Gibbshaven Farm

Gibbshaven Farm


Gibbshaven Farm is situated between Crawley Down Road and Furnace Wood in Felbridge, and is sited on what was once part of the manor of Hedgecourt.  Historically there were close links between Gibbshaven Farm and a property known as Little Gibbshaven that abutted Gibbshaven to the south, and although the two properties are closely connected, this document will concentrate primarily on Gibbshaven making reference only to Little Gibbshaven when considered appropriate to the development of Gibbshaven Farm.


The aim of this document is to discuss the derivation of the name of Gibbshaven, chart the history and development of the site, re-assess the structural development of the house, assess the development of the farm and cover the lives of some of the people associated with the property.


Gibbshaven – origin of the name

The first derivation of the name appears as Gybbes afen in 1530 with the presentment of the death of John at Fenne who held ‘lands called Gybbes afen and Culyncroft’ recorded in the Court Roll for the manor of Hedgecourt.  The early entries of Court Books for the manor of Hedgecourt refer to the property as Gybbes afen, however by 1597 it is recorded as Gibbs at ffenne and by 1647, Gibbs at Fenne.  Outside of the court, the property was referred to by slightly different spellings and in 1582, it appeared as both Gybbesafen and Gybbesaven in the will of John Bysshe, gentleman, who died seized of the property in 1582. 


Judith Glover writing in The Place Names of Sussex, believed the name to have originally been a reference to some kind of ‘haven or shelter’ for a person named Gybbe.  Indeed, the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1524 records John Gybbe in the Hundred of Lyndefeld Arch, formerly the Hundred of Buttyngehulle, the hundred in which Gibbshaven was at that time situated. 


However, referring to the Court Book entries, an implication could be that the name was originally a reference to a person named Gybbe who held or resided at an area known as ‘ffenne or Fenne’, equating to ‘fen’ in modern  English, and in Old English, ‘fenn’, used to describe ‘low, flat, swampy land, a bog or a marsh’.  If the origin of the name Gibbshaven is this second option, with ‘a fen’ an abbreviation for ‘at fen’, this could also be written as ‘a ven’ or ‘Aven’ because the letters ‘f’ & ‘v’ were interchangeable. 


Turning to the Court Books for the manor of Hedgecourt, a pre-cession of owners for Gibbshaven appears in 1609, which lists ‘Roger at ffen, before Simon at ffield’.  It has already been established that in 1530 John at Fenne held Gibbshaven, and in 1535 Roger Aven, yeoman, granted land in Worth, south of Gibbshaven, to John Gage, knight, lord of the manor of Hedgecourt.  Using the same principle as above, ‘Aven’ would be a derivation of ‘at fen’, and a family of ‘atte Fenne’ [later Fenner/Venner] can be traced back to Hugh atte Fenne, which according to the index to pedigrees and arms contained in the Herald’s Visitations of 1530, confirms that there was a Gilbert atte Fenne of Worth, living in 1367.  Gilbert was the son of John atte Fenne who appears in the Lay Subsidy Roll for the village of Burle (Burleigh Arches) in the hundred of Buttyngehulle in 1332. 


Historically, the name Gybbe/Gibb was used as a pet-name for Gilbert so it is possible that the name of Gibbshaven derives from ownership by Gilbert atte Fenne.  As for Simon at ffield, the Lay Subsidy Roll of 1332 also records a Symone atte Felde, in the Hundred of Buttyngehulle, and there are several references dating to between 1332 and 1376 of Symon atte Felde acting as witness to documents in the ‘villat of Cok’ [Cuckfield area], but no other information has yet emerged to confirm whether he was connected with the property.


The most likely origin of the name Gibbshaven, based on the documentary evidence available as discussed above, would suggest that the name derives from ownership by Gilbert atte Fenne, but in all probability the absolute origin will never be known.  However, charting the more recent derivations of the name, the property appears as Gives Aven in 1649, Givssiven in 1748, Gibs A Ven in 1760 and Gibbs Aven in 1780.  It is not until 1795 that the current spelling, Gibbshaven, appears, and it is not until 1851 that ‘Farm’ was added to the end.


Early history of the Gibbshaven area

The earliest documents relating to Gibbshaven as a named property are found in the surviving Court Books of the manor of Hedgecourt, under which it was held as freehold from before 1530 with inferred references to a much earlier date.  It is well documented that the manor of Hedgecourt was created before 1290, being formed from the manor of Tylemundesdon and a carucate of Linglegh, the exact location of Tylemundesdon not previously established, although it has been suggested as Tillingdown or possibly a fictitious name ‘arising from some confused notion of Tilburstow’. 


Antiquarians of Surrey history including Uvedale Lambert and Mannings and Bray, have traditionally believed that Lynglegh referred to a mis-transcription of Lingfield and reasoned that it may refer to the wood called Lynlee in the parish of Wolkhamsted [Godstone] that appears in a grant between Hugh Craan and Nicholas Lovayne in 1365, or a tenement in Lingfield called le Lynde Place held by William Sunygfeld in 1483, or as Lilley or even Le Lee held of the manor of Tanrigge [Tandridge] in 1408 and 1423 respectively.  The antiquarians refer to the manor of ‘Hedgecourt and Covelingly’ as lying in Surrey in Horne, Godstone and ‘elsewhere’ as quoted by Uvedale Lambert in his book on Godstone, but have not ventured to discuss ‘elsewhere’.  However, part of the manor of Hedgecourt encompassed land in Worth, now in Sussex, at least it did by 1366 when the description of Hedgecourt is given as ‘lands of their [Nicholas de Lovaygne and his heirs] manor of Hecchecourt, [Hedgecourt, in the] counties of Surrey and Sussex’, and probably this part of the manor had been in Worth since the formation of the manor of Hedgecourt.


Viewing the manor of Hedgecourt from a Sussex perspective, the name of Lynglegh appears as Lyndelegh alias Covelingley by 1314, sounding more like the modern name of Cuttinglye, known to have been held by the lord of manor of Hedgecourt as copyhold from the manor of South Malling – Lindfield.  The derivation of the name Cuttinglye comes from the name Covelyngeleye in 1344, believed to be from Old English Cufelinga lēah meaning ‘clearing belonging to Cufela’.  By 1365 this had become Coulyngle, then Coolingly by 1374, Coblingleghe by 1476, Coddinglighe or Cuddingly by 1567, Cut-and-lie by 1896 and Cuttinglye by 1911. 


Today Cuttinglye Wood still preserves this name and abuts the west of the area in which Gibbshaven is located.  Based on the belief that Lynglegh became Lyndelegh alias Covelingley, together with the development of the name Covelingley to Cuttinglye and the fact that a carucate of Lynglegh went to create the manor of Hedgecourt by 1290, it is equally possible that the carucate [an area of land amounting to between 100 and 120 acres depending on the quality of the soil] refers to the land in Worth in Sussex that was incorporated into the manor of Hedgecourt.  Based on this theory, it is possible that Gibbshaven was within the carucate of land of Lynglegh.


Gibbshaven area in 14th and 15th Centuries

There are numerous documents scattered through the early medieval records that must include the area of Gibbshaven, unfortunately none use the name by which it is now known in this early period of history.  Based on the theory that the Gibbshaven area was formerly known as or part of Covelyngeleye, or a similar name, one of the earliest entries can be found 1313 when John St John claimed the reversion of the manor of Hedgecourt and a carucate of Covelingley on the death of John Berewyk who had been granted both by Gilbert de Appletrefeld, confirmed by a grant by his brother Stephen de Appelderfeld during the reign of Edward I (1272 – 1307).  John St John’s claim was untenable and in 1324 the manor of Hedgecourt and Covelingley was granted by the King to Gilbert Middleton in trust for Roger de Husse (then aged five years), the nephew and heir of John de Berewyk.  As a point of interest, land to the south of the established area of Gibbshaven, (including Little Gibbshaven which is discussed later), was known as Husse’s until at least 1748.


A slightly later document that refers to Covelingley appears in 1344 in a fine between Bartholomew de Burgherssh the elder, chevalier [knight] and John Badeselle and Eleanor his wife.  In the medieval period a fine was a payment made by tenants who held their property by copyhold or leasehold of a manor paid as an entry fine upon acquiring a holding through either inheritance or purchase.  The 1344 fine records that Bartholomew de Burgherssh acquired ‘a messuage, 4 acres of land, 16 acres of meadow, 200 acres of pasture, 120 acres of wood, 52s rent in Horne and Lynggefeld in Surrey, and 50s rent in Couelyngleye, Mesewell and Feldebrigge in Sussex for the sum of £100’.  Other terms of the fine stipulated that Bartholomew de Burgherssh had to pay ‘homage and services [allegiance] of Roger Husse, knight, Roger de Dalyngrugge, John de Haselden, William de Couelyngleye, Richard de Haselden and Geoffrey de Smythford [the owners of the properties referred to in the fine]’.  


Based on one of the theories of the antiquarians Manning and Bray that Couelyngleye had once been held as part of Tandridge in the manor of Godstone, and that the Court Books of the manor of Hedgecourt later record the rent payable on Gibbshaven as 2s 6d, another early fine that potentially refers to the Gibbshaven area is between John Nichols and his wife Alice of Worth and Adam le Tannere and his wife Agnes of Tanrugg [Tandridge] dated 1355.  This fine records that John and Alice Nichols acquired ‘60 acres of land, 2 acres of meadow, 20 acres of wood, at 2s 6d rent and a moiety [half share] of 2 messuages in Worthe’ for the sum of 100 marks [£66 13s 4d, a mark being worth 13s 4d or two-thirds of a pound]. 


On the death of Roger de Husse in 1361, Hedgecourt and Covelingley passed to his brother John de Husse, held by John de Warblington whose family had acquired the Surrey manors of Tanrich [Tandridge], Chepstede and Effingham from Alice de Dammartin in 1248.  In 1374, William Husee, the son and heir of John Husee released the manor of Hedgecourt and Coolingley to Nicholas de Loveyne and his wife Margaret and on the death of Nicholas de Loveyne, Hedgecourt and Coolingley was settled on their daughter Margaret Seyntcer, wife of Sir Phillip Seyntcer [St Clair] in 1392.  By 1408 the manor of Hedgecourt was held as two separate parts, Shanore and part of Hedgecourt Park held by the manor of Sheffield – Lingfield, and the other part known as Lilley and the remainder of the Park held by William de Warblington of Tandridge who was connected to the Loveyne family by marriage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


On the death of Sir Philip Synclere and his wife Margaret, the manor of Hedgecourt passed to their sons John and Thomas in succession, and on the death of Thomas Synclere it passed to his second daughter Eleanor the wife of John Gage.  The manor of Hedgecourt then remained with the Gage family until the death of William Gage in 1747, and it is from the courts of the Gage family that much of the information about the Gibbshaven area has been gleaned. 


