The Last Word

Many readers will be familiar with the collections of unintentional humour found in letters to insurance companies, along the lines of “ I drove into the lamp post, then lost control”. It will come as no surprise that family history has its own collection of verbal nonsense, and a good sample was sent to me recently by another researcher called Jack Montgomery, who lives in Canada and who descends from Ebbeth Linfield of the Twillingate branch. Readers might find the following excerpts amusing.

It is hereditary in my family, not to have children…..

Family Bible in possession of Aunt Marie until the tornado hit Topeka, Kansas, now only the good Lord knows where it is .

The wife of #435 couldn’t be found. Somebody suggested that she might have been stillborn. What do you think? .

Any ancestors you can dig up would be appreciated ..

I am mailing you my aunt and uncle and three of their children ..

Enclosed please find my grandmother. I have worked on her for 50 years without success. Now see what you can do ..

My grandfather died at the age of 3 …..

He and his daughter are listed as not being born ….

We are sending you 5 children in a separate envelope .

I would like to find out if I have any living relatives, dead relatives, or ancestors in my family …

Military Records

Readers may be interested in a brief update on the records we have found of military service by Lin(d)fields. Alan Michael Linfield has a particular interest in this area and has written about some particular cases, and the material which has come to light in past few weeks has been passed to him for further investigation. This list serves as a short summary of the names in question.

Royal Sussex Regiment, deaths in 1914-18 War

LINFIELD, Harold Frank, private, no. G/1295, 2nd Bn, died 9 May 1915, buried Rue-Petillon, reference Fr 525. He was the son of Arthur George Linfield and Edith Mary Young and was born in 1893. The probate index at Somerset House shows the place of death as Richebourg L’Avou� and gives his address as The Laurels, Chesswood Road, Worthing. Database number #778.

LINFIELD, William Denn, private, SD/3164, 7th BN, died 5 May 1918, buried Pozi�es, reference MR27. His birth was registered in 1894 in Stroud, Kent, and we have no details as yet of his parents. Database number #4615

LINFIELD, William Ernest, private, SD/5183, 12th Bn, died 30 June 1916, buried Loos, reference MR19. Database number #13932.

Soldiers Died in the Great War

LINDFIELD William, gunner, Royal Artillery, number 15420. Shown as born and enlisted at Horsham, died 10 July 1916, in Mesopotamia.

Public Records Office, War Office Records of Soldiers discharged to pension 1883-1913

LINFIELD, William, 3rd Hussars, enlisted 3 March 1891, age given as 18 years 4 months. Declared parish of birth unclear but looks like Battlebridge. Town given as Redhill. Next of kin given as brother but with name of John Palmer. On discharge in 1897 gave address as 6 Chesham Place, Mare St, Hackney. He was possibly the William whose birth is registered at Reigate in 1869, and who married Amy Charter at Southwater in 1894. On the marriage certificate, he appears to come from Charlwood.

LINFIELD, John Henry, Army Service Corps, enlisted 17 July 1896, age given as 22 years 11 months. Place of birth shown as St Mary’s, Portsmouth, father as John Linfield of Fratton. There is a chance that he was actually the John Henry born in 1872 at Farnham, and who married Mary Combes, though this is far from being proved.

LINFIELD, Walter L, 2nd Rifle Brigade, enlisted 5th November 1870, age shown as 18 years. Birthplace shown as Croydon, next of kin shown as brother Jesse Linfield of Horsham. The name of the brother is consistent with him being the son of Jesse Linfield and Sarah Isted of Chailey, Sussex, but again there is some considerable doubt as to his parentage.

LINFIELD, James, Royal Artillery, enlisted 10 August 1887, age given as 20 years 1 month. Shown as born Hawley (sic), (presumably Horley), Crawley. Father shown as George Linfield of Marsh Lane, Croydon. Died of heat apoplexy in Dinapore, India on 15 June 1891. He was the son of George Linfield and Mary Fairs. Record #2326 in database.

Chelsea Royal Hospital: Out-Pensioners Regimental Registers: Index (Ref. 1)

LINDFIELD, Henry, Staff Corps, pensioned in 1823 as out-pensioner, age given as 45. Possibly the Henry who was born about 1776 in Cowfold, in which case his father was perhaps Henry LINFIELD #4855 and his mother Mary POTTER #4856. This however remains to be proved. His death may have been the one registered

in 1854 in Horsham, or alternatively that shown, also in Horsham, on 7 May 1854, for a Henry aged 78. The latter is shown on the death certificate as occurring at Wimblepost Cottage, Horsham; the cause of death is shown as apoplexy and the occupation as labourer. He may have married Ann HENTY #3442 on 1 Jan 1793 at West Grinstead.

Chelsea Royal Hospital: Pension Records (Ref. 2)

LINFIELD, Will, 32nd Foot Regt, number 117771, admitted 12 September 1854 to out-pension, and 1 July 1867 to in-pension. Died 20 December 1867. No trace of a matching death registration, so his age on death is uncertain.

LINFIELD, Charles, (unit not noted). Number 77172. Admitted to out-pension 20 December 1859; in-pension 1 August 1898. Died 16 October 1903. Death registration shows age as 66. Database ref #5174 or #4423.

Soldiers Records, Public Record Office (Ref. 3)

LINFIELD, Edward, private, 3rd Kings Own Regt. Light Dragoons. Discharge shown in Proceedings of Regimental Board 27 August 1847. Born St Helens, Canterbury; attested 7th March 1821, age 20, served 26 years, 163 days including 24 years abroad. This including service in Afghanistan in 1842. He was promoted to Corporal with effect from 4 June 1848. Medical report shows general debility due to prolonged Indian service. Discharged at Umballa in the East Indies. Shown as 5ft 7inches tall, with brown hair and eyes and fair complexion.

LINFIELD, Peter, private. Occupation on enlistment shown as labourer. Born Shipley, Sussex, attested for 15th Hussars at Brighton on 19 October 1829 at the age of 21. Served for 24 years and 74 days including 13 years 33 days abroad. Appears to have served mainly in the East Indies. Shown as “worn out from long service in tropical climate”. Description shows him to be 5ft 9 inches tall with light hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion. Discharged at Chatham October 1854. Almost certainly the son of Hannah Linfield, baptised at Shipley, 12 June 1808. Database number #8024.

LINFIELD, John, private, 1st Bn Royal Veterans born in or near Sydenham in the parish of Lewisham, Kent, enlisted at the age of 29 years and served for one year and 340 days as well as in other Corps, discharged on account of weakness of eyesight. He appears to have enlisted originally on 10 September 1804 (the Regiment is unclear) and served until 6 August 1812, and then from 7 August 1812 until final discharge from the Veterans on 12 July 1814. His age on discharge is shown as 39 and he is described as 5ft 11 inches tall, with black hair, hazel eyes and dark complexion, and a labourer by trade (Ref. 4). He is probably the same John LINDFIELD (sic), shown in the 1851 census at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, aged 75, widower, private soldier, born Lewisham, Kent (Ref. 5). His death is possibly the one registered in Stepney in 1855.

Award of medals reported in London Gazette

Linfield C, Corporal, (Bearer Company). War Office (Ref. 6), September 27, 1901 The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments ……… and for the grant of the Medal for Distinguished Conduct in the Field to the undermentioned Officers and Soldiers in recognition of their services during the operations in South Africa. The whole to bear date 29th November, 1900, except where otherwise stated. COLONIAL FORCES New South Wales Contingent. To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order. …. Corporal C Linfield (Bearer Company).

LINFIELD, Ernest George. Admiralty, Whitehall, 11 July 1940 (Ref. 7). The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Distinguished Service Order for good services in the Royal Navy since the outbreak of War: The Distinguished Service Medal …..Petty Officer Ernest George Linfield, Petty Officer, P/JX. 130002, HMS Hampton. Probably the Ernest Linfield born in Horsham in 1902, son of George Linfield and Amelia Ann, n� Friend.

Register of Names Inscribed on Thiepval Memorial, France…..soldiers who fell…Somme and Ancre 1916-1917 and whose graves are not known. (Ref. 8)

LINFIELD, Walter, L/Cpl 8th Bn. Rifle Brigade. Birth registered Q3 1890 in Horsham, Sussex (Ref. 9). Possibly the son of #5002. Shown as aged 24 and as died 16 Sept 1916, grave not known; shown as son of Mr and Mrs Linfield of Oak Cottage, Slinfold, Horsham. Age does not tally but there is no other birth registration with Walter as the given name in the period 1890-4. Army no 4007. Database number: #4541

Inscriptions on the Menin Gate, Ypres

There is also rumoured to be a Linfield inscribed on the Menin Gate which lists soldiers killed at Ypres but with no known grave. I have written to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to request a search of their database, but if in the meantime anyone should happen to be passing through the Ypres area, perhaps they could have a look and take a photograph for us!

(This list will be continued in a later issue of Longshot.)


1. PRO: WO 120/30, p 164

2. PRO: WO 23/173, pp 84-85.

3. PRO: WO 97/82

4. PRO: WO 97/1115.

5. PRO: 1851 Census Returns. HO 107/1472 fo 554r p34

6. London Gazette 27359 6329; 27 Sept 1901. From FONS

7. London Gazette 34893 4258. 11 July 1940. From FONS.

8. Imperial War Graves Commission, London, 1931:1521.

9. Ref: 2b297.


The Postcard Index

I imagine that most people have at least a few letters that they have kept because of some sentimental value or significance, and such collections may occasionally contain picture postcards as well. However, the vast majority of postcards are probably thrown away within a few weeks or so their receipt. Some of these turn up in auctions and on market stalls, and the rarest examples can fetch considerable sums of money. Most designs though, were of course mass produced, and have little rarity value to collectors, so the millions of cards in circulation represent an affordable, and largely untapped resource for family history research.

