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Netherfield in East Sussex

Google map showing area surrounding Netherfield
(Village at the top of the Hill)
Location: 50.942298,0.432665
General Details

Netherfield in East Sussex straggles for more than a mile along a ridge, with no real centre, or early church. It earliest mention was in the Domesday book.

Netherfield stands on a high point, off the B2096 between Battle and Brightling , overlooking beautiful Forestry Commission land.

The parish church was dedicated in 1860, and was a gift to the village by Lady Webster in memory of her husband, Sir Godfrey Webster of Battle Abbey. Prior to this services were held in the barn of a local farm.

The church was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon , a controversial Victorian architect, he also designed the Holy Trinity Church in Hastings. The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist. This fact is somewhat grotesquely commemorated by a painting on the north wall by the 17th century artist Giovanni Barbieni, of the unfortunate St John's head on a platter, carried by Salome. The artist used himself as the model for the features.

The old schoolhouse adjoining the churchyard was also given by Lady Webster, in 1859. The school closed in 1961.

The village is served by two public houses 'The White Hart' and 'The Netherfield Arms'.

(We are grateful to Alf Rogers for his memories of the 1950's) Arthur Blackman is probably remembered for two major enterprises, as a coal merchant and as a director of the group that produced Gyprock and later Marley Tiles. He was well beyond the years when most retire when I met him.

He came back to his old school every other Christmastide and spoke to the children. Each child received the gift of a coin (in 1959 it was a shiny new half-crown). This was but one small aspect of the life of a man who thought it an imperative in life to share at least some of his good fortune with his fellows, and in particular with those in less happy circumstance or who would soon be starting out on life's journey for themselves.

In 1959, he recalled the time when he left school and set out to start his own business. He had decided that one thing his neighbours always wanted was a supply of 'pimps' (an old word referring to bundles of chopped kindling wood for the fire). He went to see the Squire (at Netherfield Place) and asked him for a loan to buy a hand cart so that he might carry out his business more effectively. He had seen one that would suit for 10 and, if he could get a loan he knew he could repay it within a year. The squire admired has enterprise and made the loan which was duly paid off well within the time set.

Of course, by then Arthur had other plans. His service was appreciated and he had visions of expanding it to the delivery of coal from the staithes in the Battle railway goods yard. For this he would need a horse and cart.

You've guessed it! He was financed again, and again through hard and honest labour expanded his business. Do you really think it would be possible for such a man to neglect the product from the Mountfield mines? I hope that for the children that were at Netherfield School on that day two impressions remain: first, that one needs to strike out on one's own to realise a dream and, second, that one must never lose the common touch or forget one's origins.

Hastings Municipal Council must have many records of his philanthropy. I well remember taking children swimming in an indoor pool that bore his name.

The local hospitals also were not forgotten.

(We are grateful to Alan Gilbert for his memories of the 1940's) I lived in Netherfield with my grandfather , Charles Gilbert in the 1940s and well remember Bert Blackman the farmer and milkman who used to deliver milk with a churn and ladle suspended by a yoke from his shoulders. Was he any relation to Arthur Blackman featured in your article? Bert Blackman once saw me from his house on top of his haystack, but I saw him coming so he didn't catch me, but he knew who I was and complained to my grandfather who fortunately for me, laughed it off. I know now that it appealed to his sense of fun. I used to spend almost every day then, roaming around Barn Field and beyond, with a neighbour's dog (Cocker Spaniel called Peter). I also remember Mr. and Mrs.Field who were my grandfather's neighbour and he was the gamekeeper on Lord Ashburnham's estate. (Mr. Field the gamekeeper what a suitable name!) My grandfather's rent to Lord Ashburnham was 4 shillings a month(20p in current value) if I remember correctly. That is what my father told me at the time. I also well remember Mrs. Carter and her little general store who specialised in ginger pop and sweets as far as I was concerned. I bought the pop which was only a penny or two and had almost finished it before getting to Barn Field, 100 yards away. These people are all in Netherfield's graveyard now of course. Mrs. Field was known as Len, which I thought strange being a boy's name. I found out in later years that her name was really Leanora. I have just remembered Charlie Buss who lived opposite to my grandfather and he was related to the Buss who apparently played cricket for Sussex. In 1940 I was 7 years old, I now live in Rayleigh near to Southend in Essex.

