Lowlands Farmhouse is located on the northern edge of the parish of Felbridge, where the A22, the main London road, intersects the old Lingfield to Brighton road at Newchapel. It once lay within the parish of Godstone but in more recent years has transferred to the parish of Horne by the relocation of the parish boundaries. The property is situated in what is termed the Weald, and a property has stood on this site since at least the mid 15th century.
This document sets out to chart the significance of the location, the history and development of the current building, the changes of use of the property and the lives of some of owners and occupiers during the past six hundred.
The site of Lowlands Farmhouse once formed part of the parish of Godstone, known by 950 as Wolcnesseted[e], having several adaptations of name in its early years including Wachelsted, Walkingstead by 1086, later Walkham[p]sted[e], then Lagham, and eventually Godstone. The parish took its name from the Old English word wealcan meaning to roll or toss oneself about, attributed to one of the processes involved in the fulling of homespun cloth. It has long been thought that the area, being part of the wilds of Surrey with extensive woodland, marshland and poor soil, had little commercial prospects but the derivation of the name of Wolcnesseted suggests that the making of woollen cloth was an enterprise in the area by at least 950. The making of woollen cloth in the area has two implications, either that the land had been cleared for the grazing of sheep, the raw material of the wool for the cloth, or that there was trade, with the importation of wool to the area to make cloth.
Apart from the potential enterprise of woollen cloth, it is also known that by 950 Wolcnesseted had the Minster or matrix ecclesici for the area, a church generally the first in the area, built by a college of priests. This would indicate that Wolcnesseted must have been of some significance.
At the time of the Doomsday survey in 1086, Wolcnesseted, by then known as Walkingstead, was situated in the Hundred of Tandridge, being held by Count Eustace. The Doomsday Book tells us that before 1086, Walkingstead was held of King Edward (the Confessor) by Osweard, when it was assessed at 40 hides: now at 6 hides. There is land for 30 ploughs. In demesne there are 3 ploughs; and 39 villans and 2 bordars with 22 ploughs. There are 10 slaves [serfs], and a mill rendering [worth] 6/-, and 3 acres of meadow, and woodland for 100 pigs. To this manor belong 15 messuages [dwelling houses] in Southwark and London, rendering 6/- and 2,000 herrings. Before 1066 its worth was £20; and afterwards £16, now £20, yet it renders £28 by weight.
At the time of the Doomsday survey it is important to note that the number of hides denoted referred only to the usable land, not the total acreage of land in the parish. Before the Doomsday survey, a hide meant land for one family but the meaning had changed by the Doomsday survey to a number of acres, therefore a hide in 1086 covered, on average, an area of 120 acres, an area that a team of eight oxen could plough in a year, this being considered sufficient land to support a family. On this basis, before 1066 Walkingstead extended to at least 4,800 acres of usable land but at the time of the Doomsday survey had decreased in size to just 720 acres. It has not yet been determined why there was such a difference in acreage. It would also be beneficial to be able to calculate the extent of the woodland but unfortunately the return of woodland for 100 pigs cannot give an indication of the extent of the woodland as it is not known what acreage was deemed enough to support one pig feeding upon the acorns and beech-mast.
The term villan applied to an un-free tenant of manorial land, holding his piece of land by agricultural service and by working on the demesne of the manor. A bordar, sometimes known as a cottar or cottager, was the term for a smallholder who farmed a piece of land brought into cultivation from cleared woodland or the waste of the manor and as a consequence it was often an irregular shape. The slaves or serfs were of similar status to villans being un-free tenants but whose obligations to the lord of the manor varied. The number of villans, bordars and slaves suggest that there could have been about fifty families in Walkingstead at the time of the Doomsday Book. Unfortunately there is some debate as to the number of people in a family unit at this time and it is therefore unwise to conjecture the total number of inhabitants of Walkingstead.
By the Doomsday survey, the woodland of Britain was in decline having been cleared for settlement, however, the area known as the Weald, in which Walkingstead was situated, contained the largest remaining area of woodland and heath land in England. Over the next two hundred and fifty years it is thought that around half a million acres of woodland and waste land were cleared and settled in the Weald by small farmers/holders. It is generally believed that returns from farming would have been low and therefore there would have been a necessity to find an additional income. As a consequence the area saw a rise in the development of many domestic handicrafts including textiles, glass and iron, and, as already established, there had been a woollen cloth industry in Walkingstead, as indicated by its name, since at least 950.
The rising wealth of Walkingstead was reflected in the construction of a manor house situated at about the mid way point of the parish, which in 1262 was fortified with the addition of a large moat by Roger St John. The property was known as Lagham from the Old English, Laga-ham meaning flooded home. The size of the moat indicates that the house and family of the St Johns must have held considerable wealth and influence. [For further details see Lagham Manor Handout, SJC 10/99] However, by the late 1200s the southern end of Walkingstead appears to have been fragmenting with the creation of the manor of Hedgecourt in 1290. This was formed out of the manor of Tylemundesdon, the exact location of which is unknown but must have already split from the manor of Bletchingley and/or the manor of Lagham alias Walkingstead before 1290, together with a carucate [approximately 120 acres] of Lindleigh, again the exact location of which has yet to be determined.
Lagham, like the rest of Walkingstead, suffered severely from the Black Death in 1349, and was virtually wiped out. In 1350, Margaret, the female heir to the St John family of Lagham, married Sir Nicholas Lovaine (who was granted the manor of Hedgecourt in 1365) at a time when Lagham had begun to be re-established. In 1400, Lagham passed to the St Clare family on the marriage of Philip St Clare with Margaret, the sole heir of Margaret and Nicholas Lovaine, and in 1435, Lagham passed to Edith St Clare on the death of her father Thomas and then entered the ownership of Harcourt family on her marriage to Sir Richard Harcourt.
By 1500, progressive agricultural improvements and the development of handicrafts had made the Wealden area one of the wealthiest areas in England, and it is against this backdrop that Walkhamsted (as the name had evolved) re-developed after having been virtually wiped out by the Black Death. By the middle of the 1500s wood was of increasing value being required as fuel for the burgeoning iron industry of the Weald and, in particular, the local area. Wealth was also being made from the agriculture of the area, and although corn was unprofitable, meat consumption was rising and yeoman farmers of the Wealden areas were beginning to reap the benefits from the production of cattle, the animals sold on the hoof, being in herding distance from the London meat market.
The economic development of the Weald is mirrored by that of Walkhamsted, being reflected in the vernacular buildings that survive from this period and one of the most notable in our area is that of Lowlands Farmhouse. Evidence suggests that the oldest surviving part of the building was constructed in the first half of the 15th century as an addition to an earlier structure that has since been lost.
On the whole, houses in the weald were not exceptionally large or splendid but point to a widespread wealth amongst the yeomanry. This wealth seems to have prompted a migration to this area in the early medieval period with London merchants and politicians purchasing properties in the Weald, being only one days ride into the country.
The Wealden house, of which Lowlands Farmhouse is one, is a particular form of open hall house. The design met not only the social needs of the household at the time but also reflected the status and prosperity of the owner. A Wealden house was likely to have been built by a yeoman from profits gained from his land or trade in commodities such as wool, timber and tanning, or the iron industry. Alongside the Wealden house would have been a series of smaller buildings that served the main house, such as a kitchen (if not located within the property), brew house, barn and stable.
Although Lowlands Farmhouse is situated in the parish of Walkingstead, there is evidence to suggest that for part of its life it was held by the manor of Tandridge and not Lagham alias Walkingstead. This is confirmed by the fact that no references to this substantial and high status property, by any previous known name, can be found in the Lagham Court Books before 1640. Instead it appears in the Tandridge Court Books as the property of, firstly, John Huntley and later Edward Feake. Unfortunately, like the Lagham Court Books, the vital Tandridge Court Books are missing that would have given the date and reason for the propertys transferral to the manor of Lagham alias Walkingstead, some time between 1627 and 1640.
The site of Lowlands Farmhouse would have been enclosed from the waste of one or other manor, and the indication, from the low Quit Rent (compared to all other quit rents in Lagham) of 2s 9d, is that it is a very early enclosure. It has probably always been a freehold property since its enclosure but definitely had that status from before 1611. Unfortunately, due to large gaps in the surviving Court records, it has proved impossible to determine beyond doubt who the freehold owners of the property were before the early 17th century, and it seems strange that such an impressive and high status property proves to be so elusive, especially as it was a substantial holding, with such a large barn dating to the 15th century. The barn, now Grade II listed, is situated to the north of Lowlands Farmhouse and was originally built as a three-bay, crown-posted threshing barn, being extended by one bay in the medieval period.
