A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1940.
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Herdingele (xi cent.); Erdinglegh (xiii cent.).
The parish of Ardingly has an area of 3,811 acres. In 1934 a detached portion of the parish was transferred to Balcombe. The church stands on the brow of a hill in the centre of the parish, at a height of 398 ft. South of it the ground slopes down to the Ouse Valley, with Ardingly College, a Church of England Public School belonging to the Woodard Foundation, about half-way down. At the bottom, at a level of 125 ft., in the extreme south of the parish, is the station, on the branch line of the Southern Railway from Haywards Heath to East Grinstead. Beside the station a road comes north from Haywards Heath and joins the road from Lindfield to Godstone, which runs up the east side of the parish, at the hamlet of Hapstead, now the main village, whence another road branches west to the church. A Roman road ran through the centre of the parish from north to south.
The ground rises all the time to the north of the parish, reaching a height of 500 ft. A little stream runs from the north down the western side of the parish, through a narrow valley, to meet the Ouse; and a similar stream marks the eastern boundary.
There is a Congregational Church in the village, built in 1885.
Wakehurst Place was erected in 1590 by Sir Edward Culpeper on or near the site of the earlier manor-house of the Wakehurst family. The house was originally of courtyard plan, the court being about 63 ft. square, the north range being about 26 ft. broad, and the east and west ranges 24 ft. externally. The south side appears to have been closed by another 24-ft. range with a middle gate-house: this was destroyed before 1697, but its foundations were discovered in excavations made in 1905. In 1845 two-thirds of each of the side wings were pulled down and the remainder refaced in their present positions with the stone-work of the original gabled south ends. The old north range—or present south range—was occupied by the great hall, entered by the middle porch, and the state rooms were in the west range—the south room, with the chamber above it, being 41 ft. long and lighted by bay-windows towards the courtyard as are those in the existing range. It was probably the position of the north wall of this chamber that decided the length of the parts that were saved. The corresponding east wing formed the servants' quarters.
At some period the hall was divided into smaller chambers, and also probably both wings. Before 1869, when the house was sold to the Marchioness of Downshire, there was a middle hall 21 ft. wide with a small drawing-room west of it and a dining-room east of it occupying the site of the original great hall, and in the west wing was a south drawing-room and a north stairhall and gallery. The bedrooms above were approximately on similar lines. The marchioness rearranged the interior, converted the east range into a library, added a parallel wing east of it with a study, and north of that a chapel, and also built the long range of domestic offices to the north of the western half. The heraldic chimney-piece which was in the small drawing-room was removed to the library, and the main staircase rebuilt in a new entrance-hall on the north side, west of the chapel; the whole west wing was then utilized as the dining-room. The next owner, Sir William Boord, made minor alterations to the interior. The late Lord Wakehurst—formerly G. W. E. Loder, M.P.—who bought the property in 1903, added a small porch to the north entrance. The house has recently been put into thorough repair by the present occupier, Sir Henry Price, but no structural alterations of any importance were made in the ancient parts.
The walls are of ashlar in the local sandstone: the roofs are covered with Horsham slabs. The house is of two stories and attics: the first-floor level is marked by a moulded string-course. The south elevation is symmetrical. The main block has a middle porch and two bay-windows, all three of full height of the elevation and having gabled heads. There are also intermediate windows between the porch and the baywindows, surmounted by detached gabled dormers. All five gables have panelled pilaster-corbels below the kneelers, and pinnacles with ball-heads above them as well as on the apices. The slopes of the porch-gable are decorated with double scrolls or consoles standing up above the coping. The canted sides of the baywindows are corbelled out above the first-floor windows to carry the square gables above. The ground-floor windows are tall and divided by two transoms, the top lights having four-centred heads: the first-floor windows have only one transom. All the windows have enriched entablatures above them, those to the groundfloor windows being continued as the string-course.
