Harts Hall

Harts Hall

Harts Hall, of living memory, stood on the site of what has now been developed as Felbridge Court, to the south of Copthorne Road, opposite the Star Inn.  This plot of land straddles the Sussex/Surrey county boundary being an inclosure of the waste previously known as ‘Grinsted Downe’ at Felbridge Water in the manors of Imberhorne and Hedgecourt.  However, a much older Harts Hall once stood on the Sussex side of the county boundary, slightly further west along the Copthorne Road, in the rear garden of what is now Strath Cottage.  This document attempts to chart the history and development of the plot from the older Harts Hall through to the Harts Hall of living memory.  It will also look at the development of the other buildings associated with both Harts Hall’s, both sides of the county boundary, some of the people that lived in the properties, the demolition of the last Harts Hall and development of the close of Georgian-style town houses that now occupy the site.


The first Harts Hall

The first documentary evidence of the use of the name ‘Harts Hall’ attached to a property in the area of Felbridge water is in 1711 when Thomas Sherman was admitted by grant to ‘Hartshall alias the Red Lyon’ at Felbridge Water containing by estimation five acres of land being five acres inclosed of the waste of the manor of Imberhorne formerly of Edward Sherman, deceased, and also a parcel of land of about one rood lying outside of the tenement inclosed of the waste of the manor, also  formerly of Edward Sherman deceased.  However, the development of this plot must have an older history than 1711 because for the property to be known as ‘Hartshall alias the Red Lyon’ implies that the property may have originally been called the Red Lyon and with a name like that the implication is that it had been used as an alehouse or inn before it acquired the name ‘Hartshall’, or vice versa.  To try to establish the history of the plot before 1711 means trawling through the archives of the manor of Imberhorne of which the plot was part of.  The surviving Court Books go back to 1691 and the earliest Rental Book to 1686 and in neither book is there a reference to a property by the name of Harts Hall or the Red Lion.  This would suggest that the plot was either known by a different name at these dates or was part of a larger property. 


One of the earliest documents relating to the manor of Imberhorne can be found in the Buckhurst Terrier of 1596/7, a survey of the lands held by the Sackville family, complete with maps.  The maps show that the manor of Imberhorne was bounded at its northern most edge by ‘Grinsted Downe’, unfortunately, the cartographer failed to draw the area of Felbridge water on which Harts Hall was located.  However, adjoining the Harts Hall area, to the south, were the ‘Customarie lands of Henry Mercer and Nicholas Terrie’ and it is possible that the area of Harts Hall fell within this holding.  The Terrier states that Henry Mercer ‘held by copy’, that is to say the property was a copyhold property and not freehold, ‘land called Pulters alias Mercers land, five crofts sometimes Redneys, and a garden lying towards Picknock field’ amounting to twenty acres, granted to him on 9th May 1560, for which he paid 6s 6½ d rent.  Unfortunately the bounds of Henry Mercer’s holding are not listed but the map shows the position of his holding to be bounded by the demeane lands of the manor of Imberhorne on the south and west, Grinsted Downe to the north, and it abutting the ‘Queen’s highway’, now the London Road [A22], on the east side with Grinsted Downe beyond.  This area would now encompass all of the land from Imberhorne Lane to Felbridge Water as far back as the Birches Industrial Estate.  Nicholas Terrie is recorded as holding by copy land called Rowcroft of about three acres, granted to him on 22nd September 1581, for which he paid 1/-.  The bounds are given for Rowcroft being with the demeane lands of the manor of Imberhorne on the east, south and west, and East Grinstead Common on the north.  P D Wood of the East Grinstead Society identified this to be the southern most end of the ‘customarie lands of Henry Mercer and Nicholas Terrie’ as depicted in the Buckhurst Terrier. This is the only part of the Imberhorne holding to which such a description would apply, it is now the roadway to the Birches Industrial Estate and the front section of the Birches Industrial Estate up toImberhorneSchool.


As previously stated, the area on which Harts Hall was located does not appear by name in the Rental Book of the manor of Imberhorne in 1686 although it may be part of a possible two copyholds.  Either as part of ten acres of land lying adjacent to Mercers land lying by the Heath of East Grinstead, formerly held by Drew Peverall, for which Thomas Squires was paying 3s ½d, or as Picknotts Croft held by Elizabeth Browne, a widow, for which she was paying 6d, along with fourteen acres of Mercers land lying near the Heath of East Grinstead for which she was paying 2s 10d.  Picknotts Croft may equate to the garden lying towards Picknock field in the Buckhurst Terrier.  A third possibility is that Harts Hall may be Borers Croft with a barn and three acres of land, formerly held by Thomas Borer, lying by the Heath of East Grinstead for which John Eastland was paying 1/-.  However, Borers Croft would appear to equate to Rowcroft held by Nicholas Terrie in 1596/7, and therefore this holding is at the wrong end of the lands held by Henry Mercer and Nicholas Terrie in the Buckhurst Terrier and can thus be eliminated.  John Eastman also held two small pieces land of about three acres formerly part of Mercers land lying by the Heath in East Grinstead formerly held by Drew Peverall for which John Eastman was paying 1s 2d.  What is evident from the Rental Book is that Henry Mercer’s holding of Pulters alias Mercers land in 1596/7 had been divided by 1678 being held by Thomas Squires, Elizabeth Browne and John Eastman. 


The archival records then disappear until 1711.  However, in 1714 the Court Book for the manor of Imberhorne records the presentment of the death of Mary Carr, spinster, who died on 18th August 1712, holding ‘Hartshall alias the Red Lyon’ near Felbridge water with a barn, stable and land in East Grinstead, ‘before Shermans and before Homewoods’.  Mary Carr was born in January 1625, the daughter of Alan and Margaret Carr, making her eighty-seven years old when she died.  Mary Carr had appeared in the court records prior to the presentment of her death.  In 1678, she surrendered ‘into the hands of the lord of the manor of Imberhorne’ all her lands within the manor until her death when her last will and testament would be evoked and enacted upon.  This means that from 1678 for the duration of her life, Mary’s lands would be granted by the court to others, as long as the person abided by the terms and conditions of use that had been set out by her.  Mary Carr appeared in the court records again in 1693 when she, along with George Evelyn and Richard Cooper, were ordered to pay a fine for the ‘incroachment of land belonging to the manor of Imberhorne’.  This implies that who ever held Mary’s lands in 1693, possibly Richard Cooper, illegally enlarged the holding.  Unfortunately the Court Book does not record the extent of the incroachment or the exact location but it would seem likely that the incroachment was related to area around Harts Hall, as this was the land that Mary Carr had passed into the hands of the lord of the manor in 1678, and that the incroachment may have taken part of the waste of East Grinstead Common that was abutting her property.


The presentment of Mary Carr’s death records the names of the two previous holders of Harts Hall.  The name of Sherman relates to the 1711 entry in the Court Book for Thomas and his father Edward Sherman suggesting that they both held Harts Hall for some of the time that the property was held by the lord of the manor during the lifetime of Mary Carr.  ‘Before Homewood’ indicates that someone named Homewood held the property before the Shermans.  The name Homewood can be found in the Buckhurst Terrier and was a fairly common name in the area in the 1600’s.  It is possible that the Homewood connected with Harts Hall had descended from the Buckhurst Terrier reference.  However, without a specific date or first name the correct Homewood holding Harts Hall cannot be identified, nor are there any entries in the Court Books connecting Homewood with Harts Hall.  As the property was known as Harts Hall alias the Red Lyon by 1711, this suggests that both names pre-date the association with Homewood, and as the property is ‘alias the Red Lyon’ this implies that someone by the name of Hart held it before or after it had been known as the Red Lyon.  Again no reference to Hart and the Red Lyon can be found in the available Court Books, although there are several people with the name Hart[e] in the area during the late 1500’s to late 1600’s.  From the documentary evidence, it would appear that Harts Hall or the Red Lyon was built after 1596 and, being known as the Red Lyon suggests that it was operating as an ale house or inn at some time.


On the death of Mary Carr in 1714, her last will and testament granted the copyhold of Harts Hall to Catherine Newman, the wife of James Newman of Oxted in Surrey.  This included ‘All that customary messuage or tenement, barn, stable and lands thereunto belonging with the appurtenances called Hartshall alias the Red Lyon near Felbridge water in East Grinstead above said, now or late in the occupation of Henry Cooper or his assigns’.  The will stated that Catherine Newman  ‘and her assigns’ were entitled to the property ‘during the term of her natural life and that the said Catherine Newman shall from time to time during her life keep the buildings and the said messuage in very good and sufficient repair’.  The will also stated that on the death of Catherine Newman, the property was to be granted to Catherine, the daughter of John Pickering of Cuckfield in Sussex.


