Upper Beeding
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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'Upper Beeding: Local government', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3: Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) including Crawley New Town (1987), pp. 41-42. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18391 Date accessed: 26 November 2014.


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There are court rolls or draft court rolls of Beeding manor for the years 1524, 1530, 1551, 1558-9, 1572, 1597-1606, 1614-18, and 1647-1921. (fn. 14) In 1559 the court was described as a court baron and court leet, (fn. 15) but frankpledge jurisdiction was not recorded at any other date. At the end of the 14th century five courts had been held in one year. (fn. 16) In the 17th century and later they were held less often, though the frequency increased after the Bridgers acquired the manor in 1764. In the late 17th century courts were often held in spring or autumn. (fn. 17) They were presumably always held at the manor house, Beeding Court. (fn. 18) On at least one occasion, in 1736, the court was adjourned to a house in Cowfold in order to deal with business concerning tenements of the manor there. (fn. 19) Business began to be treated out of court in 1836, and soon most business was so treated. The last court was held in 1889. (fn. 20)

In the 16th century the court dealt with the repair of roads, fences, and ditches, and also managed the common fields and pastures. In 1559 it concerned itself with statute labour on the roads. A single case of affray was presented in the same year. (fn. 21) After the mid 17th century most business concerned conveyancing, together with the granting of licences for instance to sublet or to cut timber. A tithingman for Beeding was mentioned in 1288. (fn. 22) A hayward for Beeding and King's Barns manors was recorded in the later 14th century, when the office was granted to a royal servant with the keeping of Bramber castle. (fn. 23) A beadle was mentioned in 1500 (fn. 24) and a headborough in 1538. (fn. 25) In 1598 an officer was elected to oversee the ringing of pigs and impound those unringed. (fn. 26) In the 18th and 19th centuries an officer called either reeve or beadle appeared at the court, (fn. 27) and a headborough was again mentioned in 1788 and later. (fn. 28)

There are court rolls or draft court rolls of King's Barns manor for the years 1530, 1617-22, and 1655- 1913. From 1655 if not earlier courts were held at irregular intervals. (fn. 29) Between 1786 and 1808 they were being held in Steyning, on one occasion at the Three Tuns inn. (fn. 30) Some business was transacted out of court before 1845; after that date all business was so transacted except for the holding of one court in 1913. (fn. 31) A reeve was recorded in 1398. (fn. 32) The beadle elected in 1530 (fn. 33) was doubtless the same officer under another name, for reeves continued to be elected, as the only officers of the court, in 1655 and in the early 18th century. (fn. 34) The bailiff mentioned in 1733 probably also held the same office. (fn. 35)

There are court rolls of Horton manor for the years 1657-1912. Courts were held roughly between once and three times a decade. After 1782 they were usually held on the same day as those of Beeding manor, presumably also at Beeding Court, as certainly in the later 19th century. From the 19th century onwards much business was dealt with out of court, and the last court was held in 1889. A bailiff appeared at the court in 1714, and a reeve, otherwise called a beadle, between the late 18th and late 19th centuries, when he was the same man as the reeve or beadle of Beeding manor. (fn. 36) A headborough was mentioned in 1788 and later. (fn. 37) Among business dealt with by the court in the late 18th century was that arising from the lord's right of wreck in Southwick, which was said to bring in over £7 a year. (fn. 38) The lord also received a deodand in 1791. (fn. 39)

There are court rolls or draft court rolls for Tottington manor for the years 1561 and 1606-1932. Generally courts were held once or twice a decade, though more often between the 1710s and 1730s and between 1791 and 1829. (fn. 40) In 1850 and 1913 and presumably at other dates they were held at Tottington Manor; (fn. 41) the court of 1913 was the last. Business was treated out of court occasionally from the early 18th century, and from c. 1850 predominantly. A bailiff was recorded from 1759. (fn. 42)

There are court rolls of Sele manor for various years during the periods 1357-1461 and 1474-1510, and for the years 1581-1925. About seven courts a year were held in the 1360s, but by the mid 15th century only one or two a year. (fn. 43) In 1528 the court was held in Findon, (fn. 44) but in 1722 it was held in Upper Beeding, at the rectory house. (fn. 45) From 1841 it was decided to hold it instead at the 'chief inn' of Steyning, presumably the White Horse. (fn. 46)

