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

Related document
William Augustus Raper
William Falconer

Falconer, William. 80. Working for Mr. Wood, nurseryman at Maresfield. Living near the Forest at Duddleswell. Born 10 August 1799 near the Fox. Baptised at Maresfield. I have lived close to Duddleswell all my life. My Father and grandfather were litter cutters [and] as soon as I was big enough I used to go out on the Forest and help my father cut litter and I have been at it ever since, including this year. While I was a boy I remember he cut a great deal for George Page who owned and used a farm now belonging to Lady Shelley and lying near the park between Lampool and Maresfield.

My father worked for Page principally. When I was a boy Squire Holford owned Oldlands and Benjamin Minns (dead) was his bailiff. I went to work there when a boy. My Father cut brakes and litter on the Forest for Mr. Holford. Before I was big enough to cut myself and I used to help load it on the wagons and carts. He used to bring it in the carts at first and afterwards in wagons with sometimes ox teams, sometimes horses. When I was big enough to cut I used to cut it with my Father for Mr. Holford. We cut for him both brakes and litter pretty well every year till he gave up farming and let the farm to Minns. I do not think I cut for old Minns after he took the farm, but I know I did for his son John Minns who succeeded him more than once. I should say this was about 25 or 26 years ago. I know old Benjamin Minns used to have brakes and litter. I used to see his wagons taking it in and I also saw John Minns carrying in litter besides what I cut for him. John Minns farmed till Mr. Nesbitt bought the place and I have seen Mr. Nesbitt's team out since carrying litter in.

Cophall belonged to George Page whom I have mentioned and some of the litter my Father cut used to go there. On Mr. Page's death the place went to his son John and on his death it went to his son Thomas and on his death it went to his daughter, Mrs Pilbeam. John and Thomas Page lived there and when the latter died it was let to a Mr. Tutor till about 2 years ago when the Pilbeams came. John Page had a great deal of litter then. He had more in proportion than any farmer about. I cut occasionally for him. Thomas Page also had a great deal. I used to see him carry it. They got it very much from the High Forest, Lord De La Warr's side. Tutor had a great deal also; I cut some for him. Pilbeam has had litter since he has been there. I have seen him taking it in.

I know Fairwarp Farm, now belonging to Mr. Norman the grocer. When I was only about 13 years old I thought I would go out and cut litter for myself and I cut one load for Widow Hobbs who then used the farm.

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