Little Hapstead

At the back of Mr. Sayers’ premises there stands a little old house which has seen better days but is now divided into two tenements. Little Hapstead is its name, and at one time it was the farm house of a small holding of agricultural land which lies to the east of it. We have no means of knowing at what time it was divided off from Hapstead, but we have a record in 1806 that William Wicking held it at the date by the name of Little Hapstead. The Wickings also held Withylands at the same time.

In 1821 James Tully was responsible for a length of the Church fence on account of his ownership of Little Hapstead. At the time of making the Tithe map in 1839-40 James Tully was owner and occupier of the house and garden and Benjamin Tully was occupier of the Farm of 5 acres 55 Perches. At the corresponding dates Great Hapstead, sometimes called Hapstead Land, was owned by Thomas Clifford. It may be recorded here that he also held Old Mill Shaw as a separate holding. This refers to a Shaw at the bottom of Cobb Lane and is a modern reminder of the Mill that stood on Cobb brook in 1308.

Great and Little Hapstead, as well as Withylands, passed to Thomas Potter in the 70’s of the last century. In addition to Hapstead House he built Ashley Cottages, named after one of his sons, Orchard Cottages, built in the orchard of Little Hapstead, Compton Villas and the Lodge near Berry. He had intended to bring the drive to his new house along the ancient right of way on the north of Berry to Withylands, where he built the existing house called by that name. The old Withylands stood a little lower down on the way to Highbrook, Where the Old barn stood till a few years ago. Mr. Potter did not complete his scheme, but the traces of it can still be seen.

He altered the path to Highbrook which used to go straight across by the boundary of his garden and brought it down to the entry by the smithy. He also stopped the ancient right of way which led from Berry to Stone Mill along the side of the hill. [Correction: The alteration of the path to Highbrook was made by Mr. William Wright, who bought Hapstead House and the adjoining land after the death of Mr. Potter in 1895.]

Holland House and Holland Cottages get their name from the family who at one time held Stone Mill and also Selsfield Mill. The first member of the family to appear in the Parish Registers is John Hollands, who married Martha Alfrey in 1789. The earliest record we have of Holland House is in the Ditchling Manor Court Rolls of 1706, when it had been in the hands of Johanna Waldray; it did not come into the possession of the Hollands till much later.

Joseph John Wakehurst Peyton, whose monument is in the south aisle of the Church, born in 1819, inherited Wakehurst on the death of his father in 1825. His first Manor Court was held on 17th December, 1833, while he was still an infant. It was “holden at the house of Martha Hollands at Hapstead in the parish of Ardingly” by Hugh Jackson the Steward.

At this Court John Hollands acknowledged that he held a cottage and garden at the yearly rent of 1s., which had previously been in the possession of John Gully als Tully. He paid 9s. arrears of rent, which makes it appear that he had been in possession of the house since 1824. In the schedule of the Manor in 1840, John Hollands is given as the holder of “Leasehold cottage and garden, 27 Hapstead Green in front of the Greyhound” and occupied by Mrs. Hollands. The description “in front of the Greyhound” is puzzling, even though the actual position of the Inn was altered when it was re-built in more recent years. The same duplication of the holding from the two manors of Ditchling and Wakehurst appears again in this instance.

Place Name Index