This website is under development 'live' and in no particular order, so please be patient and if there is a heading with no text for instance, re-visit or send enquiries to the contact address.
The aim of this website is to provide a guide to the history of a special and ancient Parish located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the county of East Sussex in the south-east of England. There are many headings under which this task can be tackled and the beauty of a website is the ability to add (and subtract) adjust and re-arrange the information as it becomes available. The subject is so broad that the task may never be complete but at least it should provide one location, available to anyone worldwide via the internet who is interested in the area, with a place to start. There is both ancient and modern history and everything in between. There are places and people, iron workings and ancient woods, railways, roads, services, schools, churches, houses, farms - even Winnie the Pooh - it goes on forever. If you have a history subject that you think we should include please send us a note and we will consider it. The Hartfield History Group has been in existence for longer than many local history groups or societies and has a huge backlog of information that is crying out for a wider audience. We will try to keep the information as 'light' as possible as there will always be deeper trenches that can be dug and broader paths that can be followed and anyone is encouraged to take any subject further. The monthly meetings, whilst bringing a subject to the fore, are also available for discussions and the committee are more than happy to receive suggestions for future subjects or areas for investigation.
Hartfield High Street, looking south-west with what is now The Hay Waggon but was until 1976, The Dorset Arms. Note on the left the mobile knife sharpener parked approximately where the War Memorial and the bus shelter are today. The entrance to the inn was by the steps coming up directly from the street. This picture is from the postcard collection of Sheilah Fenton, with thanks. The building dates back to 1540.
As we now know, sadly, the building was sold for development in 2016 and will become a number of private homes. The number of pubs is reducing country-wide for many reasons. It it is easy to see that the original reason for these large road houses and drinking places for the local farm and land workers has simply disappeared with the changes in agriculture and agricultural practices over the last century or more. Only by spending a considerable sum on renovations to these ancient buildings and then investing in providing facilities that will attract people from near and far can they survive.
This view is in the opposite direction from the first postcard view. You can see the Dorset Arms (Now the Haywaggon) the first building on the right and, on the left is what is now the Village Shop
A little further back from the village shop to the butchers.
Further along the street still we have reached the Baker's shop which is now Pooh Corner.
This is a longer view from just before Church Street on the left at about the same time as the first picture with the enormous advertisement for Killicks still visible on the end of their building.
Church Street, looking towards the High Street
Church Street is of course the access road to the St Mary the Virgin Church. Very little has changed visually over the intervening years.
Click to enlarge
This is a small section of a Plan (c.1597) showing Hartfield High Street with St Mary's Church clearly marked as is the 'Towne Croft" (CLICK to enlarge)
Whilst we are working on the website, the following pictures are offered as a simple photo gallery for anyone who wishes to see just how delightful - and ancient - the buildings of Hartfield are.
You might well wonder why this very tall building stands alone in the High Street, towering over the Old Post Office as well as every other building and the story is worth repeating from the Village Historical Guide.
In the 1880's and 1890's Lord Salisbury was, on and off, the Conservative Prime Minister and was staunchly supported by a certain Mr Bellingham. It seems that Mr Bellingham had been in dispute with the then Earl De La Warr who was a staunch Liberal. It is said that Earl De La Warr boasted that he owned all he could see from his seat at Old Buckhurst in Withyham. Bellingham therefore built a house in the early 1880's sufficiently tall to be seen from Buckhurst, which he called Salisbury House. To add insult to injury the twin gables of the house were decorated with representations of muzzles of cannon with cannon balls on their way out - and directly pointed at Buckhurst! Click to enlarge close-up!