Ashington: Roman Catholicism

Page 73

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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The Wolf family of West Wolves were prominent recusants in the later 16th and earlier 17th centuries; (fn. 1) the house, like Bentons Place in Shipley, facilitated concealment by its remoteness. Nicholas Wolf, his wife, and servants were presented for receiving communion only once a year in 1579, (fn. 2) and he and other members of the family were failing to attend church and to take communion in the 1580s and 1590s. (fn. 3) In 1583 Nicholas was accused of complicity in Somerville's plot against the queen and of uttering seditious speeches. By 1585 he was in the Marshalsea prison, (fn. 4) and in 1592 though released he had been disarmed. (fn. 5) In 1594 he was reported to be a great companion of the recusant John Leeds of Wappingthorn in Steyning; it was also then claimed that West Wolves house contained an altar and mass utensils, and was used for hiding priests. (fn. 6) Several other parishioners, especially members of the Parker family, were presented for recusancy in the 1620s and in 1640. (fn. 7) The departure of the Wolfs in 1670 was presumably responsible for the absence of papists in the parish thereafter. (fn. 8)

Dominicans from France found refuge at Ashington in the early 1870s. (fn. 9)


  • 1. e.g. Recusant Roll, i (Cath. Rec. Soc. xviii), 339-40, 342; Cal. S.P. Dom. 1603-10, 429.
  • 2. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/23/5, f. 47.
  • 3. Ibid. Ep. I/22/1 (1584); Ep. I/23/7, ff. 17v., 32v.; Ep. I/24/6; B.L. Add. MS. 39461, f. 142.
  • 4. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1581-90, 131-2, 285.
  • 5. B.L. Harl. MS. 703, f. 67 (inf. from Mr. T.J. McCann, W.S.R.O.).
  • 6. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1591-4, 510; V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 244 and n.
  • 7. S.R.S. xlix, passim; W.S.R.O., Ep. I/15/1 (inf. from Mr. McCann); Ep. I/22/1 (1640).
  • 8. Above, manors; S.A.C. xlv. 146; W.S.R.O., Ep. I/26/3, p. 13.
  • 9. M. de Trenqualeon, W. Grinstead et les Caryll (1893), ii. 449.