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.
IFIELD manor was held by Alwi in 1066, and by William son of Rannulf of William de Braose in 1086. (fn. 1) The overlordship continued to belong to the lords of the rape. (fn. 2) The early medieval descent is fragmentary. (fn. 3) Robert Bonet, who gave Ifield church to Rusper priory c. 1200, may also have held the manor. (fn. 4) Edmund de Valle in 1273 settled a messuage and 100 a. in Ifield, together with land in Kingston by Sea, on Thomas of Warbleton, Hugh de Buci putting in his claim. (fn. 5) In 1313-14 the same or another Hugh de Buci settled the manor of Ifield, so called, on Lucy, widow of Robert de Buci, as her dower. (fn. 6) Hugh's two daughters and heirs Sibyl, wife of John de Lislebonne, and Joan, wife of William of Fyfield, each apparently held a moiety of the manor in 1348, (fn. 7) and 172 a. in Ifield which may represent the Lislebonne moiety were settled on Fyfield in 1357- 8. (fn. 8) Joan, widow of Sir John Foxley, perhaps the Joan mentioned, gave up her claim to dower in the manor of Ifield in 1379. (fn. 9)
In 1387 Sir Richard Poynings died seised of the manor; (fn. 10) the Poynings family were already lords of neighbouring Crawley, (fn. 11) and Thomas of Poynings had received a grant of free warren over lands in Ifield in 1328. (fn. 12) After 1387 the manor descended with Poynings (fn. 13) until 1531, when Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, settled it on Sir Thomas Nevill, (fn. 14) whose daughter Margaret and her husband (Sir) Robert Southwell (fn. 15) had it in 1542. In 1545 they settled it on Edward Shirley (fn. 16) (fl. 1554). (fn. 17) Thomas Shirley had it in 1566; (fn. 18) at his death in 1579 he was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 19) later Sir John, who in 1617 conveyed it to Sir Walter Covert (fn. 20) (d. 1632), then or later his son-in-law. Sir Walter's niece and heir Anne, widow of Walter Covert of Maidstone (Kent), (fn. 21) died later in 1632, and was succeeded by her son Thomas. (fn. 22) John Covert was dealing with the manor in 1649. (fn. 23)
Denzil Holles, (fn. 24) created in 1661 Lord Holles of Ifield, married Jane, widow of Sir Walter Covert, and was dealing with the manor in 1659. (fn. 25) Formerly a strong opponent of Charles I, he was employed in the 1660s as a diplomatist. He was apparently living at Ifield by 1662, from which date members of the family were buried there. (fn. 26) At his death in 1680 the manor passed to his son Francis, Lord Holles (d. 1690), whose son and heir Denzil, Lord Holles (d. 1694), was succeeded by his cousin John Holles, earl of Clare and from 1694 duke of Newcastle (d. 1711). John's heir was his nephew Thomas Pelham-Holles, later duke of Newcastle. By 1739 (fn. 27) Ifield had passed to Newcastle's brother Henry Pelham (d. 1754), whose heirs were his four daughters. (fn. 28) One of them, Frances, was described as sole lady of the manor in 1770; (fn. 29) c. 1786 she sold Ifield to Thomas Dennett (fn. 30) (d. 1793 × 1801). (fn. 31)
Dennett's daughter Anne married Capt. the Hon. Robert Rodney, R.N. (d. 1826), whose son and heir Robert succeeded in 1846 as Lord Rodney and died in 1864. (fn. 32) In 1844 over 1,300 a. in the parish belonged to the Rodney estate. (fn. 33) The manor was later in two moieties, one belonging to Lord Rodney and later to his widow Sarah (d. 1882), and the other to his sister Anne and her husband Maj. Manaton Pipon (d. 1881). (fn. 34) By 1887 both moieties had passed to Lord Rodney's daughter Patience (fn. 35) and her husband R. W. D. Harley, who in 1889 sold Ifield manor, with Ifield Court farm, to William Wood, tenant of the farm since 