5.1 Guild properties

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Ditchling Common

The Guild Workshops and Chapel were located in a field North of the village of Ditchling on the southern edge of Ditchling Common with several members’ houses being located in the surrounding area – the map below highlights the sites of all of the major buildings associated with the Guild. Much of the central area of land belonged to Fragbarrow Farm, owned by Hilary Pepler from 1919 to 1924 and farmed by his son David. Many of the properties built by the Guild were on land sold by Pepler to various Guild members or the Guild itself. In this way, Guild-related properties came to encircle the farm.

The development of the Guild-related properties:

1.In 1907 Gill moved from Sopers (in Ditchling) to Hopkins Crank, an old farmhouse on the edge of Fragbarrow Farm. He also acquired some two acres of the adjoining farmland with a view to becoming self-sufficient. When Gill left the Guild in 1924 he sold the property to Pepler who lived there until his death in 1959. The property was then divided into three (Hopkin’s Crank, Little Crank and Crank Barn) and sold on.
2.1919 – Pepler acquires Fragbarrow Farm where he lived until 1924.
3.Over the period 1918-1920 land was acquired for the Guild Workshops which were then built by Gill and Pepler, supplemented by army huts. When the Guild disbanded in 1989 the land was sold, the workshops demolished and two modern houses built.
4.In 1921 the Guild Chapel was built close to workshops. When the Guild disbanded, the chapel suffered the same fate as the workshops.
5.Also in 1921 Woodbarton was built as a new house for Desmond Chute. After Chute left the Guild in 1926, the House was first occupied by by Gill’s brother-in-law, Charles Waters who also acted as the Guild Treasurer. In 1929, Valentine KilBride moved with his family into the house where they remained until 1982. In 1983, Edgar Holloway bought the property from the Guild and lived there until his death in in 2008. His widow continued to live there until 2016.
6.In 1922 Woodbarton Cottage brought into use as lodging from postulants. When the Guild disbanded, it was acquired by Jenny KilBride and occupied by her nephew Ewan Clayton. It still contains the mural of Christ entering Jerusalem painted by David Jones.
7.In 1922 the Crucifix was erected on the Spoil Bank. It was taken down in 1940 as there were fears that German bombers could use it as a landmark. It was never re-erected and was sold to an American Institution.
8.In 1921 – St Anthony’s was built for Miss Wall. It became a home for a community of Franciscan Nuns for a time and has long since been demolished and replaced by an up-market residential house. I have not been able to trace any photographs of this property.
9.There was more development in 1923 when St Rose and St Catherine were designed by Gill and built by Maxwell for two ladies by the names of Miss Mott and Miss Hinde – these may have been teachers at the Guild school. From 1924 until 1959 St Rose was occupied by Joseph Cribb and his family. St. Catherine (now called Brambleside) was occupied by Philip Hagreen in 1924 and later by David Pepler and his wife Betty who was Gill’s daughter.
10.Also in 1923 Ferrers was built by Maxwell as his family home. After the death of George Maxwell’s son, John Maxwell in 1979 the house was sold, demolished and replaced by an up-market residential house.
11.Less closely related to Guild, in 1939 July House was built by Hilary Pepler (by then, no longer a Guild member) for his daughter and was initially known as Maryfield. It is now owned by a charitable institution who use it provide accommodation for their clients.