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Ranscombe Cottages: 1822-1911
A detail from the 1822 William Figg map of Ranscombe Farm. North is to the bottom of the map with the Firle-Lewes road cutting in from the top-left. Occupied buildings are red and there is just one block of cottages on the south side of the road to Glynde
A detail from the 1822 William Figg map of Ranscombe Farm. North is to the bottom of the map with the Firle-Lewes road cutting in from the top-left. Occupied buildings are red and there is just one block of cottages on the south side of the road to Glynde
A more detailed view from the Ordnance Survey, 1874, this time with north at the top of the map. A pair of cottages can be seen just above the number 295, with the cart lodge of the farm immediately to the west.
A more detailed view from the Ordnance Survey, 1874, this time with north at the top of the map. A pair of cottages can be seen just above the number 295, with the cart lodge of the farm immediately to the west.
The Ordnance Survey, 1899, clearly shows a second pair of cottages have been built to the east of the original pair. They also appear to be slightly larger.
The Ordnance Survey, 1899, clearly shows a second pair of cottages have been built to the east of the original pair. They also appear to be slightly larger.
Owner
FromNameUntil
1822Firle Estate1911
Occupier
FromNameUntil
1841Robert Russel & George Chapman1851
1871Luke Blackman & Allen Mitchell1871
1881Mitchell, Allen, Gillman & Duplock1881
1891Webb, Allen, Kenward & Duplock1891
1901Goldsmith, Foord & Allen1901
1911Newell, Parker, Akehurst, Allen1911

Although Ranscombe Farm has been part of the parish of Glynde since 1984, hence its inclusion on this website, it had originally been in the ancient parish of South Malling.

There are now four, owner-occupied, cottages at Ranscombe Farm, on the opposite side of Ranscombe Lane from the farm, and a hundred yards further east. The farm had been owned by the Firle Estate since 1543 but there were no labourers' cottages on the site when Thomas Budgen drew a map of the farm for the estate, c1808. This may have been because the farmer was continuing the tradition of having his unmarried labourers living in the farmhouse, although it does not explain where any married labourers may have lived unless it was at the nearby settlements of Southerham, Beddingham, Glynde, or even Lewes. William Figg, Lewes cartographer, drew another map of the farm in 1822 and this shows there was one pair of cottages on the present site at that date (see detail).

The Ordanance Survey maps of 1874 and 1899 (see images) show that the second pair of cottages were built sometime between those two dates. The census returns of 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 indicate there were only one pair of cottages at Ranscombe but the 1881, 1891 and 1901 returns all show four cottages on the farm.

In 1841 the families of George Chapman, wheelwright, and Robert Russell, labourer, might have been living there. Their houses were listed on the census between the entries for Ranscombe Farmhouse and Southerham Farmhouse.

Although the 1841 and 1851 census did not always list houses in strict geographical order, these same families appear on the 1851 census listed immediately after Ranscombe Farm.

The 1861 census shows the tenant of the farm was Robert Matthews, who had been born in Lusby in Lincolnshire. He appears to have brought some of his labourers with him as both the cottages on the 1861 census were occupied by the families of labourers who had also originated in Lincolnshire. Charles Roberts, aged 27, was a carter born in Hagworthingham and, next door, lived William Epton, a 35 year-old labourer born in East Keal.

By 1871 Charles Roberts and his family had returned to Hagworthinghm while William Epton, now a general labourer, was living at 3 Garden Cottages in the Cliffe in Lewes.

On the 1871 census the cottages at Ranscombe were named for the first time. One was now occupied by Luke Blackmore, a 30 year-old agricultural labourer born in Falmer, living there with his wife Eliza, aged 30, born in South Malling, and their children Eliza, 7; Emily, 6; Stephen, 3; and Edith, 1. William Freeman, a 36 year-old railway platelayer from Bexhill was lodging with them.

The other cottage was occupied by Allen Mitchell, 57, an agricultural labourer born in Telscombe, and his wife Mary, 55, born in Wiston. They had five children living with them: Allen, 36, a widower and agricultural labourer; Mary, 24; Henry, 19, James, 17, and Walter, 14, all agricultural labourers. Allen and Mary's granddaughter Sarah, 7, also lived there and they, too, had a lodger. He was John Baker, 23, a mariner, RN, who had been born in Glynde.

Sometime between the Ordnance Survey of 1874 and the 1881 census the second pair of cottages were built. It is probable that the new pair of cottages had only recently been constructed in 1881 as B and J B Thorpe, builders of the Cliffe, Lewes, had quoted £115 for additions and repairs to be undertaken to two cottages at Ranscombe Farm. They also drew up a specification of the works to be done and it appears likely that the original cottages were to be brought up to the same standard as the recently built new pair.

Despite this, William Medhust, the tenant farmer at Ranscombe, had written to Lord Gage's agent in 1882 complaining about the lack of accomodation for his men.

The 1881 census names four 'Ranscombe Cottages', one still occupied by the Mitchells and the others by the families of George Allen and Robert Gillman, both agricultural labourers, and by Joseph Duplock, 41, a shepherd born in Glynde, with his wife Emily and their seven children.

In 1891 George Allen and Joseph Duplock still occupied two cottages and the others were lived in by Mary Webb, a 56 year old widow, her two agricultural labourer sons and a daughter and by Thomas Kenward, 60, also an agricultural labourer, born in Beddingham, his wife Elizabeth and two unmarried daughters and a grandson.

Ten years later the numbers of each cottage was given for the first time along with a more detailed description of what jobs on the farm the 'agricultural labourers' actually did. Number 1 was occupied by Arthur Goldsmith, aged 39 and born in Berwick, a carter on the farm; his wife Mary, 37, born in Laughton; and their sons Arthur, 15, a carter, and George, 12, a carter's boy. Number 2 was unoccupied on census night. Fred Foord, a cowman, lived at number 3, with his wife Emma and their three young sons. Living at number 4 were George Allen, still described as an agricultural labourer, his wife Maria, four of their children and a boarder named Charles Dunk, a 21 year-old cattleman on the farm.

The more detailed 1911 census not only gave the numbers of the cottages but also the number of rooms. Number 1 was occupied by George Newell, 53, a carter, born in Buckinghamshire; his wife Ellen, 50, born in Hertfordshire. They had been married 27 years and Ellen had given birth to eight children but only six of them were still alive, five of whom were still living with their parents. The cottage had 4 rooms, including the kitchen but excluding the scullery, landing, lobby, closet and bathroom (if there was one).

Living at number 2 were Fred Parker, 39, a farm labourer from West Sussex, and his wife Emily, 43, born in Tangmere. They had been married 15 years and had two children who were both living with them. George Deadman, a 73 year old farm labourer who also received the recently introduced old-age pension was a boarder in the house. This cottage, like number 3 and 4, had five rooms.

Frederick Akehurst, 47, cowman, born in East Dean, was living at number 3 with his wife Kezia, 47, also born in East Dean. They had been married for 26 years and had six children who were all still alive. Three of the children were living with their parents, along with two boarders: George Holding, a 24 year old roadman, and Henry Webb, 19, another cowman.

At number 4 was Maria Allen, widow of George. She was 64 and a laundress. She had had ten children, six of whom were still alive. Four of the children were living with her including her widowed daughter Dora Pope, 28, who had a daughter living in the house along with another of Maria's grandchildren.

Other pages for this property:  


Ranscombe Cottages: Now

  

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