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Springtime Sundays with Roger Nash #1

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Join local historian and geographer Roger Nash, on a weekly journey through the history of Pallinghurst Woodlands, in five unique posts.

A Medieval overview

From the Roman Anderida and the South Saxon Andredeswald, comes our modern word Weald, the wildwood of medieval England. Providing hunting and fishing for the elite, pannage (use of the forest for summer pasturing of pigs) by transhumance (seasonal migration) of South Saxon farmers, from the coastal plain and downland villages.

Into this came the enterprising and the politicising powers in the land. Slowly but surely the Wealden spoils were divided up with overlaying governance:

  • the Norman overlords, who took the Saxon rapes and hundreds and created the parishes;

  • the church who took what land they needed to maintain their clergy, bishops and religious houses;

  • the lords of the coastal manors who extended their remit,

  • the iron masters, glassmakers and timber merchants occupying an unregulated niche;

  • more successful peasantry in Sussex became the yeomen copyhold farmers of the manorial system.

There were no 3-field systems in The Weald, just assarted (enclosed) farmland, manorial commons, and relict wildwood.

Loxwood and Rudgwick were in the Rape of Arundel, its river and castle came into the hands of the ancient Howard family. Within this were the hundreds, the forgotten entity of West Easwrithe, containing Rudgwick, and the more familiar name, Bury, containing Loxwood.

With patchwork of manors: Pulborough extending up the river to Rudgwick; Dedisham in Slinfold and Rudgwick (the Howards were lord of the manor), Drungewick in Loxwood, including Exfoldwood in Rudgwick and Headsfoldwood in Loxwood, Loxwood manor itself, and a clutch of southern manors such as South Stoke in the Weald (Tismans), Amberley, and so on.

The church: the Abbey of Seez in Arundel had Drungewick. It passed in 1256 to the Bishops of Chichester as a moated summer residence and ‘staurum’ in which were kept oxen, cattle, sheep goats etc, which presumably grazed on the manorial pastures by the river and across the manor until 1560.

Queen Elizabeth I took Drungewick from the Bishops to the crown, subsequently gifted to Sir Edward Onslow and his successors.

Drungewick in 1795

The manor and common of Loxwood was in the hands of the Threels at Greathouse (Loxwood House at Alfold Bars) and their principal farm, Loxwood Place, in the village.

Written by Roger Nash, local historian and geographer, as part of the Sussex Spring Watch programme.



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