Parkfields is situated to the southwest of Felbridge, abutting the south side of Cuttingly Wood and the north side of Crawleys Down. Running along the south side of the property is Hophurst Lane, a section of a pre-historic trackway that follows the line of the East/West ridge that passes beside Imberhorne Farm, Gullege and Hophurst Farm. The outside appearance of the property suggests that it was built in the late Victorian or early Edwardian period, but appearances can be deceptive and beneath the brick and ornate tile hanging lies a far older structure. This document charts the development of Parkfields, the possible construction date of the house and how it was altered and extended over the centuries, as well as identifying the land owners and people who have occupied the property.
Early history of the site of Parkfields
The area in which Parkfields is situated is known as the Weald, originally an area of dense woodland that was generally believed to have been uninhabited or at best sparsely inhabited; however, there is archaeological evidence to suggest that the local area has seen human activity since the Mesolithic period, some 10,300 years ago. It is true to say that this area probably did not see a major early settlement and was not agricultural but there is evidence of industrial exploitation of iron ore, a resource found in abundance locally. It is probably due to the presence of iron ore that a Roman road was built slightly to the east of Parkfields. This road, which crossed the pre-historic East/West Track, linked London and Brighton and, being relatively narrow, suggests that it is early in date, built not for military purposes but as commercial road giving access to a series of bloomeries through the Weald including those situated along the Felbridge Water in Felbridge. A bloomery is the small mud furnace in which iron ore was smelted and the earliest to be dated accurately, located at Smythford at the bottom of Hophurst Hill, dates to the 1st century AD. As bloomery technology remained unchanged from the Iron Age until the introduction of the blast furnace in the mid 15th century, it is possible that the iron smelting industry that is evident during the Roman period in this area may have pre-dated the Roman invasion and probably continued after they withdrew.
It is believed that it was not until the Saxon period that this area of the Weald saw human settlement, with the arrival of early Saxons moving north from the coastal regions of Sussex looking for summer grazing for their livestock. Settling in the High Weald area, the forested ridges were cleared creating places like Crawley Down, originally known as Crawleys Down in Worth. Evidence for Saxon clearings in this area can be found in two place names, Burleigh to the southeast of Parkfield and Cuttingly Wood, to the north, a lçah being an Old English term for a clearing.
The Doomsday Survey of 1086, shows Worth, then known as Orde, in the Hundred of Reigate in the Surrey Doomsday Book, held by Richard of Tonebrige, the son of Gilbert. The entry reads:
Siward holds of Richard, Orde, Osweald held it of King Edward. Then as now it was assessed at half a hide. There is 1 villain with half a plough. It was worth 30s and afterwards 25s, now 20s.
However, in 765AD, the Crawleys Down area had been granted as part of sixteen hides of land, (nearly 2,000 acres), by Ealdwulf, the King of the South Saxons, for the building and sustaining of a monastery at South Malling, a suburb of Lewes. As such, Crawleys Down should have been part of the manor of South Malling, in the Hundred of Buttinghill. It is not known why or when the controlling manor court of the Crawleys Down area moved from the Hundred of Reigate, but there is evidence that this area was considered to be in the Hundred of Lindfield Burleigh Arches, part of the manor of South Malling, by the early 16th century.
There is strong evidence to suggest that the site of Parkfields was once part of Cuttingly Wood, originally known as Cuttingleigh or Coddingleigh Park, Parkfields being a piece of land that was cleared to the south of the Park leading eventually to the name Park Fields. However, the name Parkfields was not associated with the site until 1659 when the court records show that William Delve died seized of a freehold tenement called Parkfield in Worth. Although this is the first documentary evidence for the name there are possible tantalising references to the site from as early as 1465 when William Gage acquired the manor of Hedgecourt and land in the area of Myllwood (Furnace Wood) and Coddingly (Cuttingly). In 1476, William Gage granted a lease to Thomas Nycolas of Worthe for 2 parcells of ground called Coblyngleghe, (Cuttingly), and Tylthe, (Tilts), in Worthe. Later references found in the court books of South Malling-Lindfield show that land at Parkfields and the Tilts (now Tiltwood) travelled together, so it is possible that Coblyngleghe may have included the site of Parkfields. Perhaps another reference to Parkfields can be found in a lease of 1652 between Thomas Gage bt. and Simon Everneden and Richard Thorpe. By this date, the Gage land holdings had passed to Thomas Gage who was leasing the manor of Hedgecourt, including the Cuttingly area, to Simon Everneden, a gentleman of Cliffe near Lewes, who in turn sub-leased certain lands to Richard Thorpe, a gentleman living at Gibbs Haven on Hedgecourt Common. The Thorpe family ran the iron industry at Warren furnace for the Gage family. The eight-year lease of 1652 was for 28 acres of land called Smythford and 8 acres called Honeyes and 24 acres of woodlands and plain land inclosed called Parke, except 2 acres on which the ricks of hay stood and the land on which the hog pound was standing. It is possible that the 24 acres of woodlands and plain lands inclosed called Parke refer to the site of Parkfields, although the name Parkfields does not appear as such until seven years later when William Delve died seized of the property. What is evident from the structure of the house that now bears the name Parkfields is that the property dates to the late 15th or early 16th century which suggests that the area had been cleared by this date. This is also confirmed by hedge dating around the known site of Parkfields, as a recent survey concluded that the earliest hedge dated to between 1485 and 1505, this being the boundary dividing Parkfields from Cuttingly Wood.
The structure of Parkfields
Within the existing property the remains of a three bay timber-framed building can be identified. Unfortunately, no timbers survive down to ground level and much of the mid rail has been removed or is obscured. However, the preservation of the oak timbers above the mid rail is good and the vast majority are visible enabling the original structure to be determined.
The structure contains four trusses providing three bays with a width of 175/5.3m, the two bays at the southern end are of similar length (82/2.5m and 77/2.3m ), the third bay is 131/4m long and has additional wall posts (upright posts the full height of the wall) in the middle of each wall but these have no tiebeam (main transverse timber that connects the tops of walls). The truss is the rigid transverse framework that is constructed across a roof at bay intervals, which prevents the roof from spreading and which carries the longitudinal timbers that support the rafters. At Parkfields each truss has a transverse beam (the ceiling beam across the house) of varying depth with the top surface being above the height of the mid rail (the beam in a wall frame that is centrally placed in a storey or between the sill and wall plate in an open hall). There are large convex down braces in each truss from the wall posts to the transverse beam. Some of these have been removed but the mortice or peg hole is still visible to show that all of the trusses had two down braces. The top of the wall posts have jowls of varying depth and shape with the largest being in truss 3. The jowl is the thickening of the inner face of the top of a wall post which accommodates housings for the wall plate and tiebeam. The tiebeam is slightly arched, above which there are queen struts (paired struts that are framed between the tiebeam and collar), a redundant crown post (the central upright timber below the collar) and a collar with clasped purlins.
Truss 1 is at the northern end of the structure and has a transverse beam approximately 6/15cm x 6/15cm and a tiebeam 8/20cm x 8/20cm, all of the panels are infilled with the studs mounted flush to the outside face of the transverse beam and tiebeam. Truss 2 has a transverse beam 10/25cm wide x 11/27.5cm deep and a tiebeam of the same size. The underside of the transverse beam has V grooves marking the positions of wall studs that went from the east side to three quarters of the way across the width of the building ending with a large mortice for a larger stud. Between the transverse beam and the tiebeam there are a number of wall studs but it is not possible to determine if this section was infilled completely. Above the tiebeam, the truss has wattle and daub infill up to the ridge which is still complete. The staves are flat oak strips 3/7.5cm x ½/13mm mounted in round ended mortices; the wattle is hazel over which the daub has been applied. The oak staves are mounted each side of the queen struts with additional ones in the middle of each panel. All of the infill walling is mounted flush to the northern side of this truss. The northern face of this wall has been cleaned and decorated but encrusted soot can be found in the gaps between the wattle-and-daub panels and the principal rafters, the soot is limited to the northern side of these gaps implying that the bay between frames 1 and 2 was once smoke filled and this daub panel acted as a smoke barrier.
