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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Hadlega, Hodlega (xi cent.); Hodlegh (xiv cent.); Hothelegh (xvi cent.).
This parish has an area of 5,263 acres. The railway line from Haywards Heath to East Grinstead crosses the southern tip of the parish and, joining that from Lewes, skirts the eastern side, penetrating the ridge by a tunnel. The village is in the centre of the parish, on a high ridge reaching a level of 600 ft. just north of it, and along which runs a road from Turners Hill to Wych Cross. The station is about ¾ mile east of the village, just north of the tunnel, on the line from Lewes to East Grinstead. About a mile and a half west of the village are Stonelands and Rockhurst (or Chiddingly), a little south of which is an outcrop of sandstone cliffs with the rock 'Great upon Little'. The ridge on which the village of West Hoathly stands is followed by the road north-west to Selsfield Common, where a height of 602 ft. is reached, and here the road joins the main one from Lindfield to Caterham. North of the village the ground slopes down to Gravetye Manor, and to the south the land falls again, in two long narrow ridges, on one of which is Hook Farm, and on the other a road leading to the village of Highbrook, in the south of the parish, a separate ecclesiastical parish since 1882, with All Saints Church, at a level of about 400 ft.
A Countess of Huntingdon chapel was built in West Hoathly in 1826.
The soil is clay, with a subsoil of sand, and the land is mainly pasture.
The oldest part of the village lies in the street running approximately north and south, west of the church. The Manor House is on the west side of the street opposite the church. It was built as a dower house in 1627 by the Infields of Gravetye. (fn. 1) Certain features suggest alterations at different periods, but from the records it seems that Mrs. Infield was in the habit of changing her mind during the erection of the building. The original plan was obviously to be of the normal half-H form with well-projected wings in front and possibly a middle porch. The middle part, however, normally the hall in an earlier house, was pinched in length to less than two-thirds of the breadth of either of the gabled wings, and the principal room or parlour was allocated the whole of the north wing. Mrs. Infield's alterations are apparent first in having the front of the middle part brought out so that the wings projected merely a foot or so, and in the disposition of the interior of the middle part: this was provided with a north passage 6 ft. 9 in. wide from the front entrance next to the parlour. As this left, south of the passage, only a small chamber, its south wall was moved a few feet to encroach on the south wing, so that the elevation of this wing gives a false idea of the size of the rooms behind it. The main staircase is set behind the front face of this wing—a most unusual position.
The walls are of ashlar, with stone-mullioned windows: in the east front of the north wing they are of six lights to the ground floor—the great parlour—, four to the first floor, and three to the second. In the south wing they are similar, except that the ground-floor window is only of four lights. The upper windows have labels: a string-course along the whole front forms the drip-stone to the ground-floor windows: this stringcourse is continued inside, on the south side of the north wing, evidently being in position before the narrow entrance hall was built between the wings.
The middle part contains the entrance doorway, next the north wing, with a four-centred and square head, and next to it are two windows of three lights. Above is a window of nine lights. All these windows have moulded mullions. There are similar windows in the other walls; one on the south side, of six lights, was altered to form a garden doorway in the 17th century. There are projecting chimney-stacks on both north and south sides and one at the back, with plain shafts of 17th-century bricks. The roofs are covered with Horsham slabs. The forecourt to the house is closed by a 17th-century brick wall in which is a roundarched gateway of stone.
The inner doorway in the entrance hall has been set inside out: it has a four-centred head and above it are the remains of a two-light window of stone. Next south is a borrowed light and an oak post to support the wall above. These openings are in the original intended east front. The long room in the north wing has a wide fire-place with a wood lintel; the other rooms have moulded stone arched and square-headed fire-places. The parlour in the south wing has early-17th-century panelling and a chimney-piece with pilasters and arched bays to the overmantel. At the east end of the long north room is a dais, two steps up, with a balustrade. This and the main staircase in the south wing have heavy turned balusters, newels or posts with moulded and acorn heads, and moulded handrails. Several of the upper rooms are lined with 17th-century panelling of different periods. There is no distinctive roof construction visible in the attics.
A house a little farther north on the same side, now two tenements, is of about 1550. The lower story of the east front is of modern bricks above a stone plinth, the upper story tile-hung. The southernmost bay projects slightly and is gabled: the upper story was originally jettied but is now underbuilt. On the south side is a fine chimney-stack, 10½ ft. wide, of stone with gatheredin sides and a brick upper part with two square shafts; and at the back is another, also of stone, with a square shaft of thin bricks. Both have wide fire-places and the ceilings are open-timbered: one staircase up to the attics is of solid oak balks.
The Cat Inn, north of the church, is of the early 16th century, with a later inserted central chimneystack having a wide fire-place. The walls are of brick and tile-hung facing, but the ancient framing is visible inside: one lower room has an original moulded beam, and another very wide flat joists, while highly cambered tie-beams are to be seen in the upper rooms.
