Parishes: Newick

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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'Parishes: Newick', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes, (London, 1940), pp. 87-91. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

. "Parishes: Newick", in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes, (London, 1940) 87-91. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

. "Parishes: Newick", A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes, (London, 1940). 87-91. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

In this section


Niwica (xi cent.); Niewica (xii cent.); Newik (xiii cent.); Newyke (xv cent.).

The parish of Newick, to the north of Lewes, is bounded on the east by the River Ouse, where the land lies at a level of 50 ft. It rises to 100 ft. in the south and in the west it reaches the height of 200 ft. for a short distance by Newick Rough. The parish covers an area of 1,930 acres. The soil is light and the subsoil clay and sand-rock. A large amount of land is used for fruit growing and market gardens. Under the East Sussex Review Order of 1934 a detached part of the parish was transferred to Barcombe while a detached part of Barcombe was added to Newick. The population of the parish in 1931 was 1,045. There is a Baptist chapel and a Mission Hall.

The houses are situated round a green and along roads branching west to Chailey and south to Barcombe.

Bretts lies on the east side of the green, on the road to Tunbridge Wells. Though externally modernized, (fn. 1) the original late-16th-century house is visible internally, containing wide fire-places and some exposed ceiling beams. The drawing-room has in the south wall a four light 17th-century casement with original catches, and the office west of it has a contemporary three-light, with diagonal bars, in the west wall. The staircase is original, and is supported on a great chamfered post, two stories in height; the hand-rail has been renewed, but the newel finial is of Elizabethan type. The timber framing shows on the first floor, with great cambered tiebeams and struts.

Brett's Cottage, on the opposite side of the road, was the toll-house and contains a 17th-century fireplace, now blocked.

The Bull Inn, on the south-west side of the green, has two fine chimney-stacks of c. 1600, the north containing two shafts with moulded base and fillet, set squarely on a lofty chamfered plinth. The interior shows a wide lintelled fire-place, and original beams; a timber-framed wall on the west was once external, and preserves a window-frame of two lights with diagonally set bars.

East of the village, near the river, is Gold Bridge, an L-shaped house, modernized but retaining its sandstone foundations and some timber-framing on the north side.

'The Manor House', until recently called Church Farm, is a timber-framed building of 1599, that date with the initials DOM being on a panel now over the entrance, but modified in the late 17th century by the transformation of the roof to the hipped type, and the refacement of the south front in brick with an added square projection. The main building is almost a square, of four bays. Each double-bayed block contains a rebuilt central chimney with wide fire-places, and the south range may be slightly later than the north. The west front shows timber-framing in wide panels over a brick base, and four-light casements of the 17th century, with diagonally set bars in some and the original fastenings; the dormers are later. The north front is similar, and has an original door (possibly re-set) with square sunk panels and small-moulded styles and rails and some original windows. The east front has two timber-framed gables, but the north has now a tiled hip, and there is a separate tiled roof to the semi-hexagonal bay. This contains a five-light mullioned and transomed window on each floor. The southern projection varies slightly, but the tulip pendant at the gable-end is of Elizabethan type. It has later tile-hanging in the gable, which rests on an oriel and coved panels. Brackets and further coving support the oriel, but modern casements have been inserted in the latter and in the ground floor, which has late17th-century brick. The ground-floor fire-places have restored four-centred heads in wood, and there is Elizabethan panelling in the hall and drawing-room; stopchamfered ceiling beams are visible on both floors, and the wide elm baulks have been retained. The front staircase has been copied from the first-floor balustrade of the original wooden newel-stair behind. There is a fine lead cistern dated 1764 in the garden.

The Old Rectory, near by, is a substantial brick house of the second half of the 18th century, and contains good fire-places, staircase, and pillared entrance hall.

Fonthill lies farther south on the east side of the road to Barcombe. It is an early-16th-century house of three bays with close-studded timber-framing, brickfilled in part, on a sandstone base. The 17th-century central chimney-stack serves wide oak-lintelled fireplaces to a two-bayed hall and parlour south of it. There is a central beam down the house from north to south, carrying the joists. Some of the windows retain their filleted-roll mullions and old fastenings, and a blocked window on the north has diagonally set bars. The ends have hipped gables, the north showing timber-framing above a stone base. The outshot on the east is contemporary, with some wattleand-daub panels. The staircase retains an Elizabethan newel with turned finial. There is a collar-beamed roof.

