A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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Newdigate is a village nearly 6 miles south-east of Dorking, 2½ miles from Holmwood Station, on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. The parish is on the borders of Sussex, and is bounded on the north by Leigh, on the east by Charlwood, on the south by Rusper in Sussex, on the west by Capel. An outlying part of Charlwood is in the southern part of it, surrounded by Newdigate and Rusper. It measures about 4 miles from north to south and 2 miles from east to west, and contains 4,732 acres. The soil is the Wealden Clay. The parish is still thickly wooded, and is purely agricultural, except for brick and tile works. A branch of the Mole in the parish is called the Rithe. The only commons are some strips of roadside waste. No main road leads through the parish, but there was an old way from Ockley, through Capel, and past Eutons into Newdigate, and by Parkgate towards Reigate. The name Rodgate Field appears upon its course; and though Parkgate may be named from the park at Ewood, this road marked in old maps as the only one across this line of country, although now in places no more than a bridle-road, suggests an exception to the alleged non-use of the word 'gate' for a road in southern England. Gatwick in Charlwood is on another old way to Reigate and Gatton.
Newdigate is for the most part in the hundred of Copthorne, forming an outlying portion of it. But the hamlet of Parkgate and the part of the parish near it are in Reigate Hundred. The place does not appear at all in Domesday, and the connexion with Copthorne is a probable result of the holding by the Montfort family of Newdigate together with Ashtead Manor, while Parkgate was held with Reigate and Dorking by the Earls of Warenne and Surrey.
In the 16th century Ewood, or Iwood, was the seat of an important iron forge and furnace. (fn. 1) Newdigate was among the parishes excepted by name from the Act 1 Elizabeth against cutting of timber, and the works at Ewood were excepted by name from a later Act on the same matter owing to the good management of the woods.
Ewood Pond, an extensive sheet of water, artificially dammed for the use of these works, long survived the industry. It was drained circa 1850–60, but was marked on ordnance maps long after that date.
In the older farms and cottages there is much massive timber-work. The tower of the church (q.v.) is one of the finest examples of oak building in the county. Cudworth Manor House is a moated house apparently of the 16th century, though considerably altered at different times. Newdigate Place, the house of the family of that name, was a large house standing round a courtyard, but was almost entirely demolished near the end of the 18th century. In 1807 the Duke of Norfolk began to build a house at Ewood, but it was never completed, and the part built was pulled down after the duke's death in 1815. Traces of it, however, still remain.
Of modern houses Newdigate Place, close to the site of the old house, is the property of Mrs. Janson; the Red House of Mr. Leopold Goldberg; Cudworth Manor of Mr. H. Lee-Steere. Lyne House (see Capel) is on the border of that parish and Newdigate.
The old poor-house was between the village and Parkgate. The whole labouring population were in receipt of out-door relief in the earlier 19th century, and the rates reached 19s. in the pound. (fn. 2)
There is no mention in the Domesday Survey of the manor of NEWDIGATE; it probably then formed part of Dorking. In the 12th century the overlordship belonged to the Earls Warenne and Surrey, (fn. 3) whose descendants continued to hold it until the end of the 16th century. (fn. 4) In 1347 the male line of the Warennes died out, and Richard, Earl of Arundel, the son of Alice de Warenne, succeeded to the title and estates. (fn. 5) In 1415, on the death of his grandson Thomas, the Warenne and Surrey estates were divided between his three sisters, (fn. 6) Newdigate apparently falling to the share of Joan the widow of William Beauchamp, Lord Abergavenny, as in 1576 the manor was held of her descendant, Henry Nevill, then Lord Abergavenny. (fn. 7) The early history of the tenants of Newdigate in subfee is difficult to trace. In 1292 