Hedgecourt Watermill and Cottages

Hedgecourt Watermill and Cottages

Hedgecourt Watermill once stood on the Eden Brook, a tributary of the River Medway, with the mill house slightly further south, within the demesne lands of the manor of Hedgecourt in Surrey.  The manor of Hedgecourt was formed in 1290, from the manor of Tylemundesdon and a curate, about 120 acres, of Lindelegh, which is believed to be Lingfield.  The first mention of a mill in this area appears in the Hedgecourt Court Roll of 1562, when John Thorpe, who was leasing the manor of Hedgecourt from the Gage family of Firle in Sussex, was listed as ‘repairing buildings, the mill and banks’ at a cost of £64.


The manor of Hedgecourt had descended to the Gage family via Eleanor St Clair, the wife of John Gage, on the death of her father Thomas St Clair in 1445, and was to remain with the Gage family for the next three hundred years until the death of William Gage in 1744 and the purchase by Colonel Edward Evelyn, in October 1745, of the manor and various other pieces of land and the ‘water called Furnace Pond and Mill Pond in Horne, Godstone and Worth, and Forge Pond in Godstone’.  The Thorpe family would appear to have taken a lease out on the demesne lands of Hedgecourt sometime prior to 1562, as in 1567, there is a surviving twenty-one year lease between Edward Gage and John Thorpe of Horne; being listed ‘of Horne’ implies that John Thorpe may have already been in occupation at Hedgecourt, as John Thorpe is known to originate from Cudworth Manor, Newdigate in Surrey.  The lease of 1567, included: The demesne lands of the manor of Hedgecourt, in Sussex and Surrey, and ‘lands called the Park of Hedgecourte, Coddinglighe Park, Sharnowrs, Gages Meades, Cowpers Hill, Sanners, Smythforde Courte, the Tylt, Honnyes, Warnars Crofts and the Myllwood, with all barns, stables, stalls and other buildings in the park, mills and mill-dams, in Godstone, Horne, Tandridge, [East] Grinstead and Worth’, at a rental of forty shillings per annum, with the condition that the steward of Edward Gage would be accommodated, twice a year, to hold court and seize any wards and heriots due to the manor of Hedgecourt.


It is known that John Thorpe resided in the manor house, now Hedgecourt Farm, although there is no indication as to whether he ran or oversaw the running of the watermill at Hedgecourt or who the miller may have been at this date.  What is generally accepted is that Edward Gage engaged John Thorpe to oversee the running of Warren furnace, the new blast furnace that had been built in Myllwood.  Warren furnace had been set up two experienced ‘iron masters’, John Fawkner of Waldron and John French of Chiddingly, prior to them leasing it in 1567.  It would appear that John Thorpe never tenanted the furnace, but did lease most of the land around it including Myllwood (Furnace Wood) and Coddinglighe (Cuttingly), and later Woodcock Hammer.   John Thorpe is sometimes referred to in connection with the ‘iron mill of Hedgecourt’ but this is believed to refer to Warren furnace, as the watermill at Hedgecourt shows no indications that it was ever anything other than a corn mill, being referred to as such as early as 1588.


The Hedgecourt Court Roll of 1562 refers to John Thorpe repairing ‘the mill and banks’ which suggests that a mill was already operating at Hedgecourt by this date.  The repairing of ‘banks’ is likely to refer to the pond bay in which case Hedgecourt Millpond had also been created by this date, or it could refer to worn banks of the Eden Brook, the stream that wound its way through the valley before being dammed to create Hedgecourt Lake as we now know it.  The valley at Hedgecourt had been flooded to create the Millpond by 1567, as the counterpart lease of this date between Edward Gage and John Thorpe refers to ‘mills and mill-dams’ and reserves rights over the ‘furnace or iron-works, houses and buildings lately built on lands called Myllwood and Coddinlighe Park’.  Thus by 1567 all three of the lakes in Felbridge  [Myllwood Pond (Furnace Lake), Hedgecourt Millpond (Hedgecourt Lake) and Forge Pond (Wiremill Lake)] were in existence, Wiremill Lake and Furnace Lake being documented prior to 1567.  From 1567, an overshot waterwheel powered Hedgecourt Watermill with water from the Millpond being controlled by a sluice to run over the waterwheel to create the motion of turning rather than by an undershot wheel where fast flowing water would run under the wheel.  It is unlikely that Hedgecourt Watermill could have operated as an undershot mill prior to the construction of Hedgecourt Lake due to the low water flows experienced in late summer when the mill would have been required, also the mill stream is undersized for the flow of water required to operate an inefficient undershot mill wheel. Thus it is likely that Hedgecourt Lake had been formed by 1562.

By 1594, the manor of Hedgecourt, including Hedgecourt Watermill, was held of John Gage, son of Edward, by Thomas Thorpe, son of John Thorpe.  Yet again there is no mention of a name for the miller or dwelling house attached to the watermill, although from later drawings of the interior of the watermill it is evident that there would have been very limited or no living accommodation in the mill.  Although there are references to a mill at Hedgecourt in the general leases of the demesne lands of the manor of Hedgecourt from 1562, there are no surviving documented independent details about the watermill until 1663 implying that the watermill probably formed part of the estate of Hedgecourt Farm and as such the leaseholders of the farm controlled the mill or at the very least, oversaw the mill’s operation.  From the early 1600’s the lease holder of the farm at Hedgecourt was bound to repair and maintain the pond bay bi-annually by bringing in clay or cinders in loads of between three and six, this may have been because of access rights over the bay to reach the farm or it may imply that there were close links between the leaseholder of the farm and the watermill/miller.  There are also references to Hedgecourt Millpond being stocked with fish, the rights for fishing going to the Thorpe family as leaseholders of the farm at Hedgecourt at a cost of £22 per half year.


By 1652, it would appear that the Thorpe family had relinquished their lease of Hedgecourt Farm as Robert Filkes, a yeoman of the parish of Godstone, is recorded as taking out a twenty-one year lease for ‘a messuage, barn and lands’ at Hedgecourt from Simon Everenden, a gentleman of Cliffe near Lewes in Sussex, who was acting as the lord of the manor for the Gage family.  Robert Filkes was also covenanted to carry three loads of clay every year to the bay of Hedgecourt Millpond, implying that the connection between the farm and the watermill was still apparant.


The first time that there is a clear reference to the extent of the watermill and the actual miller at Hedgecourt is in 1663, when John Finch is named as taking out an eleven-year lease from Simon Everenden on ‘the watermill and mill house called Hedgecourt Mill with implements and tools and two parcels of land called Upper Floodgate Plat and the Little Floodgate Plat containing five acres more or less, and also a parcel of land called Longshawes by estimation six acres, and also Mill Land’.  John Finch also had access to the fish in the pond until such time as ‘the pond was stocked’ and he had to ‘maintain, uphold and keep the said mill and mill house, and all the implements belonging, and all the bays, ground, penstock, floodgates, millstones, mill wheels and cog stones belonging to the mill or mills, together with the gates, barn, posts, fences and bridges’.  Attached to the lease was a separate schedule of goods that listed ‘One Iron Crow’ [a crow bar], ‘One Toll Chest’ [the miller did not generally get paid for his labour but instead he took a percentage of the grain he was asked to mill as payment, which was kept in the toll chest], and Two Jacks [portable devices for raising heavy objects like the mill stones].