The Court Books of the manor of Hedgecourt record that the site of the current Gibbshaven was held as freehold of the manor of Hedgecourt, and that it was originally connected with a freehold property that was located to the south of Gibbshaven that became known as Little Gibbshaven.  Later court entries connect the two properties with the Fenner family, an anglicised form of ‘atte Fenne’ as discussed earlier. 


Fenner Family

The Fenner family of Sussex, according to the index to pedigrees contained in the Herald’s Visitations, descend from Hugh at Fenne, no other details given.  The next in descent, but not connected is John at Fenne, again no details, but he is followed by Gilbert atte ffenne of Worth who was recorded as living in 1367.  Gilbert at Fenne must have been a man of some wealth and importance as in 1366 he was commissioned by King Edward III, along with Richard Aske, to arrest Thomas Newebigging, for ‘contempts and rebellions against the King in parts beyond the sea’ and ‘who now refuses to stand trial and has withdrawn and lurks in diverse parts’. 


The earliest mention of an ‘at Fenne’ so far found in Sussex records dates to 1317, in a fine between Ralf Atte Fenn and Julian daughter of Robert de Therle [possibly Ralf’s wife], and James son of William Atte Fenne for ‘a messuage and 3 acres of land in La Niwebrugge’.  Other early references to the family appear in 1332 with John atte Fenne appearing in the Lay Subsidy Roll in the villat of Burle [Burleigh] in the hundred of Bunttyngehulle, the hundred in which Gibbshaven was located.  The Lay Subsidy Roll records that John atte Fenne was paying 2/- rent, a similar value to that for Gibbshaven at 2s 6d in later records.  Descending from Gilbert atte ffenne of Worth is his son Gilbert, either of which could have given their name to the property known as Gibbshaven. 


In 1400, John ate Fenne acquired ‘a messuage and six acres in Worth’, from William Mortymer and Agnes his wife.  John is probably John at Fenne of Worth, great grandson of Gilbert at Fenne of Worth, who appears on the Herald’s Visitations Fenner tree.  Later entries found in the freeholder’s Court Books of the manor of Hedgecourt for ‘a messuage and six acres’ can be attributed to Little Gibbshaven, it is therefore reasonable to believe that this is an early reference to the property that became known as Little Gibbshaven.  This John had a son Thomas who was titled ‘of Crawley’ and married Agnes Blast, the daughter and heir of William Blast of Ifield in Crawley.  William Blast was the son of Thomas Blast who had purchased property from William Denecombe the iron-maker in 1367.  Thomas and Agnes at Fenne had a son Thomas and it is from this son that the name of ‘at Fenne’ is replaced by the name of ‘Fenner’.  This line also takes the arms of the Fenner family and continued the family’s connections with the iron industry of the area.


The line of the Fenner family that remained in Worth and held Gibbshaven descend from John at Fenne, who was probably the son of John at Fenne of Worth and brother of Thomas at Fenne of Crawley.  John acquired the ‘messuage and six acres’ from his father John at Fenne of Worth, which passed to John’s son Roger att ffenne in 1530.  In 1530, Roger att fenne is recorded as also holding the freehold property on the site of Little Gibbshaven, then known as Honyscroft, alias Culyncroft.  Culyncroft suggests that it may be a derivation of Coulyngle as discussed above in the derivation of Cuttinglye, dating to before 1365 and pre-dating the name of Honey.   


It is possible that the use of ‘Little’ implied ‘Old’, in the context of pre-dating Gibbshaven rather than ‘Small’ in the context of the size of the two properties.  Unfortunately Little Gibbshaven burnt down in 1904, however a local newspaper article described how it could not be saved as the fire had taken hold of the large beams, implying that it was of timber frame construction although it was described in the sale catalogue of 1895 as an ‘old-fashioned brick-and-tiled Farmhouse’ with a ‘copper and small baker’s oven’.  Gibbshaven was described identically in the same catalogue although it is now known that the façade was hiding a much older structure. 


In 1530, the Court Book for the manor of Hedgecourt records that apart from holding Honeyscroft alias Culyncroft, John at Fenne had been holding the freehold property of Gybbes afen and as such was the most likely person responsible for extending the house at Gibbshaven (discussed in more detail below). 


Structure of Gibbshaven  

The house is constructed as two separate structures with an infill between them.  The first is a single bay aligned roughly east-west with a double hipped roof.  The bay is 17ft 3ins (5.3m) wide and 14ft (4.3m) long.  The second is of two bays roughly aligned north-south with a queen strut collar and clasped purlin roof.  Each bay is 12ft 3ins (3.8m) long and 16ft 3ins (5m) wide.  Both structures are upon ashlar (smooth cut) foundation blocks, similar blocks are also found supporting the north and south corners of the single bay structure.


Single bay structure

Frame 1 (at the east end) is weatherboarded above the transverse [crosswise] beam and below the beam has been infilled and no timber framing is visible.  The wall posts are visible within the ground floor but not below the mid rail height.  The wall posts are 10ins x 9ins (25cm x 22.5cm) with deep splayed jowls [the enlarged head of a main post that allows the tie-beam [the horizontal timber transversely connecting the tops of pairs of principal posts or vertical timbers].  The transverse beam is jointed into the wall posts just above the mid rail height.  The tie-beam is 10ins x 9ins (25cm x 22.5cm) and cambered [slightly arched] with large curved up-braces [diagonal timbers that strengthen the frame] jointed into the wall posts about halfway between the transverse beam and the wall plate [lateral timbers that run the length of the building at eaves height].  The wall plate and tie-beam joints are of normal construction.  The wall is infilled with daub between the transverse beam and the tie-beam.  The top of the tie-beam has three peg holes indicating the original presence of a crown post [a vertical timber rising from the centre of a tie-beam and supporting the collar purlin above] and supporting braces.  A mullion window had been inserted above the tie-beam after the crown post had been removed which indicates that the first floor room was open to the collar [horizontal timber jointing a pair of rafter] or ridge height at that time with a gabled roof.  The wall plates project through the frame and weatherboarding, the northern one showing a stave mortice [hole for a vertical light weight piece of split timber] for the next panel.  At the base of the weatherboarding on the west wall post the mortice is visible for the continuation of the mid rail to the east at a level higher than the mid rail to the west of the post.


Bay 1 (frame 1-2)

This bay is floored with a heavy axial girder [a timber that runs the full length of the building at first floor level] and joists that are 7½ins x 3ins (18.75cm x 7.5cm) laying flat.  The joist separations vary but average only 10ins (25cm).  There are no chamfers [surfaces formed by cutting off the angle of the corner of a piece of timber] visible on the joists or axial girder however the axial girder shows that a partition ran along its underside length.  The east end of the axial girder has been truncated and two later pairs of joists have been inserted.  The ceiling height is very low and although the floor level has been dropped, it is possible to estimate the original underside of the joists to offer approximately 5ft 6ins (1.65m) clearance.  Both the north and south walls have been partially infilled with dressed stone blocks at the base and solid walls up to the mid rail.  The south wall has one visible peg hole for a wall strut below the mid rail.  The upper wall section contains a large curved up-brace to the wall plate as well as a horizontal rail.  The north wall has two peg holes visible for struts above the mid rail and no other timbers are visible.  The roof above this bay is constructed with oak rafters pegged at the apex with no ridge board.  The ceiling is made of rough timbers mostly from the edge of the tree and therefore having two straight faces and a curved sapwood face.


Frame 2 (west end) is of similar scantling [dimensions of timber] and construction to frame 1 but has a straight tie-beam.  Again the wall posts are not visible below the mid rail height.  The transverse beam is fully exposed and has mortices along the underside for three wall struts with infilled panels as there are round ended mortices for the staves.  Above the transverse beam the wall is infilled although a doorway has been cut through the partition at the southern end, removing the curved brace at this point; the brace mortices are still visible.  There are no peg holes in the tie-beam for a crown post; the use of the straight tie-beam also indicates that this frame could have been the end frame for a hipped roof with the hip rafters on top of the tie-beam.  The west face of the frame shows little sign of weathering and must have been exposed for only a short period.


Outshot west of frame 2

To the west of frame 2 there is an outshot [single storey, roofed building portioned from the main structure] 5ft 10ins (1.8m) wide, the full width of the frame.  Its roof continues from the frame 2 tie-beam down to a height of approximately 6ft 4ins (1.9m).  The outshot is constructed from much lighter timbers than bay 1 with wall posts 8ins (20cm) square with splayed jowls.  The outshot is floored with axial joists 5ins (12.5cm) wide and 3½ins (8.75cm) high.  There was a square mullion window in the north end of the west wall and another still remains in the south wall on the first floor.  There appears to have been a doorway at the south end of the west wall of the outshot as the mid rail in this wall terminates at a pegged wall strut with no peg or mortice for the rail to continue.


Two bay structure

Frame 4 (the north end wall) is weatherboarded above the transverse beam height.  The wall posts are visible down to the sill beam and are 9ins x 9ins (22.5cm x 22.5cm) with splayed jowls, less deep than those of frames 1 and 2.  The external face of the wall posts have visible mortices from a previous use although they are the only reused timbers that are visible in this structure, the west post also has a scaffold mark but correctly orientated for its current use.  The transverse beam is morticed into the wall posts at the mid rail height with the lower edge cut into the wall post.  The tie-beam is straight with no visible wind bracing.  The wall plate and tie-beam joints are of normal construction.  The wall is infilled with large panels below the tie-beam.  In the centre, below the mid rail there is a large central post, there is also a visible peg for a wall strut below the mid rail.  Between the transverse beam and the tie-beam there are three wall studs and a horizontal rail mounted only 2ins (5cm) below the tie-beam.  The roof is queen struts (struts rising vertically from the tie-beam to the collar) supporting a wide collar with clasped through purlins.  The inside face of the tie-beam has a large scar for an axial girder showing that the adjacent bay had been floored at tie-beam level.


Bay 2 (frames 4-5)

This bay is floored with a 13ins x 10ins (32.5cm x 25cm) chamfered axial girder with 4ins x 4ins (10cm x 10cm) joists.  As discussed in relation to frame 4, there has been a floor at tie-beam level although this no longer remains.  The west wall of this bay has later (unpegged) wall struts below the mid rail, however above the mid rail the symmetric large panels seen in frame 4 are visible with the horizontal rail just below the tie-beam.  The timbers are numbered on the external face with deep cut Roman numerals.  There was a long mullion window in the top centre of the west wall.  The east wall shows signs of weathering and continues the symmetric large panelling although it has been disrupted by the insertion of doorways.  There is an unusual staggering of the wall struts at the south end of the first floor east wall where the numbered and pegged struts above and below the high horizontal rail are not aligned.  The sill beam along the east wall has a continuous groove for infill staves sealing off this wall at ground floor level.  The joists are heavy at 5½ins x 4ins (13.75cm x 10cm) with a 24ins (60cm) separation; windbraces are present in the roof but have not been recorded on the drawings.  There was no sooting of the roof timbers above the collar.  The roof is Horsham slab on the west face and tile on the east side although an early photograph shows that Horsham slabs had existed on the east side of the roof and therefore this was probably the original roofing material.


