A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1, Bramber Rape (Southern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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Wiston parish (fn. 1) lies north of the South Downs, and is 4½ miles long from north to south and 1½ miles wide at its widest point. The ancient parish comprised 2,842 a. Buncton chapelry, a detached portion of Ashington parish which lay entirely within Wiston and comprised 256 a., was added to it between 1882 and 1891. A further 315 a. on the north-west side of the parish including Brown-hill farm were 'transferred from another detached part of Ashington in 1933. In 1960 50 a. were transferred from Wiston to Ashington. The area of the modern parish in 1971 was thus 3,363 a. (1,361 ha.). (fn. 2) The present article deals with the ancient parish alone until the late 19th century, and with the former detached parts of Ashington too after their inclusion in Wiston. The original Wiston village lay 1¼ miles south-east of the present one, which is a successor to Buncton hamlet.
Like Steyning and Washington, Wiston is very varied in its geology and relief. The south part of the parish is typical chalk downland, rising to nearly 800 ft. in the south-west part where Chanctonbury Ring is a prominent landmark. Between the Chalk and the Weald clay on which the northern part of the parish lies are alternate outcrops of sandstone and clay. The northern part of the parish is rolling country, much of it over 100 ft. high, which is dissected by streams flowing north-east to the river Adur. (fn. 3) Part of the south-east boundary is formed by an old track; (fn. 4) the other boundaries of the ancient parish are irregular, especially in the north, where their outline is much indented. Chanctonbury Ring straddles the boundary with Washington in the south-west part; (fn. 5) it was disputed between the manors of Wiston and Chancton (in Washington) in the late 18th century, (fn. 6) and had probably never been included in either parish. The boundary between Wiston and Buncton chapelry followed old tracks through part of its course. (fn. 7)
There were two parks belonging to Wiston manor in the Middle Ages. What may be thought of as the home park, perhaps mentioned in 1293 (fn. 8) and called the Strood in 1357, (fn. 9) lay on the Gault clay outcrop north-west of the manor-house and village in the south part of the parish. (fn. 10) It was being enlarged piecemeal on the north towards Buncton in the 1360s. (fn. 11) A parker was recorded among the estate servants in 1345. (fn. 12) The other park, called Solewick, which is recorded from 1289, (fn. 13) lay in the north part of the parish (fn. 14) and presumably comprised mostly woodland. (fn. 15) In 1427 the combined acreage of the two parks was estimated at 290 a. (fn. 16) Part of Solewick had been disparked for arable by the late 16th century, (fn. 17) perhaps including the fields called Little park and Goat park in 1841, (fn. 18) but it was still called the great wood in 1612. (fn. 19) Much woodland remained in the north part of the parish in later times, (fn. 20) and even where assarts had been made, traces of the original woodland cover remained in 1978 in the wide strips of wood, or 'rews', which divided the fields. The home park on the other hand survived as such until the mid 20th century. Between c. 1795 and c. 1835 (fn. 21) it was enlarged on the east and south to give privacy to the house, the remaining inhabitants of the village apparently being removed. (fn. 22) There is evidence of deliberate landscaping, for instance in the creation of Wiston pond and in the laying out of a new drive east of the house. (fn. 23) Another addition to the park was made on the north before 1875 as a result of the re-alignment of the Steyning-Washington road in 1778. (fn. 24) Meanwhile the western part of the medieval park was disparked between 1841 and 1875. (fn. 25) There were 400 deer in the park in 1801. (fn. 26) Deer continued to be kept there until 1939, but after the Second World War the park was largely turned over to agriculture. (fn. 27)
The Roman road between Barcombe and Hardham, which crossed the centre of the parish, (fn. 28) may still have been in use in 1374. (fn. 29) The main east-west road in the Middle Ages, however, was the one which ran along the foot of the downs south of Wiston village. It was called the Steyning-Washington road in 1654, (fn. 30) and remained the chief east-west road until 1778. (fn. 31) A road roughly along the line of the modern Steyning-Washington road further north is recorded in 1639. (fn. 32) In 1778 it was re-aligned in part, and the older, more southerly, route was closed to traffic. (fn. 33) The new road was a turnpike between 1810 and 1877; (fn. 34) a toll-house near the north lodge of Wiston Park survived c. 1970. (fn. 35) Several old tracks ascend the downland scarp, (fn. 36) of which one was described as the Wiston-Findon road in 1684. (fn. 37) Another is continued northwards by a pronounced hollow-way south of Buncton crossways. The northern continuations of those and other tracks in the north part of the parish trend from south-west to north-east; their relative width suggests that they were drove-roads connecting manors in the south of the county with their Wealden pastures.
