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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
THE PARISH of Warnham (fn. 1) lies north-west of Horsham on the Surrey border; it is roughly 4 miles (6.4 km.) long by 3 miles (4.8 km.) wide at its widest. In 1881 the ancient parish had 4,960 a.; 39 a., comprising a small projection in the south-west, were transferred to Horsham Rural civil parish in 1933, and in 1971 Warnham contained 1,991 ha. (4,920 a.). (fn. 2) In 1971-2 the parish exchanged land in the north-east with Rusper and gained land in the east from Horsham Rural, the railway becoming the new boundary. (fn. 3) The boundaries of the ancient parish corresponded closely with those of the manor of Denne in Warnham. (fn. 4) In the north the boundary was that of the county, as the name Shiremark farm attests. (fn. 5) The eastern boundary followed a stream, parts of the southern and south-western boundaries followed roads, and the western boundary the line of Stane Street. The southern boundary crossed Broadbridge Heath. The present article deals with the ancient parish, except that Rowhook in the west, on the border with Slinfold and Rudgwick, is reserved for treatment elsewhere. (fn. 6)
The parish lies largely on Weald clay, which is varied by outcrops of Horsham stone in the centre and by river gravels in the valleys. (fn. 7) It consists of rolling country dissected by tributaries of the river Arun which flows from east to west beyond the southern boundary; the two chief are Boldings brook, so called by 1876, (fn. 8) which formed the eastern boundary and was dammed in the 16th or 17th century to form Warnham Mill pond, (fn. 9) and the stream apparently by c. 1636 called the Rye or Ree (fn. 10) but later also the river Oak (fn. 11) or the north river, (fn. 12) which flows across the western part from north to south. Warnham pond was leased to two London fishmongers in 1638. (fn. 13) The highest land, reaching 300 ft. (91 metres) and yielding fine views of Leith Hill and the South Downs, is north-west of Warnham village in the centre of the parish, and around Kingsfold in the north-east.
Much of the parish was presumably wooded in medieval times. The name Warnham may mean the grazing place of feral stallions which roamed the forest, (fn. 14) and Durfold farm, recorded from 1330 or earlier, (fn. 15) similarly alludes to wild deer. Woodland was important in later times as well. In the late 16th century oak and beech timber on the Slaughterford manor estate was said to be worth £1,600 and more, (fn. 16) and timber was being provided from the parish in the 1630s for the use of the navy. (fn. 17) There was apparently much woodland in the north-west quarter of the parish in 1724. (fn. 18) About 1840 there were c. 490 a. of woods, including 'shaws' or belts of woodland around closes of farmland. (fn. 19) The two chief wooded areas in the 1870s were east of Denne farm and near Warnham Lodge. Denne wood had gone by 1981. There were sawmills at Warnham Lodge in 1963, (fn. 20) and in 1982 timber there included oak, pine, larch, and spruce. (fn. 21)
The modern Warnham park was created from farmland for the new house called Warnham Court built in 1829, a footpath from Robin Hood Lane to Warnham village being diverted westwards to give privacy to the house. (fn. 22) By c. 1840 the park comprised 147 a. east, south, and north of the house, (fn. 23) and in 1854 there were 253 a. within the pale. (fn. 24) By 1876 it was bounded to west and east by the roads from Broadbridge Heath to Warnham and from Horsham to London. During the next 35 years it expanded further: on the east towards Warnham mill and the parish boundary, and on the south towards Broadbridge Heath, where an avenue of trees was laid out to commemorate the Jubilee of 1887. In the 1870s the park was said to be finely timbered, chiefly with oaks, (fn. 25) and there were three pieces of water including a lake of 2 a. (fn. 26) The herd of red deer, which still existed in 1982, is said to have been formed in 1851. About 1902 there were also fallow deer; by 1910 the herd totalled c. 200, and after the Second World War numbers fluctuated between c. 170 and 240. A stag hunt was kept up between c. 1870 and 1915. Emu were also kept in the park c. 1902, Himalayan white rabbits in the early 1950s, and black rabbits in 1974. Red deer from Warnham have been exported since the 1870s, and since the Second World War have been sent to zoos all over the world. (fn. 27)
