Denshire Lane

The northernmost point of the parish along the Selsfield Road is at the junction of Denshire Lane, which leads to the west, immediately behind the modern farm buildings of Pearcelands. The lane forms the boundary of the parish till it reaches the eastern branch of the Ardingly Brook, up which the boundary runs to its source in the Combe to the west of Old House, otherwise Feldwicks. The boundary then circles north-west through the Park till it reaches the West Hill – Paddockhurst road. It is on this boundary that the great English lime tree stands, no longer as huge as of old, but still magnificent in its old age. The boundary turns south and east again from the road till it joins the western branch of the Ardingly brook, with which it marches for a considerable distance.

Returning to our starting point, Denshire Lane gets its name from two fields which were treated in the Devonshire manner – a process of burning the turf to bring rough land into cultivation which was common in the eighteenth century. The lane itself is much older than its present name. The fact of its being a bound of the parish is evidence of its great age, and it is the direct road to both the Strudgates, the Furnace and the Park. The Park has changed its name several times. It is part of the Forest of Worth, which belonged to the Manor of Highley, one of the many estates of the Burgavenny family. It was tenanted by the Culpeper family for many years and finally sold to Sir Edward Culpeper in 1617, when it is described as “all that parke or inclosed ground called or known by the name of Strudgate Parke als Strudgate walke, als Reders walke, now part of the Forest of Worth“. The price was £1700. It thus became Wakehurst Park, which title has been recently altered to Paddockhurst Park owing to a change of ownership. It may also be recorded here that Thomas Culpeper (d. 1571), father of Sir Edward, in his will leaves the occupying of Strudgate Park to “Richard Persone my man” till his son’s coming of age, provided that he maintains “the game of deare” therein. In the inquisition held after Sir Edward’s death, Strudgate Park is described as “lately disparked“.

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