Nuthurst: Manor and other estates

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.

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A P Baggs, C R J Currie, C R Elrington, S M Keeling, A M Rowland, 'Nuthurst: Manor and other estates', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town, ed. T P Hudson( London, 1987), British History Online [accessed 19 July 2024].

A P Baggs, C R J Currie, C R Elrington, S M Keeling, A M Rowland, 'Nuthurst: Manor and other estates', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Edited by T P Hudson( London, 1987), British History Online, accessed July 19, 2024,

A P Baggs, C R J Currie, C R Elrington, S M Keeling, A M Rowland. "Nuthurst: Manor and other estates". A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Ed. T P Hudson(London, 1987), , British History Online. Web. 19 July 2024.


Fécamp abbey (Seine Maritime) was a large landowner in Nuthurst in the Middle Ages. The advowson of the church belonged to the abbey before 1231, (fn. 1) and much of the parish later was held of Shortsfield manor, which represented the Wealden portion of the former Fécamp lands. (fn. 2) The wood called Hamwood claimed by Fécamp abbey in 1086 possibly lay in Nuthurst, (fn. 3) and the abbey certainly had land in the parish in 1248. Moreover, the 300 a. belonging to Sedgewick park which was held of the abbey in 1326 (fn. 4) presumably adjoined Sedgewick to the east, in the centre of Nuthurst parish. Syon abbey, Fécamp's successor, still held land at Sedgewick in 1539. (fn. 5)

The manor of SEDGEWICK, in Little Broadwater, originated in the outlying portion of Broadwater manor which is presumably represented by the woodland yielding 20 swine to that manor in 1086. (fn. 6) Robert le Savage, lord of Broadwater, was dealing with rents at Sedgewick in 1222, (fn. 7) and he or a namesake held 4 knight's fees at Sedgewick and elsewhere of Bramber rape in 1242. (fn. 8) In 1248 the manor, first so called, was leased by Robert le Savage for life to John Maunsel, the chief counsellor of Henry III. (fn. 9) On his leaving England in 1263 (fn. 10) it was held to be forfeit, and it was granted later in the same year to Peter de Montfort; in 1264, however, it was restored to Maunsel. (fn. 11) Already by 1248 the manorial estate included land in Nuthurst held of Fécamp abbey; (fn. 12) by 1326 Sedgewick park included 300 a. held of the abbey. (fn. 13) Before 1267 the manor had escheated to William, Lord Braose (d. 1290). It was successfully claimed in that year by John le Savage, but five years later was exchanged by him with Braose. (fn. 14) Thereafter it descended with Chesworth in Horsham (fn. 15) until at least 1573. (fn. 16)

Sir John Caryll (d. 1613) was Crown lessee perhaps by 1591 (fn. 17) and certainly by 1602, when he also held the lease of Chesworth. (fn. 18) Thereafter Sedgewick continued to descend with Chesworth until c. 1699, when the trustees of Queen Catherine of Braganza let it to Sir John Bennett, serjeant-at-law, who bought the freehold apparently in 1705, (fn. 19) the year of the queen's death. (fn. 20) Bennett was living at Sedgewick in 1717 (fn. 21) and apparently by 1713, when he was granted a faculty to erect a pew in Nuthurst church. (fn. 22)

In 1738 another John Bennett sold Sedgewick to Charles Lennox, duke of Richmond (d. 1750), who perhaps intended to use it as a hunting box. His son and namesake, however, (fn. 23) sold it in 1760 to Joseph Tudor. (fn. 24) At his death in 1774 Tudor left it to his nephew William Nelthorpe (d. 1791), who left it to his sister Elizabeth. She died in 1801, leaving Sedgewick to her nephew James Cowne, who took the surnames Tudor and Nelthorpe. (fn. 25) By the 1840s his estate in Nuthurst and Little Broadwater comprised nearly 900 a. (fn. 26) In 1862 Sedgewick was sold by his heirs (fn. 27) to Robert Henderson (d. 1871), whose son Robert, a director of the Bank of England, died in possession in 1895. (fn. 28) In 1874 the house was let. (fn. 29) The younger Robert's widow Emma continued to live at Sedgewick after 1895 until her death in 1931. (fn. 30) In 1907 the very compact estate was roughly bounded by the Horsham-Brighton road on the north, the road through Nuthurst village on the east, Broadwater Lane on the west, and two streams on the south. (fn. 31) After Mrs. Henderson's death Sedgewick was sold to W. H. Abbey who still had it in 1942. (fn. 32) In 1947 it was bought by Sir Herbert Cayzer, Lord Rotherwick. After his death in 1958 the estate, which by then comprised c. 2,000 a., (fn. 33) was split up. (fn. 34)

A hunting lodge (fn. 35) may have been built by the Savages at Sedgewick before 1200, since some foundations on the site of the later castle apparently date from that time. The buildings, which were presumably mainly of wood, were surrounded by a moat. In 1258 John Maunsel was licensed to fortify and crenellate the existing building, presumably as a refuge for the king's party in the civil wars, the licence being renewed in 1262. (fn. 36) The work was done by 1263, when the castle was described as a fortalice: (fn. 37) the existing moat was deepened and an outer one added, with a strong stone curtain wall between, while a hexagonal keep was built on the west side.

