animal found on farms of all sizes, right down to the back garden of a cottage. It is also evident from the Window Tax Records of 1766 that the manor or mansion house wherein the said John Turner dwells was fairly substantial as he was recorded as paying for fourteen windows, the same as John Saunders was paying for the house at Gulledge, West of the Farm at Imberhorne. This implies that the house at Imberhorne was of similar proportions to Gullege, and local legend suggests that the old house at Imberhorne is buried within nos.1-3, Imberhorne Farm Cottages. Indeed, although there is no visible evidence from the exterior to suggest a date of construction, the roof timbers, although badly damaged by fire, would suggest that an early medieval property lurks beneath a later skin.
As previously stated, it is evident from the Land Tax Records that from 1739 to 1760 Imberhorne and Cardinals were considered separate entities, with John Turner paying £6. 10s. 0d, rising to £8. 13s. 6d in 1756, for Imberhorne, and £2. 2s. 3d, rising to £2. 16s 4d in 1756, for Cardinals. However, from 1761, the two farms were classed as a whole entity with John Turner paying £17. 6s. 8d for Imberhorne and Cardinals Farm. In 1767, a counterpart lease was made between Charles Sackville, 2nd Duke of Dorset and Mr John Turner, gent, for:
The manor or mansion house wherein the said John Turner dwells, together with a stable and granary over, a cart house, 2 stalls for beasts, 2 barns, 4 closes or yards and a hay barn with the said premises with orchard and appertainment by estimation 3 acres 2 perches, and all that other house and orchard containing about ¼ acre, called Old Millhouse, late in the occupation of Richard Dawes, and also those several pieces or parcels of arable, pasture and woodland of about 230 acres 2 perches, part and parcel of the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne, and several parcels of arable, meadow, pasture and woodland containing 111 acres 35 perches called or known by the name of Cardinals Farm, now in the occupation of John Turner, made by the Duke of Dorset on 6th November 1739 for a term of 20 years, the old mill pond, late in the occupation of John Knight and 2 barns, 2 stalls and 2 closes late in the occupation of Richard Chapman, 6th October 1739, partly in the demesne manor of Imberhorne.
By this lease, John Turner appears to have added to his property holding of 1739, a mill pond, possibly the one attached to the old mill referred to in the Buckhurst Terrier of 1597, and two more barns, stalls and closes or yards that had been previously in the occupation of Richard Chapman.
The Land Tax Records of 1772 show John Turner paying £13 for Imberhorne and Cardinals, and also that John Turner was paying of him for His Grace the Duke of Dorsets Manor, £1. 6s. 0d, His Grace being John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset. John Turner continues paying for the Manor until 1779, when it reverts to His Grace the Duke of Dorset who is recorded as paying for the Manor. John Turner died in 1785 and according to his will left, amongst other bequests, £30 to be paid to Edward and Walter Creasey of East Grinstead, husbandman working under him. This implies that Edward and Walter were the people who actually farmed Imberhorne for John Turner and it is interesting to note that Creaseys were listed as working at Imberhorne Farm up until the 1960s. Also bequeathed in his will was the messuage or tenement with all appurtenances situate in the Borough of East Grinstead (Imberhorne), along with all that piece or parcel of land situate lying and being in the parish of East Grinstead aforesaid near the farm called Gullage which I lately purchased of Sir Whistler Webster, Baronet, deceased jointly to his brother Robert Turner, a Shop Keeper of the High Street, East Grinstead, and his nephew William Turner, son of his brother William Turner. The purchase of land near the farm called Gullage, suggests that John Turner had increased the size of the farm to the size that it appears in the early 1800s. From 1785, it is Robert Turner who was paying the land tax of £17. 6s. 8d for Imberhorne and he continued to pay this until his death on 6th October 1795. Robert Turner died without issue and most of his estate was divided between his nephews and nieces, his Godson and servants. However, he too bequeathed ten pounds each to Edward Creasy and Walter Creasey, husbandmen, suggesting that the Creaseys were still working Imberhorne Farm for the Turner family. The remainder of his estate, including Imberhorne, was bequeathed to his nephew William Turner, of Crowhurst, son of his brother William. After the death of Robert Turner, William Turner took over the responsibility for paying the Land Tax for Imberhorne until his death in 1807.
William Turner had been occupying the dwelling house at Imberhorne as his will leaves to his nephew Benjamin Head, son of his sister Sarah, all my household goods and stock both in and on the ground of my farm Imberhorne and Tillchurst (Tilkhurst) in the said parish of East Grinstead, but that after twelve months the farm should be devised [given] unto my nephew John Head, the brother of Benjamin. From the available information it would appear that John Head granted the Farm to William Hubble as he appears in the Land Tax Records of 1808 occupying the property and paying £24. William Hubble was born in 1780, in Kent, and moved to Imberhorne with his wife Elizabeth in 1808, where their first child was born on 25th June. William Hubble was not only paying the land tax for Imberhorne but a further £1 for a second property, also owned by Arabella Diana Sackville, the Duchess of Dorset, widow of John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset, who succeeded her husband as Lady of the manor of Imberhorne. It was during the occupation of William Hubble that a new house was built at Imberhorne, what is now the Georgian style Imberhorne Farmhouse, and the bulk of the farm complex that we see today. William Hubble had a second child baptised at East Grinstead on 2nd July 1810 and paid the land tax for Imberhorne in 1810.
In the Sackville family papers can be found a survey of the Farm at Imberhorne, completed on 5th October 1810, listing all the field names, a description of their usage and their acreage, with the total acreage of the farm standing at 528 acres 1 rood 16 perches. The land usage breakdown of the farm is as follows:
Land Usage 1810 Acreage %
Arable 285 54
Pasture 119 23
Wood 63 12
Meadow 48 9
Rough 5 1
Other 5 1
Comparing the land usage of 1810, with the land usage of 1739, it is evident that the trend for increased acreage of arable land had continued and by 1810 was over half the acreage of the Farm. It is also evident, from the list of crops being grown, that a system of rotation was definitely being practiced, growing wheat, oats, turnips, beans, peas, seeds, (clover or Black Medick, Medicago lupulina known locally as Non-Such, and frequently mentioned in the Knights Carrier Accounts), and then being left fallow. The acreage devoted to pasture had nearly halved from 41% in 1739 to 23% in 1810, this would imply that the numbers of livestock must have decreased, although with the evidence of crops such as oats, turnips, peas and beans there was still some livestock requiring winter foodstuffs. It is possible that the farm had become less dependant upon fattening livestock and had moved towards the production of milk and dairy products. Meadowland had increased from 5% to 9% and there is evidence that more land on the Farm had been brought into productive use with the reduction from 4% to only 1% of land described as rough or furze. Some woodland re-planting and management must have taken place as this had increased from 8% to 12%. This may be connected with the resurgence of the iron industry in the Felbridge area under Edward Raby and his son Alexander in the second half of the 18th century requiring large quantities of charcoal again, but may equally have been connected with requirement of faggots and wood for firing lime kilns with the growth of liming as an agricultural practice from the mid 1700s. By Wealden standards of the period, Imberhorne Farm would appear to be fairly substantial with a large proportion of Wealden farms erring towards the small size, being made up of small individual fields and in the opinion of the eminent agricultural writers of the time not much more progressed than they were in the early 1700s.
Sometime after October 1810, the Hubbles moved to Higham, near Gravesend, Kent. William and Elizabeth Hubble went on to have a further three children in the Gravesend area and in 1829, William took out a fifteen-year lease on a messuage, barns, stables, garden and orchards, and several parcels of arable land, meadow, pasture and brook land totalling 87 acres in Northfleet, near Gravesend. Elizabeth Sayer, and Jane and Frances Lane jointly owned this. On the death of Elizabeth Sayer in 1841, William Hubble was listed as leasing Brook Vale Farm and Struttons Farm, both in Northfleet, both properties being owned by her. Elizabeth Sayer was the grandmother of Frances Sayer who married George Gatty esq. who purchased the Felbridge Place estate in 1855.
It would appear that on the departure of William Hubble from Imberhorne, Mr William Buck occupied the property as he was paying the land tax from 1811. It is also around 1811 that the balances of accounts were being paid for the work at Imberhorne, implying that the house and farm buildings were nearing completion. William Buck was paying the land tax in 1812, but on the 14th September 1812, there is a note in a letter written by John Hoath to his friend William Hall, an Excise Officer born in East Grinstead but at that time living in Shoreham, Sussex, that Mr Buck has let the Farm of Imberhorne with corn on the ground etc. to Mr Onger, a gentleman from Eastbourne. The Mr Onger referred to was actually Mr George Auger, who continued to pay the land tax until 1815. However by 1816, the Land Tax Records show the Duchess of Dorset paid £24 and £1. 14s. 8d for Imberhorne Manor and John Tulley was occupying and paying £1 for part of Imberhorne. The Duchess had now taken over the payment of the £24 land tax previously paid by the leaseholders of the Farm at Imberhorne and John Tulley had taken over the payment of the £1 land tax that had been paid by the lease holder of the Farm at Imberhorne since 1808.
