About Ifold

Little did anyone imagine then that Ifold Estate would become a unique housing and environmental abode. [excerpt from Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow Forgotten border villages 1988 C.H. Bayley]

Ifold, West Sussex is a residential hamlet near to the Surrey border. It is the largest of four settlements which make up Plaistow & Ifold Parish: Ifold, Durfold Wood, Shillinglee and Plaistow. It lies at the western edge of the Weald (the name given to an area in South East England situated between the parallel chalk escarpments of the North and the South Downs). Ifold is separated from Plaistow to the west by minor ridges along the settlement’s western edge. It’s on gently sloping land (dense, wealden clay) falling towards the River Lox and the Wey and Arun Canal in the east, which in turn leads to the wider Arun Valley. Ifold has significant amounts of intact woodland, tree belts and hedges, including Ancient Woodland and Assarts, all of which are highly valued by residents and add to the tranquil, sylvan character of the area and support the abundant wildlife.


1557, The history of Ifold Estates can be traced back to 1557 when known as the Manor of Ivolde, alias Ivolls, it was sold for £740 on the 20 March 1557 by William Brown, of Chichester, gent, to John Gratwicke, of Wisborough Green:

Manor of Ivolde alias Ivolls, messuage and farm called Ivolde alias Ivolls, and lands and tenements called Thornlands or Thornmeads in Kirdford, and land called Sweare alias Sweares in Kirdford, and Alfold, co. Surrey, then or late in occ. of W. Cowlstock, John Allen and John Ponter; annual rent out of lands called Badburys, Ayleberys alias Sweetemylke in Kirdford, then or late in occ. of Henry West

[West Sussex Record Office – Acc2336a – Deeds of property mainly in Kirdford and Wisborough Green – Alt Ref. No.: Add Mss 10402]

22 March 1620, An inquisition post mortem for John Gratwicke, of Kirdford:

Messuage and lands called Ifold alias Ifoulds, Sware alias Swares, Thorne Meade alias Thorne Meades in Kirdford and Alfold, and lands called Bisshopps in Kirdford, in all about 110 [West Sussex Record Office – Acc2336a – Deeds of property mainly in Kirdford and Wisborough Green – Alt Ref. No.: Add Mss 10407]

20 April 1621, There was a dispute over the estate between the heirs of John Gratwicke and Giles Garton, Esq.:

Draft papers in dispute between Giles Garton, esq. and the heirs of John Gratwicke, dec’d. in H.M. Court of Exchequer over property in Kirdford

[West Sussex Record Office – Acc2336a – Deeds of property mainly in Kirdford and Wisborough Green – Add Mss 10409 and Add Mss 10408]

26 September 1645, An Inquisition post mortem of Roger Gratwicke, late of Kirdford:

Messuage, two barns, garden, 40a. land, 3a. meadow, 40a. pasture in Kirdford and Alfold called Ifolde alias Ifoldes, 20a. land and 10a. pasture in Kirdford called Sware alias Swares, 12a. meadow called Thorne Mead alias Thorne Meades, 6a. land called Bishops, and 30a. land, 30a. pasture and 100a. wood called Strodwickes in Kirdford

[West Sussex Record Office – Acc2336a – Deeds of property mainly in Kirdford and Wisborough Green – Alt Ref. No.: Add Mss 10407]

3 April 1718, The Estate came into the ownership of  Richard Pay of Kirdford whose heir was his son John Pay, Esq. who in turn bequeathed the Estate to his nephew John Seward.

29 December 1803, The Manor of Ivolde was part of a marriage settlement between (a) Edward Napper of Hyes in Rudgwick, esq., (b) Mary Ann Seward of Wisborough Green, spinster (only surviving child and heir at law of John Seward of Ifolds in Kirdford, gent., decd., who was the eldest son and heir at law of John Seward of Brewhurst in Wisborough Green, gent., decd., and which last named John Seward was nephew and heir at law and also devisee of John Pay of Ifolds aforesaid, gent., decd.). Edward Napper and Mary Ann Seward were married on th 12 Jan 1804.

