The Star

Star Inn

The Star Inn is situated at the junction of the A22, main London Road, with the A264, Copthorne Road, just north of the county boundary between Surrey and Sussex that runs through Felbridge.  At the time of building the Copthorne road was a mere track across Hedgecourt Common, and the main London Road would have been not much better.


The site of the Star Inn once formed part of the borough of Heath Hatch (sometimes referred to as Heythe Hatch), the southern most part of the manor of Lagham, stretching from Newchapel to Felbridge Water.  The earliest surviving Court Books for the manor of Lagham record that in 1560 Robert Reade ‘is a Common Brewer’ of Heath Hatch and ‘sells his ale’.  In 1561 Robert Reade was also listed as keeping a ‘Common Inn there [Heath Hatch] and sells both provender for cattle and other provisions and receives thereby expenses’.  Other ‘common brewers and tipplers of ale’ for the other boroughs of the manor of Lagham for 1561 were William Bedell, Joan Hart (widow), and John Ewden.  In 1562, Robert Reade and Nicholas Colgate are both recorded as keeping ‘Common Inns’ in Heath Hatch, where they ‘sell both provender for horses and other food and receive thereby excessive grain and therefore are each of them in money’, they were also both listed as ‘Common Bakers of bread’.  Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to determine the location of their ‘common inns’. 


To ensure that the ale being brewed and sold in the manor of Lagham was fit for consumption, the Court Books record the names of some of the ale tasters; 1559-60 Richard Slatter, 1561-2 Edward Brymstead and 1564-65 William Allforde.  There is then a large gap in the surviving Court Books until 1644 when Richard Rose was listed, being succeeded by Bartholomew Peake in 1646.  Bartholomew Peake also held the position in 1656 being succeeded by Francis Chippin until 1670 when he was succeeded by Henry Canfield.  In 1675 Thomas Peters succeeded Henry Canfield holding the position until 1690 when Henry Harward assumed the position of what was by then called ale conner and the record disappears.


An ale taster or ale conner, was an officer who was appointed annually at the court-leet of ancient English communities to ‘examine and assay beer and ale and to take care that they were good and wholesome, and sold at proper prices according to the assize, and also to present defaults of brewers to the next court-leet’.  When Robert Reade, William Bedell, Dan Hart widow and John Ewden appeared in the Court Book of Lagham in 1561 they were being presented by Edward Brymstead the ale taster, presumably for not complying with the production, quality or sale of their ale or beer as each were fined 2d!


The Court Book entries demonstrate that the brewing of ale and keeping of alehouses and inns in the Felbridge area can be traced back to at least 1560 and probably even earlier, although it has proved impossible to yet determine the exact location of any of these early establishments, but it would be nice to think that perhaps the Star Inn was one of them.


In 1748 the property now known as the Star Inn is depicted on the Bourd map, just east of the site of the Red Lion (see above), consisting of a dwelling house and barn on land known as ‘Tilts’, taking its name from a person and not the mediaeval sport.  The layout of the complex was very similar to that of the property in 2000, with the inn at the point of the junction and a stable block or coach-house running along what is now Copthorne Road.  The first documented use of the name – Star was in 1794, when the boundary of Godstone was walked and recorded and the area known as ‘The Star’ and ‘Star Garden’ were used as reference points for plotting the boundary.  As for the choice of name, ‘Star Inn’, it may be because the property is situated so close to the boundary between Surrey and Sussex as the symbol used for the badge of the Earls of Surrey and Sussex is a star. 


When built, the property was a timber frame construction with plaster infill that has been replaced with brickwork over the years.  The property was purchased by the Evelyn family in the late 16th century and continued to be owned by them, and all subsequent owners of Felbridge Park, until the break up and sale of the Felbridge Place estate in 1911 when it was bought by Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd. (further details to follow).


In the early 19th century the Star Inn saw extensive alterations and spent much of the 20th century as a public house under several tenancies, with only minor alterations.  However, under new ownership, the Star Inn saw major alterations to the complex in 2001 and currently offers both drinking and eating facilities where families are particularly welcome.



The main building is orientated approximately east-west and comprises of four bays 4.5m (14ft 6ins) in width.  There is little visible timber as the ground floor walls have been replaced by brickwork making interpretation very difficult.  The first floor has a tile hung exterior using pointed tiles.  The tiled roof is gabled at the east end and half hipped at the west end, the property is highly likely to have been re-roofed in the past century as the ridge and tiles are extremely uniform.  Early photographs show that there was a tall wooden finial mounted at the east end of the roof, now cut off at the gable.  The chimney stacks are large rectangular stacks reducing to two separate square stacks set on the angle which then rise a further 24 courses before being capped with a short pot.


Frame 1 is at the west end of the current roof and has a tile hung exterior.  Early photographs show there to have been a catslide roof extending from the west end of the roof, covering a ground floor outshot which has been removed.  There are no visible timbers within frame 1.


Bay 1 is 2.5m (8ft) long and is to the west of the chimney stack.  The bay is floored supported upon roughly shaped narrow floor joists which are visible at the northern end of the bay.  A 6” high x 5” wide mid-rail is visible along the northern side of the bay, this has straight chamfers on both sides with the chamfer facing into bay 1 being about twice as deep as the chamfer on the outer face.  There is no weathering on the outer face, nor is there any evidence of partitioning beneath this rail at any time.


Frame 2 is immediately west of the chimney stack, the only visible timber is a cut off stub of the northern wall post (7” wide x 5” deep) at first floor level where it joins with the mid-rails of the adjacent bays.


Bay 2 is a very narrow bay (1.3m/4ft) which contains the chimney stack, the only timbers that are visible are at the northern side of the stack where there are rough shaped thin joists supporting 8” wide floor boards.  The inside face of the mid rail is just visible but not the lower face to identify if there was any partition in this position.  However, there is no mortice in the surviving wall post of frame 3 for a lower rail and therefore it is likely that there was no partition on the north side of this bay.


The chimney stack is located further north than centre and has only one hearth 2.1m x 1.1m (6ft 9ins x 3ft 6ins) for heating bay 3.  The bricks used for its construction are 9½” x 2¼” x 4½” and the stack is lined with a layer of daub.  There are at least 11 hooks within the flue for hanging meats etc.  A second hearth is located on the first floor, again on the east of the stack to heat the first floor room. The bressumer has a bar, step, runout and nick stop at the end of the chamfer which is contemporary to the late 17th century.  The centre face of the bressumer has a shallow box cut into it with an oak lid onto which is carved the middle two numbers of the date 1675, above the date in similar carving are the letters JC (the letter J being carved as a long I, being taller than the C).




The bressumer also has a couple of daisy wheel or intersecting circle designs lightly inscribed along with the initials ND and WM that appear to have been branded into the bressumer.  The date 1724 is also carved lightly into the bressumer to the left of centre but is carved vertically rather than horizontally.


The space to the north of the stack has been bricked in at a later date flush to the front of the stack.  To the south of the stack there is still a doorway leading past the stack into bay 1.


Frame 3 is just behind the front face of the bressumer, the north wall post (7” wide by 5” deep) survives down to the floor plate.  The transverse beam is visible at the north end and is 6” deep x 5” wide at a height above the bressumer with the floor joists of bay 2 set upon it.  The bottom of the north wall post has the number III carved into it.  There is no weathering on the north face of the wall post.  The distance between the floor plate and the underside of the side mid-rails is 1.9m (6ft) giving reasonable headroom in any originally floored bays.


