Lewes Street Stories: The Nevill Estate

Yes, the Nevill does have a history!

Work on this project was inspired by the Lewes History meeting we had in February 2012.  Another look at my house deeds made me realize just how much information they gave me about my property and the origins of the estate.  Not only did they contain confirmation that the land on which the estate was eventually built had been owned by the Nevill family for many centuries, they also included maps showing the plans for development as well as details about the cost of the transaction.  Negotiations were carried out with Lewes Borough Council in 1920 by a committee representing the Marquis of Abergavenny who, as a “person of unsound mind” was unable to conduct them himself.

Aerial photo of the second part of the Nevill Downs Estate under construction in the mid-1930s. Image supplied by Robert Cheesman from www.britainfromabove.org.uk

The Borough Council Minutes in the Record Office and the microfilm version of the Sussex Express in Lewes Library fleshed out the story.  I have collected the names of those who lived in some of the Nevill roads in the 1920s and 1930s from Street Directories but there is much more to be learned from photographs, postcards, building records, other documents and, even more fascinating, the memories of people who are coming forward.  We very much enjoyed Brian Beck’s anecdotes at our November 2012 Lewes History Group talk, and others have been interviewed by Sarah Hitchings, Jenny Stewart and me.  Many Nevill residents shared their pictures and memories at a Nevill Shares event at St Mary’s Church Hall in November 2013. There is much more to discover. We also hope that similar projects might develop in Landport and Malling while there are still people who remember the early days of these developments.

Ann Holmes

We present here the results of this research:

  • Ann’s account of the early history of the Nevill Estate
  • Written memories of living in the Nevill from “A Lewes Lad”, Brian Beck, Brian and Jacqueline Bodle, Elizabeth Broadbridge, Robert Cheesman, Peter Fellows, Alan and Isabel Fennemore, Chris Field, Lorna Iden, Carole Kirby, Rosemary Page, David Sale, and Len Smith
  • The image collections of Elizabeth Broadbridge, Alan Brown, Rosemary Page, David Sale, Phil Flowers, and the Nevill Residents Association

We also include here a History of the Lewes Hospital for Infectious Diseases, written by Peter Russell in 1992. Thanks to Peter Russell, Colin Reynolds, and Fran Whittle of Lewes News.

You can contact Ann using this form: