•  1894: Manchester Ship Canal opened•  1899: Boer War starts•  1901: Queen Victoria dies•  1903: 1st aeroplane flight by Wright Bros.•  1905: Ragged Lands established•  1909: Introduction of Old Age Pension•  1912: Sinking of the Titanic•  1914: Start of 1st World War•  1916: Battle of the Somme•  1918: End of 1st World War•  1919: 1st trans-atlantic flight•  1920: League of Nations founded•  1922: Irish Free State founded•  1924: Lenin dies•  1926: General Strike•  1928: Women get the vote•  1934: Hitler assumes power in Germany•  1936: Regular BBC TV broadcasts begin•  1939: Start of 2nd World War•  1940: Dunkirk evacuation•  1941: Japanese attack Pearl Harbour
America Farm: 1889-1942
(Beddingham Hill Farm)
America Farm Cottage, Beddingham, photographed 24 April 1942, from the north, probably by H Victor Brown, agent for the Glynde Estates.
America Farm Cottage, Beddingham, photographed 24 April 1942, from the north, probably by H Victor Brown, agent for the Glynde Estates.
America Farm Buildings, Beddingham, photographed 24 April 1942, from the north, probably by H Victor Brown, agent for the Glynde Estates.
America Farm Buildings, Beddingham, photographed 24 April 1942, from the north, probably by H Victor Brown, agent for the Glynde Estates.
1900Glynde Estates1942
1903A W Swain1903
1911Nelson Coppard1911
1912Charles Brand Leader1912
1912Edward Kingsley Lloyd1921
1921Albert William Norman1924
1924J Reid1927
1927J Harvey1927
1930W Parker1931
1931Reginald George Hecks1942

This is one of the lost farms of Beddingham. The 1st edition Ordnance Survey 25-inch map of 1874 shows no buildings at all on what would become the site of America Farm.

The Glynde Estate accounts show that a new lodge and store as built on ‘Beddingham Hill Farm’ in the year ending 6 May 1883 and these may be the buildings that appear on the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey of 1899 when a row of farm buildings had appeared on the site but no name was given for the farm.

No house was recorded here on the 1901 census. However, Henry Richards, a 63-year-old labourer and his sons George, aged 14, and Stephen, aged 6, were sleeping in the barn and two families of stone pickers (picking flints from the fields) and the family of an agricultural labourer were living in old railway carriages near the barn.

The Ordnance Survey edition of 1911 shows what appears to be a house and further buildings on the plot, which was then named America Farm. No further new buildings appear on the OS map of 1933.

Although all the farm buildings were in the south-west corner of Beddingham parish, much of the farm lay in the parish of Tarring Neville and the farm was often described as lying in that parish.

Thomas Seymour Brand, owner of the Glynde Estate, wrote in Glyndiana in July 1905: Since I last wrote [1895] I have built a cottage on top of the Beddingham Hills and have let a small Hill Farm, a thing which is quite a novelty and will, I think, prove a success’. This almost certainly refers to the farm cottage being built at America Farm, which appeared sometime between 1899 and 1911.

It was certainly built by 1911 when Nelson Coppard, a 47 year-old shepherd, was recorded there on the census with his wife, Fanny, 42, and three children. They also had two agricultural labourers (Charles Payne and Frederick Tasker, lodging with them. Coppard, aged 47 and born in Poynings in 1864

Nelson Coppard would later be immortalised as one of the shepherds whose life story appeared in Barclay Wills’ Shepherds of Sussex, published in 1938.

A newspaper report of poaching in December 1903 referred to Albert Swain of America Farm, Beddingham. However, the farmland had clearly been leased from the Glynde Estate at some time by Charles Brand of Little Dean as part of his farm. Following Brand’s death in August 1912, his executors were released from their tenancy and Brand’s farm was divided.

Edward Kingsley Lloyd rented America Farm from 11 October 1912 at £80 a year for the first two years, then at £90 a year. The farm was described as comprising 212 acres 3 rods and 35 perches.

In 1916 Lloyd, aged 26, of America Farm, was granted conditional exemption from serving in the forces in World War I. He said he had about 200 acres and was chiefly engaged in growing corn, and he had increased the acreage of wheat. He had 120 sheep and was assisted by a man and a boy.