The house called Field Place near Broadbridge Heath had parkland by 1795 which included a lake south-west of the house. There were three lakes in 1813. (fn. 28) The park was enlarged eastwards after the inclosure of Broadbridge Heath in 1858, (fn. 29) and by 1876 comprised c. 47 a. (fn. 30) It expanded westwards in the earlier 20th century and survived in 1982. The avenue of limes providing an eastern approach to the house was planted c. 1901, (fn. 31) the approach a century earlier having been from the north. (fn. 32) Numerous other parks were laid out during the later 19th and earlier 20th centuries around the gentlemen's houses which were either newly built or converted from existing farmhouses. (fn. 33) In 1876 there was parkland at Warnham Lodge and at Northlands in the northwest of the parish, (fn. 34) and in 1896 at Mayes north of Warnham village, at the modern Broomlands Farm south of it, and at Ends Place (then called Warnham Place) to the west. The area of parkland had further expanded by 1909, when the parks attached to Charmans Farm, Westbrook Hall, Warnham Lodge, and Mayes formed a continuous belt across the centre of the parish. Several parks survived in the mid 20th century in addition to those at Warnham Court and Field Place. (fn. 35)
As in neighbouring parishes several roads in Warnham trend roughly south-west to north-east. Stane Street remained a major route in the 17th and 18th centuries, though the section which formed part of the western boundary of Warnham was usually bypassed to the west. (fn. 36) Part of that section was still a track in 1982. The road from Broadbridge Heath towards Warnham village and Kingsfold was mentioned in 1325. (fn. 37) The southern section beside Warnham park forms a hollow-way, indicating long usage; the section north of the village was called Knob Hill by 1876. Another road ran roughly north-south past Ends Place west of Warnham village; (fn. 38) only part of it was metalled in 1982. A fourth road, Tilletts Lane, ran parallel to Warnham village street on the west, and was continued southwards by Byfleets Lane and northwards first by Mayes Lane and then by a track across the Surrey border which was apparently the warple way, i.e. green lane or bridle road, mentioned c. 1636. (fn. 39) One or other of the two last mentioned roads served as an additional route between Broadbridge Heath and Dorking in 1671. (fn. 40)
The Horsham-Guildford road mentioned in 1362 (fn. 41) passed through Broadbridge Heath, crossing Boldings brook at Farthing Bridge and the north river at Slaughter Bridge. Farthing Bridge was of stone in 1609. (fn. 42) Slaughter Bridge, called Slaughterford Bridge c. 1636, (fn. 43) had evidently succeeded a ford; it was rebuilt in 1804 at the joint expense of Bramber and Arundel rapes, and was widened and reconstructed in 1935. (fn. 44) The branch road from the Horsham-Guildford road at Broadbridge Heath towards Slinfold and Billingshurst existed in 1347, (fn. 45) and was presumably older since it was followed by the parish boundary; Newbridge, by which it crossed the river Arun at the extreme south-west tip of the parish, was mentioned in 1615. (fn. 46) Another branch road leading from Slaughter Bridge north-westwards to Rowhook was evidently also old, since it too was followed by the parish boundary; it existed by 1724. (fn. 47) In 1835 the road to Newbridge and that through Warnham village served as the main road from Billingshurst to Dorking. (fn. 48) Other east-west roads through the parish included one in the north which led past Denne Farm, crossing the north river by a bridge mentioned c. 1636 whose stone abutments survived in part in 1982; the road from Stane Street by way of Chatfolds Farm to Kingsfold, which existed in part in 1756; Robin Hood Lane, south of the modern Warnham park, which existed by 1673; (fn. 49) and a footpath which led westwards from the church in 1635. (fn. 50)
The road through the parish from Horsham to Dorking mentioned in the late 13th or early 14th century (fn. 51) seems likely to have followed the route used later. Warnham Bridge, afterwards Warnham Mill Bridge, on the south-east edge of the parish, was mentioned in 1509, (fn. 52) and in 1635 was of stone. (fn. 53) The road between it and Shiremark Farm on the northern border of parish and county was said to be in great decay in 1612. (fn. 54) Originally the road turned westwards from Westons Place along Bell Road to pass through the northern part of Warnham village; the short section of road north of Westons Place which obviated the detour was cut between 1724 and 1795, (fn. 55) possibly when the road was made a turnpike under an Act of 1755. (fn. 56) There were tollgates on the road at Warnham Bridge and at Kingsfold. (fn. 57) The road was disturnpiked in 1880, (fn. 58) and Warnham Bridge was rebuilt in 1928. (fn. 59) The dual-carriageway Horsham bypass on the London-Worthing road, starting from a roundabout at the south-eastern corner of Warnham park, was constructed in the early 1960s. (fn. 60)
The Horsham-Guildford road through Broadbridge Heath was turnpiked under an Act of 1809 and disturnpiked in 1873. (fn. 61) The branch road from Broadbridge Heath to Newbridge was a turnpike between 1811 and 1876, (fn. 62) and that from Slaughter Bridge to Rowhook between 1830 and 1873. (fn. 63) Also under the 1809 Act a new road was constructed from Clemsfold in Slinfold to Northlands, joining the existing road from there to Kingsfold, which was also made a turnpike, to improve communication from Arundel and Billingshurst to London. The road from Northlands to Ockley (Surr.) was constructed under an Act of 1812, with a new bridge over the north river; by the same Act the east-west road past Denne Farm was closed except for foot traffic. (fn. 64) The two new roads between Clemsfold and Ockley formed part of the road from London to Chichester in 1835. (fn. 65)