Catherine Newman held the property until 1747 when the Court Books record the presentment of her death.  The entry in the Court Book gives precise details of the property ‘a moiety [share] of a messuage or tenement called Harts Hall otherwise the Red Lyon at Felbridge water and of one barn, one stable and certain lands thereto belonging containing by estimation five acres with appurtenances in East Grinstead, formerly Shermans, before Homewoods and since Carrs, paying 6d and also a moiety of the same premises formerly Shermans and before Homewood paying 6d’.  It is possible that the first description of the messuage, barn, stable and five acres of land equates to Picknott’s Croft as held by Elizabeth Browne in 1686, this would imply that Harts Hall alias the Red Lyon had been built between 1596 and 1686 to appear as Picknott’s Croft (an enclosed piece of land by a dwelling) in 1686 when it was only a garden lying towards Picknock field in 1596/7.


On the death of Catherine Newman in 1747, and under the terms of the last will and testament of Mary Carr, Harts Hall with its barn stable and five acres of land was granted to Catherine the daughter of John Pickering.  By this date Catherine Pickering had married Francis Green and on 6th October 1747, the Court Book records the admission of both Catherine and Francis Green to the property for ‘their use during their natural lives and the life of the longest liver of them’ at a cost of £5 5/- each.  It is just one year later, in 1748, that the first depiction of the property called Harts Hall can be found.  This depiction is on the Bourd map, commissioned by Edward Evelyn to show the extent of his estate at Felbridge.  Outside the bounds of his estate, situated on the northern extremity of East Grinstead Common, on the Sussex side of the county boundary, west of what is now the Star Inn, is a dwelling house.  We know it is a dwelling house as Bourd was very particular in his use of roof colour to denote the difference between houses and barns, and we know it is Harts Hall because it was the only property on the north of Felbridge Water recorded in the Imberhorne Court Rolls.  When a modern Ordnance Survey map is superimposed onto the Bourd map, Harts Hall stands within what is now the back garden of Strath Cottage.  All of the buildings of the Star Inn and the Felbridge Place complex as well as the field boundaries align with their current locations demonstrating the accuracy of the Bourd map.


The Court Book for 1754 records the death of Francis Green and the surrender by Catherine Green, his widow, of the moiety of Harts Hall along with the barn, stable and the five acres of land to the lord of the manor until her death when her last will and testament would be evoked and enacted upon, the same action as taken by Mary Carr in 1678.  During the time that the property had been entrusted to the lord of the manor by Catherine Green, Harts Hall had been in the occupation of Robert Knight who operated a haulage company, known as Knights Carriers, from the property.  The surviving account books of Knights Carriers make reference to him paying ‘Mrs Green £10 for rent’, along with detailed accounts of many of his journeys including cannon from Warren furnace, timber from Imberhorne and cereals such as ‘ots’ from many of the farms in the local area.  Map evidence dating to 1768, suggests during the occupation of Robert Knight a second building was erected in front of Harts Hall, on the Surrey side of the county boundary, abutting the Copthorne Road, but being on the Surrey side of the boundary it does not appear in the records of manor of Imberhorne as it was constructed on land belonging to the Felbridge estate under the manor of Hedgecourt.


In 1779 the Imberhorne Court Books record the death of Catherine Green ‘relict of Francis Green’ who died holding the moiety of Harts Hall along with the barn, stable and five acres for which she was paying 6d, and another moiety of the same for which she also paid 6d.  The presentment of her death evoked the terms of her last will and testament dated 22nd August 1763 that devised to John Cranston of Johnston’s Court, Fleet Street, London, gent, and Catherine his wife, ‘all and singular my messuages, lands, tenements and hereditaments both Freehold and Copyhold within the kingdom of Great Britain or elsewhere’, which included Harts Hall along with the barn, stable and the five acres of land and part of Mercers lands.  John Cranston and his wife Catherine immediately surrendered to the lord of the manor ‘all and singular customary messages, lands, tenement and hereditaments holden of the manor to the use and behoof [benefit] of such person or persons to for and upon such trusts ends intent and purposes as the said John Cranston shall in and by his last will and testament declare, direct and appoint’, and it was his ‘intent and purpose’ that William Gibson of East Grinstead, gent, be admitted.


John Cranston held Harts Hall along with the barn, stable and the land until his death in 1781.  On the presentment of his death at the court of the manor of Imberhorne, the land description had been modified to read: ‘Harts Hall alias the Red Lion along with the barn, stable and ten acres of land paying yearly 1/-’.  It was not until 1783 that Catherine Cranston the widow of John Cranston was presented at the manor court and was admitted to Harts Hall.  She in turn handed the property to the lord of the manor for ‘the use and behoof of such persons as directed by her last will and testament’.  Two years later Edward Cranston the only son and heir to John Cranston was admitted to the court for Harts Hall along with the barn, stable and ten acres of land, and at that court Edward surrendered the property to the lord of the manor with all ‘intents’ to his mother Catherine Cranston.  A year later on 20th November 1786, Catherine Cranston surrendered the property and Thomas Uridge, a wheelwright of Godstone, was admitted to the property.


In 1787, Thomas Uridge surrendered the property to the lord of the manor for the use of Thomas Walter, a tanner of East Grinstead.  In 1798, the death of Thomas Uridge was presented at court and Harts Hall and ten acres of land was conditionally surrendered to John Brooker and William Wickering, John Brooker being admitted to the property on agreement to abide by the uses declared in the last will and testament of Thomas Uridge.  Unfortunately, John Brooker only held the property for about a year as he too had died by the date of the next manor court on 11th November 1799 but it was not until two years later in 1801 that John Franks and Melanethon Sanders were admitted to the property.  Map evidence suggests that during the time that Melanethon Sanders held Harts Hall the small building on the Surrey side of the county boundary, that had been erected during the occupancy of Robert Knight, was extended creating a U-shaped two-winged building, the wings extending towards the road.  This building stood on the site of what is now the property owned by the Bentley Group at 9A Copthorne Road, to the east of the old Felbridge Institute, now Southey House.


In 1808, Harts Hall was surrendered by Melanethon Sanders to John Uridge and a year later, in 1809, the property was granted to William Muckamore, along with Mercers land and Rowcroft, reuniting the land held by Henry Mercer and Nicholas Terrie back in 1596/7.  William Muckamore was a timber merchant from Newington in Surrey and from 1811 occupied the property after the departure of Robert Batchelor in 1810.  During the ownership of William Muckamore from to 1808 to1822, there is evidence to suggest that the site of Harts Hall saw several alterations, with the Land Tax records implying that from 1821 there were two dwelling houses within the site; however, it is not until 1840 that this can be confirmed by map evidence.  On 24th January 1822, William Muckamore sold to John Cuthbert Joyner, for £1,850.00, the ‘undivided moiety of a messuage or tenement called Harts Hall otherwise the Red Lion at Felbridge water and one barn, one stable and certain lands thereunto belonging of about ten acres with the appurtenances in East Grinstead’, plus, ‘all that barn, buildings and certain customary lands with the appurtenances thereunto belonging parcel of land called Mercers abutting a certain lane leading from East Grinstead Common to Hazelden Cross, of about sixteen acres, and all that piece or parcel of land lately incleared from the water of the manor called Felbridge Heath in the parish of East Grinstead, aforesaid containing about three acres abutting Harts Hall’.  John Cuthbert Joyner took up the occupation of the property and resided there for the next seven years until 1830 when he leased his holding to Captain Jevin and Abraham Cotton.   


John Cuthbert Joyner had been born on 2nd May 1789, the son of John and Elizabeth Joyner, being christened on 29th May at St Gabriel in Fenchurch, London.  On 25th August 1813, John Cuthbert married Mary Knox Child at St Magnus the Martyr in London.  Their daughter, Mary Child Joyner, who was born in 1815, married William Stenning of Halsford House, North End, East Grinstead, in about 1839.  They had George born in 1841, Harriet M born in 1843, Frederick Stoveld born 1845, Charles born 1849, Walter Kensden born in 1849 and Adela born in 1859.  The Stenning family were timber merchants that had been in the Felbridge area for several generations holding such farms as Newchapel Farm, Park Farm and Smithfords before building their family home, Halsford House, which are now the sites of Silver Court Residential Home and the close of houses called The Stennings off the London Road.  On the death of Mary Knox Joyner in 1870, a stained glass window was commissioned for the south wall of St John’s Church, Felbridge, to commemorate her life and the lives of John Cuthbert Joyner, her husband, who had died in January 1850, and two of their grandchildren Walter Kensden Stenning and his younger sister Adela, who had both died in 1859.  [For further details see Stained Glass of St John’s the Divine, Fact Sheet SJC 07/02ii]


In 1834, John Cuthbert Joyner was granted the freehold of Harts Hall by the R. Hon. Mary, Countess of Plymouth, the then holder of the manor of Imberhorne, and on 18th February 1834 John Cuthbert Joyner sold the property to William Southey, a blacksmith of East Grinstead.  William Southey had been born about 1805 and married Mary Brooker of Burstow, Surrey, born about 1897, on 31st March 1831 at St Dunstan, Stepney, London.  William and Mary had three children, Ann born in 1831, Elizabeth Carey born in 1833 and John born in 1836.  Sadly, William Southey died in March 1838 and he left his property to Mary for the rest of her natural life, when it was to pass to his son John, who at the time of his death was only two years old.  In the meantime his lands were to be held in trust by George Head, a linen draper of East Grinstead, Thomas Brooker, a farmer of Burstow and related to Mary, and John Dives a farmer of Bysh Court.  John Southey was later apprenticed to George Head.