Truss 3 has a transverse beam 10/25cm wide by 9/22.5cm deep and a tiebeam 10/25cm wide x 11/27.5cm deep. Round ended mortices and peg holes indicate the positions of wall studs below the transverse beam and one round ended stave mortice is visible showing that at least one panel had wattle and daub infill. Similarly to truss 2, there are wall studs present between the transverse beam and the tiebeam, there are also wrought iron hinges and a worn door sill just east of the middle of the transverse beam. Between the tiebeam and the ridge, the space is filled with wattle and daub but no smoke damage or soot is evident. Again the walling is all aligned to the northern face of this truss. Truss 4 is the southern end of the structure and has a transverse beam of 6/15cm x 6 and a tiebeam 9/22.5cm wide x 10/25cm deep. Much of the transverse beam has been removed and therefore the nature of any walling below this point is not known. The positions of the wall studs above the transverse beam are similar to those in the other trusses and the spaces above the tiebeam were filled with wattle and daub. The southern (outside) face of the tiebeam has been weathered and the walling in this frame is aligned with the southern face of the truss making it very likely that this truss marked the original extents of the timber framed building. Truss 2 and 3 are of superior quality timber and finish in comparison to truss 1 and 4.
The mid rail from frame 3 to frame 5 has survived on the west side and between frame 3 to the wall posts at position a on the east side. The underside of the western mid rail has three mortices for a diamond-mullioned window on the ground floor immediately north of truss 3. This window had been infilled at a later date as there are square-ended mortices cut into the mullion mortices. The rest of this wall section has round-ended mortices for the wall studs and staves identical to those in the tiebeam and collar for the infill panels.
Along the western wall there were convex down braces from the principal wall posts to the mid rail south of truss 1 and north of truss 2. The wall studs divide each panel into two or three sections which were filled with wattle and daub. The wall stud and stave mortices are all round ended. There are three mortices for a diamond mullioned window south of truss 2. Photographs taken during building work show that just above the mid rail there was a timber each side of the wall post at position a to the wall stud in the centre of these panels. The wall plate is in two sections, with a side halved scarf joint (a joint between two timbers meeting end to end) just north of frame 3. The top of the wall plate has a dovetail just south of the wall post at position a, to the north of this dovetail the wall plate, wall post and purlin are badly heat-damaged. The roof has curved-up wind braces from each frame to the purlin. The rafters have been replaced north of position a as they are not heat-damaged and the remaining rafters may not be original as they are of a very similar appearance to the replacement ones north of position a.
The eastern wall has convex down braces from the principal wall posts to the mid rail north of truss 4 and north and south of truss 2. There are three mortices for a diamond-mullioned window north of truss 3. The top of the wall plate has a dovetail just south of truss 2, opposite the dovetail in the west wall plate. Again the wall post, wall plate and purlin north of the dovetail are badly heat-damaged.
There is an axial beam (ceiling beam) between frames 2 and 3 into which the floor joists are located. The flooring of the bay between frame 3 and 4 has been lost, although one joist remains and is at the same elevation and distance from the frames as one of the joists in the second bay and thus it is possible that this bay was also floored with a similar axial beam. A transverse beam has been inserted immediately north of the wall posts at position a, this beam is resting on top of the mid rails and against the wall posts. Joists are located into this transverse beam but the other ends rest on top of the transverse beam in truss 1 and 2. The transverse beam is the only one in the structure to have a chamfer and has run-out stops. The underside of the transverse beam at position a has round-ended mortices in the underside for five wall studs from the west end of the beam to about one third of the way across the building. There is also a V groove north-south across the underside of the beam aligning with the third joist from the west wall on the north side of the beam. The underside of this joist has three V grooves along its length.
The suggested progression for the property is that it started as a hall house, the open hall being between truss 1 and truss 2, the soot encrusted around the daub panel showing that this was a smoke filled bay. The V grooves in the underside of the transverse beam of truss 2 are identical to those in the later inserted beam at position a and do not match the round-ended wall stud mortices used for all the other original walls. This implies that originally there were no wall studs beneath the transverse beam of truss 2 and that the hall was open at the ground floor to truss 3 with a chamber over. The presence of a diamond-mullioned window in the first floor west wall of this bay also supports this originally being an upstairs chamber rather than part of a hall.
The dovetails in the top of the wall plate south of position a would appear to have been the mounting points for a smoke bay that was inserted to contain the smoke to the northern end of the hall. The smoke bay extended the full width of the building as the heat-damage has occurred to both walls.
The installation of a brick chimney in the north-east of the building enabled the hall to be floored and the transverse beam was installed north of position a to take the floor joists. This beam shows no heat-damage and could not have been installed whilst the smoke bay was still in use. The wall studs beneath this beam partition off the north-west corner of the building which may have been for a staircase to the newly formed chamber above. There is still a brick built chimney in the north-east corner of the building, however, extensive and repetitive renovation has made it difficult to date with any confidence.
Sometime after the original construction, north-south floor joists have been laid in the third bay, resting on top of the transverse beams of truss 3 and 4.
The entire timber-framed structure lists to the north and a gap of over 12/30cm exists between the collar of truss 4 and the Victorian extension to the south which is built against the timber frame at ground level.
A timber framed building of this type might have had a solar beyond the hall (a first floor room at the high end of the house used as a private room or bedchamber). The absence of a solar could be due to it having been north of truss 1 and fallen down at some time or that this was a lower status building having a hall as the end of the property. Usually the roof would have been hipped, whereas this roof is now gabled at both ends. The evidence for a hipped roof at the north end could have been removed if there had been a solar that had since fallen down. The southern face of frame 4 is very badly weathered and as such must have represented the southern extent of the building for a considerable time. The carpenters marks on this frame match those of frame 2 as well as the collar and partition details being an exact copy. Thus the roof could only have been hipped above the collar (assuming that the principal rafters were later replaced removing the evidence) or the hip was below the collar and frame 4 was not the furthest extent of the building, although this seems unlikely as the collar shows no signs of supporting hipped rafters from the south and as already discussed there is strong evidence that frame 4 was the end of the building both in weathering and the southern face alignment of the wall studs.
Parkfields during the 17th and 18th century
As already established, Parkfields was not known as such until 1659, some 150 years after the construction of the property, but the adopted name has now remained with the property for over 340 years. The early references do not give an acreage for the site of Parkfields only that it was a freehold property and as such only appears in the court books on the death of a freehold tenant. Had the property been copyhold there would be reference to it every time the property was leased, giving the name to who the lease was granted, and being a copyhold property it would have generally been occupied by the leaseholder. Unfortunately being a freehold property it was unlikely to have been occupied by the freeholder but would have been leased out to tenants. This means that for the majority of the 17th and 18th centuries it is only possible to determine the names of the freeholders and not the people who actually occupied the property.
Evidence suggests that the area of land that eventually became known as Parkfields once extended to about 44 acres, or possibly a little more, but that by at least 1705 the land had been divided in two, both known as Parkfields! The only descriptions distinguishing the two Parkfields are that one part included the house and about 25 acres of land paying a rent of 7d per annum, and the other part always appeared as Parkfields and The Tilts, amounting to 31 acres, paying a rent of 11d per annum. The second Parkfields included just over 19 acres abutting to east side of the first Parkfields, together with the 12-acre field opposite Parkfields known as The Tilts, now the site of Tiltwood. The 7d rental is important, allowing the Parkfields with the house to be identified within the documents and enabling us to trace the history of what is today called Parkfields.
