THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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SOME LOCAL WORTHIES.
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and Monkshill to Robert, his younger son, who also occupied Stone and Standen Farms. In such surround­ings was John Payne, of Legsheath, born in 1675, and duly baptised at East Grinstead, succeeding his father at Legsheath in 1727, as we learn from the Court Rolls of Duddleswell Manor, of which Legsheath was held. In 1693 he married, at Hartfield, Bridget, daughter and co-heir of Richard Knight, Esq., sen., of Cowden, whose family had come to prosperity by virtue of the iron industry of those days. This useful marriage may account for John's somewhat sudden rise in the social scale and may also account in a measure for his little weakness for display in his official capacity of Sheriff, a position that would have, no doubt, vastly astonished his father, Wm. Payne, of Legsheath. There seems to have been no issue of this marriage when his first wife died in October, 1736, so he re-married, with no undue delay, Margaret, daughter of John Shelley, of Fen Place, Worth. As John was already 62 years of age his prompt re-marriage was probably accelerated by the meritorious desire, as strong in those days with yeoman as with peer, to leave a son to inherit the ancestral acres, however modest their extent. John's acres seem from his will to have been numerous and productive, but disappointment was his lot, for we find no issue of the second marriage beyond an only daughter, Margaret, baptised at East Grinstead in 1738 (the year of his Sheriffdom) and buried there in 1751. This accounts for his making his nephew, William Payne, son of Edward Payne, of Monkshill, his heir, and, so far as we can now ascertain, these farms remained in the hands of Mr. William Payne until about 1827, when he, or possibly his son of the same name, sold Stone Farm to Mr. R. Crawfurd, of Saint Hill, and it is not unusual about this date to find our local yeomen tempted by the high price of land then prevailing to part with their long cherished acres to the gentry of the class above them, with the idea of living in ease upon the proceeds of the deal. Unfortunately in too many cases the yeoman had no knowledge of
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