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1881: Gimlets and wedges aid burglars

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

The MP's home believed to have been Ockenden Manor

Sir WW Burrell’s House 'Burgled'. On Friday evening, between nine and ten o'clock, a most daring burglary was committed at Sir WW Burrell, MP's., West Grinstead seat. It seems that on Sir Walter retiring for the night at ten o'clock, he found his dressing room door fastened on the inside, and the more he tried to push it, the greater was the pressure on the inside. He called his butler (Mr Burtenshaw), and the door still resisted their united efforts.

An entry was then made by a door which was hidden from view by the wardrobe, when it was found that the room was in a terribly confused state, everything being turned topsy-turvy. The window had been forced, by which it seems the robbers gained an entrance into the room. Such was the violence used, that the plate glass in the window (a quarter-of-an-inch thick) was broken; and the strong window fastening was bent straight upwards.

Two mahogany wedges were found under the door, fastened by a couple of gimlets. Upwards of £50 worth of property was taken, including a large diamond and ruby gold pin, a massive gold pin,a masonic set of studs and links, one emerald and pearl stud, a set of ruby and diamond studs, a silver snuff box with crest, a pair of gold eye glasses, and fourpence in coppers.

A valuable gold horse shoe pin was, however, overlooked. Singular to say, the constable on duty there looked round the house a few minutes before the robbery, and found everything all right, and the means of ingress and egress fastened. The affair is in the hands of Superintendent Henderson and Captain Drummond, but as yet there has been no clue to the robbers.

Mid Sussex Times 23 November 1881


Sir Walter Wyndham Burrell and his wife and children lived at Ockenden House from 1862.

Albert Burtenshaw enjoyed a long retirement in Elkington cottage where he became a well known character of Cuckfield.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum follow the link for details



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