Two churchwardens were recorded in 1582, (fn. 47) and there were usually two between 1608 and 1675, but thereafter until 1788 there was almost always only one. Two overseers, usually called collectors for the poor, were recorded between 1608 and 1788, and two waywardens between 1613 and 1766. (fn. 48)

A poorhouse was mentioned c. 1530. (fn. 49) In the 1640s weekly pay was apparently being used as a method of relief, and parishioners were also paid at a weekly rate for taking pauper children. (fn. 50) Already by then Upper and Lower Beeding were managing their poor separately, (fn. 51) as they did later, (fn. 52) though Lower Beeding continued to be rated for the repair of Upper Beeding church. (fn. 53) In 1734 the parish officers agreed with those of Steyning that the Upper Beeding poor should be housed in the Steyning workhouse for seven years, Beeding contributing £5 a year as rent. (fn. 54) A Beeding poorhouse, called a workhouse, which may have stood on the north side of High Street, was mentioned in 1768, in 1796, and in 1815. (fn. 55) In the 1820s and 1830s the parish also paid weekly doles to paupers, defrayed rents, provided medical care, clothing, and coals, and organized parish work on the roads or in digging flints. (fn. 56)

The parish joined Steyning union in 1835; (fn. 57) in 1894 it was included in Steyning West rural district, (fn. 58) and in 1933 it was transferred to Chanctonbury rural district. (fn. 59) In 1974 it became part of Horsham district.


14 Arundel Cast. MSS. M 299, 315, 724, 845; P.R.O., SC 2/206/52; W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 372, 26605-8, 27057.
15 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 26605.
16 P.R.O., SC 6/1020/10.
17 W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 372, 26606-8.
18 Ibid. 378-9, 26663-4.
19 Ibid. 372, pp. 2-3.
20 Ibid. 372, pp. 202, [414].
21 e.g. ibid. 26605; Arundel Cast. MS. M 845.
22 P.R.O., JUST 1/924, rot. 64.
23 Cal. Pat. 1367-70, 240.
24 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 26605.
25 Arundel Cast. MS. M 279, rot. 3d.
26 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 26605.
27 Ibid. 372.
28 Horsham Mus. MS. 243; E.S.R.O., QCR/2/1/EW 3.
29 P.R.O., SC 2/206/52; Arundel Cast. MS. M 142; W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 380-1; ibid. Wiston MSS. 5171-2.
30 Horsham Mus. MS. 243.
31 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 381.
32 P.R.O., SC 6/1023/8.
33 Ibid. SC 2/206/52.
34 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 380.
35 Arundel Cast. MS. M 142, f. [2].
36 W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 375, 378-9; cf. ibid. 372.
37 Horsham Mus. MS. 243; E.S.R.O., QCR/2/1/EW 2-3.
38 B.L. Add. MS. 5685, f. 144v.; W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 375, f. 36.
39 W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 375, f. 35v.
40 Ibid. Add. MSS. 27053-4; ibid. PHA 897, 901.
41 Ibid. PHA 970, 990.
42 Ibid. Add. MSS. 27053-4.
43 Magd. Coll. Oxf. Mun., ct. rolls listed at N.R.A. Rep. 20579, vols. i (2), pp. 270, 273 sqq., 330-2; iv, pp. 2544-6.
44 Sele Chartulary, p. 35.
45 S.A.C. xxv. 191.
46 W.S.R.O., Par. 16/7/1, f. 62.
47 B.L. Add. MS. 39461, f. 143.
48 W.S.R.O., Par. 16/1/1/1, ff. 66-75; Par. 16/1/1/2, ff. 34-6.
49 S.R.S. xli. 113.
50 Ibid. liv. 54, 79.
51 Ibid. 95.
52 e.g. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 516.
53 e.g. W.S.R.O., Par. 16/9/1, f. 4v.
54 Ibid. Par. 183/37/1, f. 6; cf. V.C.H. Suss. vi (1), 239.
55 W.S.R.O., Par. 16/7/1, ff. 298, 304; Poor Law Abstract, 1818, 456-7. For the location cf. E.S.R.O., SAS/I 349, 351 (TS. cat.); W.S.R.O., TD/W 165, s.v. Attree.
56 W.S.R.O., Par. 16/12/1; Par. 16/31.
57 Suss. Poor Law Rec. 14.
58 W.S.R.O., WOC/CC 6/1, ff. 87-9.
59 Census, 1931 (pt. ii).