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Reference: GRA

Summary of contents:


GRA/1 Deeds of the Barcombe Place Estate, copyhold of the manors of Barcombe and Camois Court, bought by George Grantham from John Holroyd in 1839 and 1850 1756-1915


GRA/2 Deeds of Camois Court Farm, purchased by George Grantham from Drew Lucas Shadwell on 19 Jul 1845 1706-1879


GRA/3 Deeds of part of Masticks Farm in Barcombe (23a, formerly part of Markstakes Common), copyhold of the manor of Allington, quitrent 11½d, purchased by George Grantham from John Markham on 16 October 1838 1838-1862


GRA/4 Deeds of Colvells Farm (52a 1r 11p) in Barcombe, four copyhold tenements of the manor of Barcombe, quitrents £1 13s 6d, purchased by George Grantham from the Revd George Shiffner on 2 Dec 1861 1745-1861


GRA/5 Records relating to the manor of Camois Court, purchased by George Grantham in 1866 1782-1866


GRA/6 Delves Farm in Barcombe, seven freehold and five copyhold tenements of the manors of Warningore and Barcombe, purchased by George Grantham from John Attree on 11 Oct 1870 1777-1870


GRA/7 Records concerning an adjustment of boundaries and exchange of lands made between George Grantham and Frederick Smith of Sutton Hall in 1870 1870


GRA/8 Deeds of Clay Cottages or Slate Cottage and land at Barcombe, three copyhold tenements of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by George Grantham from the executors of John Grover on 31 July 1879 [1706]-1913


GRA/9 Deeds of a baker's shop and cottage on the East side of Barcombe Street at Barcombe Cross, three copyhold tenements of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by William Grantham from Ephraim Norman on 6 Sep 1881 1843-1881


GRA/10 Deeds concerning Welch's Field and parts of Mill Farm, exchanged between William Grantham and George Molineux in 1883 [1863]-1883


GRA/11 Deeds of land at Barcombe, formerly part of Sewells Farm, purchased from the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway by Sir William Grantham in 1887 1881-1887


GRA/12 Deeds of four cottages and gardens at Mount Pleasant in Barcombe, sold by Louisa Austen [?to William Grantham] in 1887 [1820]-1887


GRA/13 Deeds of Holman's Bridge Cottage, copyhold of the manor of Balneath, enfranchised in 1882, purchased by William Grantham in 1888 1801-1888


GRA/14 Deeds of Firzley Farm copyholds of the manors of Balneath and Waningore, purchased by William Wilson Grantham on 29 Jan 1890 [1786]-1890


GRA/15 Deeds of a house and land called Caveridge in Barcombe, copyhold of the manor of Balneath, quitrent 5s 0d, purchased by William Grantham in 1893 1814-1893


GRA/16 Cottage called The Knowle at Spithurst in Barcombe, purchased by William Grantham in 1895 1855-1895


GRA/17 Deeds of Handly otherwise Stepneys Farm at Barcombe, copyhold of the manor of Barcombe and freehold of the manor of Camois Court, purchased by William Grantham in 1896 [1721]-1896


GRA/18 Deeds of a cottage and 1½a called Holmans Bridge in Barcombe, copyhold of the manor of Rodmell, quitrent 6d, purchased by William Grantham in 1897 1837-1897


GRA/19 Deeds of a cottage in two tenements called The Nursery, formerly Slutts Garden, and 16 rods of land in Barcombe, two copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, quitrents 2s 2d and 6d, purchased by William Wilson Grantham on 2 Nov 1897 [1769]-1924


GRA/20 Deeds of a house, buildings and 14 acres called Panthill at Spithurst in Barcombe, copyhold of the manor of Allington, quitrent 8d, purchased by William Wilson Grantham on 2 Nov 1897 1778-1937


GRA/21 Deeds of cottages near Barcombe School and at Mount Pleasant, forming four copyhold tenements of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by William Wilson Grantham in 1900 1768-1900


GRA/22 Deeds of houses and a butcher's shop at Barcombe Cross, purchased by William Wilson Grantham on 20 Feb 1904 1711-1904


GRA/23 Deeds a house, buildings and garden (the northern part of a tenement near Knowland Gate), copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by William Grantham from Frederick Pumphrey in 1884, and of The Nest (formerly Rose Cottage, the southern part of the same tenement), purchased by William Wilson Grantham from Henry Pumphrey on 14 May 1906 [1702]-1906


GRA/24 Deeds of land near Slutts Garden in Barcombe, copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, by William Wilson Grantham on 20 Apr 1910 1797-1910


