Tillinghurst, which our grandfathers called Tealings or Tealinghurst, has a very long history. The first reference to it is in 1296, when William de Tytyngehurst is, included in the list of taxpayers. A later reference occurs in 1327, when John de Tytyngesherst appears, and again in 1332, when John de Tytynghurst acts as tax colector for the Hundred of Street. We get other references in 1340, when John de Tydingehurst appears as a juror for the parish of Ardingly in the Nonae Inquisition, and in 1379, when Richard Tytingehurst pays one shilling under the Poll Tax of Richard the Second.
In 1575 Tittinghurst was held by the Newnham family on payment of 7s annually to the Manor of Plumpton Boscage, at that date held by Francis Carewe, and it is returned in the list of lands held by him at the time of his attainder. Add. M. S. 37,688. It was bought from the Newnham family in 1616 by Edward Culpeper, and since then has been part of the Wakehurst estate, though remaining part of the Manor of Plumpton Boscage until its enfranchisement in the 19th century.
It should be noted that the name also exists in the parish of Plumpton as Tillinghurst Wood, and the personal name Tillinghaste also occurs there in the 17th century.
In 1665 Tettinghurst was occupied by John Streat, contained four hearths and was valued at £27. It will be observed that all the early forms have “t” and not “l”. The change is unusual and not according to the natural change in the pronunciation of names of great age.
The personal name Titta is not on record, but there is a place in Worcestershire which seems to have the same origin. Tittinghurst means the wood belonging to Titta’s people. This takes us back to the time of the Saxon development of our county when the forest ridge was being used as a summer feeding place for cattle by the people who had settled in the open country at the foot of the Downs, and this accounts for its connection with Plumpton.