The Horsham-Dorking railway line was opened in 1867 through the north-eastern corner of the parish; a station called Warnham station was opened, in Horsham parish, in the same year, (fn. 66) Station Road being constructed to give access to it. (fn. 67)
Medieval settlement in Warnham evidently originated, as in neighbouring parishes, in outlying swine pastures or denns of manors elsewhere; Denne farm in the north, on an elevated site, is an example. A tithing of Warnham was mentioned in 1166, (fn. 68) but despite evidence for a 12th-century church probably on the site of the present one (fn. 69) there is no certainty that a nucleated village existed in the Middle Ages. The fact that Warnham vill had the second highest tax assessment in the rural part of Steyning hundred in 1334 (fn. 70) suggests relatively dense, but probably chiefly scattered, settlement in the parish by that date; the many surviving medieval buildings, often of high quality, indicate a high level of prosperity. (fn. 71) Chatfolds, in the north-west corner of the parish, and Salmons south of Warnham park, with a fine dais beam, are probably 14th-century; other 15thcentury or earlier buildings include three fine Wealden hall houses, Sands and Malt Mayes northwest of the village, and Old Manor north of it, formerly called Street Farm. Westons Place to the east, also medieval, was restored in 1901. (fn. 72)
Warnham village grew up as a roadside settlement on a valley site presumably chosen for access to water. The name Friday Street probably originally described a distinct area of settlement, (fn. 73) apparently at the western end of the road called by that name in 1982. As late as 1876 the two settlements seem to have been separate, though they were later physically joined. The many older buildings of the village are of brick, stone, or timber, often rendered, weatherboarded, or tilehung, and roofed with tiles or Horsham slates; the stone or brick is sometimes painted. In Friday Street houses dating from before 1800 are usually single or paired; in the main street, Church Street, on the other hand, there are four terraced groups of houses of different dates and built in different materials, including a highly picturesque one between Bell Road and the former National school. Timber-framed buildings of the 17th century or earlier include the Greets inn, Rose Cottage, and Oak Beams in Friday Street, and Glebe End in Church Street.
Many new houses were built in the village after 1800, including brick terraces in Church Street and estate cottages in revived vernacular style in Bell Road and Friday Street. It was presumably new houses in the village which largely accounted for the 25 per cent increase in the number of houses in the parish in the 1830s. (fn. 74) Two larger houses were built c. 1894 opposite the mid 19th-century Warnham Court farm buildings for (Sir) Henry Harben of Warnham Lodge; in revived vernacular style, they were designed by the London architects Batterbury and Huxley. (fn. 75) There had been c. 50 houses in the village c. 1840, (fn. 76) and the number remained about the same in 1909. Between 1909 and 1932 there was a a considerable increase in building in the village, especially in Bell Road and in Tilletts Lane to the west, and further development followed during the next fifty years; some large houses at the north end near the recreation ground were built at the same time. Further south an area near the Warnham Court farm buildings was developed for terraced housing in the 1970s, (fn. 77) while opposite the church flats and bungalows for old people were built in the vicarage grounds when the vicarage was converted c. 1975 for the same purpose. (fn. 78) The largest area of 20th-century building, however, was west of the village street where new roads of council houses had been built by 1956, (fn. 79) evidently accounting for most of the very high total of 192 council houses listed in the parish in 1981. (fn. 80)
An inhabitant of Kingsfold, not apparently of the manor house, was mentioned in 1387-8. (fn. 81) The hamlet there probably developed only later, as a result of roadside encroachment on waste land. (fn. 82) There were a few houses in 1724, (fn. 83) evidently including the manor house (fn. 84) and the timber-framed High Building north of the inn, (fn. 85) both of which survived in 1982. Roadside encroachment is exemplified by the low two-storeyed weatherboarded cottage at the north end of the hamlet, which is apparently 18thcentury. (fn. 86) In 1876 there were still only six or eight houses, and though land was offered for building in 1898 (fn. 87) further development followed only slowly; in 1981 there were c. 30 houses and bungalows including some council houses.