GRA/25 Deeds of a small meadow, formerly part of Spithurst Farm in Barcombe, purchased by William Wilson Grantham in 1925 1916-1925


GRA/26 Deeds of Dodsons Rough, Barcombe, purchased by William Wilson Grantham in 1927 1916-1927


GRA/27 Deeds of Boast Cottages, Scovells Lane, Barcombe, copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by William Ivor Grantham in 1930 1882-1930


GRA/28 Deeds of Fridgers and Shoulders in Chailey and Barcombe, enfranchised copyhold of the manor of Allington, purchased by George Grantham on 20 Sep 1831 1758-1854


GRA/29 Lease for 21 years at £50 1855


GRA/30 Copy conveyance for £250 1864


GRA/31 Documents relating to a mortgage on [184-185] High Street, Lewes 1865-1873


GRA/32 Records concerning land in Penge and Norwood bequeathed to George Grantham by his mother Sarah Grantham in 1871 1871-1873


GRA/33 Draft mortgage for £4578 4s 0d at 4% with power of sale 1874


GRA/34 Deeds of Highbury House, Selhurst Road, South Norwood, purchased by William Grantham in 1881 1858-1880


GRA/35 Draft conveyance (release) for £105 of Broomly Acre in Barcombe, 1771, annotated for a conveyance of The Cross House in Alfriston for £200, 1773 1773


GRA/36 Deeds of houses and cottages at Barcombe Cross, copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by William Wilson Grantham on 11 Aug 1881 1786-1881


GRA/37 Conveyance of a cottage in Hareland Road, Barcombe, for £130


GRA/38 Abstract of title of John Thomas Constable to a freehold cottage at Mount Pleasant, Barcombe 1895


GRA/39 Two pieces of land in Barcombe (tithe 799-800), copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, purchased [by William Wilson Grantham] from Augusta Goring in 1900 1836-1900


GRA/40 Deeds of a former chapel, copyhold of the manor of Barcombe, purchased by William Wilson Grantham in 1897 1827-1897


GRA/41 Manor of Camois Court rentals (1711-1835) and lists of quitrents, fines and heriots 1712-c1900


GRA/42 Receipts for steward's fees, manor of Barcombe, on George Grantham's purchase from Henry Markwick 1840


GRA/43 Land tax redemption on certificate and other papers relating to two pieces of ozier ground in South Malling and a house, workshop, warehouse, coach-house and stables in North Street, Brighton, owned by George Grantham of Lewes 1798-1799


GRA/44 Copy division of the costs of tithe redemption for Large St John Field, Croydon in Surrey (tithe 2509), between eight named owners 1868


GRA/45 Legacy duty receipts and residuary accounts of the estate of George Grantham of Barcombe Place (d 20 June 1880) 1882


GRA/46 Letter [concerning the purchase from John Holroyd] 1838


GRA/47 Letter from William Edward Nicholson to William Grantham concerning the sale of property in 1824 1907


GRA/48 Apprenticeship indenture of Francis Markwick, a poor child of Barcombe, to John Wood otherwise Dine of Brighton, cordwainer 1793


GRA/49 Printed plan, from particulars of sale, of an estate in Isfield and Barcombe, tinted to show individual tenements held of the manor of Barcombe 1837


GRA/50 Printed particulars of sale of Barcombe Mill Farm, The Anchor Brook, The Oil and Upper Flour Mill and cottages in Barcombe 1880


GRA/51 Deeds of The Grange (formerly Stretton House), Barcombe, once part of the Newhouse and Oldhouse lands, originally held of the manor of Camois Court and purchased by William Wilson Grantham on 12 Aug 1907 1836-1918


GRA/52 Fragment of lease of Pellingbridge Farm [in Lindfield] for 14 years from 29 Sep 1861 at £117 1861


GRA/53 Copy of court roll, manor of Barcombe 1819


GRA/54 Settlement of stocks on the marriage of James Scott and Harriet Verrall 1839-1846


GRA/55 Probate of the will (10 Jun 1871) of William Beard of Vale Farm, Lindfield [?and tenant of Pellingbridge Farm] 1880


GRA/56 Feoffment of two messuages, stable, brewhouse and gardens in Gloucester St Catherine for £300 1808

Date: [1702]-1937
Related material:

For other components of the Grantham family archive, see


SAS/WG Grantham family papers


ACC 4789 Grantham estate records, deeds, and family diaries, c1650-1942


ACC 5705 accounts of Sybil Grantham, 1897-1950


ACC 8534 albums concerning the career of Sir William Grantham


ACC 7633 papers of William Ivor Grantham mainly relating to manor of Balneath, and Barcombe and Balneath estates