It is evident from the lease of 1663 that not only was there a watermill at Hedgecourt but also a mill house that went with it.  Although there is no reference to a mill house at an earlier date, it is presumed that there would have been one that went with the watermill and a survey of the current Mill House suggests that the original building was a two-bay property with a garret, now forming part of the southern end of the building.  The original two-bay property was timber framed infilled with wattle and daub on a foundation of sandstone blocks.  The roof structure is of clasped purlin design with queen posts and gables at both ends.  The property would probably have had a smoke bay at one end, possibly the west end nearest Mill Lane although there is no evidence of it now.  However, original structural timbers present at the east end prevent the smoke bay being located at this point.  A cellar was present beneath the western bay in 1906 but the entrance has since been blocked off preventing access to find any dating evidence.  The timber framing on the first floor is close studded being only 1 foot apart; the main structural timbers are well finished with stop chamfers on all visible edges. This all suggests someone of some wealth had the property built.  There are two mullion windows visible in the structure of the south wall of the ground floor.  These windows were originally unglazed with four or five diamond shaped wooden mullion bars, but there is no evidence of shutters on the inner faces.  Unfortunately all the original walls on the ground floor have been covered with dark oak panelling during the restoration of the property in the late 1960’s.


Although much of the close studding on the first floor has been replaced, there is evidence of at least two blocked up windows, both in the room on the east side of the property being opposite each other in the south and north walls.  The blocked window in the south wall is directly above the mullion window on the ground floor, and evidence suggests that there were again four to five diamond shaped mullion bars in the first floor window.  Unlike the ground floor windows, both first floor windows show signs of a shutter groove.  Like the ground floor, all surviving original beams have carpenter’s marks suggesting that the timbers were prepared off site and re-assembled on site, although some of the beams in the east room have been replaced at a later date and one of the jowls, the enlarged head of the main corner post that allows the tie beam, wall plate and post to be jointed together, is missing.  The surviving jowls are particularly deep extending over 4 ft down from the wall plate.  There is very little of the original structure visible in the first floor west room, which has now been converted to a bathroom.  The garret space appears to have been designed to be used from the time of construction as the struts clasping the purlin are jointed to the tiebeam with a gap of 2 ft 6 ins ensuring an access through the garret, despite causing the struts to be at an angle of 60 degrees to the horizontal and thus atypical for a queen post structure.


This original two-bay property was extended shortly after construction with the addition of the catslide room on the south side of the building.  Evidence to suggest that the room was added shortly after the original construction date is the fact that the external timbers in the south wall of the original property show very little sign of weathering suggesting that the south wall had not been an external wall for very long.  The catslide room is entered via a doorway from the original two-bay property situated in the position of a former window in the wall of the west room.  The roof construction of the catslide is that of clasped purlin with a light chamfer on the beams, the timber being of poorer finished quality than the original building.  There are three tiebeams across the roof, the central one having a large iron bracket strapped to it at a later date to prevent the beam pulling away from the original building.  Inserted into the southern half of the east wall of the room, also at a later date, is a large brick-built bread oven, with evidence of a copper and firebox to the north on this wall.  In 1906, there was a door leading through the southern wall giving access to a well located at the mid-way point of the south wall, suggesting that this room was by then used as a utility room freeing up the ‘living space’ on the ground floor and confining the cooking, brewing and washing to the catslide room. 


Without the use of dendrochronology, the date of original construction and the addition of the catslide room cannot be given accurately, but building style and evidence suggests that they possibly date to the late 16th century. However by 1663, at the time that John Finch took out the eleven-year lease on the mill and mill house at Hedgecourt, there is evidence to suggest that the north side of the house had also been extended to include the addition of an external chimney on the north wall. This extension now forms the central portion of the property; the timbers on the ground and first floor are of good quality with scroll chamfers on the ground floor beams, with carpenters’ marks very deeply carved throughout. The jowls on the first floor are slimmer than the original building and only extend about 2 foot down from the wall plate. The roof has been raised by approximately 2 ft since the original construction and uses very poor quality timber and jointing with the purlins using an unpegged splayed scarf joint where they are clasped. This has caused considerable movement in the roof structure with the insertion of later timber struts to stabilise the structure. The large inglenook fireplace on the ground floor appears to have been used for cooking suggesting this room may have been a kitchen area at some time especially as there are large iron meat hooks still present in the surrounding ceiling beams.


In March 1669, John Finch was still the miller at Hedgecourt paying a half yearly rent of £14 and a tax of 2/- for the mill.  He had purchased 74 acres of land and two houses and a barn at Woodcock Forge in April 1668, this being lately the estates of Richard Thorpe of ‘Gibshaven’ in Worth and his brother George Thorpe, both descendents of John Thorpe who had previously held the demesne lands of the manor of Hedgecourt.  In June 1669, John Gage of Firle took out a seven-year counterpart lease from John Finch for the ‘forgeman’s house, adjoining to a forge or ironwork called Woodcock Hammer in Godstone otherwise Walkcombested [sic], with all floodgates, water and water courses’, and in February 1672, John Finch, referred to as a yeoman of Worth in the assignment of mortgage, assigned this holding to Gabriel Leach of New Inn, Middlesex in trust for Thomas Taylor of London.


Some time between September 1669 and March 1670, Mr Marchant joined John Finch, the general accounts for the manor of Hedgecourt list Marchant and Finch paying the half yearly rent of £14 for the mill at Hedgecourt.  A short time before October 1674, Mr Marchant (probably Joseph), must have died, as on 10th October 1674, Sarah Marchant, widow, took out a twenty-one year lease on the water corn mill and mill house called Hedgecourt Mill with all the implements and tools and eleven acres of land, including Upper Floodgate Platt containing five acres, Long Shaws containing six acres, and also Mill Land, ‘late in the occupation of Joseph Marchant’.  The terms of the lease were very similar to those of 1663, except, John Gage reserved ‘liberty to make stews and stops there before the sewing of the great pond called the Hedgecourt Pond for the preserving and keeping of fish, and have access to remove quarry, wood or mine’.  Sarah Marchant was again responsible for the repair and maintenance of the bay and was covenanted to bring in ‘thirteen loads of clay and cinders to be laid down upon the Millpond bay’.  This lease had an endorsement added in November 1688, from Sarah Marchant to her son John Marchant ‘reserving her dwelling in the mill house, or if for her convenience she should leave the house, then John Marchant was to pay her £2 a year’.  This endorsement suggests that Sarah Marchant operated the mill, or at least over-saw the mill operation between 1674 and 1688, and indeed, Sarah Marchant is listed as paying £20 rent per annum for ‘the water corn mill and lands’ in 1678.  However, in 1688 the lease of 1674 was renewed and the water corn mill, mill house and two platts of land passed from Sarah Marchant to her son John Marchant.  Sarah appears to have passed the mill operation over to her son John at this date but had not left the mill house, as the lease is endorsed that John Marchant is to pay her 40/- a year if she ceases living in the mill house thus ensuring that she had sufficient funds to pay for alternative accommodation if needed. 


In May 1701, Joseph Marchant, probably the son of John, took out a counterpart lease from the trustees of Thomas Gage, on the water mill and mill house called Hedgecourt Mill this being a twenty-one year lease dated from 29th September 1700.  However, the general accounts of Hedgecourt manor for 1701 record John Marchant paying £10 rent on the watermill suggesting that father and son were both working the watermill.  The same general accounts also record that Joseph Marchant ‘built a house’, which may suggest that either he built a second dwelling house at Hedgecourt which is no longer standing, or that the mill house was again extended.  Local buildings expert Peter Gray surveyed the property in the 1970’s and suggested that the mill house was extended circa 1700.  The building work carried out in 1701 may well relate to the enclosing of the chimney on the north wall, the cross wing on the north side of the property, and catslide on the east side of the central portion of the property that was evident in 1906 but which has since been demolished.  It may also be that 1701 saw the mill house divided into two dwellings to provide accommodation for the two separate Marchant households.


