Tag Archives: sussex day

Sussex Day 2009: Part 7 – Hurstpierpoint Church to Hazeldene Terrace

23 Jun

Hazeldene Terrace is another address in Hurstpierpoint which doesn’t seem to appear in any modern sources, but fortunately I knew where it was. Hazeldene Terrace is now part of Western Road, a short walk west and north of the church, in an area known as West Town.

I had been there many times as a child, to visit my great grandfather’s second wife who lived there, but something wasn’t quite right here…

The house I remember visiting was 102 Western Road, although the front had changed I was sure it was the right house, but that would have been No. 4 Hazeldene Terrace. The address I had for my great grandfather (Henry John TROWER) was No. 5 Hazeldene Terrace, was my memory playing tricks on me?

There was only one way to find out, I took out my mobile phone and called my parents. My father answered, he was a little surprised to hear I was in Hurstpierpoint and even more surprised that I had walked here. I asked him if he remembered what number house in Western Road that his grandfather had lived in. He wasn’t sure, but it was next door to No. 102, which his wife had moved into when she remarried!

So I wasn’t going mad (not just yet anyway), both No.4 and No. 5 Hazeldene Terrace had family connections. In all my years researching my family history my father hadn’t mentioned it to me, and I hadn’t thought to ask the question, until now!

No. 5 Hazeldene Terrace (100 Western Road) was the most interesting to me because the address keeps cropping up in records and not just those relating to my great grandfather. I seems that whenever a member of the TROWER (and later STANDING) family needed a place to stay (such as before they got married) they turned up at this house.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 6 – Hurst Wickham to Hurstpierpoint Church

22 Jun

Hurst Wickham is practically on the edge of Hurstpierpoint village, so it didn’t take long to get to the High Street, especially as I took a short cut, along a twitten which took me to St George’s Church.

I had no idea that there was a St George’s Church in Hurstpierpoint up to this point. It was a nice looking little church, but sadly it has now been closed and getting a little enclosed by the trees and undergrowth. A path leading around the back of the church took me through the St George’s Millennium Garden (quiet and some shade, with nice views to the north) and out into a residential area, and from there I found my way out onto the High Street.

I had several places to visit in Hurstpierpoint, and I began by making my way to Holy Trinity Church, stopping at a bakery along the way to buy a sandwich and some more drink. The church itself is next to a crossroads, and hemmed in by buildings and roads, so I didn’t attempt to get any photos. The church was open and it was nice to get inside and out of the sun for a while (sadly most of my photos inside didn’t come out very well, I should have had a tripod!).

The church is quite modern in terms of Sussex churches, built in 1843-45 to replace an earlier one. This is the church where my father was baptised (and his brother and sister). Several family marriages and one or two funerals have also taken place here, although I don’t believe there are any relations buried here.

For me the highlight was stepping round the back of the church and witnessing the wonderful view across to the South Downs. If there was an award for the graveyard with the best view, then Hurstpierpoint would be in the top ten. I found a bench in the churchyard and sat down and ate my sandwich. There was no shade and it was too hot to sit still for long in the midday sun so I soon moved on. After all there were still a couple of other places to visit before I could leave Hurstpierpoint.

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.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 3 – Sayers Common to Cobbs Mill

19 Jun

There was little of genealogical interest in the centre of Sayers Common, my interests were further north-east. So apart from paying a visit to the the parish church and checking on condition of the three TROWER gravestones there I quickly moved on. From the church my Sussex Day walk saw me heading north along the main road before turning east onto Mill Lane.

One end of Mill Lane is now tangled up with the entrance and exit roads from the current London to Brighton road (the A23). A bridge takes Mill Lane across the A23 and just around the corner the character of the road changes completely as the noise of the traffic begins to fade and I was back in the countryside again.

A short distance down Mill Lane (about a quarter of a mile) is the junction with Langton Lane (coming north from Hurstpierpoint) and it is this spot that I like to think of as the epicentre of my TROWER roots in Sayers Common.

Standing at the end of Langton Lane I really felt like I was standing in the shadows of my ancestors. A few yards in front of me to my left was Vicarage Cottage, where my 2x great grandparents Ebenezer and Annie TROWER and their family (until they grew up and found places of their own) lived for around half a century.

