The earliest mention in the Manor books of the “Greyhound” by name is in 1819, when on “June 28th the Court of Ditchling Manor was held at the house of Nilliam Attree, known by the sign of the ‘Greyhound’ at Ardingly“. Why it was called the “Greyhound” has not yet come to light. Earlier mentions take the history of the house back to 1738, when Thomas Pollard seems to have built a house and carpenter’s shop, occupied by Richard Longley, on a piece of land adjoining his own house. Pollard was no doubt one of the two Parish Clerks of that name. He apportioned 12 rods of his 40 rods to the new house, which stood four feet to the west of his own and was bounded by lands of Mr. Lyddell on the south and by the road on the north and east. The new house passed through several hands during the 18th century, and finally we find William Attree (described as Schoolmaster in 1797) parting with it absolutely to Thos. Beard for £650 in 1821.

The Oak

Another house of which there is a complete list of owners back to 1689 is that now known as “The Oak”, which has only been a public house comparatively lately. Richard Awcock is the first holder, followed by John Allingham in 1732. After Allingham’s death it went to his youngest daughter Mary, according to the custom of the manor by which the youngest son or daughter is the heir and not the eldest. This custom is what is called Borough English, and it points to the great age of the manor in which the custom prevails. It generally means that the manor was in existence before the Norman Conquest and had its English customs in full swing before the Norman-French methods were brought in. The object seems to have been to provide for the most youthful member of the family, the elder ones being presumably of an age to fend for themselves. The origin of the custom is hidden in the clouds of the far past. We know that the Manor of Ditchling was in being before the time of Alfred (d. 901), as it is mentioned in his will. Anyhow, we have the same custom prevailing in that part of Ditchling Manor which lies in Ardingly right down to modern times. Mary Allingham married William Bannister, of West Hoathly, yeoman, and when she died in 1801 her youngest son, John Bannister, inherited the cottage, which is described as “near the King’s Highway from Hapstead to Ardingly Church“. After passing through several other families the last private owner was Mary, wife of Thos. Comber, of Balcombe.

Place Name Index