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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'Warminghurst : Nonconformity', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2: Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) including Horsham (1986), pp. 60. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18308 Date accessed: 28 November 2014.


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Members of the Shelley family were presented for recusancy in 1577 and 1582. Richard Shelley was imprisoned in 1580 and again in 1585, on the latter occasion after having petitioned parliament on behalf of Roman Catholics, and died in prison; his brother Edward was executed in 1588. (fn. 16) Another recusant was mentioned between 1586 and 1601 and two members of the Parker family were recorded as recusants between 1624 and 1628. (fn. 17)

John Fenwick, occupier of Warminghurst Place c. 1652-9, (fn. 18) may already have been Quaker in sympathy, (fn. 19) and after William Penn moved there in 1676 (fn. 20) the house became a Quaker centre. George Fox visited it several times between 1677 and 1683, attending a 'great meeting' in 1681. (fn. 21) Meetings alternated between Warminghurst and Shipley and were held at Warminghurst fortnightly in 1682, monthly later; (fn. 22) in 1685 there were between 100 and 200 hearers. (fn. 23) In 1693 the meeting moved from Warminghurst to Thakeham. (fn. 24)

A house was registered in 1715 for what was evidently a Presbyterian congregation; in 1717 it was linked with one at Petworth, but it had ceased by 1724. (fn. 25) A dissenting meeting house registered in 1810 was presumably that for Presbyterians at Warminghurst common which had a congregation of between 20 and 30 c. 1829; (fn. 26) it had ceased by 1847. (fn. 27)

In the 1940s the population of the parish apparently consisted entirely of Roman Catholics and Quakers. (fn. 28)


16 Recusant Hist. vi. 265-74; Miscellanea (Cath. Rec. Soc. xxii), 81; Miscellanea, Recusant Rec. (Cath. Rec. Soc. liii), 5; W.S.R.O., Ep. I/23/5, f. 52v.
17 Cal. Assize Rec. Suss. Eliz. I, pp. 234, 253, 353, 375, 382, 391, 401; Jas. I, pp. 130, 139; S.R.S. xlix. 95, 102; list of recusants presented at Suss. assizes 1624-8 (inf. from Mr. T. J. McCann, W.S.R.O.).
18 A. Fletcher, County Community in Peace and War, 140, 351.
19 F. H. Stewart, Major John Fenwick (Woodbury, N.J. 1939), 47-8, 54.
20 Above, manor and other estates.
21 Short Jnls. & Itin. Jnls. of Geo. Fox, ed. N. Penney, 75, 235; Jnl. Geo. Fox, ed. J. L. Nickalls, 736; S.A.C. lv. 80.
22 Marsh, Early Friends, 30-1.
23 S.A.C. lvii. 221-2.
24 Marsh, Early Friends, 34; above, Thakeham, nonconf.
25 S.A.S. Newsletter, xxi. 117; P.R.O., RG 31/1, Chich. dioc. (suppl. return, 1960); Caplan, 'Outline of Nonconf. in Suss.' ii. 11.
26 P.R.O., RG 31/1, Chich. archdeac. no. 32; W.S.R.O., QCR 1/11/W 1.
27 W.S.R.O., Ep. I/22A/2 (1847).
28 Council for Care of Chs., surv. files, Warminghurst.