'The Priest House', at the south end of the street on the west side, is a 15th-century house facing approximately east. The rectangular plan is of five bays, the two northernmost being the original solar wing, the next two the great hall, and the southernmost the buttery. The original pointed doorway to the screens, next to the buttery, is now blocked and another doorway made next north of it. As in other small houses of this period, the roof was continued from end to end with an unbroken ridge line; it retains three of the ancient trusses; one, the middle truss of the hall, had arched braces below the tie-beam; one brace still re mains: the next to the north was the closed framing of the end of the hall and has a king-post strutted from the tie-beam; and the third, the middle truss of the solar, is similar. In the 16th century an upper floor was inserted in the hall and the central chimney-stack built in the south bay of the hall, right against the middle truss, but as it did not fill the whole bay the framing of the south end-wall was removed and the space thrown into the buttery wing. It has fire-places 8¼ ft. and 6¼ ft. wide in the lower story with stone jambs and wood bressummers, and one on the first floor, in the north side, has moulded stone jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. The buttery has original wide flat ceiling-beams: those in the middle bay are stopchamfered, and those in the solar wing are rougher and probably later repairs. The remains of one original window with diamond-shaped mullions are left in the back wall of the buttery, and there are others of the 16th or 17th century. The house, once two tenements, has a staircase at each end. The walls are of framing with plaster infilling and in part covered with weatherboarding. The roof is tiled. The building was reconditioned by Mr. J. Godwin King, who presented it to the Sussex Archaeological Trust in 1935.
Of the buildings on the other (east) side of the street, two at least date from the 17th century, on the evidence of their chimney-stacks, of thin bricks and cross-shaped plan.
Duckyls Holt, about ½ mile north-north-west of the church, is a 15th-century house retaining remains of the usual king-post and central purlin roof-construction, but has been much renovated. All the rooms have opentimbered ceilings and the central chimney-stack, inserted c. 1600, has wide fire-places. Timber-framing shows in the external walls of the upper story and the roof is tiled.
Stonelands is largely modern, but it incorporates, at its south end, a stone-built wing, with gabled east and west ends, of c. 1580, and south of that a still earlier wing of timber-framing, the present kitchen, of c. 1500, the two parts forming a T-shaped plan with the kitchen as the stem: in the angle of its west side with the stone wing is a square winding staircase, and this is faced on its outer (west) front with a gabled stone wall contemporary with the larger gable-end. Old timberframing is seen inside and the ceiling is open-timbered. The kitchen has a 9-ft.-wide fire-place with a lintel, but in front of the chimney-breast on both floors are crossbeams with mortices, indicating the position of the early Tudor open fire and flue over, preceding the Elizabethan chimney-stack. The room in the 1580 wing has a fire-place, backing the kitchen fire-place, with stone jambs and oak lintel; in it is one of the fire-backs with the 'Anne Forster' epitaph. (fn. 2) The room has 17th-century panelling and an open-timbered ceiling, and the room above has an arched stone fire-place. The stairs in the lower part have been altered, but are ancient from the first floor to the attics and have a central newel with a pear-shaped head. There is a very heavy door to the stairs, on the first floor, hung with strap-hinges: it is perhaps the original front door refixed; there are also several other ancient battened doors. The east and west ends of the 1580 wing have stone mullioned windows; there are also cellar windows in the chamfered plinth. The gable-heads have pinnacles on the kneelers and at the apices, and the staircase gable has a two-light window. Next south of the stair was the former front entrance to the present kitchen-wing, now altered to a window. The roofs are tiled and the chimney-stack, of fairly large bricks, is of cross-shaped plan.
Gravetye Manor House is a three-storied building of local stone erected about 1600 by Richard Infield, an iron founder. It faces south and appears to have been built in two parallel ranges of unequal length, the southern of four bays and the northern of three; the bay lacking at the east end is now occupied by the modern staircase. The south porch was added a little later and bears the initials of Henry Faulconer, the husband of Richard's daughter Agnes: her gravestone in the church is dated 1635. Mr. William Robinson added a long wing to the east of the older part extending to the north. He also renovated the ancient part: the upper ceilings appear to have been lowered to give height to the top rooms and now encroach on the heads of the windows of the second story. The south front has the normal Elizabethan stone windows of four lights to the first and second stories, with moulded mullions, transoms and labels, and three lights to the third story: there are also four basement windows. The eaves-cornice is heavily moulded and broken up by four detached gables to the third story: these have corbelled kneelers and pinnacles. The porch has a round-arched entrance and a similar gable in which is a panel with the initials H F. Between the two middle windows of the second story are traces of a panel with a pedimental head. The west elevation has two similar but wider gable-heads and like windows. In the middle of the ground floor is a four-centred and square-headed doorway with spandrels carved with the initials R I and K I. (fn. 3) About this opening are traces of 18th-century pilasters and pedimented hood, now removed for a modern porch.
The north elevation is a repetition of the south front without the doorway, except that the easternmost bay is cemented, and, instead of the heavy eaves-cornice, there is merely a narrow half-round string-course below the eaves gutters. The roofs are covered with modern Colley Weston slates and in the valley between the two ranges is a range of chimney-stacks of varying types, some of which are probably modern. The easternmost has two star-shaped shafts, the middle has a square shaft between two detached diagonal shafts (this group is probably the oldest), the westernmost has conjoined diagonal shafts. There is also a modern chimney-stack over the east part of the north range.
