Catalogue description Preston House (formerly the George Inn) and stables in Westham, purchased by the Revd Henry Thomas Grace in 1867

This record is held by East Sussex Record Office

Details of amsg/AMS5583/5
Reference: amsg/AMS5583/5
Title: Preston House (formerly the George Inn) and stables in Westham, purchased by the Revd Henry Thomas Grace in 1867

The Revd John Preston, curate at Westham, married Ann Bristow at Westham on 11 July 1808 (PAR 505/1/1/4) and acquired part of the Bristow estate, including the former George Inn. Two years earlier he had bought a copyhold tenement on which stood part of the stable which was held with the George Inn; the title to the copyhold, described as 4 below, is presented first.


1 messuage formerly called The George Inn with the yard, stable and garden at the upper end of the street and near the castle wall in Westham (S: road from Pevensey to Langney; E: road from Pevensey to Westham; N: land of Nicholas Foord; W: field of Nicholas Foord); a burgage tenement of the manor of Pevensey, quitrent 10d


2 piece of meadow or pasture (1a) (E: road from Pevensey to Rickney Bridge; W, N: land of John Fuller, esq; S: road from Pevensey to Westham)


3 stable for many years used with 1 above, under the west side of the castle in Pevensey and adjoining the wall, 30 feet from the smith's traverse at the north end, and 30 feet between the wall and the road


4 piece of land 20 feet by 14 feet near the castle wall with the stable built on it, in Pevensey, copyhold of the manor of Pevensey, quitrent 6d, heriot and fine 12d certain


Part of a stable, copyhold of the manor of Pevensey, purchased by John Preston in 1806


On 27 October 1766 Edward Geering was admitted as youngest son and heir on the death of his father John Geering (5/1). On 12 July 1806 he sold the tenement for £12 to the Revd John Preston of Westham, clerk, who was admitted on 1 October 1807 (5/8).


The former George Inn in Westham, acquired by John Preston on his marriage in 1808


On 22 and 23 May 1767 William Bristow of Westham, salesman, mortgaged 1 above, in his own occupation, to Robert Gilbert of Lewes, fellmonger, for £100. On 12 May 1768 the property, and a messuage and land in Mayfield, were settled by fine on Francis Gell of Westham, gent, Thomas Hurst of Eastbourne, gent, Richard Lambe of Wilmington, yeoman, and Edward Barnard of Westham, yeoman, in trust; the Mayfield property was to be sold or mortgaged by Edward Coppard of Westham and his wife Elizabeth to John Ashby of Mayfield, miller (5/13).


The trustees conveyed the property to John Bristow of Westham, yeoman, for £160, by deeds dated 26 and 27 March 1768, before the date of the settlement; the conveyancer's comment on the abstract of 1836 reads 'we cannot account for this apparent blunder' (5/13).


On 21 and 22 March 1777 Bristow and Gilbert assigned the mortgage, with the addition of property 2 above and with a further charge of £100, to Thomas Whapham of Westham, cooper (5/2-3).


By his will of 29 April 1800, John Bristow bequeathed his estate, which includes a cottage and 10a called Welles and Little Barnards in Hailsham and 3a called The Little Wormey near the Sea Houses in Eastbourne, to his wife Ann for her life, with remainder of properties 1 and 2 above to his son Miller Bristow. The will was proved at Lewes by his daughter Marthanna Bristow on 3 April 1804 (5/4).


Miller Bristow and his wife Mary sold the properties 1 and 3 above, lately occupied by Everenden Cruttenden and [blank] Barnard, to Ann Bristow of Westham, spinster, and her trustee Thomas Fuller the younger of Eastbourne, innholder, on 1 and 2 May 1805 (5/5-7). Ann Bristow married the Revd John Preston in 1808.


The whole estate


Ann Preston died childless and intestate in 1824, leaving three great-nieces Harriet and Amelia Bristow and Margaret, wife of Joseph Goslett, esq (all resident at Athlone in Ireland), the only children of her nephew Edward Maynard Bristow, deceased, the eldest son of her eldest brother Thomas Bristow (5/14).


