History

 

  • 15th Century Posting Inn
  • Grade One Listed
  • Mentioned in Doomsday Book

Click on the following link to read information regarding the history of the Chequers that interests you

The Chequers / Age of Chequers / Coaching & Posting Inn / Mail Coach Robbery / WW2Inglenook Fireplace & Bread Ovens / Knife Sharpening Stone / Ghosts / Discovery of the WellOriginally Three Cottages

The Chequers

Post invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066 and his implementation of the Doomsday Book* in 1086, networks of counting houses were developed all over England. Taxes due from landowners and businesses would be collected at these offices. The TAX officers used a piece of Chequered cloth on which the taxes would be counted. Hence the name given to the many TAX offices up and down the country was ‘The Chequers’.
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Age of Chequers

The Chequers is confirmed to have origins in the village of Forest Row from 1452, this being confirmed by various references to the Chequers in a variety of old literature and architectural investigation. Given the name, The Chequers, it is thought that origins of the Chequers may date back to 1086 when William the Conqueror implemented the Doomsday Book*. However this remains unconfirmed as yet and we are working on verifying this information.
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Coaching & Posting Inn

The Chequers has been through many phases in it’s life. In previous years the Chequers was used as a ‘Coaching Inn’ and a ‘Posting Inn’.

‘Coaching Inns’ were used during the era of horse drawn coaches, which ferried people all over England. The ‘Coaching Inn’ provided a place for the passenger to eat and rest, while the horses were changed and the coach made ready to continue on it’s journey.

‘Posting Inns’ were used to collect post from the surrounding area and passed on to the horse drawn mail coaches, which would take the mail up to London. The mail would then be sorted and sent on to its final destination.
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Mail Coach Robbery

Standing in the village of Forest Row is the Chequers Inn Hotel; a delightful fifteenth century Posting Inn built approximately 1452. Smugglers used this Inn extensively and it was this inn that was associated with a famous mail coach robbery, which took place at the foot of Wall Hill on June 27th 1801. John Beatson and his adopted son William Whalley Beatson hid in a meadow at the bottom of Wall Hill, by the entrance to an old Roman road. The mail coach made its call at the Chequers Inn to collect the weekend’s mail and then proceeded up Wall Hill, where it was waylaid by these two thieves just after midnight. The Beatsons took between £4,000 and £5,000 of the approximately £14,000 total the mail coach was carrying that night. Captured and arrested some weeks later in Liverpool, they still had in their possession £3,500 from the robbery. Their trial took place on March 29th 1802, by Judge Baron Hotham with the jury finding both men guilty and sentencing them to death by hanging. Gallows were erected on the spot where the robbery took place on, April 17th 1802; in the presence of 3,000 people, Beatson and his adopted son were hung until dead. This was to be one of the last public hangings to take place in England.
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WW2 (Sep 1939 – Aug 1945)

During WW2 the Chequers was on loan. A plaque imbedded in an external wall of the Chequers reads.

“Through the generosity of the owner, this house was a service club W.V.S (Womens Voluntary Service) 1939 – 1945 (TOC-H)”.
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Inglenook Fireplace & Bread Ovens

Inside the Chequers resides one of the largest known inglenook fireplaces in Sussex, which is also home to a spacious bread oven. A huge 3.7 meter long bressumer beam stretches the width of the fireplace held up by two sandstone pillars.
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Knife Sharpening Stone

In the original section of the Chequers, next to the large inglenook fireplace in the Smuggler’s Bar sits, imbedded in one of the supporting sandstone pillars, an old knife sharpening stone. This was used during the centuries to sharpen knives. As you will see this stone has been well used over the years.
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Ghosts

Over the years, a variety of visitors to the Chequers have reported sighting a ghost-like figure sitting peacefully by the fireside. Reputedly a gentleman sits in a rocking chair smoking a pipe, dressed in a white shirt with black breeches. It is curious that unrelated people have reported the same description over the different sightings and over the years.
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Discovery Of The Well

In May 2005, during some building work taking place at the Chequers, a builder almost fell down an ancient well, as he was excavating the ground. Much to everyone’s surprise a well dating back to c1452, in perfect working order was discovered.
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Originally Three Cottages

Architectural evidence suggests the Chequers, was originally built as three cottages used for private dwelling. The recent ‘Discovery Of The Well’ would support this, as the well would have been used to supply fresh water to the three cottages.
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Chris Bruford Development 2015