12 October 2017

Manor Lodge (formerly Portslade Lodge)

Judy Middleton 2017

Copyright © D.Sharp
Manor Lodge (formerly Portslade Lodge)

The house was built in around 1785 and it is a unique structure in Portslade. The brick-built house was stuccoed in what was to become a common feature in the squares and terraces of Regency Brighton and Hove, There are bay windows and a charming hooded veranda along the whole frontage supported on wooden columns with a trelliswork balustrade. It was built unusually close to the road for a house of this substance but of course in those days the traffic would have only consisted of an occasional horse-drawn cart or carriage.

Marriage Settlement

It is interesting to note that legal documents appertaining to this property have been preserved in The Keep.

In 1789 Portslade Lodge formed part of the marriage settlement when Mary Bull, daughter of John Bull of Pangdean, married James Newnum of Portslade; the property was settled on Miss Bull.

It was a second marriage for James Newnum, his first wife being Elizabeth, an heiress of Portslade, and he was described as James Newnum, the younger, of New Shoreham. But the marriage lasted only for around two years because Elizabeth died in September 1787. By the time of his second marriage James was resident in Portslade and had kept the land belonging to his first wife. His second wife was also an heiress, which is perhaps the reason her family insisted on a marriage settlement plus an investment of £1,500 in consideration of his future wife’s fortune. In those days, unless specific provision was made, a wife’s fortune automatically became the property of her husband upon marriage.

It seems to have been a prescient move on the part of Mary Bull’s family because on 25 October 1817 James Newnum was declared bankrupt.

A New Owner

Wine merchant John Wallis then purchased Portslade Lodge. Perhaps Wallis had the bankruptcy in mind when he wrote his will on 16 May 1837 because he left land to Richard Fuller of Cornhill, London, and John Hamlin Borrer, who were instructed to pay the rents and profits to his grand-daughter Catherine Cordy for life ‘free from the control or debts of any husband’. John Hamlin Borrer was the son of John Borrer, gentleman, of Henfield. In 1822 J.H. Borrer was one of the trustees of the Turnpike Trust set up to provide a new road from Brighton to Shoreham that included a bridge over the River Adur. The Portslade part of the road cost the enormous sum of £18,250 and by 1851 there was still £11,341 to pay off.

Meanwhile John Wallis died 21 June 1837 and Portslade Lodge was leased to James Cordy.

John Borrer (1785-1866)

Although he was born at Hurstpierpoint, John Borrer had been resident at his newly-built mansion Portslade Manor since 1807, with the remains of the medieval manor still in the grounds. John Borrer was married three times but his wives all pre-deceased him, as did six of his children. He was a churchwarden of St Nicolas Church and would have needed a strong faith to survive such tragedies. He was involved in the move to have the north aisle built because the church was too small for the congregation.

Copyright © D.Sharp
The ruins of Portslade's Norman Manor and the 'new' Portslade Manor of 1807













That John Borrer was a man of wealth is evident from the fact that in 1829 he was able to lend the sum of £5,000 to William Izard, a Brighton gentleman.

John Borrer came to own a great sweep of land in Portslade totalling some 764 acres. The following are names of some the fields he owned in the Mile Oak area.

Hangleton Bush
New Barn
Distance Rest
Cock Roost Piece
Shepherd’s House Piece
Dimbledee Cow Down
Freeman’s Court

Then there were the farms:

North House Homestead (later North House Farm)
Stonery Gardens
Benfields’ Side Hill

There were also:

Hack Track Cottage (Foredown)
Part of the seashore and cliffs
Part of railway to Shoreham

He was said to own (with others) Tenantry Hill and Foredown Hill although strictly speaking these remained common land until 1861.

The 1841 census recorded John Borrer living at Portslade Manor with his third wife Sarah Anne, two unmarried daughters and his mariner son William Arthur who would later perish in the China Seas during a hurricane in 1845. There were five servants in the household.

In 1841 John Borrer, by then Lord of Portslade Manor, purchased two further plots of land at Portslade:

One lot costing £1,700 from Richard Fuller and John Hamlin Borrer; the other costing £740 from Richard Fuller, John Hamlin Borrer and Catherine Cordy.
The latter was Portslade Lodge and Catherine Cordy and her trustees agreed to sell. The property consisted of the house, garden, field, close, pleasure grounds and shrubbery plus North Church Piece and South Church Piece, which were both over one acre each. On 30 April 1841 James Cordy agreed to sell his interest in Portslade Lodge and premises to John Borrer for £600.

Catherine Cordy married John Campion of Brighton on 24 August 1841 but she died without issue on 29 September 1843.

Tenants

It appears that John Borrer let the house. The 1851 census recorded Kerrick Haultain as the occupant; he was a 74-year old Justice of the Peace who lived there with his wife, unmarried daughter and three servants.

In 1861 Matthew Wood was the resident. He was aged 44 and was a retired Major of the Indian Army. Apart from three servants, he was alone in the house on census night.

The Borrers Again

When John Borrer died in 1866, his unmarried daughter Kate came to live in Portslade Lodge. In 1871 Kate, by then aged 60, lived in the house with four servants, including a footman, a cook and a lady’s maid. By 1874 Kate’s spinster sister Sarah Anne had moved in to keep her company. Kate died in 1890 aged 79 and Sarah continued to live in the house.

In May 1893 the outside of Portslade Lodge was repaired and painted with three coats and the front door and shutters were grained and varnished. Work was also done on the stables and coach-house while the gates leading to the stables and gardens were lime-washed. Isaac Holland, landlord of the George Inn in the village, and seemingly a jack-of-all-trades was responsible for the work for which he charged Miss Borrer £26-10s.