The castle seems to have fallen into decay after Sedgewick was resumed by the Braoses, its next recorded period of occupation being c. 1500, when the 13th-century buildings were largely destroyed and replaced by new buildings in the east part of the site, including a great hall. In the early 17th century Sir John Caryll is said to have demolished much of the castle, and in 1707 the site was apparently all wooded. (fn. 38) During the second quarter of the 19th century many hundreds of loads of stone were removed. (fn. 39) The site was fully excavated in 1923-4. In 1971 both moats remained, together with stretches of walling up to 13 ft. high. (fn. 40)

Timber was felled in the early 1590s for the repair of a building called Sedgewick House, (fn. 41) which may have been the same as, or a successor to, a medieval lodge in Sedgewick park. (fn. 42) A house called Sedgewick Lodge, perhaps also the same, was mentioned between 1602 and 1655; in 1650 it comprised a hall, parlour, kitchen, and four chambers, besides garrets and offices. (fn. 43) What was apparently part of it survived as outbuildings west of the present house in 1981. A new house was built c. 1715 by Sir John Bennett, its main front facing south and having eight bays and two storeys with a hipped roof. (fn. 44) An 18th-century service range remained in 1981, together with an 18th-century doorway resited on the south terrace, and the long 'canal' from the 18th-century garden layout north of the house. Gatepiers of similar date survived in 1942. (fn. 45) From 1794 (fn. 46) until the 1870s (fn. 47) the house was called Nuthurst Lodge, in allusion to its being in Nuthurst parish, not in Little Broadwater, but thereafter it was called Sedgewick Park. The Gothick north and west lodges to the park are of c. 1830.

A new house, (fn. 48) adjoining the 18th-century one on the east, was built for Robert Henderson to the designs of Ernest George in 1886. In 1903 (fn. 49) it was extended westwards, replacing the 18th-century range, and culminating in an asymmetrically placed tower. The style of the new house was a mixture of Jacobean and Queen Anne, the materials being grey rubble Horsham stone with a Horsham slate roof and hung shaped Horsham slates on the upper storey. Before 1901 Mrs. Henderson had begun to lay out to her own designs a striking new garden south of the house, combining the formality of terraces of large slabs of Horsham stone, also grey, of straight yew hedges flanking an oblong sheet of water, and of statues, with wide views across the Weald to the South Downs. Two rose gardens were added by Lord Rotherwick. (fn. 50) In 1959 the garden was described as among the most beautiful in the county; (fn. 51) by 1981, however, it was overgrown and in decay.

An estate belonging to the Nowell family in the Middle Ages was apparently NEWELLS FARM in the east part of the ancient parish. Two persons called Robert Noel or Nowell were dealing with land in Nuthurst in 1229 and 1305; (fn. 52) the second or a namesake died seised in 1350 of 50 a. of arable there held of Nutham manor in Horsham, and was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 53) A farm called Knowells, presumably the same, was mentioned in the 17th century, (fn. 54) and in 1714, when it comprised 80 a., belonged to Samuel Greenfield. (fn. 55) By c. 1735 Newells, so called, was held of Nutham by William Powlett, (fn. 56) then or later of St. Leonard's house in Lower Beeding. It presumably passed thereafter with the St. Leonard's house estate, for in 1831 and 1845 it belonged to Robert Aldridge, comprising 400 a. at the earlier date. (fn. 57) The descent has not been traced further.

Newells Farm House is an originally open-hall house with two cross wings. The south cross wing is late medieval and retains a crown-post roof; the rebuilt hall range and north cross wing are 17thcentury, the hall having an upper floor inserted in it. Externally the building is partly weatherboarded and partly faced with large sandstone blocks.