1856; (fn. 36) Wood still owned both in 1894, (fn. 37) but had died by 1896. (fn. 38) R. N. S. Lewin, a relation of the owners of the rectory, (fn. 39) had the manor in 1905 and apparently in 1909; (fn. 40) the farm belonged to Ronald W. Selby in 1916, and to Messrs. Selby and Nevill in 1917. (fn. 41) Sir John Drughorn, Bt., was lord by 1922, but lived at Ifield Hall rather than Ifield Court both then and later. (fn. 42) At his death without surviving male issue in 1943 the Ifield manor estate, comprising 1,268 a., was sold to Mr. J. A. Farmer (fl. 1986). (fn. 43)
A house on Ifield manor was mentioned in 1387, (fn. 44) and a moated house in 1529. (fn. 45) By 1835 it had become a farmhouse called Ifield Court occupying the northern corner of the moat; (fn. 46) it was burnt down before c. 1875. (fn. 47) The moat survived in 1985, when the area within it was rough grass; (fn. 48) also then surviving were a group of farm buildings to the north, including a probably 16th-century barn. (fn. 49) A new house east of the moat in revived vernacular style had been built by c. 1875; it was enlarged in the early 20th century, (fn. 50) and after c. 1970 was used as a hotel. (fn. 51)
The manor of BONWICKS was held of Ifield in 1566. (fn. 52) A Walter of Bonwick owned land possibly in Ifield in the 13th century, (fn. 53) and a yardland, 46 a., and rents in Ifield were settled on John Bonwick in 1381-2. (fn. 54) The 110 a. of land together with rents in Ifield settled on Thomas Fenner in 1506-7 (fn. 55) may have been the same, since John Fenner died seised of Bonwicks c. 1513. John's estate, subject to the life interest of his daughter-in-law Anne, then the wife of Thomas Culpeper, descended to his grandson John, (fn. 56) presumably the John Fenner who died seised of Bonwicks manor, then first so called, and 320 a. in Ifield and Rusper in 1566, leaving as heir his son Dudley. (fn. 57) Thomas Gage was said to be lord in 1579. (fn. 58) Edward Baron or Barnes was dealing with the manor between 1623 and 1643, and Jane Baron or Barnes in 1645, when it was settled on Richard Arnold. (fn. 59) By 1666 Thomas Arnold had it, (fn. 60) and in 1718 another Thomas Arnold, (fn. 61) presumably the same man who sold it to Michael Wood in 1729, when its demesne comprised 227 a. (fn. 62) Thereafter the descent is lost until 1771, when Henry St. John, who had Bonwicks in right of his wife, devised it to his daughter Susanna Wigsell (d. 1779). Her son Attwood Wigsell was lord in 1786, and was succeeded in 1795 by his brother the Revd. Thomas Wigsell (d. 1805). In 1806 Bonwicks was sold by Thomas's heirs to William Cutler (d. 1837), (fn. 63) who was a chief landowner in the parish in 1830, (fn. 64) and resided there. (fn. 65) Another William Cutler was dealing with the manor in 1838, (fn. 66) but by 1844 the farm had passed to George Birch. (fn. 67) A Mrs. Birch, perhaps his widow, was living at Bonwycks Place in 1855. (fn. 68) In 1881 the farm was sold to George Trist (d. 1884). (fn. 69) Francis Allen owned the estate between 1900 and 1919, when he sold it to H. A. Baxter. He sold it after 1922 to Alexander Graham Lawrence, Lord Lawrence, who sold it c. 1940 to a Mr. Forbes. About 1960 it was again sold to a speculator, afterwards being divided up. (fn. 70)
A house on Bonwicks manor was mentioned in 1566. (fn. 71) The main range of the present Bonwycks Place is a tall brick 17th-century building with a projecting stair turret at the back; the staircase is original. A lower service wing extended northwards from its west end. (fn. 72) That range was rebuilt when the house was refitted in the earlier 20th century, and further additions were made after 1970.
