Settlement Patterns of the Felbridge area

Settlement Patterns of the Felbridge area

This is the text only Web version, use 'contact us' to order a colour illustrated version

Felbridge is considered a 'rural village' today and contains most of the expected components of a church, pub, village green, village pond and a school. Considering that Felbridge as a place name has been in existence for more than 400 years, it does not have a typical village arrangement or appearance. This handout follows the timeline of the Felbridge area and will review the potential impact that the local history has had on the development of Felbridge as a village.

This handout is based loosely around the slide show that was presented to the Felbridge History Group at the January 2009 meeting. It sets out to piece together some of the early history of the Felbridge area and plot the locations of dwellings as they were built during the last 800 years.

Domesday and earlier

The Weald is generally considered to have been densely wooded with boggy patches and outcrops of sandstone. In the pre-historic period east-west trackways were in use, these went along the higher ridges, north-south routes must also have existed although as they run against the grain of the country they are now much less obvious.

Ivan Margary identified the route of one of these pre-historic north-south tracks to be along what is now Imberhorne Lane crossing straight over at the northern end and passing up the centre of Tandridge Parish along what became a Whapple Way between Hodgehorn Farm (Garfield Farm) at Felbridge) and Shaws Farm at Newchapel. By the early Saxon period Margary believed that the route of the current A22 between Newchapel and East Grinstead was also in use.

A few Roman period archaeological finds have been found, these were scattered coins with a handful of pottery shards across the fields at Imberhorne. There is no concentration or significant level to indicate that any Roman period settlement has been identified within the Felbridge area.

The nearest Domesday manors to Felbridge were Warley (that includes what was later Gullege and Tilkhurst) and Felesmere (that includes what was later Imberhorne) which held lands that abutted to the south side of Felbridge Water between the A22 and Felbridge Nurseries at the west end of Crawley Down Road. The next nearest Surrey Domesday manors are Blachingelei (Bletchingley), Wachelestede (Godstone) and Tenrige (Tandridge), but these manors are all centred on an east-west line about 5 miles north of Felbridge. The wealden clay soils at the southern extremity of Surrey were only used as pasture land and the Surrey manors would not have generated settlement in Felbridge in the Domesday period. Warley and Felesmere manors would have cleared farm land and erected dwellings for their inhabitants but no 11th century archaeology has been identified in the fields south of Felbridge Water that would identify a specific location for habitation.


First mentions of Felbridge

Feltbruge first appears in an endowment by William de Dammartin to King Stephen of land at Feltbruge [Felbridge] in Tandridge parish. This endowment would have taken place between Archbishop Ralph's confirmation in 1121 in which it is not mentioned and the mid 1140's when it is mentioned in Stephen's confirmation. This land was released to Lewes Priory in the 1250s and there is an agreement dated 1255 made by Agnes, daughter of Robert de Feldbrigge and Walter de la Sagke. Witnesses include John de Berwyk and Ralph de Haseldenne. Felbridge appears in its current form in 1557 and means a bridge by an open space or field.

Manorial land holdings surrounding Felbridge

To be able to use the various manorial records to identify any possible early dwellings around Felbridge it has been necessary to locate the land holdings within each manor. The map enclosed as figure 1 in the appendix is intended as a guide to the various manors surrounding Felbridge. It has been pieced together from the surviving court books and attempts to show any stray freeholds within their original manor, based upon who eventually receives the quit rent. The quit rent was a fee paid by a freehold tenant that released him from his manorial services, this rental was fixed when the property became freehold. It was possible for land to be purchased by another manor and then sold on at a later date in which case the same holding will appear in the court books of both manors. For example the court books of South Malling-Lindfield record their land holding and that they receive a quit rent of 1s from the Gages (at that time holding Hedgecourt Manor) for Cullinglighe alias Cudilingley Park (Cuttingly Wood) in Worth. The Gages also have the freehold of the lands known as Crawleys, Brooks, Husseys and Shirleys for the service of 5s 6d which is immediately east of Cuttingly Wood. These holdings are coloured red and are clearly part of the manor of South Malling-Lindfield although they later appear as freeholds in the Hedgecourt court books as well. I have also extended the manor boundaries to include the common lands that are identified within the court records when encroachment has taken place or enclosures granted.

The lands belonging to Tandridge Court are coloured yellow and very closely follow the parish boundaries in the Felbridge area except for the strips of land apparently owned by Sheffield-Lingfield and the plots of land at the very south which are held by Imberhorne Manor, presumably the latter being associated with the land endowed by William de Dammartin in the 12th century.

The bounds of Broadhurst and Imberhorne Manor's have been previously discussed except for the extension of Imberhorne Manor into Tandridge. Felcourt and Chartham bound the manor of Tandridge to the east and I have made no attempt to determine any division between these manors. Similarly Ditchling and Burstow are only indicated on the map for completeness and the division between them has not been confirmed.

Bletchingley Manor only retained the common land around Felbridge with the manors of Bysshe Court and Horne Court lying between Felbridge and Bletchingley. The bounds of the land held by Bletchingley are detailed in a survey originally completed in 1681 and revised before 1685 (see 17th century section):

Italics for inserted text in the original document, */..= illegible, ?=poor legibility