The former settlements of Wiston and Buddington lay along two of the north-south tracks just below the downland scarp, Wiston being sited on the well-drained Upper Greensand outcrop. Another settlement lay further west on the old road to Washington; (fn. 38) it may have been in distinction from it that Wiston village was called North Wiston in 1262. (fn. 39) Buddington apparently still had a few inhabitants in the early 16th century, (fn. 40) but later declined to a single farm. Wiston village had contracted by 1639; a few buildings then still lay between the church and the road along the foot of the downs, but the western part of the village had disappeared. (fn. 41) Later it declined still further, some buildings perhaps being removed to enlarge the park in the early 19th century. In 1978 only Wiston House with its outbuildings, the church, and the former rectory house, a timber-framed building probably of the 17th century, remained. The settlement lying west of Wiston was apparently more populous than the village in 1639, with 12 houses, (fn. 42) but it too had declined by the late 18th century, when its east part had perhaps already been replaced by new home farm buildings for Wiston House. (fn. 43) In 1978 only one house survived there, a 17th-century timber-framed building called Malthouse Cottages. The old centres of population had meanwhile been replaced by new ones further north, which apparently owed their origin to the colonization of waste land by the side of the road from Buncton crossways to Ashington. (fn. 44) A straggling hamlet north and north-west of Buncton chapel, known in 1978 as Wiston village, but evidently the successor to the decayed hamlet of Buncton, contains at least two buildings of the 17th or 18th centuries, besides some 19th-century cottages and a row of council houses. The hamlet of Hole Street, c. ½ m. north-west of that, was recorded in 1795, (fn. 45) and in 1978 contained 8 houses of the 18th century and later, of which at least one was timber-framed. There are also several isolated farm-houses in the parish of the 17th century and later.
Thirty-nine persons were recorded at Wiston in 1086. (fn. 46) There were 31 tax payers in 1327 (fn. 47) and 54 in 1378. (fn. 48) Forty-eight persons were assessed to the subsidy in 1524. (fn. 49) The total of 75 adult males listed in the parish in 1642 (fn. 50) is surprisingly large, since only 64 adult inhabitants were recorded in 1676. (fn. 51) The population rose from 258 in 1801 to 296 in 1831, and 341 in 1841. After a sharp decline in the succeeding decade, it rose again to 315 in 1881. The enlarged parish had 352 inhabitants in 1891, and c. 320 between 1901 and 1931, but thereafter, despite the further enlargement of the area, the population declined to 249 in 1971. (fn. 52)
Wiston House was captured by royalist troops for a brief period in 1643. During the same campaign the estate was plundered to supply both armies in turn. (fn. 53)
The manor of WISTON was held of Earl Godwin (d. 1053) by Azor. By 1086 it belonged to William de Braose, (fn. 54) the overlordship thereafter descending with Bramber rape. (fn. 55) In 1086 it was held of William by one Ralph. (fn. 56) Ralph of Wiston, who is recorded in the mid 12th century, and his son William of Wiston who occurs locally between 1181 and 1204, were presumably his descendants. (fn. 57) William's son Henry (fn. 58) had apparently succeeded by 1210, (fn. 59) and was called lord of Wiston c. 1230. (fn. 60) Another William of Wiston, apparently Henry's son, is recorded in 1238, (fn. 61) and held 4 fees in Wiston and West Chiltington in 1242 and later. (fn. 62) In 1252 he was granted free warren in his demesne lands at Wiston. (fn. 63) In 1272 he granted the reversion of the manor to Adam de Bavent, (fn. 64) who was confirmed in free warren there in 1279 and 1285 (fn. 65) and had died by 1292. (fn. 66)
Adam's widow Alice was the largest taxpayer in Wiston in 1296. (fn. 67) Their son Roger who came of age in 1301 (fn. 68) was the largest taxpayer in 1327 and 1332, (fn. 69) and was summoned to Parliament between 1313 and 1322 and between 1332 and 1335. (fn. 70) Roger's son Roger, who had succeeded by 1338, (fn. 71) granted Wiston to the Crown in 1344, (fn. 72) and enjoyed a life-interest in it after 1345. (fn. 73) After his death in 1355 it was held by Dartford nunnery (Kent) until 1357, when the Crown granted it to Peter de Braose and his wife Joan. Peter's son John (fn. 74) had succeeded by 1378, (fn. 75) and was confirmed in the manor 20 years later. (fn. 76) After his death in 1426 (fn. 77) his widow Margaret, who later married Sir Thomas Wickham, succeeded, and at her death in 1449 Wiston passed under a settlement of 1409 to Ralph Shirley, great-nephew of John de Braose (d. 1426). (fn. 78) He was succeeded at his death in 1466 by his son Ralph, and Ralph in 1510 by his son Sir Richard, the two last-named both holding the office of sheriff. Sir Richard (d. 1540) was succeeded by his son William (d. 1551), (fn. 79) whose widow Mary, wife of Richard Elrington, held Wiston in 1568. (fn. 80)
William's son Thomas (knighted 1573) was knight of the shire and sheriff, and as Treasurer-at-War in the Low Countries incurred large debts to the Crown. (fn. 81) In 1602 he granted Wiston and other manors to the queen, receiving them back for a sum converted in 1604 into an annuity of £1,002. (fn. 82) Sir Thomas was living at Wiston in 1606 and 1611, (fn. 83) and died in 1612. His son Sir Thomas, M.P. for Steyning 1614-20, (fn. 84) forfeited Wiston in 1622 by his non-payment of the annuity of 1604.
The manor was granted by the Crown in 1622 to Lionel Cranfield, earl of Middlesex, (fn. 85) who conveyed it in 1634 to John Tufton, earl of Thanet, (fn. 86) who sold it in 1649 to John Fagg. (fn. 87) Fagg, a prominent parliamentarian soldier and administrator, was pardoned and created a baronet in 1660, and sat as M.P. for Steyning from that year until his death in 1701. (fn. 88) His son Sir Robert, M.P. for New Shoreham and Steyning (d. 1715), was succeeded by a son (d. 1736) and grandson (d. 1740) of the same forename. The last-named Robert's sister and coheir Elizabeth married Sir Charles Matthew Goring, Bt., of Highden (d. 1769), (fn. 89) whose son Charles (d. 1829) was succeeded by his son Charles (d. 1849), M.P. for New Shoreham. By the mid 19th century the Gorings owned most of the parish, as well as large estates in other parishes, Charles's brother and heir, the Revd. John Goring (d. 1905) being the sixth largest landowner in the county in 1874. His son Charles (d. 1924) was succeeded, also in the direct line, by Mr. John Goring, (fn. 90) who held Wiston in 1978.
In 1357 there was a manor-house at Wiston, built partly of stone and with a western gatehouse. (fn. 91) The present house was begun c. 1575 (fn. 92) and completed in the 1620s; (fn. 93) building presumably ceased between the late 1580s and 1622 when the Shirleys were in straitened circumstances. The house was built round a courtTreasurer . (fn. 94) It was apparently axially planned with the gatehouse (fn. 95) in the east range and the screens passage in the centre of the west range; the hall and other principal rooms were on the north side of the passage and service rooms on the south. The courtyard elevation of the hall range is almost symmetrical about a projecting central porch. It is similar in style to contemporary work at Parham House and elsewhere, (fn. 96) the porch having a frontispiece of superimposed orders, and is notable for the great extent of the windows. There was at least one other courtyard besides the principal one in the 1630s, (fn. 97) when rooms included a chapel and a long gallery 90 ft. long. (fn. 98) The former dining-room in 1978 had decorative plasterwork and panelling dated 1576. In the mid 17th century the house was complemented by terraced gardens to the north, and with its numerous gables and tall chimneys had the appearance of a small town. (fn. 99) In 1664 Sir John Fagg was assessed for 36 hearths there. (fn. 100) A water supply was laid on c. 1630 from a spring north-west of the house. (fn. 101)
In the mid 18th century the house was considerably reduced in size. (fn. 102) The east range was demolished, leaving the courtyard open, the walls of the courtyard were refaced, and a corridor was added to the west side of the hall range. Externally the new work was given mullioned windows in the style of the late-16th-century house. Internally the main alterations were in the hall, which was redecorated with Rococo plasterwork and a Gothic overmantel. Plans for a major rebuilding made by James Gibbs were however not carried out. (fn. 103) The western and southern parts of the house were remodelled c. 1840 to the designs of Edward Blore, (fn. 104) who moved the kitchens into the eastern end of the old south range and built a new south front, behind which were the principal rooms of the house. During the 19th century some rooms were decorated with fittings brought from elsewhere, for instance the west gallery with 18th-century French boiseries, and the library with Flemish Gothic and Baroque carvings. (fn. 105) In the 1930s the house was let, (fn. 106) and since 1951 (fn. 107) it has been occupied by the Foreign Office as a discussion centre.
Pieces of stonework from the Elizabethan and Jacobean house are incorporated in the churchyard walls and north gateway, and in a fountain commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in the modern Wiston village. The Elizabethan stone chimney-piece which stands against an external wall at the back of the house was perhaps originally in the great hall. (fn. 108) A long, low stone stable block of the 16th century survives south of the church. Other outbuildings, including an ornate free-standing dovecot, are 19th-century. An 18thcentury keeper's lodge which also served as a park ornament stands on the north side of the Steyning-Washington road, having been separated from the park by the diversion of the road. It was converted into a house before 1928. (fn. 109)
William de Braose held BUDDINGTON manor in demesne in 1073, (fn. 110) and it continued to be so held by his descendants until the early 13th century. (fn. 111) About 1218 Reynold de Braose granted it to Henry of St. Valery, a relation by marriage, who gave it c. 1230 to Godstow abbey (Oxon.). The abbey's estate was augmented c. 1260 by William Berneval, (fn. 112) and in 1361 Buddington was described as 2 yardlands held of Bramber rape. (fn. 113) Ralph Shirley of Wiston was farmer from 1484 until his death in 1510, when the lease passed to his younger son Thomas, (fn. 114) who received a grant of the manor in fee from the Crown in 1540. (fn. 115) At his death in 1544 it was held in chief as 1/20 fee. (fn. 116) His son Francis enjoyed it as a minor from 1546. (fn. 117) At his death in 1578 it passed to his son Thomas (fn. 118) who conveyed it to Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston in 1584. (fn. 119) From that date it descended with Wiston until 1649, when it was retained by Lord Thanet, who had it in 1652. (fn. 120)
Thomas Badmering owned Buddington in 1684, and perhaps already in 1654, (fn. 121) and was succeeded at his death c. 1719 by his sisters Elizabeth (d. c. 1724) (fn. 122) and Anne (d. c. 1726) as joint owners. The latter's heir Ann Chitty (fn. 123) and her husband Joseph were dealing with it in 1727, (fn. 124) and apparently conveyed it in 1732 to John Mellersh, (fn. 125) who mortgaged it in the following year to Benjamin Periam. In 1765 Periam's daughter Catherine Bulstrode conveyed her rights in it to the Revd. Edward Bourchier, (fn. 126) who sold it shortly afterwards (fn. 127) to Richard Bourchier (d. c. 1771). Richard's son Charles (fn. 128) sold it to Charles Goring in 1792, (fn. 129) since when it has again descended with Wiston.
