Programme of Events 2019/20
4th Wednesday of the Month Starts 20:15
Hartfield Village Hall
* Click on link to go to Meeting Report
A Note from the Chairman for the year 2018/19
I have hopes for the future of the History Group despite the problems of being unable to fill several vacancies that have existed since I took over from Jim as Chairman five years ago. The conversion to a digital world has provided an opportunity to spread the story of Hartfield to a much larger audience and also to build a following with an interest in Hartfield through Facebook.
We have had some excellent talks and outings since the last report with personal reminiscences of both family with John van Maurik, and working life with Peter Griffith’s life as a BOAC pilot - including some hairy film footage! Our recent ‘Early History of Tunbridge Wells’ outing with Ian Beavis provided much background to the spa town’s history that we hope to follow up next year with the Victorian period.
What we are lacking is a younger element to enjoy the camaraderie of a local organisation without the need to spend every free moment on-line! The new owners of Pooh Corner with much marketing background have real interest in Hartfield history and I am sure will become a positive addition to the village.
Annual membership starts at the September AGM meeting, and remains at £10. Non-member visitors are charged £2.50 for a meeting or outing so do make sure you join for the whole year and come to as many meetings as possible. I have provided reports of the meetings and outings to a substantial email list but have decided that in future the reports will ONLY BE SENT TO FULL MEMBERS, so make sure you are signed up even if you only come on occasions so that you can still keep up with the Hartfield History Group!
The Hartfield History Group was formed in 1972 to discover and record the history of the small Parish of Hartfield and the Surrounding District that is part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of East Sussex.
Meetings are held monthly in the Village Hall on the fourth Wednesday of each month (except December when there is no meeting) starting at 8:15 pm. Local walks or activities are arranged for the summer months (See Current Programme.)
If you wish to be added to an email circulation list which currently provides details and reminders of meetings and items of interest, please email: email@example.com OR go to the ‘Contacts‘ page and click on the button.
Chairman: Chris Sugg 01892 770619
Vice Chair: Kir Horner 07843 283306
Treasurer: Linda Graham 01892 770487
Bookings Secretary: Lynn James
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 trencheshat 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 (that became the Haywaggon but is no longer a pub) 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!