Poultry Farming in Felbridge

Poultry Farming in Felbridge

This document researches references alluding to poultry keeping in the Felbridge area from the 17th century through the explosion of poultry farming after the break up and sale of the Felbridge Place estate in 1911 until the decline of the industry that began in the area in the 1960’s. 

 

The document will give a general over-view of poultry keeping in the Felbridge area and concentrates on only a few poultry keeping operations in some detail, discussing the type of poultry favoured, egg production and table birds together with some of the people associated with each of these poultry keeping operation.  The document will also provide a gazetteer of the remaining identified poultry keeping activities, both great and small, in the Felbridge area to be researched at a later date.

 

Much of the information in this document is based on the memories of local residents backed up with documentary evidence where possible.  This document (probably far from the complete picture of poultry farming in Felbridge) is more of a work in progress, an opportunity to record some of the details known about poultry keeping in Felbridge before the information gets lost or forgotten.

 

Early days

Poultry has been kept by the common people of the land in their back yards for centuries, generally for their eggs.   Poultry was rarely eaten as meat by the lower classes as the eggs were too valuable as a good source of protein in the diet, birds would only appear on the table when they were too old to lay and therefore an unproductive burden to keep.  However, in certain areas of Felbridge in the late 17th century poultry was used as payment for rental on properties held by the manor of Bletchingley.  From the surviving Bletchingley rental books there are records that tenants living on Frogit Heath to the north of Felbridge, Felcot Farm in Furnace Wood and Michaelmas Farm (now Miles Farm) off Copthorne Road paid part of their rent in capons (roosters that have been castrated to improve their flesh for food) and geese.  Payments ranged from between two and four capons and in one case, two capons and two geese.

 

From a historical view point, many of the tenants of the Felbridge estate (like most of the rural based population of Britain at the time) would also have kept a few chickens in their own backyards for eggs for their own consumption and eventually for meat at the end of the chickens’ laying days.  However, unlike the manor of Bletchingley there are no references of using poultry as payment for early rents on the Felbridge estate.

 

In the 19th century the keeping of a few chicken by individuals is backed up by reference to chicken food being sold by the Felbridge Post Office, as detailed in the diary of Allen Bingham who purchased maize on a weekly basis either by the half gallon (4 pints/2.5litres) or bushel (8 gallons) to feed his chicken [for further information see Handout, The Bingham family of Felbridge, SJC 01/05].   Maize, also known as corn, is a poultry food made of ground yellow maize.  The feed is spread around to induce hens to scratch in the litter thus simulating food collection in the wild, keeping them in good condition and reducing boredom.  It is estimated that 25lbs (11kg) of maize should keep ten hens for about ten days.

 

Poultry keeping on a slightly larger scale during the 19th century in the Felbridge area can be identified from the sale catalogue that was produced to accompany the break up and sale of the Felbridge estate in 1911 when Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company, who had recently purchased the estate, put it up for auction in 43 Lots [for further information see Handout, Break-up and sale of the Felbridge Estate, SJC 01/11]. 

 

The 1911 sale catalogue listed four farms/farmsteads that were described as either poultry farms or whose outbuildings included chicken houses suggesting egg production or table birds.  These farms were, Lot 12, The Oaks off Crawley Down Road whose outbuildings included a 2-stall stable, chicken house and two piggeries comprising of plots 4 and 32 - 33 of the 1911 sale map; Lot 14, Oak Farm, also on Crawley Down Road, described as a Dairy and Poultry Farm comprising of plots 213 - 214, 34 - 37 and 51 of the 1911 sale map; Lot 34, Cottage residence (now called the Old Pheasantry) on Woodcock Hill whose outbuildings included two timber and thatched chicken houses (now converted as the house called Old Pheasantry Cottage), comprising of plots 114 - 115 of the 1911 sale map, and Lot 38, Newchapel [House] whose outbuildings included a chicken house, comprising of plots 76 - 77 and 88 of the 1911 sale map. 

 

The inclusion of chicken houses in the sale catalogue would suggest that poultry keeping, either for table or eggs, was being practised in the Felbridge area to some degree when Felbridge was still operating as a gentleman’s residence.  However, it is interesting to note that the description for the Home Farm (Park Farm as it was known), made no mention of any poultry related outbuildings, only barns, cattle sheds, stalls (for horses), an oast house, granary and piggeries.  This would imply that any eggs or poultry that furnished the table of the mansion house were obtained from one of the four afore mentioned farms/farmstead belonging to the Felbridge estate. 

 

Sales from the initial auction of the Felbridge estate in 1911 amounted to just 13 of the 43 Lots, a total of just over 72 of the 1,350 acres that had been put on the market.  Interestingly, Lot 14 – Oak Farm and Lot 34 – the Cottage residence both sold in the 1911 auction.   In 1913 a second auction was held consisting of 24 Lots, the majority of which had appeared in the 1911 auction along with a few additional sections of the former gentleman’s estate.  Although many of the Lots were promoted as potential development sites, many were also promoted as suitable for the ‘so-called “Small Holder”’ offering him (or her) ‘a rich recompense for his investment and labour’.  Lot 15, Neals Row (the strip of land on the south side of West Park Road from Stub Pond Lane to Snow Hill), was singled out as a ‘nicely secluded location [that] would also commend it as a poultry farm in conjunction with other uses’.  Again only a few Lots sold and with the out-break of World War I it was not until 1918 that a third and fourth attempt was made to auction off the remainder of the Felbridge estate.

 

Again most of the 1918 auctions suggested ‘development’ for each Lot, although Lot 9, entitled Summerlands Garden Village Estate (now the site of the Felbridge Hotel, Yew Lane and Furze Lane) promoted the site as a potential village.  In this idyllic village families who had a love of the countryside would be able to settle in ‘small or moderate-sized villas’ with a good sized garden as ‘the wife who wishes to furnish her table with eggs and poultry from her own pens wants space in which to carry on her poultry farm without annoyance to the neighbours’.

 

The break-up and sale of the Felbridge estate provided an opportunity for private individuals to purchase sections of the former gentleman’s estate.  Although a few Lots were developed and built upon, poultry keeping and fruit growing became the predominant use of the newly purchased lands, allowing Felbridge to still retain its rural feel.  It is also interesting to note that one of the clauses in the deeds issued on the sale of the various plots stipulated; ‘No hut caravan or house on wheels other than poultry houses shall be placed on the property….’   

 

Pioneering poultry farming after the break up and sale of the Felbridge Place estate

Some of the early poultry keeping ventures that have been identified in the Felbridge area include Oak Cottage Fruit and Poultry Farm and Felbridge Poultry Farm both situated on Crawley Down Road, Woodcock Poultry Farm on Woodcock Hill and Hazledene and Cherry Tree Farm on West Park Road, Newchapel.

