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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West Grinstead, like other Wealden parishes, contained detached pasture places in the Middle Ages belonging to manors in the south of the county. The manor of Bidlington Kingsbarns, representing one such outlier, has been mentioned: (fn. 1) it was presumably there that the herbage rights on King's Barns manor in Upper Beeding, mentioned in 1210, were exercised, since they do not seem to have been exercised in Beeding. (fn. 2) The pasture place of Annington manor in Botolphs called beaddan syla in 956 may be represented by the modern Bassell's farm in West Grinstead. (fn. 3) Most of the 100 a. of woodland attached to Applesham manor in Coombes in 1453 seems likely to have lain in the parish too. (fn. 4) Tenements in the parish later held of Annington and Sompting manors (fn. 5) may have derived from pasture places, and the connexion between West Grinstead and Lancing parishes mentioned below apparently has the same origin. (fn. 6)
Only one reference has, however, been found to common pasture rights in the parish in the Middle Ages: in 1269 Durford abbey's estate near Honey Bridge had pasture for 6 beasts in a wood called Brookwood, (fn. 7) presumably near the site of the modern Brookwood Farm. The right was still claimed in 1688 by a later owner of the estate. (fn. 8) Several meadow in the parish belonged to Sele priory, (fn. 9) to Durford abbey, (fn. 10) and to the rectory estate, (fn. 11) among others (fn. 12), in the 13th and 14th centuries; in 1271 Sele priory agreed that James of Byne and his heirs should have grazing rights in their meadow called Morghynemede after the hay harvest. (fn. 13) Another estate in the parish had both several meadow and several marshland. (fn. 14) Londefeld and Bromefeld, in which West Grinstead manor had demesne land in 1498, (fn. 15) may have been common fields. Their location is unknown, but c. 1840 two closes called Common field were recorded west and north of Clothalls Farm, besides a close called Worley common to the south-east. (fn. 16) Medieval assarting is indicated by the field names Broad ridding, Long ridding, and Little ridding recorded, apparently near Dial Post, in 1241. (fn. 17) Many modern farms bear names recorded as surnames in the parish in the Middle Ages, and seem likely to have existed at that time. (fn. 18) The tithe of sheaves was valued in 1340 at nearly 20 times those of fleeces and lambs together; at the same date flax and hemp were grown in the parish, and heifers, geese, and pigs raised. (fn. 19) Oats were mentioned in 1366. (fn. 20)
The only manorial demesne estate recorded in the parish in the Middle Ages was that of West Grinstead manor; it was being leased in the 15th century. Tenants are recorded in the Middle Ages of West Grinstead, (fn. 21) Applesham, (fn. 22) King's Barns. (fn. 23) and Sompting manors, (fn. 24) as well as of Fécamp abbey's Steyning estate. (fn. 25) In 1498 there were both free and customary tenants on West Grinstead manor, some of the latter still owing labour services which included harrowing, fencing the lord's demesne, mowing the lord's meadow, and carrying wood from Findon. (fn. 26) Tenements held of Sompting in the 14th century included an estate of 60 a. called la Potte, (fn. 27) presumably represented by the later Pothill farm. Fécamp abbey's tenements in 1402 included Aylwin's or Allen's farm east of what was later West Grinstead park. (fn. 28)
Between the 16th century and the mid 19th the amount of arable land in the parish continued to increase through assarting. Stock park near Dial Post was disparked, presumably at least partly for arable, in the later 16th or earlier 17th century, (fn. 29) while land in the parish formerly within Hookland park, which straddled the western border, was disparked and turned to arable c. 1660. (fn. 30) Crops grown in the parish between the later 16th century and the mid 18th included wheat, rye, barley, oats, peas, tares, flax, and hemp; seeds were mentioned in 1737. (fn. 31) A close within the recently disparked Hookland park was sown in the 1660s on a rotation of wheat, barley, peas and tares, wheat, peas and tares, wheat, and oats. (fn. 32) Average yields in the parish in the later 18th century were said to be: wheat 24 bu. an acre, barley 26 bu., oats 28 bu., and peas 10 bu. (fn. 33) One farm in the later 18th century was chiefly arable. (fn. 34) In the 1830s there was thought to be over three times as much arable land in the parish as pasture or meadow; (fn. 35) at both Hobshort's and Need's farms at that time the acreage was two-thirds arable. (fn. 36) Wheat was then being sent to Horsham market, where it was bought by Dorking millers to make flour for sale in London. (fn. 37)
