Stony mere: a very ancient site

Stanmer Village
All photographs from a private collection
Stanmer House
Stanmer Village
Stanmer Church

The name Stanmer derives from “stony mere” (stony pond). The stones which gave the village its name are still to be seen around the pond. Stanmer was granted to the Canons of South Malling by King Aedwulf in 765, although archeaological evidence reveals human habitation stretching back at least as far as the Bronze Age (around 1500BC). The Church held possession of the estate until the dissolution of the monasteries and reformation in the 16th century.

Purchased by Sir Henry Pelham in 1713
Stanmer then passed through several ownerships until its purchase in 1713 by Sir Henry Pelham.  Sir Henry had the grounds landscaped and built Stanmer House. In 1776, the Pelham family acquired Falmer manor and the two were combined and lated known as the Chichester Estate, the lord of the Manor having received the title Earl of Chichester in 1801.

The Stanmer Estate
The Stanmer estate covers 5000 acres, mainly parkland but also comprising two farms and the village street. The village street has 18 houses, (erected around 1850) longbarn, farmhouse and latterly a restaurant. Traces of an earlier village have been found in the field which lies across the road from the restaurant.

There are two lodges on the Lewes Road entrance to the estate and two more, the Upper Lodges, on the Ditchling Road entrance.

Stanmer House
Stanmer House was built in the 1720s in the Palladian style by the architect Nicholas Dubois. During WW2, Stanmer Estate was used by the military, the village residents having been evacuated. Much damage was done to the property, which was often used for artillery practice. When Brighton Corporation bought the Estate after the War, much reparation of the buildings was undertaken before the houses could be re-let to the neighbouring University of Sussex. In recent years it has spent many years without an occupier. In October 1987, Stanmer was very badly hit by the Great Storm which hit Southern England. Almost 50% of the trees were destroyed. At the back of the house is an exhibit of farming implements.

Stanmer Church
The church was built in 1838 on the site of a former church which was destroyed by fire. Many of the contents of the church are of an earlier date, however, the bells date from 1791. The churchyard contains the graves of various members of the Pelham family. Near the church, a well house, also built 1838, houses a much older donkey treadmill.

Comments about this page

  • I was interested to read Jan’s comments. My Great Grandmother was Barbara Burfield who, according to family stories, was housekeeper at Stanmer House. She married Henry Beauchamp who was butler there. If anyone can confirm this or direct me to a book on the history of Stanmer House, I’d be very grateful.

    By Jackie Dixon (14/05/2004)
  • This is a terrific site! George and Sarah West, my great-grandparents, are also buried in Stanmer Churchyard and Rose West, my grandmother, worked for a time at Stanmer House and so in all probability knew the Burfields and Mr. Beauchamp. The family all lived at Piddingworth, a house (now ruined from artillery fire) on the farm where they tended the cattle and sheep. When I last visited in 1991 it was a very peaceful place but I gather it is now a site for Moto-Cross racing.

    By Greg Benton (18/05/2004)
  • I was born in Brighton in 1971 and especially love Stanmer Park. Would love to be married in Stanmer Church… does anyone know if this is still possible?

    By Mark Lincoln (22/05/2004)
  • To enquire about weddings in Stanmer Church, contact Church House in Hove (01273 421021) and they can put you in touch with the right person.

    By Jane Clarke (07/06/2004)
  • My Grandfather, Albert Slarks, was for many years the village blacksmith at Falmer. I would love to read more about the history and memories of the village.

    By James Browning (19/07/2004)
  • I am looking for information about a statue that is reported to be at Stanmer Park. My forebear, Captain WHC Pechell of the 77th Regt, was killed at Sebastopol in 1855. He was the son of the MP for Brighton, Vice-Admiral Sir George Brooke-Pechell (4th Bart). His statue by Thornycroft used to stand in the entrance hall to the Brighton Pavilion but has disappeared from there and I am told now stands at Stanmer Park, although it no longer has the sword which Capt Pechell brandished aloft to encourage his troops. Can anyone please confirm to me whether this statue is at Stanmer Park and, if so, where abouts so that I can visit and see it? I have a picture too.

    By (19/07/2004)
  • There is a statue in Stanmer Park on the outskirts of the woods. I have seen it but don’t know if it’s the one you are asking after.

    By Anne (20/08/2004)
  • I am interested in finding out any information anyone has on the Palm House adjacent to the Nursery – when it was built, who built it, etc. I would also be interested to see any old photos of it in use. Many thanks.

    By Will Nash (17/11/2004)
  • Does anybody know about the military that were stationed at Stanmer House and used the village houses for target practice?

    By Sheila Burgess (03/12/2004)
  • I am very, very sad to see the current state of the long barn. It must be the longest barn in Sussex and, if this is correct, then it is due some specialist attention pretty darn quick! It is deteriorating so rapidly. Please don’t let it turn into another historical Brighton building that nobody cares about. Save the barn now!