ADA 174-175 court books of the Manor of Camois Court, 1662-1920


AMS 4596-4605 court books of the manor of Balneath, 1588-1876, with a survey of the manor with court roll references, 1891


AMS 1016 rental of the manor of Balneath, 1766


SAS/SM 1-28 assize records


SAS/HA 327-329 deeds of land in Horsted Keynes and Pevensey


ACC 3384 (SAS/ACC 790) photograph of a painting in Lewes Town Hall showing the visit of William IV and Queen Adelaide, 1834


ACC 3386 (SAS/ACC 792) letters of Gideon Mantell


ACC 3409 (SAS/ACC 1088) additional letter from Gideon Mantell


ACC 3518 (SAS/ACC 1384) 19th-century copy of a 1587 map of the coast of Sussex


The Sussex Archaeological Society's library holds a collection of manuscripts, cuttings and ephemera made by William W. Grantham (1866-1942)


See AMS 5824/3 for sale particular of the Barcombe Place and Balneath estates (Oak Tree, Yew Tree, Knowlands, Scovells, Mount Pleasant, Banks, Camois Court, Barcombe Place, Holmans Bridge, Down View, Balneath Manor, Roman Springs, Pigs Easter, Bevernbridge, Harelands, Fursley Farms and cottages in Barcombe), 1943

Held by: East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), not available at The National Archives
Former reference in its original department: GRA
Language: English

Grantham family of Sussex

  • Balcombe, West Sussex
  • Land tenure
Administrative / biographical background:

Although later generations of the Granthams firmly believed that the family originated in Lincolnshire, the George Grantham who wrote in the family bible 'here went George Grantham to Lewes 18 March 1702' had previously baptised two sons at Horsham, in 1687 and 1689 (ACC 4789/1). George Grantham, the younger of those two sons, became a prosperous tradesman in Lewes; his great-grandson George Grantham (1782-1849), a coal-merchant, purchased a country house at Barcombe in 1839 and built up an extensive landed estate; and his son, Sir William Grantham (1835-1911), became a High Court judge, and his son William Wilson Grantham (1866-1942) the promoter of the revival of stoolball (a traditional Sussex game akin to rounders) and of the Sussex smock.


In about 1730 George Grantham (1688-1765) was one of eight tenants of a house on the south side of Lewes High Street between St Andrews and Watergate Lanes sold by John Spence to Thomas Pelham (DL/D145/22 (4)). He was in trade as a basket-maker in 1734, when his vote, for the two Pelham candidates, was unsuccessfully challenged (LEW C/5/3/5). George served as headborough of Lewes in 1741 and constable in 1748. He married Mary Hards, and was probably the first of the family to be established at 59 High Street; according to Walter Godfrey, he lived there, as tenant to Henry Pelham, from 1744 to his death in 1765 (SAC 93). His son George Grantham (1726-1776) married Ann Douglas at Brighton on 24 August 1745, and their son George Grantham (1749-1836) also traded as a basket-makers, although the son diversified the business and traded as a wood-turner at both Lewes and Brighton; to him can probably be attributed the bill-head, advertising him as a turner, basket, chair and sieve maker, selling 'every article of hollow and round turnery and Tunbridge Ware, matting, floor cloths, corn shovels and measures, bottles, corks, combs, pails, mops, brooms brushes etc' (Brent, Georgian Lewes, 40). George was born on 7 December 1749 and married Ann Tutt (buried at St Michael Lewes on 26 August 1834), the daughter of Stephen Tutt, on 25 August 1782. He died in April 1836 and was buried at St Michael Lewes on 24 April.


George Grantham (1782-1849), the son of George Grantham of Lewes (1749-1836) and his wife Ann Tutt, was born on 20 September 1782. He further diversified the family business into the coal trade, and by 1810 had turned their thriving ozier plots below St John sub Castro church into a coal and timber wharf. He was commissioned into the Militia in 1810 (see ACC 6077/18/5) and served as quartermaster 1811-1813 (SAS/WG 877-879). At Southover on 30 May 1829 he married Sarah Verrall (who died on 27 November 1871), the daughter of William Verrall of Southover, brewer. It was this George Grantham who transformed his family from urban tradesmen into country gentlemen. In 1829 he purchased Hammonds and Godwins Farm in Lindfield, and continued to acquire property in that parish and in Chailey throughout the 1830s. In 1839 he purchased Barcombe Place from John Holroyd, a London plumber holding a royal warrant, whose debts and those of his son had forced the sale of the property. He died on 23 October 1849 and was buried at Barcombe on 29 October.


