Local government


Victoria County History



T P Hudson (Editor), A P Baggs, C R J Currie, C R Elrington, S M Keeling, A M Rowland

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'Thakeham: Local government', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2: Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) including Horsham (1986), pp. 44-45. URL: Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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Thakeham parish was divided among four tithings, Thakeham, Warminghurst, and Dishenhurst in East Easwrith hundred, and Apsley in West Grinstead hundred. (fn. 20) Thakeham tithing, mentioned from 1166, (fn. 21) may have been largely conterminous with the parts of Thakeham manor in Thakeham parish, though land in Ashington in the tithing was mentioned in 1538. (fn. 22) In the late 18th and early 19th century the East Easwrith hundred court was held at Coolham green in Shipley and at the White Lion in Thakeham, both of which lay in Thakeham manor. (fn. 23) Laybrook apparently lay within Dishenhurst tithing in 1538. (fn. 24) Warminghurst tithing, most of which was in Warminghurst parish, was stated in 1757 to include Goffsland in Thakeham. (fn. 25) By the 14th century Apsley manor apparently lay in Apsley tithing, (fn. 26) which also included parts of Shipley and other parishes. (fn. 27) Each tithing had its own headborough. (fn. 28)

The jurisdiction of Thakeham manor extended in 1812 over the south and west of the main part of the parish, over the detached portions except that in Billingshurst, and over land in Sullington, Shipley, and Itchingfield. Townhouse and Thakeham Place farms, which had been part of the manor in the 17th century, and Nash farm, which may have been, had been excluded by 1812, perhaps because of the 17thcentury partitions of the Apsleys' moiety of the manor. (fn. 29) Court books of that moiety survive for the years 1606-26 (fn. 30) and 1650-1862. (fn. 31) In the early and mid 17th century the court baron was held generally once or twice a year. (fn. 32) From 1662 to 1677 and from 1724 to 1862 it was held every two or three years on average, but there were only two courts between 1677 and 1724. (fn. 33) Business, besides conveyancing, included the regulation of trespass and of encroachment on the waste, in the 17th century the regulation of the commons and the maintenance of hedges and ditches, and in the 18th and early 19th the punishment or licensing of tenants who took turves without title or felled timber on the commons. (fn. 34) In the earlier 18th century the lords held half-yearly tenants' meetings. (fn. 35) Some business was done out of court in the later 18th century. (fn. 36)

Court books of the other moiety of Thakeham manor survive for the years 1650-1878. Courts baron were held about every four years between 1650 and 1750, but about once or twice a year on average in the later 18th and early 19th century, special or private courts being recorded from 1772. Courts became rarer after 1836 and much business was done out of court; the last full court known was held in 1875. (fn. 37) Business was almost entirely conveyancing, although trespass on the waste was regulated both in the 1650s, two overseers of the commons being appointed in 1654, and c. 1800. (fn. 38)

In 1501 the tenants of Laybrook owed suit of court at Broadwater, (fn. 39) but there seem to have been separate courts of Laybrook manor in the later 18th century. (fn. 40)

A pound for Thakeham manor was built or rebuilt in 1732-3. (fn. 41) In 1843 it stood west of the road between Jackett's Hill and Greenhurst Lane. (fn. 42) It was largely demolished in 1914. (fn. 43)

From 1548 to the late 19th century there were normally two churchwardens. (fn. 44) It was claimed in 1846 that they had always been elected on Lady Day. (fn. 45) The office of parish clerk was well established by 1640. (fn. 46) In 1946 it was stated that the retiring clerk had served for 51 years. (fn. 47) A lay parish registrar was appointed in 1657. (fn. 48) In 1788 the vestry met at the parish church. (fn. 49) The remains of stocks and whipping post were found in the church tower in the late 19th century. (fn. 50)

Collectors for the poor were mentioned in 1642 (fn. 51) and overseers from 1753; (fn. 52) the latter were said in 1846 to have been elected at the same time as the churchwardens. (fn. 53) Poor rates rose from 1s. in the pound in 1753 to 10s. in 1783. (fn. 54) An almshouse mentioned in 1784 (fn. 55) may have been the old workhouse which stood south-west of the church in 1812; it then belonged to one of the lords of Thakeham manor and was probably the present Cumberland House. (fn. 56) In 1788 Thakeham joined with five other parishes to form a Gilbert union (fn. 57) later known as Thakeham united parishes. (fn. 58) It was decided to inclose 10 a. on Heath common for a workhouse, (fn. 59) apparently completed by 1790. (fn. 60) Three guardians for each parish were appointed in 1789, (fn. 61) and the poor were farmed from 1790. (fn. 62) Despite the workhouse most paupers generally remained on out relief as in 1803, 1813, (fn. 63) and 1834, when there were 63 on out relief and 15 indoors. (fn. 64) The workhouse was demolished in 1936. (fn. 65)

The parish became part of Thakeham union in 1835, (fn. 66) Thakeham rural district in 1894, Chanctonbury rural district in 1933, and Horsham district in 1974.