Beechlands lies west of Fonthill, in a fine park, of which the Spanish chestnuts are celebrated. The older parts of the house may be Tudor work, much disguised by later alterations. Horsfield (fn. 2) gives a print of the house before the modern wings were added. Near the drive entrance a road strikes south to Lewes. On the east side is Norris's, a farmhouse now being reconditioned. An early-17th-century chimney-stack serves wide oak-lintelled fire-places; there are mullioned windows, an Elizabethan finial to the stair, and panelling with pilasters in one room. The house has been refaced with Georgian brick, with tile-hanging.

Newick Park, now the residence of the Dowager Viscountess Brentford, and previously owned by the Sclaters and Vernons of Cheshire, combines work of several periods. The south-west angle, although much disguised, seems to date from the second half of the 16th century, (fn. 3) and has double fire-places, now modernized, flanked by passages or cupboards on the west, the first-floor passage retaining Elizabethan panelling. In this part, too, is a curious shaft, between the fire-place and passage, extending from top to bottom of the house, but now blocked. The early house seems to have occupied all the west side, and was probably three bays in length; a first-floor room at the north-west angle has a moulded four-centred fire-place and a stopchamfered ceiling-beam. Elsewhere, there is re-set material of Elizabethan date; a fire-place lintel carved with 'barbarities' can be seen in the entrance hall, and there are three arcaded panels with fluted pilasters above the billiard-room fire-place. The kitchen and offices used to be in what are now the cellars; and the date 1563 or 1568 is said to remain on one of the cellar walls. The south front is of early-18th-century type with five bays divided by Doric pilasters; the east front has semicircular projecting bays at each end. The exterior has been only slightly altered since Lambert's drawing was made in 1783. (fn. 4) A fine staircase with iron balustrade, which went straight up from the front door, has recently been moved, and a large window projection built out of the library on the west side. There are several iron-firebacks, probably of the late 17th century; some have the Three Feathers, others a cavalier with the letters C.R. Sir Elijah Impey, chief justice of Bengal and associate of Warren Hastings, was tenant of the Park from 1794 till his death in 1809.

Mackerells stands farther down the Barcombe road, on the south side. It is a timber-framed house of rectangular plan, with gables to east, west, and north, and is apparently of 16th-century date, with wide panels, brick-filled, above a brick ground story. The brick porch probably dates from the 17th century, and there are modern projections on the east. There are a central chimney-stack, wide fire-places, and exposed ceilingbeams.

Vuggles Farm was in a detached portion of the parish, now transferred to Barcombe. The house was partially destroyed by fire, and what remains is an L-shaped building chiefly in 17th-century brick. A room to the north is lined with oblong panelling with bolection mouldings, dado, and cornice of the late 17th century; it has a fine doorway with broken pediment.


NEWICK is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey but may at that date have been included in Allington, then in Barcombe Hundred. William de Warenne II was holding land in Newick in about 1095, at which date he gave two acres of meadow there to the Priory of St. Pancras at Lewes. (fn. 5) The overlordship of the several manors here descended with the rape, but to which group of knights' fees they pertained does not appear. The manor of 'Benfildes in Newick' was still held of the barony of Lewes at the beginning of the 17th century, (fn. 6) but in 1602 the other manor was held by George Goring of the Lord Bergavenny as of his manor of Ditchling. (fn. 7)

In 1219 half a manor of Newick was conveyed to Stephen, prior of Lewes, by Peter son of Reimer of Newick. (fn. 8) The prior was holding land in Newick in 1316 (fn. 9) and by 1450 seems to have held a whole manor there. (fn. 10) On the dissolution of the monastery, all its lands in Newick were given to Thomas Cromwell. (fn. 11) The subsequent history of these lands is, however, uncertain. They may conceivably have constituted the 'manor' of Newick conveyed, like Ditchling Garden (fn. 12) (q.v.) in 1621, by Thomas Eversfield to Sir Edward Sackville, (fn. 13) members of whose family are subsequently found holding the advowson.