 

Oak Cottage Fruit and Poultry Farm operated from plots 217 - 219 and 2 - 3 of the 1911 sale map, being the site of Leybourne Close and Ann’s Orchard.  These plots do not appear in the auction catalogues and were purchased by Susannah West before the 1911 sale [for further information see Handout, Break-up and Sale of the Felbridge Estate, SJC 01/11].  Tyson Crawford took out a lease on the property which he operated as a fruit and poultry farm, appearing in the 1912 Telephone Directory.  Tyson Crawford remained at the property until about 1927 although it has not yet been established whether he operated as a fruit and poultry farmer for the whole duration of his occupancy [for further information see Handout, Ann’s Orchard, SJC 05/01].  

 

Felbridge Poultry Farm, amounting to just under eleven acres operated from plots 210 and 211 of the 1911 sale map, being now the site of Warren Close and land to the east of Rowplatt Lane extending to Twitten Lane.  The plots do not appear in any of the sale catalogues and as such were sold outside of the auctions being purchased by James Osborn Spong in 1916.  James Spong had founded the famous mincer and kitchen equipment company Spong & Co in 1856 and moved to Felbridge with his wife Frances, son James and three of his five daughters, Minnie, Annie (known as Annee) and Florence [for further information see Handout, Another Biography from the Churchyard of St John the Divine, James Osborn Spong, SJC 05/04].  Frances and the three daughters were all what would have been described as ‘modern women’, they followed the women’s’ suffrage movement and the Order of the Cross, the latter making them strict vegetarians.  It was the female side of the family that had the major hand in the Felbridge Poultry Farm supplying eggs, fruit and vegetables that they initially sold at the market held in the High Street in Eat Grinstead.  Later Minnie ran an open-air produce stall in London Road [for further information see Handout, The Felbridge Triangle, SJC 03/05].

 

Woodcock Poultry Farm was run by Miss C M Birdseye (possibly Constance May born in 1896 although not yet confirmed).  Woodcock Farm operated from twelve acres on the east side of Woodcock Hill now the site of the property offering housing with support retaining the name Woodcock.  Situated in plot 112 of the 1911 sale map it does not appear in any of the sale catalogues and as such must have been sold outside of the auctions.  From map evidence the property was established after 1914 with Miss Birdseye appearing in the Telephone Directory in 1920.

 

A surviving catalogue for Woodcock Poultry Farm dated 1921 describes the farm as ‘delightfully situated on very high ground, and is equipped with all modern appliances.  All birds are kept in open-fronted houses and large grass runs.  They are scientifically fed for egg production.  Only birds true to type and in perfect health laying eggs over 2 ozs. (54g) are bred from’.  From the sale catalogue it is possible to determine that Miss Birdseye sold eggs, mainly for hatching and also bred poultry offering chicks and stock birds.  The breeds of chicken favoured by Miss Birdseye were Rhode Island Reds (Crowley strain), Brown Leghorns (Street-Porter strain) and Buff Orpington (Cam strain).  Eggs and chicks were sent by rail from East Grinstead station, costs depending on egg production quotas of the hens.  Arranged in three pens, the most expensive eggs were 20/- (£1) per dozen and 40/- per dozen chicks, the second grade was 15/- (75p) per dozen eggs and 30/- (£1.50) per dozen chicks and the lowest grade was 10/- (50p) per dozen eggs and 20/- per dozen chicks.  Infertile eggs were replaced once if returned, carriage paid, within ten days.

 

Miss Birdseye was an Associate of the British Society of Aviculture and a Member of the Scientific Poultry Breeders Association and the National Utility Poultry Society, all organisations established to promote the well-being and potential egg and meat production of poultry.  She also welcomed inspections of Woodcock Poultry Farm on any day except Sundays and offered instruction to ‘Lady Students’.

 

The last date found for Miss Birdseye associated with Woodcock Poultry Farm is 1921 being succeeded at the farm by Nancy McIver and her second husband David in 1922 [for further details on Mrs Nancy McIver see Handout Civil Parish of Felbridge, SJC 03/03].  Nancy and David McIver continued to run Woodcock as a poultry farm for many years.  

 

Hazledene, on the southern side of West Park Road, consisted of plots 509 and 133, part of Lot 40 described as a ‘Freehold Compact Small Holding’ in the sale catalogue of 1911.  This Lot remained unsold in 1911 and does not appear in the 1913 sale catalogue, twelve acres being sold to Mr Wyatt before the second auction.  By the early 1920’s the site was being run as a poultry farm by Huddlestone and McKellar.

 

It is known that Huddelstone was Miss Lilian Huddlestone, born on 18th October 1890 in Middlesex and who later married Henry Chittenden (see below) but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine who McKellar was except she was also a single lady.

 

A Price List of 1922 shows that Hazledene dealt in hatching eggs, day-old chicks and stock birds like Woodcock Poultry Farm.  Misses Huddlestone and McKeller kept White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds (both Metcalfe strains) and Brown Leghorns supplied by Miss Birdseye.  Like Woodcock Poultry Farm, eggs and chicks were sent by rail from East Grinstead station, costs depending on egg production quotas of the hens.  Arranged in three pens for the White Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds, the most expensive eggs were 10/6 (52½p) per dozen and 21/- (£1.05) per dozen chicks, the second grade was 7/6 (37½p) per dozen eggs and 15/- (75p) per dozen chicks and the lowest grade was 6/- (30p) per dozen eggs and 12/- (60p) per dozen chicks.  For the Brown Leghorns, there were two pens and seem to be a recent introduction to their poultry business being described as ‘this coming breed’.  The most expensive Brown Leghorn eggs and chicks being 12/6 (62½p) for eggs and 25/- (£1.25p) for chicks and the lower grade being 10/6 (52½ p) for eggs and 21/- (£1.05p) for chicks.  Stock birds included Brown Leghorn cockerels at 17/6 (87½p) each, and Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn cockerels at 15/- (75p) each.  Their terms were cash with order and in full before delivery, clear eggs would be replaced once if eggs were purchased by the dozen and returned within fourteen days, eggs and chicks would be carefully packed in strong boxes and delivered by rail, carriage paid and chicks found dead on arrival would be replaced if returned immediately. 

 

In 1928, Lilian Huddlestone married Henry Chittenden from Cherry Tree Farm.  Shortly after, in 1930, Henry’s son Eric set up his own poultry keeping operation at Hazledene Farm which he leased from his stepmother Lillian for three years before she sold Hazledene to Mr Turner, and Eric Chittenden established a large poultry farm at Green Meadows Farm, Mill Lane, Felbridge (see below).     