In 1815, Mr Edward Auger took over the responsibility of paying the £24 land tax for Imberhorne, however in 1816, it was the Duchess herself who paid the £24 land tax for Imberhorne as well as the £1. 14s. 8d land tax. It is perhaps of interest that possibly the first mention of a road running through the lands of Imberhorne raises its head in 1817, as a result of an unfortunate gentleman having to pay 1/- to a boy to run ahead of him and his horse and open all the gates between Horsham and East Grinstead. It was proposed that a new road be created running from the Carfax in Horsham to the Toll Gate in the High Street, East Grinstead. Permissions were sought from all the landowners, who all consented, but the proposed road was never constructed. From the map accompanying the Quarter Session Roll that deals with the proposed road, Imberhorne was listed as Imberhorne Lodge owned by the Duchess of Dorset and occupied by the overseers of the poor.
The Duchess of Dorset continued to pay the land tax for Imberhorne until 1820, when there was a fleeting re-appearance of a Turner at Imberhorne, one Colonel John Turner. However, the next year, 1821, saw land tax being paid by Mr E Leaf, £24 for a house and land, and £1. 14s. 8d for the Manor, both in the ownership of the Duchess of Dorset. Four years later in 1825, Arabella Diana, the Duchess of Dorset died, and her estates, including Imberhorne, were divided between her two surviving children, Mary, wife of the 6th Earl of Plymouth, and Elizabeth, wife of George West (later to become Sackville West), 5th Earl de la Warr, with Mary succeeding her mother as the Lord and Lady of the manor of Imberhorne. There then began a series of short-term leaseholders at Imberhorne starting with S S Slater esq. paying the land tax between 1826 and 1829 followed by Mr David Wibley between 1830 and 1834 and then John Wright esq. of Bellsize Park, Hampstead. He succeeded David Wibley, shortly after his death, in March 1834 and remained there until 1841, when Mr Charles Worsley paid the land tax.
Charles Worsley was the son of Rev. George Worsley and his wife Ann Cayley, a branch of the Worsley family that have held Hovingham Hall in Yorkshire since 1550. It is evident that although Charles Worsley paid the land tax in 1841, he was not residing at, nor personally farming Imberhorne Farm as the census details for 1841 record that James Isted a farm bailiff with his wife were occupying the New House, the current Imberhorne Farmhouse, and that the old farmhouse, now nos.1-3 Imberhorne Farm Cottages and then referred to as Old Wallage, was occupied by John Stringer an agricultural labourer with his wife and family. Thus John Isted was working as the farm bailiff at Imberhorne for Charles Worsley and that at least one member of the agricultural workforce was called John Stringer.
A year later in 1842, the East Grinstead Tithe and Apportionment lists Imberhorne Farm in the Ownership of Lord Amherst (William Pitt, 1st Earl Amherst), the second husband of Mary, Countess of Plymouth and in the occupation of John Wright possibly the farm bailiff of Charles Worsley. By 1842, the acreage had increased to 549 acres and 13 perches. A breakdown of the farm from the 1842 tithe apportionment is as follows:
Land Usage 1842 Acreage %
Arable 305 55
Wood 115 21
Pasture 62 11
Meadow 43 8
Rough 19 4
Other 5 1
Between 1810 and 1842, arable land remained unchanged still accounting for over half the acreage of the Farm. Perhaps surprisingly, woodland had increased quite significantly from 12% to 21%. It is unlikely that iron-working activity was behind the planting up of woodland as by the late 1700s that had ceased completely in the area. One reason for the increase in woodland may be due to the fact that in the Timber Merchant family of Stenning had moved into the area making the sale of timber easier and thus more likely to be a cash crop. There was the continued practice of liming fields for increased crop yield, the lime kilns requiring faggots and wood for firing. There would also appear to have been the introduction of hop growing to the locality by the early 1800s and hop gardens not only required large quantities of hop poles, but also wood for fuel for drying once harvested and there were known hop houses or oast houses at Hophurst Farm in Crawley Down, Wards Farm and Park Farm in Felbridge and Ridge Hill Farm in East Grinstead. In 1842, Imberhorne Farm had its own hop garden of nearly three acres, running Southeast/Northwest in what is now Imberhorne Way, off Imberhorne Lane. Based on 19th century calculations, the three-acre hop garden would have yielded between 24 and 72cwt (1219 and 3658kg), with an average yield being about 48cwt (2438kg). Based on the fact that it took 4lbs (1.8kg) of hops to produce a barrel of beer, the Imberhorne hop garden would have produced between 672 and 2,016 barrels, with an average of 1,344 barrels. There may well have been other hop gardens, nearer the current farm complex, as hop tokens have been found in Gullege Field, West of the farm complex, and Heath Field, North of Gullege. The largest decrease in land usage between 1810 and 1842 was in pasture, reducing from 23% to only 11%, indicating a radical cutback of livestock. A comparison of field sizes has not been possible to make between 1597 and either breakdowns of Imberhorne Farm for 1739 and 1810, as no maps have yet come to light and it has not been possible to locate all the fields by their field names. However, a comparison of field size can be made between 1597 and 1842. It is interesting to note that in general the size and quantity of open fields had remained unchanged the biggest change being in the amount of woodland that had been cleared to create fields. For example, within the current bounds of the Farm five new fields were created out of the woodland that had been cleared.
Charles Worsley retained Imberhorne Farm until 1852 with a change of farm bailiff sometime between 1842 and 1849 when Henry Batchelor was recorded as the bailiff at Imberhorne. The 1851 Census records that Henry Batchelor was the agricultural bailiff and overlooker, occupying the farmhouse with his wife, five-year old daughter and her nursemaid. Thomas Geer was recorded as occupying Imberhorne Cottage, (the old farmhouse) with his brother George Geer, both listed as farm labourers. In 1852, Frederick Cayley Worsley esq. is listed of Imberhorne in the Kellys Directory, implying that he may have actually been in residence. Frederick is the older brother of Charles Worsley and was one of the Provisional Directors of the East Grinstead Railway Company responsible for the railway cutting, now the Worth Way that divided the farmland of Imberhorne in half. One benefit from the railway cutting was the installation of a personal siding at Imberhorne Farm below the pond. This enabled heavy goods to be delivered directly to and from the Farm without having to use the roads, which were not generally very good, especially during the winter.
1855 saw the enfranchisement of some of the lands of the manor of Imberhorne. This came about due to land with copyhold status being worth virtually nothing by the 19th century to the Lord of the manor, inflation having made the unchanged copyhold rents unrealistic and other fines and payments scarcely worth collecting. However, the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne were retained by the Sackville family and not freed from manorial jurisdiction. Frederick Cayley Worsley must have left Imberhorne in 1855 as the Sackville papers contain the accounts received from Charles Marchant for woods and arable land in hand at Imberhorne and a list of property put on the stampt inventory from Mr Worsley to Lord Amherst, retained in hand by his Lordship and not let to the incoming tenant, dated November 1855. The most likely incoming tenant to Imberhorne at this time was Joseph Turner as by 1858, he is listed in the Melvilles Directory and Gazetteer of Sussex as a land agent and appraiser of Imberhorne. Joseph Turner was the son of William Turner founder of Turner, Rudge & Turner and joined the business at the age of fifteen. It is interesting to note that Joseph was the six times great nephew of Sackville Turner who held the demesne lands of Imberhorne in 1597, although he appears not to be directly linked to John Turner who leased the Farm at Imberhorne in the early 1700s as that John was married to Anne whilst Josephs grandparents were John and Elizabeth Turner.
It is also evident from the Sackville papers that a programme of tree planting was undertaken around this time, as outlined in the Imberhorne Planting Book of 1856/7:
Trees sent from Knole Nursery to Imberhorne, November 1856 to February 1857:
To be sent to William Taylor, Edward Taylor, George Laker and George Kemp.
November 20th, 1857
Acres Roods Perches
Planted part of the 9 acre field Stubbets 0 2 02
Planted Shepherds Field 2 2 00
Planted North of Stubbets Field 7 0 06
Planted Gatland Field 1 3 14
Planted the corner of Green Wood and
Part of Shepherds Field and Gatland Shaw 2 0 00
Ash, 20, 675 @ 8/6 £87. 17s. 4d
Chestnut, 15,450 @ 8/6 £65. 13s. 3d
Larch, 1,600 @ 5/- £4. 0s. 0d
Total £157. 10s. 7d
37,725 trees in 13 acres 3 roods 22 perches
Woodland appears to be a fairly substantial cash crop for the Farm at this time, bark was being sent to London for use in the tanneries, trees were being marked for sale to Messrs. Stenning & Son, Timber Merchants and Richard Day, Charcoal Merchant from London Road, North End and the underwoods at Imberhorne were providing:
Kiln faggots, bush faggots and top faggots, used for firing kilns and fires in general.