    By Joy Mountford (20/12/2004)
  • The new official Stanmer House/Park website has been launched: Take a look and join the forum… it has some great sections even the history in brief.

    By Vincent Holland (18/01/2005)
  • My grandfather, Henry (Harry) Mitchell, worked on Stanmer Park Estate in the early 1900s. In 1906 he wrote on a postcard of Stanmer Church to his mother ‘Me and Mr J’s son is going to make a new communion table for for this church’. In Stanmer Park Museum there was a builder’s graffito cut into wood from a Sussex house: ‘Henry E Mitchell, 26 Musley Hill, Ware, Herts 2nd April 1906’. I would be interested to hear from anyone with infomation about other estate workers around this date.

    By Keith Pye ( (27/06/2005)
  • To Jackie Dixon: in my research I have found several Burfields. The earliest is Harriet Burfield who was working as a kitchen maid to the 3rd Earl of Chichester at the time of the 1851 census. Next is a family – Trayton & Elizabeth and their family: Eliza, Trayton, Harriet, Henry, Fanny, John, William, Elizabeth, Samuel and George. There was also an Arthur. J. Merricks, born in 1889 – mother was Fanny Burfield Merricks.

    By Jean Thomas (20/09/2005)
  • How do you know that the old church was demolished rather than burnt down? Please tell me where you got your info from and where I can find it.

    By Jean Thomas (20/09/2005)
  • To Sheila Burgess: It was the Canadian army that used Stanmer to prepare for the D-day invasion. My regiment, the Royal Regiment of Canada, was stationed there, including my father and uncle (whose mother and family once lived at Piddingworth!). The shelling of the fields came from the Royal Canadian Artillery and, sadly, included the destruction of Piddingworth, my grandparent’s home set not far from the Ditchling Road and now a ruin. The army didn’t shell the village but the soldiers befriended all the villagers.

    By Rev. Gregory Benton (06/10/2005)
  • My Great Grandfather was Spencer Mugridge who lived in one of the cottages in the village. His wife was Annie (nee Carter). Spencer was a well known figure around the village during 1880s-1930s. He apparently invented the infamous Grandmother’s Belt (a circle of stones). Spencer also planted a red horse chestnut tree which he nurtured from a seedling. Sadly this was chopped down in later years due to damage and another was replanted in its place. Does anyone know where this tree once stood? Spencer and Annie are buried by the back wall of the church. Also buried there is their daughter Carrie and her husband Edward Honey. Children of Spencer and Annie were: Spencer, Annie, Trayton, Bessie, Frederick, Louisa (my grandmother), Mary, Carrie and Emily.

    By Onnee (11/10/2005)
  • I have information on Spencer acquired during my research on the population of Stanmer. Contact me on Have also been in contact with Keith Pye.

    By Jean Thomas (15/10/2005)
  • To Sheila Burgess: is your family local? If so I have several Burgess’ in my Stanmer population database. Earliest is Mary Burgis who married Thomas Cuell at Stanmer church in April 1784. If you are interested contact me on (same goes for anyone who thinks I may be able to help them with their family history).

    By Jean Thomas (22/10/2005)
  • Would appreciate any information about the family living at Stanmer House from 1850, as I believe my great grandmother was born there.

    By Brenda Potts (13/11/2005)
  • Brenda, contact me on – I have full census lists for people, including staff, living at Stanmer House from 1841 till 1901. Also tell me the name of your great-grandmother as I have a database of people living in Stanmer between 1690 and 1910.

    By Jean Thomas (14/11/2005)
  • I am a stonecarver / lettercutter, and am very interested in the fountain on the side of Stanmer House. Does anybody have any pictures or original drawings of the centre part of the pond?

    By Paulien Gluckman (15/11/2005)
  • I should like to know more about the memorial to Frederick Frankland on the edge of the woods. It is a beautiful piece of work. Who was Frederick Frankland?

    By Jan Ireson (27/11/2005)
  • Thomas Pelham Esq. married a Miss Ann Frankland on June 15th 1754. I don’t know who this Frankland is but it is reasonable to assume that he was a relative to Miss Frankland.

    By Jean Thomas (03/12/2005)
  • I understand that Sir Henry Pelham used stone work from Kenward House in Lindfield to build Stanmer House. Can this be confirmed?

    By Brian Carpenter (22/01/2006)
  • I have recently discovered that my Great Great Grandfather, William Gladman, was born at Stanmer Park in 1831. His father Thomas was born at Laughton in 1798, so must have been an ‘old retainer’ for the Pelham family. This is all completely new to me and I am delighted that Stanmer Park can be visited. Has anyone seen the name Gladman in the churchyard?

    By Paul Gladman (03/02/2006)
  • The historical kowledge is so interesting as I take my dogs walking for hours there. The opening up of the fields there brings to light areas of building ruins eg top Ditchling Road area . Is there anyone who would know how old and what it was ?

