The History and Antiquities of Horsham

This is a transcript of The History and Antiquities of Horsham by Howard Dudley:

The pages are divided as per the book and the illustrations inserted accordingly. The book’s original page numbers are in brackets e.g. (3). Page breaks, spellings and punctuation etc are as per the book.


The History and

Antiquities of


By the author of Juvenile Researches

 Illustrated by wood engravings

and lithographic views.





To the Right Hon

George O’Brien Wyndam,

Earl of Egremont

And Baron Cockermouth.

The following pages

Are by his lordship’s permission

Respectfully dedicated

By his obliged servant

Howard Dudley




View from Denne hill frontispiece

Interior of the nave                     9

Horsham Church                        6

Map of Horsham                         68




Town Hall                                   5

Horsham Church                        7

The Chancel                               8

Braose monument                      11

Delves do                                   14

Hoo monument                          15

Brass figure                               16

Arms of Foys                             17

Marriot Monument                     19

Jamieson do                             24

Horsham gaol                           27

Independent’s chapel                 29

Wesleyan do                               30

British Schools                            33

Collier’s do                                 31

North Chapel                              34

Chesworth House                         35

Denne do                                   38

Warnham Church                        39

Caryll monument                         40

Warnham Court                           43

Field Place                                  44

Nuthurst Church                          53

Itchingfielddo                             58

Farthing Bridge                          60

Slinfold Church                          62

Tregoz monument                      63

Blount Monument                       64

Rusper nunnery                   Appendix

Brass figure                                Do.


History and Antiquities

of Horsham,

and its vicinity


The ancient town and borough of Horsham, which has generally been past over in topographical accounts, as a place unworthy of notice; or lost in the dazzling descriptions, of the “modern maritime Babylon of Sussex,” must always remain a spot, dear to the lover of antiquities, and romantic scenery. The derivation of its name, has ever continued a matter of great perplexity; which perhaps may be considered as a very strong


argument, in favour of the antiquity of the place. Some persons conjecture, that the appellation is derived from the two Saxon words, hurst and ham, the first syllable signifying a wood, and the second a village or collection of houses: and this opinion seems to be supported by the known fact, that this part of the country, was formerly one entire tract of forest land; but again quite as good if not superior derivation, may be taken from the two words, Horsa and ham, that is the village of, or built by, Horsa.

Horsham has enjoyed the privilege of sending two members to Parliament, ever since the year 1295; by the passing of the reform bill, however, one representative was considered sufficient for the business of the borough. The names of the persons first elected for the town, were Walter Burgeys, and Walter Randolf: Robert Henry Hurst esq. is the present member.


The spring assizes for the county, had also long been held in the Town-Hall of Horsham; but this privilege was selfishly abstracted from the town, by the inhabitants of Lewes and even the county gaol, which has been stationed here, for time immemorial, is, we understand, to be removed to the all devouring eastern rival: the quarter sessions however, are still held here.

Still, not withstanding, as respects the town, Horsham is greatly improving: the number of buildings which have been lately erected, and which are still erecting, are of a new and very handsome description: the streets are neatly paved, with the large flat stones procured from the excellent quarries in the neighbourhood; and the illumination of the streets by gas, which is being carried on with great spirit and energy, contribute very greatly to the general respectability

(4) History and Antiquities

and good appearance of the place.

Horsham consists of four principal streets, crossing one another at right angles, with a large square, stretching due N. and S., in the centre. The upper part of this square is commonly denominated Gaol Green, in consequence of the prison, which formerly stood at the northern end, but of which two large walls, now found useful in an adjacent brewery, only remain.

The lower portion contains the large and handsome Town-Hall, of which the annexed sketch will afford some idea; a few years ago, the appearance which it presented was entirely different, being built on arches, in a similar manner, to the Council chamber, at Chichester, and surmounted by a stone with the inscription “Thirty six miles from Westminster Bridge,” engraved thereupon: by the kind liberality of the Duke of Norfolk,

(5) of Horsham &c

it was completely repaired, and greatly enlarged; and though no longer applied to its original purpose, (except in the instance of the quarter sessions) it is still found very serviceable for lectures, public meetings, &c. &c. The north front is embellished by the arms of royalty, flanked by those of Norfolk


(6) History and Antiquities

and Horsham. On either side of the Hall, is a neat street, only on of which is a thoroughfare, these meet on the southern side of the building, in a very handsome and respectable walk, called the Church Causeway, at the termination of which, is the ancient and spacious church, (dedicated to St Mary) the approach is rendered particularly picturesque, by an avenue of lofty lime trees, of some extent, which leads in a perfectly straight direction, to the church-yard gateway: the effect of the view from this avenue, is exceedingly pleasing, particularly of a summer evening, when the rays of the setting sun cast a beautiful golden tint, upon the venerable porch, which appears a conspicuous object behind the portal.

The northern side of the edifice, though perhaps not quite so equal to the southern, appears to great advantage, though the modern windows, which have been substituted in several instances for others of great antiquity,

South view of Horsham Church


add greatly to diminish the general effect.

On entering the church by the eastern gateway, the interior of the structure appears to the highest advantage; the large and beautifully simple communion window, reaching

View of Church

almost from the basement to the roof, is by no means the least attractive object of attention; while the handsome appearance of the altar, raised by a flight of several steps, covered entirely with crimson cloth; the unu-


sually large extent of the communion rails; and the numerous beautiful monuments, in every direction, afford a very elegant appearance, perhaps not to be equalled by any other parochial edifice in the county. Yet at the same time, the venerable roof of oaken planks; the large yet highly sculptured beams which have weathered nearly a thousand years; the tattered escutcheons; the crested helmets; and the antiques tombs, afford a view at once pleasing and romantic. Some attempt has been made to illustrate this portion of the church, (the chancel) in the annexed engraving, but no drawing can do justice to the original building.