John de Montfort was granted free warren in his demesne lands in Newdigate. (fn. 8) He was succeeded by his son John, who was slain in battle at Bannockburn in 1314 (fn. 9); he left no children, and was succeeded by his brother Peter, who is said to have been previously in holy orders, but to have become a knight on inheriting. He married Margaret the daughter of Lord Furnival. By her he had one son Guy, who died in his father's lifetime. (fn. 10) Guy had married Margaret Beauchamp, (fn. 11) and on his death Peter settled the reversion of his estates on her father, Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. (fn. 12) Peter died in 1367 (fn. 13) and the earl succeeded, holding of the Earl of Arundel. In 1369 he enfeoffed John de Bokyngham, Bishop of Lincoln, and several others, of the manor of Newdigate, (fn. 14) probably in order to settle it upon his son Thomas, who inherited at his death in 1369. (fn. 15) At this point Dugdale states that Baldwin de Freville, son of Elizabeth one of the sisters and heirs of Peter de Montfort, claimed and recovered the manor of Newdigate with that of Ashtead, and that from him it passed to the family of Aston (fn. 16) (vide Ashtead). Aubrey also says in his book on Surrey that the manor of Newdigate was left by the Baldwin de Freville, who died in 1400, to his son Baldwin, who died a minor, leaving three sisters co-heirs, of whom Joyce the wife of Roger Aston inherited this manor. (fn. 17) There is, however, no mention of property in Newdigate in any of the subsequent inquisitions on the Frevilles and Astons, but this might arise from the fact that the manor was small and appurtenant to Ashtead. That they actually did hold Newdigate is proved by the settlement of one third of the manors of Ashtead and Newdigate made in 1419 by Hugh de Willoughby and his wife Margaret, one of the sisters of Baldwin de Freville, upon themselves and their heirs male. Ultimately the whole of Ashtead went to the Aston family, who inherited through Joyce another sister of Baldwin de Freville. (fn. 18) In 1543, when Sir Edward Aston conveyed Ashtead to the king, he also conveyed rents and appurtenances in Newdigate. (fn. 19) Tradition exists that these same lands were granted by Henry VIII to Trinity College, Cambridge, and were identical with the manor of Marshlands, which the college subsequently held. (fn. 20) Unfortunately no grant to the college exists, but the fact that part of that estate held by the family of Newdigate, which came to be called the manor of Newdigate, was held of the manor of Marshlands, (fn. 21) appears to corroborate the presumption that Marshlands was the original manor of Newdigate. The manor remained in the possession of Trinity College until the middle of the 19th century, when it was sold to Mr. Henry Fowler Broadwood, whose father and grandfather had held it on lease, (fn. 22) and whose grandson is the present owner.
At Trinity College there are several surveys of the manor of Marshlands, and these show its gradual decay and deterioration. In 1564 their estate at Newdigate was divided amongst various tenants who paid quit-rents, heriots, and owed suit of court. In 1702 the manor-house, then in good repair, was let to Dr. Akehurst, and sublet to Joseph Peter, and the estate included three other farms— Naylors, Horseland, and Bearland. By 1756, however, the manor and farms, of which there were then only two besides the manor farm, were falling into ruin. Naylors seems to be now incorporated with Horseland or Horseyland. The soil had apparently never been fertile, but incompetence and neglect, and the increasing poverty of the tenant, had hastened the general deterioration. Reference is made to quit-rents worth about 30s., which had been collected by Mr. Capon, a recent tenant, but it was no longer precisely known who had paid them. A court had been called within the last twenty years, but no one had attended it. Cattle had been brought to the pound, but the tenant had refused to admit them; the pound was now ruinous and part of it had been carried away. It was then suggested to unite the manor farm and one of the others, which appears to have been done. The estate was much improved during the tenancy of the Broadwoods, who gave great care and attention to the timber.