    By Veronica Plunkett (07/02/2006)
  • I am a student and am about to undertake a piece of research on Stanmer House. As part of the project we have to use local history collections. Does anyone know where would be best to go to do this research? Also, is there a period that you think should be or would be interesting to research as I haven’t totally decided what aspect to look at yet.

    By Rachel Preece (28/02/2006)
  • I am researching an article on the people who lived at Stanmer during the late 19th / early 20th century. If you have any information you would like to pass on, it would be great to hear from you. I am particularly trying to find out what it was really like to work in the big house, to live in the village, people’s circumstances etc.

    By Sheridan McCoid (28/02/2006)
  • I’m actually part of the team currently restoring Stanmer House so I’m there all the time so I’ll look in the churchyard for your relative. However some tombstones are badly tarnished – but I’ll keep in touch about it.

    By Kevin Wilkins (20/03/2006)
  • Kevin, I visited Stanmer soon after my first posting. There are three ‘Gladman’ gravestones in the churchyard. The largest one is for James Gladman, my Great Great Great Uncle, and his wife Mary Ann. James worked his way up to farm foreman. He was living at the Post Office in Stanmer when he died. I’m not sure where that was. Is it where the Cafe is now? The other two graves are for two of James’ daughters, one of whom died before she was twenty. Presumably both of James’ parents, my Great Great Great Grandparents, are buried in the churchyard, but there is no stone for them. Far too poor!

    By Paul Gladman (24/03/2006)
  • Paul: unfortunately my record of burials at Stanmer is incomplete – only up to 1812. But just because there are no other stones does not mean there were no other burials. The Canadian troops destroyed and displaced many stones during WW2, so even if the stones are there it isn’t certain that it is the same place the body was buried.

    By Jean Thomas (29/03/2006)
  • Jean, I hope you have not misunderstood me. I meant that my Triple Great Grandparents were far too poor to have a gravestone, not that your records were too poor. You have been extreamly helpful. Anyway, from what I have since learned of Thomas, maybe his wife threw his remains in the pond!

    By Paul Gladman (14/04/2006)
  • It is okay Paul, I did not misunderstand you. I only meant that it is difficult to say where anyone is buried in the churchyard because of the Canadian soldiers disruption and destruction of the stones. People have been buried in Stanmer churchyard since the 14th century which I find intriguing because I cannot think how they all fitted! I and members of the Stanmer Preservation Society were at the church a couple of weeks ago and a lead-lined coffin was unearthed next to the church under the plaque dedicated to RIDGE. They were looking for the steps down to a crypt but found this instead.

    By Jean Thomas (17/04/2006)
  • I seem to recall visiting a relative who lived in the village in the early to mid 1930s. I am not sure if he was a Feast. I remember the kitchen having a huge cathedral ceiling and the walls were all whitewashed.

    By Eric Feast (22/04/2006)
  • Both born in Brighton, both grown up around Stamner Park and walked in this park as children. Now thirty years on we walk round this park together with our dog Spencer and our three children and love it all the same. This is a lovely web site, thank you.

    By Louise and David (25/04/2006)
  • There was a family named Feast present for both the 1891 & 1901 census returns. They were husband & wife, George and Ellen, children Annie, Jessie, Susan, George and Frank, brother to George senior. George senior was an agri-lab, born in Upping Beeching, died aged 84 on March 24 1914, buried in Stanmer. Ellen was born in Findon.

    By Jean Thomas (25/04/2006)
  • I have a copy of a photograph that shows my great grandfather, Spencer Mugridge, and Frank Feast together around 1930 at Stanmer.

    By Vonnee (09/06/2006)
  • Very interesting that Vonnee should have a photo of a ‘Feast’. An intersting page of a very interesting site. Thanks to all the volunteers.

    By Eric Feast (20/06/2006)
  • Did anyone go to the Stanmer House open evening for the local villagers on the 22nd June? I was kindly invited by the developers as an honorary villager, having had ancestors who lived, married and died there. Opinions were mixed on the night, some pleased to see any kind of halt to the relentless decline, others unhappy that its not for the likes of us. My response to that would be that Stanmer House was never for the likes of ordinary people like us. My farm labouring ancestors would never had been allowed to set foot in the place, despite having lived in the village most of their lives. Whatever you may think of the whole project, the house has been restored beautifully. Properties like Stanmer House do have to earn their own living and would fall into ruin if they were not used. I can’t see Brighton finding the spare cash to waste on things like this. But I’m only an outsider. What do you think?

    By Paul Gladman (04/07/2006)
  • I didn’t make the Stanmer House opening because I was on holiday. I was disappointed because I had been waiting ages to see it. What did it look like inside?

    By Jean Thomas (07/07/2006)
  • Has anyone seen the updated website on Stanmer House, what does everyone think?

    By Dawn Hornby (12/07/2006)
  • The updated Stanmer website says that there will be more open days in August, so you may have an oportunity to visit, Jean.

