Imberhorne Farmhouse

Imberhorne Farmhouse

The current Imberhorne Farmhouse is located to the south of Felbridge, west of East Grinstead and stands to the east of Imberhorne Farm complex, beside the pre-historic East/West Ridgeway. This area once formed part of the parish of East Grinstead, but in 1865, was transferred to the newly created ecclesiastical parish of Felbridge.

The Farmhouse was built to replace an older property that had once served as the manor house for the manor of Imberhorne. The old house still stands, located to the west, behind the Farm complex. The old manor house is buried within what has now become nos.1-3 Imberhorne Farm Cottages, and from the roof construction above no.3, is medieval in origin. With the building of the new house, the old one became an agricultural labourer’s cottage, known as ‘Old Wallage’ in the 1840’s, being divided into two and then three farm workers dwellings by 1881.

The current Farmhouse was built between 1808 and 1811, under the direction of Arabella Diana, Duchess of Dorset, widow of John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, who succeeded as Lord of the manor of Imberhorne on his death in 1799. Arabella Diana was the daughter of Charles Cope; a baronet with lands in Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire, who had married Catherine Bishopp, the daughter of Sir Cecil Bishopp a baronet of Parham in Sussex. Arabella had one sister and jointly inherited her father’s lands, living with their mother and stepfather, the Earl of Liverpool. As a point of interest, a brother of the Earl of Liverpool, Charles Cecil Cope Jenkinson, married Julie Evelyn Medley, sole heiress of Felbridge Place.

Arabella married John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, in 1790, bringing with her a dowry of £140,000. In her marriage settlement, Arabella’s lands were to belong to the Duke for his life and then pass, along with some of his lands, to Arabella and her heirs. John Frederick was twenty-four years her senior, and before Arabella had reached the age of thirty, had become seriously ill, leaving Arabella to manage his affairs and bring up the their family of three children, Mary born in 1792, George born in 1793 and Elizabeth born in 1795. Under John Frederick’s direction she gained valuable experience in managing the Sackville affairs, so on his death in 1799 when she inherited his position, she ruled with confidence until their son became of age. The death of John Frederick made Arabella the richest woman in Britain. Two years after his death, Arabella married Charles, Earl Whitworth who had begun his career in the army. He had transferred to the Diplomatic Corps and with the help of Duke of Dorset was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary, first in Warsaw and then St Petersburg, returning to Britain in 1800, becoming a member of the Privy Council. It was at this time that he met and, after a short courtship, married Arabella. In 1802, Charles Whitworth was appointed Ambassador to France and he and Arabella went to live in France. However, in 1803, he was recalled to England with the threat of the Napoleonic War, and it was not until ten years later in 1813, that he got his next appointment and became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Again Arabella accompanied him to Ireland and it was whilst there, in 1815, that Arabella’s son George became of age taking the title of 4th Duke of Dorset. Unfortunately, he died shortly after as a result of a riding accident and his title passed to Charles Sackville Germain, cousin of the 3rd Duke and the son of Lord George Sackville, whilst his lands returned to Arabella. In 1817, at the end of his term of duty, Charles Whitworth and Arabella returned to England.

Arabella was a tall lady and Sir Nathanial Wraxhall, a contemporary of hers, described her thus, ‘Her person, though not feminine, might then be denominated handsome, and if her mind was not highly cultivated or refined, she could boast of intellectual endowments that fitted her for the active business of life’. Arabella appears as a rather austere and authoritarian character, and to observers showed little or no affection towards her children. On her arrival at Knole, the home of her first husband, John Frederick, 3rd Duke of Dorset, she was described as severe and orderly, ‘under the dominion of no passion except the love of money, her taste for power and pleasure always subordinate to her economy’. In the words of Vita Sackville West, ‘the real control, under a show of submission, was exercised by the commanding figure of the Duchess. She was prudent and long suffering, no doubt she had in mind the advantages she intended to secure when she should be no longer a wife and sick nurse, but a widow’. However, she loyally cared for the John Frederick during his time of illness, and was devoted to her second husband, being it is said, ‘inconsolable at his loss’ in 1825.

Imberhorne Farmhouse was built during the period that Arabella and her newly married second husband Charles Whitworth were living in England, before his appointment to Ireland. The Sackville papers contain numerous bills for materials relating to major construction works at Imberhorne dating between 1808 and 1811. The materials being purchased suggest that the house was started in 1808 and an oval plaque dated ‘1808’ can be found on the end gable of the original outbuildings that run westwards from the house, these were extended further west at a later date, obscuring the plaque. The large quantities of bricks being purchased suggest that it was not only the ‘new house’ that was being built. It would seem likely that some, if not all, of the present farm buildings were also constructed at this time. Typical entries in the Imberhorne Account Book for this period are:
January 22nd, 48 dozen nails from Southey to the New House.
July 28th,Workers tools and workers stools for brickyard £1. 5s. 0d
November 11th, Slating Stone to the New House £75. 10s. 9d
March 8th, 300 tiles £0. 13s. 0d
March 23rd, 10 ridge tiles £0. 4s. 2d
March 27th, 700 paving bricks £1. 17s. 4d
March 29th, 1,000 paving bricks £2. 13s. 0d
May 17th, 6 gutter tiles £0. 2s. 0d
May 25th, 300 bricks £0. 13s. 0d
July 20th, 300 bricks £0. 13s. 0d
August 11th, 600 bricks £1. 6s. 0d
August 21st, 6 hip tiles £0. 2s. 0d
September 20th, 1,600 bricks £3. 12s. 0d
October 11th, 1,000 paving bricks £2. 15s. 0d
November 2nd, 500 bricks £1. 2s. 6d
February 8th, 300 well bricks £0. 16s. 6d
May 16th, 200 bricks £0. 9s. 0d
July 20th, 300 bricks £0. 13s. 0d
August 21st, 60 ridge tiles £1. 5s. 0d
Total £18. 3s. 6d
Paid by the Duchess of Dorset.

