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
Charles Hudson

Hudson, Charles. Living at the Red House near Holly Hill Farm. Labourer aged 69 years in August 1879. Born on the Forest in Hartfield. When I was about 5 years old I helped my Father cut on the Forest, I do no know for whom. When I was about 9 years old I went as ploughboy to Mr. Chart who occupied Suntings Farm, Hartfield. I remained there off and on till I believe I was 12 years old. Then I worked with my Father till his death in 1829. Then I went as laborer to Mr. Robert Edwards at Lines Farm I'2 year. Then I worked at odd jobs about 2 years, then I married in 1833. I continued odd work for 6 or 7 years. Then I worked for Mr. Home at Stairs Farm, Hartfield belonging to Lord De La Warr till 1851 when I entered the service of Mr. Bernard Hale and have remained with him till the present time.

I helped my Father cut fern and when he cut litter helped rake it up at various times between the ages of 9 and 12. Part of this I knew was for use on Holly Hill. (Edmund Hill can corroborate this).

Since that time I have frequently cut litter for the Holly Hill Estate, (including Suntings, Shawhurst and Shepherds) both for Colonel Young, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Hale. It was stacked on all the above named places. I not cut it myself of late but I have seen litter brought to Holly Hill from the Forest up to the commencement of the action and my son James has cut it for Mr. Hale for some years past.

Suntings and Shepherds and Shawhurst were let in my young days and the tenants turned stock on the Forest and had turf for fuel from the Forest as long as I can remember.

In later years the whole has been farmed by the owners and the stock turned out. Within the last 20 years many cows have been turned out.

Mr. Jackson had quantities of stone from the Forest for building the stables at Holly Hill and for other buildings. Cannot say what he paid for it. (Note. No entry of payment in Mr. Jackson's farm books.)

All the cottagers on the Estate always had turf for fuel till the commencement of the action. They burnt a good deal of it. Mr. Hale has used it regularly for his greenhouse fires and he has some now.

We have always had heath for thatching when required and my Father and I have cut it on the Forest for this purpose.

We always had gravel for yards and paths and road. Never paid anything as far as I knew.

Do not remember having any timber, underwood, stakes or binders off the Forest, except that the cottagers have always cut faggots off the Forest.

As far back as I can remember we have been in the habit of taking marl off the Forest for manure. In my young days all the farmers round the Forest had it.

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