5.1.1 Hopkins Crank

In 1913 Gill moved from Sopers (in Ditchling) to Hopkins Crank, an old farmhouse on the edge of Fragbarrow Farm. He also acquired some two acres of the adjoining farmland with a view to becoming self-sufficient. Gill developed the property considerably, creating a quadrangle using the existing farm buildings – this form of layout was something that Gill sought to replicate wherever he went.

When Gill left the Guild in 1924 he sold the property to Pepler who lived there until he died from a heart attack while gardening in 1951. The property was then divided into three (Hopkins Crank, Little Crank and Crank Barn) and sold on.

1. This photograph was taken around 1913, when the Gills had just moved from Ditchling village. The farm buildings which formed the basis of the courtyard are to the left, notice the arched doorway which can be seen in certain photos below
2. A famous photograph of the Gill family in the grounds of Hopkins Crank taken in 1914, soon after Gill took over the property. Then, there was the main house with an extension to the back, a long dairy (the end of which is visible above) and a barn which he used as a workshop (right).
3. Inside the courtyard. At the extreme right edge of the photo it is just possible to see the end of Hopkins Crank House
4. Gill with his family and Desmond Chute in front of the barn with the sculpture ‘The Mulier‘, originally commissioned as a garden piece for Roger Fry in 1914.

Hopkins Crank today – now three properties: