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1863: Great Celebrations as Walter Burrell takes up residence in his ancestral home

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 26 February 1863



The arrival of W. W. Burrell, Esq., and family, at his new establishment, Ockenden House, last week, was made an occasion for a scene of great rejoicing among the inhabitants, a general desire being manifested to give Mr Burrell a cordial welcome to the home of his ancestors.

The family of the Burrells, formerly the owners of Holmstead, three hundred years since their residence, have been for centuries connected closely with the place, where they still possess a large property to which Mr Burrell succeeded on the death of his father, the late Sir Charles.

The preparations made were upon a large scale, and hundreds flocked into the town during the morning, the street presenting a bustling and animated scene. The exteriors of the dwellings of the principal inhabitants were adorned with flags, evergreens, and the like, and a fine floral Tudor arch spanned the road; cottages were prettily ornamented, and at the entrance to the grounds was a massive wooden arch, handsomely dressed with evergreens, with shield, very artistically got up by Master A. Dumsday, of the Talbot, bearing the arms, quartered, and the crest of the Burrells, on outstretched arms, holding a dart in the act of launching it, and having the national colours at the corners and centre.

On this arch was the inscription, “Welcome to Ockendean,” and just below the entrance door was a second erection, covered with festoons, bearing the Union Jack, and having the words in the centre, “Welcome home.”

The Burrell colours, orange and blue, were very prevalent throughout the town. When Mr Burrell’s carriage made its appearance, it was stopped at the arch, and the horses being taken oft, 24 stalwart men at once attached a rope with cross bars and drew it by hand, amid the cheers of the assembly, the rifle, fife and drum band taking the lead, and the bells ringing out merrily.

Before Mr Burrell left the carriage he addressed the crowd in a short and feeling speech, expressing his intense gratification and great pleasure at the way in which he and his family had been received, trusting that the acquaintance that had been happily begun would continue to increase, and that their friendship would be cemented in a firm and lasting manner, and that they should continue to go on in a truly friendly spirit.

This was followed by a hearty cheer, and the band striking up led the way back into the town, taking the way past the armoury and the King's Head to the Talbot, where a dinner was provided by Mr and Mrs Dumsday, for the tradesmen and mechanics employed on the late repairs at Ockendean, and about 100 sat down to an excellent repast in the Assembly Room, at half-past three, and in the evening Mr Burrell, who gave the treat as a kind of rearing feast, visited the party, and made an excellent address, in which he stated that the way in which he had been welcomed so far exceeded his expectations, as completely to overwhelm him and his family.

A very comfortable and pleasant evening was spent by the party, who did full justice to the good things set before them, a dance winding up the sports of the day, which was one of the merriest and pleasantest that has been spent Cuckfield for many a year. The renovation and refurnishing of the mansion was entrusted to Mr C. Lloyd, upholsterer, Horsham, who executed his task to the entire satisfaction of Mr Burrell.


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