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Itchingfield

This tiny rural Sussex village lies about three miles distance southwest from the mother church in Horsham town centre and very close to the more famous Christ's Hospital School. A narrow lane leads from a minor `B' road to the parish church; here one finds just a few houses in the immediate neighbourhood and the immediate question is, surely, where is the village? The parish church serves a large area of mostly farms and small surrounding hamlets, the largest of which is Barns Green, now one of the many country areas being rapidly developed with housing.

A `Sixties' book on Sussex by Nairn and Pevsner tells us, "the land near the church has a panoramic view north to the Surrey hills unexpected in this close lush landscape. Only a few cottages by the church, another unusual thing for a village near Horsham, the rest scattered about in hamlets like Barns Green."

Evidence on record suggests the church is originally 12th century but like so many of this age, it has seen many re-builds and alterations. It is thought the north wall of the church is in its original Norman form with its windows. The chancel, it is known, was re-built in 1713. The timber belfry originated from 1683. In the grounds of the church stands the Priest's House of which the oldest part is 15th century. It is believed it was temporary accommodation for visiting or travelling priests from Sele Priory near Bramber in Sussex but latterly, was used as almshouses for the parish.

The local hostelry in Barns Green, called the Queen's Head, was, according to Pevsner , `completely unspoilt'. Of the remaining older buildings, Sharpenhurst farm stands out as a good example of Sussex building of the 16th century while Muntham House is a good example of Victorian neo-Gothic building of 1887.


The Queen's Head

Edwin Joyes and his wife Ann (Potter) were resident licensees of the above-mentioned Queens Head and the family home was next door in the blacksmith's cottage. At the time Edwin was one of the two churchwardens "presenting a carefully balanced statement of accounts". One of Edwin and Ann's sons, Edgar William, a loyal member of the Itchingfield church according to the Parish Magazine of April 1889, married Alice Saville whose parents originated from Great Dunmow in Essex. Her father was experienced in working on the land and eventually settled into the job of head labourer at Sharpenhurst. Alice met Edgar when she was working in the parish as a maid and Edgar was then a local carrier. In 1891 E Joyes used his horse drawn van for transport. [see 'A Day Out' on the Bygone Days Page]

Eventually, they moved to nearby Southwater where because of the growth of motor transport, he was forced to take work as a labourer with the County Council. This cost him his life in a rather sad accident involving road works and a speeding car which hit him. He died of head injuries and was buried in the churchyard of Southwater church where his wife Alice later joined him.

At the time of the accident he and Alice lived with their married daughter and son-in-law.

The children of Edgar and Alice had been born when they lived in the tiny Blacksmiths cottage, next to the Queens Head. The eldest was Ernest Edgar. He had to leave school to help support the family when his father's carrying business collapsed. An Aunt who had immigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand, wrote a lettercard to him.

My Dear Nephew, I received your little letter which I was very pleased to get and I hope soon to write you one day but not now, I am very busy. We have had a month at the seaside and now come home to do plenty of work. Amy, Edie are glad to go to school again but they miss their paddles. Bertha takes her socks and shoes off several times a day but is glad to put them on again when she finds there is no sand here. I do hope Ernie your mother's neuralgia is better also dear little Daisy it is sad to know that she is not strong but I am really glad that you are able to be such a helper at home. I expect though that you would rather be at school - but never mind dear boy - try and do all the little acts of kindness that lie in your way and the one day you will have your reward. With love from Auntie Annie, to you all. Feb 7.

It is not known if she ever got around to the promised, longer letter. Young Ernest's life ended abruptly, when he attempted to climb over a fence, with a tray of baker's goods for delivery, and fell, face down, in freezing mud. There were five other children. Wilfred, who is thought to have joined the Army, died in 1957 and was buried with his parents at Southwater. Frail little Daisy married and lived to the age of 89. Ivy married and emigrated, having a family in Canada. Dorothy, whose birth was recorded in 1897, died at two months. Edith, arriving the following year was later to marry Frank Thomas, and Jack, born in 1900, is thought to have married in London. His death was recorded in 1961.

Another Joyes resident for some time was Matthew Joyes who worked as a gardener in the village while Daniel Joyes married a Mary Ferral, a wife much older than he. In later times Luke Joyes was employed at Lawsons' Farm prior to his engagement with the Royal Marines.

Thomas Joyes with his wife, Jane (Anscombe) lived for a time in the village and some of their children were born there, including Matthew.

While many of the Joyes residents were buried in Itchingfield churchyard, none of the graves remain identifiable. However, a list of burials within the churchyard lies inside the church and this includes all the known Joyes of the village.

A page from the family bible

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