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 medieval practice of transhumance to Shipley is evidenced both by the drove roads which lead into the parish (fn. 1) and by the presence there of outlying portions of manors in the south of the county: Withyham belonging to Fécamp abbey's manor of Steyning, Polespitch possibly to Clapham manor, (fn. 2) and Goringlee perhaps originally to Goring or Durrington manor. (fn. 3) The place name Shipley itself, like Goringlee, indicates a clearing in woodland, and, since sheep are not pioneering animals, demonstrates that a more settled stage of farming had been reached by the later 11th century when it first occurs. (fn. 4) Assarting was in progress in the late 12th century, (fn. 5) and is evidenced by field or farm names recorded later: Lackenhurst in 1285, (fn. 6) Post Reeds in 1531, and Rough Reeds in 1629. (fn. 7)
The demesne estate of Knepp manor received income from the sale of corn in 1210. (fn. 8) In 1326, besides parkland, it apparently comprised 20 a. of arable land, 60 a. of several pasture, and 7 a. of meadow, (fn. 9) but a century later there were 68 a. of arable, 160 a. of several pasture, and the high total of 40 a. of meadow. (fn. 10) Two other large demesne estates were the rectory estate, computed at 212 a. of arable and 8 a. of meadow in 1308, when wheat, maslin (wheat and rye), and oats were raised there and large numbers of stock kept, (fn. 11) and Bentons manor demesne farm, which had 106 a. in 1328, and 160 a. of arable and 3 a. of meadow in 1422. (fn. 12) The rectory was leased between 1508 and the 1540s. (fn. 13) The tithe of sheaves in 1340 was worth over 12 times the tithe of fleeces and lambs; apples were also grown and geese kept at that date. (fn. 14) Nonetheless, pasture may have been dominant in the Middle Ages, if the pannage and herbage of Knepp and Hookland parks is taken into account. (fn. 15) In 1358 pannage dues at Bentons manor were said to be worth 12d.; at the same date 107 a. of arable there had been converted to pasture, presumably temporarily and on account of the Black Death. (fn. 16) Tenants of Knepp, Bentons, Withyham, and the rectory manors were recorded in the Middle Ages. Fixed rents of freemen and neifs at Knepp totalled c. £6 in the 15th century, when some neifs had commuted their services for money payments. (fn. 17) At Bentons fixed rents of free tenants and one neif were worth 17s. 2d. in 1358. (fn. 18) Tenants of Fécamp abbey in the parish were mentioned in 1287; (fn. 19) in the 1490s neifs on Withyham manor could not marry without licence. (fn. 20) On the rectory in 1308 free tenants' rents produced 10s. 6d. and villeins' rents 25s. 4d.; both types of tenant owed heriots and neither could marry without licence. Villeins still performed labour services, for instance harrowing, mowing, and reaping. (fn. 21) Medieval surnames which apparently gave rise to farm names were Buchi (Bouges), Faukener (Falconers), and Sauce (Sauceland). (fn. 22) Besides Lackenhurst already mentioned, other modern farms which existed in the Middle Ages were Hungerhill and apparently Barnhouse, both mentioned in 1358. (fn. 23)
There were both free and copyhold tenants of Knepp manor in the parish between the 16th and early 19th centuries. Tenements in Shipley included Perryland farm in 1706. In addition there were tenements in Thakeham, Ifield, Horsham, West Grinstead, Nuthurst, and Billingshurst. Only two copyholds remained in 1787. In 1834 various pieces of land granted previously out of the manorial waste were held by lease or at will. Freebench and borough English obtained in 1589. (fn. 24) There were still lands in the parish held of Withyham in the 16th century. (fn. 25) Two copyholders of Hookland manor were mentioned in 1818. (fn. 26) A tenement of Bentons lying in Thakeham was mentioned in 1583, (fn. 27) but no information has been found about any tenants of Goringlee or Durrants manors. Much land in the west and north-west of the parish was held of Thakeham, either freehold or copyhold, and including Bridgehill and Batchelor's farms. (fn. 28) Enfranchisement of the copyholds was going on in the later 17th century, (fn. 29) but there were still tenements of the manor in the later 19th. (fn. 30) Other manors outside the parish of which lands within it were held were Ashington, (fn. 31) possibly Buncton in Ashington, (fn. 32) and Tarring Marlpost, of which Partridges in the north end of the parish was held in the 17th century. (fn. 33) Less certainly, Lackenhurst was said to be held of Pinkhurst in Slinfold in 1594, and Barnhouse farm of Fusts in Warnham in 1612. (fn. 34)
