Professor Furneaux and the ‘Penlees’ of Felbridge
This document sets out to cover the life of William Samuel Furneaux and his family, his move to Felbridge in 1913, together with properties his family owned in the area called ‘Penlee’ and their later owners.
William Samuel Furneaux
William Samuel Furneaux was born on 2nd June 1855 at 38, Gloucester Street, Devonport, the son of William John Blatchford Furneaux and his wife Caroline. William JB was the only son of William Furneaux and his wife Anne née Blatchford, who married on 28th March 1822 in Stoke Damerel, Devon, when William was thirty-five and Caroline was forty-one, and the birth of William JB, being born when his mother was forty-eight, must have been an unexpected surprise.
William JB’s father came from a family of seven children born at Churston Ferrers in Devon, where his father, another William, farmed a big farm in Galmpton, which his father, another William, had purchased. For William JB’s father, as a member of a prominent family, albeit in a small village, to have moved to Devonport where he worked as a cordwainer, could be seen as a step down. However, as the third son of the family he was unlikely to have inherited the farm and would therefore have needed to look elsewhere for a career, and his move coincides with the beginning of what became a mass exodus away from rural areas to the towns and cities. A cordwainer was a skilled craftsman, somebody who made shoes and other articles in fine soft leather, taking the name from ‘cordovan’, the leather produced in Córdiba in Spain, and historically there was a big distinction between a cordwainer who made shoes and a cobbler who just repaired shoes.
Returning to William Samuel’s immediate family, his father William JB Furneaux married Caroline Bartlett on 29th January 1853, at the parish church of St James the Great in Devonport. At the time of their marriage William JB was working as a joiner and cabinet maker, and Caroline as a dressmaker, although in all subsequent census entries, William JB is referred to as only a joiner. Apart from William Samuel, William JB and Caroline had at least five other children, including, Lydia born in 1854, Christopher born in 1858, Charles born in 1860, Henry born in 1862, and Jane born in 1866.
As a point of interest, William S Furneaux is highly likely to be have been related to Tobias Furneaux who is famous for twice circumnavigating the globe, although unfortunately the parish records that could have proved the link conclusively were destroyed by the bombing of the Exeter Records Office during World War II. Tobias was born on 21st August 1735 at the family estate of Swilly, near Plymouth. Tobias joined the Royal Navy in 1755 and became mid-shipman on board HMS Marlborough, being stationed for a time in the West Indies during the Seven Years War, and promoted to Lieutenant in 1760. In 1766 he sailed as Second Lieutenant aboard HMS Dolphin under Admiralty instruction to ‘discover and obtain a complete knowledge of the Land or Islands supposed to be in the Southern hemisphere’, finding Otaheite (Tahiti). For much of the voyage Tobias was in command due to the sickness of Captain Samuel Wallis and the first lieutenant, thus Tobias took possession of Tahiti, declaring it ‘King George’s Island’ in 1767. By 1771 Tobias had been promoted Captain of HMS Adventure and left Britain in 1772 as part of James Cook’s expedition to New Zealand. As recognition, Furneaux Islands in the Bass Straits were named by Captain Cook to commemorate Tobias. In 1777, during the American War of Independence, Tobias commanded the 28-gun frigate Syren, which was sunk in Narragansett Bay and the crew were imprisoned, being released in 1778. Returning to Britain, Tobias had no further naval service, retiring on half-pay to Swilly where he died un-married on 18th September 1781, being buried in the church at Stoke Damerel.
Returning to William Samuel Furneaux’s family, in 1861 they were living at 43, Ker Street, Devonport, and by 1871, they had moved to 13, Garden Street, Devonport, William’s father William JB working as a joiner at the Dockyard and William S recorded as a pupil teacher at the age of fifteen.
According to William Samuel’s obituary, which appeared in the scientific journal Nature in 1940, he was educated at Cheltenham College, Gloucestershire. Cheltenham College had been established in July 1841 after the residents of Cheltenham, presided over by Major General George Swiney, decided to set up a Proprietary Grammar School, and was the first major public school founded during the reign of Queen Victoria. It was and is still known for its strong classical, military and sporting traditions, appearing as early as 1893 as one of England’s ten greatest public schools. However, on enquiring, they have no record of William Samuel Furneaux attending Cheltenham College.
On 4th August 1879, William S Furneaux married Mary Emma Allen at the parish church of St James the Great. Mary, known as Emma, had been born on 16th February 1855, the daughter of William Abraham Allen and his wife Emma Sanders née Collins. In 1861 the Allen family lived at 58, Monument Street in Devonport where William ran a shop in the shoe trade. Apart from Mary Emma, William and Emma had at least five other children, William John born about 1850, Fanny Ellen born about 1852, Rosina Anne (known as Rosa) born in 1852, Eva Bessie born about 1859 and Emily Maude born in 1861. All the children were born in Devon except Fanny and Emily who were born in Paddington, London. In 1871, William had been joined by his wife at the shop and their daughter (Mary) Emma was listed as a pupil teacher.
Within two years of their marriage, William S Furneaux and Emma had moved to the London area, where their first child, May was born on 28th April 1880 at Dulwich. In 1881, William S and his family were living at 29, Trigon Road, Kennington; William listed as a School Master. Living with the family was William’s brother Christopher who had also left Devon and was working as a clerk.
William and Emma were still living at 29, Trigon Road, Kennington, when their second child, Ethel, was born on 29th September 1881, but had moved to 19, Manley Terrace, Kennington, when Winifred, was born in March 1883. By 1895 William and Emma had moved to 69, Ondine Road, Camberwell, where their fourth, fifth and sixth children were born, William Russell (known as Russell) born in the March quarter of 1885 (although his military details state he was born on 29th November 1886), Lilian Florence born in June 1886 and Nellie Allen born in February 1891. Sadly Nellie did not live past infancy and died in the last quarter of the year.
In the 1891 census William was recorded as a science teacher, and living with the family was Fanny Ellen Allen, Emma’s sister, listed as single and not in employment. By 1901 the Furneaux family had moved to 48, Ommaney Road in the prosperous area of Deptford. The household included William working as an Elementary Teacher, his wife Emma, and their children, Ethel who was not in employment, Winifred who was working as a Pupil Teacher aged eighteen, William Russell who was working as an engineer’s apprentice, Lilian, who at fifteen may have still been in education, and William’s niece Lucy who was aged six. Lucy had gone to live with William and Emma when her father Christopher contracted Tuberculosis around 1900. After contracting TB, Christopher Furneaux sold his house in the fairy comfortable area of Walworth in South London and bought a grocer’s shop in Peckham, which was intended to provide for the family with an income after his death.
Information from William and Emma’s eldest daughter May states that William taught at an Elementary School when they first moved to London but after a few years he became the Science Master at Peckham Pupil Teachers Centre. The obituary of William Furneaux states that when he went to London he taught science successfully for many years, first as lecturer at the Pupil Teachers Training Centre at Peckham, later becoming principle of the Science and Evening Institute at Peckham, after which he became a lecturer at the Teacher’s Day Training Centre at Islington. May also states that although her mother had taught in Devon, she had not continued teaching after their move to London, and that she was not very strong and always had a maid to carry out the heavier household tasks. Sadly, Emma died in the March quarter of 1910 at the age of just fifty-four.
In 1910 William was lecturing at Goldsmith’s College, part of the University of London. The College had been set up in 1891 by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmith’s as its Technical and Recreative Institute to provide educational opportunities for the people of New Cross, being dedicated to the ‘promotion of technical skill, knowledge, health and general well-being among men and women of the industrial, working and artisan classes’. Broad subject teaching was supplemented by certificates and prizes awarded by the City and Guilds Institute, the government Science and Art Department and the Society of Arts. Instruction was also given for London University pass degrees in Science. Activities of the Institute also included a School of Art and a series of evening classes. All this was funded by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmith’s, and by 1900 over 7,000 students had enrolled, being also attracted by thriving social, sporting and academic clubs and societies. The Geology Club was probably one of the academic clubs that Arthur Allen attended when he stayed with the Furneaux family in 1904 (see below).