The entrance to the porch has a round head with lozenge-shaped panels to face and soffit and with spandrels carved with foliage and the initials E.C. It is flanked by Tuscan shafts on panelled pedestals carrying an entablature with enriched mouldings and frieze. The window on the first floor is included in the same architectural treatment and is flanked by Ionic shafts above a fluted frieze and panelled pedestals. Below the window is a deep rectangular panel with carved mouldings, which probably once contained an achievement of arms. Over the Ionic shafts are panelled superpilasters with cornices and above these small human figures on pedestals. Between them is an entablature, with an enriched convex frieze, and a moulded pediment. A string-course level with the entablature is carried round the walls of the porch. In the gablehead is a three-light window: the windows in the other gable heads are of two lights. As noticed by Mr. J. A. Gotch, (fn. 1) the bay-windows are placed unusually close to the inner walls of the side-wings. This suggests that the house was intended to be wider from east to west originally and that this front was begun before the other sides of the courtyard. The inner faces of the wings retain, each, only one of the original four windows (including one bay-window) that existed on each floor. Above them are gablets as in the main wall. The ends of the wings have double steps at the bases of the gables with pinnacles. The lower windows have fluted friezes on their entablatures, and the upper carved convex friezes. On the west side is a gabled bay-window like the others, and a chimney-stack with two diagonal square shafts. The east side has, above the modern one-storied study, windows to the first floor, and two gabled dormers. In the modern porch on this front is a twelve-panelled door with a shield dated 1590 in the tympanum. Presumably the whole of the buildings on the north side are modern, but the entrance to the stair-hall has an original door from the south front, enriched with carving and nail-studded.
The staircase retains the screen figured by Nash, (fn. 2) with fluted square posts and Ionic capitals, lintel as entablature with a lozengy carved frieze and elaborately carved pendants, and an upper balustrade with roundheaded openings, enriched pilasters, and brackets below the carved top rail. The staircase has panelled newels with carved heads, twisted balusters, and moulded handrail. The panelling, from a bedroom, placed by Lady Downshire in the chapel, has now been refixed in the entrance hall. The drawing-room, also illustrated by Nash, has a frieze of mermaids and a ribbed patterned ceiling with central pendants. The dining-room, occupying the west wing, has a similar ceiling, presumably not all ancient, and is lined with oak panelling apparently made up from several sources and of different periods: one frieze panel bears the initials and date TH 1705. There is also a frieze of mermaids, of uncertain age. The library—the east wing—contains the stone chimney-piece formerly in the drawingroom. The fire-place is square headed, surrounded by carved moulding and having a lintel with a foliage and fruit pattern, all flanked by intricately carved pilasters. The overmantel has a middle panel with a heavy frame carved with vine ornament and enclosing an achievement of the Culpeper arms, with twelve quarterings. (fn. 3) On either side of the panel are round-headed niches containing allegorical figures of Charity and Peace, the whole being flanked by pilasters carved with terminal figures of satyrs: the frieze between has a range of fourteen shields, representing the alliances of the Culpeper family. Above the cornice are pierced crestings of scrolls and grotesques. Some of the other fire-places are probably ancient and some have overmantels partly made up of 16th- or 17th-century material.
Newhouse, now called Culpeper, about a mile north-west of Wakehurst Place, was built in the late 17th century and rebuilt with the stone taken from the destroyed wings of the great house in 1845–6. It has a gabled bay in the middle of the south front with pilasters and pinnacles as at Wakehurst and a one-story porch with a gable head and similar detail. The windows, of two or three lights, are mullioned and transomed.
Great Strudgate Farm, now two tenements, about 1¼ miles north of Wakehurst, is of a modified T shape, with brick and tile-hung walls. The back wing retains a fine 16th-century projecting chimney-stack of stone with tabled sides: the shaft above is modern. The central fire-place in the front block is also of stone.
South of the church is Upper Lodge, an early-16thcentury house of two stories, the lower cemented, the upper tile-hung. Later in the century a central chimney-stack, having an 8-ft. fire-place with an oak bressummer, was built in one of the bays of the original hall, and the ground-floor and first-floor rooms have original posts and cross-beams about a yard in front (south-east) of it; this space in the roof shows signs of smoke-blackening from the former hall fire. The roof retains two bays of the original construction with windbraced side-purlins. The staircase is modern but the upper floor-boards show where the original balk-stair rose between the hall and south-east wing.
Hill House Farm, about 1½ miles south-east of the church, is a mid-16th-century house. The lower walls are partly of stone, partly of 18th-century brick, replacing early timber-framing; the upper story is tilehung. The end walls have moulded bressummers to the projecting gable-heads, and moulded barge-boards. The plan has two end rooms with an entrance-hall between them, containing an original staircase. The south-east room has a great fire-place in a projecting chimney-stack that is built of red bricks with black diaper ornament, and has two square detached shafts under one capping. The north-west room also has a 10-ft. fire-place, but its chimney-shaft has been rebuilt. Both rooms have original moulded ceiling beams and exposed chamfered joists.
