A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1940.
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Bolneya, Bolne (xiii cent.).
The parish lies on the western boundary of the rape and has an area of 3,617 acres; the soil is clay and gravel, and the subsoil clay and sandstone.
The elevation of the parish where it comes down into the valley of the Adur is under 50 ft., but rises northward, reaching 392 ft. on its northern boundary. The road from Cuckfield to Billingshurst runs from east to west across the parish, and is crossed in the centre by the main road from Brighton to London. The village is situated to the north-west of the crossroads, the church being on a short road parallel to the main one, but a large part of the village is about half a mile north, on the west side of the main road, with Bolney Common (partitioned and enclosed in 1841) on the opposite side. Colwood Park and Wykehurst Park lie to the north-west of the village.
A road to Warninglid runs up the western boundary of the parish, and there are several small parallel roads between this and the main road.
There is a Baptist chapel in the village, and a nonsectarian Mission Room.
In 1934 a detached portion of Hurstpierpoint parish was annexed to Bolney.
'Howth Cottage', ½ mile north of the church, is a rectangular building of c. 1600 with some timberframing visible, and wide fire-places in the central stone chimney-stack, which was rebuilt above the roof in 1713 and is dated. A cottage, now two tenements, next south-west of this, is a late-15th-century building facing east, lengthened by one bay to the south, probably in the 16th century. The original part retains the heavy chamfered tie-beam of the truss of the hall-roof with mortices for the former arched braces below it: the king-posts are not visible, but the usual curved braces show in the wall-framing, and there is also the beam that formed part of the former flue. An upper floor and a central stone chimney-stack were inserted in the hall in the late 16th century; another internal chimney-stack was erected when the house was lengthened. The northernmost room, ground floor, has the original wide flat joists of the 15th-century solar or buttery wing; the room south of the stack has a 16thcentury moulded beam. The room next south also has heavy square joists, probably those of the other original wing, and the floor is tiled. The lower story has brick outer walls, and timber-framing is exposed in the upper story.
On the east side of the London-to-Brighton road stands Ford's Farm, now called 'Tudor Tea House', a private hotel. The house dates from c. 1500 and is of a modified H-shaped plan, but was originally of Tshape, the main block containing the hall facing north and south, with the cross wing at the east end. Late in the 16th century the west wing was added, its south end flush with the south wall of the main block but projecting north to match the other wing: and two internal chimney-stacks were built, one at each end of the hall. The roof of the east range is in three bays divided by closed partitions, and, although all of one period, only the middle bay has smoke-blackened timbers; the bay evidently served as a huge flue from an open fire on the ground floor. The roof over the main block is of the wind-braced side-purlin type and is also smokeblackened. When the chimney-stacks and west wing were built upper floors were inserted where required to make the whole of two stories, upper ceilings were inserted probably later. The front, back, and east side have much of the ancient framing exposed outside. The house was afterwards divided into two tenements and two timber-framed projecting staircases were added against the north front in the angles with the wings: the eastern staircase has been removed. The lower story of the west wing is of stone and has a cellar below it: the upper story of the west side is tile-hung. The two gable-heads of this wing project on moulded bressummers and shaped brackets, and have moulded bargeboards. The other gables are plain. Some of the original windows with moulded mullions remain. Nearly all the rooms have open-timbered ceilings. The joists in the south room of the east wing are very heavy and evidently the two end bays of this wing were always of two stories. The fire-place for the middle room, projecting into this wing, is 9 ft. wide and has chimney-corner seats. The western stack has two wide fire-places: that towards the west wing has been fitted with an oak bressummer with guilloche carving and the date 1613, brought from a house near by, now destroyed.
Homewood House, about a mile west of the church, is probably a late-14th-century building, facing south. It had a great hall of two bays with the solar and buttery wings under the one continued roof, which is very steeply pitched. The wide flat rafters over the hall part are smoke-blackened, but there are no traces of a middle truss or of king-post construction, either because the house antedates this form of framing or because it has been destroyed for the 16th-century inserted chimney-stack. The west end of the former hall retains its original wall-beam of an obviously earlier moulded contour than those found in 15th-century halls. The inserted 16th-century floor has stop-chamfered beams and joists: the wide fire-places are of stone with oak lintels. The lower story now has brick walls: the upper story is tile-hung: the eaves are very low and the upper story, partly in the roof, has gabled dormer windows flush with the wall below.