Harts Hall of the 19th century

The same year that William Southey died, 1838, the Land Tax records imply that a third dwelling house had been built in the area of Harts Hall, one of which had been known as Felbridge Cottage since 1835.  Map evidence from the East Grinstead and Godstone Tithe maps of 1840 and 1844 show that there had been much development since the Rocque map of 1768 or even the Ordnance Survey draft map of 1805.  The original building known as Harts Hall appears as two separate structures and a building is shown where the Harts Hall of living memory stood, close to the London Road [A22], along with a structure where Long Wall now stands.  The original Harts Hall site, showing as two separate buildings, could mean that a second building had been constructed next to it or that the original building had been demolished and replaced by two or that the original building had become dilapidated and the central section had been removed.  It is possible that the two dwelling houses referred to in the Land Tax records from 1821 could be the pair of cottages that now forms the house called Long Wall abutting the Copthorne Road.  The building on the Surrey side of the boundary, constructed during the time that Robert Knight held the site, had also changed, no longer having wings at each end, again a possible rebuild or removal of the wings, or infill between the wings.  


The East Grinstead Tithe map and apportionment of 1840 records the owner and occupier of the land that encompassed both Harts Hall and the Harts Hall of living memory (called ‘the last Harts Hall’ from this point), along with the lands held by Henry Mercer and Nicholas Terrie in 1596/7, as John Hawes.  The Land Tax also shows that John Hawes was the owner occupier of Felbridge Cottage from 1840 until 1844, being part of the holding of William Southey deceased.  The East Grinstead Tithe apportionment records that John Hawes owned a dwelling house, offices, orchard and two cottages.  Unfortunately, the cartographer for the East Grinstead Tithe map was not very accurate when it came to the details but does show a building on the site of Harts Hall, plus a second one next to it, a long building abutting the county boundary on the site of what is now Long Wall and a building on the site of the last Harts Hall, all in field no.2315.  It is not clear whether the ‘pair of cottages’ relate to the property now called Long Wall or whether this was the offices or what the original building that had been called Harts Hall was being used for.  Along with the buildings, John Hawes also held just over twenty-six acres of land.







Dwelling house, offices, etc

00 03 26



00 03 02



03 02 29



02 03 26



02 00 28


Meadow and plantation

01 03 22



02 03 14



01 01 16



04 00 24



02 00 14



01 03 14



02 00 19



26 02 34


By 1840, it has become apparent that the manorial description for the area known as Harts Hall with one barn and one stable bears little resemblance to the actual number of buildings that had had been constructed there over the years.  It has also become apparent that the only census entries for this area appear under the parish of East Grinstead although by this date there is one dwelling house in the area, across the county boundary in the parish of Godstone.  There are two possible reasons for this, either the occupiers of the property in Godstone were mistakenly included in the East Grinstead census, or, not recorded at all!  Based on these findings, it would appear that in 1841, Robert Hawes and his family were living at the last Harts Hall.  Robert was born in 1799 and was working as a tanner.    


Robert Hawes was married to Elizabeth, who was born in 1796, and living with them were their children, Eliza born in 1826, Richard born in 1828 and George born in 1832.  They had two servants, Mary Allsop aged sixteen and Ann Marden aged twenty-two.  Also living within the household was Bernard Percy a clergyman born in 1790.  The census records the next property, presumably one of the cottages, as occupied by Edward Walker, a shop keeper born in 1780, along with his wife Elizabeth also born in 1780, their unmarried daughter Eliza born in 1821 and a four-year old boy called Henry Phelps.  The next property, presumably the other of the two cottages, was occupied by George Groves, no occupation given, who was born in 1811, with his wife Margaret, the same age, along with their children, Esther born in 1831, George born in 1833, Elizabeth born in 1835 and Emma born in 1847. 


For the Surrey side of the county boundary you need to look at the Godstone Tithe that was completed four years later in 1844.  This shows that the strip of land between the county boundary and what is now the Copthorne Road was owned by copyhold by Richard Hawes and occupied by Thomas Walker, who does not appear in either the East Grinstead or Godstone census of 1841 for this area.  This small strip included a cottage and garden and part of field 2317 from the East Grinstead Tithe that straddled the county boundary.  The only building depicted on the Tithe map in this area was on the site of the structure depicted on the 1805 Ordnance Survey map abutting the county boundary, standing south of what is now the Copthorne Road, in the vicinity of what is now the building owned as part of the Bentley Group.









Cottage and gardens



Common Field






The Hawes family appear to have moved to Felbridge from the London area, as Richard was born in Fulham, although his father Robert was born in Blockley, Gloucester.  Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to determine whether John Hawes of the 1840 East Grinstead Tithe was any relation of Robert.  What is known is that in 1851 son Richard Hawes was working for Charles Goodwin of Tilkhurst and that by 1861, Robert Hawes and his wife (recorded this time as Frances), were living at Oak Cottage, now Ann’s Orchard in Crawley Down Road, [for further details see Ann’s Orchard, Fact Sheet SJC 05/01], where he was farming ten acres with his son Richard who had moved back from Tilkhurst.  From the available evidence, Robert Hawes moved to Oak Cottage in August 1850, when he sold Harts Hall at Felbridge water along with a barn, stable and ten acres of land, along with a barn, buildings and a further ten acres of land called Mercers, and also three acres of land enclosed from Felbridge Heath bounded by Harts Hall and a plot of a quarter of an acre of land lying near Felbridge water formerly planted with hops in the occupation of John Banks, formerly of Robert and Elizabeth Wood, to William Pearless of East Grinstead for £1,200, for the use Henry Danson of Hampstead, Middlesex.  Unfortunately, the schedule does not appear to have been updated from the previous transactions and map evidence suggests that there are more buildings involved in the sale to William Pearless than are recorded in the schedule.


In 1851, the census for the area known as Felbridge water lists Thomas Currie occupying the last Harts Hall with his wife Mary Ann and daughter Mary, along with two general servants, Harriet Belton aged nineteen from Horne and Hannah Olds aged thirty-three from Adderbury, Oxfordshire.  Thomas Gibbon Currie was born in 1815 in Haverfordwest, Pembroke in Wales, son of George Currie.  In 1851, Thomas was listed as a fund holder implying he was a man of independent means.  He had married Mary Ann Danson on 25th May 1845 at Old Church, St Pancras in London.  Mary Ann had been born on 17th October 1805, the daughter of Thomas and Jane Danson of Westminster, London, being an older sister of Henry Danson who had been given the right of use of the Harts Hall area by William Pearless on its purchase from Robert Hawes.  Sadly, Mary Ann died shortly after 1851 and Thomas Currie emigrated to Sydney, Australia, where he married Rosa Baird on 9th January 1855.  At the date of this marriage, Thomas was listed as a veterinary surgeon.  Thomas and Rosa had one daughter, Marjory Catherine Leith Currie; unfortunately it is not known what happened to his daughter Mary by his first wife Mary Ann.


The next two properties in the census were occupied by Elizabeth Walker, along with her daughter and son-in-law, and George Belton and his family.  The property that followed the last Harts Hall was occupied by Elizabeth Walker, aged sixty-eight, being described as a shop keeper.  She was the widow of Edward Walker from the 1841 census.  Living within her household was her daughter Georgianna who was born in 1817 along with her husband James Mitchell who was born in 1810, and their son, Elizabeth’s grandson, Edward who was ten months old.  From this census we know that Elizabeth Walker had been born in Chichester and that her daughter had been born in Hanover Square, London, implying that the Walker family had also moved to Felbridge from the London area.  The next property, the second cottage, was occupied by George Belton an agricultural labourer born in Horne in 1827, with his wife Jane, also born in Horne but two years later in 1829, and their daughter Ann born in East Grinstead, probably in this cottage, in 1850.


In 1855, John Danson, esquire, was recorded of Harts Hall in the East Grinstead Post Office Directory, but he had left by October 1854 when he transferred the property to William Pearless. In 1856, William Pearless agreed to sell the property to John Archer for £1,400.00, however, John Archer had already negotiated a higher selling price of £1,725 for the property with Thomas William Thompson and requested that Thomas Thompson should pay the asking price of £1,400 to William Pearless and the difference between the negotiated sale prices, £325, to himself, John Archer.  In 1858, Thomas Thompson, esquire, was listed of Harts Hall suggesting that he may have been residing at Harts Hall, but two years later in 1860, George Byer Yeats occupied Harts Hall paying £50 per annum for Harts Hall and Mercers.


George Byer Yates was born in London in 1797 and married Charlotte Eckford on 19th June 1824 at Bridewell Chapel in London.  Charlotte had been born in 1801 the daughter of John and Sarah Eckford in Holborn in London.  George and Charlotte had four children, Charlotte Eliza born in 1826 who had died by 1834, Henry George born in 1828, George Samuel Knight born in 1831, and a second Charlotte born in 1834, all christened at St Botolph without Aldgate in London.  For most of their married life George and Charlotte lived at 3 and 4 Lower East Smithfield, London, George working as a grocer and chandler and the Yates family were to remain there until sometime after March 1851.  By 1861, the Yates family had moved to Harts Hall, George Byer Yates, by then a widower, being described as a merchant of London.  Living with him was his son Henry, who was farming the attached land employing one labourer and one boy, and daughter Charlotte.  Their household was completed by two servants, Catherine Jones aged twenty-five and Ann Blackburn aged fifty-seven, both from London.