Meanwhile in 1256 Alice, widow of Hugh de Plaiz, had unsuccessfully demanded one-third of a manor of Newick, as part of her dower, from her step-son Richard de Plaiz. (fn. 14) Nothing further is heard of this 'manor', but there are some grounds (fn. 15) for assuming a connexion between it and the manor conveyed to John Page by Henry Chantler in 1560, (fn. 16) and held in 1570 by George and Stephen Board. (fn. 17) In 1604 Sir Stephen Board of Cuckfield was lord of this manor, (fn. 18) which at his death in 1630 was described as the manor of Newick or Benfield. (fn. 19) It appears under the name of 'Benfildes in Newicke' in the Book of John Rowe. (fn. 20) Stephen's son John, in 1648, bequeathed the manor to his son William, (fn. 21) who appeared in various transactions concerning the property, described as the manor of Newick and Chailey (q.v.). In 1683 he and his wife levied a fine with Timothy Burrell on the intended marriage of William Board the younger with Mary Burrell, and in 1695 he suffered a recovery of the manor. (fn. 22) In 1716 John Longley of St. Mary le Savoy, London, conveyed it to Edward Relfe, (fn. 23) who held his last court there in 1728. (fn. 24) His son John Relfe sold the manor in 1734 to Christopher, Lord Mansell, who died unmarried in 1744, holding the manor and also Newick Place which he had inherited from his maternal grandfather Francis Millington. (fn. 25) Christopher was succeeded by his brother Bussy, Lord Mansell, who died in 1750. His only child, Louisa Barbara Mansell, married George Venables, Baron Vernon of Kinderton, and died in 1786, (fn. 26) leaving her Sussex estate by will to the Dowager Lady Fortescue, with remainder to her second son. In 1791 Lord Vernon was still holding the manor, (fn. 27) but in 1812 the Hon. Matthew Fortescue and his wife Henrietta Ann were holding it. (fn. 28) In September of the same year Fortescue conveyed it to James Powell the younger. (fn. 29) The manor, with its seat Newick Park, was acquired by James Henry Sclater (fn. 30) whose son died in 1897. (fn. 31) His eldest son survived but died in the same year (1897) and the manor passed to the second son, the late Rev. Francis Saunderson Sclater, who sold Newick Park in 1925 to Sir William Joynson-Hicks, later Viscount Brentford, but retained the greater part of the land of the estate (fn. 32) together with the manorial rights, which are now vested in his son Mr. G. E. Sclater. (fn. 33) Newick Park is now the seat of Grace, Dowager Viscountess Brentford.

Board. Party fessewise gules and azure a scutcheon in an orle of martlets argent.

A second manor in NEWICK was held in 1571 by Gregory Fiennes, Lord Dacre, and his wife Anne. (fn. 34) In 1582 it was conveyed by them, along with other manors, including Streat and Westmeston (q.v.) to George Goring of Lewes, (fn. 35) who died in 1602 holding the manor and farm there of Lord Bergavenny, as of his manor of Ditchling, his son George Goring being his heir (fn. 36) and the manor then appears to have followed the descent of Streat (q.v.). Walter Dobell was holding courts there from 1609 (fn. 37) and the manor came eventually into the hands of Thomas Lane, son of Mary Dobell, on the death of his mother in 1798. (fn. 38) The present lord of the manor is Mr. W. R. FitzHugh. (fn. 39)


The parish church of ST. MARY stands in a lane south of the village. The walls are of sandstone and ironstone, coursed rubble and ashlar; the roofs are tiled. The nave dates from about 1100, having early-14th-century insertions, but it was lengthened east in the drastic restoration of 1886–7, when the early-14th-century chancel was taken down and rebuilt farther east. (fn. 40) The west tower was built in the 15th century, and bears a striking resemblance to the earlier tower at Hamsey. The north aisle is modern, as are the organ chamber and vestries.

The chancel (29 ft. 11 in. × 18 ft. 6 in.) dates from the early 14th century, rebuilt when the church was lengthened. The east wall has modern masonry, except for the old chamfered plinth; there are right-angled buttresses of two stages with chamfered plinth. The east window has three modern lights and tracery, but the original hoods and arches are retained. These are obtuse-pointed, the hood scroll-moulded with square tongue-like stops, the outer arch hollow-chamfered. The splayed sill and scroll-moulded string-course are also original; the rear-arch has roll-and-fillet mouldings, a similar hood, and jamb-shafts with bell capitals, ogeescroll abacus and astragal, and double-roll bases. Above is a modern oblong light. The north wall has a late13th-century window, reset; it has two pointed trefoil lights with a pointed cinquefoil inclosed by an equilateral scroll-moulded hood, again with tongue-like stops; the rear-arch has roll-and-fillet mouldings and a similar hood; the internal jamb shafts have ogee-scroll abaci and astragal, roll and fillet in the bell, and doubleroll bases.


The second north window has been reset in the vestry, together with moulded string-course and piscina drain, and there is some re-used material in a trefoil window placed in the angle between the vestry and chancel. The south wall is of re-used masonry; in it are two windows similar to that in the north wall, with slight variations in the capitals. Between them is a doorway, now central, of which the hood alone seems original. There is a restored trefoil-headed piscina with roll-and-fillet and hollow-chamfered jambs. The sedilia, mentioned by Hussey (1852) as 'rich', have two trefoil-headed gabled openings, each with a moulded arch, divided by a central shaft of quatrefoil plan with moulded abacus. The equilateral chancel arch was re-built in the position of the old east wall; it has a scroll-moulded hood, the outer order is wavemoulded, the inner has a wide roll and fillet, the polygonal roll bases are probably original but the capitals are restored.