Chatesgrove, about 1¼ miles north-west of the church, is a complete timber-framed house, with plastered infilling and Horsham slab roofs. It is of L-shaped plan, the wings extending to the north-east and south-east, each of these ends having a projecting gable-head on a moulded bressummer and with moulded bargeboards. One gable bears the date 1618. Several of the windows are original and have moulded oak mullions. Two of the chimney-stacks are of old thin bricks and are of the usual rebated type. The end room of the north-east wing, formerly the kitchen, has a good wide fire-place of stone with an oak lintel cut slightly to an arch and having a projecting shelf-moulding at the top cut from the solid. The end room of the south-east wing also has a re-tooled stone fire-place with an oak lintel. Both have old iron fire-backs. The ceilings are open-timbered with chamfered main beams and rafters, many of the latter modern. On the first floor the room above the old kitchen has a mid-15th-century moulded and embattled beam right across the room in front of the chimney breast: it must have been brought from elsewhere, as there are no other remains of this period in the house: the fire-place of brick has another old fireback. The chamber at the end of the south-east wing is now open to part of the roof, the ceiling joists having been removed. It is divided into two bays by a truss that has curved struts on an upper tie-beam, and there is another tie-beam close below it: the side-purlins have straight wind-braces.
Chargrove, a cottage a little to the south, is also a timber-framed house of the 17th century, facing east. It has a wide stone fire-place and thin-brick chimney at the south end, and chamfered beams in the ceilings.
The Old Mill House, ¾ mile north-west of the church, is of late-16th-century date. The front of the main block has square framing in five bays, and the north end has a projecting gable-head on a moulded bressummer enriched with foliage or honeysuckle carving, and with carved scrolled brackets and a moulded barge-board with a pendant at the apex. The gable at the south end is plainer but has a moulded barge-board. The mill which was near by is said to have been used for making gunpowder. Behind (east of) the house is a large pond.
Bookers Farm is a 17th-century house and shows some of the original square timber-framing in the upper story. A barn near the house is of the 15th century. It is of three bays and has trusses with braced tie-beams and strutted king-posts carrying a central purlin. The framing of the side walls also has curved braces. The walls are weather-boarded, the roof tiled. Another rather derelict barn farther east, also of three bays, is only slightly later: the side-framing is similar but the roof appears to have been altered subsequently: it is thatched.
Pinehurst Farm, formerly South Gravelies, was built about 1580 and although the south front has been faced with modern bricks, old square framing is seen in the back wall. The interior has two wide fireplaces and open-timbered ceilings. By the side of the central chimney-stack is the original central-newel staircase. The roof has queen-post trusses and side-purlins with straight wind-braces. The barn and a granary are of the same period, all with heavy timber-framing. Gravelies Farm, formerly North Gravelies, has timberframed walls, refaced about 30 years ago with brick, when the roof was also heightened, but it retains a 17th-century projecting chimney-stack at its south end with a rebated shaft and wide fire-place: there are also open-timbered ceilings.
Garstons Farm, south-west of the church, though largely remodelled, incorporates the hall of a 15thcentury building to which there is no clue whatever in its external appearance. The hall was some 22 ft. wide and of two 12-ft. bays, and its middle truss is still practically intact. It has a heavy cambered tiebeam supported on shaped story-posts and very heavy curved braces forming a great four-centred arch below it: the spandrels of the arch between it and the tiebeam have each a short strut fitted into the open space. Any solar and buttery wings have been lost in the later changes: the one seems to have been replaced by a comparatively modern south wing: the other is perhaps indicated by the present north outside wall of the house. Late in the 16th century a new wing was built west of the north part, the upper floor was inserted in the hall, and the chimney-stack built in its southern bay. The east side-wall of the hall is missing and the present east front is about 6 ft. east of it: this is probably because the hall had originally an east aisle such as is seen in many of the local barns but rarely in the houses. With the 16th-century remodelling the aisle was heightened and the east wall furnished with gable-heads. Equally probable is it that the east end of the north solar wing projected to come flush with the wall of the aisle. The east elevation has rough-casting to the lower story and tile-hanging to the upper, and it has twin gable-heads. The west end of the north-west Elizabethan wing has an original square bay-window with lights to each story, with moulded posts, &c. The gable-head projects over the bay-window and has a moulded bressummer on carved brackets, almost concealed by tile-hanging, and a barge-board with apex post and pendant. The roofs are covered with Horsham slabs. Above this wing is an original shaft of cross-plan in thin bricks. The great central fire-place has a plain shaft of late17th-century bricks; its fire-place is 10 ft. wide. The ceilings of the rooms on the sites of the north bay of the hall and of the north solar wing have stop-chamfered main beams and joists of the 16th century. The 16thcentury wing has moulded cross-beams to both floors. The main staircase is of mid-17th-century date and has turned balusters and moulded handrail.
