Place:Heathfield, Sussex, England

Alt namesBroad Oaksource: hamlet in parish
Cade Streetsource: hamlet in parish
Heathfield Commonsource: hamlet in parish
Old Heathfieldsource: another name for the village
Punnetts Townsource: hamlet in parish
Runtingtonsource: hamlet in parish
Street Endsource: hamlet in parish
Vines Crosssource: hamlet in parish
Coordinates50.983°N 0.283°E
Located inSussex, England
Also located inEast Sussex, England     (1865 - )
See alsoPevensey Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Hastings Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was also located
Dill Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
Hawkesborough Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was also located
Hailsham Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district 1894-1974
Wealden District, East Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Heathfield is a small market town lying near the junction of two main roads: the A267 between Royal Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne; and the A265 from Hawkhurst located to the northeast. The distance to both Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne is approximately 16 mi (26 km).

It is also a civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England


Historically, Heathfield lay on an ancient trackway (The Sussex Ridgeway), connecting the South Downs with the Weald. Its market charter was granted in February 1316 during the reign of Edward II. The Wealden iron brought prosperity to the town during the 16th and the 17th centuries. The coming of the railway in 1880 gave it another new, but not permanent, lease of life. The railway was not a financial success and the branch line between Eridge and Polegate closed in 1968.

The original village, Old Heathfield, is now only part of the town, which has expanded over time.

The parish can be considered to have been located either on the western edge of Hastings Rape or on the eastern edge of Pevensey Rape. Consequently it was considered to be both in the hundred of Hawkesborough or the hundred of Dil.

The following description from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 is provided by the website A Vision of Britain Through Time (University of Portsmouth Department of Geography).

HEATHFIELD, a village and a parish in Hailsham [registration] district, Sussex. The village stands on a headstream of the river Cuckmere, adjacent to the line of projected railway from Hailsham to Tunbridge Wells, 6 miles SW of Ticehurst-Road [railway] station, and 8 N of Hailsham; has a post office under Hurst Green, a good inn, and a weekly market on Thursday; and gave the title of Baron to General Elliot, the defender of Gibraltar.
The hamlet of Heathfield Common is about a mile to the ENE, and also has a post office under Hurst Green. The parish contains also the hamlets or places of Cade Street, Punnetts Town, Street End, and Runtington. Acres: 7,970. Real property: £8,022. Population in 1851: 2, 208; in 1861: 1,892. Houses: 330.
The property is subdivided; and the manor belongs to Earls Ashburnham, Chichester, and Delawarr. Heathfield Park belonged to the Dacres; passed to General Elliot, Lord Heathfield; was sold, by his successor, to Francis Newberry, Esq.; and is now the seat of Sir Charles W. Blunt, Bart. The house has been greatly altered; but the grounds, which are very fine and have noble views, contain a memorial of General Elliot in a tower, erected in honour of him by Mr. Newberry. The tower stands on a spot about 600 feet above sealevel; is a mark for the entire weald, in Kent and Sussex; and commands a prospect, over 40 churches, to a great extent of coast.
"Cade Street, about ½ a mile N of the village, disputes with one or two other localities the claim of being the death place of Jack Cade. A very large iron furnace was formerly about a mile S of the village; produced cannon of high repute; and has left some traces. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Chichester. Value: £400. Patron: the Bishop of Chichester. The church is ancient; consists of nave, aisles, chancel, and SE chapel, with tower and spire; and was partly rebuilt, partly restored, in 1860 and previous years. One act of the restoration had reference to the spire, which is about 60 feet high, and was 2¼ feet out of the perpendicular, and is supposed to have been so from the time of its erection about 500 years before; and this act consisted in bringing it to the perpendicular, without taking it down, and was successfully performed. There are chapels for Independents and Baptists, and a national school."

Also included in the parish is the settlement of Vines Cross. This is named after John Vyne, who was a local vintner in 1595. Like many other settlements on the Weald, Heathfield was involved in the Wealden iron industry.

In 1951 a major realignment of the local parish borders resulted in the loss of 1197 acres (15% of its total area) to a newly created parish of Horam. Horam had previously been a village in the south of the neighbouring parish of Waldron and a station on the local railway line.

Heathfield's population increased from 1,226 in 1801 to 3,244 in 1961. Wikipedia does not report the current population but a "google" search produced a figure of approximately 7,050.

Research Tips

  • The East Sussex Record Office, The Keep, Woollards Way, Brighton, BN1 9BP, United Kingdom (email holds material for the Archdeaconry of Lewes, present-day East Sussex, and therefore generally holds historical material for East Sussex parishes only. An on-line catalogue for some of the collections held by the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) is available under the Access to Archives (A2A) project (a nationwide facility housed at The National Archives, Kew).
  • The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies' Sussex Collection (PDF). This is a 9-page PDF naming the files relating to Sussex in their collection-a possible first step in a course of research.
  • Further resources may be found on GENUKI's main page on Sussex.
  • The National Library of Scotland has a website which provides maps taken from the Ordnance Survey England & Wales One-Inch to the Mile series of 1892-1908 as well as equivalent maps for Scotland itself. The immediate presentation is a "help" screen and a place selection screen prompting the entry of a location down to town, village or parish level. These screens can be removed by a click of the "X". The map is very clear and shows parish and county boundaries and many large buildings and estates that existed at the turn of the 20th century. Magnification can be adjusted and an "overlay feature" allows inspection of the area today along with that of 1900. The specific map from the series can be viewed as a whole ("View this map") and this allows the inspection of the map legend (found in the left hand bottom corner. Becoming familiar with the various facilities of these maps is well worth the trouble.
  • GENUKI on Heathfield
  • Maps of the local area are to be found on the WeRelate page for Pevensey Rape and on that for Hailsham Rural District or Eastbourne Rural District.
  • A History of the County of Sussex provided by British History Online does not include articles on parishes that were part of Pevensey Rape.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Heathfield, East Sussex. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.