Frame 5 (the central dividing frame)

The wall posts are 11ins (27.5cm) wide and 9ins (22.5cm) deep with splayed jowls.  The transverse beam is very slightly cambered, whilst the tie-beam remains straight.  The outside face of the west wall post has a central scaffold mark.  The fireplace bressemer [beam across the hearth of a fireplace] has been inserted below the transverse beam and a doorway has been cut into the south face of this frame against the east wall post.  One hinge and the cut away for the latch are still visible, however this is not an original door location as the west door post is not pegged into the frame.  There is no evidence that the sill beam [the horizontal timber at the bottom of a wall] extended across the base of the wall posts and thus it is likely that the wall was not infilled beneath the transverse beam.  The infill between the transverse beam and the tie-beam is irregular although it still consists of large panels. Above the tie-beam the frame is infilled completely to the apex.


Bay 3 (frames 5-6)

This bay now contains the chimney which is positioned towards the west side of the bay.  The original chimney has two flues one serving the hearth in the north bay and another serving a rectangular bread oven that was beyond the west wall and has now been removed.  Auxiliary flues have later been added to the north and south of the stack to provide hearths in the upper chambers although they are absent from a photograph taken in the early 1900’s.  The bay is now floored although the girder and joists are contemporary to the date of the chimney as the chamfer is stopped as it enters the stack rather than continuing to the frame beyond.  The roof timbers above this bay are all evenly sooted implying that this bay was open to a hearth on the ground floor before the insertion of the chimney.  The west wall of the bay has an entrance lobby attached and the ground floor timbers are obscured, the first floor timbers are again symmetrical large panels with a horizontal rail very close to the wall plate.  The east wall of this bay was open at the ground floor.  There is no continuation of the sill beam between frames 5 and 6, there are no mortices in the underside of the mid rail of this wall and the outside face shows no signs of weathering.  Above the east mid rail there are peg holes for struts and a rail to provide symmetrical large panels.  These have been removed by the cutting through of a doorway immediately south of frame 5.


Frame 6 (south end wall)

This frame is tile hung above the transverse beam.  The wall posts are visible down to the sill beam and are 9ins x 9ins (22.5cm x 22.5cm) with splayed jowls.  In the centre there is a central post (only up to first floor height), the transverse beam is morticed into the wall posts at the mid rail height with the lower edge cut into the wall post and then morticed into the top of the central wall post.  The external face of the central and eastern wall posts have matching mortices for a low structure continuing to the south at least half the width of the frame.  The tie-beam is straight with no visible wind bracing.  The wall plate and tie-beam joints are of normal construction.  The wall is infilled with large panels below the tie-beam.  Between the transverse beam and the tie-beam the infill is symmetrical large panels with a horizontal rail just below the tie-beam.  There was a mullion window east of the centre immediately below the tie-beam.


Outshot east of bay 3

There is an outshot on the east of bay 3 which extends about 3ft (90cm) north of frame 5 and encloses a well which is close to the east wall post of frame 5.  The wall post at the south end aligns with frame 6 and the lower edge of the transverse beam is cut into the wall post.  The post is taller than the transverse beam in frame 6 affording a greater head clearance at the east end.  This post also has mortices on the southern face matching those on the centre and east wall posts of frame 6 for a low structure to the south.  The east wall of the outshot is divided into large panels but the second bay from the south end has a pegged rail at a higher height than all the other bays implying that this was the position of a doorway.  Early 19th century photographs show a doorway in this position, although it would have been original to the build date as the door head is pegged into the wall posts.  The roof pitch is lower than that of the main structure and the absence of any partition in the east side of bay 3 strongly indicates that the outshot was contemporary to the construction of the two bay structure.


Infill between the two structures

At some point the two structures were joined by infilling, extending the line of frame 4 and the south wall of the single bay structure.  The scantling of these timbers is slight and the associated roof is pegged at the apex with no ridge board.  There are no other features to provide dating evidence for this infill.  The infill now contains a doorway immediately west of the south corner of the outshot on the single bay structure.  This area also includes the current staircase although the joists in this position are running north-south and the mortices exist in the north wall mid rail to indicate that they all continued to the north wall completely flooring this area.


Structural summary

The one bay structure is the oldest standing on this site.  It would appear to be a floored end of an open hall house of considerable size.  The crown post roof would date it after 1320; however the very low head height has been used to date other properties to pre 1400.  The scantling of the timbers and the joist size suggest a date range of 1375-1400 for this bay and was probably constructed by Gilbert at Fenne, senior.  The partition below the axial girder and the lack of decoration make it very likely that this was the lower floored end.  The presence of a stave slot in the end of the wall plate extending to the east as well as the continuation of the mid rail strongly indicate that the range continued to the east. This is supported by the potential line of the original foundations being shown on the O/S map of 1878.


The outshot on this bay was probably added within 20-50 years after the construction of the range to account for the lack of significant weathering on the outside of frame 2 and it probably provided an improved means of access to the first floor chamber, the original access may have been in the east end of bay 1 where there are no original joists.


The two bay structure, possibly constructed by John at Fenne great great grandson of Gilbert at Fenne, is most likely to have been built as a detached kitchen as it meets all of the criteria used to identify these structures summarised as:

  • The plan form is non-standard for a house.
  • The absence of double height windows and the presence of few windows except for high in the walls.
  • The structure is located relatively close to the low end of a house of standard plan sited upon the same holding.
  • The building is easily entered from a standard house.
  • The ‘kitchen’ is smaller than the main house.
  • There are no indications of internal decoration such as mouldings.


Bay 3 was the open bay with the cooking hearth on the floor, the ground floor was open into bay 2 and the east outshot.  The room over bay 2 would have provided accommodation as would the room above the tie-beam in the same bay if it was floored at the time of construction.  Access to the first floor could not have been through the floor in bay 2 as this remains intact.  It could have been at the east end of frame 5 against the wall post but this would have descended into the open cooking area.  It seems more likely that it was a near vertical ladder from the outshot to a small access north of frame 5 and was the main reason that the outshot extended beyond frame 5 when constructed.  Detached kitchens were built for dominant properties between 1450 and 1550; the roof design was in use between 1470 and 1550; however the use of splayed jowls declined at the start of the 16th century and the joist sizes in bay 2 are consistent with the 15th century.  It is therefore plausible that this kitchen was constructed in the last quarter of the 15th century but possibly stretching into the 16th century.


The construction of a detached kitchen would only support a significant dwelling of which the only survival is the single bay. It is likely that it originally had a 2 or 3 bay open hall with a floored solar beyond or a solar crosswing.


The chimney was inserted into bay 3 probably in the mid to late 16th century to contain the smoke but still provide a cooking hearth with integrated bread oven, this is provided by the large fireplace opening into bay 2.  The building still appears to be utilised as a kitchen as there is no provision for heating any of the other rooms, there is no hearth in the rear of the chimney to heat bay 3 or an original hearth for the upper chamber.  As discussed before, bay 3 was floored once the chimney had been inserted and it would be reasonable to consider that these modifications occurred at the same time.


The infill joining the two structures is difficult to date but is probably 18th century based upon the roof having no ridge board and the size of the rafters.  Based upon the similar replacement roof upon bay 1, it seems likely that the largest portion of the main dwelling was lost at this time.  Also, the extended range does not appear on any mapping dating to the late 18th century but the status of the dwelling was still considerable in 1672 when it was occupied by Richard Thorpe who was the son and heir of Richard Thorpe of Hedgecourt.


Gibbshaven in the 16th and 17th Centuries

As previously established, the Fenner family, who probably held Gibbshaven from the late 1300’s, and were most likely responsible for its original construction and later extension, were still holding it at the beginning of the 16th century. 


In January 1535, Roger Aven (atte Fenne) granted the croft of land called Honneys, as well as a croft of land called Warnetts (located to the east of Honneys), to John Gage, lord of the manor of Hedgecourt.  Four years later in 1539, the Court Roll records the alienation of Honey’s alias Cuhling Croft, late of Roger att fenn, to John Payne, gentleman.  Unfortunately there are several John Payne’s in the area (including the Lord of the manor of South Malling- Lindfield) and it has not yet been possible to determine which one acquired the property.


In November 1542, John Payne holding Gybbes at fenne, sold six acres being part of Gybbes at fenne to John Jewell de Lymsfield.  These six acres probably refer to the property formerly known as Honey’s alias Cuhling Croft (later known as Little Gibbshaven).  Twenty years later in 1562, the Court Book for the manor of Hedgecourt records John Bysshe paying rent for Gibbs Att ffen, containing twenty acres at that date, but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine when John Bysshe succeeded John Payne at Gibbs Att ffen. 


John Bysshe

John Bysshe was born some time between 1520 and 1525 the son of Robert Bishe of Worth who married the daughter of Mr Bostock.  John Bysshe married Catherine (Mary) Glymin, the daughter of Thomas Glymin of Burstow, who was born some time between 1525 and 1530.  John and Catherine had at least four children, John born in 1554, and Matthew, William, and Anna, no birth dates known.


It is known that by 1562 John Bysshe had acquired Gibbs Att ffen but it has not yet been possible to determine the exact date.  However, in 1561, John Bysshe was acquiring land from Elianor Fenner, the widow of John Fenner (descended from Thomas Fenner of Crawley), and so it may be that Gibbs Att ffen was acquired around this date.  John Bysshe held Gibbs Att fenn until 1582 as his will records that he had settled the property on his son Matthew on the condition that he allowed his father John to ‘enjoy the premises’ during his life and that Matthew and his heirs should not alienate any part of the premises without license in writing from his father John or brother John or his mother Catherine or the heirs of John’s father after the death of his father John.  John Bysshe died on 26th June 1582 so Matthew must have acquired Gibbs Att fenn before June 1582.


At the time of the death of John Bysshe, Gibbs Att fenn was in the tenure of Andrew Stone and was described as ‘a tenement and certain parcels of land, meadow, pasture and wood adjoining in Woorth containing by estimation 26 acres called Gybbesaven’ ‘held of John Gage esquire as of his manor of Hedgecourt by fealty and rent of 18d and is worth 20s’.  It is not known how long Matthew Bysshe held Gybbesaven but by 1597 the Court Book for the manor of Hedgecourt record Thomas Thorpe paying the 2s 6d rent on Gybbesaven worth 20/-.


Thorpe/Saxby family

The Thorpe family arrived in the Hedgecourt area around 1527 when John Thorpe of Cudworth leased the manor of Hedgecourt from the Gage family, and together with John French and John Fawkner established the blast furnace later known as Warren furnace in Myll Wood (Furnace Wood), [for further information see Handout, Warren Furnace, SJC 01/00].  John Thorpe had married Alice Bowett and they had at least seven children, John born about 1560, Richard born in 1562, Maria born in 1564, Thomas born about 1567, Nicholas born in 1574, Gyles born in 1577 and Frances, date of birth not known.  It was John’s son Thomas who acquired Gybbesaven from Matthew Bysshe some time before 1597 and it is through this line of descent that Gybbshaven remained part of the Thorpe family until 1672.