Of George Grantham's siblings, Edward (1798-1881) traded as an ironmonger, and Stephen (1783-1857), a noted breeder of Southdown sheep at Lower Stoneham in South Malling, also acted as land-steward to the Earl of Liverpool between 1816 and 1846 (GRA 16/1).


George Grantham (1830-1880), the son of George Grantham of Barcombe Place (1782-1849) and his wife Sarah Verrall, was born on 11 April 1830 and baptised at St Michael Lewes on 9 May 1830. He left Barcombe Place on the death of his father in 1849 and went to Brighton to continue his education and that of his younger brother William. He returned to take possession of the family home in 1864 but sustained concussion of brain when thrown from horse. He initially recovered, but ten years later became subject to epileptic fits. 'Ever a staunch advocate of Conservative principles, he was always ready to come to the front when his services were required. He was one of those who urged on having a second candidate for East Sussex in 1868, when there seemed some hesitation on the point; and at the close of the election it was very clear that the second seat was lost only because too many had thought it impossible to win it.' (Sussex Express). George Grantham greatly extended the estate in Barcombe, and drove the family further in the direction of gentility by the acquisition of the lordships of the manor of Camois Court in 1866. But the more established gentry of Barcombe found him tiresome. On 28 February 1878, during the protracted negotiations over the siting of a new church at Spithurst, James Slater of Newick Park wrote to Sir John Dodson of Coneyboro: 'when I saw Grantham drive up yesterday I hoped to interpose a wide spreading thorn bush to escape his notice, but he found me out and descending, Ulster, beard, black bag and slouched hat complete, he fairly caught me. I suggested a conference in the hot house, but adroitly turning into a cool vinery he gave me more than an hour of unfinished sentences and shaky statements from amongst the flower pots.'


