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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The former parish of Warminghurst (fn. 1) lay towards the southern edge of the Weald 9½ miles (15 km.) north of Worthing. The ancient parish, united with Ashington in 1933, (fn. 2) comprised 1,105 a. (fn. 3) Like its neighbour Thakeham it was elongated in shape, 3 miles from north to south but less than 1¼ miles from east to west at its widest point. The irregular boundaries partly followed streams, partly hedge banks; on the south the boundary with Washington and Thakeham seems to have been undefined before inclosure in 1816. (fn. 4) The eastern boundary with Ashington passed through West Wolves Farm. (fn. 5)
The relief of the parish reflects its geology. Most of the land lay on Weald clay at between 70 ft. (21 metres) and 100 ft. (30 metres), but the Hythe Beds, part of the Lower Greensand formation, cap a steep-sided spur jutting eastwards across the centre of the parish, reaching 190 ft. at the church, while in the south the ground rises over the Hythe Beds to reach 236 ft. on the dry Sandgate Beds of Heath common. (fn. 6) Streams flow from east to west on both north and south sides of the central spur, draining into the Lancet or Lancing brook on the eastern boundary.
Only two roads through the parish may have been of more than local significance, and all its bridges seem normally to have been maintained by the tenants of Warminghurst manor until the mid 17th century or later. The secondary road from Horsham to Washington crossed the north-east corner of the parish; it existed by 1707, and Clement Lance's bridge, mentioned in the early 17th century, presumably marked the point where the road crossed Lancet or Lancing brook on the parish boundary. (fn. 7) At that point the road was diverted a few yards to the south c. 1960. (fn. 8) What was formerly the main north- south route through the village is sufficiently wide to have been a drove road into the Weald. It was mentioned as the Portlane in 1427 and 1546; (fn. 9) in 1707 the southern end, now Park Lane, was the road to Washington, the northern end that to Horsham. (fn. 10) It crossed a brook at New Barn by Brook or Mill bridge, mentioned from 1427 to 1608, (fn. 11) and that at the northern boundary of the parish by Bakers bridge, so called in 1632. (fn. 12) It entered Heath common in the south by a gate called Washington gate in 1546 and Heath gate in the 17th century. (fn. 13) A westward branch south of the gate, now Newhouse Lane, was the Storrington road in 1707, (fn. 14) and there were then other tracks across the common. The part of the road north of the church was a bridle road in 1981.
In the north a road ran north-east from Bowford; it was called North Street between Shipley and Warminghurst in 1546, the highway from Bowford to Shipley in 1548, and the lane from Bowford to Blonks (in Shipley) in 1628. (fn. 15) It was a bridle road by the late 19th century. (fn. 16) Bowford or Bow bridge was mentioned from 1502; it may have been the Bowford bridge which the inhabitants of Apsley tithing (in West Grinstead hundred) were ordered to rebuild in 1537. (fn. 17)
Further south two routes led eastwards to Ashington. One, at first the more important, ran from the church to West Wolves; it was mentioned as a bridle road between 1469 and 1707 (fn. 18) but was called Leewood Lane in 1517. It was gated east of Leewood. In 1981 the part beyond Springpond Cottages was a footpath. The other road, called the sheep way to Ashington in 1707, (fn. 19) survived in 1981.
In the west part of the parish the lane from the church to Thakeham apparently existed by 1427 and may have been the highway near Buttshill mentioned in 1662. (fn. 20) About 1711 James Butler diverted it northwards, (fn. 21) but his new road had apparently disappeared by the later 18th century. (fn. 22) In 1875, as in 1981, a footpath ran north of the former manor house to Thakeham Place. (fn. 23) Another road, by 1707 a footpath, led north-west across Mill copse; it was mentioned as Prickloves Lane between 1427 and c. 1513, (fn. 24) and as the lane or highway to Fulling common in the early 16th century. (fn. 25) Unidentified roads include Hedgers Street and Hook Street, mentioned in 1509. (fn. 26)
The name of Warminghurst, recorded from the 12th century, recalls its forest origins, (fn. 27) and there was formerly much woodland in the parish. (fn. 28) In the eastern part was Leewood, mentioned as a wood between 1429 and 1486, (fn. 29) perhaps originally of 50 a. but much reduced by 1707 and cleared by 1839 when Leward Barn marked the site. (fn. 30) More significant as a source of timber and a feature of the landscape was the park inclosed by Fécamp abbey (Seine Maritime) in 1254-5 (fn. 31) and including 80 a. by 1294. (fn. 32) In the 15th century it apparently lay on, and south of, the hill in the centre of the parish and west of Park Lane (fn. 33) but may have excluded the manor house. (fn. 34) The great pond in the park existed by 1455; it lay at the bottom of the slope on the south side of the hill. (fn. 35) By 1582 the park had been enlarged to 160 a., presumably including the house, but was subdivided into closes. (fn. 36) In 1707 it extended east of Park Lane and was said to contain 166 a. (fn. 37) James Butler (d. 1741) apparently re-emparked the part west of Park Lane as far as the parish boundary; it was finally disparked, and the pond drained, between c. 1806 and 1810. (fn. 38) Part of the park wall adjoining the Storrington road, and the remains of a haha at its northern boundary, survived in 1981. The southern boundary was apparently destroyed between 1810 and 1839. (fn. 39)
Settlement was late and scattered. The earliest recorded centre was on top of the hill in the middle of the parish, where the church stood by the later 12th century and the manor house west of it probably by the early 13th. (fn. 40) The high street or common street mentioned in 1455 and 1524 was presumably the north-south road separating the two. (fn. 41) Little space was available for other houses, since the ground falls sharply away on three sides and the roads are steeply banked hollow-ways, so that the village centre was probably never large. By 1707, besides Warminghurst Place, only one cottage stood west of the street, at the northern edge of the spur, and two farmhouses and two cottages east of the street; crofts then vacant on both sides of the road may have marked the sites of some half-dozen earlier houses. (fn. 42) The settlement later shrank still further. Warminghurst House, north of the church, a small medieval building, was cased in brick and extended in the late 18th century, and a cottage c. 150 yd. north of it was rebuilt in the 19th century. The remaining houses had disappeared by c. 1806, although by 1875 part of the former home farmhouse of Warminghurst Place had been converted to two cottages, and Springpond Cottages were built apparently between 1868 and 1875 on the junction of the two lanes to Ashington. (fn. 43) The houses standing in 1875 survived in 1981.
