The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex

The Ashdown Forest Dispute 1876-1882
by Professor Brian Short
published by Sussex Record Society in 1997
Excerpts from this work have been reproduced on this site with the kind permission of Professor Brian Short

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William Augustus Raper
James Mepham


Mepham, James. 59. Taylor's Farm, Fletching. Have occupied this farm of 15 acres for 27 years last past and succeeded Henry Smith who occupied for 30 years. I lived in the neighbourhood all my time and was on intimate terms with Smith (dead) and used frequently to come to see him for many years before he died here. I know Smith turned sheep out on Ashdown Forest at times and he used to have litter and turf for fuel off it. He was a great man for turf fires and he had stone for making a bank and repairs. Since I have used the farm I have had litter regularly every year including last year and this. I used to have turf for fuel but we do not use it now. I have never turned out on the Forest.

The owner of the farm is Mrs Lusted, South Park, Reigate.

I know Moyses Farm and Lawrence's Farm in Fletching, together about 79 acres. They have been used together for many years and both belong to Sir Spencer Maryon Wilson. When I was about 15 I went to live for about 2 years at Moyses under Mr. Edward Hobbs who farmed both the farms and during that time I went with his team to Ashdown Forest and brought litter for both farms and turf for Moyses. Lawrence's has no house. I and the old man Brown (dead) used to go up in slack times and cut litter. Hobbs turned out young stock on the Forest.

6 years ago last Michaelmas I hired both farms and farmed them till Michaelmas 1878 when I gave them over to my son James Mepham. During the five years I farmed them, I regularly had litter from the Forest for both farms and turf for fuel in Moyses Farm House. I did not turn out.

I know Hillwood Farm about 100 acres belonging to Lady Shelley. About 30 years ago I went to work there under Mr John Adams (dead) for 4 or 5 years. I went with his team and used regularly to bring litter off the Forest and I also burnt turf in the house from the Forest. He turned out stock on the Forest occasion[ally].

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