The following year, at the Lewes Lamb Sale in July 1917, Lloyd sold 27 mixed tegs to a Mr Eggleton at 71s 6d each. At the Lewes wool sale of July 1920 Mr E K Lloyd, America Farm, sold 162 tegs at 54½d per lb.

In 1921 Lloyd was fined 2s 6d at the Lewes Petty Sessions for riding a bicycle at Hamsey without a front light on 9th July at 11 pm.

On 26 Aug 1921 the Sussex Express carried an announcement of a forthcoming sale at Glynde of live and dead farming stock removed from America Farm for Mr E K Lloyd who was quitting. The sale was to take place at the Forge Field, Glynde, on 17 September. The Sussex Express of 30 September 1921 reported that all the machinery and implements were disposed of, a nearly new Deering self-binder fetching £23 and a 3½ inch wheel manure cat selling at £34. Six horses were sold, £54 12s being reached for a brown cart gelding 16.2 hands. A bay gelding, six years, 16 hands, was sold at £47.

The new tenant was Albert William Norman who paid £479 10s for the tenant right on the farm. Things do not appear to have gone well and in 1922 there was another farm sale "By order of the Bill of Sale Holder and for Rent – re Albert William Norman". Norman was supposed to pay £22 10s a quarter rent but the Estate account book noted in 1923 that the matter was in the hands of the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy.

James Reid, tenant of Blackcap Farm, took over part of America Farm from 28 November 1925 but in July 1927 J R Thornton and Co held another sale of the live and dead farming stock from America Farm, this time for the trustees of J Reid. Later that year the estate rental shows that J Harvey was paying just £35 a year rent for ‘Beddingham Hill Farm (late America Farm)’, so probably the farm had been reduced in size.

By 1930 W Parker was tenant, also at £35 a year, but only stayed until 1931. The following year Reginald George Hecks, tenant of New House Farm, Firle, was renting Beddingham Hill Farm and continued to rent it until 1942, still at £35 a year.

The farm and cottage were photographed on 24 April 1942 in preparation for the farms on the Downs at Beddingham to be requisitioned by the War Department who wanted to use this part of the downland as a training ground for the army in preparation for the liberation of Europe.

A list of the structures on the farm exists in a 1948 file of the return of land requisitioned by the War Department East Sussex War Agricultural Committee under the Cultivation of Lands Order 1939.

The file shows that ‘America or Beddingham Hill Farm’ had the requisition number E/SX/5082 and that previous to requisition America Farm, of about 172 acres, was equipped with a house with usual outbuildings and a set of farm buildings comprising cowstall, stores, cattle sheds, and implement sheds enclosing a cattle yard. The land was divided into various enclosures, partly fenced. The farm was watered by a dew pond and stored rain water.

Along with Toy and Blackcap Farms the dwellings and buildings had been either totally destroyed or were so seriously damaged as to be useless and not worth renovating.

It was suggested that the identity of each farm should be maintained approximately as in the past, possibly with slightly modified boundaries. A range of farm buildings would be required in each case on the same sites as before with approximately the same accommodation as formerly, except in the case of Toy Farm where they might be a little less extensive. A similar design might be adopted on each farm – barn, implement and tool sheds, granary and cattle sheds arranged around a cattle yard.

In order to maintain the greatest possible production it was proposed that the land should be farmed on the ley system and therefore divided into fenced enclosures. A piped water supply would be connected to the buildings and each large enclosure. This might be obtained from a neighbouring property or from a borehole to be sunk at the foot of the hills on the estate and pumped up to the summit by electric pump.

Two cottages would be required for each farm to take the place of the six dwellings destroyed. As the sites of the farm buildings were isolated it was suggested that ‘in accordance with modern ideas and practice’ the six cottages should be built at the foot of the hills near the village of Glynde where most amenities would be available for the workers and their families.

New buildings were erected at America Farm, but no new cottages were built for the farm and it became part of the rebuilt Blackcap Farm.

Listed under the Topic: Farming

Creative Commons Licence

glynde.info/history by Andrew Lusted & Chris Whitmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://glynde.info/history/contact.php