A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.
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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 770 Osmund, king of Sussex, granted 15 hides in Henfield to the thegn Warbald and his wife Titburh, for the endowment of a church. (fn. 1) That estate evidently represented what were later Stretham manor, the rectory estate, the medieval Henfield park, and Oreham manor.
STRETHAM manor, otherwise called HENFIELD between the 11th century and the early 14th, (fn. 2) comprised most of the southern and central parts of the parish, and also had outlying lands in Upper Beeding, Cowfold, and Slaugham. (fn. 3) By 1066 it belonged to the bishopric of Selsey, passing before 1086 to the successor bishopric of Chichester. The manor was said to comprise 15 hides in 1066, and 11 hides and 1 yardland in 1086. (fn. 4) It remained with the bishopric thereafter, except between 1643 and 1660, when the regicide Col. John Downes had it. (fn. 5) The demesne lands comprised c. 400 a. in 1830. (fn. 6) In 1870 Stretham passed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 7) who before 1876 sold the demesne lands either to Thomas Wisden (d. 1871) or to his son Thomas Faulconer Wisden. T. F. Wisden's son Frederick was owner in 1910. (fn. 8) The commissioners remained lords of the manor, however, in the 20th century. (fn. 9)
Sites of three successive houses attached to Stretham manor are known. Beside the river, on the west side of the former railway line, are the earthworks of a moated site occupied between the 13th and earlier 15th centuries. It was presumably there that St. Richard of Chichester confirmed two deeds dated at Henfield in 1247. (fn. 10) Other episcopal visits, almost all made between April and September, are similarly recorded between 1281 and 1410. (fn. 11) In 1374 it was implied that the bishop came at least once a year. (fn. 12) Several visits are recorded in the years 1409 and 1410. (fn. 13) Access was both by water and by land; the bishop was keen in 1374 to protect a right of way by land from Amberley, using the Roman Greensand Way. (fn. 14) The buildings of the manor were referred to in 1374, (fn. 15) an outer gate in 1378, (fn. 16) and a chapel, possibly at first-floor level since it had steps leading up to it, between 1378 and 1410. (fn. 17) The sandstone water gate which straddled the southern arm of the moat may have been the outer gate mentioned; other buildings known archaeologically are a large timber-framed building in the north-west corner of the site, possibly of c. 1200, a sandstone building of c. 1250, possibly incorporating a hall and lying north of the water gate, and a timberframed structure which succeeded the latter. The site seems to have been deserted by c. 1500, (fn. 18) and the south-west corner of the moat was later cut by the construction of the river embankment.
The moated site was succeeded by Stretham Manor, which lies c. 150 yd. further east, on the other side of the former railway line. It incorporates a medieval building of three bays, which shows close studding and ogee braces on its rear elevation, and which was presumably part of a larger building. In 1630 the manor house was said to be in decay, (fn. 19) and it was presumably soon afterwards that it was reduced in size and the surviving range reroofed and given new fittings. In the 19th century the house was used as a cottage. (fn. 20) A large addition was made on the west side c. 1978. (fn. 21) There are traces of a moat surrounding the site. (fn. 22)