I was very interested therefore to receive details recently of a Postcard Index. This has been established, purely as a hobby, by Colin Buck of Cookridge, Leeds. He buys batches of postcards and lists the names and addresses of the recipients in a database. This contained some 14,000 entries when we last heard from him in September 1996, and he had several thousand waiting to be added. He collects cards dated between 1899 and 1950. His aim is quite simple – to unite the old postcards with modern day descendants of the original recipients.

Colin charges 3 to register a name and area of interest, then 1 per postcard, with subsequent postcards to the same address being only 25p. Needless to say, we have registered our interest in any of the name variants of Linfield and Lindfield, wherever they occur. We had an immediate success when we first registered, and the postcard shown below is now in our records. Postmarked 19 March 1914, it is addressed to Master E Linfield at Home Farm, Strood Park, Broadbridge Heath, near Horsham and the message tells us that the initial E stood for Eddie. The sender was called Ena and she refers to someone called Mary in the message. The picture on the reverse is of the Tower of London. This is where the detective work begins!

We have found no trace as yet of that address for any Lin(d)fields, nor of any obvious candidates among the Edwards, Edmunds or Edwins in the database. Eddie was presumably under 21 since Ena refers to him as Master E Linfield. If anyone can suggest who Eddie might have been, or who recognises the Broadbridge Heath address, do please let us know!

If any of our readers would like to register another name which they are researching, or would simply like to find postcards sent to their ancestors (or indeed to themselves) in the first half of this century, they can write to Colin Buck, at 36 Kirkwood Way, Cookridge, Leeds, LS16 7EX

The Winds of Change

Have you ever lain awake at night and, looking back over your life, wondered what it would have been like if just that little thing had not been allowed to have turned your feet into another course? Rather like a great express train is directed – just by flicking over a set of points which causes the great monster to go into a quite different direction. So it has been with our lives, little trifles so very small – hardly noticeable – have been used in God Almighty’s hand to direct our steps into quite a different path than we expected or that might have been. I believe in God, and believe that He had an over ruling hand in what happened in my life.

It so happens that in my family I can look back over 220 years and yet only then come to the birth of my great grandparents! My father was 49 when I was born, that was 80 years ago. My grandfather was 49 when my father was born. Then, strange to say, my great grandparents were both 44 when my grandfather was born, which brings it back to 1777 covering only 4 generations!

In another article I have told you how I listened to bits of conversation as I sat on the claw of the table under the chenille tablecloth. There i got the impression that my great grandmother Sarah had been a woman of some character. She was the daughter of a certain JOHN BURTON 1747-1835. John had come from a well connected family who had lived in Rottingdean for some 200 years. He had married a young lady in Newtimber, but sadly she had died only 6 months later. Then he met another lady who had just become a widow – ANN HYDER, and who had been left with 2 children and a large market garden. No doubt a mutual sympathy and an ability to help her brought them together. They married and had two daughters, one of whom was my great grandmother Sarah.

I get the impression that when Sarah met my great grandfather Allen who was the son of a very small farmer in Chailey, that it was felt that she had married beneath her! When later, John Burton made his will, he completely bypassed his son-in-law and made his grandson his heir. He made the necessary provision for his daughter Sarah during her lifetime. John owned the farm on which they were living and the adjoining farm on which he himself was then living, besides property in Brighton and the market garden and land in Hurstpierpoint, which had been his wife’s. This latter property he gave to his second daughter Barbara before his actual death. That Sarah was his favourite daughter was pretty obvious, as each of her children received a portion in his will. Her sister is stated in a codicil as having had her portion during his lifetime, and her children are not mentioned.

Sarah and Allen had 9 children. Ann, the eldest, married at the age of 20, a certain CHARLES TULLEY, and went to live at the mill farm at Scotches Farm at New Close, about two and a half miles from Fowls Farm, her old home. Here, on 23rd of March 1821, she gave birth to her little son Charles. After his birth she suffered much from postnatal depression. This caused her husband much anxiety, and one day while at work in the fields, Charles had such an impression that all was not well. At first he ignored it but it became so insistent that he dropped his tools and hurried home – only to find his fears well grounded – Ann was floating in the mill pond – dead!

Now, what to do with baby Charles? He was rushed up to Fowls Farm to grandma Sarah. She herself had been delivered of her youngest son John William on February 23rd. So, baby Charles was to be suckled by his grand mother. In after years John William would tell the story of this and laughingly say “ Yes, Charles had all the cream while I had only the skim milk!” It so happened that Charles was a tall finely built man while John William was short.

So, Charles and John William grew up together like twins, – uncle and nephew, – while Sarah ruled. So much so that when the boys became 13 they felt that enough was enough and they ran away! Charles went to Brighton and became a butcher’s boy. Speaking of this time he used to tell us of how, tired and footsore, he would have to walk through the streets carrying a wooden tray of meat on his shoulder. One day in particular he would recall how he sat down on a certain door step and burst into tears. But many years later he was able to buy the very house where he had sat!

He learned the trade of butchery and opened eventually his own shop and slaughter house. This was at St John’s Common, which at that time was fast becoming an important residential area owing to the nearby Pottery and Brick Works. After this he had his own farm at Pangdean and became a very noted breeder of Southdown sheep. So wealthy did he become that as his family married, he gave each a house, and built himself a house at Hassocks to which he and his wife and his one unmarried daughter retired. He lived to the ripe old age of 103 years and 11 months.

In his book, A Sussex Farmer, Mr William Wood writes: “At one of those fairs at Lindfield, a very dry year, .. ewes and lambs were in very poor condition and I came across a very large consignment.. . quite up to the standard of other seasons. The owner, Mr Charles Tulley of Pangdean Farm, sat on the wattles, and I congratulated him upon the fact that his sheep were as good as they always had been in spite of the drought. “Yes” he said, “nine years out of ten my flock keeps me, and when we get a year like this – I keep my flock.”

My grand father, John William ran in a different direction. He went to Chailey to his Uncle CHARLES AVERY of Longridge Farm, and became his carter boy. He was allowed to sleep in the attic, and he worked hard, one of his tasks being to take cattle to the market. He very soon became a very good judge of what was good or bad in cattle. This gift became very noticeable to other farmers. It got to the stage where they found it worth their while to get him to buy for them. In this way John began to get substantial tips and to store them away in his little room under the eaves.

Now on the opposite side of the road from Longridge is another farm originally known as “Huggetts”. But later it is known as “New House Farm”. A long row of Poplar trees had been planted along the road hedge at one time and while they were there the house was frequently known as the Poplars. About 1815 this farm was let to a WILLIAM LINDFIELD (Ref:#108 in database). He had been born at Keymer in 1788 as the son of Thomas and Sarah (n� Scrase). He had married first LYDIA STUBBS, but after the birth of their only child Frances, Lydia had died and William had married ELIZABETH WALKER in 1816. To her there were born 8 children and the lovely old house became a happy home to these youngsters. The great old farm house on the south side of the road had not been so blessed. Charles Avery was not married until much later in life. He did eventually marry the lady who had been his housekeeper so faithfully for so long. You can imagine my grandfather as a lad felt lonely at times, for “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” the saying goes! One little dark haired girl especially became a favourite with John William. He was five years older than she. It was not long before thoughts of the future began to form in his mind and being of necessity practical minded boy, he says “ I used to sit in my little attic window and look across to New House, count up my savings and try to work out how long it would be before I could marry Martha” (Ref: #224 in database).

Perhaps this was a good incentive to perseverance for we find that on March 26th 1841 at Chailey Parish Church John William married his heart’s desire- little Martha Lindfield though she was only 15! Yes, only just! After the service was over the Clergyman who married them said “If I had known you were so young I would not have done it! The marriage was witnessed by her father and mother so they must have had some confidence in him. For the first few months they lived at home with her parents but when their first child was born they are living at Ditchling. So I guess with intention to better himself John William is with Martha’s relatives at Ditchling learning how to be a butcher? Before the next child arrived they are settled at Stream Cottage, Wivelsfield Green, where they have a part of the house turned into a butcher’s shop with a small slaughter house at the rear. Here at Stream cottage were born nine children. By this time John their eldest son intends to get married so – again John William stops to think.

Martha Lindfield 1826-1874

Martha’s parents have died and the eldest son has decided to vacate New House. What could be better than for John William and Martha and their nine children to move back to New House and leave son John and his new wife in Stream Cottage. So, in 1864 they moved back to Martha’s old home and here was born the last of their 14 children, my own father being the 13th.

But sadly, in 1874 Martha died, not in childbirth but with appendicitis for which in those days there was no known cure. She was only 48 and my father lost a loving mother when he was only 6. But Grandfather was not to be daunted. The following year he married again and they had 3 more children, but my father said how kind his stepmother was to him.

But to return to great grandmother Sarah. During her life time the preaching of that great Evangelist George Whitfield and his great confederates had changed the lives of many families throughout England. At Great Ote hall in Wivelsfield, Salina Countess of Huntingdon had opened her house for preaching. The great William Romaine and others were guest speakers at her home. At last she built for the people of Wivelsfield a chapel now known as Ote Hall Chapel. The Burton Family were staunch Church of England attendants but somewhere along the line great grandmother Sarah and her family became Chapel attendants. The story went that Sarah who had been a keen card player, saw them image of Satan on the back of her cards and she put them down never to play again. Members of her family became much attached to Ote Hall Chapel and then there was a breakaway there, and Bethel Chapel was built. Children were often taken to chapels miles away to be named instead of being christened and because of the distance they were done in batches! In the case of William Lindfield’s family I eventually found them at Jireh Chapel Lewes where 4 of them were named in May I824. after Bethel Chapel opened batches of children were named there. When researching one needs to know a little about their lives and the signs of the times.