The northern extension of the mill house is faced with brick on the east and north side, and is half tile hung on the west side, although these cover a timber frame.  The northern end of the roof is hipped and the roof is well constructed, unlike the roof of the previous extension, in fact some of the beams used are overly large for the roof space.  The floor joists and beams in the northern cross wing section run at right angles to the previous phases of construction at the mill house.  There is evidence to suggest that the chimney has been rebuilt, which may have taken place at this date, with a secondary chimney stack being attached to the east of the main chimney and a fireplace being opened off the main chimney in the northern wall of the first floor room on the west of the central portion of the property.  Access to this new section of the property is via a reinstated door to the west of the inglenook fireplace with a step down to a different floor level.  In 1906, access to the first floor was via a set of stepladder style steps located in the other alcove to the east of the inglenook, the probable location of the original access route at the time at which the property was divided into two.  Unfortunately, many essential dating features have been lost or covered up in this section of the property making it impossible to date accurately and unravel its original layout and usage.


In 1723, Joseph Marchant renewed his lease on the watermill and mill house at Hedgecourt for a further twenty-one years, and in 1730, Joseph Marchant is recorded as paying £25 rent on the property.  In October 1739, James Marchant, the son of Joseph, took out a sixty-year lease with William Clayton of Marden, for six acres of Hedgecourt Heath in Horne on which to build a windmill.  This piece of land was a small promontory at the southeast corner of Hedgecourt Millpond, visible to the south from Hedgecourt watermill.  As a point of interest, the millpond bay is the dividing line between the parishes of Godstone, in which the watermill was located and Horne in which the windmill was located, the distance between the two buildings a matter of a few hundred yards!  Thus in 1739, Joseph and James Marchant were operating both the wind and water mill, although by 1742 the general accounts for the manor of Hedgecourt record that James Marchant was paying £25 per annum for the watermill at Hedgecourt, implying that Joseph, his father, was no longer milling and that James was probably operating both the wind and water mills at Hedgecourt.


In 1743, there is an unexecuted lease between William Gage and James Marchant for a ‘Watermill and mill house newly erected and built [probably referring to the 1701 building work] called Hedgecourt Mill with stones and all the goods, implements and tools thereunto belonging and 1 iron crow, 1 toolchest and 2 jacks, and also that flow of water or pond known as Hedgecourt Mill Pond, and also 1 other pond lying and being between Myllwood and Cuttinglyes commonly called of the Myllwood Pond and all passage and current of water from Myllwood Pond unto the said Hodgecourt which equals ½ mile and all those 2 parcels of land called Upper Floodgate Platt and Little Floodgate Platt, 5 acres, 1 parcel called Long Shaws, 6 acres, in Godstone, Horne and Worth in tenure and occupation of James Marchant’.  The lease states that James Marchant should maintain ‘all roads, water, watercourses, bays, banks, floodgates, troughs and stews’ and that he was entitled to ‘all timber and timber-like trees, lops and tops other than the lops and tops of old pollards and all young tellowes, stores and standells of oak, ash, elm and beech and quarries of stone, iron mine and other metals now standing, growing or being’.  He was not permitted to prevent Gage entry to remove any trees, mine or stone as required.  James Marchant was also allowed to ‘fell, cut down, grub up, hew, saw, workout, load, cole, dig, draw, convert and carry away as long as little hurt is done to the corn and mowing grass as may be’.  ‘[Marchant] at his or their own proper costs and charges will and sufficiently repair and maintain, sustain, uphold, scoure, clense, fence and keep the said mill, mill house and buildings and all the tools, implements and materials thereunto belonging and all the bays, gates, ground gutts, pen stocks, floodgates, troughs, bridges, millstones, mill wheels and other wheel coggs, binns and sluices and every matter and thing pertaining to the said mill or mills.  Excepting theUpperPondBayto be kept by the said Gage in good repair.  And the said Iron Crow, Toll Chest and 2 Jacks are to be surrendered back to Gage at the end of the term’. 


A few changes have been made to this lease compared to previous leases taken out on the watermill and mill house at Hedgecourt.  Firstly, Myllwood Pond (Furnace Lake) and the stream leading from it to Hedgecourt Millpond have been incorporated into the lease.  James Marchant is now also made responsible for the maintenance of ‘roads’, which have not featured in previous leases for the watermill.  He is also entitled to some of the timber with permission to turn it into charcoal, a once essential fuel for the local iron industry.  The incorporation of Myllwood Pond and permission to make charcoal reflects the decline in the local iron industry, in particular Warren furnace, the blast furnace, which had required the water from Myllwood Pond for its sustained operation.  Although the responsibility of Myllwood Pond had passed to James Marchant, William Gage still undertook to maintain the ‘Upper Pond Bay’, the bay holding Myllwood Pond.  It is also interesting to note that ‘buildings’ appear amongst the list of property and items James Marchant was responsible to ‘repair and maintain’, possibly implying that outbuildings had been built since 1723, the date of the previous lease.


In October 1745, Edward Evelyn acquired the manor of Hedgecourt after the death of William Gage in 1744, at the cost of £8,260, and in 1747, there is a lease between Sir Francis Pool and Sir John Evelyn that refers to the’ mill and Mill Land in the occupation of James Marchant with eleven acres in Godstone and several ponds of water called Furnace Pond and Mill Pond in Horne, Godstone and Worth, and Forge Pond in Godstone’.  This confirms that James Marchant was still the miller at Hedgecourt and that the manor of Hedgecourt had passed from the Gage family to the Evelyn family who were to hold the manor until 1855.


Edward Evelyn commissioned a map of his newly acquired estate that was completed by J Bourd of Tunbridge Wells in 1748.  The map clearly depicts a watermill with waterwheel, a house and a barn on the Godstone side of the millpond bay at Hedgecourt and a windmill on the promontory opposite on the south side of the millpond in Horne.  These are the earliest depictions of either mill at Hedgecourt and are detailed enough to show that the windmill was of the post mill construction, the type of construction that was built in Britain for over 600 years.  The body of the post mill that carried the sails and the machinery, is mounted on an upright main post, usually oak, about 20 feet long, on which it could turn 360° so that it could always be made to face the wind.  The design changed little over the 600 years, except that the early windshafts (upon which the sails are mounted) passed horizontally into the top of the mill and carried the brake wheel.  This turned a wallower on a vertical shaft that went straight down to drive a pair of millstones.  It was soon realised that that the horizontal windshaft wore its wooden bearings very quickly with disastrous consequences, so they were angled upwards 5° to 15° thus preventing damage to the mill.


At the back of the mill there would have been a wide stepladder with handrails that gave access to the door.  The ladder would have been hinged at the top so that it could be lifted clear of the ground when the mill was turned or winded.  The mill would then have rested on a wooden support or trestle.  To turn the mill you had to lean on the tailpole and push until the body of the mill faced the wind.  Post mills were generally faced with weatherboarding, which then projected over the trestle to keep some of the weather out.  They were usually painted white or tarred black.  From the drawing on the Bourd map it can be seen that the windmill at Hedgecourt was an open post mill, in that the trestle was left open and not enclosed as some were at a later date to give protected dry storage space, and would appear to have been painted white rather than tarred.  This then was one of the mills that were operated by James Marchant.


The mid to late 1700’s was a busy period for millers in Britain with the increase of productivity in farming due to revolutionary ideas that had spread from the continent, namely crop rotation.  The Evelyn estate was no different and with nearly half its total acreage turned over to farming James Marchant must have been kept very busy at his mills.  An idea of what was being milled can be found in the Accounts of Knight’s Carriers, the local carriers of the Felbridge area, where entries such as:



14th February, ‘carried from the old mill 5 quarts and 1 sack of none such seed to Croydon’


16th May, ‘had from the mill 16 bushels of ots - £1 16s 0d

7th June, ‘had from the mill 1 sack of ots - 9/-

23rd June, ‘had 8 bushels of ots at the mill’ - 8/-

15th August, ‘had 1 sack of ots from the mill, ground and whole.


