About the Society

The idea for a History Society in Ardingly came from Alex MacLean who moved to Ardingly in 1987, having retired from being vicar of St Leonard’s, Turners Hill, due to ill health. Once he’d established that there was enough interest, the Society was formed and held its first meeting in January 1999. The first committee meeting was held in February 1999 in which Alex was elected President along with other honorary officers. Roy Tester was elected Chairman and he has only recently retired from that post after 25years service. The membership subscription was just £5.

Sadly, Alex MacLean died in January the following year. His research since his retirement, and that of local historian Mary Holgate, formed the bulk of the archives. Mary used to write regular historical features in St Peter’s Parish Magazine in the early part of the 20th Century and these have been collected into single papers. Since then many documents, photographs and maps have been added, covering topics such as the origins of the place names of Ardingly to the characters of the village. The Society is very fortunate to have storage space allocated within Hapstead Hall, with the kind permission of the trustees. These may be inspected by Members of the Society by prior arrangement. The archives are being digitised gradually and those that have been are available to view on this website.

The Society has four meetings a year plus an AGM. The meetings usually have a visiting speaker talking on historical topics and occasionally one of the members gives a talk based on material in the archives. The membership subscription has increased to £15 single or £20 for a couple. A twice-yearly Newsletter has been produced since 2002, edited until very recently by Joy Broughton, and the more recent editions are available on this website. Also, there have been several successful exhibitions over the years, the first being in 2000.

Lois Willett
first published in St Peter’s Parish Magazine April 2024

Aims of the Society

Formed in 1999, the aims of the Society are:

  • to arouse and stimulate interest in the History of Ardingly
  • to gather documents, photographs and other material of historic interest and ensure its preservation
  • to arrange meetings, lectures and other activities
  • to publish a biannual Newsletter with articles of local historical interest


To date we have some 200 files and 30 maps stored in our archives. These are available for perusal by prior arrangement on Monday mornings in Hapstead Hall. A twice-yearly Newsletter is published to update members on acquisitions to our archives and give reports of the meetings.


Please email [email protected] for more information, or the Treasurer if you wish to become a member. An application form may be downloaded here. A list of our Officers and Trustees is available under Who’s Who.


Ardingly History Society is a member of the British Association for Local History and the Society for One-Place Studies.