Ronald Saunders, of
'Windy Mead', Potmans Lane, Lunsford Cross, near Sidley,
Bexhill in the County of East Sussex, TN39 5JL, do
solemnly and sincerely declare as follows
make this affidavit in respect of land and buildings in
Lime Park, Herstmonceux and the Herstmonceux area, to
the best of my knowledge and recollection.
I was born at Rocks Cottage, Herstmonceux, East
Sussex in 1921. I
went to school in Herstmonceux village.
The headmaster was Mr Bridgen. My favourite
master was Mr Smith, who taught market garden and
have lived in Sussex all of my life.
I lived in and around Herstmonceux until 1939
when I moved to Lunsford Cross.
I have worked as a Nurseryman and Market Gardener
all my life. I
have a good local knowledge of the area.
My father, Albert Saunders, worked for Baron De
Roemer at the turn of the century.
He was the Chief Engineer at Lime Park. He also
owned the properties in Lime Park and the park itself.
My father's duties mainly involved the running of
a steam-powered generator and energy storage facility in
steam powered installation comprised of three large
rooms or sheds. Two
of these sheds remain and can be seen today. As can the
concrete generator mountings which were located in the
room to the rear of the building, now removed. The
building was clad internally and externally with pine
timber trusses supported the roof. The rooms were divided by walls which, were lined with tongue
and grooved boarding.
The sceilings were also boarded and on the upper
level there were opening window vents in each loft area.
I do not remember the garage section with the
inspection pit, although it is has been there for some
were stacked in the room section nearest to the stable
accumulators were arranged for daily inspection and
included checking terminals and watering the cells to
make up for losses during charging. Other maintenance
included oiling and greasing the steam engine bearings.
It was a full time occupation.
father would start the steam machinery at 7:00 (am)
o'clock every morning and stop the machinery every
afternoon at 5:00 (pm) o'clock.
Coal was burnt in the boiler fires to make the
this time the engines would turn generating machinery in
order to charge the accumulator banks.
The electricity so stored would be used during
the remaining hours, so as to provide a continuous
supply of electricity for the park.
Excess energy was sold to selected village users
during the day. I believe this included the butchers and
it might have also included the early cinema, near the
fire station later on.
was raised from wells on site to supply the steam
well was permanently plumbed in to the equipment so as
to raise water. Water
was also supplied to the market garden at the side of
the main house and to the stables next door.
The valves remain on site.
steam engine installation was run at Herstmonceux
was very similar to that in Lime Park. Eventually,
around 1920, mains electricity became available at
Herstmonceux. There was no longer any need to generate
electricity on site.
The new mains electricity was quieter and more
convenient. At that time, the steam engine and
generating machinery from the building in Lime Park was
moved to the Castle. My father helped with the move and then continued to work at
the Castle, instead of Lime Park, for Colonel Lowther.
powered generating was common in those days.
I remember that at Bodle Street Mr Barnes had
three traction engines.
He would travel to local farms and do the
thrashing for them.
I left school at the age of thirteen.
At this time I continued to live at Rocks Cottage
in Victoria Road, not far from the Monkey Puzzle. My
first job was at the Horseshoe Inn.
helped out generally at the Horseshoe Inn.
My main task was tending the chickens.
This included feeding, watering and collecting
also made our own butter and cider.
The remaining time was made up in the gardens.
started work for Mrs De Roemer around 1936.
I was fifteen.
Mrs De Roemer lost her husband during the first
world war. She
was single. I
worked under Mr Stapley, the head gardener, together
with Mr Ransom. Mr
Ransom was deaf and dumb.
We communicated with Mr Ransom using sign
language. I remember that Billy Medhurst could understand the sign
language best. Billy
was the under gardener.
wage was 10/6d per week.
I only worked at the park for a year.
If I had stayed longer my wages would have gone
up to 12/6d. It
was the practice in Lime Park to bring in new persons at
the lower amount, rather than pay the extra 2/-.
I took Roger Watson's position and when I left
Nobby Clark followed me.
remember the old generating rooms.
When I worked in the park the building was
covered in corrugated tin.
This tin had been added, so I understand, to
reduce the risk of accidental fire.
The main left hand shed (as you went in from the
park drive) was empty of machinery.
Only the concrete mount remained, with the steel
bolts that held the engine in place. The floor valves
were still there and all the old plumbing and pipe-work.
The main right hand shed still had the accumulators
arranged in stacks all the way to beam height (8ft)
around the sides of the room.
was a stable next door with a garage.
This has now been added to with a house
is now known as The Old Rectory. The stables were always
empty of horses. Instead,
Mrs De Roemer garaged her Armstrong Sideley motor car
there in two converted stable units.
The yard was brick laid in a large square shape.
The door under the wooden tower section was where
we sat to pluck poultry. We used part of the stable
block on the left as you go in, to prepare seed boxes.
Mrs De Roemer had a chauffeur, Mr Green, who
lived at the end of the lane near Gardener Road, in the
remember that Eddie Simmons would repair cars at
Windmill Hill. They
also served petrol.
His father was the blacksmith from the same site
as the garage building.
My uncle, Mr Delves was the local blacksmith for
He married my father's sister.
would chop and saw wood for the main house.
The wood was stored in various parts of the
stables and in another shed in front of the generating
building was also used to store dried bundled branches
or faggots, for lighting the fires of the main house.
the generating shed buildings was a pig house. To get to
the piggery, you went through (what later became the
faggot store) into the back
yard, and past the coal bunker set in the
piggery was divided into two sections.
The front section had a gate about four feet
back section was covered over for protection as the
One part was for the sow and as she had her
young, they were transferred into the other section. There is now a second world war bomb shelter set into the
hillside past the coal-bunker where the piggery was.
Stapley lived in the Lodge at the entrance to the park
from Chappel Row (Church Road).
Two of us would sweep the drive all the way to
the main house from East Lodge with birch brooms.
We would also sweep the drive coming into the
park from the other end at Gardener Street.
The leaves would be piled on a leaf mould pile
opposite the Lodge.
We would then mix this mulch with soil for
grew vegetables in the market gardens past the main
Medhurst would regularly carry two boxes of sweet peas
across the field to the top gate and past the sports
field, to a bus in the village which, went to Hastings
remember that Mr Harmer ran the windmill at Windmill
had a bakery. Mr Weaver was the head baker.
We bought bread from him on Saturdays.
As a lad I would sweep his bakery rooms after the
days baking. As
a reward he would bake me a special small loaf with a
round top. At
the end of the drive to the windmill, near the cottage
building, was an entranceway let into the bank.
This went down steps that led into a tunnel
passage was said to go all the way to dungeons in
I only went a short distance into this passage
before it became too dark to go any further. Because of this I cannot confirm where it comes out.
Curtis owned a Butchers in the village.
He also owned a Brewery about half way up West
End past the Woolpack public house.
Mr Curtis later built a dance hall next to the
fire station. And
later still he added the Cinema.
I went to this cinema most Saturday nights. It cost 4d, and I used to smoke Woodbines on those occasions
which cost another 2d.
I later gave up smoking.
When I left the Von Roemers, I went to work at
Cowdown Farm for Mr Lindsey.
parents are buried in the Church next to Herstmonceux
Castle and my daughter Shirley lives locally at
Watermill Lane. She
was born in 1948.
can confirm that Italian prisoners of war were kept in a
camp put up on the football green close to Lime Park.
This camp has now gone, but football is still
played on the green.
make this affidavit conscientiously believing the same
to be true and I
attach copy of an Ordnance Survey based site plan to
confirm the general layout of Lime Park as I remember
it, as an exhibit.
by the said Ronald Saunders
in the County of East Sussex this ……….. day
Electricity Generating Works Circa. 1900 -
Room | Floor
Plan | Ron
Park | Machinery
House | Argus
Construction | Rural
Supply | Sussex
Express 1913 |
Sussex CC | English
Heritage | SIAS
of Herstmonceux by Margaret Pollard