SUSSEX INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY STUDY GROUP
The Tollhouse and Milestone Survey
Subsequently, during the first seventy years of the 18th century, a basic grid of trunk roads was established between the main centres of population in the county. Mr. Margary has noted some patterns in this development: the first were to the assize towns from the London direction; a series between 1753 and 1764 led to, or near, the coastal towns, and between 1765 and 1767 the formation of several trusts between Maresfield, Hurst Green and Tunbridge Wells, probably indicates the latter town as a developing district centre. The emergence of Brighton as a watering-town, and its need for more direct access, is shown by the formation of turnpike trusts in 1770. Before this date the nearest turnpike terminii to Brighton were at Steyning and Lewes. During the following seventy years cross-routes of more local importance were established. At the end of the turnpike era in Sussex the area inland from Hastings was gated. The last turnpike road in the county to be established was between Cripps Corner and Hawkhurst, 1841.
What is interesting from the archaeological point of view is that these several roads between St. Leonards and Hastings and the Kent border show turnpike road construction at its most highly developed and ambitious in the county - deep cuttings and high embankments with brick-arched over bridges taking minor roads over the main routes. (2). There is a necessity for this survey to locate and record these features. This is vital.
By the middle years of the 19th century maladministration and bankruptcy were all too apparent in the organisation of the trusts. Most of the trusts were far from viable, part of the problem being that the average length of road controlled by each was too short. In 1840 the national average for each trust was only 19 miles. (3). Increasingly there was competition from the railways, and also heavier vehicles using the roads. Unable to cope with new economic factors, most trusts were wound up in the 1860's and 70's. The last public road to continue under turnpike administration in Sussex was between Horsham, Steyning and Old Shoreham. The last tolls were taken on November 1st 1885.
The most tangible evidence of the turnpike age is in the tollhouses. Although occasionally some were earlier-built cottages utilised for the purpose, as at Lindfield, it would appear from the evidence we have at present that most in Sussex were purpose- built. Their general character is one of extreme modesty. Perhaps the smallest in the county is at Glynde (TQ 462082), built 0819, and now a shop. Probably the most elegantly designed is at Northchapel (SU 957293), a fine example, dated c 1757. Certainly the most eccentric is on the Long Furlong, near Findon, with its castellated sham facade, 0802 (TQ 101075).
The survey requires a full photographic record, and where occupiers will permit, drawings to illustrate internal layout and overall dimensions. It is particularly important for recorders to attempt to determine the original plan for each specimen as nearly all that have so far been examined reveal evidence of later additions.
The survey must not neglect milestones. At first these were erected voluntarily by the trusts, and by the General Turnpike Act. 1766, were compulsory. It is tragic that so many Sussex milestones were lost, or destroyed, during the last war prior to 1940 after they had been removed for security reasons. This was apparently the case, for instance, on the London-Brighton road, at least along the Sussex section, for a few examples appear to survive immediately north of County Oak, Crawley, within Surrey. The finest milestones in the county are those on the London-Uckfield-Hailsham road (A 22) and the Uckfield-Lewes road (A 26). See Newsletter 2, p.4. However, there are many others of far less distinction, but probably of more typical variety, and which are becoming increasingly illegible and grass-grown. If their preservation in situ cannot be guaranteed, it is essential that representative specimens be removed to safe custody. Members are asked to note where possible dangers exist, and in such cases to contact the General Secretary.
The survey co-ordinator, Mr. B. Austen, reports steady progress since last October. Completed record cards have been received for tollhouses at Ashcombe, Lower Stoneham, Malling and Offham. Work is at present in progress, or cards in process of being completed, for Ditchling, Midhurst and Stone Cross. Milestones: Bow Bell stones between 41 (Maresfield) and 35 (Wych Cross) inclusive. Three stones on the Chichester-London road (52, 50, and 45 miles to London).
The list of tollhouses issued last year produced the desired response, enabling the location of a number of additional tollhouse sites. It is hoped to issue a further list shortly. The following members have been particularly active in this survey, and their help is acknowledged: Miss M.A. Ash, Messrs M. G. Bell, G. D. Flood, H. A. Gordon, P. S. Laurie, J. A. Mudge, and J. C. Powicke.
Burwash. Park Mill, Batemans, TQ 670237. It was reported in Newsletter 3 that plans were being made to restore this watermill, which in its present form probably dates from 1795, and possibly also to restore the early 20th century turbine installed by Kipling to generate his own electricity. Mr. W. R. Beswick reports satisfactory negotiations with the National Trust. The Group has offered to act as managing agents for the restoration, which is urgent if the continuing deterioration is to be prevented.
Clymping Windmill, TQ 016013. The story of this mill is a tragedy, and illustrates the ease by which a historic building, listed by M.H.L.G. as Grade II (`of special architectural or historic interest') can be damaged by incorrect action. Despite its special status, and the obligations thereby placed on the proprietor to inform the planning authority before alteration, both sweeps and cap were removed without reference to West Sussex County Council. This July an application for its demolition was made so that the occupied land might revert to agricultural use. The Group lodged a formal objection against this pro-posal. Permission to demolish was refused.
What is important about this case is that it is certain that much of the power and force of any argument for preservation had been eroded by the action already taken seven years ago to partly dis-member the mill. In view of the state in which the owners have permitted the mill to develop, it would not have been surprising had the application to demolish been successful. It is quite clear that today's present position should never have been reached.
Dating from 1799, the mill is an early example of a smock mill, and was
noteworthy, according to Mr. Gregory, for its cast iron windshaft with sockets
to take the arm of a compass arm brakewheel. Windmills on the immediate
coastline of Sussex were once a most characteristic feature. To quote just a
few: there were several at Worthing, one at Rustington, two at Littlehampton,
and three at Bognor. They have all been destroyed, sometimes quite wantonly as
was the case when the last survivor of these was pulled down at Littlehampton to
make way for a funfair. There are now but two of these coastline windmills, one
at Selsey and this example at Clymping. That we should be in danger of losing
one of these is serious to all who are sensitive to the slow, but insidious
destruction of what is historically valuable.
Cross-in-Hand Windmill, TQ 558218. This is one of the best known Sussex windmills, often to be seen working until recently. However, earlier this year one of the stocks snapped, with the result that two of the sweeps have fallen and the other stock has cracked from the strain. There has naturally been some concern within the county as damage such as this is often the beginning of a gradual decay that in the end justifies demolition. In view of the general interest in the mill, it is well to record the following, based on a report from Mr. Beswick:
Although not used commercially since the milling business was modernised with electricity, the mill has been used regularly to maintain it in working condition. The owner Mr. Jack Newnham, (one of our members) has always shown considerable interest in maintaining a mill on the site, a site for which there is evidence of milling dating from at least 1598. The mill will not be left in its damaged state. At the time of writing this report (end of September) Mr. Newnham has said that as soon as the milling business will allow, both stocks, and the remaining sweeps, will be removed to determine exactly what is to be done.
B. Fuel Power - Goldstone Pumping Station, Hove, TQ 285066. The station
houses two beam
It is sad to report that both the building and the two engines are to be demolished and scrapped under Brighton Corporation's Capital Works Programme for 1970/71.
Railway Architecture Survey
Recording has been very successful in East Sussex; the following lines have been covered: Tunbridge Wells - Hastings; Hastings - Rye; Bexhill West Branch; Cuckoo Line; Lewes - Seaford; Tunbridge Wells - Three Bridges; Tunbridge Wells - Lewes; Kemp Town Branch. Work is progressing in West Sussex, but Mr. Hoare would like to hear from anyone willing to record the west coast line from Brighton to Havant.
Crowhurst Viaduct, TQ 7610. A further Sussex loss this year has been this viaduct built by the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway between 1897 - 1902, carrying the Crowhurst-Bexhill West line over Crowhurst Marsh. It was left isolated when the line was closed in 1964, and the track removed. Eight of the seventeen arches were blown up on May 23rd, the remaining structure being demolished on June 12th, reports Mr. John Upton of Battle. The viaduct was a noteworthy structure of some interest, particularly on account of its massive foundations. Each pier was built on a concrete block 52 by 32 feet, sunk to an average depth of 30 feet. That the railway company was prepared to invest £244,000 at the turn of the century on a 4'h mile branch line involving such engineering difficulties is a reflection of the anxiety to make capital out of Bexhill's fairly late development as a watering place, and reveals the price to be paid for fierce competition between rival companies. The LBSCR's route from London to Bexhill Central via Lewes was 72 miles - via the SECR's branch line this was reduced to 62 miles.
Mr. Adrian Barritt has recorded the following: Amberley, Angmering, Brighton (2), Chidham, Cooksbridge, Findon, Hartfield, Horsham (2), Hove, Kingston-by-Sea, Portslade, Pulborough, Storrington (2), Streat and Walberton. Members with local knowledge of a particular locality are urged to report malthouses known to them. A problem is that the usual sources of information -- local directories and maps - are of less use in locating malthouses, since directories frequently give no precise addresses, and maps do not mark all sites.
Brighton and Hove
Ice House Survey
Arundel Castle, TQ015075. Following the recording of the Cowdray ice house, Midhurst, members of the Chichester High School for Boys Industrial Archaeological Group have commenced cleaning the Castle ice house prior to preparing plans and section under Mr. John Powicke.
East Preston Workhouse Survey, TQ 070023. Demolition of the Workhouse, dated 1873, began in early September. Plans and much documentation are at the West Sussex Record Office, Chichester. Before demolition Messrs. David Butler, John Hoare and the West Sussex Secretary prepared an extensive photo-graphic record.