The purchase of bricks and tiles continued through 1810 into 1811, with mention of the ironwork related to finishing the farm buildings received from William Southey, the blacksmith.
Receipt/Bill for bricks and tiles used @ Himber Horne
August 12th, 7,625 bricks £17. 3s. 1½d
November 26th, 4,100 bricks £9. 2s. 6d
December 1st, 1,300 tiles £4. 19s. 0d
December 7th, 1,600 tiles £3. 12s. 0d
December 7th, 30 hip tiles £0. 12s. 6d
December 9th, 1,000 tiles £2. 5s. 0d
December 9th, 500 bricks £1. 2s. 6d
Total £43. 17s. 7½d
Deducted 2/3d being an error in the calculation.
William Buck.

February 4th, Payment to William Southey for smith work done at Imberhorne.
Assorted iron objects, gates, hinges, dozens of nails, ironwork for the old stables, latches, locks, staples, and ironwork for the barns, small palisade gate, upright window bars and screen for the palisade gates £10. 7s. 10d

April 4th, To John Tulley for bricks £18. 3s. 6d

The last entries found in the Imberhorne Account Books for large quantities of building materials are late 1811, and many balances of accounts can also be found suggesting the building programme was coming to an end.

Imberhorne Farmhouse was constructed in the late Georgian period when buildings in Britain were heavily influenced by the Classical architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, based on the principles of symmetry and proportion, and the ‘Five Orders’ (generally found on grand buildings), the five types of Classical columns, Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. There was a belief that certain visual proportions, principally squares, were the key to architectural beauty and harmony. One of the features of this style of architecture was that the house was regular with a central feature of two or three windows rising vertically in the middle of the main front. This central feature would be emphasized either by a slight projection, or by an entrance door, both in the case of Imberhorne Farmhouse, or a portico of columns, if a grander house. Imberhorne Farmhouse has the plain dignity and elegance, owed in part to the balance between an impressive door and generously proportioned sash windows that are symmetrically arranged, which are synonymous with this Georgian Classical style of architecture.

Facing north, Imberhorne Farmhouse is elevated above the East/West Ridgeway, and would have originally had commanding views to the north across open countryside. The property is three bays wide, a bay being the architectural term for a part of a building marked off by vertical elements, in the case of Imberhorne Farmhouse, three vertical rows of sash windows, rows of neat sash windows being one of the most familiar features of a Georgian house. The central bay projects slightly, which is typical of the period, and carries a modified form of Grecian style pediment, the wide, low-pitched triangular gable surmounting the façade of the building. The front entrance to the property is in the centre of the projecting central bay. Front doors, generally painted dark green, dark blue, burgundy or black, as it currently is, were given greater prominence from the late 1700’s and at Imberhorne it is a double door, each with four panels giving the impression of an eight-panelled door. It is set between a pair of fixed panels, painted white, with rectangular panelled decoration. Above the front door is a low, wide segmental fanlight set under an arch, again typical of the era, with two sash windows vertically above, and the three sash windows vertically either side. The segmental fanlight extends to the outer edges of the fixed panels, and the entrance is reached by mounting three shallow steps.

Beneath the northern half of the house is a cellar extending to nearly the full width of the property, which can be entered from the service area inside the house, or from outside on the west side of the house. The basement has two windows whose tops are just above ground level, both positioned in the line of vertical sash windows on the three floors above in the two outside bays. Evidence suggests that the window in the west end of the basement may have been unglazed and fitted with wire gauze at some point allowing air into the basement.

The property is three storeys high with the second floor slightly smaller than the one below, conforming to the Georgian principles of proportion. The sash windows in the east, north and west elevations also conform to this principle, although based on rectangles rather than squares.

The windows on the left and right of the north elevation are four panes high and four wide on the ground floor and first floor, and two panes high and four wide on the second floor, with the central windows reflecting the design of the door. The windows on the left of the west elevation are the same as the left and right of the north elevation, but the windows on the right of west elevation are four panes high and four panes wide on the ground and first floor, and three panes high and five wide on the second floor. The east elevation only has windows on the left side being the same as those on the left and right side of the north elevation.

The shapes of window openings were based on simple geometric proportions; the width and status of the window determined the height of the opening. A window on the main floor, or piano nobile, which was normally located at the first floor level in the grander houses was usually a double square, being twice as high as it was wide. At Imberhorne, the main floor is the ground floor, the first floor having less decorative details. The height of a window on the chamber or bedroom floor was normally 1¼ times the width, while windows at attic level, where the majority of the staff rooms were situated, tended to be square. These proportions are largely responsible for the elegant appearance of Georgina houses, and at Imberhorne there are even blind windows on the first and second floors to the left of the west wall to balance the over-all symmetry.

The windows in the central bay on the north elevation reflect the design of the door and have sash windows of three panes wide and four high, with a vertical row of four blind panes either side of the main window on the first floor and the same arrangement but only two blind panes high on the second floor. The south or back, being out of sight from visitors and housing only the staff areas, has smaller four-pane casement windows on the first and second floor, located slightly east of the centre point of the wall. The ground floor window at the eastern corner of the building on the south elevation is part glazed and part wire gauzed with bars behind allowing air into the pantry located at that corner of the property, keeping it ventilated and cool but keeping insects out.