    

Cherry Tree Farm, on the northern side of West Park Road, was taken over by Henry Chittenden in 1913, [for further information see Handout, Clayton’s Ancient Enclosure on Frogit Heath, JIC/SJC 05/10].  Henry, who originated from Kent, had been a poultry farmer since at least the early 1900’s working in Fletching in Sussex, Sissinghurst in Kent and Burleigh Farm in Crawley Down, Sussex, before moving to Cherry Tree Farm on Frogit Heath.  On the death of his first wife in 1925 Henry Chittenden married Lilian Huddlestone, who had been running Hazledene Poultry Farm with Miss McKellar for some years. 

 

Family photographs show the poultry field at Cherry Tree Farm as being behind the old black barn, with a mixture of free-range light and dark coloured birds (no specific breeds have yet been established). 

 

Established poultry farming in Felbridge from the 1920’s

 

Park Farm, off Copthorne Road, Snow Hill, was a poultry farm run by Miss Harvison from 1917 until 1927 when the property was put on the market.  According to the front of the catalogue the sale was because Mr Harvison was ‘giving up farming’ but inside the catalogue its states that Miss Harvison ‘who is shortly leaving the district is reluctantly disposing of her stock of Utility poultry’ (Utility being the term used for dual-purpose poultry that provided both eggs and meat).  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to establish any details about either Mr or Miss Harvison.  However, details about the poultry farm can be gained from the sale catalogue dated 11th May 1927. 

 

The farm consisted of 200 head of Utility poultry including; Salmon Faverolles, Rhode Island Reds, White Wyandotte, Light Sussex, Black and White Leghorns, as well as twenty-two Indian Runner Ducks.  There were twenty-two poultry house of various sizes and other poultry equipment that appeared in the sale catalogue included; corn bins, poultry troughs, coops, egg boxes, a Hearson’s foster mother for up to thirty eggs, a Hearson’s incubator for up to thirty eggs and a quantity of wire netting.  

 

Furnace Road Poultry Farm, Oak Lodge, Furnace Road, Furnace Wood, was run by E Soames from about 1918 (when plots in Furnace Wood were put up for auction as part of the break-up and sale of the Felbridge Place Estate) until ill-health forced him to sell up in 1929.  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to establish any details on Mr Soames.  However, details about the poultry farm can be gained from the sale catalogue dated 15th February 1929. 

 

The farm comprised of 650 head of Utility poultry and twenty-two Aylesbury Ducks (Malcolm strain).  All the Utility poultry were trap nested and included; Rhode Island Reds (Maddison and Stephenson Metcalf strains), Red Sussex (Russell-Hibbs strain), Light Sussex (Maddison strain) and Sussex Cross Rhode Island Reds.  Trap nested is the system where a hen lays an egg in a nesting box that has a trap door which encloses her with the egg therefore one can be certain of which bird laid which egg. 

 

The poultry equipment that was put up for sale with the farm consisted of thirty-five poultry houses, five night arks, and ten duck houses.  There was also scratching sheds (chicken feed sheds), eleven incubators, fifteen 50-chick brooders, nine foster mother and brooders, ten egg boxes, seventeen hen coops, seven sets of nesting boxes with trap fronts, seventeen duck nesting boxes, duck pans, a kibbler (a machine for coarsely chopping/grinding grain), dry mash (a feed of bran, meal or malt) hoppers, feeding and water troughs, one ton of oyster shell (given to poultry to help crush the food in their crops and also supply calcium to improve and strengthen egg shells), half a ton of lime (used to improve and strengthen egg shells), one ton of wheat, large quantities of maize meal, middlings (ground wheat bran feed), bran, and a ‘very large’ quantity of wire netting and standards.

 

It has not yet been possible to determine if Mr Soames bred poultry for the table (possibly the ducks were intended for this) but he definitely produced eggs for sale and bred day-old chicks.  He would also appear to have been a ‘poultry fancier’ as several of his hens and one cockerel had been shown at the East Grinstead Show between 1926 and 1928 receiving awards ranging from Very Highly Commended to 1st Prize and Special. 

 

Mount House Farm, situated on the north side of Copthorne Road in Snow Hill, was established by Miss Muriel Neale in the mid 1920’s, first appearing in the Telephone Directory in 1923.  Muriel was born in 1885 in Norwood, Surrey, the daughter of George and Jessie Neale.  By 1911 the Neale family had moved from Norwood to Croydon and by the mid 1920’s Muriel had moved to Mount House, Snow Hill.   In 1926 she advertised for a farm-hand and Robert Sargent was offered the job as stockman/poultryman at the farm and a two-bedroom bungalow was built to house the Sargent family.  Robert, an out of work carpenter who had been hit by the General Strike and the Great Depression, gratefully accepted the job and set about constructing a series of chicken houses to house up to three thousand chickens at the farm’s peak. 

 

Mount House Farm produced eggs that were sold from the door and through extensive delivery rounds in Horley, Redhill, Kenley, Whyteleaf, Sanderstead and Croydon.  Robert Sargent made the deliveries on a Friday in a Chevrolet van switching to a Singer van in the 1930’s.    The farm also supplied birds for the table and day-old chicks.  Robert Sargent’s son Noel recalls that ‘the eggs were fertilised by Rhode Island Red and White Sussex Leghorn cockerels and the chicks were reared in a specially built house kept warm by infra-red lamps.  They were hatched in three incubators at the end of the food house and the eggs were turned every day by hand until they were born’. 

 

After the poultry business had been established Muriel Neale bought four cows and sold milk to the local community.  Noel recalls that ‘skimmed milk was a ha’penny a pint (old money) and from the age of eight I was expected to milk two of the four cows before I went to school.  Two were in calf at the time’.  As a side line, Muriel Neale oversaw the production of preserves, lemon curd being one of the specialities made with her eggs.  

 

Glendale, on the Eastbourne Road just past St John’s Church and The Glebe, was built in the early 1930’s for Alfred Quilter and his family by the local building firm Haselden Bros. when the Quilters moved from Eastbourne to Felbridge.  Alfred Quilter also bought a large section of the Limes which was being developed by the same builders [for further information see Handout, The Limes, JP 07/04].  Alfred Quilter had been born in 1884 and had married Alice Marshall in 1910 in the Richmond area; Alice had been born in 1887.  Alfred and Alice had three children, Grace born in 1911, Ronald Alfred born in 1913 and Vera Alice born in 1917. 

 

When the Quilter family moved to Felbridge, Vera was still at school and attended St Michael’s and St Agnes School in Moat Road, East Grinstead.  Grace being six years older, had left school and wanted to go into farming which her father thought was not a suitable job for ladies, so she was sent to a secretarial college which she hated.  As farming was what Grace wanted to do, Alfred decided to send her to stay with a cousin of Alice’s who farmed at Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire.  It was thought that if Grace went there for a few months over the winter period she would be put off farming for good.  The farm, of several hundred acres, was a mixed farm with cows, pigs and lambs as well hay and straw.  Unfortunately the plan back-fired and Grace came home even more determined to farm and decided upon poultry.

