Tag Archives: ruckford mill

Sussex Day 2009: Part 5 – Ruckford Mill to Hurst Wickham

21 Jun

By this time I was starting to get hungry, although it was still an hour or two before lunchtime, so I decided it was time to start heading south to the village of Hurstpierpoint.

I decided to take the most direct route to Hurstpierpoint, which was more or less due south along Malthouse Lane and College Lane, however the real reason for taking this route is that it would take me through Hurst Wickham.

I am not sure if I had been through Hurst Wickham before, if I had it was a long time ago, and certainly well before I had known that my 2x great grandparents Henry and Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN had lived there.

They had moved there sometime around 1896-97 from Preston, near Brighton. I am not sure how long they actually lived there, Henry was still living in Hurstpierpoint when he died in 1921. After Henry’s death Dorothy left for Australia to join her son who had settled out there. She left from Hurstpierpoint, but the passenger list gives a different address.

My problem was that I couldn’t find any modern day reference to their address, 2 Shenley Villas, it had either been demolished or renamed. I wanted to actually have a look on the ground and see if could find any clues to it’s whereabouts.

Hurst Wickham is virtually one long road with houses down either side, so I check house name carefully as I walked up the road. Most seemed quite modern, and it appears the were all numbered as College Lane, if the road had been renumbered that would explain why I couldn’t find any reference to Shenley Villas.

Getting nearer to Hurstpierpoint I found what I think is the likely location for Shenley Villas. There is a row of five semi-detached houses on the eastern side of the road, where some of the original house names were visible, and the readable ones all included the word “Villas”.

So one of these was probably their home, I now need to follow that up next time I am down at the West Sussex Record Office by having a look at some maps, and perhaps see if I can find out when they changed name. At least now I have a pretty good idea of where to look when I get there.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 4 – Cobbs Mill to Ruckford Mill

20 Jun

Although I was familiar with both ends of the next stage of my Sussex Day walk, I had never actually walked between the two before. A footpath leads past the front of Cobbs Mill, and across the mill stream, and out into the countryside.

The mill itself has been recently restored, but it is sadly not open to the public (except on very rare occasions) because it is also a private house now, part of which is up for sale.

This was probably the most enjoyable and relaxed stretch of the whole walk, unfortunately it was quite short, probably about a mile and a half in length. What made the first section of this part of the walk so memorable was the fact that I was walking along the side of the mill stream which had once powered the watermill.

I followed the stream for about half a mile before the path left the side of the stream. The water was almost still, and the plants on the banks were beginning to take over. The stream buzzed with insects and the occasional bird. The highlight however was the sighting of a grass snake making it’s way across a small bridge, sadly it kept itself well hidden but I did manage to get one photo of it.

The path continued to an area north of Hurstpierpoint (near Hurstpierpoint College) known to me as Ruckford. This was home to my more recent GASSON roots, in fact very close to home, my grandparents lived here for a few years and my father was born here. Although there is another watermill here, there was no family connection with it and one would be hard pressed to recognise now.

It had been many years since I had been over here, we used to visit almost weekly when my great aunt lived here, my brother and I coming over to mow the grass. That seems so many years ago now.

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