The two other properties were occupied by Edward Brooker and his family and Robert Borer and his family.  The property next to the last Harts Hall was home to Edward Brooker, a grocer born in 1820 in East Grinstead.  Living with him was his wife Fanny born in 1813 in Worth, and their children Fanny born in 1844, Mary Ann born in 1847, Louisa born in 1850, Edwin in 1853 and Charles born in 1855, all born in East Grinstead.  The second cottage was home to Robert Borer a gardener born in Hemmouth in Cambridgeshire in 1820 and his wife Sarah born in Rudham in Norfolk in 1821.  Living with them were their children; Eliza born in 1844, George born in 1848, Frederick born in 1853 Sarah A born in 1856 and John J born in 1858.  All the children except John, who was born in East Grinstead, were born in Hemmouth, which implies that the Borer family moved into the Felbridge area around 1857.


George Byer Yates remained at Harts Hall until October 1864 when Thomas William Thompson died leaving the property to Thomas Howard Daisley, a ship owner of King’s Lynn in Norfolk, William Ramsden Price, a merchant of 17 Grace Church Street, London and William Henry Cotterill, gentleman of Throgmorton Street, London.  Thomas Daisley was executor to the will of Thomas William Thompson and made a declaration of ‘possessory enjoyment’ to William Ramsden Price, conveying him the property on 13th October 1864.  In the second quarter of 1864, William Oman Carr was born at Harts Hall, the son of Captain Thomas Carr and his wife Maria.  It is unclear at present how or why the Carr family, which included two older children, Thomas born in 1862 and Mary Ann born in 1863, both in Aldgate in Middlesex, came to be at Harts Hall in 1864.  There may be a connection through Thomas Daisley as Captain Thomas Carr was born in King’s Lynn in Norfolk and being a captain may have served on one of Daisley’s ships.  What is clear is that the Carr family later moved to The Strand where Captain Carr and Maria had a further two children, Edith E in 1879 and Lionel in 1880.  In 1881, Maria and all the children were residing with Captain Carr’s father, Thomas, a licensed victualler living at 265 The Strand, London, presumably Captain Thomas Carr was at sea at the time of the census.


William Ramsden Price esquire appears in the East Grinstead Post Office Directory ‘of Harts Hall’ from 1866, although evidence suggests it was not his permanent residence.  William was born in Manchester in 1827 and married Mary Breffit on 14th August 1855 at St James, Paddington in London.  Mary was several years younger than William being born in 1836 in Stamford Hill, Middlesex.  William and Mary had two children, William R born in Acton, Middlesex, in 1857 and Eleanor B born in South Ryons in Hertfordshire, in 1860.  Although William was listed as a merchant in 1864, he went on to describe himself as a ship owner.  William Price did not live permanently at Harts Hall but there is evidence that he kept a skeleton staff to at least maintain the grounds.  He must have also been a caring employer for when his gardener, Edmund James Import died in August 1867 at the age of twenty-six, William Price paid for a head stone to be erected to his memory at St John’s Church, the first head stone to be erected in the newly opened churchyard.  [For further details see Biographies from the Churchyard of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet SJC 07/02vi]


William Price was not in residence at Harts Hall when the census was taken 1871, the property being unoccupied.  The two other properties were occupied by the King family and the Friend family.  Head of the King household was Davis King, a grocer and draper born in 1843 in Barkham, Sussex, and head of the Friend family was Thomas Friend, a gardener born in 1833 in West Hoathly in Sussex, no doubt employed to replace Edmund Import.


In 1872, William Ramsden Price increased his estate with the purchase of six acres of woodland called Birches Rough from Thomas Fielden Campbell shortly after Campbell’s purchase of the Imberhorne estate from Charles Sackville-West, 6th Earl de la Warr earlier in the year.  Then in 1873, William Price increased his estate still further with the purchase of the freehold property that had once been known as Rowcroft, the land held by Nicholas Terrie in 1596/7, although by this date two pairs of semi-detached cottages had been built on the land.  In 1873, William Price’s address was given as Austin Friars in London and he was no longer described as a merchant but as a ship owner, owning W R Price & Company.


The first ship recorded as owned by W R Price & Co. was the Earl of Dufferin named after the Hon. Frederick Temple Hamilton-Blackwood, 1st Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, a successful diplomat who became the third Governor of Canada in 1872.  The ship, with a tonnage of 1,703, was chartered in 1873 by William and Edmund Johnston, owners of the Johnston Line, to travel between Liverpool in England and the Black Sea, Greece and Turkey.  Unfortunately, after only one year of service, the Earl of Dufferin ship went missing at sea in 1874.  Two years later, W R Price & Co. launched their second ship, the Brambletye.  The ship had been built by the Barrow Shipbuilding Company, being 241.5 feet in length, 39 feet in breadth and 22.9 feet in depth, with three masts and a gross tonnage of 1,544, being launched on 28th January 1876.  The Brambletye went on to see thirty-three year’s service before being scrapped in 1909.  A year later in 1877, the Tilkhurst was launched for W R Price & Co.  The Tilkhurst was an iron, three-masted, full rigged ship built by A McMillan & Sons of Dumbarton, being 239.1 feet in length with a gross tonnage of 1,570.  The Tilkhurst sailed regularly between Dundee, Scotland and Chittagong, Bangladesh, carrying jute.  Between 1885 and 1886, the second mate on board the Tilkhurst was Joseph Conrad, who later wrote Almayer’s Folly, Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim among many other books.  It was whilst serving on the Tilkhurst that Joseph Conrad received his British certificate of naturalisation, having been born Jozef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in Berdichev, Russia, (now the Ukraine) in December 1857.  He also received his Certificate of Competency as Master whilst on board the Tilkhurst.


In 1878, William Price, then aged fifty-one, sold harts Hall along with most of Mercers land to Charles Henry Gatty of Felbridge Place for £6,600.  The area of land stretched from the Crawley Down Road along the Copthorne Road to the London Road, encompassing the strip of land west of the stream from Copthorne Road to Imberhorne Lane – the area now occupied by The Moorings, Standen Close, The Felbridge Business Centre, Stream Park, and part of the Birches Industrial estate.  Charles Henry Gatty then granted William Ramsden Price a five-year lease for the thirty-five acres for £264 per annum.  The deed plan gives a clear depiction of the site with a building on the site of the original Harts Hall, on the Sussex side of the boundary still standing, located in the back garden of what is now Strath Cottage, with the second building beside it.  The property on the Surrey side of the boundary was still parallel to the Copthorne Road but appeared with no gap between it and the road, this could be inaccuracy in the drawing of the map or previous maps or the road may have moved towards the location of the building.  To the east of Harts Hall, on the Sussex side of the boundary, there was another building running parallel to the boundary, roughly in the position of today’s Strath Cottage.  The building arrangement in the area of Long Wall appears to be unchanged from the Tithe map of 1840, and the glass houses seen on later maps along the wall had been erected by 1878.  There was a small square building further towards the Star, and the last Harts Hall was larger than the 1840 Tithe map suggesting that it had been extended on the south side by what appears to be a temporary/non-brick structure, possibly a conservatory, sunroom or loggia, the whole building running parallel to the main London Road [A22].  The gardens and immediate grounds suggest they had been landscaped with the depiction of several meandering walks.


In 1880, William Price took out a further tenancy with Charles Henry Gatty for Harts Hall and part of Gulledge Farm lying in the manor of Broadhurst, the schedule included: 







12 01 05



09 03 15



27 00 19



49 00 39


Also by this date, William Price held Tilkhurst, a farm of 130 acres to the south of ‘Gulledge Farm’, which in 1881, was under the occupation of a farm bailiff, Thomas Knight.


In 1881 William Ramsden Price, his wife Mary and their two children were residing at Harts Hall, along with a nurse called Helen Breffit, possibly related to Mary whose maiden name had been Breffit, and a visitor called Kate Weston.  The Price family also had several live-in servants; Emma Young born in 1848 in East Grinstead working as the cook/domestic, Mary Burchet born in 1852 in East Grinstead working as the parlour maid, Eliza Rapson born in 1861 in Petworth working as the housemaid and Ruth Thorpe born in 1865 in East Grinstead working as the kitchen maid.  As well as the live-in servants the Price family had staff living in the two cottages, William Muddle working as the gardener and Thomas Pentecost working as the game keeper.  The Muddle household included, William born in 1853 in Buxted, his wife Charity also born in 1853 but in Chailey, and sons George born in 1878 in Buxted and Walter W born in 1880 in East Grinstead.  Based on the birth places of the children, William Muddle must have moved to the Harts Hall estate around 1879.  The Pentecost family included, Thomas born in 1862 in West Hoathly and his wife Ellen born in 1863 in Hartfield, along with their children, Alice M born in 1873, Katherine N born in 1876, Ada E born in 1878, Thomas W born in 1877 and Samuel H born in 1880, all born in East Grinstead.  Sometime between 1887 and 1891, Thomas Pentecost and his family had moved to the Imberhorne where he worked as head gamekeeper and by 1891 the ‘estate steward’ for the Blount’s estate.  [For further details see The Farm at Imberhorne, Fact Sheet SJC 05/03]


By 1890, William Price was listed being ‘of Tilkhurst’ suggesting that perhaps he had ceased the occupancy of Harts Hall and had taken up residence at Tilkhurst.  Especially as in 1891 Harts Hall was in the occupation of a caretaker, Jesse Hall, an army pensioner and his wife Annie.  William Muddle was still working as a gardener and he and his family were still living in one of the cottages and the Pentecost family had been replaced by Charles W Stitch and his wife Rebecca.  Charles Stitch was born in 1858 and was working as the game keeper, and Rebecca was born in 1959.