Manor of Ivolde alias Ivolls [in Kirdford]; capital messuage and farm, and lands, meadows, pastures and coppice grounds called Ivolde alias Ivolls; lands, meadows, pastures and coppice grounds called Thornlands and Thorne Meads; messuage, barn and lands, meadows, pastures and coppice grounds called Sweare alias Sweares: all in Kirdford and in Alfold (co. Surr.)

1811, Edward Napper Esq. was appointed High Sherriff of Sussex under King George III (The London Gazette No.16702 p.301). The Sussex Weekly Advertiser: “LEWES, NOV. 18, 1811. On the Morrow of St. Martin, the Lords of the Council met, according to annual custom, to nominate three gentlemen for each county, eligible to serve the office of Sheriff for the year ensuing ; when the following were nominated for this County, viz. George Francis Tyson, of Singleton, Esq. Thomas Beckham, of Compton, Esq. And, Edward Napper, of Ifold, Esq

Ifold House. Photo from the book 'Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow Forgotten border villages'. Photographer & Date unknown.

Ifold House. Photo from the book ‘Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow Forgotten border villages’. Photographer & Date unknown.

c.1812, It is said that Edward Napper built Ifold House on the site of an original house, “In the early part of the present century, Edward Napper, Esq., of Ifold, built a commodious mansion.” A Compendious History of Sussex: Topographical, Archæological & Anecdotical. Vol2 (Mark Antony Lower, published 1870).

In the book Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow Forgotten border villages (1988 C. Connie H. Bayley) it is written the word “Ifold” comes from an Olde English word meaning “well watered farm”. Which is apropos given the many drainage ditches criss-crossing and surrounding the settlement decanting into Loxwoodhills Pond or the River Lox and in turn the Wey & Arun Canal. But in Saxon times the meaning of ‘fold’ was a small enclosure for animals; a small herding settlement or a herdsmen’s hamlet. Which is the definition nearby Dunsfold village tends to lean toward.

1836, A Commutation Act was passed to appease Nonconformist churches opposed to the legal obligation that landowners had to hand over a tenth of the produce of their land for the maintenance of the chancel of the church and provision of church worship. A Tithe Commission appointed surveyors who produced large-scale maps and schedules for every parish between 1836 and 1852. The written tithe schedule lists the names of owners and occupiers of the land together with names, acreage, state of cultivation of each field and the assessed rent charge to the church. At the time of the Tithe Assessment, 315 acres of the Ifold Estate were farmed with the house, its ornamental fishing lake (now known as Loxwoodhills Pond), garden and orchard covering about another 4 acres.

1840, Pigot & Co Directory entry for Sussex ~ Billingshurst, Wisborough Green and Neighbourhoods lists Gentry & Clergy: Napper Edward, esq. Ifold; Napper Hy. Fredk. esq. Laker’s lodge; Napper John, esq. [son of Edward] (magistrate), Maltham House.

13 October 1846, John Napper purchased Foxbridge Farm from the Mitford family of Pitshill in Tillington, Sussex, adding 225½a. into the lands of Ifold Estate, Kirdford.

1847, Edward Napper dies bequeathing the estate to his son, John.

1847 – 1862, There was a long running foxhunting dispute, with much correspondence, between Col. George Wyndham (afterwards 1st Lord Leconfield) and John Napper of Ifold about the latter’s acquisition of foxhounds and need to define territories with Napper and James Sadler of Chiddingfold, co. Surrey; boundaries to be observed by Sadler’s and Napper’s packs.

2 Aug 1852, John Napper is appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Sussex.

1855 – 1856 John Napper was Chairman and Principal Shareholder in 1855-56 to the Wey and Arun Canal Company. In the 18th century before the age of steam railways and the internal combustion engines, the canals were one of the key systems of transporting goods around the country. The boats were towed by a shire horse walking along the tow-path. The Wey and Aran Canal was opened in 1816. In 1865 the railway line between Guildford and Horsham opened in direct competition. By 1868 traffic on the canal had virtually ceased.