His brother Sir William Grantham was born on 23 October 1835 and baptised at St Michael Lewes on 22 November 1835. He was educated at King's College School, London, entered the Inner Temple on 30 April 1860 and was called to the Bar on 26 January 1863. William served on the South Eastern Circuit and was appointed Queen's Counsel on 13 February 1877 and as a bencher of his inn on 30 April 1878. His pleasant manner, combined with pertinacity and great industry, soon secured him a steady practice. He obtained the reputation of being 'a very useful junior in an action on a builder's account, in a running-down case, in a compensation case, and especially in disputes in which a combined knowledge of law and horseflesh was desirable' (ODNB). He was appointed as a judge of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court in January 1886 (which post he held until 1911) and was knighted; he served as a JP for Sussex and as chairman of the East Sussex bench. As a high court judge, 'Grantham showed himself indefatigable and painstaking, and he never failed to clear his list on circuit. He was shrewd in his judgement of character, had a varied assortment of general knowledge, and his direct style made a favourable impression on juries. He had a competent knowledge of law for the ordinary work of nisi prius, and his industry and energy made a strong contrast to the methods of some of his colleagues. He lacked the breadth of mind and the grasp of intellect necessary for trying complicated issues, however, and he was an unsatisfactory judge in commercial cases. Among his failings was an inability to refrain from perpetual comment; his 'obiter dicta' brought him into collision at one time or another with nearly every class of the community - deans, publicans, chairmen of quarter sessions, the council of the bar, the Durham pitmen, his brother judges. His love of talking was not conducive to the dignity of the bench, and towards the close of his career he was given strong hints in the press that the public interest would be best served by his retirement. Grantham's name would not have been known to posterity had he not in the spring of 1906 found himself on the rota of judges appointed to try election petitions. It was a task for which his strong and somewhat intemperate political views rendered him peculiarly unsuited. His decisions at Bodmin, at Maidstone, and at Great Yarmouth, all of which favoured the Conservative claims to the seats, caused much dissatisfaction. On 6 July 1906 a motion to take into consideration his proceedings at Yarmouth was introduced into the House of Commons. ... Grantham felt the stigma deeply, but was unwise enough to revive the memory of the debate, some five years later, by an indiscreet speech to the grand jury at Liverpool (7 February 1911), which brought him a severe rebuke in the House of Commons from the prime minister, H. H. Asquith, one of the severest ever dealt to an English judge by a minister of the crown (Hansard 5, 22, 1911, 366). Yet, despite dicta to the contrary, Grantham was no doubt sincere in his belief that in the discharge of his office he was uninfluenced by political partiality. As Arthur Balfour put it in the course of the 1906 debate: 'a more transparently natural candid man than Mr Justice Grantham never exercised judicial functions' (ODNB). William Grantham sat as MP for East Surrey, 1874-1885 and for the borough of Croydon, 1885-1886. 'In parliament he was a fairly frequent speaker, who saw himself as having a special mission to unmask and defeat the machinations of Gladstone; he was conspicuous among the militant spirits on the Conservative benches' (ODNB). On 15 February 1865 he married Emma Wilson (died 21 November 1933) daughter and co-heir of Richard Wilson of Chiddingly and Molesworth House, Brighton (formerly of Westmoreland). In about 1900 he purchased the lordship of the manor of Balneath. He died from pneumonia at 100 Eaton Square, London on 30 November 1911 and was buried at Barcombe. His elder son William Wilson Grantham (1866-1942) of Balneath Manor, 17 Cadogan Place and 6 Crown Office Row was born on 7 January 1866 at South Norwood, Surrey. He was educated at Harrow and on 23 May 1884 he was admitted as a pensioner to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a BA in 1889 and an MA in 1895. William was admitted to the Inner Temple on 21 November 1884 and was called to the Bar on 27 January 1890; he served on the South Eastern Circuit and sat as Recorder of Deal, 1905-1942, as a JP for Sussex from 1919, and was appointed King's Counsel in 1923. He was the military representative on the Appeal Tribunal for East Sussex, 1914-1918. He served as master of the Grocers' Company 1906-07, represented the City on the London County Council, 1913-1942 and was its deputy chairman in 1935. Grantham served as an honorary captain in the army in 1900, and an honorary major in the 14th Middlesex (Inns of Court) Volunteers. He served in the First World War as Major of 6th (Cyclist) Battalion of the Sussex Regiment, and in 1935 remembered his intense disappointment when the War Office cancelled orders for the Unit's active service. On 17 July 1897 at Holy Trinity, Sloane Street, Chelsea he married Sybil de la Rue (born 21 Dec 1877), the daughter of Thomas Andros de la Rue of 8 Upper Wimpole Street, Cadogan Square, Chelsea, bt (b 1849) and his wife Emily Maria Speed (b 1848). He was immensely interested in the game of stoolball, had a collection of stoolball bats and was the author of Stool-ball Illustrated and How to Play it (London, 1931); he also attempted to re-introduce the wearing of 'traditional' Sussex smocks, and wore one himself on all but formal occasions. His role in the Sussex of the inter-war years, participation in the Society of Sussex Downsmen and general eccentricies are discusssed by John Lowerson, 'Stoolball', in SAC 133 (1995) 263-74. In 1935 a biography, in the series 'Modern South Saxons', appeared in the Sussex County Magazine, which bore a portait photograph of Grantham on the cover. As well as stoolball, the piece drew attention to his diaries (for which see ACC 4789), which 'throw light upon his many exciting experiences during his travels in Siberia, Mexico, and other parts of the world. He has entertained a good deal at Balneath Manor and visitors from the East have been his guests. It has always been his desire to bring about the friendly understanding between East and West.' Lowerson's portrait is less generous, suggesting that stoolball 'was increasingly shrouded in a patriotic pseudo-ruralism of which Grantham became a virtual caricature. Because of his actions stoolball came to typify a mildly dotty Englishness rooted in a near-mythical Sussex.' Grantham died on 18 February 1942. (See Sussex in the twentieth century (Brighton 1910) 334, 226; Sussex County Magazine 9 (July 1935) 398 and cover photograph).


His son William Ivor Grantham (1898-1986) was born on 14 May 1898. He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge where he gained an MA and LLB. He served in the Royal Sussex Regiment (Territorials) 1915-19 and was wounded in action. Called to the bar from the Inner Temple in 1922, he practised on South Eastern Circuit, and was commissioned in the Legal Branch of the RAF in 1931, rising to the rank of Squadron Leader. He was appointed deputy judge advocate general for the Middle East, Iraq and Aden (Army and RAF) from 1934, with headquarters in Cairo. On 27 May 1933 he married Helen Walker, daughter of Murray Walker of The Wilderness, Woodbridge, Suffolk. He sold Barcombe Place and 811 acres of its estate to Ernest William Smith Bartlett in February 1944, and lived at Massetts, Scaynes Hill. In 1961 he moved from to a new house at Camoys, Rotten Row, Lewes, and died in November 1986.


The estate descended to his niece Mrs Sheila Thomson, who sold the lordships of the manors of Balneath, Camois Court and Twineham Benfield in 1995 (see ACC 7633/37-38).

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