Sarah Borrer must have been satisfied with the quality of his work because she engaged him again in 1898. The work included various repairs, a new cover for the well and fencing around a field. In addition Holland made good a wall using 70 bricks, 4 bushels of mortar, cement and compo sand. The bill came to £32-18-5d.

It seems as though Portslade Lodge and its grounds needed continuous maintenance and repairs were again necessary in October and December 1899. This time the stable pump required attention and cost 9/6d to fix while the flue of the greenhouse was put right for the sum of 14/8d.

Important Reception at Portslade Lodge

Revd Vicars Armstrong Boyle was inducted as vicar of St Nicolas, Portslade, and St Helen’s, Hangleton in June 1899. In the afternoon and before the service Miss Sarah Anne Borrer gave a reception in her home for several important personages. They included the Bishop of Chichester, Lord Sackville (patron of the parish) the Archdeacon of Lewes, the Rural Dean, the churchwardens and neighbouring incumbent.

Copyright © D.Sharp
Looking towards the rear of Manor Lodge from  Easthill Park

The Blakers

Miss Borrer died in 1908 at the age of 84. She left her property to her nephew Arthur Beckett Blaker (1842-1914) son of Mary, her eldest sister. He moved into the Lodge the following year with his wife Elizabeth Jane who also happened to be his second cousin, being one of the twelve children of Edward Blaker of Easthill House, Portslade. The couple had five children:

Dorothy Kathleen Blaker (7 February 1888 – 16 December 1966)
Arthur Wilfrid Blaker (1889 - 18 March 1915)
Brenda Mary Gordon Jones 12 March 1891 – 5 March 1962)
Geoffrey Beckett Blaker (15 March 1893 – 2 May 1963)
Barbara Joan Graham (24 December 1894 – 30 May 1948)

Before moving to Portslade Arthur Beckett Blaker lived at Isfield and Lewes. He took a keen interest in history and in 1882 he was elected to the Council of the Sussex Archaeological Society. In 1892 he donated several items to the Society’s Museum at Lewes including the following:

Several items from St Pancras’s Priory, Lewes
7lb cannon shot found near Devil’s Dyke
Three iron keys from St Nicolas Church, Portslade ‘two of them being of fine design and workman-ship’.

Arthur Beckett Blaker died on 25 August 1914. His son Lieutenant Arthur Wilfrid Blaker of HMS Invincible aged 26 was killed in action at the Dardenelles on 18 March 1914 and buried at sea. His mother donated the oak reredos in St Nicolas Church in his memory. It is somewhat ironic that at the time the anniversary of the Great War is being remembered, there are plans afoot to move the oak reredos out of the chancel.

Mrs Elizabeth Jane Blaker thus became a widow and lost her son within the space of five months. Her husband wrote his will on 29 July 1913 and he made his widow plus Reginald Blaker and Smithers & Sons the vendors of Portslade Lodge. The property was put up for auction on 2 July 1919 at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton. Arthur Lloyd Jones, brewer, purchased it for £2,250.

The property included five acres and 19 perches. The auction brochure described the house as a fine old-fashioned residence with stuccoed front, louvre window shutters and a veranda. Inside the house were the following:

Attics
Eight bedrooms
Dressing rooms
Drawing room measuring 23 feet by 20 feet with a tiled hearth and marble mantel, bay window on the south, French casements opening onto the veranda
Dining room measuring 18 feet 3 inches by 15 feet, 6 inches with French casements onto the veranda
Morning room measuring 16 feet by 14 feet.
Large entrance hall measuring 15 feet 9 inches 13 feet 9 inches
Kitchen measuring 20 feet by 15 feet containing boiler, range, dresser, cupboards
Butler’s pantry
Three cellars with bins and shelves
Paved courtyard
Outhouses
Timber and tiled wood shed and stove
Brick and flint Fowl House
Two piggeries
Cow house
Potting shed
Brick and flint stabling containing 4 stalls
Harness room
Large coach house
Tennis lawns
Two summer-houses
Shady walks
Kitchen garden
Fruit trees
Heated vinery with sturdy vines

Arthur Lloyd Jones lost no time in giving Mr D. Green, tenant of two fields, notice to quit. Jones continued to live in the house until 1929. Meanwhile Mrs Elizabeth Jane Blaker had died on 15 March 1924 aged 69 years.

Copyright © G. Osborne
1930s view of Locks Hill with Manor Lodge on the left

Recent Times

During the 1930s the house seems to have spent some time unoccupied but by 1938 the splendidly named Mr Ford Ford-Dunn was in residence. William Hawkins was the occupant by the 1950s while in the 1960s there was frequent change:

1962 – Michael Deasy
1966- John Deek
1969 – William H. Stannard

During this time the house came to be called Manor Lodge most probably to provide a visible connection with Portslade Manor, by then called St Marye’s Convent, which was owned by the Poor Servants of the Mother of God. This organisation still owns Manor Lodge although the convent was sold to Emmaus in 1997.

By 1970 Manor Lodge was split into two residences while today it is divided into four apartments.

On 10 September 1971 the house received Grade II listed building status.

Sources

Directories
J. Middleton Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
The Keep
How 10/9 Portslade Lodge, deeds and bills
How 11/11 Portslade Lodge, conveyance 1-9 South Street

Copyright © J.Middleton 2017
page layout by D.Sharp