The Slaugham Archives

Holmsted Manor, Staplefield
The Slaugham Archive
Holmsted Manor, Staplefield

Holmsted Manor has seen many uses since it was built by Captain John Dearden in 1891; he having purchased the site in 1889.
In 1922 the house became home to the first of three families who had been deprived of their former homes through devastating fires. The first family was Mr and Mrs James Galloway from Somerset, who later moved to the Old Kennels, in Staplefield.
Then, in 1936, Mrs Eveline Warren moved to Holmsted Manor following the large fire at Handcross Park. After a relatively short stay she, and her husband, Col. J. R. Warren, moved to a more permanent home at the Hyde, Handcross.
On 19th February 1947, Col. and Mrs Leonard Messel watched their home at Nymans burn down, and after a short period they had purchased Holmsted Manor and moved in.
In 1961 Holmsted Manor became the home of Sharrow School, a privately-run boys school, but closed down when the headmaster died in the late 1960s.
Yet another complete change of style came to the house in 1968 when it became Silver Springs Country Club.
The club was fairly short-lived and in 1975 the house underwent another major change of use by becoming a training centre for Youth with a Mission. Almost forty years later this enterprise still flourishes and has been a great steadying influence on the life and times of this fine country mansion.
A close study of this aerial view of Holmsted Manor shows two gentlemen chatting at the edge of the lawn on the extreme right, but who they are will probably remain a mystery.
Picture added on 17 November 2013 at 20:29
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Roads - Staplefield
I remember very well when Kenneth & Pamela Crosby converted Holmsted Manor to Silver Springs. My parents were close friends and often were there giving a helping hand.
I remember the large swimming pool, the aviary with a few exotic birds.
But most of all, I was terrified of the large and daunting house with its many small staircases leading to other parts of the house.
You easily got lost as a small child which was really quite terrifying.
Added by Jane on 30 April 2014
I used to go to school here and remember the headmaster quite well.
If my memory serves me right, I recall his name being Mr Leon and he was quite a striking-looking man, although I must admit I didn't know he died in the 1960s.
As young kids we were told that the school was just closing down.

Added by Paul Edwards on 12 September 2014
I was a very junior teacher at Sharrow school 1960-61, first in Haywards Heath and then when it moved to Holmsted Manor.
Mr. Richard Leon, the owner and headmaster, had just inherited the estate of his father, a rich stockbroker.
Added by Tony Bigglesworth (France) on 24 June 2015
I remember the move from Haywards Heath to Holmsted Manor, part of which was carried out by us boys loading endless books, etc onto a salvaged 2nd World War Bedford troop transporter that Mr Leon had acquired somewhere which was called The Bus!
I don't remember you, Mr Bigglesworth, but notable teachers were Miss Lodge, Mr Ezra (fierce if you provoked him!) and the wonderful Mr Hankins. Mrs Leon ran the domestics and had a temper...
Her brother, Uncle Jeff, was a kindly soul who tried to teach us geography but was the swinger of the cane when it was my turn because old Leon couldn't do it - he had arthritis. He always stayed to watch though...
I left in 1962 to go to a crammer where I eventually passed my Common Entrance exam to Worth Abbey.
Added by Kevin Johnston on 19 October 2016
My relatives, Bob and Joan Coleman, used to live here for a while.
I used to stay here some weekends; it was very scary!
Added by Brigitte Hill (née Wheatland) on 22 March 2017
I also recall the move from Haywards Heath to Holmsted Manor.
I was at Sharrow between 1963-66; Uncle Geoff was Mrs Leon's brother I think, hence the name we called him.
Mr Leon was "Skip" to the boys, and Mrs Leon - Robin from scout nomenclature.
Uncle Geoff certainly was the giver of the cane. I remember it well!
I wasn't academic at all, just with divorced parents. Dad packed me off to school to get me out of the way of his new lady, but it was nevertheless formative years for me and had a strong resonance for me even to this day.
The head, Mr Leon, had an Alvis and a Jaguar !
Mr Fletcher took over from Uncle Geoff who gave us carpentry and PE/Gym. Mr Fletcher gave us belief in ourselves and our abilities, pushed us to greater abilities warmly and caringly.. I'll never forget him for his inspiration too. He make me believe in myself and that I had some worth.
I've been back several times in the last few years and asked the current occupiers if I can walk the grounds. I was invited in and stood in Codger's study and up to my dorm. Wonderful memories!
Some pupils I recall: Freddie Glosz, Ernest Akainyah, Quaku Poku, Billy Golen, Jeremy Sales, Shlomo Finn.
Summer days outside the library on the lawn were lovely.
World-changing history left its mark as we sat in the library the day it was announced Kennedy had been shot.
Added by Les Cirkel on 02 May 2018
Reference Kevin Johnston's note. You do not remember me because Bigglesworth is my nom-de-plume; my real surname begins with G (Please do not publish it.)
I was at Sharrow the same year as David Hankin. I taught French and helped Ezra, from whom I learned a lot about life, with sport.
Do you remember "Matron" from Poplar in the East End of London?
In the summer of 1961, just after opening at Holmsted Manor, Mr Leon had aerial photographs taken of the buildings and grounds. I still have it somewhere. Ezra and I dressed in cricket whites with a circle of boys!
I remember the American William Golen, Mr Cirkel - he had a good arm and he was soon throwing a cricket ball further than I could.
Added by Tony Bigglesworth (France) on 02 May 2018
Les, I remember you well. You made us all smile a lot in class!
Do you remember the lovely Mr Glandfield who tried to teach us English?
My mucker was Gerard Bulger. Having fun on "The Patch", pushing Gregory Watkiss because he was a bit tubby!
Happy Days - all the best.
Added by Kevin Johnston on 02 May 2018
Bulger & Johnston...of course Kevin, thanks for jogging my memory. Yes I remember quite a few bits and pieces- Mr Glandfield marking me down in an essay because I spelled Disk with a C.
It was always easier to refer to surnames in the school.
I recall trying to arrange some potty evenings in the gym putting on a show, miming to records and all sorts of nonsense, makes me cringe now to even mention it.
Billy Golen had a nephew at the school I think, who was in our dorm and spent nights after lights out under bedcovers reciting - or should that be conjugating Latin verbs. He was obsessed with it and became very good.
One time around 1963 I was on the tube going home and Matron had a sister who recognised my school uniform and came over for a chat. My folks had a shop in Bow, East London.
I don't know how I was allowed to do that trip from Victoria to home alone then. I do remember Miss Lodge at Victoria having to use a 4d phone box Press Buttons A&B and she had to do a dummy run and first dial the number cold. It made me realise how insular and seemingly unworldly teachers in boarding schools might have been given their slightly monastic life style, perhaps?
But she was wonderful, reading us The Children of The New Forest in class.
She loved Mrs Leon's dogs Sally and Crackers, a bull mastiff and a labrador I think.
When I was at Sharrow, my father played clarinet and sax. We had recorders in class and I started to play my father's clarinet.
He bought me a drum kit and I have been playing professionally ever since and teaching in various schools.
I was never academic, but I have very deep and fond memories for my time in Sharrow, having been a complete scamp before going there, partly as I had an older sister who was wheelchair bound. My mother went out to work then and needed me at home, playing hookey, to look after my Sis, though God knows what I could have done to help at around 7yrs old if anything happened!
Quite often the local school inspector knocked on the door, but we never answered it!
Of course doing that lost me the important formative years of young school, but Sharrow made me reasonably articulate, considerate and decent.
It's forever with me.