Thomas Thorpe married Elizabeth Hamden, the daughter of Jasper Hamden of Eaton Bridge [Edenbridge] sometime around 1590 and they had at least five children, John born in 1593, Richard born in 1595, William born in 1598 and George and Alice whose dates of birth are unknown.  In 1593 Thomas Thorpe was recorded as a yeoman of Horne and by 1597 appears as holding Gibbs at Fenn in the Court Books for the manor of Hedgecourt.  In 1603 he was recorded as living at Gibbs at Fenn, but on his death in 1608 he was recorded as Thomas Thorpe, gentleman of Hedgecourt, Gibbs at Fenn and an interest in the manor of Hedgecourt passed to his son Richard.


In 1605, Richard Thorpe is recorded as ‘gentleman of Gibbs at Fenne’ implying that he had taken up residency at the property.  He married, although the name of his wife has not yet been established, and they had at least three children, George born in 1618, Richard born about 1622 and Elizabeth, date of birth not known.  On the death of Richard Thorpe in 1647, Gibbs at Fenne passed to his son Richard.  However, from a grant made in 1649, it would appear that Richard Thorpe junior did not reside at the property as the grant, for an annuity of £21 per annum to be paid to his sister Elizabeth Thorpe of Lingfield, was to come ‘out of a messuage called Wooton in Fowkington, Sussex, and 200 acres of land belonging, in occupation of John Staples, and 40 acres of meadow and pasture called Avery Land in Worth in occupation of Thomas Ridley and 20 acres called the Venn lands in Worth in occupation of Mercy Martyn, widow.  The said rent to be paid at the dwelling house of William Saxby called Newplace in Lingfield’.


The details of the grant are quite interesting with regards to Gibbs at Fenne, as it shows that Avery Land (later Avy Land) and Gibbs at Fenne were still held by the same owner but were occupied by two separate people at this date, and that Gibbs at Fenne contained twenty acres and was occupied by Mercy Martyn.  Unfortunately it has not been possible to determine who Mercy Martyn was.  However, by 1664 Richard Thorpe appears as gentleman of Gibbshaven, Worth, implying that he was residing at the property by this date.


Richard Thorpe not only owned and occupied Gibbshaven, he and his brother George also owned several properties in the area including the ‘Forgeman’s House’, ‘Woodcock pond’ and ‘Furnace lands’ in the Wiremill area [for further details see Handout, Wire Mill, SJC 07/06], and East Grinstead, although in 1651 they had lost their interest in the manor of Hedgecourt through seizure by the Sheriff for debts of £50 with £3 costs. 


On 19th September 1672 Richard Thorpe of Gibbshaven and his brother George (both gentlemen) sold Gibbshaven to William Saxby of Lingfield, gentleman. The indenture described the property as, ‘all that messuage, tenement and farm with the barns, stables, outhouses, orchards, gardens, lands, meadows, pastures, woods, underwoods, and trees, seedlings, [illegible], tenements and hereditaments there unto belonging commonly called or known by the Gibbs Aven containing by estimation 100 acres now or late in the tenure or occupation of Richard Thorpe his assignee or assigns.’  The one hundred acres mentioned here was probably made up from the site of Gibbshaven being about twenty acres, Little Gibbshaven being about eight acres, Avery Land being about twenty-three acres and Avery Land Wood being about twenty four acres, leaving approximately twenty-five acres as yet unidentified.  William Saxby was no doubt the same ‘William Saxby of Newplace in Lingfield’ who was to receive the annuity payment for Richard and George’s sister Elizabeth Thorpe in 1649.


William Saxby was born about 1600 and in about 1624 married Ann Thorpe, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Thorpe of Lingfield, (later Cudworth and Hurstpierpoint), brother of Thomas Thorpe who acquired Gibbshaven some time before 1597.  Before her marriage in 1624, Ann Thorpe had been working as a ‘servant’ for Mercy Turner née Thorpe, her great aunt, at Newplace in Lingfield. 


William Saxby was probably related to the John Saxby that appears in the Court Books of the manor of Hedgecourt from 1670, although no relationship has yet been conclusively established.  In 1641, William held seventy acres and two crofts of land in the manor of Hedgecourt, acquired three quarters of the manor of Starborough Castle in Lingfield from Lord Thomas Richardson some time around 1642, acquired Gibbshaven in 1672, and the final quarter of the manor of Starborough Castle in 1675.


On the death of William Saxby, his nephew William Saxby inherited his lands including Gibbshaven and these continued to be held by William until his death in 1735.


Gibbshaven in the 18th Century

As previously determined, at the beginning of the 18th century, Gibbshaven was held by William Saxby, nephew of William Saxby.  However in 1703 the Court Book for the manor of Hedgecourt recorded that it was ‘foredue a heriot worth 3/- and rent of 2s 6d’ on the reported death of William Saxby.  From the Court Book records, no courts were held for the freehold properties of the manor of Hedgecourt between 1670 and 1703 making 1703 the first opportunity to report the death of the William Saxby.  There is then another gap between 1703 and 1719 so it was not until 1719 that the court received payment of the herriot due on the death of William Saxby by his nephew, William Saxby, gentleman, who was recognised as his successor being admitted to Gibbs at ffen, described as a ‘messuage and garden with land adjoining containing by estimation [blank] acres’. 


It is not known for how long William Saxby held Gibbshaven as there is also a gap in surviving court records between 1719 and 1760.  However, William Saxby, the nephew, died in 1735 and was succeeded by his son, William, who died about 1744.  Therefore it is possible that the deaths of either William could have prompted the sale of Gibbshaven.  What is known is that in 1747 William Gage, the lord of the manor of Hedgecourt died and the trustees sold the Gage family’s interest in the area to Edward Evelyn, incorporating it as part of his already established estate at Felbridge.  As such the emphasis switched from Hedgecourt to Felbridge, although Edward Evelyn still retained the title of lord of the manor of Hedgecourt.  


In 1748, Edward Evelyn commissioned the Bourd map, a survey of his estate at Felbridge that describes the area of Gibbshaven and Little Gibbshaven as ‘Mr Green’s land’, suggesting by 1748 ‘Mr Green’ had acquired the freehold of  both Gibbshaven and Little Gibbshaven from one or other William Saxby.  This is confirmed in the records of the first court of the Evelyn family held by James Evelyn, son of Edward Evelyn, in 1760.  The first entry is for the presentment of the death of Francis Green who held the ‘messuage or tenement and certain lands called Gibbs at Fenn containing by estimation twenty acres’, ‘late the lands of William Saxby and before Thorpe’.  This was followed by the presentment of his son, Edward Green, to whom he had left Gibbshaven by his ‘last will and testament’.


Green/Cranston Family

Francis Green was probably born in the last quarter of the 17th century, although it has not been possible to ascertain exactly when, or who his parents were.  On 17th February 1707, Francis Green married Ann Head at Hartfield in Sussex.  Ann was born in 1685, the daughter of Edward Head, a mercer of East Grinstead, and Susanne his wife.   Francis and Ann had at least six children, Thomas born in 1709, Anne born in 1710, Mary born in 1712, Thomas born in 1714 (implying that their first son had died by this date), Jane born in 1716 and Edward born in 1719, all christened in East Grinstead.  Sadly, Francis’ wife Ann died young, and on 19th September 1721, he married Catherine Pickering at Withyham.  Catherine was born in 1691, the daughter of Edward and Barbara Pickering of Cuckfield, Sussex.  Francis and Catherine had two children, John born in 1724 and a daughter Catherine whose date of birth has not yet been established.


Francis Green amassed a considerable land holding in Surrey, Sussex and Kent during his life, including Mascatts Estate in Marefield from Francis Godman after the death of his father Edward Godman in 1707.  The Mascatts Estate was inherited by Francis Green’s son Edward who bequeathed it to his daughter Catherine, the wife of James Cranston in 1786.  The lordship then descended in the Cranston family.  Other local holdings include Estcots Farm and Frampost.  Estcots is situated near East Court and Frampost is situated between Dunning’s Mill and Saint Hill, both in East Grinstead.  In 1721 he also acquired Worsted Farm in East Grinstead and thirty acres of land in Keymer in Sussex from Edward Head, father of his wife Ann.  Francis Green later sold Worsted Farm to William Cranston, gentleman of London, on 16th June 1748. 


William Cranston was born in 1706 in Hastings, the son of Rev. James and Mrs Cordelia Cranston.  James was the Rector of St Clements and All Saints church and Cordelia, was the daughter of Rev. Thomas Delves, Rector of Bexhill.  William was the last of seven children born to James and Cordelia, the other six children being, James born in 1691, Cordelia born in 1694, Mary born in 1696, Thomas born in 1697 although he must have died as an infant as a second Thomas was christened on 3rd February 1701, and Elizabeth born in 1699.  As a point of interest, William’s sister Mary Cranston was the second wife of John Collier of Hastings who was related to Frances Gatty of Felbridge Place, and William Cranston was the London partner of the solicitor’s business that John Collier directed.


William Cranston married Mary Swaysland in 1730 and they had Henry born on 31st December 1730, James born in 1732, who went on to become a captain in the Royal Navy and married Catherine Green the daughter of Edward Green, Thomas born in 1734 and John born in 1736, who followed in his father’s footsteps and became a solicitor, all the children christened in London.  William’s wife Mary died young and he married Anne White on 16th June 1747 at Lincolns Inn Chapel, Holborn, in London. 


On the death of Francis Green in 1754, part of his holdings in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, including Gibbshaven and Harts Hall in Felbridge [for further details see Handout, Harts Hall SJC 07/05], passed to his widow Catherine Green for the remainder of her natural life.  On 8th November 1759 Francis Green’s daughter Catherine married John Cranston, the second son of William Cranston.  At first the couple lived in London where John was working as a solicitor, but in 1763 they moved to 39, High Street, East Grinstead, before moving to Frampost on the death of Catherine’s mother.  John and Catherine Cranston had two children, Edward born on 11th January 1761 in Holborn and Catherine born in East Grinstead and christened on 3rd November 1764.    


Catherine’s mother Catherine Green died in 1763, although her will was not proved until 3rd February 1768, in which Gibbshaven, along with much land in Surrey, Sussex and Kent passed to John Cranston as husband of Catherine, only daughter and sole heir of Francis and Catherine Green, as her only surviving brother, Edward, had also died in 1763.  In 1768, whilst living at Frampost, John Cranston embarked upon the construction of large family home calledEast Court inEast Grinstead, as he had inherited both Worsted Farm from his father William Cranston and Escots Farm through Catherine’s inheritance.  Unfortunately John did not enjoy his new home for long as he died in his early forties in 1781 and was succeeded by his son, Edward Cranston.