The Heath and waste grounds

Now further present that within the said manor and Circuit of the same therd now and the severall heaths and wastgrounds herein after described, the soyt whereof belong to the said lords of the said manor (that is to say) one great wast of heath & other common & unenclosed ground commonly called frogwood alias frogatt heath containing by estimation 40 acres. Which said common or unenclosed or wastground lyeth in the parish of Horne within the county of Surrey and the west part thereof adjoining to or abuts upon certain lands called parks a neere alias parkesaneese now or late in the occupation of William Ledger and to or upon certain lands in the occupation of William Freeman and to or upon two small cottages in the occupation of Thomas Locks? & John Plaw and on the north part thereof adjoins to or abuts upon a certain peese of common or wastground belonging to our Soverign the King commonly called the Gildables and is separated and divided from the said Gilables land by a water small brook or gill, which gill devidsth the said Common or wastground extending itself in length from the inclosed lands called near? the said cottages * on the west park on the west to a certain quagmire near a place where a bridge was formerly about thirty years since on the East park and adjoining to or abuts against opposite to certain lands on the East pk called highfields, and the said common or wastground adjoins to or abuts on the south eats part on other common or wast lands belonging to George Evelyn Esq Lord of the manor of Godstone alias Walkhampsted called also Frogwood heath, and the said common or wastground of this manor of Bletchingley is distinguished from the common or wast ground belonging to the said George Evelyn by a certain small sheep path extending it self from the said quagmire south west, through part of an orchard or small inclosure belonging to a cottage now in the occupation of one John Campfield? Neere unto the chimney of the said cottage having the said chimney on the south east side, and from the said cottage directly south west to a birch tree in a hedge belonging to the inclosed lands of John Gage Baronet and as the severall Meere stones marked with the letter B (signifying Blethcingley) on the top, now made and erected by the view of the said homage doe more plainly divide and show. And the said homage do further present that there is one other common or unenclosed & wastground called Coptthorne containing by estimation _____ acres more or less lying in horne aforesaid belonging to the said manor of Bletchingley which extends itself from the said. That there is a cottage and about one quarter of an acre of land now in the occupation of Joane Gatland widow erected and inclosed out of the said common one other cottage and about one acre of land now in the occupation of Henry Campfield also erected on & inclosed out of the said common And also one other cottage and about two acres of land erected on & inclosed out of the said common now in the occupation of Richard Taylor or of his assigns.

And the said homage do further present that there is one other common or unenclosed & wastground called Coptthorne containing by estimation 400 acres more or less lying in horne aforesaid belonging to the said manor of Bletchingley which extends itself southwest from

Frogwood heath about a mile and half in length unto a certain riverlett or brook separating hedge court heath from the said Copt Thorne Common or wastground about a mile and half in length, abutting on the on the southwest and south east parts dividing? all the said space of about a mile and half to the inclosed lands of the said Sir John Gage and after belonging to the manor of hedge court, the said common or wastground also adjoining to a certain parcel of land called warren croft and millwood belonging to the said Sir John Gage on the south part, and adjoinely extendeth against the said Warren croft and millwood westward, unto an ancient stubb being in the hedge belonging to the said warren croft and millwood, against which stubb a certain meer stone is now made and erected marked with the letter B, And from the said meer stone now erected and sett up against the said stubb, the said common or wastground extendeth it self north west  wards to the highway there leading from East Grinstead to worth, and to a certain meer stone marked with the letter B now sett up near the said highway, & from the said last mentioned meer stone extendith itself further northwest to certain gravel pitts there neare the said highway, and it is there separated from worth common, by an ancient way or passage now disused, and for the better discribeing the lymmitts of the said Copthorne common or wastground belonging to Bletchingly Manor a certain marker or meer stone is now by the view of the said Homage made and erected above the said gravel pitts westwards and over against Ilmans Close marked by the letter B as aforesaid, And from the said last mentioned meer stone the said Copthorne common or wastground belonging to Bletchingley Manor extendeth itself westwards to a certain meer stone marked with the letter B now made and erected on the top of the hill where an ancient thorne tree formerly stoop about 20 rods distance from certain inclosed lands belonging to the said Sir John Gage called Thorny parke, which ancient thorne was esteemed by all present there near inhabiting to bee a marker that divided the said common or wastground belonging to Bletchingley manor from the common of Worth, and from the last mentioned marker the said common extendeth it selfe southward to a certain marker meare stone now made and set up over against a cottage in the occupation of John Hedgecocke & from the said marker marked with the letter B, and from the same meare stone so sett up against the said cottage the said common or wastground reacheth southwest to a mear stone marked as aforesaid now made and sett up in or near the highway there leading from horne to Turners Hill, and it is there separated from Worth common, by a certain greenway and from the said last mention mear stone, the said common or wastground belonging to Bletchingly manor reacheth to another meare stone marked as aforesaid now made and set up on the top of the bancke there neare unto an ancient Dyke and about 12 rodds southwards of a certain Limekill, and the said common or wastground adjoineth on the south part thereof to Worth common before mentioned and it is separated from the same as is beforesaid by the severall marks and directons before specified And from the said last mentioned mearestone soe made & sett up near the said limekill the said common or wastground extendeth it self northwest & north, about a mile in length unto the corner of a certain inclosed fields belonging to a farme called Chitthurst or Chitters where a meerestone marked as aforesaid is now by the view & appointment of the said jurors sett up & erected and the said Copthorne Comon or wastground belonging to the said manor of Bletchingly doth abut on the west part to the common there belonging to the manor of Burstow and it is separated from the same by certain ditches banks and gills & by certain marks and meerstones marked as aforesaid now there sett up & erected by the view of the said jurors And the said common or wastground belonging to Bletchingly abutteth on the north part for neare a mile in length to certain farmes and lands inclosed called chitters alias Chithurst and to severall other inclosed lands lately purchased by Thomas Surgis Esq of Sir Edward Bysshe Bart And that there is on the said Copthorne Common sevrall cottages erected & land inclosed thereon * on the northwest side thereof four little peeces or yreces of land now in the occupation of Gerrard Burford adjoining on the north part? of theself to the said land called Chitters, one cottage now devided into two dwellings with a barn orchard and six closes of land thereto belonging containing about six acres now in the occupation of John Dennfeild the elder & John Dennfield junior one other cottage barne and four closes of land thereto belonging containing by estimation five acres and now or late in the occupation of Mary Nirterage or of her assigns, one other cottage millhouse orchard and severall closes of land containing about six acres of land in the occupation of Henry Chart, one other cottage barn orchard & severall closes of land thereto belonging now in the occupation of one Thomas Chart or of his assigns, one other cottage and five severall closes of land thereto belonging inclosed out of the said Copthorne common containing six acres or thereabouts & now or late in the occupation of Jasy Baker or his assigns.

