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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Truleigh manor demesne farm had 1 ploughteam in 1086, though there was land for 2½ teams; at the same date 3 villani and 6 bordars on the manor had ½ team, and on the ½ hide held of Truleigh there was ½ team. (fn. 1) Both Edburton and Truleigh were apparently served by open fields in the same way as Fulking and Perching further east. (fn. 2) Closes called East and West laines and Town field were named in 1813; the two former then lay south of the Truleigh-Edburton road, and Town field north of it, beside the track to Lower Edburton. (fn. 3) The surname at Breach recorded in Edburton in 1332 (fn. 4) suggests medieval assarting. In 1340 the ninth of sheaves in the ecclesiastical parish was worth four to five times those of fleeces and lambs, (fn. 5) though there are reckoned then to have been between 1,000 and 2,000 sheep. (fn. 6) The downs in the southern part of the parish presumably provided common pasture, as later; (fn. 7) the name of the south-facing dry valley, Summers Deane, indicates summer pastures. (fn. 8) In 1378 the 62 taxpayers listed under Edburton tithing included 21 landholders, six labourers, and 28 servi. (fn. 9)
Between the 16th and 18th centuries land continued to be held of Truleigh manor, (fn. 10) and there were tenements in the parish besides of Stretham in Henfield, (fn. 11) Tottington in Upper Beeding, (fn. 12) and Perching in Fulking. (fn. 13) Some land in the parish also belonged to Erleys manor in Brighton, apparently as demesne land. (fn. 14) There were holdings of 2 a. and 5 a. in the 'common townfield' of Edburton in the 1730s, (fn. 15) but it is not clear whether the field then still lay in strips. Apples were a crop in 1551. (fn. 16) An estate of 22 a. in 1702 had pasture rights for 26 sheep on the Edburton tenant down. (fn. 17) There was also common meadow land in the later 17th century evidently along the stream on the northern border; (fn. 18) c. 1841 Lot Brook meadow there, of 7 a., was divided between six owners, while in adjacent Deep meadow the first hay crop belonged to William Curzon and the after crop to the Crown. (fn. 19) In 1780 pasture lay chiefly on the northern and southern edges of the parish. (fn. 20) Shepherds were mentioned in 1696 (fn. 21) and 1728. (fn. 22) In 1801 there were listed in the ecclesiastical parish 27 cattle and colts, 10 draught oxen, 671 sheep, and 30 pigs. (fn. 23)
The Truleigh manor home farm at its acquisition by Lord Egremont in 1814 comprised 569 a. in Edburton and Upper Beeding, including the whole western half of the parish. In the 1810s and 1830s it was tenanted, from 1819 under a lease for 14 years, but for a time during the 1820s it was in hand. Before 1813 much former downland pasture there had been converted to arable leys, and there was a sheepfold at Truleigh Sands in the north-west corner of the parish. There was a threshing machine on the farm between 1813 and 1815, and new farm buildings were built in 1815 and 1829. (fn. 24)
About 1841 virtually all the land of the parish was divided into three farms: Edburton farm (the modern Aburton farm) of 317 a., including 76 a. of sheepdown; Truleigh farm of 540 a., including 188 a. of sheepdown; and Summersdeane farm of 196 a., including 107 a. of sheepdown and 84 a. of arable leys. Edburton and Summersdeane farms, representing the eastern half of the parish, were occupied by the same tenant. (fn. 25)
Truleigh farm has since continued to be the chief farm in the parish. In 1851, when it had 840 a., 14 labourers and 7 boys worked there, (fn. 26) and in the 1890s it was managed by a farm steward. (fn. 27) In 1984 it had 450 a., and still comprised virtually all the western half of the parish. (fn. 28) Aburton farm, which had had over 150 a. in 1938, (fn. 29) in 1984 comprised 305 a.; it was then farmed with Perching Sands farm in Fulking and other land as part of a 593-a. unit. (fn. 30) There had been nearly three times as much rented land as land in owner occupation in 1909, (fn. 31) but in 1984 most land was owner-occupied. (fn. 32) About 1841 and in 1875 the area under pasture in the ecclesiastical parish exceeded that under crops; on the later occasion 2,967 sheep were listed. In 1909 there was more than twice as much pasture as arable in the newly constituted Edburton parish, in which 1,118 sheep were returned. (fn. 33) In the later 19th century and earlier 20th there was a notable Southdown flock at Summersdeane farm. (fn. 34) Most of the former downland in the south was cultivated in 1984. (fn. 35) On Aburton and Perching Sands farms grassland then predominated, with a dairy herd of over 150; c. 150 a. of clay land there had been drained since c. 1970 to support corn crops. (fn. 36)
Allotments recorded between the 1840s and 1860s possibly lay in Fulking. (fn. 37) There was a marketgarden tenement of 1 a. on Truleigh farm in 1825, (fn. 38) and three market gardeners were listed in the ecclesiastical parish in 1845. (fn. 39) Further land in the area that became the modern parish was cultivated as market gardens between c. 1841 and 1868, (fn. 40) but the three market gardeners listed in 1874 all lived in Fulking. (fn. 41) In 1875 there were 12 a. of market gardens and 2 a. of orchards in the ecclesiastical parish, and in 1909 Edburton parish had 2 a. of small fruit and 1½ a. of apple orchards. (fn. 42) One market gardener was recorded in Edburton in 1922. (fn. 43)
There were two mills on Truleigh manor in 1086, (fn. 44) but their sites are not known. A miller was recorded in Edburton tithing in 1378, (fn. 45) and mill tithes in the ecclesiastical parish yielded ½ mark in 1341. (fn. 46) It is not clear whether the two millers recorded in 1833 (fn. 47) lived in Edburton or Fulking.
Two butchers, two tailors, a shoemaker, and a carpenter were listed in Edburton tithing in 1378, (fn. 48) and two brewers and a tanner in the mid 16th century. (fn. 49) There was a clothmaker in 1609, (fn. 50) and apparently a shoemaker who was also a barber in 1729. (fn. 51)
The various tradesmen listed in the ecclesiastical parish during the 19th century seem all to have lived in Fulking, (fn. 52) except for one unspecified tradesman recorded in 1831, (fn. 53) the blacksmith recorded near Edburton spring from 1896, (fn. 54) and a shopkeeper recorded in 1899. (fn. 55) About 1835 a donkey cart went once or twice a week to Brighton to do parishioners' shopping. (fn. 56) There was a physician and surgeon in 1915. (fn. 57) Since the Second World War nonagricultural employment has greatly increased. Springs Smoked Salmon, started in 1964 as a family business, employed 40 to 50 full-or part-time staff in 1984, when many different kinds of fish were cured. (fn. 58) There were two potters in 1968, (fn. 59) and from 1974 or earlier former farm buildings at Truleigh Farm accommodated various crafts and small industries; (fn. 60) in 1983 the Sussex brewery, based there, supplied c. 25 free houses. (fn. 61)