The house called New Hall, on a low ridge southeast of Stretham Manor, was built apparently shortly before 1627. (fn. 23) In 1647 it was described as a new brick house with a walled courtyard, also of brick. (fn. 24) The courtyard, north of the house, survived in 1984. The early 17th-century house, of square plan, also survived, but with extensive alterations made in the earlier 19th century, when much of the interior was refitted, and when the five-bayed east, entrance, front was rendered and given new windows and a pedimented doorcase. The Stretham manor court was being held at the house in 1715-16. (fn. 25)
Henfield church formed part of Stretham, otherwise Henfield, manor in 1086. (fn. 26) By 1219 the RECTORY estate had become a prebend. (fn. 27) In 1341 it comprised a house and garden, 60 a. of arable, rents and services, and hay tithes and offerings. (fn. 28) About 1520, when the prebend belonged to Bishop Robert Sherburne, it was appropriated to the diocese, to endow the bishop's table. (fn. 29)
In 1533 the rectory was leased for 80 years to Sherburne's lawyer, Thomas Bishop (d. 1560), (fn. 30) being held thereafter by his descendants, from 1618 or earlier on successive leases for three lives. (fn. 31) Bishop's son and namesake, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, was knighted in 1603 and created a baronet in 1620; at his death in 1626 (fn. 32) the lease passed to his younger son Henry, (fn. 33) who at first fought for King Charles I, but was reconciled with parliament in 1647, after spending two years in Virginia. (fn. 34) The rectory meanwhile had been sequestered and the lease granted to John Alford, who was apparently confirmed in it by Bishop before 1650. At that time the lands belonging to the estate comprised c. 50 a. (fn. 35) Restored to royal favour in 1660, Bishop served as postmaster-general between that date and 1663. (fn. 36) At his death in 1692 the rectory evidently passed to his nephew Sir Cecil Bishop, Bt. (d. 1705), descending thereafter from father to son through Sir Cecil (d. 1725), Sir Cecil (d. 1778), and Sir Cecil (d. 1779), to Sir Cecil Bishop, Lord Zouche (d. 1828). In 1830 it was the joint property of Lord Zouche's two daughters, Harriett Anne, Lady Zouche (d. 1870), wife of the Hon. Robert Curzon (d. 1863), and Katherine Annabella (d. 1871), wife of Sir G. R. Brooke-Pechell, Bt.; (fn. 37) by 1844-5, however, Curzon was described as sole tenant. At the commutation of tithes in that year the bishop received a rent charge of £868, payable to Curzon during his lease; at the same date the lands belonging to the estate comprised 61 a. chiefly north of Parsonage House and in a separate block in the south-east part of the parish. (fn. 38) Lady Zouche's son and heir Robert Curzon, Lord Zouche (d. 1873), was succeeded by his son and namesake, (fn. 39) who c. 1911 sold his interest in the rectory, apparently by then a freehold. (fn. 40) The ownership has not been traced further.
A house belonging to the rectory estate was mentioned in 1341 (fn. 41) and 1560; (fn. 42) there was a dovecot at the earlier date. In 1647 there were a courtyard and a gatehouse. (fn. 43) The main north-south range of the present Parsonage House, on the west side of the building, is of brick, part diapered, on a sandstone plinth, (fn. 44) and has a short north cross wing with an external sandstone chimneystack. That work is probably all 16th-century, and contemporary panelling, door surrounds, and a fireplace survive. The building was said to be in great decay in 1647, (fn. 45) and was probably reduced in size after that date. The south wing was reconstructed, probably in the earlier 18th century, with symmetrical end chimneys, and again c. 1820. Bay windows and a timber-framed porch were added in the earlier 20th century. In 1945 there were pleasure grounds with conifers, rhododendrons, other ornamental trees and shrubs, and a sunken wild garden, (fn. 46) but by 1984 they had been partly built over.