It has been possible to identify a Feet of Fine, dating to 1611, that includes the property now known as Lowlands Farmhouse. This Feet of Fine was between Edward Feake, gentleman, who is known to have held the property from sometime before 1651, and John Huntley, merchant. The Fine was for the conveyance of one messuage, 50 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, 70 acres of pasture, 6 acres of wood, one barn, 2 gardens and 2 orchards situated in Wolkensted otherwise Godstone, for the sum of £120. Although situated in Wolkensted otherwise Godstone, this property appears, held by John Huntley prior to 1611, as a freehold tenant in the manor of Tandridge and makes no entry in the Lagham Court Books until 1640 when it was held of Edward Feake, then referred to as a freehold tenant of the manor of Lagham alias Walkhamsted.
In the early 1610s it would appear that Edward Feake was increasing his holding in the Wolkensted area as within two years of his purchase in 1611, there is a second Feet of Fine, this time between Edward Feake and John Medherst and his wife Agnes, and John Dennet and his wife Helen, for one messuage, 4 acres of land 3 acres of meadow and 5 acres of pasture, in Wolkensted for the sum of £40-£49 [torn], unfortunately the location of this dwelling has not yet been determined.
Development of the structure
The main structure of Lowlands is a timber framed three-bay building in a half-Wealden style aligned north-south. It has a crown post roof, hipped at the southern end. Much of the timber framing is visible and it has been possible to identify a sequence of structural modifications that have taken place as well as understand the original form of the building. There are four frames providing the three bays with a ground floor width of 20ft 4ins/6.2m, the north and south bay are both 4m long whilst the central bay is only 11ft 2ins/3.4m long.
Frame 1 (at the southern end) has been tile hung on the exterior and no framing is visible below the wall plate. In the ground floor east side there is a cut off end of a beam in the southern wall, the position of this beam exactly coincides with a jetty bressumer as it is positioned directly below the continuous eave.
Bay 1 (between frame 1 & 2)
There is no visible evidence of the original first floor that would have been in this bay; however there is a solid tread stair (minus the treads) directly beneath the modern stairs. This would be contemporary to the early 15th century but it is likely that it has been relocated as it would have risen against the original smoke division at first floor level in its current location. In the east wall above the eave, the cut off ends of medieval style floor joists can be seen, these provided a floor to be able to utilise some of the roof space for storage or habitation, the roof space also has daub plaster up to the collar level in this bay. The roof timbers in this bay are slightly sooted and thus the flooring must post-date the original build. It is possible in this bay to see the rows of hand forged nails that held the original stone roofing in place.
None of this frame is visible below the wall plate and the east upper wall post has been completely removed, however the roof construction is all exposed. This frame has a square crown post with curved upward braces to the north and south and curved downward braces east and west onto a slightly arched tie-beam. The frame is infilled above the tie-beam with staves and daub, the daub is heavily sooted on the north side and clean on the south side.
Bay 2 (frame 2-3)
This bay formed the southern end of the two-bay open hall. The framing is visible on the lower east side with evidence for a curved brace between the mid rail and frame 3. The rafters in this bay are heavily sooted and the bay now contains the brick built chimney with a single flue and a later auxiliary flue on the northern side of the stack servicing the upper room in bay 3. The bricks in the main stack and the auxiliary are approximately 9ins x 4ins x 2½ins (22.5cm x 10cm x 6.25cm) and are very similar indicating only a short period could have passed between their construction dates. The chimney only provides a single fireplace on the ground floor in bay 3, the south of the stack is flat and appears to be maintaining the route of the cross passage at the south end of bay 2. The bay contains an inserted first floor with the joists taller than they are wide and of later proportions. A set of plans of the house dating to the 1930s show a large bread oven in the east half of the chimney accessed from bay 3. The bread oven has been removed to widen the fireplace for bay 3 but the east stone block wall of the bread oven still survives showing it not to have the same construction date as the chimney.
This is the open mid frame of the hall with an octagonal moulded crown post and four upward braces. The tie-beam is yoke shaped and the area above the tie-beam is infilled with laths and daub located to the southern side of the frame, no daub has been applied to the north side of the laths above the collar. The infill is heavily sooted on the south side but clean on the north side implying that frame 3 had been infilled to contain the smoke in bay 2 prior to the insertion of the chimney. It can also be inferred that bay 3 had a ceiling somewhere at, or below, the collar removing the need to seal the north face of the laths above the collar to stop smoke entering the upper chamber in bay 3. Two large curved braces rise from the moulded wall posts up to the tie-beam; these braces and the tie-beam have hollow chamfers.
A transverse beam has been inserted into this frame, positioned to the north of centre. This supports the axial beam into which the first floor joists are located. The transverse beam, axial beam and joists all have chamfers with stepped stops. The upper side of the inserted beam contains slots for walling including across the current upstairs doorway on the east side and across the fireplace implying that the floor was inserted and the upper frame infilled before the additional flue was added to the north of the chimney. The original timber bressumer for the ground floor fireplace is still present and is located south and above the current beam.
Bay 3 (frames 3-4)
This bay formed the northern end of the two-bay open hall. The framing is visible on the east and west elevation. The bay contains an inserted first floor with the joists 5ins high x 4ins (12.5cm x 10cm) wide. The second floor is now open to the collar level but scars on the tie-beams of frames 3 and 4 imply that an axial beam was inserted at tie-beam level to support an inserted floor. The cut off floor joist ends show these to be wider than they are high and close set, making this inserted floor of an earlier date than the other insertions.
This is the closed end frame of the hall. It has a square crown post with downward braces east and west and an upward brace to the south, there is no slot for an upward brace on the north face. The crown plate extends a short distance to the north of the frame and would have extended further but has been cut. The tie-beam is only slightly arched and the area above the tie-beam is infilled with laths and daub located to the northern side of the frame, daub has been applied to both sides of the laths above the tie-beam and smoke penetration can be seen around the crown post from the south to the north side. The infill above the collar is heavily sooted on the south side but clean on the north side. All of the timber on the north face of frame 4 is unweathered and very clean.
Two curved braces rise from the wall posts up to the tie-beam, there is also a wall strut placed centrally in the upper room with double down braces onto the dais beam. The wall is infilled between the dais beam and the tie-beam although a later doorway has been cut through the west side. The dais beam is deeply moulded and widens to the full thickness of the timber at both ends. There is the residual end of a spere near the west end of the dais beam. The spere was also moulded to match the dais beam. Below the dais beam is infilled with post and wide panelling, there is a doorway at the west end. The panelling is made of boards of varying widths up to 12½ins/31.25cm. The centre of the room has a large wall stud chamfered on both sides, there is another wall stud dividing the east half of the panelling, again this has a chamfer on both sides matching the chamfer on the dais beam which is interrupted at each of the wall studs. An axial beam has been attached to the dais beam to support the inserted floor.
Across the north end of the Wealden building is a hipped catslide crosswing. The frames are loosely jointed into frame 4. Almost all of the timbers to the north of frame 4 shows signs of previous use. The roof is of a clasped purlin style with the large diagonal strut rising from the central tie-beam to clasp the purlin. The east and west ends of the purlin are supported by a collar, although the purlin has since snapped and been cut out. The rafters are reused timbers with at least five of them being fine squared 5ins x 4ins/12.5cm x 10cm sooted timbers with halved collar joints, unlike the morticed collar joints in Wealden bays 1-3. These sooted timbers have carpenters numerals above the collar joint with numbers 3, 5 & 11 identified and have come from a crown post roof structure.
The first floor of the crosswing is supported by a heavy transverse beam with staggered 8ins/20cm wide x 6ins/15cm high floor joists running east west at 19ins centres giving a high strength floor. The underside of the transverse beam has a continuous slot for a room division. This beam and joist set are complete with matching carpentry marks on each timber and a full set of numbered joists on each side starting at number 1. The low elevation of the transverse beam has necessitated the lowering of the floor level in the crosswing compared to that in bays 1-3 (plans indicate that it was lowered in 1938s when it was converted for use as a garage). The complete beam and joist set may have been re-used from the earlier structure and enable the size of one bay from the donor building to be estimated at 5.3m x 3m.
Two mullion windows, with intact mullions survive in the north wall one in the upper floor the other in the lower floor. There is also a doorway at the first floor level at the east corner of the north elevation; this could have been used as a means of access to use the upper floor for storage as the mass of floor joists would support significant weight at the first floor level.
This crosswing would appear to have replaced an earlier structure that provided the solar end of the medieval hall. The spere on the dais indicates that there was an original doorway through frame 4 and the current crosswing is of too poor quality to have been used as the solar as well as having a roof structure for a later period.
South East Extension
The south east corner of the Wealden has had a face-wing inserted, removing the evidence of the earlier jettied front to the Wealden. The roof is of a similar construction to the roof on the north crosswing and is likely to date from the same period. The south side of this roof has been raised by 18ins/45cm associated with the tile hanging of the southern elevation and providing a porch and doorway into the south face. Many of the timbers in this extension are reused but not as extensively as the north crosswing. The north elevation of the extension shows closer wall studs above the mid rail than elsewhere on the building. The west extent of this room is out of alignment with the Wealden structure and has required the removal of the eastern wall posts from frame 2 as they would have been inside this room. There is a chimney stack which has been inserted within this bay. The bressumer has the mounting scars from a spit jack as well as multiple branded marks RB and some taper marks along with many ritual marks. [A detailed architectural survey and drawings are available at cost]
The 3 bay Wealden is most likely to have been built in the first half of the 15th century and could date to the start of that century. It has very high quality mouldings and structural features that indicate a very wealthy owner. It is likely that it was built against (but separately framed from) an earlier east-west oriented crown-posted open hall. This old hall then became the solar accommodation to the new hall. Probably in the 16th century, the storage floor was installed above the tie-beam in the north bay of the hall; this would have been accessed by a removable ladder. During the later half of the 16th century, frame 3 and the upper part of frame 2 were infilled to contain the smoke to bay 3, the first floor in bay 3 would also have been installed once the smoke was contained.
There then appears to be a series of changes that took place within a relatively small timeframe. Around 1600, the solar accommodation at the north end of the building fell down or was dismantled and the north crosswing was constructed very shortly afterwards as no weathering has occurred to the north face of frame 4. At the same time the south east extension was constructed but without a chimney implying that the open hearth was still present in the open hall.
About 1640, the chimney was constructed within bay 3 and a chimney was inserted into the south east extension. Shortly after the chimney was installed an additional flue was added to provide a fireplace in the chamber above the north end of the hall. Later a bread oven was installed within the ground floor fireplace leaving only a small hearth. In the first half of the 19th century, the property was divided to be used as two dwellings. A new entrance was formed in the south elevation, the eave height raised and the exterior walls tile hung at this end of the building.
17 19th century
As established above, the earliest surviving part of Lowlands Farmhouse suggests that it was built by someone with considerable wealth, possibly as a manor house. However, it has not been possible to determine the name of the owners or occupiers of the property before the early 17th century. Speculation is that the property was a dwelling house until sometime towards the end of the 16th or early 17th century, when it became an inn called the Maidenhead, being ideally situated on a crossroads, on a road between London and the coast. However, it would appear to have had a short life as an inn as evidence suggests that it was not operating as such before 1566 or after 1651.
The use of the name Maidenhead, probably a derivation of Maidens Head, was a popular heraldic charge or emblem for an inn or tavern that emerged in the early 16th century. The name Maidenhead continued to be used to describe the property at Newchapel Green until 1844 when it adopted the name Newchappell and eventually the current name of Lowlands.
Situated at New Chapel Green, the Maidenhead operated as an inn, being well placed to accommodate travellers. The definition of an inn was that they were insituated for the lodging and relief for travellers. At the time that the property operated as the Maidenhead, anyone could erect and keep an inn or alehouse to receive travellers, with limited licensing. Inn keepers were obliged to sell hay, oats, beans and all kinds of victuals [food and provisions] for man and beast, at reasonable prices having respect to the price sold in the markets adjoining without taking anything for litter [bedding]. Anyone who kept a Common Inn could not refuse to receive a traveller as a guest into his house or find him victuals or lodgings, if they were offered a reasonable price. The Inn Keeper was also obliged to furnish the traveller with meat and drink. If the traveller requested anything at an inn, the Inn Keeper was justified to detain the person, a horse or some other procession until his account was settled. As a minor technicality, if someone had made a previous contract for lodging for a set time, and didnt eat or drink there, he is not classed as a guest but as a lodger.
Unfortunately, the first description of the property as an inn is not found until an indenture dated 1651 when it was described as: all that messuage or Inne called the Maydenhead with the appurtenances situate, lying and being in the parish of Walkhamsted in the county of Surrey, with all houses, outhouses, edifices [buildings] and orchards, backsides to the said messuage or inn belonging and all those lands, tenements, meadows, feeding pastures, leasows [grassland], woods and underwoods containing by estimation ninety acres, more or less
As no previous description has yet emerged that can be attributed to the Maidenhead it would suggest it may have originally formed part of the larger property acquired by Edward Feake in 1611. However, even this description suggests that the property known as the Maidenhead was of considerable size; consisting of the inn with several service buildings, possibly a kitchen, if not located within the inn, a brew house and washhouse, possibly even a bake house, with provision for travellers beasts of burden in the form of stables or stalls. For there to be meadows, feeding pasture and grassland would also imply that the property may have kept live stock, although some of the attached land must have provided the inn keepers obligation of hay, oats, beans and victuals for man and beast, which, in turn, would have needed barns for storage. Being situated adjacent to Froggit (Frogate) Heath at Newchapel, no doubt the litter (bracken or heather) for animal bedding could be cut from the heath.
As already established, the first definite reference to the Maidenhead and its owners does not appear until 27th January 1651 when Edward Feake of Crawley, gentleman, conveyed, sold, enfeoffed and confirmed the property to his son Christopher Feake of London. The indenture refers to the property as that messuage or Inne called the Maydenhead confirming that it was an inn and implying that it was still operating as such in 1651. It is believed that the Maidenhead ceased operating as an inn shortly after its acquisition by Christopher Feake, a preacher and member of the Fifth Monarchists, a radical Puritan quasi-political religious movement that hoped to reform Parliament and the government for what they considered was the imminent coming of Christs Kingdom on Earth.
The property known as the Maidenhead was to remain in the hands of the Feake family for the next 153 years, until the death of Mary Feake in April 1803, although there is little evidence that any of them actually lived at the property, apart from perhaps Edward Feake, being referred to as of Godstone in 1623 and having children baptised at the nearby church of Horne from 1618.
The Feake Family
As already established, the Feake family first appear holding property in the parish of Godstone in 1611, when Edward Feake, (the same Edward that conveyed Maidenhead to his son Christopher), purchased land in Godstone firstly from John Huntley and then more land from John Medherst, both purchases as yet unidentified, but of which the first is most likely to have included the Maidenhead.
The Feake family can be traced back to around 1460 with the birth of William Feake of Wighton in Norfolk. By 1590, the family had established itself as goldsmiths in London, indeed Edwards father William who died in 1595 was listed as a goldsmith of London. William Feake had married Mary Wetherall on 12th November 1564 at St Marys, Woolnoth, London, and they had at least seven children, including Edward. Edward married twice, first Anna, the daughter of Christopher Shaw of London, around 1611, with whom he had five children, Christopher, William, Edward, Andrew and John, three surviving to adulthood. Edwards second marriage was to Joan Digens of Tandridge on 15th July 1656. Son John married Mary and died in Ireland in 1656. Son Edward, gentleman of Horne, married Mary, and they had five children, at least three dying as infants. Mary died on 6th August 1645 and Edward took a second wife, Elizabeth, of Lingfield, who died in 1654. Edward died four years later on 26th February 1658.
The eldest surviving son and heir of Edward and Anna Feake, Christopher, had a long and eventful life. Christopher Feake was baptised on 31st May 1612 at St Lawrence Jewry and St Mary Magdalene, London. At the age of eleven Christopher was working a clerk and around 1635 married Jane, the daughter of Paul Man of Pauls Wharf, London. Christopher and Jane had eight children, Edward born about 1636, Mary born in 1637, Samuel born in 1638, Sarah born in 1639, and John, Joshua and two other children (names not known). By 1638, Christopher was the vicar of Elsham in Lincoln, obtaining the vicarage of All Saints in Hertford in 1646, before moving to Christchurch, Newgate, in London in 1649. It was about this date that he joined the Fifth Monarchists and in 1650 preached about the movement before the Lord Mayor of London in the Mercers Chapel, London.