Buddington manor-house, a large building of various materials, apparently of the 17th century, was used as three cottages in 1932, but was demolished after 1953. (fn. 130)
The manor of LYONS, which was also held of Bramber rape, (fn. 131) belonged to Richard de Lyons c. 1262. (fn. 132) Henry de Lyons held it in 1296, (fn. 133) and John de Lyons in 1361. (fn. 134) Lucy Lyons, perhaps John's daughter, married Henry Tutbury, who held it in 1401, and by 1452 it belonged to Bartholomew Bolney, (fn. 135) who still held lands in Wiston in 1472. (fn. 136) By 1548 Francis Shirley of Buddington was the owner, (fn. 137) and it was afterwards evidently absorbed in that manor. (fn. 138) The site of the manor-house was presumably near Buddington, where a place-name Lyons Bank was recorded in 1875. (fn. 139)
Ten villani and 24 bordars held land of Wiston manor in 1086, and there was a demesne farm worked by 2 plough-teams and 5 servi. (fn. 140) Buddington manor was not described in Domesday Book, but fixed rents of tenants there were worth 18s. 7d. in 1210. (fn. 141) About 1300 Wiston manor had 53 tenants. Nine freeholders held estates of varying sizes, some lying outside the parish. Nineteen villeins each paid 16d. or 24d. rent a year besides goods in kind for a 'ferling' of land, apparently 7 a., and owed two week works at harvest and one during the rest of the year except at the greater festivals. They and another tenant who owed half their services were known collectively as the 19½ customers. Three other villeins, called the three thrashers, paid no rent on their half ferlings of land, but owed two weekworks all the year round except at the greater festivals. Twenty-one other tenants, most of whom were villeins, were quit of week-works but owed varying services for holdings of between ½ a. and 16 a. (fn. 142) In the mid 14th century the demesne farm comprised 127 a. of arable land, 7 a. of meadow, and c. 130 a. of several pasture land outside the two parks; (fn. 143) in addition to the agricultural services of tenants, it was worked by regular servants (famuli), including a shepherd, a harrowman, a swineherd, and a dairywoman. (fn. 144) In 1371 it had a herd of 65 cattle and a flock of more than 500 sheep. (fn. 145) The number of tenants was greatly reduced by the Black Death and two later plagues in 1361 and 1369. Nine villein holdings lay vacant in 1357, and 15, including those of the three thrashers, in 1374, when the remaining 8 customers compounded for some of their works. (fn. 146)
Crops mentioned in the Middle Ages were wheat, barley, oats, rye, vetch, peas and beans, flax, and apples. (fn. 147) The open-field arable of the parish lay chiefly on the chalk and Greensand outcrops around and to the south of the settlements of Wiston and Buddington. Various fields and furlongs in which the Wiston manor demesne farm held strips in the late 14th century (fn. 148) presumably lay near Wiston village, where there were closes called North field, South field, and Middle Laine in 1622. (fn. 149) Other fields and furlongs apparently part of Buddington manor were mentioned in the mid 13th century. (fn. 150) There was further arable land on the sandstone ridge around Buncton, the detached part of Ashington parish that lay entirely within Wiston. The chalk downs in the south part of the parish provided both common and several sheep-pasture; the Wiston manor demesne farm had several pasture there in 1293 (fn. 151) and 500 sheep-leazes in 1357, (fn. 152) and Lyons manor had 250 leazes there c. 1400. (fn. 153) There was also common meadow land lying presumably along the streams in the central part of the parish, including Hurstbrook mentioned c. 1260, and possibly Laymeads, Normansmead, and Broadmead mentioned c. 1300. (fn. 154) The clay soil of the north part provided woodland swinepasture, not only for estates in Wiston, but also for the manors of Annington (in Botolphs), and Bidlington (in Bramber). (fn. 155) The woodland in the same area belonging to estates in the neighbouring parishes of Ashington and Ashurst, however, lay within those parishes, which thus formed deep salients into Wiston. Windsor Common on the boundary with Ashurst in the north-east part of the parish, (fn. 156) where common rights survived c. 1800, (fn. 157) and a meadow called Perry Mead which lay in the same two parishes (fn. 158) were perhaps originally intercommonable between them. Assarting of woodland for arable had probably begun by the 14th century; Woodman's farm in the extreme north may commemorate a tenant of Wiston manor of that date. (fn. 159) Other farms in the same area whose names derive from personal names were also presumably assarts, as were also Coombewick farm, recorded in 1327, (fn. 160) and an estate called Backreed, whose name indicates a clearing in woodland. (fn. 161)
