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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The parish of Iford, which lies about 2 miles south of Lewes and 4 miles north-west of Newhaven, formerly had an area of 2,200 acres, including 116 acres detached from the parish, and 2 acres of water. The population in 1931 was 194. Since 1934, however, by the East Sussex Review Order, part of the parish of Southover Without has been added to Iford. The subsoil of the parish is chalk and the chief crops are wheat, oats, and pasturage. (fn. 1)
The high road from Newhaven to Lewes, running parallel to the river, traverses the parish. The area between the road and the river consists of a large expanse of marshland called the Brooks. It is drained by an elaborate system of sewers, and is used as pastureground for cattle. On the western side of the highway the land rises steeply to over 600 ft. at Swanborough Hill. In this part of the parish there is much rich arable land and some downland. By an Inclosure Act of 1830, 2,405 acres of common land in Iford and Kingston were inclosed. (fn. 2) There are a number of tumuli in the parish. One, on Front Hill, a spur of Iford Hill, was recently opened, and was found to be of the Bronze Age, (fn. 3) and on Heathy Brow, along which runs the boundary between Iford and Rodmell, was a considerable settlement of the same period, tumuli and fields being still visible. (fn. 4) Burials have also been found on Bird Brow in this parish. The village lies in two portions, a short quarter of a mile apart, between the river and the main Lewes-Newhaven road. The two halves are each joined to the main road by side lanes, and another joins the ends of these. Norton, the northern half of the village, contains the church, and the southern, Sutton, possesses the manor-house. Norton and Sutton both contain old cottages and each has a large farm. The present manor-house is a late-19th-century shamTudor building standing between the two halves of the village. Immediately to the south of it is an ancient building which appears to be the original manor-house. Until a year or two ago it was in nearly perfect condition, but it has recently been remodelled and turned into three cottages and is now known as Sutton Cottages. It is a building of the end of the 16th century, showing, externally, flint facing with stone dressings, and has three rooms running south-west and north-east, the former being the upper end. The south-east or entrance front is in perfect condition except for the windows, which have all had their stone mullions removed. Between the hall and the upper parlour is a large stack serving both rooms, between which and the entrance front is a lobby containing the front door, which has a segmental head and is all in good stone-work, with a label-mould over, having a rather coarse ovolo moulding, returned as stops. Over the door is a two-light window. The hall is lit by a four-light window and the parlours have each a three-light. The windows on the upper floor match those below. All the windows retain their label-moulds and some of those in the gables have a mullion or two remaining. At the back of the house, an outshut aisle passes along the whole length of the house, but this has recently been raised and remodelled to provide accommodation on the upper floor. The old front door is now blocked up, and three new doors have been cut in the back wall of the house. No old fireplaces remain, but the chamfered and stopped beams of the ground-floor ceilings may still be seen in some of the rooms.
Swanborough Manor House (fn. 5) is an L-shaped building, of which the northern block is medieval and probably constituted a grange of Lewes Priory, forming the administrative centre of the monastic farms in this district, and the southern dates from about the time of the Dissolution. In the northern block the original hall, lying east and west and measuring internally 37 ft. by 15½ ft., was built about 1200. To this period belong the masonry of the lower portion of the walls, a circular window in the west gable, slightly encroached upon by a later, 15th-century, window, and one lancet window in the north wall; this lancet is chiefly made of hard chalk, and the chamfer of the rear-arch has nail-head stops near the springing. The position of the original doorway in the north wall, about 10 ft. east of the end of the hall, is marked by the remains of the external relieving arch. In the 15th century the walls were raised and a floor was introduced, supported by heavy oak joists, tenoned into four transverse beams, two of which were moulded, but one has had to be renewed. Of the windows inserted at this time, three remain in the north wall; one on the ground floor is of two lights, with cusped trefoil heads, under a square hood-moulding, the other two, on the first floor, are similar but have sunk spandrels over the shoulders of the lights. In the south wall, on the first floor, are traces of a similar window, apparently of four lights, enlarged from two. At the west end of the north wall, at first-floor level, is a blocked 15th-century doorway which led either to an external stair or to the upper chamber over a porch to the entrance below. The large chimney-stack in this wall, containing a stone fire-place on each floor, has been rebuilt above the eaves, and the lower portion contains pieces of carved stones, possibly from the Priory, suggesting a reconstruction after the Dissolution.