Hoop bounds, coopers ash poles, used in barrel making.
Hop poles and alder poles, used in the hop gardens.
Cordwood, and stakes, used for charcoal making.
Cords of alder and bundles of ash, general, good all round wood used for a variety of purposes.
Bundles of dogwood, generally used for gunpowder making.
Chips or bark, used for tanning leather.
Payments for woodland harvest can be found in the Imberhorne Account Book for 1855-1857 listing typical uses for the trees and underwoods:
Received of John Thurley for 6,600 kiln faggots £28. 9s. 6d
Received of George Lynn for 6,950 kiln faggots £29. 10s. 9d
Received of Messrs. Charlton & Sons for 3,200 12ft hop poles £22. 8s. 0d
Received of Richard Gibbs for 50 10ft hop poles £0. 2s. 6d
Received of Gosling for 100 bush faggots £0. 8s. 0d
Received of Gatty for 300 bush faggots £1. 4s. 0d
Received of Mr Monk for 1,981 14ft hop poles £19. 16s. 3d
Received of Mr Monk for 4,832 hop poles £33. 16s. 5d
Received of Mr Stenning for 3,950 withs [long, flexible twigs] £1. 12s.1d
It is interesting to speculate whether the faggots purchased by Gatty, a trustee of the Beef and Faggot Charity, were being used to cook the beef dinners allocated to the deserving of Felbridge and the local area as set up by James Evelyn of Felbridge Place in 1793.
To accommodate a growing workforce in the Imberhorne area several workers cottages were built. A study of the Imberhorne Account Book from April 1859 to April 1862 reveals that in April 1860, the Rt. Hon. Mary, Countess Amherst was over seeing the payment of tradesmen and labourers at Imberhorne for the construction of New Cottage, with bakehouse, stable and hedges. From the details available, New Cottage would appear to have been located on the extreme Northern boundary of Imberhorne Farm between Crawley Down Road and the River Fel, and was later known as Birches Cottage, although by the early 1900s it had been converted to a pair of cottages lived in by Frank and Lucy Wells and Frederick Taddy Redman and his family. The cottage had stood within the grounds of Birches Bungalow, Crawley Down Road, but was demolished to make way for the current bungalow. It is also apparent, from the 1861 Census that the old farmhouse may have been divided into two properties, although there are no specific references to the work carried out in the Account Books.
The census details reveal that in 1861, Joseph Turner and his wife and family with their governess, occupied Imberhorne Farmhouse. Joseph was aged 35 and was listed as a farmer of 400 acres (presumably the acreage of Imberhorne Farm at the time) employing three labourers and two boys. Residing in Imberhorne Cottages were John Simmons a labourer aged 42 with his wife and family. Both his sons William aged 14 and Albert aged 11 were listed as agricultural labourers, presumably the two boys employed by Joseph Turner. Also listed were Richard Baldwin an agricultural labourer aged 42 with his wife; and lastly, James Fools a groom aged 40 with his wife. The fact that there were now three households at Imberhorne suggests that either the old farmhouse had been divided into three dwellings or that had been divided into two cottages with Mr and Mrs Fools living in one of the farm buildings, as evidence suggests that the detached farm cottage, now no.4 Imberhorne Farm Cottages was not built until sometime between 1872 and 1898.
It is evident from the Sackville papers that a great many improvements were being carried out at Imberhorne Farm during the 1850s and 60s overseen by Robert Jones who received £40 a year for looking after the work people. The workforce included George, Henry, James, Thomas and William Buckland, William Butcher, Edmond Coomber, Thomas Creasey, Thomas Daniel, William Gattan, Richard and Thomas Gibb, Mark Godley, Peter and Thomas Pattenden, Henry Payne, Henry Stone, Henry Theobold, Amos Tollhurst and John Watson, to name but a few. Many of these names coming from the Felbridge area. The work being carried out included such things as cutting oats for which Edmond Coomber was paid £1.12s. 3d, grubbing 62 1/2 rods of bank at Imberhorne for which Henry Theobold and William Buckland received £3. 2s. 6d, digging a well for which Amos Tollhurst received £1. 8s. 3d, sawing for which Thomas Pattenden received £6. 12s. 2d, and for putting in 1,296 rods of drainage at 4ft 6ins deep and 11 per width in Gulledge Field, for which James and William Buckland received £59. 8s. 0d.
A typical entry regarding costs at Imberhorne Farm can be found in the Account Book for 1864:
7th April, Costs
Woods £155. 7s. 1 d
Manure for ploughing £9. 19s. 9 d
Fencing at Imberhorne Lane £6. 14s. 0 d
Tarring fencing £1. 18s. 0 d
Making path £1. 18s. 0 d
Burning turf in Birches £1. 18s. 0 d
Planting, cutting and loosing growth £22. 8s. 0 d
Draining £112. 4s. 11 1/2d
Insurance on house and outbuildings at Imberhorne £4. 5s. 7 d
Norwich Union Fire Policy no. 468224
In 1864, Mary, Countess of Amherst died leaving no issue and her estates, including Imberhorne and the Ladyship of it, passed to her sister Elizabeth, Countess de la Warr reuniting the Sackville inheritance left by their mother Arabella Diana, Duchess of Dorset.
It is unclear when Joseph Turner left Imberhorne but the Kellys Directory of 1866 lists Richard Dawson as farmer of Imberhorne, so presumably Joseph Turner had moved on sometime between 1861 and 1866. The Census of 1871 reveals that Richard Dawson was still residing at Imberhorne with his wife Martha and a general servant called Fanny Stripp aged eighteen. Richard Dawson was listed as a farmer of 371 acres employing five labourers and two boys. Residing at Imberhorne, undoubtedly in the cottages were George Simmons a labourer with his wife and children including George aged 14 and Edgar aged 12 both listed as farm assistants. A second household contained Henry Chatfield a labourer with his wife and children. There is no entry for a third household at Imberhorne as there had been in 1861.
Elizabeth, Countess de la Warr died in 1870 leaving Imberhorne to his second son Charles Sackville West, 6th Earl de la Warr. The decision must have been made to sell Imberhorne, for in 1872 Dr Thomas Fielden Campbell purchased the freehold of it. This was a time of decline in agriculture and trees were no longer required for charcoal as fuel or for ship building, resulting in the gradual drift of the rural workforce into large towns and cities. As a result large estates were being sold in small sections to land speculators or the wealthy middle-class businessman who wanted to emulate the landed gentry on a much smaller scale by moving out of the towns and cities to the countryside and surrounding themselves in small country estates of parkland. Little is known about Thomas Campbell although a quote from The Blounts of Imberhorne by J G Smith states, He appears to have played little part in the farming side of the estate, allowing his tenant farmer [Isaac Rust] free rein in cultivating the soil, producing crops and raising livestock, whilst he and his family occupied the nearby three-storied Georgian house previously occupied by the Earl de la Warrs bailiff. It has been suggested that Thomas Campbell organised the restoration of a 17th century farm bailiffs cottage that stood to the East of Imberhorne Farmhouse about half way between the farmhouse and the site of what is now St Peters School. However, there is no depiction of an earlier building in this position on any maps. In 1876, the property he constructed (later called Imberhorne Manor) standing in three acres of parkland was advertised to let or for sale. It comprised of a two-storied house with jettied gables, rough stone façade, stone-mullioned and transomed windows, with wooden dormers in the attic projecting from both sides of the double-pitched slate roofs. Near-by was a coach house and stable to accommodate three carriages and four horses. The grounds comprised of lawns and shrubberies, a conservatory with forcing greenhouse and a gardeners cottage. In 1877, Sir Edward Charles Blount took out a one-year lease for Imberhorne House, as it was then known, along with 100 acres of parkland.
The Blount family can be traced back to three brothers who came over with William the Conqueror, one returning to France, leaving Sir Robert and Sir William le Blound who settled in Shropshire, the family seat of Sir Edwards branch of the Blount family being Bellamour, near Rugeley, Staffordshire. Sir Edward Blount, who was made a Commander of the Bath in 1871, was a banker and promoter of the French Railways. Within the year of their leasehold, Sir Edward Blount had been persuaded by his son Henry Edmund Blount, to take out the option of purchasing the property and acquired the largely self-supporting farm of Imberhorne from Thomas Campbell. In 1878, Sir Charles Blount allowed his son Henry to supervise modifications to Imberhorne House and Imberhorne Farms future programme and workforce aided by the Blounts newly appointed farm bailiff Isaac Rust, former farm bailiff of Thomas Campbell.