 

Grace raised day-old chicks that were ordered and then collected from East Grinstead station.  The young chicks required heat and had to be kept warm being housed in a square shaped metal ‘house’, raised off the ground on legs which had ‘curtaining’ round and a paraffin lamp underneath in the middle with a chimney to let the fumes out.  The chicks were placed in this and ‘kept an eye on’.  There were several of these as it was usual to raise a hundred or more chicks at a time.  The chicks would then progress into a poultry house and as pullets (young hens, usually under one year of age) would start to lay quite small eggs, normal or large sized eggs weren’t usually produced until they reached adulthood. 

 

Eggs were also sold locally after Grace bought a round from a poultry farmer who was situated behind the Lincoln Imp (now the Woodcock).  As for the hens, each one laid for about ten months in a year and when they had out-lived their laying time they were killed, plucked and drawn and sold to the local community as boiling fowl.

 

In 1939 Grace Quilter met and married Wilfred Cole and they had a house built on Hophurst Hill called Ethlinden (the first property on the right after crossing the stream) where they set up another poultry farm which they continued to farm for many years, also taking over Wilfred’s parent’s poultry farm at Waldenor also on Hophurst Hill (the first property on the left after crossing the stream).  As for the poultry at Glendale, Grace’s younger sister Vera decided to take them over.

 

During the war years the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries would send representatives to check on the number of eggs being produced and sent to the packing station.  Grace’s daughter remembers that eggs were meant to be rationed and there was also a limit to the number of boiling fowl that could be cooked for ones own family consumption.  Needless to say eggs were sold to neighbours on the black market and a few ‘white lies’ were told to cover up the odd missing boiling birds that also found their way onto the local tables.        

 

As well as keeping poultry at Glendale, Vera Quilter diversified and began to grow vegetables that she sold to the local community.  Each Friday morning Vera would go to the St John’s (Felbridge) Institute in Copthorne Road (now the site of the Mulberry Gate development) loaded with eggs, boiling fowl and vegetables to sell through the Felbridge Village Produce Association that held a weekly market there.  In later life Vera supplied the residents of Whittington College (opposite Glendale) with eggs, fruit and vegetables.  Vera finally gave up her poultry business in the early 1980’s, remaining at Glendale until her death in 2004.    

 

Green Meadows Farm, Mill Lane, was purchased by Eric Chittenden in 1933.  From the memories of his wife and daughter, Eric had left Cherry Tree Farm (see above), and went to live with Mr Gillets at Laylands Farm off Stubpond Lane, working on the farm for his keep.  He had Tuesdays off to do his own egg round which he did on a motorbike and sidecar.  Eric’s eggs were produced at Hazledene Farm (see above) that he rented from his stepmother.  His father Henry had given him fifty hens to start off with and there was a 40ft (12.3m) hen house already at Hazledene Farm.  Eric’s poultry business remained at Hazledene Farm until 1933 when he purchased seven acres of land in Mill Lane where he established 800 chicken and two large chicken houses.  Initially he lived with Mrs Agate as a lodger at The Bungalow, off Copthorne Road (now the site of the Dove’s Barn Scandia House).  At the time of purchasing the land, Sandy Croft (see below) was the only other house in Mill Lane.

 

In 1940, Eric Chittenden married Veta Miles who lived at West View, Mill Lane, and they had a bungalow built at Green Meadows, which took just five weeks and three days to build.  Although water had been laid in Mill Lane between 1933 and 1940 electricity was not installed until December 1947, until then cooking was done by solid fuel and lighting used either paraffin for lamps or candles.

 

During the war years the Chittendens had three land-girls to work on the farm that helped the workmen ‘Mr George’ and Mr Bennett who lived in a caravan on the farm with his wife and baby.  Before the war Eric had an egg round in Croydon but during the war years all eggs had to go to Stonegate packing station and had to be accounted for.  A surviving register from the time lists all the birds by their breed and individual number, which was secured as a ring on the bird’s leg.  The register details the date they hatched, the age at first egg, and then egg production for each month categorised by size, either small, grade 1 (medium sized) or grades 2 and 3 (large).   Notes about the birds appear to detail a number of reasons for non-egg production, such as: sitting, broody, moulting, missing, culled etc.  Other comments appear such as: good bird, small bird, large bird and brown eggs, as well as ailments such as: deformed leg, fractured leg, scabby leg and poor eye.

 

Stonegate had been formed in 1926 when a small group of farmers from Stonegate in East Sussex pooled their eggs together, packing them and taking the finished product to market to sell.  This grew into egg collection from around the local area, then county and today a number of modern egg packing machines around England and Wales.   Today all the eggs are free range, organic and packed in Wiltshire. 

 

Eric Chittenden was an accredited breeder and as such all chicken had to have a ring on their leg and a metal wing number.  The chickens laid their eggs in nest boxes and were trapped in the nest box until their eggs had been taken away and the number of eggs recorded.  One day a soldier from near-by Hobbs Barracks stole a chicken and foolishly plucked it on the way back to the Barracks.  When Eric Chittenden went to the Barracks the soldier said that he would be unable to prove it was one of the Green Meadows chicken.  However, Eric could tell them the number on the chicken’s wing that the soldier had not seen – case proven.  

 

Eggs (up to several hundred a week), once collected, were put into one of five incubators.  After two weeks a machine was used to check whether the eggs were fertile (a light or lamp was shone through the egg and if it was dark it was fertile).  When hatched, day-old chicks were packed up in crates and sent out.  After the war years many of the day-old chicks found their way to several countries outside Britain via Heathrow and Gatwick airport.           

 

Eric Chittenden kept four types of poultry, Brown Leghorns, White Leghorns, Light Sussex and Rhode Island Reds.  From his register of birds a few interesting statistics can be gained.  The best egg production birds were the Rhode Island Reds which (on average) produced 343 eggs per bird per eighteen months, then came the Brown Leghorns producing on average 291, and lastly the Light Sussex at 213.  The White Leghorns make only a brief appearance in the book and their statistics, based on the limited entry, do not reflect accurate egg production.  Eggs were collected twice a day and were first cleaned and then graded by weight. 

 

After the war years the Chittendens sold their eggs from the farm and had egg rounds in East Grinstead and Felbridge, which were made by Mrs Chittenden in an Austin A35 van; they also supplied eggs to Tony Jones who sold them from his door in Imberhorne Lane (see below).  The chicken were all free range and were sold from day-old chicks to adults, very old birds being sold as boilers at the farm, East Grinstead Market in Cantelupe Road and various local butchers.  Hens and eggs were also sold at East Grinstead Market and the Chittendens supplied hens and eggs to Mr Farncombe, a butcher in Dormansland, Mr Sprig a butcher in Copthorne and a butcher (name not remembered) in Croydon.