The first freeholder of Parkfield to have come to light is William Delve who died holding the property in May 1659. Having trawled the surviving court books there is no reference connecting Parkfield to a name, not even a reference to the date that William Delve acquired the property before his death in 1659. William came from the Delve family of Ringmer in Sussex, being born in 1617, the son of William and Eleanor Delve of Isfield in Sussex. It is perhaps interesting to note that the Delves of Ringmer have connections with the Gage family through the marriage in 1541 of Joan Delve, the daughter and heir of one John Delve, after the death of her first husband John Bellingham of Little Horsted in Sussex. One could speculate that perhaps Parkfields was acquired by William Delve through the Gage family connection considering the Gages were connected with the Parkfield area from 1465. On the death of William Delve, Parkfield passed to his brother Nicholas Delve of Horsham, but as the court book makes clear, Nicholas Delve also died shortly after William:
20th October, from the homage [a juror of the manor court] present that William Delve died seized of a freehold tenement called Parkfield in Worth whereupon payment for a herriot of a bay mare and that Nicholas Delve was his brother and was heir to the aforesaid who afterward died since the last court and for the said homage calls the inheritance that the lord for herriot a branded heifer but who is the heir to the said Nicholas Delve they know not as he too had died.
Unfortunately, the will of William Delve does not give specific details, only referring to his estates and land passing to his brother and no will has come to light for Nicholas Delve so it is unclear who inherited Parkfield on his death, nor is there an entry in the court books of South Malling-Lindfield to indicate who came forward to pay the outstanding heriots. A heriot was the payment, often the best beast, from the incoming freeholder to the lord of the manor, which in the case of Nicholas Delve succeeding his brother William was a bay coloured mare and a heifer for the incoming heir of Nicholas Delve.
The Payne Family
The next reference to Parkfield is in 1661 when the court books note that Edward Payne died seized of a tenement and certain lands called Parkfields in Worth. This entry suggests that Parkfields may have been acquired by Edward Payne on the death of Nicholas Delve, either by inheritance or purchase. Edward Payne had been born in 1593, the son of Edward and Anna Payne. Edward Payne was a gentleman of East Grinstead and had married his cousin Anna, daughter and co-heir of John Payne of Hickstead. Edward Payne married Hannah the daughter of Richard Yerwood of Southwark. On the death of Edward Payne in October 1660, he held a lot of land in the area including, the manors of Burstow Park in Surrey and Chittingly in West Hoathly, Burley Arches in Worth, the manor farms of Gravetye, and Wild Goose in West Hoathly, and Goddenwick in Lindfield. He also held Bower Farm near Crawleys Down, Cookes Mead and Pilshers in East Grinstead, and freeholds in Hartfield and Barcombe in Sussex, as well as tithes in East Grinstead. The will of Edward Payne makes no specific mention of Parkfields which suggests that the property must have either been part of a named estate, possibly Burley Arches or Bower Farm, both in Worth or of little importance and travelled as the remainder of his estate. From later evidence in the court books of South Malling-Lindfield, Parkfield appears to have descended to Edward Payne, the son of Charles Payne.
Charles Payne was a gentleman of East Grinstead and Lingfield and married twice. His first wife was Judith Cole of East Grinstead and they had four children, Hannah born in 1659, Ann born in 1660, Edward born in 1662, and John born in 1665. On the death of his first wife, Charles Payne married Anne Newman a widow of Lingfield. On the death of Charles Payne , it would appear that Parkfields passed to his son Edward Payne. Edward Payne married three times. He married firstly Timothy, the daughter and co-heir of his uncle Edward Payne of East Grinstead and they had four children, sadly all of whom died as infants. On the death of Timothy, Edward Payne married for a second time in 1692, Elizabeth the daughter of Sir Nicholas Toke of Godinton in Kent. They had six daughters, and on the death of Elizabeth, married for the third time in 1705/6, Anna Hickman of East Grinstead. Edward Payne and Anna had two sons, Charles born in 1707 and Edward born in 1711, the later dying as an infant.
Edward Payne died in 1714 leaving the majority of his estate to his only surviving son Charles Payne, which included, the portland and burgage in East Grinstead where Edward Payne had been living, the barns and land called the Moats, Pages Croft and the Riddons, (20 acres), other lands called the Riddens (12 acres) and land called the Shorts, the Scrubbs, the Balcombe Field and the Up Field, an oast house and land called the Dean, lands called Piggotts Fields or Collins Pitchers Field in East Grinstead, his kiln and lands in East Grinstead in the occupation of William Brasted, and lands in East Grinstead in the occupation of James Overy, as well as all the manor of Chiddingly in West Hoathly, along with the tithes of the Town Ward and South Ward in East Grinstead. Included in this estate was Parkfield as the court books list that Edward Payne died seized of Clarks [Burley Arches], and Chittingly in West Hoathly and Stubbets in Worth and that his heir, Charles Payne was quitted for Parkfields in Worth. To be quitted for Parkfields meant that Charles Payne had paid the small fixed annual quit rent on Parkfields that released him from manorial services.
The More/Middleton/Day Family
The next reference to Parkfields in the court books of South Malling-Lindfield is in 1731, when Thomas More died seized of Parkfields. At first glance it would seem that Parkfields had left the ownership of the Payne family but on closer inspection of the Payne family tree we find that Thomas More was the cousin of Charles Payne. The Payne/More connection is made through Anne Payne the granddaughter of Edward Payne[2 ], who had married Ellyott More of Wivelsfield in Sussex in 1668, Thomas More being their fourth child. Anne Payne was the daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Payne, this Edward being the brother of Charles Payne, and the father of Timothy Payne who married Charless son Edward Payne. This marriage connection made Edward Payne both a cousin and brother-in-law to Anne Payne who married Ellyott More.
The More family was the most important family in Wivelsfield and lived at More House. Ellyott More was born in 1630, the son of Captain Thomas More who had married Margaret, the daughter and heir of Thomas Elyott of Reigate. Ellyott More was the heir to Captain Thomas More and married Anne Payne in 1668. Ellyott and Anne More had five children, Edward born in 1671, Elizabeth in 1672, Elliott (a daughter) in 1674, Thomas in 1679 and Ann in 1684. Edward died before 1705 leaving Thomas as heir to the More estates, which included Parkfields. It is not clear exactly how Parkfields descended from Charles Payne, who had paid the quit rent for it in 1714 on the death of his father Edward Payne, to Thomas More.
Thomas More died holding Parkfields in 1731 and Parkfields, being part of the residue of his estate passed to his nephew Thomas Middleton, the son of his sister Elliott. Elliot More had married John Middleton, gentleman of Hurst Barnes in Chailey in Sussex, in 1697 and they had Frances born in 1704 and Thomas in 1707. Thomas Middleton only held Parkfields for ten years as he died in 1741 leaving the property to his sister Frances as his sole heir. In 1743, Frances Middleton married Robert Day of Hurstpierpoint, who was acting as the bailiff to her father, John Middleton. Although Robert Day came from a respectable family he was not considered to be an eligible match for Frances, the heiress to the Middleton estate. However, Frances and Robert married without the consent of her father. When Frances confessed to her father and asked his forgiveness it is said that his only remark was that they would have to live at Hurstbarnes, although there is evidence from the Wivelsfield registers that Frances and Robert Day did occasionally live at More House, Francess family home in Wivelsfield.
Frances and Robert Day had three children who all died in infancy. Robert Day died in 1759 and the court books reveal that he died holding a certain tenement in Worth called part of Shirleys and also certain other tenements called Parkfield in Worth aforesaid holden by like services and by yearly rent of 7d and also other tenement in Wivelsfield called Aldrett and that the homage present that the same is now the estate of Frances Day his widow by virtue of a settlement made between them. The remainder of his lands were divided between his brothers, George and William Day, as his will had bequeathed. Frances Day died in 1769 but there is no mention of her death or Parkfields in the court books and she does not name Parkfields in her will. The bulk of her estates were left to John Fuller and his heirs, a tanner of Wivelsfield, who was a close friend. As the death of Frances Day is not recorded in the court books the implication is that she had sold the freehold of Parkfields during her remaining lifetime.