HENFIELD PARK, north of the village, belonged during the Middle Ages to the bishops of Chichester. (fn. 47) In 1526 it was leased to Sir Edward Bray, and in 1527 to Thomas West, Lord de la Warr. (fn. 48) After 1533 (fn. 49) it was leased, like the rectory, to members of the Bishop and Curzon families, (fn. 50) except in the mid 17th century when John Alford was lessee. (fn. 51) In 1844-5 the estate comprised 229 a. (fn. 52) In the 1870s and later (fn. 53) the farmhouse on the estate was known as Parsonage Farm, the confusion having arisen from the Bishops' and Curzons' also leasing the rectory estate. (fn. 54) In 1910 Parsonage farm comprised 299 a., (fn. 55) and in 1945 it had 252 a. (fn. 56)
The manor of OREHAM, a freehold tenement of Stretham manor, (fn. 57) may derive from the 3 hides held of Stretham in 1086 by one William. (fn. 58) Robert of Oreham and others held 1 knight's fee of the bishop in 1166. (fn. 59) In 1200 Isabel of Oreham apparently held the manor, being sued for dower in what appears to have been Woods mill, which later belonged to it. The plaintiff, Emma of Rackham, had been the wife of William Grand, (fn. 60) presumably an ancestor of the Robert Grant who had lands in Henfield in 1257, (fn. 61) and who held a court at Oreham in 1262-3. (fn. 62) At Robert's death in 1281 he was succeeded by his son John (d. 1301 × 1309), (fn. 63) and Nicholas Grant was taxed at Oreham in 1310-11 (fn. 64) and in Henfield in 1327 and 1332. (fn. 65) He or a namesake was succeeded as tenant before 1374 by Richard Grant, who still held Oreham in 1399; at the former date the estate was described as 2 hides. (fn. 66) In 1451-2 John Grant settled the reversion of the estate, then first called a manor, on William Fagger; (fn. 67) Fagger still had it in 1469, but before 1477 had been succeeded by John Fagger, (fn. 68) who was lord in 1479. (fn. 69)
The manor later passed to the Covert family. William Covert was dealing with lands in Henfield in 1484-5, (fn. 70) and in 1533 a sixth of the manor was settled on John Covert, son and heir apparent of Richard. (fn. 71) He or a namesake was lord in 1553. (fn. 72) In 1564 John's son Richard settled the reversion of the whole manor after the death of his mother Anne Covert on his brother Edward. (fn. 73) At Edward's death in 1605 his son John succeeded; (fn. 74) he or a namesake was still lord in 1630, (fn. 75) but by 1647 the manor had passed to Walter Covert. (fn. 76) Edward Covert was dealing with it between 1656 and 1667; (fn. 77) in 1668, when he was described as of Edburton, the demesne lands comprised 160 a. (fn. 78) In 1670 Covert conveyed Oreham to Thomas Osborne, (fn. 79) who in 1683 sold it to Thomas Patching. Patching sold it to Henry Gill in two moieties, the first in 1683, and the second in 1686. In 1687 Gill sold the manor to his son-in-law Robert Smith (d. 1694), who left it to his wife Hannah. Hannah's second husband William Bingley had it in 1701, (fn. 80) but her daughter by her first marriage, also Hannah, had succeeded to it before 1709, when she held it jointly with her husband Thomas Smith, a London merchant. In 1717 they sold the manor to Thomas Sheppard of Petworth, who was still lord in 1719. (fn. 81) Thereafter the descent is lost. John Woolven was rated on Oreham manor house in 1729 and 1744. (fn. 82) Between 1759 and 1844-5 or later the manor descended with Springfield in Horsham in the Blunt family. Richard Woolven was tenant of the demesne lands in 1811, and in 1844-5, when they comprised 123 a., John Thorns held them. (fn. 83) By 1914 the freehold had passed to the executors of another member of the Thorns family, the tenant being Harold Thorns. (fn. 84) The ownership has not been traced further.
