A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.
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The parish, 5 miles in length from north to south with an average width of from ½ to ¾ mile and containing 2,441 acres, lies on the eastern edge of the Rape of Chichester, between Midhurst and Petworth. In the extreme north, where the parish narrows to a point on Blackdown, a height of 620 ft. is attained, from which the ground drops in ¾ mile to 300 ft. and then more gradually until a height of only 50 ft. is reached on the River Rother, which forms the southern boundary of the parish. Part of the eastern boundary is formed by a tributary stream, locally known as the Lud—a modern name—which falls into the Rother at Lods Bridge. One mile north of this point is the church, with the village lying just to the north and west of it. About 1½ miles farther north, beyond Lodsworth Common, where there were extensive brickfields in the later years of the 19th century, lies the hamlet of Lickfold. Much of the parish is occupied by woodland.
Owing to the very extensive privileges and franchises enjoyed by the bishops of London, who held the manor (see below), the parish was known as the Liberty of Lodsworth, and a trace of one of those franchises remains in the name of Gallows Hill, presumably marking the site of the manorial gallows. (fn. 1)
The Manor House stands south of the church. The main block runs east to west and dates from two periods of the 13th century, the earlier represented by thicker walls, several plain windows, and a hooded fire-place; the latter, c. 1290, by a shafted window blocked externally. Judging from the fire-place, the hall seems always to have been at first-floor level, forming one long range, now 54 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft. 6 in. but probably curtailed at the east end. This is suggested by the large, blocked, pointed opening, apparently the entrance, at the east end of the south wall, cramped by the east gable which is considerably thinner and certainly rebuilt. All the present subdivisions are later, as is the wing projecting off the west end of the north wall to form an L-shaped plan. The house is built of sandstone covered with roughcast or cement, and later brick, and has a modern tiled roof.
The north wall is of early-13th-century date at the east, but west of an offset seen in the passage it thins from 3 ft. 3 in. to 2 ft. 4 in. on the ground, and from 2 ft. 8 in. to 2 ft. 2 in. on the first floor. A possibly old feature is a buttress with single offset and chamfered plinth. (fn. 2) The south wall is of early-13th-century build. The porch, appears to be original, with its south wall continued east and west into buttress-like projections, the doorway having chamfered jambs and segmental head, of which the rusticated key-stone, in cement, is a restoration. (fn. 3) Above it are five rounded and chamfered corbels which apparently supported the hall chimney projection: this has been cut away, replaced by a small tiled roof to the porch, and the fire-place, now reduced, is served by a modern chimney. The thick, chamfered chimney-buttress can be seen inside, with three similar corbels to carry a hearth. The doorway below has chamfered jambs and segmental pointed head. It, like the outer, is not rebated internally, so that the porch was originally a passage. East of the latter is an oblong chamfered light and beyond it the wall is carried up into the gable, containing on the first floor a segmental-headed doorway, partly blocked. East of it, past the gable, is the possible first-floor entrance, with a pointed head, also blocked within the chamfer. The west wall is thinner, (fn. 4) dating from c. 1290, and has a lofty hall window, with chamfered two-centred arch extending into the gable: it is blocked with a small modern window inserted.
Interior: the modern entrance passage is flanked by two rooms at a lower level. The 'dungeon' to the east shows the segmental pointed rear-arch and splayed jambs of the oblong window, also a fourth chimney corbel. The fifth shows in the 'dairy' west of the passage, and here in the south wall is a similar window, partially blocked. The first floor is now subdivided, and the 13th-century fire-place shows in two adjoining rooms. The ashlar hood rests on a roll and beaded string and joggled lintel, supported on bold doublecurved corbels, also slightly chamfered; a modern brick fire-place has been inserted. East of it is a contemporary window with chamfered segmental pointed rear-arch and later casements. In the later 13th-century west wall the original window splays are visible, with jambshafts flanked by hollows and having three-roll bases. In the attic the upper part of this window can be seen: the capitals have scroll, bead, and other mouldings, and the rear-arch is segmental-pointed, roll-moulded with a scroll-and-bead moulded hood; tracery may be concealed behind the blocking. The roof is of five bays with tie- and collar-beams, queen-posts, purlins, and curved wind-braces; it may be of 16th- or 17th-century date with modern rafters and roofing tiles, but the steep pitch is probably original.
There are some timber-framed cottages in the village, dating from the 17th century. Stop-chamfered ceilingbeams show internally.
'Weavers', on the east side of the Fernhurst road, may be of late-16th-century date, having in the east wall a five-light window with filleted-roll moulded mullions. Of the three bays of wide panels with stone filling the southern, containing an internal chimneystack, may be later. South of it 'Enickers' is of three bays, with a stack between the two northern containing wide fire-places; in the southern bay is an old stair, and the floors are original.