In November 1882, William Price launched his fourth ship, the Imberhorne, no doubt named after the manor that his estate was once part of.  The Imberhorne was also built by A McMillan & Son, the company that had built the Tilkhurst in 1877.  The Imberhorne was an iron, three-masted, full-rigged ship.  It was 284 feet long with a breadth of 41 feet 2 inches and had a depth of 24 feet 1 inch, with a gross tonnage of 2,042.  It was equipped with a donkey engine and an early type of midship house.  W R Price & Co. eventually sold the Imberhorne to G C Karran of Castletown, Isle of Man, in 1895, and after thirty-five years at sea the Imberhorne was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of west Ireland in 1917.   In September 1886, W R Price & Co. launched their fifth ship, the Lyndhurst.  The ship was also built by A McMillan & Son and was a four-masted, steel ship, 295 feet in length, 42 feet 1 inch in breadth and 24 feet 1 inch in depth, with a gross tonnage of 2,311.  The Lyndhurst was mainly used in the Indian jute trade as was the Brambletye.  W R Price & Co. only retained the Lyndhurst for a year selling it to the Anglo-American Oil Company in 1897 when it was reduced to barque rigging.  After twenty-five years of sailing she caught fire and was abandoned, the floating wreck eventually being sunk off South Africa.


In October 1896, William Ramsden Price was forced to sell Tilkhurst, being purchased by Sir Edward Blount, becoming part of the Imberhorne estate, and with the sale of the ship the Lyndhurst a year later William Price, by now approaching his seventies, disappeared from the Felbridge area.


In 1901, the last Harts Hall was unoccupied, with William Muddle still living and working as a gardener on the estate, but the position of game keeper had been taken by John Brand who was living in the second cottage with his wife Mary and their family.  John Brand was born in 1859 in Dormans, near Lingfield, Surrey and Mary was born in 1855 in Lindfield, Sussex.  John and Mary must have moved to Devon shortly after their marriage and gradually worked their way back to the Felbridge area, based on the places of birth for their family.  George H was born in 1984 in Newton Abbot, Devon, as was John H born in 1886, Edmund J was born in 1887 in Salisbury, Somerset, as was Ada E born in 1891.  Then within the next two years the Brand’s moved to Felbridge where Albert Victor was born in 1893 and Frank Ernest was born in 1897.  In 1901, George and Edmund Brand were working as gardener/domestics and John H was working as a baker.  Ada, Albert and Frank all went to Felbridge School, and sadly Albert and Frank were killed in the First World War.  [For further details see War Memorials of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet SJC 07/02v].


In December 1903, Harts Hall passed to Alfred Leighton Sayer and Charles Lane Sayer, on the death of Charles Henry Gatty.  The Sayers were cousins and heirs of Charles Gatty who had remained unmarried.  From the available evidence, neither Sayer resided at Harts Hall which stood unoccupied until sometime around 1906 when it became home to the newly appointed estate bailiff for Felbridge, Ormond Meppem and his family.  Ormond Meppem had moved from the Battle Abbey estate to take up the position of bailiff for Felbridge, replacing George Hugget who had now taken over the licence of the Star Inn.  Ormond was born in 1856 and had married Isabella Banister, born in 1860, in 1881 at Ewhurst in Sussex.  [For further details see Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet 07/02vi]  The Meppem family were to remain at Harts Hall until the sale of the Felbridge Place estate to Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company in 1911, when they purchased Rose Cottage in Imberhorne Lane, now the site of Treck Diagnostics Systems Ltd.


Break-up and sale of Felbridge Place

In May 1911 the Felbridge Place estate was put up for auction, the last Harts Hall being part of the auction as Lot 6, being described as ‘A remarkably beautiful small freehold residential estate in the parish of East Grinstead and Godstone of about 23a 1r 3p’.  The sale particulars were as follows:

Comfortable old-fashioned residence.  Substantially built of brick and stucco, stands nicely back and is well screened from the road, approached by a Drive, and the accommodation comprises:

In the Basement – Excellent dry Cellars running under the whole of the house, with enclosed Wine and Coal Cellars.

On the Ground Floor – Entrance Hall, Drawing Room, 24ft by 11ft, with modern stove and white marble mantel, Dinning Room, 22ft by 12ft 6ins, with modern stove and marble mantel.  The capital Domestic Offices include Large Kitchen, with a range, Scullery with a copper and sink, Pantry with a glazed sink and good Dairy.

On the First Floor, approached by 2 staircases, are 6 Bedrooms, each fitted with fireplaces and one fitted with bath (h & c), and housemaid’s sink, small Dressing Room and WC.

There is an excellent supply of water from well, with pump.  The Water Company’s mains are laid in the road and are available if preferred.

The Model Buildings include:

Stabling, substantially built of brick and slate, and consisting of 7 loose boxes, Harness Room, large Coach House, suitable for Motor Garage, and timber-slated Cowshed for 11 cows, another timber and tiled Cowshed for 8 cows.

Pair of Cottages, brick-built and stucco, with slated roof, each containing 4 rooms.  Detached Wood Lodge with copper and WC.

Remarkably beautiful old grounds, studded with luxuriant well-grown specimen trees, banks of rhododendrons and other shrubs, and including Old Turf Lawns with flower beds, productive Kitchen Garden, and

Park-like Pasture Lands, intersected by a running stream, and studded by fine timber, also small Plantation.  The Property is partly enclosed by a high brick wall, and otherwise by belts of handsome Fir trees, and the total area is 23a 1r 3p as set out in the Schedule.






East Grinstead parish









House, buildings and grounds












Godstone parish



Buildings, grounds, etc









Possession will be given on completion of the purchase, and this lot is particularly commended to those seeking a moderate Country House with really beautiful grounds, within easy reach of every convenience, or having regard to its position and long frontages, it is very valuable for the purpose of development. 


A large section of the Felbridge Place estate, including Harts Hall, was purchased by Arthur Smeeton Gurney but within two years his holding was back in the hands of the East Grinstead Estate Co. and back on the market.  The sale particulars for Harts Hall from the 1913 auction were almost identical to the 1911 sale details except that during the two years in his ownership the Water Company’s mains had been laid onto Harts Hall.


It is unclear who purchased Harts Hall, or when, after being back on the market in 1913, without doubt the First World War would have interrupted the purchase as with the rest of the Felbridge Place estate.  It is possible that Harts Hall may have been purchased by Henry Willis and Mary Rudd who purchased a large section of the former Felbridge Place estate in 1916 [For further details see Fact Sheets Newchapel House SJC11/02, Downfall of Henry Willis Rudd, SJC 11/02, and Lutyens’ Grand Design for Felbridge, SJC 07/03].  What is known is that by in 1925, Hart Hall was in the occupation of William Thomas, as the Felbridge School Log records on 6th October 1925, that ‘Mr Thomas of Harts Hall visited the school and left some tennis balls for the children’, William Thomas was still in residence at Harts Hall in 1928 when he appeared in the Post Office Directory for East Grinstead.  However, he had moved by 1930, as the Felbridge School Log reports that ‘Mr Bacot of Harts Hall has accepted the position of correspondent of the School Manager’s’, succeeding Tyson Crawford.


Evidence suggests that by the 1930’s much of the twenty-three acres that had accompanied Harts Hall in the original sales of 1911 and 1913 had been sold off.  Shortly after the end of the First World War the land to the west of Harts Hall that abutted Crawley Down Road and stretched from the lane to Birches Cottages, (now Birches Bungalow) to the Copthorne Road, was purchased by Jonah John Sinden, establishing his family home, Beechwood.  This plot was later sub-divided between his family and now encompasses properties nos.1 to 11a Crawley Down Road.  In 1924 the St John’s Felbridge Institute (now the site of Southways House) was opened, built on land abutting former outbuildings, possibly the coach-house, attached to Harts Hall, being purchased by Donald Ivan Margary [for further details see Fact Sheet War Memorials of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02v].  The remainder of the land along Copthorne Road that once formed part of Harts Hall had also been developed by the late 1930’s, encompassing the sites of properties nos. 29 to 35 Copthorne Road, running up to the junction of Crawley Down Road.  It was also around the same time that the remainder of the cottages, stables, coach-house and outbuildings that were once part of the Harts Hall estate became separate entities.  The worker’s cottage abutting Copthorne Road became a separate property now known as Long Wall, the stables were converted and extended as a dwelling house, now called Strath Cottage, and the harness room, the long low outbuilding running parallel to the Copthorne Road, abutting Strath Cottage and the coach-house, appeared to have stood empty for a time and then became the offices of Lale’s Builders and now part of The Bentley Group.


