Vine Cottage, Crawley Down Road

Vine Cottage, Crawley Down Road

Bought by Brian and Jean Roberts in 1958. It was relatively unaltered since it had been built some time in the 19th century, except a lean-to kitchen had been added to the Western half and a free standing toilet, (brick and tile), to the Eastern half. Both the original kitchens had suspended floors, which were replaced with quarry tiles on spoil.

In the 1911 Sale Brochure the Eastern cottage is listed as having an E C (earth closet). There was a benchmark cut into a blue brick on the east of what is now the front door. It had sash windows and a six-flue stack. There was a shared well very close to the back wall.

The cottages had 4½ inch partition walls with the outside wall being 11 inch cavity walls, very early for this type of building. The cavity had occasional bricks laid across as well as very heavy galvanised wall ties.

Each cottage was two up and two down, with a larder under the stairs, and a third bedroom in the centre of the roof space with a window in the gable end and stair case ending in the centre of the room with a matchboard guard round three sides. The T-shaped outhouse comprised of a bucket toilet (standing on large stone slab), fuel/tool shed for each cottage, shared wash house with brick and cast zinc copper and a bake house with brick bread oven (with domed roof).

‘Vandalised’ by Brian and Jean, the cottages were turned into one with one central front door. During the alterations, a local builder removed a benchmark that was situated to the West of the old Western front door. The Local Planning Authority insisted on a cement wash on the brickwork to disguise the different bricks used for the lean-to garage. The inside cottage wall of the garage has been left to show the original brickwork, including the lime mortar pointing.

Up until 1960 there was no water sanitation, (outside facilities only). There was one cold tap only in each kitchen and a shallow sink, (both now put to good use in the garden). Waste was fed to a 2 inch land drain and then to a shared 250 gallon cesspool and soak-away.

The rent received then from the two tenants was 10/- a week for the East side, and 11/9 for the other side, with Brian and Jean paying the rates and water rates.


Brian and Jean bought the cottages in 1958 from Dorothy Ann Dallyn, (Miss). The cottages had passed to her from Mrs. D M Dallyn, widow of Benjamin Walter Dallyn.

Benjamin Walter Dallyn had bought the cottages in 1925 from Miss Minnie Francis Spong and Florence Spong of Warren House Farm. (Both these ladies were active in the suffragette movement).

Transacted from James Spong to Miss Minnie Spong and Miss Florence Spong sometime between 1913 and 1925 – possibly by death of James.

Minnie and Florence Spong sold the cottages in August 1913 to James W Spong, Domestic Machine Manufacturer.

Miss Minnie Spong obtained mortgage from Brambletye order of Foresters £200 in 1912. Possibly to repay a private loan obtained for the purchase the previous year.

Minnie Spong had purchased them in November 1911 for £350 when they were put up for auction by Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company Ltd.

The Spong family ran Warren House farm as the Felbridge Poultry farm and what became nos. 1 and 2 Vine Cottages, were originally nos. 1 and 2 Warren Farm Cottages.

In April 1911, Emma Harvey and the East Grinstead Estate Company Ltd. purchased the Felbridge Place Estate, of which nos. 1 and 2 Warren House Cottages were part. The Estate was conveyed by Charles Lane Sayer and Alfred Leighton Sayer who were the beneficiaries of the will of Dr. Charles Henry Gatty who died in 1903. Dr. Charles Henry Gatty had no direct line heir and the Sayers’ were relatives on his mother’s side of the family.

On 24th October 1881 an indenture and conveyance was made between Dr. Charles Henry Gatty and Eliza Gorringe for the property. It is not known if it was for land only or cottages thereon. If the cottages were built prior to 1881, this would be very early for agricultural cottages to have been built with cavity walls, although not impossible.

The orchard plot, on which stands a pair of semi-detached bungalows, nos. 111 and 113 Crawley Down Road, was sold off by Miss Dallyn to Mr. Egerton , (the nurseryman of Copthorne Road), in 1955. He then sold the plot to Mr. Harbour who developed it.