Five Ashes is a civil parish in the High
Weald of East
Sussex, England. The two villages making up the principal part of the
parish lie on the
A267 road between Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne:
Mayfield, the larger of the two villages is ten miles (16 km)
south of Tunbridge Wells; with
Five Ashes being 2.5 miles
(4 km) further south.
1 Mayfield village
2.2 16th and 17th centuries
2.3 18th and 19th centuries
2.4 Mayfield churches
2.5 Shops and businesses
2.6 Mayfield schools
Five Ashes village
3.2 Commercial businesses
3.4 Parks and recreation
4 Argos Hill
5 See also
Every September the village hosts its annual carnival. This is to
Protestants being condemned here on 23 September 1556,
and being burnt at the stake in Lewes. The festival is part of the
Sussex bonfire tradition of marking the discovery of the Gunpowder
Plot. The procession marches through the village by torchlight on the
third Saturday in September, climaxing with a firework display in the
recreation ground. The money raised through the street collection is
spent on charities.
Five Ashes Civil Parish falls within the electoral ward
simply called Mayfield. The population of this ward at the 2011 Census
The early village was recorded in the
Domesday Book of 1087 within the
Rape of Pevensey
Rape of Pevensey as Mesewelle, which may indicate a well on
tableland or more likely "belonging to Meese", a Norman man's name, or
less likely: a new well or well dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The
Norman French and Anglo-Saxon into
Middle English meant
that one person was often referred to by several spellings in a
lifetime. Various spellings of Meese include Meece, Mese, Mece, Mees,
Mey, and May.
The village name derives from both "Maghefeld" (a field where
mayweed grows) and "maid's field"–the village sign depicts a
maid. A number of 15th century emigrants to the new world had the
surname May rather than Maid, which indicates the Middle English
"mayde" in signage began as a rebus. Mayfield used to be a part of the
manor of Malling, to the north west of Lewes, which belonged to the
Kings of Wessex. Between 823 and 836 CE, King Egbert of
Wessex and his
son Æthelwulf gave it to Canterbury Cathedral: it became an
Archbishop's 'peculiar' in the Diocese of Canterbury, and one of the
Archbishop's palaces was built here. It was transferred to the Diocese
of Chichester in 1846.
16th and 17th centuries
Mayfield was at its height during the boom in the
industry, and many of the fine houses date from that time.
18th and 19th centuries
During the early 18th century, Mayfield became a centre for owling -
smuggling wool for brandy and silk. Gabriel Tomkins was the leader of
the local gang: in 1721 he was chased from Burwash to Nutley and then
was arrested. The gang had a reputation for not using violence; and
also applying their profits to the benefit of the local community,
unlike many other such gangs: the
Hawkhurst Gang in particular.
Swing Riots affected the area with army arriving on 15 November
1830. Some local workers were imprisoned or transported.
With the opening of the railway line in 1880 between
Tunbridge Wells a railway station was built to serve the village. On 1
September 1897, there was a railway accident on a curved section of
track between Heathfield and Mayfield near Clayton Farm. A
six-carriage train pulled by the engine Bonchurch was derailed and the
driver was killed. the station closed in 1965 following the
Beeching Report. The station building in Station Road is now converted
to a private house and the route of the railway is now occupied by the
re-routed A267 bypass of the village.
St Dunstan's Church
Both village and church are said to have been founded by the
Archbishop of Canterbury, St Dunstan, in 960 CE, and there are legends
surrounding his connection with the village.
Dunstan is supposed to
have become an ironworker and run a small forge next to the church.
The legend goes that he was confronted by the devil, either making
offensive remarks, or disguised as a young woman. He then
pinched the devil's nose with the tongs. The devil then fled to
Tunbridge Wells and doused his burnt nose with the spring
water. Some sources note that the story happened in
Glastonbury rather than Mayfield, and that
Dunstan may have in fact
clamped tongs around someone's nose, with the story of it being the
devil added later.
Anglican church is dedicated to Dunstan. In 1389 much of the
village and most of the church were destroyed by fire; the latter was
struck by lightning in the 17th century. The church was
subsequently rebuilt in the fifteenth century. The church is in a
mostly Perpendicular style and has a "squat, shingled broach
spire". Inside the church there are a number of graves made of
iron for the families of Mayfield's ironmasters.
There are three other religious buildings in Mayfield: the Roman
Catholic church of St Thomas of Canterbury (in Station Road), Coggins
Mill Church (a Free Church, also in Station Road), and Mayfield
Baptist Chapel (on South Street).
Shops and businesses
There are a large number of shops and other commercial properties in
Mayfield High Street.
There are two pubs in Mayfield: the Middle House (in the High Street)
and the Rose and Crown (in Fletching Street).
Mayfield College, the now defunct private boys' school.
