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 Waterways in the Village    


Ludwell Spring

On the side of the road between the village and the Bluebell Railway station lies a small pond and horse drinking trough. Fed from iron rich veins the waters are said to have curative effects especially for animals. During the hardest drought this water supply has never dried up and was the main supply for the village before piped water was fed from the new Hollywell waterworks a hundred years ago.

Take a look at the old map and you will see that in olden days the water used to spill into the road and down the hill to the river at the bottom. Now it is constrained in a culvert under the road.

Unfortunately the spring and pond fell into disrepair but a small dedicated team of villagers now regularly clean and service the pond. We think that the water babbling from the rock makes this one of the most peaceful places in the area. On a hot summers day it is a wonderful place to rest and think.

Ludwell Spring as shown on 1842 tythe map redrawn by C.P.

Ludwell Spring as shown on the 1834
Tythe map as redrawn by C.P.
Notice how the outlet simply flows
down the hill at the side of the road.
No doubt this area was one of the
busiest parts of the village in those times.

The area of Ludwell Spring with the animal drinking trough on the left and
the seat at the back.
The old pump used in times of low rainfall,
was found derelict at the side of the road!

Nick Turner has added the following information...

What the site omits to say is that, until comparatively recently (the 50s at least), the water flowed eastwards along the top of a field before swinging downwards into Flaggy Pond.  The miniature ‘gorge’ that brought it into Flaggy can still be seen beside the footpath.  Flaggy was/is also fed by the outfall from the Rectory Pond. 

This was done originally to augment the flow of water to the Mill.  The main source of water was from Broadhurst Lake via a ‘canal’ that led from the corner of the lake nearest the village, past Rushy Bottom and under Mill Lane.  The spring from Bill Tester’s garden joined it there after flowing down through Mill Wood as it does today and another ‘canal’ (still there) from Flaggy completed the water supply.

Jimmy McBriarty was the last person I can remember operating the mill (for the Clarke family, of course,) but, as it flowed along the top of the field, the Ludwell water gave the village a ready source of water cress.

I was very interested in your website and photographs of Ludwell, and the spring.  Ludwell was my home from 1940 to the death of my father, Cyril George Rossi-Ashton in 1979. 

Ludwell had been much altered from the clap-boarded cottage in the photograph – we were told during WW1, though this is uncertain. The spring was fenced from the road by a decorative iron chain – I can’t remember the pump and the horsetrough. We were uncertain as to whether we owned it or not, but the stream from it was certainly on our land until it turned to run below our boundary trees.

During the war, we kept  chicken and rabbits in a fenced off area at the bottom of the Garden, and a henhouse near the spring had a semi-rotary pump taking water from the stream, which I coaxed into action. We had moved into Ludwell in 1940, - my fathers firm in the City was burnt out in the fire blitz, and more or less at the same time our house in Woldingham was damaged by a bomb.   These two events meant that the Head Office moved to Haywards Heath, and my father had to move close enough to travel to it. (He was vice-chairman, with my Godfather, Bernard Westall being chairman. He had moved to Tanyards, about 1 ˝ miles away).

My father had been a member of Woldingham Home Guard, and following the move joined the Horsted Keynes unit – as did I, when old enough. I remember doing Guard duty in what I believe was the Bakery.

I was called-up in 1944, and didn’t return to Ludwell (apart from on leave) until 1948.   I always loved the place, but it was not easy to heat in some of the very cold Winters! Originally we rented Ludwell, buying it at a later date.

Oddly enough, my Uncle, Charles Jonas, bought the Mill House at some point, though the mill was never running I hope some of this may be of interest to you.

A. Rossi-Ashton.

By S. L. NEWNHAM (a Native)

An article from The Mid Sussex Times Tuesday April 18th., 1922 

Horsted Keynes at the time of the Conquest was probably a somewhat important place, as according to "Doomsday" there were four Hides (which were probably enclosed) and also land for eight ploughs. On the demesne were also nine villains, with three ploughs, a mill yielding two shillings, and three borders. In the time of King Edward Horstede was worth sixty shillings, while Bontegrave (Bunch or Birch Grove) had only land for half a plough and was worth but two shillings. A hide was probably about 120 acres, and the land for a plough about the same extent. There was a considerable quantity of land enclosed or under cultivation. 

Probably the place was much larger than at the present time, for besides the main road through the village there were two back lanes, one leading to the church from two directions and the other leading from the bottom of the Green to Camomile Cross. There were also the Berrin Hill (burying hill), Bonfire Lane, Seritnpet (pit) Lane, Slough Lane, and Boxes Lane, also the roads heading from the bottom of the village towards Treemans, and that going from Agnes Cross towards Treemans, the whole forming quite a network of communications. 

At the time of Doomsday Horsted was only worth forty shillings, instead of sixty, which shows that much damage was done by the Normans. Probably the village was destroyed, and has never recovered to its former state. Some of the lanes mentioned were enclosed under Inclosure Award. This was an ideal spot for a large village in those days as the land is a dry sandy soil.