Lywood Farm is a tall building of three stories built probably late in the 16th century. The walls are mostly of timber-framing with plastered infilling. The main block is rectangular, facing east, and has a huge central chimney-stack with wide fire-places. The entrance to the hall, north of the chimney-stack, has a door of vertical and diagonal battens, nail-studded in six tiers of three round-headed arches, and an original iron knocker. The hall retains some of its ancient floortiles, and its north wall has a partition of moulded battens between it and the room beyond. Next east of the chimney-stack is an old winding staircase; above the first floor it has steps of solid oak balks.
Most of the rooms have original moulded ceilingbeams and exposed rafters.
West Hill, a spur of the Forest Ridge 340 ft. high, about a mile north-west of the church, has a group of houses partly in Ardingly and partly in Balcombe.
Lullings, the modern name for West Hill Farm, long the home of the Newnhams, is a mid-15th-century house facing south. It had a great hall of two 9-ft. bays open to the roof. The middle truss remains in place with a highly cambered tie-beam, on posts with moulded corbel-heads, and a plain king-post with four-way struts below a central purlin. The original curved braces below the tie-beam have been removed. In the closed framing of the east wall is also a kingpost. In the west partition, at first-floor level, is a mutilated moulded and embattled wall-beam, with mortices for former studding. The west wing (the solar ?) remains, although somewhat altered inside. In the east wing a great chimney-stack was inserted late in the 16th century, with the upper floor in the hall and the addition of a further east wing, which has moulded beams and exposed joists. The south entrance, by the chimney-stack, has the shaped brackets for a former 18th-century hood, which was probably gabled.
Perrymans, now Pearmints, is a house of two stories and attics built probably early in the 17th century. The walls are of timber-framing with brick infilling. The plan is rectangular, with a central chimney, and the original staircase next south of the chimney-stack. On the bressummer of the east fire-place have been carved the initials and date ID 1705.
Bolney Farm, on the west side of the road to Turner's Hill, about ¼ mile north of Hickpots, is a timber-framed house, probably of 15th-century origin, lengthened at both ends and provided with fire-places and chimneystacks in the 17th century. The two original wings have curved struts in the upper story of the east front. In the west wall of what was probably the original hall is a wide fire-place and projecting chimney-stack gathered in at the sides to two square shafts of 17thcentury bricks. A similar chimney-stack projects at the north end. An upper window in the front, of five lights, has moulded oak mullions. The lower rooms have open-timbered ceilings.
Hickpots, Burstye Farm, The Gardeners' Arms Inn, Tillinghurst Farm, and a timber-framed cottage near Lullings, all show features of 17th-century date.
The manor of WAKEHURST was held in the 16th century of the manor of Walstead in Lindfield, by fealty and rent of 12d. (fn. 6) As early as 1205 one William de Wakehurst held land in Ardingly, (fn. 7) and he seems to have been still living about 1235. (fn. 8) Another William is mentioned in 1278, and had three sons, Richard, William, and John. (fn. 9) Richard seems to have been in possession from 1287 to 1309, (fn. 10) and his namesake, Richard Wakehurst, was knight of the shire in Parliament in the reign of Henry V. (fn. 11) He died in 1454 and his widow Elizabeth ten years later, and as his sons had predeceased him his heirs were his two granddaughters Elizabeth and Margaret Wakehurst. The sisters were abducted and married by the brothers of their neighbour John Culpeper, Nicholas Culpeper marrying Elizabeth, and Richard marrying Margaret. (fn. 12) Nicholas and Elizabeth had eighteen children, of whom the eldest, Richard, inherited Wakehurst at his mother's death soon after 1517. He was succeeded by his son John in 1539, (fn. 13) and the latter died in 1565, leaving a son Thomas, (fn. 14) whose son Edward was only 9 at his father's death in 1571. (fn. 15) Thomas's widow Anne, who married as her third husband Henry Barkeley, LL.D., held Wakehurst during her lifetime. (fn. 16) Edward Culpeper was the builder of Wakehurst Place, in 1590, and was knighted at the accession of James I. (fn. 17) His son William, who succeeded him in 1630, (fn. 18) had been made a baronet in 1628, was M.P. for East Grinstead in 1640, and died in 1678, when, his son Benjamin having predeceased him, the manor passed to his grandson William. (fn. 19) This Sir William, who came of age in 1689, gambled away his property, and in 1694 sold Wakehurst for £9,000 to Dennis Liddell, (fn. 20) a Commissioner of the Navy and a friend of Pepys. Liddell was succeeded in 1717 by his son Richard, who evidently conveyed the manor to his brother, the Rev. Charles Liddell, rector of Ardingly and Worth, since he held courts there from 1731 onwards. (fn. 21) Charles Liddell at his death in 1757 left Wakehurst to his cousins Richard and Dennis Clarke, with remainder to Joseph Peyton, a distant relative. Richard died in 1760 and Dennis in 1776, both without issue, and the manor then came to Joseph Peyton, later an admiral in the navy. (fn. 22) He died in 1804, and his son, Rear-Admiral Joseph Peyton, in 1816. Captain John Ritson Peyton, son of the latter, held it until 1825, and his son Joseph John, a lieutenant in the Life Guards, until 1844, but in 1869 his son John East Hunter Peyton sold it to Caroline Frances, Dowager Marchioness of Downshire. (fn. 23) In 1893 Lady Downshire sold Wakehurst Place to Thomas William Boord, who was created a baronet in 1896, and he sold it in 1903 to Gerald W. E. Loder, (fn. 24) who in 1934 was created Baron Wakehurst of Ardingly, and died in 1936. His widow is the present owner.