The house was built on a foundation of rough dressed sandstone blocks, with Flemish bond brickwork above set about 2ins/5cm back from the edge. Flemish bond has headers and stretchers alternately laid in the same course, headers being the end of the brick laid across rather than parallel with the wall and stretchers the long side of the brick laid parallel to the wall. The over all impression of the walls, particularly apparent on the west wall between the kitchen and front, side window, is one of a chequered appearance, with the headers being grey in colour contrasting with the stretchers that are mostly shades of red. The bricks used for the construction of the property were all made locally as the entries in the Account Books and old bills/receipts testify.
January, Received of Mr James for the Duchess of Dorset, 24,600 bricks from Wilderwick, paid Mr Avery.

January 20th, Kiln faggots for brickyard £74. 16s. 3d
January 20th, Brick making at Newbridge Brickyard £124. 18s. 8¾d
January 20th, Glazier works £0. 6s. 0d
January 27th, Messrs. Dann, Bill for bricks £25. 18s. 6d
January 28th, John Thurley, Bill for bricks £108. 0s. 0d
January 28th, Truck wheelbarrow £9. 0s. 0d
January 31st, Hubble for work on Imberhorne House, £100 received from Duchess of Dorset.

January 20th, Received of Mr James for the Duchess of Dorset, for carriage of bricks from Newbridge Brickyard to Imberhorne @ 25 for 1,000 £5. 2s. 6d, Benjamin Combridge

January 20th, Received of Mr James for the Duchess of Dorset, for carriage of bricks from Newbridge Brickyard to Imberhorne @25 for 1,000, George Parker.

To make the bricks, clay had to be pugged [mixed with water and kneaded until smooth], and then pressed into wooden brick moulds that had been sprinkled with sand or sometimes water to prevent the clay from sticking to them. The clay was then levelled with a steel or wooden straightedge, and the green [not yet fully processed] bricks were then turned out of the moulds and stacked between layers of straw to dry naturally before being fired. The clay used would have been dug locally to the brickyards, and Wilderwick and Newbridge brickyards are referred to in the Account Books as two of the suppliers. The bricks were not purchased as a finished product, payment was made for individual stages of manufacture, the faggots to fire the kilns, tools for the brick makers, thatch for the drying shed and even stools to sit on, on top of a charge per brick. The bricks were set together using lime mortar that was made on site, using locally produced lime.
January 24th, Received of Mr James for the Duchess of Dorset, 2 kilns of lime for mortar for Imberhorne House and buildings, £30. 0s. 0d, William Hubble.

William Hubble was in residence at Imberhorne Farm at the time of the construction of the ‘new house’ and was being paid to produce lime for the construction of the house as well as producing lime for fertilising the fields.

The gauged segmental arch above the fanlight on the north side is of deep red bricks, complementing the visually straight edged gauged skewback arches above the windows, again in deep red brick, in all walls except the south wall and scullery wall, where bricks the same colour as the walls have been used for shallow gauged segmental arches above the windows, and the basement windows that have shallow arches cut in the sandstone foundation. A gauged segmental arch is built with identical tapering bricks known as voussoirs, centred on the apex of an imaginary upside down equilateral triangle, whereas each brick in a gauged skewback arch is a different shape, although still centred on the apex of an inverted equilateral triangle. Skewback arches are another feature in Georgian architecture found above straight-head sash windows. The lower edge of this type of arch has to be raised with a slight curve in order to counteract an optical illusion; if it was perfectly straight the arch would appear to sag in the middle. The sills are made of stone and are currently painted black to match the wooden frames.

The roof is covered in slates, providing a highly durable and relatively maintenance-free roof covering. The construction of the roof consists of two ridges either side of a shallower central ridge all running north/south that join a ridge at the front of the property running east/west, with two valley gutters either side of the central north/south ridge. This arrangement is only visible from the rear and sides of the house, being hidden at the front by the pediment. This type of roof construction can also be found on Ann’s Orchard, Crawley Down Road, built later between 1851 and 1861. Positioned in the centre of the two outside ridges are chimneystacks each with six flues. Access to the roof at Imberhorne was originally through a skylight window on the east side of the central ridge, accessed from the second floor landing of the back stairs.

Extending to the south and covering the lower section of the western half of the back wall of the house is a single storey building that would have housed the scullery, washhouse and brew house. The exterior end wall of the scullery originally had a large chimneystack taking the flue from the fireplace and coppers inside. This building is also built on a foundation of sandstone with Flemish bond brickwork above. Unlike the house, the roof is constructed with a single gable and is tiled. There is a small window in the east wall located near the brewing copper, which currently consists of a single casement pane in the north half with the south half being boarded, although there is a central vertical iron bar in each half of the casement suggesting that this window may not have originally been glazed, and there is evidence to suggest that the opening would have been shuttered. There is also a casement window in the west wall, consisting of three sections each set with six rectangular panes. These windows, like the windows in the south elevation, do not have the deep red brick, straight edged skewback arches above but use the normal wall bricks to form a shallow segmental arch above the window and the sills are wooden, not stone. Also in the west elevation, located next to the back wall of the house, is the door leading to the outbuildings. This door is a planked, ledged door with iron strap hinges and latches. The original large wooden lock is still in place although now augmented by a modern lock.

