is a small village and civil parish
in the Chichester district
of West Sussex
. It is situated between Midhurst
, half a mile north of the A272
road. It lies within the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
, just to the north of the valley of the River Rother
, and a tributary stream the River Lod
runs close to the east end of the village.
In the 2001 census the parish covered 12.46 km² and had 282 households with a total population of 690. 298 residents were economically active. The parish is a long thin strip running north to south, from the slopes of Blackdown in the north to Gallows Hill on the border with Graffham south of the River Rother. It includes the hamlet of Lickfold, with a pub beside the River Lod and a triangular green where the road to the top of Bexley Hill meets the Lodsworth to Haslemere road. South of the village there are more houses, a pub and a small factory at Halfway Bridge on the A272.
It has a small Anglican church (St. Peters), a pub (The Hollist Arms) and a village hall.
The Manor House
Built by the Bishop
who owned the Manor
during the Medieval
period the Manor House would, when built have been the finest building in the area. The present house is likely to have been the home of the Bishop's steward, who would have administered the manor. Manorial courts would have been held there and there was a basement dungeon
to hold prisoners. The Manor was held as a "Liberty" by the Bishop, making it independent of the county justice system, so even the most serious crimes would have been tried there, and executions would have been carried out at Gallows Hill on the border with Graffham
. Archaeological work during the autumn of 2002 revealed the fondations of a 7 metre extension to the east of the building, with 1 metre foundations resting on solid rock which may have supported a tower. It is likely that there was a great hall to the south of the building.
St. Peters Well
The spring near St Peters church was a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, especially for people with eye problems, and a source of revenue for the village. The well is located a few metres along a footpath that joins the lower junction of Church Lane and Rectory Lane.
The name Lodsworth is Anglo-Saxon
meaning Lod or Loda’s enclosure, but little is known for certain of the village until after the Norman conquest of England
, when the area was given to Robert de Montgomerie, Earl of Shrewsbury
. There is no certain reference to Lodsworth in the Domesday Book
, although it may have been regarded as part of Grittenham, now part of Tillington
but then a much larger settlement. Lodsworth was part of the hundred of Easebourne, a Saxon administrative area.
In 1119 Richard de Belmas, the Bishop of London, was given the manor by the Montgomerie family; and Lodsworth was made a Liberty by Royal Charter of King Henry I. This unusual status made the manor independent from the county and hundred legal system so that even the most serious crimes were tried at the manorial court held at the manor house. The manor was run by the Bishop of London’s representative the Sheriff who lived at the manor house. Villagers were exempt from tolls at markets and fairs in other parishes, and all income from the manor went straight to the bishop. The manor must has bee a valuable source of income to the bishop with revenue from pilgrims to St. Peter’s well and probably from stone quarrying, and the status of Liberty was vigorously defended and was reaffirmed by several kings, the last being Henry VI.
Transport and Industry
Agriculture and Forestry use most of the land area. There is arable cropping, dairying and other grazing livestock. There are large areas of chestnut coppice
on Bexley Hill, cut in rotation to produce fence materials, and areas of oak
There is a large timberyard and sawmill at Lodsbridge, south of Halfway Bridge and a small factory at the old watermill site at Halfway Bridge.
The first transport other than pack horses or horse carts was in 1795 when the Rother Navigation was built from Pulborough to Midhurst, allowing canal barges to reach the wharf at Lodsbridge. This was used mainly to bring chalk and coal in and to export timber. The railway line from Pulborough to Petworth was extended to Midhurst in the 1860s with stations at Selham and Midhurst.
Famous past residents
- Martin Hepworth and A.E.Marshall, Lodsworth. The Story of an English Village.
- John Rickman, The Land of Lod.
- P.A.L.Vine, London's Lost Route to Midhurst. The Earl of Egremont's Navigation.