Roman Catholic girls' boarding school, which
has existed since 1872, is situated on the High Street. The school
consists of years seven up to thirteen. The head mistress is Miss
Antonia Beary. The school is on the site of the Mayfield Old Palace
which, after being founded by St Dunstan, used to be a lodging place
for archbishops before being given to Henry VIII. It was
rebuilt in the fourteenth century by Archbishop Simon Islip, and was
Thomas Cranmer before being given to Henry VIII in 1545. It
was also used by Edward I and Queen Elizabeth I. After this, it
fell into ruin but was purchased in 1863 by the Duchess of Leeds
and given to the Society of the Holy Child, who established a convent
there. The school was opened in 1872.
Mayfield College, a now-defunct boys' boarding school run by the
Xaverian Brothers, was located in nearby Little Trodgers Lane.
Following its closure its main building, designed by E. W. Pugin, has
been converted to luxury apartments.
The village's Church of
England primary school is mainly Edwardian but
has modern additions.
Five Ashes village
Between Mayfield and Heathfield lie two small hamlets: Cross-in-Hand
and Five Ashes. The latter is part of the same parish as Mayfield.
The small village church is dedicated to The Good Shepherd.
There are no retail shops in the village apart from a Porsche car
dealership. There is also a pub called The
Five Ashes Inn.
Five Ashes C of E Primary School
There are two schools in Five Ashes.
Five Ashes Primary School is a
small voluntary controlled Church of
England school with around 45
children on roll. Skippers Hill Manor Preparatory School is a
small private school founded in 1945 by Ray and Maureen Ward,
remaining in the family until it was sold to
Bellevue Education in
Parks and recreation
In Five Ashes, there is a large playing field where football and other
games can be played and a skateboarding park. Adjoining the playing
field and village hall is a children's playground.
In Stonehurst Lane, there is a park with wooded areas and ponds called
Foxes Copse where dogs can be walked.
Rising about 7 miles (11 km) south of Tunbridge Wells, Argos Hill
is between the villages of
Rotherfield and Mayfield. It is known for
the landmark of Argos Hill Windmill, a grade II* listed building that
was built between 1831 and 1843 and operational until 1927. It was
restored in the 1960s, and was under threat of demolition in
2008. In 1939
Counties Ship Management
Counties Ship Management renamed the cargo
ship SS Canadian Constructor "Argos Hill".
Walter Gale, the first schoolmaster of the primary school in Mayfield
(now Mayfield Church of
England Primary School)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mayfield and Five Ashes.
Eva Margaretta Bell-Irving (1903). Mayfield: the story of an old
Wealden village. W. Clowes and sons, limited. Retrieved 18 January
East Sussex in Figures".
East Sussex County Council. Retrieved 26
Civil parish population 2011". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
^ Maps showing location of two villages within the parish
^ The Village Reference:Mayfield: St.
Dunstan and the Devil
^ "Mayfield Ward population 2011". Retrieved 11 October 2015.
^ History of the Deanery of South Malling
^ a b c Darby, Ben (1986). Journey through the Weald.
pp. 69–70. ISBN 0-7090-2586-6.
^ Gray, James S. Victorian and Edwardian Sussex from old photographs.
ISBN 0-7134-0131-1. image 165
^ a b Savidge, Alan (1975). Royal Tunbridge Wells. pp. 11–12.
^ Europeana image description
^ Woodford, Cecile (1972). Portrait of Sussex. pp. 96–97.
^ a b c d e Cleland, Jim (1985). The Visitor's Guide to Sussex.
pp. 78–79. ISBN 0-86190-139-8.
^ Church of St Dunstan, History of Church Building.
^ The Churches of Mayfield
^ Village Directory
^ Homepage of St Leonards Mayfield school
^ Gabbitas Educational Consultants (July 2004). The Independent
Schools Guide 2004-2005: A Fully Comprehensive Directory. Kogan Page
Publishers. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-7494-4164-7. Retrieved 18
^ George Isham Parkyns (1816). Monastic and baronial remains: with
other interesting fragments of antiquity, in England, Wales, and
Scotland ... Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.
pp. 88–90. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
^ St Leonards Mayfield School - History of the School
^ Armstrong, J. R. (1961). A History of Sussex with Maps and Pictures.
^ Gray, James S. Victorian and Edwardian Sussex from old photographs.
ISBN 0-7134-0131-1. image 91
^ Weston Homes restores
Mayfield College to its former glory
^ Country life, 2008, p. 54, retrieved 18 January 2011
^ Mayfield CE Primary School
Five Ashes Church of
England Primary School".
East Sussex County
Council. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
^ "School report on Skippers Hill Manor Preparatory in Mayfield - A+
Education magazine Spring 2014". Sussex Life. 9 April 2014. Retrieved
11 July 2015.
^ Sussex Mills Group: Argos Hill Mill
^ Friends of Argos Hill Windmill
Towns, villages and hamlets in the
Wealden District of East Sussex,
Best Beech Hill
Bodle Street Green
Cross in Hand
Five Ash Down
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Three Cups Corner