At the lower (west) end of the hall are two, instead of the usual three, doors. Of these the southern opens on to a newel stair in a narrow 15th-century twostoried gatehouse, the ground floor containing an archway in the centre between this staircase and, probably, another stair on the west; above was a passage which led to a western wing both from the upper part of the stair and from a doorway in the upper hall, or dormitory; at some period the windows in this passage were blocked and it was converted into a dovecot, with nesting-boxes of chalk blocks. The northern door opened from the hall into a single-story room, presumably the buttery, covered by a span roof with tiebeams resting on three carved corbels which still remain. At the upper (east) end of the hall in the centre of the wall is a doorway with a four-centred head, and north of this a pierced quatrefoil looking into the former chapel. (fn. 6) The side-walls of the chapel are of the 15th century, and that on the north contains a single-light window with cinquefoiled head, while on the south is a doorway leading from the south wing into what would have been the gallery. The east wall is later and there is no evidence for the former length of the chapel. In the 16th century a floor was inserted and a chimneystack was built against the north wall.
In the fine 15th-century roof of the upper hall each rafter is trussed by a pair of moulded curved braces, giving the whole an arched or cradled form. The timbers are grooved for thin boards between each pair, but these have disappeared and the spaces are now plastered. The roof of the chapel portion is of kingpost construction, possibly a re-use and certainly incomplete. At either end of the hall are now fixed the upper traceried parts of two fine oak screens, of different designs but each of five bays of three panels. Probably one of these formed part of the normal screen at the lower end of the hall, and the other may have served to separate the upper hall, or dormitory, from the chapel.
Doors from the hall and chapel led into a south wing. This is now mainly of the early 16th century, either just before or just after the Dissolution. It contains a quantity of fine oak timbers and two good door-cases with solid moulded frames and arched heads. The whole building has recently been put in repair for the present owner, Mr. Cecil A. H. Harrison.
Among the people connected with Iford is Dr. John Delap (1725–1812), poet and dramatist, who was appointed to the united benefices of Iford and Kingston in 1765. He did not, however, reside in the parish, as he preferred to live at South Street, Lewes. (fn. 7)
Iford, as one of the three boroughs of the hundred of Swanborough, (fn. 8) paid a common fine of 8s. annually. (fn. 9) In the 17th century there were 64 yardlands in the parish and each paid 3d. yearly towards the fine, except the Court farm, containing 16 yards, which paid 3d., and Stuckles, containing 8 yards, which paid 8d. A penny was paid for every cottager. (fn. 10) The surplus of the money thus raised was given to the Headborough for his pains. In addition, the alderman of the hundred, in return for the money which he disbursed for the hundred twice every year at the sheriff's tour, and for his pains, was allowed five sheaves of wheat in Iford, levied from certain tenements. (fn. 11)
The original manor of Iford which Queen Edith, the wife of Edward the Confessor, held before the Conquest, was a large one covering an area of 77½ hides. (fn. 12) After the Conquest, part of this, lying in the rape of the Count of Mortain, was cut off. (fn. 13) Of the rest, William de Warenne held a large part in demesne; 6½ hides were held by the monks of St. Pancras, Lewes; 2 hides by Hugh son of Golda; and 1½ hides by Tosard, who later gave them to Lewes Priory on becoming a monk there. (fn. 14)
The earl's demesne land formed the vill of Iford and descended with the rape as the manor of Northease cum Iford (q.v.). (fn. 15)
The 2 hides held by Hugh son of Golda formed the manor of IFORD, and the overlordship of this manor and of the rest of the 7 knights' fees held by his successors, the Plaiz family, descended with the rape, falling in 1439 to Lady Bergavenny. (fn. 16) Her descendants were still overlords in 1543. (fn. 17)
Hugh son of Golda was succeeded by his son Hugh, whose connexion with the family of Plaiz is not known. A Ralph de Plaiz was living about 1140, and Hugh son and heir of Ralph de Plaiz is found about 1150 (or later?). (fn. 18) A Ralph occurs again in 1177 and two Ralphs, father and son, about the same time; (fn. 19) one of these seems to have died about 1194, leaving a nephew, also Ralph, who died about 1204. (fn. 20) Hugh de Plaiz owned the manor in the first half of the 13th century. (fn. 21) He died in 1244 and was succeeded by Richard de Plaiz his son by his first wife Philippa de Munfichet, (fn. 22) but in 1256 his third wife and widow Alice claimed a third of Iford and other manors as her dower. No Sussex manors were conceded to her. (fn. 23) Richard died in 1269 (fn. 24) and was succeeded in turn by his sons Ralph and Giles. Ralph died in 1283 (fn. 25) and the manor of Iford was granted in dower to his widow Isabel (fn. 26) who subsequently married John Marmion (fn. 27) and would appear to have been still holding it in 1302, (fn. 28) since it is not included among the lands of which Giles de Plaiz died seised in that year. (fn. 29) Richard son of Giles was, however, seised of the manor at his death in 1327, holding it with its members Warningore, Wapsbourne, and Worth as half a knight's fee. (fn. 30) His eldest son Giles died in 1334 while still a minor and in 1344 Richard brother of Giles obtained livery of his lands, (fn. 31) dying 'in parts beyond the seas' in 1360. (fn. 32) He had previously alienated his Sussex manors to Sir John de Sotton and others for their lives, with reversion to himself and his heirs. (fn. 33) Richard's son John died in 1389 holding no lands in Sussex, (fn. 34) nor were they held by his daughter Margaret, wife of Sir John Howard, at the time of her death in 1391. (fn. 35)
By 1396 the manor of Iford was in the hands of Sir John Dalyngrigge, of Bodiam, (fn. 36) who died without issue in 1417, having settled it on his cousins, the sons of Walter Dalyngrigge. (fn. 37) Sir John's widow, Alice, held the manor in dower until her death in 1443, (fn. 38) when it passed to Richard Dalyngrigge, her husband's cousin, who died seised of it in 1470. (fn. 39) His heir was Roger Lewknor, son of his sister Philippa, (fn. 40) and from him it descended in the Lewknor family, (fn. 41) being held by Sir Roger Lewknor in 1538 and at his death in 1543. (fn. 42) Iford was then, apparently, held in third shares by his daughters by his third wife, namely, Katherine Mill, Mabel Stapley, and Constance Foster, afterwards Glemham. (fn. 43) Mabel's son died in infancy, (fn. 44) and though in 1587 Lewknor Mill, son of Katherine by her first marriage, was dealing by fine with one-third of the manor, (fn. 45) in the next year the manor appears to have been held in moieties by Katherine and Constance or their heirs. (fn. 46)
Sir John Mill, (fn. 47) son of Lewknor and grandson of Katherine, was dealing by fine with a moiety of Iford in 1628, (fn. 48) and in 1666 his son, also Sir John, conveyed this half to William Lane. (fn. 49) It remained in the Lane family (fn. 50) until 1716, when William Lane and Elizabeth his wife sold it to Francis Zouch. (fn. 51) In 1743 the Rev. Charles Zouch and his wife Dorothy quitclaimed it to William Grover. (fn. 52) It was doubtless this moiety that John Ellis and Catherine his wife sold to Richard Hurley in 1786. (fn. 53)
Meanwhile, in 1588, Constance and her second husband, Edward Glemham, quitclaimed their moiety to Richard Lewknor, Arthur Salwey, and Thomas Bateman (fn. 54) probably for purposes of a settlement on Anthony Foster, son of Constance by her first husband, to whom it returned in 1623. (fn. 55) In 1651 Morgan Jeffereyes, one of the coheirs of Foster, (fn. 56) conveyed a sixth part of this moiety to David Jeffereyes. (fn. 57) He, in 1660, sold it to Thomas Rogers, (fn. 58) whose family later acquired other portions of the manor, possibly including a ninth share held in 1719 by John Ade. (fn. 59) In July 1784 Henry Ade was called lord of the manor, as was Samuel Marshall in September of that year, (fn. 60) and Richard Hurly and Thomas Rogers in 1791. (fn. 61)
In 1810 the lords of the manor were Richard Hurly, Thomas Rogers, and Samuel Snashall. (fn. 62) Afterwards, in 1824, Thomas Rogers sold his share, consisting of a ninth, a sixth part of a moiety, and a twelfth part of the manor, to Henry Hurly, (fn. 63) who, in 1835, was said to hold five-sixths of the manor, while Mrs. Snashall had the rest. (fn. 64) Henry Hurly died in 1837 and the manor descended to Mary Elizabeth, his niece, the wife of the Rev. Robert Rosseter, subsequently passing to James Rosseter, who died in 1866, and his wife. Mrs. RidgeJones later bought the manor. The manor-house is now the property of Dr. H. R. Andrews, but all manorial rights have lapsed.