The nave (64 ft. 9 in. × 18 ft. 10 in.) may be described in two parts, the original 12th-century work to west (c. 31 ft.) and the modern elongation to east (c. 33 ft.). The north arcade of four bays extends the full length, and was built in 1886, supplanting an earlier north aisle, c. 1836, which extended half the length, and replaced a 12th-century wall, which had, according to Hussey, two original windows and a doorway. Of the south wall, the extension is limited by two modern buttresses, and includes two modern three-light windows. The original walling, to west, is built in coursed rubble of sandstone and ironstone, and one contemporary window remains, c. 9 in. in width, with a round head cut in a single stone, and splayed to a semicircular rear-arch. East of this is an early-14th-century insertion, a trefoil-headed window, splayed to a segmentalpointed rear-arch; there is another with wider rear-arch west of the contemporary south doorway. The latter has an equilateral arch of two orders, the outer hollowchamfered, the inner wave moulded, and an ogeescroll moulded hood with returned ends; the rear-arch is chamfered and segmental-pointed. The wall-plate is probably of 14th-century date.

The south porch has a modern base and some re used 14th-century timbers. The outer opening has a wooden equilateral arch with ogee-headed openings in the jambs and supporting a chamfered tie and kingpost. There are remains of a chain for preventing the entrance of cattle.

The west tower (12 ft. 2 in. × 11 ft. 9 in.) is of early15th-century date, and of two stages with an embattled parapet, probably added in the early 16th century, above a cornice of chamfered section with hollowed and bead-moulded underside; there is a pyramidal cap. The polygonal stair-turret at the north-east angle is set back for the cornice to pass over it. The chamfered string-course, however, dividing the stages, is confined to the actual wall faces, and is interrupted at the western angles by diagonal buttresses; the hollow-chamfered plinth is common to the whole tower. A similar buttress projects south at the south-east angle. The tower arch is lofty and equilateral in form; it has a chamfered hood and one widely chamfered order supported on restored polygonal responds with scroll and bead-moulded abaci; the bases are bell-shaped, topped by a double chamfered annulet, and rest on a square plinth. The doorway to the turret stair has an equilateral arch with doubleogee moulded jambs. Three oblong windows light the newel stair. The turret cresting has similar hipped cresting to the tower crenellations. The early-16thcentury west door has a four-centred arch in a square frame, and a hood-mould, moulded like the cornice and terminated by large flatly carved head-stops; there are rosettes in the spandrils, and the jambs have cavetto and double-bowtell mouldings on the chamfer plane. Above is a window inserted at the same time; it is of three cinquefoiled lights, restored, with trefoil-panelled tracery in an equilateral head, with hood and jambs similar to those of the doorway. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two chamfered equilateral lights, with four-centred rear-arches, the east one being slightly lower. Below this on the north and east walls is a small oblong chamfered window, and a similar opening on the south wall, west of the modern clockface, which occurs centrally on the west wall.

The porch has a 14th-century king-post roof re-used. Otherwise the roofs are modern.

The font has a 14th-century square bowl with ogee tracery on the sides, set on a 12th-century cylindrical pedestal with plain attached shafts; the base is modern. There is a 14th-century medallion in the supra-light of the west window on the chancel south wall, and another, probably contemporary, in the window east of it; both show the Agnus Dei, and grisaille in the cinquefoils. The modern glass is chiefly of Whitefriars manufacture. In the nave is a 1914–18 War Memorial. The pulpit is of early-17th-century date, with sounding-board.

Of the six bells one is of 1627, by Roger Tapsel; one of 1635 by Brian Eldridge; and one of 1828: (fn. 41) the others are modern.

The plate includes a cup, probably 1568; patens (1726 and 1873 hall-marks); a flagon (1897 hall mark); a spoon; (fn. 42) and a pewter alms-dish.

The registers date from 1558.