Edward, who had attended Westminster School and Pembroke College, Oxford, married Harriet Newland on 22nd April 1797.  Harriet was born in 1775 in Racton, Sussex, the daughter of Charles and Ann Newland, being on of four children born to Charles and Ann, the other three being Charles William born in 1773, Mary Ann born in 1777 and Sarah born in 1785, although the large gap between Mary Ann and Sarah would suggest there could have been other children who were not recorded.   


Edward and Harriet Cranston had five daughters, Harriet Catherine born in 1798, Mary born in 1802, Cordelia born about 1804, Emma in 1810 and Caroline in 1812.  Mary married Charles Nairn Hastie on 29th October 1839, who was born in 1809, the son of Charles and Frances Hastie of Placelands in East Grinstead, and was a solicitor. Cordelia married Rev. Charles John Paterson, former curate of East Grinstead and vicar of West Hoathly, on 10th November 1836 and they had Cordelia Isabella born in September 1837 in East Grinstead.  Cordelia Isabella married Rev G H Marriott.  Sadly, due to failing health Rev. Paterson unfortunately died on 22nd January 1837 and never saw his daughter.  On the death of Cordelia on 13th November 1847, Cordelia Isabella inherited her mother’s portion of the Cranston estate.


On the death of Edward Cranston on 7th January 1841, the name of Cranston died out in the East Grinstead area and Edward’s property was held in trust for his five daughters.  Gibbshaven was to remain as part of this trust until 1895 when it was put up for auction by the trustees.


It is unlikely that during the ownership of Gibbshaven by the Green/Cranston family, the property was occupied by them, it would have been leased out, although the a tenant is not known until 1780 when the property was under the ownership of John Cranston.  This tenant was Richard Taylor who was recorded as paying 2/- rent for the property in the Land Tax records between 1780 and 1807, except for 1802 when William Taylor paid it.  Unfortunately, nothing conclusive is known about either Richard or William Taylor. 


Gibbshaven in the 19th Century

During the 19th century, Gibbshaven continued to be leased by the Cranston family to a series of tenants and in 1808 Richard Taylor was succeeded by Thomas Stone.  The Land Tax records that Thomas Stone paid the rent on Gibbshaven between 1808 and 1811, then John Stone between 1811 and 1816, and Thomas Stone between 1816 and 1827.


Stone family

Thomas Stone was born in 1750 in Worth, the son of Thomas and Mary Stone, other siblings were Mary born in 1749 and Ann born in 1759.  Thomas married Ann Lock on 14th February 1775, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Lock, one of seven children.  Ann’s siblings include, Sarah born in 1743, although she may have died as an infant as a second Sarah was christened on 3rd March 1744, John born in 1746, Elizabeth born in 1748, Rachel born in 1751 and Thomas born in 1758.  Thomas and Ann Stone had five children, John born in July 1775, Sarah born in 1777, Elizabeth born in 1783, Mildred born in 1789 and Thomas born in 1793. 


It is probable that John Stone, paying the Land Tax between 1811 and 1816, was Thomas’s son, reverting to Thomas in 1816.  It also seems likely that John Lock, John Stones’ grandfather, was the ‘Mr Lock’ who appears in 1803 as part of Messrs Lock & Co paying the Land Tax on Hedgecourt Mill, being succeeded a year later by his son-in-law Thomas Stone.  Thomas continued paying the Land Tax for Hedgecourt mill until 1814 when his son John took over payment until 1832.  [For further details see Handout, Hedgecourt Watermill and Cottages, SJC 07/04].  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to link this Stone family with Andrew Stone who occupied Gibbshaven in 1579.


Edward Creasey

Edward Creasy took over the tenancy of Gibbshaven from Thomas Stone in 1827 and in 1839 the Worth Tithe records Edward Creasey at Gibbshaven and Henry Cresswell at Little Gibbshaven.  At this date Little Gibbshaven and Gibbshaven were both still owned by Edward Cranston, the son of John and Catherine Cranston, but were leased separately.


Edward Creasey was born in 1788 in East Grinstead, the son of Edward and Mary Creasey, one of nine children.  Edward senior was born in 1756, the son of George Creasey and his wife Mary née Card, and married Mary Collins on 7th April 1779 in East Grinstead, Mary being the daughter of Abraham and Mary Collins.  Apart from Edward, Edward and Mary had, Ann born in 1779, John born in 1781, Mary born in 1783, Sarah born in 1786, Susan born in 1792, Catherine born in 1794, Elizabeth born in 1797 and Philley born in 1799, all christened in the parish of East Grinstead.


Edward Creasey of Gibbshaven married Amelia Stone on 25th September 1813 in Southwark.  Amelia was born about 1788 in Horne, and may be related to the Stones who occupied Gibbshaven before Edward Creasey, although no definite links have yet been established as there are no baptisms recorded in the Horne Parish Registers between 1787 and 1789, other than a few that were later proffered on request.  Edward and Amelia Creasey had six children, Thomas born in 1814, Edward born in 1817, Louisa Frances born in 1820, Emily born in 1821, James born in 1823 and Ann born in 1825.  Their first child was christened in East Grinstead, and the last two were christened in Brighton, all the others were christened in Worth.  However, there is a John Stone christened in 1811 in East Grinstead, the son of Amelia Stone, so it is possible that he is also connected to the family. 


There is a possibility that Edward Creasey acquired Gibbshaven through a family connection between Amelia Stone and Thomas and John Stone who occupied the property until Edward took over in 1827, although this cannot be proved. 


In 1839, during the time that Edward Creasey occupied Gibbshaven, the Worth Tithe was produced giving a detailed break down of the land held, and its usage, which recorded that Gibbshaven comprised of seventy-two acres, consisting of:


Name                                     Use


176 E

Wood                                      W

05. 01. 03


Acre and a Half                       A

01. 02. 39


Three Acres                             A

03. 02. 30


Four Acres                               A

04. 03. 39


Three Acres of Wood              A

03. 03. 13


Six Acres                                 A

06. 01. 37


Two Acres at Garden               P

02. 00. 15


Long Meadow                         M

04. 02. 01


Pond Field                               A

06. 02. 18


Wheat Stubbles                       A

04. 02. 02


House Plat                               P

01. 00. 35


Homestead and Orchard

01. 01. 29


Kiln Plat                                 M

00. 01. 26


Barn Meadow                         P

02. 02. 18


Heavy Land Field                   P

03. 02. 27


Barn Field                               P

04. 00. 02


Three Acres                            P

03. 01. 16


Arable Field                           A

06. 00. 06


Six Acres                               A

06. 01. 38



72. 03. 34


In addition to Gibbshaven, Edward Cranston was also recorded as owning and occupying Little Gibbshaven consisting of 8a 2r 8p and field no. 357E known as Heavy Land Wood (a derivation of Avy Land Wood) in 1839 consisting of 24a 2r 9p, situated to the south of Hophurst Farm and abutting Burleigh Farm. 


An analysis of the whole of Gibbshaven in 1839, including the detached section, shows that the house, farm buildings and yard took up 1% of the farm.  61% of the land was used for arable, 24% was used for pasture, 7% was used as meadow land and 7% of the land was woodland.  For a more direct comparison of the part of Gibbshaven that later equates to Gibbshaven Farm in the 20th century, the house, farm buildings and yard took up 2%.  65% of the land was used for arable, with 12% was used for pasture, 10% was used as meadow land and 10% of the land was woodland.  The make up of the farm suggests that it was a mixed farm with both crops and livestock, although it is not known if it was cattle or sheep.


The large percentage of arable land suggests that the soil was either very fertile or had been well enriched over the years with fertiliser.  It is known that the Gibbshaven had its own lime kiln that produced quick lime, a favoured fertiliser from at least the 18th century [for more details see Handout, Lime Burning in Felbridge, SJC 11/02].  The position of Gibbshaven’s lime is identified by the field name ‘Kiln Field’, located on the bend of Hophurst Hill, now part of the garden of The Croft, formerly the milking parlour built at Gibbshaven Farm during the 1950’s as well as being marked on the 1878 Ordnance Survey map. 


Edward Creasey not only occupied Gibbshaven but also held land in his own right including Common Field, plot no. 186E, abutting Gibbshaven Farm to the north, as well as four acres with a cottage and garden, plot nos. 380M – 385M, which was occupied by William Charman in 1839.


In 1841, Edward Cranston died and, as already established, his estates including Gibbshaven and Little Gibbshaven were held in trust for his five daughters.  By this date it would appear that Gibbshaven had been divided with Edward Creasey and his family residing in part of the property, along with Samuel Goring whose age was given as fifteen, and Samuel Goring and his wife Sarah living in the other part. 


Samuel Goring

There are few details about the Goring family except that Samuel was born in 1787 in East Grinstead, the son of James Gorridge, [the name of Goring seems to be interchangeable with Gorridge and Gorringe], and his wife Amy née Tayler.  Samuel was one of seven children who also included, John born in 1775, Elizabeth born in 1778, Ann born in 1782, Hezekiah born in 1784, Phebe born in 1789 and Thomas born in 1792, all christened in the parish of East Grinstead.  Samuel Goring married Sarah Maynard on 2nd February 1807 in Worth, who had been born about 1787.  Unfortunately, no records have yet come to light about any children of Samuel and Sarah Goring although it is possible that Samuel Goring living next door with Edward Creasey was connected to them, and that David living with them and aged seven in the 1841 census may be a son.  However, it is known that by 1871 Samuel’s nephew was occupying Gibbshaven and further details on his family follow later.


It is not known when Edward Creasey and Samuel Goring left Gibbshaven, but by 1851 Edward had moved to Copthorne where he was farming a property of eleven acres.  It is also in 1851 that Gibbshaven was known for the first time as Gibbshaven Farm, being in the sole occupation of Henry Stanbridge and his wife Jane, along with two servants, James Deacon born in Godstone in 1837 working as a farm labourer, and Caroline Tibbles born in Lingfield in 1835 working as a house servant. 


Henry Stanbridge

Henry Stanbridge occupied Gibbshaven Farm from sometime around 1851 until between 1859 and 1861.  He was born on 27th January 1802 in Tatsfield in Surrey, one of seven children of Henry Stanbridge and his wife Jane née Boorer.  Henry’s siblings include, Jane born in 1793, Mary born in 1796, Sarah born in 1798, Catherine born in 1807 and Thomas born in 1812, all the children were christened at West Hoathly except for Mary who was christened at Ardingly and Sarah and Henry who were christened at Tatsfield.  Henry Stanbridge senior was born in 1764 in West Hoathly, the son of Walter and Mary Stanbridge, and was one of thirteen children that included, Thomas born in 1757, Mary born in 1759, Jane born in 1760, Walter born in 1762, Susanna born in 1766, Elisabeth born in 1768, Ann born in 1770, John born in 1772, Sarah born in 1774, Catherine born in 1776 although she may have died as an infant as a second Catherine was christened in 1778, and Hannah born in 1779.