    By Paul Gladman (17/07/2006)
  • I discovered Stanmer Park only a few years ago and it is a wonderful place. However, I am concerned by the number of cars parked there at the weekends; on a recent visit I counted 250+ vehicles. While I understand that older people or those with restricted mobility may need to drive to the Park, there is an excellent hourly bus service at weekends from the centre of Brighton that is woefully under-used; I have been the only passenger on several occasions. Do people really need to bring everything but the kitchen sink when they visit Stanmer Park? I would hate to think that people would be charged to park there but this is what will happen if people continue to inconsiderately bring cars into what was once a ‘green lung’ just so they can sit on chairs, at a table, under an awning, just as they would in their own gardens. Personally, I go there to escape the trappings of modern life, not to inhale the fumes from yet more cars and I suggest that people think about alternative means of getting to Stanmer Park.

    By Liz Grimshaw (26/07/2006)
  • I spent a lot of my childhood in Stanmer Park – in fact I was married in Stanmer Church as were my brother and my sister. Yesterday I took a relative to visit the park. Unfortunately I found that the church was closed, as were the rural museum and greenhouses. I was rather concerned about the ridiculous amount of caravans parked there. They also filled the Corporation car park next to the pond. Must we now accept that this wonderful park, which should be a gem, is now becoming a free and permanant site for caravans and travellers?

    By David Eldridge (06/08/2006)
  • What a pity that the Council has never learnt a lesson from Crawley Borough Council. In less than 30 years, look at the wonderfull use they have made of Tilgate Park for the public. Do the recent works of Stanmer House a big favour, and do something rurally constructive with the park! Firstly stopping the abuse by cars and and travellers parking up on the nature reserve.

    By John Sturtivant (12/08/2006)
  • David, the museum opens on Sundays during the summer and Thursday mornings throughout the year. The museum, donkey wheel and church are opened and run by volunteers and sometimes there are not any, or enough of us, available. You are right about the travellers, they are scaring people away from the park and a couple of weeks ago the bus service had to be cancelled because of two young girl travellers who got on the bus and refused to pay the driver or get off the bus. We can only hope they will be moved on soon.

    By Jean Thomas (14/08/2006)
  • I’m currently studying horticulture at Stanmer and have drawn a blank so far whilst trying to research the history of the long border, sadly shut off from the public though I suspect that wasn’t always so. It is a wonderful part of the park, but in need of a lot of TLC and some restoration (damaged missing paving at the entrance). Can anyone direct me to somewhere I can find out about the history of the border?  Why it is there, when it was established and why, who used it, who is responsible for it now, and why it is hidden and neglected.  Any information would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    By Sharon Raby (08/10/2006)
  • Sharon, the long borders were written about several years ago now, about eight I think by Christopher Lloyd who mentioned them in the Guardian. He commented on how sorry he was that something so beautiful had been let go. I think that they could be opened to the public and gardened by volunters as are Preston Manor and The Pavillion so that the people of Brighton and beyond can see what a fantastic place Stanmer Park is. Bridgette Saunders, Lecturer in Horticulture, City College Brighton and Hove, Stanmer Park Horticultural Centre.

    By Bridgette Saunders (08/10/2006)
  • Does anybody know anything about the great old tree and its history in the graveyard?

    By John Rudge (03/12/2006)
  • I read recently that trees in churchyards are not actually yew trees put there to provide boughs, because the climate is too damp in this country.  Plus they would be church property so you wouldn’t be allowed to take them.  I will try to find out more.

    By Jean Thomas (22/01/2007)
  • As you can see my name is Frank Feast as was my father’s before me. It came as a bit of a shock to see my namesake on this page and I can’t help but wonder if we are related.

    By Frank Feast (09/03/2007)
  • I have recently had the idea of writing a book about Stanmer people which will be called “Who’s Who in Stanmer Churchyard” as this would tie in well with the research I have already. I would like to hear from descendents of people buried in the churchyard because I would like the story of the present day family alongside their ancestor.

    By Jean Thomas (17/04/2007)
  • I’ve recently found out that some of my ancesters were all born in Stanmer in the early 1800’s. Their surname was Hylands. If anyone has further information about them and the people who lived in the village between 1800 and 1840 I’d very interested. Also, is the church ever open to visitors?

    By Serena Mitchell (04/07/2007)
  • I have only just discovered this site. I’m very interested in the comments, particularly about Spencer Mugridge who was my great grandfather’s brother. My father used to holiday with him in Stanmer occasionally and I have been fascinated by this village, a real piece of old Sussex, since first visiting it with my father in the late 1950s. I’d welcome contact with Jean Thomas to exchange information – her email address given in 2005 doesn’t seem to work!

