Edburton Tithe Map

This website frequently makes use of clips from the Edburton Tithe Map of 1842 to illustrate posts. Not a lot has changed hereabouts in the last 180 years so the map is still both useful and attractive. If you have ever wondered how such a map came to be, then the West Sussex County Record Office has an interesting recent post by Abigail Hartley, their Searchroom Archivist. She uses Edburton as an example of a tithe map that is still in superb condition. The map shows the ecclesiastical parish of Edburton, the area served by St. Andrew’s, and thus shows all of Fulking, together with Edburton proper.

The map is still available from the Record Office (details via the link above). Local walkers are probably best advised to order the JPEG version and copy it to a tablet or mobile phone for consultation in situ. Unlike a large scale OS map, the tithe map does not mark the status of routes as ‘bridleways’, ‘public footpaths’, etc. If you are relatively new to the area, and plan to use the map for walking, then you may want to use an image editor like Photoshop to copy those indications over from OS Explorer 122.

A tithe map, like the Domesday Book, is ultimately about taxation. To that end the Edburton map uses colour to distinguish between the buildings then used for human habitation (red) and all the others (grey), typically agricultural buildings for animal accommodation or feed storage. That distinction alone tells us quite a lot about mid-C19 activity in the central section of The Street (between the pub and the building now known as Yew Tree Cottage).

Another feature of the tithe map, not shared with any of the various iterations of OS maps, is that it records the names of (all!) the fields. These names are often full of information, thus ‘Fulking Mills’ is located just where two of the local spring streams merge, an ideal location for fulling mills; ‘Coneybeare’ and ‘Upper Coney Burrow’ were probably both once sources of rabbit meat, the latter conveniently placed for the Perching Manor dinner table; ‘The Rookery’ and ‘Hog Pasture’ need no translation; and nor does ‘Boggy Lagg’ if you make the mistake of traversing it in mid-February with the wrong shoes on.

Fulking Conservation Area Reprise

Conservation Area
This document will soon be plopping onto your doormat. If you live in the conservation area (current or proposed), please review it carefully. Mistakes have already been spotted. Send any that you notice to Trevor so that he can collate them for the Parish Council’s response.

The history of the issue is described here but you will need to respond to the new SDNPA document, not the old MSDC one.

The Women’s Land Army

The Women's Land Army
A talk by Ian Everest to Beeding & Bramber Local History Society at 7:45pm on Wednesday 4th September 2019 in the Village Hall, Upper Beeding. There is a hard-to-detect car park immediately opposite.

The talk covers the role of women on Sussex farms and their vital contribution to feeding the country during both WWI and WWII. Their efforts only gained official recognition many years after they were disbanded in 1950. The speaker was brought up on a farm near Lewes and his mother was one of 80,000 Land Girls during WWII. The talk will include some of her personal memories as a ‘Cinderella of the Soil’.

The Dyke: a 1949 retrospect

Devil's Dyke in its day
In its C19/C20 heyday (see above), the Dyke was a magnet for summer day visitors. They even overflowed into the tearooms that both Poynings and Fulking then had to offer. But, by 1949, the hotel was a ruin, the area desolate, and there were no tourists or day-trippers. In February of that year, an unidentified writer looked back at the history of the site in the Evening Argus. The article was then reprinted by St.Andrews Quarterly in July of the same year.

The Dyke in 1949

The ruins of the Dyke Park Hotel in 1949

The ruins of the Dyke Park Hotel in 1949

[The article that follows was originally published in the Evening Argus on 4th February 1949 under the title ‘The Devil’s Dyke’. It was then reprinted, with permission, by St.Andrews Quarterly in the July issue (1.3) of that year. The author is not identified.]

Only five miles north-west of Brighton is one of the county’s loveliest beauty spots, the Devil’s Dyke, famed for the picturesque view it commands and celebrated for the amusing legend which attributes its origin to the unfinished efforts of the Devil to dig a canal to the sea in an attempt to flood the Sussex Weald. From its highest point, over 850 feet above sea level. the greater part of Sussex is spread out like a huge map. Parts of Hampshire, Surrey and Kent and 60 churches can be seen on a clear day.