 

Poultry food was bought from Plowco in Horne and Holmdens in East Grinstead.  The chickens were fed poultry mash, corn and grit which was added to the diet to improve the egg shell and digestion.  The food was placed daily into a trough and on one occasion when ‘Mr George’ was feeding the chicken he heard a noise behind him only to find a fox at the other end of the trough when he turned around.  Poultry equipment at the farm included a meal mixer, egg cleaner, egg grader and a plucking machine, together with two tractors and trailers.

 

As poultry farmers the Chittendens had to be wary of disease, the most deadly of which was fowl pest or Newcastle disease.  This is a viral disease of birds, including domestic fowl, characterised by respiratory, gastrointestinal or pulmonary and encephalitic symptoms.  Fortunately Green Meadows never succumbed to the disease but the Leleans from Sandy Croft further up Mill Lane (see below) did get infected.   As a preventative measure everyone had to walk through disinfectant before entering Green Meadows Farm and boots had to be scrubbed before leaving the farm.  All buildings and equipment also had to be regularly scrubbed with disinfectant.  As a result of the resurgence of fowl pest between 1950 and 1960, all chicken had to be blood tested by a vet to check that they did not have the disease.

 

In the early days, besides keeping poultry, the Chittendens also kept five to six cows that were milked by hand by Eric Chittenden, the milk being collected by Mr Eden.  Unfortunately all the cows were killed by a fire at the farm in 1946/47 caused by a Calor gas heater that exploded.  Cedric Harrison of Lyndhurst Farm (see below) came with the St John’s Ambulance service because it was believed that somebody had been injured.  Fortunately there were no human casualties but unfortunately, because war rationing was still in force, the Chittendens could not re-stock and therefore decided to concentrate solely on poultry.  Later, in the 1960’s, extra income was created by ‘keep sheep’ that were brought up to graze at Green Meadows Farm from the Romney Marshes between August and March for which the Chittendens received 1/3d (8p) per head.

 

In 1969 Eric and Veta Chittenden retired from Green Meadows Farm in 1969 and took over the Felbridge Village Stores [for further information see Handout, Shopping in the Felbridge area, Part I, SJC 07/10], leaving their son John to run the farm.  John Chittenden experimented with battery farming but left the farm in 1972 when Eric and Veta retired from the shop and returned to the farm.  Eric and Veta stayed at Green Meadows for a further seven years before selling up and retiring to Hove.           

 

Lyndhurst Farm, on the south side of Copthorne Road was the home of Frederick Richard Harrison and his wife Elsie Emma née Newman.  Frederick was born on 30th June 1891 and Elsie was born in the March quarter of 1891.  They married in the September quarter of 1915 in the Hampstead registration district and had at least two children, Cedric Richard Langford born in 1921 and Ursula born in 1922, both births registered in Croydon.  The Harrison family first appear in the Felbridge area in 1922 when Fredrick purchased the property called Lyndhurst.  It has not yet been established whether Frederick had any connections with poultry keeping as local residents only ever refer to Cedric and his poultry keeping business at the property.  According to one former resident, Cedric was a former member of the police force and ‘drove like a maniac’.  As regards his poultry business he farmed only battery hens selling his eggs to Stonegate being collected on a regular basis by lorry.  When the hens were past their prime they were dispatched, but on occasions some were given a new lease of life by Mrs Philpott who worked for Cedric and who lived on the opposite side of Copthorne Road.  Her son remembers the ‘poor petrified things’ being allowed to roam about, although ‘egg production was the last thing on their minds’.

 

Cedric also invested heavily in a machine that dried and pelleted the chicken manure which he sold as a side line.  It is not known how successful this venture was but he was ahead of his time as pelleted chicken manure is now widely sold in every garden centre for enriching garden soil.

 

Cedric continued to run the poultry business from Lyndhurst Farm until the 1980’s (both his parents having died by 1974) when he moved to Tanglewood, Newchapel Road, Lingfield, from where he died in January 1999.  As for Lyndhurst Farm, the property was sold and developed as a small close of five houses during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, adopting the name Lyndhurst Farm Close.

 

Birches Farm, situated on the site of the Birches Industrial Estate off Imberhorne Lane, was run by father and son partnership Ernest and Antony (known as Tony) Jones from 1954.  The farm was initially planted with crops but the soil being very poor condition it was soon turned over to animals including; calves and pigs (Saddle Backs and Whites) brought on for meat and poultry for eggs.

 

The chicken, mostly Light Sussex and Rhode Island Reds, were kept in a large black shed that opened onto a large, fenced pen and on occasions the chicken were allowed free run of the yard area.  Alongside the chicken a few grey geese and Indian Runner Ducks were kept, as well as Muscovy Ducks.  The chicken were ex-battery hens from Buxted Chickens that took about a month to acclimatise before they began laying, but when they became accustomed to their new surroundings they laid well.  Their eggs were sold from the door at Pixie Cottage (home of the Tony Jones and his family) and then Long Cottage, Imberhorne Lane, after Tony Jones moved to the next door property for more space to accommodate his growing family.  Eggs from Green Meadows Farm (see above), and later from Anjowies (see below), were also sold from the door at Long Cottage.

 

As a child I remember being sent to hunt out any eggs that had been laid whilst the hens had been in the yard area, and on occasions you found an egg that had been missed on a previous sortie and boy did they stink if broken.  I also remember that the corn feed was kept in large galvanised, lidded dustbins on pallets in an open shed.  For obvious reasons this attracted rats looking for an easy meal.  My grandfather, probably for a bit of sport but also for pest control, would bang two bin lids together which had the desired effect of getting the rats to run from under the bin area and the moment they were in the open the dogs would have a field day. 

 

By about 1964 the decision was taken to stop keeping poultry and I can clearly remember the day when the Buxted Chickens lorry arrived to dispatch the chicken.  Their necks were wrung and the bodies put into cage-like crates, to a child under the age of ten it was a fascinating sight to see a dead chicken still flapping around for some time after its dispatch.  I was told that it was due to involuntary spontaneous spasms of the bird’s muscles and was quite normal.  After all the chicken had been crated up they were loaded onto the open-deck lorry and taken to Buxted Chickens, a company founded by Anthony Fisher in the early 1950’s. 

 

Buxted Chickens was set up employing factory farming principals, initially with the chicken kept in an old cow shed in Buxted, hence the name.  This was shortly replaced by four environmentally controlled chicken sheds for 100,000 birds.  On its launch, Buxted Chickens confined its operation to rearing, plucking and chilling birds but by 1957 the company, by then handling 25,000 chickens per week, also eviscerated (removed entrails), froze and packaged them.  By 1964, around the time that Birches Farm sold off all its chicken stock, the company was producing 500,000 birds a week.  As a result of Buxted Chickens, the price of chicken meat fell making it the most frequently served meat.  In the 1980’s Buxted Chicken became the brand name bought by Grampian County Foods when the Buxted site closed, and is today owned by the 2 Sister Food Group, a chicken meat processing company based in West Bromwich.