The governing body of the Institute consisted of the Prime Warden and Wardens of the Company, seven members of its Court and six co-opted members, but the day-to-day running of the Institute was left to the Secretary and one hundred and fifty staff. In 1904 the University of London acquired the Institute and re-established it as Goldsmith’s College, being divided into three functions, the Training Department, the School of Art, and the Evening Department. It had also already been decided that the Institute was to become a Teacher Training College, where students would take the two-year Certificate of Education course.
It is interesting to note that around this date William Furneaux published two examination course-work books, ‘Elementary Science for the Preliminary Certificate examination, Section C, Plant and Animal Life’, and ‘Certificate Elementary Science, part II, Biology, Plant and Animal Life’, both published in 1906. It is also likely that the Pupil Teachers Training Centre, the Science and Evening Institute, and the Teacher’s Day Training Centre referred to by May (above) were actually all connected with Goldsmith’s College.
In August 1910, when William’s daughter Ethel married, the Furneaux family were living at 60, Trinity Road, Tulse Hill, Norwood. However, by 1911 William had moved to 132, Jerningham Road, New Cross, London, and the household included William as head, working as a Training College Lecturer for the County Council, Ethel and her husband Francis Case, who was working as a clerk for the Gas Meter Testing Corporation, William’s niece Lucy who was still at school, and a servant called Florence Ekins. It is therefore evident that by 1911 all the Furneaux children, except Ethel, had left the family home and gone their separate ways.
The Furneaux children
May was the eldest daughter of William and Emma and went to Peckham Pupil Teachers Centre between the ages of eight and thirteen (1888-1893). Between 1899 and 1901 May was a student at Homerton College, Cambridge, studying an Honours course in human physiology and chemistry but didn’t take a degree as she had no desire to study Latin. She then went on to teach for six years in London. In 1903, May met up with her cousin Arthur Allen when he visited the Furneaux family in London, as he had been teaching in Wigan in Lancashire. Whilst in London Arthur attended what May called the ‘Science School’ where her father William taught and Arthur also joined the Geology Club (see above). In 1905 May and Arthur became engaged, however, in 1906 Arthur went to Canada to join his brother Frederick who had already emigrated, acquiring a farm out there in 1904.
In 1907 May left England for Canada and married Arthur Allen on 23rd July 1907. May and Arthur had three children, Ethel born in 1908, Jack born in 1909 and Harry (birth date unknown). In 1912, at the request and expense of her father, May managed to visit England. However, she returned to Canada and after struggling unsuccessfully with farming until 1917, May and Arthur moved to Boggy in the Saskatchewan province, where Arthur’s brother Frederick had obtained a homestead through a political friend for whom he was to graze a herd of cattle. This gave the Allen’s a living but no money to spare. May eventually got a teaching job locally and became head teacher at Silverwood School in Silverwood Heights, Saskatchewan. Finally in 1920, May secured a post as a teacher in Togo in Saskatchewan, leaving Arthur on the farm. At this date May felt that she was able to pay back her debts to her father who’d financed her visit to England in 1912.
Arthur eventually gave up farming and joined May in Togo, taking work for the first winter as care-taker of the local rink. He then went back to teaching for a short time and later managed a general store. Unfortunately, their life together in Togo was short as Arthur died after septicaemia set in following a minor operation in 1929.
In 1933 May had enough money to build a cottage that she called ‘Penlee’, which she later sold to John Krupp, a relation of one of her daughter-in-laws. May continued teaching long into her seventies, taking her last appointment in 1958 at Westerham School in Vancouver, and in her ninetieth year she wrote her autobiography.
Ethel, William and Emma’s second daughter, married Francis John Case on 6th August 1910 at Roupell Park Methodist Church in West Norwood, Surrey. At the time of their marriage, Ethel was living at 16, Sherwood Road, Addiscombe, Surrey. Francis had been born on 2nd August 1877 at Nunhead, Camberwell, the son of George Case and his wife Elizabeth (known as Betsey) née Harley. Apart from Francis, George and Betsey had at least three other children, George James born on 17th February 1868 but who sadly died in 1869, Frederick born in February/March 1871 and Albert Edward born 4th August 1874. George James was christened in Luton, but the remaining two boys were christened in Henlow in Bedfordshire. In 1871 George Case was working as a Police Constable and his wife Betsey as a straw winder, then some time between 1874 and 1877 the Case family moved to 1, New James Street, Camberwell, and in 1881George was working as a general labourer. By 1891 the Case family had moved to 52, Howbury Road, Camberwell, now part of Peckham. George was still working as a labourer, and his son Frederick was a grocer’s assistant, Albert was working as a plumber and Francis was working as an office boy. By 1901 the Case family were living at 7, Wroxton Road in Camberwell, George working as a builder’s labourer and Francis, who was still living at home, was working as a clerk in a gas meter testing office.
In 1910, at the time of Francis’ marriage to Ethel Furneaux, he was working as a Municipal Clerk. In 1912, Ethel and Francis were still living at 132, Jerningham Road, when they had their first child, Francis Henry born in 26th May 1912, and four years later they had a daughter, Lucy Muriel (known as Muriel), born on 30th April 1916.
In 1914 when World War I broke out Francis Case did not voluntarily enlist as he had been a lifelong pacifist, however, when conscription was introduced in 1916 Francis enlisted in Croydon, giving his address as Addiscombe. Francis served as Private no. 201910 in the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) in Germany. Sadly Francis died as a POW on 3rd August 1918 in Kiel. Five years later, a government decision was taken that the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who had died all over Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries, and as such, the remains of Francis John Case were moved to the Hamburg Cemetery.
Ethel, widowed with two young children, remained in Addiscombe until 1923 when she moved to Felbridge, buying 26, Rowplatt Lane, from Mrs Florence Ruby Reynolds, also a widow, of 43, Beatrice Avenue, Norbury in Surrey, for the sum of £475. At the time of purchase Ethel and her family were living at 10, Sissinghurst Road, Addiscombe, and upon moving to Felbridge, Ethel named her new property in Rowplatt Lane ‘Sissinghurst’.
At the time of purchasing the house it was described as being ‘Situate in Rowplatt Lane, Felbridge, in a pleasant rural position, about 2 miles from East Grinstead, close to the bus route, and about half a mile from Felbridge Church, and within a few minutes walk of the Post Office and General Stores’. The description of the house details continued:
An attractive semi-detached cottage residence, built of bricks, rough cast, and with tiled roof.
Entrance porch, Sitting Room about 12ft x 15ft 6ins (3.7m x4.8m) fitted modern stove. Three bedrooms measuring respectively about 15ft 6ins x 10ft 6ins (4.8m x3.2m), 13ft x 7ft 6ins (4m x 2.3m) and 6ft 3ins x 7ft (1.9m x2.2m).
Kitchen-Scullery. Small larder and cupboards.
Bathroom and W.C.
Company’s water. Cesspool drainage. Gas
Electric light available.
Good garden with a depth of about 280 feet (86.2m)
Ethel and her children remained at ‘Sissinghurst’, 26, Rowplatt Lane, until about 1928/9 when they moved to ‘Penlee’ where her father William Furneaux lived, putting their house on the market. However, house prices were in decline and William advised Ethel to hold out for the best possible price but unfortunately, after holding out for some considerable time, Ethel eventually sold 26, Rowplatt Lane, on 7th January 1932 to Mrs Lillian Eliza Lawrence, a widow of ‘Coldhabour Cottage’, Sharpthorne, for the sum of £400.
In 1937 William conveyed ‘Penlee’ to Ethel who continued to live with her father until his death (for further details see below). As for Ethel’s two children, Francis went on to become a Methodist Minister and married Nora Laughlin in Chelmsford in Essex, and Muriel trained as a psychiatric nurse, later becoming a sister tutor at various hospitals around the South East of England, and never married. Muriel inherited a keen interest in natural history from her grandfather William, particularly an interest in botany, and in her retirement contributed several records of her botanical findings to Sussex Flora, the publication of the Sussex Botanical Recording Society.
