(Part 4, Chapter 2, Section 17) ( Bk. Index )

[ Some Other Notable Houses and Properties ]

17. Yew Tree Cottage

Yew Tree Cottage

Yew Tree Cottage (now demolished), High Street at beginning of 20thC
(end of building shown with some timber-framing, thatched roof, & tall chimney)

Site Plan from the 1839 Tithe Map
The house was in Plot No 370, on the north side of the Street (Stubbs Hill) opposite Cottrells, with Chalk's Barn to its west.

1839 Tithe Map

1839 Tithe Apportionment
Plot 370, cottage and garden owned and occupied by Nathaniel Sayers, area 23 rods or perches
Plot 369, barn outbuildings yard and croft, area 2 roods 21 rods
Plot 332, arable East Common, area 5 acres 2 roods 23 rods
                        Total area 6a 1r 27p

1679 Survey
23/1      John Sturt copyhold house Yew Trees by Steane [T370]
John Sturt holdeth of the Lord of this Mannor for the Terme of his naturall life by Coppy of Court Roll bearing date the Second day of October in the 23rd yeare of the Reigne of the late
Sovereigne King Charles the first One Tenement being One Messuage Barne and Eight Acres of Land lying in West Angmering and bounded as followeth (That is to say) The house barne Garden and Orchard containing together by estimation One Acre of Land adjoyned to the Lands of Wm Adams on the North the Little Stean common feild on the East the Highway on the South and Lands of John Bunn on the West
Lands               8 acres in Steane etc
Copyhold from 2nd Oct 1647 rent 23s 4d heriot 40s fine at will
Fine paid ?
In c1737 Martin Chisman

Yew Tree Cottage

One of the lost houses of the Steane or Steyne, north of the Street. Until 1908 it stood a short distance east of the well known Bunnes cottages, adjoining the Square. For the past hundred years, replaced by Woodford Villas, a small terrace of three houses.  The Steyne a mysterious area enclosed by roads, forming a detached island outpost of West Angmering, perhaps dating from the early 16th century.

Not even a good photograph has yet been found of this cottage. Only a distant view showing the west end of a thatched building, with an external brick chimney rising above a steep thatched roof (but see later discovered photo and note at end of this article). But the scale of the building, on various maps, does suggest it was one of the medium sized farmsteads of the village. Quite likely, but open to future correction, a one and half storey house, with a front door offset towards the east end, against the kitchen, with what would originally have been an open hall to the west of the entrance.

The earliest identifiable record of the house and its small farm, is from the 1679 Survey quoted. This has the holding as a copyhold of West Angmering Manor, held since 1647 by John Sturt, member of a family with several properties. Whether he was indeed living there is impossible to say. The house with its garden, orchard, and nearby barn was estimated at an acre. Together with an acre and a six acre plot in the common fields to the south of the village, the farm amounted to eight acres. As often the case it measured at under seven acres in 1839. For this he owed a rent of 23s 4d, together with the usual fine and heriot.

Early in the next century, before 1740, the farm had passed out of the family to Martin Chisman or Cheesman. The only Martin in the registers died in 1777, which is at least feasible. Albeit, by the time a more continuous record can be found, from 1780 in tax and rate returns, one of the great Olliver clan had come into possession. John Olliver, who bequeathed his estate to grandchildren both Sayers and Hedger, as well as his own son.

Yew Tree must have been the Hedger inheritance, as Elizabeth Hedger was later the tenant of  “Chesmans land” when George Markwicke of the Pigeon House owned it. With his passing, it evidently was taken over by William Sayers both in occupancy and ownership. The fact that his farm was quite minimal does not mean he was a small farmer, with a constant supply of other such farms needing sub-tenants, for absent owners or widows. In 1851, when Nathaniel Sayers filled in his census form, he reckoned himself the farmer of around 40 acres. By ownership, it should be said, is meant of the copyhold or lease which was still held of the manor and at the last by Lady Somerset.

The last occupant, before demolition and replacement by the villas, was Henry Langrish a wheelwright. But the end of the Sayers family was in the form of James the parish clerk, although his other trade of labourer is unexpected. The farm had gone, but his father must have ensured he had a good education for the period, no doubt at Older’s.

RWS 2009 NRD

A Photograph of Yew Tree Cottage


It has now [April 2011] been drawn to attention that a photograph of Yew Tree has come to light, and can be seen on the Sussex Past website, Ref. PP/WSL/P008178, taken by Angmering’s first and foremost photogrpaher HW Freeland. This does appear to be in the right location, where Woodford Villas are today, with a view west down the High Street.

Yew Tree Cottage

The scene is really of children playing in a wintry snow covered road, about the year 1868. But much of Yew Tree can be seen to the right, with its thatch roof above a medley of casement windows in a flint faced frontage. Partly hidden by a high garden wall with ornate topiary behind.  This picture tends to support the previous conclusion that this had been a medium sized farmstead, similar to others dating from around the 16th century.


RWS May 2011