Farther south 'The Old Well House', also 17thcentury, has a main block of sandstone with brick quoins and some timber-framing, with a western wing forming a T-plan, having a staircase turret in one angle; there are wide fire-places. In the garden is a square timbered well-house, with its wooden wheel, and a barn with some original timbers.
In the hamlet of Lickfold the Three Horse Shoes Inn may be of 16th-century date. It is of three bays of timber-framing with brick filling and a gabled crosswing of close studding. 'Shotters', south of it, has 16th-century framing, disguised outside with brick- and tile-hanging. The northern room has a wide fire-place with a four-centred brick arch, and two panels of wall painting (now covered with glass) of roses and fleursde-lys.
At Dudman's Corner is a house of c. 1600 in three bays of timber-framing with wide panels with crossbraces. The original fire-places and wide floorboards remain.
Lickfold Cottage, (fn. 5) south of Lickfold Green, was known as Franks in the 17th century. It is a remarkable building: the house itself is timber-framed, of the 17th, or perhaps 16th, century, of two stories; but against it was built in the 18th century an incongruous façade in stone with brick dressings. This façade is of three stories, with a small central pediment, below which is a circular plaque flanked on either side by three sham windows. Of the seven windows on the first floor three are also blocked with tiles. The entrance doorway is square-headed, with moulded jambs of early-17th-century style; above is an inscription J.G. 1633, possibly brought from elsewhere. In the hall is a fire-place with chamfered brick jambs, and in the overmantel is the carved figure of man, in the costume of c. 1620–40, holding a round (?) mirror in which his face seems to be reflected. There is other carved woodwork, said to have been taken from this house to Cowdray and brought back. This includes carved door-posts, a cupboard door to an alleged 'priest's hole', an 18th-century fire-place with earlier ornamentation, and a corner cupboard with floral caryatids of c. 1600.
There are several other small timber-framed houses in this neighbourhood, of the 17th century, and 'Hambledon Cottage' appears to be of the 16th century. It was originally a two-bay hall with a cross-wing; the timbers are exceptionally massive; two original doors and wide floor-boards survive, and in a room over the hall a thick beam has chamfered leaf-stops, to form the head of a fire-place. The same room has a 'priest's hole'.
'The Dower House' is a square, three-storied building in stone with brick dressings. (fn. 6) Over the front door is the date 1728 with initials IHA. The west door-hood is original, the main one imported. The chief feature is a fine early-18th-century staircase with scroll-ends to the stairs and a ramped and moulded rail. The balusters are varied in groups of three, fluted, twisted, and plain with vase-turned base. Panelling follows the rake of the stair; the panels are in pine but contemporary with the dado in oak. There is a dentilled cornice to the first floor, and others of the rooms are panelled. In the west room is a wide fire-place with a lintel having raised ends; this may denote an earlier building altered and added to in the 18th century. There is a barrel-vaulted cellar, and in an outbuilding is a double cider-press.
'The Great House,' next door, is of somewhat later date.
Blackdown House stands in an estate extending into five parishes, the house itself being in the extreme north of Lodsworth. It is dated 1640, and consists of two stories with attics; the walls are of sandstone and the tiled roofs, barge-boards, and chimneys are modern. Extensive additions were made to east, west, and north in the 19th century, and the old part greatly restored. Apart from this the original south frontage has changed little from the drawing made by Grimm in 1790 of 'Mr. Yalding's house in Blackdown'. (fn. 7) On the south there are three bays with a porch, all gabled and threestoried. The windows on the ground and first floors are transomed five-lights, with a transomed three-light over the entrance; in the attics there are three-lights. All have filleted-roll mouldings and square, chamfered labels with hollow under-side. The entrance has a fourcentred arch in a square frame, with chamfered and ogee-moulded label; the jambs are moulded with roll and fillet. Above is a panel incised W.Y. 1640. It was found in the creeper after a modern '1640' had been carved below. The hall door is square, with nailstudding following the four-centred arch of the doorway; there is a great lock, bar, and bar-hole.
More old work can be seen on the north side; one gable has a filleted-roll moulded three-light to the attic, and windows of five transomed lights below, the labels being the least restored. The plinth is interrupted by a four-centred doorway. Another gable end has a single row of five-lights to each floor below the attics.
The house is rich in panelling and contemporary fire-places. One overmantel is arcaded, with black balls to the cornice. The fire-places are four-centred, in Petworth marble, having double hollow-chamfered jambs with moulded stops. A panelled overmantel (fn. 8) is dated W 1646 Y; one over the hall has ebony columns and groups of applied columns form part of the decoration of another. There are several ornate arcaded doorheads, and some stop-chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed.
The staircase has turned newels and roll-moulded rail; it has a modern addition. A fire-back in the hall (to a modern fire-place) dated 1616 W.Y. suggests an earlier house or part of the present one, perhaps the north portion. All the work looks of one date, but a 17th-century rendering of features common in the later 16th century.