In 1939 Ethel bought a plot of land off Copthorne Road on which she had built a new house called ‘Penlee’ but by 1943 Ethel had moved to Vicarage Road, Crawley Down, calling her latest home ‘Penlee’ as well. Ethel later moved to a Methodist run home for the elderly in Cliffdene in Tankerton, Kent, where she died in February 1962 aged eighty.
Winifred was the third daughter of William and Emma; in 1901 she was working as a pupil teacher. Six years later Winifred married Percy William Freudemacher in the June quarter of 1907 and settled at 34, Bargery Road, Croydon. Percy had been born in 1879, being christened at St Saviour, London. However, with the outbreak of World War I, Percy changed their German sounding surname to Rockingham. Little is known about Winifred and Percy’s married life except that they adopted a girl named Iris and in 1916 had a son called Raymond Furneaux, both carrying the Rockingham surname.
William Russell Furneaux
William, known as Russell, was the fourth child of William and Emma, being their first and only son. In 1901 he was an engineer’s apprentice and was living with the Furneaux family at 48, Ommaney Road, Deptford. However,he emigrated to Canada, arriving at Quebecshortly after this date and there is family speculation that he accompanied his sister May to Canadawhen she returned in 1912. In 1916 Russell was living in Souris in the province of Manitoba, and on 14th February 1918 Russell married Agnes Beatrice Watson in Winnipeg, in the province of Manitoba. Four months later Russell enlisted in the Canadian forces being recruited on 5th June 1918. His recruitment papers describe Russell as married, aged thirty-one years six months, five foot five inches tall, with a chest size of thirty-six inches, sallow complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. At the time of his recruitment he was living at 236, Good Street, Winnipeg, and was working as a machinist.
Lilian Florence Furneaux
Lilian known as Lily, was the last surviving child of William and Emma, and married Joseph Arnold Dunn in the December quarter of 1908 in Camberwell. In 1911 Lilian and Joseph were living at Avignon Road, Brockley, the census reveals that Joseph was aged forty-three, (nineteen years older than Lilian), and was employed as a Company Secretary. Little else is known about Lilian and Joseph except that they later moved to Balham where they lived for a number of years.
William Samuel Furneaux moves to Felbridge
On 17th May 1912 William bought a piece of land off Crawley Down Road, being part of the Felbridge Place estate (for full details see below). Initially he used to cycle down at weekends from Addiscombe where he lived, before retiring to live in the property from about 1913, calling it ‘Penlee’. His grand-daughter recalls that he affectionately described the property as a ‘small cottage and a cabbage patch’.
During William’s life as a school master, science teacher and lecturer he had also written and published an extensive list of books on natural history and human biology (see Appendix) and when he retired from lecturing he still continued to write, publishing at least two books whilst living in Felbridge. As well as writing the books he also took many of the photographs that he used to illustrate the text, including the magnificent old yew tree that grew on the boundary of the garden at ‘Penlee’, which he used in Countryside Rambles published in 1920 (see below). The obituary that appeared in the scientific journal Nature makes comment about the books he wrote, stating:
‘He [William Furneaux] had the knack of writing just the sort of succinct and well-illustrated practical book which stimulated the young collector to hunt the spoils and afterwards to pore over the naming of them; and his publishers aided and abetted with that profusion of coloured plates which add attractiveness to utility. “The Outdoor World” (1893), one of the best in the series was followed by accounts of “Life in ponds and streams” (1896), “The Seashore” (1903), and “Field and Woodland plants” (1909), and these and other works such as “Butterflies and moths” (1894) must have opened up new worlds for young naturalists of two generations. It says something of their quality that they are still amongst the best British books for their purpose’.
Added to this, ‘Philip’s Anatomical Model of the Female Human Body’ and ‘Philip’s Popular Manikin or Model of the Human Body’, two volumes edited by William Furneaux, were still being published in 1958, and William Furneaux’s ‘Human Physiology’ (nurses edition), which was already on its sixth edition in 1895, was revised and still being published in 2004.
One of the books that William wrote whilst living in Felbridge was ‘Countryside Rambles’. The book is written in a very readable style, almost poetic, and is illustrated with a series of line drawings, and black and white photographs that he took himself, including the old yew tree on the boundary of his garden at ‘Penlee’. The book shows that William Furneaux observed nature in minute detail. It is a delight to read and is written with so much enthusiasm for the subject that it couldn’t fail to encourage anyone to observe the natural world as he did. The book also offers a very good comparison of what was easily observable in his time with that of today, for example grass snakes, vipers (adders), lizards, slow worms, hedgehogs, and large flocks of woodcock, were all considered common fauna in his era but are fairly elusiveness in Felbridge today. Many of these he tamed and kept as ‘pets’, enabling him to observe their behaviour when ever he pleased. Other animals, such as bats, he caught, observed and then released again, however, moths and butterflies were not so lucky! His book also goes into great detail on how to observe wasps in the comfort of your ‘home’ by collecting a nest of them from the wild and putting it into a glass box. Common species of flora he observed included wild pear, wild medlar, and elms ‘in abundance’, the latter virtually wiped out by disease by the end of the 20th century. It is also interesting to note the weather he experienced in various months as compared to the present, frost from October, and early autumn and late spring snow storms, not to mention catkins that bloomed in April to May, which currently show their tails as early as December and have disappeared by April.
In 1928/9 William was joined at ‘Penlee’ by his widowed daughter Ethel and her two children Francis and Muriel. Muriel recalls that ‘aunt Lucy’ also lived with them at ‘Penlee’, not permanently but for long stretches at a time before moving on to another branch of the family, the life she would appear to have lived since leaving her parent’s home in 1900. Muriel believes that Lucy’s life illustrates the difficulties faced by single woman of that period, in that they had no option but to stay with various branches of the family for months at a time.
In 1928 Muriel went to East Grinstead Grammar School at Windmill Lane and recalls that student’s often visited her grandfather and would call him ‘Daddy Furneaux’. She also recalls that apart from natural history, her grandfather was very fond of sundials which were given pride of place in the garden.
In the 1930’s, although no longer lecturing, William still found time to enthuse and educate children from the local school at Felbridge with visits to his garden at ‘Penlee’, and it is probably due to these visits that he acquired the title of ‘Professor’ by which he was known locally, although there is no known record of him becoming a professor during his working life. An account of one such visit comes from a former pupil of Felbridge School who visited ‘Penlee’ circa 1937/8:
‘When I was eight or nine, at the height of summer, the seniors of Felbridge School took a walk down to Professor Furneaux’s house and were shown round the garden. There was a lovely lily pond full of bright flowers and a deep snake pit with straight sides and rocks and ferns at the bottom. Although I looked carefully I couldn’t see any snakes and was told they liked the shade on hot days. There was a maze of high clipped hedges in the garden and we each took partners, my partner was Ethel Carey, and we were the first to find the way to the centre. Oh happy days! We also had a walk through the wood behind the house and were shown some of the rare trees including the Liriodendron or Tulip Tree, which was still standing just before the house was last sold. The Professor was said to have one of every tree that would grow in the British Isles, but I can’t recall what the man himself looked like. Years later, at a car boot sale I noticed a book on zoology by somebody Furneaux, with hindsight I wished I’d bought it as it was too much of a coincidence not to have been written by him’.
On 16th February 1937, William conveyed ‘Penlee’ to his daughter Ethel. Two years later William’s daughter Ethel purchased a plot of land off Copthorne Road in Felbridge, on which a new property was built that she called ‘Penlee’ (further details below) selling the old ‘Penlee’ in Crawley Down Road. Unfortunately, a year later on 9th April 1940, William Samuel Furneaux died aged eighty-four.
Family tradition has it that as a child William Furneaux’s interest in natural history was probably inspired and influenced by the natural beauty and sights of Penlee Point, just across the estuary from his home in Devonport, Plymouth, a fondness reflected in the choice of ‘Penlee’ as the name he attached to most of the properties he owned.
Penlee Point is a coastal headland to the southeast of the village of Rame in southeast Cornwall, and stands at the entrance to Plymouth Sound. Originally a wild and natural headland it became home to a ‘mediaeval chapel’ built as a folly in the early 19th century for Princess Adelaide, the wife of Prince William who became William IV in 1830.
