TQ3509 : Cottages, Balmer

taken 6 years ago, near to Falmer, East Sussex, Great Britain

Cottages, Balmer
Cottages, Balmer
These five cottages plus a house to the south called Balmer make up the current hamlet though they were all built after the Second World War. To the north is Balmer Farm which also seems to have been rebuilt at the same time with the old farm house and any other structures disappearing either during the conflict or just after when Brighton Council became landlords. The cottages are built on an area called Balmer Green according to Falmer's 1840 tithe map which included the former village pond, now long gone.

Balmer (Pronounced 'Bormer') was once a flourishing medieval village whose estate was ones by nearby Lewe Priory and contained its own chapel which survived until the 16th century when it was demolished the settlement having become depopulated probably due to a number of practices; changes in the medieval downland economy whereby the less labour intensive sheep farming became a far more profitable venture than arable farming and a few visitations of plague. By the 19th century only the farm remained.
Falmer Parish :: TQ3508
Falmer is a downland village that lies on the outskirts of the conurbation of Brighton. For many centuries the village along with neighbouring Stanmer was an isolated downland estate village on the road to Lewes. Both villages were built around supplies of water, the mere part being old English for pond, and both still retain their village ponds today. The original parish was bounded by Patcham and Stanmer to the west; Plumpton, a detached portion of Chailey, and St John (Without) to the north; St Ann (Without) and Kingston to the east; Rottingdean to the south-east; and Ovingdean and Brighton to the south. A small detached portion known as Patchway straddled the Ditchling Road to the west of Stanmer.

The parish became part of an estate belonging to Lewes Priory during the Norman period and remained in their hands until the dissolution whereby it passed initially to Thomas Cromwell then Anne of Cleves then a number of families before it was purchased by the Pelham family, owners of the neighbouring Stanmer estate. This ownership continued up to the Second World War when the estate was requisitioned by the military then purchased by Brighton Corporation in 1947 who still retain freehold ownership of a number of properties in the village.

The latter's ownership coincided with the growth of the village, part of the former Stanmer park which lay within the parish boundary was given over to the building of the University of Sussex in 1961 whilst land south of the railway was initially developed as a teacher training college before being expanded as the campus of Brighton Polytechnic which gained university status in the early 1990s. Further development occurred in 2010 when Brighton & Hove Albion's new football stadium was built partly on University of Brighton land and now fills the gap between the village and university immediately to the south of the A27.

The main population settlement within the parish was the village itself though there were a couple of other centres most notably at Balmer (Pronounced Bormer) which lies to the north east and was a substantial settlement in the medieval period when it possessed its own chapel. However, the hamlet shrank in size, lost its chapel in the 16th century and is now little more than a farm and a few cottages. To the south west were a couple of isolated farms at Hodshrove and Bevendean which were latter developed into the Brighton suburbs of Moulescoomb and Bevendean after the land was transferred to the corporation between the wars. North of Balmer is a set of fields dating back to the Iron Age with an ancient settlement believed to have once been located at Buckland Hole.

The main road through the parish is the Brighton to Lewes road that runs along at the valley floor of the former Winterbourne Stream, a tributary of the Ouse. Its route through the village has changed over the centuries, originally it ran along what is now Mill Street until the late 18th century when it was diverted a little to the south along Falmer Hill then Middle Street. This remained the case until the late 1970s when a new bypass was constructed that more or less split the village in two, connected only by a footbridge and the B2123 bridge. The latter road follows an old driving route south to Rottingdean. The other ancient droving routes heading northwards from the A27 are now bridleways.

The railway runs parallel to the immediate south of the A27 between Brighton and Lewes and was opened in 1846. The original station was located to the east of the village but was moved at the behest of the Pelham family living at Stanmer House to its current location in 1865. The sleepy country station increased its passenger numbers with the building of the Universities during the 1960s and will be extended in the future to cope with the influx of crowds who use the nearby football stadium.

The village had a National School in the 19th century which survived as a primary until falling rolls forced its closure in 1972 wight he school building becoming the village hall. The growth of the suburb of Moulescoomb saw the building of a secondary school in 1951 initially known as Stanmer Secondary then Westlain Grammar in 1957, Falmer High School and now Brian Aldridge Community Academy (BACA for short). The University of Sussex was opened in 1961 and a few years later was joined by Brighton Polytechnic's Falmer campus. The poly became a university in the early 1990s.
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Grid Square
TQ3509, 75 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Saturday, 22 February, 2014   (more nearby)
Submitted
Wednesday, 26 February, 2014
Category
Hamlet   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 3589 0985 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:52.3311N 0:4.2036W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TQ 3591 0982
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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