Strange Tales of Old Sussex – Turkeys and Tennyson

The Lydhust Estate is at Warninglid which in the 1950s and 60s embraced three separate farms – Home Farm, Old Park and Rout. They had all got into the breeding of turkeys. Indeed, when I first came to Warninglid, it could be said that if you dropped blindfold by parachute you could tell at once where you were by the unmistakable smell of burning turkey manure!

Tales of Old Sussex

Driving the turkeys 

From time to time it was necessary to move the flock between the three main farms. Frank Brown, then a neighbour from the farmhouse, had the task of moving them from Old Park, on the way to Slaugham, to Rout on the way to Bolney. He had a couple of well-trained sheepdogs who he used to drive 300 or so turkeys up Slaugham Lane and the village street, down to Rout. Of course, some of them escaped into gardens and ginnels, causing some havoc on the way. But eventually, they got there, leaving an amount of turkey droppings as evidence of their passing.

Warninglid, Sussex

Driving Mrs Tennyson

Well known for having lived at Black Down, Alfred Lord Tennyson was actually a native of Lincolnshire, and started his married life in the hamlet of Warninglid, high on the Sussex Weald. But he didn’t last long. Apparently, the house in which he lived was haunted, there was a baby buried somewhere in the house and smugglers (unburied in the cottage). There was no doctor, or even a butcher nearer than Cuckfield or Horsham, and Tennyson finished an unhappy week by pushing his wife in a bath chair in a thunderstorm to Cuckfield. He never came back to this part of Sussex.

Tales of Old Sussex
Smugglers’ cottage Warninglid

Contributed by Peter Benner 

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