During the 19th century the town of Plymouth grew immensely to meet the huge labour demands of an expanding Devonport Dockyard. As can be seen from the census records, William’s father who was originally a skilled joiner and cabinet maker was employed at Devonport Dockyard as a joiner by 1871. During William’s childhood, Penlee Point and Rame Head, another local headland, became increasingly popular destinations for local families to enjoy lazy afternoons and picnics at the weekend. However the wild beauty of Penlee Point came to an end in 1889, ten years after William had moved to London, when a large battery was constructed on the headland, Penlee Point being in a strategic defensive position at the entrance to Plymouth Sound. Ten years later, in 1899, an un-climbable fence was constructed round the battery to protect it against assault, the site being still in use throughout both the First and Second World Wars.
Today, despite the large size of the Penlee Battery, it has almost totally disappeared beneath mounds of earth in a deliberate attempt to remove it from the landscape, and all that remains is one gun emplacement, some exposed concrete and lengths of rusting fence. The whole area has now been turned into a Nature Reserve, being home to a host of native flora and fauna, a very fitting un-acknowledged tribute to the life and works of William S Furneaux whose affection for the area he had known as a child was reflected in the choice of ‘Penlee’ as the name for several of his properties in later life.
‘Penlee’, Crawley Down Road
As established above, the property was purchased by William Furneaux on 17th May 1912 as a plot of land on which he had built a cottage, the property being named ‘Penlee’, as had his previous homes. At the time of purchase the property amounted to just short of eight-acres, having been put up for auction as part of the Felbridge Place estate in 1911. The estate had been purchased by George Gatty in 1856 from descendents of the Evelyn family, and on George’s death it passed to his son Charles who held it till his death in 1903 when it passed to two male cousins. In 1910 the estate was purchased by Mrs Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company and in 1911 it was divided up and offered for auction.
In 1911, the site of ‘Penlee’ was located in plot 234 amounting to just short of 7¾ acres, forming part of Lot 21 – Smithfield Farm, formerly Smithfield, which in 1911 totalled just over 89½ acres. At that time Smithfield Farm encompassed the area situated to south and east of Little Gibbshaven, off the Crawley Down Road [for further details see Handout, Little Gibbshaven, SJC 07/08]. In 1911 Smithfield Farm was under the tenancy of John Brooker [for further information see Handout, Golards Farm, SJC 11/07] although there was no main dwelling house on the site only some farm buildings that included a timber-built granary on brick piers with a tiled roof and a timber-built cattle lodge that was thatched, both standing within plot 234.
Plot 234 was bounded by Little Gibbshaven to the north and was described as arable, and the two farm buildings within the plot were located at the far western corner just north of the river that formed the western and southern boundary to the plot. Access to the plot could be gained via a small trackway leading off the Crawley Down Road that now runs between the two parts of the old Felbridge Nursery site.
Lot 21, Smithfield Farm (including plot 234) was offered for auction with an estimated sales value of between £1,500 and £2,000 but did not initially sell and was offered for auction again in 1912, the sale catalogue stating:
The pleasing undulations of the ground, and the extensive variety of scene offered by the intermingling of woodlands with pasture and arable, render this property peculiarly attractive. Its possibilities are great. It is really multum in parvo [much in little], and constitutes an exceptional self-contained domain capable of development both for pleasure and profit. Good main roads form its southern [sic] and western boundaries and a placid brook with pretty banks meanders through its northern [sic] part and forms a couple of small islets [small island] in its winding course.
It was at this auction that William Furneaux purchased plot 234, detaching it from the remainder of Smithfield Farm, which remained unsold to be auctioned again in 1918.
Unfortunately it has so far proved impossible to determine much of the early history of the site of ‘Penlee’ other than it formed part of a land holding that was called Husseys on the Bourd map, a map commissioned by Edward Evelyn in 1748 to show the extent of his estate after the purchase of the manor of Hedgecourt from the Gage family. Tracking back through the court records, Husseys was held as a freehold property by the manor of Hedgecourt from the manor of South Malling – Lindfield and in 1535 the court roll states the exact location of Husseys, a croft of land then known as Honeys or Honneys Croft alias Cuhling Croft, as having ‘on the north, Felbridge Heath, on the west, the road from Sherestones to Crawley Down, and on the south and east, land called Smythes Fourth [later known as Smithfields]’. In 1680, the Gage family, who owned the manor of Hedgecourt, are recorded as paying 5s 6d quit rent on a holding that included ‘Hussey’s alias Honeys, Brookes, Crawley and Shirleys’ in the rentals list for the manor of South Malling – Lindfield. This confirms that the property was held as a freehold of the manor of South Malling – Lindfield, and between 1567 and 1652 ‘Honneys Croft’ appears as one of the properties that formed the manor of Hedgecourt, describes as ‘the demesne lands of the manor of Hedgecourt, the lands of Hedgecourt Park, Coddinglighe [Cuttinglye] Park, Sharnowrs, Gages Meades, Cowper [Cooper’s] Hill, Tanners, Smythforde Court [Smithfields Farm], Honnyes, Warnetts Croft, the Tylt, and Myllwood [Furnace Wood]’.
There is also some evidence to suggest that the land holding of Husseys may have originally included Little Gibbshaven but at some point in time, not yet established, Husseys was divided and Little Gibbshaven became an entity in its own right whilst the remainder of the land (the site of ‘Penlee’) was incorporated into Smithfield. This was certainly the case by 1895 when Little Gibbshaven was offered for sale along side Gibbshaven Farm.
There was no dwelling recorded on plot 234 in the 1911 or 1912 auction details, nor does one appear on either of the sale plans, and the family recollections that William Furneaux cycled down from Addiscombe to Felbridge at the weekends was probably to over-see the construction of his ‘small cottage’ whilst he tended his ‘cabbage patch’. When William moved permanently into ‘Penlee’ he set about establishing an arboretum, collecting one of every variety of British trees, he succeeded in collecting fifty of the fifty three species he was aiming for, many of which are still growing. He also created the maze that so fascinated the children on their visit from Felbridge School in the 1930’s. He constructed an ornamental pond, built a aviary in which he kept canaries and, what was described by the children from Felbridge School after their visit, a ‘snake pit’ in which he kept lizards, grass snakes and adders he had collected. William’s grand-daughter does not remember it being called a snake pit but confirmed that he did keep snakes and lizards, which she recalled lived on a rockery situated in the middle of the ornamental pond. Near to the house, William constructed a circular darkroom where he not only processed his own photographs but also taught his grandchildren the process. Further from the house a tennis court was installed and on land leading down to the stream William dug out a large area as a rockery with a moat round it but could not find any rocks!
Around 1928/9 William had ‘Penlee’ extended by the construction of a separate single storey structure into which he later moved, whilst his widowed daughter Ethel and her two children moved into the original house. Whilst living with him William taught his grandchildren a great deal about natural history, particularly in the Furnace Wood and Hedgecourt Lake areas of Felbridge. William’s grand-daughter Muriel recalled that the garden at ‘Penlee’ ran down to the stream and that William dammed it to make a small bathing pool on which he also kept a punt. She also recalls that when they were living at ‘Penlee’, besides the snakes and lizards, they kept goats. On a more exotic note, Muriel said that her grandfather had a monkey, confirmed by the postman of the time who always had to be vigilant because ‘monkeys roamed the grounds’. Unfortunately, Muriel cannot remember what happened to the monkey/monkeys, but does remember that in the spring the grounds, particularly near the banks of the stream, were a mass of wild daffodils.
By the end of the 1930’s both of Ethel’s children had left home and in 1939 Ethel purchased a plot of land off Copthorne Road on which she had built their second ‘Penlee’ in Felbridge (for further details see below). As for their original ‘Penlee’ property in Felbridge it was sold to George Wallace Anderson, known locally as Colonel Anderson, on 26th October 1939. From the schedule of deeds for the new ‘Penlee’, it would appear that William and Ethel may have had to take temporary accommodation in the cottage at Felbridge Nursery until the completion of their new house as this is the address given by William, as a witness to Ethel’s signature, on 28th March 1940.
