First record of Withdean c12th century

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

a) HISTORY: The first record of Withdean, ‘Wihta’s valley’, dates from the early twelfth century when it was referred to as ‘Wictedene’. The hamlet by the London Road formed part of the parish of Patcham, but by the eighteenth century enclosures and the concentration of land had resulted in its depopulation and the establishment of a single farm. The manor of Withdean was the property of St Pancras’s Priory at Lewes until 1537 and was granted to Anne of Cleves in 1541, but in 1794 the manorial estates of Withdean Kayliffe and Withdean Court were purchased from the Western family by William Roe. Over the next fifty years or so Roe and his family planted many of the trees that today give Withdean its attractive wooded prospect, in addition to plantations at Varndean that existed by 1750. (Withdean Woods, 6.62 acres between Wayland Avenue and Withdean Road, were acquired by the corporation in December 1938 to limit housing development {126}, but many of the area’s trees were uprooted by the storm of October 1987.) {1,76,254,255,289}
By the middle of the nineteenth century the hamlet consisted of Withdean Farm, Withdean Court, and a number of farm houses and outbuildings grouped around the bottom of Peacock Lane and Tongdean Lane, but the only remaining buildings now are Home Farmhouse, and Karibu and Tabora. The latter stand on the western side of London Road, listed farm houses of around 1800 faced in flint and now divided into two cottages with the single-storey Tabora Forge nearby. Home Farmhouse, almost opposite, is also an early-nineteenth-century listed building, faced in knapped and squared flint. (See also “London Road, Patcham“.) {44}
The manor house was known as Withdean Court and stood on the site of the present bog-garden of Withdean Park in Peacock Lane. In the 1860s the name was transferred to a large new residence on the other side of London Road where Regency Court now stands and the older house then became known as the Old Court House, but it was demolished in 1936. Withdean Court is now the name of five blocks of flats erected in 1937 at Varndean Road with tennis-courts, ornamental pond, rockery and cascade. The site of Withdean Farm, demolished in about 1934, is now occupied by Bourne Court. {76,254,255}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • Alf Lennon and Pauline Lennon lived here according to Wikipedia. Alf was John Lennon’s dad.

    By Simon Lewis (10/10/2010)
  • How did Peacock Lane get it’s name?

    By Debbie Waldon (27/09/2015)

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