Bay 3 is 3.5m (11ft 4ins) long and has an 8” wide (unknown depth) axial beam supporting the floor.  This axial beam is deeply chamfered with bar, step, runout and nick stops at the end of the chamfer identical to those on the bressumer.  There is an exterior doorway in the south east corner of this bay, but there is no evidence to suggest whether this is an original location or not.  The north mid-rail (7” deep and 5” wide) is visible in this bay, it has no chamfers and square ended slots for two studs and square ended slots for 9 staves.  The frame 3 wall post has a mortice for a 5” lower rail 0.8m (2ft 6ins) below the mid rail.  Again there is no weathering on the north face of the mid-rail.


Frame 4 has no visible timbers.


Bay 4 is 3m (9ft 9ins) long and the north side of this bay was previously an exterior wall.  There is a brick built cellar of similar dimensions beneath this bay, this used to be accessed from the outside via a set of steps rising to the north.  The cellar also contains the base of a small chimney stack just south of centre on the west wall.  The stack has been removed above the ground floor level and is visible in 20th century photographs being identically finished at the top to the stack rising through bay 2.  The stack was no wider than 0.7m (2ft 6ins) at the ground floor and would appear to have had a single hearth heating bay 4.  There is an axial beam in the centre of the bay which has rough cut stud and stave grooves showing that it was partitioned below this beam although the studs indicate that there was a doorway through the partition at the west end of the bay.  The relationship between the axial beam and the now removed chimney is unknown and it is possible that they would have clashed implying that the axial beam was inserted after the chimney was removed and is therefore reused timber.


Frame 5 is at the east end of the building and has no visible timbers.


With so little timber visible from the original structure it is difficult to interpret the structure.  However it would appear to have been a three bay structure with a central very narrow bay.  The chamfers on both sides of the mid rail in bay 1 and the lack of weathering along the north face of bays 1 and 3 would imply that there was an outshot along the north of the structure.  A brick wall is currently located 1.8m (5ft 9ins) north of the mid-rail which matched with the wall plate height and roof pitch would replicate the likely position of a ground floor outshot with a catslide roof above it.  The absence of the north wall posts of frames 1 and 4 prevents the identification of the mid rails that would have extended through the outshot to confirm its extents.  The outshot would most likely have contained the means of access to any floored bays and today contains a staircase to the first floor.


The surviving timbers are of a scantling that is seen locally in late 15th century through to early 16th century structures.  The chimney construction and the detailed chamfers on the bressumer and axial beam in bay 3 are all contemporary to the carved date of 1675 on the bressumer.  The apparent use of a 6” x 4” transverse beam at the north end of frame 3 to span a gap of only 0.6m (2ft) to the north face of the chimney implies that the frame predates the chimney and that this transverse beam was intended to span the whole building.  This is further supported by the different chamfers used for the original mid-rail in bay 1 compared to the bressumer.  Also the expected form of a chimney house of 1675 would have been to have two hearths back to back to enable it to heat bays 1 and 3 so there must be a domestic reason why only a single hearth was necessary.


Frame 3 is not centrally placed and bay 1 is much narrower than bay 3, the purpose of the very narrow bay is therefore uncertain.  It could either be the original location of a central smoke bay/wooden chimney or a cross passage, the latter potentially being combined with an open hall in bay 3.  The absence of partitioning at the north end of bay 2 would tend to lead to the conclusion that it was a cross passage.  Although the entire north side of bay 1 is also open into the outshot, and the necessity for another entrance into the outshot seems dubious.  The proposition that this could have been a cross passage would have enabled the first floor of bay 1 to extend over the cross passage and thus be of a more generous size.  However the later insertion of a chimney within the passage would have lost significant first floor space but the axial beam in bay 3 matching the chamfer design of the bressumer would indicate that bay 3 was floored (or re-floored) when the chimney was inserted.  The only way of possibly determining the original layout and use of this structure would be to find more visible original timbers at first floor or roof level and in particular to find any sooting or smoke leakage that would indicate what methods of smoke control were in place soon after construction.  Centrally placed smoke bays/wooden chimneys are not as common as end ones but smoke bays are generally found as original features in buildings constructed after 1550 and into the early 1600’s.  The cross passage with a hall (open or floored) would most probably date from 1500 to 1550 as the timber sizes used are unlikely to predate 1500.  Whilst it has been impossible to provide a tight construction date, it is highly likely that the structure was built between 1500 and 1625.


Later additions

It is likely that bay 4 is a later extension as it has a late 17th - 18th century brick cellar beneath it.  A facewing has been added to the north east corner, straddling the line of frame 4.  The interior mouldings and windows are of a mid 19th century design and a significant remodelling is likely to have taken place at this time as the exterior walls of the earlier building have been modified to match this later phase.  It is probable that this was the same time the ground floor of the original structure was converted to brick construction and this matches with the 1855 sale catalogue which states that the property was ‘rebuilt within the last few years’ and also that the ground floor timber walls were replaced with brick in the mid 18th century as noted by L Opitz.


The Godstone tithe map of 1844 indicates that there were two small wings projecting from the north of the original structure with a small gap between them.  Unfortunately none of these earlier wings remain within the current structure to enable any dating evidence to be obtained.


The structure has undergone repeated extension and modification during the 19th and 20th centuries.  By 1879, the wing at the north east end had been extended westwards and by 1938 a glass structure had been added along the outside of the north and west walls.  In 2001 a major remodelling took place removing many of the earlier extensions and replacing them with a much larger extension to the north and west to provide new kitchen, seating and restroom areas.


History and Development of the Star Inn

The early history of the property that became the Star Inn is difficult to piece together as there are very few surviving records that relate to or refer directly to it.  Due to the property’s location on the fringes of Felbridge Heath in Surrey and ‘Grinsted Downe’ (East Grinstead Common) in Sussex, it probably originated as a small enclose of the wastes, although there are no surviving records to confirm this.  Again, due to its location it has not been possible to confirm whether the property was originally held as part of the manor of Lagham in Surrey, which stretched from north of Godstone to the Felbridge Water area, or whether it was held as part of the manor of Imberhorne in Sussex, which is known to have held land over the county boundary in the vicinity of the property.  However, using the available records it would seem more likely that the property was originally part of the manor of Lagham being sold in 1566 by Simon and Grace Harcourt to Thomas and Joan Powles [for further details see Handout, Lagham Manor, Godstone, 10/99]. 


In 1588 George Evelyn of Long Ditton and Wotton  bought the manor of Lagham that included seventy acres of Felbridge, thirty acres adjoining Felbridge Water in Godstone, in which the site of the Star Inn was probably situated, and forty acres in Tandridge.  After the death of George Evelyn in 1603, it passed to his youngest son Robert who gave the manor to his brother John who alienated it to Sir William Walter and William Wignall for the purpose of settling the manor on his son George (grandson of George Evelyn who made the initial purchase).  George, who had married Elizabeth Rivers, then settled the manor on their son Sir John Evelyn who had married Elizabeth Cocks, and having no heirs they conveyed it to Sir John’s uncle, John Evelyn.  This John also became Sir John Evelyn and married Thomasine Haynes, and settled the manor on their son George Evelyn of Nutfield.


