The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Highbroom Farm      Crowborough  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1933The Story of Crowbrough ⇒ p. 60

Historical records

14th Apr 1744InheritanceHighbroomPullein's Rotherfield
Extract from James Burges Will:
"To my daughter Sarah, wife of John Alchorne all my messuage, barn, farm and lands called Highbroom in occupation of James Salter, four pieces of land adjoining High Broom also in occupation of James Salter which I purchased of William Butcher for her natural life, and after her death to the lawful issue of my said daughter and my mind is that the eldest child be it son or daughter shall enjoy the same for ever. And if there be no such issue then to my son John Burges for ever
Fifty pounds to my said daughter Sarah within twelve months after my decease ..."
Proved 1744

11th Aug 1790InheritanceHighbroomPullein's Rotherfield
Extract from John Burges Will:
"My messuage farms lands tenements hereditaments and real estate I give and devise to my niece Jane Paige (late Bridger but now the wife of Edward Paige of Penshurst, Kent, butcher) for her natural life. My messuage barn and buildings in Rotherfield called Redbridge now in tenure of William Brown (save a certain parcel of wood land called Salterís Wood hereafter given to my nephew Robert Fry of Mayfield, gentleman) after the decease of my said niece Jane Paige I give to my nephew Robert Fry for ever in Trust as soon as conveniently may be after her decease to sell it by public or private sale and with the money arising therefrom pay over and divide among the children now begotten of said Jane and Edward Paige [Provision made for the death of any of such children] Also I give to the said Jane Paige one other messuage barn buildings etc called Highbroom in tenure of William Brown. And also that field of Plainland containing by estimation two and a half acres now laid to and used with Highbroom and heretofore bought by me, with a parcel of wood called Highbeech Wood alias Greenswood and after her decease to nephew Robert Fry in Trust for the said children ..."
Proved 1790.

29th Dec 1829BirthSarah Field [Walter]Highbroom FarmRotherfield Parish Registers

6th Jun 1841CensusWilliam Barton, M, Head, age 47, born Sussex, occupation: farmerWilliam Barton, farmerHigh Broom1841 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
6th Jun 1841CensusMary Barton, F, [Wife], age 45 to 49, born SussexMary Barton [Heasman]
6th Jun 1841CensusGeorge Barton, M, [Son], age 15, born SussexGeorge Barton
6th Jun 1841CensusSamuel Barton, M, [Son], age 13, born SussexSamuel Barton
6th Jun 1841CensusThomas Barton, M, [Son], age 12, born SussexThomas Barton
6th Jun 1841CensusFrances Barton, F, [Daughter], age 10, born SussexFrances Barton
6th Jun 1841CensusJohn Barton, M, [Son], age 7, born SussexJohn Barton
6th Jun 1841CensusAmos Barton, M, [Son], age 6, born SussexAmos Barton
6th Jun 1841CensusEllen Barton, F, [Daughter], age 3, born SussexHelen Barton

1843BirthStephen WaltersHighbroom FarmFred Harman

1847BirthJohn WaltersHighbroom FarmFred Harman

30th Mar 1851CensusHead, employs 4 people; occupation FarmerMaria MantonHighbroom Farm1851 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
30th Mar 1851CensusServant; occupation: general servantPhoebe Relf [Baker]
30th Mar 1851CensusServant; occupation: farm labourerGeorge Crittall

7th Apr 1861CensusHenry Hoadley, M, Head, widowed, age 55, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerHenry HoadleyHigh Broom1861 Census
Rotherfield and Crowborough, Sussex
7th Apr 1861CensusAnn Hoadley, F, Daughter, single, age 17, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation: housekeeperAnn Tester [Hoadley]
7th Apr 1861CensusGeorge J Tester, M, Grandson, age 10m, born Rotherfield, SussexGeorge J. Tester
7th Apr 1861CensusJames Tester, M, Son-in-law, widowed, age 20, born Withyham, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerJames Tester

7th Apr 1861CensusJames Bishop, M, Head, married, age 33, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerJames Bishop, farm labourerHigh Broom1861 Census
Rotherfield and Crowborough, Sussex
7th Apr 1861CensusPhebe Bishop, F, Wife, married, age 21, born Rotherfield, SussexPhoebe Bishop [Holmwood]
7th Apr 1861CensusEmily A S Bishop, F, Daughter, age 3, born Rotherfield, SussexEmily Ann Selina Tester [Bishop]

