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.]

Cones on the line

Cones on the line
South East Water will be attempting to set up cones along this section of The Street outside Kent Cottage and the Chimney House in the early evening of Thursday 3rd November. This will allow them to dig up the road on Friday 4th November and replace a failed external stopcock. Last time they attempted this work, a couple of weeks ago, someone moved their cones and the contractors were not able to proceed.

No mains water

South East Water logo
At least three houses close to the junction of Clappers Lane with The Street have no mains water as of 11:00am today. You may want to check the cold tap in your kitchen to see if this affects you. South East Water are aware of the problem and they should be here to fix it in a matter of hours.

Update at 15:00pm: supply restored, apparently.

1937 Burgess Hill Water Act

Burgess Hill
The following letter has just appeared in the current issue of Poynings News. Since water was pumped from Fulking as well as Poynings, it seems rather likely that exactly the same legal and financial considerations apply to those with water sources on their land in Fulking.

In the 1930s the Burgess Hill Water Company began abstracting water from the natural chalk downs aquifer in Poynings, pumping millions of gallons from boreholes and sending water to the rapidly expanding town of Burgess Hill. The result was that the water table dropped and many farms and other properties in the area found that their wells and springs which had provided water for centuries dried up. The Crown Estates successfully promoted an Act of Parliament which required the Burgess Hill Water Company (and its successors) to provide piped water to the affected properties. Each property was allocated an annual “allowance”, roughly equal to the volume of water previously obtained from wells and springs. Over and above the water allowance the water used was to be charged for. Since 1992 the water in the South East is supplied by South East Water, an Australian and Canadian owned Investment Trust Company, which has progressively taken over several local water undertakings. South East Water is now seeking to renege on its legal obligations to provide an allowance of water without charge. If your property is subject to the above Act you could see your water bill massively increase over the next year or so. My property’s annual water bill is set to rise from a few hundreds of pounds to over £10,000. I am not surprisingly contesting this. I strongly suggest that if your property is affected that you contact me with a view to taking concerted action.

Michael Crowther: Poynings Grange Farm, Henfield Road, Poynings BN45 7AW
07802 201 854 mcrowther@crowtherassociates.co.uk

Bobservation No. 6

Fulking spring - water cascade

Water Supply Proposal – April 2015

Discussions between South Eastern Water, Southern Water, The National Trust and West Sussex County Council have lead to a proposal to implement a villager’s idea that the water supply system emanating at the Ram House by the Shepherd & Dog could be reinstated.

The advantages of this would be free drinking water available to villagers and passersby at both village pumps, availability of fresh water for washing at the Ruskin Fountain and a supply of water in the village in times of drought.

The disadvantages for some would be the permanent disconnection of the current water supply to all properties in the Street. This would, of course, mean that water for household, garden and indeed swimming pool use would have to be obtained by hand.  Admittedly this would prove to be an anathema to some villagers although in some cases the gardener could provide the necessary manual labour involved.

It is proposed to hold a public meeting and take a vote of those attending in which case a majority of villagers would decide the outcome of the proposal.

1/4/15

[Responses ..]

We need to turn your water off

South East Water logo
Check your letterbox for an A5 card flyer with a red top. Houses along (at least) The Street/Poynings Road have been warned that mains water is to be disconnected between 9:00am and 1:00pm tomorrow, 17th December. Read the card but don’t bother checking the South East Water website for ‘Fulking’ — there is no information there at the moment.