20 Above, E. Easwrith hund.; below, W. Grinstead hund.; P.R.O., E 179/258/14, ff. 4, 8v., 22.
21 Pipe R. 1166 (P.R.S. ix), 92.
22 Arundel Cast. MS. M 279, rot. 2.
23 Horsham Mus. MS. 243; W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 5163.
24 Arundel Cast. MS. M 279, rott. 1d.-2.
25 Below, Warminghurst, local govt.
26 S.R.S. x. 160; cf. above, manors and other estates.
27 e.g. Arundel Cast. MS. M 279, rot. 1d.; S.R.S. x. 160; lvi. 59.
28 Arundel Cast. MS. M 279, rot. 1d.; Horsham Mus. MS. 243.
29 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 5163; above, manors and other estates. For Townhouse cf. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 2788, f. 4v.; Nash Fm. was in Thakeham tithing in 1599: Arundel Cast. MS. M 281, rot. 3.
30 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 2788.
31 Ibid. 2298; E.S.R.O., SAS/DN 190.
32 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 2788; E.S.R.O., SAS/DN 190, pp. 1-19.
33 E.S.R.O., SAS/DN 190, pp. 19 sqq.; W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 2298, pp. 5-184.
34 e.g. W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 2298, pp. 81-2, 87-90, 107, 148; 2788, ff. [3, 5, 9, 10 and v.]; E.S.R.O., SAS/DN 190, pp. 2-3, 8, 92, 114-16.
35 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 2303, ff. 34 sqq.
36 E.S.R.O., SAS/DN 190, pp. 68, 84.
37 Inst. of Heraldic and Geneal. Studies, Cant., Thakeham man. ct. bks. B, 1650-1799; 1801-78. Ibid. Thakeham man. ct. roll extracts A contains some early 17th-cent. conveyances.
38 Ibid. Thakeham man. ct. bks. B, 1650-1799, pp. 20, 24; 1801-78, pp. 27, 34, 89.
39 Westm. Abbey Mun. 4073.
40 W.S.R.O., Goodwood MS. E 2407.
41 Ibid. Add. MS. 2303, f. 34.
42 Ibid. TD/W 126, no. 128.
43 Ibid. Par. 195/49/1, pp. 155, 157, 159.
44 Ibid. Ep. I/86/20, f. 21v.; B.L. Add. MS. 39362, ff. 144-9.
45 W.S.R.O., Ep. I/48/2, seventh, Botting to archdeacon of Chich. 20 Apr. 1846.
46 Ibid. Ep. I/22/1 (1640).
47 Ibid. Par. 195/49/2, p. 21.
48 Ibid. Par. 195/1/1/2, p. 50.
49 Ibid. WG 4/1, pp. 15-16.
50 S.A.C. xlii. 242.
51 S.R.S. v. 178.
52 W.S.R.O., Par. 195/30/1, f. 3v.
53 Ibid. Ep. I/48/2, seventh, Botting to archdeacon of Chich. 20 Apr. 1846.
54 Ibid. MP 1398, p. 1.
55 Ibid. p. 2.
56 Ibid. Add. MSS. 5163, no. 256; 27444, no. 10 on plan.
57 Ibid. WG 4/1, pp. 15-16.
58 Ibid. MP 909, f. 17.
59 Ibid. MP 1398, p. 2.
60 Ibid. WG 4/1, pp. 261, 466, 474.
61 Ibid. p. 231.
62 Ibid. p. 266.
63 Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 516-17; 1818, 456-7.
64 Rep. Com. Poor Laws, H.C. 44, p. 527 (1834), xxxi.
65 Sandgate Preservation Soc. Newsletter, xii, p. ii (copy in W.S.R.O. libr.).
66 1st Rep. Poor Law Com. H.C. 500, pp. 233-4 (1835), xxxv.