The advowson was granted to the priory of St. Pancras at Lewes by general charter of William, second Earl Warenne, about 1095. (fn. 43) In 1537 it was transferred to the Crown, (fn. 44) and in 1538 granted to Thomas Cromwell. (fn. 45) Queen Elizabeth presented to the rectory in 1559 and 1567, (fn. 46) but in 1624 Richard, Earl of Dorset, was patron, (fn. 47) and the advowson apparently still belonged to the earls as late as 1710. (fn. 48) Francis Millington of Newick Place, however, presented in 1672 and 1690, (fn. 49) and from 1710 onwards the advowson descended with the Mansell manor. (fn. 50) In 1812 it was conveyed by Matthew Fortescue to James Powell, the younger, of Newick Park, (fn. 51) who in 1819 sold the advowson to his brother Thomas Baden Powell for £2,500. He left it in 1868 to his son the Rev. William Powell. In 1884 William bequeathed the rectory and advowson to his trustees. (fn. 52) In 1927 the trustees of the will of the Reverend William Powell sold the advowson to Sir William Joynson-Hicks, who transferred it to the National Church League. (fn. 53)


In 1771 Lady Louisa Barbara Vernon founded and endowed with a rent charge of £50 a school for the education and clothing of twelve poor girls. The establishment continued until 1903, when the school became part of the County Council system of elementary education. The building ceased to be used as a school in 1926, but the endowment was reorganized under a scheme made by the Chancery Division on 28 July 1926, and now provides scholarships to enable Newick girls to attend the Lewes Secondary School for Girls. (fn. 54)


  • 1. Original posts show on the first floor in the western gable.
  • 2. History of Sussex (1835), i, opposite p. 223.
  • 3. A mullioned window lately found here on the second floor is the only external feature of this date.
  • 4. Add. MS. 5677, fol. 54.
  • 5. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxviii, 14, 21.
  • 6. Ibid. xxxiv, 138.
  • 7. Ibid. xxxiii, 206.
  • 8. Ibid. ii, 155.
  • 9. Feud. Aids, v, 136–7.
  • 10. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 223.
  • 11. Pat. R. 29 Hen. VIII, pt. ii; L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), g. 384 (74).
  • 12. In Streat Hundred.
  • 13. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 129.
  • 14. Ibid. vii, 607.
  • 15. The Plaiz held also in Chailey (q.v.) and the Board manor appears as 'Newick and Chailey', vide infra.
  • 16. Recov. R. East. 2 Eliz. ro. 725; Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 317.
  • 17. Ibid.
  • 18. Ibid. 423; Add. MS. 39499, fol. 30.
  • 19. Suss. Arch. Coll. xli, 213.
  • 20. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiv, 138.
  • 21. Add. MS. 39499, fols. 30, 38; cf. Comber, Suss. Gen. (Ardingly), 20–1.
  • 22. Recov. R. Trin. 35 Chas. II, ro. 156.
  • 23. Add MS. 39499, fol. 30; Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 317–18.
  • 24. Add. MS. 39472, fol. 160v.
  • 25. Add. MS. 39499, fol. 43; G.E.C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), viii, 385.
  • 26. Ibid. viii, 387 and n. Her only surviving daughter died unmarried the same year.
  • 27. Horsfield, Hist. of Suss. i, 224. He died in 1813: G.E.C. Complete Peerage (1st ed.), viii, 28.
  • 28. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 462.
  • 29. Add. MS. 39469, fol. 224–6; cf. ibid. 39472, fol. 160v. Powell was 'lord' (perhaps actually tenant) of the manor in 1810: Gamekeepers' Deputations, Lewes.
  • 30. Burke, Landed Gentry (1937); Horsfield, Hist. of Suss. i, 224; Lower, Hist. of Suss. ii, 59; cf. Add. MS. 39472, fol 160v.
  • 31. Kelly, Handbook, 1924.
  • 32. Burke, op. cit.
  • 33. Ex inf. Mr. G. F. Sclater.
  • 34. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 83.
  • 35. Ibid. 235; Suss. Arch. Coll. xi, 64. In 1570 it was said that the tenants of the manor of Newick served and were sworn in the court of Westmeston: Add. MS. 39499, fol. 30.
  • 36. Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv, 482; xxxiii, 206.
  • 37. Add. MS. 39499, fol. 31.
  • 38. See below, pp. 114–15.
  • 39. Ex inf. Mr. W. R. FitzHugh (1937).
  • 40. W. E. Meads, articles in Sussex Express, 22 and 29 June 1934. MS. 5676, fol. 97; and by Sharpe (1805). There are views of the church by Lambert (c. 1783): Add.
  • 41. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi, 219.
  • 42. Ibid. lv, 174.
  • 43. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxviii, 21.
  • 44. Ibid. xx, 427.
  • 45. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), g. 384 (74).
  • 46. Suss. Arch. Coll. xii, 258.
  • 47. Horsfield, Hist. of Suss. i, 224.
  • 48. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 272–3.
  • 49. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 50. Ibid.; Add. MS. 39341, fol. 23.
  • 51. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 462; Add. MS. 39469, fols. 224–6.
  • 52. Ibid.
  • 53. Ex inf. F. Bentham Stevens.
  • 54. Ibid.