I wonder what future generations will remember about us.

Book Review

Downland Portraits – Life in Patcham. Preston. Hangleton and West Blatchington as seen through probate and other records 1650 -1750 by Graham Kean and Tony Ketteman. Available from Tony Ketteman (01903-812380) or Graham Kean (01273-551381) Price 5 plus p & p 2.20p

I have just read this book, which was reviewed recently in the Sussex Archaeological Newsletter, and I think it may interest other members of the Group, particularly those with Lindfield ancestors in the subject area who had migrated from Hurstpierpoint during the l8th century. The possible link lies with the Scrases who are described in the book and who farmed West Blatchington, Hurstpierpoint and elsewhere.

My attention was immediately caught by references to Patcham Preston and West Blatchington because my Lindfield ancestors appear in those parishes. JOHN LINDFIELD was married to MARY ANN KEMPTON in 1755 (at St Nicholas, Brighton) but both were of the parish of West Blatchington and the witnesses were HARRY AND JOHN FARNCOMBE. The book has a substantial section on the Scrase family and their links with other local families and farms including the Farncombes at Patcham. Perhaps John worked on the Farncombe farm at Patcham? John and his young family remained at West Blatchington far a short time (two children were baptised 1756 and 1758) but from 1760 onwards his children were baptised at Patcham. John Lindfield was buried at Patcham in 1816. The eldest son, another John born at West Blatchington in 1756, later appears in the parishes of Falmer and Preston.

This well researched book is based on information taken from surviving probate inventories and related sources concerning four groups of people, Husbandmen; Craftsmen; Yeoman Farmers; Estate Farmers and a Gentleman Steward who lived in the villages concerned. I do not know the occupations of my Lindfields but possible reasons for the Lindfield moves are suggested by the links between farms in these parishes and the information in this book brings these Downland communities very much to life.

The LONG Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Cuttings (Part 2)

In the last issue of Longshot, I reproduced a selection of items from my newly compiled index of Lin(d)field newspaper and magazine cuttings. I have now managed to complete this index, and I would like to thank all those members who responded to my appeal for more cuttings. The collection to date comprises some 166 separate items. Any member who would like a copy of the index can write to me, but please enclose 10 x 2nd class stamps to cover costs. Needless to say, I will be happy to show the originals to anybody who would like to see them. I shall continue to update this archive as and when more items come to my attention. In the meantime, here is another selection of some of the more interesting items.

The format of each entry is as follows: # : reference number; Title of publication, if known; Date of publication, if known; Title of entry, article etc, if any; Brief description of contents (including names)

#65. Worthing Herald or Gazette June 1975

Tribute to Mr Henry Gordon Linfield

“The death at the age of 86 of H. Gordon Linfield severs an important link with the history of this town with the time when glasshouse nurseries covered much of the area…

#66. West Sussex County Times? August 1973

Dobbin’s new shoemaker

Son of a horsedealer, 18 year old Nicholas Linfield, of Whicher’s Gate Farm, Rowlands Castle, has just passed his exams to qualify as a registered farrier.

#67. Witney and West Oxfordshire Gazette 23 January 1975

Memories of Adolphus Ballard?

Letter from MG Linfield of Black Bourton enquiring whether any readers have reminiscences of Adolphus Ballard, killed on the Western Front in 1915. His father was Adolphus Ballard, town clerk of Woodstock and eldest brother of Mr Linfield’s grandmother.

#68. Worthing Gazette September 1977

75 Years Ago (from the Gazette of September 24, 1902)

Meeting of local guardians to decide what action should be taken in regard to the Duke of Norfolk’s decision to appeal against an increased rate assessment on Arundel Castle. When the chairman protested that they must consider the advisability of ‘squandering the money of poor ratepayers on litigation,’ Mr AG Linfield asked him whether those poor ratepayers would be treated with the same

consideration if they objected to their assessment?

The Board of Guardians voted, by 10 to 9, to defend the action at the next quarter sessions.

#69. Worthing Herald or Gazette March 1979

‘Dutch’ Linfield dies, 82

Wilfred ‘Dutch’ Linfield has died at his home, 3 Farncombe Road, Worthing. He was a brother of the late Sir Arthur Linfield and was associated with all the Linfield nursery companies as well as being a director of the Worthing building firm of Payne and Linfield. He was at one time a county standard tennis player.

#71. Paper unknown 1980

Mushroom Magic!

Corn and pigs produce the compost for a 13 million lb luxury harvest- AG Linfield Ltd at Thakeham in West Sussex produce 33,000 tons of compost material a year on which to grow their mushrooms.

#72. Worthing Gazette 27 August 1980

Crops lost as deadly spray hits gardens

Sompting residents face having to destroy their prize fruit and vegetables following herbicide crop spraying on a nearby field last week. The spraying took place on land used by AG Linfield Ltd. No one from the firm was available to comment…

#75. Worthing Gazette 1980?

20 years ago…

Gifford House had a deficit of 21,884 on the year’s working in spite of many generous gifts… But Mr AG Linfield, chairman of the house committee, said, ‘The position is not as black as it appears on paper. We shall be able to continue for some years yet.’

#76. The Grower 17 March 1983

100 years of modern mushrooms

AG Linfield Ltd., who celebrate their centenary this year, are claiming it also as the 100th anniversary of the ‘modern mushroom.’ This may not be strictly true, for although Arthur Linfield started growing mushrooms in 1883 beneath the grapes which were his staple crop on two acres in Chesswood Road, Worthing, there is no evidence that his cultivation methods were different from anybody else’s at that time. Yet there is no doubt that the firm he started has had a great effect on growing the crop since he began…

#78. Worthing Gazette 15 April 1983

Linfields celebrate century of growing

You would expect a mushroom to mushroom. But it’s hardly likely that Arthur Linfield, of Chesswood Road, Worthing, cultivating spawn beneath his grapes in the 1880’s, could have foreseen that they would mushroom into the Chesswood mushroom business with its annual 10 million turnover…

#79. West Sussex Gazette 18 August 1983

From a seed sown a century ago

When 14 year old carter’s son Tom Dalman followed the growing tradition of many Thakeham schoolchildren and went to work in the large nursery near his home, he could little have guessed he would still be there 48 years later. It is doubtful, too, that he would have imagined then that he would be sharing in the celebrations this year of the company’s centenary. But these are celebrations 63 year old Mr Dalman is proud to be enjoying. The nursery concerned is part of AG Linfield (Holdings) Ltd., perhaps better known as Chesswood, the mushroom growers.

#80. Worthing Gazette 22 April 1983

Astute in Business: Letter from Frank Cave, former editor of the WG:

The article ‘A business that mushroomed’ in last week’s issued contained one or two errors and a most regrettable omission… AG Linfield Ltd’s centenary was in 1982 and not this year as was implied… the photograph purporting to be of AG Linfield, a son of the firm’s founder, later to become Sir Arthur Linfield, was of somebody else… and the omission, ‘which saddens me as a friend of the family over 50 years, is of any recognition of the brilliance of directive and control of AG Linfield Ltd by Sir Arthur.’

#88. Worthing Gazette 14 September 1984

“In the early 1880s, before there was any Methodist Church in Tarring Road, Arthur Linfield would visit the site of the present building and preach the gospel. Today there is a plaque on an outside wall of the church commemorating the fact that Arthur Linfield (1859-1938) ‘preached from this site’… On

October 7 his grandson, Mr Harold Linfield, will conduct the morning service there as part of the church’s centenary celebrations.”

#89. West Sussex County Times 1984

Coming up from ‘down under’

A couple from Australia, tracing their ancestors, paid a surprise visit to Bernard and Norah Lindfield, of Treadcroft Drive, Horsham recently and spent a busy weekend seeing for themselves places they had only heard of…

#90. Worthing Gazette 1984

Queen honours Sir Arthur’s son, James

A local horticulturist who travelled to Windsor once a month for 10 years to give his advice on the Royal gardens there has been made a Member of the Victorian Order… Mr James Linfield, 73, retired as managing director of AG Linfield Nurseries, Thakeham, now part of the RHM Group, in 1976.

#91. Worthing Herald 9 March 1984

Comedy Revue

Nick Linfield, grandson of Sir Arthur Linfield, has gathered a cast of 11 players from the West Chiltington and Thakeham area to present a comedy revue, ‘Black Sunday – I’m Bored’, at Thakeham Village Hall.

#96. Worthing Gazette 22 October 1982

This was news – 75 years ago. . .

A father was summoned before Worthing magistrates for disobeying an order to have his son vaccinated against smallpox. Mr WH Linfield, the local vaccination officer, formally proved the disobedience, and the father was fined 8/- and ordered to pay 6/- costs.

#97. Worthing and District Advertiser 21 May 1986

100 jobs to go as nursery closes

More than 100 jobs could go because trading losses have forced AG Linfield to close their mushroom nursery at Lyons Farm, Worthing. AG Linfield have been in existence for more than 100 years and have owned the Lyons Farm site for about 30 years. It was originally bought as a glasshouse nursery and later converted to a mushroom-growing farm.

#98. Worthing Herald 13 March 1987

Champion bowler dies at 74

Maltravers Bowling Club at Littlehampton have lost one of their most distinguished and long-serving members and a player of international repute with the death of Mary Linfield. A 74 year old widow, she died in her sleep on Saturday morning at her flat in St Catherine’s Court.

#100. Worthing Review 6 April 1990


Article by Jane Hill about Abingworth Hall in Thakeham and its history. Mentions that in 1944 the whole estate of 158 acres were advertised for sale as an accredited dairy farm with residence, farmhouse, cottage, lake, outbuildings and lodge. The bulk of 151 acres were bought by AG Linfield Ltd., whilst the residence, lodge and several acres of ground were purchased by a Miss Burton and Mr Norris and opened by them as a private hotel.

