A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2, Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) Including Horsham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1986.
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Warminghurst was presumably one of those appurtenances of Steyning where the abbot of Fécamp obtained full royal liberties under charters of Edward the Confessor and William I. (fn. 1) In 1279 the abbot claimed tumbril and pillory as well as view of frankpledge, but those liberties do not seem to have been then confirmed specifically for Warminghurst. The abbot had amercements of his men in the hundred court. (fn. 2) Views of frankpledge were in practice held by 1409. (fn. 3) In 1626 and 1753 Warminghurst tithing was said to include the whole parish and also Goffsland in Thakeham. (fn. 4)
Court rolls survive for the period 1409-1662, with long gaps in the 15th and 17th centuries, and for 1726, and court books for the court leet for the period 1753-1838 and for the court baron for the period 1755-1848. (fn. 5) In the earlier 15th century two views and several courts were held each year, from 1437 to 1464 generally two views and one other court, and from 1464 to 1540 generally two courts each with a view. (fn. 6) In the 1540s courts were infrequent, but in the late 16th and early 17th century a view and court were generally held once, sometimes twice, a year. (fn. 7) The court elected in October a single tithingman, from 1437 called headborough, (fn. 8) who sometimes also served as aletaster. (fn. 9) In 1416 his appointment coincided with that of four beadles. (fn. 10)
In the 15th century the court was concerned with breaches of the assize and the repair of tenements, (fn. 11) in the 16th and 17th with the regulation of agriculture (fn. 12) and the maintenance of instruments of punishment, (fn. 13) and throughout with the upkeep of highways, bridges, and watercourses. (fn. 14) The court leet continued to be held to elect the headborough, generally each year between 1753 and 1789, more rarely later; it was last recorded in 1838. (fn. 15) Courts baron were held occasionally between 1755 and 1848 for conveyancing and perambulations; (fn. 16) between 1789 and 1811 the court met at Newhouse Farm. (fn. 17)
There were two churchwardens between 1548 (fn. 18) and 1667, but thereafter only one. (fn. 19) In 1642 two overseers of the poor were recorded; one was also headborough. (fn. 20) Between 1784 and 1803 the parish officials were renting cottages for the poor. (fn. 21) In 1803 probably almost half the population, 25 adults and 27 children, were on permanent relief. (fn. 22)