Henry Stanbridge living at Gibbshaven Farm in 1851, had married Jane Langridge on 18th June 1831 at Horsted Keynes.  Jane was born about 1804 in Horsted Keynes but it has not been possible to determine her parents as there are two possible candidates born around this date.  It is also not known whether Henry and Jane had children as to date none have been found.


By 1841, Henry and Jane Stanbridge were living at Selsfield Common, Henry working as a carrier but by 1851 Henry and Jane had moved to Gibbshaven, Henry described as ‘a farmer of 50 acres employing one man and one boy, presumably James Deacon, who was also living at Gibbshaven with Henry and Jane, was the boy as he was recorded as a farm labourer. 


Henry Stanbridge continued to live and work at Gibbshaven Farm until between 1859 and 1861, as he appears annually in the local Post Office directories up until 1859.  However, by 1861 James Gorringe had succeeded Henry Stanbridge at Gibbshaven Farm.


James Gorringe

James Gorringe occupied Gibbshaven Farm from around 1860 until between 1881 and 1891, and was the nephew of Samuel Goring who had occupied Gibbshaven Farm in 1841.  James Gorringe was born about 1823 in Worth, the son of Hezekiah and Jane Gorringe.  Hezekiah Gorringe married Jane Tidy on 19th October 1807 in Horne, who had been born about 1788.  James was one of six children who included, Mary born in 1808, James born in 1814, although he appears to have died as James who was occupying Gibbshaven Farm in 1861 was christened in 1823, William born in 1818, John born in 1821 and Hezekiah born in 1827.


In 1841, James Gorringe was living in the Hedgecourt area, working as an agricultural labourer.  Five years later he married Mary Ann Wilkins on 5th September 1846 in Worth, the daughter of John and Jane Wilkins, who had been born in 1822 in Worth.  By 1851 James and Mary Gorringe had moved to Southwark and were living with James’ youngest brother Hezekiah, working as a coal carman.  In 1852, they had a daughter Mary Jane and in 1855 a daughter Elizabeth Ann, also known as Amy.  By 1861, the Gorringe family had moved back to the Felbridge area and were living at Gibbshaven Farm. 


In 1871, James Gorringe was recorded as ‘a farmer of 40 acres at Gibbshaven Farm’ but by 1881 James and Mary Ann Gorringe had moved to Little Gibbshaven.  Living with them were their two daughters who, in 1874, had both married a pair of Webber Brothers.  Mary Jane had married Thomas Webber of Parkfields, Crawley Down, and Elizabeth had married James Webber, [for further details see Handout, Parkfields, SJC 05/05].  It is not known when the Gorringe family moved to Little Gibbshaven or when James left the property, but in 1905 James Gorringe was recorded as a ‘retired farmer’ living at The Firs, London Road, East Grinstead.


By 1881 Gibbshaven Farm was occupied by Thomas Mitchell and his family who had moved there from Little Gibbshaven presumably at the time that James Gorringe and his family moved to Little Gibbshaven.


Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell occupied Gibbshaven Farm from around 1881 until sometime before 1891.  He was born about 1813 in Worth, the son of Henry and Jane Mitchell, and married Ann Terry on 16th November 1933 in Worth.  Ann had been born in 1816 in Worth, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Terry, being related to the Terry family who occupied Parkfields and later Acacia Cottage, Crawley Down Road, [for further details see Handout, Acacia Cottage, SO 07/03].  Thomas and Ann had seven children, Harriet born in 1834, Thomas born in 1836, James born in 1838, William born in 1841, Mary Ann born in 1843, Ellen born in 1846 and Henry born in 1849, the first three christened atEast Grinstead and the remainder christened at Worth.


In 1841, Thomas was working as an agricultural labourer and the Mitchell family were living in the cottage next to Shepherds Hole in Crawley Down.  By 1851 the family had moved to a cottage between Parkfields and Hophurst Farm and by 1861 they had moved to a cottage in the Snow Hill area before moving to Little Gibbshaven by 1871 and Gibbshaven Farm by 1881 where Thomas was recorded as ‘a farmer of 62 acres, employing one boy and one man’.


It is not known when Thomas Mitchell left Gibbshaven Farm but by 1891 Gibbshaven Farm was occupied William Richard Young and his family.


William Richard Young

William Young occupied Gibbshaven Farm from sometime before 1891 until sometime before 1901.  William was born in 1849 in Lingfield, the son of John and Sarah Ann Young, one of six children who included, Jane Penelope born in 1845, Henry born in 1853, Charles born in 1855, Gertrude born in 1853 and Thomas born in 1860, all christened in Lingfield.  William Young married Mary Jane Holman in 1885 and had at least six children, Easty Annie born in 1876, John born in 1888, Archibald born in 1890, Edward born in 1894, Aubrey born in 1897 and Lydia born in 1899, all christened in Worth. 


In 1871, William Young was working as a butcher but by 1881 he was living at Miles Farm, now Michaelmas Farm, off Copthorne Road, recorded as ‘a farmer of 37 acres’, and by 1891 William Young and his family had moved to Gibbshaven Farm.  The 1891 census records that living with the Young family was Mary Jane’s brother, Arthur Edward Holman, aged twenty-one working as a farm servant, as well as two visitors, Joseph Dean aged fifty-four and Job Dean aged forty-two, recorded as wire worker and tin worker respectively. 


In 1895 Gibbshaven Farm was put up for auction by George Head of Brook House, East Grinstead, and Joseph Turner of Moat Place, East Grinstead, as trustees of Edward Cranston who had died 1841, on behalf of his descendants.  Gibbshaven formed Lot 2 of ‘Two Small Farms’ totalling nearly fifty-four acres, Lot 1 being Little Gibbshaven.  Gibbshaven was described as ‘A Very Useful Farm’ and consisted of:


Pasture, Arable, and Woodland, situate on the opposite side of the road to Little Gibbs Haven, and also possessing a very extensive frontage to the main road.  The House, which is built of brick and partly tiled, and tiled roof, contains on the

First Floor – Three Bedrooms, large Landing, and numerous Cupboards.

Ground Floor – Living Room, Kitchen, Dairy &c.               


The Farm Buildings comprise Large Barn, with corrugated iron roof, Six-stall Cow Pen, Two-bay Cart Lodge, divided Yard with 4-Stall Ox-Stall, Two Cart Lodges, 3-Stall Stable, Toolhouse, Workshop, Implement Shed having Granary over, and Two Pigstyes.


Accompanying the farmhouse and outbuildings were nearly fifty acres of land, some twenty-two acres less than in 1839, which was divided as follows:


No. on Plan



185 & 186


04. 03. 33

187 & 193


05. 00. 09


 (small part in Lingfield parish)


05. 01. 28



03. 03. 10



06. 02. 02



02. 01. 32



04. 02. 16



06. 02. 17

814 & 825

(part of)


05. 01. 15


(part of)


02. 01. 13

828 & 826

(part of)


02. 03. 09

826, 827 & 825

(part of)

House, buildings, Land, &c.

00. 03. 37



49. 03. 21


The land was described as ‘in good heart and condition’ and it was stated that ‘it is not often that farms of this size come onto the market in this neighbourhood, and the sale offers a good opportunity for investment’.


At the time of the auction the property was tenanted by William Young, paying a rent of £50 per annum, with a Land Tax of £2 4/- per annum.  It is interesting to note that at the time of sale the property was subject to an annual quit rent of 13s 8d, a herriot on death or surrender, and was believed to be Copyhold of the manor of Framfield.  It is unclear why it was believed to have been held of the manor of Framfield by this date and, field 189 is partially in the parish of Horne not Lingfield.


A comparison of farming activity can be carried out between the details of 1895 and 1839, this shows that by 1895 the detached area ofHeavyLandand Heavy Land Wood had been removed from the acreage of Gibbshaven Farm in its sale.  Based on the removal of the detached land, Gibbshaven Farm was of almost effectively the same size in 1895 as it had been in 1839.


In 1895, arable land had dropped to just 20% of the farming activity compared to 65% in 1839.  Pasture had doubled in 1895 to 24% compared to just 12% in 1839, and meadow land had increased to 44% in 1895 compared to just 10% in 1839.  Woodland and the house and yard area remained unchanged between 1895 and 1839.  The increase in meadow land is indicative of the farm being used for livestock, either for sheep or cattle, with the meadow being used to provide hay for winter feed for the livestock.  The increase in pasture also supports this with livestock using it as summer feed.


It is not known when William Young left Gibbshaven Farm but by 1901 he was living at Little Gibbshaven Farm, so potentially he may have moved at the time of the auction in 1895.  In 1901 Edward Marden was recorded as occupying Gibbshaven Farm and may have been the purchaser of the farm in the 1895 auction.


Gibbshaven Farm in the 20th century

As already established, Gibbshaven Farm had left the ownership of the Cranston family with its auction in 1895 and that by 1901 Edward Marden was occupying the property and may have purchased the farm in 1895.


Edward Marden

Edward Marden was born in 1854, in East Grinstead, the son of Henry and Rebecca Marden.  Henry was born in 1824 in East Grinstead, the son of Harry and Marianne Marden.  Henry Marden married Rebecca Jeaner (Jenner) on 20th June 1845 in East Grinstead.  Marianne was born about 1822 in East Grinstead, one of seven children of Richard and Jane Jenner, who included, Jane, christened on the same date as Rebecca in 1824, Henry born in 1826, Sarah born in 1829, Mary Ann born in 1832, Martha born in 1834 and Eliza born in 1836, all christened in the parish of East Grinstead.


Henry and Rebecca Marden had six children including Edward, Richard born in 1848, Eliza Jane born in 1850, Hannah born in 1852, John Henry born in 1857 and Martha Sarah born in 1860, all christened in the parish of East Grinstead.  Edward Marden married Alice Elsey in 1877 in East Grinstead but she sadly died in 1882, and Edward then married Sarah Ann Smith on 3rd August 1884 in Kent.  Edward and Sarah had five children including, Kate born in 1886, Lillian M born in 1888, Percy Alfred born in 1889, Thomas Edward born in 1892 and Dorothy Mable born in 1894.  Kate and the last two children were christened in East Grinstead and Lillian and Percy were christened in Lingfield.


In 1881 Edward Marden and his family were living at Croft Cottage, next to Halsford House at North End, Edward working as a labourer.  By 1891, the family had moved to 4, Windmill Lane, East Grinstead, Edward still working as a labourer.  In 1901 the family were living at Gibbshaven Farm and Edward Marden was recorded as a farmer, and again in 1915, although by that date he had set up a nursery/market garden off Crawley Down Road, Felbridge, later known as Felbridge Nurseries, and by 1941 he was living at The Chestnuts, Crawley Down Road.


It is not known when Edward Marden left Gibbshaven Farm but he was succeeded by Alfred Searle sometime around 1915 and remained there until 1924.


