1849: Kids' party at Ockenden House, Cuckfield - then on to the Talbot for magic


On Thursday last, John Fearon, Esq., of Ockenden House [Cuckfield], followed up his liberality, noticed a few weeks since, by giving a treat to nearly 400 children. On account of the weather he was obliged to engage the large room at the King's Head in lieu of the booth erected on the former occasion, which had been allowed to remain.


After partaking of a bountiful supply of tea and cakes the children were assembled on Mr Fearon’s lawn, where tables were covered with presents for all, consisting of clothing, toys, etc.,

and they indulged in juvenile games until five o'clock, when they were marshalled in the Talbot Assembly Rooms which were opened for the sleight of hand performance of Mr Farley, of Fleet Street, London.

The room was crowded with the children and their parents. A very large assembly of the gentry met at Mr Fearon's in the afternoon, and when the children left the lawn about eighty sat down to a superb cold collation.

[for a list of guests see below]

The party adjourned in the evening to the Talbot, where the Assembly Rooms were thrown open to the inhabitants; Mr Farley (who was specially engaged by Mr Fearon), again went through his pleasing performances before a very crowded assembly, and was applauded for his ingenious and clever tricks.


Most of the gentry afterwards partook of supper at Mr Fearon’s, and it was noticed that so many private equipages* had not been seen in Cuckfield at one time for 20 years previous.


Brighton Gazette, 11 October 1849

[*equipages: a carriage and horses with attendants]


More about Farleys: https://londonstreetviews.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/henry-farley-toy-dealer/

Illusionist graphic public domain image

NOTE 1: On 4 May 1841, Henry William Alphonsus Farley received the freedom of the City of London by redemption (that is: by paying a fine) via the Company of Cordwainers. On the documents, he is described as a ‘toy dealer’, the son of George Farley, a painter from Maidstone, Kent and he had been a member of the Cordwainers since 3 October, 1838.


NOTE 2: Vicar John Fearon built a two room school house the Cuckfield National School on waste land near the Rose and Crown in 1821 using a grant.

Guests: Rev. Mr and Mrs Maberly, Rev. Mr Hunt, Dr. Kilt, Mr Gilman, Mr and Mrs Begg and family (of Hide), Mr N Borer and family, Mr and Mrs Davey, Mrs and Misses Byass, Mrs and Miss Waller, Mrs and Misses Long, Mr and Miss Norman (of Brookside), Captain and Mrs Johnson (of Slaugham). Rev. Mr and Mrs Royd, Rev. Mr and Mrs Goring (of Twineham), Mrs Gordon (of Newtimber), Mr and Mrs Teasdale, Rev. G. and Mrs Bethune, Mr and Mrs Tomlinson (of Chailey), Mr and Mrs Blencowe, Mr and Mrs Stanford (of Slaugham), Mrs Fanshawe, Miss Cawdle, &c., &c.


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.