Strudgate is now divided into four – Great and Little Strudgate, New House and the Park – but originally it covered the whole of what used to be called Wakehurst Park and is now merged in Paddockhurst. Little Strudgate is in Balcombe parish. We get an early form of the name in a Sussex Assize Roll of 1278 in a suit between William de Wakehurst and Richard de la Strode. The name is generally interpreted as “a dwelling among trees”, a truthful description of what is now called Park House but in 1581 was called “the lodge in Strudgate”.

40 acres of Strudgate were held by the Culpepers of the Manor of Highley at a rent of 3s. Great Strudgate was separated from the Wakehurst portion long years ago.

Strudgate Furnace, which is often mentioned in the early Registers, was near the brook which divides Ardingly from Balcombe and close to Little Strudgate. Fire wood on the Balcombe side and Fire wood slip in Ardingly are remembrances of it. Here the iron was smelted and then sent on to the Hammer to be forged. Ardingly Hammer was at what is now called Fulling Mill Cottages, and it is highly probable that the Ardingly Brook was big enough then to carry the iron direct to the Hammer. The shrinkage in the water courses during three hundred years is seldom fully realised. Strudgate furnace is not included in the Elizabethan returns.

Another division of Strudgate is Newhouse, no longer new now, probably the nameless farm of Sir Wm. Culpeper mentioned in the valuation list of 1666.

Place Name Index