In 1664 when George Evelyn of Nutfield acquired the manor of Lagham, it appears that the seventy acres in the vicinity of Felbridge, at the southern end of the manor, had been divided and sixty acres on which a house had been built took the name of Heath Hatch and all mention of the area disappears from the Court Books of the manor of Lagham implying that perhaps it was being run as a separate entity from the parent manor.  It is also important to note that from around this date, the ‘borough of Heath Hatch’ still appears in the Lagham in the Court Books but is now used to describe land at the north end of the manor.


In November 1692, George Evelyn of Nutfield issued a lease to Richard Bromehale for the following:

All that messuage called Heathhatch and 60 acres of land lying in the said parishes of Godstone and Tandridge and another messuage and 7 acres of land in the parish of Godstone and 2 crofts adjoining and ½ an acre of ground and also one acre and a ½ of ground a moiety of a messuage and all the garden and orchards belonging thereto and two cottages and also common called Fellbridge Heath Common all which are situate in the said parish of Godstone and all the Tithes of grain yearly. 


The lease was to run for the remainder of the life of George Evelyn and that of his wife during widowhood when the property was to go to George’s youngest son, William Evelyn who, by 1692, had taken the name of his wife Frances and was known as William Glanville. 


This lease has the first possible inference of the site of the Star Inn, which is probably amongst the description of properties outside the sixty acres of Heath Hatch.  From the structure of the Star Inn it is known that the building had been built by 1692, but unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine whether it was the messuage with seven acres, the messuage with the moiety or one of the two cottages.  


In May 1719 William Glanville and his wife Frances, sold the freehold properties of Heath Hatch and its sixty acres, together with the messuage with seven acres, the messuage with the moiety, the two cottages and Felbridge Heath Common to his brother Edward for the sum of £700.  On his purchase Edward Evelyn made Heath Hatch his permanent home and thus began to formation of the Felbridge estate [for further details see Handout, The Commonplace Book of Colonel Edward Evelyn, JIC/SJC 09/07].


Although the property later known as the Star Inn was owned by the Evelyn family from 1588 as part of their holding of Felbridge, it has not been possible to determine who the occupants were until 1731. On 12th June 1731, Edward Evelyn leased the property, referred to as ‘a farm in Godstone and Tandridge’, to Adam Richardson for the term of twenty-one years at a yearly rent of £9 and 2 fat pullets. 


Adam Richardson was born in 1700, the son of Elizabeth Richardson of Godstone, who also had a daughter called Elizabeth, born in 1702, both as a single woman.  Adam married Elizabeth Bryant the daughter of John Bryant, the blacksmith of Godstone, and Adam and Elizabeth had at least one child called Adam.  However, little else is known about Adam Richardson, although it is interesting to note that a branch of the Richardson family held the White Hart in Godstone until at least 1729. 


Adam Richardson held the farm at Felbridge until 23rd June 1736 when James Mitchell purchased the remaining sixteen years of the lease for the sum of £23 10/-.  A year after taking over the farm, James Mitchell also took out a lease for further land in Tandridge from Edward Evelyn at a yearly rent of £3, therefore making the total rent payable £12.  This value equates to the total rent payable on the Star Inn until well into the 19th century.


Based on the Bourd map apportionment of 1748 and the 1855 sale plan of Felbridge Park, the farm leased by Adam Richardson in 1731 was made up of the following:

1855 Field numbers









Messuage & Garden

    00. 02. 04




00. 01. 34





00. 03. 38







00. 03. 10

00. 03. 10




01. 03. 08


The additional land leased by James Mitchell in 1737 was field no. 6 on the 1855 sale plan, amounting to 1 rood.  Therefore the total of the two holdings that formed the Star Inn up until 1855 amounted to just over 2 acres.  Today, field no. 17 equates to the strip of land opposite the Star Inn on which is now located Hydropool and Kwik Fit, and field no. 6 equates to Tiles International premises, formerly the site of Felbridge Forge.


Little is known about James Mitchell but it had been said that ‘Mr Mitchell’ was a blacksmith who held both the Star Inn and the forge at Felbridge and this may be collaborated by the fact that whilst holding the property that is today known as the Star Inn he also acquired the site opposite on which Felbridge Forge once stood.  The value of £3 for 1 rood of land would suggest that field no. 6 was more than just land although the Bourd map of 1748 does not depict a building on that site.  Likewise, the rental of the farm consisting of just over 1½ acres at £9 and 2 fat pullets also seems high for the property unless it also made an income by additional means, especially as it is known that the rent for Park Corner Farm consisting of ninety-five acres was £18.


James Mitchell remained at the property until 24th April 1742 when Robert Tilt purchased the remaining eleven years of the lease for the sum of £21 3/-, and James Mitchell moved to East Grinstead. 


Robert Tilt was born in 1708, one of at least four children of Robert and Mary Tilt of Rusper near Horsham in Sussex.  The other children included, Mary born in 1702, Katherine born in 1714 and Ann born 1719.  Robert Tilt married Elizabeth Saunders in 1734 at St Michael’s Church in Withyham in Sussex, settling in 1735 in East Grinstead.  Robert and Elizabeth had at least six children, Elizabeth born in 1735, Robert born in 1738, William born in 1740, Mary born in 1741, John born in 1743 and Ann born in 1747.  The first four children were baptised in East Grinstead and the last two in Godstone suggesting that John and Ann were probably born at what became the Star Inn.


In 1748, the area where the Star Inn stands was named after Robert Tilt, being depicted as ‘Tilts’ on the Bourd map.  It is not known how long Robert Tilt remained there or whether it had become the Star Inn or was still a farm at this date.  It is known that Robert was still there in 1752 but in 1760 he was recorded as in the occupation of four acres of land called Clippards in East Grinstead and Worth (location not yet established), although it has not yet been possible to determine if he was still occupying Tilts at this time and no further information has yet come to light on either him or the Tilts until 1785 when Thomas Ewridge appears applying for a victuallers licence for the property. 


As already established (see above) Thomas Ewridge [Uridge] acquired the ‘Red Lyon alias Harts Hall’ in 1786, being described as a wheelwright of Godstone.  It is also known that he did not occupy the property therefore it is possible that he occupied what became known as the Star Inn, being situated just across the road from the ‘Red Lyon alias Harts Hall’.  There is also the probability that he operated as a wheelwright from the forge on the east side of the main London road opposite the Star Inn, which had been operated by James Mitchell before the arrival of Robert Tilt.


Although it is known that the property that is now the Star Inn was licensed to sell alcohol from at least 1785, it has not been possible to determine the earliest date that the building operated as a drinking establishment, and although it was referred to as a farm in 1731, it does not preclude the selling of alcohol from the property from before this date. 


The early 18th century had seen a massive increase of drinking establishments in England and the property now known as the Star Inn may have been a consequence of this, especially given its location.  The initial growth of these new drinking establishments was largely due to the introduction of gin to England by the Dutch.  Gin production then rapidly increased as a direct result of the government creating a market for grain that was considered unfit for brewing, whilst at the same time, imposing a high duty on all imported spirits.  The result of these actions created unlicensed gin production using the surplus grain whilst, at the same time, filling the demand for spirits. 