#101. Worthing Herald/Gazette 1988

A couple celebrated their Golden Wedding on Saturday – Worthing couple John and Nellie Linfield. John was 18 when he met 16 year old Nellie in 1932. Soldier John went abroad for six years before they met again and married at Tarring Church.

#103. West Sussex Gazette December 1991

Will the ghosts walk this year?

Traditionally it is at Christmas when the ghosts of Bramber Castle stir… laid up with gout one Christmas, Lord Hubert de Hurst invited young William de Lindfield to the castle to come and cheer him up. But Lord Hubert one day discovers William and his young wife, Maud of Ditchling, embracing in the garden. Lord Hubert, seething with jealousy, devised a plan to entomb the young man in a dungeon in the depths of the castle …

Many years later, so the legend states, after the castle was attacked during the Civil War, a skeleton was discovered crouched in a corner, head upon hands, elbows resting on the knees – these were the mortal remains of William de Lindfield!

#105. West Sussex County Times May 1993

Comedy knight to remember!

The first ever stage production of the Vivian Stanshall comedy Sir Henry at Rawlinson End is being put on by The Orion Players… Sir Henry has been adapted by Nick Linfield, the group’s founder, from the original musical comedy classic by Vivian Stanshall, ex-stalwart of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

#107. West Sussex County Times 31 January 1992

Bill shuts the lid on Workbox

The popular owner of Horsham’s needlework shop, The Workbox, retires in February after 21 years with the business. Bill Lindfield opened The Workbox in the Bishopric in 1971 with his partner and wife Daphne. The business enjoyed continuing success, but now Bill is retiring, the shop is to close, much to the lament of many customers.

#108. West Sussex Gazette 18 June 1992

Thakeham: Name chosen

A new road in Thakeham has been called Linfield Copse, in honour of Mr AG Linfield, the man who established the Thakeham firm now known as Chesswood Mushrooms. Parish clerk Mrs Barbara Laker said: “Mr Linfield played an important part in the village’s history and we wanted him to be remembered.”

#109. The Independent 7 October 1992

Gunman shot by police as siege at house ends

A man was shot by police after a gun siege in which a wheelchair-bound man and woman were taken hostage. Earlier the gunman had terrorised Alan Lindfield, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, as he struggled to protect a woman during the three hour siege at Heathfield in East Sussex.

#113. West Sussex County Times June 1993

100 Years Ago (From the WSG of June 1, 1893)

Littlehampton: Several vessels laden with timber and other building materials have arrived in the harbour, at Littlehampton, during the past week. Building operations are being vigorously prosecuted in various parts of the town… Messrs Linfield and Son are erecting a number of houses in the Gloucester Road.

#114. West Sussex County Times 28 May 1993

Merry Dance in France

A team of morris dancers from Thakeham danced to entertain Saturday shoppers in Le Havre recently. Included in the team, Chris Linfield.

#115. West Sussex Gazette 16 June 1994

Principal officer

Mr Christopher Linfield, of Storrington, has been appointed principal officer for West Sussex Social Services Chanctonbury area office.

#116. West Sussex County Times 2 July 1993


Married at St Symphorian’s Church, Durrington, were Robin Linfield and Dawn Mabbott. The groom is the elder son of Mr and Mrs J. Linfield of De Braose Way, Steyning.

#120. Radio Times 30 January 1993

Gorilla Tactics

Part of BBC2’s The Natural World series, the documentary ‘Journey to the Dark Heart’ follows the quest of Bristol zoologist Mark Linfield to capture rare lowland gorillas on film in the Congo. These gorillas are fairly elusive and have never been filmed before- that is, until Mark and producer Gary Dash decided to make a perilous journey to find them.

#121. Evening Argus January 1993

On the trail of gorillas

Bristol zoologist Mark Linfield’s week-long trek deep into the jungle can be seen by TV viewers this weekend. Mark travelled north by riverboat – 2,000 passengers and one toilet! – ending up at a pygmy village to find expert trackers. On the way to the gorillas’ haunt they had to negotiate a maze of tributaries of the Congo and huge swamps which surround the area.

#122. BBC Wildlife February 1993

On the trail of the original gorilla

Despite the overwhelming impression to the contrary, the typical gorilla does not live in the mists of the mountains of East Africa. In fact, the first type of gorilla to be seen by Westerners and the one that has the largest population – was the one from the lowlands of West Africa, and it looks very different. And yet, 150 years later, there is comparatively little known about this creature, and no film footage of it. Mark Linfield went to the Congo to try to rectify the situation. We show here what he brought back.

#127. West Sussex County Times 30 October 1981

Research reveals a ‘gem’

Storrington, in common with most large villages, once had its own band. One such band was the Storrington Military Band, founded in 1904. Joan Ham has been very fortunate to come across a hand script testimonial from the bandsmen six years later to the founder of the band, George Trotter. Included among the names: J. Linfield (Bb clarinet) and F. Linfield (baritone).

#128. West Sussex County Times 27 November 1981

Military band’s history

Joan Ham is continuing to ‘dig’ into the history of the old Storrington Military Band. A record of the band recalls: “They played at flower shows, cricket matches, Stopham regatta, gymkhanas, church parades on Armistice Day, and other public events and gave regular concerts in The Square.”

#129. West Sussex Gazette? 1981

Do you remember bandsmen?

Photograph of the Storrington Military Band taken in 1908. Mr Leslie Piper, 75, who played the saxophone and is in the picture, has attempted to put names to all the players, although there are two he was unable to positively identify. Included in the picture: “80” Linfield.

#130. Worthing Herald 18 February 1994

Georgia – the ‘miracle’ baby

Georgia Linfield, born three months early, weighs only 2lb 7oz. She is receiving round-the-clock nursing at Lewisham Hospital. Mum Rachel is celebrating her 25th birthday this week.

#131. Worthing Herald 15 April 1994

Georgia amazes health experts

Tiny baby Georgia Linfield, who weighed no more than a bag of sugar two months ago, is now enjoying life at home in Goring. Her delighted parents, Rachel and Philip, finally saw their wish come true when she arrived at their home in Maybridge Crescent last week.

#135. Brighton Herald 1 September 1905

A cab accident which occurred last week in Trafalgar Street has resulted unhap
ily in the death at the Sussex County Hospital of a vanman named John Linfield aged 57 of 4 Bentham Road. An inquest was held at the hospital on Monday afternoon. On the evening of August 22, Mr Linfield was crossing Trafalgar Street, near the station, when he was hit by a horsedrawn cab which he had failed to notice. He was knocked unconscious and was taken to the Sussex County Hospital. His injuries appeared not to be serious, but his condition deteriorated and he died a few days later. A post-mortem examination revealed an extensive skull fracture, extending from ear to ear, resulting in a fatal cerebral haemorrhage. Whether this injury was caused by the actual fall or by a kick from the horse could not be ascertained. The jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death.”

#136. Brighton and Hove Times 1 September 1905

This carries a similar report of the Inquest into the death of John Linfield. But it also contains two additional details: (1.) Mrs Ellen Linfield stated that her husband had left at 7:30 to go to work and was in the best of health; and (2.) Thomas Hall was also quoted as saying that if it had not been for the cabman shouting, the accident might not have happened, as it seemed to frighten the deceased and he apparently lost his head.

#138. West Sussex Gazette 11 August 1994

Remember When by Rob Blann: Turning back the Pages of history

Interview with Ron Page, whose grandfather Tom Page started Page’s nursery in 1887, when the glasshouse industry was foremost in the town. “Father was very friendly with AG Linfield and Edgar Piper; they went to a commercial college together, in Liverpool Gardens, or so I was told.

They both ran nurseries in East Worthing; Piper’s was where Davison School is now; and Linfield had Bridge Nurseries by Ham Bridge.”

#141. West Sussex Gazette 23 February 1995

Remember When by Rob Blann: From sea captain to major producer of mushrooms

Part 1 of the memories of 80 year old Peggy Champ (nee Linfield) about the history behind Linfield’s Nurseries. The story begins with the tale of how her great grandfather, Frederick Young, a seafarer, was lost at sea, presumed drowned, only to return some months later, having apparently lost his memory after being rescued unconscious from the shipwreck. Once home, he switched to a much safer occupation, nursery work.

The Youngs had two sons and two daughters. Edith, the elder, married Arthur George Linfield on January 1 1883 at the Wesleyan chapel in Bedford Row. But they almost missed the ceremony – part of the vulnerable road linking Lancing with Worthing had been washed away, and they had to take a much longer route via Sompting. They just got to the chapel on time, for there was a limit to the hour within which marriages could be solemnised in those days.

Like his father-in-law, Arthur was also involved in the nursery business.

#142. West Sussex Gazette 2 March 1995

Remember When by Rob Blann: ‘Love apples’ and earthy enterprises

Arthur Linfield’s first nursery was small and situated opposite the present entrance to Worthing Hospital Outpatients Department in Park Road. He retailed the produce he grew there from a small shop in Warwick Street.

He acquired his second nursery (Bridge Nursery, by Ham Bridge) in 1884 for an annual rent of 40. He sold his first nursery and the shop in Warwick Street to his brother-in-law in 1886. As business flourished, Arthur took on more new nurseries: in Ladydell and Chesswood Roads, north of the railway line, on the east side of Ham Road and Ophir Nursery on the front.

Worthing was full of nurseries, and it was the Worthing growers who introduced tomatoes to this country (originally known as ‘love apples.’) Mushrooms were also grown, mainly as a catch crop, utilising space in the grape and tomato houses. But it was a risky crop with a high rate of failure – growers persevered because prices were high.