    By Adrian Mugridge (28/07/2007)
  • I also think this site is fantastic and would love to contact Jean but, again the e-mail doesn’t appear to be active.
    My father’s parents were Burfields and lived in one of the first two houses on the right hand side from the Ditchling Road end. My father’s cousin was Arthur Merrick(s). Other than that I know little about the family apart from the fact that many of them worked in the ‘big house’. When Brighton Council owned the House, I used to visit the beautiful greenhouses on their open days with my father and he used to tell me stories about playing around the village pond with his cousin. I also remember the huge horse chestnut tree at the bottom of the field in the centre of the village and have many photos of immediate family taken beneath it.

    By Ruth Mitchell (30/07/2007)
  • I worked in Stanmer House in the 1960s and there were people living in the flat at the top of the house. They worked for the estate and the husband whose family had been associated with Stanmer for a very long time, told me that the Pelhams sold the estate to the council on the proviso they didn’t build on it. Then they go and put a university on a quarter of it.

    By Harry Atkins (03/11/2007)
  • What a wonderful website. Stanmer is my maiden name and so far I haven’t had any luck tracing any other family link to this beautiful area. Can someone point me in the right direction or does anyone know of other ‘Stanmers’? The name is and has been rare and is in danger of disappearing in this part of the world anyway.

    By Arene Moir (nee Stanmer) (05/11/2007)
  • When I enter Stanmer Park I always think that a video game should be made of it because it is so big and when you go there at night it feels very creepy and you have this feeling that you are being wached or being followed especialy when you go near the church. If you agree with me I would very much like to hear from you.

    By Allan King (02/12/2007)
  • I am looking for information regarding the Steer family – Mary Steer was born in ‘Stanmer’ but I am unclear whether this was as Stanmer House staff or whether there were non-staff residing in Stanmer Park in the 1850’s.  Could anyone inform please?

    By Ann Owens (29/01/2008)
  • Its been a while since I last looked here. I was pleased to see Adrian Mugridge’s post. Adrian kindly gave me lots of info about my great grandfather Spencer Mugridge who apparently planted the horse chestnut tree. I understand this was chopped down due to persistant vandalism and when I visited Stanmer a couple of years ago I was unable to find the place where it once stood. I would love to see the photos of the tree if anybody has any.

    By Vonnee (19/02/2008)
  • My great great grandfather was James Steer who lived in one of the cottages at Stanmer with his wife Caroline in the mid to late 1800s. They had 11 children (I believe), their eldest son Walter being my great grandfather. I am researching my family tree and will be shortly visiting Stanmer as I believe some of my relatives are buried in the churchyard.

    By Sarah Swift (22/06/2008)
  • Can anyone help me with my Great, Great Grandfather who was Peter Penn who married Mary Thomsett in 1812 at Stanmer? He must have lived there as his children on the census gave Stanmer as their place of birth.

    By Tina Reeves (09/07/2008)
  • I am planning to have our wedding reception at Stanmer House next year as it is a lovely place and me and my fiancee have spent many lovely days in the park. However we would love to find out if the Church is still available to conduct our marrage? I see that someone mentioned the same thing in a post on here but that was 4 years ago. Does anyone know who we can contact or if they do in fact still allow ceremonies here? Hope you can help.

    By Greg Short (14/08/2008)
  • To Jean Thomas: I don’t know if your ‘Who’s Who In Stanmer Churchyard’ plan (your 19/04/2007 contribution) is still current, but Trayton & Elizabeth Burfield (your 20/09/2005 contribution) are my great great grandparents. They and some of their descendants are buried in the churchyard. Ruth Mitchell (nee Rickards) (30/07/2007 contribution) is another of their descendants and also a cousin of mine. I would love to get back in touch with Ruth, so if anyone can help with that, I’d much appreciate it.

    By Peter Merricks (21/09/2008)
  • Further to Onnee 11/10/2005. My great grandfather was also Spencer Mugridge, being the son of Trayton and the grandson of Trayton who was Spencer’s second son; this is recorded in the family bible which has been handed down to me. In the bible there was also a hand written note, in ink, by M Honey – I guess from Carries and Edwards family, stating that he had walked with Spencer to church in 1932, the year he died and the year before I was born. Who was the M and where is the family now?

    By John Mugridge (02/10/2008)
  • According to the sale agreement from the Pelham family selling Stanmer Park and associated grounds to the people of Brighton, none of the land can be built on. I have seen it on sites and can’t find it now.  I have a lot of family born here and, to my knowledge, the sale agreement has not changed.  If you know,please can you let me know.

    By Satan (13/10/2008)
  • To John Mugridge: Hello John, I believe we have been in contact before, but I seem to have lost your contact details. M Honey would be Carrie and Edward’s son Maurice S Honey who was born in 1916 and from Moulsecoomb. I would love to see a copy of the letter if possible.