The outbuildings extend westward and the original end gable has the oval date plaque in it and once had a window beneath it, now blocked in. The wall has since been painted white so it is only possible to determine that there is a shallow arch above the window opening suggesting that it was of similar design to the windows found in the staff area of the house. There are three doors on the original section of the outbuildings on the north side, two being low battened, ledged doors with strap hinges, and the third door being a four panel door, which was commonly used in the Victorian period, again with strap hinges. The outbuildings would probably have housed the wood and coal stores, vital for cooking and heating the property. The outbuildings have a tiled roof like the scullery, and the south elevation of this range of buildings would appear to have been bricked in at a later date, suggesting that they were originally constructed with an open covered way on the south. One reason for suggesting that the north and south walls of the outbuildings were constructed at different times is that the north wall brickwork is Flemish bond and on the south, from the edge of the chimneystack, the brickwork is English bond, where the courses alternate between a course of headers and a course of stretchers. Neither wall has the sandstone block foundation, being brick from ground level.

Building work at Imberhorne was under the direction of Mr James and the accounts that have been kept give a clear insight into the names of the workforce that was responsible for much of the work. Apart from William Avery supplying bricks from Wilderwick, John Turley is also recorded as supplying bricks from Newbridge, and John Tulley also received payment for bricks, tiles, ridge tiles, paving bricks, gutter tiles and well bricks, although there is no mention of where he worked. William Hubble provided lime for the lime mortar and William Lucas supplied sand and stone. Robert Sisley and Richard Read were responsible for the oak timber used at Imberhorne and John Stenning for laths, battens and soft wood. John and James Lynn were responsible for overseeing bricklaying, the carpentry and masons work. John Heywood was responsible for painting and decorating, and the plumbing and glazing work carried out at Imberhorne. William Southey, blacksmith of Felbridge Water, completed all the ironwork. It is also evident that several repairs to the Farm were also being undertaken at this time, with wheat straw being bought by William Hubble from Charles Long and William Butley during 1809, and payments being made to Philip Francis in February 1809 for thatching work carried out that included mending the barn and wheat stack, and thatching the lodge.

The floor plan of Imberhorne Farmhouse complies with the standard design for a farm of about five hundred acres in the late Georgian period. It was during this period that landowners were beginning to respond to their obligations of providing a better standard of housing for their tenant farmers and farm workers. The provision of well arranged buildings and farmhouse would in turn attract better tenant farmers, whose profitable and responsible husbandry [cultivation of plants and raising of livestock] would be beneficial to the landowner. A suitable house for the size of Imberhorne Farm was expected to consist of two spacious ground floor rooms for the principal living area of the tenant family, one often referred to as the parlour, and an office. Upstairs you would expect to have up to six large bedrooms. The entrance hall and staircase generally divided the two living rooms from the kitchen and dairy, with a passage that led to the scullery, coal house and brew house beyond. However, the hall and main staircase divide the two principal ground floor rooms at Imberhorne, being in the front half of the property, with a door at the back of the hall dividing this half from the back half of the property. There is a step down into the back or staff half of the property which is again divided by a corridor, with the office or possibly housekeeper’s room and the pantry, to the east and the kitchen area to the west. Leading from the kitchen was the scullery, wash house and brew house, and leading from this the outbuildings that would have contained the wood and coal stores. The two-roomed basement was accessed from a door off the service corridor adjacent to the dividing door between the front and rear halves of the property or by a door off the kitchen. The split between the main and service areas is very evident at Imberhorne with a lockable dividing door on the ground and first floors and no access between the front and back of the house on the top floor.

Access to the first and second floor from the front half is by a plain yet elegant wooden staircase, with straight sticks and slim handrails, and a minimum of decoration save a two-reed moulding running up the outer string of the treads. The wooden panel enclosing the stairs on the ground floor has geometric panelling, consistent with early to mid 18th century stairs. The ground floor flight of stairs is 36ins/108cms wide, and those from the first to second floor are 30ins/90cms. The back stairs are very plain, with both flights being only 30ins/90cms wide. The back stairs are stained black which ends at the top of the stairs, the staff landing and floorboards being left unstained and unfinished wood. There is access from the front half of the property to the back half on the first floor through a bolted door, again stepping down into the back half. The first floor has a central landing leading to the dividing door with a large bedroom either side. On stepping down into the back of the house there is a small bedroom to the east with a large bedroom to the west, which had an adjoining dressing room to the east, suggesting that these bedrooms were used by the master and his family and were not staff quarters. The second floor at the front of the property has a further two bedrooms, one each side of the landing. However, access to these can only be reached off the main stairs. The second floor in the back half contains the staff quarters, one room on the east, a small room opposite the top of the stairs and a larger room to the west.

Imberhorne Farmhouse is a classic example of the hierarchical architecture of the past, designed to reflect the status of the person using the living space, with specific details separating the part of the property used by the master of the house and that used by the staff, as well as those rooms meant to be seen by visitors and those seen only by the family. It appears to be a sort of hybrid between a farmhouse and manor house, being relatively small as a manor house yet built with all the class divisions and status symbols not generally associated with a farmhouse. The first thing that is obvious is the dividing door and step down between the living and service areas of the house. Then the design and width of the stairs on the ground floor is there to impress visitors, being narrower on the first floor and in the service area where out of sight. The floors also reflect status, the ground floor in the service passage and the kitchen were quarry tiles with brick paving in the pantry and scullery, whilst the remainder of the property had wooden floorboards. Here too there are differences, floorboards on the top floor are 8½ins/25.5cmswide, and on the ground and first floor they are 9ins/27cms wide. Doors on the top floor are shorter than the lower floors and have four-panels set in doorframes that have one-reed mouldings. Doors on the first floor have six plain rectangular panels, the top two being 9ins/27cms long, the central and lower ones being 22ins/60cms long, and the doorframes have a three-reed moulding. Doors on the ground floor are also six-panels in the same dimensions as the first floor doors, but the panels have a panel within, and the doorframes are more elaborate. The doorframe to the room on the east has a flower motif, similar to an acanthus, in the top corners, and the doorframe to the room on the west has a geometric moulding both have five-reed frames. The skirting boards on the ground floor also have a two-groove moulding along the top face of the boards, whereas others are plain.