Gin was cheap and as a result led to drunkenness and lawlessness, particularly of the working classes.  To try and curb the heavy drinking, the Gin Act was passed in 1736 that imposed high taxes on the retailers but this only led to more unrest.  The duty was gradually reduced and finally abolished in 1742.  A second act was passed in 1751 which was more successful and forced distillers to sell only to licensed retailers bringing gin-shops under the jurisdiction of local magistrates.  To compete with the establishment of thousands of gin-shops that sprang up all over England, the brewers fought back by increasing the number of alehouses, and whilst it is not suggested that the Star inn started life as a gin house, it may well have been one of the alehouses introduced to combat the rising sales of gin. 


Given the location of the Star Inn, situated on a junction of a major north-south route from London to the coast, and the road to Crawley which was a second major north/south route, it was an ideal position for an eating and drinking establishment, providing a stopping off point roughly half way between London and the coast.  It should also be remembered that during the winter months travel on the main London road heading north out of Felbridge was almost impassable through Blindley Heath, whereas travel on the north/south route through Crawley was not as badly affected.  It is also well documented that the 18th century saw an increase in coach travel making the site of the former farmhouse an ideal position to capitalise on the increased flow of travellers.  Although small, it is known that stabling was available and this may add some credence to the local legend that it was a coaching inn.


Having established that what is now the Star Inn was licensed to sell alcohol from at least 1785, and that it had acquired its name by 1794 (see above), the names of the licensees can be found in the Surrey Quarter Session Rolls that record licence applications.  However, very little information can be found on any of the licensees until 1824 when Thomas Saunders took over the inn.  


In 1794, Richard Strip succeeded Thomas Ewridge [Uridge] at the Star and is recorded as paying £12 12/- rent for the property.  Richard Strip also appears on the list of Felbridge tenants to be paid an annuity of £20 per annum by the will of James Evelyn dated 11th July 1793.  In 1800 Elizabeth Strip was the victualler and between 1801 and 1808 Richard Strip was the victualler.  The implication is that Richard and Elizabeth must be related but it has not yet been possible to determine whether they were husband and wife or mother and son.  Richard Strip was succeeded by Benjamin Turner who held the Star Inn between 1808 and 1812 when William Wells [Walls] took over the licence.  In 1816 Edward Finch took over the Star Inn and between 1822 and 1824 William Finch was the licensee.  Again it has not been possible to ascertain a definite relationship between the two Finches.


All the surnames of the licensees are local to Felbridge; the Strip family come from Horne and Lingfield and held Miles’ Farm, now Michaelmas Farm, off the Copthorne Road in the mid 1800’s.  The Turner family can be found at Imberhorne Farm and Lingfield from the 1700’s, and the Finch family have connections with Hammerlands near Wiremill, Hedgecourt Mill and Gibbshaven Farm [for further information see Handouts, Biographies from the Churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02vi, The Farm at Imberhorne, SJC 05/03, Wiremill, SJC 03/06, Hedgecourt Mill Cottages, SJC 07/04 and Gibbshaven Farm, JIC/SJC 07/07]. 


In 1824, William Finch left the Star Inn and the licence was taken over by Thomas Saunders who remained there until his death in 1852, when his wife took over the licence, leaving sometime between 1861 and 1867.


Thomas and Jane Saunders

Thomas Saunders was born the son of Thomas Saunders and his wife Jane née Bish in about 1801 in East Grinstead.  Thomas and Jane had at least six other children, Sarah born about 1802, Carew born about 1804, James born about 1806, Jane born about 1809, Mary born about 1812 and Henry born about 1817.  It is interesting to note that Carew married Susannah Inkpen the daughter of William and Hannah Inkpen, (William Inkpen is later known by the name William Chart), and James married Hannah Chart Inkpen, the daughter of William and Hannah and therefore sister of Susannah.


Thomas Saunders, who held the Star Inn, married Jane Hayward on 26th August 1822 at St Marylebone, Middlesex.  Jane was born in 1792 the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Hayward in Meyseyhampton in Gloucestershire.  Thomas and Elizabeth Hayward also had Mary born in 1788, Sarah born in 1789, Thomas born in 1791 and Robert born in 1795.  It is interesting to note that Sarah Hayward married William Chart Inkpen after the death of his wife Hannah in 1814, and William and Sarah had Sarah Ann born in 1829, Elizabeth born in 1831 and Mary Jane born in 1833.  Thomas and Jane Saunders had at least three children, John born in 1825, Henry born in 1827 and William born in 1829. 


In 1841, the Star Inn was recorded as a Public House, generally shortened to Pub, which is a place that serves alcoholic drinks to be consumed on the premises in reasonably comfortable surroundings.  The likelihood is that the beer served at the Star Public House was brewed by a commercial brewer by this date as opposed to being brewed on the premises, which is probably how it operated originally.  Early drinking establishments were known as alehouses and grew out of a surplus of ale brewed by a farmer’s wife who sold the ale that was excess to the family’s requirements.


In 1841, Thomas Saunders, as well as being recorded as the publican of the Star Inn, also acted as beadle for the manor of Hedgecourt, being the officer who summoned householders to the court that was held at the Star Inn around this date, having moved from Hedgecourt Farm, the former manor house.  A local resident, whose family tenanted Little Hedgecourt Farm from the Felbridge estate from 1823 to 1910, also recalled that a dinner was held annually at the Star Inn during the 19th century where tenant farmers of the Felbridge estate would meet to pay their rent.


The Star Inn and associated land was situated in two parishes, Godstone and Tandridge, with the main London road dividing the two parts.  In 1844 the Godstone tithe apportionment records that the Star Inn was owned by the Earl of Liverpool (a descendant of Edward Evelyn), confirming the occupation of Thomas Saunders.







Star Inn & Garden


00. 02. 04


Star Barn


00. 01. 34




00. 03. 38


The remainder of the Star Inn property was located in Tandridge and consisted of:







Part of Meadow


00. 03. 10




00. 03. 10


In 1844, the total holding of the Star Inn amounted to 1 acre 3 rood 8 perch, compared to 2 acre 0 rood 1 perch in 1748, having lost 33 perch on which the forge at Felbridge had been constructed.


By 1851, the Star was referred to as the Star Inn and Thomas Saunders was a victualler.  Working alongside Thomas was his son John, also a victualler.  In 1848 John had married Sarah Wren the daughter of Thomas Wren, the blacksmith of Felbridge Forge whose family had established itself as leading blacksmiths in the area from the early 1700’s with the construction of Woodcock Forge, later known as Golards Farm, at Newchapel [for further details see Handout Golards Farm, SJC 11/07].  Unfortunately, Thomas Saunders died on 29th November 1852 and evidence suggests that his wife Jane took over as licensee of the Star Inn.  However, the local directories between 1854 and 1859 record Elizabeth Saunders, widow, as holding the Star, although Jane Saunders was recorded as holding it in the sale of Felbridge Park Estate in 1856 and the census of 1861.  Unfortunately it has not yet been possible to determine which source of information is correct. However, after the death of Thomas Saunders, and because of the references to his widow holding the Star in 1855 and 1861 it would seem more plausible that Jane rather than Elizabeth held the Star Inn.


