Tag Archives: hatterells

Those Places Thursday: Hatterells, West Grinstead, Sussex, England

3 Feb

Alex over at the Winging It blog (and Queen of one-place studies) issued a challenge to bloggers to write about an ancestral place for the Geneabloggers Those Places Thursday weekly blogging prompt. As usual I procrastinated and couldn’t make up my mind about which place to write about and which place I could do justice to in one blog post. In the end I settled on Hatterells as it has been at the forefront of my mind this week.

My previous posts about Hatterells concerned a specific house (or farm) where my grandmother lived but the name Hatterells also refers to a small area in the parish of West Grinstead, Sussex. To say that the area was sparsely populated would be an understatement, the house I mentioned (or rather pair of houses), seems to have been the only home in the area.

Perhaps because of there doesn’t seem to be a great deal known about the place and this post is possibly more about geography than history, so having said that lets start with a map.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

The area I am referring doesn’t have any clearly defined boundaries, the key feature here is the River Adur running roughly north-south through the middle of the map, which divides the area in two. There are four other interesting features that make up the area.

  1. The bridge crossing the river (marked Hatterell Bridge on the map)
  2. The site of the various buildings (marked Hatterell on the map)
  3. The wood to the north-east of the river (not named on the map but known as Hatterells Wood)
  4. The causeway from the river to the wood (not marked on this map but visible on older maps at larger scales)

The bridge is at the centre of the area I would call Hatterells and if I had to put a boundary on the area then I would probably draw a circle centred on the bridge with a radius of about a third of a mile.

1. The bridge – the current bridge is not particularly attractive, the water beneath it is divided into three separate channels, and at various times the water level downstream is controlled with boards placed across the channels. Interestingly you can find out the water level at Hatterells on the Environment Agency website. This bridge replaces an earlier bridge, which was a lift bridge (described on Ordnance Survey maps as a draw bridge), presumably built when the river was made into a navigation (the Baybridge Canal) in the 1820s. However I am assuming that there was an earlier bridge here.

2. The buildings – although nothing remains now, except a pond and a few bits of debris, there were several buildings here to the west of the river, although I have no real idea of the age or purpose of the buildings. It seems likely that together they made up a farm settlement, probably as part of Clothalls Farm rather than as an independent concern.

3. The wood – the woodland to the east of the river is actually two distinct woods, the northern part is Hatterells Wood, whilst the southern part is Whitenwick Rough. Both woods are on a slope, leading down to the fields along the river. They are divided by a deeply worn track leading straight down through the woods, which is probably six feet below the level of the surrounding ground in places and suggests a well used path of great age.

4. The causeway – between the wood and the bridge is a raised path, barely noticeable at the river end, but nearer the wood it is more clearly defined. The fields here can become quite wet and flood, this path suggests an attempt to provide a drier surface for people passing between the river and the wood. The path is much more noticeable on older maps at larger scales than it is on modern maps.

The more I look at this area the more interesting it seems and certainly worthy of further study, and combining several areas of study, including family history (owners and residents of the buildings), house history (the buildings themselves), landscape history (the woods and paths), industrial history (the river bridge) and even military history because Canadian soldiers trained here during the Second World War.

Whether I have the time to actually investigate this area further is another matter, but it is quite a nice size project (small enough) to work on and of course it has a personal connection to my own family which makes it more worthwhile.

Hatterells: Paying the rent

2 Feb

Yesterday I mentioned that I didn’t know exactly when my grandmother Dorothy Annie GASSON and her children were at Hatterells, West Grinstead, Sussex,  but I do have some hard evidence which might help fill in some of the gaps.

This is the rent book for Hatteralls [sic] used by my grandmother, and as you can see she was not the first person to use it. The previous tenant appears to have been V. Patching.

The name of the landlord is not clear, but I believe it is D Berry. The address is certainly clear, Clothalls Farm, which is the closest building to Hatterells, about a quarter of a mile as the crow flies to the north-west of Hatterells, and which is still standing.

[I think the landlord is probably Dudley Berry, who was listed as a farmer in West Grinstead in the 1938 Kelly’s Directory of Sussex, and is definitely at Clothalls Farm in 1951-52 according to The Silver Eagle Horsham Urban and Rural Directory]

The book consists of a cardboard cover and now holds three sheets of paper (although presumably it once had more), two of which are blotting paper. To my surprise they are actually stapled into the book, I would have expected the blotting paper to be removable so that it could be used facing which ever page was being written on.

The other sheet is shown below and has entries on both sides detailing the amount of rent due and the date it was due along with a record of how much was actually paid.

As you can see someone (I don’t know if it was definitely my grandmother, it may have been the previous tenant still), was paying 10 shillings a week in rent, and on occasion they missed a week and paid double the following week.

Whether this was due to a lack of money, not being home when the landlord called or just that the landlord didn’t come to collect the money I will probably never know.

More importantly this show that someone was paying rent from at least the 18th September 1943 and the reverse of the page shows that the entries continue until the 9th September 1944.

Interestingly for the last two entries it seems that the weekly rent had gone up to 10s 8d, which may be why the entries finish (although it was the end of the page), did my grandmother seek cheaper accommodation when the rent was increased?

This is not the only rent book in my collection and I should be looking more closely at the others to see what other clues and insights that they hold.

Hatterells: Another “lost” ancestral home

1 Feb

The photo below shows the site of another ancestral home, like Goreland Farm a few weeks ago there is virtually nothing left to see. This is where my grandmother Dorothy Annie GASSON lived in West Grinstead, Sussex with her young family for part of the Second World War.

Between the pond and the nearest oak tree and to the right-hand side of the photo, once stood Hatterells (sometimes known as Hatterells Cottages or Hatterells Farm) which consisted of a pair of cottages and a couple of farm buildings. I remember the last of the buildings, one of the farm buildings, which was still standing until the hurricane in 1987, but the other buildings have long since gone.

The most notable thing about Hatterells is its remoteness, the nearest building was another farm over the horizon in the photo, and the nearest main road was about three-quarters of a mile in the opposite direction, and even then it was probably the same distance again to the nearest village shops. Not the most convenient place for a mother to raise a family, whilst her husband was away on active service during the war. If you don’t believe me just have a look at the location on Google Maps, nothing much has changed in the intervening 60 or 70 years apart from the disappearance of the buildings and a few less hedgerows.

I don’t know for certain the exact dates when my grandmother was at Hatterells but I do have on interesting piece of evidence which I will tell you about tomorrow.

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