Little Oreham farm, presumably once part of the demesne lands (fn. 85) and comprising 64 a. in 1844-5 and 71 a. in 1914, belonged to William Borrer at the earlier date; Col. T. F. Wisden apparently had it in 1904, but by 1914 it was again owned with Oreham manor farm. (fn. 86)
There was a manor house at Oreham manor in 1605 (fn. 87) and perhaps earlier: the chapel mentioned at the manor in 1469 may have been part of it. (fn. 88) In 1811 it was partly of brick, faced with tiles, and roofed with slate. (fn. 89) The building had gone by 1947. (fn. 90)
A freehold of Stretham manor called HALLAND, later HOLLANDS, belonged in the early 14th century successively to Simon at Hall and Gilbert Heath (de la bruere); in 1310-11 it contained 1 hide and 1 yardland, (fn. 91) and in 1313-14 it comprised 168 a. (fn. 92) In 1374, when it was described as 1 ploughland, Andrew Peverel the younger held it by knight service. (fn. 93) Thereafter, until 1405 or later, it descended with Ewhurst in Shermanbury. (fn. 94) By the 16th century it had passed to Thomas Bishop (d. 1560), thereafter descending with the lease of the rectory. (fn. 95)
The manor of WANTLEY was held in 1066 by Bricmar of Azor, who held it of Harold. In 1086 it was held of William de Braose by Ralph, probably Ralph de Buci. (fn. 96) It continued to be held of Bramber rape in 1324, (fn. 97) but in 1559 was said to be held in chief, as 1/40 fee. (fn. 98)
Philip de Wantley (fl. 1180) (fn. 99) was dealing with 2½ hides and ¼ yardland in Wantley, apparently representing the manor, in 1199; (fn. 100) at his death in 1209 the land passed to his niece Beatrice de Gardino, who was dealing with 2¾ hides in Wantley in 1229. About 1235 she gave the land to Lewes priory, to which John de Gatesden also granted land in Wantley c. 1240. Hugh de Buci c. 1250 quitclaimed to the priory all his rights of service in 18 yardlands at Wantley, (fn. 101) though he and his descendants seem to have retained an interest in them later. (fn. 102)
At the Dissolution Wantley was granted by the Crown first in 1538 to Thomas Cromwell, Lord Cromwell (fn. 103) (attainted 1540), (fn. 104) then in 1541 to Queen Anne of Cleves for her life, (fn. 105) and afterwards in 1544 to Richard and John Sackville, who in the following year conveyed it to Richard Michell. (fn. 106) Michell was succeeded in 1559 by his son Roger (fn. 107) (d. 1576), whose son and heir was also Roger. (fn. 108) The same or another Roger Michell (fn. 109) in 1641 conveyed the manor to Richard Kybe, apparently his mortgagee, (fn. 110) who in 1647 conveyed it to Thomas Boniface (fn. 111) (fl. 1671). (fn. 112) Boniface's son John (fn. 113) had succeeded by 1685; (fn. 114) at his death c. 1699 (fn. 115) the manor passed to his niece Susan, wife of Nicholas Goffe. Nicholas was dealing with it in 1712, but died before 1718, by which date Susan had married the Revd. Ralph Healey. (fn. 116) He was succeeded in 1744 or 1745 by his nephews as joint heirs, John Paine and Francis Warre, (fn. 117) who in 1748 sold the manor to John Wood (fn. 118) (d. 1764 or 1765). John's son and heir Henry (fn. 119) had it in 1805; by 1816 he had been succeeded by his son John, of Chestham Park. (fn. 120) After John's death between 1830 and 1835 his widow Lucretia (fn. 121) had the manor until her death in 1860; (fn. 122) in 1844-5 the demesne lands comprised 269 a. (fn. 123) Mrs. Wood's niece and heir Ellen and her husband the Revd. Richard Greene conveyed Wantley farm in 1866 to (Col.) Thomas Wisden, described in 1870 as one of the chief landowners of the parish. (fn. 124) He was succeeded in 1871 by his son Lt.-Col. Thomas Faulconer Wisden (d. 1904), whose son W. J. Wisden conveyed Wantley in 1905 to J. A. Minchin. Minchin sold it in 1918 to C. W. Ellis, (fn. 125) and by 1929 it had passed to C. H. Maidment (fn. 126) (d. 1953), whose executors sold it before 1956 to the tenant farmer, Mr. Benson Coleman. (fn. 127) Most of the land had been sold by 1984. (fn. 128)
The oldest surviving part of Wantley Manor (fn. 129) is the centre of the timber-framed south range, which is 16th-century or earlier. The wings extending north from it at either end are probably early 17thcentury, and that on the west has the initials T.B. on its northern gable, evidently for Thomas Boniface (fl. 1647-71). A further north-south range was added on the west in the 18th century, with a three-bayed faôade in red mathematical tiles. Much refitting was carried out in the earlier 20th century, using woodwork and fireplaces brought from elsewhere; a new entrance hall was created at the same time in the centre of the 18th-century west range.
The manor of WOOLFLY (fn. 130) is presumably represented by the ½ hide there held by Alwin of Azor in 1066; in 1086 Ralph, presumably Ralph de Buci, held it of William de Braose, (fn. 131) and it continued to be held of Bramber rape in 1324 (fn. 132) and presumably later.
