A place of dissent - and poverty

Rouser 2013
Rouser 2013

Warbleton consists of two villages, Rushlake Green and Bodle Street Green; and two hamlets, Warbleton and Three Cups.

Rushlake Green, a mile or so to the east of Warbleton hamlet, is the largest of these with its pretty circle of cottages around a green.

The War-bil-in-Tun is the name of the Warbleton pub.

In the tower of the church opposite was imprisoned Richard Woodman, most famous of the Sussex martyrs. Woodman was a local ironmaster who

in the middle of the 16th century publicly accused the curate of changing his religious views to suit the monarch of the day.

Woodman paid dearly for his outspoken views. He was forced to become a fugitive from the law, eluding arrest until he was betrayed and

finally burnt on a grid iron at Lewes in 1557 with other Protestant martyrs of the Maryan persecution.

Warbleton has always had a strong dissenting element. A century after Woodman’s death the churchwardens complained that there were 19

Quakers, six Anabaptists and nine other parishioners who did not attend church.

And there was always poverty. Warbleton parish officers in 1825 bought property to house the many paupers of the parish including three

hovels at Bodle Street which went by the unlovely name of Mud Castle.

Ten years later the poor house opposite the church had 19 people crowded in it. Eight of them were over 70 and two were illegitimate

boys of nine.

John Blackman, who owned several farms in the area, had his own way of bringing a little comfort to the poor. Before he died in 1854 he

directed that eight of his old labourers should carry his coffin at his funeral for which they were to be paid £1 each.

Man’s brief span is the subject of an inscription found on a pane of glass in recent years at Pleydells, Rushlake Green. Dated 1763, it

reads: Abraham Holman is my name, and England is my nation; Rushlake Green was my Dwelling Place, but not long Habitation.’