The earliest date of Perymans in the Ditchling Manor books is 1597-8, but it must be remembered that it is only because there are no earlier books in existence that there are no earlier records of all the lands which we are now discussing. The manor of Ditchling dates back to Alfred’s time, and is mentioned in his will. At the Norman Conquest it fell into the hands of William of Warenne, and after passing through the Fitzalan and other well-known families, came by marriage to the Nevill family, who still possess it.

The Sussex Record Society have lately published in their 34th volume the book of the Steward of this and many other Sussex manors. John Rowe was in office from 1597-1692, and his book contains an enormous amount of information which has been made use of by Sir Wm. Burrell and other archaeologists.

Although the earliest reference in the Court Books to Perymans is dated 1597-8, when Thomas Culpeper was “granted leave to carry off wheat from his lands called Perimans in Ardingly“, an earlier mention is to be found in Alice Culpeper’s will dated 1571-2, the mother of Thomas, who says “Perymans which my sonne Thomas and I did jointly buy“. And it is also possible that the John Piryman, who was taxed at a shilling in the Subsidy of 1296 among the tenants of Hugh Bardolf, was an early representative of the family. The name comes from Pear, either the tree or the product, perry.

John Rowe gives us the further information that Thomas Culpeper was also one of the Reeves in the North part of the manor, “for landes called Perymans“. The farm came into the hands of Sir Edward Culpeper, of Wakehurst, but after his death there is a blank in its history till 1662, when Michael Marten appears as its owner; it then consisted of 250 acres. Later owners were Dewdney, Sanders, Strong and Rev. Henry Chatfield.

Place Name Index