Scattered as well as nucleated settlement has continued to be important in recent centuries. Surviving farmhouses of the 16th or 17th century on isolated sites include Cox Farm and Great Daux. Westbrook Hall, formerly West House, is a late 17th-century timber-framed house extended apparently on three separate occasions in the 19th century, and redecorated c. 1900 and later. The apparently contemporary Hills Farm west of the village was demolished in the 20th century. (fn. 88) Other farmhouses besides Great Daux lay along the Horsham-Dorking road: Little Daux east of Warnham village, and Lower Chickens (formerly Great Chickens) and Shiremark Farm further north. Ribbon development along that road continued in later centuries, as exemplified by the Dog and Duck beerhouse south of Kingsfold, partly timber-framed and partly of brick. Larger houses in their own grounds followed c. 1900, (fn. 89) and further houses and bungalows in the 20th century. There was also ribbon development from the 17th century on the road between Broadbridge Heath and Warnham village.
Much rural settlement after c. 1840, however, consisted in the building of new houses or the conversion of older ones, especially in the north-west buarter of the parish, as gentlemen's seats; examples were Northlands, (fn. 90) Mayes, (fn. 91) Ends Place, Warnham Lodge, (fn. 92) Broomlands Farm (formerly Broomhall), (fn. 93) Westons Place, (fn. 94) West House (later Westbrook Hall), and Cradles Farm, renamed successively Oakhurst and Rowhook Manor. The number of parishioners listed as gentry or private residents increased from 3 in 1845 to 9 in 1866, 15 in 1878, 24 in 1905, and 36 in 1938. (fn. 95) Land for building such houses, or old houses for conversion, were frequently advertised for sale after 1870. One attraction of residence, especially in the north and west, was the ease of access to railway stations offered by the turnpike roads, others being the fine views from the higherlying parts and the existence of established game coverts for hunting or shooting. (fn. 96) The architectural style used both for the new houses and for the conversion of older ones was generally the revived vernacular, notable examples being Northlands and Warnham Lodge, each of which included both mid 19th-century and later work. (fn. 97)
Some council houses were built during the 20th century outside the nucleated settlements, for instance a group of six at Northlands c. 1921, (fn. 98) and others at Bailing Hill, while isolated small houses and bungalows were also built by private owners at the same time.
Twenty-two taxpayers were listed in Warnham tithing in 1327 and 23 in 1332. (fn. 99) In 1378 c. 90 adults paid the poll tax. (fn. 100) Seventy-two people were assessed to the subsidy in 1525, (fn. 101) and 130 adult males were listed in 1642. (fn. 102) In 1724 there were said to be 70 or 80 families. (fn. 103) From 680 in 1801 the population rose quickly before 1821 and afterwards more slowly to reach 1,016 by 1851. During the next 50 years it fluctuated between 1,000 and 1,075, afterwards rising to 1,274 by 1931. The smaller area of the parish as constituted in 1933 had had 1,238 inhabitants in 1931. Its population rose to 1,386 by 1951 and 1,718 by 1971. In 1974 there were said to be 125 residents in Kingsfold hamlet. The area of the parish as constituted after the boundary changes of 1971-2 had 1,785 inhabitants in 1981. (fn. 104)
An alehouse keeper was mentioned in 1646, (fn. 105) and an inn or alehouse called the Rose in 1655. (fn. 106) In the later 18th century there were two public houses in the parish, the Wheatsheaf at Kingsfold, recorded from 1787, (fn. 107) and the Bell, presumably in Bell Road, recorded in 1790 when the East Easwrith hundred court was held there. (fn. 108) The Wheatsheaf was rebuilt as a roadhouse apparently in the 1930s; in 1974 it served coastbound cars and coaches, (fn. 109) and it survived under the name Cromwells in 1982. The Bell had apparently ceased to be an inn by c. 1840, (fn. 110) and the building was used as cottages by 1903. (fn. 111) Cradles Farm, the modern Rowhook Manor, was described as the New inn in the 1820s, (fn. 112) when it served traffic on the new turnpike roads between Clemsfold and Ockley; it still flourished in 1852. (fn. 113) Of the two inns which existed in Warnham village in 1982 the Sussex Oak is recorded from 1832 (fn. 114) and the Greets inn in Friday Street from 1938. (fn. 115) The landlord of the Sussex Oak in 1852 was also a wheelwright, and in 1866 his successor was a bootmaker. (fn. 116) The Dog and Duck beerhouse south of Kingsfold on the HorshamLondon road existed as such by 1895 (fn. 117) and was still a public house in 1982.