The barn of the farm is of three bays and of early17th-century construction; it has an aisle with the roof continued down over it. A granary is of old timberframing. The upper story has a 16th-century door which probably came from the house: it has a diamondshaped top panel and six lower panels divided by moulded framing, which is nail-studded: it retains the original iron handle or grip with a trefoiled plate.
Coombe House, about 1¼ miles south-west of the church, incorporates an ancient building of timberframing. This was of L-shaped plan; the northern wing, which is now in part the entrance hall, dates from the 15th century and retains the original roof timbers. The other range, covering the south end of the north wing and extending to the east, was a rebuilding and addition, presumably of 1616, the date on its rebuilt gable. While the 15th-century part retains the first floor inserted in the 16th or 17th century, the west half of the other range has had its upper floors and partitions removed, in modern alterations, to form a great hall open to the roof. The projecting middle wing of the north front, containing the 15th-century remains, has a timber-framed gable-head: it projects a little and has a chamfered bressummer. The lower story has the present main entrance. At the south is the reset east gable-head of the south wing: it projects on a moulded bressummer and brackets and has a moulded barge-board and a pendant at the apex carved with the date 1616. The doorway in this front, to the lobby next the central chimney-stack, has a 16th-century door of three long panels, the muntins, &c., studded with nails. The roofs are covered with Horsham slabs. The 15th-century north wing retains in its south wall the original moulded wall-beam, and one bay of the hall roof is visible, with the usual strutted king-posts and braced central purlin. The inserted central chimneystack has a wide fire-place. The central chimney-stack of the other wing also has two wide fire-places: that to the east has in it a Tudor fire-place of stone, and the original wide fire-place with lintel has been ascertained to be behind this. The rooms east of the chimney-stack have in each story a moulded ceiling-beam with a channelled soffit, and old timber-framing shows in the walls.
Dawes Farm, about ¼ mile north-west of Coombe House, is a timber-framed building of L-shaped plan with a staircase wing in the angle. The older wing, which faces west, dates from c. 1500 and it is interesting as being of a type that preceded the brick and stone chimney period, but which is later than that of the 15th-century great hall type. It is of three bays and two stories and attics (or roof space); the northernmost bay served only to take the open fire on the hearth and was partitioned off all the way up to serve as a great flue, of the full width of the wing, to carry the smoke to an egress in the roof. The roof timbers and plaster infilling in this bay of the roof are smoke-blackened and on the first floor the bressummer remains that formed part of the chimney-breast. About 1600 a brick chimney-stack was built in, in the bay, with a fire-place 8½ ft. wide and a space next west of it. In this space, on the ground floor, now a cupboard, there are also blackened timbers. The other wing, flush with the south end of this, and projecting to the east, is an addition of c. 1600 and covers an original window of four lights with diamond-shaped mullions in the east wall of the earlier part. It has a projecting gable-head at its east end on a moulded bressummer and shaped brackets and with a moulded barge-board. On each story in this wall there was a pair of small windows of two lights with moulded mullions (now blocked), and stop-chamfered posts on their inner sides indicate that they had originally a larger and taller window between them. On the north side is a projecting chimney-stack of brick with a crow-stepped gable and square shaft. The staircase wing in the angle is of timber-framing and is gabled: it contains a 16th-century winding stair with an octagonal central newel.
There are also a number of small 17th-century houses, mostly with central chimneys, wide fire-places, and open-timbered ceilings; in the south of the parish are Nyes Hill Farm, Red House, Purvey Cottages, and Brooklands Farm; and north of the church are Butchers, now called 'Apple Tree Cottages' and South Lodge Cottages.
BOLNEY is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but in 1284 it was held by Earl Warenne and the Bishop of Chichester. (fn. 1) About this time the manor was held of the Bishop of Chichester, as of his manor of Preston, for a quarter fee, by Bartholomew de Bolne, and was defined as 800 acres in Bolney and Cuckfield. (fn. 2) He may have succeeded a Robert de Bolneya, mentioned in 1248. (fn. 3) John de Bolneye was the principal landowner of the family in 1296 (fn. 4) and held the manor about 1310. (fn. 5) In the middle of the 14th century there is mention of a John, who had a brother Robert and a son William; (fn. 6) while another John appears to have been holding the property in 1423–6. (fn. 7) Bartholomew de Bolney, who was living in 1446, (fn. 8) had three sons, John, Richard, and Edward, of whom John died without issue before 1461, about which time Bolney manor was held by Richard and Edward. (fn. 9) Edward also seems to have been childless, and when Richard died in 1500 the manor descended to his son John. (fn. 10) A John Bolney, probably his son, died in 1558, his heir being his nephew John Bolney, (fn. 11) but his widow Anne, who married secondly Thomas Culpeper of Wakehurst, and thirdly Henry Barkeley, D.C.L., retained a claim on the manor during her life. (fn. 12) The nephew John had rights in the manor in 1577 and was still living in 1586. (fn. 13) Anne Barkeley died in 1600 (fn. 14) and in 1626 Bolney was settled on Jane daughter of Sir Benjamin Pellatt, (fn. 15) on her marriage with William Culpeper, Anne's grandson by her second husband. William became a baronet in 1628 and died in 1678. His grandson and heir Sir William Culpeper sold Bolney in 1690 to John Dennett, (fn. 16) who died in 1727. (fn. 17) His son John, who held Bolney until 1758, was succeeded by his sons John, who died in 1759, and Thomas, who lived until 1767–8. (fn. 18) The manor then passed to John Lintott, widower of their sister Susannah, and at his death in 1781 descended to his son John Henry Lintott. (fn. 19) The latter, who married Philadelphia Leppard, died without issue in 1804, and the manor passed to his wife's relations, the Leppards, who owned it in 1835. (fn. 20) In 1841 Richard Weekes of the Mansion House, Hurstpierpoint, sold his land in Bolney, which included Bolney Place, Garstons Farm, and the manor of Bolney, to his brother-in-law William Marshall, who lived for some years at Bolney Place (fn. 21) and was still holding the manor in 1870. (fn. 22) Soon afterwards the manor-house and farm were occupied by Richard Hamshar, presumably on lease. About 1900 Henry Courage bought the house and farm and his eldest son Ernest lived there for a time, and subsequently Com. Archibald Vesey Courage, who sold Bolney Place in July 1935 to Mr. S. Sears, who still occupies it; but all manorial rights have lapsed. Garstons farm is now owned by Mr. James Galloway. (fn. 23)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE has a nave and chancel of about 1100, with windows inserted in later periods. The west tower was added in 1536–8: particulars of its erection are found in the churchwardens' accounts; the arms of the donor, John Bolney, are carved in the west doorway. The south porch is dated 1718. The north aisle, with the nave-arcade of three bays, was added in 1853 and the north vestry in 1912. The chancel arch is also of 1853; the chancel roof was repaired in 1936, and some pointing, &c., done to the walls of both chancel and nave.
The axis of the chancel is deflected to the north of that of the nave. It is about 23½ ft. long by 18 ft. wide internally. The east window is of two pointed lights and a plain spandrel under a two-centred head: it has wide internal splays with angle-dressings and a hollowchamfered rear-arch, and is of late-13th-century date. The wall, 3 ft. thick, sets back about 4 in. inside at the springing-level, and the window is set rather south of the middle of the wall so as to coincide almost with the axial line of the nave. In the north wall is a small round-headed window of c. 1100; west of it is a modern archway to the organ-chamber. In the south wall is a similar window and west of it a tall trefoiled light of the 13th century with wide inner splays with angledressings and hollow-chamfered pointed rear-arch: the jambs and head externally are rebated for a shutter and retain one iron hinge-hook at the springing-line and a catch for the latch.
The walling is of roughly coursed rubble with wide jointing and with dressed angle-stones: north and south of the east window are slight indications of former 12th-century windows. The east wall is gabled and has in the apex an old bulls-eye window to the roof-space. The roof is open-timbered, of trussed collar-beam type: the timbers are modern. It is covered with old Horsham slabs. The paving and steps are modern. In the south wall is a small simple 13th-century piscina with a pointed arch and a halfdestroyed round basin. The communion table is modern: behind it the wall is lined with five bays of early-17th-century oak panelling and the rest of the east wall and north and south return-walls have modern copies of it.
The chancel-arch is modern.
The nave (42 ft. by 20½ ft.) has a north arcade of three pointed arches on round pillars. The south wall is of rubble with wide jointing and less decisively coursed than that of the chancel. At the south-east angle are plain dressings: on one is scratched a sundial. In the south wall are two windows: the eastern, of two pointed lights and a sexfoil in a two-centred head, is modern. The western window is of the 15th century and has two cinquefoiled lights under a square head with an external label and segmental rear-arch. Just west of it are traces of a window of the 12th century. The south doorway is a tall and narrow one (fn. 24) of c. 1100, the chamfered jambs re-cut to widen the opening a little. The round arch is of two orders, the inner slightly recessed, and both with concentric mouldings on the face: there are indications of a former tympanum. The impost stones or abaci were chamfered: they have been cut back in the reveals, and the western also on the face. On a west jamb-stone is a 'scratch sundial'. The reveals are slightly splayed and are of rough ashlar, the rear-arch, of square section, has roughly dressed inner voussoirs. In the east reveal is a deep socket, formed in a de-cored beam built in, for a former draw-bar. The door, of three plain battens on horizontal backrails, is medieval. It is hung with plain strap-hinges and has an ancient oak lock, and key and escutcheon plates: the bolt of the lock fits into a wood socket above the draw-bar hole. The roof is of modern pitch pine of gabled trussed-rafter type. On the south side it is covered with Horsham slabs and on the north with red tiles.