The second reputed manor of NEWDIGATE was not called a manor until the 16th century. It appears to have originated in lands which were held there at a very early date by the family of Newdigate, whose name is derived from the place. Mr. Budgen showed various documents to Manning, (fn. 23) which prove that they were holding property in Newdigate from the 13th century, and besides these there is a conveyance in 1234–5 of half a carucate of land by Roger de London to Richard de Newdigate, (fn. 24) while further lands there were granted to William de Newdigate and his brother Richard in 1335–6. (fn. 25) The Newdigates evidently continued to acquire various tenements which they held of different overlords, and in time their estate came to be called a manor. The inquisition taken in 1592 on Walter de Newdigate helps to prove this supposition by giving an account of his lands in Newdigate and of whom they were held, the principal overlord being Lord Abergavenny. (fn. 26)
The first authentic mention of the property as a manor is in a deed dated 1569, which appears to be a settlement of the manor by Thomas de Newdigate on his son Walter. (fn. 27) At Thomas's death in 1576 he was said to be seised of the site of the manor, and of all those lands that constituted the manor of Newdigate, which he was holding of Henry Nevill, Lord Abergavenny. A water-mill which he left to his wife Agnes, and certain fisheries, were appurtenant to the manor, which passed to his son Walter. He also bequeathed a house called Newdigate Place to his wife. (fn. 28) In 1588 Walter subscribed £25 towards the fleet raised against the Armada. (fn. 29) His son Thomas, who succeeded him in 1590, had only two daughters, Mary and Ann, (fn. 30) who married respectively William Steper and William Smithiman. Thomas bequeathed the manor to his brother Richard's son West, who succeeded him. (fn. 31)
In 1636 West Newdigate united with Henry Darrell, who had married Thomas Newdigate's widow Mary, (fn. 32) and William and Mary Steper, in a conveyance of the manor to John Budgen. (fn. 33) From this date Newdigate was held by the Budgen family (fn. 34) until 1810, when John's descendant, Thomas Budgen, sold the manor to Charles, Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 35) who in 1815 was succeeded by his cousin, Bernard Howard. (fn. 36) The present lord of the manor is the great-grandson of the latter, Henry FitzAlan Howard, (fn. 37) Duke of Norfolk. The old manor-house was pulled down by Mr. John Budgen, owner between 1772 and 1805. It stood close to Newdigate Place.
The manor and park of IWOOD or EWOOD in Newdigate belonged to the Earls Warenne and Surrey, and was used by them as a centre for hunting, hawking, and fishing. (fn. 38) It constantly appears in the Dorking Court Rolls as 'Dorking Iwode,' contrasted, apparently, with 'Dorking Homewode.'
In 1312 and 1314 commission of oyer and terminer was granted for the prosecution of poachers who had entered the free warren of John de Warenne at Newdigate. (fn. 39) This property descended like the manor of Newdigate (q.v.) through the Arundels to William Beauchamp through his wife Joan Arundel and to the Nevills, Lords Abergavenny. In 1476 Edward Nevill, Lord Abergavenny, died seised of the park of Iwood. (fn. 40) His great-grandson Henry conveyed the estate to George and Christopher Darrell, (fn. 41) who in June 1554 leased it to John Stapley of Framfield for ninety-nine years at a rent of £66 13s. 4d. (fn. 42) A month later Christopher Darrell sold his half of the property to Thomas Collet, (fn. 43) and George Darrell sold the remainder to Anthony Pelham. (fn. 44) Anthony was succeeded by his son Herbert Pelham, (fn. 45) but Collet conveyed his share in 1567 to John Heathe, (fn. 46) who in May 1574 conveyed it back to Christopher Darrell and Sir Thomas Browne. (fn. 47) In the following December Christopher bought what had been his brother George's share from Herbert Pelham. (fn. 48) A few months later a survey was taken of the messuages and buildings, including the ironworks, furnace, forge, and hammer, which were then worked by Robert Reynolds, who was occupying the mansion-house and park, and who also held the brew-house and watermill for grinding corn. The ironworks were then said to be worth £40 yearly. The owners claimed view of frankpledge there. (fn. 49) In 1575 Christopher Darrell, who was indebted to the Crown for £2,000, conveyed three parts of the estate and view of frankpledge, estimated at £800, to the queen. (fn. 50) This portion of the manor she granted in 1582, after Christopher's death, to Henry Darrell of Scotney for the sum of £700, at the same time transferring the debt of £2,000 to Edmund Pelham, with power to exact the money from Darrell, though without distraining his lands at Iwood. (fn. 51) Apparently Darrell did not pay the £700 to the queen, for in 1594 she granted the same land to Edmund Pelham and James Thetcher on condition of the payment of £200 by certain dates. (fn. 52) According to Manning and Bray this latter sum was never paid, and the estate remained in the royal possession (fn. 53) until it was granted to Mary Goche and her son Barnaby in 1605. (fn. 54) The farm and lands of Iwood were later on divided between John Gratwicke with his wife Mildred and Elizabeth Richards, widow, with John Hetherington. (fn. 55) One moiety afterwards descended to Dr. Morton, who was succeeded by his son Richard. (fn. 56) At Richard's death the estate was sold to Thomas Grinstead, whose son Joseph Valentine Grinstead sold it to the Duke of Norfolk in 1786. (fn. 57) The other moiety became the property of Richard Hurst, and was sold by his son to General Smith. This portion of the estate was also bought by the Duke of Norfolk in 1786, (fn. 58) and since then has been united to Newdigate under one lord of the manor.