Internally the chimney-pieces are the most interesting features. The western three-fourths of the south range forms a large hall or parlour with an original dais at the west end. It has a north fire-place with moulded stone jambs: the modern overmantel incorporates two carved panels of the early 17th century. The room is lined with modern panelling. The eastern smaller chamber has a similar north fire-place with spandrels carved with rosettes and foliage and an overmantel of six panels in two tiers carved with arabesque ornament and bearing the date 1603. The room is lined with early-17th-century panelling with a fluted frieze. The doorway now opening from the stair hall has moulded stone jambs, and above it is a two-light window, presumably once external. The western room in the north range also has an overmantel of three panels of arabesque ornament dated 1603 and a moulded cornice. The chamber above this has a moulded stone fire-place with the initials R I and K I carved in the spandrels. It is flanked by Ionic fluted pilasters and has a fluted mantel frieze and shelf. The overmantel is of two bays divided and flanked by fluted pilasters and containing roundheaded panels carved in low relief with half-length portraits of Richard Infield and his wife in Elizabethan costume. The room is lined with late-16th-century panelling. Above the hall are two chambers entered by a moulded stone doorway with an arched and square head: it has a plain heavy oak door hung with straphinges. Inside (south of) it is a small lobby with doors fixed askew to open into the two rooms, and meeting the partition that divides them. This partition is of early-17th-century panelling divided on both faces into three bays by fluted pilasters: the doors are of similar panelling and their hinges are partly of original cock'shead type. The western room has similar panelling on the other walls and the stone fire-place has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a fluted frieze dated ANo DO. 1598. The eastern room also has some old panelling on the south wall. The carved overmantel, apparently re-set, is of three early-17thcentury panels with a fluted frieze. The easternmost room is entered by a moulded stone arched door-way from the stair hall, but it has a two-light window over it like that to the room below. The door is a heavy one of battens, nail-studded. The ceiling of the stairhall encroaches on the head of the window, but inside the room a half-round rear-arch is raised above the general ceiling-level to clear the head. The room has a stone fire-place like the others and an early-17thcentury overmantel of three panels carved with plants or flowers in low relief within half-round arches and divided by Ionic pilasters; a frieze below the panels is carved with dragons and arabesque ornament. Several of the fire-places have 17th-century iron fire-backs. The main staircase is modern. There are no noticeable ancient features in the third story.
The house is set on a plateau which is terraced and has a steep incline south of it. There is an old disused sunken road leading up to the west of the site from the south, which local legend connects with smuggling expeditions. West of this road and about 200 yards south-west of the great house is the earlier manor house, now known as Little Gravetye. This is a timber-framed house facing south-east and of rectangular plan in three bays and a chimney-bay. The middle bay and the south-west bay, with the narrower chimney-bay between them, date probably from about 1500. The south-west bay retains heavy ceiling beams and wide joists of that period: the middle bay has stopchamfered beams and lighter chamfered joists and appears to have been an open hall with a chimney space at its south-west end, into which the stone-built chimney-stack was inserted when the hall was converted into two stories later in the 16th century. The northeast bay was probably built at this time; it is obviously an addition, as it has separate story-posts and open framing close against the older closed north-east end. The roof framing is of the usual early Tudor type with wind-braced side-purlins and wide flat rafters; over the north-east bay are heavy collar-beams. The central chimney-stack has a wide fire-place with stone jambs and oak bressummer in its east face. An original beam crosses the front of the chimney-breast on this face, another on the west face is partly sunk in the masonry. The house has been renovated: some of the main posts in the front have had their lower ends cut away; the south-west gabled end has been refaced with stone and a modern porch has been added.
Tickeridge, a farm-house standing on a mound above the road, close to Kingscote Station, is a late-14thcentury house facing approximately east and west. It differs in several ways from the 15th-century houses in the district. It had a great hall of two 13-ft. bays: it was 15 ft. wide and had, in addition, side-aisles 4½ ft. deep, the roof of the main body being continued down over them. At the north end is the solar wing of two stories, its roof-ridge being lower than that of the hall and at right-angles to it: the east and west ends of the lower story are in line with the aisle-walls, but the upper story is jettied at both ends and has half-gables. The buttery at the south end was treated as a continuation of the hall, but probably in two stories, the braced sideframing or quasi-arcade to the aisles being also continued in the upper story to assist the roof-construction. (fn. 4) The central chimney-stack was inserted in the 16th century in the south bay of the hall, right against the middle truss: it is 8 ft. thick and has a great stone fireplace towards the north bay, 11 ft. wide and 4 ft. 8 in. deep, with a chamfered oak bressummer. On the west side of it was an oven, now removed. The usual upper floor was inserted at the same time in the hall; it has a chamfered cross-beam against the chimney-breast and chamfered longitudinal joists. In the north wall of the hall is seen the 14th-century moulded wall-beam, 1 ft. 5 in. in height, and flanking it are doorways from the aisles into the two rooms of the solar wing: the eastern—the better-preserved—has a stop-chamfered square-headed frame and shows no traces of an arch: in it is a 16th-century door of four vertical panels with moulded muntins. The post at the west end of the moulded beam, next the door, has been supplemented by another post on which is carved F. H. 1748. In the upper story of the north bay is seen the side-framing of the 15-ft. main body of the hall dividing it from the aisles: each side has a purlin supported by vertical curved braces forming almost an arch. Except for a recessed dormer-window on the east side, they are filled in, so that the continued roofs over the aisles are not visible; a wider joist in the ceiling below indicates the position of each. The north end-wall, in which the moulded beam is set, had similar curved braces, but only the eastern remains in place: the wall is otherwise of square framing. None of the roof-construction above the present ceiling can be seen. The middle truss of the hall is also buried in the facing of the chimney-breast, but on the south side, in the spaces next to the chimneystack—that is, on the site of the upper parts of the aisles—the ends of the trusses are partly exposed. To the east is seen a 14-inch tie-beam, or collar-beam, a heavy principal rafter, and a curved brace under their junction. To the west it is similar, but the curved brace has been removed, probably for a former doorway. In the eastern upper room of the former buttery there is sideframing similar to that in the sides of the hall for the aisles, but here in skeleton form. The partition which formed the south end-wall of the hall has shaped storyposts and curved braces in this story, as at the north end of the hall, but in the lower story most of the framing has been removed. This part had no fire-places until recent years. In order to fit it as a separate tenement, a thin chimney-stack has been built-in parallel with the back of the ancient chimney-stack, but with a narrow straight staircase between the two. Most of the partition has been cleared away to create recesses in front of the new fire-places, leaving a few studs in position to support the superstructure. The ceilings of the rooms are plastered, but stop-chamfered posts and wall-beams are exposed in the outer walls. The north solar wing has very heavy flat joists (exposed in the ceiling of the western lower room) and they appear below the overhang outside. The upper rooms have chamfered ceiling-joists of the 17th century and the roof-construction is concealed.