‘Penlee’ after the Furneauxs
George Wallace Anderson
George Wallace Anderson was born in Essex in the September quarter of 1905, the son of George Wallace Anderson and his wife Mabel Frances M Bailey. George W Anderson [senior] had been born about 1877 in Fife in Scotland, the son of James Anderson, an engineer. By the age of fourteen George W Anderson [senior] was boarding at the Gainford Academy in Co. Durham. The fee paying school had been founded by Rev. William Bowman, a Congregational Minister, in 1818 and offered tuition in modern languages, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, surveying, history, drawing and sport. In 1881, there were seven masters and forty boarders, and the school had five classrooms, a cricket pitch, five tennis courts and a chemistry laboratory.
By 1891 George W Anderson [senior] had left the Durham area and was working as an engineer like his father James, boarding with the Coombe family at 24, Park Cottages, Ilford in Essex, and by the date of his marriage in 1902, George W’s address was given as 61, Hungerford Row, Holloway, London, still working as an engineer.
George W Anderson [senior] married Mabel Frances M Bailey on 29th March 1902 at the Parish Church of Walton le Soken (now Walton-on the-Naze) in Essex. Mabel was the daughter of Francis Hamilton Bailey and his wife Sarah Ann née Popperwell, and had been born in the June quarter of 1882 in Walton le Soken. Mabel’s siblings included; Edward George born in 1884, George William born in 1885, Elizabeth Pauline B born in 1886, and Rose Linton born in 1889. Unfortunately, Mabel’s mother Sarah died in the June quarter of 1897 aged just thirty-five, and Francis married Alice Maud Stone in the March quarter 1899, and they had Francis Hamilton born in 1899 and Alice Cuthbert born in 1903. In 1891 Mabel’s father Francis, originally from Portsmouth in Hampshire, was working as an iron moulder, who by 1901 had become an iron founder and by 1911, by then aged fifty-three, an engineers clerk (he possibly could have been a clerk for his engineer son-in-law George W Anderson) .
With the marriage of George W Anderson and Mabel, they both disappear from any currently available historical records. However, from the register of births it would appear that besides their son George Wallace, George and Mabel had three other children, Vera Maude born in 1902, Violet Sylvia born in 1903, and Francis Luke born in 1909, their births all registered in Tendring in Essex. It is also apparent from the 1911 census that they’d had another child, Melvena G who had been born in Portugal in 1904, as both Melvena and her brother George Wallace were living with Mabel’s father Francis Bailey and his second wife Sarah, George and Mabel Anderson being unrecorded in the census suggesting that they may not be in the country.
Although George Wallace Anderson [junior] was christened George Wallace, from later documents if would appear that he may have been known as Wallace as he signs G Wallace Anderson, and on 6th October 1938 he married Mary Elizabeth Pringle. Mary had been born on 14th November 1916, and was the daughter of Sir Norman Robert Pringle of Stichill (on the Boarders of Scotland), 8th Baronet, and his wife Florence Madge née Vaughan. Within a year of their marriage the Anderson’s purchased ‘Penlee’ on 19th July 1939, changing the name of the property to ‘Newhall’. The name change may have been made to avoid confusion with the Furneaux’s newly constructed ‘Penlee’ off Copthorne Road in Felbridge.
G Wallace and Mary Anderson had one child, Veronica Bethia who was born on 26th October 1939.
The birth certificate states that G Wallace Anderson was Second Lieutenant of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, confirming a military connection that had given rise to G Wallace Anderson being known locally as Colonel. Later G Wallace and Mary Anderson adopted a boy they named John Louis Wallace Anderson, who was born on 6th February 1950.
During his military career, G Wallace Anderson rose to the rank of Major (he never actually attained the position of Colonel), being awarded the Military Cross in July 1940, for gallant and distinguished service during active operations against the enemy whilst serving in the 50th Brigade, unit 4 of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. The recommendation paper states that: ‘On 21 May, near Arras Lt. [Lieutenant] Anderson showed conspicuous gallantry and coolness in reorganising his pl. [platoon] successfully withdrawing it in the face of enemy A.P.T.S. [Airborne Pointing and Tracking System] he then returned and organised the withdrawal of another pl. [platoon] which had lost its offr. [Officer]’, the recommendation for the Military Cross being made by the Commander of the 50th (Northumberland) Division.
The 50th (Northumberland) Infantry Division, formed out of the existing Territorial Army Division in 1939 and later organised as a motor division, took part in a plan by General Weygand to close the Peronne – Cambrai gap, in the front line. This had been pierced by a German spearhead that was threatening Boulogne and Calais, potentially cutting the B.E.F.’s (British Expeditionary Force) lines of communication and thus separating it from the main French Armies. On the afternoon of the 21st May, the 50th (Northumberland) Division and the 1st Tank Brigade were progressing south from Arras. The attack in which they were involved was to be the only large scale attack mounted by the B.E.F. during the campaign, and was to be manned by two infantry divisions comprising of 15,000 men. It was ultimately executed with just two infantry battalions supported by two tank regiments, totalling only 2,000 men reinforced by seventy-four tanks. The infantry battalions were split into two columns for the attack and both columns initially made good progress taking a number of German prisoners. However, they soon ran into German infantry and SS backed air-support, and took heavy losses. Fortunately, under French cover, the British troops were able to withdraw to their former positions during the night, and many of the Division were fortunate to get out at Dunkirk. It was as part of this campaign that G Wallace Anderson was awarded the Military Cross.
The Andersons remained at ‘Newhall’ until just before the end of World War II when they sold it to Grahame Herbert Perry who changed the property’s name to ‘Thicket Cottage’. As for the Andersons, G Wallace Anderson filed for divorce in 1963, after which Mary married Captain R M Roberts. George Wallace Anderson died at the age of eighty on 29th July 1985 in Gosport, Hampshire.
Grahame Herbert Perry
Grahame Herbert Perry was born Herbert Grahame Perry in the March quarter 1893, the son of Alfred Ernest Perry and his wife Annie. Alfred Perry, a commercial traveller, had married Annie Emma Pell in the September quarter of 1889 in the Royston registration district of Hertfordshire. Alfred had been born on 21st October 1865, the son of Alfred and Edith Perry, being christened on 17th July 1866 at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, at Clifton in Gloucestershire. Annie had been born in the September quarter of 1869, in Manchester; no further details have yet surfaced on Annie.
Apart from Grahame (Herbert), Alfred and Annie Perry had a second child, Mildred Edith born in 1895, and in 1901 Annie is recorded as living at 21, Beech Grove, Seaforth in Lancashire, with their two children and her aunt, Maria Burnett. At the time of the census Alfred Perry was living with his brother Samuel, also a commercial traveller, and his family in Bristol.
In 1913, Grahame (Herbert) Perry graduated from Kelham Theological College in Nottinghamshire, becoming deacon and then priest at Lichfield in Staffordshire. Between 1917 and 1919 Grahame was curate of Horninglow in Staffordshire, and in 1918 gave his address as 240,Calais Road, Horninglow,Burton-on-Trent. Between 1920 and 1924 Grahame was curate at St Michael the Archangel at Bishopston, Bristol.
On 14th June 1921, Grahame married Lucy Forbes at St John’s Church, Horninglow, Lucy having been born in Burton-upon-Trent, in the September quarter of 1891, the daughter of Thomas Forbes, a joiner. At the time of their marriage, Grahame was living at 95, Brigland Avenue, Bishopston, and Lucy was living at 128, Tatbury Road, Horninglow. Grahame and Lucy had two children, Nanette F born in 1922 and Hilary B born in 1924, both born in the registration district of Bristol.
In 1924 Grahame Perry left St Michael the Archangel, Bishopston, moving to St David’s at Exeter, where he also became the Clerical Organising Secretary of the Board of Finance for the Diocese of Exeter between 1924 and 1927, giving his address in 1927 as Church House, Exeter. Between 1927 and 1934, Grahame was on the Southwark Board of Finance and was the secretary of the South London Church Fund, and between 1930 and 1934 Grahame was also editor for the Southwark Diocese Directory, being appointed Bishop of Southwark’s Council for New Districts in 1934, becoming the Secretary of the Diocese Fund between 1934 and 1937. Grahame gave his address as SPCK House, Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2, between 1930 and 1932, and 33, Bedford Square, London, WC1 in 1937.
