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.

4 Responses to “Sussex Day 2009: Part 5 – Ruckford Mill to Hurst Wickham”

  1. Anonymous October 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    Sorry to disapoint you but the villas on the Eastern side of College Lane that you are refering to were built in 1900, so your relations could not have the lived there.
    The cottages opposite these villas, (formerly Layton Terrace & Alice terrace) were built in the 1860’s & 1840’s respectively, but they were never called “Villas”…. I actually live in what was known as Alice Terrace!
    According to the 1897 map, there are only 6 other dwellings in Hurst Wickham that were not either cottages or farmhouses… These can be found a little further North from where you took your photoghraphs.
    If you go North from the villas and go around the “S” bend, and continue 30 yards past the telephone box, you will see to your right, (Western side of College Lane), that there is a driveway running parallel to the public footpath.
    In this driveway you will find the 6 original semi-detached villas and a 1950’s bungalow… One of these is more likely to be the house that you are looking for as they are clearly shown on the 1897 O.S. map.

    • Anonymous November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am #

      Regarding Shenley Villas…. I have found a reference to them from 1881 in Hurst Wickham… See this web page :,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=da112c67dacdfd6a&biw=1224&bih

      It takes a while to load up, but about half way down the page, (Sched No. 1033 & 1034), you’ll find Shenley Villas listed next to Alexander Villas.
      Alexander Villas are now known as “Rosebank” & “Alexander Villa”… These “Alexander Villas” are to be found in the “driveway” listed in my above comment.
      The web page does give some info on the occupants of Shenley Villas.
      Hope this helps.

      My best guess at Shenley Villas is either:
      1) They no longer exist.
      2) Shenley Villas could have been the original name of the properties now known as “The Double House 1” & “The Double House 2” which are located at the end of the driveway next to the public footpath in Hurst Wickham.

      • John Gasson December 6, 2011 at 7:22 am #

        Thanks for your comments. Having spent some time looking at the link you sent and the 1911 census and (the 1963 1:2500 map has house names on it) I have come to the conclusion that you are probably right when you say that Shenley Villas are now known as “The Double House”.

        The 1911 census give the sequence of properties as:

        High Wickham
        Rose Bank
        Alexandra Villa
        Wickham Villas
        Wickham Villas
        Shenley Villas
        Shenley Villas

        By comparing the names of the houses on the1963 with the position of houses on the 1910 map it seems very likely that “The Double House” is either built on the same site or is the same building as Shenley Villas.

        A trip to The National Archives to view the records of the 1910 Valuation Office survey should be enough to confirm this conclusively. I will put it on my to-do list for next time I am there.

        Thanks for your help.

  2. Anonymous December 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi John,

    I have done some further investigations and have found a Hurst Wickham resident that has an old photo of the “Double House” , and it apparently is marked as “Shenley Villas”.
    I don’t know if it is the building, or the photograph itself that is marked as Shenley Villas, as I haven’t actually seen the photo myself yet! But when I do finally get to see it, I’ll see if my neighbour will let me scan it so that I can send it to you.


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