Externally, the hall and buttery have square framing without any brace-timbers, but the lower parts have been largely replaced by 18th-century brick-work. The west end of the solar wing has five curved brackets under the overhang, four of which have been renewed. Both stories have curved braces, turned inwards from the outer angle-posts; the half-gable head has an old moulded barge-board. The wall is built on stone foundations and has an old plain doorway. The east end of the wing shows similar curved braces in the lower story, but the projecting upper story is covered with weather-boarding. The north side is covered entirely with similar boarding above modern brick foundations. The wing has higher eaves and a lower ridge than those of the hall.
A doorway in the west front opens into a lobby next to the chimney-stacks; the door is a plain one, but is hung with a pair of ornamental strap-hinges, with branches, the ends of which have stamped rosette patterns: they are probably of the 14th or 15th century. In the hall is an ancient table 12 ft. 3 in. long by 2 ft. 9 in. wide, and the bressummer of the great fire-place still has affixed to it the winding apparatus for the 16thor 17th-century turnspit: one long spit also survives.
The roofs are tiled. Dormer windows with hipped roofs in the east side light the upper story of the former hall and buttery. The central chimney-stack is of 17th or 18th-century bricks above the roof, with a modern top.
East of the house is a 16th-century barn of five bays with braced tie-beams; the original roof-timbers above the tie-beams have been removed.
Chiddingly Farm, west of the village, has the remains of a two-bay hall of the 15th century, about 24 ft. by 18 ft. wide and facing east, with a late-16th-century wing behind it, equalling in width the length of the hall. The roof-trusses are of the usual king-post and central purlin type, the middle truss having large curved braces below a highly cambered tie-beam. The lower halves of the trusses are exposed in the upper bedrooms: the upper halves, with the wide flat rafters, &c., above the ceilings, are smoke-blackened. At the south end of the hall, on the ground floor, is a moulded wall-beam which has mortices and peg-holes for studs other than those now in the partition below it. These, although ancient in appearance, are said to have been placed in position in modern times, and therefore it is possible the beam also was brought from elsewhere. On the west side of the hall is a wide fire-place with stone jambs, probably ante-dating the late-16th-century back wing, which has a wider fire-place backing it. The later wing has a lower floor, with steps down to it from the hall, and the ceiling has moulded cross-beams, and wall-beams which are carried round the recesses flanking the chimney-stack. On the first floor the beams are chamfered and the chimney-stack has an arched and square stone fire-place. The older walls are covered with tilehanging, except the north side of the Elizabethan wing, which is of ashlar stone-work, perhaps of later repair. Windows in both north and west walls of the wing are original and have moulded mullions and transoms. The roof of the wing is modern and now shows two gables over the west wall. The chimney-stack of the old part is of cross-shaped plan.
There is also a 16th-century barn of four bays with original trusses.
Philpots, south-west of the church, mentioned in 1721 under the name of 'Barleylands', appears to be of 15th-century origin but rebuilt about 1600 with the re-use of some mutilated 15th-century timbers. It was of rectangular plan, with a dairy at the east end, and in the 19th century wings were added to both the east and west ends. The principal room in the old part has a ceiling-beam against its east wall with a wide chamfer, and below it is a deep straight coving of plaster sloping back to the partition, which is also of old framing of the 16th or 17th century. At the south end of this beam is an ancient heavy post, now hacked back below the top, and south of it, in line with the beam but set rather askew, is a chamfered and cambered lintel of a doorway with peg-holes showing that it originally had an arch below it. The lintel comes against the south wall of the room and there are no indications that the recess which it spans was ever used as a doorway. The room has a 12-in. longitudinal ceiling-beam with foliage stops to the chamfers, and on the west side is a wide fire-place. The room next east has a 6-ft.-wide fire-place on its east side: below the chamber is a cellar cut out of the living rock and above it old framing with blocked windows is visible in the front wall. A modern staircase has been built out north of it, but from the first floor to the attic is an ancient winding stair with a central newel. The roofs show no old features. The walls are mostly tile-hung or brick, the modern parts of stone.
Hook Farm, ¾ mile south-south-west of the church, is a stone-fronted building, apparently of the end of the 16th century, rectangular in plan, with a stone fireplace 8 ft. wide at its north end, where is a modern cross-wing. The room with the wide fire-place has a stop-chamfered ceiling-beam, and an unusual feature is a rounded alcove in the south wall with an 18th-century dresser: some of the upper rooms also have open-timbered ceilings. Most of the windows, &c., are modern, but in the gabled south end, which is partly of stone, is a blocked window to the upper floor with chamfered jambs, &c., probably of the 16th century.
