Woodmancote: Local government

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Woodmancote: Local government', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town, (London, 1987) pp. 166. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol6/pt3/p166 [accessed 24 April 2024]


Pleas and perquisites at the Woodmancote manor court were worth 3s. 4d. a year in 1339. (fn. 1) There are court rolls for the years 1341, (fn. 2) 1680, 1698, and 1721-1935. Only eleven courts are recorded in the 18th century, but nineteen were held in the period 1800-50. Business was conducted out of court from the mid 18th century, and the last court was held in 1873. In 1783 and 1807 the court was held at Woodmancote Place, and in 1800 and 1803 at the Royal Oak inn in Shermanbury. A reeve was mentioned in 1680 and later, and a crier in 1800 and 1803. The reeve in 1835 was J. L. W. Dennett, son of the lord of the manor. The only business recorded at the court, apart from land transactions, concerned grants of waste land outside the parish in 1791 and 1820. (fn. 3)

There are court rolls of Wick manor for the years 1457-8, 1466, and 1490-2. Courts were then held at least twice a year, and there were a reeve and a beadle or beadles. Besides land transactions, the court dealt with the repair of houses and fences. (fn. 4)

A headborough of Blackstone tithing was mentioned in the 1370s, (fn. 5) and a headborough and an aletaster in 1560. (fn. 6)

Two churchwardens were recorded from 1582; between 1664 and 1812 there was sometimes only one. In the mid and later 18th century the office was usually filled by members of the Coppard and Dennett families. (fn. 7) Two overseers were recorded on various occasions in the 17th century, and two waywardens between 1652 and 1662. The clerk received wages in 1626 and earlier. (fn. 8)

In 1835 Woodmancote joined Steyning union, (fn. 9) passing to Steyning West rural district in 1894. (fn. 10) From 1974 it was in Horsham district.


  • 1. P.R.O., C 135/59, no. 27.
  • 2. B.L. Harl. Roll N. 26.
  • 3. E.S.R.O., SAS/Acc 1046; W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 31552-6.
  • 4. Surr. R.O., Guildford, 97/11/8.
  • 5. S.R.S. xlvi, p. 260.
  • 6. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/6, p. 22.
  • 7. B.L. Add. MS. 39461, f. 143; Woodmancote Reg. 109-11, 114-16, 156-9.
  • 8. Woodmancote Reg. 109-11, 116-17.
  • 9. Suss. Poor Law Rec. 14.
  • 10. W.S.R.O., WOC/CC 6/1, ff. 87-9.