The Priory of St. Pancras, Lewes, held 6½ hides in Iford for which no geld was paid. (fn. 65) In about 1145 William III of Warenne gave to the monks a further 2 hides which William son of Godwin had held, and they also received the temporary grant of 2 hides formerly held by Guy de Menchecurt. (fn. 66) In about 1100 Ralph de Plaiz granted to them the church of Iford, and in about 1140 his son Hugh gave the mill and 'the site of the place there with ways and paths'. (fn. 67)
The manor of SWANBOROUGH is not mentioned in Domesday Book, but before 1087 William de Warenne gave two plough-lands in Swanborough, with the villeins, to Cluny, (fn. 68) the mother-house of the Priory of St. Pancras. In about 1089 the gift was described as 5½ hides, (fn. 69) and the grant was confirmed to the Priory of Lewes by successive holders of the barony of Lewes. (fn. 70)
The manor remained in the possession of the priory until the Dissolution, (fn. 71) and in February 1538 the king granted it to Thomas, Lord Cromwell, (fn. 72) who already, by August 1536, had written to the Prior of Lewes urging him, in vain, to lease the manor to him. (fn. 73) After Cromwell's attainder in 1540, the manor, together with 40 cart-loads of wood hitherto let to farm with the site and demesnes and to be yearly gathered in the wood called Homewood, was, in May 1541, granted to William, Earl of Arundel, in exchange for certain manors sold to the Crown. (fn. 74) In 1555 his son, Henry, quitclaimed the manor to the king and queen. (fn. 75)
Thomas Caryll died in 1566, holding the manor of the queen in chief by service of the fifth part of a knight's fee. It was then worth £53. By his will he appointed that it should descend to his grandson, John Caryll, when he became of full age, and that in the meantime Edward Caryll should receive the issues of the manor so that Robert Keyelweye; who was bound with him [Thomas] in the Court of Wards, might be indemnified if put to any charge on account of the contract. (fn. 76) In 1584 John Caryll and his uncle Edward sold the manor to Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, (fn. 77) who eight years earlier had acquired from the Earl of Derby his ¼ of the barony of Lewes, with which the manor continued to descend. (fn. 78) Reginald Windsor, 7th Earl de la Warr, was seised of the manor in 1879. (fn. 79) The manor house is now the property of Mr. C. A. H. Harrison, but all manorial rights appear to have lapsed. The custom of Borough English prevailed in the manor. (fn. 80)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS stands at the north corner of the village, overlooking the wide expanse of The Brooks. The 'Niworde' of Domesday possessed a church. The present building has a nave and chancel, between which is a tower, possibly formed by raising the original chancel. The nave has a south porch, and once had a north aisle; the chancel has a north chapel. The nave and original chancel appear to date from the early or middle 12th century. The present chancel was added at the very end of the same century, when the tower was built and a north aisle added to the nave. The north chapel dates from the end of the 13th century.
The exterior shows flint facing with stone dressings. The east end of the chancel is lit by three lofty narrow windows each of a single round-headed light, their heights being the same. Above these windows is a plain circular light high up in the gable. (fn. 81) The buttresses are all modern. The south wall of the chancel is lit by two single-light windows with trefoiled ogee heads, apparently of the 14th century. The north chapel seems to have been rebuilt in modern times, and shows no old features externally. The lower walling of the presumed original chancel may be clearly seen in the ground stage of the present axial tower. The eastern quoins are visible, and the straight joint between them and the present chancel shows the difference in date. The old chancel was very much out of the square, and the tower had to be twisted as it was raised to enable it to attain a rectangular plan at the roof level. This twisting was effected by curious set-offs on each face, commencing at one angle and dying away before the next was reached. The ground floor of the tower is lit by a single late-12th-century light on either side, the only other window being a similar one in the east wall of the belfry. The tower has two plain string-courses, and is capped by a steep pyramidal roof covered with shingles. Most of the south wall of the nave seems to be modern. There are two two-light windows, having the south doorway between them, all modern, as is the porch covering the doorway. The only old feature in this wall is its easternmost window, a single 14th-century light with a trefoiled head. The west wall has modern diagonal buttresses at the angles and a single narrow light with an obtusely pointed head. The north wall of the nave shows the blocked arcade which led to the destroyed north aisle. It consists of three pointed arches cut through the pre-existing wall, which was left, where required, to form the piers. The soffits of the arches have a small chamfer, stopped above the impost moulding, which is a simple chamfer, hollow and roll, not carried across the faces of the piers, which are chamfered and stopped to match the arches above. Two two-light windows have been inserted in the filling of the two westernmost bays, while the third is a single trefoil-headed light similar to that on the opposite side of the nave.