None Such seed comes from the Black Medick (Medicago polymorpha), with clover-like leaves and yellow clover-like flowers producing shiny black seeds in early autumn, being grown in the crop rotation system to add nitrogen to the soil.  As the Knight’s Carriers had carried the seed from the mill it is possible that it was being grown there, as milling the seed would have turned it to flour.  Ots is obviously oats, a cereal that was more commonly grown in the past being used for human consumption and animal feed, the accounts making reference to the oats being ground and left whole (not sieved to remove the husk).


James Marchant was still the miller of Hedgecourt in 1773, as at this date he was bequeathed ‘all goods and furniture’ by his brother Benjamin Marchant, a cooper and innkeeper of Cheam in Surrey.  However, it is difficult to determine when James Marchant ceased the occupation of the watermill and mill house at Hedgecourt as the land tax records from between 1780 and 1801 lists only the current lord of the manor as paying the land tax on the mill.  What is apparent is that in 1783, John Simmons took over the 1739 indenture on the windmill on Hedgecourt Heath suggesting that James Marchant had at least ceased milling from the windmill and possibly the watermill as well.  It is also known that James Marchant was unlikely to have been succeeded by his son James at the watermill and mill house at Hedgecourt because James Marchant junior is recorded as being the miller of Westerham in Surrey in 1771, being joined by his son James until his early death in 1805, and remaining in Westerham until his own death some time between 1811 and 1812.


The next clear mention of who was operating the watermill at Hedgecourt is in 1801, when Edward Stenning, and Messr. Lock and Stone are recorded as paying rent to the Evelyn estate for the ‘Mill at Hedgecourt’.  This mill can only be the watermill, as the windmill had disappeared by this date and is not depicted on the Joseph Lindley map of 1789 although he distinctly depicts other windmills in the area.  At this date, Edward Stenning was in the occupation of Hedgecourt Farm, and Mr Lock and Mr Stone probably occupied the mill house.  In 1803, Messrs Lock & Co paid the land tax charged on ‘Hedgecourt Mill and woods in Godstone’, therefore the watermill and woods, but a year later it is paid by Thomas Stone suggesting that perhaps he had succeeded Mr Lock as the miller.


Thomas Stone is recorded as paying the land tax of £4 14s 6d on the mill at Hedgecourt until 1814 when he was succeeded by his son John Stone who continued to pay the land tax and rental of £72 10/- until 1832.  In 1822, Laurence Hardy is also listed with John Stone as a miller of Hedgecourt implying that perhaps John Stone and Laurence Hardy both operated the mill but that John Stone held the lease being therefore responsible for the payment of land tax.  It is unclear when John Stone ceased being the miller at Hedgecourt, but by 1840 John Saunders is recorded as the miller in the Piggot’s Directory.


In 1838, John Saunders had succeeded James Jenner at Wiremill and in 1839 was recorded as holding from the Earl of Liverpool, a descendant of the Evelyn family, the Millpond [formerly known as Myllwood Pond], cottages and gardens and the Mill Plat and pasture.  However, in 1841, John Saunders is recorded as the miller of Hedgecourt and was living in part of the mill house with his wife Harriot and children William, Anna, John and Henry.  They were sufficiently well off to employ five unmarried servants, Jane Collins, Jane Gorringe, William Gorringe, Hizekiah Gorringe and Thomas Fuller, who lived in the adjoining household in the mill house.  This implies that by 1841, the property had definitely been split into two dwellings.


In 1844 the Godstone tithe apportionment confirms that the watermill at Hedgecourt was still in the hands of descendants of the Evelyn family, those of the Earl of Liverpool, and outlines the extent of John Saunders’ holding as the miller at Hedgecourt. 


            203      Lower Meadow                      Meadow          00. 03. 16

            206      Middle Meadow                     “                      01. 02. 30

            211      Upper Meadow                       “                      01. 03. 35

            213      Cow Platt                                “                      01. 03. 05

            214      part of Cow Platt                    “                      00. 00. 30

            201      Shaw                                       Wood              00. 00. 32

            202      “                                              “                      01. 01. 31

                        212      Pond - little                                                     00. 00. 07

            215      House                                                              00. 03. 25

            215a     Garden                                                                        00. 00. 33

            221      Mill                                                                  00. 01. 02

            Total                                                                            09. 02. 06


John Saunders also still held the lands in Worth, which, by implication, suggests that he held the mills of Furnace Lake, Hedgecourt Lake and Wiremill Lake and was in control of the entire milling operation in Felbridge at this time, although by 1851, the census records Thomas Brand as the miller and farmer of eighty-five acres at Wiremill.


In 1851, John Saunders was still listed as the miller at Hedgecourt in Godstone, and had added that he was also a farmer of forty-five acres, and with Thomas Brand at Wiremill the implication is that John Saunders milling operation may have been confined to just Hedgecourt and Furnace mills by this date.  Also, the 1851 census reveals that there is another miller by the name of George Gorringe living in a property in the Horne section of Hedgecourt with his wife Elizabeth and their five children, William, James, George, Edgar, Sarah and John.  This may mean that George Gorringe was a second miller working with John Saunders at the watermill at Hedgecourt, or that he was operating the mill at Furnace Pond under the direction of John Saunders.  Living with George and his wife Elizabeth as a separate household was one Thomas Stone, a lodger and agricultural labourer and his wife Ann.


John Saunders came from a fairly prominent Felbridge family with relations running the Star Inn, Gullege Farm and owning several portions of Hedgecourt Common.  As a point of social history, a letter written by Susannah Saunders on 19th October 1852, details one of the anxieties faced if living in the mill house.  Susannah was the wife of Carew Saunders, the nephew of John Saunders and was writing from her home in Rose Cottage,Imberhorne Lane, now the site of Treck Diagnostics Systems Ltd to her sons who had recently emigrated toAmerica:

…..Our English weather has been peculiar for we have had wet from the 2nd week in August till the first in October and on top of that such excessive rain that the floods have done much damage in drowning both cattle and human life.  Have not yet reachedMaidstone, Tonbridge and many more places quite inundated.  At the mill at Hedgecourt they were quite alarmed and thought….


Unfortunately the letter is illegible at this point so we will never know what they thought!


In 1855, Lady Selina Charlotte, Viscountess Milton, the last of the Evelyn descendant to hold the manor, sold the Felbridge estate to George Gatty.  The sale catalogue that accompanied the sale gives a detailed description of Hedgecourt watermill, mill house and associated lands:

Hedgecourt Mill and lands in occupation of John Saunders.  Dwelling house contains:

1 garret, 5 bedrooms, parlour, kitchen, dairy, wash house, 2 cellars, pump, garden and orchard.  The Mill which is at the head of a large sheet of water no. 762 and included in no. 210 is brick and tiled, worked by an 11 ft overshot wheel, driving 2 pairs of stones, and the Outbuildings consist of a new stable and shed, cow house and cart shed.


            Lands comprise of about 47 acres and are divided as follows:

                        203      Lower Meadow                      Arable             00. 03. 16       

            206      Middle Meadow                     Meadow          01. 02. 30       

            211      Upper Meadow                       “                      01. 03. 35

            213      Cow Plat                                 “                      01. 03. 05

            214      pt of Cow Plat                                    Pasture                        00. 00. 30

            201      Shaw                                       Wood              00. 00. 32

            202      Shaw                                       “                      01. 01. 31

            212      Pond                                                                00. 00. 07

            215      House &c                                                        00. 03. 25

            215a     Garden                                                                        00. 00. 33

            221      Water Mill, &c.                                               00. 01. 02

            Total in parish of Godstone                                        09. 02. 06


            157      Mill Plot                                  Pasture                        09. 02. 06       

            Total in parish of Worth                                              09. 02. 06


            778      Arable Field                            Arable             13. 03. 34       

            779      “                                              “                      05. 03. 08

            780      “                                              “                      05. 00. 12

            784      “                                              “                      05. 02. 33

            776      Pasture                                                Pasture                        03. 03. 34

            777      Arable                                      Arable             01. 01. 06

                        Total in parish of Horne                                              35. 03. 07


            Total acreage                                                               47. 01. 06



            Tithes: Vicar of Godstone          1. 10. 00

                                    Rector of Horne             5. 05. 00

                                    Rector of Worth             1. 03. 02

                        Land Tax                                    6. 11. 04

            Total                                        £14. 09. 06


The rights to the fish and wild fowl of Hedgecourt Millpond, along with the Hammer Pond at Wiremill and Furnace Pond are reserved for the proprietor of the Felbridge estate.