There was dispersed settlement in the northern half of the parish by the late Middle Ages, reduced between the 15th and 17th centuries by the engrossment of farms. On the stream north of the church a mill existed by 1294 (fn. 44) and the tenement called Brookland and two adjoining cottages mentioned c. 1409 presumably stood nearby. One cottage was probably demolished then and the other in 1427; (fn. 45) all had gone by 1707. (fn. 46) West of the mill, on the south-east corner of Fulling common, stood Prickloves or Pricklows Farm, (fn. 47) named from the Pricklove family who lived in the parish by 1327. (fn. 48) The farm can be traced from 1410; (fn. 49) the house was probably abandoned in the 18th century, (fn. 50) but farm buildings survived there until the early 20th. (fn. 51) There were further houses in the fields north-east and east of the mill. A moated site 600 yd. north-west of West Wolves Farm is presumably medieval, though it relates to no known farm and may not have contained a homestead, (fn. 52) while Jupps Hovel marks the site of a cottage which existed by 1410 and perhaps by 1327. Although it was already unlet in 1410 it may have survived until 1582, but had been demolished by 1617. (fn. 53) North-east of it, on the HorshamWorthing road, stood Squinces Farm, built probably before 1540; in 1707 there were two houses on the site. (fn. 54) One was demolished in the earlier 19th century and the other c. 1870. (fn. 55) Farther east, on the north side of the road near the parish boundary, Woolven's Barn existed by c. 1806; (fn. 56) a house was built there c. 1900, two bungalows by 1938, (fn. 57) and a third after the Second World War.
Bowford, a hamlet in the north end of the parish with its own common, existed by the later Middle Ages. Although the name has not been found before 1502, (fn. 58) tenements known to have been there existed perhaps by 1327 (fn. 59) and certainly by the early 15th century, (fn. 60) and tenement names listed in the early 17th century, when 5 houses were occupied, suggest that in the 14th century or earlier there had been at least 9 dwellings. (fn. 61) In 1707 and c. 1806 there were 3 round the common, Bowford (or West Bowford) and East Bowford Farms and a cottage. (fn. 62) West Bowford Farm was demolished apparently between 1868 and 1875; (fn. 63) by 1875 the former East Bowford was called Bowford Farm. It is a timber-framed building apparently of the early 17th century, cased in stone in 1787 (fn. 64) and still standing in 1981. The cottage was rebuilt as Bowford Cottages in the earlier 19th century.
South of the church the park impeded settlement, though Park Barn 800 metres south of the village, and an adjoining cottage, existed by 1851 and a cottage was built opposite on the east side of Park Lane c. 1900. (fn. 65) Early settlement concentrated around the northern angle of Heath common. The surname at Heath was recorded in 1327 and a tenement there c. 1430. (fn. 66) There were inhabited houses 'on the heath' in 1597. (fn. 67) Jinkes Farm on the north-east side of the common is a late medieval house, and may have been preceded by a late 13th-century one; (fn. 68) there was another house c. 400 metres south of it by 1603. (fn. 69) A third was built between them in the 18th century. (fn. 70) Newhouse Farm stood on the north-west side of the common by 1605; (fn. 71) the present house dates from the earlier 17th century. Three houses were built on the common in the 18th century. (fn. 72) Its inclosure in 1816 (fn. 73) facilitated more building and the Heath common area gradually became the main centre of population in the parish. Eight households there were listed in 1851, (fn. 74) and by 1875 four or five cottages stood within the south-east part of the former Warminghurst common. (fn. 75) One had been demolished by 1914, (fn. 76) but further growth took place apparently in the 1930s and after the Second World War, with the building of detached bungalows and houses, embowered in the rhododendrons and pines which the sandy soil encourages, over most of the common and in Tudor Village west of Newhouse Lane. In 1978 they were said to be occupied mainly by prosperous pensioners. (fn. 77)
There was an alehouse in the parish in 1646, (fn. 78) but no others are known. By 1455 there was a common spring in the village street from which water was drawn along a wooden gutter to the great pond. The spring was repaired in 1524 at the inhabitants' expense. (fn. 79)
Nineteen people were assessed for the subsidy in 1327, (fn. 80) 22 for the poll tax in 1378, (fn. 81) and 32 for the subsidy in 1524. (fn. 82) In 1642 the protestation was signed by 42 adults, (fn. 83) and 41 inhabitants were recorded in 1676. (fn. 84) The population was 112 in 1801 and altered little before 1861, when it was 106. Numbers rose sharply to 140 in 1871 but fell again to 70 in 1891; there were 81 people in 1901, 78 in 1921, and 93 in 1931 just before the union with Ashington. (fn. 85)