Stanmer & Patcham
In the year of 765 the manor of stammer was granted to the College of Benedictine monks of South malling near Lewes, it was to remain that way until the Reformation of 1714, when it was acquired by Henry Pelham of the sum of the L7,500 stanmer then remained in the Pelham family until 1947 went Brighton Corporation acquired the estate for L225,000 less the claim for military damage from when the Canadian forces were stationed there in 1943 as they seem to use the Church and the House as well as are the farm buildings for target practice, what the Canadians did to the village during the last war can be seen on the inside of the village Church, by looking at the ceiling you will spot the remains of bullet holes as well as sell holes.
As you drive into the village or walk past the two cottages known as lower lodges, and as you head for the house on the right-hand side are concrete rectangle as placed in the grass these were used by the Canadians in the last war to park tanks on and other military vehicles.
The villager stanmer is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 when the population was 300 people, it is in the parish records that recalls what life was like in the village from centuries past, one story that springs to mind from the 17th century is that of John and Mary Whitbread who had six children only one of them survived into adulthood, Susanna was born in stanmer on July 17th 1671 she lived to the aged 56 but never married it was thought that the reason why she remained a spinster was because of her mother's tragic experience as none of the other five children seem to survive past the age of eight months, the first two were born in June of 1667 and then died some three days later, the third was born in April of 1668 and died some 13 days later, the 4th one was born in February of 1669 and died the next day, and the 5th one was born in June of 1670 and then died some eight months later, it was then in July of 1673 that John Whitbread died intestate when Susanna was only two, as you can see from what is written above and get some mental picture of this family, that they were in such poverty that when John died he left the family nothing.
The word stanmer means (Stean or Stan old English for stone or stony) (mer or mere meaning pond) so stammer means stony Pond?, stammer house was built in 1721-1730 for Henry Pelham junior the house was then extended in 1775 and again in 1860, stammer house was designed by a French architect called Nicholas dubious he also designed the Garden and the woods at the back of the house, during the Second World War the house was bombed but due to the extent of the damage that parts of the house had to be demolished when stammer house was restored in the 1950s, in 1980 the house was leased to Brighton University for use as offices, at one time the house was open to the public but back in the 1980s when the house was being restored squatters moved in and wrecked the work they had been done to the house so that it had to be closed, it is now thought that the money has been raised so the work can start on stammer house so that it can be opened up again as a house the great 1 listed building.
The church stammer was built in 1838 and replace the Church from the 14th century that burnt down, in the graveyard of the said Church are buried most of the pelham's as well as Thomas Pelham who was the first Earl of Chichester, by the house stands a wheelhouse that dates from the 17th century on the inside of this wheelhouse stands a gin engine that was driven by oxen as well as horse to supply the house the water.
Next to the Church stand they are well house that dates from the 16th century, that on the inside has a donkey wheel that is 13ft high that would have been turned by donkey and on some days by naughty children !, next to this wheel is a well that's is over 252ft deep this well supplied the village as well as the house with water until the 19th century, the well along with the wheelhouse and donkey wheel were restored in 1838.
The garden was laid out in 1720 just before the house was built, and most of the tree's in the park will be planted between 1720-1800 by Thomas Pelham that saw so many of them fall in the storm of October 1987, in the grounds of stammer Park is the meat frankland monument that was erected in June of 1775 to the memory of the Countess ann pelham's father Frederick frankland who died on March 8th 1768.
It is thought that the pelham's had a hand in the smuggling there went on in the village during the 18th century, it's also thought that stammer Park is haunted by the ghost of a local priest who was shot one night as he was helping smugglers move contraband from the village of rottingdean and as he reached the words of stammer part he was hit by a musket ball, the priest never made it to the House and died on the footpath between the old coach Road and the house he now haunts that part of the woods as he is trying to get back to the house or is it the Church?, if by chance you're walking that way and you spot the priest asked him what he did (or hid) the brandy and tobacco?.
There is a cottage in the village of No. 11-12 that was built to the memory of lilla countess of Chichester in 1912, standing at the entrance of stammer Park are two cottages called lower lodges that date from the 18th century along with upper lodges that stand by the ditchling road that date the from about the same time (by old boat corner), this two sets of buildings were used as toll gates at the time when the pelham's owned the house.
The road that links patcham to stammer Park known as the (ladies Mile road) was used by ladies on horseback in the 19th century, parts of the road can still be seen today.
It is said that a house is haunted by the first Earl of Chichester Thomas Pelham as well as other buildings close to the house, it is also said that the old coach road that runs through the middle of stammer woods is haunted by the ghosts of old smugglers that at one time passed that way been chased by Customs men on horseback.
Near to stammer Park is the village of falmer that at one time was part of the stanmer estate that was until 1947 when falmer was bought by Brighton Corporation, falmer was mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 when the Manor of falmer was held by the Priory of St pancreas at Lewes, falmer then remained in the Priory hands until 1776 when Thomas Pelham bought it, the Church of falmer was built in the 14th century and then rebuilt in 1850.
That doomsday book of 1086 Records patcham as being known as (piceham) and that it had a population of 214 (153 villeins 45 borders 10 Shepherd's and 6 serfs), it was said that the village of patcham was larger than it is today along with this there were 84 acres of meadowland and woodland as well as a 100 hogs?, it was not until 1817 that the village was known as patcham for in 1271 it was called (pecham) then in 1377 it was (pecheham) and then by 1794 it was known as (petcham!), by the 13th century the population of patcham had grown to between 1000 to 1750 making patcham or pecham one of the largest settlements in the county, the Manor of patcham was hailed by William de Warrenne who was Lord of the rape at lewes (rape, portion of land that a villager worked on), the parish of patcham and then covered an area old 4425 which included most of hollingbury moulescoomb and withdean.
