This parish is located in the south east of Surrey on the county boundary with Sussex and adjacent to the old Sussex market town of East Grinstead. Felbridge parish was created in 1856 from parts of the Surrey parishes of Horne, Godstone and Tandridge and the Sussex parishes of East Grinstead and Worth and therefore straddles the county boundary. It is in the centre of the large area known as the Weald.
Two prehistoric tracks through Felbridge have been identified and a number of flint tools have been discovered proving that people were living within the forest that once covered this area.
The Romans constructed a road through the centre of Felbridge. The road ran from London towards what is now Brighton and linked a number of places where iron was being smelted including Felbridge. The presence of valuable iron ore in the area was the main reason the road was constructed to provide a method of transporting the workers and iron produced through the boggy Weald.
By 1500 a number of scattered houses had been built within Felbridge including two with moats around them. In the mid 1500s the local iron ore again caused a significant change in the area. Three lakes were made to power the growing iron industry which had constructed a blast furnace and hammer mill to make cast and wrought iron.
Felbridge was not a village, but was a family estate of about 2000 acres with a large manor house and houses for the two hundred workers. These houses were scattered across the estate and so were not grouped together as a village. In 1714, the Evelyn family planted two avenues of sweet chestnut trees which survive today. The lords of the manor in the Victorian period were the Gatty family and they built a church next to their manor house.
The last lord of the manor of Felbridge died in 1903 and the estate was sold for housing development in 1911. The new housing was built along the sides of the major roads and concentrated at the junction of the A22 and A264 making the village that is seen today. This unusual development of Felbridge is why it does not have a village centre with a village green, pub, church and shops like most villages.
Key buildings and sites
- Site of Hedgecourt manor (moated site)
- Site of Warley manor (moated site)
- Gibbshaven Farm (14th century)
- Lowlands Farm house (early 15th century)
- Imberhorne Manor house (early 15th century)
- Gullege house (late 15th century)
- Warren Furnace & Hammer Mill (16th century iron industry)
- Evelyn Chestnuts (planted in 1714)
- Village School (1783) ? the oldest school building in Surrey still being used.
- St. John the Divine Church (1865)
- To search the Felbridge History Group research on any building or family in the Felbridge area follow the link and use the search box on their website.
- Felbridge History Group