From Horsefield 'History of Sussex 2'
East of Thakeham is Worminghurst or Warminghurst, less in extent, but
with soil of a similar quality to that of the last described parish. In
form it approaches an oval, containing an area of 870 acres. Ashington
joins it on the east, Shipley on the north, and Washington on the south.
The population, in 1831, was 113.
The village is situated on an eminence, commanding very extensive views
of the east of Sussex. It is three miles from Storrington, ten from
Horsham, twenty-three from Dorking, and forty-six from London. The road
from Worthing to the metropolis leaves the village about a mile to the
west of it.
The greater part of the parish, indeed all, with the exception of about
eighty acres, belongs to the Duke of Norfolk.
Warminghurst is not mentioned in the Conqueror's survey. It was probably
included in the lordship of Staninges, which comprised eighty-one hides,
and which, at the formation of Doomsday, belonged to the church of
Fescamp, in Normandy. A charter of free warren was granted to the abbot,
who had a bailiff residing here in 1252 ; and a few years after,
Warminghurst Park is mentioned as being appropriated to the abbot. At
the dissolution of alien priories, the property in this parish belonging
to the foreign establishment was conferred on the newly-founded
monastery of Sion, in Middlesex ; and at the general suppression of
religious houses, Edward Shelley, Esq., became the possessor. In this
family the estate continued till 1618, when a portion was sold. After
frequent alienations, the property came into the hands of William Penn,
Esq., who, in 1702, sold it to James Butler, Esq., who built the plain
but noble mansion, now destroyed, called Warminghurst House. The Rev.
Roger Clough, by marriage with Ann Jemima, the daughter of Mr. Butler,
became proprietor in 1789, of whom Charles, late Duke of Norfolk, in
1805, purchased the property, together with other estates in the
The manor house, mentioned above as having been built by James Butler,
Esq., was situated on a knoll overlooking the eastern part of the
county. Heathfield monument and Cross-in-Hand windmill, may be
recognised from the scite of the mansion. Since the property came into
the possession of the Duke of Norfolk, the mansion has been razed to the
ground ; the deer park which surrounded it has been disparked ; the
timber by which it was graced has been cut down ; the lake dried up ;
and the whole converted into a farm. Near the scite of the house are
still lingering a majestic tulip tree, and a cedar of Lebanon, though
Mr. Cartwright mentions, as the last remains of the former grandeur of
this place, a Spanish chesnut tree, which was grubbed up in the year
1825. This tree " measured, six feet from the ground, twenty-nine feet
in circumference, and was supposed to contain upwards of eleven loads of
timber. One of its largest branches having been sawed off, 270 rings
were counted from the pith or centre : if one of these is formed every
year, it refers the age of the tree to the time when the estate was
granted to Edward Shelley." 3
The ecclesiastical living is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the
Duke of Norfolk. It is not rated in the king's books. The present
incumbent is the Rev. Henry Warren.
The church consists of a chancel, nave, and small low shingled spire ;
the chancel is separated from the nave by a modern deal screen. The east
window is large and pointed, of the age of Edward III. The church is
On the north wall, under an arch, is a brass on which are
engraved the effigies of a man and woman, with seven sons and three
daughters, and below them the following inscription, in old English :
" Of your charite pray for the soules of Edward Shelley, Esquier, some
tyme one of the four masters of the household with the most vertuous
princes, King Henry VIII., and King Edward the VI., and our Sou'aine
Ladye Queen Marye, and Johan his wyffe, daughter and heyre of Poll Aden,
of Kent, which Edward dyed the ix. daye of October, A. Dni. MVCLIIII.,
and the said Johan dyed the v. day of February, Ao. Dni. MVCLIII. whose
sowles Jesu p'don."
There is a mural monument to the memory of Dame Elizabeth Bennet, wife
of James Butler, Esq. There is also a marble tablet: recording
individuals of the family of Butler; also one to John Riches, merchant,
The registers commence only in 1714.
1 Dail. West. Suss. Vol. 111. p.
127. 2 Ibid. P. 255- 3 Dail. West. Suss. p. 257.