The 1861 Census

The first enumerator of this census writes very clearly, but the second is very difficult to read and the crossings out of the collator obliterate some of the names. In comparison with the 1851 census the population decreases by 40 to 626. There are 203 children under the age of 13 mostly described as scholars. On the agricultural scene 35 are described as farmers and sons, only 19 of these described previously. The acreage of the farms is noted for the first time with the number of employees. Labourers and farm workers now only total 96 against 105 in 1851. Not a great change. A cow dealer is mentioned. There were some good dairy herds about at this time. A cowman and two dairy maids are recorded. Not a lot for such a rural parish. Farmers wives and daughters often acted in this capacity. Four farm bailiffs are noted for absent landlords.

From one carter boy recorded in 1851 to 22 carters and boys would indicate a lot more movement in the parish, either that or they were away on business at the last census. The census could be inaccurate in that some men have two or more jobs and only describe the one they think has the better social standing. With much better access to the major markets using the toll road and the railway station at Balcombe and Haywards, Heath commerce was on the increase. There is a record book of-work from Wakehurst Place farm which mentions cartloads of dung, faggots, ashes, hoop shavings, hay, building materials and debris, lime, thatching for out buildings and sheds. The average weekly wage appears to be about 14s-0d.

The game keepers have increased to three and a shepherd from the South Downs is now employed at Wakehurst. A herd of sheep had been introduced to the Home farm and individual farmers kept a few sheep for home consumption. Of other trades, builders number three with five carpenters and three thatchers. Three blacksmiths reside in the village. Carriers are advertised in the Post Office Directory of 1855. Travel on foot must have still been at a high level for the the number of cordwainers and shoemakers is now six. The post is brought from Cuckfield on foot.

Most others trades are similar the previous census with two shops for drapery and grocery. The larger shop is run by Henry Sayers and the other by Benjamin Tulley.

Wakehurst Place is still on lease let to Joseph Esdaile a banker and magistrate from Westminster. In the 1862 Post Office Directory he is described as one of the chief landowners along with John Joseph Wakehurst Peyton of Wakehurst who resided at the Grove, Turners Hill. Joseph Esdail provides a pencil sketch of Wakehurst Place showing fields with farm fences almost up to the house to keep sheep contained (this gem came to light when l was administering to one of his modern surviving relatives). The National School House contains James Farindon as Master and Millie Backshall aged 16 as a teacher. The Post Office Directory of 1862 includes Mrs Louisa Farindon as Mistress. The Melville Directory of 1858 had the school mistress as a Mrs Greenfield and a new master in 1868. (See also Kelly’s Directory of 1867)

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