Posts Tagged ‘Frant’


January 11, 2015

Lightlands is a rather lovely Tudor house near Frant in Sussex. Most of my ancestors were farm labourers, but one branch had descended from higher things and had once owned this house.


This is me standing in the back garden, with permission from the owner.

That was about a dozen or so years ago. Actually, it was in 2002.

My family, surnamed Stickland, lived there in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some parts of the family later stuck an r in to make it Strickland.

You can read more about Lightlands on the Weald web site at . This was an article published in the Sussex County Magazine back in 1935.

The route down from landed gentry to agricultural labourer took three generations. My great granny (I never met her but my sister did just) could have said that her great grandfather was a rich man. Who knows where it all went. Not that I much care. I’m amongst those who think love of money brings people a lot of misery.

Ann Scrace

February 13, 2014

Meet the Relative

Actually, there is no photo of this relative that I have. But who knows, putting her on this blog might just bring one to me.

Ann Scrace was a cousin three times removed. That means her grandfather was my great great great grandfather. She’s a cousin, but three generations older than me.

Ann was born in about 1837 in the parish of Frant in Sussex. It is her 1861 occupation that fascinates me. Her address was given as Bayham Abbey. She was housekeeper for the Marquis Camden but where he was in 1861 I don’t know. It seems that 24 year old Ann was in charge of Bayham Abbey. She had a housemaid with her and they were the only occupants.

I have tried to gather together postcards and images of places where family lived. Postcards are obviously much more recent so they don’t show an 1861 version of the abbey. Here is the Bayham Abbey card I have.


Now I rather like these artist created cards but was Ann really housekeeper of these ruins?

Probably not for there is also a Bayham Abbey House. A grand country pile and Ann was the singularly youthful housekeeper there.

Ann married John Batemen in 1865. They had two sons, William and Charles. By 1891 Ann was widowed and was living with her very aged parents back on the Bayham estate.

I think she died in 1898.

George Clarke

December 6, 2013

A slightly better off ancestor

Most of my ancestors were labourers. They led little more than a hand to mouth existence. Some of them spent time in workhouses because they had been unable to sell their labour for some reason. Most were reasonably honest although some undoubtedly stole things in an attempt to assuage hunger.

A few, though, in times past, were a tad richer. Take, for example Great Great Grandfather, George Clarke. In 1841 he lived here.


This is Barelands Farm in the parish of Frant in Sussex. What a fabulously delightful location!

In 1844 he married Mahala Scrace whose family had Leafwood Farm in the same parish.


These two farms look across what might be a deserted village – a humpy-bumpy field – at one another. This became the home and working the farm became the livelihood for George and Mahala.

Later, George and Mahala moved to Cross-in-Hand, parish of Waldron, where they continued to farm. They had the less lovely sounding name of Back Lane Farm.

When George died he left a will.


So George left £231/11/3d in 1891. In labour terms, that’s worth about £100000 today. George and Mahala were not poor but we wouldn’t want to live a life, today on a mere hundred thousand pounds. On what is now regarded as the living wage, that sum of money might last about seven years.

Mahala didn’t have seven years for she died in 1895.

A letter from Great Grandmother

March 3, 2013

Here’s a letter I could wish I had seen some years ago. It’s in a whole batch of letters which have only fairly recently come to me. They all have family interest. This one was sent from my great grandmother, born 1854, to my father – her grandson.

Great Granny was widowed in 1913. For many years she lived independently in rooms in Bexhill, near my father and his parents. As she aged, she moved into a home in Brighton. This was where the letter came from. It was sent in 1943 and seems to say November but some of the content seems more spring like than November. In transcribing I have kept great granny’s spelling and grammar.


My dear Granson

I was very please with the primroses they are lovely & came up quite fresh it must very beutefill to see them grow but you know you are not suppose to send flowers by post so don’t venture. So glad you get on with your heard of cows I expect they know you now & would not like a stranger now I do hope it won’t come to cold just as spring comes in as it will spoil fruit and meny things. So one has to bear and hope for the best in everything we hope the


war will stop but we are reminded 2 or 3 times a day of it. Safe up till this day. I went out in the park today it was suney but maked all the fences are taken down even ours from the home.

Yes my grandmother father was at and came from Balsogreen farm wadset but you must remember it was a good bit over 100 years ago so they are gone unless younge left my father name Clarke and mother name scrace from Frant. It’s all in the farming line so you think you will in their steps.

I have heard from ???? she seems to be getting on and sits cheerfull. I are sure you are very bissy & time quit filled in any way you still fearless

I hope well. With meny thanks and love I remain your wellwishing granny.

When I was doing my family tree I spent ages finding that the Clarkes had been at Bells Yew Green and one had married a Scrace from Frant. Yet there in the family possession was a letter which said so, albeit had I not known Bells Yew Green I might have struggled with Great Granny’s spelling.

My father never did stay in farming. He studied for a degree after the war and became a university lecturer.