The church of ST. PETER (fn. 25) occupies the site of a 12th-century church of which the only evidence now left is a small capital found buried in the north wall of the nave in 1887 and now preserved in the north aisle. Two or three stones reset in the south aisle wall are probably of the same period. The chancel, nave, and south aisle date chiefly from c. 1330, but the lower parts of the chancel walls may be earlier and the responds of the south arcade appear to contain 13th-century material. The west tower and south porch were added in the 15th century. The church was restored in 1853, and in 1887 the north aisle and vestry were added: the roofs were restored in 1926.
The chancel (25¼ ft. by 18½ ft.) has an early-14thcentury east window of three trefoiled lights and leaf tracery in a two-centred head with an external hoodmould. The window is partly restored. The chamfered rear-arch has a moulded label with head-stops. In the north wall is a window of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with an external hood-mould. Next west is a modern archway to the vestry. On the south side is a similar window. The two windows have inside remarkable rollmoulded wooden hood-moulds. Farther west is a singlelight trefoiled low-side window which has a transom and rebates for a shutter. It has an external hoodmould and is widely splayed inside. Between the windows is a priest's doorway with moulded jambs and pointed head, and segmental-pointed rear-arch: above, there are marks in the walling of a former gabled erection (a porch or hood?). There is no chancel-arch, but the south wall breaks forward about 13 inches. The chancel walls are of rubble with much mortar. They have a plinth of two orders which appears to be of the 13th century, and the lower stones of the walling are more or less coursed and larger and squarer than those in the upper parts of the walls. Flush with the east wall are north and south buttresses. The gablehead of the east wall has old moulded kneelers and plain coping, and a modern gable-cross. The roof is of collar-beam type and may be 14th-century; the wallplates are moulded and there are two plain tie-beams. It is covered with Horsham slabs. In the south wall is a 14th-century moulded piscina with a shallow multi-foiled basin and in the north wall an aumbry with rebated jambs and pointed head: both have hoodmoulds.
The nave (34½ ft. by 19½ ft.) has arcades of two bays. The northern, of 1887, has an octagonal pillar and chamfered responds and pointed arches. The eastern bay is a narrow one, the western wide. Eastwards is a 15th-century rood-stair with a square-headed doorway at the foot and a blocked upper doorway. The south arcade has an octagonal middle pillar retooled, with a modern base and a re-worked 14th-century moulded capital. The responds are peculiar and are probably of the 13th century adapted by the 14th-century builders: they are of part-octagonal plan with a two-thirds-round shaft, 5 in. in diameter, worked on each angle. The east respond has a 14th-century moulded semi-octagonal capital which ignores the outline of the respond. The west respond has a capital similarly treated but apparently modern, as is the base. The arches, original, are twocentred and of two chamfered orders. The roof is of the 15th century and is divided into three bays by trusses which have plain tie-beams, strutted king-posts, and longitudinal curved braces under a central purlin below the collar-beams. One truss comes above the chancel-screen. The roof is slightly higher than that of the chancel and is covered with Horsham slabs.
The modern north aisle (13 ft. wide) has two north windows of 14th-century character with pointed heads. The west window appears to be a 14th-century window reset and reworked, probably from the former north wall of the nave: it has two trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a square main head. An archway opens into the vestry.
