The Society holds David Pavitt’s research into the history of Cowfold. The collection includes records of houses, people and life in Cowfold.

David was born in Gorleston on Sea, Suffolk, moving with his parents and younger brother to Felixstowe in 1932. He did his military service in Palestine but, on leaving the Army, he did not know what career he wished to follow. In the event, he joined the Liverpool London & Global Insurance Company, which later became the Royal Insurance Company, and stayed with them throughout his working life. He started work in Ipswich but moved to London in 1955. In his early years at work he studied for, and obtained, an external degree in law.

History was a major interest and in later years David said that he would like to have been an archivist. He found an outlet for this interest in his research into family and Cowfold history. While he was in London, he made frequent visits to the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford to research the roots of the Pavitt family. This broadened into an interest in all the Essex Pavitts, of which there are many branches, and he wrote up his research under the title of “The Pavitts in Essex”.

David moved to Horsham in 1965 and soon developed an interest in local history, attending lectures of the Horsham Museum Society. Soon after his move to Cowfold in April 1967, he began visiting the County Record Office to look at Tithe maps, the Library to seek out the Parish Registers and the Public Record Office, to study census records. In the following year he talked to Cowfold residents about their memories, among them Dudley Tidey, Mrs Goacher, Bob Farren and, most particularly, Tom Mills. During 1968 he worked on his People and Property index and was also mapping the Cowfold Parish. By 1969 David had started writing up his research. His writing and research continued throughout the early 70s and in 1975 he was involved with Cy Steed and Tom Mills in a photographic survey of the village, part of a wider survey being carried out in West Sussex. His research lapsed in 1976 because of family problems, but he continued to record and, where possible, to photograph, any changes that took place in the Village. He felt a great affection for Cowfold which is recorded in his diary: “I felt again how fortunate I was to find myself living in the village of which I have become very fond.”

David’s Ashes are interred in Cowfold Churchyard.

[Source: Margaret Pavitt and David Pavitt’s Diary notes 08-07-12]