Ashurst: Local government

Page 80

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 court of CharltonAshurst manor was held at Ashurst in 1503 (fn. 1) and perhaps at other dates too. A tithing of Ashurst in West Grinstead hundred, with its own headborough, was mentioned in 1598 and between 1788 and 1793. (fn. 2) No courts are known for Eatons manor.

Two churchwardens (fn. 3) were recorded for most years between 1522 and 1708 and from 1867 to 1884, but from 1709 to 1866 and after 1885 there was usually only one. In the early 17th century they were elected by rotation among the occupiers of certain properties. In the mid 16th century their sources of income included the unexplained hognel money, (fn. 4) paschal money, profits from 'St. James's ale' and, on one occasion at least, from a lottery. Two collectors for, or overseers of, the poor were recorded at various times from 1554, but in the 1750s and in the early 19th century there were four of them. There were two surveyors of highways between the early 17th century and the early 18th, but four were named in 1738. The salary of the parish clerk was paid from a separate rate in 1551, but after 1698 came from the poor rate. (fn. 5)

In 1635 it was agreed that any owner who let a house to a non-parishioner should meet the cost of the tenant's upkeep if he became chargeable to the parish. (fn. 6) In the 18th century paupers were boarded out, money being given in addition for nursing care or for clothing. (fn. 7) In the 1760s a house was bought for a poorhouse with the help of a loan; it was sold c. 1769 but bought back by the parish soon afterwards. (fn. 8) It may have occupied the same site as the workhouse which existed later and which was apparently incorporated into the National school of 1872. (fn. 9) Meanwhile another poorhouse had been put up, also c. 1769, on Horsebridge common; (fn. 10) it was presumably one of the buildings at the south-east side of the common which belonged to the parish in 1843-4. (fn. 11) In 1827-8 the number of those receiving relief was 161, including 121 children and 30 able-bodied men. (fn. 12)

Ashurst joined Steyning union in 1835. (fn. 13) In 1894 it was included in Steyning West rural district, (fn. 14) and in 1974 in Horsham district.


  • 1. B.L. Add. Roll 8906.
  • 2. Arundel Cast. MS. M 280, rot. 6d.; Horsham Mus. MS. 243.
  • 3. Para. based mainly on W.S.R.O., Par. 11/1/1/1, pp. 103-14, 126; Par. 11/9/1; Par. 11/12/1; B.L. Add. MS. 39362, ff. 7-12.
  • 4. Cf. O.E.D.
  • 5. W.S.R.O., Par. 11/1/1/1, p. 122.
  • 6. Ibid. p. 124.
  • 7. Ibid. Par. 11/12/1, pp. 24, 308.
  • 8. Ibid. pp. 23, 25, 31, 37.
  • 9. Ibid. Par. 11/25/1; below, educ.
  • 10. W.S.R.O., Par. 11/12/1, p. 31.
  • 11. Ibid. TD/W 7.
  • 12. Rep. H.L. Cttee. on Poor Laws, H.C. 227, p. 154 (1831), viii.
  • 13. Suss. Poor Law Rec. 14.
  • 14. W.S.R.O., WOC/CC 6/1, ff. 87-9.