!Written by Dr Robert Griffith Jones> <!First created May 1998> <!Last update >
In the 19th Century four farms employed most of the male population of Rottingdean. These were West Side Farm, with Hillside as its farm-house, Court Farm with Court House as its farm-house, East Side Farm, with Down House as the farm-house and Challoners Farm with Challoners as the farm-house. The average weekly pay at the time was 15/- (£0.75) for men and 4/- (£0.20) for boys..
Hillside. At the north end of the high street you come to Hillside. Called Harris's in the early 17th century the building was refaced with brick and the windows enlarged in 1732, as indicated on the stone above the porch. It has a coach house, large yard and a mounting block. A Queen Anne house of mellow bricks and of purest design, it is one of the treasures of the village. Rumour has it that the extensive cellars were connected to the smugglers tunnels that were supposed to honeycomb the village. For many years the house was in the possession of the Beard family and before the first world war was rented out by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, the famous actor, who entertained many famous guests here. Hillside, with its adjoining properties, which included Timbers as its main barn, was the farm-house of West Side Farm. At one time the farmed lands stretched for half a mile along the coast all the way to Black Rock in Brighon.
Just along from Hillside, set into a wall by Hog Plat is a postbox dating from Victorian times. You can just make out the "VR" on the front of the box
Court House. Formerly
the property, with Court Farm, of the Lord of the manor
it is one of those rare Georgian fronted houses built of great boulders of flint
set into chalk. The front side of the flints have been chipped and squared so
symmetrically that no intervening mortar is needed. It was
built sometime between 1745 and 1771. Down House, is
to the right of the picture.
Down House, partially obscured by trees, is slightly larger than Court House but has a similar flint front-facing wall. The age of the building is uncertain but there is a stone embedded in the wall with the date 1619 which gives a clue. This was the farm house of East Side Farm. The old farm buildings lie immediately behind then property and have now been converted into homes- the most notable being Squash Court.
Squash Court, Once the
farm buildings of Court Farm, these have now been converted into a series of
a central courtyard
Squash Court, One of
two rampant lions guarding the entrance to
Cottages, situated at
the Northern end of the village and made of a combination of flint nodules and
brick these were built in 1881. The date is inset into the wall as the following
Cottages, the date of the building of these cottages is clearly marked.
Bazehill Road, not a particularly inspiring photgraph. However go up this road and you soon reach open country with paths to Woodingdean, Balsdean and Kingston.
Dean Court Road, Originally
farm buildings and cottages associated with Court Farm these
were converted into mock Tudor style cottages in the early 1930's .
Dean Court Road, the
gable front of mock tudor cottages at the bottom of the road. These
were once more rustic in character and served as farm cottages for Court
Tudor Close, These apparently looking Tudor buildings were originally two old barns and the cowsheds of old Court Farm. They were some 100 feet in length and were substantially rebuilt in 1929 to look like seven adjoining dwellings of the Tudor period. They proved difficult to sell 1929 and the houses were quickly remodeled to form the Tudor Close Hotel that you see here. The hotel proved to be a fashionable halt for visitors to Rottingdean in the 1930's. After the second world war the Hotel lost much of its custom and the building was altered yet again to form the seven adjoining houses that now occupies the site..
Tudor Close, the picture
shows some detailed wood carving on the gable ends of the Tudor Close buildings.
Challoners: This is
one of the oldest buildings in the village. Challoners Manor Farm was first
mentioned in 1456.
The house was owned by the Beard family from the 17th century until 1915 when
it was bought by the farmer William Brown. The house was substantially rebuilt
in the early 18th century and enlarged in the early nineteenth. After being
subdivided into three houses it was restored as a single house in the 1980's.
Challoners: A view from
Lanterns: Now a house
this originally formed part of the farm buildingds of Challoners Manor Farm.
