Penhurst is the neighbouring village to Ashburnham and is named from the Saxon for "Pena's wood". 


Pre-Saxon activity is evident nearby at Town Creep, a probable Iron Age site. The site comprises earthworks about 250 metres long that may be the lost town of Mercredsburn, which was conquered by the Saxon, Aella, in 491 AD, prior to his sacking of Pevensey.


Penhurst is mentioned in the Domesday book as Penehest and was owned by Osborn for the Count of Eu, the area was half a hide, in which there were two villeins, two ploughs, one acre of meadow and wood for two hogs. It was worth at the time 15 shillings. 


Penhurst Manor House was built in 1652 on the site of an earlier medieval mansion. The manor house is now used as a Christian retreat centre.


In 1810 the parishes of Penhurst and Ashburnham were united. 


Penhurst Church was built in the 14th century and is dedicated to St Michael the Archangel.




Website Sources 

The War in East Sussex - compiled by the Sussex Express and County Herald - August 1945

Bombers over Sussex 1943-45 - by Pat Burgess and Andy Saunders 1995

Sussex - by Desmond Seward 1995

Nigel Draper

Rosemary Wooldridge

Audrey and, her father, Wilfred Barden

Adrian Haiselden

The Ashburnham Archives held at the East Sussex Record Office

The Secret Sussex Resistance – Stewart Angell 1996

Commonwealth Graves Commission website

Ashburnham and Penhurst war memorial

The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

The Domesday Book

Caren Garfen

Malcolm Rickson OBE

Steve Hemmings

Keith Datchler OBE

The memoirs of Monica Veness (nee Creasey) 1989

The Sussex County Magazine February 1933

Stephen Winborn

John Bester

Claire Wells (nee Collins)

Dave Hayter


Garden History, Vol. 29, No. 1,  "Lancelot Brown (1716-83) and the Landscape Park" - by Elizabeth Hingston


Sussex Place-Names - Judith Glover 1997


Alan Brown - Wartling Parish Local History Group


The Day Sussex Died: A History of Lowther's Lambs to the Boar's Head Massacre - John A. Baines 2012


Sheila Lewis (nee Draper)


John Newport


Recommended Reading

A Bygone Age Ashburnhams and Brasseys - Kathleen Richardson 1990

Ashburnham Place Past and Present - Ashburnham Christian Trust 1990

Ashburnham Place Grounds and Gardens - Ashburnham Christian Trust 1990


The Ashburnham Registers - Rose Fuller Whistler 1883 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 33)


Ashburnham Iron Works - A Nesbitt 1883 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 33)


The Relics of King Charles I at Ashburnham Place - Rose Fuller Whistler 1888 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 36)


The Turnover of Tenants on the Ashburnham Estate 1830-1850 - Brian Short 1975 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 113)


Kitchenham Farm, Ashburnham - C Frederick Tebbutt 1976 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 114)


Ashburnham Blast Furnace: a definitive date for its closure - Beswick, Broomhall & Bickersteth 1984 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 121)


Ashburnham Furnace in the early 18th Century - PW King 1995 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 133)


The Biography of John Nash of Ashburnham born 1800


Penhurst A Sussex Hamlet - Kathleen Richardson 1994


Penhurst: Being some account of its Ironworks, Manor House, Church, etc - Rose Fuller Whistler 1888 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 36)

On the traditional site of a Town in the parish of Penhurst - Rev Edward HR Tatham 1890 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 37)


Ancient Site called Towncreep - Rev Edward HR Tatham 1892 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 38)


Traces of an old Road near Towncreep - Rev Edward HR Tatham 1894 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 39)


Towncreep: is it Mercredsburn? - HF Napper 1894 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 39)


Towncreep - HF Napper 1896 (Sussex Archaeological Collections Volume 40)


The Mystery of Town Creep - Kathleen Richardson 1993


King Olaf's Kinsmen - Charles W Whistler 1896


Dallington Six Miles from Everywhere - Karen Bryant-Mole 1999

Britain in Old Photographs Battle & Robertsbridge - Alan Gillet 1989


Bygone Battle - Aylwin Guilmant 1983


Warbleton in Wartime 1939-1945 - part one: 1939 - May 1941 - Warbleton and District History Group 1996


Hobden/Ridley family tree at the Rootsweb website




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© Michael Ridley