    By Vonnee (18/11/2008)
  • For Jean Thomas: Just come accross this great website and am responding to your last post. My great x6 grandfather was Richard Richardson who was buried in Stanmer churchyard in 1751. The gravestone is just about legible and stands right beside the south transept. He supplied lime for the building of Stanmer House. This is an excerpt form the Stanmer household accounts: “(Richard Richardson) was paid for 102 + 35 loads of lyme burnt at Stanmer”. This was between 1722 and 1727. I assume he may have worked on the site of Limekiln Wood on the North edge of the village. Does anyone have information on the lime kilns in Stanmer?

    By Tim Richardson (15/02/2009)
  • Hello, I have just this afternoon started looking for Stanmer and found your site. My paternal grandfather, Herbert Moore was one of 11 children who lived in Stanmer village in the late 1800s I think where his father, I believe, was a shepherd on the estate; there are Moores buried in the Churchyard. Any useful info or search sites very gladly received. I live in Hampshire so am planning a visit soon. Many thanks.

    By Christine Seward (18/02/2009)
  • My great great grandfather was James Steer.
    Sarah – it would seem we share great great grandparents – Caroline and James Steer – as Mary’s daughter married John Edwin Ellis.  Hope you found info in the church yard. I’ve yet to make it back there but will be trying this year.

    By Ann Owens (19/02/2009)
  • For Tim Richardson: I’m descended from a Richard Richardson of Stanmer, who married Jane Copper on 27 October 1716. Is this the Richard you mention?

    By Mark Bridge (22/03/2009)
  • I wonder if anyone can tell me about the 7th Earl of Chichester who died at Stanmer House in November 1926 – Francis Godolphin Henry Pelham – aged 21. Many thanks.

    By Dot McQuillen (05/04/2009)
  • All I know about the 7th Earl of Chichester is that when his father died on 14/11/1926, he was already ill with flu himself and that he was brought to the window at the front of the house so that he could watch his father’s funeral. He himself died on (I think) 22/11/1926 and was succeeded by his younger brother, John Buxton Pelham, as 8th Earl.

    By Jean Thomas (01/05/2009)
  • Could anyone tell me please – the entrance road into Stanmer House in the 1930s – did it have a verge and then a brick wall running along to its righthand side? Many thanks – I am researching a 1930s photo that I believe could have been taken on the lawn in front of the house.

    By Dot McQuillen (12/08/2009)
  • Does anyone know anymore about my relative Frank Charles Tingley, resident in 9 Stanmer Park Cottages, a farm carter? He died after a branch fell from above him while he was cutting another branch which pinned him to the ground. He later died in hospital. Thanks in advance

    By Sarah Slaughter (07/10/2009)
  • A good place to go to learn about relatives is the Stanmer Preservation Society as some members have an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything Stanmer. SPS opens the church every Sunday (for spinning, weaving, book sale and so on) and the museum every Thursday (now it’s winter) and I’m sure you could get a lot of information if you come down. They also have lots of rare papers relating to the history of Stanmer that are in the process of being computerised but could be requested. The Church is also open for one off events for example there were some opera singers from Glyndebourne – no joke! – and the BBC presenter Rev. Peter Owen Jones is coming to speak on the 29th of November. The SPS website has all the latest events – – and if you have any specific enquires and can’t make it down you can email

    By Stanmer Preservation Society member (28/10/2009)
  • Jean-you noted that you had a database of people living in Stanmer in the 19th century, apparently my great grandfather Frank Baldey and his father Thomas Baldey were born in Stanmer, I would be grateful for any information you may be able to give me, I’d love to find out where they actually lived. They were farm labourers.

    By Sharon Standing (05/11/2009)
  • We would be interested if any body could confirm and add to the following piece of information. Is it possible that there were two Feast families in Stanmer Village at the turn of the century or were they related? We have searched the church graveyard and have found stones that bear the name Feast that we do not recognise. My grandparents were Jessie and Sarah Feast. We know that Jessie was one of the farm workers, being described as a Carter on a wedding certificate, who used to manage the farm shire horses. Their children who were born in the village and who used to live in one of the terraced farm houses were Jessie, Gladys, Dorothy and Elsie. The children would have been born 90~100 years ago. The children would have worked on the farm prior to getting married and moving away. We know that Dorothy Feast, my mother, was married at Stanmer Church to Eric Payne on the 20th August 1938. We know that my mother worked as a domestic servant, we believe in the Lewes Crescent Kemp Town area in or around the 1935~1936 time.

    By Brian Payne (07/12/2009)
  • Ghosts of Stanmer? I am not a ghost nut and would describe myself as an interested sceptic but some years ago saw something /someone in the great wood at Stanmer that I would describe as very peculiar, hell I’ll say it, it was a ghost. Anyway I recently corresponded with someone in Australia who is a fellow Brightonian who, unprompted, told me of another sighting, by him of, a phantom, this time on the grassland adjacent to Stanmer house on a bright summers day…this one spoke to him. I have never heard any mention of ghosts in relation to the Park from anyone else, and, as I say I am a born and bred Brightonian, now in exile, but it is certainly the only place where I have seen or experienced anything like this. Any information would be most interesting.