In the early 15th century the demesne farm of Wiston manor had 146 a. of arable and 200 a. of pasture. (fn. 162) There were 8 freehold tenants, and 20 copyhold tenants, the successors to the villeins of the 14th century, held 32 tenements. Hardly any labour services were still performed. (fn. 163) Former villein tenements which had become tenantless were farmed, usually for periods of years, (fn. 164) as they had also been in the late 14th century. (fn. 165) Both free and copyhold tenants paid heriots in kind, and one copyholder in 1370 had surrendered her land to another in exchange for an annuity. From at least the early 16th century copyholds could be sublet. (fn. 166) In 1555 13 copyhold tenants remained, while 18 other tenements, possibly former copyholds, were leased. (fn. 167) Buddington manor still had c. 6 or 8 free and copyhold tenants in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, some of whom held land in Shoreham. They paid a fine or relief on succession or death besides heriots; copyholders could sublet their holdings, but one tenant in 1521 forfeited his land for cutting down trees without licence. (fn. 168) There was still at least one copyhold tenant of Buddington in 1587. (fn. 169) Licence was given for inclosing part of one of the open fields of Wiston manor in 1428, (fn. 170) but other fields remained uninclosed in 1466, when pasture rights on the stubble between Martinmas and Candlemas were allotted at the rate of 26 sheep-leazes a yardland. (fn. 171)
By 1622 (fn. 172) the south part of the parish had largely been engrossed by the demesne farms of Wiston and Buddington manors, which comprised 455 a. and c. 200 a. respectively. Both were leased, the former being called Wiston Street farm. Only one copyhold tenant of Wiston manor remained, and all but one of the surviving freeholds of the manor lay outside the parish. At the same date Buddington manor no longer apparently had any tenants. (fn. 173) Only the two demesne farms retained pasture rights on the downs, Wiston Street farm having 400 sheep-leazes and Buddington farm 289. By the middle of the century the common down seems already in practice to have been divided between them, and the partition was made permanent in 1684, Wiston Street farm receiving 452 a. and Buddington farm 155 a. (fn. 174) Meanwhile the open fields to the west and south of Wiston village had been entirely inclosed by 1639, becoming closes mostly between 4 a. and 20 a. in area.
Many small farms of up to 70 a. are recorded in the central and northern parts of the parish during the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 175) Some were known as copyholds, but since they were not listed as such in 1622 they had presumably already been enfranchised. (fn. 176) Butcher's farm was mentioned as Butcher's alias Piper's copyhold in 1614, and Weppons farm as Wepham's copyhold at the same date. Other farms in the same area as they existed in the 19th century, for instance Abbott's, Guesses, and Guessgate farms, had been formed by the amalgamation of smaller ones. Fairoak farm was recorded in 1634, (fn. 177) and Coombewick and Woodman's farms at the same period. In the 18th and 19th centuries those farms were gradually engrossed by the Goring family. Butcher's and Abbott's farms were bought before 1800, and Guessgate farm in 1832. About 1841 the Goring estate included five farms, of which the two largest, the Wiston home farm of 844 a. and Buddington farm of 353 a., were kept in hand, the other three each comprising between 120 a. and 165 a. At the same date the estate of W. W. Richardson, the next largest landowner, comprised four farms in the north part of the parish, of which Fairoak farm (225 a.) was the largest. Other farms of over 40 a. which belonged to others included Guesses, Weppons, and Coombewick farms. (fn. 178) Guesses and Weppons were bought soon afterwards by the Gorings, who also bought the Richardson estate, which by then included Coombewick farm, in 1861. By the late 19th century nearly the whole parish belonged to the Goring family, as it still did in 1977. (fn. 179) There were c. 10 farms in the parish in 1881, (fn. 180) and c. 15 in the enlarged parish in 1938, (fn. 181) but by 1977 the number had declined to six or seven. (fn. 182)
There was a flock of 800 sheep at the Wiston manor demesne farm in 1510, (fn. 183) and one of c. 400 at Buddington farm in 1791. (fn. 184) In the north part of the parish during the same period, however, cattle seem to have been more important, and probate inventories of the 17th and 18th centuries record few sheep. (fn. 185) Sir John Fagg (d. 1701) was breeding bullocks for the London market on the Wiston manor home farm in the 1690s. (fn. 186) In 1801 1,600 sheep and over 200 cattle were recorded in the parish. (fn. 187) Wheat, barley, oats, peas, tares, (fn. 188) and hops (fn. 189) were recorded in the 17th century, and flax at the end of the 18th. (fn. 190) Turnips or rape had been added by 1801. (fn. 191) During the late 18th century Charles Goring (d. 1829) experimented with converting arable land into permanent pasture. (fn. 192) In 1849 ley farming was being practised on the Wiston manor home farm, and clover was grown. (fn. 193) In the late 19th century an annual sale of fatstock from the Wiston estate was held at Steyning. (fn. 194) In 1977 the predominant type of agriculture was dairying, with some cereals. (fn. 195)
A windmill belonging to Wiston manor was recorded in 1293, (fn. 196) in 1357, (fn. 197) and in 1639. (fn. 198) Its site is unknown, but was presumably not far from the village. A mill which Roger Woodman held of the manor c. 1300 had become too dilapidated to be used by 1358. (fn. 199) It may have been the same as the manorial mill; alternatively it may have been identical with the one north of Woodman's farm in the north part of the parish which was commemorated c. 1841 by the field name Windmill croft. (fn. 200) A water-mill belonging to the manor was mentioned in 1623; (fn. 201) its most likely site seems to be in the south-east part of the parish, near the entrance to Wiston park. (fn. 202)
A merchant dealing in unspecified merchandise was recorded in the parish c. 1260, (fn. 203) and a wool merchant c. 1330. (fn. 204) The only other tradesmen mentioned in the Middle Ages besides carpenters (fn. 205) and smiths (fn. 206) were a weaver and a 'ripier' or fishcarrier. In the poll-tax of 1378, however, 12 out of 54 parishioners were assessed at more than the basic rate, suggesting a moderately wealthy community. (fn. 207) The abundant woodland of the parish continued to provide employment in later centuries. There was a woodbroker in 1724, (fn. 208) and the Richardson family of Hole Street were carpenters in the 18th and 19th centuries. (fn. 209) A joiner was recorded in 1679, (fn. 210) and two sawyers, three further carpenters, a wheelwright, and a builder in the early 19th century. (fn. 211) A blacksmith was recorded in 1649 and 1676, (fn. 212) perhaps on the site north of Buncton which was occupied by a smithy between 1826 and the early 20th century. (fn. 213) Weavers were also recorded in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 214) There had been a fulling-mill in the north part of the parish in 1570, (fn. 215) on a site commemorated c. 1841 by the field-name Fulling Mill mead. (fn. 216) It was still active in 1602, when it was leased to a shearman of West Tarring, and it was mentioned again in 1637. (fn. 217) Other trades occasionally recorded between the 16th and 18th centuries were those of brewer, (fn. 218) maltster, glover, (fn. 219) and shoemaker. (fn. 220) In the early 19th century between three and five families out of 40 or 50 were said to gain their livelihood from nonagricultural employment. (fn. 221) A potter was recorded in 1812. (fn. 222)
By the mid 19th century the Wiston estate was self-sufficient in basic skills, with its own brickyard, timber yard, and carpenter's shop. (fn. 223) The proportion of parishioners who worked on the estate increased; in 1905, when the village was very much an estate village, they included a farm bailiff, a clerk of works, a woodreeve, and a head gamekeeper. (fn. 224) The estate was still the chief employer in the parish in the 1970s; (fn. 225) in 1977, for instance, eight men were employed there in forestry. (fn. 226) Other tradesmen recorded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were a shopkeeper, a grocer, and a thatcher. (fn. 227) In 1977 there was a general store and post office.
Tenants of Wiston manor owed three-weekly suit of court in the early 14th century, and one forfeited an animal in 1310 for non-attendance. (fn. 228) By the late 14th century, however, there were usually only two courts a year at most. There are court rolls for various years between 1357 and 1599. (fn. 229) During the early part of that period pleas of debt, detinue, and trespass were heard, (fn. 230) and in 1357 the manor had jurisdiction over stray beasts. (fn. 231) A covenant about a farm of lands was enrolled at the court in 1436. (fn. 232) During the 15th century, however, the amount of business declined, only the repair of roads, hedges, and ditches being afterwards dealt with for the most part, besides changes in tenancies. Two by-laws about common pasture-rights were enrolled in 1517. (fn. 233) Officers elected in the late 14th century were a reeve and a harrower, (fn. 234) and a hayward was mentioned in 1381. (fn. 235) A herdman was elected in 1517. (fn. 236) Courts were still held in the early 17th century, (fn. 237) and the revised manor rental of 1664 was said to have been compiled at a court held in that year. (fn. 238) Quit-rents and other payments in connexion with the management of waste land were received by a reeve in 1784, but after 1788 his functions were performed by the gamekeeper. (fn. 239)
A court of Buddington manor was mentioned in the late 14th century. (fn. 240) There are court rolls of four courts held between 1489 and 1521, a bailiff being mentioned in 1489. Changes of tenancy formed the chief business dealt with at that period. In 1521 two tenants were presented for not repairing their houses and others for cutting down trees. (fn. 241)
Two churchwardens were recorded between 1560 and 1670; thereafter until modern times there was usually only one. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries he was often chosen by the incumbent and on one occasion when there were two the incumbent and the parishioners each chose one. (fn. 242) There were apparently usually two overseers in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 243) Two parishioners who were perhaps waywardens were presented in 1650 for non-repair of the roads, (fn. 244) and there were usually two waywardens between 1678 and 1691. (fn. 245) After 1884 the waywarden, who in the mid 19th century was often also churchwarden, had a salary of £5, increased to £7 in 1886. (fn. 246)
In the 1640s the parish officers were ordered by quarter sessions to pay weekly maintenance to one pauper, and to pay a widow of Washington for keeping another. (fn. 247) During the 18th century other methods of relief included the provision of fuel, clothes, food, and medical care, and the payment of rent. (fn. 248) In 1789 Wiston parish was included in Thakeham united parishes, which later became Thakeham union. (fn. 249)
In 1834 the four or five labourers unemployed in winter were supported by parish work, chiefly on the roads. (fn. 250) A close called the Poor Men's Gardens recorded in the extreme west of the parish c. 1835 may perhaps have been allotments. (fn. 251)
From 1894 the parish formed part of Thakeham rural district, being transferred to Chanctonbury rural district in 1933, (fn. 252) and Horsham district in 1974.
