The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
The Downs [a.k.a. Down Cottage]  London Road [a.k.a. Withyham Road]    Crowborough  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1890An Illustrated Guide to Crowborough by Boys FirminBook extract p. 49
1933The Story of Crowbrough ⇒ p. 68

Historical records

30th Mar 1851CensusHead; occupation: farm labourerJohn Izzard, farm labourerDown Cottage1851 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
WifeAnne Izzard [Pilbeam]
DaughterAnn Izzard
DaughterElizabeth Izzard
SonAlfred Albert Izzard, farm labourer

3rd Apr 1881CensusAlfred Teague, M, Head, married, age 25, born Rotherfield; occupation Farm labourerAlfred TeagueThe Down1881 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
Mary A. Teague, F, Wife, married, age 26Mary A. Teague
Samuel H. Teague, M, Son, age 4, born RotherfieldSamuel H. Teague
Mary E.J. Teague, F, Daughter, age 10 m, born RotherfieldMary E.J. Teague

1886HistoryThe DownsField and Hedgerow
The Country-side: Sussex written by Richard Jefferies at The Downs
On the wall of an old barn by the great doors there still remains a narrow strip of notice-board, much battered and weather-beaten: "Beware of steel ----" can be read, the rest has been broken off, but no doubt it was "traps." "Beware of steel traps," a caution to thieves - a reminiscence of those old days which many of our present writers and leaders of opinion seem to think never existed. When the strong labourer could hardly earn 7s. a week, when in some parishes scarcely half the population got work at all, living, in the most literal sense, on the parish, when bread was dear and the loaf was really life itself, then that stern inscription had meaning enough. The granaries were full, the people half starved. The wheat was threshed by the flail in full view of the wretched, who could gaze through the broad doors at the golden grain; the sparrows helped themselves, men dare not. At night men tried to steal the corn, and had to be prevented by steel traps, like rats. To-day wheat is so cheap, it scarcely pays to carry it to market. Some farmers have it ground, and sell the flour direct to the consumer; some have used it for feeding purposes-actually for hogs. The contrast is extraordinary.
more at Field and Hedgerow

1886HistoryThe DownsField and Hedgerow
Buckhurst Park written by Richard Jefferies at The Downs
An old beech tree had been broken off about five feet from the ground, and becoming hollow within, was filled with the decay of its own substance. In this wood - sorrel had taken root, and flower and leaf covered the space within, white flower and green leaf flourishing on old age. The wood-sorrel leaf, the triune leaf, is perhaps more lovely even than the flower, like a more delicately shaped clover of a tenderer green, and it lasts far on into the autumn. When the violet leaves are no more looked for, when the cowslips have gone, and the bluebells have left nothing behind them but their nodding seed-cases, still the wood-sorrel leaf stays on the mound, in shape and colour the same, and as plea-santly acid to the taste now under the ripening nuts as in May. At its coming it is folded almost like a green flower; at Midsummer, when you are gathering ferns, you find its trefoil deep under the boughs; it grows, too, in the crevices of the rock over the spring. The whortleberry leaves, that were green as the myrtle when the wood-sorrel was in bloom, have faded some-what now that their berries are ripening. Another beech has gone over, and lies at full length, a shattered tube, as it were, of timber; for it is so rotten within, and so hollow and bored, it is little else than bark.
more at Field and Hedgerow

May 1886HistoryThe DownsField and Hedgerow
Hours of Spring written by Richard Jefferies at The Downs and printed in Longmans' Magazine
It is sweet on awakening in the early morn to listen to the small bird singing on the tree. No sound of voice or flute is like the bird's song; there is something in it distinct and separate from all other notes. The throat of a woman gives forth a more perfect music, and the organ is the glory of man's soul. The bird upon the tree utters the meaning of the wind - a voice of the grass and wild flower, words of the green leaf; they speak through that slender tone. Sweetness of dew and rifts of sunshine, the dark hawthorn touched with breadths of open bud, the odour of the air, the colour of the daffodil - all that is delicious and beloved of spring-time are expressed in his song.
more at Field and Hedgerow

Aug 1886HistoryThe DownsField and Hedgerow
Wind of Heaven written by Richard Jefferies at The Downs and printed in Chambers' Journal
The window rattled, the gate swung; a leaf rose, and the kitten chased it, 'whoo-oo' - the faintest sound in the keyhole. I looked up, and saw the feathers on a sparrow's breast ruffled for an instant. It was quiet for some time; after a while it came again with heavier purpose. The folded shutters shook; the latch of the kitchen door rattled as if some one were lifting it and dropped it; indefinite noises came from upstairs: there was a hand in the house moving everything. Another pause. The kitten was curled up on the window-ledge outside in the sunshine, just as the sleek cats curled up in the warmth at Thebes of old Egypt five or six thousand years ago; the sparrow was happy at the rose tree; a bee was happy on a broad dandelion disc. 'Soo-hoo!' - a low whistle came through the chink; a handful of rain was flung at the window; a great shadow rushed up the valley and strode the house in an instant as you would get over a stile. I put down my book and buttoned my coat. Soo-hoo ! the wind was here and the cloud - soo-hoo! drawing out longer and more plaintive in the thin mouthpiece of the chink. The cloud had no more rain in it, but it shut out the sun; and all that afternoon and all that night the low plaint of the wind continued in sorrowful hopelessness, and little sounds ran about the floors and round the rooms.
more at Field and Hedgerow