John Saunders is recorded as the miller of Hedgecourt until 1862 although by this date he occupied Tilkhurst Farm to the south of Imberhorne and Gullege.  However, by 1858, John Saunders had been joined by John Tully Coomber at Hedgecourt watermill being listed as living in the mill house in 1861 with his wife Ellen, daughter Elizabeth and her nursemaid Dorcas Holman.  Thus begins a succession of short-stay millers and tenants occupying the mill and mill house.  Some time between 1861 and 1869, Robert Bartley replaced John Coomber as the miller of Hedgecourt and in 1871, was listed a occupying the mill house with his wife Mary and daughters Constance, Sarah and Frances.  Also living at the mill house but as a separate household was John Hooker and his wife Susannah and their son Thomas, both men being listed as farm labourers, probably assisting Robert Bartley in running the forty-five acre farm now attached to the mill. 


Some time between 1871 and 1881, Sydney Killick had succeeded Robert Bartley as the miller and was living with his wife Sarah Ann and their son George James.  At this date the mill house may have been divided into three separate dwellings as John Hooker was still occupying part of the mill house with his wife Susannah and their son Leonard, a baker, and there was yet another separate household with Albert Thomas Bingham, a carpenter and joiner, as the head of household living with his wife Henrietta.  The miller and occupancy of the mill house had changed again by 1891, with Thomas Colvin listed as the miller, living with his wife Phoebe, daughter Rosa and granddaughter Frances Farrant.  Also residing at the mill house was John Stripp and his wife Annie and children John and Amy.  John was listed as an agricultural labourer and probably assisted on the farm attached to the mill.


In 1901, the mill house had two households, that of Alexander Winchester and his wife Margaret and their children Albert John, Alexander, Walter George and Mary Louise.  Alexander Winchester senior was listed as a carter on a farm and may have worked on the farm attached to the mill or at Hedgecourt Farm.  The second household contained William Jenner and his wife Louisa and their son William Francis.  William Jenner was listed as a journeyman miller and was from the same Jenner family that had been operating Wiremill as a corn mill. 


1903 saw the death of Charles Henry Gatty, the son and heir of George Gatty who had died in 1864, and the Felbridge estate, including the mill and mill house at Hedgecourt, passed to two of his cousins, Charles Lane Sayer and Alfred Leighton Sayer.  The mill by this date was still operable although there is little evidence to show it was in constant operation and may have dropped to working on alternate days and/or in conjunction with Wiremill.


In 1906, the old mill house was known as 1 and 2 Mill Cottages, the southern half of the mill house was occupied by the Streeter family having taken over from Alexander Winchester and his family since 1901, with the Jenner family still occupying the northern section.  The Dean family followed shortly after the Jenner family.  The Streeter family, consisting of William and Emma Streeter and their children William, Elizabeth, Samuel, Sidney, and Emma, along with William’s mother-in-law, Emma Mitchell née Tucknott, had moved from Rose Cottages in Crawley Down Road.  William Streeter worked as a carter at Hedgecourt Farm and remained at the farm for over fifty years.  Sidney Streeter later built models of the Hedgecourt mill house, watermill and stables as he remembered them in his youth, which give an excellent insight into what the buildings looked like at the turn of the 20th century. 


The models made by Sidney Streeter were built from memory but a comparison of the mill house model with the current structure suggest that, although not quite to scale, details that have recently been uncovered like the timber framing in eastern bedroom, the positioning of some of the ground floor doors, and the change of direction of ceiling/floor beams in the central section of the property, are very accurate.  Likewise, a comparison of the model of the watermill with contemporary drawings of 1926 of the interior and machinery of the mill show comparable detail.  Based on the observations between the models and surveyed structure of the mill house, and contemporary drawings and descriptions of the watermill it can be taken that the models are good representations of the mill house and watermill.  This suggests that the same is true of the stables, giving a reasonably accurate view of the watermill, mill house and stables at Hedgecourt in the early 1900’s when the mill was still operable and possibly still operated. 


The model of the mill house shows that the property was divided into two tenements, entrance into the southern portion was via a door in the south wall at the west corner of the catslide room.  The catslide room had the bread oven, copper and long shallow sink with a drain to the outside suggesting that this was the scullery.  Leading from the catslide room, through a door opposite but east of the entrance door, was a square room with a small fireplace and the northwest corner boxed in.  This housed the staircase leading to the first floor.  At the foot of the stairs was one of the two cellars mentioned in the sale catalogue of 1855.  In the east wall at the foot of the stairs was another door leading to a rectangular room on the east side of the house that had a floor sloping to a gully running east/west that drained to the east side of the property.  The first floor, reached by the staircase, had two rooms, a small landing/room on the west side of the property and a rectangular room to the east.  Rising from the room on the east side through a door next to the west wall was another staircase leading to the garret which consisted of a small room on the east side and a larger room on the west.  At the top of the stairs there was a hatchway into the attic space over the second dwelling.  Thus this tenement had three bedrooms on the first and second floor and three rooms on the ground floor.  The second tenement was entered from the west side, the southern edge of the door being in line with the northern edge of the original and oldest part of the building.  This door led into a large room with an inglenook fireplace on the north wall with a door to the west of it and the stairs to the first floor to the east.  Leading from this room in the east wall through a door adjacent to the foot of the stairs was a small rectangular room with a long shallow sink and sloped floor, the gully draining to the east side of the house.  Leading off this room through a door in the north wall was a smaller rectangular room, and a door in the east wall led to the back garden.  Leading from the room on the west side of the property, through the door to the west of the inglenook, was another rectangular room with another door opposite leading outside.  The stairs led to two fair sized bedrooms on the west side of the property with a fireplace set into the chimney of the inglenook in the southern bedroom.  A smaller bedroom was accessed from the top of the stairs in the northeast corner and box room led off from this room on the south side of the room. 


The exterior of the model shows the property to be half tile hung and brick on the west side, the tile hanging using a combination of square and diamond-shaped tiles, with distinct vertical scars suggesting a hint of the structural alterations and building phases that the property had undergone over the years.  There are shutters on two of the windows in the west wall.  The south and north walls are made of brick, but the east side has a complete range of building materials visible.  The original and oldest section on the south side is half tile hung with alternate quarters of vertical wall beneath being brick and timber framed in-filled with wattle and daub.  The central portion of the property is timber framed in-filled with brick and the northern section was just brick.  Windows range from diamond lead lights and rectangular lead lights in the west wall to a mixture of four-pane cottage style and even one-pane windows in the east wall, with one diamond lead light window in the oldest section.  The roof is tiled with gables on the oldest section and hips on the northern end.  Running along the south and east side of the property was an open gully into which ran the water that drained from inside the property, this gully then headed diagonally northeast across the back garden to the millstream.