Recording of workhouses in Sussex is a neglected aspect of local history
field work. For instance, the Thakeham Union Workhouse was pulled down in the
1950's, and far-reaching enquiries have so far failed to locate any photographs.
Members are asked to locate the poor law institutions in their own
THE OPEN AIR MUSEUM, WEST DEAN NEAR CHICHESTER
A horse gin house from Bersted, Bognor, was removed in August to West Dean, for later re-erection.
Volunteer labour, for both site maintenance and removal of buildings, is urgently required. Members should contact Mrs. Pamela West, 11 Selsey Avenue, Bognor Regis, if they are able to help. A booklet outlining progress to date may also be purchased from Mrs. West, price 2/6. The Museum is not yet open to the general public.
THE SUSSEX GUNPOWDER INDUSTRY
Battle and District. There were six gunpowder works along the course of the short Asten stream which ran from its source near Catsfield to the sea at St. Leonards. These were: the Farthing Works, the House Works (the main establishment), Pepperengeye, Lower Pepperengeye, and two mills at Crowhurst. Pepperengeye was the first to operate in 1677. Much later a further associated works at Sedlescombe was added to the complex. As at the Brede Works, there were major and minor explosions, so that the land-owner of 1874 would not renew the lease. The whole operation moved to Dartford on the Thames.
Archaeological remains are few, being confined to ponds, water channels, some buildings now converted to other uses - particularly at Powdermill House - and an occasional grinding stone, which at some two tons each were too heavy to move far away.
Members interested in following in detail this highly important local industry are referred to the very important paper by Herbert Blackman, Sussex Archaeological Collections, vol. 64 (1923), pp. 109 - 122. Also to the original MS and notes of the same author held by the Battle Historical Society, by whom they were kindly made available for these present notes, together with a report of a lecture on this subject by Col. C. H. Lemmon in its Transactions no. 8, (1958 -- 59), pp. 5 - 8. The O.S. map of 1874 should be consulted for locations.
Brede. When the Brede (Sackville) iron works, including a blast furnace and gun foundry went out of action in 1763, the site was leased to Messrs. Durrent and Jeakens for 31 years. A gunpowder works was in operation by 1770. Capital about £4,000.
Black dogwood and spindlewood were extensively cultivated to provide charcoal for the best sporting powder. Such trees today provide perhaps the most readily seen evidence of this industrial venture (as incidentally do the many teazel plants of the woollen industry that also flourished for a time at Brede). There are today only two items of the works to be seen; one a grinding stone from the edge-runner mill, used to fine grind the mixture of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal. It has been set up vertically at the east end of the dam of the Hastings Corporation Waterworks reservoir at Powdermill (between Sedlescombe and Brede), where also the very few remains of the Sackville iron furnace can be seen. The second item remaining is a timber framed and boarded building removed in toto to a site next to Brede Garage, and now used as a dwelling house.
The mill blew up three times, in 1778, 1787, and in 1808. On the last
occasion the whole mill, as well as two men and a child were blown to pieces.
The running house, the sifting house and the mag-azine were rebuilt, and Jeakens
continued working alone until the operation ceased in 1825.
A BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SUSSEX INDUSTRIAL HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY
One thing which a publication like this Newsletter should attempt to do is
keep its readers abreast with other publications. What I invite other members of
the Group to do is to note recent articles and books which make considerable
reference to Sussex industries and crafts, and to send the details to me, with
per-haps an explanatory sentence about the article-, e.g.,
These references can then be collated and published in the Newsletter.
What will be particularly valuable is for members who take periodicals of
limited circulation, (e.g. Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society,
Business History, `house journals') to make a special point of recording Sussex
This publication is a useful model for work requiring to be done in many other Sussex towns. Re-development and demolition taking place, especially in the coastal towns, is making a survey of the usage of local building materials most urgent. For instance, Littlehampton and Worthing both require such a study. It is also heartening to see a local town society doing something useful in this respect. Other such societies in Sussex might well imitate. (K. C. L.)
SUSSEX ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
STOP PRESS - "THE FUTURE OF INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY"
An open discussion occupied the entire afternoon session. After considerable debate, the meet-ing accepted the alternative proposed by the Steering Committee, namely the strengthening of the C.B.A. institutions, and in particular recommended the reconstitution of the Research Committee on the basis of territorial representation, the reorganisation of the Advisory Panel procedure to deal more promptly with recommendations for scheduling and listing, and the exertion of pressure on the appropriate bodies to increase the grants available for this work. Subsequently, a proposal that steps should be taken to establish a national society was put, but necessarily in the context of the preceding decisions, it was defeated, 41 votes to 27, with 21 abstentions.
It was regrettable that a conference on the future of industrial archaeology
should have concentrated on the issue of `preservation'. Industrial archaeology
is the study of certain categories of artefacts and activities - and not merely
their conservation, (archaeologists of other periods do accept the destruction
of what they find once it has been recorded). Discussion on the next ten years
should be about the study of what, and how.
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