It is unclear exactly what happened to Parkfields after the death of Frances Day in 1769 until 1780 when land tax records show that Zachariah Miles, who also held other land in the area, was the landowner for Parkfields. However, there is one reference in the schedule of deeds for Parkfields for 1778, an Indenture of Lease and Release for the property, the latter being made between James Tinlee [possibly Tingley] and Thomas Milward. Lease and Release was a method of transferring property from one party to another without the necessity of enrolling the deed. The purchaser, James Tinlee, first took a lease on the property for a year, which avoided the need to enrol, then the following day the vendor, Thomas Milward, conveyed to James Tinlee the reversion of the lease, thus giving James Tinlee the right to the property. Sadly the original document has not come to light, although the land tax of 1785 record the heirs of Thomas Milward esq. owning Bucks Coppice in Crawley in Sussex, suggesting that Thomas Milward was a landowner in the Crawley area. The most likely scenario is that the freehold of Parkfields was sold by Frances Day before she died. What is known is that from the beginning of the available land tax records in 1780 until 1786, Zachariah Miles was recorded as the landowner of Parkfields, and from 1780 it is also possible to identify who was occupying the property. However, Zachariah Miles does not appear in the court books as a freeholder or in any accession of freeholders which may suggest that he was actually leasing Parkfields from the official freeholder who has not yet been accurately identified for this period.
Zachariah Miles had been born in Horsham in Sussex in 1735, the son of Zachariah Myles. Zachariah Miles had married Martha Waller in 1759 in Horsham before moving to Bletchingley in Surrey, where they had five children, Middleton born in 1759, Martha in 1764 who sadly died within one month, a second Martha in 1768, Maria in 1770 and Mary in 1772. Zachariah Miles owned several pieces of land in Worth during the mid to late 18th century including Shirleys, an adjacent property to Parkfields and The Tilts, which he alienated [transferred] to William Tanner, the heir and nephew of Thomas Middleton, in 1778.
By the mid to late 18th century, Parkfields had assumed the name of Little Hophurst, a name that the property was to be known locally by until the beginning of the 20th century, although it was still referred to as Parkfields in the court books. Zachariah Miles continued to hold Parkfields until 1786 with a succession of occupiers. In 1780, the property and land was occupied by Thomas Chapman. Thomas Chapman had married Sarah Woodman of East Grinstead in 1770, and took up a tenancy on land in East Grinstead owned by Gibbs Crawford esq. of Saint Hill in East Grinstead in 1781 when he left Parkfields. Between 1781 and 1783 Benjamin Chapman and Thomas Head occupied Parkfields, suggesting that the house may have been sub-divided to accommodate two households. Benjamin Chapman was probably related to Thomas Chapman and in 1785, he and Richard Chapman owned land in East Grinstead, which was also in the occupation of Thomas Chapman. After Benjamin Chapman moved from Parkfields in 1783, he was succeeded by Richard Florence who occupied the property with Thomas Head. Thomas Head was born in 1759 and was the son of Richard and Susan Head of East Grinstead. Thomas Head married Anne Huggett in Burstow in 1787 and moved from Parkfields leaving Richard Florence as sole occupant from 1787 until 1789 when the property was taken over by Thomas Previtt. The Florence family originated from East Grinstead and Richard had married Sarah Abrahams in July 1777. Their first child, James was born in East Grinstead in 1778, however, in March 1779, a settlement order was granted for the family to move to Rumboldswyke near Chichester, but in July 1779 they were in East Grinstead where their second son, Richard, was baptised. It has not been possible to determine whether the Florence family moved to Rumboldswyke or whether they decided against the move and remained in East Grinstead before moving to Parkfields in 1787. During their tenancy of Parkfields, Richard and Sarah Florence had a further three children, Sarah born in 1781, George in 1782 and John in 1787. However, their sixth child, Mary, was baptised back at East Grinstead in 1789, two years after leaving Parkfields, suggesting that the family may have moved to East Grinstead parish. Following this move, the final two children of Richard and Sarah Florence were both baptised in Worth, Christopher in 1791 and Elizabeth in 1794, implying that they may have moved to Worth again.
In 1786, during the tenancy of Parkfields by Richard Florence, an Indenture of Lease and Release was made between James Lowe of the first part, Zachariah Miles of the second part and Robert Russell of the third part, which transferred the ownership of Parkfield to James Lowe. James Lowe was a surgeon from Bletchingley and had married Cornelia Potts in Godstone in January 1750. They appear to have married late in life, Cornelia being forty-four years of age, and they had just one daughter, Mary born in Bletchingley in November 1750. James Lowe held Parkfields until his death in 1798 when the property passed to his nephew Michael William Barnes, the son of his sister Mary and her husband Richard Barnes whom she had married in December 1773.
During the ten years that James Low held Parkfields the occupiers were Richard Florence for 1788 and 1789, followed by Thomas Previtt from 1790 to 1792 and the William Brooker from 1793, who continued to occupy the property after the death of James Low until 1808. The Previtt family originated from the Horne area in Surrey and in 1785 Hophurst Farm, just east of Parkfields, was in the occupation of Thomas Previtt. Hophurst was a large farm of over a hundred acres and it seems unlikely that the Thomas Previtt at Parkfields in 1790 had down-sized from Hophurst; it is far more likely that it was his son Thomas, by then in his early twenties, had left home and taken up the tenancy of Parkfields. The Previtt family continued to farm in the area, and in 1841, George Prevett, possibly a brother of the Thomas of Parkfields, occupied Bower Place Farm near Crawleys Down and his son George was occupying Hophurst Farm. Again, like the Previtt family, the Brooker family was also a farming family. In 1785, a William Brooker occupied a farm and land belonging to Samuel Blunt esq. on the Copthorne Common side of Crawleys Down and in 1881, Jesse Brooker occupied Hophurst Farm in 1881.
Parkfields during the 19th century
Although James Low died in 1798, the land tax states that Parkfields was held by Mr Low until the end of the records in 1832. The will of James Low, passed all his estates, which included Parkfields, to his nephew Michael William Barnes, so it is possible that the land tax records were not up-dated and kept the landowners name as Low. In 1811 there is an Indenture of Lease and Release in the schedule of deeds for Parkfields, the Release being made between Michael William Barnes and his wife, the Rt. Hon. Lady Georgina Catherine, of the first part, William Peters of the second part, Ann Russell of the third part and Richard Shearman of the fourth part, again like the previous indentures the original document has been mislaid. In 1821, the South Malling-Lindfield list of Freeholders in Worth states that William Peters was the freeholder for a tenement called Parkfields, containing 21 acres and 3 perch at a rental of 7d per annum. Again in 1830 the South Malling-Lindfield list of Freeholders in Worth states that the freeholder for Parkfields was William Peters for the third part of a tenement and lands called Parkfield near Crawleys Down containing, by this date, 25 acres and 3 perch at a rental of 7d per annum, formerly Middletons, afterwards Days. The reference of the third part of Parkfield suggests that Ann Russell and Richard Shearman held the other two thirds as of the Indenture of Lease and Release of 1811; it also notes part of the succession of freeholders. It is not until 1845, in the presentment of Freeholders of Worth, that the court book lists Parkfields as late Lows, before Days and formerly Middletons.
The Terry Family
From 1809, Parkfields was occupied by William Terry, being succeeded by his son Thomas in 1826. William Terry appears to have come from the Lingfield area and married Mary Barnes in 1780. They had at least three children, Thomas born in 1780, Sally in 1782 and Susan in 1784. The Terry family went on to occupy Parkfields for over fifty years, until some time between 1866 and 1871. On the death of William Terry in 1825/6, his son Thomas took over Parkfields. Thomas had married Mary Previtt in July 1804 and they had nine children, Jane born in 1808, Phillis in 1809, William in 1811, John in 1813, Ann in 1816, Thomas in 1818, Caroline in 1821, James in 1823 and Harriet in 1824.