The watermill would have been aligned east/west and the model shows the waterwheel and wheel pit on the north side of the mill.  The roof is hipped on the east and west end and is tiled, there being a catslide on the south side.  The west side, which would have been nearest to Mill Lane, has a central door on the first floor with a small window above on the second floor, entry into the mill at this point was from ground level but at first floor level of the mill.  To the south of the door there is a small lidded box attached to the wall.  Moving to the south side of the mill it is obvious that the mill’s foundations are stone with brick above to the first floor and then weather-boarded above.  This is slightly different to the 1855 description that states that the mill was then ‘brick and tile’.  In the south side there is a central door on the ground floor flanked by a window each side.  There is another door in the weather-boarding on the first floor directly above the ground floor door.  The east side has a small hatch at the north corner in the stonework at basement level, possibly to drain water from the mill as this floor level is at or slightly below the water level of the wheel pit.  There are two windows in the stone built ground floor and three staggered windows in two weather-boarded floors above.  The north wall has the wheel pit attached and water wheel.  The interior of the mill shows the milling machinery, the top floor having a series of square bins either side of a walkway.  Access to the floors is by two sets of steps located at the east side of the mill.


The model of the stables has a two-storey building attached to a long single storey building.  From map evidence, the orientation of the stables is on an east/west alignment although it is difficult to determine which of the two long sides faced north or south, again map evidence suggests that the two storey end was at the west end.  Based on this position, the two-storey building has a tiled gabled roof running east/west with a large double door on the first floor.  The ground floor has two open spaces, possibly cart lodges, that are entered from the north side, and the first floor is only half floored at the west end of the building.  The long single-storey stable is attached to the two-storey building at its roof level but there is an open passage between the open cart lodge and the west wall of the stable.  The stable has a tiled gabled roof running east/west.  Entrance to the stable is via a door on the north side that also has three evenly spaced windows, one to the west of the door and two to the east.  The stable has six stalls with a continuous hayrack above.  The floor is brick with a drainage gulley running east/west.  At the east end of the stables there is a rectangular room entered via a door in the dividing wall at the northwest corner.  This room was probably a storage/tack room.  There is a door in the east wall of this room giving access to outside.  The whole building is made of brick.


In 1910, the Felbridge Place estate was sold to Percy Portway Harvey, the sale being put into the name of Emma Harvey, and in May 1911, the East Grinstead Estate Co Ltd put up the Felbridge Place estate for auction.  Hedgecourt Mill, Mill House and adjacent pasture, arable lands and the lake, by then amounting to 63a 2r 1p, were put up for auction as Lot 3, being offered with Lot 1, Felbridge Place – the mansion house, pleasure grounds, grandly timbered park, with stabling, glasshouses, and 2 lodges, amounting to 104a 0r 11p.  The watermill was described as ‘a brick, timber and tile building with overshot waterwheel’ and the mill house was described as a ‘very commodious and picturesque dwelling house now occupied in two tenements, having large gardens, yards and useful buildings’.  Attached to the watermill and mill house was some ‘useful pasture and some rough grass’ comprising of:

            Godstone                                                   Horne

            108 pt. Pasture                00.014               537      Lake                     40.380

            108 pt. Pasture                00.205               539      Rough Grass        05.316

            180 pt. Buildings             01.079               673      Marsh                   06.324

            179      Waste                  00.039               672      Marsh                   08.000

            181      Rough Grass        01.270

            191      Rough Grass        00.060

            192      Rough Grass        00.819

                                                                              Total                                63.506


Control of the sluices at Hedgecourt Lake, provided that such control was reasonably exercised, went with Lot 35, Wire Mill Flour Mills.  The purchaser of Lot 35 was not to interfere with the user of Hedgecourt Lake in the breeding or preservation of fish or its general enjoyment; however, the purchaser of Lot 35 had a covenant to keep the sluices etc. in good repair.  The covenant stated: 

The Purchaser of Lot 35 shall have the right to use and take water from Hedgecourt Lake for the purpose only of controlling the supply of water to Wire Mill and for such purpose to use all sluices, pipes, flood gates, pent stocks, hatches, waterways and drains belonging to Hedgecourt Lake, and the Purchaser of Lot 35 shall (if required), enter into a proper covenant framed so as to bind his representatives and assigns, and to run with the ownership of Wire Mill and Lake into whosesoever hands the same may come, with the Vendors or, if Hedgecourt Lake (Lot 3 of other portions of the Felbridge Place Estate offered for sale this day) be sold, with the owner of that Lake, that he will exercise such right, as aforesaid, in a proper and reasonable manner, and that he will not do anything which will in any way interfere with the use of Hedgecourt Lake for the breeding and preservation of fish and water fowl, or the general enjoyment of the lake, or which may cause flooding or inundation of the adjacent lands or any abnormal reduction of the head of water in Hedgecourt Lake, and also, that he will at all times keep the said sluices, pipes, flood gates, pent stocks, hatches, waterways, and drains, in good and substantial repair, order and condition.  The Purchaser of Lot 35 shall also covenant with the Vendors that, in the exercise of such right, he will not do anything, which may in any way tend to the damage of the embankment at the head of Hedgecourt Lake or the roadway known as Mill or Stubpond Lane.  


Evidence suggests that the mill and cottages did not sell in 1911 as in 1913 they were offered for sale again, this time as part of Lot 3, Home Farm.  This sale catalogue details:

Mill, Double Cottages and gardens on plot 180b, (.205 acres) for sale as part of No. 3, Home Farm, otherwise known as Park Farm.  Also included, fields nos. 177, rough grass 4.365 acres, 180, buildings on 1.079 acres, 180a, pasture on .014 acres, and 181, rough grass on 1.270 acres.  Field nos. 179, waste on .039 acres, 191, rough grass on .060 acres and 192, rough grass on .819 acres went in No. 4 with Hedgecourt Lake and a piece of marsh of 6.324 acres, plot 673. 


It is unclear who purchased the home Farm at this date, or whether it actually sold, however, by 1916, Home Farm was in the hands of Henry Willis Rudd who had purchased a large portion of the Felbridge Place estate from the East Grinstead Estate Co Ltd, taking up residence at Newchapel House whilst employing Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up a ‘grand design’ for Felbridge, most of which was never implemented.  For further details see the Factsheets The Downfall of Henry Willis Rudd, SJC 10/02 and Lutyens Grand Design for Felbridge, SJC 07/03.


Although there is evidence that the ownership of the mill and mill house changed hands, the occupancy of the Mill Cottage remained unchanged with William and Emma Streeter living in it, although by 1918, the occupancy of Lake Cottage had changed from the Dean family to the Allen family.  In 1922 William (Bill) Alfred Streeter, the eldest son of William and Emma, married Ellen Amelia Coomber, and succeeded the Allen family at Lake Cottage around 1924.  In May 1924, the watermill and mill house were again up for sale included in the New Chapel House and Felbridge Place Estates, put up for auction with lands totalling 770 acres, including three residences, New Chapel House, Golands and Felbridge Place, a racing stable with bungalow and a Galloping track, two farm houses, with 300 acres of pasture and arable land, eight cottages, as well as Hedgecourt Lake, and some 250 acres of woodland.  This sale also included:

Lot 1, Park Farm, the Farm House, Dwelling house by Lutyens, Model Cowhouses designed by Lutyens, and 168 acres, including, field nos. pt of 177, arable, 180, pasture and buildings, 181, pasture, 191, building and pasture, and 192, pasture, [Hedgecourt Mill and surrounding area]. 

Lot 22, charming sheet of water known asHedgecourtLakecovering 42.276 acres.  Approached off mill Lane and surrounded by woodland which affords good snipe and woodcock shooting and fishing.   Adjoining this lot was 25.656 acres of rough pastureland having a frontage of 1,330 ft to the Copthorne road, to Brighton and Horsham.


Hedgecourt Lake was sold subject to the following conditions: 

That the owner for the time being is under covenant not knowingly to permit anything to be done which will impair the quality of the water of Hedgecourt Lake or materially lessen or destroy the quality of the water.  Also there are certain rights of access to the adjoining owners.  The owner for the time being is liable in common with other owners to contribute to the cost of keeping in repair Mill Lane in proportion to the frontage upon it. 


Evidence suggests that a Belgium gentleman named Honore Dubar purchased Park Farm, both the old farmhouse and newly erected Lutyens house, along with associated outbuildings including the watermill and mill house that were by now included as part of Park Farm.  Living alongside Honore Dubar at Park Farm was Marjorie Thomas.


In 1926, a gentleman by the name of Mr R Thurston Hopkins visited the by now disused but still intact watermill at Hedgecourt to include in the book he was writing and described it thus:

The interior machinery is almost intact and much of it is very old.  The upright shaft and driving wheel is a magnificent example of a millwright’s craftsmanship.  The driving wheel engages the 2 driving cogs, the millstones are 8 ft across, and the upright shaft is six-sided.  The frame, which carries the machinery, is very massive and of roughly shaped trees that have been used in places.  The foundations of the wheel and sluice appear to be much older than the present building.  The whole mill, both inside and outside, is a very interesting structure. 


At this date, the stable block was also intact, although an eyewitness account suggests that it was not in good repair, and by 1940 was completely buried in brambles and bushes.  Also at this date, the watermill, in the opinion of local author Ernest Straker, was ‘apparently only held together by a luxuriant growth of ivy’.  The watermill was again visited in 1948 by Mr J Hillier for inclusion in the book he was writing about Surrey watermills and he described it thus:

The existing building shows every sign of having been built for corn milling, of date, I would say, the end of the 18th century.  Like most mills of the period, the base, up to the first floor, was of brick, the upper storeys weather-boarded on a timber frame.  Much of the millwright’s work strikes me as of early date and could possibly that it was originally set up in the mill.  The wooden spur wheel and stone nuts, the immense old beam brayer, give one the impression that the ‘works’ in this mill are as old as any in the country.  It was a two-pair overshot mill, and enough remains of the wheel to show that there was another of timber and metal combined, perhaps, like the rest of the gearing, contemporary with the building itself.  The axle was of wood.  The eight compass arms are of the cast iron, the shields of wood with grooves on the inner sides to take the ends of the metal floats.  The pit was a cast iron ‘split’ wheel with short oak cogs.  The whaller, [a small cogged wheel], and crown both of metal with hexagonal collars for clasping the central shaft.  The driving wheel, which engaged the two driving cogs of the millstones, was eight feet across.  The framework that carried the machinery was massive and roughly shaped trees had been used in places, and the watershaft was made of oak.


It is all a sad ruin now, vignetted in a leafy surround, the interior millwright’s work revealed like an open watch.  The ivied roof, with tattered edge of dislodged tiles, shows the rafters.  The weatherboards are half gone from the walls, the floorboards rotted and treacherous.  The roots of a huge oak, which was full grown before this building was erected, are dislodging the walls of the wheelwell.


An undated footnote in the book stated that the inevitable had happened and the upper floors had been demolished and ‘all the millwright’s work, almost the last of its kind inSurrey, broken up and scattered around.’ 


In 1932, William and Emma Streeter were joined at Mill Cottage by their youngest daughter Emma and granddaughter Doris, after the death of Emma’s husband Sidney Curtis, and in April 1937.  Bill Streeter of Lake Cottage died and his wife re-married, and during the war, the Fillery family occupied Lake Cottage being followed by relations of Marjorie Thomas.  In December 1937, William and Emma Streeter moved from Mill Cottage with their youngest daughter Emma and grand daughter Doris, to 2 Park Cottages, Copthorne Road, and William’s and Emma’s eldest daughter Elizabeth (Liz) and her husband Thomas (Tommy) Martin moved into Mill Cottage.  By the early 1950’s Charlie and Daisy Bones and his mother Nina Bones had moved into Lake Cottage next-door to Liz and Tommy Streeter. In 1958, Nina Bones died and Charlie, Daisy and their family moved to Blackham, leaving Lake Cottage to stand empty.    


In the early 1950’s, Mr K C Reid visited the watermill for inclusion in yet another book on watermills, he described it thus:

Two walls, including that of the dam, alone survive.  The cast iron pip-wheel, the spokes of the water wheel, and the wooden axletree can be seen, but of the well–preserved mill, which was there in 1930, there is nothing else.  It had ceased grinding then and the lower storey had been set up as a boat store but, inside, many pieces of the 16th century structural works remained incorporated in the 18th century mill, as well as the gearing and upright shaft. 


However, it was time and vandals, (not helped by the proximity of Hobbs Barracks where there were soldiers with time of their hands), which had taken their toll on the mill necessitating the removal of the upper two floors for safety reasons.


In 1962, the Dubar family sold Park Farm, including what was left of the watermill and the mill house to John Edwards who took up residence at the old farmhouse at Park Farm.  At this time the tenants of the old mill house were Tommy and Liz Martin née Streeter living in Mill Cottage with Lake Cottage standing empty.  In 1964, the mill house was condemned and the Streeter family moved to Rowplatt Lane.  The mill house then stood empty for several years with a hand painted notice stating ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted’ nailed firmly to the door. In 1969, John Edwards had the mill house completely gutted and renovated which accounts for the major differences, such as repositioning of stairs and doorways, between the model of the old mill house and what can be seen today.  It was also at this time that the northern most extension was added using materials from properties demolished in association with the extension to Gatwick.  After renovation Mrs Ellie Edwards, the mother of John Edwards, moved into the northern section of the property by then known as Mill Cottage. The builder who had completed the renovation and extension work acquired the older southern end of the property, known as Mill House.   


In the mid 1970’s Mrs Ivy Vigurs, a widow with two children, bought Mill House.  Shortly after moving in, her son Robin had a tragic motorbike accident and she nursed him back from the brink of death with the help of her daughter Rosemary and the family’s pet Alsatian, Kela.  The Mill House was put back on the market in 1979 and was purchased by Nick and Marie Bryce-Smith. 


In 1984, the meadow and most of the wood that formed Park Farm was being broken up and sold in lots and John Edwards and his family joined his mother Ellie at Mill Cottage, retaining part of Moat Wood and the adjoining meadow.  An SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) report carried out at this time for the area adjoining the gardens of the mill house included the following species of flora:


Alisma plantago-aquatica Water Plantain

Alopecurus geniculatus Marsh Foxtail

Angelica sylvestris Wild Angelica

Bidens cernua Nodding Bur-marigold

Carex panniculata Greater Tussock Sedge

Carex pseudocyperus Cyperus Sedge

Chillea ptarmica Sneezewort

Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb

Epilobium palustre Marsh Willowherb

Equisetum fluviatie Water horsetail

Galeopsis tetrahit Hemp Nettle

Glyceria sp.Sweet Grass

Juncus articulatus Jointed Rush

Juncus effuses Soft Rush

Lotus uliginosus Greater Birds-foot-trefoil

Lycopus europaeus Gipsywort

Lysimachia vulgaris Yellow Loosestrife

Mentha aquatica Water Mint

Mysotis scorpioides Water Forget-me-not

Oenanthe crocata Hemlock Water-dropwort

Phalaris arundinacea Reed Canary-grass

Polygonum amphibium Amphibious Bistort

Polygonum hydropiper Water Pepper

Ranunculus acris Meadow Buttercup

Ranunculus flammula Lesser Spearwort

Rumex conglomeratus Clustered Dock

Sparganium erectum Branched Bur-reed

Stellaria alsine Bog Stitchwort

Stellaria graminea Lesser Stitchwort



Also in 1984, the National Monuments Record records Mill House receiving a Grade II Listing. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that a listing had existed on the property prior to 1979. The 1984 listing records:

Mill House and Mill Cottage, formerly Lakeand Hedgecourt Cottages.  Early 17th century restored and extended to the left in the 20th century.  Timber framed on rendered plinth, red and blue brick cladding below, diamond pattern tile hanging above.  Plain tiled roof hipped to left, stepped down and set back to the left with ridge stack to left of centre and rear stack to right.  Two storeys and attic in gable front cross wing to right; four casement windows across first floor of original house, 1 leaded casement window in first floor of extension.  Planked 20th century door to left in re-entrant angle between extension and old house with flat roofed porch under iron balcony. 


