The Burwash District Housing Association was created over 60 years ago by the people of Burwash. It exists to providing housing at an affordable rent for people over 60 years of age who have strong links to the Burwash area. Read more about our history below.

We want to involve more Burwash residents as shareholders to keep the BDHA as a continuing visible part of village life.

To be a shareholder you make a one-off payment of £1. This does not confer any equity, shared ownership or share of profits as we are a non-profit making body. You will not be asked to do more than take an interest in our activity, unless you wish to. We need you as the BDHA Committee works on behalf of the community and answers to the shareholders. Our Annual General Meeting every March gives our members the opportunity to monitor our progress and discuss any issues.

Please contact the Secretary Claudette Neville if you would like to become a shareholder in this very special Burwash organization on 01435 883 043 or email

The BDHA Committee
David Cowell – Chairman Richard Harden – Treasurer Claudette Neville – Secretary
Doreen Cartwright Laura Gregory Jean Plummer
Alison Hayes John Trigwell

A Short History of the BDHA

The BDHA was founded in the early 1960s by local health visitor Nurse Jean Holland who was concerned about the plight of  many elderly Burrishers living in ‘crumbling’ cottages with no electricity or hot water. Their toilets were outside, often down steps and shared with other families. The only alternative was taking a house outside the village which could mean isolation from friends and family.

When Jean Holland raised the issue with authorities in 1961, she was told that no appropriate homes would be provided in a small village like Burwash. She then took action and in 1962 a meeting was held at The Bear. Miss Webb from the National Federation of Housing Societies explained the requirements and difficulties of providing housing for the elderly to the 50 attendees. Not to be discouraged, in May of that year, the first ad hoc committee meeting was held and in December 1962 the Burwash District Housing Association for the Elderly Ltd was registered.

Led by an enthusiastic committee, the people of Burwash set out to raise funds. With these funds, and also a loan and a grant from Battle Rural District Council, 5 & 6 Broads Cottages in Burwash High Street were purchased from the Barnsley Trust.

They were converted into four flats at a total cost, including the purchase price, of £6,000. In June 1965, two couples and two single tenants moved in. A year later a coin telephone box was installed as the walk to the box in Ham Lane was too far in emergencies – no mobiles in those days! Since then these four flats have been converted into three.

This photograph was taken in 1965. It shows the BDHA committee, including Nurse Holland in uniform, and one of the first tenants at Broads Cottages, Mr Dick Pope.

Accommodation for six elderly people was not sufficient to meet the village’s need so the next move for the Association was to plan to build new homes. Nurse Holland set up a flower fund where money was donated to the Association instead of floral tributes at local funerals and this brought in a steady flow of funds. There were lots of other larger fundraising activities, notably auctions of antiques donated by local people.

Nurse Holland found a plot of land in Vicarage Road, Burwash Common, in 1968. It was bought from two brothers who were cobblers; hence the name Cobblers Field. Plans were set in motion to build six bungalows. The first tenants moved in, in November 1974. But there continued to be a need for more housing. So in 1989 an application was started for four more bungalows at Cobblers Field and these were completed in 1990. All these developments were financed by local fund raising and loans from Rother District Council which have now been paid back in full.

In the 21st century the housing needs of the community have changed as has the definition of  ‘Elderly’. So now BDHA, in the spirit of Nurse Holland, provides 13 local units of accommodation for over-60s who have links to Burwash, at a reasonable rent.

Anyone who would like to be considered for one of the units can contact the Secretary to be put on the waiting list.

Claudette Neville, Honorary Secretary,