The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex

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

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William Augustus Raper
John Marchant

Marchant, John. 77. At Sheffield Arms. Born 28 April 1802 at Fletching and baptised there. I worked about Fletching as a boy till I was 16 and then I went to service with Mr. Beacon at Ketches Farm (Lord Sheffield) as odd man 3' /2 years. He then had litter and turf regularly from Ashdown Forest. During that time I went with Mr. Hobbs of Atheralls Farm his team for turf for his laborers or any cottagers in the street. Hobbs had the ashes afterwards for the trouble. I also went for Elphick at Pound Farm (Lord Sheffield's) with his team to the Forest for litter and turf. Also for his successor Eagles. I have lived near the Pound Farm. He was succeeded by John Kimber and I have worked for him at various times and have fetched litter for him. Paris and then Godly and then Newnham came afterwards. I know they had both litter and turf. I did not work for them but have been close by the farm for many years Newnham left the farm this Michaelmas.

When I was about 18 I went to service with Mr. Beacon at Ketches Farm (Lord Sheffield's) 3 1/2 years as odd man. He had litter and turf off the Forest every year. Sometimes I went for them when I was in his service. After I left his service I went to Mr. John Wheeler 1/2 year at Heaven Farm (now Mr. Hardys), [both] had litter and turf from Ashdown Forest. I then went to Mr. Beacon 1/2 year and then married and continued working for Mr. Beacon for several years, till 42 years ago, and during that time he continued to have litter and turf. I then worked on the roads in the western part of the parish for 40 years and retired 2 years ago. My work on the roads enabled me to see the teams going backwards and forward to the Forest. After Beacon came Carter and when he left the farm was in Lord Sheffield's hands for many years. I know Lord Sheffield had litter at Ketches. I used to see it go by. He used to send 2 teams for it. I often saw Wheeler of Heaven Farm, his teams carrying litter from the Forest. After Wheeler, General Davis bought the property and used the farm sometime then let it to Hobden (now bailiff to Mr. Chatterton). I used to see General Davis' and Hobden's teams fetching litter from the Forest. They had a deal (Humphrey Streeter used to cut for them). Then Mr. Hardy bought it and let it to Terry for a time and then took it in hand. I don't think Terry or Hardy had litter.

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