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The Fernhurst Society

Oral history interviews: notable residents

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Stanley Clue | Robin Barnes | Edie Lucas

Stanley Clue

Do you remember Mr Tudor?

Yes.  He gave me my first job.

What was that?

He stopped me going to school one day…. and a great big white beard you know, and he says: “I want you,” and I thought “What have I done wrong?”  … .  “Would you like to earn a penny?” he said.  I said “Yes please.”  Well at Heart's Delight there used to be a wooden shed, stood on the corner, that was Mr Tudor's you see; takes me in there.  He says “There’s all the brushes, the polishes.  You can come in every morning before you go to school and clean my shoes, and Saturdays you’ll have some extra to do because we’ll have the visitors and I want you to clean those.”  And on a Saturday he said, you’ll get sixpence.  That was a lot of money, sixpence - good God!  So actually he gave me my first work, you see.  Regular.  I used to do odd jobs for people because that’s the only way you’d earn any money.  You didn’t get money given to you.  Your father never gave you anything unless you worked for it.  I had to clean his shoes be cause he was a military man. He’d pick his shoe up and have a look, if he saw a little bit of white, he’d throw ‘em at you.  “Clean them!”



Robin Barnes

They (Granny and Aunt Lucy) lived in East Meon for a few years. They rented a house there and then, as I said, in about 1907/8, they moved to Highbuilding. All this time Granny was keeping diaries. And again they will all go into the archive either West Sussex or the village archive. 

Anyway they carried on there, Granny doing a huge amount of hunting.  She used to hack all the way over to Chiddingfold to go on a hunt and then come all the way back again. Of course you didn’t have horse boxes or anything like that in those days. She would send a postcard to her mother in Cocking in the morning that she was going to come for tea in the afternoon. And she would get in the trap and she would drive over there, have tea and come back again. And all this was arranged within 24 hours. Extraordinary…They would go to London. And even in those days, you could go from door to door in 2 hours. Well, you’d be very hard pushed to do it in a lot less these days. When it was particularly snowy and she was worried about horses, her horses going out in the snow,  obviously she was very careful about these, and she wanted to go to Haslemere, she would walk into Haslemere, up over the top of Marley and down into Camelsdale presumably. It’s not the sort of thing you would expect a lady of her standing to do, but she did, because she wanted not to damage her horses.

Does she write about the people who lived here, her neighbours, and who she was socialising with in Fernhurst?

Not a great deal, no. I mean there are sort of appointments to go and see someone or…They would go round and about, I suppose my mother would actually..she spoke more about going out to friends at Minsted, all the big houses round and about when they had dances and so on.. And of course being, you know in the sort of late  teens and twenties, when she was a young girl, she was always invited out to all the dances and so on and had a lovely time. She used to do things like tobogganing down Friday’s Hill. She was always a bit of a tomboy, whereas Aunt Lucy was quite the reverse. But mother used to talk about how her nanny and the nanny at Hawksfold House, the Dickensons, would get on or would not get on. I think mother was particularly fond of Oliver Dickenson. He was one of the sons who was killed in the second world war. He was a fighter pilot. Life at Highbuilding then was quite…they seemed very busy. They were always rushing around doing things. They didn’t quite know what to do with themselves. Again, being of that sort of upbringing and so on and not being in the banking or legal side of things you…having just come out of the army he didn’t really know what to do with himself. He was going to breed chickens and things like that.

The parish boundary ran by Highbuilding . Just up the lane from Highbuilding towards the cottage, Highbuilding Cottage, you suddenly flip back from Fernhurst into Linchmere, and in fact that was a little bit of Bepton parish at one stage.  They had these little outcrops of parishes that had got left over from when new boundaries were drawn or whatever. And there’s another piece somewhere else that’s a bit of Trotton parish. All very peculiar. But, yes, life went on at Highbuilding quite merrily and in 1978 or 79 it was sold and bought by Cranleigh Onslow.

I remember Aunt Lucy saying quite soon after they’d moved in one of the first winters, the phone went one evening, “Oh, it’s June. Lucy what do we do? The snow’s coming into the roof.” And she would say, “Well you do what we used to do. You get the coal shovel and a bucket and you go up and you shovel it out.” Because of course, the roof in those days wasn’t felted, so if it was windy, the snow would just blow in. Because you can get from the attics into the roof void quite easily. But ..yes, she would be up there quite happily, shovelling snow.

How old is the house? Do you know when it was built?

No, I can’t remember that. It was always looked upon as the ironmaster’s house, because we’ve still got the ironworks down at Furnace Pond behind Lower Lodge Farm. And it was at one stage owned or used by William Shotter. Now they have a long supposed history in the area. It’s supposed that Shottermill was named after them. Well we don’t believe that, because actually it’s named after the mill. And it was an overshot mill. So that’s why it was called Shottermill. Or Shotovermill. But I’m not really quite sure. It was called Highbuilding because it was the first house in the area that had three storeys. 

But not having been sort of into the research area when we still owned then place, I don’t really remember. But Vanlands, where we live now, again, we’re not quite precise, but it was built in about 1570-1580. But Mercy Gandy who we all knew very well, she had done some research and reckoned that there was a building on that site in 1533, but we’ve not actually got round to checking that out. But there’s no reason to disprove what she said. And it had always been what was called a yeoman farmer’s house, Vanlands.  The farm attached to it was about 50 acres. A fair amount of it is now put into woodland. And we own just another 9 acres of pasture land there. Again the rest of the farm land was sold when Highbuilding Farm was sold in 1978.

Did your land ever go as far as Moses Farm, up on Moses Hill?

No. It didn’t go as far as…No. It came northwards as far as it goes now, which is sort of almost at the top of Marley Heights, the chestnut woodland and carries along the contour of the hill, to where the chestnut stops and…well it’s not even been planted up but the big Cowdray woodland of Greenhill and Oakreeds wood. And then it drops down to immediately behind Greenhill house…

They did quite a lot of swapping around, because one of the people who lived at Hawksfold House was Anthony Salvin, the architect, who was a great friend of the family. For some reason, they owned a bit of the land close round Greenhill and our family owned a bit of land down near Hawksfold Farm as it was called then. And now it’s Park Farm. And they decided to swap. So this was back in the ‘20s something like that. …I think at one stage we did own, around that time we did own Greenhill House, and then it was sold on to…I don’t know whether Mrs Warren was the first owner. I don’t think so. But it’s slowly grown and grown. It used to be just a little small farmhouse. And now it’s a huge mansion since Lord Cowdray, Michael Pearson lived there ….

Was that Mr Warren?

No. Michael Pearson lived there. 

Before him?

Before him, yes , the Warrens. They built Oakreeds. That’s a nice house. It’s got lovely oak interiors and so on. Yes, so Michael Pearson lived at Greenhill and built it up and built on a huge amount of servants’ quarters and garages for his vintage cars and so on. He lived there for three or four years until Cowdray House had been completely revamped for him and now it’s let on, I think it’s on a 20 year lease. But sadly, the farm land attached to close to there is not used. It’s occasionally  rented out.  So the fields are slowly falling into disrepair. But then that’s the way of agriculture at the moment.  And come to that forestry. It’s very difficult to use any land productively. I don’t know whether the new arrangement that’s just coming in at the present, the single farm payment system, will make any difference. But the way farming’s been going in the last 10-15 years, it’s been terrible, and then you get foot and mouth disease coming along. I remember the first, well probably not the first foot and mouth, but foot and mouth back in 1966/67, something like that, just before we were married, somewhere in East Anglia, having to go through these dips of disinfectant and so on. It did smell rather. Yes, that was the first one in living memory, that was a tragic loss of farm animals.



Edie Lucas

Actually I didn’t go to school in Fernhurst very long because my mother worked for Mrs Strachey, who lived at the top of Fridays Hill and the Strachey family were the intellectual type who sort of hob-knobbed with, I mean, I remember Sidney and Beatrice Webb and Anthony Eden.  They used to have all the intellectuals at the Mud House - as it was called - and Mrs Strachey suggested to my mother that she got me educated privately and I went to a convent in Newhaven.  So I didn’t really go to Fernhurst School long, for about three terms, I should think.  So I really didn’t come home, I lived with my grandmother and so a lot of my childhood, apart from my summer holidays, was away.



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The Fernhurst Oral History Project was supported by the Local Heritage Initiative. The Local Heritage Initiative was developed by the Countryside Agency and was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Nationwide Building Society.