Bedham

Bedham

Bedham is a hamlet 4 kilometres (2½ miles) east of Petworth in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England.

Bedham consists of a farm, a derelict Victorian school, and a scattering of houses set high on a wooded sandstone ridge of the western weald, at 150 metres above sea level. To the west Flexham Park is an area of commercial woodland, with large areas of chestnut coppice, and south of this is a sandstone quarry at Bognor Common. To the northeast are large areas of semi-natural forest, left unmanaged as a nature reserve, called The Mens. South of The Mens is Hawkhurst Court, a country house used as a Canadian army HQ in the buildup to the Normandy Invasion during World war II, then as a private school, before becoming private housing in the 1980s. In the early 20th century Bedham became popular with artists of limited means who wanted to "escape from civilisation". Remote cottages could be bought for £100. The composer Sir Edward Elgar lived nearby at Brinkwells, which was originally owned by the artist Rex Vicat Cole, and The Studio where Elgar composed the Cello Concert was moved up to the village and now stands as a separate house. Ford Maddox Ford, author of "The Good Soldier" also lived in the village for a time. Miss West and her companion Miss Metherell moved into Bedham Cottage and Miss Metherell using the pen name Rhoda Leigh wrote a fictional account of the hamlet, Past and Passing, which offended some local residents with its thinly veiled and exaggerated references to them. One of those offended was Mrs. Puttick who sold groceries, tobacco and sweets from the kitchen of her house opposite the lane to Warren Barn.

Ford Maddox Ford

Ford Maddox Ford and his pregnant partner Stella Bowen moved to 17th century Coopers Cottage in September 1920. Their daughter Esther Julia was born in November 1920. Letters between the couple show that they kept some ducks and were helped with the garden by a neighbour called Standing. They were spied on there by Ford's former mistress Violet Hunt who "tracked them down in Bedham and hung over the fence of their cottage watching them...

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