The south aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has an east window of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights and a cinquefoiled circle in a two-centred head with an external hoodmould having human-head stops. South of the window are traces of a doorway to the Wakehurst pew. In the south wall are two windows, also of the 14th century, the western similar, but with a quatrefoil, and the eastern of two trefoiled ogee-headed lights under a square head with a label. The south doorway, between the windows, has hollow-chamfered jambs and pointed head with a hood-mould. In the west wall is a modern light of vesica-piscis shape. The walling of the aisle is of rubble, mostly in ironstone, and has a chamfered plinth. The west wall appears to have been rebuilt with old material. At the south-east angle are two square buttresses, perhaps later additions. A straight joint with angle dressings in the upper part of the west wall indicates the original south-west angle of the nave. The soffit of the roof, although it is gabled, is only slightly cambered. It has a middle truss with a moulded principal, a tie-beam on wall posts, and with curved braces below it, carried on plain stone corbels. At the feet of the braces are carved small human heads. There are also moulded wall-plates and central purlins, probably of the 14th century. In the south wall is a plain round-headed piscina with a half-round basin, and west of it a recess 7 ft. 1 in. long with moulded jambs and segmental arch.
The west tower (12 ft. square) is 50 ft. high, of three stages, and is built of rubble of roughly squared stones: it has no string-courses except to the plain parapet: the plinth is chamfered. At the two west angles are heavy diagonal buttresses of three stages: they are bonded into the walls, but are of different material and workmanship to the masonry in the lower half of the tower. The archway towards the nave has semioctagonal responds with plain bases and moulded capitals of the 15th century, the head being twocentred and of two chamfered orders. The west doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head with an external hood-mould, and the window above it is of three cinque-foiled lights and vertical tracery in a fourcentred head with an external hood-mould. The second stage has a single round-headed light in three walls and the top-stage a window of two round-headed lights in each of the four walls.
The roof is pyramidal and has a lead-covered central post with a capping: local legend asserts that a cresset or beacon formerly existed on the post. There are heavy beamed floors to the stories.
The south porch is of old timber framing of c. 1500 and is covered with weather-boarding except within 18 in. of the side eaves, which is left open and fitted with posts. The south front is gabled and has a modern entrance. The two trusses of the roof are of king-post type and the roof is covered with Horsham slabs. The framing of the walls is carried on dwarf stone walls. There is an inscription that the porch was restored in memory of the Rector 1875 to 1911.
The font, pulpit, and lectern are modern; the communion rails are of the 17th century and have turned and twisted balusters and made-up box handrails. The chancel-screen is of early-15th-century date, partly restored. It is divided by main moulded posts, which have capitals, into five main bays, of which the middle has a pair of doors. Each bay is sub-divided and each half-bay contains three open lights with cinquefoiled round heads and crocketed finials above the middle rail, which is carved with running foliage; below it is closed panelling, the outer two bays plain, the others traceried, all original except one. A part of the moulded top-rail remains, but the cornice is missing. The screen had been removed in 1853 and stored in the tower: it was refixed across the tower archway in 1887 and in 1924 was reset in its present position.
The only ancient glass is two 14th-century shields in the chancel: one on the north with the arms of Warenne, and the other, opposite, bears or a lion gules.
The tower has an ancient stair of oak balks rising from the level of the west window-ledge, against the north wall, to the first floor.
Lying in a recess in the north wall of the chancel is the effigy of a priest of c. 1330 in mass vestments: the head rests on a cushion, on either side of which is an angel, and he has a lion at his feet. The base is a rough piece of masonry. The recess is moulded and has a segmental-pointed arch and hood-mould with rather crude crockets and a finial with a square block and foliage. It is flanked by heavy square pilasters, which are carved in stages with window-tracery panels and have foiled gable-heads and crocketed tall pinnacles. The panel in the east pilaster is a copy of the east window of the chancel; the lower part of this pilaster was destroyed for the Wakehurst tomb. This is an altar-tomb with panelled stone sides and a moulded top slab of Purbeck marble containing a canopied brass with effigies of Richard Wakehurst, died 4th January 1454–5, and Elizabeth (Echingham) his wife. (fn. 26) Richard is represented wearing a doublet and a long fur-trimmed gown with loose wide sleeves and a girdle from which hang a pouch and short rosary; Elizabeth wears a close bodice and a loose skirt, gathered up to reveal her underskirt. She has tight sleeves with fur cuffs and wears a butterfly head-dress with a pedimental front. The canopy has panelled side-posts and gabled and crocketed heads. Above are three shields of arms; the dexter with those of Wakehurst, the sinister with Echingham, [azure] fretty [argent], and the middle with the one impaling the other.
The long side of this altar tomb is of two bays, each with a quatrefoil panel enclosing a blank shield and flanked by wide panelled pilasters: the west end has a similar bay: the east end is plain.
