Withyham shown within East Sussex
|Area||36.8 km2 (14.2 sq mi) |
|– density||187/sq mi (72/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||30 miles (48 km) NNW|
|Shire county||East Sussex|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Withyham is a village and large civil parish in the Wealden district of East Sussex, England. The village is situated 7 miles south west of Tunbridge Wells and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Crowborough; the parish covers approximately 7,500 acres (30 km2).
through the village, between Groombridge and Forest Row. Much of the area is rural; the hamlet of Buckhurst, part of the parish, contains Buckhurst Park, the home of Lord De La Warr. New Groombridge is also within the parish, and Old Groombridge is in the Speldhurst District of Kent.
Buckhurst and Gildredge
Withyham is not included in the Domesday Book, although the manor of Buckhurst is, as "Biochest" (probably from the Saxon "boc hyrst" or beech wood. There have been two houses at Buckhurst for many centuries: the older Buckhurst House, now no more, and the present day Buckhurst Park: both remained in the hands of the Sackville family for generations. Buckhurst Park is the family seat of the De La Warr earldom, and William Sackville, 11th Earl De La Warr continues to live there.
Outside of Buckhurst, many of the houses in the village were probably built to contain estate workers. A significant number of council houses were built in the post war period at Balls Green near a now-closed station.
Withyham was also home to the Gildredge family, who later moved to Eastbourne, acquiring a large share of the town's land by purchase and by marriage. "Gildredge House and estate was formerly the property and residence of the family of the same name," says Thomas Walker Horsfield in his history of Sussex, "who afterwards (temp. Henry VIII) removed to and became lords of the manor of Eastbourne." Today's Gildredge Park in Eastbourne is named for the family. The Gildredge family was related to the Eversfield family, who eventually owned much of St. Leonards-on-Sea, as well as to the Levetts.
According to Sussex historian Mark Antony Lower, the ancient house and estate of Gildredge "gave name to a family of considerable antiquity, who subsequently had their chief residence at Eastbourne, and gave their name to the manor of Eastbourne-Gildredge." Later the Gildredge lands were carried by marriage into the Gilbert family (today's Davies-Gilbert family), who continue to own much of Eastbourne.
Withyham parish is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Much of the oldest available historical information concerning the Weald of Kent, Sussex and Surrey, with records going back to 1288, relates to the parish church, St. Michael's.
The village church is dedicated to St Michael and All Angels; the present incumbent is the Reverend Adrian Leak. According to early records, the church was almost completely rebuilt in the 14th century to contain a Sackville chapel.
On 16 June 1663 the church was struck by lightning, melting the bells, and causing a great deal of damage; few parts of the building survived. The rebuilding of the church does not seem to have been finished until 1672 and the Sackville Chapel was not completed for another eight years. Of the old church only the lower part of the tower, the west wall from the belfry door to the north-west corner and the north and south east walls remained to be incorporated into the new building. It was also around this time that the Rectory was built.
Later important alterations were carried out in the 19th century, including a new south aisle, the removal of the low ceiling and a new south porch. In 1849 a set of four paintings was donated to the church: it is thought they are the work of Niccolò di Pietro Gerini (c. 1340–1414). The paintings were sold at Sotheby's in London in 2012.
There are eight bells in the tower: five recast after the rebuilding in 1674; and a sixth (treble) bell added in 1715. These bells remained until 1908 when they were recast and a further two added.
Withyham is a large parish, and is therefore divided into three electoral wards: Groombridge; Withyham, including Blackham; and St Johns (Withyham).
Penn's Rocks is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the parish. This is a site of biological interest. Its sandstone outcrops providing a rare habitat for many ferns and bryophytes. Buckhurst Park historic seat of the Earls De La Warr, head of the Sackville family, Lutyens/Jekyll garden with Repton Park. 100 Acre wood of Winnie the Pooh fame is a part of the Buckhurst Estate
The millennium in Withyham
To celebrate the millennium in Withyham, the 11th Earl De La Warr planted a yew sapling taken from a tree said to be 2000 years old – i.e. from the time of Christ. Sadly, the sapling was uprooted by vandals but was replanted by Earl De La Warr. A millennium map was also commissioned by the Church to commemorate almost 1000 years of Withyham.
- The village of Withyham features in Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Horror of the Heights" as the finding place of the Joyce-Armstrong Fragment, a supposedly real fragment of a diary detailing the airborne adventures of the author of the diary.
- The ashes of Vita Sackville-West, CH (1892–1962), poet, novelist, and garden designer, are buried below the Sackville Chapel at Withyham Parish Church.
- "East Sussex in Figures". East Sussex County Council. Retrieved 26 April 2008.
- "Civil Parish 2011". Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- The Village Reference: Withyham (De la Warrs and Sackvilles)
- Official website of the Dorset House
- Official website of the Dorset Arms
- Sussex Archaeological Collections, Relating to the History and Antiquities of the County, Sussex Archaeological Society, Lewes, 1849
- The History, Antiquities and Topography of the County of Sussex, Thomas Walker Horsfield, thesussexweald.org
- Sussex Archaeological Collections, Sussex Archaeological Society, Farncombe & Co., Lewes, 1894
- A Compendious History of Sussex, Vol. II, Mark Antony Lower, thesussexweald.org
- The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex: St Michael’s Church detailed history 1288–1936
- The website of the parish church
- Welcome to Withyham: the parish website
- "Natural England – SSSI". English Nature. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
- 291 Bus Route https://www.metrobus.co.uk/places-to-go/whats-on-route-291/
Media related to Withyham at Wikimedia Commons