The windows on the ground floor have wooden shutters decorated in geometric panels. All the rooms at Imberhorne Farmhouse were heated by open fires, but the fireplaces in the two principal rooms on the ground floor are the most elaborate, an entry in the Imberhorne Account Book notes:
February 5th, From Her Grace the Duchess of Dorset, payment to Thomas Hargraves for:
1 Portland stone chimney piece £5. 3s. 0d
1 Marble chimney piece, with thin stone harth and carvings,
handling, carriage and fixing £15. 1s. 4d
12 Patterns for door dressings £0. 6s. 0d
Total £20. 10s. 4d

The service corridor has a dado rail and wooden tongue and groove panelling leading to a back entrance. The pantry to the east of this has a large mesh meat safe in it and brick shelving, with the wire gauze window open to the air to keep the room cool and the insects out, the nearest there was to a fridge. The kitchen to the west of the corridor is a big airy room, which has a large fireplace with a wooden over-mantel set into the north wall. To the west of the fireplace was a deep-shelved cupboard, now blocked off, and to the east a door leading to the cellar below. Early 19th century kitchens had large sash windows to let as much light as possible in, as at Imberhorne, but the kitchen has seen many changes during its time as more labour saving devices and different methods of cooking have been introduced and is quite different to the original 19th century kitchen that was installed. There would have been a long stone or earthenware sink, resembling a trough, initially replaced by a white glazed sink located to the east of the door leading to the scullery and now a modern sink and draining unit has been relocated to under the west window.

Coal was replacing wood as a fuel by the 19th century but the method of cooking would still have been over an open fire, perhaps aided by the introduction of a cast iron hob grate. The hob grate was introduced in the middle of the 18th century, having a firebox flanked by iron plates that fitted into the fireplace instead of standing free as they had before. Kettles and pans could then be placed on the flat horizontal surfaces, known as hobs, on each side of the fire, whilst the iron chimney crane, with hooks, could be swung above the open fire on which could be hung griddles or cauldrons. Roast meat was no longer turned on a spit having been replaced by a hastener and bottle jack, a sprung driven, vertically hanging device that was suspended from the top of the hastener. The roast was suspended from a wheel under the jack that caused the joint to turn first one way and then the other, and the hastener was placed in front of the fire, reflecting the heat back at the meat and catching the fat in a drip pan at the bottom whilst it cooked. The original hob grate was at some time replaced by an ‘Ideal’ Cook-an-Heat Range that also provided domestic hot water for the sink, bath and dairy, this eventually being replaced by a freestanding gas cooker followed by a modern integrated appliance.

The coal fired hob grates and ranges would have always been kept burning, providing warmth in winter but would have been excessively hot in the summer. Evidence suggests that the south wall of the kitchen had an arched opening in it at one time which may have started life as a window but was later adapted as an opening leading into the scullery, which would have helped dissipate the heat in the summer.

The scullery also doubled as a washhouse, bake house and brew house, having an indoor well and a second stone trough sink. The centre of the south wall contained the large fireplace with a shallow segmental arch over, later fitted with a gas cooker. To the west of the fireplace was the copper with firebox under and to the east, the much larger brewing copper. Set in the back wall of the fireplace, on the eastern side, was the bread oven with a firebox under. This building had two large wooden beams, one over the fireplace and the other in the centre of the room, both with chamfered edges. A third beam, without chamfered edges, has been added at a later date nearer to the kitchen end of the building. This has been tied into the wall on the west side with an iron strap, presumably to prevent the walls spreading. The bricked up archway can be clearly seen from the scullery and the north wall of the scullery suggests several alterations have been carried out since its construction. After the archway was knocked through from the kitchen into the scullery, a lintel was inserted to create a doorway, with the top of the arched opening being bricked up. At a later date a second doorway was knocked through further to the east, and the arched opening bricked in, unfortunately the dates of these alterations are unknown. The arched opening may have been blocked up to accommodate a large built in dresser, now relocated to the scullery, being the only wall in the kitchen long enough to accommodate it.

The only other service area was the basement, accessed from the back corridor or by a door to the east of the fireplace in the kitchen. This was divided into two rooms, the room on the east side having a dado rail and tongue and groove boarding above, and the room in the western portion sandstone and rendering. There is a sink in this room and a small larder in the eastern room with slate shelves, and a wooden door with window covered with wire gauze with rows of drilled holes in the bottom section. This may have been used as a wine, beer and cider cellar, but was converted in the late 19th century as a dairy, having drain gullies set into the floor and the sink installed.

There is no visible evidence of the interior finishes applied to Imberhorne Farmhouse, although entries in the Imberhorne Account Books give a hint of the paint colours being used. The accounts list individual constituents for the paint; lime, turpentine, white lead, etc. being purchased from general merchants Tooth’s of East Grinstead, to be mixed by the painter, with mention of ‘good Spanish brown’ and white lead paint, with the ‘palisade fence to be painted dark green’. The house painter would distemper the walls and ceilings, and paint the woodwork. Distempers were used on ceilings and lesser walls, being water-based mixtures using whiting [ground chalk], pigment and size [a form of glue made from boiled animal bones and skin]. Oil paints were used to cover woodwork being mixed from white lead, linseed oil and pigment. By the time that Imberhorne Farmhouse was constructed, wallpapers had become popular and may have been used in the principal rooms.