Strath Cottage

Strath Cottage is accessed down a short track to the west of the old Felbridge Institute, being the eastern section of the brick and slate loose boxes, harness room and coach-house as described in the sale catalogues of 1911/13.  The roof line of Strath Cottage is lower to that of the harness room and coach-house implying that the buildings were of different build dates, and the mortar is different, the mortar of the harness room and coach-house wall being later than that of Strath Cottage, making Strath Cottage the older of the structures in the complex of outbuildings.  The lintels of the two windows on the north end of Strath Cottage are brick on top of wood and were cut into the wall after its original construction.  All the small windows along the east wall of Strath Cottage have also been cut into the wall at a later date, but at a different date to those on the north end.  The north wall of Strath Cottage is plain dark red brick, and the east wall has a chequer board pattern of grey and red bricks.  The roof is slate with a fancy ridge tile that runs the length of the original north/south build and along the later built harness room and coach-house.  There was once a chimney stack at both ends of the north/south run of Strath Cottage but the one nearest the Copthorne Road, by the easterly gable end, has been removed, but the louvre on the ridge of the long length of the roof is still there.  An extension to the building is clearly visible on the south end of the north/south building, being set back off the line of the east wall, still with a slate roof but with no fancy ridge.  To the east of Strath Cottage there is an entrance to what is now Long Wall but the wall that runs in front of Long Wall was once continuous from Strath Cottage. 


The development of the loose boxes, harness room and coach-house is unclear, but it is known that by the early 1930’s the eastern section, the loose boxes, had been converted to a private house.  The most likely scenario is that the complex of outbuildings were bought as a complete entity for development as two dwelling houses but that the harness room and coach-house were not converted, perhaps the Second World War intervened and put a halt to the development.  The window and door in the north wall of the harness room have been cut in, however, the opening for the double doors in the coach-house would appear to have been original build as none of the bricks have been cut, although the lime mortar stops at least one brick away from the opening implying that some alterations have been made at a later date.  It seems likely that the coach-house was not being used at the outbreak of the Second War World as it became the Felbridge Fire Station during the war years.  After the war the premises including the old harness room and coach-house were taken over by Lale’s Builders who continued to operate from there until the early 1980’s.


In the early 1930’s, Strath Cottage was owned and occupied by Mr and Mrs Mackintosh-Smith and Miss Flowers who were in some way related to each other.  It is believed that the name ‘Strath Cottage’ may have connection with the Mackintosh-Smiths who were Scottish, there being two places called Strath in the Highlands of Scotland.  The Mackintosh-Smiths lived at Strath Cottage until their new house, Aros Shona, was built across the Copthorne Road.  This property was built as a pair of semi-detached dwellings set within one garden area to accommodate Mr and Mrs Mackintosh-Smith in one half and Miss Flowers in the other half.  When the Mackintosh-Smith’s and Miss Flowers moved from Strath Cottage, it was bought by Mrs Gray who remained there until 1952 when she sold it to Maurice and Betty Etherington.


During the time that Strath Cottage was owned by the Etherington’s the layout of the cottage remained unchanged from the date that it had been converted, except that during the ownership of the Mackintosh-Smith’s another room had been added to the south end of the property which then became the lounge. 


The cottage, being L shaped, started with the lounge at the south end with double doors to the garden.  On leaving the lounge through a door on the east was a passageway that ran along the east side of the building with a bathroom at the south end of the passage next to the lounge.  Turning north there were two bedrooms and then the dining room with the kitchen at the far north end of the house and a small bedroom to the west of the kitchen.  The kitchen floor was well below the level of the Copthorne Road and had a loft above accessed by a ladder.  The main door into the property was located at the west end of the kitchen in its southern wall.  The property straddles the county boundary the front section in Surrey and the back section in Sussex.  To the west of the cottage was a sheltered area that had originally been cobbled but which had been grassed over at some time.  Near the trackway to the property was an outbuilding used as a coal/wood store and garage.  This building was the timber and tiled cowshed for eight cows as referred to in the 1911/13 sale, and is still standing, located in the position that the original Harts Hall was built.  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine whether this is the original structure that went out of use as a dwelling to become converted as a cowshed, or whether Harts Hall was demolished and replaced by a cowshed, but it would be nice to think that part of the original building that gave its name to this area was still standing.  The gardens to the south of the property gave way to a small field where geese were kept, being later hayed and grazed by Muggeridge’s Stables next door at Shirley Cottage, Copthorne Road.


In 1970, Maurice Etherington died and his widow Betty continued to live at Strath Cottage until April 1971, when she sold the property to Ronald and Mary Taylor.  Since the Etherington’s ownership, the main door to the house has been moved to the middle of the west side of the property and a porch has been added.  Although the windows on the north and east walls have been retained they have been blocked-up internally. 


Long Wall

The property now known as Long Wall was built to the east of Strath Cottage and was originally a pair of cottages being described as brick-built with stucco, with a slated roof, each containing four rooms, with a detached wood lodge with a copper and W.C. in the 1911/13 sale catalogue.  Stucco was a type of hard, fine plaster that was coated onto brickwork to fake stone.  From map evidence the structure appears between 1805 and 1840, including the small detached rectangular building in front of the pair of cottages at the west end.  The Land Tax records suggest that the cottages may have been built by William Southey around 1837.  Both cottages were built on the Sussex side of the county boundary although the rectangular building is on the Surrey side.  The long wall in front, that gave its name to the property, was once joined to Strath Cottage, and against the south side of this wall was a run of glass houses that would have caught the sun all day.  Map evidence suggests that this continuous run of glass houses were built later than the pair of cottages, and appear sometime between 1840 and 1878.  Scars on some of the walls suggest the glasshouses were used for growing tender fruit and vines, and the remnants of this can be found in at least one grape vine which clings to the conifer near Strath Cottage.  The roof of the glasshouses has a section of felt tiles that run the full length of the north side of the roof with glass the full length of the south side.  Although now much over grown the cast iron window opening mechanism of the glass houses are still in situ.


There is evidence of a break in the long wall where the glass houses end, opposite the back entrance to the Star Inn.  There is also evidence of a door or window about two thirds along the wall, which originally had a brick lintel that has since been bricked up, being only two bricks off the current level of the path.  The current curve at the east end of the wall is not original and evidence suggests that it extended further east, probably being cut back at the time that Felbridge Court was developed to give a wider entrance to the close of houses.


As a pair of cottages they would have been entered from the centre of each property through a door in the north wall, having two rooms up and two rooms down in each property.  The chimney stack positions indicate that each property had a fireplace in the room on the ground floor at the east end of each house, with possibly a smaller fireplace in the room above.  The cottage on the west has, at a later date, installed a fireplace in the room at the west end of the house on the first floor requiring an external chimney on the south wall at first floor level.  As described in the sale catalogue they are built of brick with stucco creating the illusion of being built of large blocks of dressed stone.  The roof is tiled and the chimney pots are creamy yellow in colour and hexagonal in shape.  The gable barge boards are decorative with a festoon pattern running the full length of them.  The design of the chimney pots and the gable barge boards are indicative of the mid 19th century, which ties in with the stucco work which was the height of fashion in the late Regency and early Victorian period, the first half of the 19th century.


The window surrounds at the back of the property are plain but at the front they have fairly ornate stucco extended diamond-shaped keystone and architraves and sills.  There is a window either side of each door on the ground floor and three windows above, two directly above the ground floor windows and one above the door, although the central first floor window of the cottage to the west has been bricked up at some time.


As a pair of cottages the occupants were undoubtedly those that appear in the census records as cottages at Felbridge water, with the first recorded in 1841 as Edward Walker and his family and George Groves and his family.  With the sale and break up of the Felbridge Place estate it seems likely that the cottages were eventually sold off from the Harts Hall estate, although it is not yet known when they were converted as one dwelling.  All that is known is that by the 1950’s the cottages had become one property known as Long Wall, owned by Mr and Mrs Thomas.  They lived there until 1959 when they bought Gullege to renovate and sold Long Wall to Mr and Mrs Arthur Rider. 


Arthur Rider was a member of the Felbridge Parish Council and honorary curate of St John’s, Felbridge, assisting Rev. Roy Boff.  He was officially ordained as deacon by the bishop of Southwark in December 1970 and left the Felbridge area in February 1974, renting out Long Wall.  [For further details see St John the Divine, Fact Sheet SJC 07/02i]  Arthur Rider eventually moved to Northern Cyprus and was later awarded an MBE for his services there.  It is believed that he or a member of his family may still own Long Wall and still rent it out.