As elsewhere, however, demesne estates grew during the same period at the expense of smaller holdings. Polespitch in 1595 comprised 160 a. lying together but leased out in various parcels. (fn. 35) The Goringlee manor home farm comprised 360 a. in Shipley and elsewhere in 1713, (fn. 36) and Newbuildings farm 276 a. at a date apparently during the 18th century. (fn. 37) Other farms in the parish mentioned between the 16th and 18th centuries were Brookhouse (1528), (fn. 38) Hoe's (1674), (fn. 39) Priors, later Crookhorn, of 100 a. in 1709 and 131 a. in 1751, (fn. 40) Floodgates, (fn. 41) and Pondtail farms. (fn. 42) Leases of 11 or 21 years were mentioned in the later 18th century on the Goringlee and Knepp estates. (fn. 43) In 1778 there were at least 51 farms in the parish. (fn. 44) By 1787 the Knepp demesne estate comprised much of the eastern portion of the parish and totalled 1,600 a., mostly divided into nine leased farms. (fn. 45) In the earlier 19th century the Goringlee (fn. 46) and Newbuildings (fn. 47) estates were entirely in let farms. There were several farms over 100 a. in size in 1810, including three over 200 a. (fn. 48) Hookland farm comprised 422 a. in 1834. (fn. 49)
In the 17th and 18th centuries cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry including geese and turkeys were kept; a flock of 69 sheep was mentioned in 1707. In 1801 there were in the parish 8 draught oxen, 86 fatting oxen, 183 cows, 464 young cattle and colts, 909 sheep, 589 hogs and pigs, and 8 goats; only Horsham among the other parishes in the rape had goats at that time. Wheat, oats, and peas were apparently the chief crops in the period, barley and seeds being also mentioned in the 18th century. (fn. 50) In the later 18th century average yields were said to be: oats 28 bu. an acre, barley 26 bu., wheat 24 bu., and peas 20 bu. (fn. 51) The proportion of wheat to other crops was apparently increasing in 1801. (fn. 52) Various field names mentioned c. 1847 which included the element 'hop' suggest the cultivation of hops at an earlier date. (fn. 53) Assarting was evidently still in progress c. 1650 when land in the north was said to have been 'newly rided' (i.e. cleared). (fn. 54) Most closes at Crookhorn farm in that area in 1751 were small, as if created piecemeal from woodland. (fn. 55) Various closes called Horsham common, Horsham common field, or Horsham croft, were recorded c. 1847, none of them near the Horsham parish boundary; the significance of the names is obscure. (fn. 56)
About 1847 more than half the parish belonged to five landowners: Sir Charles Burrell (nearly 2,000 a.), the Revd. L. Vernon Harcourt (over 1,000 a.), Charles Goring (428 a.), Sir T. Shelley (459 a.), and Caleb Rickman (481 a.). Only Burrell and Rickman retained any farmland in hand, and two thirds of the Burrell estate was let to tenants. About 1,000 a. outside the larger estates was then in owner occupation. There were nearly 50 farms over 40 a. in area, including several over 200 a.; six tenant farmers held two or more farms, one holding a total of 651 a. in Shipley and West Grinstead. (fn. 57)
The Knepp and Goringlee estates remained the two largest in the parish in 1867. (fn. 58) About 1900 the Burrells had c. 3,000 a. in Shipley and West Grinstead. (fn. 59) The West Grinstead Park estate was sold in 1913, (fn. 60) but afterwards the Burrells bought much land in the west, south, and north of Shipley parish, so that by the 1970s the estate had more than regained its early 20th-century size. (fn. 61) Many estates, both large and small, were managed by bailiffs during the later 19th and earlier 20th centuries. (fn. 62) In the 1920s the Knepp home farm grew to over 2,000 a. because of the difficulty of finding tenants; in the 1970s and in 1983 it was c. 800 a. (fn. 63) In 1909 slightly more land in the parish was rented than was in owner occupation. Of 65 holdings then listed 31 were of less than 50 a. and three over 300 a. (fn. 64) By 1975 the proportion of rented land had increased; nearly two thirds of the land in the parish then returned was rented. Of 41 holdings 28 were then less than 50 ha. in size and one over 300 ha. (fn. 65) After 1945 farms on the Burrell estate increased in size by the amalgamation of units of c. 100 a. into units of 200 or 300 a., much modernization being carried out at the same time. (fn. 66)
