Falstone : The 19th Century Expansion
During the 19th century Falstone experienced steady growth from a small hamlet clustered around a couple of chapels as it was at the beginning of the century to a compact village with many facilities including a railway station by the end of the century. Many of the buildings in the village date to the 19th century and it was during this period that the village largely took on the form it has today. This the substantial growth which was based on the social and economic forces outlined in the previous discussion.
Thus the Scottish Presbyterian (now United Reformed) Church (1807 restored 1876, with the addition of tower at this stage), the Rectory built for the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital (1818) and St Peter's Church (1824, restored 1892) all belong to this period.
In 1813 a school was first established in Falstone when Sir John Swinburne built a school with a stable beneath for the benefit of parishioners (Charlton 1987, 112). Following W.E. Forster's Elementary Education Act of 1870 a new school building was erected, which still stands.
The early 19th century bridge(s) by the village green, the mid 19th century Blackcock public house, Briar Cottage and Rose Cottage, a drinking fountain in the village centre and the farm buildings at Falstone farm, which also belong to the early to middle part of the century, all reflect this quiet prosperity.
The Falstone farm complex forms a U-shaped plan, with a two storey byre and shelter shed, with granary above, in the rear wing, and byres, stables and a piggery, with henhouse above, in the side wings.
The construction of Falstone Bridge in 1843 allowed much better communications with the south side of the river, with a road now leading directly southward out of the village, and was part of a steadily improving transport infrastructure which culminated in the construction of the Border Counties Railway in the 1850s as related above.
As a result of this steady growth in size and facilities, it is perhaps fair to say that Falstone reached its zenith as a village settlement c.1900. It was the commercial, transport, religious and educational centre for the surrounding district and the most important settlement in the valley above Bellingham.
Picture : Falstone Bridge