There was a church at Wiston in 1086, (fn. 253) and rectors are recorded from c. 1230. (fn. 254) Between 1946 and 1977 the living was held in plurality with Ashington-with-Buncton. (fn. 255) In the latter year it was united with Ashington-with-Buncton and Washington, the parishes remaining distinct. (fn. 256)
The advowson of Wiston descended with the manor from an early date, (fn. 257) the Crown presenting during the minority of Roger de Bavent in 1300. (fn. 258) Richard Shelley presented for a turn in 1515. (fn. 259) When the manor was sold in 1649, the advowson was retained by Lord Thanet, descending with his successors in the earldom (fn. 260) until 1778 when it was sold to Charles Goring. (fn. 261) The Committee for Plundered Ministers had presented c. 1652, (fn. 262) and the Crown by lapse in 1670. (fn. 263) Between 1778 and 1977 the advowson again descended with the manor; (fn. 264) from the latter year the advowson of the new benefice was to be exercised alternately by the Goring family and the bishop of Chichester. (fn. 265)
The rectory was valued at 20 marks in 1291. (fn. 266) A glebe house had been mentioned in 1262, (fn. 267) and in 1341 the rector also had 14 a. of glebe land, besides offerings and mortuaries worth £2 13s. 8d. (fn. 268) In addition all the tithes of the parish belonged to the rectory, except the demesne tithes of Buddington, which had been granted to Sele priory in 1073, (fn. 269) and which later passed to Magdalen College, Oxford. (fn. 270) The living was said to be worth less than 12 marks in 1440, (fn. 271) but in 1535 was again valued at 20 marks, though 1 mark was payable annually to Magdalen College. (fn. 272) In 1570 the rector and the patron leased the living for 100 years to Richard Bellingham and his heirs, Bellingham undertaking to pay the rector an annuity of £8, and to find and maintain a curate. (fn. 273) The revenues of the living were said in the early 17th century to be in the possession of the patron or his assigns, (fn. 274) and the incumbent in 1640 was described as vicar. (fn. 275) In 1653, when Lord Thanet himself was enjoying the income, estimated at £120 a year, he agreed to increase the incumbent's stipend to £40 and to defray £50 to repair the glebe house, but the incumbent was receiving only £8 or £10 in the following year. (fn. 276)
By 1724 the rector again enjoyed the revenues, apparently worth £48 a year. Only 1 a. of glebe land remained, the rest of the 14 a. mentioned in 1341 having presumably been incorporated into the Wiston manor estate. The glebe house, which stood close to the church on the south-east, was then still in good repair. (fn. 277) By 1801 it had become ruinous, and a new building on the Steyning-Washington road ¾ mile north, of brick and Horsham stone, was erected by Charles Goring to replace it. (fn. 278) About 1830 the average net income of the living was £340. (fn. 279) At the commutation of tithes nine years later the rector received £437 of rent-charge, and Magdalen College £64. (fn. 280) In 1884 the net income of the benefice was £367. (fn. 281) The new rectory house of 1801 was exchanged with the Revd. J. Goring in 1899 for a piece of land further west. (fn. 282) A third rectory house was built there c. 1906, (fn. 283) but was sold after the Second World War. (fn. 284) The second rectory house was known during the 20th century as The Falconers. (fn. 285)
A chantry of St. Mary is recorded between 1357 and c. 1548, the priest, who was sometimes called the lord's chaplain, receiving the income from lands in Ashurst in the late 14th century, and sometimes serving Buncton chapel too. (fn. 286)
Walter de Bedwind, instituted in 1300, held Wiston as one of a number of livings. (fn. 287) At least two other rectors before the Reformation were apparently pluralists, George Shelley (1515-57) holding Parham and Coombes, (fn. 288) but in 1440 the rector was resident. (fn. 289) Three assistant curates are recorded between 1539 and 1556, of whom one, the former chantry-priest, received a stipend of £9. (fn. 290) John Arnold, rector 1560-90, served through curates after leasing the rectory in 1570, and was living at Coombes in 1579. (fn. 291) For a time during 1586 there was no curate, and hence no services. (fn. 292) Curates continued to serve in the early 17th century, though the incumbent generally resided in 1640. (fn. 293) Two Puritan ministers are recorded in the mid 17th century, the living remaining vacant for some time after the second was ejected in 1662. (fn. 294)
Communion was celebrated three times a year in 1724, and four times a year between 1746 and 1759. (fn. 295) Two Sunday services, one with a sermon, were being held in the 1720s. (fn. 296) John Hart, instituted in 1731, was also master of Steyning school. (fn. 297) Incumbents later in the 18th century were often non-resident, probably because of the ruinous condition of the glebe house; Edward Tredcroft, for instance, rector 1778-96, appears never to have officiated in person, the incumbents of Washington and Bramber successively serving as curates. (fn. 298) George Wells, rector 1796-1839, was generally resident, though holding other benefices after 1822, (fn. 299) and for a time kept a school for sons of noblemen in the rectory. (fn. 300) His successor, W. J. Trower, was later successively bishop of Glasgow and of Gibraltar. (fn. 301) By 1844 communion was being celebrated once a month, and by 1884 fortnightly. In 1865 there were prayers and a sermon every Sunday in both morning and afternoon. (fn. 302) Trower's successor held the cure for 55 years from 1850. (fn. 303)
