800 YEARS OF UCKFIELD’S WRITTEN HISTORY
On 6 August 1220, the Sheriff of Sussex was notified of the licence granted for Uckfield’s market on Wednesdays. As lord of the manor, the Archbishop of Canterbury owed the Crown one palfrey: £3 7s 8d. This was entered on the fine roll kept by the Chancery and the pipe roll kept by the Exchequer. Both documents are preserved in The National Archives: the oldest records of Uckfield’s place name and written history.
The early town was along the upper High Street and Church Street. A survey in 1285 listed nearly 100 households in and around the town, as well as 11 shops and 12 burgesses. These were the chief townsfolk holding property by burgage tenure. This made Uckfield a borough. Monday was now the market day. An annual fair on 3 May was granted in 1378.
Uckfield was not empty before 1220. There was Mesolithic occupation of rock shelters in Lake Wood and West Park. The Roman road from London passed through Maresfield and Shortbridge to the west. The place name (meaning Ucca’s open land) is Saxon. The manor (South Malling) is documented from the early 9th century. One theory gives the manor Celtic origins. It is interesting that a corn drying kiln from the 1st century (the invasion was in 43) was found close to the edge of Views Wood. It was also close to Tower Ride, the direct route between the centre of Uckfield and the mother church of the parish in Buxted Park.
The link to the image of Uckfield’s entry on the fine roll is:
The National Archives
E372/64 rot 5 m 1d, calendared at Pipe Roll Society, volume 85 (1987) p 69
C60/12 m 3, reproduced on the Fine Rolls Henry III Project website, with English translation and other background information. The link is:
Canterbury Cathedral Archives: E24, transcribed as BC Redwood and AE Wilson (ed), Custumals of the Sussex manors of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sussex Record Society, volume 57 (1958).
CF Tebbutt, ‘A 1st century corn drying kiln at Uckfield’ and NES Norris, ‘Pottery from corn drying oven near Uckfield’, Sussex Notes and Queries, volume 17 no 1 (May 1968).
Reports by Martin Hemingway in Sussex Archaeological Society Newsletter, nos 31, 34, 36, 38.
Brian Phillips, ‘”It is not known if by licence or not”: Uckfield’s medieval borough and market”, Hindsight, volume 7 (2001).
Brian Phillips, “Women in thirteenth century Uckfield” and Oliver Harris, “Uckfield and other medieval Archbishop’s towns”, Hindsight, volume 8 (2002).