Roads & Transport

Our Lanes of today were in previous times known by different names
Mill Lane –  Camp Road
Westbrook Lane – Spud Road
Workhouse Lane – Moor Road
Church Lane – part of the Main Road
Cottage Lane – Forge Road
Part of NewCut was Wood Road and the other West Road
Wheel Lane – The High Road

Roads were dusty and generally made of loose flints. Lay-bys existed in various parts of the Village - Wheel Lane, Doleham Lane and near Whitegates where lumps of flint were deposited. Men would be employed to sit and break this up into three cornered flints to make the road surface. They were called  "STONETAPPERS". It was one of the lowest paid types of work - average earnings being 3s.0d. (15p) per day!

On the road to Sedlescombe

The following extracts from bequests in early Wills give indication that maintenance of the roads within the parish relied upon the generosity of individual residents:


21 March 1555  
 "To the reparynge of the Hygh ways
within the Paryshes of Westfield and
Battell xs (10s)”  - Robert Byrchet.

19 April 1555  

"I bequeth to the amendment of the hye
wayes within the Paryshe of Westfield
vjs viijd (6s.8d)” - Robert A'Wyk

looked after the roads and bridges in the Parish.
They had to pay for the upkeep of roads, which resulted
in taxes being levied in the Parish for this purpose.

29 November 1894
Mr. Jesse Thomas of Platnix Farm and Mr.
Thomas James Catt of Lankhurst Farm
were elected as Waywardens

With steam driven rollers came the introduction of tarmacadam as a suitable road surfacing material.

Mr. Carter
(Grandfather of the Carter family from Churchfields) worked on the roads as an employee of the Council.

Bates family operated local Building firm. In the 20th century the yard adjoined Chapel Lane where the three shops stand today.

C1910 Delivery of flour from Mill at Robertsbridge to Eldridge’s Store at the end of NewCut Westfield

1913 First van delivery to Eldridge’s stores

Early motorbicycle owned by Mr. T. Eldridge

Public Transport

The only alternative to walking direct from the Village prior to 1919 was obtained, if there was sufficient room available, by a ride amongst parcels, goods, etc. which the local Carrier was transporting into Battle, Hastings or Rye – the nearest towns.  Baker, Easton and Turner are a few of the names of those who operated as Carriers from this Parish.

The turn of the century saw some improvement when Mr. Sutton with horsedrawn cart adapted for passengers, ran a service at 2d per passenger to link at  the Harrow Inn with the circular tram operated by the Hastings Tramway Company from 31 July 1905.

Dengate Bakers.  Many tradespeople would take passengers from one destination to another.
With the coming of the automobile, horsedrawn transportation for village outings was swapped for the “new”charabancs

First charabanc outing from Westfield
Outside the New Inn.

Fourteen years passed before a regular bus service through the Village came into operation after World War I.  Dengates of Beckley founded in 1919 were responsible for this and they ran a regular hourly service up until 15 May 1967. From 1923 the situation changed again with the Maidstone & District Bus Company competing for passengers. The hourly service did not alter, however, as the two buses would arrive within ten minutes of each other!

Vehicle used for first Dengate’s Bus Service

Dengate & Son Motor Services Timetable

At bus stop outside Westfield School

Ready for the return journey at Wellington Square Hastings

Cook's Coaches

COOKS COACHES founded by Mr. J.R. Cook (who previously ran a taxi service from his property and garage based at Cripps Corner near Sedlescombe) became a familiar sight in Westfield when the Company gained the contract for the transportation of children to the "new" Secondary Modern School at Battle (Claverham) when it opened after Easter 1955.    One coach ran from Cripps Corner/Sedlescombe and the other came to Westfield.

The business was taken over by Jean  and Wilf Thompsett  (the daughter and son-in-law of Mr. J.R. Cook)  in 1956. The writer well remembers travelling to school on the coaches when in 1958  the Westfield coach also picked up the very first East European children who had come to live at the Pestalozzi Village. December 1959 saw a grand new garage housing four vehicles operating from Church Lane Westfield. Jean and Wilf Thompsett retired in 1983.They are particularly well known for their generous  hosting of "Carols Around the Christmas Tree" each December at their bungalow which replaced the Coach garage.

Operation of the business was taken over by Brian Gain with a move to new premises at The Moor in 1985 (now Goulds Drive)  and finally to Eastlands Farm.


Deliberations for the construction of a railway line to run from Hastings to Ashford continued for some considerable time with plans being submitted from 1843 onwards for various routes. Whilst the railway was under construction the Railwaymen resided in temporary huts which, as work progressed, were lifted onto rolling stock and transported to the next section of line to be laid. The Hastings to Ashford line opened as a dual track, with Halts along the way, on the 13 February 1851

First named Guestling, the Halt a short time after took the name of Doleham from the farm within close proximity to which it stood.

© Image courtesy of "South coast Railways-Hastings to Ashford" Middleton press 01730 813169

One of the early locomotives which ran on the Hastings to Ashford Line.

Map of 1878

Nothing apart from the railway existed in this agricultural area before 1891. In the following years a large Brick and Tile Works opened to which a siding of the railway was constructed for the transportation of the bricks

By 1901 the cottages on Doleham Hill had been constructed (not as has formerly been suggested to house railway employees) but to provide living accommodation for the workers at the Brickyard. The 1901 Census clearly shows the families of Westcombe, Packham, Bridger, Lewry, Chambers, Santer, Moore and Green occupying nine cottages – all brickmakers. Three more cottages had been added by 1904. The Write r’s grandparents that year commenced married life at No. 12!

The Yard and siding later became used for agricultural purposes to transport livestock to the larger markets at Rye and Ashford. It is now owned by the Saunter family who have operated their haulage company from the site for very many years.

In 1979 Doleham with 3 passengers a day was voted the quietest station in East Sussex, beating off competition from Southease and Winchelsea to take the title! British Rail disputed the figure of three people a day. They said it was more:
“We did a count one August day and five people got on, six people got off, said the spokesman.

But that was probably the summer season rush”!

©2009 Ruth Carter. All Rights Reserved.