In 1653, Christopher was imprisoned at Windsor Castle for denouncing Oliver Cromwell. In 1655, he was released, but was again examined by Cromwell and sent back to Windsor Castle until 1656 when he was allowed to live under house arrest in London, being freed on the death of Cromwell in 1658. By 1662, Christopher was listed of Chipsted in Surrey, travelling to Dorking to preach in secret. In 1663, he was arrested in Dorking and held at Gatehouse prison for six months being released in July 1664 for a bond of £500. In 1672, Christopher obtained a license to preach in Dorking, and in 1651, acquired the Maidenhead from his father Edward, which he leased to his son John in 1678, and passed to his son Samuel in 1682. Christopher Feake died about 1683, Jane his widow out-living him by ten years, dying in London in March 1693.
Nothing is known about Christopher and Janes son Edward, however, son John studied medicine at Leyden, becoming a doctor, and married Susannah. They had at least one son, named John who also became a doctor, settling in Salisbury. Son Joshua married and had a son called Christopher. Daughter Mary married Henry Pigeon, and sadly Christopher and Janes second daughter Sarah only survived for ten days after her baptism on 17th June 1639.
Son and heir to Christopher and Jane was Samuel born in Elsham in 1638. Samuel was a merchant of London and received Maidenhead from his father in 1682. Samuel married Margaret and they had six children, Thomas born about 1670, daughters Mary and Hannah of which nothing more is known, Elizabeth who married Mr Bowridge, Catherine who married Jonathon White, and son Samuel born in 1682, the same year that Samuel acquired Maidenhead from his father Christopher.
In 1698, Samuel and Margarets son Thomas was a merchant of Bengal but died shortly after, his will being proved in November 1700. The death of Samuels eldest son Thomas left his youngest son, Samuel as heir, being the only surviving son. Samuel junior, was President and Governor of Fort William in Calcutta, Bengal, India between 1717 and 1718, and was the Chairman of the East India Company.
The East India Company was founded by Royal Charter on 31st December 1600 in order to compete with the Dutch/Portuguese merchants who had gained a virtual monopoly of the spice trade. The East India Company, with the approval of local Indian rulers, established trading posts in Bengal and Madras, trading not only spices, but also cotton, silks, indigo, saltpetre and tea. There were 125 shareholders in the original East India Company, with a capital of £72,000. From the original subscribing merchants in London, a Court of Directors emerged with twenty-four members elected by the shareholders for a four-year period of office.
Despite the uncertainties of a foreign land and long sea journey, the round voyage between London and India taking up to eighteen months, there was never a shortage of recruits eager to make their fortune. However, the biggest hazard that faced the British in India was their health. Between 1707 and 1775, 57% of the Companys employees died of sickness in Bengal, with a death toll of 74% between 1747 and 1756.
At first, the Company leased ships from their owners, usually for no more than four voyages, but in 1607 the Company established its own shipbuilding facilities at Deptford. Every season its fleet of ships, known as East Indiamen, sailed between London and the East Indies. They were built of wood and were highly decorated. They were also well-armed, being often mistaken for men-of-war, and many of the cannons they carried were cast by Raby and Masters at Warren Furnace in Felbridge. [For further details see Handouts Warren Furnace SJC 01/00 and Wiremill SJC 03/06] By 1620, the East India Company operated nearly forty of these ships, making over 4,600 voyages from London between 1600 and 1833.
Samuel Feake married Anne Newland, the widow of Captain Thomas Newland, and daughter and heir of John Hampton of Fort St George, Madras, India. Anne was born in 1689 and had a daughter, also called Anne, by her first husband, who sadly died in India at the age of six. After her marriage to Samuel, Anne had a further seven children, Samuel, Thomas, Charles, Ann Charlotte, Mary and two sons (names unknown). Sadly Anne did not live to any great age as she died on 10th May 1723 on board the East Indiaman the Devonshire returning to London from India and was buried at sea at the age of only thirty-four.
Samuel eventually returned from India and in 1740 was Director of the East India Company, living at 30 Little Ormond Street, London. At the time of his death on 16th June 1757, he held property at Red Lion Square, Middlesex, and Durrington House in Essex as well as estates in Essex and Surrey, this last one including Maidenhead. He was buried at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Henham in Essex. Thirty-three years after his death, Samuels daughter Ann had a marble memorial erected in the church to the memory of her parents, Samuel and Anne, with a transcription that includes:
Descended from the ancient family of Feake of New Chapel Farm in Godstone in the county of Surrey. He was lord of the manor and also the manors of Chickney-Rectory or Plugden-Cannons, Sheering and Harlow all in this county. He was imbued with all the graces that adorn a gentleman and Christian. His impartial deportment to all mankind and instructive conversation and address, gained the esteem of all who knew him.
As for the children of Samuel and Anne, their eldest son Samuel had property in Conduit Street and later St George Hanover Square in London. He inherited the manors and lands of his father Samuel in Essex and Surrey in 1757, and died, without issue, in November 1774. Son Charles was born in Cossipur in India in 1716. By 1747 he was a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1761 a physician to Guys Hospital. He died, also without issue, between May and August 1762, at the age forty-two, and was buried at Henham. At the time of his death, Samuel was his only surviving brother, and as such he was left his estate. Son Thomas was born in 1718, and was Chief of Jugdea in India in 1742 and Chief of Dacca in 1745. He married and had two children, Thomas and Mary, who both died in Dacca in 1748. As for Thomas he died at the age of thirty-two on 7th October 1750 and was buried in Dacca alongside his children.
By 1774, all the sons of Samuel had died without issue and in the terms of his will the family estates, properties, land and wealth passed to his two remaining daughters, Ann and Mary, both spinsters. Ann received a moiety share, for the duration of her natural life, of lands in the parishes of Henham, Sheering and Harlow in Essex, Sawbridegworth in Hertfordshire, and Godstone in Surrey. Should she die without issue, these would pass to her sister Mary, the same applying to Mary. Ann eventually married Jonathan Cruse, but died without issue in October 1800, at Durrington House in Sheering, Essex. Under the terms of her will her husband was to take the name and arms of Feake, and should he re-marry and have children they too should carry the name Feake and inherit her property. Evidence suggests that Jonathan Cruse was somewhat younger than Ann, and he later married Rebecca Smith, who produced at least two children, Jane and Charlotte Feake. Jonathan continued to live at Durrington House until his death in May 1817.
As for Mary, she remained a spinster and died, without issue, in her property in Conduit Street in London in April 1803. It appears that the will of her father over-ruled the will of her sister Ann, and with no Feake heir produced by the children of Samuel Feake, Mary had gained all the Feake property on the death of her sister Ann, and as such it was through Marys will that the property known as Maidenhead passed out of the Feake family to Amelia Penelope Hollingbery, friend of Mary Feake.
Feake tenants at Maidenhead
As previously established, it is unlikely that any of the Feakes lived at Maidenhead, except perhaps Edward Feake some time before 1651. With the Feakes as freehold owners, they would have leased the property out and later evidence suggests that the Stenning family held the tenancy from at least 1669. The first appearance of a Stenning in the Lagham Court Book is in 1669 when Edward Stenning was fined for having encroached 1 rood upon Frogett Heath. Edward Stenning was again fined in 1690 for having encroached 3 acres upon Froggett Heath, and in 1693 he was ordered to scour the ditch adjacent to his tenement. In 1704, William Stenning took out a twenty-one year lease on the property with Samuel Feake. In 1715, William Stenning appeared paying eight years quit rent, at 2s 9d per annum, for Widow Feakes land, widow Feake being Margaret, widow of Samuel Feake. In comparison to other quit rent payments, 2s 9d for the Maidenhead was a very low value implying that the enclosure of the waste of the manor on which the property was situated was very early.
About 1750, William Brown was recorded as occupying the farm, messuage or tenement with appurtenances called Maidenhead, otherwise Newchappell situate in Godstone, otherwise Walkhamsted, late Edward Stenning the younger. This would suggest that William Stenning had been succeeded at the property by Edward Stenning sometime between 1738 and circa 1750. Unfortunately, no records survive between 1738 and 1750, except a single roll of 1743, which has no mention of Stenning.
By the end of 1752, evidence suggests that William Brown had been succeeded by Richard Browne as he was fined in the Lagham Court Books for having encroached 4 acres upon Froggett Heath, and was again fined a four-acre encroachment in 1757. Richard Browne continued to occupy the property for the remainder of the 18th century until 1816, being recorded as paying 6s 8d rent on Maidenhead, otherwise Newchappell which, by 1816 was known by the name of Lowlands.
As already established, the Feake family held the property of Maidenhead for over 150 years, but on the death of Mary Feake in 1803, it passed to Amelia Penelope Hollingbery, an unrelated friend of Mary, being described as kinswoman. It is not known how Mary and Amelia met, but she must have been a very good friend to Mary to have received the Feake manors and lands in Essex and Surrey.
