Archbishop didn’t hedge his bets

It will not have escaped everyone’s attention that much of the land roughly between Ringmer and Lewes contains two former hunting parks -

Plashett and Broyle.

According to Colin Child, writing in Sussex Past and Present,

Plashett was once a gentleman’s hunting park, the gentleman concerned being the Archbishop of Canterbury until the Dissolution when it passed to the Gage family.

In the early 14th century there were estimated to be 380 deer parks in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The possession of such a park was a major status symbol.

The word Plashett is said to be of Romance origin, from the Late Latin ‘plassetum’ - a woven enclosure.

Why Woven? Because the fance was of living wood with interlacing branches.

Adds Mr Child: ‘The fence, or hedge, was, in the case of our Plashett, intended to keep the deer in the park. But elsewhere it was used as a fortifictaion to keep people out. The corresponding name in France is Plessis.’

So there it is: A hedge owned by an Archbishop!