It was in the year of1302 that King Edward first stayed the night in the village of patcham on his way from beeding to lewes, all Saints Church in patcham dates from the 11th century parts of the Church date from the 12th century, the Tower of the Church dates from the 13th century, during Victorian times the Church was rendered in plaster on the outside walls that covered up a fine example of Sussex flint work, that if you look closely at the Church you might be able to see bits of flint work on the wall, in the Church for about the 13th century are the remains of the wall paintings of the last judgment that were discovered in 1883 during restorations, within the Church is a memorial made of chalk up to the Shelley family of patcham place. \par \par It is said that the Church is haunted by the "grey lady" the ghost of this person sits on the pews inside the Church the last person who saw the ghost was in a 1989, the story goes that he was one cold February morning that a cleaner was going about her work when she spotted an old grey woman sitting in the corner of the Church the cleaner was just about to ask the old woman can I help you?, when she got up and proceeded to disappear through the wall!, in the graveyard of patcham Church stands the grave of the smuggler called " Daniel skayles" that on the evening of Thursday the 17th November 1796 was unfortunately shot! While moving contraband from Southddown house to Church hill, you might think by what was written on the gravestone that Daniel skayles was a gentleman but you would be quite wrong in your assumption as you see Daniel was the leader of this smuggling gang and was not unfortunately shot?, the wording on the gravestone read,
Alas swift flew the fatal lead,
Which Pierced through the young man's head,
He instant felt resigned his breath,
And closed his languid eyes in death,
From this sad instance we may call prepare to meet Jehovah's call?,
There is the story of a ghostly figure near patcham place and that no one seemed to pass that way at night? It was said that this ghost seemed would to be active on Christmas Day!, was the story put about by smugglers to keep people away from patcham place? Or not, but then during 1796 workmen were digging a hole in the grounds of patcham place when they found the skeleton of a woman some 18 inches below the ground it was said that the women had been murdered by smugglers to keep her quiet!.
At the top of Church hill stands a farmhouse that dates from the 17th century that at one time formed part of patcham Court Farm once owned by the Marquess of Abergavenny the farm itself dates from the 15th century, in the back garden of the farmhouse stands dovecote that dates when from the 17th century that has Wall's of 3ft thick as well as 550 nesting boxes, inside the dovecote it still retains its original swinging ladder, and did you know that that dovecote is the only building like that in the county that is designated an ancient monument, on the other side of the road stands an old tithe barn that was built in the 17th century and is said to be over 250 ft long and it is also said to be one of the longest in Sussex, although in 1986 most of the barn was turned into dwellings as well as a Church hall, the beams of this old barn can still be seen inside the Church hall.
On the other side of old London Road stands patcham place built in 1558 for Sir William West lord de la warr, it was owned later in the 16th century by Richard Shelley who was one of the commissioners for the book of all ancient customs, the house itself is said to be haunted by the ghost of Anthony stapley who was one of the men who sign the death warrant the Charles the first in 1649, the house was then rebuilt in the mid 18th century for its then owner John paine when the black tiles were added, it was a major paine in 1840 who said that the railway line should go through a tunnel and not a cutting!, at the back of the house there are stables that date from the 16th century, in 1926 patcham house was bought by Brighton Corporation for L6,000, today patcham house is used as a youth hostel.
In old London road just a little of the way up from Church hill, stand's southdown house that was built 1711 that during the 18th century smugglers would store their contraband in the cellar below, while working on the patcham bypass in 1926 workmen found two tunnels that once linked patcham place to Southdown house it was thought that the tunnels were used by smugglers move their contraband from southdown house to patcham place and then from the house to the south downs and beyond.
Numbers 110-112 old London Road and were at one-time used as the Black Lion Hotel Or inn before it moved to its present place after the patcham bypass was built in 1926, the hotel was then opened in 1929.
By the Church is a green that at one-time was a pondbut was filled in in the 1920's, the pond had stone's round it that were removed and put round the fountain at old steine, about 1910 the then brighton council thought the stone's round the fountain were unfashionable so they were dumped 5 miles out at sea !, then finding out in the 1920's that the old stiene mean's old stone ?, pinched them from patcham ? (the stone's ??), numbers 4 and 4a church hill date from the 15th century and are said to be the oldest cottages in patcham, at the bottom of church hill stand's the patcham fountain that was built to commemorate queen victora's golden jubilee, there was at one time a donkey wheel on the site where the fountain is that used to supply the house with water, but it was then rebuilt in 1974 when a bus hit it !!!, The house's on the left hand side of ladies mile road going up towards the downs were built in 1932 by a scottish landowner who would watch his workers from the window of his house the white house in patcham if he saw that they had stopped working he would sack them, it was also said that he was far sighted as they were the first houses in brighton to have sockets ready for television that came along in 1936, there was this story of a gas man working in number 1 ladies mile road and that when this landowner looked at the work that this gas man had done he then said it was of poor standard and not up to his expections, but still had paid for the gas fittings inside number 1 ladies mile road and then said that all the other fittings in all of the other houses would be electric, so the house numbered 1 is the only house in ladies mile road to be fitted for gas all the other's are electric !!?, the clock tower at the bottom of the hill was built in 1932 to commerate and celebrate the opening of ladies mile road, there is said to be a ghost of this young boy that haunt's a piece of land at the top of ladies mile road who was said to have been killed by his father during the 60's !.