Pickeridge is an Elizabethan building with timberframed walls covered with tile-hanging and weatherboarding. The plan is L-shaped; the gabled cross-wing at the east end has a projecting chimney-stack of stone on its east side with a brick shaft, which has a moulded base and a V-shaped pilaster on the outer face. Inside is a Tudor moulded stone fire-place with a mutilated four-centred arch in a square head. The main body has a central chimney-stack of plain square form above the tiled roof, with a wide fire-place towards the middle room. The ceilings are plastered and some of the main beams encased: others, to the middle room and to the upper rooms in the wing, are chamfered, with moulded stops. The upper part of the wall between the main part and the wing shows ancient framing, including a heavy and highly cambered tie-beam on shaped posts, but above this the timbers appear to be later. In the north-east corner of the east wing is an original semiwinding staircase from ground floor to attic, with a central oak newel. There is also a cellar below the wing with heavy ceiling joists.
The farm buildings include a 16th-century barn of five bays: it has queen-post trusses with curved braces under the tie-beams, similar curved braces in the side walls, and curved wind-braces to the roof-purlins. A cottage just east of the farm is probably a converted outbuilding of the 16th or 17th century: it has weatherboarded walls and steeply pitched tiled roof, formerly thatched.
Highbrook is a hamlet 1½ miles south of West Hoathly village. The modern church of All Saints is built in the late-13th-century style and consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle, south porch, and a tower north of the chancel with a shingled oak spire.
Among the buildings near the church, at least four are of the 17th century or earlier. Highbrook House, about 200 yards south of the church, retains vestiges of a 15th-century great hall of two 13 ft. bays, with the usual wings north and south of it, probably all under one continuous roof. In the upper story can be seen the shaped story-posts and highly cambered tie-beam of the middle truss of the hall, all with mortices and peg-holes for a former arch below the tie-beam. The framing of the north end wall is also exposed, with one remaining curved brace. A floor was inserted in the 16th century and a chimneystack built in the south bay, with an 8-ft. fire-place of stone having an oak lintel cut in the form of a fourcentred arch with sunk spandrels: there is also carved in the centre of the face of it a circle containing a sixpointed star. Apart from chamfered ceiling-beams and some old ceiling-joists in an upper room, the interior is modernized. Some external framing is exposed in the back (east) wall. The old part is sandwiched between a long parallel addition of brick in front (west) and a shorter parallel addition at the back.
Three houses opposite Highbrook House have brick and tile-hung walls and tiled roofs with 17th-century central chimney-stacks of thin bricks and of the usual rebated type. One, 'Willards Cottage', shows some traces inside of a 15th- or early-16th-century origin, but has been reconditioned and many of the ancient timbers removed. Sheriffs Cottages and Sheriffs Farm, farther south, are buildings of similar kind and date, with rebated central chimney-stacks, wide fire-places, and open-timbered ceilings.
The White Hart Inn on the Ardingly road, is probably a 17th-century building, showing timberframing in all walls. The central chimney-stack is of 18th-century bricks. 'Hoathly Hill', nearly ¼ mile east of the church, is largely modern but has on its west side a 16th- or early-17th-century projecting chimney-stack of stone with a shaft of thin bricks.
There was no manor of West Hoathly, but part of the parish belonged to the manor of Ditchling, in Streat Hundred (q.v.). Another portion (sometimes called a manor) belonged to the manor of Plumpton, also in Streat Hundred (q.v.), being held by the Bardolfs and their successors. (fn. 5)
The manor of GRAVETYE was held in the early 17th century of the manor of Streat. (fn. 6) A family of that name was living in West Hoathly in the 13th and 14th centuries. Michael and Bartholomew de Gravetye were holding land in this district in 1296, (fn. 7) and a Bartholomew occurs between 1327 (fn. 8) and 1332, (fn. 9) but nothing further is known of the family.
Gravetye first appears as a manor in 1571, when Richard Infield died seised of it, leaving an infant son Richard. (fn. 10) The second Richard died in 1619, (fn. 11) and his eldest son, a third Richard, in 1625, when it passed by will to his brother James Infield, (fn. 12) who died without issue in 1633. (fn. 13) Gravetye then passed to his widow Mary, who subsequently married the Rev. John Killingworth, (fn. 14) and with him, in 1635, settled the manor on three of James Infield's sisters and their husbands, namely Agnes and Henry Faulconer, Cordell and John Watson, and Bridget Infield, (fn. 15) who afterwards married John Saunders. They were still holding the manor in 1647, (fn. 16) but in 1651 it is said to have been conveyed by Henry Faulconer (presumably the surviving heir) to Edward Payne. (fn. 17) The latter died in 1660 and Gravetye passed to his second son Richard, and in turn to his son and grandson, both Richard, and in 1732 to the last Richard's brother Thomas. (fn. 18) Thomas Payne died in 1763 and his son Thomas Holles Payne sold the manor in 1791 to William Clifford, timber merchant; (fn. 19) a Mr. Reynolds, a minor, was holding it in 1835, (fn. 20) and in 1870 it was in the possession of F. Cayley, (fn. 21) who died in 1874. (fn. 22) Before the end of the 19th century it was purchased by William Robinson the horticulturist, who died in 1935 and left the estate to the nation to be used for the study of forestry under the Board of Agriculture.