Amelia had been born Amelia Penelope Clayton, and in October 1768, she married Thomas Hollingbery at Northaw in Hertfordshire. Thomas Hollingbery was a man of the cloth, being Rector of Rottingdean in Sussex, and later Archdeacon of Chichester. Thomas died in 1796 and by 1799 Amelia was living at Upper Berkley Street, St Marylebone, London.
Thomas and Amelia would appear to have had only one child, Henrietta Elizabeth Sackville Hollingbery. On the death of her father in 1796, Henrietta inherited property at Montpellier Row in Isleworth, and Sion in Twickenham, both from the will of a Henry Spencer. She was also sole benefactor of her mothers will when she died in 1818, inheriting the Feake manors and lands in Essex and Surrey, which included Durrington House and Maidenhead, along with property at Great Cumberland Street in London.
The Glyn Family
By 1799, Henrietta Elizabeth Sackville Hollingbery had married Thomas Glyn and they were living at the property in Great Cumberland Street, Thomas being a Lieutenant Colonel of HM 1st Regiment of Foot Guards. Thomas was the son of Richard Glyn and his second wife Elizabeth, Richard being the co-founder of the bank Glyn, Mills & Co., as well as Lord Mayor of London, and Elizabeth was the daughter of Robert and Lady Carr of Hampton in Middlesex. Richard Glyns first marriage had been to Susannah Lewen, the daughter of George Lewen who had inherited Tower Place in Hackney from his uncle Sir William Lewen, which on the death of George passed to Susannah. Richard and Susannah had one son, George, and on the death of Susannah in 1763, he inherited Tower Place. George Glyn died in 1814 and his property eventually passed to his great nephew, Thomas Clayton Glyn.
Henrietta and Thomas Glyn had at least seven children, Thomas Clayton, Richard Carr, George Henry, Robert Spencer, Henrietta Elizabeth, Amelia Mary and Elizabeth Grace. Nothing is known about Amelia or Elizabeth, and there are only scant details about Henrietta who was baptised on 10th November 1791 at Westminster and died in 1867. George followed his brother Thomas into the church and became a Reverend, being clerk of Henham in Essex and died in 1847. Richard was living in India in 1813, and died in 1838, and Robert was living at Culver Lodge in Hertfordshire in 1844 and died on 3rd June 1857.
Thomas Clayton, the eldest son, was born in November 1789 and at the age of twenty-three received an annuity from his father. By 1813, he was a Reverend and student at Christs Church, Oxford, and on 20th July 1820 married Jemima Julia Hammond, daughter of William Osmund Hammond and his wife Elizabeth, formerly Beauvoir. Rev Thomas and Jemima had seven children, Clayton William Feake Glyn, born 3rd September 1821 in Marylebone, London, Henry Thomas born 21st April 1823, in Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex, Julius Richard born 15th April 1824, Jemima, Egerton R, Louisa Mary and Henrietta Georgiana, dates of birth unknown. Henry Thomas Glyn married Mary Frederica Schreiber on 5th October 1848, and died on 22nd January 1900. Little is known about Jemima and Egerton except that Jemima died in 1865 and Egerton died in India in 1852. Nothing more is known about Louisa, but Henrietta married Gilbert John Ansley on 9th November 1854.
The eldest son of Rev Thomas and Jemima Glyn, Clayton William Feake Glyn, married Mary Jane Perry on 25th Jul 1855 in the Epping Registration District. Mary, born around 1827 was the daughter of Thomas Perry. Clayton William and Mary Glyn settled in Paddington, moving to St George Hanover Square around 1859 and finally Sheering Hall in Essex. Clayton William and Mary Glyn had at least five children, Clayton Louis born in 1857 in Paddington, Evelyn Margaret born around 1860 and Emily Georgina born around 1862, both at St George Hanover Square, and Egerton John born about 1864 at Sheering and Julia Mary, date of birth unknown. Evelyn married Henry Marsh Pratt on 7th March 1891 and died on 20th July 1932. Emily died unmarried on 12th September 1924. Egerton followed a military career as in 1881 he was listed as a student of the army and later was a Captain in the Essex Regiment. He married Constance Helena Tufnell and died on 2nd February 1936. Julia married William Griffith Richards and died on 22nd September 1923.
In 1813, Thomas Glyn died and his property was divided between his children, thus fragmenting the Feake manors and lands in Essex and Surrey. However, on the 3rd September 1844, an indenture of settlement was made between Rev Thomas Clayton Glyn of the first part, his son Clayton William Feake Glyn, of the second part, and Richard Carr Glyn and Rev George Henry Glyn, (brothers of Rev Thomas Clayton Glyn), of the third part for the farm, messuage and appurtenances called Maidenhead, otherwise Newchappell situate in Godstone in the tenure of Edward Stenning the younger, late of William Brown, alias Newland or Martin House Farm in the occupation of James Wall, and now known as Lowlands Farm in the occupation of John Stacey.
No. on Plan
Description Cultivation Area Total
16 Three Corner Field Arable 04. 03. 18
19 Five Acres Arable 05. 01. 33
23 Cater Path Field Arable 07. 01. 20
36 One and Half Acres Arable 01. 01. 13
38 Long Mead Arable 06. 01. 31
41 Burned Oaks Arable 06. 00. 25
42 Stoney Field Arable 05. 00. 38
51 Pond Field Arable 05. 01. 00
52 Four Acres Arable 04. 01. 13
53 New Gates Arable 04. 03. 04
64 Barn Field Arable 04. 02. 35
103 Four and Half Acres Arable 05. 01. 20
104 Little Field Arable 01. 00. 00
134 Lane Field Arable 04. 03. 00
135 Five Acres Arable 05. 00. 26
148 Forge Field Arable 06. 02. 06
63 Meadow below Yard Meadow 02. 02. 38
91 Common Mead Meadow 02. 03. 23
92 Brook Field Pasture 04. 00. 38
68 Orchard Pasture 00. 01. 34
20 Gill Shaw Wood 01. 00. 14
21 Gill Shaw Arable 00. 02. 22
22 Gill Shaw Wood 00. 03. 23
37 Furze Field Wood 02. 00. 14
45 One and Half Shaw Wood 01. 02. 26
50 Five Acre Shaw Wood 01. 03. 00
66 Stack Yard 00. 01. 16
67 House etc. 00. 01. 22
69 Pond Water 00. 00. 20
Total 98. 00. 13
This settlement, amounting to just over ninety eight acres, equates well with the Feake indenture of 1651 that gives the acreage as ninety acres more or less. The eight acreage difference may well be the encroachments of Froggett Heath made by Edward Stenning and Richard Browne in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is also the first document that outlines exactly what land was attached to Lowlands Farm and gives the different names that the property had historically been known as, Maidenhead, Newchappell, Newland, Martin House and eventually Lowlands Farm.
The schedule, which is the same as the Godstone tithe map and apportionment of 1840, also outlines how the land was being used with 80% turned over to arable, 6% to meadow, 5% to pasture and 6% to woodland. Unfortunately there are no earlier documents with which to compare the use of the land at Lowlands Farm, but the high percentage of land turned over to arable suggests that the soil was either very fertile in this area, unlike the majority of Wealden area, or that over the years the quality of the soil had been improved by the addition of lime. The schedule also confirms that the pond, situated to the southeast of the house, formed part of the freehold property in 1844, and that it was not part of the common.
On 17th June 1860, Rev Thomas Clayton Glyn died and his son Clayton William inherited Lowlands Farm, taking up residence at Durrington House in Sheering, where he was Justice of Peace until his death on 30th December 1887. On his death, Lowlands Farm passed to his eldest son Clayton Louis Glyn, a barrister, together with 10 Hill Place, Oxford Street, 50 Coopersale Road, Hackney and Durrington House. On 27th April 1892 Clayton Louis Glyn married Elinor Sutherland and died at Sheering Hall in Essex in 1898.
On 4th November 1898, Clayton Louis Glyn sold Lowlands Farm amounting to ninety-eight acres, to Harry Bentinck Budd of East Park in Horne, Surrey, for the sum of £1,471 5/-, thus ending the Glyn family association with Lowlands Farm that had lasted for eighty years.