1886 to 1887AddressJohn Richard Jefferies, journalist and writerThe Downs

Jun 1887HistoryThe DownsField and Hedgerow
The Country Sunday dictated by Richard Jefferies to his wife at The Downs and printed in Longmans' Magazine
Roses bloomed on every bush, and some of the great hawthorns up which the briars had climbed seemed all flowers. The white and pink-white petals of the June roses adhered all over them, almost as if they had been artificially gummed or papered on so as to hide the leaves. Such a profusion of wild-rose bloom is rarely seen. On the Sunday morning, as on a week-day morning, they were entirely unnoticed, and might be said in their turn to take no heed of the sanctified character of the day. With a rush like a sudden thought the white-barred eave-swallows came down the arid road and rose again into the air as easily as a man dives into the water. Dark specks beneath the white summer clouds, the swifts, the black albatross of our skies, moved on their unwearied wings. Like the albatross that floats over the ocean and sleeps on the wing, the swift's scimitar-like pinions are careless of repose. Once now and then they came down to earth, not, as might be supposed, to the mansion or the church tower, but to the low tiled roof of an ancient cottage which they fancied for their home. Kings sometimes affect to mix with their subjects; these birds that aspire to the extreme height of the air frequently nest in the roof of a despised tenement, inhabited by an old woman who never sees them. The corn was green and tall, the hops looked well, the foxglove was stirring, the delicious atmosphere of summer, sun-laden and scented, filled the deep val-leys; a morning of the richest beauty and deepest repose. All things reposed but man, and man is so busy with his vulgar aims that it quite dawns upon many people as a wonderful surprise how still nature is on a Sunday morning. Nature is absolutely still every day of the week, and proceeds with the most absolute indiffer-ence to days and dates.
more at Field and Hedgerow

1890HistoryThe DownsFirmin's Guide

A little way down the ascent is a small house on the left, called The Downs. Here for some time, in 1885-6, dwelt Richard Jefferies. Sometimes, on a bright day in the winter or spring, he might be seen taking exercise under the lee of the hedge which bordered the road just outside of the gate of his cottage; but in the warm summer days I have met him in the fields and lanes, enjoying the rich mental feast which the book of Nature had opened out to him. He could see what was hid from the perception of many. The gulf between the spirit in man and that in Nature seemed to some extent bridged over to him. Some of his fascinating essays were written, I believe, in the Downs cottage. Look at it. It was the abode of a mind which loved the contemplation of Nature under every aspect, could see its hidden combinations, the links of its relationships, and could penetrate to the springs and fountains of its action. He was then sick unto death, for an insidious disease was hurrying him to the grave. He was not understood at Crowborough. He did not come with a full purse, but with a rich mind only. He has gone; his poor emaciated body rests in the little churchyard at Broadwater, near Worthing. He lives, however, in the memories of those who knew him, as well as of those who admire his writings.

Proceeding, we come to a farmhouse at Cooke's Corner, where on the right a very old oak tree, whose age is beyond local history, rears its shattered limbs above the barn roof.

We hurry on past another farm on the left, and then a chapel on the right, called Forest Fold, but also graphically designated by the villagers as the "Two Chimneys." Passing some cottages and a hop garden we come to a rather steep ascent, at the top of which we may rest to glance back over the way we have traversed.

5th Apr 1891CensusWilliam T Field Buss, M, Head, married, age 51, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation: living on own meansWilliam Thomas Field Buss, farmerThe Downs1891 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
Floria Field Buss, F, Wife, married, age 33, born Rotherfield, SussexFloria Field Buss
Jane Field Buss, F, Daughter, single, age 9, born Lewes, Sussex; occupation: scholarJane Field Buss
Fanny Field Buss, F, Daughter, age 5, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation: scholarFanny Field Buss
Avice F Field Buss, F, Daughter, age 2 months, born Rotherfield, SussexAvica Field Buss

c 1899Crowborough Cross, Sussex - c 1899Part of the 6 inch to 1 mile map of Sussex produced in 1899 by Ordnance SurveyDown Cottage

2nd Apr 1911CensusWilliam Thomas Field Buss, M, Head, married, age 71, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation: retired farmerWilliam Thomas Field Buss, retired farmerThe Downs, Withyham Road1911 Census
Crowborough, Sussex
Floria Field Buss, F, Wife, married 29 years, age 53, born Crowborough, SussexFloria Field Buss
Avica Floria Field Buss, F, Daughter, single, age 20, born Crowborough, Sussex; occupation: noneAvica Floria Field Buss
Delcey Field Buss, F, Daughter, age 11, born Crowborough, Sussex; occupation: schoolDelcey Field Buss

1937Down CottageDown Cottage, CrowboroughRichard Jefferies and Sussex

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