At the time of purchasing ‘Thicket Cottage’ on 5th April 1945, Grahame Perry was the vicar of St Mary’s Church, Willesden in Middlesex, having succeeded Arthur Edward Smith as vicar in 1937. From entries in the Telephone Directories it would appear that Grahame Perry was living at ‘Thicket Cottage’, or at least paid the telephone bill for the property, whilst being attached to the church in Willesden. Grahame Perry continued to serve as the vicar of St Mary’s until 1948 when he was succeeded by Ronald Matthews, and in 1949 he sold ‘Thicket Cottage’ to Bernard Maurice Bardwell, taking the post of minister at Old Dalby in Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, a position Grahame Perry held until 1951, when he died at the age of fifty-nine.
Bernard Maurice Bardwell
At the time of purchasing ‘Thicket Cottage’ on 28th February 1949, Bernard Bardwell was a bank official for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Bernard Bardwell had been born in the December quarter of 1901 in Richmond, Surrey. In 1930 he married Marjorie Nellie Harrington in the registration district of Brentford in Middlesex, and they had two sons, Michael and Anthony (nick-named Rupert because of his likeness with the bear).
Whilst living in Felbridge the two boys joined the Lake View Drama and Social Club, appearing in several short sketches and pantomimes, with Mrs Coralie Bardwell assisting with costumes and make-up [for further details see Handout, Lake View Drama Club, SJC 01/02 and Special Lake View Review SP 11/01]. Mrs Coralie Bardwell was locally known to have once been ‘a bit of an actress’ and was also referred to as Michael and Anthony’s mother. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to establish the reason for the two different names for Mrs Bardwell.
The Bardwell family lived at ‘Thicket Cottage’ for just over fourteen years, but in 1963, Bernard Bardwell, recorded as a retired bank official, sold the house and part of the land to Leslie Stone and his wife Mildred Gwendoline (known as Gwen) for the sum of £7,750. The part of the ‘Thicket Cottage’ site retained by Bernard Bardwell included the trackway down to the property, over which the Stones were given access, and a strip of land 160ft (125m) wide extending to approximately 300ft (234.6m), at the eastern side of the plot. The intention of retaining this plot was to enable Bernard’s two sons to each construct a house there at some point in the future. However, it would appear from the schedule of deeds that none of the Bardwell family collected any rent or showed any interest in the plot, and due to their lack of interest or involvement the land was legally reverted back to being part of the property of ‘Thicket Cottage’.
Leslie and Gwen Stone
At the time of purchase on 21st August 1963, Leslie Stone was recorded as a Company Director, the couple’s address given as 27, Belmont Road, Wallington in Surrey. Gwen Stone is remembered as being a teacher at Imberhorne School but sadly died relatively early, leaving several young children. However, the Stone family remained at ‘Thicket Cottage’ until 1993 when Leslie Stone sold the property to J Sainsbury’s.
Thicket Cottage in recent years
The purchase by J Sainsbury’s in 1993 was made at a time when out-of-town shops and shopping centres were on the increase and Sainsbury’s purchased the site as a potential out-of-town supermarket. However, with a change of government ideas this concept fell through and ‘Thicket Cottage’ stood empty, save for occasional members of Sainsbury’s staff that were housed there for brief periods of time. Eventually the house stood permanently empty and the grounds became over-grown and entangled until it was put on the market in July 1998, the property described as a:
Detached character chalet-style home needs modernisation
Offers are invited for the freehold of this five bedroom detached character chalet-style house in Crawley Down Road, with gardens and grounds of approximately eight acres.
It occupies a mature, established position, set well back, screened from the road and generally not overlooked.
The property requires modernisation and improvement having been neglected for a number of years, although the mature grounds, with some work, would form an attractive setting for a detached country house.
Accommodation includes a dining room, sitting room with patio doors and woodblock flooring, boiler room with oil fired boiler, study, kitchen with range of units and appliance space and utility room off, bedroom 1 with built-in wardrobe, bedroom 2 with French doors to the garden, bathroom with coloured suite, separate WC and shower room.
On the first floor are bedrooms 3, 4 and 5.
There is a detached double garage and the property is approached over a long drive, now overgrown, with gravelled turning area and mature gardens which also have been left to run wild. There is also light woodland.
In 1998 when ‘Thicket Cottage’ was put on the market the property was in a very sorry state after several years of neglect. The driveway was reduced to a narrow path through the undergrowth leading to the gate. The driveway, covered with tall grasses, then continued to the garage area where one set of doors were half-hung. The small courtyard to the left of the garage, leading to the main entrance, was overgrown with clumps of day lilies and a small forest of self sown birch trees, one of which had reached the height of the roof-line. Sections of the original roof were leaking resulting in large areas of the floor having rotted. The house itself nestled in a field of grasses, punctuated by a sporadic cultivated plant and every window and patio door was boarded up. The garden still contained many of the species trees that William Furneaux had planted to create his arboretum, including the Tulip Tree that had grown into a magnificent specimen. However, the tennis court and maze were no longer discernable. The circular ornamental fish pond was evident but contained no water, only tall grass, and the ‘snake pit’ was also discernable but covered with a mass of tangled brambles.
‘Thicket Cottage’ remained on the market until April 1999 when it eventually sold, the property being gradually renovated and restored by its current owners.
Today, the plot is run as a small-holding, with a newly cultivated ‘cabbage patch’ and goats, as well as sheep, chicken and ducks, even grass snakes and adders have been seen on the property. There are tantalising fragments of the ornamental fish pond, ‘snake pit’ and moated rockery visible beneath the undergrowth and the circular darkroom which had long since lost its roof, has been converted as a dog kennel. Unfortunately, there is no sign of the tennis court or bathing pool and all that remains of the maze of high clipped hedging are a few straggly privet bushes competing for light under the woodland canopy that has grown up around it. However, despite many trees being brought down in the storm of 1987, some of the trees planted by William Furneaux are still standing including the Liriodendron or Tulip Tree, and the magnificent yew tree, used to illustrate his book of ‘Countryside Rambles’ published in 1920, still stands on the boundary.
‘Penlee’, Copthorne Road
The site of the second ‘Penlee’ in Felbridge was purchased in January 1939 by William Furneaux’s daughter Ethel, being ‘plot 3’ of a five plot development proposed on land put up for sale by Mrs Lydia Frost Chinneck, the widow of Robert Percy Chinneck, late of Merle Cottage, Crawley Down Road.
The land put up for sale by Lydia Chinneck once formed part of the Evelyn Estate in Felbridge, being originally part of two fields that were enclosed off the common just prior to 1742 [for further details see Handout, Another Biography from the Churchyard of St John the Divine – James Osborn Spong, SJC 05/04, FHA] together with a section of the common abutting the fields. As with the site of the previous ‘Penlee’ in Felbridge, the Evelyn Estate was purchased by George Gatty in 1856 and passed to his son Charles who held it till his death in 1903 when it passed to two male cousins. In 1910 the estate was purchased by Mrs Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company and in 1911 it was divided up and offered for auction. It would appear that the site of the new ‘Penlee’ once formed part of the common to the north of Upper and Lower Warren fields, the whole area being purchased by Edwin Chaffey on 30th June 1911 [for further information see Handout, The Felbridge Triangle and Development of Warren House Farm].
It has not been possible to trace Edwin Chaffey but in 1911 he purchased part of the Felbridge Place estate. Then in 1916 he put his land holding of Upper Warren field including a farmhouse (now the site of Warren close), Lower Warren field and the woodland called New Field Wood, up for auction, the former field and farmhouse being purchased by James Osborn Spong [for further information see Handout, James Osborn Spong, SJC 05/04], and the latter, together with New Field Wood, purchased by Robert Percy Chinneck.