In 1298–9 Walter de la Poyle died seised of the site of the manor of CUDWORTH or CUDFORD, in Newdigate and Rusper, Sussex, which he held of the Abbot of Chertsey in socage, the house, court, and garden then being worth 7s. The lands were held of various overlords, 50 acres from the abbot, 30 from the Earl Warenne of Surrey, 20 from John de Montfort, &c. (fn. 59) His son and heir was John, (fn. 60) who presumably inherited the manor, though there is no mention of it amongst the possessions he held in demesne at his death in 1317–18. (fn. 61) Some years later licence was granted to Henry de la Poyle to have mass celebrated in the oratory of his manor of Cudworth, (fn. 62) and in 1360, at his death, he was holding the manor of the king, the Abbot of Chertsey, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, &c., for various rents. (fn. 63) After this there is no further mention of the estate until 1574, when Thomas Bowett died seised of the manor, which his father Richard had bought, and which was said to be held of Sir Francis Carew. (fn. 64) Bowett's brother Nicholas succeeded him, and in 1579 sold the property to John Thorpe. (fn. 65) In 1622 the lord of the manor was still a John Thorpe, (fn. 66) whether the same or his successor does not appear, and in 1636 the estate was purchased by Mr. Ede. (fn. 67) The extant court rolls begin with courts of John Ede in 1763 and 1773. In 1775 (fn. 68) it was sold to Mr. Lee Steere Steere, who died in 1785. It was left to his wife for her life, and at her death passed into the possession of his grandson Lee Steere Witts, who took the name of Steere; he died in 1842. His son Mr. Lee Steere Steere succeeded. The grandson of the latter, Henry Lee Steere of Jayes Park, is now lord of the manor. The manor-house is of some age, and is surrounded by a moat. It was long occupied as a farm, but was converted again lately into a gentleman's house.
There was also a farm or tenement in Newdigate called GREENES, sometimes referred to as a manor, with lands in Newdigate and Capel. In 1449–50 John Grene held land in Newdigate, (fn. 69) and the family again appears in 1457 and 1497. Towards the end of the 16th century one half of Greenes was held by Thomas Boorde, who died in January 1601–2. (fn. 70) His son Ninian held it till his death in 1606, and left a son and heir Herbert, then about four years old. (fn. 71) By 1642 the property was in the possession of Christopher Wheeler, yeoman, and he bequeathed it in his will of that year, in tail male, (fn. 72) to his grandson Robert, who was holding it in 1663. (fn. 73) In 1694 the manor of Greenes was conveyed by John Hill of Hurstpoint, gentleman, and Mary his wife, the daughter of Robert Wheeler, to Thomas Patching. (fn. 74) Thomas Patching became a bankrupt in 1706, and his property was conveyed to trustees for the benefit of his creditors. (fn. 75) In 1714 it was conveyed by them to John Woods, and by him to Ezra Gill, as the manor of Greenes. In 1729 Greenes was settled on the children of a marriage between Ezra Gill and Mary Woods, (fn. 76) daughter of John Woods. It descended in the Gill and Frankland family (see Eashing and Temple Elfold in Capel) till 1832, when J. H. Frankland sold it to Mr. James Tschudi Broadwood of Lyne, whose great-grandson is now owner. (fn. 77)
In 1291 it was found that the Prior of Merton held a messuage and 60 acres of land in Newdigate, which was of the ancient demesne of the Crown, and Richard de la Sterte held it of him. (fn. 78) KINGSLAND, by its name, may answer to this ancient demesne, but subsequent possession by Merton does not appear. (fn. 79)