There was both common pasture and common meadow in the parish between the 16th century and the mid 19th. In the west part were Pot common apparently belonging to West Grinstead manor, where an illegal encroachment was mentioned in the 1530s, (fn. 38) other roadside waste belonging to West Grinstead (fn. 39) and Clothalls manors, (fn. 40) Stock common, mentioned in the 16th and 17th centuries and presumably part of Stock park, (fn. 41) the adjacent Grinders common, (fn. 42) and possibly Windsor common, straddling the boundary with Wiston. (fn. 43) Pot common was inclosed between 1795 and c. 1840. (fn. 44)
In the east part lay the waste lands of Bidlington Kingsbarns manor, notably Jolesfield common and Partridge green. No details of pasture rights at either have been found, except for the statement that in 1861 the landlord of the Green Man inn had 'extensive' rights over Jolesfield common. (fn. 45) Overstocking of Jolesfield common and the illegal cutting of trees there were presented at the Bidlington Kingsbarns manor court in the 1630s, (fn. 46) and a former tenant was fined in 1787 for ploughing up part of the common. (fn. 47) Partridge green, presumably commemorating the surname Partridge recorded in Byne tithing in 1327, (fn. 48) was mentioned in 1679; (fn. 49) illegal encroachments there were presented at the Bidlington Kingsbarns manor court in the earlier 19th century. (fn. 50) About 1840 Jolesfield common comprised 76 a. and Partridge green 14 a. (fn. 51) Both were inclosed in 1872, together with surviving roadside waste in Bidlington Kingsbarns manor. After sales of land to defray expenses the Revd. John Goring received 5 a. as lord of the manor, besides another 26 a., while the other 15 commoners received 36 a. between them. (fn. 52) Much of the former Jolesfield common remained rough pasture in 1896, (fn. 53) and part so remained in 1982.
The common meadow lay along the rivers and streams in the centre and south parts of the parish. Lammas lands were recorded both along the river Adur south of the church and downstream from Honey Bridge c. 1840; at the latter place the hay crop was then being divided between seven proprietors. (fn. 54) The mow of a common meadow southeast of Leelands farm was divided by the later 18th century between only two people: Timothy Shelley, the owner of the farm, and Samuel Boys, lord of Clothalls manor. (fn. 55) Sir Charles Burrell and his tenants had the right to the first crop of hay from another meadow in the south of the parish in 1850. (fn. 56) Several meadow land was highly valued in the 1830s, when farms including it paid higher rates than others. (fn. 57)
Between the later 16th century and the mid 18th cattle, pigs, and sheep were all kept in the parish, flocks of 50 or 100 sheep being recorded, while up to 50 geese were listed at each of two farms in the earlier 18th century. (fn. 58) In 1801 there were in the parish 106 fatting oxen, 156 cows, 378 young cattle and colts, 1,115 sheep, and 363 hogs and pigs. (fn. 59)
Between the 16th and 19th centuries there were tenants of West Grinstead, Bidlington Kingsbarns, Sompting, and Annington manors, as earlier, and also of Clothalls manor. (fn. 60) Those of West Grinstead were all copyholders, and by 1720 only four copyholds were of any size. (fn. 61) The custom of borough English obtained on the manor in the later 16th century, (fn. 62) and that of widow's bench in 1748. (fn. 63) On Bidlington Kingsbarns manor there were both free and copyhold tenants; (fn. 64) the customs of the manor apparently varied between tenements formerly of Bidlington manor and those formerly of King's Barns. (fn. 65) In 1728 copyhold farms of Bidlington Kingsbarns included Well Land, Joles, Haynes, Blanches, and Brightham's farms in the east. (fn. 66) Tenements of Sompting included Tuckmans farm in the northwest, (fn. 67) and those of Annington Pinland farm in the south-east. (fn. 68) Other manors outside the parish of which land within it was held were High Hurst in Nuthurst, (fn. 69) Beeding in Upper Beeding, (fn. 70) and Knepp in Shipley, of which Windcaves and Thistleworth farms in the south-west quarter of the parish were held freehold in the 17th century and later. (fn. 71)