I will just tell you a little more about my grandfather's cottage. In the 1940s while I was staying there it had no gas or electricity and no running water. The water came from a well house in the back garden. The outside toilet was away down the end of the garden and was emptied occasionally into a cess pit. The house was lit by one oil lamp, which was taken from room to room. We lived in the kitchen when in the winter the very large fire in the grate helped to light the room. All the cooking was done on the grate of course and come to think of it, I do not think that it was ever out. I do remember being frightened of the corners of the room, which seemed to me to be pitch black. I used to go up stairs to bed with a candle and feel my way by the banister made from a small tree branch which had a notch where a smaller branch had been cut off and not flush. When I got to my bedroom there was the feather bed very cold when you got in but very warm in the morning, and there on a dressing table sat a stuffed white owl in a glass dome staring at me. Needless to say I looked away and buried my head in the pillows. There are stories after stories about this house but I will end now. Next door attached, was Mrs. Field who had gas, my grandfather would not have any of these modern things. In later years I stayed with Mrs Field as my grandgather could not look after me.

I have an interest in history and this experience has giving me perhaps, a feeling of living in an 18th. century house.

Views
St John the Baptist church (Netherfield East Sussex)Netherfield in East Sussex church and old school house are very pretty, the lane to the side of the church leading to Mountfield , is tree lined and very pretty.

If you like fairground rides, then take your vehicle on the Heathfield to Battle road to the West of the village, and head towards Battle for a ride which has all the characteristics of the early rollercoasters.
Services
Netherfield and the surrounding areaNetherfield in East Sussex because of its proximity to Battle has limited village services. An infrequent bus service from Battle to Heathfield passes through the village.

Battle about 2 miles South East provides small market town services, together with main bus and train services.

Hastings about 6 miles South provides the remainder of services not provided by Battle .
Map
Netherfield is shown as the red symbol on the map.

Nearby Villages

(click on symbol to see the village page)
Ashburnham (Last Iron Furnace in Sussex)2.91 miles
Battle (William the Conqueror prevails)2.82 miles
Bodle Street (White Horse on the roof)4.41 miles
Brightling (famous for Mad Jack Fuller)2.10 miles
Broad Oak (Smallpox at the Academy)6.84 miles
Burwash (The home of Rudyard Kipling)4.38 miles
Burwash Common (Roughest pub in the South East)4.94 miles
Burwash Weald (Roughest pub in the South East)4.62 miles
Cade Street (Jack Cade and the Kentish rebellion)6.72 miles
Catsfield (Iron, Railways and Clocks)3.18 miles
Cripps Corner (Home Guard surprises the Army)4.41 miles
Dallington (Custers Last Stand!)3.30 miles
Ewhurst Green (Great Fire of London contributions)6.38 miles
Herstmonceux (Castle and Observatory)6.08 miles
Mountfield (17th Century Coal !!)2.29 miles
Ninfield (Last of the Iron Stocks)3.94 miles
Penhurst (Beautiful yet Remote)1.71 miles
Punnetts Town (The Windmill on the Hill)5.09 miles
Robertsbridge (The Home of Modern Cricket)3.48 miles
Rushlake Green (Open Village and Nuclear Bunker)5.14 miles
Salehurst (Richard the Lion Heart's Gift)4.29 miles
Sedlescombe (Best gunpowder in Europe)4.48 miles
Staplecross (Mothers grudge hangs son)5.02 miles
Warbleton (The Iron Man)6.32 miles
Westfield (Bonfire Boys under suspicion)6.60 miles
Whatlington (King Harold's Manor)3.26 miles
Windmill Hill (Largest Post Mill in Sussex)5.63 miles
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Local Businesses
Battle Brewery
Ella Clarke
Tenderheart
Richard Vobes