The reputed manor of CHITTINGLY (now called Chiddingly) is said to have been given to the College of South Malling by Aldwulf, King of the South Saxons. (fn. 23)
Land in West Hoathly was held from early times by a family of the name. William de Chytyngele occurs in 1296 and 1310, (fn. 24) and Richard in the latter year and in 1327. (fn. 25) Beatrice, probably his widow, was in possession in 1332. (fn. 26) A John de Chytynglegh is mentioned in 1387, (fn. 27) and his widow Margaret seems to have conveyed the property before 1409 to John Pope and his wife Joan, (fn. 28) perhaps her daughter. In the Pope family Chittingly evidently descended for more than a century, for in 1536 John Pope son of John Pope of Woodhache conveyed it (then first called a manor) to Thomas Michell. (fn. 29) Another Thomas Michell sold it in 1577 to Robert Mills, (fn. 30) and his son, another Robert Mills, conveyed it in 1622 to Edward Payne. (fn. 31) Chittingly remained in the Payne family for some time, descending from Edward to his second son Richard in 1660. (fn. 32) Eventually it passed to Richard's great-nephew Charles Payne, who died in 1734, (fn. 33) leaving the manor to his daughter Anna wife of Gibbs Crawfurd. (fn. 34) Their son Charles Payne Crawfurd held it, (fn. 35) but his son Robert probably sold it with his other Sussex lands. (fn. 36) The estate now belongs to the Earl of Limerick, but the manorial rights have lapsed.
The manor attached to the impropriate RECTORY of West Hoathly belonged to the Priory of St. Pancras at Lewes and descended with the advowson until after the death of Anne of Cleves, and in 1559 was granted to Thomas Reeves. (fn. 37) Next year Thomas Browne son of John Browne, who was farming the rectory from the priory in 1524, bought it, (fn. 38) and John Browne died seised of it in 1608, leaving a son John. He held it of the king as of his manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 39) The younger John's son, another John, (fn. 40) in 1695 conveyed the manor to Sir John and Francis Gyles, (fn. 41) as trustees for the marriage settlement of their cousin Anne Hooper, whose second husband Robert Hooper was Attorney-General in Barbadoes. (fn. 42) At her death in 1715 her nephew John Tidcombe was instructed to sell the manor, (fn. 43) and it was bought in 1731 by Robert Bostock of Otford, Kent. (fn. 44) Ellis Bostock held it in 1786; (fn. 45) in 1790 it was owned by Robert Bostock; (fn. 46) and in 1822 it was held by Robert John Stileman and James Bethune Bostock. (fn. 47) Subsequently it was sold, in 1879 to John Cotton Powell and in 1908 to J. Godwin King, by whom it was given in 1918 to his daughter Ursula Ridley, the present lady of the manor. (fn. 48)
The parish church of ST. MARGARET consists of a chancel, nave, south chapel, south aisle, south porch, and west tower with a modern vestry south of it. The walls are of local sandstone, the roofs covered partly with Horsham slabs and partly red tiles. The nave dates from c. 1090; it had a small square chancel, of which the north wall remains. A narrow south aisle with an arcade of two bays was added c. 1175. About the middle of the 13th century the chancel was lengthened so that it exceeded the length of the nave. The second addition was the south chapel, c. 1270, with an arcade of two bays: an original 12th-century doorway and a 13th-century lancet window were removed from the chancel wall to the new south wall at the same time. This work was followed by the widening of the south aisle, c. 1330, to exceed slightly the width of the chapel. The west tower was the final medieval enlargement, c. 1400, and the loss of the west window of the nave necessitated the insertion of a larger window in the north wall, somewhat later in the century. Other windows had already been inserted in the chancel, one of c. 1330 in the north wall near the west end, and one of late-14th-century date at the east end of the south wall in place of the 13th-century window there. There is no evidence as to when the ancient chancel arch was destroyed, but it probably occurred when the rood was placed in position in the 15th century: certainly alterations were made then to the east respond of the nave arcade, and the upper doorway was cut through the wall. The south porch is modern, probably replacing an earlier porch. The church was restored in 1870.
The chancel (c. 37 ft. by 18½ ft.) has an east window of three lancets under a pointed head. The original window had been remodelled in the 17th century, but the lower parts of the 13th-century jambs were retained. These are of two chamfered orders outside, and the inner splays have undercut angle-shafts with moulded bases. The upper part of the window is a modern restoration based on the design of the old east window of the south chapel. The gable-head above is modern and contains a sexfoil bulls-eye window. In the eastern half of the north wall are two mid-13th-century windows close together, the eastern a single lancet and the western of two lancet-lights under a pointed main head with a quatrefoil piercing in the spandrel. The jambs are like those of the east window, the inner angle-shafts having moulded bell-capitals and bases. The reararches are also moulded and have conjoined labels without carved stops. Farther west is a small blocked lancet window, referred to below, not visible inside, and west of this a 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee-heads and a quatrefoil in a two-centred main head. In the south wall were two 13th-century windows like those in the north wall, but the western was almost all destroyed for the south arcade and the eastern replaced late in the 14th century by the existing window, which is of two trefoiled lights under a square head. Of the western window, only the east splay and part of its rear-arch and hood-mould remain. The south arcade is of two bays with an octagonal middle pillar and responds to match. The moulded capitals differ little in contour from those in the 13th-century windows. The arches are two-centred and of two chamfered orders.