Added by Les Cirkel on 03 May 2018
Hello Les. I was at Sharrow with you. I always admired your drumming! You're being very modest when you said that you "mimed to records". You played the drums to them for real... Tony Meehan eat your heart out!
I have many memories of Sharrow (some even good!). Do you remember the boxing tournament in the gym? I had just thrashed Mark Williams and came up against you for my next bout in which you soundly thrashed me!
I went on from Sharrow to Allhallows with Freddie Glosz. I then joined the RN and spent 18 years as a naval officer. I have run my own business as a systems analyst since.
Added by Patrick Ellis on 25 May 2018
I remember you too, Kevin!
Added by Patrick Ellis on 25 May 2018
Another memory Les.
Do you remember doing a play with Jeremy Sales and me called the Four Stooges (I think the 4th was Mark Williams). The play was written by my Mum. I think I've still actually got the thank you letter which you and Jeremy wrote to her!!
Added by Patrick Ellis on 25 May 2018
Dear Patrick,
Great to hear from you and amazing how these memories resonate!
I remember the boxing. I'd never done anything like that and it was an odd feeling of hunter and hunted, bashing 7 Bells out of each other; albeit very briefly, thank god! Glad I never got a taste for it.
It sounds as though you've been having an amazing career since those Sharrow days.
I liked Freddie, he was quirky, with his Elvis hair. I recall many classes with him giving Mr Glandfield a heated discussion in some of the RE classes. What happened to him after Allhallows?
I recall doing some plays in the Gym, that temporary building where the boxing was, though I can't specifically recall the play you mention.
Tony Meehan! There's an odd story for me related to his name.
I recall pocket money in school and Head Boy { was that John Scofield?} going shopping for us all on Saturdays into Haywards Heath. I had my snare drum in the school and had discovered the Shadows and Meehan's drumming, thanks I think to Glosz' record player, so had requested a new Shadows EP with my tuck shop pennies. Head Boy returned with a Dave Brubeck EP-I don't know why- but I heard drummer Joe Morello playing Shortin' Bread on that record and it was my epiphany musically.

Added by Les Cirkel on 26 May 2018
Dear Les,
Great to hear from you too!
Freddie left Allhallows before me and we lost touch when he went. Lovely guy.
Yes, John Scofield was the head boy in our early days at Sharrow. Actually it was because his dad and mine were good friends in the RAF that I went to Sharrow in the first place.
I remember your snare drum very well (and the "drum pads" which proceeded it). You taught me the paradiddle (which I put to good effect in the Allhallows Corps of Drums!!)
We (you, me, Jeremy and Mark) cleared out an old and very dusty garage under the gables and used to pretend to be a group in there. Remember? I think Freddie was on "bass", but it was really all about your drumming.
The gym wasn't actually "temporary". I went back to the old school in the late 1990s and the gym was still there. It was full of old junk, including the gym equipment that Mr Fletcher taught us on.
I remember many of our pals... Andy Cockburn, George and Ed Giddings (top cricketers), Nick Hayles, David and Peter Breskal, Rio Okyama (spelling?), Stuart Coverman, David Grossman, Billy Golan of course... the list goes on.
Yes, Freddie's record player was the centre of our social life in the common room. Early Beatles and Stones, Chubby Checker, Cliff and the Shadows... wonderful stuff... not to mention your Dave Brubeck EP!!
Happy days! :-)
Stay in touch!
Added by Patrick Ellis on 26 May 2018
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