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Beech Farm

From Historical Hastings

This farm is believed to be named after the prominent Beech Tree that was reputedly used as a navigation point by sailors far out to sea[1].Beech Farm formed part of the estate that was settled on the marriage of Charles Eversfield M. P. of Denne in Horsham Esq with Mary Duncombe of Guildford Spinster on 16 Jun 1702. In 1717, the East Sussex estate, which was centered on Grove House in and included Beech Farm, was transferred to the trustees appointed under the Eversfield Estate act of the previous year (the purpose of which was to pay Charles Eversfield's debts), for the benefit of his son Charles Eversfield[2]

On the 17 Dec 1773 Charles Eversfield, who in about 1743 had purchased it from Daniel and Martha Eversfield, was admitted to a copyhold tenement of the manor of called Broomhill, by his attorney Thomas Deudney of Hastings yeoman. He immediately surrendered it, together with another copyhold called Hersteddles (2a, rent 4d, late Charles Eversfield his father) to the use of his will.

Markwick Ownership

On Eversfield's death, the property descended to his sister Olive Eversfield, who was admitted to the copyhold on 22 Aug 1785. Olive's will was proved in PCC by her nephew William Markwick of Catsfield on 2 Jun 1804, who was admitted to the copyhold on 9 Sept 1805. On 1 and 2 Feb, 1805 Markwick had re-settled the estate and the abstract contains a description of the farm, then called Loyds Gill, as containing 63 acres and occupied by James StandenMarkwick subsequently changed his name to Eversfield by Royal Licence of 20 May 1807 and his will of 2 Nov 1811 left his estate to his son Charles, subject to the life estate of his wife Mary; neither was admitted to the copyhold. Charles Eversfield's will of 17 Mar 1818 was proved in PCC 21 Jan 1819 and on 25 Oct 1822 his brother, James Eversfield of Catsfield, was admitted to the copyhold by virtue of the remainder in their father's will

Bowman Ownership

On the 7th and 8th of Nov. 1825 Eversfield's executors, the Rev. John Godfrey Thomas of Bodiam, clerk and Charles Wardroper of Seacocks Heath, Etchingham Esq. joined James Eversfield, then of Denne Park, Horsham Esq, to convey the estate to Frederick Bowman of Alie Street Mx, a sugar refiner, and his trustee Skinner Turner of Clapton Esq for £1,418 10s 6d for the freehold and £350 for the copyhold. The farm, occupied by James Standen, is shown on a map on the release which distinguishes freehold and copyhold, and gives field names and acreages; Bowman was admitted to the copyhold portion of the farm (which did not include Hersteddles) on 17 Aug 1826


On 19 Jun 1846, Thomas Papillon of Maydeacon in Kent, Lord of the manor of , enfranchised the copyhold part of the farm for £60 paid by Bowman, described as of Herne Hill in Surrey. Bowman made his will on 26 Apr 1850 and appointed Anthony Brown Esq, chamberlain of the city of London, William Allden of Lloyd Street, Pentonville and William Atkinson of Alie Street, the manager of a sugar refining business owned by Bowman and his son William Bowman, trustees. Provision was made for the continued employment of George Manser, Bowman's bailiff or manager at Beech Farm, until sale. Bowman died 5 Mar 1852, the trustees proved the will in PCC 2 Jun and on 9 Nov 1852 were joined by Bowman's widow Margaret to convey to Nathaniel Cook of Ladbrooke Terrace, Notting Hill Esq for £2,380. The estate was that purchased by Bowman, with the exception of land sold to the trustees of the Battle and Hastings ​road​On the 24 Jul 1854 Cooke sold Beech Farm for £2,000 to James Watts of Battle Esq; a schedule lists tithe map numbers, field names, acreages, and the state of cultivationA piece of Hoads Wood, part of the Papillon estate, was conveyed to James Watts for £256 11s on 10 Jul 1857; the conveyance, which carried a plan, is not present but is recited in the abstract==High Beech House== On the 28 Nov 1859 Watts conveyed the estate to William Rowe Lewis of St. Leonards Esq for £3,600 (12-14). On 31 Jul 1863 Lewis mortgaged the estate, which included the recently erected High Beech House in which he lived, to William Preston of Liverpool Esq, Charles Edward Flower of Stratford on Avon brewer, James Thornely of Liverpool gent and William Joseph Pike of Wareham, Dorset merchant for £4,500. On 31 Dec 1873 Lewis purchased Further Plot (31p) and Footway Plot (20p), part of Starrs in from the trustees of the Lamb estate for £100. Lewis raised a further sum of £1,663 13s by mortgage on 1 Oct 1875 and on 5 Apr 1876 the mortgage was transferred to Pike, Thornely, Janet Preston Rodick of Acrefield House, Woolton, Lancashire spinster and Charles Bernard Baker of St. Albans civil engineerOn the 15 Dec 1884 Lewis, then a colonel in the 3rd brigade of the Cinque Ports Division of the Royal Artillery, left all his estate by will to his wife Margaret Gibson Lewis. He died 3 Dec 1898, she died 5 Apr 1912 and by her will of 8 Jun 1899, the property passed to her daughter Judith Elizabeth Lewis. On 7 Jul 1904 the mortgages were assigned by the surviving mortgagee to Miss Lewis and her cousin Lieut-col Robert Preston Birkett Rodick, whom Miss Lewis appointed her co-trustee (with her cousin Anna Lilian Pike) by her will of 1 Nov 1907; the will was proved 19 Nov 1912 On 10 Mar 1913 the trustees sold one of the pieces of land purchased in 1873 to Albert Bourner


Thomas Baker aged 66, coachman at High Beech since 1865, made a statutory declaration concerning the estate on 30 Jul 1913 which the trustees conveyed to Conway Wertheimer of 21A Portman Square, London barrister for £6,150 on 5 Aug 1913. On 1 Nov 1913 Wertheimer leased a portion of the land (33¾a) to Henry Thomas Simmons of Wychenour, Battle Esq; notice to quit was given 1 Mar 1919

On 13 Nov 1913 Wertheimer consented to the diversion of a footpath across his land and on 20 Dec concluded a detailed agreement for the supply of electricity to the High Beech by Hastings Borough Council. By a deed poll of 20 Jan 1916 Wertheimer declared his intention to be known as Conway Joseph Conway

An abstract of Conway's title was drawn in May 1919 and the property soon after conveyed to Mrs Jefferson, from whose executors it was purchased by Mr Savage in 1948 ==

  1. History of in Hastings, East Sussex, UK: History of Hollington in Hastings, East Sussex, UK, accessdate: 9 January 2020
  2. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep AMS5978