What it's like to live in Lindfield
PUBLISHED: 10:21 13 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:21 13 June 2017
Nestled on the edge of commuter town Haywards Heath and within easy reach of the High Weald, Lindfield is an historic haven, as Duncan Hall discovers
Lindfield is on the B2028, on the edge of Haywards Heath. It is six miles from the A23 between London and Brighton.
The closest railway station is Haywards Heath, which is one mile from the village centre. Regular trains run to Brighton, London, Littlehampton, Ore, Eastbourne and Bedford, taking in Gatwick Airport, Worthing and Hove.
Lindfield is served by Compass Travel buses, whose number 30 and 31 services run hourly from Monday to Saturday between the town and Haywards Heath. Metrobus also runs an hourly Monday to Saturday 270 service from Brighton to East Grinstead which takes in Lindfield.
According to Nikolaus Pevsner, in 1967 Lindfield was home to “the finest village street in East Sussex”. Although Lindfield is now part of West Sussex, the history on display along the half-mile stretch of lime-tree lined road is certainly impressive. It was the limes which gave Lindfield its name – meaning open space by the lime trees. It was first mentioned in 765 AD when Aldwulf, the last king of the South Saxons, gave a strip of land entitled Lindefeldia to the creation of a monasteria or minister church. The importance of the medieval village was recognised in 1343 when King Edward III granted a royal charter allowing a market every Thursday and two annual eight-day fairs, which carried on for centuries. The village’s economy was based around agriculture, iron working and the wool industry.
All Saints Church, at the top of High Street, dates back to the 13th century. Notable buildings along the High Street include former poorhouse Old Place, which was built around 1590 and transformed by its later owner, the Victorian stained glass artist Charles Eames Kempe, who also did a lot of work on the church. The Thatched Cottage was reputedly Henry VII’s former hunting lodge. And there are a range of beautiful Georgian houses leading down the street to the village pond.
Annual festivals and events
Lindfield Arts Festival takes over the High Street and Common from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 September 2017 featuring dance performances, craft workshops, exhibitions, live music and talks. For more information visit lindfieldartsfestival.com.
For almost a century the Common has also hosted an annual cricket week, with regular visitors including the MCC and Nairobi-based team Kenya Kongonis. Cricket Week 2017 will begin on Sunday 6 August with a fixture against the MCC. A full list of the week’s fixtures will be on the website in the coming weeks: lindfieldcc.intheteam.com.
The London to Brighton bike ride passes through Lindfield every year as part of its 54-mile route. In 2017 the ride takes place on Sunday 17 September. For more information visit www.londonbrightoncycle.co.uk.
At the end of January Lindfield Bonfire Society commemorated the 411th anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ execution at their base in the Red Lion, in High Street. They have been holding bonfire night celebrations in the village since the late Victorian period. According to the society’s website the original bonfire boys were quite an unruly mob who “would burn anything they could lay their hands on”, from the village’s original toll gates to the load of an unfortunate passing wagon in 1900. The modern celebrations include a children’s fancy dress competition ahead of the procession from Pondcroft to the Common. For more information visit www.lindfieldbonfiresociety.co.uk.
Facing the village pond is King Edward Hall, which marked its centenary in 2011. Over the years the village hall has been a reception centre for evacuees, a library and a World War I convalescent hospital for those returning from the Western Front. Now it hosts community meetings, dance classes and monthly film shows.
The village centre has a range of shops and services, including a Co-op supermarket, pharmacists, delicatessens, florists, butcher, baker, wine merchant South Down Cellars, hairdressers, home interiors and kitchen shops and even a traditional toy shop. There is a doctor’s surgery at Lindfield Medical Centre in High Street, several pubs in the village, including the Red Lion, The Stand Up Inn, the Grade II listed The Bent Arms and The Witch, plus bistro Limes of Lindfield and a family-run Italian restaurant, Paolino.
Cricket has been played on Lindfield Common since 1733 when Sir William Gage, an early promoter of the game, hosted a match. Lindfield Cricket Club, which plays in division two of the Sussex County League, dates back to 1747. It has four league teams, a 20/20 side and a Social XI. The Common also plays host to Lindfield Bowling Club and Lindfield FC, one of the oldest amateur football clubs in the country, dating back to 1898. Other village societies include the WI, Lindfield Preservation Society, Lindfield Horticultural Society and the Lindfield Dramatic Club.
Ashdown Forest is only five miles north-east of the village, and there are plenty of footpaths across the Ouse valley going into the High Weald’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is to the north and east of the village.
Close by are the Ardingly Reservoir, Bluebell Railway, Borde Hill Gardens and National Trust properties Nymans, Sheffield Park and Wakehurst Place.
Lindfield has its own parish council and comes under the auspices of Mid-Sussex District Council and West Sussex County Council. Its Member of Parliament is Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Soames, who has represented the Mid Sussex constituency since 1997.