But in recent years the public to whose use in 1928 the estate was “dedicated for ever”• has, for some reason, neglected the spot. People no longer flock to the dyke in their hundreds during the summer. Guide books give it a passing reference and one has to search many second-hand book­ shops before its history can be traced or geological details obtained.

Devil's Dyke Legend
Even Brighton’s well-equipped reference library boasts only of a pre-war three penny Legend and History of the ‘Devil’s Dyke’, two pages from a magazine which deals with the railways which once carried visitors to the spot and a publication issued by a former owner of the estate to attract visitors.

There was a time, however, when the Dyke enjoyed great popularity and was a •’must’• for any visitors to Brighton. At the beginning of the 19th century a Brighton confectioner, a Mr. Sharp, found that there was considerable business to be done by opening a stall there in fine weather and in the 1820s the need was such that an enterprising person built an inn, known as ‘Dyke House’. on the highest point of the northern ridge.

On lst September, 1887, a single-track railway, linking up with the Brighton-Portsmouth line, was opened by the Brighton and Dyke Railway Company to meet the demand for transport. It had a gradient of one in 40 for three miles, one of the steepest rail climbs in the country.

Cocoanut Shies
The Dyke reached the height of its popularity when the estate was purchased by Mr. J.H.Hubbard. He renamed it Dyke Park, made the inn ‘Dyke Park Hotel’ and proceeded to turn the spot into a pleasure resort by providing cocoanut shies, swings, side-shows and, in fact, all the fun of the fair.

On Whit-Monday of 1892 he excelled. Over 30,000 people flocked to the Park. The highlight of the day was a hot-air balloon ascent from the ‘Devil’s Punch-Bowl’ but to the disappointment of the crowds, it was a flop. Just when ‘gallant aviator’ Mr. Arthur Charles Spencer, was about to give the signal for release, a gust of wind caught the balloon and split it in two.

Mr. Hubbard claimed that a million people visited the Dyke that year and he became even more ambitious. He had an over­head cable railway built across the ravine at a cost of £2000. It had a clear span of 650 feet and the three-inch cable, weighing 6¾ tons, supported by two steel pylons, measured 1,200 feet between its anchorages. An oil-engine pulled the eight-passenger cagework car across the ravine in just over two minutes. Return fare cost 6d.

Steep Grade Railway

Another of his projects was a steep-grade double track railway. 840 feet long running down the side of the ridge to the lowland. A single fare of 2d was charged and it was estimated that 275,000 passengers were carried yearly. It cost £9000.

Mr. Hubbard’s schemes were not a financial success and the two main projects appear to have come to an end about 1908.

In 1925 the estate was up for sale and when Brighton Corporation hesitated Sir Herbert Carden stepped in to prevent the possibility of it being closed to the public by a private purchaser. Three years later he transferred it to the Corporation for a nominal sum.

At the end of 1925 the Southern Railway, which had absorbed the Brighton and Dyke Company in 1923, closed down the Dyke Railway. “Lack of support”, they said. [This paragraph is in error: the railway remained open until 1938].

On the 27th May, 1945, the hotel, which had been rebuilt on modern lines six years previously at a cost of £8000 was destroyed by fire.

Its ruin now stands out clearly on the skyline, and to some they may appear as a monument to the Dyke of the past.

Devil's Dyke map

Some other material relevant to the C19 and C20 history of the Dyke:

An Anglo-Saxon execution burial

Saxon execution burial post-excavation
What archaeologists uncovered along the Rampion cable route: after describing the landscape, the talk will turn to the discoveries they made including the Anglo-Saxon execution burial site that was found on Beeding Hill.

A talk by Ed Blinkhorn and Garrett Sheehan to Beeding & Bramber Local History Society at 7:45pm on Wednesday 3rd April 2019 in the Village Hall, Upper Beeding. There is a hard-to-detect car park immediately opposite.