    By Nick Smith (13/02/2010)
  • I just found this interesting site. My great great grandfather was head gardener to the Earl of Chichester in the 1800’s. His name was William Holman. He lived in Stanmer and had eleven children – six daughters and five sons as far I can make out. My sister tells me he is buried in the churchyard. My grandmother, Elizabeth Ray, farmed High Park Farm and her grandson, my cousin, still does. I am looking forward to visiting the village in the near future.

    By John Woollard (15/02/2010)
  • Can anyone tell me where John Buxton Pelham died? I am aware he died on active service in 1944 in a road accident but am trying to find out where?

    By Vicky B (25/02/2010)
  • Sorry for the delay in responding to the question regarding John Buxton Pelham. However, according to the book “Stanmer & the Pelham Family” by June Goodchild & Peter Robinson [BN1 Publishing (2007)] “(John Buxton Pelham) was killed in February 1944 … on the Great North Road” (p.85). The GRO Deaths Index for the March 1944 Quarter includes John B. Pelham (Earl of Chichester) aged 32 registered at Don Valley (Yorkshire W.R.). To get the exact location would require the Death Certificate for which the Volume & Entry reference is 9c/940.

    By Peter Merricks (18/03/2010)
  • Many thanks for that information Peter.

    By Vicky Bracken (22/03/2010)
  • Really enjoy comments on this page. I was married at Stanmer church in 1968 and have been a regular visitor since. I now help at the museum Thursdays and Sundays.

    By David Humphrey (05/04/2010)
  • Great site, my great grand mother’s name was Rose Scott Greenyer, and I have traced  the family tree back to Phillipe Grinyer born 1548 in Stanmer, died 02 May 1595 in Stanmer. I don’t know if anyone here would know more on the Grinyer/Greenyer family of Stanmer but if much is known I would love to hear from them.

    By Rheya Baird (14/06/2010)
  • I have been researching Spencers father’s brother James who ended up here in Australia as a convict, however as I will be in the UK in October I should like to renew my interest in Stanmer and catch up with Jean, Vonnee and any other possible rellies. We leave Oz on the 3rd Sept hope this message is not too late.

    By John Mugridge (11/08/2010)
  • Jean, I believe we spoke this afternoon re William Holman, Head Gardner to Henry Thomas Pelham, for about 50yrs, my Great x 4 Grand Father, and his family. I found the graves quite easily. Have you info on the rest of the children not mentioned on the grave stones? I will join your preservation group, check in the post. The village was quite delightful and lovely to find William and Frances home (Garden Cottage) still there.

    By Vivien Bowles (12/09/2010)
  • Message for Ann Owens re. Mary Steer: I was born and raised in Stanmer Village and researching my family history, I have a copy of the 1871 Census and Mary was age five then, they actually lived in my house No. 14, there were 10 people living there, only a two bedroom house, with a large attic which was used as a bedroom! If you need more info please contact me: Regards Pauline.

    By Pauline Best (30/09/2010)
  • I was walking my dog today and came across a gravestone, well 2 actually, dating back to 1898 of a young boy age 9, it said he died after being ill. It’s nowhere near the church, just the middle of nowhere. Then there was a little one further down. If I can get more details, I’d love to know why the gravestone is there and if anyone knows of the boy.

    By Lisa (08/04/2011)
  • My grandmother was one of the Brighton `Rolfs’. She married a `Long’ and would speak often of spending time along her grandparents who used to spend many hours in Stanmer Park and Gardens. My mother used to follow in the family tradition and take us to Stanmer Park for outings. When my mum was in her forties, she visited Stanmer Park often and was very good friends with `Jock’ as he was commonly known, Mr Charles Yeates. Charlie was a wonderful artist and we have many of his paintings (moistly oil). Charlie had links throughout his life with Stanmer Park. He lived with his wife and daughters at the Upper Lodges. He painted, and he wrote, amongst other short books `Laughter is Free’. If anyone has any information about Charlie Yeates relating to Stanmer Park, or any of his art of literature I would be interested to share stories. The little house in the museum is always worth a visit too, there is a picture of Charlie on the door. He was such a character, and in my life, will never be forgotten.

    By Deborah Stephens (21/06/2011)
  • Hello – I am the great, great, great granddaughter of Spencer Mugridge. He was a cattleman and groundsman at Stanmer Park. I would love any information anyone has about him or his (apparently per the info above) convict Uncle. Thank you so much.

    By Lisa Snashall (25/09/2012)
  • Commenting back to Sarah Slaughter in 2009, Frank Charles Tingley was my grand grandfather.