Whilst Sir Edward and his wife resided at Imberhorne House, Henry Blount took up residence at Imberhorne Farmhouse, which for a short period of time housed a Roman Catholic Mission prior to the building of the Blounts Roman Catholic school, known as Imberhorne School, now St Peters School. All children of the Blounts workforce were encouraged to attend first the Mission and later the School, regardless of their religious beliefs. By 1881, Henry Blount must have moved into Imberhorne House with his parents Sir Edward and Lady Gertrude, as the 1881 Census reveals that John Charles Davis and his family were occupying Imberhorne Farmhouse along with two female servants and a male farm servant. Isaac Rust must have moved on as John Davis was listed as the farm bailiff. Occupying Imberhorne Buildings as the cottages were called in the 1881 Census, were John Marden a farm labourer and his wife and family; Thomas Pollard a farm labourer and his wife and family; and Henry Tingley an agricultural labourer with his family and grandparents Mr and Mrs William Brown. Also listed were John Steadman a domestic gardener with his wife and family with boarders Martha Marden, his sister-in-law, and John Kellick a servant and engine driver. By now the old farmhouse had been divided to create a third cottage and a fourth cottage had been built to house the ever-increasing Imberhorne workforce. This fourth detached cottage, now no.4 Imberhorne Farm Cottages, appears on the 1898 Ordnance Survey map but is not depicted on the 1872 Ordnance Survey map implying it was built between these two dates.
After purchase by the Blounts, farming at Imberhorne was carried out in accordance to the instructions given by the bailiff, who had the personal responsibility of employing sufficient labour to make it a profitable business. In addition he had to ensure that Imberhorne Manor, as it had become known, was supplied with fresh produce not only on a daily basis but also for the numerous social events that the Blount family held. A sporting tradition was also introduced by the Blounts, with the breeding of partridge and pheasants and the woodland of the Farm being turned over to the game birds.
Sometime between 1887 and 1891, the position of farm bailiff passed to Thomas Pentecost aged 39, having been previously employed by William Ramsden Price of Harts Hall, Felbridge, as a gamekeeper. The 1891 Census records that Imberhorne Manor Farm was occupied by Thomas Pentecost with his wife and family, three school assistants and two boarders Knighton? C Curtis a governess and Edward Wells aged 18 a gamekeeper. Living in the Imberhorne Farm Cottages were Thomas Young aged 37 a farm labourer with his wife and children; Thomas Pollard aged 38 a horse carter with his wife and family and his sister-in-law Margaret Payne; and Henry Tingley aged 46 a stockman with his wife and children who included William aged 21 a groom, John aged 18 a cowman and James aged 16 a pig man. Also living in the Tingley household was Mrs Brown, Henry Tingleys grandmother aged 79. Living at Imberhorne Farm Cottages were Henry Stone aged 42 a farm labourer with his wife and their sons George aged 16 and Thomas aged 14 both farm labourers; and finally George Stone aged 71 a farm labourer with his wife Mary Ann, parents of Henry Stone. There were by now six households of farm workers residing at Imberhorne Farm suggesting the terrace of farm cottages had been built between 1881 and 1891. Several of the farm workers had been at the Farm for more than ten years and sons were following fathers into employment at Imberhorne suggesting that it was a good working environment.
Indeed, although Sir Edward and Lady Blount moved in High Society circles they did not neglect their Imberhorne staff and farm workers. Consequently, for many years about fifty employees and their ladies were invited to play an annual game of cricket on a pitch in the middle of Gullege Field, West of Imberhorne Farm complex. After the match the whole party moved to the coach house at the Manor for a dinner. The event concluding with the bailiff acting as chairman and proposing the Good Health of their generous employer and his family. They also threw an annual Christmas Party particularly enjoyed by the children. Employees were also entitled to accommodation, a cottage for married couples with family, free skimmed milk, free rabbit and free wood for the fire. Many of the cottages built at North End and along Crawley Down Road were built by the Blounts to house their workforce and two men were employed to keep the cottages in good order.
In the late 1890s, Sir Edward Blount began to extend his estate. He purchased Gulledge Farmhouse, conveying it to his grandson Edward Aston Charles Blount in 1895. In 1896, Sir Edward Blount purchased the freehold of Gulledge Farm, to the West of Imberhorne Farm, and two more adjoining farms Tilkhurst Farm, to the Southwest of Imberhorne Farm and Hill Place to the Southeast of Imberhorne Farm. With the purchase of Gulledge Farm ,the lands of Imberhorne had extended beyond the bounds of the manor of Imberhorne crossing into the manor of Broadhurst. These new acquisitions enlarged the Blounts estate to over 1,000 acres of pasture, arable and woodland with Imberhorne as the primary farm. In 1899, with Sir Edward Blount in his 90th year Edward Blount his grandson took over the responsibility of managing the farm estates, employing over fifty people herdsmen, ploughmen, gamekeepers, blacksmiths, carpenters, carters and general hands, all under the experienced head bailiff Thomas Pentecost.
The 1901 Census records Thomas Pentecost aged 49 was termed the estate steward still living at Imberhorne Farmhouse with his wife and family along with his brother-in-law George Taylor aged 34 listed as a poultry man. Also living at Imberhorne Farm was George Baldwin aged 38 a labourer on the farm with his wife and family. Living at Imberhorne Farm Cottages (unfortunately not numbered) were Thomas Pollard aged 49 a carter with his wife and daughter; and Henry Tingley aged 56 a stockman on the farm with his wife and family. His eldest daughter Lilly Tingley was listed as a general servant probably at Imberhorne Manor and still living with the family was Henrys grandmother Polly Brown, by then 90 years old. Also living at Imberhorne Farm Cottages were James Gallard aged 75 a farm labourer with his wife Elizabeth; George Hill aged 45 a cowman and his wife and children [George Hill replaced Albert Hills as cowman sometime between 1892 and 1898]; George Stone aged 82 a farm labourer with his wife Mary; and finally, James Pattenden aged 65 a farm labourer with his wife Mary and boarder Samuel Brand aged 28 a groom and James Pattendens sister-in-law Eliza Gear. Thus there was the farm steward and seven other households of farm workers living within Imberhorne Farmhouse and Farm Cottages. On top of these, there were two further households of farm workers housed in Gulledge Farmhouse and Gulledge Cottage by now part of Imberhorne Farm. The census records Henry Stone aged 52 a carter on the farm living in Gulledge Farmhouse with his wife and children and that his sons Thomas aged 23 was a carter on the farm, Robert aged 21 was a labourer on the farm and John aged 16 was a carters boy on the farm. Henry Stone had, in the previous census of 1891, been recorded as occupying one of the Imberhorne Farm Cottages. Gulledge Cottage was occupied by John Marden aged 44 a stockman on the farm with his wife and children including his son George aged 23 who was a waggoner on the farm. John Marden and his family had also lived at the Imberhorne Farm Cottages but ten years earlier then Henry Stone in 1881.
From the census entries between 1891 and 1901, it is possible to gain a picture of the type of agricultural occupations to found on Imberhorne Farm. In 1891, apart from Thomas Pentecost being the farm bailiff in charge of the workforce and overseeing the running of the Farm, he was also the gamekeeper aided by Edward Wells. Between them they were responsible for rearing the partridge and peasants required for the Blounts shooting parties. By 1901, Edward Wells had taken over the position of head gamekeeper, living at Tilkhurst. The farm was sustaining a dairy herd having George Hill as cowmen. With Henry Tingley as a stockman in both censuses, the Farm was probably dealing in cattle and possibly sheep for market, as a stockman is a man experienced in driving stock. In 1891, James Tingley was as a pig man, therefore the farm undoubtedly had pigs and although unmentioned in 1891, there were enough poultry to require George Taylor a poultry man by 1901. By 1891, horses had replaced oxen for ploughing and pulling and Thomas Pollard was listed as a horse carter in both censuses with the addition of another carter and a carters boy, Henry Stone and his son John, by 1901. Also by 1901, the Farm had a waggoner, George Marden. A carter was a person who generally drove a horse that pulled a two-wheeled vehicle for transporting goods, whereas a waggoner was a man who drove several horses that pulled a four-wheeled vehicle with a rectangular body for transporting heavy loads. The horses would have needed to be groomed and in 1891 William Tingley was the groom and by 1901 there were two grooms, Samuel Brand and Herbert Pentecost.
As well as the livestock and associated farm workers, there were between five and seven farm labourers listed as living in the farm cottages not to mention those that were living in the tied cottages on the estate who could be hired as casual labour as and when required. No doubt all members of the families would have been expected to help out when required especially at harvest and haymaking time. Then there was milking and processing the milk and in 1901 Nellie Pentecost, the daughter of Thomas Pentecost the farm steward, was the dairymaid and would have been responsible for processing the milk into dairy products such as cream, butter and cheese.
The Blount policy of retaining employees and caring for their welfare was becoming apparent by 1901, with several farm workers working in excess of twenty years for the family and farm labourers such as James Gallard aged 75 and George Stone aged 82 still employed in their advanced years. Unfortunately, they both died in 1902 along with Polly (real name Philadelphia) Brown who died at the age of 92 at the end of 1902. One of the effects of being caring masters was the fact that cottages had to be found to accommodate the incoming younger workers because the older members of the workforce were never retired off and were allowed to retain their cottages until the end of their life. The older members of the workforce in return were still expected to work on the Farm but due to their advancing years were obviously unable to be as productive as a younger man. This would inevitably lead to an increased workforce and wages whilst not being markedly more productive.
