12 HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
" Annanses," or annants, or annates, were the "first fruits," or a year's income of a spiritual living, given to the Pope on the death of a bishop, abbot, or parish priest, and paid by his successor. At the Reformation they were vested in the King and by Queen Anne restored to the church and appropriated to the augmentation of poor livings, forming the nucleus of the well-known Queen Anne's Bounty Fund.
It is impossible to conceive what a vast difference there would have been in the whole character of the town and neighbourhood if East Grinstead but possessed a navigable river. Our forefathers were not blind to the advantages, both commercial and otherwise, which the district thus lost and they made several attempts to remedy the deficiencies of nature. In the sixteenth and seventeenth years of the reign of Charles II., Parliament passed an Act for making the river Medway, which originates from a number of little streams rising in and around East Grinstead and Turners Hill, navigable in the counties of Kent and Sussex. This vast work was never executed and 65 years later private individuals took the matter up and got a second Act passed authorising the formation of a company, to be called " The Company of Proprietors of the Navigation of the River Medway," and the making of that river navigable from Maidstone to Forest Row, but this enterprise lingered on in imagination only until the country gradually became covered with a network of railways, when the project was finally abandoned.
For centuries the town proper consisted of only one straggling street reaching from the paygate, which stood at the east end of the High Street, to a spot near the present Literary Institute. There were a few houses between there and the White Lion. The town was entered from the London direction under a magnificent avenue of elms, which occupied both sides of the roadway from where the Tunbridge Wells railway line now goes under it to Queen's Road, and a portion of which still remains on the Placeland Estate.
The Common, already referred to, commenced just beyond the White Lion Hotel and, but for a few isolated