The west tower (about 12 ft. square) is built of ashlar and has a moulded plinth, and a moulded stringcourse that divides it into two stages: at the western angles are diagonal buttresses of three stages: on the south side in line with the east wall is a square buttress and on the north side a stair turret, semi-octagonal at the parapet and lighted by narrow loops. The parapet is plain and has rather heavy square pinnacles at the angles, on which are tall conical finials and wooden ball-heads with copper weather-vanes. The opening from the nave has a four-centred arch dying on the side-walls of the tower, which have angle-dressings towards the nave. A four-centred doorway in the north wall opens into the stair turret: it has an original oak battened door with strap-hinges: there are similar doorways to the upper chambers. An 18th- or 19thcentury doorway to a gallery about 10 ft. above the ground floor has been walled up. The west doorway has moulded joints and four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label: the spandrels are carved with shields and vine-leaf and grape ornament: the north shield is charged with the arms of Bolney [or] a crescent and in chief two molets [gules], and the south shield with Bolney quartering St Leger [azure] fretty [argent] a chief [or.] The head is of old restoration. The pair of doors is ancient with modern external facings. One leaf has an oak lock inscribed GM, and in the reveals are sockets for a draw-bar. The west window is of three cinquefoiled lights and restored tracery under a four-centred head with a moulded external label and chamfered four-centred rear-arch. The second story has plain rectangular lights in three walls, and the bell-chamber a window in each of the four walls, each of two four-centred lights in a square head, partly restored. Inside are later brick reararches. Each story has an original ceiling of heavy plain beams and joists. The roof is slightly cambered. On the masonry north of the west doorway is inscribed: 'This Stepl: is 66 Foot high.' The south porch is built of ashlar and has a round-arched entrance dated 1718; above it a tablet inscribed: 'DRURY BIRD V mR IOHN DENNETT Thomas WEST Church Wardens': above that in the gable-head is a sundial of 1850.
In the tower is a 17th-century oak chest, 5 ft. 7 in. long, of hutch type, with three strap hinges and one lock: the front is divided into five panels by applied moulded styles, muntins, and rails. Another on the first floor of the tower is 6 ft. 7 in. long with strap-hinges and staples for three locks: 16th-century.
In the floor of the porch is a 13th-century tapering coffin lid of Sussex marble, 4 ft. 9 in. long by 1 ft. 9 in. wide at the top: it is carved with a cross in relief with a flowered head and long stem. Another longer tapering stone used as a step is probably also a coffin lid. The font is modern.
Above the chancel-arch is a painted and framed wood panel with the Royal Arms of Queen Anne in a Garter and with lion and unicorn supporters.
The churchyard contains many table-tombs of the 17th and 18th century.
At the south-west entrance to the churchyard is a large oak lych-gate of 1905 on dwarf walls of Sussex marble.
There are eight bells: the treble, second, and the fifth and the tenor were given by Michael Harmes and cast by P. Catlin in 1740: the seventh, also given by Michael Harmes, is dated 1724: the third has no inscription; the fourth is by William Eldridge, 1660; and the sixth by Robert Mot, in 1592. (fn. 25) The bellframe is ancient.
The communion plate includes a cup of 1567 with a band of ornament engraved round the bowl and two patens of 1725 with the Dublin hall-mark. (fn. 26)
The registers date from 1541. (fn. 27)
The advowson of Bolney Vicarage formed part of the Prebend of Hova Villa in the Cathedral of Chichester. It is mentioned in 1316. (fn. 28) It remained with the Prebendary until the middle of the 19th century, when it passed into the hands of the Bishop of Chichester, (fn. 29) who held it until, by an Order in Council of 13 May 1901, he exchanged the advowson for that of Etchingham, vested in Mr. Edward Huth, who thus became patron of Bolney. On 7 February 1929 Mr. Huth transferred the advowson to Exeter College, Oxford, his old college. (fn. 30)