#143. West Sussex Gazette 9 March 1995

Remember When by Rob Blann: Family firm ‘mushrooms’ for Linfield’s

By 1908, AG Linfield’s nurseries employed some 40 men and the first purpose-built mushroom houses were put up. What sort of people were the Linfields? “Grandpa was one of three brothers. . . who were quite sophisticated lads about town. However, Granny, strictly brought up as a nonconformist, exerted considerable influence, and soon had Grandpa’s feet on the ladder of the Wesleyan hierarchy.” The Linfields had a number of children themselves – one of them, Harold, was killed at the age of 21 during the Great War. A War Agricultural Committee made growers take out grapes, peaches and figs from the glasshouses and grow potatoes, of all things. After the war, only a few grapevines were left, and tomatoes took over in most of the glasshouses.

#144. West Sussex Gazette 16 March 1995

Remember When by Rob Blann: Recalling those happy days in the countryside

The First World War changed many things for many people, and for Peggy it meant memorable times in the countryside on a farm at Thakeham, bought just before the war by Mr Linfield and intended for his three youngest sons. By the 1930s, the soil, from long use, was getting less productive and land in East Worthing was acquiring building value, so many local nurseries sold their land and moved out. The growing side moved to the farm at Thakeham, and new nurseries were later acquired at Broadwater (Lyon’s Farm), Sompting (Halewick Lane), Ashington and Climping.

#145. West Sussex Gazette 23 March 1995

Remember When by Rob Blann: A child’s perception of AG Linfield the businessman

“Grandpa loved children and was delighted to take charge of his grandchildren. When I was staying with him and he’d pop me in the car and head for Thakeham, you couldn’t miss his real kindness. We’d have to stop at the beginning of Sandy Lane, where a ‘retired’ bicycle basket hung on a gate. The car was stopped and out popped Grandpa carrying a well-wrapped joint. He put it in the basket, took out a small envelope – which undoubtedly didn’t cover the price – and came back beaming: ‘Poor old lady can’t get to the shops – always bring her a joint.'”

For 40 years, AG Linfield served on the board of the old East Preston Guardians. On one occasion he asked fellow members why all the workhouse children were sent to the village school wearing the same distinctive dress. He pressed for this to be changed at once.

#146. West Sussex Gazette 30 March 1995

Remember When by Rob Blann: How Linfield’s ‘lake’ fooled the Germans

Arthur George Linfield died in 1938 shortly before the war, leaving behind an exemplary record of public service. When the Second World War started, a War Agricultural Committee was once more appointed, but it had some fairly funny ideas like its predecessor. Some young apple and pear orchards at Thakeham had to be rooted out and planted with Jerusalem artichokes. The nurseries at Thakeham were never bombed, luckily, as it would have been impossible to have escaped from the middle of a glasshouse in a hurry. Over the course of the first half of this century, mushrooms gradually became more and more important to the business, so much so that by the 1950s they had become the most important crop. The firm remained a family business until 1980 when it was taken over by Rank Hovis McDougall.

#147. West Sussex County Times 9 June 1995

Time grows by on mushroom farm

Hugh Sparkes, 65, has retired after 45 years with Chesswood Mushrooms, Thakeham. He recalls the ‘old days’ when Chesswood was “a very big farming company” with a thousand acres of corn and several other fruit and veg operations.

The boss would arrive daily in his Rolls Royce and “never ever not acknowledge anybody.” When the firm was bought out, “it took a lot of adjusting,” he admits.

148. West Sussex Gazette June 1995

50 Years Ago (From the WSG of June 28, 1945)

Warnham: The cricket ground again presented a happy scene on Tuesday on the occasion of the school’s sports meeting of some 30 events. W. Linfield won the Farebrother Cup for boys (awarded for the boy gaining most points).

#149. West Sussex Gazette 7 September 1995

Exhibition returns by popular demand

Old photographs and postcards providing momentoes of times past for Sompting villagers will be on display this month. Mr Bill Lindfield, who has his own collection of photographs and prints, will also be exhibiting at the village hall.

#150. Sandgate Conservation Society Newletter Autumn 1995 (No 41)

The Linfields & Sandgate by Eric Linfield

My great, great, great, great grandfather, Peter Linfield came to Storrington from West Chiltington (Palmer’s Farm) about 1779 and set up his butcher’s shop there. He died in 1791 and his family carried on with the shop for some years afterwards.

My direct ancestor, his second son Edward, married Hannah Hayler of South Stoke in 1795. Her father, Thomas Hayler, had a small plot of land at Water Lane and when he died Edward Linfield applied for the copyhold of Moors. They lived there for about 50 years and cultivated it as a market garden and this was taken over by their son Peter (1810-68) sometime in the 1850s. Edward and Hannah had two other sons, William (1798-1868) and Henry (1807-78), both of whom worked on the Sandgate Estate.

Henry had a daughter, Elizabeth, who gave birth illegitimately to my grandfather, George, in 1862. She was aged 28 and living as a farm servant with Thomas Barnard, the farmer, and his sons at Old Clayton.

#153. The Times 1 November 1995

Letter from Mr Alan M Linfield: Baptism Choice

Sir, Mr CER Blackwell asserts (October 30) that baptism is “essential if there is to be salvation.” However, we should remember that Christ was able to comfort the penitent thief crucified alongside him with the words “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke xxiii, 43).

#156. West Sussex County Times 16 February 1996


John Henry (Jack) Linfield died peacefully at Southgate on February 8 1996, aged 96 years. Leaves brothers Frank and Bert, sister Millicent, and numerous nieces and nephews.

#157. West Sussex Gazette 8 February 1996

Remember When by Rob Blann: Land sold due to a cash shortage

More memories of 81 year old Peggy Champ. She talks about her grandfather’s younger brother, Frederick Caesar Linfield, who lived in a large house called ‘Woodside’ in Bulkington Avenue, Worthing.

“Nominated by two other highly respected Worthing businessmen, John Roberts and Hubert Snewin, he stood as a councillor for Worthing’s north-east ward and became mayor. He had at that time a corn store at the railway bridge (Broadwater). He also owned the land around Heene Lane, but unluckily for him he had a cash shortage and had to sell it just before the development of it took place.”

#158. The Sunday Times 11 February 1996

Critic’s Choice (television supplement): Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Murder on the Links

Set in France, this story begins with a bit of history involving the murder of a nine-year-old’s father, probably by her mother. Cut to the nine-year-old as a beautiful twenty something (Sophie Linfield), whose boyfriend is off “on business” to South America, but not before he delivers the obligatory “I wish you were dead” to his father.

#160. West Sussex Gazette 6 June 1996

Letter from MG Linfield: ‘Sussex recollections of Kenyatta?’

An appeal for information from readers who may have known Jomo Kenyatta during the wartime years he spent in West Sussex. During this time, he found work at AG Linfield & Sons, market gardeners, of Thakeham.

#161. Daily Mail 11 December 1973

From an ex-English country gardener . . .

As a gesture of goodwill, President Jomo Kenyatta personally cut four dozen roses from his garden at State House, Nairobi, and dispatched them to London for last night’s 10th anniversary of Independence banquet at Grosvenor House. Where did Kenyatta obtain his green fingers? Working in England during the war at a market garden near Storrington, Sussex.

#163. Worthing Herald 1963

Kenyatta invited to West Sussex

Mr Kenyatta has been widely reported as saying recently that now he has been freed, he hopes to revisit Storrington to renew old friendships. One report quoted him as saying that he knew Sussex better than his own home country. Mr Kenyatta’s wartime job was as a nursery worker at AG Linfield Ltd., and at that time Mrs FW Eddolls was in charge of the canteen there. “If he comes here, then we shall be very pleased to see him.”

#164. Worthing Herald October 1963

Jomo Kenyatta at Storrington

Old memories and past friends were the centre of conversation last week when Kenya’s Prime Minister, Mr Jomo Kenyatta, returned to his wartime home at Highover, Bracken Lane, Storrington, the home of Mr and Mrs JR Armstrong. For six years during the last war Mr Kenyatta stayed in the area and with the Armstrongs at their home. He was a nursery worker at AG Linfield Ltd.

#165. West Sussex County Times March 1976

Kenyatta the labourer

In 1939, Kenyatta’s colleague, Dinah Stock, a WEA lecturer and secretary of the British Centre Against Imperialism, convinced Kenyatta that London was not the place to be while bombs were dropping, so he came down to live in Storrington at the home of Roy Armstrong, a Southampton University lecturer.

Within a few months of moving to Storrington, Kenyatta took a job as a farm labourer and later worked in the greenhouses at Linfield’s Nursery at Thakeham for four years, moving nearby to a house in Hampers Lane.

#166. Popular Gardening 1968

Your Garden is in for a Shock!

When you buy a pound of tomatoes in 1968 they may have been picked from plants that have been given an electric shock instead of being nourished on fertilisers. After four years of experiments, a Sussex nurseryman has persuaded plant scientists that he can double his crop of tomatoes this way. Gordon Linfield is no wild enthusiast or crank. He has his feet firmly planted on the Sussex ground. He has been growing tomatoes for over fifty years near Worthing, but his great achievement is the mushroom growing concern he and his brother run.


The LONG Collection of Newspaper and Magazine Cuttings (Part 1)

Miscellany (2)

Reflections from the President, December 1996

Browsing through the first nine issues of Longshot (1992-96), I am impressed by the energies of our Chairman, Malcolm and Secretary, Alan in establishing such a wealth of knowledge of the Lin(d)fields over the generations. I realise that their research work has opened up an extremely interesting family story and certain topics have suggested themselves as subjects for further investigation:

One topic might be the other Sussex families associated with the Lin(d)fields through marriage, such as the Stanfords and the Borrers. Perhaps we could invite a contribution from any family historian in those families.