In 1988, the northernmost tenement, Mill Cottage, was sold by the Edwards family to Alan Alexander and Marion Lloyd who lived there until 1998, when the Mill Cottage was put back on the market and was purchased by Nick and Marie Bryce-Smith of the Mill House, thus re-uniting the two dwellings under one ownership.  Shortly after their purchase, the Bryce-Smith’s put the Mill Cottage up for let, the tenancy being taken up by Caroline and Michael Cook, who later moved to Mill Lane, followed by Mr and Mrs Seymour.  At the end of the second tenancy the Bryce-Smith’s decided to reconvert Mill House and Mill Cottage to a single dwelling house, now known as The Mill House, by reinstating the original doorway to the west of the inglenook fireplace.  The current property is half tile hung with both timber framed and brick walls under a tiled roof.  Today the property consists of a garret space, four/five bedrooms, three bathrooms, first floor lounge with stunning views over Hedgecourt Lake, ground floor lounge, dining room, two reception rooms, two kitchens and an entrance lobby.  The remnants of the watermill can still be seen to the north of the house and the area surrounding the mill stream is now a listed SSSI, the site being listed for its sedges, plants of the family Carex, that resemble grasses but have solid rather than hollow stems, often found near water, although there is also a rather spectacular field of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) that flower in late spring to early summer.


The most recent writings on the watermill are by Derek Stiddler who wrote in 1990:


Hedgecourt was an important water mill in terms of industrial rural architecture and a sad loss.  There is no evidence to suggest that Hedgecourt mill had an association with the Wealden iron industry.  The last mill to work on the site was small, but the millpond was more important as it acted as a ‘pen pond’ for the storage of water for the much larger Wire Mill.  Hedgecourt Mill was referred to in the days of Queen Elizabeth I and was marked on John Sennex map of 1679.  The last to occupy the site was constructed towards the end of the 17th century and consisted of only 2 pairs of stones.  The waterwheel, 12ft 6ins in diameter and 6ft wide, was fed via a pipe connected to the pond on the other side of the track that passed the front door of the mill.  The mill is marked on all contemporary maps from the 17th century but apart from this little documentation appears to exist.  From at least the 1900’s, and no doubt before that, the mill was worked in conjunction with Wire Mill.  By the middle of the 1930’s it was disused and being of fairly ancient construction, and in an exposed location, the mill quickly fell into ruin.  It had been of stone construction to the first floor with weatherboarding up to the hipped tiled roof and overall typically rural in appearance.  It is still possible to see the framework of the iron overshot waterwheel affixed to a now nothing wooden axle shaft and a 9ft 6ins diameter pit wheel.


Sadly the watermill no longer stands, all that remains are the cast iron spokes of the waterwheel, the rotting axle and the partial walls of the wheel pit embedded into the millpond bay with the decaying mill sluice across the road.  Recently however, a worn millstone from the watermill has come to light that was for many years used by Wren’s the Felbridge blacksmiths as a sharpening stone, which is now in the hands of Bannister’s Bakery Museum at Blindley Heath.  Also, an apple wood tooth from one of the cogwheels now forms part of the Felbridge History Archive, along with the models of the watermill, stables and mill house made by Sidney Streeter.  However, the old mill house, now renovated and reverted to one dwelling, stands proud as a testament to the milling tradition that operated at Hedgecourt for nearly four hundred years. 





Godstone by U Lambert

Hedgecourt Court Rolls, 3151 / P25/21/11 SHC

Articles between Lord Gage and Col. Evelyn, 1745, SHC 3151

Counterpart Lease, 1567, SAS/G43/32, ESRO

Wealden Iron by E Straker

Index of Watermills, T Hine, Reading

Old English Mills and Inns by R Thurston Hopkins

Watermills of the London Countryside by K C Reid

Mrs McIver’s Notes on Felbridge, FHA

Hedgecourt General Accounts 1613-28, SAS/G11/26, ESRO

Everenden/Filkes Lease, 1652, SAS/G43/144A, ESRO

Everenden/Finch Counterpart Lease, 1663, SAS/G43/130-132, ESRO

Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings by Richard Harris

Recording Timber-Framed Buildings by Alcock, Barley,Dixonand Meeson.

Hedgecourt Mill Cottages Model made by S Streeter, FHA

Marchant Family Tree, FHA

Thorpe/Finch Conveyance1668, SAS/G46/9, ESRO

Gage/Finch Assignment of Mortgage, 1672, SAS/G43/54, ESRO

Gage/Marchant Lease, 1674, SAS/G43/54, ESRO

Hedgecourt General Accounts, 1678, SAS/G11/28, ESRO

Marchant Lease, 1688, SAS/G43/133, ESRO

Hedgecourt General Accounts, 1701, SAS/G11/29, ESRO

Felbridge Parish & People, FHA

Counterpart Lease, Gage. Marchant, 1723, SAS/G43/136A, ESRO

Rents of William Gage, 1730, SAS/G26/2, ESRO

Hedgecourt General Accounts, 1742/3, SAS/G11/30, ESRO

Unexecuted Lease, Gage/Marchant, 1743, SAS/G43/138A, ESRO

Articles between Gage/Evelyn, 1745, Box 3151, SHC

Lease Pool/Evelyn, 1747, Box 3151, SHC

Bourd map, 1748, FHA

Windmills by S Beedell

Knights Carrier’s Accounts, 1763/70, FHA

The wild flowers of the British Isles by I Garrard

Will of B Marchant, 1773, PCC, FHA

Will of J Marchant, 1805, PCC, FHA

Will of J Marchant, 1812, PCC, FHA

Land Tax Records, 1780/1800, SHC

Land Tax Records 1801, 3069/1, SHC

Joseph Lindley map, 1789, 6062/4/13, SHC

Land Tax Records, 1802/1832, SHC

Piggot’s Directory, 1840

Worth tithe and apportionment, 1839, FHA

Census 1841-1901, FHA

Saunders letters 1850/2, FHA

Felbridge estate sale catalogue, 1855, FHA

Burial Register of St John the Divine, FHA

Will of Charles Henry Gatty, 1903, FHA

Streeter Family Tree, FHA

Felbridge Place Estate Sale Catalogue, 1911, FHA

Felbridge Place Estate Sale Catalogue, 1913, FHA

Marriage Register of St John’s, FHA

The Downfall of Henry Willis Rudd, SJC 10/02, FHA

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

New Chapel House and Felbridge Place Estates Sale Catalogue, 1924, FHA

Documented memories of M Dubar, FHA

Old English Mills and Inns by R Thurston Hopkins

Lost mills around East Grinstead by E Straker, FHA

Old Surrey Watermills by J Hillier

Documented memories of B Roberts, FHA

Watermills of the London Countryside by K C Reid

Documented memories of K Housman, FHA

I saved my son’s life, Newspaper Article c1976, FHA

Survey of Moat Wood, Park Farm, by Surrey Wildlife Trust, 1984, FHA

NMR Listing no. 287366, FHA


My thanks are extended to Nick and Marie Bryce-Smith for the invitation to view their home, and for all the help and information they have provided.  Also thanks are extended to Roger Sutton for his information on the Marchant family, and Joyce Chewter and Doris Trefine for their information on the Streeter tree and general information about Hedgecourt Mill Cottages.

SJC 07/04