The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex

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The Ashdown Forest Dispute 1876-1882
by Professor Brian Short
published by Sussex Record Society in 1997
Excerpts from this work have been reproduced on this site with the kind permission of Professor Brian Short

Related document
William Augustus Raper
Martha Baker

Baker, Martha. Capital witness. Bring Family Bible. Wife of James Baker, living at New Lodge, Hartfield. Maiden name Langridge, born 1st July 1810 at Fletching. Parents removed to Coleman's Hatch in 1817. Have an entry of the date in Father's Family Bible in his writing. Father followed trade of Blacksmith. In April 1823 went away to service to East Grinstead and London till 1845 when I came home to Coleman's Hatch and was married in June 1845 and came to live at New Lodge which my husband farmed where we have remained till the present time.

When we came to Coleman's Hatch, the Holly Hill and Hartfield Grove properties and the house we lived in all belonged to Colonel Young. The first year we were at Colemans Hatch my mother and I and the other children cut 9 load of brakes on the Forest: 3 for Colonel Young, 3 for Mr. George Adkins of New Bridge Mill and 3 for ourselves. Colonel Young and Adkins paid us 10s. a load for cutting. I had a new frock out of the money. I remember the occasion because we took the baby in its cradle out on the Forest and my sister Martha and I upset it between us. My Father was one who bit before he barked and he gave me and my sister a good hiding when we got home. We cut for Colonel Young and Mr. Adkins the following year, but I do not recollect how much. (Colonel Young farmed Holly Hill and Hartfield Grove which was then called Snow's Hole.) I believe every year I was home we cut brakes for Colonel Young and helped offset the rent that way till he sold our house. We always cut brakes for our own hogs. Before I went to service Colonel Young sold the Hartfield Grove portion and our house and smith's shop to Captain Hall who built Hartfield Grove House.

We used to cut brakes for others. I remember cutting some for Lower Parrock Farm. While I was living at Colemans Hatch, Captain Kidd occupied New Lodge and I frequently worked there.

I used to work in the garden at Holly Hill and frequently played with Colonel Young's children and I well remember that they then used litter in the yards both at Holly Hill and at Snows Hole. I have seen old Jack Buckman (one of Colonel Young's workmen, now dead) bringing the team in off the Forest with litter to Holly Hill. I was at Mrs Buckman's house at the time helping her, as she had a thorn in her right forefinger which nearly cost her her arm. I remember Buckman stopping the team and coming in to see his wife and telling me to send for Dr Wallis at Hartfield at once.

In those days Colonel Young had peat off the Forest for the greenhouse fire at Holly Hill. I used to fetch it from the lodge and make up the fire. The peat used to come from the Bog near Newbridge. My Father used to cut a great deal of peat there. I used to help him lay out the pieces and I remember on one occasion when so engaged falling into the water there and getting into a dreadful mess. I was frightened by the "efts" swimming over my arm and when I got out my Father boxed my ears. We always burnt at our house peat and turf which we got off the Forest. Buckman used peat and turf. We always cut birch, willow and alder on the Forest for fuel at our house at Colemans Hatch, but we were not allowed to cut oak or beech.

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