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My great grandfather's farm

This is a photo, belonging to my father, of Hodshrove Farm.

The farm was owned by his grandfather, who also had his orchards and market garden on the old Alan West site. Great grandfather also owned the Ship Ale House, now known as The Lecturn.

What now the Bates Estate was my great grandfather’s orchards.

Hodshrove Farm
From the private collection of Mr Howard Bates

Comments about this page

  • Great photo June, many thanks for allowing us all to share it with you!

    By Peter Groves (04/02/2010)
  • Great picture. What is the white building, top centre(ish) just below the skyline?

    By Allan (04/02/2010)
  • The Lewes Road Bridge looks wonderful in its original form in this photo. It’s a lovely piece of Victorian civil engineering because it cuts diagonally across Lewes Road but the arches are built parallel to the road, a perfect example of a skew arch bridge. It was such a shame when the road was changed to dual carriageway, one of the bricked arches was opened up and a hideous piece of reinforced concrete was added, the bridge kept its integrity but lost its symmetry. There must have been a better solution to strengthen the opened arch but it was the sixties and concrete was the flavour of the month.

    By Michael Brittain (05/02/2010)
  • I have just spoken with my father and he seems to remember that squatters built some bungalows at the top of Wild Park, before the council took over the land. So that might be what the building/s below the skyline is. He also told me that the field in the foreground was used for growing pyrethrums, every other year, for making insecticide. The house nearest the foreground was my let to my great grandfather’s head cowman, a Mr Duke.

    By June Churchill nee Bates (05/02/2010)
  • I found the photo very interesting June. I remember the farmhouse when it was used as part of Moulsecoomb school in the 1940s. I can see the viaduct and what was Bates farm, but what is that building high up on the hill?

    By Joan (05/02/2010)
  • My father went to Moulsecoomb school and he also spent a lot of time on the farm. He will be 89 in May and I’m trying to get as much info from him as I can. He has a PC and I have asked him to come on here and tell ‘his story’.

    By June Churchill nee Bates (05/02/2010)
  • Your father’s memories for us all to share would be wonderful. I’ve had a fascination for years for the house I understood to be the farm but was in fact the cowmans cottage. I remember Bates farm, we used to go there for provisions.

    By Joan (07/02/2010)
  • Fantastic picture, I lived up on the steps between Birdham Rd and Hodshrove Rd, in the 1960s, and this is a view I thought I knew well, where the farm house is, was owned by the church, they used to let a fun fair use the ground once a year, (Heaven Sent). That was nearly as good as Christmas, The buildings up on the hill, I never saw them, they were long gone by my time. I remember deep in the woods up on that hill there were the ruins of, what we called the pig pen farm, just small rooms, with a window hole linking the small rooms together, they had slopping roofs, long gone. I tried to find it a year or to back, but I think it’s all been removed, the council are making themselves busy up there lately, also the trees have made there way almost to the bottom of the hill now. Was the building in the foreground left, the site of the Hodshrove farm or is it just part of a larger complex? Thanks all for the snipets of history on this picture, keep it coming.

    By Martin Phillips (19/06/2010)
  • I was chatting to my father this morning and he told me that his grandfather also owned Home Farm for a while. I will try and get some more info from him, though it can be difficult as he goes off at a tangent. Still he’s not doing too badly considering he’ll be 90 next May.

    By June Churchill nee Bates (18/10/2010)
  • Great picture and comments. I lived in Birdham Road in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Used the steps linking Birdham to Hodsrove everyday virtually. Went to Moulsecoomb School. I seem to remember the flint farm building being next to the 67 centre, and being used as a scout hut, is that right? Moulsecoomb, a great place to grow up!

    By Paul Brown (09/01/2012)
  • Hello June, I lived in Moulsecoomb in the 60’s and went to all 3 schools, I think this is a fabulous picture as I have always been interested in old Brighton, especially areas where I have lived. Do you know when this picture was taken? Paul Brown is right, the barn next to the 67 centre was used as a scout hut (I remember the 67 centre being built). I joined the cubs there when I was 8 years old in 1965, I didn’t stay long enough to go up to the scouts. We used to hold our meetings there and I remember it was very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. My Dad used to try and frighten me and my Brother (who was a cub/scout as well) that the barn was haunted. We did go on a couple of good coach trips from there, one was to London Zoo and the other was to Heathrow Airport, on both occasions we visited Lord Baden Powell’s house in Kensington, London. I also remember showing off my ‘Wayfinder’ shoes, does anyone remember them? If you trod in the mud you could make out the impressions of animals from the sole, there was a compass in the heel but you had to take them off to see it (major design fault I think) I showed some of my pals one muddy night and put my foot (just in a sock) straight into the mud, my Mum was not pleased!

    By Paul Clarkson (22/02/2012)
  • I’m not sure when this picture was taken Paul, but my guess is the early Twenties. My father was born in 1921, he first lived in The Avenue and then 74C The Highway. My grandfather lived there until his death in 1973. Dad belonged to the local Scout troop and went to Moulsecoombe school. Dad’s cousin, Muriel, who with her sisters, owned the high class florist and greengrocer’s shop opposite Brighton town hall, would have been a source of information but unfortunately died two years ago.

    By June Churchill (24/03/2012)
  • Great to see a picture of the old farm as I have heard about it from many of my elders. Having grown up in Moulsecoomb and attended the schools its lovely to see what was there before. Remembering the old scout hut that was mentioned too, we sometimes had to have our dinners in there. Bit of a trudge in the rain from the school when we were only little.

    By Zena Moore (29/04/2012)
  • Hi June, was your great grandfather’s name Walter? Or was the last name Sworn?

    By Chloe (25/05/2014)
  • No Chloe he was a Bates. My grandfather’s name was Leonard Augustus but I will have to check with dad as to his grandfather’s name.

    By June Churchill (03/01/2015)
  • As you might know by now, your great grandfather was Harry Bates born 1866, there are two photographs on line of both him as a man in late middle age in the late 1920s or early 1930s, and your grandfather Leonard aged maybe 12 or 13 at the turn of the last century, with what might be his sisters and his mother’s father George Aucock he died probably at his  son in Law’s home  aged 81 in 1911.If you want to email for more details, my email address is  You may also know that Harry died in 1956 in Burgess Hill a wealthy man.

    By Philip Wood (02/02/2016)
  • Harry Bates, the market gardener and nurseryman, died in 1949 leaving an estate worth £3,700. He was not the same man as the wealthy Harry Bates of Burgess Hill. He was the son of William Bates, also a nurseryman, who was the son of Joseph Bates, originally of Derbyshire. Joseph was born about 1800 and in 1851 farmed 25 acres when he lived near near the toll-booth at the bottom of what became Natal Road. Between them, the Bates ran The Ship Inn and the neighbouring Royal Hussar. Harry lived in Redvers Road before WWI, but was again running The Ship between 1915-1920. By 1933, he was living in one of the cottages of Hodshrove Farm, while he was running his nursery on the NW side of Lewes Road. By 1939, he was living at The Highway, where he died ten years later.

    By Renia Simmonds (24/11/2016)
  • Such interesting information! Thank you all. Renia- do you know much about Joseph’s daughter Emma Bates? She would have been Harry’s sister. She was born in 1823, and married William James (b. 1827). I am looking specifically for when/where she may have died as I’m having trouble finding documentation for that. 

    By Heather MacDonald (20/04/2018)
  • My great grandfather, Joseph Lively, also owned this farm around 1881 as is recorded on the 1881 census.

    By Carole Burgess (20/06/2022)
  • Hi, My Great Great Great Grandad William Pavey ran Hodshrove farm from 1891 to 1901 and then my great great great uncle (his son) Thomas pavey stayed on there until 1911 according to census. Also my Great Grandma Margaret 1901 and her older brother William Pavey 1900 ??? were born in the barn there.

    By Julia Johnson (22/06/2022)
  • I am trying to find out about Home Farm in Moulsecoombe. My Grandfather Alfred George Harriott lived there in the early 1930s before he moved to Riley Road. If anybody has any information or are descendants of the Harriott’s or of Dora Luscombe I would love to hear from you.

    By Carol Parker (17/10/2022)

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