The Moving Village
Starting this walk today at Buxted Church, it is immediately apparent that the building stands in isolation in Buxted Park. However, such isolation is far from glorious but represents the final phase of one man’s successful efforts to intimidate and remove a whole village.
LENGTH – 3 miles
TIME – 3 hours
START – Buxted Church, Buxted Park, off A272, Buxted, TN22 4AY, NGR
PARKING – Adjacent to church off drive to Buxted Park.
TOILETS – No public toilets available.
REFRESHMENTS – Pub at Buxted. Village shop at Buxted.
CAUTION – This walk includes two crossings of the A272 road.
This walk contains stiles.
The church of St Margaret the Queen is of obvious antiquity dating from the 13th century with two phases of building representing the increasing importance of the Weald in the early medieval period and the coalescing of small, dispersed settlements into villages and towns. As late as 1802, a surviving drawing shows the church surrounded by cottages, the parsonage, an inn, a shop, a forge and even the stocks and whipping post, yet today the church stands in isolation.
In 1828 the manor of Buxted passed to a new owner – Lord Liverpool. Offended by the sight of villagers so close to his new property, he begun to move the village. At first, householders were bribed with offers of new houses, then repairs to existing property ceased and finally strong-arm tactics succeeded in moving the whole village to its present location a mile away. The properties were torn down and only a few faint earthworks in the fields either side of the driveway remain from this original village today.
A little along Church Road is a fine medieval house with a pond immediately opposite. This is Great Totease Farm, a medieval survival. Initially this was an isolated holding surrounded by fields. About 1300 the Archbishop’s steward was able to record “Roger de Totehease holds 28 acres and renders 28d yearly namely at Easter 14d and at Michaelmas 14d”. It was this small estate that was appropriated by Lord Liverpool to site the new village within.
The railway arrived in Buxted in 1868 as part of the Brighton, Uckfield and Tunbridge Wells Railway. The siting of a station and the nearby hotel here led to new building around it and further developed the new settlement and thus reduced the older inhabitants’ chances of a return to the original village site. This walk passes along Framfield Road and Gordon Road behind it with many houses here built in the years after the railway arrived.
As the route turns onto a footpath again, there is a patch of woodland opposite, which is said to contain a patch of land on which nothing will ever grow. In the late 17th century, an old lady, Nan Tuck lived quietly in this area. When her husband died unexpectedly and quickly, she was accused of being a witch (on no good evidence) and was forced to flee down the lane with her persecutors in full cry behind and was hung by the neck in the wood, at the spot now marked by the barren patch.
The earliest mention of a park at Buxted appears to be in 1279 when “certain evil-doers” broke into the park of Thomas de Marinis at Bocstede and hunted game there. However, the park visible today dates to the ownership of Thomas Medlay from 1722. He built himself a new manor house on the old site and had the grounds landscaped in the fashionable “Capability Brown” style creating the chain of lakes along the River Uck and much of the tree planting.
The present Buxted Manor is a Georgian house, built in 1725, but was later restored and remodelled by the architect Basil Ionides in 1940 following a fire. As part of the remodelling, Ionides introduced many original 18th century features salvaged from other properties. It has seen many uses and owners since then including a wartime store for the library of the Royal Society of Arts, a celebrity venue for the owner of Twickenham Film Studios, the home of an Arab Sheik and a private hotel for members of the Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union. Today it is a public hotel. There is a fine ha-ha (a wall in a ditch to stop animals entering the garden without ruining the view from the house) along the western side of the property.
Whilst we have taken reasonable endeavours to ensure the information is up to date and correct, you will be using the information strictly at your own risk. If you come across any inaccuracies whilst you are on your walk, please contact Wealden District Council’s Community and Regeneration team.
The self-guided walk descriptions are provided to help you navigate your way, however we recommend that you plan your route prior to walking the route and that you carry an Ordnance Survey map of the area being walked and follow your position on the map as you proceed.
Please note, we cannot be responsible for the conditions of the footpaths and land and you are responsible for your own safety.