The dimensions of the church are as below.

Length ……146ft

Width …….53 8in

Height ……  47 10


The roof is supported upon wooden ribs, crossed by others of the same materials: the joints are covered by ornamented plates of iron, of very grotesque descriptions: in the nave, the ribs are almost double the distance apart of those in the chancel: the junction of the roof and walls, in the latter portion of the edifice, are adorned with curious little figures of horses, foxes, &c. &c. interspersed with stars, and many other similar devices.

The entire edifice is supported upon eight columns on either side: three constituting the chance, and the remaining five the nave: the galleries are particularly neat, more especially that appropriated to the organ, the whole of the pewing being covered entirely with green baize. The lancet windows, with which the church was formerly furnished, have almost all been altered for others of a later date, except in the clerestory, where


they retain their original form. The large east window, before mentioned, was formerly adorned with no less than 14 coats of arms richly painted. The roof was put up, at the time that the Norfolks were lords of the borough: in the year 1825, a curious old inscription was discovered upon the summit of the walls, reaching from one end of the church to the other, but it was very remarkable, that the centres of all the letters (which were about a foot in length) were entirely, and apparently designed effaced, so that not the slightest meaning could be discovered from it.

In the chancel, is the curious and remarkable effigy of Thomas lord Braose ob. 1396. This noble and ancient family were formerly almost the sole proprietors of the county of Sussex. One of their residences was at Chesworth, an ancient mansion to the


south of the town, which shall afterwards be described; and Bramber Castle also near Steyning, originally appertained to these powerful barons, The head of the figure,

De Braose Monument

“is defended by a basinet, ornamented by a draplet of jewels, his throat by the ample carmail, attached to the helmet as in the time of Edward III. His arms are in plate ar-


mour, and his body in a shortened hauberk, kept from pressing on his chest, by means of the plastron, or breast-plate, within. Over this is the juppon, bearing his coat of arms, viz. seme of cross croslets, a lion rampant crowned. Suspended from his military girdle at his right hip, is his dagger, the sheaf of which, is ornamented in an architectural style, and in the same manner at the left, hung his long sword, of which no traces now remain. On his insteps, are large pieces attached to the spur leathers, and terminated by indented edges which conceal the chain mail beneath. His jousting helmet, surmounted by his crest, a demi-lion rampant, issuing from a coronet, is under his head, but greatly mutilated, all below the oscularium, having been destroyed*”

* Dallaway page 855 vol 2

The Chancel

The Nave


At a very small distance from the above mentioned monument, is a very beautiful altar tomb of white marble, relieved alternately by slabs of black: upon this is an admirable and most elaborately executed figure, of a lady, in long flowing robes, her right hand reclines upon her breast, while her left rests upon the Holy Scriptures, in a peculiarly graceful manner: it is the work of Francis Fanelli, an Italian sculptor, of great eminence in his day, and has escaped the devastation generally inflicted on works of art in the parochial edifices of Sussex; the inscription is as follows.

Here lyeth (expecting a joyfull resurection,) the body of Elizabeth, late wife of Thomas Delves Esquire, son and heir apparent to Sr. Henry Delves of Duddington in the county of Chester, Barronet, who deceased on the 2nd day of December 1654, being somewhat more than 25 years old; then in childbed of Henry their 2nd son, who with Thomas their eldest son did both survive her. She was enriched with many ornaments, both of mind and body, and memorable for virtue, in the several relations of her life, whereunto she was in any way engaged, being religious as she was a Christian, dutiful as a daughter, affectionate as a wife, tender as a mother, discreete in her family as


a Mistris, charitable in the relation of a neighbour, also of a sweet and affable disposition and of a sober and winning conversation. She was the only child of Hall Ravenscroft Esq.r of this parish, by the mother descended of ye Stapleys of this county. Her sorrowful husband, sadley weighing such a considerable losse, erected this monument, that an impartiall memorial of her might bee the better communicated to posterity


On the south side, are the arms of the deceased with the motto “In Dieu ma foy”

On the other side of the church, in a portion denominated the Roffy chancel, is a large, and beautifully sculptured altar-tomb,


of Sussex marble, with a light and curious canopy of the same material, supported on pillars: on the surface were formerly a


brass inscription, and armorial bearings, but all of these have disappeared, it is supposed to cover the remains if Thomas Hoo Knt.


lord Hoo and de Hastings, ob. 1455.

According to Dallaway, mention is made in the visitation book of Philpot and Owen, A.D. 1634, of two other monuments, not at present remaining. “Under the communion table,

{in old English font:}

Die jacet William Hoo armiger, qui a biit 200 mensis Sept, 1465

{/in old English font:}

Arms, Hoo impaling a fess.

On a marble stone,

{in old English font:}

Orate pro animab, Thomas Cobertet ejus uror qui quidem Tho, Ob 1495

{/in old English font:}

Arms, two shields, 1 Covert, impaling a phaon’s head: 2 impaling, a chevron, 2 roundlets, in chief a buck’s head caboshed.”

Under the organ gallery, is a curious brass of a man and woman, in the antique dress of the time, with the following inscrip-


tion, in Gothic characters, below them

{in old English font:}

Here lyeth Richard Foys, and Elizabeth his wife, which Richard deceased the 21 day of April, MDCLLL

Foys crest

Affixed to one of the columns supporting the organ gallery, is a small slab of white marble, with a frame of black: the inscription in black letters runs thus.

In this seat is interred the body of Thomas Pyke Barber and Chyrorgeon, who departed this life the 16 day of Nov., in the year of our Lord MDLXXXI; and in remembrance of him, this monument was erected by his brother Wm. Pyke

At a very small distance from this tablet, the


annexed inscription can be discovered upon a stone in the middle cross aisle.

Here lyeth Robert Hurst of Hurst Hill, who died A.D. 1483, Nicholas his son A.D. 1533, and Richard son of Nicholas Feb 16th A.D. 1592

The other monumental inscriptions are to the following persons.