In the 1841 census Parkfields was referred to as Park Farm under the occupation of Thomas Terry who was recorded as a farmer. By 1841 the majority of the nine Terry children had left home leaving only Thomas, Caroline and James, three of the youngest children still living at home with their parents. Thomas Terry continued to occupy and farm Parkfields, aided by his two sons Thomas and James, and a live-in agricultural labourer called William Webb, until his death in 1850. After the death of Thomas Terry the tenancy and occupation of the property passed to his youngest son James, Thomas junior having married and moved to the Copthorne area. James Terry continued to farm Parkfields employing William Arnold as an agricultural labourer and Ann Hill as a house servant. Within four years the Terry household had grown to include Jamess own son with Ann Hill, base born in 1854, called James Terry Hill, and by 1861 the Terry household included Jamess seventeen year old niece Eliza Terry, (the daughter of his brother Thomas), who was working as a house servant, and a new live-in agricultural labourer called Charles Gibbs. Although not married to James Terry, Ann Hill had risen to the position of housekeeper. At sometime between 1866 and 1870, James Terry, Ann and their son James had moved to Acacia Cottage, Crawley Down Road in Felbridge, this property remaining with descendants of the Terry Hills family until 1982. [For further information see Acacia Cottage, Fact Sheet SO 07/03]
In 1829, three years after Thomas Terry took over Parkfields, the manor of South Malling commissioned a survey of their Burley Arch/Wivelsfield Hundred. The survey was carried out by William Figg who produced a map and apportionment of the area, giving a breakdown of fields and acreage for each property.
Field Use Acreage
42 01 01 00
43 01 03 26
44 Wood 01 02 29
45 02 00 11
46 Orchard 00 01 36
47 01 01 20
48 Buildings 00 03 19
49 01 02 24
50 00 01 26
51 01 03 20
52 Wood 02 02 26
53 02 00 15
54 02 02 28
55 01 03 28
56 02 00 15
Total 25 00 03
This is the first time that you can identify the land at Parkfields, and the sort of farming practise the Terry family would have been carrying out. There was just over four acres of woodland, and just short of twenty acres of farmland, consisting of eleven small fields, that would have been farmed either as arable or left as pasture/meadow. There was also a small orchard of just over a quarter of an acre. A better idea of the nature of the farm at Parkfields can be gained from the Worth Tithe map and appointment of 1839, which gives a detailed breakdown of the usage of the fields and the name of each field.
Plot Name Use Acreage
233 Birch Shaw W 01 02 22
234 Cut and Lie field A 01 03 30
235 Below orchard A 01 03 11
236 Woody field A 01 03 39
237 Orchard 00 01 31
238 Barn, Meadow & Slip M 01 01 28
239 House meadow M 01 00 34
240 Garden 00 03 21
241 Clover Field A 01 03 22
242 Spring field Shaw W 02 03 04
243 Spring field Plat P 00 01 22
244 Spring field A 02 00 27
249 Further field A 02 00 09
250 Lane Field A 02 02 18
251 Upper Field A 01 03 32
Total 25 00 31
The tithe suggests that Parkfields, totalling just over 25 acres, was mostly arable with 64% of the land turned over to growing cereal crops such as wheat, barley and oats for either human or livestock consumption. Woodland accounted for 16% of the land usage, with 10% of the land being used as meadow to provide hay for livestock during the winter months and 1.5% as pasture for livestock during the summer months. Evidence from the court books suggests that the most likely livestock would have been cattle/milk cows and pigs.
The Peters/Bone Family
The court books show that William Peters had acquired the freehold of Parkfields by 1821 but there is no evident family connection between William Peters and Michael William Barnes, nephew of James Low the previous freeholder. This evidence would therefore suggest that William Peters purchased the freehold of Parkfields from Michael William Barnes and did not inherit it. William Peters was born in 1773, the son of William and Mary Peters of Godstone in Surrey, having a sister Sarah born in 1774 and a brother George, date of birth unknown. On the death of William Peters senior in 1798, William Peters junior inherited just £20 in his fathers will and was referred to as a gentleman of Titsey (near Oxted) in Surrey. William Peters senior left the bulk of his estate, but no mention of Parkfields or any land in Worth, to his daughter Sarah which implies that it was William Peters junior that made the purchase of the freehold of Parkfields.
William Peters junior married and had one daughter who gave him a grandson, John Outtrine, who died before the death of William Peters junior in 1834. Due to the early demise of his grandson, William Peters junior passed a large part of his estate, including Parkfields, Hoppers and land in Worth, to his niece Sarah, daughter of his sister Sarah who had married David Price in 1794/5. Sarah and David Price had had four children, Sarah Peters born in 1795, Ann born in 1799 and William and George whose dates of birth have not yet been determined. By the death of William Peters in 1834, his niece Sarah had married John Bone of Holloway in Middlesex. Although William Peters died in 1834, he was still being presented as the Freeholder for Parkfields in the court books until 1845, the last entry in his name states that he now holds freely of the Lord of the said manor .certain lands being formerly part of a tenement called Parkfield situate near Crawley Down in Worth containing 25 acres 3 perches, paying the yearly rent of 7 pence, the 7d being the quit rent set at the time that the property became freehold, which remained unchanged.
The Figg apportionment of 1829 gave the name of the freeholder as William Peters but The Tithe lists the landowner for Parkfields as John Bone. At first glance it would appear that the freeholder for Parkfields had changed within the ten years, although no reference of this can be found in the court books. However, as already determined, John Bone was the husband of William Peters niece Sarah although she had not inherited the property by this date. The first reference in the court books to William Peters niece Sarah Peters Bone is in 1848 when she is granted a piece of land from the Waste of the said manor called Crawley Down amounting to 3 roods and 12 perches abutting to the new public access road across the said Waste from the London turnpike road towards East Grinstead by Hophurst Lane on the north, as the Freeholder of Parkfields. This piece of land was granted to Sarah Peters Bone as a result of the road being straightened. At this date Sarah Peters Bone was recorded as a widow, of Parke Field in the Parish of Worth and St Marys Road, Peckham in the county of Surrey, implying that her husband John Bone must have died by 1848.
John Bone, as referred to in the Worth Tithe as the landowner of Parkfields, had been born around 1795. He married Sarah Peters Price, William Peters niece, around 1818. John and Sarah Bone lived in Holloway and had at least two sons, John George born in 1819 and Henry Kavanagh, date of birth not yet determined. John Bone was a stockbroker, a profession that at least his son John George Bone also pursued. On the death of John Bone, some time before 1848, Parkfields passed to his widow, Sarah Peters Bone, then of St Marys Road, Peckham in Surrey. On her death in 1872, the property passed to her two sons John George and Henry Kavanagh Bone.
John George Bone was a stockbroker like his father and had married Elizabeth Whittenbury in 1846, settling in the Kingston area in Surrey. They had six children, John J born in 1852, George Arthur born in 1859, Henry Peters born in 1862, Charles Lewis born in 1865 and Florence Emily and Ethel Lucy both born in 1868. Like their father and grandfather before them, John J, George Arthur and Charles Lewis all followed the stock-broking profession. On the death of John George Bone in 1897, Parkfields passed to his children, with George Arthur Bone of Elsing Lodge in Eastbourne, Sussex, being presented to the manor court as the freeholder of the property.
Shortly before the death of Sarah Peters Bone, the occupancy of Parkfields had passed from James Terry, who had moved to Acacia Cottage in Felbridge, to John Webber, so beginning the Webber family association with Parkfield that is still present on part of the land to the present day.
The Webber family
With the departure of James Terry from Parkfields, the tenancy of was taken on by John Webber, a bricklayer originating from Turners Hill, Sussex, with his family and second wife Mary. John had been born in 1831 in Turners Hill, the son of Samuel and Mary Webber. He had married Sally Henley in 1853 in Ardingly, Sussex, and they had eight children, John Thomas born in 1853, Jane in 1855, Emily Charlotte in 1857, Alice in 1859, Fanny in 1861, Samuel in 1863, Annie Sarah in 1864 and William George in 1868. Sadly Sally died in March 1868, the same month that William George was born, her death probably childbirth related. Having such a large, young family, John re-married within a year, and he and his second wife Mary went on to have Charles born in 1870, Matilda born in 1872, Frank born in 1874, Harry born in 1876 and James H born in 1879.