The walls are of rubble. There is about 14 ft. of coursed rubble in the north wall similar to that of the north wall of the nave and probably of the same date. (fn. 49) In this stretch of wall is the small lancet window of the early 13th century, now blocked. This was probably an enlargement of a tiny light of the earliest period some of the jamb-stones of which remain in its west jamb. The courses of the east jamb of the lancet are larger and more finely jointed than those in the west, and the head is in one piece. East of this stretch is about 3½ ft. of rough masonry, indicating the position of the original east wall removed when the chancel was lengthened. A moulded string-course to the added part stops at this scar, and there is no attempt at coursing in the rubblework. At the angles are square buttresses, original but partly restored, and the string-course is repeated in the east and south walls. The roof, of hammer-beam type, is entirely modern.
In the south wall are a piscina and sedilia of the 13th century. The piscina has a fairly large recess with moulded jambs, having moulded base-stops and a trefoiled pointed head; it has a plain half-round basin and a stone credence-shelf. The sedilia have shafted jambs like those of the windows, and intermediate partitions with attached shafts; the segmental-pointed heads are trefoiled.
The south chapel (about 25 ft. by 15½ ft.) has an east window like that of the chancel but mostly ancient, obviously a copy of the original window of the chancel, made 20 or 30 years later. In the south wall are two windows also influenced by the side windows of the chancel, but an advance in design. They are each of two trefoiled lights under a two-centred head with a quatrefoil in the tympanum. The rest of the tracery is indicated externally by sinkings in the masonry: internally it is merely a quatrefoil piercing or plate tracery as in the chancel. West of them is a third window, a lancet with rebated jambs and head, probably used as a lowside window in the chancel wall and moved to its present position for the same purpose when the chapel was built. The sill and the lower courses of the jambs are of comparatively modern restoration. Between the lancet and the next window is a re-set 12th-century doorway with a round head of two stones, probably also from the chancel. In it is an ancient plain battened door repaired at the foot; it is hung with strap-hinges with foiled ends.
In the south wall is a trefoiled pointed piscina: it had a hood-mould, now cut away. The basin is circular and has a fluted surface.
The masonry of the east and south walls is a very irregular rubble with much ironstone and some cement facing.
The west arch of the chapel is of two chamfered orders dying on to the side walls. The roof is of trussed type and has two moulded tie-beams of the 15th century.
The nave (about 32½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has one north window of the 15th century; it is of three cinquefoiled lights under a segmental-pointed head with an external hood-mould. Farther east is a tiny window of the late 11th century with a round head: it is now blocked and recessed outside. Under the 15th-century window is a blocked doorway of the 13th century: it is pointed and has a head of two stones. The walling is of coursed rubble with wide joints and much mortar. There are dressings at the east and west angles also with wide joints and tooled diagonally.
The south arcade, of c. 1175, is of two bays: it has a massive round middle pillar with a plain capital and chamfered abacus, and a plain round mould to the base, which stands on a square sub-base. It is matched in the west respond but the east respond is a later alteration with a rather shallow semi-octagonal shaft in one stone and a crudely moulded capital and chamfered abacus, both extended to the outer order. The outer angles are stop-chamfered.
The arches are two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the inner order being small compared with the thickness (4 ft.) of the wall. There is some irregularity in the curve of the eastern arch, caused by the reconstruction of the east respond. The voussoirs are of medium size. East of the arcade, high up, is a 15thcentury rood-loft doorway with a segmental-pointed arch. The roof is of the usual 15th-century type: it is of two bays with a middle truss consisting of a moulded tie-beam and a tall octagonal king-post with a moulded capital and base. The common rafters are trussed with braces and collar-beams, the latter supported by a central purlin having longitudinal braces below it from the king-post and end walls.
The south aisle (c. 16 ft. wide) has two south windows: the eastern of two lights is a further advance in design on those in the south chapel: the lights have trefoiled ogee-heads and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a chamfered pointed rear-arch. The western is a single light with a trefoiled ogee head: both are of c. 1330. The south doorway between the windows has hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred head. In it is a battened oak door with sloping back-rails, hung with a pair of strap-hinges with flowered ends: the door is nail-studded, set at the top to show the date march 31 1626. Several holes in the face of the door are said to be bullet-holes. East of the doorway inside are the remains of a holy-water stoup in a pointed recess: half the basin is cut away. In the west wall, above the vestry, is a modern quatrefoil light. The walls of the chapel and aisle are of rubble. Both east and west angles have a pair of square buttresses and there is another at the west end of the chapel. The roof of the aisle is similar to that of the chapel but is modern.
The south porch is modern: it is of timber on dwarf stone walls, and has six lights in each side: many of the quarries in the glazing contain ancient pitted glass. The weather-course on the aisle wall indicates that there was a previous porch here.
The west tower (12 ft. square) is a heavy low one built of rubble partly squared. Above the bell-chamber is a plain weather-course or string-course above which are three courses of squared rough ashlar to carry the spire. At the west angles are diagonal buttresses of four stages, the lowest and tallest having a weathercourse marking the first-floor level. The archway from the nave is two-centred and of two chamfered orders to the east and one to the west, the latter scored by bell ropes. The jambs have moulded base-stops. The west doorway has hollow-chamfered jambs and pointed head with a hood-mould. The west window has two trefoiled pointed lights and uncusped tracery in a square head, with a moulded label: the label and part of the head are of modern repair. The second story has, in the west wall, a trefoiled ogee-headed light, and the bell-chamber a similar small window in each wall except the eastern. East of each of the north and south windows an additional round-headed light has been inserted, probably in the 16th century, for the better emission of sound. In the east wall is a modern opening, a cross in a circle, with foiled quarters.