John Mitchell of Stammerham 1610, Mary his wife daughter of William Gresham gent. of Surrey, 1610; Maurice Barrow gent. 1778; John Parsons esq. 1702; Cecelia Maria his wife 1700; Mrs. Olive Eversfield, only sisters to Mary wife if Charles Eversfield, of Denne place, 1704; Rev. Geo. Marshall, 35 year officiating minister of this parish, 1819; Charles Eversfield of Denne place, and Mary his wife; Sir Charles Eversfield Bart., 1784; Mrs Olive Eversfield 1803; Anna Maria Willemot Thornton, 1824; William Jamieson vicar of Horsham 1821; Edward Tredcroft, 1768; Mary Tredcroft, 1794;


Sarah and Henry Du Cane Cap. Richard marriott, 1805, the beautiful female figure which surmounts this monument, is the work

beautiful female figure

of Westmacot, Tristram Revel, lient. col. 1797; Rev. T. White 1788; Thomas Briensen. 1741; Mrs Mary Jenden 1802; John Smith esq. 1758; Elizabeth Smith; 1780; Griffith Smith 1663; Charles Smith 1689; Adam Smith 1789; Harriet Smith 1800


Mrs Martha Longhurst 1750; John Foster 1750; Elizabeth Foster his wife 1743; John Medwin, eldest son of John Charles & Mary Medwin, unfortunately killed by a fall from a gig, at the foot of Picts Hill near Horsham, 1806; Lieu. Henry Clough Medwin 1815; Henry Ellis 1785; Mrs Ann Godwin 1822; George Cheynell 1747; Elizabeth his wife; 1781; John Eversfield esq.1669. Besides these are slabs to the memory of the following individuals. Thomas Waller: Thomas Dunball: Mary Woodyear: William Norman: John Higgen: Thomas Buen: Henry Waller: John Rowland: Hannah Howes: Ann Curtis: John Pifold: Robert Hall: William White: William Griffith: Henry Griffith: Ann Griffith; Hen. Groombridge: Elizabeth Hewet: Henry Ellis: Henry Groombridge: Judith Jeamison: Samuel, Sarah and Catherine, Wicker:



Matthew White: Francis Read: James Waller: John Middleton esq: Ann Chourn: Isabella Ramsden: Sir Bysshe Shelley Bart. of Castle Goring: Mary Catherina his wife: Catherine their daughter. All of these monuments, with the exception of six, belong to the last century.

The font constructed of Sussex marble, is octagonal, and handsomely sculptured: date 1455.

The following inscriptions are noticed in the Burrel MSS (British Museum,) which at present do not remain.

In mortem Georgii Allen

Quod fuit esse, quod est, quod non fuit esse, quod esse,

Esse quod est, non esse quod est, non est erit esse;

Vita malis plena est, pia mors pretiosa corona est;

Post vitam mors est, post mortem vita beata est.

In the window of the North chancel, was the following Gothic characters.


{old English font}

Orate pro anima, Wiliem Attwood de

Horsham et Alicie uror ejus, qui istam fe-

Nestram fieri fecis; A.D 1428

{/old English font}

“Madam Eversfield (according to Dallaway) gave one silver flaggon, two silver cups, one basin for oblation, gilt; pulpit cushion and cloth, with gold fringe, and a branch of candlesticks to the body of the church. Two dozen of penny loaves, to be disposed of among the poor every Sunday, that frequent the church, for ever; the gift of Mr Theobold Shelley.” “The same person with the Lady Matthews, gave this portion of bread to be disposed of every Sunday for ever, for the encouragement of the poor to frequent the church.” This is inscribed in front of the organ gallery. In the parish registers mention is made of an attack of the plague, by which this place was afflicted, though happily not to a very alarming extent, they com-


mence in the year 1560. Over the vestry, (which was built in the reign of Edward VI) is a very curious old room reached by means of a spiral stair-case, terminated by a trap door: the oaken roof depends entirely upon a large beam in the centre. It is called the Lollard’s tower, and was most probably used as a place of confinement for that unfortunate sect: the apertures for light are thickly guarded by double iron bars, and in one place, on the north wall, the remains of an iron ring are visible: the only thing of any consequence in this cold and cheerless apartment, is a large oaken chest, curiously carved, with a secret drawer of superior workmanship. The beautiful service of communion plate is also kept here.

In the Roffy chancel is the beautiful monument of Mr Jamieson; the figure of the angel above, pointing upwards, is exquisite-


ly sculptured, and deserves much attention.

beautiful monument of Mr Jamieson

Dallaway mentions that there appear to have been two chantries and a brotherhood founded in this church, whose history is rather obscure, in some measure contradictory; the first he adds, “was built by Walter Burgess who in the year 1307, obtained a license to endow with 50 acres of land, a chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in the parish church of Horsham, for the souls of himself and his successors. The other was denomi-


nated by Butler’s chantry, and was founded by one John Body and others by the lycens King Hen. VI, for one chapleyn so say diligent service for ever, as th’aulter of St Michauel in the church of Horsham; to pray for the soulles of King Henry &c. ; the said chapleyn to have for his wagis vijli for the year, for ever, which hath been continued accordingly till about viij yeares past, at which time Sir Will, Brandon, clerk, then incumbent, sold the same unto Sir Roger Copley, and after such sale by him made, he the said Sir William, did sing after the space vj yeares, and the said Sir Roger Coqey paid him wagis.’ “ “Horsham, —Butler’s Chantry.— William Brandon of th’age of — yeares, was last incumbent there, but not resident, since anno reg. xxvij who sold his interest to Mr Copley for viijii


xi s. ij d.* At the west end of the building is a large massy tower, lately put into thorough repair, this is surmounted by an octagonal spire, 230 feet in height, and formed of wooden shingles carefully fitted together. The great bell of this church is the largest in the county, and weighs nearly a ton and a half: the whole peal consisting of eight, is extremely melodious.

