In the Court books of Street Manor the record of Lywood Farm is divided into two portions. Both consist of one house, one barn and 100 acres of land in Ardingly. The earliest date is 1611 for them both. The first portion is then recorded as having been in the hands of Alexander Payne. His burial is entered in the Parish Registers as having taken place on February 23rd.1610-1, and he is described as “Alexander Paine of Liod”. His neighbour died the same month, and his burial is recorded on February 7th , 1610-1, as that of “John Wheeler, of Lied, Churchwarden”. On March 3rd, “John Adkins tennant of the said Alexander Paine” also was buried. The year 1610 was a year of the plague in Ardingly, nineteen burials being recorded between August 30th and October 8th. They were chiefly young persons who died. “On September 16th, 1610, John son of Nicholas Chatfield was baptized at Lindfield because the plague was then in Ardingleigh and at that time there were no praiers at the Church for two sundayes“. Par. Reg.
When the death of a tenant of the Manor took place an enquiry was held as to the next heir, as the tenancy, whether freehold or copyhold, went on to the right heirs according to the custom of the manor. Eventually Richard Allfrey, husband of Katherine, daughter of Alexander Paine, is put in possession. There is strong reason to believe that he came of the family who held the neighbouring land of Upper Lodge Farm. He died in 1661, but this portion of Lywood remained with his heirs till 1733, when it appears in the hands of the Crawfords. In 1794 the number of barns has increased to two. It is then in the hands of Gibbs Crawford, of Pax Hill, Lindfield, and in 1880 it was enfranchised by Mrs. Williams, daughter of Thos. Gibbs Crawford, and finally sold to the Stephenson Clarke family. This portion is now known as Lywood House.
The other portion, which still retains its name of Lywood Farm, was held by John Wheeler at the time of his death in 1611. It probably had been in the family for some time previously and certainly remained in their hands till 1707, when it passed for a short time to Calvert Bristow, and from him to the Hamlen family, who owned much land in Ardingly in the 18th century. Their great tombs stand outside the N.E. corner of the Chancel and it is from a descendant of them that the Parish got the portion of Haire’s charity, which has never been sufficient to be of much use. In most or the records of this portion the name is spelt Lyhood – the Sussex way of dealing with a “w” being shown.
The Paynes and the Wheelers played a great part in the parish in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their names appear in the very earliest Registers, 1558, and the Paynes were at Lyod then. Nearly every farm in the parish has been held by a Payne at some time or other, and their names are numberless in the Registers. The Wheelers are not quite so numerous but their record goes back to 1558, and they have left their name in Wheeler’s Field.
In 1854 Laurence Smith held Lywood Farm. He has left behind him the sobriquet of “Tipsy”, but time has washed away his weakness, which was not uncommon in those days. In 1875 he alienated Lyhood to the late Mr. Stephenson Clarke.