Another interesting area would be the Lin(d)fields and their various religious quests, which appears so varied in a small family. We know that John Linfield was Archdeacon of Chichester in the early years of the 15th century (he died in 1440) but, as a lawyer concerned with civil law, he had contact with Rome for papal dispensations in connection with other benefices that he held. As I reported at one of our AGMs, he is worthy of more research some time. He bequeathed his better books on civil law and case law to All Souls College library, Oxford but only MS 55 has survived and can be seen at the library by prior appointment.

Malcolm has written extensively7 on the 17th and 18th century Quaker Linfields. The Worthing Linfields were prominent Methodists, and two of our members the Rev. Derek Lindfield and Alan Linfield have other non-conformist connections. I have sometimes called myself a Quaker Catholic but there were some years of my life when I was a member of the British Humanist Association and also in the 1950s I attended meetings of the London Buddhist Society where I met Christmas Humphreys, a Buddhist Judge who presided at some famous Old Bailey trials.

We also know that Peter Linfield, the Storrington butcher was a churchwarden at the Parish Church at some time when he was living at Palmers Farm, West Chiltington. There must be other family details. Additionally, we might ask members to write potted autobiographies of their working life.

Perhaps we could do a feature some time on celebrities we have met; Christmas Humphreys was very helpful in recommending books to me. Another Buddhist, whom I first met in the 1950s when he came to visit the school where I was teaching on thr edge of Epping Forest, was Professor UD Jayabekera of Colombo, Sri Lanka. We have corresponded at Christmas time for over 40 years – he is nearly 80 now but is a very interesting and scholarly man.

When I was at Cambridge I met poets and politicians, writers and jazz men, and many others. More recently, I have had close contact with Tracy, Marchioness Worcester who is a well known local environmental campaigner – the Times did an article on her last year.

Last October, through the kind service that Alan supplies, ordering copies of birth, marriage and death certificates from St. Catherine’s House, I solved one of my outstanding queries which should enable me to complete my picture of my father’s and grandfather’s story. I refer to it briefly in my article in Longshot Vol 3 No 2, pp. 51-53. Here are the details from the death certificate for Elizabeth Linfield – my aunt who died mysteriously in 1924. (My father was 33 when he had his accident and she died when she was 33, so my mother, a Knapp often said 33 was the Linfields’ unlucky number – avoid it if you ever buy a National Lottery ticket!) :

“12th November 1924. Found dead washed up by the sea at Pevensey Bay, Pevensey RD. Elizabeth Linfield, female, 33 years, General Servant (Domestic), at Buskoday Summerdown Road, Eastbourne. Found drowned on the beach at Pevensey Bay, washed up by the Sea. No evidence to show how she came to be in the water. Certificate received from G. Vere Benson, Coroner for Sussex. Inquest held Fourteenth November 1924.”

My aunt’s death remains a mystery as the coroner’s verdict was Accidental Death, but I have the documentary evidence of his views at the inquest now. Family history research would be much easier if we had GRO evidence of births, marriages and deaths before 1837 when it began; parish records, nonconformist records etc. are interesting but their searches are often very difficult. I well remember an afternoon in the summer of 1973 when I searched the West Chiltington Parish register in the church vestry.

The other interesting information also arrived in October, discovered by Rosemary Milton in researching old Sussex newspapers. It appears in the Sussex Weekly Advertiser of October 11 1779:

WHEREAS we EDMUND SEARL and PETER LINDFIELD, both of STORRINGTON, in the County of SUSSEX, Butchers, did appear before Sir Harry Goring, Baronet, one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said County, in Pursuance of his Summons for that Purpose, at the Chequer Inn, in Steyning, on the 10th Day of February last, in order to prove that John Scardefield, of Storrington, aforesaid, had sold two Hares to Henry Baker, of the same place, Farmer; the said Sir Harry Goring, Baronet, having an Information thereof lodged before him by William Green, Esq. another of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said County, and which we could have proved, but with great Contempt refused to be sworn for that Purpose; And whereas an Indictment hath been preferred against us for such our Contempt, and the same came on this day to be tried at the Quarter Sessions, at Petworth, in the said County, but at our earnest Request, and on our paying the Costs and Ten Pounds, to be distributed as the above-mentioned Justices of the Peace shall direct, the Court, with the kind Consent of our Prosecutors, forgave us, on our promising to ask Pardon in this public Manner, and paying the Money and Costs above-mentioned; We, therefore, hereby most humbly ask Pardon for such our scandalous Behaviour, and do acknowledge the great Goodness of the Court, and our Prosecutors, for their kind Forgiveness on such easy Terms, and do promise for ourselves, and recommend to every Body else, never to be guilty of the like Contempt to Magistracy in future. As Witness our Hands, this 5th Day of October, 1779. PETER LINDFIELD, EDMUND SEARL.

Malcolm, Alan and I have met occasionally at the Chequers in recent years for exchanging Lin(d)field information, so it seems that the Lin(d)field families have over 200 years association with that lovely old inn in the heart of Steyning High Street.

Once again, can I invite our Lin(d)field One Name Group members to submit some written record of their branch of an unusual Wealden family to the Editor.

Jomo Kenyatta


I recently sent a letter of enquiry to the West Sussex Gazette, which appeared in the edition of June 6 1996. It reads as follows:

“Dear Sir: On behalf of somebody who is researching the life of Jomo Kenyatta, I have been asked to find out what I can about the wartime years he spent in West Sussex before he returned to Kenya in 1946. The knowledge I have is fairly limited, and I am hoping to appeal to readers who may have known him during his time in this county.

The sum of my knowledge is this: Kenyatta came to England in 1929 as official spokesman for his people, the Kikuyu, to try and redress their grievances against the colonial government. He stayed in England for the next 17 years, during which time he studied anthropology at the University of London and wrote his acclaimed book ‘Facing Mount Kenya’, which was published in 1938.

The outbreak of war prevented Kenyatta returning home. In 1940, he came down to Sussex where he found work at AG Linfield and Sons, market gardeners, at Thakeham. He was initially put to work in the tomato hot-houses.

During this time he lived in the neighbouring village of Storrington, where I believe he married a local girl. They had a son, Peter, who eventually went to live in Kenya. He was something of a novelty to the local people, who affectionately called him ‘Jumbo’. I also believe he travelled up to London one day a week to continue his studies.

I remember my grandfather telling me years ago that he had Kenyatta over to lunch on a number of occasions, when they discussed politics among other things. I don’t expect they always agreed on everything! My grandfather gave me a book which Kenyatta had written and given him – it is called ‘My People of Kikuyu’ and is inscribed inside the front cover: “To AG Linfield. With best wishes, Jomo Kenyatta. 17-4-42.

If any of your readers have any interesting recollections of Kenyatta, then I shall be delighted to hear from them.”

Although the number of letters I received was small, they were all of interest, so my appeal to the WSG had not been in vain. They certainly added to my knowledge of this fairly controversial figure. His connection with my family has always fascinated me, and since he is therefore a part of my family history, I have decided to write this article about him.

Perhaps the most interesting letter came from the daughter of Roy Armstrong, with whom Kenyatta lived as a paying tenant during the war years. I went to see her and she showed me where Jomo had his vegetable plot in their large garden. I had always thought that Jomo actually lived in the village of Storrington, whereas, in fact, he lived in the Sandgate area, some 2 miles to the east of the village – heathland and beautiful wooded countryside, with spectacular views of the South Downs. Apparently, Jomo felt quite at home here, since the similarities with his homeland were quite striking. During his visit to England in 1963 when he attended the Lancaster House Conference in London, now as prime minister of Kenya, Jomo made a special trip with his cabinet to visit the Armstrongs.

Apparently I made a couple of mistakes in my letter to the WSG. Kenyatta’s English wife came from Ashington and was called Edna Clarke. She was a fellow lecturer in the WEA, which is how she came to meet Jomo. They had a son, Peter, born in 1943, but he never settled in Kenya, as I incorrectly stated, and works as a researcher/journalist for the BBC. Jomo had another son in Kenya, whom he also called Peter, which is what led to my confusion!


As general secretary of the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA), Kenyatta was sent to London as their official representative on 17 February 1929. Despite the reports of a number of Royal Commissions sent to Kenya in the 1920s, the KCA still felt strongly that their grievances had not being properly addressed. By sending their official spokesman to the very heart of the British Empire, they now felt that they possibly stood a better chance of obtaining concessions. Incidentally, Jomo may well have been introduced to my grandfather’s uncle, Frederick Caesar Linfield (1861-1939) who, as a Liberal Member of Parliament, was a member of the Parliamentary Commission sent to East Africa in 1924.

Since colonisation in the 1890s, the deprivation of their land in ever increasing amounts was to become the major grievance of the Kikuyu. By 1904, large numbers of white settlers had been allocated farm areas in central Kikuyuland, and by 1905 some 11,000 Kiambu Kikuyu alone had lost 60,000 acres. Many were forced to work as cheap labour on the European farms, which was particularly degrading for a traditionally independent people. White settlement in Kiambu effectively blocked the possible expansion of the Kikuyu and closed the southern frontier. The closing of the frontier was of great importance in the 1930s, when population pressures, limited resources and opportunities led to a growing sense of despair among the people. Their inability to redress their economic, social and political grievances through their political organisations (the Kikuyu Association was formed in 1920) only added to the intensity of their frustrations.

Evicted Kikuyu were forced to migrate to the towns, where growing unemployment aggravated their problems and sense of despair. Barriers were also erected to stifle all African aspirations to advancement and to positions of prestige and status in the white market economy. Thus the African was forbidden to cultivate cash crops like coffee, tea, sisal and pyrethrum. The role of the African was essentially limited to that of a low wage earner.

