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Class no: 759.2TURNER,JOSEPH MALLORD
Class no: B TURNER,JOSEPH MALLORD
Edited extracts from recordings made of the reminiscences of members of the Sandgate Preservation Society
Publication Year: 1977
Media type: Other material
Voices from the Past was a joint meeting of the Sandgate Preservation Society and the West Sussex Archives Society, held at the Village Hall, Storrington, on 24 March 1977 at 7.45pm. Edited extracts from recordings made of the recollections of members of the Sandgate Preservation Society on 1 November 1976 and 17 January1977 (OH/13) were played at this meeting, covering a range of subjects, as described below.
Education – Sullington Church of England School
In the middle of the last century the then owner of Sandgate Estate, George Carew-Gibson, established a school in Sullington principally for children of estate workers and inmates of the workhouse. The Log Books kept by the head teachers survive for the period 1869-1889, and are kept at the Record Office. They show that attendance averaged between 40 and 50 children. These were taught in a single room, and the headmistress had one assistant teacher. When the school was closed at Christmas 1917 there were only 8 children left on the register.
1-044 Reminiscences of visits paid to the school by Mrs Felton of Sandgate House and by the Reverend Henry Palmer, Rector of Sullington.
5-120 Recollections of life at the school – the pupils, the schoolroom, the headmistress, the methods of teaching, the subjects taught and the discipline.
Until shortly after the Second World War there stood on the rising ground between Water Lane and Clayton Farms a large and attractive building known as Sandgate House. During the 1914-18 War, it housed German prisoners-of-war working on new roads or felling timber. Later it was run as a holiday home, and in the last War its occupants included French Canadians. Traditionally, however, it was the home of the owners of the Sandgate Estate, and a house is known to have existed on the site since at least the end of the 18th century. The first house that we know of was a small one built by Sir George Warren. On his death, John Shelley, who owned the land, enlarged the house, and lived there until his death in 1811. In 1825, George Gibson rebuilt the house on a much grander scale, and there is a display print of the building, then known as Sandgate Lodge, as it was in the 1830s. The house underwent its final reconstruction in the 1860s when George Carew-Gibson converted it into a fine mansion. The house was bought by the Felton family in 1887, and for the next 30 years was the centre of the social and recreational life of the neighbourhood. The family employed a large number of domestic servants to run the household, and we are fortunate to be able to listen to the first-hand recollections of one of those employed by the Felton family in the early years of this century.
03-198 Recollections of Mrs Hues who worked as a domestic servant at Sandgate House between 1903-1906. She describes the daily life of a housemaid – the duties, remuneration, conditions of work, accommodation and recreation.
Sandgate Estate and The Warren
The Felton family held the Sandgate estate until the death of William Valentine Felton in December 1916. On his death the estate, comprising several hundred acres, was split up and sold. The fir plantation on the Common was purchased by Mr Longbottom and exploited for its timber, which was used for pit-props, match-making, etc. During the First World War, German prisoners-of-war were employed in felling timber in the plantation. Water Lane was made up with sleepers to carry Foden engines which carried loads of timber to railway stations at Amberley and Pulborough.
200-229 Reminiscences about the break-up of the estate and the commercial exploitation of the plantation.
Sullington Warren, a wild expanse of heather and pine land has been put to many uses during its time. Originally, as its name implies, it might have been used as a rabbit warren. Certainly local people for long made use of the gorse that grew so luxuriantly – using it as a domestic fuel for fires and baking, and as walling for lambing yards. During the Second World War the sphagnum moss was discovered to have special medical properties, and was harvested by local inhabitants, including school children, for use as wound-dressing.
230-288 Recollections of the uses made of the Warren and commons – gorse gathering, sphagnum moss, etc.
Transport and trade
Prior to the advent of the railway and motor transport, those people who needed to travel went either by foot or on horseback. The turnpike road from Stopham Bridge, through Pulborough, to Storrington, was laid down in 1810, and would have been extremely slow and arduous in the last century, and we know that the journey to Worthing by horse-drawn omnibus sometimes took as long as 4 hours.
290-316 Recollections of the beginnings of the bus service to Storrington – the steam and gas driven buses - and the opening of the Southdown service.