The octagonal spire is comparatively tall and is splayed out to the square at the base. On it is a copper ball and arrow vane.
The font is of the end of the 12th century and has a repaired square bowl of Petworth marble, on a cylindrical stem which is surrounded by four modern shafts of Purbeck marble.
There are two ancient chests. One in the south aisle is an early 'dug-out' of unusual length—8 ft.; the other in the vestry is a plain framed chest of hutch type of the 16th or early 17th century: the lid is modern. Also in the vestry is a scrap of oak tracery from a 15thcentury screen.
Three cast-iron grave-slabs are affixed to the wall in the vestry: one to Richard Infeld, died 11 September 1619, aged 51; another to his son Richard Infeld, 11 March 1624, both of Gravetye; and the third containing a brass plate to Agnes daughter of the earlier Richard and wife of Henry Faulconer, 22 September 1635.
The memorial for those who died in the War 1914–18 is a brass plate with enamelled shields of arms in mimic heraldry.
The oak communion rails are of the 18th century. In the splayed jambs of the 13th-century windows in the north and south walls of the chancel are contemporary paintings of conventional scrolled foliage. On the south window of the south aisle are cut two sundials: one on the west the ordinary 'mass-dial' with radial lines, the other on the east a 4-in. ring of small holes around a central hole.
There are five bells. The second, inscribed in blackletter 'Sancta Maria ora pro nobis', has the foundry mark of Thomas Bullisdon, of London, early 16th century; the fourth and fifth (tenor) are by Joseph Carter, 1581, and the first (treble) and third by Richard Phelps, 1712. (fn. 50)
The communion plate consists of a silver cup of 1716, presented in 1728, a paten of 1860, and a flagon of uncertain date. (fn. 51)
The registers date from 1645.
The church of 'Hodlegh' was given to the Priory of St. Pancras at Lewes by Ralph de Cheyney, for the soul of Ralph his father, and confirmed to them by William de Warenne between 1091 and 1098. (fn. 52)
In 1346 licence was given for the Prior of Lewes to assign the advowsons of West Hoathly, Ditchling, and Clayton to the Bishop of Chichester, for the foundation of a prebend. (fn. 53) This, however, was cancelled in 1353, and the churches remained with the prior, the rectory of West Hoathly being appropriated and a vicar instituted between 1362 and 1398. (fn. 54)
After the Dissolution the rectory and advowson were granted in 1538 to Thomas Cromwell, (fn. 55) and after his attainder to Anne of Cleves, for life, in 1541. (fn. 56) After her death in 1557 the advowson of the vicarage reverted to the Crown and has so remained (fn. 57) ever since, being now in the gift of the Lord Chancellor.
In 1550 yearly rents of 13s. 4d. payable by John Bryan and Thomas Willyard for an obit for the soul of William Bryan during the next three years (fn. 58) in the church of West Hoathly were granted to William Fountayne and Richard Mayne. (fn. 59)
In 1882 the ecclesiastical parish of Highbrook was formed from West Hoathly. The church of All Saints is a vicarage in the gift of the Bishop of Chichester.
Mrs. J. M. Cohen's Recreation Ground: by a deed dated 2 May 1916, land was conveyed to the parish council upon trust to use as a recreation ground for the inhabitants, especially the children of the hamlet of Sharpthorne, and the grantor by the same deed gave £100 4½ War Stock to the council for the maintenance of the Recreation Ground. The income amounts to £4 10s. a year.
Subsequently, by indenture dated 25 Aug. 1921, additional land was conveyed to the parish council for a recreation ground or any other kindred purpose, for the benefit of the inhabitants of West Hoathly.
John Smith's Charity. Under the terms of an indenture dated 6 March 1871, this parish receives a sum representing two twenty-second parts of the net income of this charity, to be applied by the vicar and churchwardens in coals to poor inhabitants. In 1934 £10 was so distributed.
The Clockfield Charity. By a deed of grant dated 28 Jan. 1627, land at Worth known as Stone Croft or Hothly Field was conveyed to the churchwardens of West Hoathly, the rents to be applied towards the repair of the church of West Hoathly. The land was sold in 1919 under the authority of an Order of the Charity Commissioners and the proceeds invested, producing an income of £16 15s. 6d. a year, which is paid towards Church expenses.
Stephenson Clarke, by will proved 9 June 1891, bequeathed to trustees £500 for the erection and maintenance of two stained glass windows in West Hoathly Church and directed that any balance should be distributed to the poor. By a declaration of trust dated 2 July 1892 it is recited that after the erection of the windows the trustees were possessed of a sum of £349 11s. upon trust to apply the income as directed in the will. This sum now produces £10 4s. 10d. annually and is applied to the repair of the windows and to poor widows.
Stephenson Clarke also bequeathed to the minister and churchwardens of Highbrook, West Hoathly, £2,000, the interest to be applied towards the repair of the church clock and the peal of bells and the maintenance of the churchyard. The endowment produces £63 13s. 6d. annually.