St Margaret's Church. Little remains of the original Saxon church that existed on the site. The church was rebuilt in the Norman style about the year AD 1100 and was partially rebuilt again in AD 1200, in the Early English style. The walls of the church built at this time were made to be some 4 feet thick and were flanked with strong buttresses.
In 1377 a party of French pirates descended on the village and many of the hapless villagers took refuge as the rest of the village was fired. The pirates went on to fire the church and many of the poor villagers were burnt alive inside. You can see evidence of the fire in the stonework: the pink and grey colouring is a result of the intense heat. Following the destruction of the church it was rebuilt and has been periodically restored ever since.
The last major restoration being during Victorian times. One of the glories
of the present church is the seven stained glass windows in the chancel and
tower. Built by William Morris & Co from the design of Sir Edward Burne Jones,
who lived in the village, they were put up in 1893 and are generally considered
to be amongst the finest of Pre-Raphaelite stained glass.
St Margaret's Church.
Detail from the west front.
St Margaret's Church.
Set into the wall of the church you can see the final respository of Edward
Burne Jones's ashes.
St Margaret's Church.
A view of the church and the churchyard from the South.
The Elms. The house was built by William Ridge around 1745. and stands on the village green immediately opposite the church. From 1897 to 1902 it was the home of Rudyard Kipling and his family. Here Kipling was to write such famous books as Stalkey & Co, Kim, and many of the Just So Stories. Here too was written the Recessional- that famous poem of Empire that begins:
God of our fathers, known of old-
Lord of our far-flung battle line-
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine-
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget!
The house became a magnet for the tourists who would travel along the cliff tops
from Brighton, ever eager to catch a glimpse of the famous
author and in 1902 Kipling and his family moved away to the quieter village of Burwash,
in the heart of the Sussex countryside.
The Grange. A fine
Georgian house located next to the village pond. It was the vicarage of St.
Margarets for 250 years. Renamed the Grange by Sir William Nicholson,
the artist, who lived here from 1912-1914 it is now used as a library, Art Gallery
and Museum. One of the most famous incumbents of the vicarage was Dr Thomas
Hooker, who became vicar of Rottingdean in 1792 and had a school in the vicarage
house at which several famous men were educated. Pupils included Cardinal Manning
and Edward Bulwer-Lytton and the nephews of both the Duke of Wellington and
Norton House. Underneath
the plasterwork you
will find the remains of two cottages: Starlings and Sheathers. These two cottages
were merged together to form Albert Villa in the nineteenth century which was
subsequently renamed Norton Cottage.
Whipping Post House. Situated next to the village pond few buildings in Rottingdean have such a colourful history. Early Tudor in origin it was once the home of the village's most notorious smuggler, Captain Dunk. When not outsmarting the Revenue Officers Captain Dunk ran a butchers shop on the premises. The extensive cellars must have witnessed countless contraband in their time. Rumour has it that these cellars were also connected to passages leading under the high street to the beach.
The house is named after the whipping post which used to stand just in front of the house where now the Horse Chestnut stands. These posts were used to fasten people so that they could be punished for misdemeanours.
The Dene. This is the white house on the southern side of the Green. It was originally built in the early 19th century and by 1832 was occupied by Charles Beard. By the middle of the century it was known as Elm Lodge, and was used as a small racing stable by Lord St Vincent. In 1877 Edward Ridsdale, father-in-law of ex-prime minister Stanley Baldwin, bought the property and rebuilt and enlarged it, leaving only the racing stables unaltered and finally changed its name to The Dene. Since 1927 it has been successively a school, hotel and is now used as a retirement home for teachers.
Church of our Lady of Lourdes:
This is situated just off the high street and up Whiteways Lane. The
church of our Lady of Lourdes was built in 1957, services having previously
been conducted in the small chapel of the nearby convent of the same name.
Cottages in vicarage terrace: Set back from the road and just opposite the Roman Catholic Church is a set of small cottages built some time in the nineteenth century.
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