Length to certain farmes & lands inclosed called Chitters alias Chitthurst & to severall other inclosed lands lately purchased by Thomas Turgis Esq of Sir Edwards Bysshe Bart. And that the said common or wastground called Copthorne common belonging to the said mannor of Bletchingly conteyneth about ___ acres.

Hedge Court Heath

The said homage doe also present that there is within the circuit and bounds of this manor a certain common or wastground lying in Horne aforesaid called hedge court heath The soils whereof belongs to the lands of this manor The which said Comon or wast ground called hedge court heath abutteth on the north and west parts to the said common or wast ground called Copthorne and to certain lands of the said Sir John Gage called hedgecourt and so separated from the said Copthorne Comon or wast ground and from the said lands of the said Sir John Gage on the north west parts by a brook or stream of water running from Mill wood pond to hedge court pond and that soe much of the said hedge court pond as floweth on the south eastside of the said stream floweth and covereth the lands of hedgecourt heath belonging to the manor of Bletchingly. And that the separations of the said hedge court pond from the lands of the manor of blethcingly was heretofore known by a stubb standing in the said pond near the bay and about six rods distance on the south side of the said mill house and from the said pond bay the said common or wast ground extendeth itself eastwards to a certain holme or holly bush growing in the hedge there on the north part and near unto a messuage now in the occupation of John Coleman, and there adjoineth on the north part to the lands of the said Sir John Gage belonging to hedge court & from the said holme or holly bush the said hedge court common or wast ground within the manor of Bletchingly extendeth it self directly southwards and it is distinguished & separated from the wast ground of common belonging to the manor of Godstone by a certain ancient bank lying on the south east side of the said hedge court common, which ancient bank reacheth from the said holly bush to his highway there leading from East Grinstead to Copthorne, where a meerstone marked as aforesaid is now made & set up by the view of the said Homage And from the said last mentioned meerstone the said common or wast ground extendeth itself south west to the shire stone deviding the counties of sussex and surrey and from the said shire stone the said common or wast ground reacheth westward to a mearstone marked as aforesaid now made and set up near a birch tree on the hedge being on the south side of the said common or wast ground and now belonging to William Saxby Gent and from the said last mentioned mearstone the said common or wast ground extendeth itself westward along an ancient way lying between the parishes of worth and horne to a mearstone marked as aforesaid now set up and erected by the view of the said homage in the corner of the said common or wast ground adjoinging to certain lands now belonging to the widow Rowland & from the aid last mentioned mearstone the said common or wast ground extendeth itself south west through certain inclosed lands now inclosed and incroached out of the said common or wast ground by John Finch and the limits and bounds of the said common or wast round are known and distinguished from the freehold lands of the said John Finch by certain scrubs or bushes and a young oaken tree there growing & the said common or wast ground extendeth it self south west from the said oake to a certain messuage or tenement now in the occupation of one William Blundell & from the said oake to the said messuage the said common or wast ground is separated from the freehold lands of ____ by hedge or fence there being, & soe the said common or wast ground there includeth a certain cottage there erected on the said common or wast ground by George Coleman & the said common or wast ground includeth a barne also lately erected thereon by the said William Blundell & severall closes or parcels of land lately inclosed & incroached out of the said common or wast ground by the said William Blundell & George Coleman & from the northeast parte of the said house in the occupation of the said William Blundell the said common or wast ground extendeth it self westwards to the rivulet or brook there separating the said hedgecourt common or wast ground from Copthorne Common or wast ground belonging to this manor & the said hedge court common or wast ground adjoineth on the south west part to the said coppice called millwood or warren And the said hedge court common or wast ground conteygneth in the whole by estimation 100 acres out of which the last mentioned common the said John Finch hath inclosed in there a field about 2 acres of the same on the south side thereof And that there is thereon a cottage and four little closes of land thereth belonging containing about 3 acres erected on and inclosed out of the said common now in the occupation of George Coleman or his asignes And there standeth a barn and stall which hath thereto belonging four severall closes of land containing 6 acres or thereabouts inclosed and incroached out of the said common & now in the occupation of William Blundell or of his assigns.

Lagham Manor's lands have been identified from the court books although the holding at Felbridge Heath is complicated by it disappearing from the court books between the surviving records of 1565 and 1644. It may be of relevance that Lagham appears to have originally held the wastes either side of the main London Road even when bounded by Sheffield-Lingfield and Hedgecourt as the early Lagham Courts request the clearing of ditches to prevent flooding the highway even though the individuals responsible are not tenants of the manor.

This leaves Mill Wood (Furnace Wood) unaccounted for as it only appears in the Hedgecourt court books but would seem more likely to have been within South Malling-Lindfield as a part of Cuddingly Park, particularly as a 1576 lease from Gage to Thorpe describes 'all [the iron] works being in Mill Wood at Cuddingly Park'.

The bounds of Hedgecourt can be determined in part from the boundaries with some of the surrounding manors (in particular Bletchingley) where the detail of their holdings and subsequent maps or other land documents enables a firm boundary to be identified. In 1625 the Hedgecourt court book describes the boundary of Hedgecourt Park (numbers in brackets relate to locations on the following map):-

In Horne

From Park Corner (1) to Newchapel (2) 12 furlongs

from New Chapel 5 furlongs

from there (3) along Lillee Bank and over pond bay to Plawes Corner (4) 11 furlongs

from whence to Park Corner (1) 3 furlongs.

And from

Mill bay (5) to Snowhill (6) 7 furlongs

Snow Hill to Copthorne (7) 3 furlongs

Copthorne to Lillee (8) 10 furlongs

Mill gate (8) to pond 5 furlongs.

Then in Godstone,

Coopers Hill next Hodge Horn (9), to East Main London Road

Shavenors (10) next to the way to the east and round Woodcock Land on South.