It is known that on 18th May 1855, the Felbridge Park Estate was put up for auction by the descendents of the Evelyn family and was purchased by George Gatty of Crowhurst Place in Sussex.  The Star Inn formed part of Lot 1 that included the mansion and home domain of Felbridge, Park Farm, Ward’s Farm, part of Smithfield’s Farm, the Wire Pond or Woodcock Mill and Farm, Hedgecourt Mill and Lands, Newchapel or Evelyn Arm’s and Raby’s Farm, Hedgecourt Manor Farm, Woodcock Forge, 460 acres of Woodland and the Waters of Wire or Hammer Pond, Hedgecourt Mill Pond and Furnace Wood Pond. 


The Star Inn was described as:

On the skirts of the Park, prominently situated at the junction of the roads leading to East Grinstead, is


The Neat Little “Star” Inn

Rebuilt within the last few years, in the Olden style of Architecture.


It contains 2 Garrets, 4 Bed Rooms, Parlour, Bar, Kitchen or Tap, back Wash-house, and Cellar; a large Garden, Shed, and Pigsty; a Brick and Tiled Stables for 8 Horses, opposite, and a small Meadow.


It is thus divided:-

No. on Plan           Description

256         The “Star”Innand             Garden   In Godstone          00. 02. 04

257         Part of Meadow                                   "                              00. 01. 34

Total                                                                                      00. 03. 38

17                           "              In Tandridge                                         00. 03. 12

Total                                                                                      01. 03. 10


Occupied by Widow Saunders          Rent Charge to Vicar of Godstone 6d


The property being described as ‘Rebuilt within the last few years, in the Olden style of architecture’ suggests that the Saunders family were responsible for the rebuild, and map evidence from the tithe suggest that the rebuild was after 1844.


There is some evidence to suggest that Jane Saunders in her early widowhood was assisted in the running of the Star Inn by her brother-in-law, William Chart, as he was described as an innkeeper and former school master, at the time of his death in 1860.  It is known that he had been the School Master at Felbridge School until at least 1851 as he and his family were recorded as residing in the School House in the 1851 census.  However, by 1851 William Chart was seventy-nine years old and perhaps he may have felt it was time to retire from the profession, moving to the Star Inn to assist his lately bereaved sister-in-law.


By 1861, Jane Saunders was recorded as an inn keeper rather than a publican or victualler, and whereas previous census records list only the Saunders’ family and their servants living at the Star, the 1861 census records Jane Saunders living with a house servant and three lodgers suggesting that perhaps following the rebuilding it was now taking paying guests as well as offering alcoholic beverages.  In 1861 the three lodgers staying at the Star Inn were George Buckland a labourer, Frederick Ferguson a shoemaker journeyman, and Edward Tingley a farm labourer.  All three men were unmarried and from the locality, aged twenty-four, twenty and thirty respectively.


Jane Saunders continued to run the Star Inn until sometime between 1861 and 1867 when Kelly’s Directory records George Worsell as holding the ‘Star at Felbridge’.  As for Jane Saunders, in 1871 she was lodging with George Groves and his family in London Road in East Grinstead but by 1881 she had moved to Glen Vue in East Grinstead where she and her sister, Sarah Chart, were sharing a house, both recorded as annuitants. 


George and Caroline Worsell

George Worsell was born the son of William and Jane Worsell in 1827 in Burstow, Surrey.  William and Jane had at least three other children, William born in 1819, Elizabeth born in 1820 and Jane born in 1829.   George Worsell married Caroline Wren in 1857, who was born in Horne about 1827 the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Wren [for further details see Handout Golards Farm, SJC 11/07].  George and Caroline had at least one child, Arthur George who was born about 1860 in Godstone.


In 1869 whilst George Worsell was at the Star Inn, the Wine and Beer House Act was introduced that brought in stricter controls.  After its introduction, the sale of beers, wines and spirits required a licence for the premises from the local magistrate.  Further provisions regulated gaming, drunkenness, prostitution and undesirable conduct on licensed premises, enforceable by prosecution or forfeit of the licence, the latter being a more effective deterrent.  Licences were only granted, transferred or renewed at special Licensing Sessions courts and were limited to respectable individuals.  The licence would specify permitted hours of opening and might require Sunday closing which was the case at the Star Inn. 


In 1871, The Worsell family employed two people to help with running the Star Inn, John Hollands aged fourteen who was working as an ostler and Emma Smith aged nineteen who was working as a general servant.  As an ostler, John Hollands would have been employed as a stable-hand to take care of horses implying that the Star Inn catered for passing travellers or migrant workers.  Paying guests staying at the Star Inn included, John Groves a sawyer aged forty-seven, John Creasy a labourer aged fifty-one, William Baker a shepherd aged fifty-one, Francis Wood a labourer aged fifty, Charles Finn aged twenty-eight and James Rolfe aged fifty-eight, both working as gangers.  The first two were recorded as lodgers and were both locals implying that they were living at the Star, whereas the last four were recorded as visitors, all from Lydd in Kent implying that they were migrant workers who were staying at the Star Inn.


Apart from George Worsell being the inn keeper at the Star Inn he is also recorded as being the toll-gate keeper.  George Worsell continued to hold the Star Inn until his death in 1876, being buried in St John’s churchyard at Felbridge.  After the death of George, his wife Caroline succeeded him at the Star Inn but sadly she died just four years later and was buried in the churchyard at St John’s in Felbridge on 9th December 1880.  After the death of Caroline her son Arthur George Worsell succeeded her at the Star Inn and is the last recorded toll-gate keeper of Felbridge. 


Arthur Worsell was aged just twenty when he took over the Star Inn and in 1881 he is recorded as publican of the Star Inn, along with his wife Mary Ann.  Arthur had married Mary Ann Bingham on 2nd February 1881, Mary having been born about 1859, the daughter of Henry and Mary Ann Bingham, Henry was the farm bailiff of the Gatty family of Felbridge Place [for further details see Handouts, More Biographies of the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge – Estate workers of the Gatty family, SJC 11/03, and Bingham family of Felbridge, SJC 01/05].  In 1881 Arthur Worsell was still employing John Hollands as an ostler. Along with Jane Stripp aged sixteen as a domestic servant.  At this date there was only one boarder living at the Star, Edward Creasy a forty-four year old labourer.


In 1884 an advertisement for the Star Inn appears in the book entitled East Grinstead and Its Environs, which reads as follows:

Star Inn

Felbridge, East Grinstead

Arthur George Worsell

Wine and Spirit Merchant

Good accommodation for commercial travellers, &c

Horse and Carriage on Hire


Arthur and Mary Ann Worsell remained at the Star Inn until 1890 when Arthur moved to the Blue Anchor at Blindley Heath, which was owned by John Dashwood of the East Grinstead Brewery, formerly the Hope Brewery.  Succeeding Arthur Worsell at the Star Inn was Jesse Garman.


Jesse Garman

Jesse Garman was born sometime between 1832 and 1835 in Dorking, Surrey, the son of James Garman and his wife Elizabeth née Worsfold.  By 1851 Jesse was working as a gardener for Charles March of Westcott, Dorking.  Jesse married Elizabeth Finch, in 1853 who was the daughter of John Finch being born in 1828 in Leigh in Surrey.  In 1861 Jesse and Elizabeth Garman were still living in Westcott but by then Jesse was a house porter.  By 1871 Jesse and Elizabeth had moved to 38, High Street, Guildford in Surrey were Jesse was working as an innkeeper and by 1881 they had moved to Woodbridge Road, Stoke, in Guildford, the census recording Jesse as a landlord.