Throughout the colonial period in Kenya, the cultural traditions of the Kikuyu were also challenged by the whites. The Kikuyu had their own religion, superstitions and ceremonial circumcision or initiation rites; they also believed in the spiritual presence of ancestors. But the Europeans made little effort to understand Kikuyu customs and condemned them out of hand. The missions were a major source of Kikuyu resentment because they demanded a total transformation without compromise. But from about 1923, the aims and motives of the missionary churches were increasingly questioned by the Kikuyu people – their authority was no longer regarded as sacrosanct.

This was the background to Kenyatta’s visit to England in 1929, his objective being to take his people’s complaints to the very top. His trip was financed by a group of Indian merchants, who saw the potential of sending the articulate and persuasive Kenyatta to the centre of British politics. Unfortunately, perhaps not surprisingly at the time, Kenyatta found himself facing something of a brick wall; while there were plenty of people who were sympathetic and interested, the colonial office refused to even see him. Nevertheless, a meeting with Drummond Shiels (British colonial under-secretary) in 1930 proved particularly prophetic; he argued that to “refuse to see or hear emissaries of the discontented” would only drive them towards “violent methods” (Ref. 1) Kenyatta returned briefly to Kenya in October 1930, since the Indians were no longer willing to support him. Since he could do more in London than back home, the KCA raised the necessary money to send him back and he left towards the end of 1931, but this time he was to stay away for the next 15 years.

Kenyatta found odd jobs to finance his mission and lived as cheaply as he could. He continued to bombard the Colonial Office with petitions, all of which were ignored. He must have lived a thoroughly frustrating existence, with little to show for his efforts. He achieved some success in 1932 when he managed to persuade the Carter Land Commission to offer compensation to those evicted from their lands by the settlers, although Africans were still to be barred from the choice highlands area. In 1936, he embarked on a course of anthropology at the University of London under Bronislaw Malinowski, at that time arguably the leading expert in his field in England. Malinowski was struck by Kenyatta’s intelligence and true understanding of his people’s culture, and helped prepare his book, mentioned earlier, “Facing Mount Kenya” which came out in 1938. The book was a bestseller, and helped to establish Kenyatta as something of a celebrity who people wanted to meet and talk to. But the book was more than a history of his people’s culture- it was also full of propaganda and attacked the whole colonial system in Kenya.

Kenyatta was now ready to return to Kenya, having at least done much to publicise the grievances of his people to the outside world. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Second World War put paid to his plans, and the world lost interest in African politics as the activities of Hitler and the Nazis dominated the world stage. Unable to return home, he was persuaded by his friend Dinah Stock that they should leave London and stay with friends in the relative safety of the country. They set out to stay with friends near the village of Storrington in West Sussex, and so they arrived at the home of Roy Armstrong, a Southampton University lecturer. The peaceful countryside was, in many ways, a home from home to Kenyatta, with its view of the rolling South Downs, its bracken and silver birches, its woods and farmland. He certainly felt comfortable here, and stayed throughout the duration of the war.

Roy Armstrong rented out the flat in his house to Dinah Stock and Kenyatta in 1939. He was given his own area of scrub to clear where he successfully cultivated his own supply of vegetables and kept some chickens. Armstrong’s daughter, who was a small girl at the time, clearly remembers her fascination for the sweet corn he was growing – it was the first time she had ever seen it! When I went to see her recently, she showed me the site of Kenyatta’s vegetable plot, as well as the silver birch which was his “sacred tree”, through which he communicated with the spirits of his people during his more reflective moments. Mysteriously, perhaps, this tree survived the batterings of the 1987 Hurricane whereas all the trees surrounding it were brought crashing to the ground.

Soon after moving to Sussex, Kenyatta found a job as a farm worker in the locality. In 1940 or 1941, he took a job as a nursery worker at AG Linfield’s Chesswood nurseries in the neighbouring village of Thakeham. He was initially put to work in the tomato glasshouses, although he also worked in many other areas. The shortage of manpower throughout the war years meant he would have done many different jobs during the four or five years he was employed at the family business. Although AG Linfield, under the Chesswood label, has become synonymous with the production of mushrooms, the war years saw a complete cessation of mushroom growing since they were regarded by the Government as a “non-essential luxury devoid of food value”. (Ref. 2). So the cultivation of mushrooms was an area Kenyatta would not have experienced. The strive to produce as much home grown food as possible meant that companies like Linfields had to devote all their energies to the production of vegetables; indoor and outdoor tomatoes were one of their most important crops during this period.

Kenyatta apparently got on well with everybody, and proved to be a helpful and kind worker, willing to come to the aid of anyone who needed a helping hand. He even cooked the beetroot before it was sold. During his time in Sussex, he became friendly with a family in Ashington and it was through them that he met Edna Clarke, a teacher. When her parents were killed in an air raid in May 1941, Kenyatta instinctively offered his help and sympathy and within a year they were married. On 11 August 1943, their son Peter Magana was born in Worthing Hospital. He was named after Kenyatta’s grandfather.

Kenyatta was something of a novelty in the Storrington area. Affectionately known as ‘Jumbo’, he soon settled into Sussex life and was well known in the village. But he was definitely an extraordinary character – flamboyant and gregarious, a showman who delighted in mimicry and whose powers of imagination would hold an audience spellbound as he pretended to stalk and kill a lion. No doubt these exceptional talents helped him to persevere through the long years of frustration and disappointment which he must have endured in England, trying to put the case of his people to a largely unreceptive governing class. He never gave up, and despite numerous setbacks, somehow or other he always managed to keep his dream alive. No doubt, the peaceful Sussex countryside and its close resemblance to his homeland must have been a comfort as well as a reminder of his single-minded purpose. He managed to keep cheerful throughout his wartime exile, a man convinced of his destiny and confident that one day the aspirations of his people would be realised. It was only a matter of time.

To supplement his farmworker’s wage of 4 per week, he was in much demand as a lecturer. Not only did he lecture to British troops under the Forces Educational Scheme, but he also lectured for the Workers Educational Association (WEA), usually about colonial issues. Two of my correspondents had attended some of these lectures: one remembers a meeting which took place at the White Hart, Queen Street, Arundel when Kenyatta was introduced by Arthur Johnson of Coldwaltham, a local NUPE organiser. On this occasion, his lecture was about India and its struggle for independence. On another occasion, on June 24 1942, his theme was “What does Europe want of Africa?” His line, as usual, related to land, oppression and the hardship and misery of the native peoples.

1946-50 Nationalist leader

In September 1946, Kenyatta sailed from Southampton, leaving behind Edna and their child at Thakeham. Once home, as the unquestioned leader of the new nationalism, he soon became fully immersed in Kenyan politics. He had spent sixteen years abroad, mostly in England, campaigning for his people, during which time he wrote a powerful critique of the whole British occupation in Kenya. When he returned home, it was only natural that he was given the leadership of the new Kenya African Union (KAU), a nationalist association which sought to incorporate all the tribes in Kenya. Therefore, he was not solely concerned with the grievances of the Kikuyu. His immediate concern was to build up mass support for the aims of the new party: freedom of speech; universal franchise; equal rights with Europeans; to “defend” all Kenya Africans; and to “fight” for African education, labour, housing and freedom of the press. Obviously, after repeated failure to gain concessions before the war, he now realised that show of strength was the most likely way of achieving reform. So he embarked upon the most intensive political effort of his life: building up the strength of the KAU. In these early post war years, he secured his Kikuyu base first and then worked from it. An early attempt was made to extend his political message to the independent schools. Kenyatta spent much of his time touring the country, addressing meetings, and attracting audiences of some twenty to thirty thousands. These enormous meetings exemplified his personal magnetism and charisma as a leader; he stirred the very emotions of his audience often to a fever-pitch which threatened to explode into action. Yet he always had full control over the situation; essentially, he was an orthodox nationalist leader who wanted to avoid violence as far as possible. Kenyatta’s primary objective was to show the colonial authorities the dangerous consequences of ignoring the new nationalist movement. However, this is not to deny that he was probably prepared to tolerate a certain amount of violence should the government not come to its senses and fail to grant concessions to the nationalists.

1950-61 Kenyatta and the “Mau Mau” rebellion

Kenyatta’s alleged involvement with the “Mau Mau” rebellion during the 1950s has effectively tainted his reputation ever since. Although the meaning of the term remains obscure, we identify “Mau Mau” with “the militant nationalism and the violen
e that characterised the politics of central Kenya before and during the early years of the Emergency
” (Ref. 3), which was declared by a frightened government in October 1952. It first made its appearance in 1948, and it was officially proscribed in 1950.

It is important to realise from the start that the phenomenon of “Mau Mau” was restricted to one tribe, the Kikuyu, not surprisingly because they were the most seriously affected by colonisation among the various tribes in Kenya. They had most to complain about; but their many attempts to redress their grievances through the machinery of the colonial state had always failed. The failure of Jomo Kenyatta to gain any concessions after World War II enabled the militants to come to power, and the result was the tragedy of the “Mau Mau” rebellion: with the enormous loss of 13,547 lives (of whom 13,423 were Kikuyu alone).