Meanwhile the northwards migration of population had made Wiston church remote for many parishioners, who therefore attended Buncton chapel, (fn. 304) and after 1872 burials were discontinued at Wiston, except for members of the Goring family. (fn. 305) After the union of benefices in 1977 a group ministry was established, the incumbent living at Ashington. (fn. 306) Services were then being held twice a month at Buncton, but only infrequently at Wiston. (fn. 307)
The church of St. Michael, of which the dedication is recorded in 1327, (fn. 308) is built of rubble and ashlar, and has a chancel with south chapel, nave with south aisle, and west tower. The nave is of the 13th century or earlier. The chancel was rebuilt and the chapel, aisle, and tower added, in the 14th century. Much of the church's present appearance, however, is due to an extensive mid-19th-century restoration. The south chancel chapel was called the chapel of Our Lady in the early 16th century, (fn. 309) and since it always belonged to the lord of the manor was perhaps the chapel of the chantry of the same dedication. Between the 17th and 19th centuries it was generally in bad repair, (fn. 310) and during the rebuilding of the house c. 1840 was used as a lumber room. (fn. 311) The chancel was partly rebuilt before 1844, (fn. 312) and the whole church thoroughly restored in 1862. (fn. 313)
Monuments in the south chancel chapel include a floor brass to Sir John de Braose (d. 1426), (fn. 314) a possibly contemporary stone effigy of a child within an ogee arch, and figures from destroyed monuments to Sir Richard Shirley (d. 1540) and Sir Thomas Shirley (d. 1612). (fn. 315) Both the lastnamed monuments existed in the late 18th century and the former survived in 1852. (fn. 316) The Norman font is square and of Sussex marble. Medieval wall paintings discovered apparently in the 19th century had been destroyed by 1900. (fn. 317) The screen under the tower is of 1635. (fn. 318) There were three bells in 1724, of which only one was serviceable; (fn. 319) in 1745 they were replaced by a single bell. (fn. 320) The plate includes a silver cup of 1726. (fn. 321) The registers begin in 1638. (fn. 322)
One recusant was recorded in Wiston in 1587. (fn. 323)
The Fagg family, lords of the manor after 1649, were dissenters. Sir John Fagg was sending two of his sons to a dissenter's boarding school in Steyning in the 1660s, and provided shelter for a Presbyterian teacher, John Beaton, brother of one of the Puritan ministers of Wiston. (fn. 324)
There was a small Quaker community in the parish in the 1660s and 1670s, whose members refused payment of church-rate and of tithes. It held its own meetings and at least two burials were made in the parish. The community ceased apparently soon after 1677, and certainly by 1724. (fn. 325)
The curate of Wiston was giving lessons in 1579. (fn. 326) About 1800 there was a school attended by c. 30 children in a building next to the old rectory south-east of the church. (fn. 327) In 1818, when it was being supported entirely by Charles Goring, about 50 children attended on weekdays and 58 on Sundays. (fn. 328) It continued to flourish during the 1830s. (fn. 329) By 1844 a new building, with a master's house, had been built further north, in the chapelry of Buncton. (fn. 330) The new school, which was leased by the year from the Gorings at a peppercorn rent, was known as Wiston and Buncton parochial school. (fn. 331) In 1847 it was said to be supported by subscriptions alone; a master and mistress were paid £77 and £20 respectively. Sixty-six children attended during the day, and 9 boys in the evening only, and 16 boys and girls on Sundays only. (fn. 332) In 1871 labourers' children paid no fees. (fn. 333) During the late 19th century the school was often called the 'free school'. (fn. 334) It was receiving a government grant by 1871. Average attendance then was 81, (fn. 335) and in 1893 67. (fn. 336) Thereafter it fell, to 51 in 1906, (fn. 337) 43 in 1932, and 36 in 1938. (fn. 338) The school was closed soon afterwards, and in 1977 the children of the parish went to school in Steyning and Washington. (fn. 339)
CHARITY FOR THE POOR.
By a codicil to his will proved 1712, John Dyne, an employee of the Fagg family, devised his house and ¼ a. to be managed by the Faggs and their successors as a poor-house without interference from the parish officers. (fn. 340) The site is unknown, unless it is indicated by the wood west of Buncton chapel called Work-house copse. (fn. 341) In 1792, after Wiston parish had been included in Thakeham united parishes, an inmate of the poor-house was forced against his will to send his daughter's bastard child to the poor-house at Thakeham. (fn. 342)