Allotment land at Coolham for poor families was being leased to the parish by the Goringlee estate c. 1847. (fn. 67) A marked feature of 19th- and 20th-century agriculture in the parish was innovation. Underdraining was said to be a great desideratum at Shepherds farm and Church farm north in 1811 because of the clay soil. (fn. 68) In 1830, when cultivation was said to be of wheat and oats with no 'turnip land', wheat crops could be taken only about twice in every seven years, fallow courses remaining in use. By the same date one farmer had begun to drain his land, but still found it necessary to use teams of four horses to plough parts of it. (fn. 69) By 1835 Sir Charles Burrell had introduced Pearson's draining plough on the Knepp estate. (fn. 70) Draining was also in progress before 1858 on a farm north of Coolham, (fn. 71) and before 1887 on the Apsley manor estate in the south-west. (fn. 72) Pondtail farmhouse was repaired shortly before 1845, and Blonks farmhouse rebuilt at about the same time. (fn. 73) Much underdraining was carried out on the Knepp estate in the 1860s and 1870s, chiefly by the General Land Drainage and Improvement Co. and with the help of government loans. (fn. 74) During the first two thirds of the 19th century arable predominated over pasture. In 1830 wheat was said to be of fine quality though light in yield, (fn. 75) but there was not much grassland. (fn. 76) In 1834 Hookland farm had more than three times as much arable land as pasture, (fn. 77) and c. 1847 the proportion in the parish as a whole was nearly five to one. (fn. 78) Oldhouse farm at Coolham had 234 a. of arable land out of 284 a. in 1869. (fn. 79) Crops in 1867 included wheat, oats, peas, beans, and turnips. (fn. 80) In 1875 wheat (1,305 a. returned) and oats (855 a.) were the chief corn crops, and there were 277 a. of turnips and swedes and 175 a. of vetches or tares. (fn. 81)
From the later 19th century, however, as elsewhere in the neighbourhood, arable acreage declined in favour of pasture land because of the import of cheap corn. There were 3,121 a. of arable in 1875 as opposed to 1,063 a. of permanent grass; by 1909 the respective totals were 1,573 a. and 3,726 a. Numbers of stock returned in the parish in 1875 were 641 cattle, 1,201 sheep, and 300 pigs; by 1909 there were 860 cattle and 446 pigs, but the number of sheep had fallen to 607. (fn. 82) Long-established meadow land near Coolham was described as excellent in 1895. (fn. 83) A herd of West Highland cattle was recorded in the parish in 1903. (fn. 84) Courtland's farm (128 a.) in the northwest was chiefly grassland in 1914, apparently as a sporting rather than an agricultural estate. (fn. 85) Sir Merrik Burrell after succeeding to the Knepp estate in 1899 pioneered various methods of pasture improvement, including ley farming, mole draining, slagging, and the use of silage, and built new farm buildings at Pondtail farm. In 1912 he founded the Knepp herd of Red Poll cattle which survived in 1983, and he became one of the earliest advocates of line breeding. He was later to be president of the Royal Agricultural Society of England and chairman of the West Sussex war agricultural committee between 1939 and 1945. (fn. 86) Conversely, the Newbuildings estate of W. S. Blunt was not being efficiently farmed in 1917. (fn. 87)
Fruit growing also expanded in the same period. There were 8 a. of orchards in 1875; by 1909 the acreage had risen to 66 a., including 30 a. of apples, and there were also 18 a. of small fruit and 17 a. of hops. (fn. 88)
By 1920 the five farms on the portion of the Knepp estate north of Coolham all practised mixed agriculture. (fn. 89) Other kinds of farming which had appeared in the parish by the 1930s were poultry farming, pig breeding, and market gardening. (fn. 90)