Alfred Searle

Alfred Searle was born about 1873 in Copthorne, the son of Job and Mary Ann Serles.  Job had been born in 1828 in Amberley, Sussex, and married Mary Ann Terry, on 19th October 1867, who had been born in 1835 in West Hoathly, Sussex.  At the time of their marriage Job was recorded as a colt breaker but by 1867 he was recorded as a [game] keeper.


Alfred Searle was one of at least four children born of Job and Mary Ann, his siblings included, William Thomas born in 1869, Eliza Ann born in 1870 and Thomas born in 1875, the first child christened in Burstow, the next two including Alfred christened in Worth and the last christened in Crawley Down.


Alfred Searle married Mary, who had been who was born in 1876 in Worth.  Alfred and Mary had five children, Mary born in 1894, Ellen born in 1896, Beatrice born in 1900 and Alfred and Albert born after 1901, the first three children were christened at Copthorne.  In 1901, Alfred Searle was working as an engine driver and by 1915 he and his family had moved to Gibbshaven Farm, Alfred working as a farmer.  From family information, Alfred’s son Albert helped to run the farm and Alfred also used POW’s, camped in nearby Cuttinglye Wood, as labour to help run the farm during the war years.  Alfred and Albert also ran a haulage business from Gibbshaven Farm using a cart and the two shire horses that they owned, called Boxer and Jamie.


Gibbshaven Farm was put up for sale in 1920 by W H Martin, unfortunately it is not known when he purchased the farm and nothing is known about W H Martin except that he sold off Wards Farm in Felbridge at the same date.  Evidence suggests that Alfred Searle who had been occupying Gibbshaven Farm from at least 1915, purchased Gibbshaven at this date and remained there until 1924 when he too sold up, and eventually settled at Rashes Farm in Turners Hill.


The sale catalogue of farming stock 1920 gives an insight into the type of farm Gibbshaven was at the time of auction.  The dead stock included hay rakes and knives indicating that some of the land was put to meadow for hay for winter feed for livestock.  There was also a root pulper suggesting that turnips, mangolds or swedes may have also have been grown, again indicative of winter feed for livestock.  There was a large variety of dairy equipment including a milk separator and butter worker implying that the farm was run as a dairy farm.  This was confirmed with the list of livestock up for auction:


Cross-bred cow in milk, stocked October for 5th calf

Large-framed Shorthorn cow, empty

A 3-year old Cross-bred cow, stocked July

Shorthorn heifer that calved in October

A 14-month old Shorthorn heifer [young cow]

21-month old Shorthorn heifer

Weanyear heifer


Also advertised was an active brown gelding that was regularly worked at all farm work, forty pullets and ten hens.  Selling at the same time was a selection of carting equipment being sold by Mr Nickalls who was giving up carting work (possibly a carter working at Gibbshaven Farm), which included a dung cart, two trollies, horse harness and a 9-year old ‘powerful and active black cart mare’ that had been bred by Mr Nickalls.


In 1924, Gibbshaven Farm was again on the market and the sale catalogue of farming stock reveals that the farm was still predominantly run as a dairy farm, although 150 new sheep wattles were offered for sale which may imply there were some sheep on the farm.  The catalogue also details a large selection dairy equipment including cream bowls and squeegee, as well as butter boards and milking pails.  Also being sold with the farming stock were two stacks of 1923 ‘prime meadow hay’ and just over an acre of growing swedes and one and a half acres of growing mangolds.


There were also seven Rhode Island Red hens and one cockerel and eight White Leghorn hens, all reared in 1923, plus twelve Runner ducks.  Also advertised were a Terrier dog pup and five ferrets.  There were also twelve dairy cows and one steer for auction, all named and including:


Dumplin – mixed-bred cow, carved with 4th calf in August

Her heifer calf, (un-named)

Brindle – mixed-bred cow expected to calve before the Sale

Buttercup – mixed-bred cow stock January for 6th calf

Bubble – mixed-bred cow stocked January for 2nd calf

Strawberry – mixed-bred cow stocked February for 2nd calf

Spot – mixed-bred cow stocked June for 2nd calf

Lady – mixed-bred cow stocked July for 2nd calf

Titch – mixed-bred cow stocked July for 2nd calf

Pansy – mixed-bred cow stocked July

Tulip – mixed-bred cow stocked July for 4th calf

Red roan cow, empty

14½ -month old Steer [castrated male ox]


In 1924 Gibbshaven Farm was purchased from Alfred Searle by John Prevett who was to remain there until he retired from farming in 1946.


John Prevett

John was born in 1869 in Copthorne, the son of William and Jane Prevett.  William Prevett was born about 1839 in Burstow and worked for most of his life as an agricultural labourer.  In 1863, William married Jane, who had been born about 1843 in Worth, and, apart from John, they had five other children including, Emily born about 1865, Elizabeth born about 1866, George born about 1871, Rosa born about 1883 and Richard born about 1884. 


John Prevett married Catherine [Kate] Killick in 1890, who had been born about 1870 in Worth.  John and Catherine had at least six children including, Jane born in 1890, George born about 1892, Julia born in 1894, Kate born in 1906 and Annie born in 1908, all registered in the East Grinstead district, and possibly up to eight children with James [Jim] and Jack, dates of birth unknown.  In 1891 John Prevett was a farm labourer living at Duke’s Head Cottage but by 1901 he was working as the farm bailiff at Boyles Farm in East Grinstead, and in 1924 purchased and moved to Gibbshaven Farm.


A little is known about the lives of some of John and Catherine’s children, George Prevett married Emma Lynch on 5th October 1929 and they lived at Furnace Farm, Furnace Wood, in the 1930’s.  Edith married Arthur Edward Tingley on 16th April 1938 who was a gardener of 11 Bowers Place, Crawley Down.  Annie married Albert James Luxford in 1936 and lived at The Star Cottages,Copthorne Road, Felbridge.  James lived at The Spindles in Furnace Wood and he and his brother George worked Furnace Farm and helped work Gibbshaven Farm.


During the ownership of the Prevett’s, Gibbshaven Farm was run as a dairy farm although with free-range chicken and pigs, as well as some crops.  A childhood memory of Reg Houghton, who was Catherine Prevett’s great nephew, was of being sat on top of the bull that lived near the old barn opposite the house, much to his mother’s apprehension.  He also recalls the dog that used to live in the kennel beside the track through the farm yard that would bark at all and sundry that passed through the yard.


The following are a few more memories of Gibbshaven Farm from the time of ownership by the Prevett family:


Mud and Wellies in the 1930’s

‘When I was seven [1936], we moved into our new house ‘Oaklands’ in Furnace Wood, next door to my Nan’s bungalow.  We nearly always came in and out through Gibbshaven Farm entrance when we went to school or shopping.


Old Mrs Prevett always sold bunches of wild daffodil for 6d in the spring and in the summer she sold beautiful cherries with rosy cheeks by the lb.  She would have to get up early to pick the daffodils to beat the gypsies.


She seemed very old, with face and hair style not unlike Grandma Buggins in the Giles cartoons, but a very nice lady.  She wore dark dresses and was very well proportioned, covered all up with a large white pinafore.  Her husband was the exact opposite, he was tall and thin.  He always wore a black bowler hat, a jacket and britches and gaiters.


The thing that most intrigued me as a child was the fact that they had an internal well in the kitchen, all whitewashed.  To the right hand side, facing the house was a long low dairy.  I remember peeping into it with all its round shallow dishes full of cream for making butter all laid out on a stone shelf.


They kept pigs, chickens and cattle.  The pigs were kept in the stye that was attached to the old barn and they would travel to the market in East Grinstead by horse and cart under a net to keep them in the cart.  The yard in front of the barn next to the road way through the yard was the cow yard and the cow shed was in the out-shot of the barn.  There was a rick yard where the re-routed road now travels. 


One of their sons, George, owned Furnace Farm just down the road from the old folks, he had two horses but I don’t remember seeing horses at Gibbshaven.  In those days the road went through the middle of the farmyard.  The house and granary were on one side and the barns and pig stye on the opposite side.


I don’t remember any horses on the farm but George, who lived at furnace Farm had two shire horses, one white and one brown, called Bill and Boxer, we would often play in the hay loft of the stableon our way home from school.


It was always very muddy walking through the farm in winter.  There was a pond that over-flowed and made things worse.  The road was not made up; in summer it was full of dust and in winter full of mud.  People left their wellies in the hedge near the bus stop and changed into shoes to go into East Grinstead.’  Marion Jones née Pike, July 2007  


Wild Daffodils

‘I don’t remember much about Gibbshaven Farm but I do remember one incident when I was a child [1930’s] involving wild daffodils and Mr Prevett.


We lived off Felcot Farm and our land backed onto Gibbshaven Farm.  I remember one day I decided to clamber up the bank between our place and Gibbshaven to pick the wild daffodils.  Mr Prevett, from across the field, saw me and shouted that I was ‘stealing his daffodils’. 


I did not consider it to be stealing as I thought the bank was in our property, so I slid back down the bank and waited for awhile.  Thinking that Mr Prevett would have gone, I clambered back up the bank but unfortunately he had been waiting and I got told off for a second time!’  Betty Salmon née Subtil, June 2007


In 1946 John Prevett retired from farming and Gibbshaven Farm was put up for auction.  The sale catalogue confirms that the farm was still run as a dairy farm but that it had grown significantly since 1924, although the war years and the need to produce more food may have influenced the output of the farm.  Along with the basic dead farming stock required for making hay, there were several ploughs and a potato digger suggesting that crops for human consumption were also being grown.  Hay and straw for livestock feed included a part stack of 1945 meadow hay of about 1½ tons, a full stack of 1946 meadow hay of about 4 tons and another of about 10 tons, plus a part stack of oat straw.


In the 1946 sale, cattle included a 4-year old Roan Shorthorn bull described as ‘a good stock getter’, and twenty-one cows, almost double the number of the 1924 sale, and included:


Brooker – red Shorthorn cow stocked August for 4th calf

Roamer – red Roan Shorthorn cow stocked June for 4th calf

Buttercup – cross Guernsey cow stocked February for 5th calf

Bluebell – blue Roan Shorthorn cow stocked May

Grannie – cross Guernsey cow stocked May for 5th calf

Tiny – cross Guernsey cow stocked April for 4th calf 

Fattie – red and white Shorthorn cow stocked December of 3rd calf

Jennie – cross Guernsey cow stocked August for 4th calf

Star Poley – red and white poll cow, empty

Poley – red and white poll cow stocked March

Roan Shorthorn cow (un-named) calved March and suckling two calves

Her Roan heifer calf (un-named)

Two black and white weanyear heifers (un-named)

Three cross Shorthorn weanyear heifers (un-named)

Two cross Guernsey weanyear heifers (un-named)

One black and white weanyear heifers (un-named)

One blue and white weanyear heifers (un-named)


Gibbshaven Farm was purchased by Mr Dickson in 1946, believed to be a member of the Dickson & Church partnership, purveyors of seed and animal feeds from Forest Row.  Mr Dickson did not reside at Gibbshaven Farm and tenanted it out to Wilfred Cleverley and who remained at Gibbshaven Farm until 1964 when Mr Dickson decided to put the farm up for sale.


