Welcome!

Welcome to the Cowfold Village History Society website. We hope that you enjoy browsing through the material collected about the history of our village and will find the records of our past as fascinating as we do.

We are always pleased to receive comments on the website itself (good or bad!) and will also be grateful for any additional material for inclusion on the site, or for help on our various ongoing projects. You can contact us by completing the form here.

Celebration to mark the completion of the Cowfold Church Marks Restoration Project

13th October 2018 at 12.30pm

The Society is holding a celebration to mark the completion of the project to restore a fence in the Churchyard of St Peter’s Church, known as the “Church Marks”, on 13 October 2018, commencing at 12:30pm.

Today, church marks are exceptionally rare and the restoration was essential if this historical fence were to survive through the 21st century as a historical record for future generations.

The origins of the Church Marks fence dates back at least three hundred and thirty years, quite possibly longer, and are thought to be found in an old Sussex Saxon custom to mark the boundary of a churchyard with fencing by farms and houses in the parish. The first mention of such a fence in Cowfold is found in the Parish Register for 1682. This historical entry records each landholder, their property and the footage they were responsible for by maintaining one panel of oak fencing on which the name of the farm or house was deeply incised on the post.

Over time, the fence has been maintained and restored but, unfortunately, it fell into a state of considerable disrepair. A group of interested residents set out to restore 110 metres of this historic fence using as a guide the original 17th century record of the names of the contributing farms and houses.  The restoration has been completed thanks to the generous contributions and support from members of the local community.

 A local artist, Penny Hopkins, has painted a map of the fence, which is to be displayed in the Church lychgate, so that the posts can be easily located.

 At the event, Father Martin, Assistant Curate of St Peter’s Church, will conduct a blessing of the fence and also the new church path lighting that has been sponsored by the Co-op.

Please contact Sue Crofts on 01403 864602 or Barry Sowton on 01403 864704 for details.