On the 17th of November 1231, John de Broase granted the church of Horsham with all its appurtenances, to the prioress and nuns of Rusper, for their exclusive use; by same deed it was also ordained, that on account of the size of the parish, and the number of inhabitants, the vicar who shall officiate in the church from time to time, shall

*Declaration of Chantries in the Augmentation office


have one chaplain as his assistant, and two subordinate ministers, viz. a deacon and subdeacon, to officiate with him in the same church. At the dissolution of monastic establishments, in the reign of Henry VIII, the Archbishop of Canterbury came into the patronage of the vicarage.

Horsham gaol

The county gaol is situated in East street, upon a very elevated site; it was erected


About 50 years since, by Willaim Griffith, who ruined himself, by contracting for the building: it is a neat and handsome structure, and extremely appropriate for the purpose, on the South is a small garden extending along the front of the building, which has two court-yards, of about half an acre each, with a gravel walk surrounding a fine grass-plot, and the whole is encircled by a lofty wall. To prevent confusion or danger in case of fire, every cell is arched over with brick, and a separate room allotted to each debtor and felon. The chapel is in the keeper’s house, where prayers are read daily, and a sermon delivered every Sunday by the chaplain. The annual salary of the keeper is £180: that of the Chaplain £160 shillings and of the surgeon £70 per annum: the matron and the three turnkeys receive 8 shillings each weekly: the internal management is regula-


ted by rules made at the quarter session, and confirmed by the judges of assize.

Independents Chapel

The Independents chapel, is situated near the end of West Street, it is peculiarly neat, both as respects its external and internal appearance: an inscription upon an oval tablet in front, informs us, that it was erected by public subscription in the year 1814. At the distance of about a hundred yards from the above, is the Roman Catholic chapel, with an embattled front surmount-


ted by a cross: service is performed here, only once a fortnight; proceeding on in the same direction, we arrive at the Anabaptist chapel, a respectable building of some antiquity, a little to the left of which is the Friend’s meeting house, in a very pretty retired situation. The Wesleyan chapel was


erected in Brunswick place A.D. 1832, it is simple in its style, but exceedingly neat, elegant, and appropriate; the last religious edifice in Horsham is the Baptist’s chapel,


situated in New Street, it much resembles the Independent’s in its exterior appearance.

“Richard Collier by his will dated Jan 23 1532, benevolently left a small estate, at Stratford le Bow in the county of Middlesex


to be sold, and the product to be laid out in the purchase of a school house at Horsham, where he was born.”* The children enjoying the privileges of this charity, are annual-

* Dallaway.


ly selected by the vicar and churchwardens with eight of the most “honest” inhabitants, they are allowed to remain till the age of 14 and any number may at the discretion of the school wardens, be instructed in the Latin language. It is expressly ordered in the will, that the children elected, should be the offspring of “poor people, in especial of the said parish, and next about the same, to be educated in reading, writing, arithmetic, and the principles of the christian religion.” The Mercers’ Company, a house and premises in Cheapside London, for the support of the master and usher, whose annual salaries are, £120 for the former, and £80 for the latter. The school house is situated in a peculiarly delightful and romantic situation, with a pleasant croft in front, extending to the east side of the church yard; the accompanying

British School




wood-cut represents the west front of the building.

The National School is held in the church porch, where great numbers of the younger children of the poor are instructed.

A very neat building, denominated Denne School, has been erected in a delightful situation, at the foot of the hill, from which it takes its name, for the education of the girls of the neighbouring indigent persons.

In the back lane, the members of the church of England, have instituted an infant school, which appears a very pleasant object in this hitherto neglected portion of the town.

The Royal British Schools are also well worth the inspection of the visitor: the boys are taught reading, writing, grammar, linear and perspective drawing &c.

To the North of Horsham, on Hurst hill,


is Moated House, formerly belonging to the family of the Westons: this mansion was the residence of Robert Hurst ob. 1483, whose monument in the church, the reader will remember,

Nearer the town, is a very ancient building formerly belonging to lord Hoo and de Hastings, whose remains are interred in the church: a farm house at present the property of the duke of Norfolk alone marks the site of this one splendid and princely edifice.

Chesworth, one of the oldest houses in the county, was formerly as before said, the residence of the noble family of Broase, this truly romantic structure is situated a little to the south east of the town, of which it is one of the chief objects of interest. The unfortunate Thomas duke of Norfolk, who fell victim to the malignant jealousy of


Queen Elizabeth, was apprehended here, A.D. 1571. It is said that the papers concealed by Higford, and which lead to his conviction, were discovered under the roof of this building. Several apartments of very spacious dimensions, but of whose existence the inhabitants were totally ignorant, were discovered through accident, by a maid servant about 20 years since. The chapel now used as a wash-house, is still quite perfect, and of great height: several niches for the statues of saints, and receptacles for holy water, may be discovered in the sides: through the falling of part of the wall, a few years ago, several Roman coins were dug up, from which circumstance, it has been by some persons imagined, that the place was originally a Roman villa.

To the west of the town, is Hills place, or rather the remains of an elegant residence,


so called; it was formerly the property of the lords Irvine, and was considered a very handsome specimen of the domestic architecture of the age, in which it was erected

Hills Place

It was taken down a few years since, and no vestige is left to mark its site, save the remnants of a farm house in existence before the building of the mansion itself, and part of a wing added to the structure, on the marriage of lord William Ingram, one of the family.

Chesworth House


In one of the upper rooms, is a venerable escocheon, with the motto “in coelo quies” serving to exclude the wind from the antique chamber.