16th February 1867, John Napper had a Petition for Winding Up Order, Wey and Arun Junction Canal. In 1871 the canal was officially closed to commercial traffic.

1869, Plaistow and Kirdford School (as it is now known) was founded in 1819, but maintained from the mid 1800s by funding from John Napper Esq. of Ifold. His significant contribution is commemorated on a plaque at the front of the original building. The school was later enlarged in 1898.

KIRDFORD, a village and a parish in Petworth district, Sussex. The village stands on an affluent of the river Arun, 1 ½ miles NE by N of Petworth, and 5 W byN of Billingshurst r. station; and has a post-office under Petworth. The parish includes the chapelry of Plastow, and comprises 12,275 acres. Real property, £7,181. Pop. in 1851, 1,955; in 1861, 1,784. Houses, 342. The decrease of pop. was caused by the migration ofyoung persons to towns. The property is subdivided. Shillinglee Park is the seat of Earl Winterton; ifold, ofJohn Napper, Esq.; and Ebernoe, of W. Peachey, Esq.; Barkfold is occupied by Captain Barwell; and Sladeland, byJ. Gosman, Esq. Nearly one-third of the land is under wood. A limestone of peculiar character, known as Sussex or Petworth marble, has been largely quarries, and is believed to have been worked by the Romans and the Normans. The living is a vicarage, united with the p. curacy of Plastow, in the diocese of Chichester. Value £500.* Patron, Lord Leconfield. The parish church is chiefly early English, and has a large tower. The church of Plastow was rebuilt in 1856. There are national schools and a workhouse; and, at the census of 1861, the latter had 34 inmates. (The Imperial Gazetteer of England Wales, vol 1, 1872)

3 August 1879, John Napper dies at Ifold House leaving his widow, Ann, a personal estate of under £5000 and significant debts. There were no children from their marriage.

18 Nov 1879, In consideration of past services and 10 shillings (a) Anne Napper of Ifold House, Kirdford, widow gives to (b) Alfrida Ogden of Ifold House, lady’s-maid. Cottage and garden at New Pound Common in Wisborough Green, now in occ. of [George] Brookfield and plot of ground fenced in from the Common and adjoining the cottage.

21st May 1880, Anne dies at the Rectory in Finchampstead Berkshire, the home of her brother Reverend Edward St John. Her estate was left to her two brothers, both Reverends.

21 Feb 1881, The London Gazette – Pursuant to a Judgement of the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division made in an action against the Reverends St John (executors) the creditors of John and Anne Napper late of Ifold House are invited to make claims.

1885, The Reverends St. John lease various properties of the estates of Ifold to local people.

1888, It is said that £25,000 was paid by ‘John Constable’ for Ifold Estate on 10th June, 1898 [excerpt from Ifold, Loxwood & Plaistow Forgotten border villages 1988 C.H. Bayley]. This is not correct. ‘Lionel Leslie Constable’ bought Ifold Estate about 1888. His daughter, Olivia Marian Constable, was born in May 1889 in Ifold House. Lionel Constable was a director of Henty and Constable Brewers Limited (his family’s brewery). His eldest son, Basil Constable, died at Gallipoli in 1915 and his name is noted on a memorial plaque in St John of God Church, Kirdford. Lionel Constable bred beagles and whips at Ifold Estate and was an active member of the hunts.

About 1918, Lionel Constable and his family move from Ifold House to Coates House in Fittleworth.

The subsequent owner of Ifold Estate is Ralph Montagu Scott (a literary writer). He bred Irish Wolfhounds for show and hunting. The dogs used to be exercised around the lake, now known as Loxwoodhills Pond. In the early 1920s there were between 30-50 hounds of all ages in Ifold Kennel, but at one time there were said to be as many as 69.

