non form TextField validation blues

Vaadin 6.8.4

I have been fighting for a few weeks to get Vaadin to validate fields on my project and I keep coming back to it and trying something else without much joy.
I suspect I have pushed Vaadin over the limit in terms of what it is meant to be able to do :frowning:
What I built was to me something quite simple, my capture screen was a form containing tabs. but maybe not so simple if you use Vaadin ??

The Form is contained in a VerticalLayout.
Inside the form we have TabSheet pages.
The TabSheet pages have a VerticalLayout to hold the fields
Some fields are added to the layout via a CustomLayout (those held in a mini-matrix).