In 1905, Sir Edward Blount died followed six years later by his son Henry, leaving Charles Blount the sole heir to the estate. Charles Blount like his grandfather before him was considered a good master to work for continuing the caring attitude adopted by his grandfather. Charles Blount continued with the country gentlemen pursuits and regularly held shooting parties. He was a member of the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt before and after their amalgamation in 1915, became the head of the North End Allotment and Garden Association and also hosted the Working Mans Annual Rabbit Pie Supper. He was also a member of the Three Counties Ploughing Association with several matches being held at Imberhorne Farm.
With the onset of World War I much of the potential young male workforce signed up to fight for King and Country and Imberhorne Farm was no different. Particularly badly hit was the Harding family, William Harding being the cowman in 1915. He lost a son Ernest, killed in action in Palestine in 1917 and a son-in-law Albert Victor Brand, who died as a result of his wounds in France in 1918. Despite the war years, Imberhorne Farm along with Gulledge, Tilkhurst and Hill Place were in full production and these years were probably considered to have been their best years even though cheap cereal grasses from Canada and America could not be imported. Imberhorne Farm, being largely arable, was growing fields of wheat, barley, oats and flax. Farming during the war years was all about producing food for the nation so it was inevitable that the partridge and pheasant shoots would be in decline especially as the under-keeper, Frank Wells, had signed up for War duty which left just the head gamekeeper, his father Edward Wells, responsible for over 200 acres of woodland and all that goes with breeding game birds and protecting them from vermin such as jays, magpies and grey squirrels that steal the eggs and rabbits that burrow under the pens, along with predators such as stoats, weasels, foxes and poachers who steal the birds.
With the end of World War I, life began to return to normal but a heavy price had been paid both financially and in the cost of human life to win the war. Not only had large numbers of young men been killed during the war years, but at Imberhorne Farm some of the more elderly members of the workforce had also died. Henry Tingley had died in 1913 aged 69, Edwin Pattenden died in 1915 aged 51 and James Pattenden aged 83 and Thomas Young aged 65 had both died in 1919, leaving several vacancies in the workforce. Costs now had to be balanced against the rising prices of both goods and labour and as a consequence farming, like most other industries of the period, suffered a severe depression in trade. The solution was to make cuts in the permanent workforce at Imberhorne Farm, hiring casual labour only for harvesting. The workforce at Imberhorne Farm between the wars was still under the supervision and direction of Thomas Pentecost. The rearing of partridge and pheasant was re-established under Edward Wells, head gamekeeper and his son Frank Wells, recently returned from the war as under-keeper.
By the end of the war, Thomas Pollard the carter then aged 67 was still living in one of the cottages in the old farmhouse and was joined by Jack Cushen as head cowman and Alec Creasey known as Bob Creasey. Also still there and living in one of the other farm cottages was the cowman, George Hill, having been joined by Mr and Mrs Brand and Ottewell Lomax. Sam Brand was the horse and van man and Mrs Brand ran the dairy. Tom Creasey a carter and brother of Bob Creasey had moved into Gulledge Farmhouse and the Botting family occupied Gulledge Cottage, George Botting also being a carter. Joining the workforce in 1921 was Frederick Redman known as Taddy moving into no.2 Birches Cottage, Crawley Down Road no.1 being occupied by Frank Wells the under-keeper. Taddy Redman remembers that when he started working at Imberhorne Farm there were between twenty and thirty men working on the estate. Most of the work was done by hand and each man had his own occupation. Apart from the farm labourers and cowmen, there were rick thatchers and hedgers. There were also bricklayers and carpenters building ever more cottages to accommodate the growing workforce.
Thomas Pentecost the farm steward died at the age of 80 in 1931 having got Imberhorne Farm back up and running efficiently after the setback of World War I. Edward Wells the young gamekeeper who had boarded with the Pentecost family in 1891 and who had worked his way up to the position of head gamekeeper was then asked to fill the position of farm bailiff. The rearing partridge and pheasant continued under Frank Wells now elevated to the position of head gamekeeper. The farm workers and their children would be called upon as beaters during the shooting parties. Jim Coomber son of Albert remembers that payment was 2/6 for a mornings beating, 5/- for a full day and that no food was provided only a bottle of ginger beer. An average shoot would bag about a thousand birds. William Hicks who primarily worked at the Manor was responsible for the maintenance of the guns kept in the gun cabinet in the office of the bailiffs house. He lived in one of the farm cottages and on his death was replaced by Mr Card.
During the 1930s the farm workforce was joined by Albert Coomber acowman, Bert Searle the poultry man and rick thatcher and Mr Russell who was second cowman, his property was later taken over by Mr Friend. Albert Coomber like the other cowmen on the Farm was responsible for about fourteen cows that had to be milked twice a day by hand. A good cowman could milk ten cows an hour being paid £1.10/- for a six and a half day week. Stockmen were paid 4/- extra because cowmen finished at 1 p.m. on Saturdays but the stockmen had to go back at 4 p.m. Young cattle, between forty and fifty bullocks, were kept for fattening in the cattle sheds up at Gulledge Farm but the dairy cows were generally turned out into the field to the North of Imberhorne Farmhouse that, at that time, ran down to what is now the Northern boundary of Imberhorne School, the schools playing fields and what is now known as Cow Field at Imberhorne Farm forming one large field. The milk was processed in the dairy by Mrs Brand, the dairy having relocated from between the milking sheds to the cellar under Imberhorne Farmhouse. The Big House required two gallons of milk, a jar of cream and butter on a daily basis along with cheese on occasions. Farm workers who worked on the estate were entitled to one pint of free skimmed milk a day and skimmed milk was also sold for 1d a can to local families, generally collected by children before going to school of a morning. Any excess milk was carted to the Broads at Hill Place Farm who supplied milk for the town of East Grinstead. Apart from cows, the farm also had pigs kept in the range of sties located in the North wing of the farm complex the most Eastern room being the boiler house where the pigs swill was cooked up. Sheep were also grazed but these did not belong to the Farm, the field being let for their grazing, the sheep dip was located to the Northwest of the farm complex in a natural hollow by the stream.
Bert Searle, aided by his wife, was responsible for the poultry that included chicken (Light Sussex, Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds), grey geese, Aylesbury ducks and black turkeys, all being free range. Each day the poultry had to be turned out into orchard and what was and still is known as Poultry Field, East of Imberhorne Farmhouse and returned to their poultry shed of an evening. Whilst out, the eggs had to be collected from the poultry sheds and whilst in, eggs had to be searched for in the orchard and Poultry Field. The Big House required six geese and ducks weekly and any surplus eggs over and above the two-dozen eggs required daily were sold to Farm Gate Egg Market. The poultry sheds formed part of the range of outbuildings extending to the West of Imberhorne Farmhouse. There were individual sections for geese, ducks, turkeys and chicken. There were also brood huts, as all the poultry were bred on the Farm, and a shed for cooking up potatoes and hot mash used as feed in the winter. Bert Searle was also the thatcher and had to thatch the circular hayricks after they had been built to keep the rain out and to prevent them turning mouldy. The grass was all cut by hand using a scythe, left to dry naturally in the field and then forked onto wagons and brought to the rick yard. Bundles of faggots were laid on the ground to keep the rick off the ground and the hay laid onto the faggots so that the bottom layer of hay remained dry. As the rick grew a small pony was used to operate an elevator that raised up the hay. The ricks, as many as thirty, were laid out in the field to the West of the farm complex in front of the farm cottages, now called Gullege Field, being at one time two separate fields.
Apart from livestock and hay, the farm being largely arable grew many crops using the rotation system introduced to Britain in the 18th century. Taddy Redman outlines the agricultural practice they followed at Imberhorne Farm between the wars. First we had a voller [fallow]. If it was about ten acres, it would be ploughed about six times in a summer, this was to kill the rubbish. Then I used to land [break] it up and put manure on it. It was then ready for the early wheat to go in. This was then followed by winter oats sown alongside clover. This was to make clover hay especially for the horses. After that it was spring oats; then you might next year have a crop of potatoes, mangle and Swedes; then that might start a voller again. A tractor had appeared at Imberhorne Farm between the wars, but there was only one, so ploughing and harrowing all six hundred acres was done by horse. When used, it was Taddy Redmans job to drive the tractor. Prior to ploughing or harrowing someone, generally children, would have to spread mole hills and pick up stones out of the fields making the soil clear of debris and flat for the horses to chain harrow.
At harvest time, the corn was originally cut by hand using a scythe and the men were paid 6/- an acre. After the corn had been cut, sheaves of corn were shocked [tied up] and stood upright to form stooks [shocks of sheaves of corn]. At this time anyone and everyone had to turn out to help get the harvest in before it rained. General practice was that the stooks was left stood upright to dry until the church bells rang out three times. They were then taken to be round stacked and kept dry until the steam-thrashing machine arrived on its tour of the farms. With the arrival of the tractor, harvesting was done with a binder. This threw sheaves out which were then shocked and stooked, saving numerous man hours cutting by hand. As a token of thanks, the Blounts used to hold a Harvest Supper for their workers to celebrate the gathering of the harvest. This included much whiskey, wine, cider and beer, but had sadly died out by the end of World War I.
At any give time, the Farm employed at least four carters who each had a team of two horses, two based at Imberhorne Farm and two up at Gulledge Farm. On top of that, there was the horse and van, the van being used to take the laundry daily from the Big House to the Blounts personal laundry located next to the school at North End, run by Mrs Edwards. The horses were generally stabled or let to run in the field West of Gullege; hence this field is now known by the name of Horse Pasture. Imberhorne Farm was also cashing in on its timber crop and horses were used to pull the timber out. Olive Sharman, who as a child lived in Imberhorne Lane wrote We used to see big timber wagons, four powerful Shire horses were harnessed to a long flat-based wagon with four or more huge tree trunks chained to it. Now and again, the horses had a high set of bells and brasses over their heads and red or blue bows and hair plaits in their manes. Apart from carriages going to and from the Big House and the occasional horse and cart, the timber wagons were the only traffic that passed along what is now known as Imberhorne Lane.
1939 saw the outbreak of World War II and yet more disruption to farming. Again, young men volunteered or were called up to fight, affecting the agricultural workforce and with a blockade on the seas, Britain was relying totally on home grown food. An agricultural workforce was generated in the shape of the Land Army Girls and Prisoners of War; Imberhorne Farm had the use of POWs camped at West Hoathly to pick up potatoes. The Farm did not get away unscathed during the war, with several bombs landing in and around the area. The War Damage Reports reveal that Imberhorne Farm and outbuildings suffered damage on at least two occasions, once on 16th October 1940 and again on 17th June 1944. The Reports are also a good source for who was living in the farm cottages at the time as the 1940 Report details that slight damage was suffered by Mr Cushen of 3 Imberhorne Farm Cottage, Mr Samuel Brand of no.4, Mr O T Lomax of no.5, Mr George Creasey of no.6 and Mr William Hicks of no.7 and medium damage was suffered by Mr E Wells of Bailiffs Cottage (Imberhorne Farmhouse). During World War II, Edward Blount found himself in direct control of a Civil Region set up take responsibility for maintaining services such as food, clothing and shelter for casualties in the event of an invasion. As a result of this and his commitment to the Queen Victoria Hospital, the administration of Imberhorne Farm became neglected and Edward Wells the farm bailiff aged 73 was not in the best of health. As a consequence, the Ministry of Agriculture placed an A Order on the farms in 1946, and threatened to put in their own manager giving Edward Blount just three months to come up with a programme of improvements and implementation. The Farm was by then being operated by men, old men at that, and two carthorses. Without new implements Imberhorne Farm could not produce enough crops to make it pay and the Government would no longer reduce their taxes for farm losses. Sticking with the Blount policy of not retiring or sacking elderly employees, Edward Blount appointed a younger farm bailiff Frank Wells, the former head gamekeeper and son of the old farm bailiff Edward Wells, and asked for suggestions on how to turn the Farm around.
It was estimated that £10,000 would be required to bring all the farms, including Imberhorne Farm, on the Imberhorne estate into modern practice. Frank Wells suggestion to raise the capital required was to throw [fell] some of the timber on the estate, which Edward Blount agreed to. The trees were chosen, measured and priced by the estate agent together with the purchaser. The throwing was done when weather permitted and the money was to be paid as soon as possible to allow for the purchase of modern machinery. The first equipment to be purchased was two three furrowed ploughs, a new Fordson tractor and a large trailer. Every field soil was tested and fertiliser applied accordingly. New fencing was put up along with gateways and the older men were found inside jobs that were not too strenuous. The purchase of a grain drying plant was far too expensive so the decision was made to use the old binder and stack the corn and then thrash it. The farm workers built thirty-two large corn ricks in a straight row up the nearest field allowing enough room to build straw stacks for each one. It meant a lot of work but without a drying plant there was no alternative. Mr Pusey, the Ministry of Agriculture representative, came two or three times a month to check on progress. He then made a report that was forwarded to the Ministry. After three months, three men from the Ministry arrived at the Farm and spent the day delving into everything. Finally, they contacted Edward Blount with their decision. On receipt of the decision the butler, Mr Boniface, was dispatched to inform Frank Wells that the A Order had been lifted.
Modernisation had hardly begun but with the A Order lifted it could move forward at a slower pace without the threat of the Farm being taken over. The Farm workforce by this date included George Botting, Bob and Tom Creasey, Charlie Pannell, Mr A Parsons, Fred Penticost, George Piper, Taddy and Freddie Redman, Bert Searle, Eddie Streeter and Frank Wells. Unfortunately, as things began to improve on the Farm Edward Blounts health began to deteriorate, leaving Frank Wells to carry on with the Farm and the estate as he thought fit. He had been far than satisfied with the cowmen or the cows and had not come up with an answer as to what to do with them. The solution arose when the second cowman refused to cover the head cowman, so at the end of the week he was given his pay packet and cards. The weekend relief cowman was then asked if he would take over from the second cowman, but he also refused stating that he no longer wanted the job anyway. With that Frank Wells put all the cows up for auction and suggested the weekend relief cowmen might like to look for another job. It was shortly after this incident that Edward Blount died, on 4th February 1953, leaving Clara his widow and Clare and Marguerite his two daughters to run the estate. Shortly after the death of Edward Blount, Clara Blount died leaving Clare and Marguerite facing huge death duties and an estate to run for which they were ill prepared. Requiring still more capital there was no alternative but to put the Imberhorne estate up for auction. The Big House and grounds were sold for development and the Clare and Marguerite Blount had a house built at Tilkhurst for them to move to, retaining Tilkhurst Farm.
It was decided that as the railway line now cut through the lands of the original Imberhorne Farm, all the land South of the line would become part of Tilkhurst leaving all the land North of the line as Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms. Hill Place Farm was offered for sale to the Broads who had been farming it since 1919 and Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms were put up for auction on 6th May 1954. The sales particulars describe Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms as a Freehold agricultural Estate and valuable mixed farm of 422.201 acres. Selling with the land was the Georgian Imberhorne Farmhouse, the seven farm workers cottages attached to the Farm, Birches Cottage, Crawley Down Road and the Farm buildings. The farm buildings were described as:
Compactly arranged, brick built with tiled roof range of outbuildings near the Farmhouse comprising of:
Two Coal Sheds, Store, Mixing Room, four Poultry Houses with weather boarded fronts.
The main farm buildings are substantially built of brick with tiled roofs and arranged around a quadrangle with enclosed manure pit in centre of yard. They comprise:
On the East side:
Spacious stabling for nine and Loose Box with brick floor, four windows, water laid on. Two enclosed stores. W.C. Tractor shed with double doors. Three-bay open Implement Shed. Granary over with outside door. Workshop. This building has a total floor space of about 5,950 feet.
On the South side:
Four Loose Boxes. Room divided into six calf pens. Garage with folding doors to accommodate three cars. Covered washing yard.
On the West side:
Cow Stalls for thirteen with tubular metal fittings, concrete managers, feeding passage, water laid on. Open Implement Shed with match-boarded walls and ceiling. Cooling Room with water laid on. Mixing Room with concrete floor. Engine Room. Granary over approached by inside steps and double doors to outside. Cow Stalls for seventeen with tubular metal fittings. Concrete mangers, feeding passage, water laid on. Two lean-to Cattle Sheds with yard and water laid on. Timber built and galvanised iron roof Wood Shed. Lean-to timber built and galvanised iron roof Sawing Shed.
On the North side:
Range of five Piggeries. Two-bay open Implements Store. Food preparing room with copper, now used as an oil store.
Also selling with Imberhorne Farm was Gulledge Farmhouse, described as early 17th century and it was noted that This house has considerable charm and character and could be made into a delightful residence. There were also the farm buildings and cottage. The farm buildings were described as:
Brick built, part weather boarded with tiled roofs. They are arranged around a quadrangle and comprise:
Cattle Shed for 10, with access to yard. Two Store Rooms. Eight-bay open Cattle Shed and three Yards, water laid on. One-bay open Implement Shed. Barn. Five-bay open Implement Shed. Store Room. Granary with outside steps. Three Loose Boxes. Open Cattle Shed and Yard.
In addition to the purchase price, the purchaser was required to pay the Tenant Right, comprising of all growing or un-harvested crops including grass and potatoes, cultivations with rent on fallows, seeds sown, whole dressings of dung, artificial manures and lime; young seeds, farmyard manure and labour thereto; hay, straw, haulm [stems or stalks of peas, beans potatoes or grass used as litter for animals or for thatching] and silage [fodder prepared by storing and fermenting green foliage plants in a silo or pit] at market price; the residual value of purchased feeding stuffs and home-grown corn consumed, purchased dung, artificial manures and lime applied and fixed machinery in accordance with a list to be supplied on application. The valuation was to be made by two valuers or their umpire, which was to be paid on completion of the purchase. The Blount sisters reserved the right to hold an auction of the live and dead farming stock at Imberhorne Farm prior to the completion of the purchase. However, the valuable standing timber was included in the sale.