The interior of the chancel shows the splays of its three eastern windows, and, in its north wall, the low, wide arch leading to the north chapel. This arch is segmental-pointed of two heavily chamfered orders, the inner being carried on figure-head corbels, the westernmost of which is tonsured. It appears to be of the end of the 13th century, but the chapel to which it leads, now a vestry, has been rebuilt in modern times. Within the tower-space, the walls of the original chancel can be seen on either side, pierced with the two 12thcentury lights mentioned above. These side walls have been thickened to carry the tower above by inserting two lofty semicircular arches, with plain soffits and springing from simple imposts, quirked and hollowchamfered, these imposts being carried round across the east and west arches of the tower and across its east wall, but not across the side walls of the old chancel. The cracked plaster suggests that these arches are not bonded into the walls of the latter. The east and west walls of the tower are very thick. The eastern arch is plain except for a roll-moulding round the western edge of its soffit, and one voussoir of the western arch, opposite, has on it a roll-moulding never carried round the arch. The western face of this arch shows two roll-mouldings, the outer plain, and the inner curiously embellished with intermittent cheverons. Below this arch, the piers, originally plain, have been recut with nook-shafts in modern times. (fn. 82) There is a modern sham-Norman aumbry in the north wall of the chancel, and, opposite, in the south wall, a very small and simple piscina, having a square projecting bowl, and a plain semicircular head over. The nave has little to show internally except the blocked north arcade. The window splays all appear to have been renewed, and the south door is modern. The nave roof has three tie-beams, each having a king-post with caps, bases, and curved struts. The roof itself, however, appears modern, as is that to the chancel. The font has a central shaft and four surrounding shafts, supporting a bowl which shows rusticated tooling and appears to have been refaced in the 17th century. The base is circular and modern, but the simple Attic bases of the surrounding shafts show the 13th-century origin of this font.
The tower contains three ancient bells, invoking Saints Botulph, Katherine, and Margaret respectively. (fn. 83)
The church possesses a communion cup with the mark for 1674; a paten cover of the same date, but mostly modern repair; a silver flagon of 1864, presented in that year by Ruth Hurly; and a Sheffield plate almsplate. (fn. 84)
The building was restored in 1868, when the north arcade was discovered and opened, and traces of mural paintings, now no longer visible, were exposed. (fn. 85) The church was again restored in 1874. A notable feature of the churchyard is the pair of ancient elms which frame the west end of the church.
The church of Iford is a vicarage, united since 1666 with the rectory of Kingston near Lewes. (fn. 86) In 1291 the church was valued at £12 and the vicarage at £10, (fn. 87) and in 1535 it was assessed at £10 10s. 2d. (fn. 88) It was given to the Priory of St. Pancras, Lewes, by Hugh son of Golda, (fn. 89) and continued in their possession until the Dissolution, when it passed into the king's hands. (fn. 90) The king granted the advowson to Thomas Cromwell in 1538 (fn. 91) and, after his attainder, to Anne of Cleves in 1541. (fn. 92) Anne died in 1557 and in that year the Bishop of Chichester presented. (fn. 93)
In 1603 the patron was Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, (fn. 94) who held the advowson of the king as of the manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 95) It continued in the possession of his descendants, the Earls of Dorset, until at least 1664. (fn. 96) In 1666 the living was united with that of Kingston near Lewes. (fn. 97)
In 1690 Patience widow of John Forward, the late incumbent, presented Richard Owen, (fn. 98) whom she, or perhaps her daughter, seems to have married, as in 1727 the Rev. Richard Owen and Patience his wife sold the advowson to the Rev. Richard Davis. (fn. 99) The Rev. William Davis presented in 1732, as guardian of Richard and Jane Davis, (fn. 100) and Jane Weekes, sister and heir of Richard Davis, in 1764. (fn. 101) The trustees of Jane Weekes sold it in 1765 to David Walter Morgan, (fn. 102) who with his wife Mary conveyed it in 1772 to Francis Laprimaudaye. (fn. 103) In 1787 it was quitclaimed by Thomas Harben and his wife Elizabeth to Thomas Wyatt and Charles Stuart, and Wyatt's heirs. (fn. 104) In 1812 James Warwick presented (fn. 105) and in 1821 Mrs. Jackson did so. (fn. 106) In 1822 John Starkie Jackson and his wife Elizabeth, with James Warwick and others, sold the advowson to Henry Hurly. (fn. 107) Henry Hurly in 1835 devised it to Louisa his wife with remainder to his children and to Elizabeth Mary Skelton. (fn. 108) Louisa Hurly and Elizabeth Skelton conveyed it in 1843 to Emeric Essex Vidal (fn. 109) who in 1853 granted it to James Marmaduke Rosseter, (fn. 110) and he in turn in 1863 conveyed it to the Rev. Thomas Bedford. (fn. 111) Thomas Bedford sold it to James Hurly Rosseter in 1880. (fn. 112) In 1895 it was acquired by Mrs. Louisa Ridley and in 1897 was held by Thomas Glyn Ridley. (fn. 113) Thomas Henry Green acquired the advowson in 1911, and it is now held by his executors. (fn. 114)