As we follow the main road towards the village we pass Lower Lodge and come to Bingham’s Green. The Green has disappeared and the road from about half-way up the hill to the bottom of Hapstead is modern. The old road passed behind the existing Bingham’s Green Cottages and in front of Upper Lodge, coming out on what is now College Road close to the new gate into Culpepers. An undated map of the manor of South Malling in the Figg collection at Lewes shows the line of the new road pencilled in. From the names given of the owners the date of the map can be fixed as about 1820-25, a time when great alterations were being made in the roads to admit of fast coach traffic.
The name of Bingham is not very old, as names go, in these parts. We find Ferdinando Bingham at Cuckfield in the early part of the 17th century, and the later Ferdinando Jackson of Ardingly might have been some connection judging by his unusual Christian name.
The first record that we have in Ardingly is the tradesman’s token issued by William and Henry Bingham in 1669. This proves that they were firmly established traders by that time and probably kept the general shop of the village. William died in 1681. Henry, perhaps the son of William Bingham, married Susanna Pilbeam in 1674, which is the earliest mention of the name in the Registers.
John Bingham, probably another of William’s sons, married Elizabeth Tuffen in 1678. He died in 1722 and was buried “an old man” on April 21st. His will is preserved, dated 1718. He leaves the house at Bingham’s Green to his wife, Elizabeth, for her life, and then to be sold and divided among the five children – John, Elizabeth, Nilliam, Mary and Anne. After his wife’s death “the Litel House to his daughter Elizabeth and Forder. John Bingham and John Wicking to be trustees. If any of the children murmur and are disatisfyed with their portions that child so unsatisfyed shall only get one shilling. Witnesses John Wicking, Sarah Peckham, Thos. Pollard“.
The mention of the Litel House supports the supposition that the Binghams then held Upper Lodge and that the “Litel House” was that which was afterwards converted into three tenements. It stood behind the present cottages and on the north side of the old road, the line of which can still be seen. It was burnt down on March 5th, 1872, when Ernest Williams, a child of four years, was “overlooked and perished in the flames“.
It is obvious that the family of Bingham was of some importance in Ardingly in its day or the name would not have survived in Bingham’s Green.