Of the farm cottages at Imberhorne, no.1 was occupied by Bob Creasey, no.2 was let to Mrs Amy Brayshaw at 3/9d a week, no.3 was occupied by George Botting, no.4 was unoccupied, no.5 was occupied by Eddie Streeter, no.6 was occupied by Bert Searle and no.7 was occupied by George Piper. Amy Brayshaw was the only person paying rent, as she was not an employee on the estate. All seven cottages were to be sold subject to existing tenancies. Birches Cottage was occupied by Taddy Redman who was offered the purchase of it, but declined the offer preferring not to have the responsibility of a mortgage, it was then bought by Bert Searle, and Taddy Redman moved up to rent one of the Imberhorne Farm Cottages. Tom Creasey occupied Gulledge Farmhouse and Gulledge Cottage was unoccupied. Imberhorne Farmhouse was still in the occupation of Edward Wells although by now an invalid and in very poor health and it was shortly before the completion of the sale that he died. Frank Wells whilst being the farm bailiff at Imberhorne had been living in West Lodge the old head gardeners cottage just short of the railway bridge in Imberhorne Lane. After the sale of Imberhorne Farm, he continued in the employment of the Blount sisters becoming the farm bailiff at Tilkhurst Farm the only farm and part of the Imberhorne estate retained by the Blount sisters.
Mr Beeney purchased Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms along with most of the farm cottages in 1954. The total size of the farm was 422.201 acres, with a breakdown of the land usage being:
Land Usage 1954 Acreage %
Arable 207 49
Wood 75 18
Pasture 65 15
Meadow 57 14
Other 14 3
Rough 4 1
An interesting comparison of land usage can be made between 1954 and 1842. Arable land was still by far the largest proportion of the Farm although it had dropped slightly to just under half the acreage of the Farm. The next largest proportion was woodland, this had also marginally dropped from 21% in 1842 to 18% in 1954, probably due to the throwing of timber to provide capital to modernise the Farm in the late 1940s. The proportion of land put to pasture had risen from 11% in 1842 to 15% in 1954, even though the dairy herd had been sold off in 1953. This is repeated in the increase in meadowland from 8% in 1842 to 14% in 1954 despite the reduction in livestock in the form of the dairy herd and thus less winter feed required. This may suggest that the number of beef cattle had increased or with the employment of Bill Searle as shepherd in 1953, possibly the reintroduction of sheep rather than just letting for sheep pasture, as had been the case in the 1930s. There remained very little rough compared to 4% in 1842 implying the land termed as rough had been better cultivated and able to produce a crop of some description. The main difference to be seen between 1842 and 1954 is in the size of the fields. By 1954 many of the hedgerows had been grubbed out to increase the size of the fields. In 1842 there were ten small fields between what is now the route of the concrete road and the woodland to the North of the Farm totalling about 136 acres, by 1954 there were just five fields doubling the size of each field.
Mr Beeney dealt in cattle, but Imberhorne Farm was not to see a great expansion in livestock, as within a year Mr Beeney, suffering from poor health, put Imberhorne Farm back up for auction and Robert Emmett a farmer from Kent, purchased it. At the time of purchase the workforce consisted of Bill Searle son of Bert Searle, Taddy Redman and his son Freddie, George Piper and Bob Creasey. Robert Emmett could ill-afford to retain all five so Bill Searle, having only worked on the Farm since January 1953 and being the youngest and single with no attachments, volunteered to leave.
In April 1955, at the time of purchase by Robert Emmett, Imberhorne Farm consisted of 285 acres, the size it is today, the remaining 137 acres was split up and sold separately. A large proportion of the old cow field was set aside for the construction of Imberhorne County Secondary School, the woodland to the North of Imberhorne Farm and one field abutting Imberhorne Lane and the trackway leading to the Farm was sold to William Rayner and the remaining open land, now the site of the Birches Industrial Estate, was sold to Ernest Jones, being used as Birches Piggery and yard for his company, Mid Sussex Tractors.
Robert Emmett took over Imberhorne Farm initially farming it as a mixed farm but gradually it became predominately arable, although free range poultry were still kept until the foxes proved too much of a nuisance and won the battle as Brian, Robert Emmetts son, put it. However, some of the potential arable land had been rendered unusable at the time of purchase by the fact that it was still full of stumps, remnants of the trees that had been thrown in the 1940s in an attempt to gain capital to modernise the Farm. The solution to this problem was to dynamite the stumps out (common practice at this time). Once removed, the land could be turned over to pasture or arable. One sideline that the Emmetts had when they first moved to the Farm was cutting, bunching up and selling to Covent Garden boughs of winter holly.
There was much debate as to what to do with Gulledge Farmhouse, being no longer needed as a farm workers cottage, and by then in bad state of repair. In 1958, the decision was taken to sell it along with a small amount of ground as a private dwelling needing much renovation. Imberhorne Farm retained Gulledge Farm buildings, although they were later sold back to the owners of Gullege, as it is now known. With the proceeds of the sale of Gulledge Farmhouse, the farm track leading to it, once across Gullege Field, was re-routed and concreted and is now referred to locally as The Yellow Brick Road. The footpath was also rerouted at this time.
In the early 1960s, a new site was being sought for the local amenity tip and the East Grinstead Urban District Council gave approval for an open rubbish dump to be positioned in the field to the South of the trackway down to Imberhorne Farm, abutting Imberhorne Lane. The field known as Poultry Field had a deep gully running East/West through the middle of it and seemed a suitable site to fill. Unfortunately, this was a time when the disposal of rubbish was unchecked, resulting in many products being disposed of, which today would be considered environmentally unfriendly. As a consequence, toxic liquids filtered their way down to the fishpond killing most of the fish. A filter bed was then installed to clean the water. Eventually the amenity tip was moved to the site of the old Isolation Hospital further up Imberhorne Lane (its current position) and Poultry Field, by then levelled, was sown and is now let for sheep grazing. In 1964, woodland to the North of the Farm, West of Gullege track, abutting the River Fel, had a planning application submitted to the East Grinstead Urban District Council, for the erection of private dwelling houses. However, planning application was refused, even after an appeal, so what was once Avenue Wood became arable land by clearing in 1976 and now forms part of Heathy Field.
In 1969, Brian Emmett took over Imberhorne Farm, which by then was all arable. Twenty years later in 1989, Imberhorne Farm was threatened with the development of 2,400 houses and a by-pass, West Sussex Council proposing it was the most suitable location in the area. However, the local population had other ideas and the over whelming majority voted against the new homes and proposed by-pass. Eight years later, Brian Emmett applied to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for a grant and Imberhorne Farm was one of only twenty-three schemes to be granted Countryside Stewardship status in 1997.
Countryside Stewardship is the Governments principal scheme for conserving and improving the countryside. Farmers are paid grants to follow more traditional farming methods that enhance the landscape, encourage wildlife and protect historical features. The traditional English landscape and features are largely the result of farming over the last few hundred years. A feature such as stonewalls or barns, once important to farmers, have become part of Britains heritage. However, modern methods of farming have changed the landscape and some landscape features have been lost. Traditional farming practices provide good conditions for a rich diversity of wildlife, which modern techniques have to some extent destroyed, resulting in a reduced diversity of wildlife. There is now more awareness of how farming shapes the countryside and an appreciation of the wide variety of landscapes and the rich diversity of wildlife that lives in them. The grant offered by Countryside Stewardship Scheme is one way that farmers can afford to conserve and improve this heritage and most of the farming industry is keen to support it. By conserving the countryside in this way, it not only helps wildlife but also allows Britain to play its part in the international agreement to maintain the natural diversity of animals and plants throughout the world.
To comply with the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, Brian Emmett had to agree to manage Imberhorne Farm in accordance with the Scheme. The objectives set out in the agreement are:
Landscape: Create arable margins to soften the visual impact of the arable fields on the landscape, and restore the landscape character of the area by re-creating grassland and managing it in a traditional way.
Wildlife: Create arable margins to provide wildlife corridors around the farm, linking woodland, grassland and waterside habitats. This in turn would provide habitats for invertebrate and small vertebrates that use the arable land. The arable margins would then encourage herb and wildflower species to colonise in the reverted field.
History/archaeology: Strengthen the historic boundaries of the farm by laying and reinstating hedges.
Access: Provide new access opportunities for horse riders in the area and enable walkers to enjoy the farm by maintaining Public Rights of Way in good order.
Imberhorne Farm is one of 128 farms in the scheme in West Sussex, equating to 4% by acreage of Countryside Stewardship land in West Sussex. Imberhorne Farm is also one of only twenty-three with public access in West Sussex and is also the nearest farm in the scheme to Felbridge.