In the 1970s and 1980s cattle continued to dominate in the parish. In 1975, when nearly two thirds of the area of the parish returned was under grass, there were 12 specialist dairy holdings and three holdings specializing in livestock rearing and fattening, mostly of cattle. (fn. 91) The Knepp home farm in 1974 had 500 Red Polls, Danish red cattle, and their crosses; (fn. 92) in 1983 c. 200 Red Polls were kept there for milk. (fn. 93) In the west the estate belonging to Hungerhill farm in Thakeham had Highland cattle and an Ayrshire dairy herd in 1977. (fn. 94) Hookland farm, which was one-third arable from 1940 to 1970, specialized entirely in dairy cattle by 1983 when it had a herd of 320 Friesians. (fn. 95) On Mr. M. Burrell's farm of c. 1,200 a. beef cattle were raised in 1983, crops being grown chiefly for fodder. (fn. 96) There were also some 250 Clun and Jacob sheep on the Knepp home farm in 1974. (fn. 97) In the following year 16,081 head of poultry were returned, nearly all of them hens for laying. (fn. 98)
Timber from Knepp park was sent by water in the early 1180s to Southampton, possibly for use at the royal hunting lodge at Freemantle (Hants). (fn. 99) In 1214 during forfeiture all the carpenters in the bailiwick of Roland Bloet were ordered to assemble at Knepp to cut, dress, and prepare timber for use at Dover castle. Two years later Bloet was ordered to construct siege engines in the 'forest' of Knepp and send them to Dover without delay. (fn. 100) The rectory estate also supplied timber for royal purposes in 1313 when the keeper of it was directed to send oaks from Shipley to make shingles for the roof of Westminster Hall. (fn. 101) Timber at Knepp and at Hookland park was being cut for the use of the duke of Norfolk in 1448-9. (fn. 102) A tenant of Wiston manor c. 1300 had the duty of carrying 'wood', presumably underwood, from Knepp or from St. Leonard's Forest; (fn. 103) in 1449 some tenants of Washington manor similarly had to carry underwood (bosc') from Knepp park to Bramber or Findon. (fn. 104)
Richard Gratwicke, the lessee of part of Knepp park in 1552, was permitted to take timber and underwood at pleasure during his lease, as long as 300 beeches and oaks were left at the end of it. (fn. 105) In the 1580s Edward Caryll's factor sold planks, barrel boards, inch boards, and other sawn timber, apparently from his estates at Knepp and elsewhere in Shipley, to an inhabitant of Shoreham, perhaps for shipbuilding. (fn. 106) A shipwright of Arundel agreed with Sir Henry and Charles Goring in 1695 to buy 800 oaks on Shepherds and Lackenhurst farms, and in 1706 Charles Goring sold 860 oaks from Shepherds farm to another buyer. (fn. 107)
The woodland of the parish presumably gave employment to an inhabitant surnamed Carpenter in 1248. (fn. 108) A 'clovyere' (cleaver) was recorded in 1397. (fn. 109) Other carpenters were recorded in 1581, (fn. 110) 1655, (fn. 111) and 1707, (fn. 112) and a wheelwright between 1727 and 1732. (fn. 113) There was a cooper in 1670. (fn. 114) Six carpenters and a wheelwright were recorded in the 1810s, (fn. 115) and there were practitioners of both trades later. (fn. 116) A timber yard for the Knepp estate existed beside the Horsham-Worthing road by c. 1847. (fn. 117) There was a sawmill there in 1896 and 1909, (fn. 118) and a woodreeve was employed in the 1930s. (fn. 119) The timber yard, with a sawmill and joiner's shop, still survived in 1983. (fn. 120) A timber merchant was recorded in the parish in 1874. (fn. 121) In 1867 parishioners could earn money by 'flawing' timber in the spring. (fn. 122)
A mill at Knepp manor was mentioned in 1210, (fn. 123) and a water mill within Knepp park, possibly its successor, in 1326 (fn. 124) and later. (fn. 125) The site seems likely to have been the same as that of the iron furnace of the 16th and 17th centuries, at what was later the south-eastern corner of Knepp pond. (fn. 126) A mill at Knepp was mentioned again in the later 17th and the 18th century. (fn. 127) Between 1724 and 1777, apparently, its site was moved to the new bay built at that time at the south end of the pond. At the latter date there was also a windmill nearby, worked by the same miller. (fn. 128) The watermill was still working in 1803 (fn. 129) and the windmill in 1813, (fn. 130) but neither is heard of later.
