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Isfield is a small parish bounded by the River Ouse and its old course the Iron River to the west and partly by the River Uck to the east which also crosses the parish and joins the former near the church. The spine of the parish is formed by the main village road which runs north-south suggesting an old ancient droving route that linked the Downs with Ashdown Forest. Another ancient route built by the Romans also crosses the parish entering near the church at the site of an old ford just north of the confluence with the Uck then crossing open countryside before exiting the parish near Shortbridge. The road was the main London-Lewes route that also serviced the Wealden iron workings and the rich arable farmland around Barcombe. The ford on the Ouse may have influenced the position of the original Saxon settlement whose manor was held by the Godwin family prior to the Norman invasion.

The current church dates from around the 12th century as does the motte and bailey lying immediately to the south west next to the old ford. The latter seems to have been of timber construction and suggests a fortified manor house rather than any military function, it was out of use by the 13th century with the manor moving to a position nearer the current Isfield Place. The church's isolation leads to the question of shifting settlements and whether the original village was located down the lane to the church. The area to the north now occupied by Isfield Place had become a deer park by the 13th century and a lack of rights of way between the river and the road suggest the area remained out of agricultural use for some centuries whilst the fields to the south of the church are located on the flood plain of what is now Isfield Mill Stream but was once the original course of the Uck. A number of old buildings lie near the junction of the main road and the lane to the church and this suggests the focus of settlement. The church's position vis-a-vis both the old motte and bailey and the newer Isfield Place suggests a building built for manorial use rather than the convenience of villagers.

The current settlement straggles along the north-south road with sections north of the Uck and Mill Stream, one to the immediate south and another built up around both the road junction to the south and neighbouring railway station built in 1858 and closed in 1969. Mills have been a major feature of the village due to the closeness of the Ouse and Uck, an older water powered mill operated near the Ouse before being replaced by a larger one next to the Uck. A paper mill operated on the Ouse after the river was straightened to allow navigation in the early 19th century and remained in use until the 1860s when it was closed.
by Simon Carey

Created: Fri, 25 Feb 2011, Updated: Fri, 25 Feb 2011

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TQ4520 : The Hurst/The Ten Acres by Simon Carey
TQ4417 : The Gudges by Simon Carey
TQ4517 : Clay Pit Field by Simon Carey
TQ4517 : Great Clay Pit by Simon Carey
TQ4419 : Old Course of River Ouse by Simon Carey
TQ4519 : Bean's Wood by Simon Carey
TQ4417 : Station Road by Simon Carey
TQ4516 : Isfield Pumping Station by Simon Carey
TQ4517 : Barn Field by Simon Carey
TQ4516 : Furze Field by Simon Carey
TQ4418 : Church of St Margaret by N Chadwick
TQ4418 : River Ouse by Simon Carey
TQ4519 : Little Park Field by Simon Carey
TQ4517 : The Toll by Simon Carey
TQ4519 : Site of Park Wood by Simon Carey
TQ4417 : Tile Barn Close by Simon Carey
TQ4418 : Bridge Cottages by Simon Carey
TQ4517 : The Lavender Line by Simon Carey
TQ4418 : Buckham Hill by Simon Carey
TQ4518 : The Brook/River Field by Simon Carey
TQ4420 : Drive to Buckham Hill House by Simon Carey
TQ4419 : Pit Field by Simon Carey
TQ4418 : Potatoe Mead by Simon Carey
TQ4517 : Claypit Field by Simon Carey
TQ4418 : Homestead Cottages by Simon Carey

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