In 1890 Jesse and Elizabeth Garman moved to the Star Inn in Felbridge, Jesse was recorded as an innkeeper.  In 1891 they had one lodger living with them at the Star, William Backshaw, a thirty-six year old labourer from Horne.  During the time that Jesse Garman held the Star Inn it was a Free House, meaning that it was not tied to one brewery, it was owned by Charles Gatty the son and heir of George Gatty who had purchased the Star along with Felbridge Park in 1855.  However, it still only had a six day licence, being closed on Sundays at the request of the Gatty family.


In 1892 Jesse Garman retired from the Star Inn and moved to 146, Cromwell Road in Redhill, Surrey, where he died on 7th January 1893.  His will, proved on 22nd February, listed effects to the value of £392 11s 2d.  Jesse Garman was succeeded at the Star Inn by Edward Arthur Barron.


Edward Arthur Barron

Edward Barron was born about 1848 in County Clare in Ireland and married Alice Pont in Brighton in 1885.  Alice was born in 1859 in West Firle, Sussex, the daughter of William and Mary Pont.  Besides Alice, William and Mary had at least seven other children, Emma Sophia born in 1843, Mary Elizabeth born in 1846, William born in 1847, William Edward born in 1848, Jesse born in 1851, Ellen born in 1862, and Mary Ann born in 1868.  Unfortunately, being of Irish descent little information has come to light on Edward Barron.  However, in 1891 Edward and Alice were living at 180, London Road, East Grinstead, and Edward was working as coachman.  Two years later Edward Barron moved to the Star Inn.  It is not known how long the Barrons lived at the Star Inn but were succeeded by John Sprules sometime between 1902 and 1904.  In 1910, Alice Barron died from 68, Queens Road, East Grinstead, being buried at in the churchyard at St John’s in Felbridge on 13th July 1910, in a grave near a possible son, Arthur Edward Barron, who had been buried in 1897 aged just six years old. 


John Sprules

There is little conclusive information on John Sprules the licensee recorded at the Star Inn in 1904 except that there was a John Sprules in the local area who had been working as a game-keeper for John Cooper of Tandridge Court in 1901, having originated from Wiltshire.  At the time that John Sprules was at the Star Inn it was described as consisting of two bedrooms with two horse spaces, however, John Sprules did not stay long at the Star Inn as he had left before May 1909 when George Huggett was recorded as the innkeeper, and in 1911 and 1913 was listed as ‘farmer of Ward’s Farm’, Woodcock Hill.


George Huggett

George Huggett was born the son of Henry Huggett and his wife Rachel née Bromley, in 1833 in Ashurst Wood near East Grinstead.  Henry and Rachel also had Mary Anne born in 1829, Henry born in 1831, Elizabeth born in 1835, Fanny born in 1840 and Emily born in 1844.  In 1857, George Huggett married Ellen Ireland, the daughter of George and Sarah Ireland.  Ellen was born in Hampshire in about 1839, although in later census records her birth year to be about 1832.  George and Ellen had at least four children, George born in 1858, Henry born in 1860, Ellen born in 1863 and Alice born in 1872, all born in East Grinstead.


In 1861 George Huggett and his family were living at a cottage on Cutton’s Hill in Ashurst Wood, George working as a gardener, and was still there in 1871.  However, by 1881 the family had moved to Brockhurst Lodge in East Grinstead and George was working as a farm bailiff.  In 1891 they were living at The Lodge, near the Dunnings Mill in East Grinstead but by 1901 they had moved to Ebor Lodge in Felbridge and George Huggett was working as the farm bailiff for Charles Gatty of Felbridge Park, [for further details see Handouts, The Limes Estate, JP 07/04 and Beef and Fagot Charity, SJC03/03].  Sadly Ellen died in 1902 and George and his daughter Ellen, known as Nellie, had moved to Harts Hall by 1905.


Sometime between 1905 and 1909 George Huggett and his daughter moved to the Star Inn where George became the inn keeper.  Unfortunately George died in May 1909 and within two months Nellie, by than aged forty-four, married William Thomas Weeks who succeeded George Huggett as the innkeeper at the Star Inn.


William Thomas Weeks

William Thomas Weeks was born in 1878 in Hastings, the son of George and Caroline Weeks.  George and Caroline had at least two other children, Caroline born about 1876 and Harriett Mary born about 1880, both in Hastings.  George Weeks worked as a carpenter an occupation that his son William followed becoming a carpenter and joiner.  In 1901 William Weeks was still living in Hastings but had moved to the Felbridge area by 1909 when he married Ellen Huggett at St John’s Church on 6th June 1909, being listed as an innkeeper on his marriage certificate.


William Weeks appears as holding the Star Inn in the Rate Book of 1st January 1911 and was still recorded as the tenant in May 1911 when the Star Inn was put up for auction as Lot 27, being part of the break up and sale of the Felbridge Place estate by Mrs Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company Ltd. who had purchased the estate in 1910 from Frederick Leighton Sayer and Charles Lane Sayer, cousins and heirs of Charles Henry Gatty.


In 1911 the sale catalogue describes the Star Inn as:

The Commanding Corner

Freehold Licensed Property

known as

The Star Inn, Felbridge

in the Parish of Godstone, and subject to the Union District of East Grinstead, occupying an exceptional position at the junction of the Croydon and Horley Roads, and being the only Licensed House for the considerable distance in either direction


The House is substantially built in brick

and contains

Private Bar, Parlour, Tap Room, Kitchen, Wash-House,

and Cellar.  Above are Four Bedrooms and Two Attics.

Large Productive Garden.  Brick-built Coach-House



The House is Free

with a Six-day’s Licence for the sale of Beer, Wines and Spirits, closing at 9 pm  This latter

condition was made at the desire of the previous owner.


The present Tenant holds until June 24th next, when Possession can be had, subject to

completion of the purchase, and to payment of such valuation as he may be entitled to.


With the 1911 sale, the site of the Star Inn shrank still further to just 2 rood 4 perch, a loss of 1 acre 1 rood 4 perch as plots 242 (formerly 257) in Godstone and 482 (formerly 17) in Tandridge totalling 1.238 acres, were offered for sale, containing a brick and tiled cowshed for five cows, and four stalls and a loose box, as part of Lot 29 described as freehold land ‘suitable for the formation of a choice little residential estate’.  Part of this long field that straddles the parishes of Godstone and Tandridge was purchased by Mrs Fry who had the dwelling house Double Dee constructed upon it [for further information see Handout, Llanberis Farm, SJC 01/07].


The description of the Star Inn as containing a Private Bar and Tap Room, denotes that it was catering for two different types of clientele.  The Tap Room also known as the Public Bar, would have attracted a predominantly working class client, and would have had bare board floors, sometimes with sawdust to absorb spit, hard seats and cheap beer, whereas the Private Bar would have been frequented by a better class of clientele and would probably have had a covered floor and softer seats.  It is also interesting to note that it was still operating on a six-day licence and closing one hour earlier than the normal closing time of 10.00 pm.


Star Inn after the break up of the Felbridge Place estate

In 1911 the Star Inn was purchased by Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd. of Guildford in Surrey, who installed John Frederick Barnes as landlord and licensee.  With its purchase in 1911, the Star ceased to be a Free House becoming a tied house, meaning that the Star Inn could no longer sell either own brewed beer or beer from any brewery, it was obliged to sell only beer from the brewery that owned it.


Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd had been formed by the merger of Friary Brewery with Messrs Holroyd, Healey & Co.  The Friary Brewery had been founded by Mr C H Master in about 1865 in a disused steam flour mill.  The firm prospered and expanded, taking over Messrs Holroyd, Healey & Co in 1889.  As for Messrs Holroyd, Healey & Co, it grew out of a partnership between George Barron Holroyd and Henry Dennet who had founded the Byfleet Brewery in 1841.  When Henry Dennet died in 1870 George Holroyd continued to operate the brewery which, like the Friary Brewery, must also have prospered and expanded by taking over the Healey Brewery to be called Messrs Holroyd, Healey & Co in 1889, although no further information has yet come to light on a merger between the two. 


In 1889 Messrs Holroyd, Healey & Co merged with Friary Brewery Company of Guildford and became Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd.  Mr C H Masters became the first chairman of the newly formed Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd, and George Holroyd became a director of the company.  Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd continued to grow during the 20th century and in 1961 bought Meux Brewery Co Ltd, a London brewery that had been established in 1764 by Sir Henry Meux.  After the purchase of Meux Brewery by Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd the company became known as Friary Meux Ltd but the new organisation only lasted for three years being bought in 1964 by Ind Coope Ltd, part of Allied Domecq.  The thread of the original brewery remained with the Star Inn until 1999 when Allied Domecq sold it to Punch Retail.


After purchase by Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd in 1911, and throughout all the above mergers, the Star Inn was a tied house.  The usual arrangement for a tied house was that the premises were owned by a brewery but rented out to a private individual known as the landlord who ran it as a separate business, even though they were contracted to buy beer from the one brewery.  The first landlord to run the Star Inn after its purchase by Friary, Holroyd & Healey’s Breweries Ltd was John Frederick Barnes. 


John Frederick Barnes

John Frederick Barnes was born about 1869 at Frogwood Heath, Newchapel, the son of Edward Barnes and his wife Dinah Adelaide née Burkin.  Edward and Dinah Barnes had married in 1856 and also had Edward William born about 1857, Elizabeth Ann born in 1859, Emily Matilda born in 1861, Mary Jane born in 1863, Henry John born about 1867, and Sophia Maria born in 1870.


In 1912 John Barnes applied to the Godstone Licensing Sessions to extend the opening hours of the Star Inn. Previously, Charles Gatty had been anxious that the Star Inn should close at 9 pm instead of 10 pm and that there should be no Sunday licence.  A new licence was granted to John Barnes on 4th March 1912, as it had been found that it was ‘very inconvenient that the only place of accommodation or sale of intoxicating drink should have to close at the very early hour of 9 o’clock, as the population had largely increased and the residents, in complete unanimity, had supported the application to remain open until 10 o’clock’.  However, Sunday closing was still to remain in force as the vicar of St John’s Church in Felbridge, Rev J Thorp, felt that it would be ‘undesirable for the house to open on Sundays’.


It is unclear as to how long John Barnes remained the licensee of the Star Inn as by 1914 his brother Edward William had moved there from Cherry Tree Farm on West Park Road where they had been living since at least 1881.  Edward Barnes had married Mary Ann Dolling in 1879 and they had at least three children, Henry Edward William born in 1880, John Richard born about 1884, and Edward William born in 1903. 


In 1917 the Felbridge School Log records that Irene Sybil Dean, the daughter of Stephen William Dean of ‘The Star Inn’, joined the school, leaving in 1926 being ‘over-age’.  However, it is not clear in what capacity Stephen Dean was living at the Star Inn, whether he was a paying guest, or whether he helped the Barnes family run the inn.  Edward Barnes remained at the Star Inn until his death when he was buried in the churchyard of St John’s on 30th April 1922, and by 1924 Frederick Walter Inglis is recorded as the proprietor of the Star Inn. 


Frederick Walter Inglis

Frederick was born in 1875 in London, the second son of Alexander and Elizabeth Inglis.  In 1901 Frederick Inglis married Minnie Lydia White in Camberwell, who had been born in London in the June quarter of 1879.  By 1919 they had moved toRowplatt Lane, whereFrederickwas operating a rabbit farm from the site that is now part of Llanberis Farm,Crawley Down Road, [for further details see Handout, Llanberis Farm, SJC 01/07].  Sometime between 1922 and 1924 Frederick and Minnie Inglis moved to the Star Inn but were only there for a short period of time as they had been succeeded by Samuel John Clee and his wife Susannah by the spring of 1925.


Samuel John Clee

Samuel John Clee was born in 1893 in Camberwell, London, the son of Albert and Adelaide Clee.  Besides Samuel, Albert and Adelaide had Albert born in 1888, Annie born in 1889, Adelaide born in 1892, and Dora born in 1896.  In 1901 the Clee family were living at 110, New Church Road in Camberwell where Albert was working as an export packing case maker.  Samuel Clee married Susannah A White in 1917 and lived at Walworth Road, Camberwell where they had three sons, Samuel Edward born on 18th May 1918, Leonard John born on 25th August 1921, and Brian whose date of birth has not yet been established.


By 1923, Samuel Clee and his family had moved from Camberwell to Rowplatt Lane in Felbridge and took up residency at the Star Inn by 1925.  During Samuel Clee’s tenancy, a branch of the RAOB (Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes) was formed and met in a small wooden building in the Star Garden, known as ‘Buff’s Lodge’.  The RAOB is a non-political charitable organisation.  Membership is for life and members can be as active as they want to be.  Their aim is to encourage members of the local community to lead satisfying and enjoyable lives, supporting the community through charitable works, and before the creation of the National Heath system in 1947 they provided support and care for the local community as well as its own members.   


Samuel Clee remained at the Star Inn until 1934 when he moved to Hastings in Sussex taking over the Fountain and Bo-Peep Public Houses, the Star being taken over by Ernest Ringshaw.


Star Inn from the 1930’s

Ernest Ringshaw first appears as the proprietor of the Star in the Kelly’s Directory of 1934, along with Giles Edwin Ringshaw, although the Electoral Roll details never list Giles as residing at the premises, only Ernest with his wife Ethel May.  It is also apparent from the Electoral Rolls that under Ernest Ringshaw the Star was not only operating as a public house but was also offering residential accommodation for up to six guests until it was taken over by William Armstrong in 1949.


William H Armstrong had married Mary G Diggens, a widow with a son called Robert who joined Felbridge School on their arrival at the Star.  William Armstrong remained at the Star until 1956 when he was succeeded by Raymond Ridout, whose children Paul Christopher and Ann Rosemary also joined Felbridge School.  The Ridout tenure was very short as the family moved to Hampshire in 1957.


More recent landlords include Henry Vincent Moses whose daughter Helen Ann joined Felbridge School in 1964 leaving the area in 1965 when her parents moved to Skegness.  More recent still was John Robinson who was landlord in the 1980’s.  During the 1960’s, and through to at least the 1980’s, the Star Inn forwarded a darts team that played in the local leagues, although today this has been superseded by the occasional pub quiz night. 


In the 1990’s, like the changing face of many traditional English public houses, the owners, Allied Domecq began to place more and more emphasis as a family restaurant upon the Star rather than a public house, introducing at one time the 32oz steak Big Steak meal!  To accommodate the increased restaurant business a large conservatory was built on the north side of the building, adjacent to the beer garden.