Several farms of between 80 a. and 140 a. were recorded between 1600 and 1800, (fn. 72) including Magdalen College's Priors Byne farm, which had 100 a. in 1725. (fn. 73) In the 18th century there were some much larger ones too: Dial Post farm, which comprised 300 a. c. 1710 when it was leased for 21 years; (fn. 74) Pepper's farm in the south, which contained c. 250 a. in West Grinstead and Ashurst in 1760; (fn. 75) and Need's farm, which had 284 a. on both sides of the river Adur in 1787. (fn. 76) Leases of 7 and 12 years were recorded in the earlier 19th century, (fn. 77) when some other farms were held by the year. (fn. 78) After c. 1750 two large estates came to dominate. The Burrells bought other land in the parish after their acquisition of the manor at that time, for instance Dial Post farm in 1811. (fn. 79) By c. 1840 Sir Charles Burrell's estate comprised over 2,600 a. within the parish, of which 796 a. were kept in hand, most of the rest being let in 19 farms chiefly of less than 100 a. (fn. 80) Park Farm, north-west of West Grinstead park, was built as a new home farm for the estate between 1795 and 1813, presumably replacing farm buildings at the old manor house. (fn. 81) By 1805 the Gorings, lords of Bidlington Kingsbarns manor, had engrossed many of its copyholds in the east part of the parish to form an estate of 531 a. divided into seven let farms. (fn. 82) Another large estate c. 1840 was that of the Ward family in the north-east, comprising 284 a. in three let farms. The rest of the parish at that date lay chiefly in separately owned farms, some kept in hand, but more let to tenants. Only two farms outside the Burrell estate were then over 200 a.; several farmers, however, held two or more farms. (fn. 83)
The parish remained under the domination of large estates in the later 19th and 20th centuries. In 1867 the Burrells and the Gorings were still the chief landowners; farms then remained generally between 100 a. and 200 a. (fn. 84) Most of the Goring estate was sold in two sales of 1911 and 1920. (fn. 85) In 1909 only three out of 78 holdings were over 300 a., while 39 were less than 50 a.; more than three times as much land was then rented as was in hand. (fn. 86) In 1914 the entire south-western tongue of the parish formed part of the estate in Ashurst and West Grinstead belonging to Arthur Lloyd. (fn. 87) Its successor, the Lock estate, had land in the parish in 1971. (fn. 88) The West Grinstead Park estate in 1973 still had nearly 1,500 a.; nearly half was then in hand, the rest being in six let farms. (fn. 89) By 1982 much of that land had joined the Lock estate, which had over 2,000 a. in the neighbourhood, most of it under a farm manager. (fn. 90) By 1975 the balance of owner occupation against tenancies had been reversed since 1909; of the 33 holdings listed 22 were under 50 ha. and two over 200 ha. (fn. 91)
Arable farming remained important in the second half of the 19th century, though in 1867 land in the parish was said to yield only eight or nine sacks of wheat an acre at best, and three or four at worst. (fn. 92) The necessity of underdraining had been noted in the earlier 19th century, (fn. 93) and in the 1860s and 1870s much was done on the West Grinstead Park estate and elsewhere by the General Land Drainage and Improvement Co. with the aid of government grants. (fn. 94) Wheat and oats were the chief corn crops in 1875 and 1909.
By 1875, however, there was nearly as much pasture as arable, and by 1909 there was three times as much. In 1975 just under three quarters of the 2,244 ha. returned was under grass. In 1875 there were 909 cattle listed, 935 sheep, and 313 pigs; in 1909 the corresponding numbers were 1,126, 529, and 463, and in 1975 they were 2,571, 2,212, and 743. (fn. 95) The rich grazing land of Brightham's farm in the south-east was remarked on in 1891, (fn. 96) and there was brookland in the south on the Lloyd estate in 1914. (fn. 97) Bines farm in 1939 had 139 a. of brookland and 'upland' pasture, with no arable land at all; (fn. 98) in 1982, similarly, only c. 75 a. of Dial Post farm's 475 a. were not pasture land. (fn. 99) Cattle were raised chiefly for milk, which was sent to London in the earlier 20th century, but c. 1976 went to the coastal area between Brighton and Worthing. (fn. 100) A milk carrier was recorded in the parish in 1938. (fn. 101) In 1975 seven holdings specialized in dairying, and another two were mainly involved in it; on another four holdings livestock, mostly cattle, were reared. (fn. 102) Friesians were kept at Dial Post farm between 1946 and 1982, young stock being exported to France and elsewhere. (fn. 103) There was a Jersey herd at Belmoredean in 1975, (fn. 104) and a Charolais herd at Clothalls farm in 1982. The Ivorys estate had two dairy farms of c. 150 a. each in 1979. (fn. 105) In 1984 a seventh of the acreage of the Lock estate was permanent pasture, and a quarter grass leys; crops grown were chiefly winter wheat and winter barley, and c. 600 a. had been underdrained since 1980. (fn. 106)
