In the Middle Ages
such jurisdiction as was exercised in Lower Beeding
was that of St. Leonard's Forest, within which all
the parish apparently lay. A master forester was
mentioned in 1281, (fn. 71) and foresters in the plural in
1303. (fn. 72) There were bailiffs of the forest as well as
foresters in 1311-12. (fn. 73) The master forester in 1383
had charge of all parks, chases, and warrens belonging to Bramber rape. (fn. 74) Probably by then, and certainly by the late 15th century, the post was a sinecure: in 1476 Thomas Hoo and Sir Henry Roos were
the two master foresters, each with a salary of 5
marks a year. (fn. 75) The day to day administration of the
forest in the mid 15th century was in the hands of a
ranger, who was paid 4d. a day wages in 1460, and
there were also keepers or foresters of the different
bailiwicks: (fn. 76) the keeper of Horestock bailiwick in
1400 received 2d. a day wages, (fn. 77) and the foresters of
Roffey and Shelley bailiwicks in 1476 had 1d. a day
each. (fn. 78) In 1507 the ranger was alternatively known
as the collector. (fn. 79) There are other 16th- and 17thcentury references to rangers, bailiffs, and keepers, (fn. 80)
the last keeper being recorded in 1674. (fn. 81)
Courts were recorded for St. Leonard's Forest
between 1438 (fn. 82) and 1631. (fn. 83) In 1459-60, in 1499, and
in 1529, two 'woodplea' courts were held annually,
court rolls surviving for the two latter years. (fn. 84) The
court was then concerned solely with maintaining
the deer in the forest, accounting for animals that
had died, keeping in repair the pales of the various
bailiwicks, and collecting stray beasts. In the earlier
17th century, after the mid 16th-century reclamation of part of the forest, there was a court baron for
tenants of what was described as the manor of St.
Leonard's Forest. (fn. 85)
No court rolls are known for Bewbush manor,
though since the manor house was described as the
'court' in 1330, (fn. 86) it may then have been used for
some administrative business. In 1650 the lord of
Bewbush had the right to impound strays found in
the former park. (fn. 87)
By 1646 the Wealden portion of Beeding parish
was already maintaining its own poor separately from
the downland portion, (fn. 88) as always happened later. (fn. 89)
In 1791, however, the Wealden portion was still
rated for the repair of Upper Beeding church, (fn. 90) and
separate churchwardens were not appointed before
1838. (fn. 91) The Wealden portion joined Horsham union
in 1835. (fn. 92) It was transferred from Horsham rural
district to Horsham district in 1974.
||Magd. Coll. Oxf. Mun., Sele 81 (TS. cat.); cf. Cal.
Close, 1288-96, 196.
||Hist. MSS. Com. 7, 8th Rep., D. & C. Cant. p. 349.
||Magd. Coll. Oxf. Mun., Buddington 5 (TS. cat.).
Cal. Close, 1405-9, 323.
||Lambeth Boro. Archives Dept., VI/330; cf. Arundel
Cast. MS. M 814.
||Arundel Cast. MSS. A 433, rot. 3; A 1859; A 1860,
rot. 1; M 814-15.
Cal. Pat. 1399-1401, 264.
||Lambeth Boro. Archives Dept., VI/330.
||Arundel Cast. MS. A 1868, rot. 4d.
||Horsfield, Hist. Suss. i. 243; Cal. Pat. 1553, 241;
1572-5, p. 104; P.R.O., E 134/19 Chas. II East./24, rot. 4;
S.R.S. xxi. 374.
||P.R.O., E 126/12, f. 33.
||Arundel Cast. MS. A 1859; cf. V.C.H. Suss. ii. 308.
||K.A.O., U 269/T 276/1.
||Arundel Cast. MSS. A 1860, rot. 1; M 814-15.
||K.A.O., U 269/T 276/1; P.R.O., LR 2/227, f. 35;
Cal. Pat. 1327-30, 489.
||P.R.O., LR 2/299, f. 22.
S.R.S. liv. 95.
||e.g. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 516; Census, 1841;
Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1866).
||W.S.R.O., Par. 16/9/1, f. 4v.
||1 & 2 Vic. c. 55 (Local and Personal).
Suss. Poor Law Rec. 39; cf. above, intro.