South Downs News, December issue

The SDNPA has discovered that celebrities can be used to plant trees. They have managed to plant one tree so far but, if another 7,999 celebrities step forward, they will be able to meet their quota for this winter. At least 8,500 celebrities will also be needed next year. No word on any fees payable. Chief Executive Trevor Beattie reports that the government has committed £257m for cycling and walking in 2021-22, perhaps because government policy has ensured that, for most of the population, cycling and walking will be the only transport options they can afford in that year. You can also read about the Community Infrastructure Levy, a fund set up by the SDNPA to accept and administer bungs paid by developers. The Park’s Volunteer Development Officer reports that voluntary activity has largely ceased due to the immense health risks that the Park poses to volunteers. However, despite the danger, one such volunteer did manage to write an informative little column on ivy. There’s also a page on nitrates in the aquifers that features quotes from David Ellin (Paythorne, Perching) and Roly Puzey (Saddlescombe). No mention of glyphosate, however. Despite the government’s ongoing armageddon against small business, the Park has split £40,000 between 27 petitioners “following a rigorous and impartial selection process”. The accompanying photo shows two ladies in a food shop, neither of whom is wearing a mask. Perhaps their Maundy money needs to be retracted. There’s an interesting column on Tide Mills, home to the Black Kite, the European Bee-Eater and the Short Eared Owl. And there is a page of poems by some of those temporarily released from detention. Finally, two pages of suggested walks that you can only do if you happen to live near the route (the SDNPA frowns on the use of the automobile).

Bobservation 53: Winter Thoughts

Fulking Village from Downs in SnowNeighbours and Hedges
Now I know most of us have, at some time, fallen out with the next door neighbours over the hedge between two properties. In the 26 years we have been at Furzefield  only one family of neighbours  have reacted sympathetically and been prepared to see our point of view. These are our current neighbours Simon and Laurence who arrived, with their sons from London, not two years ago. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the way they have handled the matter.  Curious that it takes an arrival from London to behave so well.  Maybe we could all learn something from this. I have!!

John Ruskin
Friday February 8 will be the 200th anniversary of the art critic, writer and reformer John Ruskin’s birth. His memorial in Fulking is the fountain which graces the entrance to the North Town Field and the anniversary will be celebrated in London by an evening of readings and music at the Royal Academy. John Ruskin was instrumental in creating an efficient system of running water in Fulking in the 19th century which is now unfortunately defunct and only a facade. I imagine current Health and Safety regulations make any refurbishment of the system impossible. What a pity!.

Rampion Trench
Thanks for the manner in which the contractors have hidden the Rampion Trench and landscaped where it has crossed the highway. Rampion itself is, of course, a major local player in the fight against global warming, a battle that is probably the most important international problem of all.

Hopefully useful information
The recent death of my brother in law has, once again, reminded me how essential it is for the remaining partner to have all the useful information regarding finances, insurance, pensions, investments and other household details in an easily available place. It is quite simple to create a sheet of facts which can be regularly updated and prove a great help.  Many widows (and widowers) find themselves at a complete loss to know how they stand financially and where to access details of all the contacts that are required when the unfortunate event occurs.

The Springs

The Springs, EdburtonThe Springs, situated in the centre of Edburton on the south side of the road, was originally two cottages. One was a blacksmith’s cottage with a forge attached to the east side, the other was a farm worker’s cottage. In 1930, a Captain Leslie Masters, whose family was reputed to have made its money in South African railways, purchased both cottages along with two other cottages that were later merged into September Cottage. The water supply for all four cottages was from the stream head situated half way up the Downs. Captain Masters had also purchased Truleigh Manor and its land in 1927 so, by 1930, he owned about half the property in Edburton

Captain Masters and his young wife Dorothy then set about converting the two cottages into a single dwelling. The interior was refurbished to a high standard and included oak panelling, a chandelier and wall lights (modified for electricity), all salvaged from the ruins of Cowdray Castle which had been largely destroyed by fire in 1793. Additional features were an aviary, which could be viewed from the staircase in the house and stables for his horses built at the back of the property. Tom Nolan, a groom who lived with his family in September Cottage looked after the Masters’ horses and they were shod at the forge adjacent to the house (on the site of what is now Springs Smoked Salmon). The blacksmith was a Mr Buckman, who by this time had moved to a cottage in Saddlescombe. In addition to a groom, the Masters also employed a housekeeper (Tom’s wife Edith, initially) and, later, a secretary.

Both Leslie and Dorothy Masters were motoring enthusiasts and owned three cars between them. Two of these belonged to Dorothy, one being a sports car with hand made bodywork. Following Dorothy’s death from cancer, Captain Masters married her sister Janet who shared his love of horses and they moved to Freshcombe Lodge on Truleigh Hill. His dogs are buried in a dogs’ cemetery just behind and above The Springs.

After Captain Masters left, The Springs was sold to Arthur and Nora Hands. Arthur was a hard drinking vet. He was reputed to be the only person who could drive the narrow windy road from the Shepherd & Dog to Edburton when he could barely stand up or see — villagers claimed his car knew its own way home and drove itself. He was later appointed as vet to a circus and the (possibly apocryphal) story goes that he came to an untimely end when an elephant sat on him.

Following Arthur Hand’s death, Henry Harris purchased the house at auction in Brighton for £6000 and it was then rented out to a series of tenants. One such tenant made it available to Henry’s son Geoffrey Harris for his wedding reception in November 1952. Later, Geoffrey with his wife and family rented it from his father. Following Henry’s death in 1964, Geoffrey purchased the house from his father’s trustees.

The Springs rearview

The Springs as it is today, viewed from the spring at the rear of the property

Tony Brooks

[Copyright © 2018, Anthony R. Brooks. Adapted from Anthony R. Brooks (2008) The Changing Times of Fulking & Edburton. Chichester: RPM Print & Design, primarily pages 205-206.]