 

Summary

From an historical view point, many families of the Felbridge area, like most of the rural based population of Britain, would have kept a few chickens in their own backyards for eggs for their own consumption and eventually for meat at the end of the chickens’ laying days, and in some cases in the 17th century some residents of the Felbridge area, living within the manor of Bletchingly, even had to supply capons and geese as payment for rent.  

 

Being a rural area, Felbridge was ideally suited for agricultural activities and after the break-up and sale of the Felbridge estate in 1911 and many of the sale Lots were specifically advertised as suitable for poultry keeping.  As private individuals bought up sections of the Felbridge area so a plethora of poultry keeping establishments sprang up in the early 20th century, largely run by single ladies. 

 

Poultry keeping after the break-up of the Felbridge estate and from the second decade of the 20th century ranged from large farms like Mount House Farm and Green Meadows Farm down to just a few hens supplying eggs for their owners daily needs and this document has probably only identified a few of the poultry keeping enterprises that have operated in the Felbridge area.

 

Poultry farming/keeping in Felbridge encompassed all forms of the poultry business, from egg production, day-old chicks, stock birds, to table birds both young and tender and old boilers.  During the war years all aspects of poultry keeping were strictly monitored with meticulous details being kept, which continued until the end of rationing in the mid 1950’s.

 

The types of poultry identified as being kept in the Felbridge area include several breeds of chicken, and few breeds of ducks and geese.  The most popular breeds of chicken include; Rhode Island Reds, Light Sussex, White Sussex, Red Sussex, Buff Orpingtons, White Leghorns, Brown Leghorns, Black Leghorns, Salmon Faverolles, White Wyandotte and even Indian Game (also known as Cornish) crossed with other breeds.  Only two breeds of duck seem to have been popular, white Aylesbury Ducks and upright Indian Runner Ducks, although a few Muscovy Ducks were kept on one farm, and the only breeds of geese and turkey mentioned are Grey Geese (probably Greylag), Black Turkeys (probably Norfolk Black) and White Turkeys, the geese and turkeys bred for their meat.

 

Gazetteer of Poultry Keeping in Felbridge

This gazetteer (alphabetical by property name) lists all the poultry keeping ventures, both great and small, that have so far been established as operating in Felbridge, the person associated with each poultry keeping venture and approximate dates of their enterprises.

 

Anjowies, 19, Stream Park, a small poultry concern that was run by Margery Jones from her back garden from the late 1950’s until the early 1970’s after previously running chicken in her back garden of her grocery shop at 94, Railway Approach, East Grinstead, during World War II.  Margery kept Light Sussex and Rhode Island Reds and sold their eggs to Stonegate and from the door, as well from Long Cottage, Imberhorne Lane, where her son lived who farmed Birches Farm (see above).  Margery Jones also had shares in Stonegate. 

 

April Cottage, Felcot Road, Furnace Wood, owned by the Housman family from 1936.  After World War II their son Kenneth (known as Ken) tried to make a living off the land by keeping poultry and selling eggs to Stonegate, as well as growing fruit and vegetables which were sold through the Felbridge Village Produce Association that held a weekly market at the St John’s (Felbridge) Institute.  Ken Housman moved to Felcot Farm in 1958 where he also kept chicken for eggs for his own consumption.

 

Bay Horne, Green Lane, Snow Hill, Christopher Lewis Wren and his wife Esther (Hettie) née Sargent kept poultry from the 1920’s until the 1960’s.  They initially sold eggs to neighbours from their door but from the 1950’s the majority of the eggs were collected by Stonegate although they still continued to sell eggs from the door.

 

Beechwood, Crawley Down Road, purchased by the Sinden family who erected a low bungalow on the site shortly after the end of the First World War and who ran the property as a smallholding selling eggs from the door.

 

Birches Farm, Imberhorne Lane (see above)

 

Bruces Farm, Snow Hill, owned by the Streatfield family who sold eggs from the door in the 1940’s.

 

Camber, Felcot Road, Furnace Wood, Mr F E Squire appears in the Telephone Directory between 1941 and 1946 as a builder, but he also kept poultry and dealt in eggs and table birds.  He used to cross Indian Game (also known as Cornish) birds with his own chicken to increase their size.

 

Cherry Tree Farm, West Park Road (see above)

 

Cherry Tree House, off West Park Road, Newchapel, the description of the property when on the market in 2001 states that: ‘There is an assortment of outbuildings including several that have been previously used for poultry farming’ [for further information see Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Part IV, SJC 03/10], unfortunately it has not yet been possible to establish a name or dates for the poultry farming.

 

Clarence Poultry Farm, Felbridge [location not identified], run by the Smith Brothers appears in the Telephone Directory for 1922.

 

Cluden, Crawley Down Road, occupied by Mr Richardson in the 1940’s who sold eggs from the door.

 

Cottage Residence, Woodcock Hill (now called the Old Pheasantry); outbuildings included two timber and thatched chicken houses (now converted as the house called Old Pheasantry Cottage) in the 1911 Felbridge Place sale catalogue.  This property had been occupied by the Killick family, John Killick being the last head gamekeeper for the Felbridge estate.

 

Cuttinglye Poultry Farm, Cuttinglye [location not identified], run by Emily Fanny Wright, widow of Joshua George Wright, between 1940 and her death in 1946.

 

Effingham Poultry Farm, Copthorne [location not identified], appears in the Telephone Directory between 1933 and 1948.

 

Ethlinden, Hophurst Hill, established by Grace and Wilfred Coles around 1939 (see above). 

 

Felbridge Poultry Farm, Crawley Down Road (see above)

 

Felcot Farm, Furnace Wood, owned by Ken Housman who kept a small number of chickens for eggs for his own consumption from the 1950’s until early 2000’s.

 

Gibbshaven Farm, Furnace Wood, although a fairly substantial farm it would not appear to have been poultry based although from two sale catalogues dated 5th November 1920 and 1st October 1924, poultry was being kept by the occupiers on a small scale.  Between 1915 and 1920 Gibbshaven Farm was in the occupation of Alfred Searle as tenant farmer and when it was put up for auction in 1920 by the owner W H Martin it was obviously operating as a dairy farm with a small scale poultry operation that included forty pullets and ten hens (no breed named).  Poultry equipment listed included six hen coops, two fattening coops and two chicken crates.  It is unclear who purchased Gibbshaven Farm in 1920 but Alfred Searle continued to farm it until 1924 when it was again put on the market being purchased by John Prevett who remained there until his retirement from farming in 1946.

 

In 1924 the Gibbshaven Farm was predominantly a dairy and sheep farm and the poultry operation had diminished to just seven Rhode Island Red hens and one cockerel, eight White Leghorns and twelve Indian Runner Ducks.  Apart from a few troughs, a duck house and some wire netting there is no other poultry equipment listed [for further information see Handout, Gibbshaven Farm, SJC/JIC 07/07].

