The 1871 Census

The 1871 census population increased to 1,095 an increase of 74%. Children under the age if 13 years of age increases to 285 by some 40%. The construction of the Ardingly branch railway line did not commence until later in 1879, but the Woodard school foundation at Shoreham decided to build another College for the sons of middle class traders at Ardingly. St. Saviour’s College commenced construction and the foundation stone laid in 1864 and the boys and staff arrived just before the census was taken. This accounts for 389 of the now enlarged population.

The actual population of the parish apart from the college is 706, an increase of 80. The nearness of the college seems at first to bring little to the village for it employed no one of Ardingly origins either in teaching staff or in the service staff. Some villagers were employed part time.

A surprising recording in the census is the increased number of those engaged in agriculture even though of farm land had been removed by the building of the college. A total of 153 as against 96 in the previous census. Was it harvest time 7 This 50% increase consisted of 13 farmers with 126 farm workers, 4 bailiffs, 4 game keepers and 5 carters and a boy. There were more than 13 farms in the parish, but some of them had joined together to make a very large farm (see the chapter on the farms).

Wheat production was well up before the prices began to dramatically fall soon afterwards. Cattle production in the parish is on the increase, in spite of the prices of English beef and mutton falling in competition with the cheaper foreign meats being imported. There was still a demand for fresh meat in the London and Brighton markets.

Other occupations in the parish are similar to earlier census. The building trade increases to 23 with some working on the college site. Others worked at Wakehurst Mansion for its new owners The Marchioness of Downshire and her son Lord Arthur Hill. Lady Downshire renovated the house which was quite dilapidated and added a servants wing and a chapel. She began the formal gardens, a walled garden, leisure walks and greens, kitchen and fruit gardens under glass. Wakehurst becomes alive again with 15 servants and a greater interest in the village. There is now a separate Home Farm.

The old poor house has now been demolished and a large modern house called Jordans built. It was occupied by William H. Aldam, attorney and solicitor from Sheffield in Yorkshire with his wife Maud , children and two servants. General occupations remain static in the parish at two bakers, two drapers and grocers and two innkeepers. The woodland trades include one woodcutter and five sawyers. There is a hoopmaker and a chair maker. Charcoal is produced in the woods but these nomads are not recorded in the census. Two smiths and an iron turner; two engineers of which type is not stipulated. A wheelwright, three bootmakers and a butcher. Three women are dressmakers and one charwoman and one laundress.

Counting Wakehurst, male house servants are 21 and female servants of various kinds are 25 in number. One person is described as a house agent. There were two hawkers, five tramps and a travelling bagpipe player. Only one pauper is recorded.

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