[Illustration removed for Web text version]

The route from Park Corner to Newchapel, I have shown as diverting west of the road line at point 9 as this follows field boundaries on the 1748 Bourd Map, it also fits in with the distances provided but more importantly it would explain why the recorder then goes back to Coopers Hill next to Hodge Horne (9) and then walks from there to Shavenors (10) as this would enclose a further piece of land known to be within Hedgecourt [Shavenore is described in the Lagham court books as being against the highway between Newchapel and Woodcock Bridge]. The first time that it would be possible to go east from the road is immediately north of Coopers Moor (which was part of Sheffield-Lingfield and not freeheld by Hedgecourt). I have then shown the route with 'Woodcock lands to the south' in grey as the description given is not well defined enough and the route is very constrained by the lands proven to be held outside of Hedgecourt at this period. The most land this route could encompass is what is now Wiremill Lake and its flood margins above the bay. It is quite possible that the flooding of this lake caused (or required) exchanges in the land ownership as the mill bay and lands below it are within Lagham and are not freeheld by Hedgecourt. The route from the Mill Bay (5) to Snow Hill (6) is shown as a straight line, but the Bletchingley Bounds gives exact details of the location of the boundary and the extent to which the lake covers the lands of Bletchingley Manor, this more accurate boundary was used in Figure 1.

The description of the bounds of Hedgecourt given in the court records is confused about the Parish boundaries as it records all of the land as being in Horne except the last section, yet the Horne-Godstone boundary was at the Hedgecourt mill bay as confirmed in the earlier Bletchingley survey of 1681. The Godstone part is also written very loosely compared to the earlier part which used distances to assist with the description and returned to its starting point. Note that it may be significant that he has walked a figure of eight rather than walking a single loop when describing the majority of Hedgecourt, this could be related to the early history of Hedgecourt as being in two parts which we will briefly cover here.

The Manor of Hedgecourt (Heggecourt/Heycourt) was created before 1290 from the manor of Tylemundesdon and a carucate of Lynglegh being granted in that year by Stephen de Appletrefeld to John de Berewyk. It may be relevant that the Calendar of Patent Rolls record Stephen de Appletrefeld 'sailing beyond the seas' with John de Berewyk in 1288. In 1312 Hedgecourt was similarly described as being the manor of Tylmundesdon and one carucate of land in Lindelegh. Tylemundesdon does not appear elsewhere and must have been subinfeudated before 1290. {Subinfeudation is the granting of lands by a feudatory to an inferior to be held of himself, on the same terms as he held them of his superior, a statute was passed in 1290 to stop subinfeudation}. In the case of Hedgecourt the subinfeudation may have created difficulty in provenance as the description in 1327 was of the 'reputed manor of Hedgecourt'.

In 1313, Le Heggecourt was held of John St. John for the service of 1d and a carucate of land in Covelingely was held by ⅛ of a knight's fee. In 1365 the manors of Heggecourt and Coulyngle with a wood called Lynlee and a chapel in the park there were transferred from Hugh Crane to Sir Nicholas Lovayne.

The 1408 inquest port mortem of Sir Philip Seyntclere identifies that 'Hegecourt is held as to one part called Shavenore and parcel of the park there, from Sir John Dallyngregge as of his manor of Shiffelde by the service of 10s yearly, the other parcel of the manor called Lilley with the rest of the park is held of the said William Warbelton of his manor of Tanregge by what service they do not know'. A description in 1422 identifies Hedgecourt as being 80a of arable, 12a pasture, 500a wood, the manor except the wood of Le Lee was held of Sheffield by service of 10s, and the wood of Le Lee was held of the manor of Tanrugge by service of 6s.

Work has not been completed on attempting to understand the possible divisions between Tylmondesdon, Shavenore, Lilley and Coulyngle but a number of later documents refer to similar names. As written above, the 1625 bounds of Hedgecourt refer to Lillee, Lillee Bank and Shavenors. The Tandridge court book through the 1600's identifies lands within their manor 'lying in Edge Court Park called Lyne Lands and being in Horne' held at a quit rent of 6s. The Tandridge manor land should be Lilley and this last description would therefore imply that Lilley was within Horne.

The 1576 lease from Gage to Thorpe describes Hedgecourt as being Hedgecourt Park, Cuddinglye, Shavenore and the Mill Wood, with all works being in Mill Wood at Cuddingly Park. This could imply that Shavenore lay outside of Hedgecourt Park along with Mill Wood and Cuddinglye which were outside the 1625 park boundary.

South Malling-Lindfield court records the quit rents for 'Cullinglighe alias Cudilingley Park' in Worth as 1s and the adjoining freehold lands which contain Culyncroft as 5s 6d that were also held by Hedgecourt. The name of 'Cudilingley Park' slowly transforms over time until it is seen as Cuttinglye.

Whilst the above do not provide any conclusion as to the location of the separate parts of Hedgecourt they are recorded here to encourage others to offer other potential documentary links. 

Settlement Evidence from the 12th and 13th centuries

No buildings have survived from this period in the area, which is not surprising as the survival rate for this period is extremely low across southern England. The only locations to date that have provided archaeological evidence of habitation dated to this period are Hophurst Farm, the moated site at moat wood (just downstream from Hedgecourt Lake and before Woodcock Bridge), the Moated site at Ascotts Farm (within the Domesday bounds of Warley, although moated dwellings of that style are typically post 1100 and therefore unlikely to be the exact site of the Domesday dwelling) and within Heathy Field (about half way between Ascotts Moat and Gullege Farmhouse).

Moat Wood would be the most likely location for the manorial seat within Hedgecourt, but it may also have been for Tylmundesdon as that manor had been granted in its entirety to form Hedgecourt. It is also possible that there was another manorial site beneath either Hedgecourt or Wiremill lakes that is now lost. There will also have been other dwellings but their locations within the land holdings have been impossible to determine.

Starting with the 14th century we have compiled maps of the area plotting each dwelling when the evidence shows that it was in existence. The symbols are as follows, an open circle is where only documentary evidence exists; a half filled circle is where archaeology supports domestic activity at that location; a fully filled circle is where a domestic structure definitely existed as proven by photographs, but has since been removed. A house shape is used to depict a surviving domestic structure. Mills (wind or water) are shown with a windmill, industrial sites are shown with crossed hammers and places of worship as houses with a cross above them. The symbols are coloured red if there is evidence that they first came into existence in the stated period and blue if they were already present. Symbols are removed once a dwelling is no longer in existence or has been converted to a non-domestic use. Significant roads and tracks are indicated in red when specific evidence exists to show that they were in use during the period, there will have been other roads/tracks that have not been specifically mentioned. The background map is the first edition ordnance survey published in the mid 1870's.