In the chancel floor is a slab with the brass effigies of Richard Culpeper and his wife Margaret, daughter of Richard Wakehurst. She died 25 July 1504: the date of Richard's death is left unfilled. It is a similar type of brass with two figures standing beneath a canopy. Richard is represented in plate armour with mail collar, gussets, and skirt, taces and tuilles, and broad-toed sabbatons with rowel spurs. The sword crosses diagonally behind and there is no dagger. Margaret wears a pedimental head-dress with embroidered lappets, gown with close bodice and tight sleeves with fur cuffs, and a girdle with a long pendant end. The double canopy is similar to the other except that the posts or pilasters are shorter at the head and the two shields in the spandrels are inscribed 'J[hu]' and 'M[er]cy'. The lower halves of the pilasters are missing and the upper part of the lady has been restored. Above are three shields of arms: dexter Culpeper, sinister Wakehurst, and the middle Culpeper impaling Wakehurst.
Another slab contains the brasses of Nicholas Culpeper, died 24 May 1510, and Elizabeth his wife (date of death not recorded). They were respectively brother and sister of Richard and Margaret. He is dressed in armour of the same kind as Richard wears, but with a longer mail skirt and tuilles, higher pauldrons, &c. He has a sword and dagger. The lady is very similar to Margaret. Beneath them are groups of ten sons and eight daughters, and there are three shields with the Culpeper and Wakehurst arms.
A fourth brass in the chancel is to Elizabeth (Farnefold) widow of Sir Edward Culpeper of Wakehurst, died 10 September 1633. She is represented wearing a veil head-dress, lace collar, full mantle, and gown which is open in front to reveal a richly embroidered underskirt; the sleeves are striped and have frilled cuffs. Above is a shield of arms.
A fifth brass is of Elizabeth, the seven-year-old daughter of Sir William Culpeper, who died 6 December 1634. The child is shown in a jacket with a deep lace-edged collar and puffed and slashed sleeves, and a full skirt open in front to show the embroidered underskirt, a cord girdle with a tassel, and a veiled headdress. Above is a rectangular plate with a wreath enclosing a lozenge of arms.
In the tower is a fragment of a cast iron slab, formerly used as a fire-back in a local cottage. It is a copy of the grave-slab of Anne Forster (1591–2) of Crowhurst, Surrey. (fn. 27)
The memorial for those who died in the Great War 1914–18 is an oak screen at the east end of the north aisle.
In the churchyard are nineteen table tombs, mostly of the 18th century, and a fine old yew tree.
On the stone west of the south-east window of the south aisle is scratched a sundial with arabic numerals and the date 1572 or 1592.
There are five old bells; one by Lester and Pack 1766, the second by Thomas Mears and Son 1805; the third has no inscription; the fourth is by Brian Eldridge 1629; and the other by John Waylett 1719. (fn. 28) The treble is by John Warner and Sons, 1911.
The communion plate includes a cup, paten, and flagon of 1672 engraved with the Culpeper arms, and an alms-dish of 1702. (fn. 29)
The registers date from 1557; the first volume with the early parchment transcript is carried up to 1651, the second is from 1652 to 1689, and the third from 1690 to 1723. (fn. 30) The original paper copy of 1557 is also preserved. There are also churchwardens' accounts from the late 17th century.
The church of Ardingly was granted to the Priory of St. Pancras at Lewes by William de Warenne II, (fn. 31) and remained with that house until surrendered to the King at the Dissolution in 1537. (fn. 32) In 1538 it was granted to Thomas Cromwell (fn. 33) but returned in 1540 to the Crown, who presented until 1550. (fn. 34) The advowson was then granted to Sir Thomas Smith, (fn. 35) but in 1553 was purchased by John Culpeper and Edward his elder son, and was held in socage of the Queen as of the honor of Grafton, Northants. (fn. 36) Subsequently it descended with the manor of Wakehurst, although alienated for a while to John Thetcher from 1566 to 1589, and in 1590 to Ninian Warde. (fn. 37) The advowson and rectory remained with Wakehurst (fn. 38) until the sale of the manor in 1869, (fn. 39) when the advowson was retained by Mr. J. E. H. Peyton. After 1877 it was in the hands of his trustees until 1892, when it was acquired by the Rev. T. Bowden. (fn. 40) He died in 1925 and his widow, within a year, disposed of the advowson to Sir Charles A. King-Harman, K.C.M.G., who is the present patron. (fn. 41)