The manor of PRESTWOOD perhaps represents former demesne woodland of Rusper priory (fn. 73) broken up for cultivation during the Middle Ages. Four yardlands at Prestwood and elsewhere were held of Bramber rape by the priory in 1368, when Roger Atwater held another ½ yardland also called Prestwood. (fn. 74) The priory retained its lands until the Dissolution. Thomas Shirley and Thomas Michell leased them for 60 years in 1534, and in 1537 the Crown granted the reversion of Prestwood manor, then first so called, to (Sir) Robert Southwell and his wife Margaret, (fn. 75) who granted it back in 1546. (fn. 76) John Shirley was said to be lord in 1579. (fn. 77) In 1590 the Crown granted Prestwood, with the Nunnery estate in Rusper, to John Cowper. (fn. 78) Richard Cowper died seised of it in 1592, and in 1608 his son and heir Sir Richard Cowper conveyed it to John Middleton (fn. 79) (d. 1636). Middleton's son and heir Thomas (fn. 80) suffered trespass from a riotous assembly at Prestwood c. 1642. (fn. 81) In 1650 his son-in-law Bray Chowne claimed to hold the manor on a 1,000-year lease, having entered on the premises 18 months before. (fn. 82) In 1662, however, Middleton conveyed it to Richard Arnold. From 1666 the manor descended with Bonwicks until 1717 or later. (fn. 83) The lands are then said to have passed, by sale and inheritance, to a Mr. Dungate of Mayfield, who held them in right of his wife in 1777. (fn. 84) John Fuller had them in 1799, (fn. 85) and the same or another John Fuller, who was one of the chief landowners in the parish in 1830, (fn. 86) devised them at his death in 1839 to his son John Bird Fuller. The latter in 1856 conveyed Lower and Little Prestwood farms, of 139 a., to John Wood, after whose death they were sold in 1864 to George Trist (d. 1884), whose successor G. A. Trist offered them for sale in 1927. (fn. 87) The later history has not been traced.
Lower Prestwood Farm, apparently the former manor house, is an 18th-century painted brick building of two storeys; there are later extensions on the east side. The farm buildings include an 18thcentury timber-framed barn.
The reputed manor of LANGLEYS, so called by 1594, (fn. 88) presumably derived from land held by members of the Langley family in the Middle Ages. (fn. 89) Thomas Shirley, lord of Ifield manor, died seised of land called Langley in 1579. (fn. 90) Thomas Jordan was dealing with the manor between 1594 and 1603. (fn. 91) The lands later became part of the Ifield Court estate. (fn. 92)
The RECTORY estate originated in the grant of Ifield church to Rusper priory c. 1200. (fn. 93) It was valued at £10 in 1291; (fn. 94) in 1341 it included 36 a. of glebe, (fn. 95) which presumably corresponded to the 40 a. on the west side of Ifield green mentioned in 1636. (fn. 96) Between 1534 and 1544 the rectory descended with Prestwood; (fn. 97) in the latter year Sir Robert and Margaret Southwell conveyed it to Edward Shirley, (fn. 98) who in 1554 granted it to his son John. (fn. 99) The same or another John sold it in 1607 to Sir Thomas and Henry Bludder; (fn. 100) the latter at his death in 1645 devised it to his brother-in-law Henry Peck of Lewes (fn. 101) (d. 1675 or 1676), whose son and heir Henry (d. c. 1680) was succeeded by his son John (d. 1688). John's brother and heir Henry (fn. 102) (fl. 1714) (fn. 103) may be the Mr. Peck described as impropriator in 1724, (fn. 104) but had been succeeded before 1733 by John's unmarried sister Anne (d. by 1735), who devised the rectory to another sister Martha Harsnett (fn. 105) (d. c. 1741). Her heir Nicholas Spencer (fn. 106) (fl. 1762) devised it at his death in 1783 to his daughter Martha, wife of James Lewin. Their son Spencer James Lewin, vicar from 1790, (fn. 107) had it c. 1830, (fn. 108) when the lands totalled 57 a. (fn. 109) At Lewin's death in 1842 he was succeeded by his son Francis E. Lewin (d. 1850), (fn. 110) from whom the rectory passed first to Thomas and Henry Lewin (fl. 1855) (fn. 111) and then to Thomas's widow Mary Emily Lewin (d. 1909). In 1913 her executors conveyed a moiety to the Commonwealth Investment Co., which sold it in 1920 to British and Continental Estates Ltd., from whom it was acquired by Sir John Drughorn (d. 1943). (fn. 112) After c. 1952 it belonged to Mr. J. A. Farmer. (fn. 113)
No rectory house is known before the existing one was built in the early 19th century. Described in 1830 as a competent residence, (fn. 114) it is a stuccoed, two-storeyed building in classical style with deep projecting eaves.