On a lofty eminence denominated Denne hill, the visitor may obtain a very beautiful view of the town of Horsham, with its adjacent hills behind, the interesting church appears by far the most conspicuous object in the wide extended landscape, while the small and winding branch of the river Arun, which takes its rise in the adjacent forest of St. Leonard, contributes not a little to heighten the beauty, and diversify the scene of this truly delightful and extensive prospect.

At a short distance from the spot where this romantic view may be obtained, the ivied tower, and venerable battlements of Denne house, proudly rise upon the sight,


The spot upon which this edifice stands, is particularly interesting, being generally supposed by antiquarians to be the site of a Danish encampment, during a conflict with the Picts, who made a choice of an opposite eminence, still retaining the name of Pict’s hill, while the one we have just described preserves the appellation of Denne (undoubtedly derived from Dane) hill. The estate formerly belonging to the family of Braose, was forfeited to the crown, with other lands, on the attainder of Thomas duke of Norfolk into whose possession it had fallen: in the year 1594, it was awarded by Sir William Covert and Sir John Caryll to James Boath, by whom it was sold five years afterwards to Stephen Barnham of London for £1250. Shortly afterwards however then two sons of the last mentioned persons, parted with it to Sir Thomas Eversfield for the sum of £5500.

Denne House


After passing through the hands of several of his descendants, it devolved to William Markwick esq, who took the name of Eversfield, and to whose son a minor it now belongs

Continuing along the London road from

Warnham Church


Horsham, for about 3 miles, and then pursuing the road to the left, we arrive at the picturesque, secluded, and delightful little village of Warnham, bounded on the east by Rusper, west by Slinfold, south by Itching-

Sir John Caryl


field, and north by Capel, and containing in 1831, 952 inhabitants. The village is rather extensive, and consists principally of one long narrow street, running N. and S.; the church on the west side is particularly neat, though exhibiting a variety of style, and consists of a nave and a south aisle, with three chancels: the northern of these latter portions is divided from the south aisle, by a handsome oaken skreen, carved in the Gothic style, and formerly belonged to the Carylls. On the north side is a curious old mural monument, bearing the effigies of a man in armour and a woman kneeling; below are 8 smaller figures intended for their children, with another person armed, in the centre. The inscription informs us that it was erected to the memory of Sir John Caryll Knt., eldest son of Thomas Caryll esq. Of Warnham, and Maria his wife, daughter


of George Cotton of Warblington, ob. 1613. The south chancel belonged to the Mitchell family of Field Place, and contains monuments to the memory of Mary Mitchell widow, mother of Edward Shelley esq., by Sir Timothy Shelley gent, ob. 1731; John Mitchell gent. 1711: John Shelley esq. 1799; Mary his wife 1759: Edward Shelley esq. of Field Place 1747. The central chancel, formerly belonging to the appropriation, is at present, in conjunction with the other two, the property of Sir Timothy Shelley Bart. In the body of the church are slabs to Samuel Shuckford, 45 years vicar of Warnham and Eartham, Ann his widow, and Matthew Napper gent. In the pavement of the south aisle, the side of an alter tomb, adorned with shields and quatrefoils, and apparently of the time of Edward I, may be discerned: the font is square, and of the same date; the pul-


pit stands upon a basement of brick, which gives it a particularly singular appearance: the neat embattled tower contains five bells, and is of later construction than the rest of the building.

Warnham Cout, a handsome mansion in

Warnham Court

the style of Elizabeth, and a very striking feature of the surrounding country, was erected about three years since, by Henry Tredcroft, esq.: the house contains about 50 apartments, and is built of brick faced with stone: the grounds are tastefully arranged, and the park, though so recently


laid out, assumes a beautiful and verdant appearance.

To the south of Warnham, is Field Place, the residence for several centuries of the family of Mitchell. The only daughter of the Rev. Theobald Mitchell, married the late

Field Place

Sir Bysshe Shelley, by whose son Sir Timothy, it is now possessed. Percy Bysshe Sheely, the celebrated poet and friend of Byron, was born here: a brief but interesting account of his life, may be found in


Horsefield’s “History of Sussex,” vol. 2nd. Under the description of Warnham.

To the east of Horsham, is a tract of land, containing between eight and nine thousand acres, called St. Leonard’s Forest: although its nearest point is seven miles from the upper part of Beeding, it is within the limits of that parish: the chief part of the soil is poor, it contained considerable quantities of iron stone, which was smelted, but as the timber became exhausted, the smelting of the iron has been long discontinued, and nothing remains to denote the former manufactory of cast iron, but several large ponds in various parts of the forest, called Hammer ponds.

This forest has ever been the subject of the legends of neighbouring peasants, woe (according to their account) to the luckless wight, who should venture to cross it alone


on horseback during the night, for no sooner will he have entered its darksome precincts, than a horrible decapitated spectre in the shape of a former squire Paulett, disregarding all prayers or menaces, leaps behind him on his good steed, and accompanies the affrighted traveller to the opposite boundaries. The celebrated St. Leonard also, through whose efficacious

“The adders never stynge,

Nor ye nyghtyngales synge,”

In its gloomy mazes is often the theme of the cottagers fire side conversation.

But neither ghost, nor cast iron, not saint Leonard himself have gained for this forest so much celebrity as its famous DRAGON, or serpent! This venomous reptile, which some persons have rendered into some obnoxious proprietor, has been honoured with


a long and minute description in the following account.

“True and wonderful, a discourse relating to a strange monstrous serpent or dragon, lately discovered, and yet living to the great annoyance and divers slaughters of both men and cattle by his strong and violent poyson, in St Leonard’s forest, and thirtie miles from London, this present month of August 1614, with the true generation of serpents. Printed at London by John Trundle 1614.