Robert Percy Chinneck
Robert Chinneck had been born in Dawlish, Devon, in 1882 and married Lydia Frost Dodd in the September quarter of 1905 in Exeter, Lydia having been born in Totnes, Devon, in 1880 [for further information on Robert see Handout, The Felbridge Triangle and Development of Warren House Farm]. Robert and Lydia had two children, John Elston (known as Jack) born in 1907 and Muriel Winifred (known as Jill) born in 1908, both born in the registration district of Wrexham, Clwyd. After moving to Felbridge in 1916, the Chinneck’s lived at ‘Merle Cottage’, Crawley Down Road (now the site of McIver Close), and after the death of Robert Chinneck in 1928, the property passed to his widow Lydia, who kept it until 1934 when she sold what was then known as plot 200, abutting the Copthorne Road at the junction with Rowplatt Lane, retaining what were known as plots 205, abutting the Copthorne Road (including the woodland behind the Felbridge Village Hall), and part of plot 208, the site of the Village Hall and grounds.
In 1934 Sydney Joseph Wood, as personal representative of Robert Chinneck, deceased, and on behalf of Lydia Chinneck, put plots 205 and 208 up for auction, the schedule and sale plan containing twenty-one lettings. However, it would appear that only letting 8, part of New Fields Wood that became known as The Glades, sold on 11th June 1934, which increased the grounds of Felbridge School [for further details see Handout, Felbridge School, SJC 09/05]. In January 1939, the remaining lettings were back on the market, but lettings 9 to 21 had been reduced in size by the loss of land to the rear of each. Evidence suggests that only the reduced sized lettings 18 to 21 actually sold at auction, and these were then drawn up as a proposed development of five plots to be known as The Crescent. It was ‘plot 3’ of the five plots that Ethel Case purchased, for the sum of £125, on 23rd October 1939 for the construction of the second ‘Penlee’ in Felbridge. Plot 3 included two of the one hundred and four Evelyn Chestnuts, which had been planted in two avenues to celebrate the return of the protestant monarchy in 1714 [for further information see Handout, Evelyn Chestnuts, JIC 09/00], and extended to a third of an acre.
The first and prominent line of the sales particulars for the plot, as with the other four plots, was: ‘Featuring the preservation for all time of the famous Evelyn Chestnuts’. The particulars then went on to state that the frontage would be from a private crescent, to which main water, electricity and gas had been laid, and that on the erection of all the buildings a road would be completed to ‘comply with Council requirements – 12ft roadway with 8ft grass verge and footpath’. The sales particulars also outlined certain stipulations for development of each plot that included:
Ethel Case, the daughter of William Samuel Furneaux (see above), commissioned E J Mills, a builder and contractor of Felbridge, to draw up plans for a new house to be built on ‘plot 3’. The proposed plan stated that the dwelling house would have 11ins thick brick cavity walls to the first floor and above that the walls would be 9ins and tile hung. The roofing tiles would be sand faced Keymers, and the damp course would be constructed as two courses of slates set in cement, the plans being approved by the District Council on 19th June 1939. The ground floor included a central hall with a kitchen to the left with a dining room behind. To the right of the hall was a drawing room with bedroom 4 behind. The first floor was accessed from stairs rising from the hall leading to a landing and bathroom, and off the landing to the left were bedrooms 1 and 2, and to the right bedroom 3 and second drawing room.
The general design of the property with two drawing rooms and a bedroom on the ground floor suggests that it was to allow Ethel and her aged father William to have separate accommodation under one roof, allowing each some independence from the other. Ethel sold the original ‘Penlee’ where she and her father were living in 1939 to George Wallace Anderson (see above). Unfortunately it has not yet been established when the new ‘Penlee’ was completed and as such, whether Ethel and her father, or just Ethel, made the move to the new ‘Penlee’, later called ‘Penlee Cottage’, as William Furneaux died in April 1940. However, by 1943 ‘Penlee Cottage’ was in the hands of Edward E Pells and Ethel Case was living in Vicarage Road in Crawley Down, calling her new home ‘Penlee’.
The second house called ‘Penlee’ in Felbridge recent years
In the absence of deeds for ‘Penlee Cottage’ it would appear from the available records, which include the Rates Books, Electoral Rolls and Telephone Directories, that the property was purchased by Edward E Pells around 1943 and functioned as a duel household until 1983, predominantly attracting purchasers who required dual living space under one roof.
Edward Pells was born on 17th November 1909 and married Phyllis Walsh in the December quarter of 1932 in Norfolk. In 1943 Edward Pells appears in the Telephone Book at ‘Penlee Cottage’; suggesting that he may have purchased the property, especially as Ethel Case was living in Crawley Down at that date, but he does not appear at ‘Penlee Cottage’ again until 1947, although his wife Phyllis was in residence in 1945, and it is possible as this time encompasses the war years that Edward Pells was away in military service. In the absence of Edward Pells, ‘Penlee Cottage’ was occupied by his wife Phyllis together with Richard B Lycett and his wife Elizabeth in 1945.
Little is known about Richard Lycett except that he had married Elizabeth Amanda L Parnell, a widow, in the March quarter of 1942 in Battersea. Elizabeth had been born Elizabeth Prescott on 22nd November 1900, and had married Eric A Parnell in the June quarter of 1923 in the Camberwell registration district. However, the Lycetts had moved on by 1946 and ‘Penlee Cottage’ was in the occupation of Kenneth J Harding and his wife Doris, but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to find any further conclusive information on the Hardings.
By 1947, Edward Pells had returned to the property and ‘Penlee Cottage’ and the Pells were in joint occupancy with the Hardings. However, in 1948, the Hardings had left and the Pells had been joined by Phyllis’s sister, Annie Walsh. The Pells remained at ‘Penlee Cottage’ until 1952 when they sold the property to Miss Margaret G E Bailey. As a point of interest, Edward Pells eventually died in Worthing at the age of ninety-three in 2003.
Margaret Gertrude Emma Bailey had been born in the December quarter of 1887, the daughter of John Hooley E Bailey and his wife Gertrude Elizabeth née Tetley. John Bailey, a clergyman, had married Gertrude in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, in 1885, and besides Margaret they had a son called Harold John E, born in 1886. It is not known what attracted Margaret Bailey to Felbridge but she lived at ‘Penlee Cottage’ until her death on 19th December 1974, her cremated remains buried at St John’s churchyard in 1975. During Margaret’s time at ‘Penlee’ she added a garage to the property in 1954. With the death of Margaret Bailey, ‘Penlee Cottage’ was put on the market being purchased on 11th April 1975 by Robert Arvon Longley, Cynthia Anne Longley and Elizabeth Longley, who were moving into Felbridge from the Smallfield area, where Elizabeth’s husband Joseph had been running a car hire business.
Robert Longley was born in the Reigate registration district on 8th April 1929, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Longley, Elizabeth being the third named purchaser. Elizabeth had been born Elizabeth Hughes on 15th June 1897 and had married Joseph Longley in the December quarter of 1924 at St Pancras. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to ascertain the relationship of Cynthia with Robert and Elizabeth Longley, although it is believed that she was Robert’s wife.
It is most likely that the Longley’s bought ‘Penlee Cottage’ because of it’s dual occupancy arrangement of separate households within one house to accommodate the needs of Robert and his wife, and that of his mother Elizabeth. Certainly the telephone directories confirm this with two telephone numbers allocated to the property, one under the name of Robert Longley and the other under the name of Elizabeth Longley.
In 1983, the Longley’s applied for planning consent to extend ‘Penlee Cottage’, which up until that point had remained unaltered since its construction for Ethel Case in 1939/40. Planning permission for a dining room extension was granted on 19th August 1983 but this was never carried out. Two years later Elizabeth Longley died in June 1985, and ‘Penlee Cottage’ was put up for sale being purchased by Clifford and Jean Hunt. Robert and Cynthia Longley moved to ‘Muddle Cottage’ at Shipley Bridge near Burstow, before retiring to the West Country where Robert died in March 2000.
Clifford Robert Hunt and his wife Jean Ann purchased ‘Penlee Cottage’ on 25th September 1985, but the house was let for the first couple of years whilst they lived in Jamaica. However, Jean Hunt returned to England with their two children in the early 1990’s and ran a beauty business from the house until it was sold on 21st April 1994 to the current owners.
At the time of sale in 1994, the sale particulars described the property as:
An older style four bedroomed detached house situated on a mature plot in a non estate location
Accommodation: Front door to:
Entrance Hall: With stairway to first floor, understair storage cupboard, door to:
Cloakroom: With low level w.c., wash hand basin with tiled splash back, window to rear.
Sitting Room: About 12ft 2ins x 11ft (3.7m x 3.3m). Fireplace with open hearth, Fench doors opening to rear.
Second Reception Room: About 11ft 2ins x 11ft 8ins (3.4m x 3.5m). Double aspect room, brickette fireplace with open hearth.
Third Reception Room: About 12ft x 10ft (3.6m x 3m). Window in front.
Kitchen/Breakfast Room: About 19ft x 9ft x 7ft 9ins at the most narrow point (5.8m x 2.7m x 2.3m). Measurement includes fitted units. Double drainer stainless steel sink unit with mixer tap and cupboards under, wall and base storage cupboards with working surface over, plumbing for washing machine, floor standing gas boiler for central heating and domestic hot water, phone point, [art tiled walls, two windows to front. Door opening to rear.
Landing: With window to front, hatch to loft.
Bedroom 1: About 12ft 2ins x 8ft 8ins (3.7m x 2.6m). Phone point, fitted wardrobes, double aspect room.
Bedroom 2: About 12ft 1ins x 9ft 11ins (3.6m x 3m). Window to rear, wash hand basin.
Bedroom 3: About 11ft x 10ft 10ins (3.4m x 3.3m). Window to rear, airing cupboard.
Bedroom 4: About 11ft x 9ft (3.4m x 2.7m). Eaves storage.
Bathroom: Pedestal wash hand basin, low level w.c., panelled bath, window to rear.
Outside: A gravel driveway gives access to the property and provides parking for several vehicles. The garden to the front is principally laid to lawn with flower beds and mature trees, there is a Garage about 18ft 6ins x 15ft (5.6m x 4.5m) with light and power and side personal door. Access front to rear.
Rear Garden principally laid to lawn, numerous mature trees, shrubs, plants and rhododendrons. The garden enjoys a south/southwest aspect.
‘Penlee Cottage’ today
The external appearance of the front of ‘Penlee Cottage’ remains relatively unchanged since Ethel Case had it built back in 1939. Internally the rooms are all exactly as the original build, except the kitchen area has been enlarged by the incorporation of the fuel store and larder, which were both knocked through in the Hunt’s time. The ‘back door’ has also been moved with the new entrance now located where the larder had been. Also, on the ground floor, the door to the drawing room has been made double, and a replacement garage, workshop and garden room were added in 2000. On the first floor there is a slight discrepancy in door positioning to the original plans but they seem to have always been in their current positions. Also a second staircase has now been added above the original to assist in access to the loft.
As for The Crescent, there is no sign of the ‘12ft roadway with 8ft grass verge and footpath’ that was stipulated to ‘comply with Council requirements’, only an un-made track. Also, the open space in front of the plots, which was to be maintained equally by the five house owners of The Crescent, some how ended up under the ownership of a resident of Park Cottage on the opposite side of Copthorne Road, although this has recently been purchased and is now under the ownership of the current owners of ‘Penlee Cottage’.
Today, the two Evelyn Chestnut’s still stand in the garden protected by the current owners supporting the stipulations stated in the 1939 sale.
Tobias Furneaux, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs
Cheltenham College – the First Hundred Years by Michael C Morgan
Obituary of William Samuel Furneaux, Nature, 8th June 1940, FHA
Goldsmith’s, University of London, www.gold/ac.uk
Census records, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911
Penlee Battery, www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk
Countryside Rambles, by W Furneaux
Documented memories of M Jones, FHA
Handout, Another Biography from the Churchyard of St John the Divine – James Osborn Spong, SJC 05/04, FHA
Felbridge Park Sale Catalogue and Plan, 1856, FHA
Felbridge Place Estate Sale Catalogue and Plan, 1911, FHA
Felbridge Place Estate Sale Catalogue and Plan, 1912, FHA
Handout, Little Gibbshaven, SJC 07/08, FHA
Handout, Golards Farm, SJC 11/07, FHA
Cuttinglye and Its Environs Sale Catalogue, 1918, FHA
Bourd Map, 1748, FHA
Hedgecourt Court Book, SAS/G43/84, ESRO
Hedgecourt Court Book, SAS/G43/30, ESRO
Rental list for the manor of South Malling – Lindfield, ACC/2327/1/5/1, ESRO
Gage/Thorpe Lease, SAS/G43/32, ESRO
Gage/Thorpe Lease, SAS/G43/122, ESRO
Gage/Thorpe Lease, SAS/G43/123-8, ESRO
Gibbshaven Farm Sale Catalogue, 1895, FHA
Documented memories of L M Case, FHA
Marriage certificate Anderson/Bailey, FHA
Secondary Education in England, 1870-1902, by John Roach
Pringle family, http://thepeerage.com
Birth certificate of Veronica Anderson, FHA
Supplement to the London Gazette, 11/7/40, FHA
Recommendation for Award paper, Ref: WO373/15, PRO
50th (Northumberland) Division, http://en.wikipedia.org
PO Directories 1937-1946
Death notice, Anderson, The Times Newspaper, 2/8/1985, FHA
Schedule of deeds for Thicket Cottage, FHA
GH Perry, entry in Crocksford’s Clerical Directory, 1932
Lake View Drama Club, SJC 01/02, Handout, FHG
Lake View Review, SP 11/01, Special, FHG
Vicar’s of St Mary’s, Willesdon, http://www.stmarywillesden.org
Sales particulars for Thicket Cottage, Local Newspaper article, July 1998, FHA
Handout, Felbridge School, SJC 09/05, FHA
Handout, The Felbridge Triangle, SJC 03/05, FHA
Chinneck family notes from A Chinneck, 2006, FHA
Evelyn Estate Sale Catalogue and Plan, 1939, FHA
Schedule of deeds for 39, Copthorne Road, FHA
Rate Books, 1936-72, Ref: 3293/5/34 – 72, SHC
Electoral Rolls 1946-60, Ref: CC802/57/3 – 71/9, SHC
Handout, Evelyn Chestnuts, JIC 09/00, FHA
Our thanks are extended to L Muriel Case, Brenda Welch and Robin Furneaux for their information about the Furneaux family and their time in Felbridge, Malcolm and Marie Hearne for information on ‘Thicket Cottage’, and Tony and Kay Probert for their information on ‘Penlee Cottage’.
Texts of all Handouts referred to in this document can be found on FHG website; www.felbridge.org.uk
List of publications by W S Furneaux
Animal Physiology, 1888
Elementary Chemistry, 1888
The Out-Door World, or Young Collectors Handbook, 1893
Philip’s Anatomical Model: a pictorial representation of the human frame and its organs, (descriptive text by Dr. Schmidt), 1893
Philip’s Anatomical Model of the Female Human Body, (edited by W S Furneaux), 1893
Butterflies and Moths (British), 1894
Anatomy of the Human Head and Neck, (English edition of a book by E O Schmidt), 1895
Human Physiology, (6th edition), 1895
Life in Ponds and Streams, 1896
Newton Science Readers, (edited by W S Furneaux and H R Wakefield), 1898
The Dog: it’s external and internal organisation, 1899
Elementary Practical Hygiene, 1901
Biology (Plant and Animal Life), 1905
Dr. Minder’s Anatomical Manikin of the Human body and the Female Body, (edited by W S Furneaux), 1905
Elementary Science for the Preliminary Certificate examination, Section C, Plant and Animal Life, 1906
Certificate Elementary Science, part II, Biology, Plant and Animal Life, 2nd edition, 1906
Field and Woodland Plants, 1909
Nature Study Guide, 1912
First Course in Plant and Animal Biology, 1914
Countryside Rambles, 1920
Philip’s Anatomical Model of the Female Human Body, (edited by W S Furneaux), 1958
Philip’s Popular Manikin or Model of the Human Body, (edited by W S Furneaux), 1958
Furneaux’s Human Physiology, 1960
Furneaux’s Human Physiology, (paperback), 2004