19th century tenants
Like the Feakes before them, it would appear that none of the Glyn family lived at Newchapel Farm formerly the Maidenhead, the property being leased to a series of tenants. As already established, Richard Browne was occupying Maidenhead from 1752 until 1816, being succeeded by Thomas Browne until 1822. As the occupancy of Richard Browne lasted for sixty-four years he either lived to a very great age or there were two Richard Brownes in succession. It is wise to point out here that the name Lowlands also appears to refer to an area during the 19th century stretching from Lowlands Cottage, later Little Brook Farm, on Froggit Heath in Horne, east to Rabys, another substantial and early property to the south of the Newchapel Road in Tandridge. As such the later census details often refer to Lowlands, which may not be the site of Lowlands Farm, equally, and to add to the confusion, the property directly opposite Lowlands Farm on the south side of West Park Road, now the old house attached to the Mormon Temple complex, is also referred to as Newchapel Farm. However, in 1823 James Walls took on the tenancy of the property, interchangeably known by this date as Newchapel Farm and Lowlands Farm.
James Walls was born in 1790 in Tandridge and in 1817 married Elizabeth Jenner, who was born in 1802 in Godstone. James and Elizabeth had six surviving children, James born in 1822, Ann born in 1824, Sarah born in 1826, Emma born in 1833, Thomas born in 1838, and Eliza born in 1840, all in Godstone. In 1861, James Walls was recorded as being a farmer of 100 acres, employing two labourers. James Walls continued to occupy Lowlands Farm, house and land, until some time between 1864 and 1869, when he was succeeded by Henry Steer, described as a farmer of ninety-eight acres, employing three labourers and one boy. Henry Steer was born in 1815 in Godstone and married Eliza Young (widow) in 1859, Eliza being born in 1812 in Godstone. Eliza had previously married John Young, and they had had two children, Caroline born in 1845 and Charles Thomas born in 1850 in Tandridge.
On 29th September 1874, Charles Thomas Young took out a twenty-one year lease on Lowlands Farm with Clayton William Feake Glyn, succeeding Henry Steer, his step-father. The lease was issued at a rent of £60 per annum which was reduced in 1876 to £54 per annum. Charles Young married Ellen Margaret Cowdrey in 1876, who had been born in 1852 in Lingfield. During their tenancy of Lowlands Farm they had two children, Charles Cowdrey in 1877 and Herbert Kale in 1878, both born in Godstone. However, on 2nd May 1882, Lowlands Farm was assigned to John Kenward Stacey of Brewery House, Newick in Sussex, under the liquidation of Charles Young.
John Kenward Stacey was born in 1855, the son of John and Emily Stacey, at Uckfield in Sussex, and in 1882 married Mary Ann Weston, who had been born in 1861 at Newick in Sussex. John and Mary had three children, Thomas Weston born in 1883, Katherine born in 1888 and Harry Weston born in 1889, all three children were born in Godstone. Evidence suggests that John Stacey senior held the tenancy of the farmhouse and John Stacey junior, the lands of Lowland Farm, presumably both sharing the occupation of the farmhouse. The Stacey family remained at Lowlands Farm until sometime between 1898 and 1901 when Charles Towes took over the tenancy.
The division of Lowlands Farm
As already established, on 4th November 1898, Clayton Louis Glyn sold Lowlands Farm to Harry Bentinck Budd of East Park which brought to an end the eighty-year association between the Glyn and Lowlands Farm. By a second indenture dated 4th November 1898, Charles Henry Gatty, whose own estate abutted Lowlands Farm, purchased a part of Lowlands Farm from Harry Bentinck Budd for the sum of £750. From the schedule it is evident that Charles Gatty purchased only the land situated to the southeast of the main London road at Newchapel abutting the Wiremill area that was already part of the Felbridge Place estate.
No. on Plan Description Cultivation Area Total
103 Four and Half Acres Arable 05. 01. 20
104 Little Field Arable 01. 00. 00
134 Lane Field Arable 04. 03. 00
135 Five Acres Arable 05. 00. 26
148 Forge Field Arable 06. 02. 06
21 Common Mead Meadow 02. 03. 23
22 Brook Mead Pasture 04. 00. 38
Total 29. 03. 33
The Gatty family had been near neighbours since 1855 when George Gatty, father of Charles, purchased the Felbridge Place estate from the descendents of the Evelyn family who had acquired the estate by 1748. [For further information see Handout Charles Henry Gatty, SJC 11/03.] During the latter decades of the 19th century Charles Gatty embarked upon numerous land purchases in the area, this portion of Lowlands Farm being just one of many. With the detachment from Lowlands Farm of these twenty-nine acres, the remainder of this document will concentrate upon the larger portion of the farm that was purchased by Harry Bentinck Budd that retained Lowlands Farmhouse.
Harry Bentinck Budd was born on 10th April 1867, the son of Edward Budd esquire, of The Grange, Felcourt, Lingfield. When Edward Budd died in 1890, his inheritance made Harry instantly rich at the age of just twenty-three. Harry would appear to have had little interest in the academic world, was a keen sportsman, loved riding, hunting and shooting, and was no stranger to the racing world. Shortly after the death of his father he sold The Grange, staying first at Harts Hall in Felbridge before buying East Park, off the West Park Road in Horne by 1892. In August 1892, Harry stood in the Surrey County Council Election for Lingfield, Horne and Crowhurst and won with a majority of 305 votes. He took his responsibilities seriously promoting himself as the peoples champion.
In 1894, with a large amount of wealth at his disposal and seemingly no business sense, he rescued the Comet Coach, although it was in severe decline due to the introduction of the railway making trips from London to the coast quicker and more reliable. Two years later he married Nellie Bentinck Rumney, the eldest daughter of Peter James Rumney of St Helens, Preston Park, Brighton. With a new wife came a new home, Charters Towers off Baldwins Hill, East Grinstead built for them to move into by the end of 1898. Besides the new home they also had two holiday homes, one in Bournemouth and one in Littlehampton, and a new yacht enjoying frequent trips to the East Indies. It was at this time that Harry Bentinck Budd purchased Lowlands Farm, although his personal fortune was by now dwindling at an alarming rate. His spending came to a head in April 1899, when Harry Bendinck Budd of Charters Towers in the parish of Lingfield in the county of Surrey, of no occupation was summonsed to appear at the Tunbridge Wells Bankruptcy Court.
On 9th May 1899, Harry Bentinck Budd was adjudicated bankrupt and a receiving order was made against him resulting in his part of Lowlands Farm being put up for sale on 6th July 1899. The sale catalogue described the Farmhouse as comfortable and old, containing:
a Parlour, Kitchen, four bedrooms and two attic rooms, with a Wash-house and Wood Store, and ample Farm buildings.
The Farm buildings include a timber-built and tiled Wood Lodge, timber-built and tiled Cattle Shed with Piggeries attached, large brick and timber-built and part-tiled/part-thatched building containing three Stall Stable with a Hay Store and Loft over, Coach House, Barn and two Cowsheds, with a large brick and timber-built and tiled Cattle Shed adjoining, and a timber-built and thatched Cart Lodge.
There was also a brick-built Cart Shed with a Granary over but this was the property of John Stacey, the tenant and occupier of Lowlands Farm at the time. The schedule included:
No. on Plan Description Cultivation Area Total
14 Further Lay Mead Grass 05. 02. 13
15 The Gill Wood 01. 02. 07
16 Path Field Arable 07. 00. 38
17 Gill Field Arable 05. 03. 06
31 Stoney & Wood Field Arable 08. 01. 06
32 Burnt Oaks Field Arable 06. 00. 34
33 The Wood Wood 02. 00. 31
34 Lay Mead Grass 06. 02. 31
39 The Coppice Wood 01. 02. 05
40 Coppice Field Arable 05. 00. 32
41 Level Field Arable 04. 01. 37
42 New Gates Field Arable 04. 02. 22
52 Barn Field Arable 04. 03. 08
53 Back Mead Grass 02. 02. 13
Pt. 60 House & Buildings 01. 00. 29
61 Pond Water 00. 00. 29
Total 68. 00. 11
Between the schedules of 1898 and 1899, the field names and acreages have changed, although for this portion of Lowlands Farm the total acreage of just over sixty-eight acres remained the same. A comparison of the two schedules suggests that some of the fields had been combined to form larger fields by 1899 and that some of the woodland had been cleared and brought into cultivation or grassland. Woodland for this portion of Lowlands Farm had decreased by 40% compared to 1898 being replaced by grassland which had risen by 50%, suggesting that there had been an increase in livestock requiring pasture for grazing and meadows for hay.
Lowlands Farm was purchased by Alfred Palmer of East Thorp, Reading in Berkshire for the sum of £1,420 for the hereditaments and premises plus £225 13s 3d for the timber, timber-like trees, pollards and saplings on the said hereditaments.