There were 11 a. of orchards and ¼ a. of marketgarden land in 1875, and 30 a. of orchards, growing especially apples, and 14 a. of small fruit in 1909. (fn. 107) Land at Partridge Green was offered for sale as suitable for poultry farming in 1909; (fn. 108) there were three poultry farmers in the parish in 1922, and four in 1927. (fn. 109) Turkeys were fattened on a farm south of Dial Post in the early 1980s. (fn. 110) A West Grinstead and district ploughing and agricultural society was formed c. 1876, with an annual show held at different local farms within a 5-mile radius; the society still flourished in 1983. (fn. 111)
A mill at Grinstead, apparently West Grinstead, was mentioned in 1229-30, (fn. 112) and the surname Atmill (atte Mulle) was recorded in 1327. (fn. 113) A water mill at or near Honey Bridge in the south-west part of the parish existed in 1269 (fn. 114) and in the mid 16th century, (fn. 115) but is not recorded later. A water mill on West Grinstead manor, of unknown site, is recorded between the later 16th and later 17th centuries. (fn. 116) Jolesfield or Littleworth windmill, on the highest point of Jolesfield common, was described as newly built in 1788. (fn. 117) It was disused by 1909, (fn. 118) and by 1937 it was derelict. (fn. 119) In 1959 it was dismantled; the brick base survived in 1983, the machinery having been moved before 1973 to County Oak on the Surrey border to decorate the garden of a restaurant. (fn. 120) A steam flour mill at Partridge Green was built in 1862, and was worked by the Tidey family between 1913 and 1938 or later. After 1945 it still supplied cattle, pig, and poultry foods, and in 1948 was said to be still grinding corn. The mill was closed in 1970. (fn. 121)
Markets and fair.
William, Lord Braose, in 1280 was granted a weekly market on Monday at his manor of West Grinstead and a yearly fair there on the vigil and feast of St. George (23 April). (fn. 122) There is no proof that either was ever held. A market at Partridge Green was started before 1887 on a site west of the Station hotel. (fn. 123) In 1890-1 it was held on alternate Thursdays and was described as a cattle market, both fat and store stock being sold. (fn. 124) A Christmas fatstock show was held in 1895. (fn. 125) By 1902 the market was managed by the auctioneers Henry Smith & Son of Horsham. (fn. 126) It ceased during the First World War, (fn. 127) and by 1946 its site had been built over. (fn. 128)
Trade and industry.
Non-agricultural occupations in the Middle Ages are perhaps indicated by the surnames Bukere (i.e. bleacher) and Forester recorded in the 13th century. (fn. 129) The place names Pothill farm and Pot common may indicate a medieval pottery industry, but no corroboration has been found. (fn. 130) Between the 16th century and the earlier 19th many non-agricultural occupations were recorded. Besides those connected with food (fn. 131) and clothing, especially weaving, (fn. 132) and those of carpenter, blacksmith, and wheelwright, (fn. 133) there were a millwright (fn. 134) and a bucket maker in the 16th century, (fn. 135) a mason, (fn. 136) a trugger, (fn. 137) a cooper, and a plough maker in the 17th, (fn. 138) and a saddler and a horse-collar maker in the 18th. (fn. 139) Mercers or shopkeepers were occasionally recorded from the 17th century. (fn. 140) In 1606 one parishioner was licensed as a surgeon. (fn. 141) A farrier was recorded in 1813. (fn. 142) The proportion of families in work supported chiefly by nonagricultural occupations was nearly one in four in 1811, but fell to nearly one in six in 1831. (fn. 143)
There continued, nevertheless, to be numerous small tradesmen and shopkeepers in the parish in the later 19th and earlier 20th centuries, chiefly at Partridge Green, Littleworth, and Dial Post. (fn. 144) There were usually two or three blacksmiths at any time, and three or more grocers. In 1907 there were four butchers. Among less common trades were those of timber merchant recorded in 1852, milliner in 1862, picture frame maker in 1895, and hairdresser in 1913. There was a vet at Partridge Green from 1874, and an insurance agent in 1903. There were still many tradesmen and shopkeepers at Partridge Green in 1982, including a butcher, a draper, and a heating consultant; there were also four stores and an antiques business. At Dial Post, however, the post office and stores had closed c. 1976. (fn. 145) The village store kept by the Tidey family east of West Grinstead station existed by 1881, (fn. 146) but was closed in 1983; in the earlier 20th century the Tideys also delivered coal and ran a car hire business. (fn. 147)
