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St Anne`s School Lewes - Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations
April 11, 2014 at 12:25 am by v
St Anne`s School Lewes. . .
The original building and more importantly the land that it sits on has a very rich and interesting history, it closed down as a school at the end of the Summer Term of 2005, which means that nine years had passed since this abandoned and derelict St Anne`s School was laid to rest when these photos were taken. I dont believe in ghosts, spirits, things etc but something or somebody was there and it felt like, I was being watched and followed. Well weird I can tell you and I will not be going back because St Anne`s School has given me the “Heebie Jeebies!”
I found it sad wandering around the corridors and classrooms viewing the artwork created by long forgotten problem students and more recently the grown up adult artists. I also found it sad that East Sussex County Council have chosen to use this listed building as an overflow warehouse for the storage of old planning applications, excess cleaning products, bike riding leaflets and excess brand new office furniture. I took only photos and left only my footprints.
The Site Of St Anne’s School. . .
The site of the former St Anne’s School forms part of what was originally a 30-acre tract of land called The Hides, sloping down from the ridge carrying Western Road to the course of the Winterbourne Stream. Until the 17th century, it was dominated by a windmill called the Inkersoll’s mill, It was in this mill, now called Snelling’s Mill, that on 14 May 1264, in the closing stages of the Battle of Lewes, Henry the third’s brother Richard, king of the Romans, was found hiding in an unsuccessful attempt to evade capture by the Simon de Montfort’s troops.
In the 1420s control of the land was granted to the hospital of the Holy Trinity at Arundel, dissolved in 1546. In the sixteenth century the sloping site was used for recreation as well as agriculture – in 1575 Richard Shoulder of Iford was killed on ‘Snellings Mill Down’ when he got too close to a game of throwing the sledgehammer. The property descended as a single entity until 1754 when it was split into three units. The descent of all three can be traced to the present day, but we are concerned only with the south-east portion. In 1754, five acres at the south-east corner of The Hides were sold off to the Lewes lawyer William Michell, on whose death in 1771 they passed to his brother Henry.
The rectors of the poorly-endowed living of Southover had been pressing for extra income since the 1750s, and in 1782 a sum of £400 was used to buy Henry Michell’s land in The Hides. The purchasers were not the parish authorities but the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty, a national organisation established in 1704 to augment the income of poor parishes. In 1782, there was no intention of building a rectory – the purpose of buying the land was to provide an income from an agricultural tenancy, but the idea of a gradual increase in the value of the site as the urban centre of Lewes expanded cannot have been wholly absent from their minds, especially since the vendor was the also the vicar of Brighton, where development was proceeding apace.
In 1821 the Revd John Scobell became rector of both Southover and All Saints, but was forced to rent a house since neither parish had a parsonage. Three years later he began to press the Governors to use some of their capital to build a new rectory. His problems were three-fold – the population of Southover was growing and rents rising; his present dwelling was too small for a family of five children ‘and yet increasing’; and the field in question, ‘pleasantly and (what is of more consequence on this parish which lies low) healthily situated’, was already glebeland. He lamented the fact that ‘the ruins of the extensive monastery are the only vestige of a clerical house or residence’ in the parish.
By March 1834 Scobell had obtained plans and an estimate of £1122 to build the house; after further negotiations, on 12 August 1834 the first stone was laid, in the south-east angle of the building, ‘by the rector, and his wife but by the 1850s three of the four strips of the land to the west of the house became the site for Lewes Cemetery, and in 1882 the remaining strip was added to the Rectory’s land. The house remained the rectory for less than a century; on 8 May 1920 it was sold, with the permission of the patrons, the bishop of Lewes and the archbishop of Canterbury, to John Henry Every, owner of the Phoenix Ironworks and the so-called King of Lewes.
It is from that date that we begin to find tenancy agreements for the grazing of the land to the north and west of the house, which was itself let to a variety of tenants, including the Deputy Schools Medical Officer. On 20 September 1955 John Every’s grandson sold the house and land to the County Council ‘as a site for a school for educationally sub-normal children and a site for rebuilding Southover Church of England School’. The building was restored and expanded between 1958 and 1960, and in that year St Anne’s Special School, which had been established in De Montford Road in 1951, moved to Rotten Row. The school closed at the end of the Summer term of 2005. Adapted From : Christopher Whittick, Senior Archivist with East Sussex County Council, given at a public meeting, Lewes Town Hall, 7 July 2011.
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