The Slaugham Archives

John Cook, gamekeeper at Tilgate
The Slaugham Archive
John Cook, gamekeeper at Tilgate

John Cook (1873-1958), my great-uncle, was a gamekeeper on Tilgate estate, similar to his father, and my great grandfather, William, after whose death John became head gamekeeper on the estate. William brought his family down from Suffolk in the 1880s. He was gamekeeper on the Hintlesham Hall Estate. The story goes that a Nix daughter was there on a visit and when she got married asked if he could come down to work on the Tilgate estate. After William’s death his wife, Emily, went to live with her daughters, Jane and Margaret, in Tilgate Forest Row. The gamekeeper’s cottage now stands as ruins in the wood.

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Picture added on 15 August 2012 at 20:30
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Does anyone have a picture or any history on Keepers Cottage, Tilgate Forest.
I am joint owner of Keepers Wood.

Added by Clive Turney on 10 November 2014
Nobody seems to have offered any photographs of the long-demolished Keepers Cottage, but for those who do not know where the property was located I have attached a map of 1874. Click on Open Document above.
Whalebone Lodge was demolished in about 1954 to make way for the new dual carriageway road. The lodge used to stand on the east side of the old A23 at the top of Pease Pottage Hill about 400 yards north of the Black Swan.
The present M23 lays just to the east of “Whalebone Lodge” heading in a north-easterly direction and curves round to the right to pass to the north of Bellevue Farm (now known as Hardriding), and leaves the map just north of “Cherrytree Plantation” heading almost in an easterly direction.
Keepers Cottage (No. 1962) can be seen between the mysterious crop-circle-like clearings (Nos 1982 and 1983).

Added by Barry Ray on 29 December 2014
Please, does anyone know the name of the cartoonist that last lived in Keepers Cottage?
Still hoping for a picture of the cottage.
Added by Clive Turney on 11 March 2015
The circular fields seem to be something to do with a racehorse stud in the early 19th century, perhaps with gallops around the edges of the fields away from prying eyes.
The forest along Parish Lane was turned into farms by the Sergison family of Cuckfield Place by 1840, managing to suppress several rights of way in the process.
Keepers Cottage is not on the 1841 tithe map, so was built by the Nix family by 1874 and hence part of their first plan for their new estate.
The Brewer's Weeping Spruce growing by the ruins is a very rare tree.
Titmus Lake did not feed into the furnace pond, so had nothing to do with the ironworks (unless it was a drought reservoir for Blackwater Forge pond, which seems too far away).
I've come across Tittermouse, and now have Tiddlemas pointed out. Delicate Victorian sensibilities on the part of the Nixes, who spent an enormous sum of money to pose as country nobility?
Some live mortar shells were found in this lake by schoolboys in the early Seventies.
Added by Basil Watkins on 31 July 2015
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Pease Pottage

The Mountains of Pease Pottage (2 of 2)Ice skating in Pease Pottage (1 of 2)Crawley School 1901Broadfield Cottage and Broadfield HouseGeorge and Alice Cook at Tilgate gardensFormer Meteorological Office at Pease PottageTester family in WWI tableaux (2 of 2)Tester family (1 of 2)Saillard family at Pease Pottage (2 of 2)Saillard family at Pease Pottage (1 of 2)