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Horsted Keynes Then and Now

Please see here for a fascinating article about Horsted Keynes life 100 years ago.

Pictures of the Village and Villagers in Years Gone By
If you have any pictures of the village in the past we would love to feature them here.
Please email or ring 791924 and we could collect, copy, and return
them to you the same day. This causes absolutely no damage and is similar to a normal photocopy.

All these pictures can be easily studied full size.
Either try clicking the small picture or to save them to your computer right click and then select "Save Picture As.."

Some beautiful pictures have just come to hand
of scenes in and around the village.
Take a look at the village forge sometime at the
turn of the century. Look how narrow the "road"
is! Just a mud track really.

Courtesy of John Crossman from South Chailey.

Horsted keynes forge.
Horsted Keynes forge, close-up of the workers. Detail from the above picture beautifully
extracted by our correspondent.

Courtesy of John Crossman from South Chailey.

Another view of the church but this time showing
the cottages which of course are still there.
Where was the sweet shop?
Was it one of these cottages?
Take a look at the full size blow up of this picture,
there are some ghostly figures by the church gate!
Dead relatives? No, just a long time exposure!

Courtesy of John Crossman from South Chailey.

St. Giles Church, Horsted Keynes.
Unusual interior view of St. Giles Church, Horsted Keynes. A rare  inside view of St. Giles Church,
again from the turn of the century.
Notice the oil lamps which were the only lighting
(apart from the candles of course!).
Four hymns to sing, so the service was probably
longer than today, no central heating,
and the organ is missing!

Now an interesting
article that was published in
The Daily Chronicle on
Wednesday February 24th. 1909.
You may have seen a copy
in the doctor's waiting room
 in The Martindale Centre.
All punctuation (and a couple of errors)
have been left exactly as published.
The descriptions of The Martindale Centre
as built plus the description of
Mrs. Martindale herself are extremely revealing.

The newspaper article that is displayed in the small room at The Martindale Centre, Horsted Keynes.

Horsted Keynes: Overall view of Louisa Martindale on dispaly at The Martindale Centre, Horsted Keynes.

You will recognise this
picture from the same room.
It is of Mrs Martindale
painted in 1904 by Clara Ewald.
The description of Mrs. Martindale
in the above article is very revealing.
"....when Mrs. Martindale decides that a
thing requires to be done, it is done..."

Click the article above to read the full text
or the picture left for a larger version
and detail from the work.

Leaflet that was handed out
for the opening of the new hall
at the rear of the Martindale in 1950,
Click the picture to read the leaflet in its entirety.

Just click any of the small images to see it full size
To save the large picture "right click" and "save as"

We would love to see other views of the village in days gone by; also any old maps or drawings of the area. We could copy and return them to you undamaged the same day.


Let's take a walk down the village from "top" (east) to "bottom" (west). Let's start at...

Horsted Keynes: Miss Fry's Corner

"Miss Fry's Corner". Apparently  named after the shop that used to be there. Pictured here, it is believed, at the time of VE Day.

Here is a close-up view of the shop.
Lyons Maid Ice Cream and apparently
Southdown busses stop there as well!
Not sure of the date, it was given to us as
"1970's" but the TV aerial says much earlier.

The village at the beginning of the war in 1939 - just one car!

Just a single car visible! Yes in 1939 there was no petrol so almost everyone walked or took the bus. An interesting sign shows that the Village Green was larger than now. Click to view full size.

Turning round and looking the other way we can just
 see on the right Ashgrove Stores otherwise known as "Sayers and Carter". They were in the village for over a century until the end of the 1990s. Now just a row of cottages, but the name is still shown on the wall!

Sayers and Carter in 1926

Horsted Keynes 1908, top end of the village.

Just down from the corner above is how the top end of the village looked in 1908. With the village stores called "Sayers and Carter". Here you could buy almost anything from soap to a tin bath! Items not in stock were specially ordered for delivery by horse and cart to your doorstep. Those were the days!
Among the many points of interest we see that the pavement is much higher than the mud road.
We are not sure how far  this elevation went but if you have any old photos of the area please do get in touch

.A few yards further down from where the above picture was taken we find The Crown Inn. This building has been here for many years, at least since the 17th. Century. You can just see the beginning of the monkey puzzle tree in this 1929 view. It grew into a substantial size until being cut down a few years ago.
Following the recent lightning strike the building has been altered and restored.

Horsted Keynes, The Crown Inn before its several fires c. 1908.

Another view of Horsted Keynes forge.

Down the hill on the other side of the road
was the village smithy. Horses shod, ploughs repaired,
and gate hinges a speciality!
Our front gate which was made there
120 years ago is still going strong. 
Bet your B&Q one won't last that long!

This picture of Church Lane is undated
but seems to date from the 1920's.
On high days and holidays the lane from the village to the church used to be lit by oil lamps, one of the brackets was recently found still in the trees.
An improvement on today when a torch is essential!

Horsted Keynes: Church Lane in c.1920's?

Horsted Keynes: One of the beautiful "Lakes".

A few hundred yards past the church leads
us to the first of "The Lakes".
Man-made fishing ponds which were essential
for feeding villagers in the days
before fridges and freezers!

Back towards the village we pause by
Parish Church of St. Giles, photographed in 1928
We can see that the photographer had to take a long exposure to get  enough contrast in his glass print.
We know this as no clock hands are visible!

The "standard" view from the gate of St. Giles Church, Horsted Keynes.

Horsted Keynes mill in action c. 1928.

Next a beautiful photograph of the mill in action in 1928. The wheel is spinning and the water can be seen spilling over the top of the wheel making this an "over driven" mill which is far more efficient than "under driven" types. The mill is a fair way out of the village between the church and the station. Several mill ponds had to be cut and some are still in  use as fishing ponds.
Others have been drained and are now lush meadows

The webmasters would appreciate any information that readers might have about this mill.
It's history, type and any unusual features etc.

My mothers great-great grandfather was miller in Horsted Keynes for several years until his death in 1855. He is recorded in the 1851 census as being a farmer/miller of 160 acres (presumably the land adjacent to the mill), employing a miller, a waggoner, 5 labourers and a boy. He was John Comber,
born in Ardingly in 1796. His wife was Elizabeth, nee Isted, and she appears to have continued to run the mill for several years after his death, being still there in the 1861 census with 4 recorded helpers/servants as well as one of her sons, Arthur.

The Martindale Centre, Horsted Keynes as built in 1907. The design when built was hated by some (and still is by others!).

The Martindale Centre as it was built in 1907.
This meeting hall, come church, come scout hut,
come doctor's surgery was at the centre of many residents lives. You can read much more about it here
or by clicking on the picture.

This postcard view says "Station Road".
In fact it's the road leading from
the real Station Road to "Station Approach"!

Horsted Keynes: "Station Road". Where is this?

Horsted Keynes: Ludwell

A few hundred yards behind the above photograph
is the beautiful and historic house called Ludwell.
You can read of one of its inhabitants here.

Now a picture of the "Nissan hut"  corrugated iron building which used to be at the back of the Martindale. It lasted into the early 1980's and was then demolished. We have had more correspondence about this than almost any other picture! Some say it was built during the war to store essential supplies, others that it was built from scratch in 1950 to form a church.
We now understand that a temporary hut was built in the early 1940's and it's base was used for the rebuilt church which was opened in July 1950. Correspondence closed!

Horsted Keynes: The "hut" at the rear of The Martindale Centre. Picture from a leaflet dated 1st. July 1950

Horsted Keynes: The Millers Barn, now demolished.

The Millers Barn, now demolished.
[We are not surprised seeing the angle of the walls!]
An extract from the Register of Burials
within the Parish of Horsted Keins (sic) in the
 County of Sussex begun on the 12th. day of May
Anno Dom. 1706" starts - September 1st.
"A travelling man died in the Millers Barn
and was buried the second day."

If you take a look at the webcam picture at the top of this page then you may recognise the area shown here. It is the crossroads leading to Lindfield and the station at the west of the village.
Picture courtesy of 

Ludwell in 1910, area as shown on our webcam.

Just click any of the small images to see it full size. To save the picture "right click" and "save as".
We would love to see other views of the village in days gone by; also any old maps or drawings of the area.
We could copy and return them to you undamaged the same day.


A memory of "The Doctor's House".
(Not everybody welcomed Mrs. Martindale's Hall!)

Leighton Cottage at the top of Leighton Road, was known as Leightoncote when it was occupied by a doctor William Ashton Ellis, between 1900 and 1909. It was also referred to as "The Doctor's House" for many years after his departure.

Ellis had given up his medical career in 1887 and devoted his time to translating the prose works of Wagner. His dedication to this task did little to provide him with an adequate living. A fellow member of the Wagner Society, the dramatist Bernard Shaw, greatly admired Ellis' translations and it was to Shaw he wrote in 12904 telling of his financial difficulties and seeking help in obtaining a Civil List pension. Eventually, after many letters had passed between Ellis and Shaw, and Shaw and Whitehall, even one to the Prime Minister, Ellis was granted a pension of 80 per annum.

Dr. Ellis was apparently well liked in the village where he sometimes tended to sick parishioners free of charge. In 1904 he played his own piano giving concerts to raise money for a new organ for St. Giles Church.

Later he referred to "an atrocity" that had been erected in the grounds adjoining his beloved garden, and this was perhaps the reason for his leaving Horsted Keynes to live at Preston Park near Brighton in 1909. The "atrocity" was apparently the congregational hall (now the Martindale Centre), the foundation stone of which was laid in 1906.

This is a very brief summary of an article by David Cormack in the autumn issue of the journal of The Wagner Society and published in "Parish and Parishioner" magazine by Bob Sellens. Permission has been obtained from The Wagner Society to reproduce it here.


The Church Notice Board, with a minor addition!

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