John Webber did not remain at Park Fields very long as by 1878, he was succeeded by his nephew Thomas Webber, son of Johns only surviving older brother James. Thomas Webber had been born in December 1854, the third second son of James and Harriet Webber. James was also a brick layer by trade living in Turners Hill and by the end of his life had accrued enough wealth to be living on his own means. Harriet came from the Brackpool family, another local family that was in farming and butchers trade. Thomas Webber started his working life as a carpenter and married Mary Jane Gorringe in March 1874. The Gorringe family came from the Horne area and occupied land belonging to Samuel Blunt esq., in the mid 1700s, and appear in the Evelyn estate records for Felbridge from 1801. Members of the Gorringe family farmed Mount Farm at Snow Hill, and Felcot Farm and Gibbs Haven on Hedgecourt Common from the mid 1800s [for further details see The Bingham family of Felbridge, Fact Sheet SJC 01/05]. Mary Jane Gorringe was born in Blackfriars in London in 1852, as was her sister, Elizabeth Ann who went on to marry James Webber, the brother of Thomas, although their parents James and Mary Gorringe were farming Gibbs Haven during the 1870s and 80s.
Thomas and Mary Jane Webber had four children, Mary Jane born in 1875, Thomas born in 1877, James Gorringe born in 1879, and Charles born in 1880. Thomas and Mary Jane had started their married life living with her parents at Gibbs Haven before moving to Parkfields in 1878, beginning the Webber family association with Parkfields, an association that remains to this day, although it is now only with part of the land originally held with the tenement, the property being divided in 1957, with the house and half the land sold off in 1969.
Thomas Webber initially continued to ply his trade as a carpenter, as well as farming the 25 acres of Parkfields, but in 1892 he started his own building business drawing upon a wealth of experience in bricklaying, carpentry and building skills that the male members of the Webber family had amassed between them from at least the end of the 18th century. Known examples of his work include the Village Hall at Crawley Down, which he built with his uncle Samuel Webber, also a builder and contractor, and the War Memorial at the end of Sandy.
After the death of John George Bone in 1897, the freehold ownership of Parkfields passed to his children. Four years later Ethel Lizzie Bone, Henry Peters Bone and Charles Lewis Bone conveyed their shares in Parkfields to Thomas Webber, but it was not until 20th April 1906, that George Arthur Bone alienated his share of the property allowing Thomas Webber to become the sole legal freehold owner of Parkfields, reinstating the name of Parkfields. It was around this date that the brick and tile hung extension was added to the south end of the property, the older structure having already been rendered over. This extension was shortly followed by the insertion of two bay windows and a porch on the south side of the older structure, which was then brick faced and half tile hung to match the new extension, the remodelling of the property being completed by about 1914. By 1922, Thomas Webber was also the owner of several other properties in the area including nos.1 & 2 Maxim Cottages and Oak House in Crawley Down, and nos.1-4 West View Cottages in Turners Hill (probably all built by his building business), providing either a home for a member of his family or being leased out to earn extra capital. All three sons of Thomas worked within the building trade, with the youngest son, James Webber also working the farm at Park Field.
In April 1932, Thomas Webber died, his life and achievements summed up in the obituary that appeared in the local press:
We regret to record the death of Mr Thomas Webber, of Park Fields, Crawley Down, at the age of 77 years. He had been about as usual up to within a month of his death. He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs James Webber of Turner Hill, and commenced his business as a builder some 40 years ago, carrying out some important contracts at East Grinstead as well as the surrounding locality. He was associated with his uncle the late Mr Samuel Webber, in the building of the Village Hall, Crawley Down. The erection of the beautiful War Memorial was entrusted to Mr Webber some eleven years ago.
In his full and busy useful life Mr Webber was actively associated with all the village interests. In his early days he took an active part in the old Penny Readings, and, accompanied by his daughter, sang heartily his old favourite songs.
He was a great cricketer and was not only a playing member of no mean ability, but up to the last regularly subscribed to the village club and was found on the cricket field every Saturday during the season watching the matches. He was vice-captain of the club in his young days, when all-day matches were played, the great event of the village.
He also took a great interest in the Football club and only this winter he attended matches. Mr Webber was one of the oldest Oddfellows in the district, having been a member of the Victoria Lodge, Turner Hill for many years. He was Grand Master and Trustee for a long time. In politics he was a staunch Conservative, taking an active part on the committee of the local branch for many years. He was the oldest member. Mr Webbers activities included service in the old Volunteers at East Grinstead. During the Great War he joined the Copthorne Borderers, the local corps of Volunteer Defence Corps.
A loyal and devoted Churchman, Mr Webber served as Vicars Warden for some 20 years under three incumbents at All Saints Church. After the death of the Rev. Mr Davies and the Rev. Mr Wingfield, he had to make arrangements for the service s until the new vicar was inducted. It was some few years ago when he relinquished office.
Mr Webber gave ungrudgingly of his time and valued experience for some 20 years to the East Grinstead and Rural District Council, serving as chairman of the Building Committee for a number of years. He was a much-esteemed member of the Board of Guardians.
With the late Mr T H W Buckley he took a practical interest in the local drainage scheme, and after a long period of years lived to see the dream become a reality. Mr Webber was also a practical farmer and during his life bred many valuable hunting horses. He was a regular rider to hounds and an enthusiastic member of the Old Burstow Hunt and later the Old Surrey and Burstow Hunt. An all round sportsman, he was a good shot and enjoyed many days shooting on the late Mr Gattys estate which used to adjoin his farm.
On the death of Thomas Webber in 1932, Parkfields passed to his youngest son James Webber. James had initially trained as a bricklayer, like so many of the male members of the Webber family, but by 1922 was farming full time. James had married Rose Capelin in 1903 and they had four children, Gladys Rose born in 1907, James Gorringe born in 1909, Leonard born in 1914 and Reginald Thomas born in 1916, and by 1922 the family were living at Park Place, just west of Parkfields. Sadly Gladys Rose died in 1912, and although James Gorringe married in 1933, he too died at a relatively young age in 1943, leaving just the two youngest sons, Reginald Thomas and Leonard.
After the death of James Webber in February 1955, Parkfields was valued and the valuation of livestock, implements and equipment included: mixens, hay straw and consumable stores at a value of £48, horned stock, three cows called Hockley, Beauty and Daisy and two weanyear heifers to the value of £94. 10/-, and poultry to the value of £14. 10/-. A 1946 Ferguson petrol tractor at £95, farm implements including a 2-furrow tractor plough, a hay tedder, a 2 cylinder land roller, a single set of disc harrows, manure distributor, old horse rake, old wagon and home-made 2-wheel trailer to the value of £40. 10/-. The hay tedder, 2 cylinder land roller and set of disc harrows were described as originally horse drawn but fitted with a tractor hitch; the horse drawn equipment may well date to the first Webbers to cultivate the land at Parkfields being adapted for tractor use by James Webber after the introduction of the tractor to farming practise after the Second World War. The valuation included dairy equipment, 2 pairs of scales, 4 white glazed cream pans, 3 cream crocks, small butter churn, 3 old tin milk pans, a skimmer and strainer, a thermometer, a milk bucket and small delivery can and sundry jugs and dishes to the value of £2. 15/-. Poultry equipment included a hen coop, old sectional poultry house, night ark and egg crock to the value of £1. 4/-. Tool equipment included, an iron saw bench and circular saw, a belt for the saw bench and saw, sundry carpenters tools, a wooden carpenters bench and wood vice, a morticing machine, an iron knife sharpening stand, a cross-cut saw, 2 hay rakes, 4 prongs, a topping axe, a spade, 2 iron bars, a sledge hammer, a pick and old mattock, a hay knife, a slasher, 2 old shovels, an aged dung spud, an old wheel barrow, an old grindstone and a drilling machine and stand, all to the value of £17. 18/-. The remaining general purpose equipment included, an old deal table, a pair of steps, 3 ladders, 1 old ladder, a water can, a bass broom, 3 open tubs, old galvanised corn bin, and a galvanised iron water tank by the cowshed, all to the value of £9. 0s. 6d, as well as a set of sweeps brush and rods at £1. 5/-.