On 14 January 1573–4 Matthew Wrighte of Newdigate, yeoman, conveyed to Nicholas Bryne of Reigate, tanner, his tenement in Newdigate, called Kingsland, in the occupation of William Wood. On 5 October 1584 William Dible of Newdigate, husbandman, gave a lease to William Wood, tanner, of his messuage, barns, &c., and one half of his lands called Kings Lands in Newdigate, 'as it lyeth divided by the king's highway leading between Nudigate and Capell on the south, and one pond and lymepitte on the north,' in the occupation of William Wood. (fn. 80) Kingsland so lies on the present road. In 1619 Thomas Constable and Agnes his wife sold it to Sir Thomas Bludder, whose widow and her second husband sold it in 1655 to the former's mother, Mrs. Hester Shaw. By will of 1659 Mrs. Hester Shaw of London left Kingsland in Newdigate, consisting of two messuages, barns, &c., and 50 acres of land, in trust for her daughter Elizabeth, Lady Bludder, then the wife of George Farrington, who by deed of 12 April 1687 made an appointment of the property, charging it with an annuity to her son, and naming trustees, who on 10 June 1696 conveyed it, subject to the said payment, to Thomas Patching, from whom it descended as Greenes above. Thomas Patching became bankrupt in 1706. On 25 August 1714 Kingsland and other property of Thomas Patching was conveyed by trustees for his creditors to Ezra Gill, Preston Patching, and George Arnold. On 26 September 1716 Kingsland was released to the use of Ezra Gill, and descended in his family with his manor of Temple Elfold, adjoining, in Capel (q.v.). (fn. 81)
The church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel 23 ft. 3 in. by 13 ft. 7 in., with a vestry (and organ-chamber) to the north of it, nave 33 ft. by 17 ft. 6 in., north aisle 8 ft. 6 in. wide and south aisle 7 ft. 2 in., south porch, and a west tower of wood. All the measurements are internal.
The nave and chancel are of 13th-century origin. The south aisle, despite the massiveness of its arcade, made to carry the early thick wall above, appears to be an addition of the latter half of the 14th century. When the west tower was added is not evident; but its inner timbers are old, although the outer boarding and the windows, &c., are modern. The church was repaired in 1877, when the north aisle and vestry were built.
The east window of the chancel is a modern one of three lancets, but has an old round-headed rear arch and quoin stones; the north-east and south-east windows are single lancets, apparently original, but restored; below the latter is a plain pointed piscina with a modern basin.
The second south window has modern tracery of two lancets with a circular piercing over, but its head and jambs are old. The priest's doorway west of this is old, and has a pointed head of a single chamfered order; its western jamb inside is partly cut away for a squint from the south aisle. A modern arch opens to the organ-chamber on the north, and the chancel arch is also modern. The roof of the chancel is a modern one with plain panelling below.
The south arcade of the nave has two bays with a large circular column and chamfered responds, the moulded base of the column is modern, and its capital (an octagonal one) is of late 14th-century character like those of the responds; the arches are two-centred and of two orders, the outer small and hollow-chamfered, the inner large and plain. The wall east of the east respond is carried by a low arch, in order to allow for the squint to the chancel. The north arcade is a modern copy of the other, but has a small pointed arch east of the east respond. The north aisle is lighted by two three-light north windows and a twolight window at the west, all with modern tracery.
The south aisle (the walls of which are comparatively thin) has an east window of two trefoiled ogeeheaded lights; the sill and mullion are modern, but the rest appears to be of the 14th century, as does also the piscina in the south wall of the aisle, which has a trefoiled ogee head and a quatrefoil basin.
