Rottingdean Through Time – Chapter 8

Farming and Hunting

Sheep-farming Days

‘The old shepherds’, wrote Lucy Baldwin and Arthur Ridsdale in their Annals of Old Rottingdean, ‘with their smocks and crooks – emblems of the South Downs and of their calling – were always picturesque’, an observation borne out by the previous page.

Here we see the men engaged in shearing at Challoners while in the lower picture Bob Copper, who wrote so much about farming in this area, is in pensive mood.

Heavy Livestock

Baldwin and Ridsdale also wrote that ‘black oxen with buff-tipped horns used to do the ploughing in our parts … Two, four, or six oxen drew the plough somewhat quicker than the horse, and they were kept at their work by a goad, made of hazel wood seven or eight feet long …’ Ernest Moppett, for example, worked with oxen for Farmer Brown at Challoners.

Cows meander past Court House, out of sight on the right. In the background is the Hog.

Crops and a Converted Farm

Arable farming has also, of course, always been of importance around the village and beyond. In the valley is Dean Court Road, which rarely features in books on Rottingdean. The track on the left is now Lustrells Road, with housing on part of one side.

On the village’s northern extremity stands New Barn Farm, historically in Ovingdean parish. Owned by Brighton and Hove City Council, the farm is today used predominantly as livery stables and is leased to a tenant farmer. (Inset, Shannon England, aged seven, and friend).

The Kennels

On the previous page (top), the kennels and dwellings associated with, most famously, the Brookside Harriers, can be discerned among the trees. This fine image of the pack and huntsmen dates from 1889. The buildings survive as residential properties in what is now Gorham Avenue, near Dean Court Road. Before their use as kennels (from 1869), they were the isolation unit for sufferers from typhoid and scarlet fever.

An extract from the register entitled List & Pedigree of the Brookside Harriers, 1834.

Edmund Funnell and Family

Another view of the kennels and hounds, in the charge of the Funnell family. Left is Maud Alice (1887-1958), centre, her brother Edmund Nelson (1894-1962) and, right, their father Edmund ‘John’, the huntsman (1864- 1922).

In 1915, the hounds were sold to America and Edmund Funnell accompanied them to train them to American conditions, later returning to Rottingdean.

Off to the Meet

On Boxing Day 1901, the huntsman and hounds descend Bazehill Road, approaching Northgate Cottages on the Falmer Road.

The Meet outside Challoners, with Rottingdean Preparatory School in the background.

The Southdown Hunt

Dalgety the Master leads the Southdown Hunt past the pond. In the background, from left to right, are St Margaret’s Cottage, Norton House and Norton Cottage.

A Meet of the Southdown Hunt on The Green. Mounted is the Master, Arthur Dalgety, and on the right is Ernest Beard (1873-1959), one of the last major private landowners in Rottingdean.

Copyright © Douglas d’Enno, 2009

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