High Street, Lindfield, West Sussex

( Page 1 2 3 4 )
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright September 2015, Simon Carey; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.


The original linear settlement runs from the church in the north to the common in the south. The oldest part is undoubtedly around the church where the street, having ascended from the Ouse valley to the north, briefly diverts itself around the old churchyard then straightens and gently descends as it resumes its journey southwards to the junction with Lewes Road and the Town Pond then briefly beyond past the latter to the common before turning west once more as Black Hill heading towards Haywards Heath.

The original centre of the settlement was around the church with the initial section to the south of the church being the first expansion believed to have been planned by the then lords of the manor, the Canons of South Malling near Lewes, to accommodate a weekly market given approval in 1344. The street itself widens as it heads down to the junction with the old road to Lewes. Only one house, number 65, is believed to predate this grant. Thirteen houses survive from the period 1350-1500, these being numbers 36-38, 76, 84-86, 95, 107, 115, 122, 126, 135, 153, 171, the Thatched Cottage and Old Place. All these buildings are timber framed Wealden Hall types though many were re-fronted in the Georgian era, a prosperous era for the town. Beyond the medieval period, 8 survive from the 16th century, 14 from the 17th, 12 from the 18th and 15 from the early 19th century with the latter tending to be located to the south around the common and the old pond.

With the arrival of the railway at Haywards Heath, Lindfield's development initially stalled in the short term as it lost much trade to its new neighbour as well as the disappearance of a former London-Brighton coaching route that had operated through the settlement since the 1770s. However, the rapid growth of its neighbour led in the long run to the development of the town in the 20th century particularly off the High Street. This, in turn, has meant that the High Street still retains a number of services, particularly at the southern end. There are still four pubs, a number of tea houses, a small Co-op, two chemists, the Post Office still survives but has downsized and moved into a local newsagent, a butcher, greengrocer, wine merchant, toy shop and a couple of small boutiques amongst others. The emphasis is on local businesses with very few major chains.

Until the 20th century no housing existed beyond the High Street with just five lanes heading off often into open fields. On the western side these were: Denman's Lane - the medieval road to Cuckfield; Hickman's Lane; and to the north Spring Lane. On the eastern side: Brushes Lane and Lewes Road, the latter then as of now a major road out of town, crossing the common towards Scaynes Hill then onto Chailey. Only two have been added since, both on the eastern side, these being Francis Road and Alma Road, both cul de sacs.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

( Page 1 2 3 4 )
You are not logged in login | register