In Sussex there is a pretty market town called Horsham, neare unto a forest called St Leonard’s forest, and there is in a vast unfrequented place. Heathie, vaultie, full of unwholesome shades and overgrown hollows, where this serpent is thought to be bred; but wheresover bred, certaine and too true it is, that there it lives. Within three or four miles compass are its usual haunts, oftentimes at a place called Faygate, and it


Hath been seene within half a mile of Horsham, a wondre no doubt most terrible and noisome to the inhabitant is thereabouts. There is always in his track or pathe, left a glutinous and slimy matter (as by a small similitude we may perceive to a snail) which is very corrupt and offensive to the scent, in so much as they perceive the air to be putrified withall, which must needs be very dangerous: for though the corruption of it cannot strike the outwards part of man, unless heated into blood, yet by receiving it in any of our breathing organs, (the nose or mouth) it is by authority of all authors writing in that kinde, mortal and deadie; as one thus saith,

‘Noxia sepentum est admixto sanguine pestis – LUCAN.’

The serpent, or dragon as some call it, is reputed to be nine feete or rather more, in


length, and shaped almost in the forme of an axle-tree of a cart, a quantitie of thickness in the middest, and somewhat smaller at both ends. The former part which he shootes forth as necke, is supposed to be about an ell long, with a white ring as it were of scales about it. The scales along his backe, seem to be blackish, and so much as is discovered under his bellie, appeareth to be red: for I speak but of no nearer description than a reasonable ocular disctance; for coming too neare, it hath already been to dearely paid for, as you shall heare hereafter. It is likewise discovered to have large feete, but the eye may be deceved, for some suppose that serpents have no feete, but glide along certain ribbes and scales, which both defend them from the upper part of the throat unto the lower part of their bellie, and also cause them to


move much the faster. For so this doth, and rids away as we call it, as fast as a man can run. He is of countenance very proud, and at the sight or heareing of men and cattle, will raise his necke upright, and seem to listen and looke about with great arragoncie. There are likewise on either side of him discovered to great bunches, so big as a large footeball, and as some think will grow into wings, but God I hope will so defend the poor people in the neighbourhood, so that he shall be destroyed, before he growe sofledge. –He will cast his venom about 4 roddes from him, as by woefull experience was proved on the bodies of a man and woman coming that way, who afterwards were found dead, being poysoned and very much swelled, but not preyed upon. Likewise a man going to chase it and as he imagined to destroy it with two mastiff dogs as yet not


knowing the danger thereof, his dogs were both killed, and he himself glad to returne with haste to preserve his own life: yet this is to be noted that the dogs were not preyed upon, but slaine and left whole, for his food is though tot be for the most part in a conie warren, which he often frequents, and is found to be much scanted and impaired, in the encrease it had wont to affoard. – These persons, whose names are here under printed, have seene this serpent, besides divers of others, as the carrier of Horsam, who lieth at the White Horse, in Southwark, and whom can certify the truth of all that hath been herein related.—

“John Steele,

“Christopher Holder,

“and a widow woman dwelling at Faygate.”


Previously to the reformation, St. Leonard’s forest contained two chapels, one of which is mentioned as early as the year 1320. No traces of either remain at the present day.

Proceeding from Horsham along the London road, and passing Thorton ville, a collection of houses lately erected by the person resident at Springfield, we arrive at Coolhurst, the delightful and elegant mansion of the Marchioness of Northampton; the vicinity of this seat was lately rendered particularly interesting by a romantic and beautiful glen called Dubbin’s Green, one of the wildest and most secluded spots in the district, but it is greatly to be lamented, the enclosing of the adjacent common, has almost entirely destroyed the beauty of the scenery, and robbed the visitor of a


truly rural and picturesque treat. Continuing along the turnpike road for some distance, and then inclining to the right, the pretty little village of Nuthurst, with its mo-

Nuthurst Church

dest spire peeping amidst the lowly cottages


which constitute the single street is display before the sight. To the east of the parish is a portion of St. Leonard’s forest, and a part of the parish of Cowfold: to the west Horsham, and part of Broadwater; to the north another portion of the forest; and south Cowfold. The district is peculiarly rich and beautiful, abounding in springs of excellent water in every direction. The church, of the time of Edward III, and dedicated to St. Andrew, is in the early style of English architecture, with a low tower, containing three bells, and surmounted by a low shingled spire, at the west end. The roof in pannelled in a similar manner to the church at Horsham; the ribs and knots of two pannels are gilt and painted. The communion window contains remnants of stained glass, representing the Salvator Munid, and two angles scattering in-


cense. The monumental inscriptions are to the memory of Joseph Tudor esq. of Sedgewick park, 1774: Rebecca Nelthorpe his niece, 1784; William Nelthorpe esq., 1791: Elizabeth Nelthorpe 1801; Eliza Sarah wife of James Tudor Nelthorpe esq. of Nuthurst lodge, died at Paris 1826, and was interred in the cemetery of Pere la chaise. John Aldridge of New Lodge, 1803: John Warburton Aldridge son of the above, 1801: Samuel Aldridge 1773: Sophia Aldridge 1769. The font is plain and octagonal.

Near Nuthurst in a very delightful situation, commanding extensive views of the sea and south downs in Nuthurst Lodge, the residence of James Tuder Nelthorpe esq. : at a very short distance from the mansion, are the remains of an ancient castle or hunting seat, surrounded by an outer


and inner moat, of a circular form, and traceable everywhere; the foundations of the walls are quite visible, and one apartment of a sexagonal shape is entirely perfect. About 40 years farther on, surrounded by copse wood, and overhanging trees, is a small well of circular form, and surrounded by cut stone overgrown by moss: a flight of winding steps, leading to it, from an adjacent eminence, adds a peculiarly romantic and pleasing effect to this venerable work of antiquity, which is known by the name of Nun’s Well. No account is to be found of its history, though it may perhaps have belonged to the neighbouring castle. The traditions among the inhabitants affirm, that a subterraneous passage connects this castle with the nunnery at Rusper, which is 8 miles distant, but no attempt has been undertaken to ascertain the truth of this con-


jecture. Passing over Tower Hill, an emminance near Horsham, we arrive at the village of Itchingfield, or Hethinfield as it was formerly called. The earliest notice of this place, is to be found in an ancient deed A.D. 1233, when “Hugh de Mabel and Susanna his wife, sold to Robert atte Feching, one messuage and a half a carucate of land, at Hethinfield”. The parish is bounded on the east by Horsham, south by Shipley, west by Shipley, and north by Slinfold, and contained in 1831, 349 inhabitants. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas is of the time of Henry III, or Edward the I. Its exterior is particularly rustic especially the low tower at the west end, which is formed of entire trunks of trees fastened together by wooden bolts. Against one of the walls of timber in the belfry is an ancient painting representing Moses receiving the ten command-


ments on mount Sinai, it was most probably used as a kind of altar piece.

