The Slaugham Archives

Stanbridge Farm
The Slaugham Archive
Stanbridge Farm

This photograph was given to my father, Roger Ray, by Dorothy Longley in 1986 and shows Stanbridge Farm where she lived with her parents, George and Lilian Baker, from 1914 to 1917.
It was a 100 acre farm with farmhouse and one cottage on the east side of the main London to Brighton road, and two cottages on the west side.
In 1917 when the house and one cottage on the east side were sold, the family converted the two cottages on the west side into a small house which they named Little Stanbridges. They lived there and farmed the remaining 40 acres until 1925 when Dorothy married Norman Longley in Slaugham Church.
In 1991 Dorothy wrote about her life on Stanbridge Farm for my father’s book “Handcross over the Years” and this can be viewed by opening the document.

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Picture added on 10 June 2013 at 19:32
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The A23, from Warninglid crossroads to Handcross which is now being developed “again”, was at one time called The New Road as part of a scheme to shorten the distance to popular Brighton in the early 19th century. The Bolney Stage to the Red Lion at Handcross would become one stage by cutting out the Jolly Tanners at Staplefield but Stanbridge Farm may well have retained horses to latch on and assist stagecoaches tackle the treacherous climb up Handcross Hill (see picture #84).
Slaugham Park consented to giving up land for the new road on condition that Park Road was restricted to a bridleway. The new road would also have been the cause of Stanbridge Farm being bisected.
What a lovely house in this picture! Later extensions and developments seem to have distracted from the original charm. The property is rarely seen because it fronts on to its private access road which now heads easterly to Staplefield Lane.
Dorothy Longley's account of life at Stanbridge Farm one hundred years ago is most revealing, especially to me because I can associate with these conditions from my very early life at Tilgate Forest Row, Pease Pottage in the mid 1930s. No gas, no electricity, no drains, no toilet - just a bucket under a wooden seat in its own little brick cubicle at the bottom of the garden with big notches in the top of the door for ventilation and, yes, the squares of torn newspaper on a string. The council operated a small lorry with a lidded tank on the back to take away the contents of the bucket once a week. There was, however, a mains water tap over a sink, a small black kitchen stove, candles, and an Aladdin pressurised oil lamp with a silk mantle!
Outside the back door was a heavy cast iron mangle with wooden rollers for squeezing the washed clothing, which apparatus being shared with neighbours.
“Be quiet you kids, your dad wants to listen to the news on the wireless.” Paradoxically, this required the longest piece of wire from the eaves of the house to the top of the tallest of poles in the far end of the garden (to compete with neighbours) for an aerial, complete with a 120 volt dry battery and a 6 volt wet accumulator.
Mother had a hand-propelled Singer sewing machine constantly in use to alter and make clothes using pinned-on paper patterns. We all rode bicycles, kept a stock of collected and prepared firewood in the garden shed, and grew our own vegetables in the garden.
Dorothy must have been the envy of all her classmates when she came to school in her father's car each day. Car ownership was very rare in those days, especially during the Great War! That was when armies marched on their feet or rode horses. Not so the next time.

Added by Arthur Shopland on 12 June 2013
The following short history of the Handcross Garden Centre appears on their website. It relates to the above-mentioned Little Stanbridges where Dorothy Longley lived.
"Handcross Garden Centre started life as a poultry farm. The on-site cottage was built from "acquired" bricks from Slaugham ruins and was used as a stable for extra horses to pull carriages up Handcross Hill.
Before the Second World War, carnations were grown on the site, but activities turned over to producing fruit and veg during the war."
Added by Barry Ray on 20 June 2013
Further investigation into the claim made in the previous comment that the Handcross Garden Centre was the site of the stables which housed the additional horses required to pull the stagecoaches up Handcross Hill has led to substantial evidence being found.
Click on Large Version to view an extract from the Tithe Map of 1842. On the east side of the London to Brighton road there was substantial stabling for a large number of horses. The long thin building must surely be a row of stables right on the roadside.
On the west side of the road there were a pair of cottages used as residences and perhaps the claim is not strictly correct as no stables were located on that side of the road.
According to the 1841 Census one of the cottages was occupied by Henry Ede, his wife Elizabeth, their four children, and three boarders. The other cottage was occupied by William Mitchell, his wife Mary, four children and one boarder. Both heads of the household and three of the boarders were described as “horse keepers”. There is no doubt that the claim was substantially true if one takes into account the activities on the other side of the road.
The photograph shown on picture #84 clearly shows a horse from those stables about to assist the stagecoach make the top of Handcross Hill without mishap. It must have been so incredibly important for the momentum to be maintained as it would be disastrous if the stagecoach stalled.
The picture was taken just over a half a mile north of the stables.

Added by Barry Ray on 28 February 2017
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