Tipnoak Hundred

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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'Tipnoak Hundred', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town, (London, 1987) pp. 120-121. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol6/pt3/pp120-121 [accessed 20 April 2024]


Tipnoak hundred, so called by 1248, (fn. 1) was originally Henfield hundred; (fn. 2) it included the large estates of the bishop and of the dean and chapter of Chichester in Henfield, Albourne, and Woodmancote and descended with the bishop's manor of Stretham in Henfield. (fn. 3) Between 1332 and 1525 Tipnoak was sometimes called a half-hundred for fiscal purposes. (fn. 4) Later, however, it was itself divided into half-hundreds; in 1605 the two constables served for the half-hundred of Henfield and the half-hundred of Bishopshurst, (fn. 5) areas which were probably the same as the upper and lower halves of the hundred mentioned in 1725. (fn. 6)

In 1086 the hundred included Henfield (i.e. Stretham), Woodmancote, and Wantley manors. (fn. 7) Later it comprised Albourne, Henfield, and Woodmancote parishes, (fn. 8) divided into the tithings of Bishopshurst (in Albourne), Buckwish, Chestham, Intithing, and Oreham in Henfield, and Bilsborough or Blackstone in Woodmancote. (fn. 9) Tenants of Ewhurst manor in Shermanbury who held land at Chestham owed suit to the hundred court in the 14th century; the custom was reinforced in 1378 after lapsing for many years. (fn. 10)

There was a prison at Henfield in 1262-3, (fn. 11) and in 1288 the bishop claimed the assize of bread and of ale, gallows, tumbril, return of writs, and estreats of fines. (fn. 12) During the 13th century the bishops' stewards usurped the collection of the common fine from the sheriff. (fn. 13) Extensive franchises were claimed in 1651, (fn. 14) but it is not clear how far they were then exercised. The sheriff's tourn of Heathen Burials, which the men of Henfield were bound to attend in 1279, (fn. 15) and at which the headboroughs of the six tithings of Tipnoak appeared without making any presentments in the 1370s, (fn. 16) may have been held at Steyning. (fn. 17)

There are hundred court rolls for various years between 1504 and 1643, (fn. 18) and for the period 1670-1935. (fn. 19) Until the 17th century there were both a three-weekly court and a thrice-yearly lawday. (fn. 20) The former held the assize of bread and of ale in the later 14th century, (fn. 21) and in 1651 was said to be still usually kept; it could try actions under £2 in value and the annual profit was then said to be £6 4s. 1d. (fn. 22) In the later 14th century the lawdays were held on the Monday after Michaelmas, the Monday after Twelfth Day (6 January), and the Monday after Hockday. (fn. 23) By 1527 only two were held. (fn. 24) In the mid 16th century and earlier 17th business included the control of stray animals and the care of ditches and bridges, (fn. 25) but by 1670 the court merely elected officers. (fn. 26)

A coroner and a clerk were recorded in 1275. (fn. 27) In 1374 the beadle received a free dinner or 1d. in lieu on court days. (fn. 28) Officers mentioned between the late 16th century and the earlier 19th were a bailiff or bailiffs, a receiver, (fn. 29) an alderman, (fn. 30) a constable or constables, (fn. 31) and a water bailiff. (fn. 32)

In 1630 the hundred view was held on Henfield common. (fn. 33) The site was presumably the place on the Henfield-Woodmancote boundary called from 1647 the hundred steddle, which is roughly central in the hundred. (fn. 34) It seems likely that 'the hundred place called Tipnoak', mentioned in 1552 (fn. 35) and evidently marked by a prominent tree, was the same. (fn. 36)


  • 1. P.N. Notts. (E.P.N.S.), p. xxxvi; cf. P.R.O., JUST 1/912A, rot. 43.
  • 2. V.C.H. Suss. i. 390, 446; Pipe R. 1188 (P.R.S. xxxviii), 188.
  • 3. S.A.C. xxiii. 242; lxxxii. 27; S.R.S. xxxi. 123. In 1316 it was said in error to belong to Wm. de Braose: Feud. Aids, v. 135.
  • 4. S.R.S. x. 280; lvi. 70; S.A.C. l. 169.
  • 5. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/9, f. IV.
  • 6. Ibid. Ep. VI/42/1, p. 549.
  • 7. V.C.H. Suss. i. 390, 446.
  • 8. Cal. Inq. Misc. i, p. 274; Feud. Aids, v. 135; S.R.S. x. 165, 280; lvi. 70-1; Census, 1801, 1841.
  • 9. P.R.O., JUST 1/912A, rot. 43; E.S.R.O., QCR/2/1/ EW 1-3; S.R.S. xxxi. 123; xlvi, p. 260; S.N.Q. ii. 82; S.A.C. xxiii. 241; below, Henfield, local govt. and public servs. Bilsborough and Blackstone were apparently alternative names for one tithing.
  • 10. S.N.Q. i. 47-8; below, Henfield, econ. hist. (agric.).
  • 11. P.R.O., JUST 1/912A, rot. 43.
  • 12. Ibid. JUST 1/924, rot. 64; cf. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 758-9.
  • 13. S.A.C. lxxxii. 31-2.
  • 14. Ibid. xxiii. 241; cf. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/44/1, m. 57.
  • 15. Plac. de Quo Warr. 759.
  • 16. S.R.S. xlvi, pp. 259-60.
  • 17. V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 194.
  • 18. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/1, ff. 9-50, 61-2; Ep. VI/12/2, ff. 1-92; Ep. VI/12/3, ff. 17v.-20; Ep. VI/12/4-6, 9-10.
  • 19. Ibid. Ep. VI/42/1-7.
  • 20. S.N.Q. i. 47; ii. 82; S.R.S. iii, p. 13; xxxi. 123; xlvi, p. 297.
  • 21. S.N.Q. ii. 82.
  • 22. S.A.C. xxiii. 241-2.
  • 23. S.N.Q. ii. 82.
  • 24. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/2, ff. 12, 22, 37v.; cf. Ep. VI/ 12/6, 9; Ep. VI/42/1-7.
  • 25. Ibid. Ep. VI/12/6, p. 22; Ep. VI/12/9, f. 1.
  • 26. Ibid. Ep. VI/42/1, p. 1.
  • 27. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 203.
  • 28. S.R.S. xxxi. 122.
  • 29. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/9, f. 1; Ep. VI/45/2, f. 217; S.R.S. lviii, p. 240.
  • 30. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/9, f. 1.
  • 31. Ibid. Ep. VI/12/6, p. 23; E.S.R.O., QCR/2/1/EW 1-2; Horsham Mus. MS. 243; S.R.S. v. 94; above.
  • 32. W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/12/8; cf. below, Henfield, local govt. and public servs.
  • 33. Ibid. Ep. VI/45/2, f. 217.
  • 34. S.N.Q. vii. 123-4; W.S.R.O., Ep. VI/44/1, m. 4; cf. ibid. TD/W 157, 167.
  • 35. P.N. Suss. (E.P.N.S.), i. 214-15.
  • 36. S.N.Q. vii. 123; the meeting place commemorated by Moustows Man. in Henfield seems to have been for the ct. of Stretham man. in Henfield rather than that of Tipnoak hund.: ibid. 123-4; cf. below, Henfield, local govt. and public servs.