Two other mills besides Knepp mill were mentioned in 1340. (fn. 131) One may have been the mill, of unknown site, which had belonged to the Templars in 1262-3. (fn. 132) The second may have been the mill described as in Thakeham in 1086, (fn. 133) for which no other site has been found, and which may have occupied the site of the later water mill north of Coolham; that may also be the site of the water mill recorded in 1330. (fn. 134) Coolham water mill was recorded between 1836 and the earlier 20th century. A windmill southwest of it was worked by the same miller in 1836 and later. Both mills had apparently been built in the early 19th century; (fn. 135) both were described as disused in 1909, (fn. 136) but the water mill was again in use after 1926. (fn. 137) Another windmill south of Shipley village existed between 1825 (fn. 138) and 1875 but had been demolished by 1896. (fn. 139) The present Shipley windmill, on the west side of the village, the largest smock mill in Sussex, was built in 1879, and after 1906 belonged to Hilaire Belloc. It ceased general working in 1922 and closed altogether in 1926, the miller moving to Coolham water mill. In 1958 the mill was restored to full working order by the West Sussex county council as a memorial to Belloc and was opened to the public. (fn. 140) The field names Great and Little Mill fields north-east of Shipley village and Windmill field south of Newbuildings recorded c. 1847 may suggest the sites of further mills otherwise unknown. (fn. 141)
A furnace at Knepp pond is said to have been worked in the later 16th century, (fn. 142) and by c. 1650 was described as the old furnace. (fn. 143) Its site was south-east of the pond, (fn. 144) and is commemorated by Furnace Lodge on the modern HorshamWorthing road; (fn. 145) slag was found nearby when a bridge on that road was widened in 1928. (fn. 146) Another hammerpond in the parish, south of Shipley village and west of Hammer Farm, drove both a furnace and a forge, (fn. 147) at least one of which was working in 1641. (fn. 148) The pond survived in 1849, but had gone by 1875. (fn. 149) Two miners of Shipley were mentioned in 1588, one of whom had mined for ore in St. Leonard's Forest during the last three years. Two husbandmen of Shipley had also been working there, evidently on a seasonal basis. (fn. 150) A hammerman and two founders were recorded between 1617 and 1631. (fn. 151)
Other trade and industry.
Stone slates were apparently quarried on Knepp manor in the later 15th century. (fn. 152) A fisherman of Shipley was mentioned in 1579. (fn. 153) Besides the usual rural trades represented in the parish during the 17th and 18th centuries, there were a surgeon in 1658 and 1707, (fn. 154) a brickworker in 1662, (fn. 155) a flaxdresser in 1721, and a weaver in 1723. (fn. 156) Of various mercers or shopkepers recorded between 1692 and 1745 one sold among other goods drapery, groceries, tobacco, and candles, while another sold ironmongery. (fn. 157)
One in nine or ten families in work in 1811 was supported chiefly by non-agricultural employment and one in six or seven in 1831. (fn. 158) In the 1810s, besides the six carpenters and the wheelwright mentioned above, the parish had a blacksmith, two brickworkers, a shoemaker, and two butchers. (fn. 159) After the mid 19th century tradesmen were to be found especially in the hamlets. (fn. 160) In 1851 there were a blacksmith, a wheelwright, and a butcher at Coolham, and a butcher and a bricklayer at Dragons Green. Another bricklayer at Whitehall, who in that year employed ten men, (fn. 161) described himself as a builder in 1862. Less common trades recorded during the period were those of corndealer, cattle dealer, dressmaker, and saddler and harness maker. (fn. 162) A general stores and post office in Shipley village survived until 1979. (fn. 163) In 1982 there remained a post office and stores at Coolham.
There was a brickfield east of Coolham c. 1876, (fn. 164) and a brickworks in the extreme north-west of the parish in 1909. (fn. 165) The firm of Ernest Powell, which had formerly worked Shipley windmill and Coolham water mill, moved nearer Coolham hamlet in 1937 and still flourished in 1973. (fn. 166) In 1983 Arun Feeds (Southern) Ltd. employed 13 persons at a nearby site dealing in animal feed, seed, fertilizer, and chemicals. (fn. 167) The former Coolham water mill site was occupied in 1983 by a firm dealing in fuel oil, and in the same year there was a firm of winch manufacturers at Buck Barn.
Much non-agricultural employment in the 19th and 20th centuries has been provided by the large estates of the parish. There was a gamekeeper in 1816. (fn. 168) After c. 1860 there were many such workers: the Knepp estate in 1930 had an agent, a clerk of works, a head gardener, a stud groom, and a gamekeeper, besides the workers in the timber yard mentioned above. (fn. 169) Three blacksmiths were employed before 1918, and there was still one c. 1975. (fn. 170) The 20th century brought new types of employment connected with the revival of road transport. There was a tea garden at the Selsey Arms at Coolham in 1895, (fn. 171) and there were tea rooms in 1983 on the Horsham-Worthing road at the south-east tip of the parish. In the 1920s and 1930s there were cycle agents, car hirers, motor engineers or agents, and a garage. (fn. 172) In 1983 there were garages at Coolham and at Buck Barn on the Horsham-Worthing road. Part of the Crabbet Arabian stud founded by W.S. Blunt and his wife in 1877-8 was at Newbuildings; (fn. 173) there was still a stud there in 1976. (fn. 174) Sir Merrik Burrell founded another at Knepp Castle, for breeding hunters, before 1907. (fn. 175) There were two stud farms in the parish in 1983. (fn. 176)