Lowlands Farm as part of the West Park Estate
Alfred Palmer was the son of George Palmer, of Huntley and Palmer fame, the biscuit manufacturers of Reading. Sometime around 1869, George Palmer had bought West Park, along the north side of West Park Road, and in 1869 had the large residence known as West Park House built as a shooting lodge. Alfred Palmer inherited West Park on the death of his father, extending the property in 1898. At the time of purchase in 1869, West Park amounted to 220 acres but during the ownership of the Palmers they amassed an estate of 2,239 acres, Lowlands Farm being one of their acquisitions. [For further information see Handout West Park, SJC 04/99.]
Like all previous owners, Alfred Palmer did not live at Lowlands Farm but leased the property to tenants. As already established, Charles Towes held the tenancy of Lowlands Farm by 1901, having succeeded John Stacey. Charles was born in West Hoathly in 1841 and married Emily Creasey in 1864, Emily being born in East Grinstead in 1842. Charles and Emily had at least seven children, all born in Worth, Emily Elizabeth born in 1870 whilst living at Hedgecourt), Charles born in 1873 whilst living at Furnace in Furnace Wood, Henry Martin born in 1877, Alfred born in 1880, May born in 1884, Agnes born in 1886 and Olive born in 1889.
In the 1901 census, Charles Towse was listed as a farmer and employer, and his son Martin (Henry Martin) was working as the stockman on the farm, along with Alfred who was the carter. Living with the Towse family at Lowlands Farm were James Giblet born in Croydon in 1866, William Gladman born in East Grinstead in 1879 and Frank Amsden born in Bermondsey in 1887, all agricultural labourers.
Lowlands, still owned by Alfred Palmer, was tenanted by the Towes family until 1912, when James Richard Wheeler and his son, also James Richard, took over the tenancy. Evidence suggests that the farmhouse, garden, buildings and yard, amounting to just over one acre, were held by James Wheeler senior, and that his son James held just over 50 acres of the farmland at Lowlands, whilst the Hon. Kenelm Charles Edward, Earl of Cottenham owned and occupied just over twenty acres of what was deemed Lowlands Farm. This would suggest that by 1912, the sixty-eight acres that had formed Lowlands Farm in 1899 had increased by five acres, just over twenty acres owned by Earl Cottenham and the remainder by Alfred Palmer.
James Richard Wheeler senior was born in 1856 on the Isle of Wight and married Emily Stephens in 1883, Emily being born in 1856, also on the Isle of Wight. James and Emily had at least two sons, James Richard, date of birth not yet established, and William born in 1884, both on the Isle of Wight. In 1915, William married Frances Helen Fawcett who was born in 1886, and Frances lived at Lowlands Farm until her death on 19th October 1929. They had five children; Frances Emily Wheeler who was born in February 1918 but sadly died fifteen months later being buried at St Johns Church, Felbridge, on 16th May 1919; Francis William Wheeler born 1920 and died aboard HMS Hood in 1941; James Richard Wheeler born 1922 and died aboard HMS Curacoa in 1942; Bill Wheeler and Fred Wheeler.
James Richard Wheeler senior held the tenancy of Lowlands until his death in November 1922, when he was buried at St Johns Church, Felbridge, being succeeded by his sons James Richard junior and William Wheeler. Between 1922 and 1926, the electoral roll records Messers Wheeler, presumably James Richard Wheeler, junior, and his brother William; however in 1927 James ceases to appear suggesting he had left Lowlands Farm. In 1927, apart from the remaining members of the Wheeler family, Alfred Woods was also living at Lowlands Farm being succeeded, sometime before 1933, by Elizabeth Ann Mitchell. William Wheeler continued to occupy Lowlands Farm with his wife Frances Helen until her death in 1928, along with his mother Emily Wheeler until her death in April 1931, she too being buried at St Johns Church, Felbridge. However, from 1932 until 1935 the electoral roll lists William and his second wife Lily Wheeler nee Pollard as occupiers of Lowlands Farm. William and Lily had at least one child, Thomas S Wheeler born in 1934.
By 1936, the tenancy of Lowlands Farm had been taken on by Edward Uwins-Gillate, paying £50 rent per annum for the farmhouse, buildings, yard and nearly fifty acres of land. The Uwins-Gillate family appear to have come from the Lambeth area in London, but nothing else is known about Edward Uwins-Gillate.
On 20th May 1936, Alfred Palmer died, having been pre-deceased by both his wife Alice Maria and son Eustance Exall Palmer. Alfreds will granted his property to Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer of Priors Court, Chievely, Berkshire, MP, Charles Eric Palmer of Shinfield Grange near Reading, Berkshire, Director of Public Companies and the Hon. Ernest Cecil Nottage Palmer of Fernhurst, Pinkneys Green, Maidenhead Thicket, Berkshire, Director of Public Companies. On 17th September 1936, the West Park estate was put up for auction, Lowlands Farm forming Lot 2, by now reduced to just short of forty-two acres with a rental value of £45. The sale catalogue describes the property thus:
The Farmhouse is an interesting structure of brick and half timbering, partly cased in cement, with a slate roof supported on coved eaves: many of the beams are still exposed. The entrance is through a brick-built Porch and the accommodation includes:
Sitting Room with register fireplace.
Living Room with deep inglenook fireplace and a fitted seat at one side.
Scullery with heavily beamed ceiling and fitted bake oven, copper and sink. Larder and Dairy both having brick floors and beamed ceilings.
On the Upper Floor are Six Bedrooms, several of which are beamed and one in particular having some fine exposed beams in the walls, also an oak floor and open brick chimney. The Bedrooms are connected by an oak floored passage-way.
Companys Water is laid on and there is also a Pump.
Outside are Two timber and tiled sheds and an EC.
The Farm Buildings are principally weather-boarding with tiled roofs and include:
Cow House for 12 with water laid on.
Detached Cooling Shed.
Barn with Two bays, concrete run-way and lean-to.
Two Pigsties and a Loose Box with asbestos roof.
Open Shed and Yard.
Brick and iron roofed Coach House.
Six-stall Stable with Loft and Chaff Place.
Large Waggon House with weather boarded and slated Granary over.
The Land comprises six Grass Fields and enclosure 31 is a level arable field of 8 ¼ acres. Andersons Shaw and the Shaw at the north-west corner of the Farm both contain some useful oak timber and the Lot occupies a very prominent position at Newchapel Corner adjoining Newchapel Green and Froggit Heath.
No. on Plan Tenant Description Area Total
In Parish of Godstone
31 Mr E Uwins Gillate Arable 8.288
32 Pasture 6.153
40 Pasture 5.298
41 Pasture 4.484
42 Pasture 4.637
52 Pasture 4.621
53 Pasture 2.590
Pt. 60 House & Buildings 1.007
60A Orchard 0.346
61 Pond 0.184
33 In Hand [Alfred Palmer] Shaw 2.206
39 Shaw 1.548
When compared to previous schedules the most noticeable difference is the reduction in arable land at Lowlands Farm by 1936. A break down of the land usage shows that arable land had fallen to just over 19% of the total acreage of the farm, whilst pasture accounting for 68% of the land, had risen. The woodland had remained virtually unchanged at 7%.
Lowlands Farmhouse during the 20th century
On 3rd December 1936, Lowlands Farm was purchased by Kate Irene Pears of New Chapel House, Newchapel, for the sum of £3,800, plus £101 13s 6d for the timber, other trees and plantations on the property. Kate Irene Pears was the wife of Harry William Kilby Pears who had purchased Newchapel House from Henry Willis Rudd in 1924. [For further details see Handout Newchapel House, SJC 11/02.] The sale of Lowlands Farm included:
several pieces or parcels of land with the messuage tenement and farm buildings thereon known as Lowlands Farm and site at New Chapel Green, totalling 41.362 acres; Secondly, that piece or parcel of land situated at Newchapel on the north side of the road leading from Brighton to Lingfield on Frogit Heath together with the messuage and buildings erected thereon and lately known as The Newchapel Cycle Club House and cottage formerly known as the Cyclists and Sports Club, [now Linden Farm], totalling .324 of an acre; together with all mines and minerals in or under the same premises, and also with all commage and all rights of common land in and over the respective waste and commable lands of the manor of Lagham otherwise Walkhampstead otherwise Godstone, and thirdly, to be held in fee simple [freehold].
