My first recommendation to the Rotherfield researcher is to join the Sussex Family History Group (http://www.sfhg.org.uk/). This is one of the best family history societies for access to on-line records. Their on-line database of baptisms and burials is almost complete across East and West Sussex and they are accumulating a large depository of transcribed/abstracted Wills with free access to members (all relevant Will transcriptions from this site have been deposited there). You will need to purchase the Sussex Marriage Index on CD though as it is not available on-line.

My own research has developed the following trees for Rotherfield families c1500-1650 and has incorporated information from wills and manorial records in addition to baptisms, marriages and burials from the church registers:

In my research I have found the following resources to be extremely valuable for Rotherfield family history research: 

  1. Catharine Pullein, Rotherfield: The Story of Some Wealden Manors, Courier, Tunbridge Wells, (1928). A rare book that will cost about £100-150 to purchase secondhand.
  2. Rev. Canon Goodwyn, An Old Churchwardens' Account Book of Rotherfield, Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol XLI, pp. 25-48 (1898). A published transcription for the period 1509-1579, although the actual Account Books cover the period 1509-1675. This volume also includes the article Note on the Early History of Rotherfield Church by JH Round.
  3. Churchwardens Account Book of the Parish of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1510-1675. Handwritten transcription by Catharine Pullein c1928 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/8). PDF may be available from the Rotherfield Church Archivist for personal research.
  4. Rotherfield St Denys Burial Plots. Rotherfield burials in alphabetical order plus all monumental inscriptions (including map) (441 pages). Download PDF from Rotherfield St Denys Church website: http://www.stdenysrotherfield.org.uk/familyhistory.htm
  5. Roger Davey, East Sussex Land Tax 1785, Sussex Record Society, (1991). Mentions owners, occupiers and sometimes names of properties. This book gave me the initial information to link my family back to Rotherfield.
  6. The "Sussex Coroners' Inquests" series by R F Hunnisett, PRO Publications, mentions many Rotherfield names. 
  7. M J Burchall ed., East Sussex Contributors to the Relief of Irish Protestants 1642, Sussex Genealogical Centre, Occasional Paper No 10, (1984). A list of names and how much they contributed.
  8. Sussex Apprentices and Masters 1710-1752. Sussex Record Society Vol XXVIII (1924). Indexed by Masters name and Place. Access on-line at: http://www.sussexrecordsociety.org/olb/srs028/
  9. Transcript of Sussex Wills - Vol IV. Racton to Yapton by R. Garraway Rice & edited by Walter H. Godfrey. Published by Sussex Record Society in 1940. Wills up to 1560  from PCC and Archbishops Register at Lambeth, Consistory Courts of Chichester, Lewes, and Deaneries of  Battle and South Malling. Rotherfield pp. 24-33. Valuable information on Rotherfield people pre-1560. Access on-line at: http://www.sussexrecordsociety.org/olb/srs045/
  10. Lay Subsidy Rolls, 1524-25. Sussex Record Society Vol LVI (1956). Access on-line at: http://www.sussexrecordsociety.org/olb/srs056/
  11. The Three Earliest Subsidies for the County of Sussex: 1296, 1327, 1332. Sussex Record Society Vol X, (1910). Access on-line at: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/suss-record-soc/vol10
  12. Combes, P. 2011. Anthony Fowle (1567-1647): Wealden Ironmaster and Lawyer, Wealden Iron 31, second series. Wealden Iron Research Group. An insight into the early iron industry around Rotherfield.
  13. The Sussex Family History Group Wills Depository at http://www.sfhg.org.uk can be sorted by place to list all the wills transcribed for Rotherfield. 

Note: Many of the publications listed above can be purchased second hand at www.abebooks.co.uk

The following transcriptions/abstracts of the surviving manorial records for Rotherfield are extremely valuable to the family history researcher. They are hand-written and in English which overcomes one of the main problems in using manorial records in that they were written in Latin up to 1733. The originals are at The Keep (ESRO) but PDFs may be available from the Rotherfield Church Archivist for personal research.

  • Court Rolls of the manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1444-1457, Vol. 1 of handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1928 (ESRO: PAR465/26/1/1)
  • Court Rolls of the manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1557-1560, Vol. 2 of handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1928 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/2)
  • Court Rolls of the manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1587-1593, Vol. 3 of handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1928 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/3)
  • Court Rolls of the Manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1593-1606. Vol. 4 of handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1925 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/4).
  • Court Rolls of the Manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1616-1631. Vol. 5 of handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1925 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/5).
  • Court Rolls of the Manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1631-1724. Vol. 6 of handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1925 (ESRO: PAR 465/26/1/6).
  • Dewlands Manor Court Rolls 1583 - 1711. Handwritten translation by Catharine Pullein c1925.

Also,

  • Private notebook of Catharine Pullein (Sussex Archaeological Society's Barbican Library, Lewes)

Rotherfield Church Archivist:  archivist@stdenysrotherfield.org.uk

 

Maps: 

  • Survey (map) of the manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1597 (ESRO: ACC 363/111). Shows plots of land and their owner.
  • ESRO, TD/E 1560006. East Sussex Record Office, TD/E 1560006, Tithe map, Rotherfield, 1842. Identifies owners and occupiers of individual plots. Can be purchased from ESRO on CD and now also available to view online at www.TheGenealogist.co.uk (subscribers only).

Both of the above maps are of high value to the family history researcher.

 

Original Records (held at The Keep) - refer to their on-line catalogue http://www.thekeep.info/collections/. There are many records available and much of my future work will be delving into these, but some of the key ones are:

  • Churchwardens account book of the parish of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1510-1675 (ESRO: PAR 465/10/3/1)
  • Transcripts of the Parish Register of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, (ESRO: PAR 465)
  • ESRO, SAS AB. East Sussex Record Office, Sussex Archaeological Society (SAS) AB Files.
  • ESRO, SAS FA. East Sussex Record Office, Sussex Archaeological Society (SAS) FA Files.
  • Land Tax of the manor of Rotherfield, Sussex, England, 1750-1779 (ESRO, XA31/24)

 

Geoffrey Barber, December 2015.