The difficulties of travel and transport in the early days were felt particularly by local tradesman. In the 1780s we find the beginnings of the firm of Greenfield in Storrington. William Greenfield was a general storekeeper in the village, and much of his stock came up river to Arundel and from there to Storrington by horse and cart. The Arun-Wey Canal was used for bringing coal and other goods from London – they were brought by barge to Greatham Bridge, and from there by carts and wagons. With the coming of the railway through Pulborough, the shops of Storrington were more easily supplied and goods were brought in every day by horse and cart from the station.
317-351 Recollections of local tradesman in the village – Greenfields and Flatts (general provisions), Joyes (millers and bakers), Hodson (butchers)... The transporting of wholesale supplies.
Besides the shops in the village streets, local people were also supplied by itinerant traders and by the stall-holders at the fortnightly markets. Before the turn of the century, six-monthly fairs were held at Storrington and every year on 13 May and 11 November, High Street and West Street would be full of farm stock, stalls, and so forth. The business of the Storrington fairs was gradually taken away by the auction markets at Pulborough and Steyning.
352-405 Recollections of itinerant traders-milk sellers, paraffin man, strawberry sellers, muffin man, fish seller, greengrocer... Reminiscences of the local markets and fairs.
Gas and Electricity Supply
In the early times the people of Storrington relied for their lighting on primitive lamps and home-made candles. By the 1860s paraffin was being used, and lamps of a less primitive type began to appear. Indeed, even after modern forms of lighting had reached the town, homes in outlying districts still depended for their winter lighting on paraffin lamps. In 1861, a small company was formed for the purpose of bringing gas-lighting to Storrington, and in October of that year houses and shops in the village were lit by gas for the first time. Arthur Mant, head of another prominent local family, played a leading role in this development, and at that time Storrington was one of the smallest communities in the county to be lit by gas. Local initiative was also responsible for the introduction of electricity into the village. In the early 1920s, Bernard Hecks of Sullington Manor used the water power of Chantry Mill Pond to generate electricity. This was initially intended for the Manor Farm, but, by means of poles and overhead wires, power was transmitted to houses and shops in the village. In the early 1930s this facility was extended by an Electric Light Company.
409-454 Recollections of the early provision of electricity to the village – the problem caused by high winds and by schoolboys shaking the wooden poles.
456-474 Recollections of the use of paraffin lamps in the outlying cottages and houses prior to the coming of electricity.
Village Sports and Recreations
The playing of lawn tennis came into vogue during the latter part of the last century, and tennis parties were held regularly by the Feltons in the grounds of Sandgate House. Estate girls were invited to the parties to act as ball-girls. But Storrington is perhaps best known, in the sporting sense, for its cricket team. One of the founders of the team was probably John Hammond, who played for both Sussex and England, and who lived at Storrington from 1799 until his death in 1844. His sons and grandsons inherited his all-round talents, and Storrington became an enthusiastic centre of village cricket in the last century. On one occasion, during the severe winter of 1891, a match was played on the ice on Chantry Mill Pond, between two teams of 15 players, all wearing top-hats.
476-501 Recollections of the tennis parties at Sandgate House.
501-524 Recollections of cricket in the village – the match on the ice at Chantry Mill in 1891 – de Selincourt’s books on cricket and his connection with the village.
525-535 Recollections of the village cricket team, and of the cricketing families of Hammond and Crowhurst.
A much-loved institution in the village for many years was the Storrington Band which was always called upon whenever there was a time for rejoicing and celebrations. The village cricket team was sometimes welcomed home after victorious matches by the sound of the Band and the pealing of bells, and the birthdays of aged inhabitants were sometimes greeted by the music and the ringing of the church bells. The Band was always in demand for village fetes and shows, and their performances in the Square attracted large crowds. The Band was in abeyance during the First World War, and the former spirit was never recaptured despite the efforts of enthusiasts, and after the last War the instruments were sold.
537-583 Reminiscences of the Storrington Band – the carol processions through the village – the musical instruction of the bandsmen – the band masters – and the ultimate decline in interest after the Second World War.
The school children in the village could look forward to their own treats during the summer and at Christmastime. The pupils of Sullington School were treated to boat trips on the duck pond in Sandgate Park during the summer months. And Mrs King of Fryern used to invite all the children from Storrington school to a tea-party when the hay had been cut in the field at the end of Back Lane. Mr Faithful and Mr Joyes also arranged hay-field teas, and many farmers used to allow children to play in the hay providing they dismantled their castles before they left.
586-619 Recollections of summer school treats at Sullington and Storrington – the boat trips on the duck pond and the tea parties at haymaking time.
