top of page


The Garth is situated on the west side of Lingfield, a picturesque ancient village that was first mentioned in the tenth century.


The origins of The Garth trace back to 1729 when the Lingfield parish commissioned local carpenter Thomas Stanford to construct a new workhouse, costing £290. In 1850, it was sold by the Charity Commissioners to Mr. Cross, who divided it into six cottages. In 1918, Stanley Hazell purchased the property, which was then in a state of disrepair and occupied by squatters.


Hazell enlisted the expertise of Walter Godfrey (1881 - 1961), a renowned Arts and Crafts architect, landscape designer, and antiquarian, to convert The Garth into a single house. Godfrey, who had associations with the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings, had restored several notable

historic buildings, including Herstmonceux Castle, Anne of Cleves House, Temple Church,

Chelsea Old Church, and Crosby Hall.


In his 1914 book "Gardens in The Making," Godfrey outlined principles of garden design that

were implemented at The Garth.



Stanley Hazell, co-author of the "History of Lingfield" published in 1933 with Arthur Hayward, described The Garth

inthe book as having well-preserved red bricks, tiles, and oak beams.


Correspondence between Hazell and Godfrey, discussing the progress of the conversion work, as well as architectural

plans, can be found in the county archives in Lewes. The Tea Room Gallery displays photographs of the house from

1918 and the subsequent correspondence between Hazell and Godfrey, along with a few original drawings related to

The Garth and its gardens.


The original construction of the workhouse in 1729 utilized burnt bricks for the first floor and

tiles for the upper floors. A separate brew house was also built. Agreements and records related to The Garth's construction and its time as a workhouse have survived, available for viewing at Lingfield Library and the Surrey History Centre.


These records provide insight into the harsh conditions and meager diet endured by the workhouse inmates. An inventory from 1800 lists provisions such as sacks of flour, tubs of pork, lard, loaves,

cheese, ale, and small beer.


Living in a workhouse during that time was considered a symbol of degradation, characterized

by a poor diet consisting mainly of bread and milk or flour and water gruel. Complaints about

the inadequate diet were recorded in 1837, prompting the District Medical Officer to propose

adding vegetables to the meals in 1858.

Following the Poor Law Amendments Act of 1834, parishes were required to form Unions, resulting in the separation

of husbands, wives, and children. Lingfield accommodated the boys, who received schooling and learned trades like

shoemaking and hat-making. The boys also crafted moleskin waistcoats with white metal buttons, some of which have

been discovered in the garden.


Children from the workhouse were often placed as servants or apprentices. The Workhouse Governor also served as

the schoolteacher until 1849 when a separate schoolmaster position was created. Dismissals of schoolmasters for

various reasons occurred frequently since 1837.


The Garth's attic housed beehives, as recorded in 1788, but no mention of them was found in the 1800 inventory.

The Parish Workschool consisted of various rooms, including a Drink Room, Brewhouse, Schoolhouse, Great Room, and Little Room. The attic was divided into West Garrett, East Garrett, and Long Garrett to accommodate the growing number of boys, which reached 44 by 1855.

Grounds Refurbishments 

During our grounds refurbishments and as part of our planning process we carried out our own research on Arts and Crafts architectural solutions and landscape designing process  by Walter H Godfrey at the Garth. In addition, we also commissioned our research into the history of house and the grounds to a very well known architectural historians and published authors from Montagu Evans - Dr Carol Cragoe and Dr Chris Miele, BA Homs MA PHD MRTPI IHBC FRHS FSA. One of their first reports on the history of the house and the grounds was carried out in 2012 and called “September 2012 Heritage Report- The Garth RH7 6BJ"

Wildlife and Ecology

The formal gardens, enchanting Nuttery and spinney with many mature trees and a pond attract all kinds of wildlife . We try to address and improve habitats of our wild friends and make sure we encourage them to stay at The Garth grounds. We have thriving population of bats, badgers, foxes, rabbits, owls, pheasants, several types of bees, snakes, moles, hedgehogs, sparrow hawks and different spices of newts including Great Crested Newts

For more information about Lingfield and the workhouse, refer to an article written by Sue Quelch of the RH7 local history group - 

bottom of page