Church Fields were originally fields belonging to the church and were used to provide the church (and its incumbent) with an additional income. There are many references to Church Field, Upper Eythorne behind the Crown Inn (and its many uses) over the years. In fact the Church Field was, in the 1800’s, two fields with the same name, owned by different people and no longer owned by the church (although the church still owned slightly over 7 acres of land in the village around the church and up towards Elvington). There was also a third Church Field on the other side of Green Lane. The attached plan shows the three fields.
In the Tithe Award Schedule of 1845 the Church Field nearest the Crown was owned by William Horn Harvey. The second field, stretching from the boundaries of the first to Green Lane was owned by Peter Lane Fector (but occupied by David Lawrence) and the third Church Field, on the other side of Green Lane was owned and occupied by James Higgins.
The fact that Church Field behind the Crown was actually two separate fields helps in understanding how building progressed in the way it did along Sandwich Road in Upper Eythorne. For the first field, building progressed methodically down Sandwich Road along the edge of the field. Langdown House (1 Sandwich Road) was the first building put up on the road. This was built in the 1700’s and altered in the mid 1800’s. In 1839 William Horn Harvey acquired the field and had built (between 1839 and 1841) a semi-detached house (current Numbers 5 and 7) which was first occupied as one dwelling by the noted teacher and Baptist T.P. N Hewlett. It is likely that William Horn Harvey built a school room into this dwelling. It is believed that it was during the time that William Horn Harvey owned the field that the land was sold to the trustees of Eythorne Chapel (the current site of Number 9 (vacant) and Number 11) and that the building occupied by Peter Decent (current Nos 13/15) was built.
William Horn Harvey sold the land to John Ladd, landlord of the Crown Inn in 1850. On John’s death in 1870 his estate was auctioned and three plots next to Sandwich Road sold. These three plots No 17 (Woodbine Cottage), No 19 and No 21 (Beehive Cottage) take us up to the boundary of the first Church Field. In order to maintain access to the rear of the Crown Inn via Sandwich Road (as the boundary was taken up) a 12 foot wide “road” was set aside between the Sandwich Road and Church Field running between Nos 13/15 and 17. It was never built.
At this time (1870) the edge of the second field appears to be owned by a Mr Shell but the majority of the field and other land beside was owned by a Captain Edgell.
Current numbers 27 and 29 (Mariners Cottage, Sandwich Road) are developments on the second field, possibly in the middle of its edge with Sandwich Road, sometime between 1845 and 1871. There is one further development on the field between these dates which is located at the corner of Sandwich Road and Green Lane.