The two south windows are modern, that east of the doorway has three lights, and the other two are both under square heads. The south doorway of two orders has simple continuous mouldings and a twocentred arch; it is of the date of the south wall. The west window of the aisle is also old, of two cinquefoiled lights under a two-centred segmental head.
The original west wall of the nave has been almost all removed for the tower, and what is left at the angles slopes back above to the side walls. The four legs of the tower inclose a space about 11 ft. square, and are tied together by cross braces in a most picturesque way. About 5 ft. outside them on the north, west, and south are the smaller timbers of the ground story with upright studs boarded horizontally. On the second stage these are roofed over and covered with oak shingles; on the north and south are plain rectangular windows, and on the west a doorway. The main posts run up to form an upper stage for the bells, which is boarded, and lighted by plain square windows, and capped by an octagonal wood spire. The south porch is a modern one of wood. In the north-east window of the north aisle is a little 15thcentury glass, including the arms of Newdigate. The walling of the older portions of the church is of Bargate stone with sandstone quoins, and the timbers of the nave roof are old, covered with stone slates. The aisles have modern lean-to roofs. All the furniture is modern, including the octagonal stone font. Under the tower is an old wooden chest, cut from a single log; it is quite plain and has three locks.
The only old monuments are a small brass inscription in the chancel to Joan wife of George Steere, a former rector, died 1634; a small lead plate on the west respond of the south arcade to Margaret wife of Henry Darrell of Scotney, died 1616, probably a coffin plate; and one or two 18th-century mural monuments.
In the 12th century Hameline, the natural son of Geoffrey of Anjou, and Earl of Surrey in right of his wife Isabel de Warenne, granted the church of Newdigate to the Prior and monks of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, (fn. 82) and the right of presentation remained with them throughout the Middle Ages. (fn. 83) Licence to appropriate was granted to the prior by Edward II, but a vicarage does not seem to have been ordained there. (fn. 84) Newdigate rectory was included amongst the temporalities of the monastery in the estimate made under Henry VIII, and was then said to be worth £8 18s. 4d. (fn. 85) At the dissolution of Southwark in 1539, (fn. 86) the advowson passed into the king's possession, and the benefice has remained in the royal gift up to the present day. (fn. 87)
There was also a chapel of St. Margaret in Newdigate, referred to in Newdigate wills of 1482, 1516, and 1521. It is described in 1516 as in the churchyard of Newdigate. Salmon says that one of the Newdigates pulled it down.
The Rev. George Steere, rector, gave in his lifetime a school-house to Newdigate, and by his will, November 1661, he confirmed the possession of the school to trustees for the parish, and left £6 13s. 4d. a year charged on land called Clarke's and Squire's Piece, for teaching four children. Mr. George Booth, who had acquired the land, left £100 by will, 31 December 1681, to teach three more children. His executors obtained a decree in Chancery, February 1683, enabling them on the payment of £200 to free the land in Newdigate from the charge, and to acquire an estate called Scallow, in Worth, Sussex, which was to be held in trust for the purposes of the school. The master was elected by the parishioners. (fn. 88) In 1838 the school had become ruinous, and Mr. J. T. Broadwood of Lyne rebuilt it and endowed it with £200 more. In 1872 the present school building was erected.
The Rev. George Steere, founder of the school, was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1599, and appointed rector by King James in 1610. He copied out the earlier registers into the present book. In 1614 he repaired and ceiled the chancel at his own cost, and in 1627 contributed to two new windows. He held the living through the Civil War, and was nominated a member of the Dorking Presbyterian Classis in 1648. (fn. 89) He was buried 13 January 1662. (fn. 90)
He further, by his will, left an exhibition of £10 a year for a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, to be chosen by the incumbents of Newdigate, Ockley, Dorking, and Rusper from Newdigate, or, in default of a fit candidate, from a circle of 15 miles round Newdigate Church. The payment was charged upon an estate called Blackbrooks in Dorking, and Manning and Bray state that 'it continues to be paid when there is a claimant to it.' The late Rev. L. S. Kennedy, rector of Newdigate, made special inquiries after it, but in vain; neither the Charity Commissioners nor Trinity College have any record or knowledge of it.