In 1999, Allied Domecq sold the Star to Punch Retail, and by June 1999, the Star was under new management with the arrival of Trevor and Helen Garniss.  The Star continued to operate as a Big Steak pub and restaurant, the family restaurant concept established by Ind Coope Ltd as part of Allied Domecq.  An advertisement from the time states:

Now under new management, the Star Inn is able to provide a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere, where families in particular are welcome.  The beautiful conservatory, which is a non-smoking area, overlooks the beer garden, where there is a versatile play system for children.


Food is available between 12 pm and 10 pm everyday, from the Inn’s Big Steak Menu, and from the Specials Board.  On Sundays, there is traditional roast lunch.  All food reasonably priced.


Whether you would like something to accompany your meal, or simply want to relax with a drink and enjoy some pleasant conversation, you can choose from a range of traditional ales or the Star’s excellent wine list.  And of course, an extensive range of lagers, spirits and soft drinks is also available, making this delightful pub a perfect place to spend a summer afternoon and evening.


Within the year, the Garniss’s were to preside over a newly refurbished kitchen, and were able to accept parties by special arrangement, offering Sky TV for the enjoyment of locals, as well as a Pets Corner for the younger clientele located in the beer garden.  As a sign of the times, there was no longer any mention of pub games or darts, only the installation of Sky TV for the local’s enjoyment.


Star Inn today

As already established, Punch Retail had purchased the Star Inn from Allied Domecq in 1999 and in October 1999 plans were submitted by Punch to demolish the conservatory, which had been erected some years earlier to provide additional dining area for the restaurant, to allow for a brick-built extension of the dining area, a new kitchen and toilet facilities, together with the redevelopment of the site next to the Star Inn, formerly the Happy Eater (further information to follow) as a Premier Inn.  Work began on the Star Inn and Premier Inn in May 2001.


Today, after demerger from Punch Retail, the Star Inn is owned by Spirit Group Ltd and is run as one of their chain of Chef and Brewer pubs and restaurants, offering freshly prepared food by qualified chefs complimented by a wide range of cask ales and large selection of wines.  Although the Star Inn still functions a Public House, the emphasis is now more upon a family restaurant serving food in a ‘traditionally themed’ space, divided between the original structure of the building, the extension erected by the Saunders in the early 1800’s and the newly erected extension of 2001.


Now operating under a seven day licence, although it has not been possible to determine when this was granted, the Star Inn opens between 11 am and 11 pm on Monday to Saturday and 12 noon until 10.30 pm on Sundays, with meal times between 12 noon and 10 pm on Monday to Saturday and between 12 noon and 9.30 pm on Sunday.  The Star Inn also provides breakfast for those staying at the Premier Inn between 7.00 am and 9.00 am.  Other facilities include the Beer Garden, although much reduced in size from the garden of 1794, but still retaining a couple of the old apple trees from the orchard that used to grow there.  However, the ‘Buffs Lodge’, later converted as staff accommodation, is no longer standing having been removed some years back.


Court Books for the manor of Lagham, P25/21/11, SHC

Newchapel and Felbridge through the Ages, by L Opitz, FHA

Photographs, 1911 – 2008, FHA

Sale Catalogue for Felbridge Park, 1855, FHA

Sale Catalogue for the Felbridge Place Estate, 1911, FHA

The Development of Timber-Framed Buildings in the Sussex Weald, by D Chatwin

Wealden Buildings, by R T Mason

Timber buildings in Britain, by R W Brunskill

Medieval houses of Kent, by S Pearson

A Gazetteer of Medieval Houses of Kent, by S Pearson, P S Barnwell & A T Adams

Recording Timber- Framed Buildings: An illustrated glossary, by

N W Alcock, M W Barley P W Dixon & R A Meeson

Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings, by R Harris

Bourd map, 1748, FHA

Rocque map, 1768, FHA

Gardner & Gream map, 1778, FHA

Draft O/S map, c1805, FHA

Godstone tithe Map 1840, FHA

Tandridge tithe map, 1846, FHA

O/S maps, 1879, 1897, 1910, 1937, 1956, FHA

Aerial photographs, 1955, 1999, 2002, FHA

Handout, Lagham Manor, Godstone, 10/99, FHA

Pat. 30 Eliz. pt. vi, m. 6; Feet of F. Surr. Trin. 30 Eliz, PRO

Victoria Histories of Surrey

TheLiverpoolPapers, vol. CCXCI. P 258-267, Add 38480, BL

Handout The Commonplace Book of Colonel Edward Evelyn, JIC/SJC 09/07, FHA

Will of John Bryant, proved 29/4/1743, DW/PA/5/1743/11, Surrey Wills, vol.36, no.397

The History of East Grinstead by W H Hills

Mid Sussex Poor Law Records, Par/348/32/4/1, WSRO

Lagham Court Books, K61/7/5-30, SHC

Covenant of Recovery, WHL/107, ESRO

Beating the Boundary of Godstone, P25/18/1, SHC

Public Houses,


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

Wiremill, SJC 03/06, FHA

Handouts Biographies from the Churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge, SJC 07/02vi, FHA

Hedgecourt Mill Cottages, SJC 07/04, FHA

Gibbshaven Farm, JIC/SJC 07/07, FHA

Documented memories of Mrs A Wheeler, FHA

Godstone Tithe map and apportionment, 1844, SHC

Tandridge tithe map and apportionment, 1846, SHC

Census, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901

Handout Golards Farm, SJC 11/07, FHA

PO Directory, 1854, 1855, 1859, SHC

Kelly’s Directory, 1867, SHC

Parish Registers of St John’s, Felbridge, FHA

Toll Gates and Roads, magazine article, FHA

The History of East Grinstead by W H Hills

Handout, More Biographies of the churchyard of St John the Divine, Felbridge – Estate workers of the Gatty family, SJC 11/03, FHA

Handout, Bingham family of Felbridge, SJC 01/05, FHA

East Grinstead and Its Environs

Jesse Garman,

Handout, The Limes Estate, JP 07/04, FHA

Handout, Beef and Fagot Charity, SJC03/03, FHA

Felbridge Place Sale Catalogue, 1911, FHA

Handout, Llanberis Farm, SJC 01/07, FHA

Rate Book, Ref: 3293/12/7, SHC

Schedule of tenants of Felbridge Place Estate, 1911, Box 3151, SHC

Meux’s Brewery,’s_Brewery

History of the Crown Inn at Arford,

Holroyd’s of Byfleet Brewery,

Industry and Railways,

Burge & Co Ltd as a Subsidiary of Meux Brewery Co Ltd,

Allied Domecq PLC – Company History,

The Spirit Group,

Handout, Llanberis Farm, SJC 01/07, FHA

Electoral Rolls CC802/38/2-56/2, CC802/56a/3/1, CC802/57/3–58/3, CC802/60/9-61/9, SHC

Felbridge School Log, FHA

The Star Inn,

The Star Inn, Felbridge, an extraordinary predicament, local newspaper, 1912, FHA

The Licence of the Star at Felbridge, local newspaper, 4.3.1912, FHA

Documented memories of B Salmon, FHA

An Introduction of Buffaloism,

Series of postcards, Frith, FHA

Steak your place at the Star Inn, local newspaper, Jul 1999, FHA

What’s new in Felbridge, local newspaper article, 17.11.99, FHA