In December 2000, Imberhorne Farm also became a LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) Demonstration Farm. LEAF is a charitable organisation working to develop and promote IFM (Integrated Farm Management) farming practices that are both viable and environmentally responsible. LEAF helps farmers to adopt the principles of IFM and promote them to a broad range of interest groups through the network of Demonstration Farms. Brian Emmett is keen to encourage public access and respect for the countryside; this is evident from the number of people that can be seen during the day walking, jogging or horse riding through the Farm. In 2000, Brian Emmett provided 1 1/2 acres, which were planted with 1,000 native trees by local school children. In February 2001, The Millennium Wood was planted by the children of Felbridge School, part of the 2000 trees planted to mark the Millennium. There are a large number of footpaths and bridleways, with Conservation Information Boards placed adjacent to permissive paths to illustrate specific routes and features of interest. Imberhorne Farm is also open, by appointment, for visits by groups, associations and schools, fulfilling the educational aspect of LEAF.
In 2002, the threat of development at Imberhorne Farm returned, with West Sussex District Council proposing the erection of 2,500 houses and the obligatory by-pass, even though two other sites in West Sussex had been proposed. Local opposition grew during the year, but the Examination In Public, held in the beginning of 2003, upheld the suggestion that East Grinstead was the most suitable location to receive the development. Although it found that Imberhorne Farm may not be the most suitable site in the East Grinstead area. It suggested that an alternative site should be considered, as the Examination found against the development being detached from the main body of East Grinstead and was keen to maintain a strategic gap between East Grinstead and Crawley Down as well as a gap between East Grinstead and Felbridge.
A breakdown of the current land usage in 2003, demonstrates that Imberhorne Farm is still predominantly arable.
Land Usage 2003 Acreage %
Arable 197 69
Wood 9 3
Conservation Grass/meadow 70 25
Other 8 3
Rough 1 0.4
The reduction in total acreage was due to the separate sale of the Birches Wood, land for Imberhorne County Secondary School and other land sold to William Rayner and Ernest Jones. Comparison with the land usage in 1954 highlights the fact that the acreage of arable land at Imberhorne Farm has remained unchanged, the majority being turned over to wheat. Due to the lack of livestock, meadowland and pastureland is no longer required to provide foodstuffs. However, there is an ancient meadow that has been designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance because of its biodiversity. After the sale of Birches Wood in 1955, Imberhorne Farm only retained about 15 acres of woodland, now reduced to nine acres of which six acres are classified ancient woodland and have recently been thinned, coppiced and replanted under a Woodland Improvement Scheme. Both the ancient woodland and ancient meadow sites lie to the West of Gullege. Some of the hedges previously grubbed out have also been reinstated, returning to the practice of smaller field cultivation, although the fields are still not as small those of 1842.
The workforce at Imberhorne Farm has dramatically declined in numbers since 1954, being worked solely by Brian Emmett with the use of contractors for operations such as combining at harvest time. Until 1999, Brian Emmett had been growing wheat in rotation with the break crops such as oilseed rape and peas or linseed. However, major problems with runch, a weed that is particularly difficult to control in break crops, together with pigeon damage, and low returns, forced a change in farming practice. The practice now adopted is a rotation of wheat, and set-aside as a way of cleaning-up the land for one year, or voller, in the terms of past employee Taddy Redman. A spring-sown variety of barley is now being used to provide a better habitat for birds like the fieldfare and lapwings, once seen in great abundance on the Farm but whose numbers had sadly declined over the years but are now building up again. Crop rotation and the careful management of the condition of the soil produce 3 tons of winter wheat per acre. Birds, such as skylarks, and other wildlife have also benefited from the use of set-aside land and the six metre strips around all of the fields act as buffer zones and wildlife habitats.
The return to traditional agricultural practices and appropriate soil maintenance, along with the re-instatement of hedgerows and the management of hedge and verge cutting have enhanced the biodiversity of Imberhorne Farm, whilst still being a viable farming concern. On the whole, the fields that make up what is now known as Imberhorne Farm have changed very little since being part of the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne in 1597. Farming emphasis is now on arable rather than livestock farming, but on the whole, Sackville Turner would be able to recognise the land that Brian Emmett now farms. The main difference being that Imberhorne Farm is now situated within a heavily populated area, making it a haven for wildlife and a place were people can escape to enjoy the relative peace and quiet, except for the song of the skylarks and a chance to get close to nature and appreciate a little piece of, as yet, unspoilt Sussex countryside.
Archaeological Findings at Imberhorne/Gullege Farm, by D J Skinner
Imberhorne Farm finds of the West Kent Metal Detectors, FHA
Archaeological Field Walking at Imberhorne by the F & D H G, FHA
History of East Grinstead, by W H Hills
Place Names of Sussex, by Mawer & Stenton
Oxford Companion to Local & Family History
East Grinstead Bulletins, Nos. 28, 58, 59, 61, 73 and 74, FHA
Sussex Archaeological Collection, vol.9 p141-144, vol.25, p144-45, vol.38 p81, 84, vol.39 p144, 147+149, vol.40 p69,
Imberhorne Court Books, AMS 5909/10 & 11, ESRO
Buckhurst Terrier, SRS, vol. XXXIX
Berrys Genealogy of Sussex
The parish registers of East Grinstead, FHA
Knole, by R Sackville-West
The Iron Industry of the Weald, by H Cleere & D Crossley
Arundel Castle, by J M Robinson
History of Britain The Tudors, by A Langley
East Grinstead and its Environs, by D Gould
Notes on East Grinstead, by I D Margary, FHA
A History of East Grinstead, by M J Leppard
History of East Grinstead, talk by M J Leppard
Victoria History of Sussex, vol 2.
Four Centuries of Farming Systems in Sussex, 1500-1900, SAC vol.90 p60-101
Rural Employment & Population in Sussex between 1550 &1640, part 1, SAC vol.114, p38-48
Rural Employment & Population in Sussex between 1550 &1640, part 2, SAC vol.116 p41-55
Spirited & Intelligent Farmers: The Arthur Youngs & The Board of Agricultures Reports on Sussex, 1739-1808, SAC vol.130 p200-212
Knights Carriers Accounts, 1763-76, FHA
Survey of the manor of Imberhorne, 1657, U269 E183, CKS
Sackville Papers, U269 T139/11, 14, 15 and 16, U269 T370, U269 A364/8 + 11, U269 E183, U269 E91/1+2, U269 A149/1+3, CKS
Imberhorne Rent Roll, ADA 50, ESRO
Rent Roll for Imberhorne, 1718, SAC 39, ESRO
Lime Kilns and Lime Burning in Felbridge, FHG, Fact Sheet, SJC11/00
Charcoal Burning and the Felbridge Area, FHG Fact Sheet, SJC 05/02
Land Tax Records
Window Tax Records
Gulledge, FHG Fact Sheet, SJC 03/02
Will of John Turner, 1785, PRO
Will of Robert Turner, 1795, PRO
Will of William Turner, 1809, PRO
Imberhorne Court Book, ADA 113, ESRO
Sayer family Papers, SAY 2791, 2792 + 2798, ESRO
Papers of William Hall, Excise Officer, AD MSS 39854 F13, WSRO
Horsham/East Grinstead by-pass, 1817, QDP/W37, WSRO
Census Records, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
East Grinstead Tithe & Apportionment, 1842, WSRO
Hop Growing and Hop Fields of the Felbridge Area, FHG Fact Sheet, SJC 09/01
The Beef & Faggot Charity, FHG Fact Sheet, SJC 03/03
The Old Firm, EG Bulletin 44, FHA
The Blounts of Imberhorne by J G Smith
Parish Registers of St John the Divine, Felbridge
O/S maps, 1805/8 (draft), 1872, 1889, 1913, 1936. FHA
Title Deeds of Gullege, FHA
Title Deeds of Imberhorne Farm, FHA
Sale Catalogue of Tilkhurst Farm, Oct 1896, SP 2580, WSRO
Documented Memories of Frank Wells, Gladys Allen, nee Wells, Bernie Wells, John Myson, Leslie Butcher, Jim Coomber and Bill Searle, FHA
A Girl called Tom, by Olive Sharman
From the beginning, by Lucy Wells
Sunshine and Showers, by Lucy Wells
Gather ye Rosebuds, by Lucy Wells
Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms Sale Catalogue, 1954
Massive no to village, East Grinstead Courier article, May 1990, FHA
Countryside Stewardship Scheme, www.defra.gov.uk
East Grinstead Courier and East Grinstead Observer newspaper articles on Development at Imberhorne Farm, too numerous to list individually, 2002-2003, FHA
My thanks go to Sir Walter Blount of Tilkhurst, Gwen Broad of Hill Place Farm, and Brian and Marilyn Emmett of Imberhorne Farm, for their help and information about Imberhorne Farm.