1864DeathSamuel WalterHighbroom FarmFred Harman

2nd Apr 1871CensusLeonard Brown, M, Head, married, age 34, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerLeonard BrownHighbroom1871 Census
Rotherfield and Crowborough, Sussex
2nd Apr 1871CensusHannah Brown, F, Wife, married, age 33, born Fletching, SussexHannah Brown
2nd Apr 1871CensusJane Brown, F, Daughter, age 11, born Fletching, Sussex; occupation: scholarJane Brown
2nd Apr 1871CensusHarriett Brown, F, Daughter, age 8, born Deptford, Kent; occupation: scholarHarriett Brown
2nd Apr 1871CensusCharles Brown, M, Son, age 6, born Maresfield, Sussex; occupation: scholarCharles Brown
2nd Apr 1871CensusAnn Elizabeth Brown, F, Daughter, age 4, born Maresfield, Sussex; occupation: scholarAnn Elizabeth Brown
2nd Apr 1871CensusWilliam W Brown, M, Son, age 2, born Fletching, SussexWilliam W. Brown

2nd Apr 1871CensusRichard Walter, M, Head, married, age 62, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: farmer of 91 acres employing 2 menRichard Walter, farmerHighbroom1871 Census
Rotherfield and Crowborough, Sussex
2nd Apr 1871CensusAnn Walter, F, Wife, married, age 53, born Buxted, SussexAnn Walter
2nd Apr 1871CensusWilliam Walter, M, Son, single, age 30, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerWilliam Walter
2nd Apr 1871CensusStephen Walter, M, Son, single, age 27, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerStephen Walter
2nd Apr 1871CensusJohn Walter, M, Son, single, age 24, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: farm labourerJohn Walter
2nd Apr 1871CensusMargaret Walter, F, Daughter, single, age 21, born Buxted, SussexMargaret Walter
2nd Apr 1871CensusReuben Walter, M, Son, age 8, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: scholarReuben Walter
2nd Apr 1871CensusAddle Walter, F, Granddaughter, age 3, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation: scholarAddle Walter

c 1875Sheep Plain, Alfays & High Broom, South of Crowborough - c 1875Part of the 6 inch to 1 mile map of Sussex produced in 1875 by Ordnance SurveyHigh Broom Farm

3rd Apr 1881CensusAnn Walter, F, Head, widowed, age 63, born Buxted, employs 2 men and 1 boy; occupation FarmerAnn Walter [Watson]Highbroom Farm1881 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
3rd Apr 1881CensusMargaret Walter, F, Daughter, single, age 31, born BuxtedMargaret Brown [Walters]
3rd Apr 1881CensusRichard Walter, F, Grandson, age 13, born BuxtedRichard Walter
3rd Apr 1881CensusRuben Walter, M, Son, single, age 18, born Buxted; occupation Farm LabourerReuben Walter

1890HistoryBroom FarmFirmin's Guide

There were no buildings on White Hill, which was then called Coldharbour, and the lower part of it was known by the name of the Bowling Alley. Along High Street, past South View to the Common on the left, stood only one building, Haircombe Farm House, belonging to Sir J. Shelley, Bart. On the opposite side was a long narrow thatched building, divided into compartments. This belonged to the parish, and was connected with the Poor House then existing at Rotherfield. It was used as a dwelling for the aged poor, and being built of slabs of wood, went by the name of Slab Castle. The ground around this building, consisting of several acres, also belonged to the parish.

The next building on this side of the way was placed where there are several fine yew trees. These trees still thrive, and are magnificent specimens of their species.

A very old thatched building yet remains near these trees. It marks the spot where the ancestor of one of the Crowborough families, between 200 and 300 years ago, first pitched his tent. He came from the North, and selecting this spot for his encampment, proceeded to cut down trees to build a wooden hut, which, on completing, he called Collier's Lodge. All around this spot was a thick wood, which, as he was a charcoal burner, supplied him with material for his work. The charcoal he sold to the ironmasters in the neighbourhood for their furnaces, and sometimes carried it to the London market.

There seems to have been no objection made by the Lord of the Manor at this period to anyone using the wood or settling upon the Forest, but at certain times the bailiff came round and demanded a small quit-rent as an acknowledgement of the Lord's manorial rights from those who had established themselves on the forest land. Subsequently, however, settlers, whenever they attempted to locate themselves on this waste ground, were summarily dislodged.

There appears to be little doubt that Crowborough Hill was well wooded at one period, and that the trees were all felled to make charcoal for the numerous furnaces in the vicinity. An old inhabitant recollects her father stating that he had seen seven furnaces at work at the same time around Crowborough, and that he remembered an oak tree being dug out of the Broom Bog, near Broom Farm, which was as black as the bog in which it was found. Her father was born in 1780, but there are also traditions from the grandfather and others going far back in time, and some of my statements are made from these traditions.


1890HistoryHigh BroomFirmin's Guide

There were farm-houses at High Broom and at Redbridge, both claiming to be of very old date, but the present buildings have been either extensively repaired, so as to leave little of the old building remaining, or have been altogether rebuilt.

For many years the only place of worship at Crowborough was the chapel built by Sir H. Fermor, Bart. The Nonconformist chapels were built long after, the oldest being the one on the Lye Green Road, close to, but not in Crowborough parish, known as Forest Fold, which has been in existence between sixty and seventy years. Before the present building was erected, Worship was performed in a barn.

The shop first established in the parish was on Chapel Green, in the building opposite to Mr. Turk's present grocery store. Here might be had a little drapery and grocery, but the stock and variety were very limited.

The shops at the Cross were established long after, within the memory of persons now living.

Carriers brought from Lewes and London the little that was required for the small community.

A coach passed over the Beacon Hill in its journey from Brighton to London, via Tunbridge Wells. Another coach ran over the Duddleswell Road and Church Hill, past the Five Hundred Acres, from Brighton through Uckfield, Maresfield, and Tunbridge Wells to London.

The postal arrangements of the period would be intolerable to us now. The nearest post office was at Rotherfield, and letters were not delivered, but were retained at the office till applied for.

The postage, which was paid by the claimant, was never under 1s. 2d. Mr. Howis, who lived at the Warren, always sent for his letters to Forest Row, a distance of seven miles or more. Probably the postal service to that place was more frequent and regular than at Rotherfield.

There was but one turnpike at Crowborough, and that was placed a little beyond the Crow and Gate Inn. It was done away with about sixteen or seventeen years ago.

Few, if any, of the people of the place had learned to read or write, there being no opportunity of getting instruction until after the Fermor School was established in 1734, and then only a limited number of children could be received into the school. Neither were there any churches or chapels nearer than Rotherfield. A few of the farmers attended at Rotherfield Church, but none of the labouring population ever thought of entering a place of worship. Even after the Fermor Chapel was built very few persons attended it.


5th Apr 1891CensusDavid Peerless, M, Head, married, age 27, born Rotherfield, Sussex; occupation CarterDavid PeerlessHighbroom Cottage1891 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
5th Apr 1891CensusJulia Peerless, F, Wife, married, age 31, born Handley, DorsetJulia Peerless
5th Apr 1891CensusSelina Ne Peerless, F, Daughter, age 6, born Rotherfield, SussexSelina Ne Peerless
5th Apr 1891CensusElizabeth Kate Peerless, F, Daughter, age 9, born Rotherfield, SussexElizabeth Kate Peerless
5th Apr 1891CensusLouisa Peerless, F, Daughter, age 6 months, born Rotherfield, SussexLouisa Peerless

5th Apr 1891CensusDaniel Watson, M, Head, married, age 58, born Buxted, Sussex; occupation Farm LabourerDaniel WatsonHighbroom Cottage1891 Census
Rotherfield, Sussex
5th Apr 1891CensusHarriet Watson, F, Wife, married, age 59Harriet Watson

c 1899South View, Coldharbour & Blacknest, South of Crowborough - c 1899Part of the 6 inch to 1 mile map of Sussex produced in 1899 by Ordnance SurveyHighbroom Farm

1928Borowe or Manor of Alchorne in 1560Borowe or Manor of Alchorne in 1560 by Mr Chapman and Catherine PulleinHigh Broom FarmPullein's Rotherfield

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