Wilfred Cleverley

Wilfred Cleverley took up the tenancy of Gibbshaven Farm in 1946, moving with his family from a farm in Danehill.  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to find much information on the Cleverley family other than Wilfred Cleverley married Dorothy sometime around the 1920’s and they had five children, Doris who grew up at Lavender Platt on Ashdown Forest where Wilfred was working, Walter James, known as Jim, who was born about 1923 and who sadly died at the age of forty-one in 1967, Janet, and twins Mary and William Michael, known as Mick, who were born at Groombridge.


During the Cleverley tenancy, Gibbshaven Farm was still run as a dairy farm and the following are the memories of Mick Cleverly who grew up at Gibbshaven Farm during the 1940’s and 50’s:


‘The Cleverley family moved there [Gibbshaven Farm] from Danehill [in 1946], being at Groombridge before that and Lavender Platt on Ashdown Forest before that.  The farm was rented from a Mr Dickerson [Dickson of Dickson & Church], a green grocer or something [corn merchant of Forest Row] who bought up a lot of property.  He had bought it off the Prevett’s.


During our time there it was a dairy farm with a milking herd of Frisians.  These were all milked by hand.  We also grew hay and turnips as feed for the cows.  Mr Dickerson [Dickson] had the dairy built opposite the farm, now converted as a bungalow called The Croft. 


The house was very old and very draughty!  There was a well in the kitchen which still had its chain and handle on it when I lived there.  I remember it well because I dislocated my finger when I caught it in it one day.  There were three bedrooms with a low ceiling to one that you could hit your head on.  There was a fairly large hall and a living room at the back with a big inglenook fireplace.  The living room was very draughty.  It had such a large inglenook that the heat all went up the chimney.  You had to almost sit in it to get some warmth, but your back was still cold.  There was no other heating in the house.


You walked into the kitchen off the path that led straight to the house, now it’s been diverted to run along in front of the house with a door in the other side wall.  The room to the right of the house had been a dairy and was still white washed out when we lived there.  It had a brick floor and it was so cold and damp that we never used it for anything except as a cold store if you had something to store that needed to be kept cold.


We never did anything to the farm because it was not ours, and we left Gibbshaven in 1964 when Dickerson [Dickson] sold it to the Aingers, and we moved to Pixie Wood Farm in Rowplatt Lane.’


In 1964 Gibbshaven Farm, by then in need of much renovation and improvement, was purchased by Stanley and Freda Ainger.  As a child I remember passing through Gibbshaven Farm when visiting my grandparents who lived in Furnace Wood and the following are a few of my memories of Gibbshaven farm in the 1960’s and 70’s:

‘I have several memories of Gibbshaven Farm as observed on regular visits to my grandparents as we nearly always entered Furnace Wood by the Gibbshaven Farm entrance off Crawley Down Road.


One of the first memories I have is of the big old barn being renovated by Mrs Ainger shortly after she and her husband moved into Gibbshaven Farm.  Over several weeks you would see her working away on it including re-roofing it with corrugated iron which was then painted brick red, all on her own as far as I could tell.


Under the Aingers, Gibbshaven Farm had sheep, and on occasions we would stop and watch the sheep dipping carried out by Captain Ainger assisted by Mrs Ainger, in the area to the right of the granary.  It was easy to observe as the road into Furnace Wood ran close by the sheep dipping area and dissected the farm yard in half.  During the late 1960’s an agreement was reached between Captain and Mrs Aigner and the residents of Furnace Wood that a new road would be cut into the Wood to the southwest of the old barn, on land supplied by the Aingers, and the old road was then blocked off to through traffic.  This action obviously gave more privacy to the Aingers as their house and outbuildings area were no longer divided but as a passer-by you could no longer get a good view of the sheep dipping.  Now, after forty years, the hedge has grown up and it is now quite difficult to even see the fine old house which is Gibbshaven.’ 

Stephonie J Clarke née Jones, July 2007 


Over the years the Aingers sympathetically restored the old house, barn and outbuildings and in 1983 the house was given a Grade II listing, along with the large barn.  The description of the house given as follows:


Half H-shaped building.  The whole building is timber-framed.  The east wing is 15th century with a Crown-post roof, the west wing is 16th century.  The latter has some timbering exposed with plaster infilling in its west front, but otherwise the building has been refaced with painted brick on ground floor and tile-hung above.  Hipped tiled roof with pentice [a small pent roof, one on a side of a building that is often restricted to the area above a door] to north-east.  Casement windows.  Two storeys.  Three windows in each wing.


The description of the barn given as follows:

Restored 17th century timber-framed building with red brick infilling, partly refaced with tarred weather-boarding.  Hipped tiled roof with pentice to east, west and south, the south face replaced by corrugated iron, painted red.


It is now known that the oldest part of the house pre-dates the date of 15th century date proposed in the listing, being the only surviving bay of a four or five bay structure dating to the last quarter of the 14th century, and the later section pre-dates the 16th century being originally built as a stand alone kitchen.


Whilst under the ownership of the Ainger’s, Gibbshaven Farm was a working sheep farm, with a few geese and a couple of riding horses.  As a consequence, the land usage was divided between pasture and meadow used as feed for the sheep.  The farm continued to be a working sheep farm until 2006, when after forty-two years of living at Gibbshaven Farm, Mrs Ainger sold the property and moved to smaller premises. 


Gibbshaven Farm is currently leased out by its new owner and has been reduced in size to 46.7 acres with the loss of Kiln Field, and the only livestock found on the farm are riding horses.  As a consequence, the current make up of the farm comprises of pasture that accounts for 4% of the land usage, meadow land that accounts for 94%, and the house and outbuildings make up 2% of the property.  There is now no woodland as it was felled during the second half of the 20th century and eventually grubbed out at the beginning of this century.




Godstone by U Lambert

Victoria History Histories - Surrey

County of Surrey by Manning and Bray

The Place Names of Sussex by J Glover

Lay Subsidy Roll, 1524, SRS 65

Hedgecourt Court Roll, SAS/G43/84, ESRO

Hedgecourt Court Book, 1599-1803, Box 3151, SHC

Lovaygne Grant – Charter Roll, 1366

'Detached kitchens in Eastern-Sussex' by David & Barbara Martin, VA 29 (1998), 85-91.

'Detached kitchens or adjoining houses?' by J T Smith, VA 32 (2001), 16-19.

'Detached kitchens or adjoining houses? - a response' by David & Barbara Martin, VA 32 (2001), 20-33.

Gibbshaven Survey by P Wood 1970 FHA

Draft O/S map 1805-8 FHA

1878, 1898 O/S map

Universal Dictionary

Aven/Gage grant, 1535, SAS/G43/30, ESRO

Arms of Sussex families by J Huxford

Fenner, Harleian Scoiety 1562, fos.84a and 85

Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames

Lay Subsidy Roll, 1332, SRS 10

Burgherssh v Badeselle, 1344, Feet of Fines, SRS 23

Nichols v Tannere, 1355, Feet of Fines, SRS 23

Bourd Map, 1748, FHA

Clayton papers, 1760, K61/2/75, SHC

East Sussex Land Tax, SRS 77

Census, 1851, FHA

Felbridge Place estate sale plan, 1911, FHA

Atte Fenne v Atte Fenne, 1317, SRS vol. 23

Aske/Fenn Commission, 1366, Calendar of Patent Rolls, WSRO

Fenner v Mortymer, 1400, Feet of Fines, SRS vol. 23

Hedgecourt Court Roll, SAS/G43/80, ESRO

Hedgecourt Court Roll, SAS/G43/85, ESRO

Sale Catalogue for Gibbshaven and Little Gibbshaven, 1895, FHA

Figg map of South Malling, 1839, ESRO

The Manor of Crawley, by N Hygate

The Iron Industry of the Weald by Cleere & Crossley

Ursula Bysshe by A Wright Algood

Inquisition Post-mortem – John Bysshe, gent, 1582, SRS vol. 197 no. 77

Handout, Warren Furnace, SJC 01/00, FHA

Handout, Wire Mill, SJC 07/06, FHA

Annuity Grant, 1649, SAS-M/1/178, ESRO

Sale of Hedgecourt Lease, 1651, SAS/G43/126, ESRO

Indenture, Thorpe/Saxby, 1672, ADD MSS 27202, WSRO

A History of Lingfield by Hayward & Hazell

Worth Land Tax, FHA


Sussex County Magazine, vol.7

Deed, Keymer and Worsted, 1721, SAS N/47, ESRO

Deed, Keymer and Worsted, 1748, SAS N/48, ESRO

Harts Hall, Handout, SJC 07/05, FHA

Deeds, Grubs, Mouses and Stafford Croft, 1725-1811, 2186/12/166-181, SHC

Some people of East Grinstead, 14, by M Leppard, EGC Nostalgia article, FHA

Some people of East Grinstead, 23, by M Leppard, EGC Nostalgia article, FHA

Will of Francis Green, 1754, PRO PROB 11/808/277

Will of Edward Green, 1763, PRO PROB 11/891/426

Will of Catherine Green, 1768, PRO PROB 11/936/154

Worth tithe map and apportionment, 1839, WSRO

Handout, Lime Burning in Felbridge, SJC 11/02, FHA

Schedule of Deeds for Little Gibbshaven, FHA

The History of East Grinstead, by W H Hills

East Grinstead Bulletin, vol. 39 p5, FHA

A History of East Grinstead, by M Leppard

Hedgecourt Watermill and Cottages, Handout, SJC 07/04, FHA

Horne Parish Registers, FHA

Census records, 1841, 1851, 1861, 8171, 1881, 1891, 1901

Post Office Directory, 1851-59, 1901-15

Parkfields, Handout, SJC 05/05, FHA

Acacia Cottage, Handout, SO 07/03, FHA

Little Gibbshaven fire of 1904, local newspaper article, CM

Sales Catalogue, 1920, RT/A/Z/71, MERL

Documented memories of W Searle, FHA

Documented memories of M Barnard, FHA

Sales Catalogue, 1924, RT/A/Z/68, MERL

Documented memories of D Luxford, FHA

Documented memories of R Houghton, FHA

Documented memories of M Jones, 1930’s, FHA

Documented memories of B Salmon, 1930’s, FHA

Sales Catalogue, 1946, FHA

Documented memories of M Cleverley, 1940’s-60’s, FHA

Gibbshaven listing, IoE no. 302868

Gibbshaven Barn listing, IoE no. 302869

Documented memories of S J Clarke, 1960’s, FHA



Our thanks are extended to Michael Barnard, Mick Cleverley, Reg Houghton, D Luxford, Marion Jones, Betty Salmon and W Searle for their memories of Gibbshaven in the 20th century, and to Mrs Frieda Ainger for allowing us access to the property and the information she had gathered during her ownership of Gibbshaven Farm.


SJC/JIC 07/07