John Preston's will of 22 May 1826 was proved in PCC by his nephew Thomas Preston of Green Royd, Halifax, Yorkshire, and Matthias Slye on 16 August 1828, and Thomas Preston was admitted to the copyhold on 3 September 1831.


Mr and Mrs Preston sold the whole estate for £400 to William Boys of Eastbourne, gent, and his trustee Samuel Sinnock of Hailsham, gent, in 1831. The conveyance was executed on 2 and 3 January 1832 and, although the mortgage of 1777 to Thomas Whapham had been discharged before his death in 1799 no reconveyance had been executed, and it was found necessary to add his great-grandchildren to the conveyance. They were Henry Gould of Oxford Street, shopman, and his wife Mary (née Baker), Edward Quye of Goodge Street, Middlesex, fruiterer, and his wife Elizabeth (née Baker), Ann Baker of Sussex Place, Regents Park, Middlesex, spinster, Thomas Cannon Potts Castle Street, Oxford Market, Middlesex, optician, and his wife Fanny (née Baker), and William Burr of Enfield in Middlesex, plumber (5/10-11).


On 4 April 1834, before William Boys had paid the purchase-money of £400, a fiat in bankruptcy was issued against him, describing him as of Eastbourne, wine-merchant, hotel-keeper, dealer and chapman. On 20 and 21 October 1835 his assignees - John Mann of Eastbourne, gent, Richard Mockett of Eastbourne, coal-merchant, Charles Burfield of Bengall Place, New Kent Road, Surrey, merchant, and Edward Edwards of Pancras Lane, London, sold the property for £400 to William Bishop of Hastings, gent. The conveyance incorporates a plan of the stable, distinguishing the freehold and copyhold elements (5/10-12).


On 20 and 21 December 1836 William Bishop sold the property for £300 to Samuel Crisford of Westham, miller, and his trustee George Whiteman of Eastbourne, gent. Crisford died on 20 January 1837 and his will of 18 January, bequeathing his estate to his children, was proved at Lewes on 12 March 1838. In order to save fees, the copyhold tenement was allowed to be forfeited to the lord of the manor, who granted it out to Crisford's son Samuel Crisford on 7 November 1851. On 8 June 1852 William Eldridge Crisford and his brother-in-law Charles Smith of Rye, architect and builder (who had married Caroline Crisford), purchased the estate for £360 from Samuel's other children Charles, Samuel and Harriet Crisford (5/13-15).


On 25 March 1867, by a conveyance which is not present in the bundle but which is evidenced by requisitions on title, an account of the steward for the transfer of the copyhold of the manor of Pevensey and a returned cheque, William Eldridge Crisford of Guestling, miller, and Charles Smith sold the property to the Revd Henry Thomas Grace of Westham for £500 (5/16-19).


[By his will of 19 April 1870, proved on 14 December 1871, Grace bequeathed his property to his sister Elizabeth, wife of the Revd Henry Kelson of Folkington, clerk; she was admitted to the copyhold tenement on 26 February 1873: ACC 2327/2/4/2].


In March 1872 Stephen Covell, who owned the property to the north of the stable and coach-house, was paid £5 to give up his possession of parts of the stable, which was leased on a yearly tenancy, with Preston House, to Edwin Geering of Westham, butcher, at £32 10s on 20 March 1873; the house was lately occupied by John Stone, clerk, before by Henry Browne, clerk, as was perhaps used as a curate's house for the parish of Westham. Kelson's signature was witnessed by Iden Walter of Folkington, who had served notice to quit on Stephen Covell in January 1873 (5/20-27).


[Mr and Mrs Kelson enfranchised the copyhold tenement, along with other freeholds and copyholds held of the Duke of Devonshire's manors of Sharnfold and Peelings and Folkington, on 3 July 1873 - see AMS 5583/6/1].


Also present in the bundle is a rough list of deeds, (5/28), a sketch-plan of the land north of the stables occupied by Stephen Covell (5/29), and a label for the entire bundle indicating that the stabling had been sold to the Duke of Devonshire (5/30), which an attachment to AMS 5583/6/1 indicates took place in March 1889.

Date: 1766-1873
Held by: East Sussex Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Former reference in its original department: AMS 5583/5
Language: English

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