LODSWORTH seems to be identical with the 'Lodesorde' surveyed in Domesday under Surrey, (fn. 9) where it is attributed to Woking Hundred, probably in error. It was then held of the king by Chetel the huntsman, whose father had held it of Edward the Confessor. It had been assessed at 1 hide but in 1086 was only ½ hide; it included woodland yielding 20 swine, and a mill, probably on the site afterwards occupied by a mill on the Rother where the river divides this parish from Selham. The estate seems to have come to the family of Belmeis, whose heiress brought the manor of Treve or River, in Tillington but extending into Lodsworth, to the family of la Zouche. (fn. 10) Richard de Belmeis, Bishop of London from 1108 to 1128, founded the Priory of St. Osyth on lands at Chich in Essex which belonged to the demesnes of the bishopric, and in compensation granted to future bishops of London 14 poundsworth of land in Lodsworth, which grant was confirmed in 1178 (fn. 11) by Henry II and in 1286 by Edward I. (fn. 12) In 1223 the Bishop of London brought an action against Savaric de Bohun for taking toll in the market of Midhurst from his men of Lodsworth, who were exempt from such tolls under a charter of King John; (fn. 13) and in 1278 the bishop established his right to a long list of franchises on his Sussex estates. (fn. 14) The manor and liberty of Lodsworth continued with the bishopric, being valued in 1535 at £31 16s. 8d., (fn. 15) until September 1545, when Bishop Bonner granted it to Henry VIII in exchange for other property. (fn. 16) In June 1547 Edward VI granted the manor, then in the occupation of Roger Dennys, with all its liberties to Sir Anthony Browne, K.G., (fn. 17) and it has since that time descended with the manor of Cowdray (q.v.), the present lord being Lord Cowdray.
The church of ST. PETER (fn. 18) stands south-east of the village. It is built of local sandstone ashlar and roofed with tile; the tower is plastered. To a nave and chancel of earlier, but uncertain, date a tower was added in about the 14th century; in the 19th a transept and aisle were added on each side of the nave, and the chancel was rebuilt and a vestry added to the north of it.
The east window of the chancel is of three lights with individual traceried heads; in the south wall are two, and in the north one, single-light windows with pointed trefoil heads; east of that in the north wall is a credence niche, west of it is a doorway with square trefoil head, and an arch in which stands the organ. The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, the inner carried on moulded corbels; the roof is in three bays. All this is wholly modern.
In the angle between the chancel and the south transept the plinth of the ancient quoin of the nave is visible on the outside. On each side of the nave is a single arch of two orders, resting on square responds, opening into the transept; west of this is an arcade of two bays, the arches being pointed, of two orders, resting on circular piers with moulded caps and bases; the responds have the form of half-piers; this is modern in 13th-century style. In the west wall is the tower arch, pointed, of one order, resting on square responds without imposts, of the 14th century. The roof has two tie-beams, ancient but of doubtful date; the eastern is moulded; there are moulded wall-plates and trussed rafters.
The south transept has in the south wall a single-light window in the Norman style; the north has in the north wall a two-light window with tracery in the Early Decorated style; a pointed arch of a single order resting on square responds opens from each transept into the aisle. The north aisle has in the north wall two two-light windows with pointed heads and no tracery, and in the west wall a single-light window. The south aisle has a doorway with plain, pointed arch, and a single-light window instead of the easternmost two-light window in the north, but otherwise matches it.
The west doorway of the tower (14th-century) has a segmental pointed arch of one order resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals (the bases are weathered away). South of this on the outside is a holy water stoup, probably coeval, with square head and mutilated bowl. The second stage of the tower has single-light squareheaded windows on the north and south sides; the tiled roof is pyramidal with projecting eaves.
The font is circular on a round stem with hexagon foot, apparently modern. On the west wall of the nave is a small representation of the Royal Arms.
There are three bells: one of 1602, another by Richard Eldridge, 1606, and the third by Brian Eldridge, 1648. (fn. 19)
The communion plate includes an Elizabethan cup with paten cover, both with hall-marks for 1567, the paten bearing the date 1568; also a silver paten of 1705. (fn. 20)
The registers begin in 1558.
The church of Lodsworth was from early times a chapel attached to the church of Easebourne, and as such was valued at 13s. 4d. in 1450. (fn. 21) It still retained the same status, being served by a curate, in 1563, (fn. 22) although for at least fifty years before this it had been consistently regarded as a parish church. (fn. 23) With Easebourne church (q.v.) it descended with the Cowdray estate. In 1835 it was a perpetual curacy and the incumbent received £12 yearly and the income from £200 private gift, £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty, and £500 parliamentary grant. (fn. 24) Like most perpetual curacies it now ranks as a vicarage.
Part of the tithes within the parish passed with the manor, and another part remained with the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, of whom it was reported in 1724 that they 'allow nothing to the curate—the more shame!' (fn. 25)