 

Glendale, Eastbourne Road (see above)

 

Golards Poultry Farm, Newchapel, E H Greenhill appears in the Telephone Directory in 1920, the farm being taken over by Misses Allen-Smith who appear in the Telephone Directory between 1922 and 1925.  Miss Enid Allen sold eggs and poultry to passers-by and by the 1930’s the farm had been purchased by the Chatty family who continued to run it as a poultry farm during World War II as well as establishing a Tea Rooms/Café [for further information see Handout, Golards Farm, SJC 11/07].

 

Great Frenches Farm, Snow Hill, was run by Miss Read until 1927 when she put the property up for sale as she was ‘quitting’ farming.  The auction catalogue lists sixty head of poultry (breed of hens not listed but there was at least one White Leghorn cockerel) among the livestock in the sale held on 21st October 1927, together with one wooden poultry crate. 

 

Greater Felcourt Farm, Felcourt, a pioneering hydro-electric farm was established in 1919 by Robert Borlase Matthews using water from Wire Mill Lake as the power source.  Both Robert and his son Richard Borlase Matthews embraced the use of electricity to improve the efficiency of farming.  From the point of view of poultry farming they used electricity to heat their incubator and for thermostatically controlling the temperature in the chamber, as well as circulating air with an electric fan.  They found that the average proportion of fertile eggs that hatched in their 2,240-egg incubator, also fitted with an electric fan, was between 83% and 85%, a marked improvement from before the application of electricity to the process.  Another advantage of electricity was refrigerated stores for eggs that replaced the water-glass immersion method for keeping eggs fresh.  No doubt electricity also sped up grading the size of eggs that was traditionally done by hand.

 

Green Meadows Farm, Mill Lane (see above)

 

Hazledene, West Park Road (see above)

 

Imberhorne Farm, Imberhorne Lane, the first direct mention of poultry at the farm was in 1901 when George Taylor was listed as the ‘poultry man’ in the census, although it is most likely that there was poultry on the farm prior to this date being bred for meat and eggs for the ‘Big House’.  By the 1930’s it was Bert Searle who was the poultry man.  In the 1930’s the poultry included; Light Sussex, Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds, grey geese, Aylesbury ducks and black turkeys, all free range. 

 

Each day the poultry had to be turned out into the orchard and a field known as Poultry Field (situated to the east of Imberhorne Farmhouse), then returned to their poultry shed of an evening.  Whilst out, the eggs had to be collected from the poultry sheds and whilst in, eggs had to be searched for in the orchard and Poultry Field.  The ‘Big House’ required six geese and ducks weekly and any surplus eggs over and above the two-dozen eggs required daily were sold to Stonegate.  The poultry sheds formed part of the range of outbuildings extending to the west of Imberhorne Farmhouse.  There were individual sections for geese, ducks, turkeys and chicken.  There were also brood huts, as all the poultry were bred on the Farm, and a shed for cooking up potatoes and hot mash used as feed in the winter [for further information see Handout, The Farm at Imberhorne SJC 05/03].

 

By the 1950’s the position of poultry man had taken over by Bob Creasey and by then the farm was experimenting with battery egg production.  In 1954, when Imberhorne Farm was put up for sale, the description of the farm outbuildings included four poultry houses with weather boarded fronts.  After the purchase of the farm by Robert Emmett, some free range poultry was kept but eventually the Emmetts gave up the battle with the foxes and by the 1960’s had ceased to run any poultry on the farm.

 

Kia-Ora, Felcot Road, Furnace Wood, Mr A F E Subtil listed in the Telephone Directory between 1930 and 1955.  However, local residents recall that the Subtil family moved to Furnace Wood around 1919 and that they produced eggs and poultry for the table.

 

Llanberis Farm, Crawley Down Road, under the ownership of Miss Margery Fry, had a few head of poultry for her own consumption but after her death the farm was bought by Tony Jones (see above) who ran it as a turkey farm from 1985.  White turkeys were bought in as day-olds and reared for the Christmas table.  Turkey farming was joined by game birds when son Mike Jones set up Tufty’s Game Farm rearing day-old partridge and quail.  This venture prospered until October 1987 when the Hurricane put an end to the game farm, shattering most of the bird’s pens releasing hundreds of partridge and quail into the Felbridge area.  As many as possible were rounded up but the number of birds captured equated to only a small portion of those that had escaped and the decision was made to cease trading, although turkey farming continued until 1990 [for further information see Handout, Llanberis Farm, SJC 01/07].

 

Lyndhurst Farm, Copthorne Road (see above)

 

Mount House, Snow Hill (see above)

 

Merriewood Farm, New Domewood, run by Capt. Ellis HS and Mrs Duckworth, appears in the Telephone Directory between 1946 and 1951.  Local residents remember that Capt. Duckworth specialised in bantams and showed prized birds, he was also a judge at poultry fairs and shows.

 

Newchapel [House] (now the site of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints), whose outbuildings included a chicken house in the 1911 Felbridge Place sale catalogue.

 

Norfolk House, Copthorne Road (now the site of Housman Way), owned by Arnold Kelf from the 1930’s after his return from Australia.  Arnold Kelf appears in the Telephone Directory between 1940 and 1951, moving to Perry Farm, West Park Road, in 1952 where he also kept poultry.  Arnold Kelf sold his eggs at East Grinstead Market and poultry was collected by carriers Routh and Stevens from the Star Inn car park early in the morning.

 

Oak Cottage Fruit and Poultry Farm, Crawley Down Road (see above)

 

Oak Farm, Crawley Down Road, listed as a dairy and poultry farm in the 1911 Felbridge Place sale catalogue.

 

Palmers Farm, West Park Road, currently advertises eggs for sale.

 

Parkfields, Hophurst Hill, was run by James Webber between 1932 and 1955.  The valuation of the farm on his death in February 1955 included: poultry to the value of £14 10/-, and poultry equipment that included a hen coop, old sectional hen house, night ark and egg crock valued at £1 10/- [for further information see Handout, Parkfields, SJC 05/05].

 

Perry Farm, West Park Road, owned by Arnold Kelf from 1952 (see Norfolk House above).

 

Sandy Croft, Mill Lane, Mr A J Lelean appears in the Telephone Directory from 1940.  It has not yet been possible to determine whether Mr Lelean dealt in poultry but his son Geoffrey ran a poultry farm from the premises until the mid 1970’s when he gave it up after finding it too much as he also worked at Kolmar Cosmetics in Imberhorne Lane.  The Leleans sold eggs at East Grinstead Market and poultry for London markets collected by carriers Routh and Stevens from the Star Inn car park early in the morning.