17 October 1921, Ralph Montagu Scott leased ‘Ifold House, House Farm and Hog Wood in Loxwood. With husbandry covenants.’ Lease for 5, 10, 15 or 21 years at annual rent of £150 to Ifold Herds Ltd. of 24 Coleman Street, London (amongst its directors J. Jefferson and Richard Tilden Smith). The company appears to have been involved in pig farming.

3 November 1921, there is an option for  Ifold Herds Ltd to purchase the property.

30 April 1925, a Mr. Page was appointed receiver of the company, Ifold Herds Ltd. Rudgwick Preservation Society states the business failed because of an outbreak of swine fever http://rudgwick.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/rudgwick-walks-2-forgotten-villages-of-the-surrey-sussex-border-start-onslow-arms.pdf].

15 October 1925, Ifold Herds Ltd surrendered their lease of Ifold Estate back to Ralph Montagu Scott.

1926: There is litigation between Richard Tilden Smith of Ifold Herds Ltd. and Rustomji Dhanjibhoy Sethna (Bombay India) about a 7th January 1926 contract. There is some reference to a downturn with Ifold Herds Ltd. ‘The venture having proved a failure’ in 1925 which caused R.D. Sethna to launch court action. It was on Richard Tilden Smith’s introduction that Sethna took debentures in the sum of £5000. The documents don’t elaborate on what caused Ifold Herds Ltd. to fail.

11 June 1926, Ralph Montagu Scott ended up in bankruptcy, “Described in the Receiving Order as R. Montague Scott, 7, Queens gardens, Hyde Park, London, W., and lately residing at Ifold House, Loxwood, Sussex, and 2, Devonshire-terrace. Hyde Park. London. GENTLEMAN. Court—HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE.”

1930s, It has been said H.W. Brake Estates Ltd. were tasked with dividing Ifold Estate into ‘plotlands’ in the 1930’s. The new owners, usually a Londoner, could build a small wood or brick dwelling, or even a railway carriage, to retreat from the city at weekends, later to live and raise a family. Many owners were able to escape the troubles in London during wartime away-weekends by coach. Few houses resemble the original.

9 Oct 1933, An Appeal by Sethna took place with Richard Tilden Smith (Ifold Herds Ltd.) having since deceased.

1936, The year Ifold House is said to have been demolished. It would be nice to think that somewhere in Sussex or England are houses that use parts from the old manor.

29 July 1939, A Surrey Advertiser newspaper advertisiement – H.W. Brake, Farnborough Hants ‘WANTED, to purchase Rough Dug GRAVEL and HARDCORE in large quantities delivered to Ifold Estate, Loxwood, Sussex.’

The road now known as “The Ride” was a riding path taken by riders on the Estate. It was then known as “Pine Walk”. “The Drive” was the main entrance to Ifold House [reference: Domesday 1986 Ifold General Survey]. The house The Olde Garden, on The Lane, was one of the few remaining links to this historic past of Ifold. The Olde Garden stands in what was the walled kitchen garden for the original Ifold House and retains its 12 foot high perimeter walls. It is thought that the property began life as an outbuilding in the walled garden – a potting shed – to eventually become the home of the gardener. Over the years it was remodelled to become the family home we see today. Part of the wall of the walled garden can still be seen in the front garden of the property Clovers End. The property Butlers (formerly known as Alpine Cottage) on Hogwood Road, is one of the original estate workers cottages, and was once occupied by the butler to Ifold House. Other estate houses are Hogwood House on Hogwood Road; Treylane, on Chalk Road; Ifold Cottage on The Ride;  Keepers Cottage on Plaistow Road and The Lodge at the entrance to The Drive and Ormond House (Plaistow Road, Loxwood) was the gatehouse to Ifold Estate.

Ifold Estate is now a modern housing estate, Ifold Estates, made up of the historic roads (Public Rights of Way – Bridleways and Footpaths) of The Drive, Chalk Road and The Rise and new private roads, most owned and managed by a residents’ association, Ifold Estates Ltd.

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