Roger Nash, local historian and geographer looks into:
"Who owned the woods?"
What do Loxwood Clay Pits Ltd (LCP) mean by ‘Pallinghurst Woodland’? Has it any basis in reality? All the woods now owned by LCP were part of the Onslow’s Drungewick Manor estate. That changed in 1879. The estates were sold on Denzil Onslow’s death.
Pallinghurst Farm is away to the north in Surrey, Pallinghurst later became the adopted name of Upper Hillhouse Farm, now Rikkyo School, when Erwin Schumacher built his mansion in 1900-1902. His huge estate encompassed parts of Cranleigh (including Pallinghurst Farm), Alfold, Rudgwick and Loxwood. It had been gradually accumulated by previous owners, first by timber merchant Thomas Langton of Wandsworth, 1850-1864, but he had no land in Loxwood. The next owner Joshua Oastler, a Bermondsey leather merchant, bought the Loxwood woodland from Denzil Onslow’s estate auction in 1879, sold to the Schumachers in 1890 with 400 acres of woodland.
By the time it was sold in 1919, it comprised 1,364 acres. 375 acres, including parkland, were sold with the mansion house, 500 acres consisted of various farms let to tenants, including Tismans Farm, 224 acres, in Rudgwick. Other farms abutting the ‘Pallinghurst Woodland’ were Brickkiln (formerly Woodlands) and Woodhouse Farms, of which no traces remain. In Loxwood, Barnfold, most of Songhurst woods (but not Songhurst Farm), and Pephurst Wood (but not Pephurst Farm) were included. Pallinghurst woodland also included Hornshill and Hemstocks in Rudgwick and Wildwood in Alfold. Tracts of woodlands on the ridge were sold with the mansion house in Lot 1.
In 1958, the estate was again sold on the death of ‘Old Mac’, Ernest MacAndrew (photo left courtesy of the family and Rudgwick Preservation Society taken in 1921 ) , whose family had the estate from 1919. Lot 18 was 309 acres, mostly woodland, sold with the small Barnfold Farm, Loxwood, ‘a most attractive sporting entity with the possibility of future capital appreciation’. This included the LCP owned woods north to Songhurst Kiln Copse at its furthest and to old fishponds in Fishpond Copse to the west.
Lot 17 was Pephurst Woods, 126 acres, entirely woodland. Lot 1, Pallinghurst itself, had 193 acres of woodland, mostly in Surrey, but including in Loxwood The Deacons, Hope Rough, and Clearmount.
Who bought all this is not very clear, but Lot 10, Tismans Farm, including Barnsfold and Woodhouse, was purchased by the family who still own it today. The 1958 auction gave rise to the term ‘Pallinghurst woodland’, used by LCP.
West and north west of the woods was the even bigger Loxwood House (Greathouse) estate, going back centuries to the Threels, later the Kings, associated with Loxwood Manor. When sold in 1906, its 2000+ acres included New and Old Songhurst Farms, but relatively little of woodland.
Part of the map of the 1958 Pallinghurst Estate sale based on the OS map, showing Lots 18 and 19, and with Public Rights Of Way overlain.
Lot 10, pale blue, in the NE is part of Tismans.
The brown stain is from Sellotape!
The LCP site is rectangular, with ‘Furze’ of Songhurst Furze within its boundaries.
Written by Roger Nash, as part of the Sussex Spring Watch programme.
Want to help us to object against any proposed development of these woods? Hop over to our Crowdfunding page to support us. Any amount you can spare can help to make a difference. Thank you.