Settlement Evidence from the 14th and 15th centuries

As we enter a period where building survival becomes a possibility, we are able to start to utilise other dating methods for settlement. Peter Gray compiled likely build periods based upon the progressive style of timber framed construction for many buildings in the area. We have also surveyed other buildings in the area to date them based upon the construction. The 14th and 15th centuries do not have substantial surviving court records but there are occasional documents that specify the presence of a messuage (dwelling house with its surrounding property) or tenement, but it may still be impossible to locate this building upon a plan unless the land holding is small.

The map for the 14th and 15th century settlement is included in the appendix as Figure 2.

Hedgecourt Manor had descended through the St. Clare family to Eleanor the daughter of Thomas Syntclere who was married to John Gage. There is no evidence that the site at Moat Wood has been abandoned at this time, although the evidence for its continued use is also limited. We have also indicated the likely location of the 'chapel in the park' using manorial documented field names, which indicate that the location was a clearing within a wood called Chapel Wood.

The most notable buildings for this period are mentioned below. A false hammer-beam hall was constructed at Imberhorne in 1428 using very high status carpentry and construction methodology. Imberhorne was owned by Lewes Priory who were undergoing investment in their properties at this time. Gibbshaven that was a crown posted hall house potentially up to 5 bays of which only one bay survives. There was a pottery kiln on Hedgecourt common in the 15th century but this was probably only due to a local source of clay. Rabies Farm, Lowlands Farm and High House are all at Newchapel and are upper status dwellings. Rabies is an early 4 bay hall house with end jetties, Lowlands is a Wealden design with a 2 bay hall built against an earlier property now lost. High House was a 2 bay hall with a single floored end. Mill End, a house at the east end of Wiremill Lake, is a surprising survival as it is a lower status dwelling being only 2 rooms and single storey. Apart from the above mentioned buildings, there were bound to have been other properties that have since been lost.

Settlement Evidence from the 16th century

The 16th century marked a significant change to the landscape of Felbridge because by 1567 the three lakes (now Furnace, Hedgecourt and Wiremill) were formed in Felbridge by building dams across the stream. Furnace Lake was to drive the bellows of a blast furnace built by Faulkner & French in Mill Wood later known as Warren Furnace. The sharp valley sides enabled a considerable head of water to be contained. This was not the case at Woodcock where the hammer mill was built and the shallow valley floor necessitated the construction of a holding pond at Hedgecourt. At 60 acres this is the largest non-military body of water in Surrey. Hedgecourt Lake operated a corn mill but only when the hammer mill allowed the water to flow.

The iron industry must have had a great impact upon the surrounding area. The blast furnace was firing continuously from about October to March when the water flow was great enough. With the support industries of making rope, charcoal, ore mining, ore roasting and crushing, material and product transportation as well as the labour required in the furnace itself it is estimated that the furnace would have needed 200 men to operate the entire local industry. To date no evidence has come forward to indicate where this workforce would have lived. The hammer mill at the other end of Hedgecourt Manor actually lay on lands owned by Lagham manor but was operated in conjunction with the blast furnace with the manager living at Gibbshaven. Gibbshaven was extended around this time by the addition of a detached kitchen block reinforcing its high status.

In 1578 the manor of Hedgecourt is leased to John Thorpe and is described as being 3 messuage, 4 tofts, one watermill, 1 iron mill, 4 gardens, 100a of land, 40a of meadow, 300a of pasture, 500a of wood, 300a of furze and heath. The watermill refers to the one at Hedgecourt Lake; the iron mill is the blast furnace in what is now Furnace Wood. The location of the three messuages can be considered and one is most probably the site of what is now Hedgecourt Farm as this was the location of the manor house after the moated site was abandoned. A second dwelling would have been in the corner of the manor at Newchapel, now the site of Newchapel House, the presence of a dwelling at this location is confirmed in a sale of timber in 1594, which sates that the trees are 'on land occupied by Thomas Humfrey, living in one tenement in the park of Hedgecourt adjoining Newe Chappell'. The location of the third dwelling is likely to be either at the south end of Mill Lane or Mill Cottage, both of which are known to have existed by the mid 17th century. The surviving structure of Mill Cottage is typical of the late 16th century and the earliest documents relating to the farm at the south end of Mill Lane are all 17th century, therefore it is more likely that the third dwelling referred to in 1578 is a cottage associated with the mill at Hedgecourt Lake.

In the early 16th century there is a reference to a possible settlement located south of the moated site below Ascotts Farm. This field contains a number of landscape features that appear to be building platforms on the sloping field. No archaeology has been conducted in this field and therefore the presence of dwellings cannot be assumed. There is a reference to this site in 1535 when there is a transfer of the land to the west from Roger Aven of Worth to John Gage. The description of the land is "Croft of land called Warnetts in Worth, being on the south, the road from Crawley Down to Leyhhothes Grene, on the east, the road from Leygh Hothes Grene to Sheres stone, and on the north and west John Gage's land called Smyths Fourth.  Croft of land called Honneys in Worth, being on the north, Felbridge Heath, on the west, the road from Sherestones to Crawley Down, and on the south and east, land called Smythes Fourth". The location of the named holdings puts 'Leygh Hothes Grene' at the north west corner of this field and therefore potentially any dwellings within the field may have been known as 'Leygh Hothes', and would have been accessed by the road that is described above that would have run from what is now Crawley Down Road, just east of Felbridge Nursery, down to the moated site and then up the hill and round towards Hophurst Farm.

In 1588 George Evelyn purchased 70 acres of land adjoining Hedgecourt Park being next to Felbridge Water with a property known as Heath Hatch upon it. This land can be traced to that of what is now Ward's Farm and the site of Felbridge Place along with most of the common land down to Felbridge Water that had previously been held by Lagham.