The Last Harts Hall

The last Harts Hall appears on the map at the same time as Long Wall, between 1805 and 1840.  The Land Tax records suggest that William Muckamore may have had Harts Hall built in 1820, compared with the pair of cottages that became Long Wall which, from their architectural details and the Land Tax records, appear to have been built about sixteen years later.  The first depiction of the last Harts Hall places it on the Sussex side of the county boundary, a rectangular building running parallel with the main London Road [A22], in the vicinity of nos.1-4 Felbridge Court.  A study of later photographs of the property shows that the original structure of the last Harts Hall was a Regency town house as would have been seen in fashionable towns and cities like London and Brighton under the influence of the Prince Regent.  It was built in a style that was the height of fashion, with straight clean lines, being geometric, probably white in colour and would have appeared very alien when compared to the rustic brick and tile buildings of rural Felbridge at that time.  Its general appearance was that of a rectangular box, its low double gabled roof hidden behind a pediment, a fashionable style in the early 19th century. 


The property was built of brick and stucco with a simple moulding running along the base of the pediment, another just above the line of the ground floor windows and door, and a third in line with the base of the door above the basement windows.  The front face had four evenly spaced Regency-style sash windows on the first floor with eight small panes to each half of the window and no mouldings.  The front door was situated below the second window from the south end of the house with one window below the first floor window to the left of the door and two windows under their corresponding first windows to the right.  The three windows on the ground floor had a discreet stucco architrave running across the top of each window descending about a quarter of the way down each side.  There was a small flight of curve-ended steps leading to the door and curved topped basement windows below the three ground floor sash windows.  The roof was slated and there was a chimney stack at each end.  Being double-gabled, the property would have been two rooms deep and may have had up to fourteen rooms, with a large lit basement.


At some time after the original construction but before its next depiction on a map, an extension was built onto the north end of the property.  The architectural details of the extension suggest that it was contemporary with the building of the pair of cottages now known as Long Wall and therefore may also have been erected by William Southey.  The extension consisted of a gabled structure running east/west on the north end of the property that projected in front of the original face of the building.  The west end of this east/west extension abutted a second gabled structure running north/south that incorporated part of the west side of the original building.  However, the extension running north/south was not for the full length of the property only from the north end to about two thirds of the length of the west side.  To incorporate the original structure on the west side of the building the roof line of the extension had to be raised and was therefore higher than the original property.  The front gable, facing east, replicated the simple moulding from the pediment of the original building, but the gable facing north had the festoon barge board like the ones that can be seen on the gable ends of Long Wall.  The windows were sash but by this date were only two large panes each half, typical of the Victorian period.  There were no windows on the north wall of the house only a door at the east end and there is evidence that the original front door on the east side of the property had been altered by reducing its width.


By 1878, map evidence suggests that a temporary or non-brick built structure had been attached to the south end of the property, possibly a conservatory, sunroom or loggia, and that something had been added to the west side of the property, abutting the south end of the previous extension.  From a later photograph of the west side of Harts Hall it is clear that the temporary structure on the south end was a single storey building with large panes of glass suggesting that it was indeed a conservatory/sunroom.  The small addition to the west wall was a flat-roofed single storey structure with a door approached by a flight of steps, with a small window to the south of the door.  The utility style of this structure suggests a possibly entrance way connected with the domestic offices of the property.


Harts Hall then remained unchanged from 1878 until sometime between 1938 and 1954 when the original and extended structure became enveloped within a very large extension extending to the west in the typical post-war style.  This extension doubled the size of Harts Hall compared to 1913.  The single storey sunroom on the south end of the original property was replaced by a pair of three-sided bay windows, one above the other, which were divided by a deep band of tile hanging.  Moving along the original west side, the window on the ground floor at the southern end had been replaced by a door.  The single storey extension on the west wall was incorporated into a two storey extension that retained its width before making a right-angled turn and extending west.  On the southwest corner of the of this extended section was a pair of four-sided bay windows, one above the other, which were again divided by a deep band of tile hanging.  However, unlike the other pair of bay windows at the other end of the building, which had a flat leaded roof, this second pair of bay windows was topped with tiles running into the hip of the main roof.  Set half way along the wall between the right angled turn and the second set of bay windows on this new south side of the property was a large curved opening leading to a recessed entrance into the main house.  Both this entrance and one that had been cut into the west wall of the original building were accessed by a flight of steps.


All the new windows in the walls, except a half circular one to the east of the recessed entrance, were sash but were of varying widths with differing numbers of small panes of glass.  The roof of the new extension was tiled and there were a pair of casement windows set into the roof above the recessed entrance.  No photographs have yet come to light of the north side of the extended property but map evidence suggests that a porch was added in a central position to create a new front entrance to the property which by now had been realigned to face the Copthorne Road.  Apart from the tile hanging associated with the bay windows and the brick surround of the archway to the recessed entrance on the south side of the property, the brick walls and chimney stacks were rendered in keeping with the stucco walls of the original Regency property.  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine who was responsible for this last extension to the last Harts Hall.


It has also not yet been possible be establish when the last Harts Hall ceased being a private house and became a hotel. During the war years it became home to evacuees moved out of London to the relative safety of the countryside, and that a ladies club, possibly called the Carlton Club, operated from Harts Hall, suggesting that it may have become a hotel by the Second World War.  In 1947, Charles Stewart Pollock, a company director, was recorded as ‘of Harts Hall’ when he made an agreement with Ivor Howells concerning part of the Brockhurst estate in East Grinstead.  It is also known that in the mid to late 1940’s Harts Hall was a Hotel and Country Club run by Sir Ronald Gunter, assisted by steward Captain Griffiths.  It is known that Captain Griffiths, or at least his family, were living at Harts Hall during the war years as a former Felbridge resident remembers attending the birthday party of his daughter Violet that was held at Harts Hall during the war.  This implies that the Griffiths family had been in residence since the late 1930’s suggesting that perhaps the Gunter/Griffith association also dates from the late 1930’s.  If this was the case, perhaps Charles Pollock was a resident guest of Harts Hall Hotel in 1947.  Little else is known about Captain Griffiths but, Ronald Gunter was born on 8th March 1904 in Battle, Sussex.  He inherited the title of 3rd Baronet of Wetherby Grange, Yorkshire, on the death of his father in 1917.  During the 1930’s Sir Ronald could be found racing cars and drove for Lagonda in the 1935 Le Mons, finishing fifteenth.  After his racing career he went into the hotel and country club business and purchased Harts Hall.  In 1954, Sir Ronald Gunter sold Harts Hall Hotel and Country Club to Julian and Martha London, and purchased the Tithe Barn Club at Aldwick Bay near Bognor Regis.  He died aged seventy-five on 27th January 1980.


Julian and Martha London purchased Harts Hall Hotel and Country Club as a going concern in January/February 1954, having just returned to England from Australia.  Julian London originated from London and Martha came from Southern Ireland.  After the war, Julian and Martha moved to Johannesburg where their son was born in 1946.  Being both fans of A. A. Milne, their son was named Christopher Robin, known as Robin.  When Robin was five, the London family moved to Australia where his sister Sharon was born.  Robin was a boy of eight when the London family moved to Harts Hall Hotel and has fond memories of his time there: 

‘I recall one entered the hotel via the front door into a small entrance hall with hat and coat racks on the wall.  A door opposite led down to the cellar where the beer kegs for the bar and the boiler was housed.  It was a very low roofed area as I recall Dad was always bumping his head on the ceiling causing an almost permanent graze on the top of his balding head. Although this area was out of bounds to a small boy it was a place of great adventure on the occasions I gained access!


From the entrance hall you turned right up a step into a large foyer area.  Straight ahead there were some doors which led out and down some steps to the garden area.  To the right of you, looking towards the doors was another door leading into the bar which had a large bay window overlooking the garden.  Just inside the door on the right hand side was the bar counter and to the side of the bay window was a piano which was played by one of the members of the East Grinstead Rugby Club accompanied by my mother on her piano accordion during jolly Saturday evenings.  I remember one of the rugby lads, a big chap called Dave, was a great pal of my parents.


On the left of the foyer area another door led into the dining room.  This was similar in design to the bar and also had a large bay window overlooking the garden.  Next to the dining room there was a door which led into the kitchen with a door leading outside and another door which led to a set of stairs going upstairs, (the back stairs).


As you stood in the foyer looking towards the doors to the garden, on your left behind you and opposite the garden doors, was the main staircase leading upstairs for the guests.  This was a large staircase with polished banister railings, carpeted stairs and brass stair rods.  The stairs went up in two stages with a landing in between from where I was able to see into the bar in the evenings when I should have been in bed!  As regards the upstairs layout, I'm afraid I cannot remember.  As far as I can remember all the bedrooms were on this floor.  There was a further flight of stairs leading to an attic room which was mine.  I recall getting into trouble for climbing out onto the very steeply sloping slate roof, extremely dangerous to adults but not to an adventurous 8 year old!


The only staff my parents had, as far as I can recall, were a lady named, I think, Dorothy, who used to help with the cleaning and the cooking and a man who used to do the gardening, I do not remember his name.