Parkfields was divided equally between his two surviving sons in December 1957, Reginald Webber receiving just over 12 ½ acres of farmland, and Leonard taking over the house and the remaining land of just under 12 ½ acres. Reginald, living at Park Place continued to farm his share of the Parkfields land until his death in 1994 when his 12 ½ acres of land passed to his son Ken Webber who still farms there to this day. Remnants of the old farm implements listed in the 1955 valuation report can still be found in woodland belonging to Ken Webber, a small time capsule of implements from the days of farming before the introduction of the tractor. However, in 1969, Leonard Webber put Parkfields Farm, (as it was by then known), up for sale, the property being described as a partially period farm house with extensive farm buildings. The rear part of the property comprises a period farm residence with exposed beams in some rooms, plain tiled roof, ornamental chimney, walls part tile hung with decorative courses, the lower parts being of facing brick. The front portion of the house is a late Victorian addition. The sale details for Parkfields Farm are as follows:
Tiled Entrance Porch
Hall, with beamed ceiling, cupboard under stairs.
Sitting Room, 15ft into bay x 10ft with Parkray slow combustion stove, 2 power points, Dimplex electric radiator.
Living Room, 12ft 6ins x 12ft. A room which perhaps shows the period features of this property to best advantage. Beamed ceiling, inglenook in which is fitted an Ideal cook-an-heat stove; power point.
Kitchen, 14ft x 7ft, sink unit in square bay, electric cooker point, beamed ceiling, double power point. Larder.
Downstairs Bathroom No.1, suitable for conversion to Cloakroom if required, fitted bath, basin, low level WC and electric wall heater.
Passage-way through to more modern part of house with own Hall and front door and one ground floor room comprising: -
Principal Sitting Room, 14ft 6ins into bay 14ft; attractive marble fireplace, power point. At present fitted with sink unit and electric cooker point.
The passage-way through from the older portion at present forms
Bathroom No.2 with bath, basin and low WC.
First Floor approached by two staircases but with communicating doorway through from the front and rear portions of the house.
Bedroom 1, L shaped room. 17ft 6ins x 13ft 9ins with period feature including attractive uneven floor. Linen cupboard with immersion heater fitted to lagged tank; double power point.
Bedroom 2, 8ft 6ins x 7ft 6ins, double power point.
Bedroom 3, 17ft 6ins x 9ft, power point.
Bedroom 4, (in new portion), 14ft x 12ft, double power point.
Gardens are separate from the farmery and surround the house; a small orchard is included and in all the gardens extend to about half an acre. Fuel store. Greenhouse, 12ft x 8ft in need of repair. Beehives. 2 small timber and corrugated iron garden store sheds. Former Dairy, a lean-to brick and slate building attached to the house, 11ft 6ins x 7ft 6ins.
The Farm Buildings and Land
Dutch Barn, an Atcost structure with concrete framing covered with corrugated asbestos and part clad corrugated iron, 30ft x 20ft plus.
Three Bay Lean-to adjoining, of similar construction, 30ft x 15ft.
Loose Boxes, a timber built building under a tiled roof, divided into 3 loose boxes with loft over.
Store Room, a lean-to to the above, built of timber and corrugated iron, formerly cowshed for four.
Several roughly constructed buildings used for storage of farm machinery.
Extends on either side of the property and falls away gently to the North, terminating in woodland. In all 12 ½ acres, including just over 2 acres of woodland.
Services include mains water and electricity. Drainage from the house is to a cesspool with overflow.
To accompany the property was just short of 12 ½ acres of land that had been split off to accompany the house in 1957, after the death of James Gorringe Webber in 1955. The land included:
O/S Ref Description Acreage
388 pt Meadow 2.969
390 Arable 2.072
391 Meadow 1.381
392 Meadow 1.163
395 Meadow 1.741
393 House, buildings etc. 0.970
387 pt Wood 0.720
389 Wood 1.178
390a Shaw 0.254
When compared to the tithe map of 1839, it is noticeable that by 1969 the majority of this section of the land at Parkfields had been turned over to meadow, which had doubled in size with a decrease in arable land to half the area present 1839. The house, garden and outbuildings area had doubled in size by 1969 but the orchard had completely disappeared, forming part of the increase in meadowland.
Parkfields and Dr David Murray
In 1969, Parkfields Farm was purchased by Dr David Murray who retained the property for 20 years from where he ran his biotech business. In 1989, Dr David Murray put Parkfields up for sale, the sale details being:-
The property comprises as follows: -
An attractive Arch shaped Canopy with tiled floor; part glazed Entrance Door with brass fittings leading to:
Entrance Hall with single panel radiator, thermostat control for central heating, exposed beams.
Cloakroom, comprising of stencilled WC and wash hand basin, (only one ever produced), plated fittings, cork tiled walls, concealed lighting, display niche and window rear aspect.
Leading from the Entrance Hall,
Kitchen, 26ft overall by 5ft 9ins and comprising end Kitchen area with floor units with cupboards and drawers, stainless steel sink bowl and mixer taps, electric cooker points, plumbing for automatic washing machine, additional built-in cupboards, shelved food cupboards, additional stainless steel single drainer sink unit with mixer tap, cupboard and drawers. Useful built-in cupboard, concealed lighting, extractor fan, additional appliance space, ample electric points. Useful Rear Lobby with built-in china store and wine cupboard, attractive arched doors to side with leaded lights.
Dining Room, 15ft 3ins into front bay by 10ft 3ins. Attractive cornicing. Four wall light points, woodblock flooring, radiator.
Sitting Room, Bay window, front aspect. Radiator. Built-in bookshelf, attractive inglenook complete with beehive fireplace, tiled hearth and display niches. Additional radiators, built-in cupboard for TV, extensive exposed ceiling timbers. Fitted bookshelves, Gothic Style, arched window with coloured glass.
Door to Sauna housing further door to fully tiled Shower Cubicle with louver folding doors with additional built-in storage space and door to boiler room with Potterton diesel boiler providing domestic hot water and central heating. Fitted shelving, electric points and sliding door to:
Utility/Store Room, 12ft 5ins by 5ft, electric points, window, side aspect. Venting for tumble dryer, fitted shelving.
Library/Study, 15ft by 14ft with window front aspect and attractive square bay to side aspect. Attractive painted cornicing, feature Victorian fireplace with inset tiling and ornate tiled hearth, range of built-in book shelves with attractive moulding and cupboards under. Two radiators, one concealed. Two wall light points, ample electric points.
Glazed door leading to kitchen, and onto:
Victorian style Conservatory, 13ft 4ins by 11ft, with gothic style windows to two sides, raised timber shelving, with French door to Garden. Double panel radiator, electric points. Two wall light points. Heating built under the raised shelving suitable for displaying plants.
Staircase with Pine Balustrade and Handrail leading to:
First floor Landing with exposed timbers, single radiator.
Bedroom 2, 18ft by 13ft 8ins, an attractive room with vaulted ceiling, being dual aspect with windows front and rear. Victorian cast iron fireplace with brick surround. This room features the magnificent exposed brick chimney breast serving the Inglenook in the reception room below. 16th century timber beams, two radiators, electric points, six wall light points, built-in hanging cupboard, fitted bookshelves.
Bathroom, with matching coloured suite comprising enamel bath with mixer taps and shower attachment, fully tiled surround with inset soap dish, pedestal wash hand basin, low flush WC. Wall half tiled, strip light/shaver point. Single panel radiator, built-in airing cupboard with pre-lagged copper cylinder fitted with an electric immersion heater and shelving. Window rear aspect.
Bedroom 3, 13ft plus door recess by 9ft 6ins, window rear aspect. Radiator, three wall light points, built-in cloaks/hanging cupboard with top cupboard over. Original bleached and waxed timbers, radiator, built-in dresser unit with top cupboards.
Two steps from Landing with illuminated display niche to:
Bedroom 1, 12ft 4ins by 12ft 4ins with side and front aspect, concealed radiator, range of built-in wardrobe cupboards with door lights. Electric points, telephone point, hanging rail and top cupboards over. Range of complementing bedroom furniture comprising cupboards, drawers, open display shelving, additional bedside cabinet with drawers, further dresser unit with drawers, four wall light points, telephone point. Attractive ceiling with concealed lighting, Archway leading to:
En suite Bathroom comprising of full suite of Jacuzzi style bath with mixer taps and Aqualisa power shower, inset soap dish, shell style pedestal wash hand basin with pop-up waste. Matching WC with concealed cistern and bidet. Walls half tiled with velvet panelling over and draped velvet ceiling. Two wall light points, double Panel radiator, built-in medicine cabinet with mirrored opening doors. Windows, side and rear aspect, with secondary glazing. Extractor fan.