    Dear Catherine
    Sorry but we have had to edit your post. We are no longer allowing the posting of requests to find third parties, as sharing information like this breaches their privacy. We recommend you try Friends Reunited website if you want to track old friends or neighbours.
    Comments Editor

    By Catherine Tingley (21/02/2013)
  • I am Stanmer Preservation Soc. Member cunrrently seeking info. about the Canadian soldiers and any others training at Stanmer prior to the 1942 Dieppe raid. I also seek information and photos / plans of the rainwater catch system. I can often be found at the rural museum or SPS Bookshop on Sunday aternoons.

    By John Lawrance (26/04/2013)
  • Many years ago I led a guided walk around the park; while we were walking up the road from the entrance lodges an elderly gentlemen told us of his wartime experience of Stanmer. In 1940 he had been a tank commander and in the summer of 1940 with a South Coast invasion imminent, he was ordered with his squadron to Stanmer where they were awaiting orders to be loaded at Falmer railway sidings to be taken to the invasion spot. He showed us that the carpark areas under the trees along the road were all laid by the engineers for tanks to be parked under the tree cover away from aerial observation. As there was no invasion he spent all that summer sunbathing in Stanmer Park!

    By Geoffrey Mead (27/04/2013)
  • Re Lisa Snashall 26/9/2012. I am doing ongoing research into our Uncle James, who arrived here in Australia in 1842 and propose a visit to Tasmania later in the year to confirm his stay in that state until his death in 1870. Would appreciate hearing from you.

    By John Mugridge (21/07/2013)
  • Thank you to all the visitors who have been into Stanmer Church and asking about the proposed development of the park into the next few years. We suggested that they use this site to find details as it is generally up to date. To answer a question posed- yes, Cherrywood estates have formally given Stanmer Preservation Society notice to quit the museum site as they wish to use it for their own business purposes. We look forward to the Council’s proposals for resiting the museum and are sure that Cherrywood will help us to ensure that the museum does not have to close.

    By Heather Turner (10/10/2013)
  • Does anybody remember Chris & Ted Elms who ran the post office café, from 1958 till about 1968? My mum, Ivy used to help out in the café sundays.

    By Terry Hyde (13/10/2013)
  • Responding to Sarah Slaughter’s post of July 2009: I used to work with Stan Tingley in the Nursery during the early 1970s. Stan was Frank’s son and I remember him telling me about his dad’s tragic death when he was still at school. Stan and his mum moved into the Alms houses after his dad’s death and presumably lived there until he was called up in 1939. When I married in 1971, I took on the tenancy in the same Alms house and lived there for a couple of years. Stan was my foreman and I had the greatest respect for him, a real gentleman of whom I have the fondest memories.

    By John Ridgewell (30/03/2015)
  • Can anyone tell me who the present Lord of the Manor of Stanmer, Sussex in the year 2017, please? 

    By L. Reynolds (09/11/2017)
  • I well remember Stanmer Park. It was a walk we took from Rotherfield Crescent in Hollingbury, up along the Ditchling Road, and then down through the top entrance of Stanmer into the Park. Lovely long, sunny days. A wonderful place to hang out and relax. It was a very peaceful place to be. Always a visit to the little cafe for an ice cream. I also had a neighbour in Rotherfield Crescent who worked in the cafe. Her name evades me at present although Cath seems very possible. This was the 1950’s era. When summers really were hotter!

    By Sandra Bohtlingk (11/11/2017)
  • May I enquire as to why you wish to know who the Lord of the Manor is?

    By Anon (23/11/2017)
  • The question on the present Lord of the Manor was answered recently (by me!) in the Local History Questions section of this site.

    By Geoffrey Mead (27/11/2017)
  • I’m afraid that the information is somewhat outdated, since the Earl of Chichester, there is a new Lord of Stanmer.

    By Anon (28/11/2017)
  • My B&H seeks to be a free service to bring contemporary comment, debate and factual material to the general public; can ‘Anon’ please update us on who is Lord of the Manor? Then we all be the wiser!

    By Geoffrey Mead (29/11/2017)
  • Geoffrey Mead, 10 November 2017: John Pelham 9th Earl of Chichester is the current holder; I think he lives in Wiltshire. The estate was bust before WWII and was sold to Brighton in 1947 for a knockdown price. The last Earl to live at Stanmer died on active service in 1944 after a road accident at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire.

    By Anon (02/10/2019)
  • My Earliest known ancestor had children baptised in Stanmer in late 1500’s and died there in 1605. I have seen the copy of the PR in East Sussex Record Office. Does anyone know if there is another copy anywhere ?

    By Phil Grenyer (30/01/2020)
  • James Browning in 2004 was looking for a statue of his ancestor Pechell. I wonder if he ever found it? It is headless and standing in Waterloo Street.

    By Lyndsey Smith (17/03/2021)
  • To Lisa Snashall: We share the same Ancestor Spencer Mugridge, but I’m intrigued to find out how you ended up with the Surname Snashall, as I too have this surname. I am the granddaughter of Charley and Louisa Snashall ( nee Mugridge).

    By Vonnee (11/04/2021)

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