You will notice (figure 3) that some of the earlier buildings on the ridge are being replaced in this century although their owners are not directly associated with the Iron industry. Gullege on the ridge was built c1575 with a continuous jetty along the southern elevation and a very impressive stack on the north. It is most likely that it was constructed as a cross wing to an earlier building that lay to the north. Hophurst Farm house was built as a three bay hall house whilst Parkfields was built as a 4 bay hall house with a floored end and a 3 bay hall with a single bay floored over. Hedgecourt Farm became the dominant site for Hedgecourt Manor with the tenant of the manor living and holding court there. Felcot Farm was constructed within an enclosure on Hedgecourt Common and was a lower status dwelling being only 2 bays, one floored, the other an open hall.

Settlement Evidence from the 17th century

The 17th century seems to have brought a period of many new enclosures/encroachments of the commons and it is worthwhile considering the location of the commons at this time. Figure 4 shows the 17th century settlement pattern overlaid upon the approximate common land extents at this time (the enclosures within the commons are not shown). Whilst the manorial courts had always been monitoring and fining individuals for encroachment, there appears to have been a specific desire in the 17th century to understand what lands the manor owned and in particular the common lands. This is characterised by a number of manors all generating schedules or surveys in this period:-

  • Bletchingley Manor compiled the detailed survey of their manor including all the common land (transcribed above)
  • Sheffield-Lingfield compiled a detailed schedule of their freehold and copyhold lands at a single court session.
  • South Malling - Lindfield Manor also compiled a similar detailed schedule but not within the court session.
  • Hedgecourt 'gave to the homage to enquire what part of Felbridge Common belonged to the manor of Hedgecourt and to certify at the next court'. At the next court the homage (the jurors of the manorial court) respond that they believe that Felbridge Common belongs to this manor but request further time to complete their enquiry. No further court provides evidence that confirm any common lands belonged to Hedgecourt.

The common land belonging to Bletchingley manor is well documented in the detailed survey first written in 1681. The original document has had amendments made later (shown in italics in the above transcript), these can be dated as the individuals named in the amendments can be traced, in particular Joan Gatland, widow, who is listed as 'occupying a cottage and about one quarter of an acre' on Froggit Heath. Joan Gatland died in August 1684, being was buried at Horne church; therefore the revisions to the survey can only be within a few years of the original document.

In 1681, there is only one enclosure upon Froggit Heath occupied by John Campfield, this lies on the boundary between Horne and Godstone and can thus be pinpointed as there is only one enclosure on the parish boundary across Froggit Heath on the 1761 map of the commons commissioned by Sir Kenrick Clayton of Bletchingley Manor (discussed in more detail later). The revisions list of 1684 adds a further three enclosures with occupiers and sizes; Joan Gatland, ¼ acre; Henry Campfield, 1 acre; Richard Taylor, 2 acres. It has not been possible to identify each of these individually but using the 1761 Clayton map of the common, it is possible to determine that all three of these enclosures had by then formed one group in the vicinity of Quarry Farm. Two of the surviving buildings in the group date from the 16th century and would therefore have been the cottages described.

Copthorne Common had four enclosures with cottages in the 1681 survey, the enclosed land sizes being much larger than those at Froggit Heath; John Dennfeild Senior and Junior, 6 acres; Mary Nirterage, 5 acres; Henry Chart, 6 acres; Jasy Baker, 6 acres. Unfortunately it has not been possible to identify which of the 8 cottages shown on the 1761 survey are the four recorded in the 1681 survey and therefore they cannot be plotted on the map.

Hedgecourt Common only has a single cottage upon it in the original 1681 survey, stating that it is occupied by George Coleman.  The survey also mentions William Blundell's dwelling which it uses as a boundary marker, this is Felcot Farm which is a freehold property not recorded in the survey that was only covered the common land still owned by Bletchingley manor. The revisions made before 1685 mention a cottage and four closes of land containing 3 acres occupied by George Coleman. However, it is probable that this is a repeat mention of the same cottage in which case it is most probably Yew Tree Farm.

The cluster of new dwellings on Worth Common (Snowhill) is worthy of closer consideration. These dwellings exist mainly as documentary sources in the court books of South Malling-Lindfield of which this common was their most northerly holding. The plots are granted as leaseholds mainly for 200 year terms, all of the leases being granted between 1654 and 1694. The first lease is of an irregular shaped plot implying that the issue of the first lease did not coincide with the erection of the first enclosure on this land. Earlier courts record encroachment of the waste of the manor nearer the administrative heart of the manor in Lindfield and West Hoathly, rarely at Turners Hill or 'Crawleys Down', and never at Copthorne. This may be an indication that this waste land was of little value to the manor and was therefore not closely monitored. The neglect of this land would have left it ripe for unauthorised encroachment. The granting of leases would appear to be a conscious attempt to legitimise this area. The leasees here are traded individuals rather than labourers. These include a wheelwright, blacksmith, carpenter, lath maker and shingle maker. There is even a plot set aside for a bowling alley. The granting of leases for the land may also be related to the decline that occurred in the iron industry in Felbridge in the mid to late 17th century, which must have resulted in large numbers of skilled/semi-skilled individuals with little or no employment in the area.

Felbridge Common is named in 1564 as being the common land in Broadhurst Manor north of the stream running up to the county boundary. Felbridge Heath is also mentioned in a grant of 1535 as lying to the north of Honneys in Worth, which means it extended further west up to Gibbshaven. Both of these areas are later referred to as Hedgecourt Common. Felbridge Heath is used in 1692 as the name of the lands where Felbridge Place and Felbridge School were later constructed. However, it does seem strange that the same name is used to depict these separated areas of land.

Returning to Figure 4, you can see that due to the land grants, Snowhill area now looks more likely to form a sustainable community with Newchapel the next in line, compared to what is now the centre of Felbridge which is still vastly unoccupied in the 17th century.

