TQ3425 : 1-3, High Street, Lindfield

taken 6 years ago, near to Lindfield, West Sussex, Great Britain

1-3, High Street, Lindfield
1-3, High Street, Lindfield
A pair of mid Victorian semi-detached cottages overlooking the northern end of the common. Unfortunately part concealed with foliage.
High Street, Lindfield

Noted by Pevsner, prior to boundary changes in 1974, as 'without doubt the finest village street in East Sussex" containing at least thirty five buildings of ancient origin with about twelve surviving from the medieval period. The original linear settlement runs from the church in the north to the common in the south. The oldest part is undoubtedly around the church where the street, having ascended from the Ouse valley to the north, briefly diverts itself around the old churchyard then straightens then gently descends as it resumes its journey southwards initially to the junction with Lewes Road and the Town Pond then briefly beyond past the latter to the common before turning west once more as Black Hill and heads towards Haywards Heath.

The section to the south of the church was the first expansion of the settlement and is believed to have been planned by the then lords of the manor, the Canons of South Malling near Lewes, to accommodate a weekly market given approval in 1344. The street itself widens as it heads down to the junction with the old road to Lewes. Only one house, number 65, is believed to predate this grant. Thirteen houses survive from the period 1350-1500, these being numbers 36-38, 76, 84-86, 95, 107, 115, 122, 126, 135, 153, 171, the Thatched Cottage and Old Place. All these buildings are timber framed Wealden Hall types though many were refronted in the Georgian era. Beyond that era, 8 survive from the 16th century, 14 from the 17th, 12 from the 18th and 15 from the early 19th century. The latter tended to be located to the south around the common and the old pond.

With the arrival of the railway at Haywards Heath, Lindfield's development initially stalled in the short term as it lost much trade to its new neighbour as well the disappearance of a former London-Brighton coaching route that had operated through the settlement since the 1770s. However, the rapid growth of its neighbour led in the long run to the development of the town in the 20th century particularly off the High Street. This in turn has meant that the High Street still retains a number of services particularly at the southern end. There are still four pubs, a number of tea houses, a small Co-op, the Post Office still survives but has downsized and moved into a local newsagent, a butcher, toy shop and a couple of small boutiques amongst others.

Lindfield, West Sussex

The old parish of Lindfield is bounded by Cuckfield to the west, Ardingly to the north west, Horsted Keynes to the north east, Chailey to the south west and Wivelsfield to the south east. It is situated on a ridge in the High Weald with the south eastern part in the Low Weald. The soil is predominantly clay with sandstone deposits. Since the 1930s the old parish has been split into two; Lindfield based around the urban settlement, and Lindfield Rural containing all the rural areas and based in Scaynes Hill. A portion south of Scrase Stream and west of the road to Ardingly has been was transferred to Haywards Heath in the same decade.

The first mention of Lindfield was in a charter dating 765 indicating an open area with lime trees which for many centuries formed an outlier of Stanmer near Brighton. This manor later came under the jurisdiction of the Canons of South Malling who remained lords until the Dissolution. The main settlement appears to have grown up along an ancient north-south route sometime during the medieval period and there are suggestions looking at the regular sized burgage plots that it may have been planned along what is now the High Street between the church and the common. This linear type settlement remained virtually unchanged until the end of 19th century when Lindfield began to expand. After the First World War this expansion accelerated particularly to the west where the town soon joined with neighbouring Haywards Heath. To the east and south development was more sparse but took off again after 1945 until it eventually became difficult to say where Lindfield ended and where Haywards Heath began. The need for more housing in the 21st century also means development is pushing further eastwards into the open area separating Lindfield from Scaynes Hill.