The Burrell family of West Grinstead began to amass an estate chiefly in the south part of the parish in the mid 18th century; (fn. 58) by 1845 it comprised nearly 400 a., (fn. 59) and much of it was retained by them in 1913, including Cooks farm near Nuthurst village, and Maplehurst, Copsale, and other adjacent farms. (fn. 60) Another large estate in the later 19th century was that of S. H. Bigg of Swallowfield near Mannings Heath. (fn. 61)


  • 1. Below, church.
  • 2. Below, econ. hist. (agric.). Some people described as of Nuthurst in 1327 were listed under Shortsfield tithing in 1332: S.R.S. x. 155, 270.
  • 3. Above, intro.
  • 4. Below.
  • 5. L. &. P. Hen. VIII, Addenda (2), p. 484.
  • 6. V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 73.
  • 7. Ibid. 69; S.R.S. ii, p. 44.
  • 8. Bk. of Fees, ii. 689.
  • 9. S.R.S. ii, pp. 121-2; V.C.H. Suss. i. 495.
  • 10. V.C.H. Suss. i. 495 n.
  • 11. Cal. Pat. 1258-66, 269, 371; S.A.C. lxvi. 88.
  • 12. S.R.S. ii, p. 121; cf. Cal. Inq. p. m. v, p. 183.
  • 13. Cal. Inq. p. m. vi, p. 436; cf. ibid. xv, p. 368.
  • 14. Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 174-5, 185.
  • 15. V.C.H. Suss. vi (2), 156-7. The statement made in 1892 that it was held of Broadwater, based on ct. rolls now lost, seems unlikely: S.A.C. xxxviii. 150-1.
  • 16. Cal. Pat. 1572-5, p. 104.
  • 17. B.L. Add. Ch. 8960 (MS. cal.); cf. ibid. 18883.
  • 18. P.R.O., LR 2/203, f. 162.
  • 19. W. Goodliffe, Horsham and St. Leonard's Forest, 62; S.N.Q. xv. 222. Deeds of Sedgewick man. which were held by Messrs. Medwin & Co., of Horsham, c. 1950 could not be traced in 1979.
  • 20. D.N.B.
  • 21. S.N.Q. xv. 222-4.
  • 22. B.L. Add. MS. 39368, f. 1024.
  • 23. Ibid. 39502, f. 15; Complete Peerage, s.v. Richmond; cf. W.S.R.O., Goodwood MS. 109, f 861.
  • 24. B.L. Add. MS. 39502, f. 14.
  • 25. Ibid. f. 12; Dallaway & Cartwright, Hist. W. Suss. ii (2), 360-1; Horsham Mus. MS. SP 133.
  • 26. W.S.R.O., TD/W 21, 92.
  • 27. Horsham Mus. MS. SP 133; S.A.C. lxvi. 91.
  • 28. Burke, Land. Gent. (1937), 1091; mon. in ch.
  • 29. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1874).
  • 30. Burke, Land. Gent. (1937), 1091.
  • 31. Horsham Mus. MS. 2811.
  • 32. Country Life, 12 June 1942, p. 1137; Burke, Land. Gent. (1937), 1.
  • 33. W. Suss. Gaz. 20 Mar. 1958.
  • 34. Nuthurst, 1977, 39.
  • 35. Following two paras. based mainly on S.A.C. lxvi. 83-109.
  • 36. Cal. Pat. 1258-66, 1, 206.
  • 37. Ibid. 269.
  • 38. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 29709.
  • 39. S.A.C. viii. 39.
  • 40. W. Suss. C.C. planning dept., arch. sites and mons. rec., TQ 12 NE 1.
  • 41. P.R.O., E 101/151/9.
  • 42. Cf. above, intro.
  • 43. S.A.C. xxv. 44-5, 52; lv. 81; cf. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 29709.
  • 44. B.L. Add. MS. 5673, f. 13; ibid. Lansd. MS. 918, ff. 20v.-21, 25v.
  • 45. Country Life, 12 June 1942, p. 1136.
  • 46. P.R.O., MPHH 132 (WO 78/1534).
  • 47. O.S. Map 6", Suss. XXIV (1879 edn.); S.A.C. lxvi. 110.
  • 48. Para. based mainly on Country Life, 4 May 1901, pp. 560-7; 1 Oct. 1927, p. 459; 5 June 1942, pp. 1086-9; 12 June 1942, pp. 1134-7; above, frontispiece.
  • 49. Dates on bldg.; for George, Architects' Jnl. 20 Dec. 1922, p. 857.
  • 50. Country Life, 11 July 1957, pp. 56-7.
  • 51. E.S.R.O., SAS/PS 224.
  • 52. S.R.S. ii, p. 57; vii, p. 187; cf. ibid. x. 57.
  • 53. Cal. Inq. p. m. ix, p. 270; cf. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 392.
  • 54. W.S.R.O., Par. 143/30/1, f. 1.
  • 55. Ibid. Add. MS. 11058 (TS. cat.).
  • 56. Ibid. Hurst MSS., Nutham man. rental, c. 1735.
  • 57. Horsham Mus. MS. 1208A; W.S.R.O., TD/W 92.
  • 58. W.S.R.O., Burrell MSS., box XIII, cal. of deeds, pp. 35-41, 69-77, 85-9.
  • 59. Ibid. TD/W 92.
  • 60. Ibid. Par. 143/6/1.
  • 61. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1874); cf. above, intro.