Another name that comes to mind was a lady named Margaret, who was a friend of my parents and who owned a farm somewhere down the Copthorne Road.  She operated a Riding Stables and I recall us going down there on occasions to visit.  [Margaret Thomas ran a riding school and stables from Furnace Wood with her sister Bette]


The grounds of Harts Hall were quite extensive and a paradise for a young boy to have many adventures in.  Immediately outside the entrance hall doors was a large lawn area which led down to extensive ground of rhododendrons from the center of which grew a very tall pine tree.  Then followed a heavily wooded and shrubbery section of the garden with narrow paths leading around through the woods to a thatched roof summerhouse.  At the bottom of the garden flowed a small stream with a little humped bridge which is still there.  To the right of the garden, a path led off to an old tennis court that we never used and also an old apple orchard.


There were two guests that stayed with us that stick in my memory.  The first was the first wife of film actor Stewart Granger [Elspeth March] who stayed for a week or so and brought with her two Siamese cats which I recall were very bad tempered and who would sit on top of the wardrobe when she was out and growl and spit at anyone who entered the room.  I remember mum saying that Dorothy refused to go into the room to clean as she was afraid of them.  The second was a very eccentric man named Doug who owned a furniture manufacturing company in London somewhere and who was a regular visitor.  He owned one of those Messerschmitt three wheel vehicles and on one occasion the Rugby Club boys carried it into the house through the garden doors and placed it on the landing of the stairs as a joke.  Mum and Dad would often laugh about this.  Mum and Dad had a great sense of humour and loved a laugh and a joke.


I attended school in Felbridge and remember our class being taken on Nature Walks in the woods that adjoined the school.  I was also a member of the East Grinstead Cubs [1st Felbridge] and used to walk there from home along the main road passing a Chinese market garden [Ye Olde Felbridge Hotel kitchen garden] where I would often nick carrots!!


Our time at Harts Hall was a happy one albeit short and I have many fond memories of our time there.  I think that Mum would have been happy to stay there but Dad didn't like the weather as it was not good for his health so he upped sticks and returned the family to Australia’.


Julian and Martha London sold Harts Hall Hotel as a going concern in October 1955, moving back to Australia where Julian died a year later in 1956.  It is unclear who purchased Hart Hall from the London’s but the property did continue to be run as a hotel and appeared in the East Grinstead Guide, circa 1958, advertised as Harts Hall Hotel and Felbridge Country Club.  It is believed that it may have been co-purchased by ‘Pop’ Gooding and Edward ‘Ted’ Hearn who eventually sold it as a going concern in the late 1950’s, ‘Pop’ Gooding moving to run a Club near Lowdells Lane in Lingfield Road, East Grinstead and Edward Hearn moving to Canada.  It is believed that the new owner was a wealthy man called Mr Gethin who lived their with his three sons, and it was shortly after its purchase that Harts Hall acquired a bit of a ‘reputation’, being given the nickname ‘Tarts Hall’ by the local residents of Felbridge.  From the date of this purchase the Harts Hall went into steady decline and during the early years of the1960’s it was beginning to look quite neglected and over grown with the walls taking on a shade of green, not from a coat of paint but algae and deterioration, and eventually the property stood empty.


Development of Felbridge Court on the site of Harts Hall

In 1964, the decision was taken to apply for the re-development of the site, and the last Harts Hall was demolished after planning consent was granted to build a select development of Georgian-style town houses called Felbridge Court.  The development consists of three blocks of terrace houses creating twelve properties, with parking for residents and visitors as well as two blocks of brick built garages in a courtyard.  The properties were originally built with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen.  The site of the last Harts Hall being now nos.1-4 Felbridge Court.


Attempts were made to retain as much of the mature gardens of Harts Hall and as many of the species trees as was possible.  As such, each property has its own garden and beyond the private gardens are areas of communal grounds with grass avenues, trees and shrubs, with the Felbridge Water to the south.  The majority of the old retained planting can be found to the south side of the development near the stream where there are several very large species rhododendron and shrubs and some ornamental trees.  Unfortunately, the acacia walk referred to in the 1911/13 sale has disappeared but the path that wound its way down the east side of the garden and west along the north side of the stream, under the rhododendrons, is still there, as are the two foot bridges across the stream.  Sadly over the years these footbridges have decayed and the one nearest the main London Road [A22] has collapsed losing the top of the brick arch, access now across the stream is by railway sleepers, and the other bridge, further down stream near the weir, is being eroded away below the water level so it is only a matter of time before this too collapses.


The north side of the stream is lined with cut stone and across the stream sections of the wrought iron railings that once marked the eastern boundary of the Harts Hall estate can still be seen, the remainder of the view now blocked by the construction of Standen Close.  Along the south bank of the stream is a row of conifer trees probably planted in the early 20th century, judging by their size.  The stream itself is a haven for wildlife with several species of native water plants growing on the banks and sightings of kingfishers, mink and otter, albeit the otter was an escaped visitor from the British Wildlife Centre at Newchapel!  Sadly one of the species conifers depicted on the sale plan of 1911 near the stream has long since been felled, the site in more recent years being used as a bonfire, but another of the Victorian conifers, slightly further north and east, has been retained, now in the rear garden of no.8 Felbridge Court.  Unfortunately, the monkey puzzle tree that appears in the photograph of the grounds in 1911 has disappeared although a baby one is growing in the grounds of no.1 Felbridge Court.  The site of the Harts Hall Hotel’s tennis court is now in the front garden of no.12 Felbridge Court and the orchard is now the rear garden of Long Wall, a few fruit trees being retained, and the site of the old thatched summer house is now nos. 9 and 10 Felbridge Court.  The main entrance, although now enlarged, remains in the same position, although the original wall with its decorative feature painted in large white letters ‘Harts Hall Entrance ―>’ was replaced when the road junction was widened.  The old yew tree still stands to the east of the entrance to Felbridge Court as does the Wellingtonia next to Long Wall although that lost its top when it was struck by a thunder bolt in 1968.





Felbridge Place papers, Box 3151, SRC

Imberhorne Court Book, Ref: ADA106, ESRO

Imberhorne Rental Book, Ref: ADA50, ESRO

Buckhurst Terrier, Ref: SRC vol. XXXIX

Map based on Terrier Holdings by PD Wood, FHA

Imberhorne Court Book, Ref: ADA108, ESRO

Bourd map, 1748, FHA

Ordnance Survey map, 2000, FHA

Imberhorne Court Book, Ref: ADA109, ESRO

Roque Map, 1768, FHA

Imberhorne Court Book, Ref: ADA110, ESRO

Land Tax 1780-1848, WSRO

O/S map 1808, FHA


Lease and Release, 1810, ADD MSS 17480-17845, WSRO

Schedule of deeds for 16 Imberhorne Lane, FHA

Stained glass of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet, SJC 07/02ii, FHA

East Grinstead Tithe apportionment and map, 1840, WSRO

Godstone Tithe apportionment and map, 1844, SRC

Pigot’s Directories, 1832, 1834, EGL

Census, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901

Post Office Directories for East Grinstead, 1855, 1858, 1862, 1866, 1867 EGL

Electoral Roll for East Grinstead, Ref: XA59/12-27, ESRO

Who was E J Import, Local Newspaper Article, FHA

Biographies of the churchyard of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet SJC 07/02vi, FHA

Schedule of deeds for Hophurst, FHA

Earl of Dufferin, http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines

The Brambletye, http://www.mightyseas.co.uk

Sailing Ships, http://www.bruzelius.Info/Nautica/Ships

The Tilkhurst, http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk

Post Office Directory for East Grinstead, 1878, 1880, 1887, 1890

O/S map 1879, FHA

The Farm at Imberhorne, Fact Sheet SJC 05/03, FHA

Sale Catalogue of Tilkhurst, Ref: SP 2580, WSRO

Papers relating to Tilkhurst, Ref: ADD MS 48897, WSRO

Memorials of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet SJC 07/02v, FHA

Biographies from the churchyard of St John the Divine, Fact Sheet 07/02vi, FHA

Sale Catalogue for Felbridge Place estate, 1911, FHA

O/S map 1912, FHA

Sale Catalogue for Felbridge Place estate, 1913, FHA

Newchapel House, Fact Sheet SJC11/02, FHA

Downfall of Henry Willis Rudd, SJC 11/02, FHA

Lutyens’ Grand Design for Felbridge, SJC 07/03, FHA

Felbridge School Log, FS

Fact Sheet War Memorials of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02v, FHA

O/S map 1938, FHA

Papers of C S Pollock, 1947, ADD MSS 34365, WSRO

O/S map 1954, FHA

East Grinstead Guide, c1958

Minutes of the Felbridge Parish Council, 1964, FPC

St John the Divine, Fact Sheet 07/02i, FHA

O/S map 1979 and 2000, FHA

Sales particulars for properties in Felbridge Court, Local Newspaper articles, FHA


My thanks are extended to Richard Carr for his information on the Carr family, Robin London for his memoirs and information on the London family, Eddie Pitt and Jean Starr for memories of Harts Hall Hotel, Joyce Chewter and Christopher Etherington for their memories of Strath Cottage, and Jan Laskey for her tour of the grounds of Felbridge Court.

SJC 07/05