The Magic of Mayfield
With its beautiful high street and historic charm, Mayfield is a perfect example of a traditional English village bustling with local life & thriving businesses.
At a time when most of our villages are seeing shops and post offices shut and services cut back, the picturesque village of Mayfield is thriving. It ticks all the boxes of quaintness and convenience that are required of England’s best villages, not forgetting a packed agenda of local and community cultural activities and charming heritage. This East Sussex village, just over the border from Tunbridge Wells, is rightly proud of the numerous accolades it has been awarded, including:
• Gold in the 2018 Parishes in Bloom, organised by South and South East in Bloom – the first year Mayfield and Five Ashes had entered the competition, scoring 89 out of a possible 100. This year Mayfield is entering the competition’s Large Village category.
• Topping Visit England’s list of Britain’s 17 prettiest villages that stand out for their cultural activities and charming heritage.
• Named by The Times’ Times2 in 2017 as the Best Village in Britain, thanks to its picturesque high street.
Mayfield Fringe Festival
Taking place from 5th-12th May the Mayfield Fringe returns this year, bringing an extensive and exciting range of live music, poetry, visual arts, comedy and performance art at various venues around the village. Don’t miss the Mayfair on Saturday 11th May from 1pm-4pm – enjoy an afternoon of fun and entertainment for all the family, featuring stalls, raffle, dog competitions, children’s face-painting, BBQ, tea and cake. Free admission – and all funds raised will be put towards Mayfield’s 2019 Christmas lights with any surplus going to local charities and good causes. And in a major coup for the village, artist Eric MacLennan, as part of a UK tour, will be stopping off with his Open Air Drawing Room, a piece of participative performance artwork co-commissioned by Turner Contemporary in Margate. The artwork invites the public to take part in setting the world record for a painting that has been created by the largest number of artists.
• Visit mayfieldfringe.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: RUSDENS HOME
All things beautiful for you and your home – upholstery, furniture, curtains and blinds, cushions, throws and unusual gifts all at affordable prices. This family business has been selling impeccably stylish and beautifully-designed items since being established in 1950. Now in Mayfield High Street since moving from East Grinstead in 2016, Rusdens Home is delighted to announce that the Post Office will be opening in store on 14th May.
• High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AB, call 01435 873330 or visit rusdenshome.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: MONTY & WARD
Monty & Ward began, after years of searching, with a design for ‘the’ comfortable bra. Now there’s also a shop and workroom on the lovely medieval High Street in Mayfield which showcases other products all chosen for their ethical production and beautiful design. This includes clothing, fitness, swimwear (from recycled ocean plastic), homeware and gifts, predominantly made in the UK, and by a growing number of local designers.
• High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AA or visit montyandward.com
Mayfield Past & Present
Located just nine miles south of the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, the ancient village of Mayfield in East Sussex has a fascinating history of its own to tell, being steeped in history with a vast number of the properties being deemed of historic relevance by English Heritage.
Once owned by the Kings of Wessex, the Manor of Mayfield can trace its history back to the 9th century, when its ownership passed to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The princes of the church built a palatial residence here, called Mayfield Place. The site of what is left of the former palace of the Archbishops of Canterbury now forms part of Mayfield School. In 1556 four Protestant Martyrs burned for heresy came from Mayfield and the area around Mayfield had a strongly dissenting populations, which later became strongly Puritan. Today the Martyrs are remembered in style each year with the Mayfield Carnival & Bonfire Parade in September (see Diary Dates).
Like many places in the area, Mayfield prospered at the height of the iron industry, and much of its finest architecture dates from that time. Middle House in the High Street is a splendid oak beamed Tudor Inn. After the iron industry faded away, Mayfield became a hot bed of smuggling, with more or less everyone in the village wrapped up in the web of smugglers in one way or another.
The Mayfield Gang and their leader Gabriel Tomkins, a bricklayer from Tunbridge Wells, were notorious for relatively non-violent owling (wool smuggling). The gang consisted of local farmers and others, who smuggled their own wool abroad, and brought in brandy and silks by return. They were not cruel, and usually tied up people who crossed them but released them later, rather than killing them as did the later Hawkhurst Gang and Groombridge Gang. The Mayfield Gang had wide support from the local population as they only used violence if it was used against them, and the profits they made went into the local community.
Today’s thriving and well-equipped High Street boasts a range of independent shops, a soon-to-be-opened post office, village hall, church and primary school, as well as Mayfield School. Recreational facilities are plentiful with many country walks across beautiful uninterrupted Sussex countryside and for golfing enthusiasts, Dale Hill golf course and Crowborough Beacon are close at hand, whilst cricket, rugby and football devotees can find many local clubs that cater for all levels.
SPOTLIGHT ON: FOUR WINDS
Four Winds continues to be eco-friendly with even more ethical ranges for our future – plastic-free, natural materials, handmade and upcycled, local arts & crafts, sustainable alternatives, Fair Trade – souvenirs, gifts, jewellery, pottery, clothes, accessories and more unusual and useful things. Opened by the mother of the present owner in 1971 as an alternative lifestyle shop.
• High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AQ, call 01435 872418. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm and out of hours by appointment.
SPOTLIGHT ON: DIRTY PAWS DOG GROOMING
Owned and run by Louise Riley – Louise is City & Guilds Diploma qualified, a member of the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) and The Groomers Spotlight – Dirty Paws Dog Grooming offers a bespoke dog grooming package, including a hydrobath, premium organic, vegan, 100% natural shampoo, ear clean, nail clip and even a Blueberry facial! Additional treatments available include revolutionary ultrasonic teeth cleaning and a ‘Pawdicure’ for those cracked and tired paws!
• Call 07506 467218 or email Info@dirtypawsgrooming.co.uk
Mayfield School Young Enterprise company picks up award
Three Mayfield School sixth form pupils were delighted to take home the trophy and certificate for Best Customer Service at the Eastbourne and Wealden Young Enterprise Trade Fair. Students Bailley, Blaize and Zara set up their company, New Oceans, selling reusable water bottles and biodegradable straws, as part of the school’s successful Young Enterprise Programme to raise awareness and support for saving the oceans by reducing plastic pollution.
Headmistress, Antonia Beary, commented: “At Mayfield, we go beyond the curriculum to ensure our girls are ready to succeed in the world that awaits them when they leave the school. Whether they will be taking up a place at university, volunteering overseas as part of a gap year, or going straight into work be it through a degree apprenticeship with a top employer, or starting her own business, we begin preparing our girls from the moment they arrive with us.”
• Visit mayfieldgirls.org
SPOTLIGHT ON: LAMBERT & FOSTER
For more than 100 years Lambert & Foster have been successfully selling properties, providing every client the invaluable benefit of our experience and knowledge and achieving the best results. Bloomfields have recently joined us in our Sussex Office – the combination of qualified Chartered Town Planners, Registered Valuers and Chartered Surveyors all under one roof.
• High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6DX, call 01435 873999, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lambertandfoster.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: MISS SCARLETT
An independent boutique, with a dazzling array of gowns, in a rainbow of colours, to suit all occasions – from bridal, prom, evening wear, special occasions, balls, cruises, wedding outfits, and bridesmaids dresses. You can be assured of a very personal service, each client is important to us. There’s no need to make an appointment, just come along and have some fun browsing and choosing the right dress for you. All dress alterations required are done in house.
• 2 Church View, High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AB or visit miss-scarlett.co.uk. Open Mon-Fri 10am-5pm and Sat 10am-4pm.
• Argos Hill Windmill Open Days Located on a beautiful site overlooking the East Sussex village of Mayfield, Argos Hill Windmill is a Grade ll* listed building dating from 1835 and is one of only 50 post mills remaining in England. The mill will be open to the public on certain dates this year, from 2pm-5pm. Entrance is free although the Trust relies greatly on the generosity of the public to continue its work: 12th May – National Mills Sunday; 27th May – Bank Holiday Monday; 15th June; 7th & 21st July; 11th August; 14th & 15th September – Heritage Weekend; 6th October. Visit argoshillwindmill.org.uk
• Sunday 26th May, The Mayfield Duathlon, 7.30am To access full event details, register for free at timeoutdoors.com
• Saturday 21st September 6pm-11pm, Mayfield Carnival & Bonfire Parade, hosted by Mayfield Bonfire Society This annual tradition takes place on the third Saturday of September in memory of the Protestant Martyrs burned at the stake in the village on 23rd September 1555, having been convicted by the British Inquisition for heresy. The carnival procession passes along the High Street with participants dressed in costumes of that era, carrying flaming torches and accompanied by bands and drummers.
• 29th November, Christmas Lights Big Switch-On & Late Night Shopping The festive season gets underway – enjoy mulled wine, mince pies, Father Christmas for the children and much more at this popular event which attracts locals and visitors alike.
• December 2019 Mayfield Live Crib Now into its sixth decade, and performed by Year 7 to Year 13 pupils from Mayfield School over three nights when, each evening, the Christmas story is enacted with Mary and Joseph’s journey along the village High Street, guiding a donkey and accompanied by a procession of candle-lit angels singing carols. It is unlike any other service of its kind in the area in that it uses a real donkey and a different baby to play the part of Jesus in each performance.
Celebrating the arts
The Mayfield Festival of Music and the Arts is a biennial event and 2020 marks its 50th anniversary, when it will run from 26th April-10th May. The festival will be marking its anniversary in many ways, so make a note of the dates now! Mayfield Festival is also proud to be the host for The Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition, which provides a unique platform for outstanding young musicians at a critical time in their development, whether completing their studies or already embarking on a professional career.
• Visit mayfieldfestival.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: FAIR OAK FARM
This multi-award winning venue offers exclusive use of your own private country estate for retreats, business groups and get-togethers. The stylish accommodation includes converted barns, Grade II listed farmhouse, eco-lodge tree houses, lodges and huts, all set in stunning countryside. In the last year or so the venue has picked up several awards and accolades. As well as the roaming alpacas and peacocks, guests can book a therapist in the on-site treatment studio, a private chef and a range of activities.
• Visit fairoakfarm.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: GABRIEL INTERIORS
There’s a Gabriel Interiors creation, just for you! Select from the finest choice of designer fabrics and wallpapers, including Sanderson, Morris and Co, Harlequin, Osborne and Little, Nina Campbell and more. We offer a full made-to-measure service. All curtains are hand stitched in-house, tracks and poles, blinds of all kinds and shutters are all fully fitted. We also offer a range of home accessories, Flanklite lighting, decorations and gifts.
• We offer a free estimation service. Call 01435 873670 or visit gabrielinteriors.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: FINE WINES OF MAYFIELD
Fantastic bijou gin bar – come along for a free private gin tasting, worth £15, by an entertaining experienced host. Taste famous brands, explore flowery flavours, fruity styles and then gins that have left gin way behind. Hear about the history of gin, why gin and tonic and experiment with flavoured tonics. Just make sure you have someone to take you home!
• High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AQ or call 01435 872371 to book your free tasting.
Mayfield Village Post Office Opening - 14th May
The Post Office is to re-open in Mayfield in Rusdens Home on Tuesday 14th May at 1pm. Jo Eates from Rusdens Home applied to be the new postmaster after the village had been without a Post Office since May last year. As a villager and a local business owner herself, Jo felt the pain of not having anywhere to send post and parcels or withdraw cash. She felt that Rusdens Home would be able to offer the service that the local community desperately needed. Rusdens Home will not be changing and Sam Santo (formerly of Mayfield Ironmongers) will be running the Post Office with Jo.
SPOTLIGHT ON: SMITH&CRUMBLE
This fantastic little shop is a credit to the brave! With its persistence to provide a diverse range of fashion and jewellery you can be sure to find a look that will suit not only your unique personality but your pooch too with her bespoke pet wear! “Thank you for my top, I love it and I’ve had so many compliments. Well worth a visit!” – Deborah.
• The Armoury, High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AB or visit smithandcrumble.co.uk. Open Tues-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm.
SPOTLIGHT ON: MAYFIELD OSTEOPATHS
Mayfield Osteopaths is conveniently situated in the High Street and only 9 miles from Tunbridge Wells. The practice has been an integral part of the community since 2007. We have a strong team of practitioners providing various treatments, which include structural and cranial osteopathy, reflexology, sports massage and acupuncture. We provide a personal service and tailor each treatment to patients’ needs as well as having close links to the doctors’ surgery, chiropodists and Pilates teachers locally.
• Call 01435 873051, search for mayfieldosteopath on Facebook or visit mayfieldosteopath.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: FLOWER HOUSE AND HOME
A lifestyle flower and homeware shop located in the heart of Mayfield High Street, selling beautiful seasonal flowers, plants, gifts and antiques. We stock a unique selection of flowers, floral arrangements, plants and containers for all occasions, which are inspired by our stunning surrounding countryside. Our ever-changing selection of industrial and vintage lighting, glassware, mirrors and gifts are sourced locally and from around the world.
• High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AB, 01435 874762 or visit flowerhouseandhome.co.uk
Did you know?
• Mayfield is famous for the legend of St Dunstan. The blacksmith was working at his forge when the Devil disguised himself and attempted to lead him astray, however St Dunstan spotted the Devil’s hooves and used red-hot blacksmith’s tools to grab his nose. The village church is dedicated to the Saint thanks to his legend.
• The village sign shows the figure of a young woman and children in a meadow illustrating the Saxon origin of the village name, ‘Magehefeld’ or ‘Maids Field’.
• Victorian poet Coventry Patmore called Mayfield the ‘sweetest village’.
SPOTLIGHT ON: OAKLEY 4X4
We are a family-run business, based at Mayfield Garage in East Sussex, right in the centre of the picturesque and charming village. Specialising in Land Rover Discovery’s and other quality 4x4’s, we carry a large selection of quality pre-owned vehicles. With more than 25 years of experience in the retail motor industry, supplying new and used vehicles, we are able to use our expertise to carefully select our vehicles, ensuring we have quality vehicles at affordable prices.
• Mayfield Garage, High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AA, call 01435 413100 or visit oakley4x4.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT ON: CLASSIC COTTAGES
Classic Cottages may be new to the area but we’re not new to the holiday letting industry, bringing more than 40 years of experience handpicking properties that reflect our high standards. Mark, our local regional development manager, is looking to work closely with owners of exceptional homes that make great holidays, throughout this stunning area, and introduce them to our large following of discerning guests and our exemplary levels of expertise.
• Tandridge House, High Street, Mayfield, East Sussex TN20 6AL or call 01435 205201.
Images: Parade image: © simonheaton.com | Mayfield Fringe image © mayfieldfringe.co.uk | Town sign image: © Tony Grist | Mayfield School image © mayfieldgirls.org | Argos Hill image © argoshillwindmill.org.uk | Mayfield Festival image © mayfieldfestival.co.uk