West Grinstead Hundred

Page 61

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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WEST Grinstead hundred, so called from 1334, was originally, and still commonly in the 16th century, called simply Grinstead hundred. It generally descended with Bramber rape. (fn. 1) In 1403, however, it was held in dower, like West Grinstead manor, by Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, and wife of Sir Robert Goosehill. (fn. 2)

Only Eatons manor in Ashurst and Henfield was listed within the hundred in 1086. (fn. 3) By 1296 the hundred included, as it did later, the tithings of West Grinstead, Ashurst, Byne (in Ashurst and West Grinstead), Apsley (in Thakeham and Shipley), and Wyckham (in Steyning). Withyham (in Shipley) was sometimes included too. (fn. 4) Wyckham had been listed in Steyning hundred in 1288, as had Buncton (in Ashington) in 1086; (fn. 5) there was no medieval tithing of Ashington, but Ashington parish was later considered to be in West Grinstead hundred. (fn. 6) As a possession of Fécamp abbey (Seine Maritime), Withyham had apparently been exempt from suit in 1195. (fn. 7) In 1538 and 1598 the headborough of Withyham appeared at the hundred court out of courtesy only, as he had been accustomed to do earlier. (fn. 8) In 1651 and later the tithing was not represented at all. (fn. 9)

There are hundred court rolls for the years 1538, 1598, 1600, and 1705-15. (fn. 10) The court was said to meet twice yearly in 1651. The place of meeting was given as West Grinstead in the same year, (fn. 11) and had presumably originally been at the 'green place' which the name describes; (fn. 12) its location is unknown. In the later 18th century and earlier 19th the court was held at different times at the Hare and Hounds inn, Partridge Green, and at the Red Lion and Fountain inns in Ashurst. (fn. 13) A bailiff was recorded in 1383, (fn. 14) an alderman and a constable in 1598, (fn. 15) and two constables in 1647 (fn. 16) and in the later 18th and earlier 19th centuries. (fn. 17) Business dealt with in the 16th century included the regulation of encroachments on commons and of strays, and the repair of roads, ditches, and stocks; a case of assault was also heard in 1598. (fn. 18) In the decade 1705-15, however, only two items of business, concerning repair of a bridge and of a ditch, were dealt with. (fn. 19)


  • 1. V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 4-5; S.A.C. l. 168; Arundel Cast. MSS. M 279-81; below, W. Grinstead, introduction.
  • 2. P.R.O., C 137/42, no. 22.
  • 3. V.C.H. Suss. i. 450.
  • 4. S.R.S. x. 64-6, 159-60, 273-5; lvi. 59-61; cf. S.A.C. xxiii. 239; l. 168-9; Feud. Aids, v. 134; P.R.O., E 179/189/ 39; Arundel Cast. MSS. M 279-81, 303-8; Horsham Mus. MS. 243; E.S.R.O., QCR/2/1/EW 1.
  • 5. V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 193.
  • 6. e.g. Census, 1831.
  • 7. Pipe R. 1195 (P.R.S. N.S. vi), 241.
  • 8. Arundel Cast. MSS. M 279-80; cf. Steyning hund.: V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 193.
  • 9. e.g. S.A.C. xxiii. 239.
  • 10. Arundel Cast. MSS. 279-81, 303-8.
  • 11. S.A.C. xxiii. 239.
  • 12. P.N. Suss. (E.P.N.S.), i. 185. The suggestion at ibid. 182 that the ct. occasionally met at Slaughter Bridge in Shipley has been disproved: P.N. Devon (E.P.N.S.), i, p. lv.
  • 13. Horsham Mus. MS. 243.
  • 14. B.L. Harl. Roll S. 27.
  • 15. Arundel Cast. MS. M 280, rot. 6d.
  • 16. S.R.S. liv. 113.
  • 17. Horsham Mus. MS. 243; E.S.R.O., QCR/2/1/EW 2-3.
  • 18. Arundel Cast. MSS. M 279-80; W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5294, f. 1.
  • 19. Arundel Cast. MSS. 303-8.