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 Hobbs

Hobbs, John. 55. At Furners Green. Laborer. Born 13 January 1824 at Newick. When I was a child my Father took Moyses Farm, Fletching, (Sir S. M. Wilson) and remained there till I was 20 or 21 years old. As soon as I was able to work I helped him on the Farm till he left. He had litter and turf regularly every year off the Forest and at times brakes. I often went to fetch them. He always turned out 10 or 12 beast. We then hired Chelwood Farm, Fletching (Lady Shelley). He used the farm 19 or 20 years and I helped him all the time, except 1 year when I was away. We always had litter and turf there and turned out our cows and a beast and sometimes sheep. We also had gravel. I used to cut the litter. When we were at Chelwood Farm, Mr. Turner, the tenant of Colin Godmans, had leave from my Father to bring his litter off the Forest through our Farm and he carried a great deal.

After we gave up that farm I went to Colin Godmans farm for 2 years with my brother William who used it. During that time he had litter off the Forest and at times turned out. I used to see him driving his stock on when I lived at Chelwood Farm. I then returned to Chelwood Farm for 4 years under Mr. Tanner. He had some turf off the Forest. I got it in for him. I think he had no litter because he got plenty off Chelwood Common. He turned out stock at times. I then returned to Colin Godmans for 2 years under Mr. William Martin. He had litter off the Forest. I used to fetch it. I think he did not turn out. I then came to the Sheffield Arms Inn and worked for Mrs Comber who has the land adjoining for 6 years. She had litter 5 years out of the 6 off the Forest. I then came to Sliders Farm where I have been over a year. We have had nothing here in that time.

While living at Moyses Farm I carried litter from the Forest for Mr. Carr at the Winters (101 acres), Diplock at the Griffin in Fletching Street (Lord Sheffield) (9 acres), and butcher Weston at Eastland (Query. Dowses) and for Dr Jones, Stewards or Shivers or Stroods Field (5 acres) in Fletching Street and when at Chelwood Farm, Mr. Fuller at the Brays (Sir J. M. Wilson) near Splaynes Green [and] Mr. Wheeler at Poorlands (Sir J. M. Wilson), adjoining Brays.

While I was at Moyses and at Chelwood Farm I often used to see old Mr. Crowhurst from Light Row loading litter on the Forest. He always would load it himself with hedging gloves on. I also used often to see old Mr. Wheeler of Homesdale's two teams loading large quantities of litter on the Forest. (He also used the Spring Farm and the Green Farm.) Later on I used to see George Horn's team loading litter for Homesdale and afterwards Thomas Lewry.

While at Moyses I used constantly to see old John Avis with Sir Thomas Wilson's team of 8 oxen carrying large quantities of litter to Clapwater and Searles and I also used to see Mr. Verrall's teams from Blackvenn carrying large quantities.

I used also to see Mr. Mabbott's teams carrying large quantities of litter to Forest Farm (this farm is marked Woodgate Farm on the 6 inch map) near Chelwood Gate (now Mr. Corbett's), also Bunts Grove and Gooses Farms which Mr. Mabbot used. Also when living at Chelwood I used to see Skinner of Annwood Farm carrying in litter.

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