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

Related document
William Augustus Raper
James Baker (continued)

I remember the farm now called Pinchars close to New Bridge of 7 or 8 acres. Mr. Adkins used the farm and also Newbridge Mill. He died soon after, when I was a boy. His widow kept on [the] farm and mill and she was succeeded by James Fillary and after a little while by Peter Fillary. Then Mr. Langton bought it and laid it on to the Grove and sometime after Colonel Morris let it to my nephew John Baker (who married a daughter of Robert Edwards of Lewes). John Baker died 3 or 4 years ago and his widow gave up the farm at Michaelmas 1878. The Adkins, Thomas Fillary and my nephew and niece always turned out their cattle and horses every year. I used to see them. They kept no sheep. All of them had litter and peat for fuel. John Baker had off the Forest mould for his mixens in front and gravel for his yard. He had sheep out on the Forest all his time and his widow afterwards. The Farm adjoins the Mill and from boyhood I used to go the Mill pretty often for flour till recent years.

I knew the Furnace Farm, also part of the Grove. Parkhurst owned and occupied it when I was a boy. It was sold upon a mortgage by a Mr. Mills and bought by James Bridger (who was brother of Mrs Parkhurst and father of witness Benjamin Bridger). He used it for many years till about 1845 when he sold it to Captain West, who used it himself a year or two. It was then let to a Heasman and afterwards to George Edwards who now uses it. As far back as I can recollect the occupiers have always had litter, turf and mould and anything they wanted off the Forest and I remember Parkhurst using marl which he got off the Forest nearly opposite to Suntings.

I have lived at New Lodge since April 1818. During that time not a year has passed without our turning out cattle and horses and cutting and bringing litter and turf for fuel. We have turned out sheep for about 30 years last past. We have also at times had scrub for fuel and bushes for stopping gaps in our outside fences, also mould for mixens, stone for repairs and new buildings, loam for the daubing the inside of the walls, gravel for bottoming stock yards and for paths. For many years we had sand off the Forest near Wrenn's Warren but lately we have opened up a pit of our own.

While Captain Kidd was here he had marl off the Forest. After his death and while Captain Hall managed for Miss Kidd, we had at least 2000 load of marl from a pit on the Forest near Suntings. We brought 975 loads on to one field alone. Robert Edwards demanded 6d. a load of my Father who was bailiff. My Father mentioned it to Captain Hall when he came down. In my hearing, Captain Hall said, `Why are you afraid, Baker?'. My father said he did not want to get into any trouble and Captain Hall told him he was not to pay anything, but to go on stronger than ever. He also said, `If you take notice, Baker, of all that old man has to say you won't be able to do much work'. Nothing was ever paid.

I remember Master Godly was tenant of Upper Parrock Farm when I was a boy, then Jenner the bailiff had it in hand, then Stephen Langridge the father had it and died and was succeeded by the present tenant. They all turned out. I knew their cattle; I saw them and they all had litter. Old Mr. Langridge in particular used to have very large quantities. His cutters have told me he has had as many as 70 loads a year and did not mind how coarse it was as long as the scythe could cut it.

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