In 1641, Hedgecourt manor was described as having 4 messuages, an increase over the 3 that were present in 1578. As discussed before the dwellings are likely to be the sites of Hedgecourt Farm, Newchapel House, Hedgecourt Mill Cottage and Park Cottages (south end of Mill Lane).

Settlement Evidence from the 18th century (see figure 5 in the appendix)

The mid 18th century marks a change in direction for Felbridge. The Evelyn family who had bought the 70 acres at Heath Hatch built a new house 'at or near' the location of Heath Hatch and they planted avenues of chestnuts to mark the approach to their new house. Then in 1748, Edward Evelyn purchased the whole of Hedgecourt Manor from the Gages and we see an immediate growth of properties towards the location of this new 'manor house'. James Evelyn (son of Edward) also builds a chapel for the use of the manorial estate, a new home farm and a charity school. There is also a continued growth of Snowhill and at Newchapel that now has a Chapel on the green there.

After the purchase of the estate by Edward Evelyn, the iron industry has a reprieve and the blast furnace is rebuilt and restarts, mainly casting bronze and iron ordnance. On this occasion we can probably identify the accommodation for the workforce as being upon the lands of Felcot Farm. Felcot Farm is in the hands of Mr Masters who is managing the furnace and it is believed that the fields of the farm were used as a shanty town. Two very large bread ovens were also built at the farm potentially to feed this workforce. These ovens were built with fire hearths beneath them rather than being lit within the cooking oven and then raked out for baking; this meant that the ovens could be used continuously.

18th century mapping has also made it possible to determine many more of the tracks being used at this period and the presence of dwellings (although they may have existed from earlier periods). These include:

  • Claytons map of the cottages on the common owned by Bletchingley Manor (1761)
  • Bourd Map 1748 commissioned by Edward Evelyn to show his newly expanded estate. This shows the Warren House Farm constructed within the 'New Fields' that were enclosed in 1742. This map also shows what is now the village pond on the east side of the A22.
  • Shaws & Hodgehorn Map 1765, depicting the freehold lands of Tandridge Court.
  • Magnus Deo Estate Map c1720, this Lingfield based map includes lands at Coopers Moor.
  • Lindley & Crossley Map of 1793.

The Clayton map of 1761 is the most detailed study of the enclosures of the common that are not shown on any of the other maps. A simplified version of the map is shown below with the buildings depicted as black spots. Where a group of enclosures have several occupiers each of the holdings has been shaded a different colour to signify which fields went together.

[Illustration removed for Web text version]

The map shows the significant percentage of enclosed land on Froggit Heath (Frogwood Heath) particularly on the Godstone side of the parish boundary. The dark shaded fields along the south side of Froggit Heath have been encroached to add to the land of Newchapel Farm within Hedgecourt manor. As the enclosed lands stretch further onto the common land they start to constrain the tracks across the common forcing them into the locations of many of the roads that are in use today.

The settlement group around what is now Quarry Farm, on the Horne part of Froggit Heath shows the small land holdings that each dwelling has. This is despite the fact that the cottages have enclosed more land since the 1681 survey when the smallest holding was ¼ acre; the smallest on this map is now 1 acre. The cottages on Copthorne Common excluding the strip along West Park Road are larger groups of fields with a single cottage in each group. On the south boundary of Copthorne Common you can see the two fields and a cottage that is now the site of Effingham Park.

Hedgecourt Common has the significant 24 acre area of enclosed fields around Felcot and Yew Tree Farms on the west of the common adjoining to Furnace wood and the three fields and a cottage on the north side of the common at Little Hedgecourt totalling 8 acres.

Whilst the construction of the Star has already been discussed in the 16th century, it has only been possible to demonstrate that it was known by the sign of the Star from at least 1784, and although there have been many other public houses and beer shops in Felbridge it is now the only one.

Settlement Evidence from the 19th century (see figure 6 in the appendix)

The iron industry that had restarted lasted just into the 19th century before the low cost availability of coke in the Midlands closed down the Wealden furnaces. Both the furnace and the hammer mill, which ran for some time as a wire mill, were converted into corn mills. South Malling-Lindfield was now enfranchising land and these were being purchased by London based investors and upper class individuals who were building weekend retreats.

In 1856 the Felbridge Estate (as it was then called) was purchased by the Gatty Family. George and Frances Gatty and their son Charles started to purchase land from the surrounding manors and expanded their estate from 1740 acres up to just short of 2000 acres. On the land that was purchased they built houses for the estate workers hence the new buildings along Crawley Down Road. We still get small simple, timber framed and daubed cottages appearing on small plots of land, Acacia Cottage on Crawley Down Road, is a good surviving example dating to 1807. George and Frances Gatty also endowed the land and paid for the construction of a vicarage and the church, St. John the Divine, which was consecrated in 1865 with a condition being the demolition of the earlier Evelyn chapel.

Settlement Evidence from the 20th century (see figure 7 in the appendix)

Unfortunately in 1903, Charles Gatty died and the estate passed to his cousins who did not wish to retain the estate. In 1911 it was put up for sale in small lots specifically for development. Building work was started and some completed before the onset of World War I, mainly as strip development along the roads (Copthorne Road and Crawley Down Road).

Some of the wealthy purchasers wanted to retain a country estate feel and purchased larger amounts of land. One of these was Mr Henry Willis Rudd who owned the manufacture rights to the Lewis gun just prior to WWI.  As the war started he agreed a contract price per gun with the British Government and borrowed against that contract as manufacture was expanded to meet the demand in the battlefield. He was sure to become very rich and commissioned Edwin Lutyens to build a new manor house at Felbridge, about 10 times the size of the existing house. The lodge houses were built, but unfortunately the government was unable to pay and Mr Rudd was declared bankrupt.

After the War, Furnace Wood was sold in lots as weekend retreats from London with most of the plots having sheds, caravans and even an old train carriage as the dwelling. Permanent residences started to appear in the early 1920's.

The block development of Domewood, which was started in the 1950's, also stands out on the plan. You can also see the spread of East Grinstead and the growth of Copthorne.