No. on Plan Description Cultivation Area Total
Pt. 60 House and buildings 1.007
60a Orchard Pasture 0.346
61 Pond Water 0.184
53 Pasture 2.590
52 Pasture 2.620
No. on Plan Description Cultivation Area Total
Pt. 60 House and buildings 0.324
On 29th July 1938, Kate Irene Pears sold Lowlands Farmhouse and buildings to Mrs Isabella Edith Davis of Fourwinds, 228 Holtye Road, East Grinstead in Sussex, the wife of Albert Edward Davis, for the sum of £956 5/-, together with a strip of land joining the north side of the West Park Road leading from the road to Lowlands Farmhouse. This strip of land had been laid out as a road being part of the Newchapel Cycle Club-House and cottage that abutted Lowlands Farmhouse to the west. Along with the sale came a list of stipulations placed upon Lowlands Farmhouse by Irene Pears:
1) The farmhouse shall be used as a private dwelling house only.
2) No alterations in the elevation of the farmhouse shall be made without the consent of the vendor, her heirs, executors, administrators or assigns but such consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.
3) No building or outhouse of any kind or description shall be erected on any part of the land without the consent of the vendor and her approval in writing of the plans of any proposed building of outhouse.
4) No building of any kind or description shall be erected on any part of the land delineated and coloured green on the said plan (east of the road or way to the east of Linden Farm).
5) No advertisement board shall be permitted to be erected on the premises hereby agreed to be sold other than a notice to the effect that the property is for sale or to be let and when such eventuality shall arise.
6) No washing or laundry shall be hung out so as to be exposed to the view from other portions of the New Chapel House and grounds or Lowlands Farm and premises.
It is fairly evident from these stipulations that Kate Irene Pears was doing everything she could to limit any visual impact Lowlands Farmhouse may have when viewed from her home at New Chapel House, opposite on the south side of West Park Road.
Shortly after the purchase of Lowlands House, Isabella Davis commissioned H & E Waters of Highgate in Forest Row, Sussex, to draw up and execute a set of plans to modify the house. The plans included, an extension to the front porch, the insertion of some windows, the replacement of the sash windows with lead-light windows, the insertion of a stained glass window above the stair well, the re-positioning of the door on the west side of the property, a new set of garage doors, new stair balustrades, a new door to the lounge, [now the current dining-room], and the exposure of some ceiling beams. From the set of drawings it is evident that more of the original timber framing had been exposed since the 1936 sale.
The stained glass window that was inserted above the stair well is one of four pieces of stained glass that can currently be found in the property, and is of a completely different style to the other three pieces, two of which are heraldic and one of a gentleman in prayer. The stair well window has a central circle with a four petalled flower motif in the centre surrounded by some pretty painted panels but is not of such a fine quality as the other three pieces, which use a rich palette of colours with very fine and intricate painted panels. It is unclear whether all four pieces of stained glass were inserted under the direction of Isabella Davis or whether they were inserted before or after her ownership.
On 4th May 1942, Isabella Davis sold Lowland Farmhouse to Bernard Arthur Montague Lazarus a gentleman of 10, Queen Street, Mayfair, London. The property remained in his ownership until his death on 5th August 1988 when it passed to his wife, Edna Janet Lazarus, and on her death on 4th March 1990, Lowlands Farmhouse passed to Peggy Florence Singleton-Ward and Brenda Marjorie Stone. In more recent history, Lowlands Farmhouse was bought by Carol and Robert Murray in the 1997, who sold to Stewart Murray [no relation] and Lucy Cox in July 2004. During the current ownership a new kitchen has been installed, re-instating the missing ceiling beams with re-claimed ones.
During the ownership of the Lazarus Lowlands Farmhouse was granted a Grade II* listing on 25th April 1984, which described the property as: The remains of a fine Wealden house, truncated but with the principal features exposed. The building is possibly of 15th or 16th century origin, extended in the 17th century and altered in the 19th century. The original upper end has been rebuilt.
Today, Lowlands Farmhouse remains a fine example of a Wealden house being situated in a four-acre plot, a small fraction of the land that was once attached to the property.
Godstone by U Lambert
Doomsday Book of Surrey
Local and Family History by D Hey
Handout no.6, Lagham Manor Handout, SJC 10/99, FHA
Wealden Buildings, Ed. by J Warren
Private communications with Dr. Annabel Hughes and Kay Coutin of the Wealden Building Study Group
Court Book of Tandridge, 1509-1925, K61/1/56-57, SHC
Court Roll for Tandridge, 1627, K61/7/62, SHC
Court Book of Lagham alias Walkhamsted, 1559-1646, P25/21/11, SHC
Court Book of Lagham alias Walkhamsted, 1650-1666, K61/7/5-7, SHC
Lagham Court Roll 1650 K61/7/5, SHC
Lagham Court Roll 1656, 1658, 1666 K61/7/6, SHC
Lagham Court Roll 1669-1693 K61/7/7-9, SHC
Court Book of Lagham alias Walkhamsted, 1669-1846, P25/21/11, SHC
Lagham Court Roll 1715 K61/7/10-13, SHC
Lagham Court book 1757-1926 P25/21/12, SHC
Indenture, 1651, BM Add Mss 37808, BL
Jacobs Law Dictionary, published 1797, SHC
Inns and Taverns of Western Sussex 1550-1700, by J Pennington, WL
English Inn and Tavern Names, by B Cox
A Catalogue of Tavernes in ten Shires about London, by J Taylor, S[ry]AC vol.19, SHC
List of Surrey Feet of Fines 1558-1648, WSFHS
Feet of Fine, Feake v Huntley, Ref: CP25/2/359/8 JAS1 MICH, NA
Feet of Fine, Feake v Huntley, Ref: CP25/2/360/9 JAS1 EASTER, NA
Feet of Fine, Feake v Medherst, Ref: CP25/2/360/11 JAS1 MICH, NA
Visitations of Surrey 1530, 1572, 1623, 1662-8, FHA
Feake family tree, www.angelfire.com
Horne Parish Registers, FHA
Lingfield Parish Registers, HMLHC
Christopher Feake, Dictionary of National Biography
Daniel Defoe and the Dorking District, S[ry]AC vol.LV, CL
William 1597, PROB 11/85
Elizabeth, 1654, PROB 11/237
John, 1656, PROB 11/254
Samuel 1673, PROB 11/342
Thomas 1700, PROB 11/458
Samuel 1757, PROB 11/831
Charles 1762, PROB 11/878
Samuel 1774, PROB 11/1002
Ann 1800, PROB 11/1348
Mary, 1803, PROB 11/1390
Jonathan Cruse 1818, PROB 11/1604
The East India Company, by J Bateson, RH7 History Group
East India Company, http://59.1911encyclopedia.org
Port Cities London, http://www.portcities.org
Handout no.9, Warren Furnace SJC 01/00, FHA
Handout no.72, Wiremill SJC 03/06, FHA
Maritime Memorials, http://nmm.ac.uk
Calendar of Late Elizabethan and Stuart Lay Subsidies, central and South Eastern Surrey 1593-1641, West Surrey Family History Society. FHA
Lagham Quit Rents 1575, P25/21/17-18, SHC
Counterpart lease, 1704, BM Add Mss 37808, BL
Quit Rents for Lagham, 1751, K61/7/27, SHC
Tenants List for Lagham, 1752, K61/7/24, SHC
Bourd map 1748, FHA
Godstone Tithe map and apportionment, 1840, SHC
Indenture of settlement, 1844, Gatty papers, Box 3151, SHC
Land Tax Records1780-1832, SHC
Felbridge Parish Registers, FHA
Thomas Hollinbery, Gentlemans Magazine, 1792
Glyn Settlement, 1812, M1297, Essex Record Office
Deed, 1887 M3946/2, Hackney Archives Department
Col Thomas, 1813, PROB 11/1548
Amelia Hollinbery, 1818, PROB 11/1566
Henrietta, 1845, PROB 11/2015
Principal Seats of Essex, from various directories http://essexpub.net/Directories/Seats.htm
Census 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
Godstone Electoral Roll, QS/7/4, SHC
Schedule of deeds relating to Lowlands Farm, Gatty papers, Box 3151, SHC
Handout no.54, Charles Henry Gatty, SJC 11/03, FHA
The History of The Grange and its Occupants, by B & L Dighton
Lowlands Farm Sale Catalogue, 1899, SP 2563, WSRO
Handout no.1, West Park, SJC 04/99, FHA
Godstone Rate Books, 3293/12/45 -50, SHC
Godstone Electoral Roll, CC 802/48-52/2, SHC
West Park Sale Catalogue, 1936, FHA
Handout no.44, Newchapel House, SJC 11/02
Schedule of Deeds for Lowlands Farmhouse, FHA
H & E Waters plans for alterations to Lowlands House, FHA
Listing, NMR No. 517999, FHA
Our thanks are extended to Stewart and Lucy, the current owners, for their patience and understanding during the lengthy process of surveying the timber-frame structure of their home.