To my right, hidden behind a tall hedgerow was Cobbs Mill, the watermill from which Mill Lane got it’s name, and which provided employment for my great grandfather Henry John TROWER and his brother Percy Ebenezer TROWER.

I had been here several times before, but had never had time to stop for long and consider the importance of this place in my family history. The ancestors that passed this way on a daily basis, perhaps on foot like me, or perhaps on a push bike, maybe even a horse and cart.

If I wound back the clock far enough I would see the children heading off towards the school in the village, their mother perhaps hanging the washing out to dry in the bright sunshine and father off to work in the vicarage garden. Fast-forward a few years and I would see the two youngest boys leave to fight in the First World War, and would share in the sadness when news reached home that one of them would not be returning.

There was so much family history here, so much happened so close to this spot, some of it happy, some of it sad, but all of it needs to be remembered and shared equally.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 2 – Blackstone to Sayers Common

18 Jun

The next stage of my Sussex Day walk saw me head north-east, more or less turning my back on the South Downs. I was heading towards Sayers Common, and for this part of the route the quickest and easiest way (admittedly probably not the safest way) to get there was by following the road.

For the most part these were country roads, firstly Blackstone Lane, which did have more cars than I was expecting for a country road, but it had wide verges and the road was straight, so I could be seen (and avoided) quite easily.

The next section was a bit more hazardous, but thankfully quite short. Blackstone Lane joined the main road (the B2116) and for about a quarter of a mile I was walking alongside this quite busy road with all manor of vehicle rushing past. Fortunately there was quite a good verge and I was able to step off the road when traffic came hurtling towards me.

The section of main road lead me east to a place called High Cross. Which in my mind is really only a road junction with a few houses clustered round. Several roads met here, including Reed’s Lane the road I was to take. I was glad to get away from the main road and back out onto the relatively quiet country road.

Reed’s Lane heads north-east, more or less in a straight line to Sayers Common about a mile and a half away. Although the road is not even a B-road some drivers seemed to be treating it like a motorway. I was again glad to reach Sayers Common, where there were pavements along the side of the road and speed limits.

I guess Sayers Common’s main claim to fame is that it used to be on the main London to Brighton road until the modern A23 by-passed it to the east. It’s genealogical claim to fame is that this is where my 2x great grandparents Ebenezer and Annie TROWER moved to with their two children around 1892 (they went on to have another four children).

The family had been living in Henfield before they moved to Sayers Common, and although I don’t know how they actually made the move or which route they took, my walk today was in a small way a commemoration of that trip.

Sussex Day 2009: Part 1 – Henfield to Blackstone

17 Jun

I decided to start my Sussex Day walk from Henfield, Sussex and more specifically from St Peter’s Church, Henfield. Henfield was the home to my TROWER ancestors (and the many others families that they married) for something like 300 years, and of course the church was an important part of this, with numerous baptisms, marriages and burials taking place here over the centuries.

From the church my route took me back down to the High Street and then continued on a path that ran almost in a striaght line due east for almost two miles. At the end of this path was a little hamlet called Blackstone. The path was a perfect transition from the built up (it would be hard to actually call it urban) village of Henfield and out into the Sussex countryside.

From Henfield High Street the path began as a normal residential street (Furners Lane), this gradually changed to a country lane, then to a sunken lane and further still a green lane and finally little more than a normal footpath (if I didn’t have a hundred and one other things to do I would love to find out the history of that path).

Along the path, gaps in the hedgerows afforded two contrasting views. To the north was the flat Sussex countryside and to the south was the hills of the South Downs in the distance.

This was only the second time I had been through Blackstone, and I didn’t even know it was there until last year. As far as I know there are no ancestral connections here and no parish church (it is part of Woodmancote parish I believe).

There is very little in Blackstone other than houses, as well as no church, there was no pub or shops either as far as I could see. When I saw on the map there was a public telephone here I expected to find an iconic red telephone box. I should have known better, instead there was an ugly modern kiosk on the side of a row of houses, so disappointing.

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