Roman Road

This road has been called Roman, and discussions are still going on about it, among the learned. Although it was paved at St. John’s Common and many Roman remains have been found in the Hurstpierpoint district, not a single Roman feature has yet been found along its course through Ardingly. Nevertheless, though the evidence of Roman work is negative it throws no doubt on the age of the road, which may well be a pre-Roman track. We should all endeavour to keep our local names unharmed by modern vulgarisms, and Street Lane is one of those that we shall have to fight for. The word “street” comes from the Latin “via strata”, and was primarily applied to roads of Roman construction, but in course of time our forefathers used it for any made-up road. It would be pleasing to think that the name of Street Lane was evidence of the lane leading to the Roman Street, but in the absence of other evidence we can only say “Not proven”.

Ardingly Street gave its name to a family who lived “Atte Strete” in the 15th century; there are many mentions of it in the Wakehurst Court Rolls, and in a map of 1711 the words Ardingly Street are placed on the road between the Rectory and the Croft. The old poor-house stood at the corner by Jordans, and there is plenty of other evidence that it was the centre of the village in old days, before Hapstead superseded it.

Place Name Index