Helewise, widow of Adam of Woolfly, successfully claimed dower in 1 yardland in Henfield in 1233, (fn. 133) and her son William had pasture rights at Wantley c. 1255. (fn. 134) Robert of Woolfly was mentioned locally c. 1265, (fn. 135) and a namesake was assessed to subsidy in Henfield in 1327. (fn. 136) John of Woolfly owned lands in Henfield in 1325. (fn. 137) In 1353-4 his daughter Isabel and her husband Henry Smith conveyed to William of Fyfield a moiety of 210 a. in Henfield and Woodmancote, presumably Woolfly. (fn. 138) William died in 1361 seised of Talcurtis and Woolfly, his heir being his son and namesake (fn. 139) (fl. 1382). (fn. 140) Thereafter the descent is fragmentary. In 1561 Elizabeth Comber, her son John Beard, and Richard Ockenden were dealing with lands called Woolfly. (fn. 141) John Holney (d. 1689) devised leasehold lands called Woolfly to his daughter Anne (d. 1727), wife of John Gratwicke (d. 1724). (fn. 142) Lands called Woolfly were said in 1768 to have formerly belonged to William Stoney. (fn. 143) Between 1867 and 1947 Woolfly farm followed the descent of the adjacent Park farm in Woodmancote; (fn. 144) in 1947 it comprised 80 a. in the parish. (fn. 145) The later ownership has not been traced.
A building at Woolfly which may have been the manor house was occupied by a labourer in 1851. (fn. 146) Nothing of it survived in 1984.
The reputed manor of MOUSTOWS possibly originated in lands held by Ralph at Moustow (fl. 1327) (fn. 147) or John at Moustow (fl. 1401). (fn. 148) John Scrase was lord in 1560 (fn. 149) and he or a namesake in 1615. (fn. 150) Richard Scrase was dealing with the manor in 1645, and Anne Badmering, widow, in 1720. (fn. 151) Only two references have been found to lands attached to it. (fn. 152) In 1847 Mrs. A. Faulconer and others conveyed the manor to Thomas Wisden (d. 1871), whose son Lt.-Col. Thomas Faulconer Wisden owned it at his death in 1904. Col. Wisden's son Frederick sold it in 1905 to his relative William West Thornton, who left it to his daughter Olive Jessie, wife of the Revd. E. I. Frost. In 1951-2 Mrs. Frost sold the manor house to Mrs. E. B. Carling, who still had it in 1984. (fn. 153) In the later 19th century and earlier 20th the house was often let; (fn. 154) among the tenants was Sir B. L. Gordon, who with his wife rented it for c. 40 years. (fn. 155)
Moustows Manor is a double-pile timber-framed house of the mid 18th century with a brick front. It was remodelled in the mid or late 19th century, when the front was rendered, additions were made on the north side and at the rear, and new interior fittings were inserted.