Itchingfield Church

In the chancel is a mural monument to the memory of Richard Wheatly gent, ob. 1668, and some members of his family, who were nearly allied to the Mitchells of Field place.


There is also another inscription to the memory of the Rev. Alexander Hay, former rector of this parish, 1724, also several of his children. Dallaway mentions that after the Scotch rebellion in 1715, some of the attained persons took refuge in the woods of Itchingfiled, and were permitted to reside with their countryman Alexander Hay; indeed we can hardly imagine a more suitable place for concealment, than the parsonage house, situated as it was at that time, in the centre of a dense forest, through which there was hardly any passable road.

The last monumental inscription is for the Rev. Thomas Lavender a most exemplary minister of this parish, for upwards of 60 years, he died in the year 1776, at the age of 86.

The font is modern, but particularly neat and handsome; one of a very ancient des-


cription, was lately dug up in the churchyard.

Proceeding along the turnpike road to the west of Horsham and passing Farthing

Farthing Bridge

Bridge, of which the annexed wood-cut is a representation, we reach Broad-bridge Heath, a delightful, picturesque, and salubrious plain, so called: by pursuing the centre road, the visitor will arrive at Stroud, a small hamlet about 3 miles from Horsham; it is chiefly remarkable for the elegant resi-


Dence denominated Stroud park, belonging to — Commerell esq.: the grounds around the house particularly deserve attention, and the sweetly retired situation of the fishing house, erected on the banks of a lake surrounded by the majestic and noble trees for which this district is so justly celebrated, whilst the deep silence which pervades the whole, interrupted only by the rippling stream beneath, and the delightful choir of the feathered songsters, combine to render it, in every sense of the word, a most enchanting and delightful scene.

By taking the road to the left hand, on Broad-bridge heath, and again turning to the right at Lion’s Corner gate, the village of Slinfold, to which the hamlet of Stroud belongs, soon appears in sight. “Fold” observes Mr. Dallaway, “is a termination fre-


quently belonging to parishes to ham seems to be applied to those which were first cultivated in square inclosures, after the removal of timber and underwood. This observation belongs to the early Saxon era; and it

Slinfold Church 1


is evident that the name of almost every village or farm within the district is derived from them”.

 Slinfold Church 2

The church built at the end of the village, was erected at the formation of the parish by bishop Ralph in 1230. It has a nave and north aisle with a small sepulchral chapel appendant. In this portion of the church which belongs to the manor of Dedisham, is a curiously sculptured female figure,


destitute of any inscription, but traditionally said, to belong to a member of the family of Tregoz. There are also two other mural monuments, with small alabaster effigies of women in the ancient dress of their times. The first of which we give a sketch,

Slinfold Church 3


appears particularly “en bon point,” and is represented kneeling on a cushion, in the act of prayer. The following inscription, now almost illegible, appears beneath

{in capitals}

Here lieth Katharine Blount, youngest of Richard Blount, esq., of Dedisham, (descended from Sir Walter Blount knt. Lord Mountoy) and Mary wife to the said Richard, daughter to Sir William Weste, knt., Lord de J. A. War, which Katharine deceased March 1, 1617, in her 27th year of her age. She left her estate to her 4 sisters, viz. Elizabeth, Ann, Martha, and Jane, to whose pious memory they erected this monument.

{/in capitals}

The remaining monument is to the memory of mistress Jane Blount, ob. 1614.

In the pavement is a large slab of Sussex marble, with the inscription to the memory of Richard Bradbridge gent., and Denys his wife, with their children ob. 1633.

The tower is massive, and like all those in the Weald, is surmounted by a spire of shin-


gles supported upon four upright beams of a length and diameter seldom seen:

This parish which is bounded on the east by Warnham, west by Rudgewick and Billingshurst, north by Rudgewick, and south by Itchingfield, approaches nearer in form to a circle than any other, and is intersected in several directions by 3 turnpike roads. From the excellent slate quarries in the vicinity, slabs containing 100 square feet, and about 5 in thickness have often been raised. Several rare botanical plants are found in this parish, some indigenous, and others originally introduced by Dr. T. Mannington a former rector, well versed in that science.

The late eminent antiquary Mr. Warton, observes in his history of Kiddington, page 65, “About 5 years ago, (1775) on the edge of a lane in the parish of Slinfold in Sussex, four miles from Horsham, I saw several deep


fissures in the Stane street, a Roman road going from Arundel, if not from the seaside through Dorking to London. The dorsum is not intended for heavy carriages consists of sea gravel and sea pebbles abounding on the Sussex coast, above 3 feet deep, and 7 yards long: these minute materials must have been amassed with prodigious labour.

Springfield, a handsome brick mansion to the north of the town, is the property of Francis Scawen Blunt esq., who now rents it to —- Thornton esq.



The King’s Head Hotel                                                   East Street

Anchor Hotel                                                                 Town Hall Square

The Crown                                                                    Carfax

The Lamb                                                                      Ditto.