The first tenant at the new Imberhorne Farmhouse was William Hubble and his family, being mentioned in the Account Books in 1809, and paying land tax of £24 and £1 on two properties at Imberhorne, owned by the Duchess of Dorset, in October 1810. The payment of £24 was for the farm and the £1 for the ‘new’ house. William Buck succeeded William Hubble and was recorded as ‘letting the farm of Imberhorne with the common ground’ to Mr George Auger, gentleman of Eastbourne, in September 1812. In 1813, there is reference to yet more bricks being ordered, to the value of £14. 10/-, which would have been just short of 6,500 bricks, unfortunately there is no mention of what these were used for but were most likely used for outbuildings.

The occupation of the ‘new’ house is similar to the tenancy of the farmland; the information here is therefore based on ‘The Farm at Imberhorne’ Factsheet SJC 05/03 with additional details where relevant. In 1815, Edward Auger took responsibility for the land tax implying that he had succeeded George Auger at Imberhorne. Between 1816 and 1819, the Duchess of Dorset paid the land tax for Imberhorne, which would suggest that the property was not being leased out, however, from 1820, the property passed through a series of short term leaseholders, starting with Col. John Turner between 1820 and 1821. Mr E Leaf took over from Col. Turner, being succeeded by Mr W H Barrow in 1824. In 1825, Mr Barrow paid the land tax for the manor of Imberhorne to the value of £1. 14s. 8d. but the land tax of £24 for the house and land was paid by S S Slater esq., implying that Imberhorne had been divided and was being leased to two people. Also in 1825, Arabella Diana, Duchess of Dorset, died and on her death the Lordship and lands of the manor of Imberhorne passed to her eldest daughter Mary, Countess of Plymouth.

Mr Slater continued to pay the £24 land tax for the next four years but in 1827, Mr Hoper took over from Mr Barrow. In 1830, Mr David Wibley succeeded Mr Slater and in 1832 he also took over from Mr Hoper, thus reuniting the divided farm and house with the manor. Two years later David Wibley died and was succeeded by John ‘Whright’ (Wright) esq. of Bellsize Park, Hampstead in 1834. The lease, dated 22nd March, records that at this time the farm extended to 528 acres and had been late in the occupation of David Wibley, implying that perhaps he had resided at Imberhorne Farmhouse. John Wright held the lease for the next seven years until 1841, when Charles Worsley succeeded him. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to determine whether all the gentlemen recorded as paying the land tax between 1820 and 1841, actually resided at Imberhorne Farmhouse or whether they installed a bailiff to run the farm for them, as was the case during the leasehold of Charles Worsley. Although Charles Worsley, the son of Rev. George Worsley and his wife Ann Cayley, members of the Worsley family who had held Hovingham Hall in Yorkshire, paid the land tax for Imberhorne in 1841, indicating that he held the lease, the census of 1841 records that James Isted, whose occupation was recorded as farm bailiff, occupied Imberhorne Farmhouse, then known as ‘New House’. Indeed the Tithe apportionment of 1842 records that the land owner was Lord Amherst, the second husband of Mary Countess of Plymouth, with the farm being occupied by John Wright, although two years later Charles Worsley appears in the Kelly’s Directory as ‘of Imberhorne’, and continued to pay the land tax until 1852 when Frederick Caley Worsley, his older brother, took over the payment.

In the census of 1851, Henry Batchelor is recorded as ‘bailiff and overlooker’ in occupation of Imberhorne, implying that Frederick Worsley was at this time not residing at the property, although in 1852, he appears in the Directory as ‘of Imberhorne’. Frederick Worsley was one of the Provisional Directors of the East Grinstead Railway Company who were responsible for putting the East Grinstead branch lines in. He remained ‘of Imberhorne’ until November 1855, the year that saw the enfranchisement of some of the lands of the manor of Imberhorne. This came about due to land with copyhold status being worth virtually nothing by the 19th century to the Lord of the manor, inflation having made the unchanged copyhold rents unrealistic and other fines and payments scarcely worth collecting. However, the demesne lands of the manor of Imberhorne were retained by the Sackville family and not freed from manorial jurisdiction. Frederick Cayley Worsley must have left Imberhorne in 1855 as the Sackville papers contain the accounts received from Charles Marchant for woods and arable land ‘in hand at Imberhorne’ and a list of property ‘put on the stampt inventory from Mr Worsley to Lord Amherst, retained in hand by his Lordship and not let to the incoming tenant’, dated November 1855. The most likely incoming tenant to Imberhorne at this time was Joseph Turner, as by 1858 he is listed in the Melville’s Directory and Gazetteer of Sussex as a ‘land agent and appraiser of Imberhorne’. Joseph Turner was the son of William Turner founder of Turner, Rudge & Turner and joined the business at the age of fifteen. It is interesting to note that Joseph was the six times great nephew of Sackville Turner who had held the demesne lands of Imberhorne including the old house, in 1597.