 The meaning of the first part of the word Horsted is doubtful, but there might have been a number of horses kept on the enclosed land. The word "stede" means "settled habitation" (Cooper). The parish is called "Horstede" in "Doomsday".

 At the time of "Doomsday" William de Cahaignes held Horstede, and from him it takes it suffix of "Keynes". The name in times past has been spelt "Kahains", "Kaines", "Kaynes", but is now "Keynes".

 Horsted cannot boast of many ancient buildings, but there is a fine old church. Broadhurst, after having been occupied by the Cahaignes, Chaloners, Michelbournes, Lightmakers and Piggots, has come to grief. A large portion of the grand old manor house having been taken down and only a small portion remaining for a farmhouse.

 The only old mansion remaining is Treemans, the residence of the ancient family of Wyatt, who were here until the beginning of the nineteenth century. It was afterwards used as a farmhouse until it was restored to its former glory by the late Mr. Guy Hardy. For years this fine old mansion was occupied by the late Mrs. Benson, widow of a former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Miss Tate, a daughter of a former Primate.  

A few years ago Captain Lewes Wyatt, (a descendant of the Wyatt family) took up his abode in Horsted Keynes, after being abroad on service for many years. The family have been in all our wars from the Peninsular onwards. At the outbreak of the late war Lieutenant Godfrey Louis Wyatt, the only son of the Captain, true to the traditions of his family, obtained his commission and died of wounds at the Dardanelles in 1915.

 The beautiful carving on the pulpit in the parish church is the handiwork of  Captain Wyatt, who says the word Treemans is taken from the Latin words Tres Montes, meaning three hills. All three hills begin in Ashdown Forrest, the first at Chelwood Gate, and then goes through Dane Hill, passes near Treemans and ends in the Ouse valley.  Treemans being situated on the slopes of this hill. The third hill runs through Ardingly and West Hoathly, passing near Treemans and ending in the Ouse valley in the parish of Lindfield. All three reach an altitude of between 600 and 700 feet above sea level. 

Captain Wyatt has a highly interesting old map of the Manor of Treemans, dated 1729 made for Richard Wyatt, Esquire. There is a drawing of the house and buildings on it, and on the north side of the avenue leading to the house there was a cherry garden over six acres in extent, this showing the cherries must have been a favourite fruit in those days.

 Small barges used to run from Keysford to the Ouse. At this time Cockchase mill stood between the brook and Grove Wood, and above this there was a mill pond, a portion of the pond bay (dam) still remaining. As this pond would interfere with the running of barges a canal was made on its east side and a large portion of this is still to be seen. It is very evident that the brook has been deepened to give a deeper draught to the boats, also that a wharf was made a Keysford. The following is an extract from a dictionary published in 1745 (a time when boats must have been on this brook): ""kay" or "key", a wharf or place made fit for, or ordered to be used as a place to land goods, certain rates, fees, or charges being settled for that purpose."

 The road on the Lindfield side of the brook runs almost parallel with it, with a space between to load or unload boats. It is the same at Cockchase (now known as Cockhaise), only in this case the wharf was on the Horsted Keynes side of the brook. In a dictionary published in 1775 one of the meanings of the word "cock" is a small boat, and according to Cooper, "case" is a British or Keltic road for river; so "Cockchaise" means Small Boat River. There was also a wharf near the Weir Wood, and a road is shown on the old map of Treemans leading to this wharf. Captain Wyatt says this was a public road. A continuation of it is shown on the Ordinance Map of 1875, but it is now only used as a public footpath.

 There is evidence showing that most probably the brook above Keysford has been deepened and that boats (possibly smaller ones) went as far up as the ironworks at the Cinder Bank, and may be chalk was conveyed to the same place as there is a lane called Kell (Kiln) Lane. In this way guns could be conveyed from the furnace to the coast, which according to Lower was often done, and they were smuggled to foreign countries.

 With the aid of Captain Wyatt’s old map it is quite safe to say that boats conveyed goods  from at least Keysford to the river Ouse at least 200 years ago, and many years before the River Ouse was canalised. The difficulties of level must have been overcome, as in normal times there would not have been sufficient draught of water for barges to travel. The altitude at Keysford is 125 feet, and at Cockchaise 93 feet, so in less than a mile and a half there is a fall of 32 feet.

 These waterways in bygone days were very important, and in the rainy seasons most of the roads were almost impassable. The following is from a book published in 1761: "I have seen one tree on a carriage, which they call a tug, drawn by 22 oxen; and even then it carried so little a way (being thrown down and left for other tugs to take up and carry on) that sometimes it is two or three years before it gets to Chatham: for if once the rains begin. It stirs no more that year, and sometimes a whole summer is not dry enough to make the roads passable."

Barges were formerly built in the village, the yard being on the site of which is now the Baptist Chapel and old wheelwright’s shop and cottages stand. The pond was still there as late as 1843, and is shown on the Tithe map of the parish.

 The river Medway runs within one and a half miles of the northern boundary of the parish of Horsted Keynes.

 From The Mid Sussex Times May 1922

[n.b. (Webmaster's notes) Treemans is now called Tremaines, Keysford is shown as Caresford on some older maps and much of this area is now buried under the village water pumping works.]


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