Warnham: Local government

Pages 215-216

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2, Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) Including Horsham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1986.

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A three-weekly court for Denne manor was held in 1262, (fn. 1) and a court baron was mentioned in 1683. (fn. 2) Between 1828 and 1863 separate courts were advertised as being held for the manors of Denne and Warnham, those for Warnham to meet at the Knob House north of the village in 1828 and at the Sussex Oak inn in 1851 and 1863, and those for Denne at the court house in Field Place Lane on all three occasions. (fn. 3) The distinction between the two courts, however, was unreal. (fn. 4) Court rolls described as of Warnham manor for the years 16851718 and 1841-78, and court rolls described as of Denne manor for the years 1881-91, survived in 1971 but could not be traced in 1979. (fn. 5) They presumably formed two parts of a single sequence, and it is likely that the earlier ones were the same as the court rolls of Denne for the years 1685-1764 which were mentioned in the later 18th century. (fn. 6) Court rolls of Hollands manor survive for the years 1641 and 1793; the court was held at the manor house in Church Street in 1793, and at both the dates mentioned dealt with conveyancing only. (fn. 7)

Churchwardens were mentioned in 1505 (fn. 8) and two are recorded for most years after 1560. (fn. 9) There were two overseers in the 17th century (fn. 10) and presumably later. In the earlier 17th century there was a parish poorhouse at Rowhook, which had probably been built by a parishioner on roadside waste before 1598 and left to the parish after his death. (fn. 11) Another poorhouse, later called a workhouse, near the church was apparently built by the parish at the same period; (fn. 12) in 1724 it could accommodate four families, (fn. 13) and in 1835 it had c. 14 rooms. (fn. 14) At the latter date the parish also leased various cottages to accommodate paupers. (fn. 15)

Other methods of relieving the poor in the 18th and early 19th centuries included apprenticing, the payment of monthly doles and of rent, and the provision of food, fuel, clothing, and free schooling. (fn. 16) In 1832 the vestry adopted the 'labour rate' after initial opposition by the smaller farmers. (fn. 17) In 1835 the parish joined Horsham union, later split between Horsham urban and rural districts. The Warnham workhouse continued to be used to accommodate the aged and infirm of the union until 1838 or 1839, (fn. 18) and was afterwards demolished. (fn. 19) The removal of the children of the parish to Shipley workhouse in 1835 caused disturbances in the parish. (fn. 20) In 1842-3 the parish was encouraging emigration to Australia. (fn. 21) Warnham formed part of Horsham district after 1974.


  • 1. S.R.S. vii, p. 43.
  • 2. B.L. Add. MS. 5686, f. 142.
  • 3. Horsham Mus. MS. 1127; W.S.R.O., Hurst MSS., printed notice of holding cts. 1863. The Knob Ho. was called the ct. hall in 1843: Horsham Mus. MS. 2822.
  • 4. Above, manors and other estates.
  • 5. Inf. from the county archivist, Mrs. P. Gill.
  • 6. B.L. Add. MS. 5685, f. 80.
  • 7. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 30095.
  • 8. S.R.S. xlv. 300.
  • 9. B.L. Add. MS. 39362, ff. 150-5.
  • 10. S.A.C. xxxiii. 155; lvi. 182; S.R.S. v. 188.
  • 11. Arundel Cast. MS. M 280, rot. 7; W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5294, f. 2.
  • 12. P.R.O., E 134/4 Jas. II East./30, rot. 2; cf. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/22/1 (1662).
  • 13. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/26/3, p. 19; cf. ibid. Par. 203/32/4; S.A.C. xxxiii. 205; Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 516-17.
  • 14. Albery, Hist. Horsham, 581; W.S.R.O., Par. 203/37/6.
  • 15. W.S.R.O., Par. 203/10/1.
  • 16. Ibid. Par. 203/31/1, 4; Par. 203/33/1; Par. 203/35/2.
  • 17. Ibid. Par. 203/13/3, 4; Rep. Com. Poor Laws, H.C. 44, pp. 183-4 (1834), xxxviii.
  • 18. Suss. Poor Law Rec. 39; W.S.R.O., Par. 203/37/8.
  • 19. S.A.C. xxxiii. 152.
  • 20. Horsham Mus. MS. 657; Albery, Hist. Horsham, 580-5.
  • 21. W.S.R.O., Par. 203/37/12.