A typically European interpretation of “Mau Mau” – especially among the colonial government, the missionary leaders and the white settlers – was that it was a fanatical collective madness. Such people were convinced that Kenyatta was the mastermind of a secret tribal cult, led by unscrupulous extremists who stirred up the primitive masses to further their own ambitions. For LSB Leakey, “Mau Mau” had the evil power of “turning thousands of peacekeeping Kikuyu into murderous fanatics.” (Ref. 4). The widespread use of oathing and oathing ceremonies were taken by Kenya’s Europeans to signify an irrational rejection of modernity; due to their primitive intellect, the Kikuyu were considered unable to adapt to rapid change. In reality, “Mau Mau” was the logical outcome of years of mounting frustration and deterioration of life conditions. Allowed no outlet, these frustrations boiled over into the violence that was “Mau Mau” – all European values were turned upside down, and the tribe found “its mystical unity in the re-formed figures of the past.” (Ref. 5)

In effect, “Mau Mau” can be regarded as a post-political type of social movement because it grew out of the repeated failure of the Kikuyu political organizations to gain any reform through the constitutional channels of the colonial government. The younger Kikuyu became increasingly impatient with the lack of progress, especially after World War II. These were the men who formed the backbone of “Mau Mau.” The resort to a post-political solution to their problems seemed the only hope for salvation; and it was reinforced when Kenyatta and the other main Kikuyu political leaders were arrested in October 1952.

Kenyatta’s responsibility for “Mau Mau” has been the subject of a great deal of debate. Was he a moderate forced to take a militant line by the extremists, or was he committed to violence or the threat of violence to gain reform? Certainly, there needs to be a firm distinction drawn between his responsibility for “Mau Mau” and the position bestowed upon him during the rebellion. But far from being responsible for “Mau Mau”, Kenyatta could hardly have supported it even. Its inherently tribal orientation not only threatened to destroy the solidarity he had helped to build up among the Kikuyu but also the years of hard work he had put into building an all-tribe nationalist movement. For fear of domination by a single tribe threatened to break apart the all-tribal unity which Kenyatta sought to pitch against the colonial government.

It is this consideration, I think, which explains Kenyatta’s open condemnation of “Mau Mau” on a number of occasions in 1951 and 1952; many of his opponents said he had his tongue-in-cheek. But he feared that a violent tribal confrontation would destroy what he had already achieved, and his condemnation of “Mau Mau” was probably a warning to the militants to step into line. In all probability, he was not fool enough to believe that an individual tribal revolt could achieve anything like as much as a rationally conceived confrontation which included all the tribes of Kenya. Events proved him wrong; but he was not to know that they would. Kenyatta wanted to coerce the colonial authorities into granting concessions; solidarity among the Kenya Africans was a crucial weapon in his armoury. But a rebellion among the Kikuyu would be easily suppressed, and would lead the government to take immediate action against the nationalist movement as a whole; in effect, extinguishing what he had achieved, and setting back the nationalist movement by years. These were probably his fears.

Unfortunately, Kenyatta lost the initiative to the militants. The evidence tends to suggest that “Mau Mau” evolved from the militant infiltration of Kenyatta’s all-tribe KAU by the old members of the KCA and the young militants of the “Forty group”, who were simultaneously leaders of the new underground movement. In the early post-war years, it was a highly select secret organisation with limited membership. But with the failure of KAU to gain any reform, it underwent a dramatic transformation beginning in 1950 into an underground mass movement. By 1950, the young extremists had given up all hope of finding compromise with the Europeans, and despite his hold over the masses, Kenyatta lost his initiative to the less patient militants. He was powerless to prevent the tragedy of “Mau Mau.” In effect, the government was a major precipitant of “Mau Mau” by failing to grant concessions when it was absolutely necessary.

Kenyatta’s position in the movement is a very interesting one, because whether he liked it or not, he was the acclaimed leader of “Mau Mau.” Oaths were administered in his name and he was claimed to possess divine powers. But he was elevated to this position by the militants who administered the oaths. In effect, he was the figurehead and not the real driving force behind the movement. Kenyatta was a name to be used because he was the most widely known and revered of the Kikuyu nationalists – he had shown his magnetism as a leader at the vast meetings he addressed, and he was surrounded by a mystical aura. So, with or without his approval, he was the “leader” of “Mau Mau” even after his detention.

Even though Kenyatta must have condemned the violence of “Mau Mau” because it essentially involved the horrors of a Kikuyu civil war, he was still regarded as the spiritual leader of the movement. But there was no central direction of operations; “Mau Mau” became the rebellion of semi-educated or illiterate peasants who expressed their frustrations in almost indiscriminate violence. It was not so much directed against the European settlers than against Africans considered to be loyalist to the government. While only about 95 Europeans were killed by “Mau Mau” terrorists, nearly 2000 “loyalist” Kikuyu lost their lives. It would seem that the embittered Kikuyu were more incensed towards the loyalists among their tribe than the people who were directly responsible for their adverse conditions. The tragedy of “Mau Mau” is that it need never have happened – an enlightened government would have seen the folly of continuing to suppress all African aspirations, which made some sort of revolt inevitable.

Of course, in a state of confusion and with no central leadership, it was only a matter of time before the might of the British Army defeated “Mau Mau.” By 1956 the rebellion was over; more than 11,000 Kikuyu had been killed by the security forces. But all had not been in vain; the revolt ensured that change was inevitable in Kenya. The complacency of the colonial government was shattered beyond repair. In 1961, Kenyatta and the other detainees were released; three years later he was President of an independent African state: the Republic of Kenya.

1961-78 Kenyatta the Statesman

Soon after his release, Kenyatta once again set about building the bridges of national unity. As a tribally diverse country, his first imperative was to unify all the tribes of Kenya to fight against the colonial government’s desire to put off the inevitable. Soon he would be back in London again, attending the Kenya Constitutional Conference. It was during these negotiations, that he took time off in October 1963 to revisit old friends in West Sussex. He visited Roy Armstrong at his wartime home at Highover, Bracken Lane, Heath Common, Storrington, complete with limousine, his cabinet and bodyguards! Politics was apparently not one of the subjects they covered. Arthur Johnson of West Chiltington, who knew Kenyatta well during the war years and who lectured with him on anthropology and colonial administration, stated that he “could never believe that he was responsible for those atrocities in Kenya.” His wife said: “We remember him as he was here. We thought he was a very friendly and very nice charming man who was very fond of children and of animals.” (Ref. 6) Mrs FW Eddolls, in charge of the Linfields’ canteen during the war, also said how she found him to be “a very nice and likeable chap” and how she would be very pleased to see him again.

In 1964 Kenya became a republic within the British Commonwealth with Kenyatta its first president. He had come a long way from his days as the friendly, helpful nursery worker at Linfields’ nursery! His first act was to welcome the frightened whites to stay in the country. Despite the nine years he had been kept in detention by the colonial government, he was able to forget his own suffering and offer the hand of reconciliation. He also knew the importance of maintaining stability in Kenya if foreign capital was still to be invested in the new state. Despite the years of violence of “Mau Mau”, Kenya soon became a model of harmony and stability. Foreign investment boomed and the economy flourished.

During 1965, my uncle, Jim Linfield and his family went on holiday to Kenya to stay with his brother-in-law, who had a farm there. During their visit, they were all “summoned” to Nairobi to meet the President and I have a signed photograph of them with Kenyatta. It is dated November 11 1965. Kenyatta had also invited them to his home, but at the last moment it was cancelled by a political crisis when UDI was declared by Ian Smith in Rhodesia.

Kenyatta guided his nation for fourteen years. Although there were several scandals, and he was supposed to have amassed a large fortune, the people of Kenya remained loyal to him and grateful for the lifetime of devotion he had given to the cause of their freedom. His legacy was enormous: when he died on August 22 1978, he left behind a prosperous and peaceful nation, and certainly one of the most stable of the newly independent African states.


The overall picture I have gained about Kenyatta during his wartime years in Sussex is something like this: he was respected as a popular and good lecturer and I have found little evidence of any racism against him. My cousin remembers him as a very cultured and intelligent man who loved children and animals. It would seem that he was generally accepted by his fellow employees and the local people; of course, there was a war on at the time, and people were very much pre-occupied with the national effort to defeat the Nazis. Jomo was undoubtedly a charismatic figure who earned the respect and even affection of the many local people with whom he came into contact.

As for his personal involvement with the “Mau Mau” rebellion, I feel that the evidence speaks for itself. He was essentially a nationalist leader who had spent decades pursuing a peaceful and patient policy to obtain concessions for the people of his homeland. But his apparent lack of success in the face of protracted opposition meant that he lost the initiative to a younger generation of militants unimpressed with his gradual approach and also more determined to achieve change as quickly as possible. As the unquestioned leader of the new national movement and with a charismatic presence, he was effectively elevated to the position of leader of “Mau Mau” whether he liked it or not. The tragedy of “Mau Mau” is that he had long predicted the dire consequences of ignoring the aspirations of the African, but the authorities chose to ignore him. They really should have listened.


1. Jomo Kenyatta by Dennis Wepman (1985), p. 61.

2. History of the MGA (1945-1980) by FC Atkins OBE in The Mushroom Journal, May 1983, p. 164.

3. The Myth of Mau Mau: Nationalism in Kenya by Carl G. Rosberg and John Nottingham p. xvi Introduction.

4. Defeating Mau Mau by LSB Leakey, p. 43.

5. Comment on Corfield Makerere College, Kampala November 1960, p. 37.

6. “Kenyatta invited to West Sussex” in Worthing Herald, 1963.


1. Kenyatta by Jeremy Murray-Brown, 2nd edition 1979.

2. The Myth of Mau Mau: Nationalism in Kenya by Carl G. Rosberg and John Nottingham

3. Jomo Kenyatta by Dennis Wepman, 1985

4. Defeating Mau Mau by LSB Leakey, 1954

5. The Mushroom Journal, May 1983.

6. Comment on Corfield Makerere College, Kampala November 1960.

7. Kenyatta and the Politics of Kenya by Guy Arnold, 1973

8. Worthing Herald, October 1963

9. West Sussex County Times, March 5 1976

10.Kenyatta’s Country by Richard Cox, 1965