In the census of 1861, Joseph Turner is recorded as occupying Imberhorne Farm, being the farmer of 400 acres employing three labourers and two boys, but had left the farm by 1866 when Richard Dawson was listed in the Kelly’s directory as ‘farmer of Imberhorne’. In 1864, Mary Countess Amherst died and the Lordship and remaining lands of the manor of Imberhorne passed to her sister, Elizabeth, Countess de la Warr. Elizabeth died six years later and the Lordship and lands of the manor of Imberhorne passed to her son, Charles Sackville-West, 6th Earl de la Warr, and two years later Imberhorne Farm was put up for sale and was purchased by Dr Thomas Fielden Campbell in 1872. This was a time of depression in the agricultural world and estates were being put on the market, being purchased by gentlemen from the rising middle class either for property speculation or as a chance to emulate the gentry by owning their own ‘country estate’. Thomas Campbell moved into Imberhorne Farmhouse and speculated by building Imberhorne House, later to be known as Imberhorne Manor after its purchase by Edward Charles Blount (later Sir) in 1877.

The Blounts originally took out a one-year lease on Imberhorne House with 100 acres of parkland, but took an option to purchase the property on 1st November 1877. Over the next three years, Sir Edward Blount also purchased Imberhorne Farm, Farmhouse and the farm workers cottages, being in total ownership by 8th May 1880. Later in 1896, Sir Edward Blount extended the Imberhorne estate still further with the purchase of the freehold lands of Gulledge Farm, Tilkhurst Farm and Hill Place Farm. Henry Blount, his son, supervised modifications to Imberhorne House, taking up residence in Imberhorne Farmhouse whilst the work was carried out. Henry Blount, aided by the farm bailiff, Isaac Rust, was also responsible for Imberhorne Farm’s future programme and workforce and in 1879, established a Roman Catholic Mission at the west end of the top floor of Imberhorne Farmhouse, later transferring to the Blount’s purpose built School, originally called Imberhorne School and now known as St Peter’s, located in what was originally called Imberhorne Lane, now Chapman’s Lane. After building work was completed on what was then called Imberhorne Manor, Henry Blount moved out of Imberhorne Farmhouse and into the Manor with his parents. All future bailiffs for Imberhorne Farm and the Blount estate resided at Imberhorne Farmhouse until the break-up of the estate in 1954, these included, Isaac Rust who was succeeded by John Charles Davis ~1880 to ~1889, Thomas Pentecost ~1889 to 1931, and Edward Wells from 1931 to 1953.

During the seventy years between the construction of Imberhorne Farmhouse and its purchase by the Blounts, no alterations appear to have been carried out. However, within the first twenty years of ownership by the Blounts several alterations had occurred, mostly in connection with the outbuildings. The largest alteration was an extension to the west end of the outbuildings, doubling their original length, and incorporating a dovecote on the west end of the extension, along with the enclosing of the south side of the original outbuildings. Minor work included the building of a porch or lobby to the door leading from the brew house, washhouse and scullery on the west side, and a corresponding extension on the east side of the house to create what became an internal water closet. After 1898, and the initial alterations, it would appear that no more structural alterations were carried out to the house during the next fifty-five year ownership by the Blounts, although the uses of some of the rooms and outbuildings altered over the years. With the installation of gas, sometime before 1926, the wood and coal store became redundant and was converted as gun dog kennels. The extension to the outbuildings eventually ended up as poultry houses for turkeys, geese, ducks and chicken. The cellar or basement area was converted to a dairy, and the scullery doubled as a game room in which to hang the spoils of a day’s shooting and where rabbits were boiled each day to feed the dogs. The dining room became the bailiff’s office housing a large quarter circular gun rack and map of the estate, and in latter years the drawing room was turned over as a music room. The original bailiff’s office or possibly housekeeper’s room was converted to a bathroom.

Electricity for Imberhorne Manor, Imberhorne Farmhouse and the workers cottages was supplied from the generator plant that lay to the south of Chapmans Lane, between Imberhorne Manor and Imberhorne Farm. The main service areas at the back of Imberhorne Farmhouse still have some original gas lights that were installed after mains gas was laid onto the property, but there is no evidence of any gas lights or fittings in the front section of the house suggesting that the supply of electricity must have already been installed in this section of the house at or about the same time as gas arrived in the service areas of the property or there would have been evidence of surviving gas light fittings in the front section as well. During the ownership of the Blounts, water for the properties on the estate was pumped from a reservoir located near the viaduct that cut through the Blount’s ‘garden wood’ (formerly the mill pond for Brook Mill), lying to the southwest of what is now the New Garden Wood Road. Drainage from the Blount estate was discharged into a cesspool with a filter bed located to the north of Cow Field being filtered and dispersed northward through the fields that have now become the Birches Industrial Estate.

In 1953, Edward Blount, grandson of Sir Edward, died, and within four months his wife had also died leaving the Imberhorne estate, including Imberhorne Farm and Farmhouse to their two daughters. The double deaths, in quick succession, incurred massive death duties and the decision was made to break up and sell the Imberhorne estate to raise the capital required to cover the death duties, Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms being put up for auction on 25th May 1954. The sale catalogue described Imberhorne Farmhouse as a ‘commodious and attractive Georgian Farmhouse, brick built on a stone base and with a slated roof, standing well above the road and commanding extensive views’. The rateable value of Imberhorne Farmhouse at the time of sale was £30 and the accommodation was described thus:

On the second floor:
Bedroom 1, 15ft 5ins/ by 12ft 3ins/, with a fireplace.
Bedroom 2, 15ft 2ins/ by 16ft 1ins/, with a fireplace. Light Landing. Cupboard on a half landing.
Approached off Secondary Stairs:
Bedroom 3, 16ft 9ins/ by 14ft 9ins/, with a fireplace and cupboard.
Bedroom 4, 9ft 3ins/ by 7 ft/.
Bedroom 5, 14ft/ by 10ft/, with a fireplace.

On the First Floor:
Approached by the wide and easy rising main staircase:
Bedroom 6, 15ft 9ins/ by 12ft 3ins/, with a fireplace and cupboard.
Bedroom 7, 15ft 1ins/ by 17ft 4ins/, with a fireplace. Landing.

Approached off half landing and Secondary Stairs:
Bedroom 8, 16ft 8ins/ by 13ft 7ins/, with a fireplace, two cupboards and a door to
Bedroom 9, 9ft 2ins/ by 5ft 9ins/.
Bedroom 10, 14ft/ by 10ft/, with a fireplace.
The six bedrooms approached from the secondary stairs could quite easily be shut off from the four main bedrooms.

On the Ground Floor:
‘L’ Shaped Hall, 16ft/ by 8ft 9ins/, with a pair of front doors, reeded architraves and six-panel doors.
Office, 14ft 3ins/ by 12ft 2ins/, with a fireplace and cupboard either side, two windows.
Sitting Room, 15ft 9ins/ by 15ft/, with a fireplace and cupboard either side.
Back Lobby, with a tiled floor and secondary staircase, and with door to the Hall. There is a back door to the Lobby and outside WC.
Bathroom, with an iron bath, hot and cold water, fireplace and two cupboards.
Larder with a brick floor.
Kitchen, 16ft 4ins/ by 13ft 5ins/, with a tiled floor. It has an ‘Ideal’ Cook-an-heat range which heats domestic water for the sink, bath and dairy. There is a white glazed sink with hot and cold water and tiled surround, a dresser and cupboards. Door to Dairy.
Scullery, 21ft 4ins/ by 16ft/, with a chimney corner, copper, sink and brick floor. Outside Lobby.

Approached by steps from the Kitchen and also from outside steps:
Cellar, with match boarded walls and cement floor.
Dairy, with a sink and hot and cold water.

There is a Garden at the front with lawns, and a large Kitchen Garden at the rear.

With the break up of the estate and sale of Imberhorne Farmhouse, electricity ceased to be supplied by the electrical plant at Imberhorne Manor, likewise, the buyer was expected, within three months of purchase, to disconnect from the existing water supply in the Park in front of Imberhorne Manor, and lay a new pipe in Chapmans Lane to connect up with the South Eastern Water Board’s main supply. The drainage for Imberhorne Farmhouse, Cottages and Farm buildings was described at the time of the auction as ‘recently put in order’. The gas supply remained unchanged, being connected to the South Eastern Gas Board’s main supply.

Imberhorne Farmhouse, the Farm and Gulledge Farmhouse were purchased by Mr Beeney in 1954, but within a year were put back on the market and were purchased by Robert Emmett, a builder and farmer from Kent. In 1958, Robert Emmett sold off Gulledge Farmhouse, retaining Imberhorne Farmhouse, the Farm Cottages and the Farm, by then consisting of 285 acres. During his ownership few alterations were made to Imberhorne Farmhouse, save the restoration of part of the garden wall that runs along the East/West Ridgeway to the north of the property. In 1969, Brian Emmett, the son of Robert, took over the farm and currently lives in the Farmhouse with his wife Marilyn and his uncle Cecil. Again, like his father, Brian has implemented few changes to Imberhorne Farmhouse during his ownership, thus preserving and maintaining the majority of the architectural details of the property dating to its original construction in 1808. In August 1972, Imberhorne Farmhouse was given a Grade II listing and is now included on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, being described as ‘a good example of a well-built farmhouse, [c1820] of 3 storeys, with 3 bays’.

It is perhaps due to the fact that Imberhorne Farmhouse has, for the majority of its existence, been occupied by farm bailiffs and tenants that has preserved this small manor house/Georgian farmhouse in its original state as built for Arabella Diana, Duchess of Dorset, in 1808. The house, being occupied by tenants for most of its life has resulted in the maintenance of the property but perhaps not the amount of alteration and extension that may have occurred if lived in by the owner, save for the addition of a few creature comforts like electricity and mains water and drainage. From the time that the property was sold and lived in by the owner, the Emmett’s, their most pressing concern has been the success of the farm, and coupled with their appreciation that the property was old and a desire to maintain the original features of the property, no major alterations have been carried out to the house, thus preserving a classic example of a Georgian farmhouse with a wealth of period details giving an insight into the hierarchical architecture of the past.


Knole and the Sackvilles, by Vita Sackville West
Knole, by Robert Sackville West
Universal Dictionary
Building Construction, by G A Mitchell
Period Details, by J & M Miller
Listing no.430774, NMR
The Building of Bath, by M Briggs
English Architecture, by J Betjeman
Care and Repair of Period Houses, by A Jackson and D Day
Victorian Farms, by R Brigden
The British Kitchen, by D Yarwood
Sackville Papers, U269 A364/8/3, A364/9/4, A364/10, A364/11, A364/12, U269 E183, T139/12, A149/1, CKS
Land Tax Records, WSRO
History of East Grinstead, by W H Hills
East Grinstead Tithe and Apportionment, WSRO
Census Records, 1841, 1851, 8161, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901,
Kelly’s Directory, 1845, 1852, 1859, 1862, 1866, 1867, 1874, 1887, 1890
Melville’s Directory & Gazetteer, 1858,
Willey’s Directory, 1878
Parish Records of St John’s Felbridge and St Swithuns East Grinstead
Blounts of Imberhorne, by J G Smith
Documented memoirs of Lucy Wells, Frank Wells, Bernie Wells, John Myson, Brian Emmett and Marilyn Emmett
Sale Catalogue for Imberhorne and Gulledge Farms, 1954, FHA

My thanks are extended to Brian and Marilyn Emmett for all their help and patience.
SJC 09/04