Newick is a medium sized Village in the Low Weald of East Sussex with approximately 2500 inhabitants. It stands on the A272 almost exactly half way between Canterbury and Winchester, hence giving credence in some peoples eyes to the Village fable that it lies on the ancient pilgrims way. However the main route was further inland on the high ground of the North Downs.
The ancient town of Lewes, dominated by its Norman castle, is the site of the battle of Lewes in which King Henry III was defeated by Simon de Montforte’s army in 1264. Simon’s army passed through Newick going to and from the battle having camped in Fletching on the night before the battle.
Newick predates the Doomsday Book although it is not recorded in it, possibly because the Village was, in those days, buried in the dense Ashdown forest. Certainly there was a church here in the 11th Century.
Copies of “A Pictorial History of Newick”, “Newick Retold”, “A Victorian Diary of Newick” and “A History of Newick Church” are on sale in the Post Office and Church.
Newick has one church, the Parish Church of St. Mary in the South East of the Village. A second, the Zion Chapel on Western Road has now been converted into residential accommodation.
There are three public houses, all historic buildings in their own ways. The Bull Inn, once the Bull and Butcher, then the King of Prussia’s Head, and also named the Crown stands on the Village Green. The Royal Oak (said to have been with no proof) a manor house in he 16th Century, parts of which are preserved in the bar. The Crown is an old coaching inn surviving from the days when the King’s Highway was what is now Blind Lane.
The centre of the Village is the Village Green with its pump built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Surrounding it are houses & shops in a variety of styles and ages.
HISTORICAL NOTES OF INTEREST
There has been a settlement at Newick for well over a thousand years. Newick in the estate of Allington Manor, certainly appears in the Domesday Book. The Parish Church of St. Mary has in its wall part of the eleventh Century Church.
The Village is approximately half way between Winchester and Canterbury and both these cathedral cities feature on the Village Green sign post. The old road into Newick is known now as Blind Lane, the present A272 being the path of the old toll road. The toll cottage still stands at the eastern edge of the Green.
Newick was a typical rural community and its tannery, laundry, two breweries, tailor's shop, dame school, charity school, bakery and jam factory all existed within living memory. The smithy, complete with chestnut tree, overlooked the Green and Village Pond until thirty odd years ago. Most of the older houses are built of locally made characteristic Sussex 'stocks' bricks. Several large family houses are within close proximity of the village centre: Birchlands, Bretts, Burnt House, Greenfields, High Hurst, Ketches, Marbles, Michelwood, North Lodge and Paynters.
The first manor house stood on the site of the 'Royal Oak' and part of it can still be seen preserved in the bars. The second manor house , large and impressive, stands near the Church.
On the outskirts, to the south, is Newick Park, built by Iron Master Lord of the Manor, more recently to become the home of Sir William Joynson-Hicks who later became Lord Brentford.
One of Newick's more famous Rectors was Clement Powel who not only reconstructed and enlarged the Church but also wrote many hymns featured in the well known 'Newick Hymnal' which he compiled. He lived in the Old Rectory next to the Church. His uncle James Powell owned High Hurst and the land and property from Allington Road to beyond the 'Bull'. A large residence known as Dove Cottage stood in its own grounds opposite what is now the Newick Garage. Dove Cottage derelict and now demolished has been replaced with chalet house on the land in Allington Road. Ajoining these is the one time Cottage Hospital now known as 12 Allington Road, a private house. Here too was 'Schoolcott' now demolished where Mrs. Elizabeth Fuller, church organist for fifty years, ran her dame school. Lady Vernon's School for girls was at the top of Fonthill whilst the boys attended at the present village school where Mr. Oldaker was the school master for forty years.
Thomas Baden-Powell succeeded his uncle at High Hurst. A cousin of Lord Robert Baden-Powell of Scouting fame, It was he who through his devotion to cricket, discovered and encouraged the cricketing talents of two Newick brothers, James and John Langridge, who played for Sussex and England. The beautiful High Hurst cricket ground with its boundary of lime trees, the scene of many early cricketing triumphs is now alas, a close of houses and bungalows.
The Tan Yard situated at the back of the Green (still standing) this served the glove factory in the High Street. Later this property became a brewers, a grain store and now a joinery company. Newick was famous for its high quality of ladies gloves. In fact 'no lady worthy of the name would dream of hunting in any other than Newick gloves'. More recently because of the quality of the soil and the equable climate Newick became a centre of soft fruit growing. Modern houses have replaced the gardens of Ribena blackcurrents, acres of strawberries and the famous 'Newick Leveller' dessert gooseberries.