Coming further south along the valley we find Pipstye, now represented by two fields. It has been held by the owners of Wakehurst for many generations from the Manor of Plumpton Boscage. The earliest reference available is in 1296, when Theobald and John de Pyppestye are taxed as tenants of Hugh Bardolf, the then holder of the manor of Plumpton Boscage.

Not far off are Church wood and Church meadow, but nothing is known at present to account for the name.

Pipstye lies to the south of the road leading from Little Strudgate to New House. The name means Pyppa’s Path. The earliest reference to it is in 1253, when William Bardolf included it in his hunting grounds, as he held the Manor of Plumpton. We find another mention in 1296, when Theobald and John de Pyppestye were taxed among the men who held land belonging to Hugh Bardolf. In 1516 we find in Richard Culpeper’s will that “as for Pipstye I cannot put it from George for it is copyhold“. This means that in the Manor of Plumpton the custom of Borough English prevailed. In other words, that the youngest son and not the eldest son inherited. The Norman custom was for the elder son to inherit, and therefore when we find a Manor with the custom of the youngest inheriting, it generally means that the Manor was in existence before the Norman Conquest.

Richard Culpeper had no children, the “George” alluded to being one of his many nephews depicted amongst the eighteen children at the foot of his brother Nicholas’s brass in Ardingly Church.

Pipstye was bought by Sir Edward Culpeper in 1593, and it has passed as part of the Wakehurst estate ever since, though there were several difficulties in the 18th and early 19th centuries caused by the custom of Borough English aforesaid. Little Strudgate in Balcombe was called Cut Throat Farm fifty years ago, but I have a strong suspicion that it represents Little Pipstye and I should be glad of any evidence to confirm that idea.

Place Name Index