Various members of the Ewhurst or Eworth family were recorded locally in the Middle Ages, including William, who was dealing with ½ yardland in Ifield in 1273, (fn. 115) Thomas, who was taxed in Ifield vill in 1332, (fn. 116) and William, who held ¼ fee in Ifield of Bramber rape in 1368. (fn. 117) Their lands seem likely to have been what was later EWHURST PLACE FARM. William Sidney was dealing with 800 a. in Ewhurst (presumably in Ifield), Crawley, and elsewhere in 1447-8. (fn. 118) Between 1631 and 1645 Ewhurst descended with Ifield manor, (fn. 119) as apparently again in the mid 18th century (fn. 120) and certainly between 1821 and 1888. In the latter year R. W. D. Harley and his wife Patience sold the farm, then comprising 194 a., to Philip H. Rawson, who sold it in 1904 to Henry Longley, who still had it at his death in 1922. (fn. 121) From Longley's daughter and heir Ann it passed in 1923 to H. T. Gardner, who sold it in 1932 to Antonio Gordon. The estate was afterwards split up. (fn. 122)
Ewhurst Place (fn. 123) comprises the north and part of the east range of a red brick, timber-framed, and partly tilehung 16th- or early 17th-century house occupying the northern portion of a rectangular moated site of which the moat survived complete in 1985. Foundations of canted bays in the north arm of the moat evidently belong to an earlier building of which there is no other record. The size and scale of the present house indicate a building owner of importance and, in view of the poor agricultural potential of the parish, one with income from elsewhere; he is, however, unknown. The east range contained the hall, of which one moulded screenspassage door and part of another survived in 1985, and the north range the service rooms, including a kitchen at the east end, together with a living room at the west end which has 17th-century panelling; there may have been a corridor along the south side of the range to give access to the latter. There is evidence that the third storey of the north range was intended to be a long gallery, but was perhaps not completed as such. The north side of the north range has three wide external chimneystacks rising directly from the moat, and had at one time a projecting staircase with gabled roof. (fn. 124) The main living rooms were presumably in the destroyed south range, of which foundations survived in 1985 along the south arm of the moat. The building had been reduced to its present size by c. 1840. (fn. 125) It has since been much restored.
The moat is crossed by an 18th-century brick bridge and two timber bridges. (fn. 126) The large garden outside the moat was mostly under rough grass in 1985; it contains dry ditches north and south-east of the moat which may represent remains of an outer moat.
One or more men called John of Ifield held lands in the parish in the early 14th century. (fn. 127) The lands were apparently called a manor in 1339 (fn. 128) and free warren was granted over them in 1317, (fn. 129) but they have not been located.
Sele priory in Upper Beeding owned land in the parish in 1477-8. (fn. 130)
JORDANS FARM on London Road belonged to John Hughes in 1791 and Isaac Hughes in 1805. Matthew Buckle, who had it in 1808 (fn. 131) and 1844, (fn. 132) was described as one of the chief landowners in the parish in 1830. (fn. 133) The farmhouse was bought by the A.P.V. Co. Ltd. for a club house in the 1950s. (fn. 134)