The population figures also trace the steady rise in housing in the area, increasing by 500 people every 25 years, from the 300 or so it had been up to 1911. In 1953 the Civil Parish of Felbridge was formed, until then we had politically still been a part of Godstone and the residents were effectively unrepresented on Godstone Rural District Council.

[Illustration removed for Web text version]

However, the history of the Felbridge area has left us with even greater confusion about where Felbridge really is. We have the manor of Hedgecourt that later became the Felbridge Estate, the civil parish and the ecclesiastical parish all covering different areas. Today we have all the traditional attributes of a typical village (except a shop which closed recently), but do not have the slow and organic growth pattern of a village built around a location first named in the 12th century. Felbridge sits straddling the boundary with a settlement pattern that has only really become apparent in the late 19th century, with all earlier periods indicating that Snowhill or Newchapel had the potential to grow and become villages in their own right.

History has meant that the manorial lands of Hedgecourt Manor remain relatively unscathed, as do those of the surrounding manors. In the main, it is the common lands that have been encroached and developed even though the entire estate was parcelled up for development at the start of the 20th century. It is also interesting to note that the demesne lands of the manor as described in 1625 are still undeveloped in the majority, except for Domewood and some encroachment of the outer boundary.


Margary, Ivan D. 'The early development of tracks and roads in and near East Grinstead'. Sussex Notes & Queries, 11:4 (1947), 77-81

Warlege, Bulletin of East Grinstead Society 58 (1996) p6

Domesday Book, Sussex ed: Morris, John. 1976

Blair, John. 'The Surrey Domesday Survey' 1989

Blair, John. 'The Surrey Endowments of Lewes Priory before 1200'. Surrey Archaeological Collections Vol. LXXII, 1980. pp. 97-126

Round, JH. 'Some Early Grants to Lewes Priory'. Sussex Archaeological Collections Vol. XL (1896), p 69

Harrison, D. 'The Surrey Portion of the Lewes Cartulary', Surrey Archaeological Collections 43 (1935) 84-112

Margary, Ivan. 'Felbridge Parish & People, Part I', FHA

Rental of Imberhorne Manor 1557, XA4/1 U269 E341, ESRO

Ekwall, Eilert. 'Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names' (1960)

English Placenames Society Vol.XI, 'The Placenames of Surrey' (1934)

Bourd Map of the Evelyn Estate 1748, FHA

Magnus Deo Map c1720, FHA

Wood, P. Map of the manorial holdings of East Grinstead, FHA

Shaws & Hodgehorn Map1765, FHA

South Malling-Lindfield Court Books, ACC/2327/1/5/1-7, ESRO

Hedgecourt Court Books, SAS/G/ACC/914a, ESRO; 3151/Box1, SHC

Tandridge Court, K61/7/60 -70, SHC

Sheffield-Lingfield Court Books, Add Mss 17704-17708, WSRO

Broadhurst Court Books, GLY/1080-1087, ESRO

Imberhorne Court Books, AMS5909/1-10, AMS5910/1, AMS5910/3, ESRO

Bletchingly Manor Survey 1681, 453/1/1(g), SHC

Lagham Manor Court Books, P25/21/11-12, K61/7/5-30, SHC

1576 Lease Gage to Thorpe, SAS/G/ACC/917, ESRO

1625 Boundary of Hedgecourt Park, SAS/G/ACC/914a, ESRO

Lambert, Uvedale. 'Godstone' (1929)

Calendar of Patent Rolls 1288, PRO

1408 IPM of Philip Seyntclere, 3924/11/66, SHC

Handout 'Hophurst Farm', SJC 09/00, FHA

Moated site at moat wood - NMR: TQ 34 SE3

Moated site at Ascotts Farm - NMR: TQ 33 NE8

Handout 'The Archaeology of Imberhorne Farm', JC 09/08, FHA

Gray, Peter. 'Horne, A history for the millennium' (1999) FHA

Handout 'Gibbshaven Farm', JIC/SJC 07/07, FHA

Handout 'Imberhorne Old Farmhouse', JIC/SJC 09/04, FHA 

Handout 'Lowlands' JIC/SJC 05/06, FHA

Felbridge Parish & People (1976) 

Handout 'Warren Furnace' SJC 01/00, FHA  

Liverpool Papers, 38480, BL

Handout 'Gullege', SJC 03/02, FHA

Handout 'Hophurst Farm', SJC 09/00, FHA

Handout 'Parkfields', SJC 05/05, FHA

Gage Papers, SAS/G43, ESRO

Handout 'Felcot Farm', JIC/SJC 05/08, FHA    

Handout 'Smugglers Cottage', SJC 07/06, FHA    

Rental of the Cottages on Frogwood Heath and Hedgecourt Heath 1676, K60/3/2 SHC

Warlege, Bulletin of the East Grinstead Society 58, P6.

Handout 'Felbridge School', SJC 09/05, FHA 

Handout 'The Felbridge Chapel', SJC 05/00, FHA

Clayton Map of the cottages on the Common 1761, K61/1, SHC

Bourd Map of the Evelyn Estate 1748, FHA

Magnus Deo Map c1720, FHA

Shaws & Hodgehorn Map 1765, FHA

Lindley & Crossley Map of 1792, FHA

Handout 'Eating and Drinking Establishments of Felbridge Pt. II', JIC/SJC 03/08, FHA

Handout 'Felbridge Place', SJC 10/99, FHA

Deeds to the lands purchased by Gatty family 1856-1900, 3151/box 3, SHC

Handout 'Acacia Cottage', SO 07/03, FHA

Handout 'St John the Divine', SJC 07/02i, FHA

Draft Ordnance Survey Map of Sussex (1805-8), PM285, WSRO

Draft Ordnance Survey Map of Surrey (1809) OSD89(pt2), 2 & OSD97, 8. BL

Ordnance Survey Map 1st Edition (Sussex 1870/Surrey 1879), FHA

Handout 'Downfall of Henry Willis Rudd', SJC 11/02, FHA

Ordnance Survey Maps 1910, 1936, 1999, FHA

[7 figures of illustration removed for Web text version]

JC 01/09