High Street Hartfield – Southern Section

Chestnut House to Hartfield Oak (Modern Names)

The southern end of the High Street was largely agricultural on the eastern side with Stairs Farm as shown in the Parish Plan of 1842. By extending to the road junction it allows us to show the ‘Hartfield Oak’ as it is now known but does not exist in 1842 plus the dwellings added since this date. Red buildings are dwellings and black ones are not! Largely agricultural, animals and storage etc. The large red line indicates the extent of the Buckhurst Estate.
Stairs Farm leading directly onto the High Street. Stairs farmhouse is farthest right and the main yard has the tractors. The long narrow building running along the road is the milking parlour and the other barns coming towards the end of the Haywaggon are all part of the farm with the land leading off at the top of the picture. Farmed by Dugald Lewis from October 1942 who I am told is the one standing at the entrance.
Almost everything related to Stairs Farm has been redeveloped as you will see.
The original entrance to the farmyard was too narrow for the redevelopment so the milking parlour was shortened.
Looking up the High Street from the farm entrance you can see the Milk churns awaiting collection on the right opposite the butcher John Riekie which is now Chestnut House. Stairs Farm was an integral part of the High Street until 1983

The Lewis family kindly provided many personal photos for this section which illustrate a farming family with their two sons, Trevor and Allan, growing up on the farm.

Mary who married Allan Lewis proving that their newly acquired bull was not dangerous following concerns of neighbours who used a footpath in the field. This picture came from the newspaper. In the background you can see Oaklea across the High Street.

The story goes that Dugald Lewis would stop outside Benge’s for his favourite peppermints. Benge’s is now Pooh Corner with the front door being the one on the right.

This is the original building next to the butchers shop which he apparently used for slaughter and butchering for some time. You can just see it behind the harvester in the picture taken from Stairs Farm later entrance opposite.
Salisbury House and the Old Post Office

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!

Further still, we have reached Jacques, the Baker’s shop, later Benges and now Pooh Corner. In between the tall Salisbury House and the bakery is the original barn that was used for farm machinery by the DC Lewis Farm opposite. This was converted into a domestic house retaining the name of the Barn and reusing many original timbers.
The Bakery with the Hovis sign and the ‘new’ barn just beyond.
The Barn built using many of the original timbers.
Pooh Corner and garden has its own section Winnie the Pooh
‘Oaklea’, now Oaklea Court with several flats and retirement houses built in the grounds.
Oaklea from the junction
The Old Chapel
The Old Chapel & Oaklea from the road junction in quieter times!
The Hartfield Oak at the end of the High Street from Jib Jacks Hill
The Hartfield Oak looking back up the High Street. When the roads were finally brought up to standard a lot of material had to be moved to correct the old levels and the pit around the oak shows the original level of the ground when it was planted.

To be continued to Upper Hartfield and The District in due course but in the meantime you can view the High Street Central Section by clicking below:

High Street Hartfield – Central Section

OR High Street Northern Section by clicking below:

High Street Hartfield – Northern Section