The estate called SHIPRODS was a freehold of Ewhurst manor in Shermanbury. (fn. 156) The surname at Shiprod was recorded from 1271: (fn. 157) Robert at Shiprod was assessed to the subsidy in 1327 and 1332, (fn. 158) Maud at Shiprod was mentioned in 1378, (fn. 159) and Richard Shiprod in 1401. (fn. 160) William Fagger died seised of the estate c. 1483; (fn. 161) at a date between 1486 and 1493, when it comprised 90 a. in Henfield, it apparently belonged to his son Richard. (fn. 162) Thereafter, like Oreham manor, it passed to the Covert family. (fn. 163) In the 1560s or 1570s Richard Covert had it, (fn. 164) and it descended thereafter with Twineham Benfield until Sir John Covert, Bt. (d. 1679), sold it to Philip Cheale. (fn. 165) At his death in 1716 or 1717 Cheale was succeeded by his son John (d. 1727), whose successive heirs were his sons John (d. 1731) and Philip (d. 1746). Philip's heir was his uncle, also Philip, son of Philip (d. 1716 or 1717), who was succeeded after 1755 by his sister Anne (d. 1762), wife of Robert Hoffman. (fn. 166) Their son and heir Robert at his death in 1768 devised Shiprods to his father. After the elder Robert's death in 1769 it passed to his widow Anne, later wife of Abraham Baley (d. 1789). At her death in 1809 (fn. 167) it passed to her nephew Robert Hoffman Faulconer. He had died by 1830, when the estate belonged to his infant son and daughter; (fn. 168) the son, R. H. Faulconer, owned it in 1844-5 when the lands comprised 221 a. (fn. 169) About 1876 Shiprods was sold by a member of the Faulconer family to S. Copestake of Shermanbury, (fn. 170) who was both owner and occupier in 1910 and 1914. (fn. 171) By 1965 Judge L. K. A. Block was living at Shiprods, having inherited it from the family of his wife Maud Marion, née Hicks. After the deaths of both in 1980, (fn. 172) the property was sold in 1981 to Mr. M. Fisher. (fn. 173)
The north and west sides of Shiprods house are timber-framed and possibly of the 16th century. The house was remodelled c. 1700, when the angle between those two ranges was filled in to give a square plan, and new brick fronts were built on the east and south sides. An 18th-century staircase survives. The fenestration of the east, entrance, front seems to have been altered in the later 18th century. There was extensive restoration in the early 1980s, when the south front was remodelled, a 19th-century bay window was removed, and several rooms received painted decoration. Attached farm buildings include a large timber-framed barn, possibly of medieval origin.
Sir William Gratwicke of Tortington died seised in 1613 of a house and lands called CHESTHAM, (fn. 174) and his widow Margery apparently had them in 1616. (fn. 175) In 1637, at the division of the inheritance of Owen Gratwicke of Henfield, Chestham passed to his daughter Anne and her husband John Dennett. (fn. 176) John and his daughter, also Anne, conveyed it in 1670 to Thomas Dennett and John Bull, and in 1688 the last named John and Anne, then his wife, were in possession. (fn. 177) In 1702 they conveyed Chestham to John Norton (fn. 178) (d. 1736), whose son John (fn. 179) (d. 1752 or 1753) devised it to his nephew Henry Wood, later lord of Wantley manor. (fn. 180) Henry leased it to his son John, (fn. 181) who had succeeded him by 1816, (fn. 182) and who built a new house there. In 1794 the estate included Nymans farm, (fn. 183) as later. Between 1816 and 1860 Chestham descended with Wantley manor, Chestham Park house being the Woods' residence. (fn. 184) In 1861 Chestham belonged to Henry Wood Rideout, and was let for shooting. (fn. 185) Before 1874 it was sold by a member of the Wood family to James Scott; he sold it to John Coveney, who had devised it before 1876 to his nephew, Henry Ross. Ross was succeeded between 1887 and 1895 by his widow. (fn. 186) Col. G. A. Stebbing was both owner and occupier of the estate in 1914. In 1921 he sold it to his brother-in-law Edward Hicks; Mrs. Hicks, evidently Edward's widow Ethel, was one of the two chief landowners of the parish in 1930 and 1938. Her daughters sold the estate in 1945 to the impresario Prince Littler (d. 1973), whose widow sold it to Mr. K. G. Wagstaff. (fn. 187)
A house called Chestham was mentioned from 1613. (fn. 188) At the centre of the south side of the present house, Chestham Park, is a five-bayed Italianate villa of c. 1825, (fn. 189) with notably deep eaves. The present kitchen wing at the back is probably mid 19th-century, and a billiard room and library were added between c. 1875 and 1882, (fn. 190) a large conservatory being built probably at the same time. The house was extensively renovated for Prince Littler, a new entrance porch being built at the back, and many architectural features, for instance fireplaces and doors, some said to have come from Clumber (Notts.), being inserted. (fn. 191)
The kitchen garden west of the house is apparently early 19th-century. The gardens south-east of the house, which include glades of flowering trees and shrubs, formal paths, and a water garden, were laid out for Prince Littler by Percy Cane. (fn. 192)