The property is approached via gold leaf embellished double wrought iron gates with brick retaining wall and leads to an extensive gravelled parking area. To the front of the property there is a small area of lawn with established shrubs. Steps leading to raised pool area comprising Shaped Swimming Pool with shallow and deep end which has an extensive paved surround, together with ornamental antique balustrade pillared walling. Pergola and Pool house which comprises a changing room, shower cubicle with Mira Thermostat shower, tiled surround, glazed screen and floor to useful Storeroom with built-in fridge, telephone point, wood block flooring throughout. At the end of the pool house there is an adjoining cupboard which contains all the pool equipment comprising filter, heating units and master controls. Timber Garden shed, extensive outside lighting and steps leading down to the lawn area together with a rose garden.
Leading from the front gravelled driveway, a five-bar gate leads to Rear area which is gravelled and suitable for additional parking and further leads to the Outbuildings. The building has a timbered frontage but is mainly constructed of block and comprises the main 90ft by 34ft 6ins approx. with three access points, being the entrance door to the front with second entrance door on the front elevation and double doors to the side with concrete loading pad. The maximum eaves height is 15ft 6ins and there is 3 phase power, water and concrete floor. Adjoining the Main Building are a number of additional rooms comprising: -
Room 1, 12ft by 11ft, Room 2, 11ft by 5ft 9ins, Room 3, 15ft 8ins by 8ft 6ins, Room 4, 6ft 9ins by 6ft. Additional room off with useful store cupboard and fitted shelving, a further small room with power and light and water. Next room 25ft by 5ft with door to garden. Useful Entrance Lobby with door to front aspect, electric light, power and water. Cloakroom with low flush WC and wash hand basin.
Adjoining the Atcost there is a double garage 15ft 10ins by 19ft 4ins with electric up and over door, light and power. To the side of the Atcost building is a large concreted area, built-in incinerator, outside block built store and timber tool shed. There is to the side a completed fruit cage which has a variety of peach, pear and cherry trees. To the rear of the Outbuildings there are 6 animal pens with part being enclosed. Two oil storage tanks, circular flowerbed with flowering Magnolia and to the rear of the property there is the barbecue, ornamental fountain, rockery with numerous shrubs, heathers and herbaceous shrubs. Good sized lawn, well established conifer trees, and greenhouse. The remainder of the grounds are made up of 3 paddocks, and are plumbed for self drinking troughs. Four outside water taps.
In 1989, Parkfields, including Dr David Murrays Biotech business, was purchased by Portion International Ltd. The business continued operating from the site until 1994 when they in turn sold on to Harlan International Ltd, who retained the site of the pharmaceutical business in field no. 395, and sold Parkfields standing in just over 10 ½ acres. Today the pharmaceutical business has moved on and field no. 395 is now a small business centre.
In the early 1990s the Giddings family had been looking for a house and suitable premises from which to run their business, Milborrow Chimney Sweeps, and after one property had fallen through were more than happy with what was on offer at Parkfields, so in December 1994, Parkfields and its 10½ acres were purchased by Kevin and Katie Giddings. The first job was to convert the outbuildings into offices and stores from which to run their business.
The Giddings had taken over Milborrow Chimney Sweeps, which was based in Caterham, Surrey, in 1982. The business, a one man band chimney sweep, had been trading since the early 1950s, and seven years later the Giddings relocated the business to West Hoathly in Sussex in 1987. In 1994 they took over Bliss Brothers Chimney Sweeps that was based in Croydon, then two years later ANS Chimney Sweeps based in Crawley. Two years later they took over Joynes Chimney Sweeps, also base in Crawley, then in 2000, Cleansweep based in Brighton and in 2001, Electrobrush Chimney Sweep based in Haywards Heath. Milborrow Chimney Sweeps currently have a computerised customer database of approximately 57,000 customers, with a workforce of fifteen sweeps who are on the road full time and ten office staff. The business is OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association), HETAS (official body recognised by the government to approve solid fuel domestic appliances), SFAS (Solid Fuel Advisory Service) and ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) registered and a member of the Quality Mark and Construction Line. The work that Milborrows carries out includes, domestic chimney sweeping, cleaning industrial boilers, fitting chimney pots, cowls, caps and birdguards, repointing and rebuilding chimney stacks, lining chimneys and removing chimney liners, the installation of fireplaces and stoves, and CCTV surveys and inspections of chimneys. In a word, they are the Flueologists, complete chimney experts, covering Sussex, Surrey and Kent. In 2001, Milborrows was awarded a Royal Warrant for chimney sweeping for work at Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Clarence House, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.
On a lighter note, Milborrows also attend hundreds of weddings to bring a little traditional Victorian good luck to the married couple, complete with a lucky black cat and a sweeps urchin, in the form of one of the Giddings pet cats and one of their children. Milborrow Chimney Sweeps is now the largest and most successful chimney sweeping company in Great Britain and the Giddings and their workforce are very proud of it.
With the business established in the outbuildings, the Giddings then concentrated their efforts on the house, establishing a farmhouse style kitchen on the ground floor of the Victorian addition and converting the former master bedroom and en-suite on the first floor of the extension into two bedrooms for the children. Where possible, missing timbers have been re-instated using reclaimed beams creating an interior that closely resembles the Parkfields of the 17th century.
Today, Parkfields with its Edwardian exterior and early Tudor interior has combined with modern technology to create a comfortable family home, and, it is the belief of the Giddings family, that the house was built especially for them, just five hundred years before they needed it!
Origins of Crawley Down by J Hodgkinson
Worth, Victoria County History of Sussex
Doomsday Books for Sussex and Surrey
Gage papers, ESRO
The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History
Combers Genealogy for Sussex
Counterpart lease, SAS/G/13/97, ESRO
Rentals for the manor of South Malling-Lindfield, ACC2327/1/5/1-12, ESRO
Recording Timber-framed Buildings by Barley, Dixon & Meeson
Will of William Delve, 1652, FHA
Will of Edward Payne, 1660, FHA
Will of Edward Payne, 1714, FHA
Will of Thomas More, 1731, FHA
Middleton/Day family, SAC vol.35
Bourd Map, FHA
Will of Robert Day, 1759, SM/D8-102, ESRO
Will of Frances Day, 1769, FHA
Schedule of Deeds, FHA
Yeakell & Gardner map, 1778, FHA
Land Tax for Worth, WSRO
Mid Sussex Poor Law 1601-1835
Will of James Low, 1798, FHA
Will of William Peters, 1798, FHA
Will of William Peters 1834, FHA
Draft O/S map, 1805
Christopher & John Greenwood map, 1825, FHA
Figg map and apportionment, 1829, ACC 2327/1/5/15 & 16, ESRO
List of Freeholders for Worth, ACC 3412/3/259, ESRO
Worth Tithe and apportionment, 1839, FHA
Census 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, FHA
Parish Registers of All Saints Church, Crawley Down, FHA
Terry Hill Family Tree, FHA
Will of Thomas Terry, 1850, FHA
PO London Directory, 1827, FHA
Kellys Directory for Worth, 1866, WSRO
Acacia Cottage, Fact Sheet SO 07/03, FHA
Leases on waste land, 1848, ADD MSS 35687, WSRO
Sale plan of Hophurst Farm, 1860, FHA
The Bingham Family of Felbridge, Fact Sheet, SJC 01/05, FHA
Webber Family Tree, FHA
Death of John George Bone, IBDM
Obituary of Thomas Webber, 1932, FHA
Valuation of Parkfields, 1955, FHA
Sale catalogue, 1969, FHA
Sale Catalogue, 1989, FHA
Valuation Report, 1989, FHA
Documented memoirs of Mr and Mrs Giddings, FHA
Thanks are extended to Kevin and Katie Giddings for general information and access to their home, Ann Webber for information on the Webber family and the Webber family tree.