The mention of Kitfield in the last number of these papers leads on to the following information taken from the will of John Tully, senior, who died in August, 1703. He is described as a yeoman in his will, which is dated 1701. He leaves to “James my son my freehold Lands in Ardingly, the Malt house and buildings known as Ritfield alias Kitfield Grove containing 10 acres upon condition that he on ye twentieth day next after my decease deliver up in ye Church Porch of ye Parish Church of Ardingly between the hours of 12 and 5 to my son John to be cancelled two obligations entered into by my son John to ye said James“. The bonds are for £10 and £60 respectively.
“To my son James my customary or copyhold messuage holden of the Manor of Ditchling known as Knowles, Dences or Denches, 40 acres. my son Thomas to enjoy the messuage and land now occupied by him being part of the lands demised to me by Dennis Lyddell for term of lease on condition of payment of £26 rent to my executors. Also provided if my executors shall have occasion to inhabit the new end of ye house where ye said Thomas now dwelleth then the said Thomas is to allow it and also grant him the use of the well“.
“Also to my son James one longe teble standing in the parlour of the house wherein I now dwell and also one large joined press in the hall chamber… to my grand-daughter Sarah Tydy £5 and ye trunk and all ye small linen in ye said trunk in my hall chamber“.
It should be noticed that the Church porch is chosen as the most public place for the settlement of legal matters. The family of Tully came to Ardingly in the middle of the 16th century, the first mention being in a list of Taxpayers in 1549, when Harman Tulli is described as an alien. The name is common in Ireland and Northumberland. It is now to be found all over Sussex, although no one of the name still lives in Ardingly.
In a map of 1711 the Oast or Malt House, etc., is shown at the bottom of Kitfield, which was left to James Tully. The origin of Kitfield as a name is unknown, the only guess being that Christopher Bysh may have held it at one time. The modern house built upon it is called Knowles Mead. The map shows the lane which is now generally called Town House Lane. It is there described as “the way from the Hammer to Ardingly Street”. In another map of 1727 it is shown as “To Ardingly Hammer pond and on to Balcombe”.
Knowles, and Dewes or Dances, which John Tully left to his son James, will be dealt with another time. The paragraph about the furniture in the house is interesting.
The inheritance left to Thomas Tully is rather puzzling, in that it is difficult to identify the house to which a new end had been added. It was a common fashion at that time to add an end to a house. Examples may be seen at Hapstead Farm, Bolney, and Town House, but there is no record of Thomas Tully living in any of these. The map of 1711 shows the land behind Church Cottages as used, i.e., rented, by Thomas Tully, but whether he lived in the house is uncertain. It certainly shows no sign of a new end. Wheeler’s field and part of Tinker’s Croft formed part of the same holding. They lie behind Jordans and the School. Wheeler’s Field gets its name from one John Wheeler, who held it sometime before 1633.
Jordans was held by James Tully in 1711, and it would fit the situation of Thomas Tully’s inheritance very well were it not that the description of the old house of Jordans, still remembered by a few, forbids the possibility of its having had a new end put on to it, if, indeed, it was in existence as long ago as 1701. There are, however, two other houses shown on the map, exclusive of the old Workhouse, which are no longer in existence. One stood almost opposite the old yew in the Churchyard and the other facing down what is now the Croft garden. The map is described as “A Mapp of the Tinker’s Croft, Wheeler’s Field and Barn, Kitfield and Barn, Kitfield Grove, the Oast House and Orchard. Freehold Lands purchased by Dennis Lyddell, Esq., of Mr. James Tully. Anno 1711“.