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Charles Smeed [sm.10]

Charles Smeed was the tenth child of William Smeed & Caroline Turner born April 15th, 1833 at Brooklands Farm, East Grinstead & christened May 26th, 1833 at St Mary Magdalene, Cowden, Kent.

In 1841 Charles was one of 10 children living at home, which was Brooklands Farm, East Grinstead, where his father was a farmer.

Charles was still living at home at Brooklands Farm in 1851 & described as a farm servant.
By 1861 Charles’ father was a farmer at Fairlight Farm, East Grinstead and Charles was still at home working on the farm.

Charles married Ellen Lindfield in Jan-March 1865 at Brighton.  Ellen was born July 1st, 1842 at Chailey, Sussex, the daughter of Matilda Fry [f.3.2]  & William Lindfield, farmer.  Charles’s sister, Sarah Smeed, had married Samuel Fry in 1842 & Samuel Fry [f.2.6] & Matilda Fry were cousins.

In 1871 Charles & Ellen were living at Fairlight Cottage, East Grinstead, next door to brother Edward Smeed & family & close to Fairlight Farm where father William was still farming.  Charles was described as a gamekeeper & he & Ellen had 3 children – Charles (5), Albert (2) & Emma A (2 months).

Charles had become a farmer of 129 acres at Hoskins Farm, East Grinstead by 1881.  He & Ellen now had 5 children – Charles, Albert, Emma, John (8) & Evelyn (4).  Visiting them was sister-in-law Esther Smeed, wife of brother Robert.  There was also a farm servant living with them. 

A report in the Sussex Agricultural Express of July 20th, 1889 of the proceedings of the Magistrate’s Court revealed the following.  Charles & his sons, Charles & Albert were involved in a dispute with 2 gamekeepers over trespass & shooting rights on Hoskins Farm.  The dispute lead to blows & Charles senior was assaulted.  The Smeeds retaliated by kicking one of the keepers, pulling his hair & pushing him through a hedge!  It was noted that unpleasantness already existed between the parties & the case was eventually dismissed.

Charles & Ellen were still at Hoskins Farm, Grinstead Lane in 1891.  At home were Albert, working on the farm, Emma, John W, a clerk at the timber merchants, & Evelyn E.  Living nearby at Blackwell Farm was son Charles, now married to Anne, & their young family.

Son Albert married Agnes Amelia Fry [f.3.1.9] in April-June 1892 at East Grinstead.

In 1901 Charles & Ellen were still living at Hoskins Farm & at home was daughter Emma, a grandson Charles Smeed (11) & son-in-law widower William Grayling, a 32 year old newspaper reporter & secretary of the East Grinstead football club.  William’s wife Evelyn Elsie, known as Eva, had died suddenly in 1900 at the age of 23 after just 3 years of marriage.  On feeling unwell Eva had come to stay with her parents & after ‘internal complications’ she passed away despite all medical efforts.  Eva was well known in the social circles of East Grinstead & her death was deeply mourned by many.

In November 1908 Charles was fined 2 shillings as 2 of his pigs were found straying on the highway near his farm. (Sussex Agricultural Express, November 21st, 1908)

Charles was retired by 1911 but he & Ellen were still at Hoskins farm with daughter Emma Annie, still unmarried.  It was noted on the census that Ellen had had 7 children, only 4 of whom were still alive.

The following article was kindly provided by Graham Edwards, great grandson of Edward Smeed [sm.11].

From the East Grinstead Courier, 18 October 2007:


Charles Smeed was borh in 1833 at Brooklands Farm on the Hammerwood Estate. 
   His schooling lasted three years, successively at Holtye, Cowden, Mr Duplex's in East Grinstead, and Forest Row, each of which required a stiff walk of two or three miles or more.
   Then aged 10, he started work on his father's farm, as a carter-boy with four horses.
   When shooting parties visited Hammerwood he was one of the beaters.
   On the first such occasion someone gave him some old fashioned home-brewed ale, "good stuff, no doubt", he recalled in old age, "but for me then a little bit calculated to make the world go round."
   He and his younger brother Ned, "had an awful lot of trouble to get home".
   In 1873 Charles Smeed took on Hoskins Farm, Holtye Road, 129 acres on the East Court estate, and he stayed there until he gave up farming in 1911.
   In his 50's he took up hunting, on doctor's advice, as a means of getting fit.
   Charles Smeed frequently won prizes at the East Grinstead Fat Stock shows which were held every December.
   He had on the wall an oil painting of the cow that won him £39 as well as prizes.
   A journalist who interviewed him in 1912 found a silver-haired "genuine Sussex type".
   Smeed told him he was now paying £13 in rates for 81 acres less than he farmed when his rates were £4.
   In the 1850's, he recalled, farmers were exempted from the rates if they carried four loads of stone for the roads.  In those days there had been good prices for grain.
   Charles Smeed died in 1916 but descendants still live locally.
   When a housing development on part of Hoskins Farm needed a name in 2005, my suggestion of Smeeds Place was adopted, honouring not just Charles but the long line of farmers to which he belonged.
   Blackwell, Estcots and Fairlight were all farmed by Smeeds in the late 19th century.
   The name also recognises the importance of farming in East Grinstead's history.

Ellen died on April 3rd, 1912 at Hoskins Farm, East Grinstead, aged 69.

Charles died on November 21st, 1916 at 86 High St, East Grinstead, aged 83.  Probate was granted on December 11th, 1916 to David Relf, gentleman & Charles’ effects amounted to £164.  Both Ellen & Charles were buried at Queen’s Rd Cemetery, East Grinstead.

Daughter Emma Ann remained unmarried & the 1939 register shows her living at 'Sylvina' Blackwell Rd, East Grinstead & was now a retired housekeeper.

The children of Charles Smeed & Ellen Lindfield were:

sm.10.1  Charles Smeed born May 7th, 1865 at Hoskins Farm, East Grinstead, Sussex; died May 27th, 1942 at Orchard Cottage, Dormansland, Surrey

sm.10.2  Bernard Smeed born August 6th, 1867 at East Grinstead; died August 27th, 1867 at East Grinstead

sm.10.3  Herbert Smeed born August 6th, 1867 at East Grinstead; died August 7th, 1867 at East Grinstead

sm.10.4  Albert Smeed born September 2nd, 1868 at East Grinstead; died September 22nd, 1944 at East Grinstead

sm.10.5  Emma Ann Smeed born February 4th, 1871 at East Grinstead; died December 3rd, 1949 at St Annes Hospital, Redhill, Surrey

sm.10.6  John William Smeed born February 15th, 1873 at Hoskins Farm, East  Grinstead; died August 30th, 1940 at Uckfield, Sussex

sm.10.7  Evelyn Elsie Smeed born September 11th, 1876 at Hoskins Farm, East Grinstead, died January 30th, 1900 at East Grinstead



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