Warnham was famous for its cricket team in the 18th century, (fn. 118) the site of the ground which they used being possibly commemorated by Cricket Ground clump in Warnham park. (fn. 119) A cricket club existed by 1886. (fn. 120) In the later 19th and the earlier 20th century both Sir Henry Harben of Warnham Lodge and the Lucas family of Warnham Court supported the game; there was a cricket ground at Warnham Lodge and another west of Church Street. Three members of the Lucas family played together for Sussex c. 1880, one being also vice-captain of England. (fn. 121) The village cricket team still used the ground west of Church Street in 1982. The Horsham golf club was founded in 1906, with a nine-hole course in Warnham parish north-east of Broadbridge Heath. The club house was converted from farm buildings at Chantry Barn, and in 1907 the club had 160 members. After the club moved to Mannings Heath in Nuthurst c. 1920 the golf course in Warnham apparently ceased to be used. (fn. 122) Annual athletic sports were held in the parish in 1902 and 1903. (fn. 123) In 1981 there were clubs for football and many other sports; at the same date there were a cricket ground and tennis courts in the south end of the parish near Broadbridge Heath. The village green of 3 a. north of the village was given to the parish for recreation in 1933 by Capt. C. E. Lucas. (fn. 124)
A lending library, at first attached to the National school, existed by 1833 and flourished, apparently continuously, until at least 1921. (fn. 125) A village hall and club in Church Street was built and endowed in 1892 by (Sir) Henry Harben of Warnham Lodge; in 1895, when the parish library had been moved there, it included reading and recreation rooms, and concerts were given there, for instance in 1911. (fn. 126) The building was replaced in 1972 by a new village hall beside the cricket field. (fn. 127) A reading room at Kingsfold flourished between the 1890s and apparently 1957. (fn. 128) A benefit society existed in the parish between 1843 and 1873, and a cycling club in the early 1900s. There was a village drum and fife band in 1897. (fn. 129) The Comrades club, founded in 1921, had nearly 800 members from all over the south of England in 1974, when c. 200-300 attended its monthly social evenings. An annual flower show has been held since the 1930s. (fn. 130) In 1981 there were many non-sporting clubs and societies in the parish.
Warnham village was supplied with water in summer by water cart from Horsham in 1928. (fn. 131) A water supply was being proposed for the village and for Kingsfold in 1932. (fn. 132) In 1974 the supply to Kingsfold was still not constant. (fn. 133) Main drainage was installed in the village by the vestry in 1857. (fn. 134) By 1876 Warnham Court had its own gasworks, (fn. 135) which later also supplied the church. (fn. 136) The Horsham Gas Co. had extended its mains to the village by 1912, (fn. 137) and was authorized to supply the whole parish in 1929. (fn. 138) The Horsham urban district council was authorized to supply electricity in the following year and had laid on a supply by c. 1933. (fn. 139) A sewage works of the rural district council by Boldings brook north-east of the village existed by 1932 and was still there in 1981.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was born at Field Place in 1792 and spent his youth there. (fn. 140) Another native, Michael Turner (1796-1885), parish clerk for 50 years, was a locally celebrated musician. (fn. 141) In the 19th and 20th centuries the parish had a high proportion of wealthy residents, many of whom, for instance the Lucases of Warnham Court and Sir Henry Harben of Warnham Lodge, were great benefactors to it. (fn. 142)