The Hook

The corner of land called the Hook is so hidden away that many people do not know of its existence, although it is within a mile of Ardingly Church. It is a very common name, describing a sharp bend in a stream or boundary. For another instance compare the Hook in West Hoathly. The earliest mention of our own example is in 1592, when Thos. Paine is described in the original Register as of “Hooks”. But the name is much older than that, and doubtless arises from the fact that the early dwellers there found their centre at Ardingly Church, and the parish boundary, instead of following the natural line of the stream, forms a hook or corner to include the site. The Hook is in the manor of Ditchling, and we find it mentioned in the Court Rolls as Hooklands, Haylands and Hayfield, alias the Hooke. It passed from the Paynes to the Brays, of Balcombe, but in 1665 the Hearth Tax gives William Terry as the occupier of Hooke House, on which he paid ls., and the land was valued at £7 10s. in the parish assessment of the same date. Coupled with the Hook in the Court Rolls of 1616 is “a parcel of land called Macony late parcel of West Hill, alias Bredons, in Ardingly. Other readings of the name are “Mawnye” and “Macombes”. What the name means, and where the land is to which it refers, is now unknown, but it is always well to record these things, as information often turns up in unexpected places.

Place Name Index