The latter is the other major settlement within the old parish and originally a few farms dotted around an old common (Also mention in the same charter of 765 under its original name, Henfield). It is located on the main road to Lewes on a ridge before dropping down to cross a tributary of the Ouse. Beyond where the once vast commons of Chailey. The settlement grew up around the middle of the 19th century and continued to expand into the 20th. Other settlements are much smaller but follow a similar pattern. To the east of Lindfield is Walstead, consisting of some large farms and smaller houses dotted around the old common. Farther east is Freshfield, a small hamlet built around another common and the crossing of the Ouse. A smallholding settlement originally called The Colony and later known as America was set up in 1824 by Quaker and industrialist William Allen as a way of making the rural poor self sufficient. Located in a large wood on the western side of the parish which was transferred to neighbouring Haywards heath in the 1930s and the cottages demolished in 1944 to make way for a new estate. The original access road survives as America Lane. The rest of the parish is made up of small farms scattered around the lanes north and east of Lindfield.

The main road running through the settlement is the current B2028 which is a very old north south route through the Weald and later turnpiked in the 1770s as one of the main London-Brighton coaching routes. Next to the village pond the B2111 branches off to head south east towards Lewes via Walstead. This joins the A272 at Bedales Corner and continues through Scaynes Hill on the way to Chailey. All other current routes are either 'C' roads or minor lanes. A number of the former provide routes to Horsted Keynes. East Mascalls Lane heads north from Walstead then turns east where it becomes Monteswood Lane to Freshfield Crossways. Nash Lane heads east from Scaynes Hill then northwards as Sloop Lane to cross the River ouse at Freshfield Bridges and also passes Freshfield crossways on its way to Danehill. Park Lane turns off the B2028 north of Lindfield Bridge, becomes Keysford Lane at Woodsland Cross, where it is joined by Stonecross Lane from the same road, then heads north east to Horsted Keynes. A minor road, Plummerden Lane, links this to Monteswood Lane. On the western side of the parish Portsmouth Lane and High Beech Lane headed north to Ardingly. At Smallsgreen Cross it crossed the old road to Cuckfield which left Lindfield via Hickmans Lane or Denman Lane surviving as far as the railway beyond which much has been obliterated by the Harlands estate.

The main waterway is the River Ouse which runs across the parish north of the main village and provides the parish boundary with Horsted Keynes east of the confluence with Cockhaise Brook. This was canalised in the early 19th century with new built sections east and west of Freshfield Bridges and west of East Mascalls Bridge. It was never profitable and its last major job was to carry the bricks from Holland up the river to build the Ouse Valley Viaduct. The navigation was closed in 1868. The main tributaries within the parish are Scrase Stream which runs east from Cuckfield to the confluence near East Mascalls. Since the 1930s the stream provides the major boundary with Haywards Heath. Pellingford Brook rises at the southern end of Haywards heath provides the parish boundary with Chailey to the south then crosses the south eastern part of the old parish joining the River Ouse at Sheffield Park. Cockhaise Brook runs along the whole of the eastern boundary with Horsted Keynes from its confluence with the Ouse north of Henfield Wood. These fast flowing streams powered a number of water mills at Deans north of Lindfield, East Mascalls, Cockhaise Farm and Freshfield, the latter operating on the site of a former forge which existed between the mid 16th century and the 1660s.

With the arrival of the railway in 1842 Lindfield's decline as a coaching route set in. The station at Haywards Heath was originally intended as a stop for it and Cuckfield but resulted in the growth of a brand new town which eclipsed both. A railway was planned in the 1860s with a necessary Act of Parliament obtained and work started in 1866. The Ouse Valley railway was more a political manoeuvre than an effort to provide a new service designed to link LBSCR lines at Uckfield, hailsham and Hastings and prevent other companies from muscling into the area. Lindfield was to have a station at the foot of Town Hill and work got as far as setting up kilns to make the bricks for it when a railway financing bank collapsed and work ceased in 1867 leaving a set of embankments between Skew Bridge and Lindfield as the only reminders.

The church dates from the 13th century and may have replaced an older Anglo-Saxon one from the 10th century. It was rebuilt in the 14th century. A second parish church was consecrated in Scaynes Hill in 1929 having previously been a chapel of ease.

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TQ3425, 293 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 6 September, 2015   (more nearby)
Monday, 7 September, 2015
Cottages   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 3460 2520 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:0.6265N 0:4.9630W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 3463 2518
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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