Other non-agricultural work was provided in the earlier 19th century by the Adur navigation. There were several bargemen in 1830, (fn. 148) and the blacksmith William Leppard was described as also a bargemaster in 1841. (fn. 149) At the Bay Bridge wharf three limekilns were set up after c. 1840, using chalk brought up river; they apparently ceased operation between 1875 and 1896. (fn. 150) In 1867 the local timber merchant offered springtime work to parishioners, especially in felling and stripping timber and in setting up the bark. (fn. 151) The great houses of the parish also provided employment; in the earlier 20th century at West Grinstead Park, for example, there were six gardeners. (fn. 152) From the 1920s the parish acquired petrol stations at Dial Post and near West Grinstead station, a garage at Partridge Green, and tea or refreshment rooms and tea gardens. (fn. 153) A building at Dial Post was used first as a guest house and then, after 1977, as a restaurant. (fn. 154)
A stud for breeding racehorses was started by J.P. Hornung at Park farm, the former home farm of the West Grinstead Park estate, in 1913. In 1945 it was taken over as a branch of the National Stud, Col. Hornung of Ivorys founding a successor stud at High Hurst in Cowfold in 1950. The establishment in West Grinstead was sold by the National Stud in 1972 to a local businessman, who built a large neoGeorgian house there before 1976, in which year the stud, of 143 a., was sold again. (fn. 155)
In the 19th and earlier 20th centuries brickmaking, tilemaking, and pottery manufacture were widely carried on in the parish, especially at Partridge Green. In 1594 there had been a 'bricklayer', i.e. a brickmaker, (fn. 156) and brickmaking had also been recorded c. 1730. (fn. 157) In 1787 Thomas Billingshurst was making bricks apparently on the north side of Jolesfield common, where brickworks certainly existed by 1805. (fn. 158) He was succeeded by Philip Kensett (fl. 1794-1805), (fn. 159) whose family later had brickworks at Partridge Green. (fn. 160) Clay for the Jolesfield brickworks was presumably dug, then as later, on Jolesfield common. (fn. 161) Three bricklayers, a brickmaker, and a potter were recorded in the parish in the 1810s. (fn. 162) The brickworks at Jolesfield common later became the Jolesfield brick, tile, and pottery works, which still flourished in 1896, but which had closed by 1909. (fn. 163) At Partridge Green were three brickworking sites, all of which lay south of High Street. (fn. 164) Those of the Kensett and Kempshall families existed respectively by the 1870s and by 1882. David Kensett (fl. 1882-1903) was also involved in horse and cattle dealing and coach building. Kempshall's brickworks was known alternatively as the Potteries, its chief products being land drainage pipes, tiles, and flower pots. Hillman's brickworks further west, which existed by 1903, produced handmade multicoloured facing bricks, many of which went to London. Up to 10 workmen were employed there in the earlier 20th century. Of the three brickworks only Kempshall's survived by the mid 1930s, having been sold c. 1925 to the firm of Allfrey's of Pulborough, which experimented unsuccessfully with mechanized all-year brickmaking. The works was still in production in 1948, (fn. 165) but closed c. 1952. The sites of all three brickworks were later built on. The West Grinstead Park estate, meanwhile, from the earlier 19th century had its own brickworks on the Horsham-Worthing road south-west of Park Farm, (fn. 166) where bricks, tiles, and land drainage pipes were made. About 1920 it employed four men.
In the mid 20th century, especially after the Second World War, new industries came to the parish. A branch of a London engineering firm, Blaker's, was established in 1938 in the former smithy at Dial Post; 17 men were employed there in 1974, (fn. 167) and the firm still existed in 1982. At Partridge Green a firm manufactured tarred road material from granite chippings brought by railway, and an egg packing station existed from soon after 1945 until 1970. The former steam mill there was used from the early 1970s as a regional distribution centre for pies, sausages, and other meat products. In 1982 there were also two industrial estates at Partridge Green, the Star industrial estate, which had premises for light industries, distribution, and warehousing, and the Huffwood estate, site of the former egg packing station, which since c. 1974 had provided small units, at only a service charge, for firms starting business. (fn. 168)