Village History

Wivelsfield – a description and brief history

Wivelsfield village and the larger adjacent village of Wivelsfield Green are the core of the civil parish of Wivelsfield in the Lewes District of East Sussex, England. Wivelsfield railway station (called Keymer Junction until 1896) is located on the Brighton Main Line, in the north of Burgess Hill, just over the parish border. The villages are 9.3 miles (15.0 km) north of the city of Brighton and Hove.

The village lies in the Low Weald of the Weald and immediately north of the South Downs National Park which extends to include Ditchling. The soil is clay and mixed sand on top of underlying clay and sandstone.[3] It is one of the larger parishes in the county. The growth of Burgess Hill to the west reduced the ecclesiastical parish. The parish church is dedicated to St Peter and St John the Baptist. The north of the parish includes several woods and small farms south of Haywards Heath separated from the nucleus of the village to the south by the Pellingford Brook which is a tributary of the River Ouse that flows to Newhaven. Despite the influence of this brook, almost half of the parish drains west to the River Adur that flows to Shoreham by Sea reflecting the gently undulating terrain.

There is an 8th-century reference to the town as Wifelesfeld.

In the Domesday Book 1½ hides at Berth here were held by William de Warenne perhaps part of the manor of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.

Ote Hall Congregational Chapel was erected in 1778 by the Countess of Huntingdon, who lived at Ote Hall, where a room was fitted up as a chapel.; this was the only manor in the area, with much southern land being in the manors of Plumpton and Ditchling.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries Wivelsfield was the focus of a small group of local dissenters (Particular Baptists) who in 1763 broke from the larger Ditchling General Baptist community and formed a new meeting with a surviving 1780 chapel under Henry Booker. The surviving records and memorandum books, as well as Henry Booker’s memoirs, provide insight into a small rural religious community of the period.

The new school has been opened since September 2007. The logo, which stands at the front of the school, was designed by the school’s pupils. The old school is now used for residential purposes; a nursery rents the Old Church Hall.

The village pub, is the Cock Inn and is an important part of the village, along with the village shop.

The Wivelsfield Historical Society meets regularly in the Village Hall see: http://www.wivelsfield-historical-society.co.uk/events/

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