Special Events in Storrington’s History
The burning down of the White Windmill
The White Windmill was a postmill which for many years was a much-loved landmark on Sullington Warren.The mill and a large part of the Warren was owned by Lord Leconfield and was rented with Chantry water mill by Mrs Henry Crowhurst. The windmill was in use until about 1903, after which it stood idle, but an appeal was launched to raise money for its restoration . However, before the work was carried out , the mill was destroyed by fire in 1911. The fire started in the hedge bordering the Worthing Road at Three Gates, probably from a spark from a steam wagon, and the flames quickly spread to the common. The summer had been very dry that year , and the bracken and gorse were soon engulfed in flames. The fire brigade had to be called from Steyning , but by the time the horse-drawn vehicle had arrived the fire was threatening Sullington School. After a fierce struggle the fire was eventually controlled, but all that remained of the White Windmill was the iron axle or wind-shaft.
001-060 Recollections of the fire of 1911. A description of the White Windmill and an account of the fire. The sending of a telegram to Steyning to call the fire brigade – the need to fetch and harness the horses – the problem of getting water to fight the fire. The destruction caused by the fire, and the effect on the flora and fauna of the Warren.
The celebration of special occasions
Special occasions were often celebrated in the village by the Storrington Band and by the ringing of church bells. Empire Day was traditionally a time of great rejoicing, particularly by the children of the village. The school children gathered around the flag-pole and sung patriotic songs, and in the afternoon were rewarded with a half-holiday. Guy Fawkes was also the occasion of much activity and merry-making by the younger element in the village. The boys of the College in Church Street were renowned for their pranks, and could be relied upon to celebrate the night of November 5th with their usual high spirits.
062-074 Recollections of the celebration of Empire Day and Guy Fawkes Day in Storrington.
Canon Henry Palmer
The Reverend Henry Palmer was Rector of the parish of Sullington for 68 years between 1859-1928. In this office, he followed his father, the Reverend George Palmer, who himself served 34 years in the parish between 1824 and 1858. Canon Palmer kept a daily diary during his time at Sullington, and volumes for the period 1855-1913 are kept in the Record Office. These diaries, together with some of the Canon’s notes on his sermons and services at Sullington, were deposited in the Record Office by Lady Evelyn May Caldecott in 1970. Canon Palmer was a prominent local character. He rode around his parish on a chestnut mare called Ruby, and was rarely to be seen wearing a hat or overcoat even in the coldest weather. He ran a Sunday School group in the church, and also took classes at Sullington School. His wife rode a tricycle and organised a small mixed choir as well as her own Sunday School group. A third group was taken by the then Miss Evelyn May Palmer, who also conducted occupational and recreational sessions for young people in the harness room.
076-099 Recollections of Canon Palmer and Mrs Palmer. His character. Mrs Palmer’s treks to deliver food to outlying homes in times of bad weather.
Another interesting local character was Vera Pragnell. She came down to Storrington from London in the 1920s, and purchased a piece of land from Mr Stacey for her Sanctuary. Plots of land were then allotted to individuals and families. This was all part of the back-to-the-land philosophy which was very much in vogue at this time, and indeed her own community land experiment attracted the interest of people in this country and abroad.
100-125 Reminiscences of Vera Pragnell. Her Sanctuary and the community land experiment. Her philosophy.
Mrs de Trafford
Mrs de Trafford was very much a character – the sort of person who becomes part of village folklore. She was once a familiar figure in Storrington, and could be seen riding about the district in her pony and cart, swearing at all and sundry, and smoking her pipe.
127-130 Recollections of Mrs de Trafford.
Names of those who took part in the recording sessions
Members of the Preservation Society: Mr W F Clover; Mrs V Dodds; Miss M F Greenfield; Miss Q Hecks; Mrs M Hues; Mr A Jenner; Miss Beattie Puttick; Miss Lois Puttick; Miss Marjorie Puttick; Mrs M Turner.
Staff of the West Sussex Record Office: Mrs P Gill, County Archivist; Mr T J McCann, Assistant Archivist; Mr A E Readman, Assistant Archivist.
The historical notes in this programme were compiled with the help of the following books
Round About Old Storrington – Florence M Greenfield (1972)
Storrington: The Parish Church and Village in Earlier Times – R L Hayward (1956)
Yesterday in Sullington: The Church. The Parish. The Manor – R L Hayward (1969)