The Swan                                                                     West Street

The Castle                                                                    Ditto

The Black Horse                                                            Ditto

The Punch Bowl                                                            Ditto

The Green Dragon                                                        Bishoprick

The Queen’s Head                                                        East Street

The Hurst Arms                                                             North Street

The Dog and Bacon                                                      London Road

The White Hart                                                             North Parade


Coaches pass daily to and from London, Brighton, Worthing, Windsor, Oxford and Reading. The Horsham and London Star Coach leaves the Swan inn West Street, at 7 o’clock every morning, and reaches the old Bell inn Holborn about a quarter to 12: from thence it starts the same afternoon, at a quarter past 3, and arrives at Horsham by 8.


The streets are now well lighted with gas, considering that this is the first year of their illumination. The ga-



meter is erected at the back of Albion Terrace, another specimen of the improving state of the town. The good people of Horsham have lately been much annoyed by the dirty condition of their streets, occasioned by the insertion of the gas pipes, even to such an extent as almost to merit the ancient epithet of the county, as we find in a very old verse, or rather ryhme of the peculiarities of each shire.

Essex ful of good hoswifes

Middlesex ful of shyves,

Kentshire hoot as fyre,

Sussex ful of dyrt and myre


Rhynchospora alba scirpus carinatusEryophorum polystachion

Convallaria majalis

Luciola fosteri

Polygonum bistorto

Adoxa moschatellina

Monotropa hypopitys

Pyrola media

Nympaea alba cardamine impatiens

Euphorbia esula

Carex curta

Carex strigosa

Aspidium creopterisAspidium thelpypteris

Osmunda regalis

Lycopodium selago

Phascum alternifolium

Gymnostomum fasciculare

Neckera pumila

Calicium ferrugineum

Arthinia swartziana

Variolaria velata

Parmelia speciosa

Scyphophorus parasiticus

Chara gracitis



The strata around Horsham, (which is situated in the Weald formation) are celebrated for the abundance of the exuvie, of large saurian animals. Many of the bones of the Iguanadon, an enormous reptile, which was formerly an inhabitant of these districts, are now in the possession of Mr G. B. Holmes, of Horsham, by whom these particulars are obligingly communicated. The animal which more nearly approximates to it, than any other now in existence, is the Iguana Cornuta a native of the tropical parts of America, and from its resemblance to which it has received its name; but more particularly on account of the teeth of the Iguanadon, which resemble no other animal than the Iguana, of which one species (the Cornuta,) has, like the Iguanadon, a single horn. If we take the Iguana as our model, and attempt to reconstruct the enormous Iguanadon in proportion, from the relics which have been frequently exhumes, we shall produce a monster 100 feet in length, which there is every reason to believe is not an exaggeration. Besides the Iguanadon, we find the bones of the crocodile, the Plesiosaurus, the turtle, and other amphibious reptiles; with the carbonized remains of monocotyledoneous plants, arborescent ferns, and palms, &c.


The water around Horsham is of a very superior quality, and extremely abundant. It is intended shortly to sup-



ply each house by means of pipes. At Tower Hill, is a spring, by whose waters everything over which it passes is encrusted, in consequence of its depositing a small portion of carbonate of lime, with which it is impregnated in passing the limestone strata, through which it flows.


The population of Horsham, has of late years greatly encreased, and at present amounts to nearly 600,0. The following table will afford a view of its advance during the present century.


1801 3204
1811 3839
1821 4575
1831 5105



Horsham, though at present remarkable for the excellent state of its turnpike roads, was, before the year 1750, one of the most extraordinary instances of non communication in the kingdom: previously to the above mentioned period the London road was so execrably bad, that whoever went there on wheels, was compelled to go round by Canterbury!

It is intended to make the great London and Brighton tail road pass through the town, which cannot fail to encrease the business and traffic of the place.



Heading in capitals: Fairs


The fairs of Horsham are on April 5th: Monday before Whitsunday, sheep and lambs: July 18th cattle and pedlary; the Cherry fair, Sep 5th. Cattle: Nov 27th cattle and toys. Last Tuesday in every month, for Cattle

“Nicholas Hostresham, whose name is contracted to Horsham, may justly be placed in this town, as he descended from it: families of note often taking their names from their places of residence; and if that be admitted, he will give some lustre to it, for he was a very learned man, and so famous a physician, that the nobility coveted his company on any conditions, so high an esteem had they for him. It seems it was something of peculiar art in him, to cure and yet to please his patient, which he would not do nevertheless it was consistent with the disease; for his aim was, to cure and please if possible, but displease if unavoidable. He was of a middle temper, neither so rough as to af-


fright, nor so gentle, as to humour his patient into his own destruction; so that he was almost two physicians in one man. He died in the year 1448.”

(From a survey of the county of Sussex, printed in the year 1730; at present in the possession of Miss Cove, Albion Terrace.)



Having principally confined the limits of the foregoing account, to a circle of a about 4 or 5 miles around the town of Horsham, we have omitted previously to notice the priory of Rusper, a building of great antiquity, and closely connected with that borough, by the endowment of the church to its nuns. Very little of this ancient edifice remains at present, I shall therefore insert a very brief account of the nunnery, as given by Sire William Burrell, in his interesting MSS. preserved in the British Museum.

“On the north wing of the east front of the nunnery, towards the orchard, the foundations of an additional building, and the arch of a cellar are visible, 58 feet in extent, and east of the present house. It is probable a similar wing was on the south aspect and thereby formed a Greek II. The ancient apple trees which cover the flank, render such an idea very problematical.” Near the building is a very deep well, said to have been used as a place of destruction for those members of the convent, who had dared to break their vows of chastity.

Near Mrs Delves tomb at Horsham, is the headless brass figure of an ecclesiastic, supposed from the letters {old english type} TC in the cope, to cover the remains of Thomas clerk, a former rector.

Rusper Nunnery

Brass Figure

{The End}


5 thoughts on “The History and Antiquities of Horsham

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