Allen Watts Upfield, Man of Property

Today, Allen Watts Upfield is remembered in the village by Upfield Villas, the row of houses he built on the southern side of Weavers Hill on Durbans Road.  But in his lifetime he was a successful businessman, owning Upfield’s Stores and a number of properties in the village and elsewhere, as well as being a leading member of the community.

Although Allen Upfield’s family had been shopkeepers in Wisborough Green for at least three generations, he himself was born in West Chiltington in 1845, the son of Henry Upfield and Mary Watts.  Henry was a draper and grocer who had been born in Wisborough Green and was in business with his brother Oliver, also a draper and grocer by trade.

In 1861 Allen Upfield was living in Wisborough Green in the household of his two spinster aunts Elizabeth and Lucy Upfield who were carrying on the drapery and grocery business with Allen as an assistant.  Allen Upfield took over the business and in 1885 he married Caroline Hammond whose family farmed Amblehurst.  Allen described his father’s occupation on the marriage certificate as ‘gentleman.’

Before the end of the nineteenth century, Allen Upfield built Eardenstowe, the imposing building on the Billingshurst Road that would have been even more impressive before the lands surrounding it were built on.  The land on which his house was built is shown on the 1842 Tithe Map to have been rented by Allen’s grandmother Sarah Upfield (herself a grocer and draper) so it may have been acquired by the family at some later point and passed to Allen through inheritance.

Allen Upfield also owned the forge next to Upfield’s Stores and in 1897 he acquired for the princely sum of £162 the land on Durbans Road on which he built Upfield Villas.

Being a man of some importance in the village, Allen Upfield from time to time found himself a member of the jury, or its foreman, in one of the village coroner’s inquests that tended to be held in the Three Crowns.   He was for many years a member of the Petworth Board of Guardians which oversaw the activities of the Petworth Poor Law Union. responsible for the workhouses under its jurisdiction.  He was a member of Wisborough Green’s cricket club and one of the managers of the village school and in 1894 he stood for election to the first parish council.

Allen Watts Upfield died suddenly on November 22nd, 1904 aged 59.  Probate was granted the following January when the measure of his success was indicated by his estate which was valued at £8999, or about £1 million today.

In June 1906, Upfield’s properties were sold by auction in Horsham.  There were 11 lots and all sold except for Eardenstowe, Allen Watts Upfield’s residence.

Within two years, Eardenstowe had been bought by Edmund Lloyd Maunsell, a barrister.  The property later housed a boys’ preparatory school.  After Eardenstowe was sold, Caroline moved to Worthing where she lived in a house which she named Amblehurst.  She died in 1930 and was buried with her husband in St Peter’s churchyard.

 

Skills

Posted on

29th May 2024