 

Snow Hill Cottage, Snow Hill, was purchased by Frederick Charles McKenzie im Thurn in 1924 and in 1930 appears in the Telephone Directory as a ‘Poultry Farmer’ having established poultry farming in Back Field that contained at least seven large poultry sheds surrounded by the chicken run. Fredrick im Thurn remained at the farm until 1935 when he sold the property to Richard Ireland Purdon (a former Colonel) who continued to run the poultry farm until the early 1960’s [for further information see Handout, The Wheadons of Snowhill Cottage – 50 Years on the Move, JIC/SJC 01/08].

 

Snow Hill Farm [location not identified], situated about five minutes walk from the Duke’s Head at Snow Hill, was run by Arthur Alker until 1933 when he sold the farm and left the area.  The auction catalogue lists sixty head of poultry (breed not listed) and twelve White Indian Runner Ducks among the livestock in the sale held on 26th November 1923, together with troughs and poultry houses.

 

Tangle Oak, off Mill Lane (encompassing what are now Tangle Oak Close and Hedgecourt Place), a small poultry keeping concern run by Mr Seth Smith, appears in the Telephone Directory between 1940 and 1946.

 

The Oaks, Crawley Down Road, outbuildings include a chicken house in the Felbridge Place sale catalogue in 1911.  After its sale in 1913 the Brooker family (formerly of Golards Farm) moved in and kept poultry on a small scale.  

 

The Nest, Lake View Road, Furnace Wood, was the home of Ethel Maud Biggs, the wife of Albert Golding Biggs (known as Bertie).  Ethel, the daughter of Allen Strudwick of Wards Farm (see below), kept a couple of pigs and a few chickens and she used a hand-cart to collect peelings for the pigs and delivered eggs to her neighbours during the Second World War. 

 

Tilkhurst Farm, Imberhorne Lane, chicken were kept for the Blount sisters of Tilkhurst (formerly of Imberhorne Manor), the old Tilkhurst Farmhouse being utilised as the hen house before its demolition in 1964 [for further information see Handout, The Wells Family of Imberhorne, SJC 01/10].

 

Waldenor, Hophurst Hill, was run by Mr and Mrs Walder during the 1920’s and 1930’s before being taken over in the 1940’s by their son Wilfred and his wife Grace née Quilter of Glendale (see above). 

 

Wards Farm, Eastbourne Road, was run by Allen Strudwick until his death in 1936 and used to advertise eggs but not table birds.  The sale catalogue for the farm dated 9th October 1936 includes equipment associated with poultry keeping including: eight poultry houses, nine portable poultry houses, an ark, and two motor body poultry houses.  However, there is no mention of any chicken only four geese and a gander, and five ducks and a drake.

 

Wilbess, Furnace Road, Furnace Wood, owned by Miss Elizabeth Hannah who later ran Hannah’s Stores in Crawley Down Road, used the house for poultry keeping in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Today the current owners have an ark of chicken for eggs for their own consumption.

 

Wire Mill Estate, Wire Mill Lane, several plots were purchased in 1918 by the Women’s Farm and Garden Union allowing single ladies the opportunity to work in agriculture in their own right, predominantly in poultry keeping and fruit growing in the area.

 

Woodcock Poultry Farm, Woodcock Hill (see above)

 

Bibliography

Bletchingley Rental Books, c1670 and 1690, Ref: K60/1/9; K60/1/6, SHC

The Bingham family of Felbridge, SJC 01/05, FHWS

Felbridge Place Sale Catalogue, 1911, FHA

Felbridge Place Sale Catalogue, 1913, FHA

Cuttinglye and its Environs Sale Catalogue 1918, FHA

Cuttinglye and its Environs Amended Sale Catalogue 1918, FHA

Handout, Break-up and sale of the Felbridge Estate, SJC 01/11, FHWS

Telephone Directory, 1912, FHA

Handout, Ann’s Orchard, SJC 05/01, FHWS

Handout, Another Biography from the Churchyard of St John the Divine, James Osborn Spong, SJC 05/04, FHWS

Handout, The Felbridge Triangle, SJC 03/05, FHWS

Telephone Directories, 1920 – 1923, FHA

Woodcock Poultry Farm catalogue, 1921, FHA

Handout Civil Parish of Felbridge, SJC 03/03, FHWS

Price List, Huddlestone & McKellar, 1922, FHA

Handout, Clayton’s Ancient Enclosure on Frogit Heath, JIC/SJC 05/10, FHWS

Telephone Directory, 1923 – 1957

Local newspaper article, Chicks to feed, eggs to turn and cows to milk, EGC & O, 17/12/09, FHA

Furnace Road Poultry Farm sale catalogue, Ref: RT/A/I/73, MERL

Mount house Farm, Documented memories of N Sargent, FHA

Glendale, Documented memories of J Walder, FHA

Handout, The Limes, JP 07/04, HHWS

Green Meadows Farm, Documented memories of V and J Chittenden, FHA

Stonegate, http://stonegate.co.uk

Handout, Shopping in the Felbridge area, Part I, SJC 07/10, FHWS

Lyndhurst Farm, Documented memories of J Philpott, FHA

The Birches, Documented memories of S J Clarke, FHA

Buxted Chickens, http://buxtedvillage.org.uk

April Cottage, documented memories of K Housman, FHA

Bay Horne, documented memoires of J Roberts, FHA

Telephone Directory 1941 – 1946

Handout, Clayton’s Ancient Enclosure on Frogit Heath, JIC/SJC 05/10, FHWS

Handout, Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge, Part IV, SJC 03/10, FHWS

Telephone Directory 1933 – 1948

Handout, Gibbshaven Farm, SJC/JIC 07/07, FHWS

Gibbshaven Farm sale catalogue, Ref: RT/A/Z/68, MERL

Gibbshaven Farm sale catalogue, Ref: RT/A/Z/71, MERL

Handout, Golards Farm, SJC 11/07, FHWS

Handout, The Farm at Imberhorne SJC 05/03, FHWS

Handout, Llanberis Farm, SJC 01/07, FHWS

Handout, Parkfields, SJC 05/05, FHWS

Handout, The Wells Family of Imberhorne, SJC 01/10, FHWS

Handout, The Wheadons of Snowhill Cottage – 50 Years on the Move, JIC/SJC 01/08, FHWS

Snow Hill Farm sale catalogue, 1923, Ref: RT/A/I/33, MERL

Wards Farm sale catalogue, 1936, Ref: RT/A/I/74, MERL

 

Our thanks are extended to Vera and Joy Chittenden for information on Woodcock, Hazledene, Cherry Tree Farm and Green Meadows Farm, Noel Sargent for information on Mount House Farm, Jeanne Walder and Wendy Bingham for information on Glendale, Waldenor and Ethlinden, John Philpott for information on Lyndhurst Farm and all the other local Felbridge residents who have contributed information on poultry keeping in Felbridge.

 

Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website; www.felbridge.org.uk

SJC 05/11