Ardingly, West Sussex, England
Peter's Church at Ardingly
Location: One mile west of downtown,
at the corner of Street Lane, West Balcombe Lane and Church Lane.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ
At Ardingly's Church of St. Peter,
there are some of the finest medieval brass memorials to be found
anywhere in England. The
most important Culpeper brasses lie beneath a carpet in the center of the
chancel (the aisle leading to the altar). The vicar, whose
vicarage is next door to the church, will grant entry to the
church if it is locked and allows the carpet to be rolled back to
view the brasses. All of the Culpepers at this church are
connected with this church are of Wakehurst.
The parish church of Ardingly was given by William
de Warenne, a Norman who came over with William the Conqueror, to
the Priory which he and his wife Gundrada had founded at Lewes. It
is possible that the Church is built on the spot which has been a
burial place from time immemorial. The greater part of the present
Church dates from the 14th century. The two shields in the north
and south windows of the Chancel are of very early stained
glassone; chequy or and az., is the coat of the Warennes.
Within the sanctuary is the altar tomb, with a
fine brass, of Richard Wakehurst and Elizabeth his wife. He was
member of Parliament and concerned in much public work. He was the
last of the Wakehursts and died in 1454.
In the central alley of the Chancel are the
brasses (pictured below) of Richard and Margaret Culpeper, d. 1516 and 1504, which
originally lay before the altar, and of Nicholas (d. 1510) and
Elizabeth Culpeper, with their 10 sons and 8 daughters. These two
Culpeper brothers married two sisters, granddaughters of Richard
Wakehurst, who thus brought the Wakehurst estate into the Culpeper
family. Within the altar rails (which are of 17th century date)
are the brasses of Elizabeth Culpeper, died 1633, widow of Sir
Edward, the builder of the present house at Wakehurst, and of
Elizabeth, d. 1634, a grandchild of the same.
Nicholas Culpeper (died 1510) and his wife,
Elizabeth Wakefield (died after 1517). Note the images of their 18
children beneath them: ten sons facing the same as their father,
and eight daughters facing the same as their mother. The
Of yo2 charite pray
for the soulles of Nichas Culpep Esquyer & Elizabeth his wyf
the which Nichãs decessed the XXIII day of Maye ye
yer of o2 Lord MDX and the seid Elizabeth decessed the
___ day of ___ ye yer of o2 Lord MD__ on
whose soules ihu have mercy. ("ihu" = Jesus. The
dates for Elizabeth were never filled in.)
The childless couple, Richard Culpeper (died 1516)
and his wife Margaret Wakefield (died 1509).
The South Aisle is called the Wakehurst Chapel.
Richard, the first Culpeper owner of Wakehurst (d. 1516), founded
an obit by his will and charged the expense on Upper Lodge Farm.
It is probable that the obituary services entailed by this
foundation were held in this aisle.
The Registers commence in 1557, a considerable
portion of the original paper book being in existence.
Source of text: Mary S.
Holgate. F.S.A., Historical and Architectural Notes, The
Parish Church of Saint Peter, Ardingly.
of photographs: Warren and Lee
Culpepper, October 1999.
More Culpeper Brasses at St Peters
Transcription of Latin Inscription:
Here lies, under this tomb, Elizabeth
Culpeper, most beloved wife of Edward Culpeper of Wakehurst in the
county of Sussex, Knight, which Elizabeth was the daughter of
William Farnfold, Gentleman of Stening in the aforesaid county, who
died on the tenth day of September in the year of our Lord 1633.
Here lyeth interred ye
body of Elizabeth Culpeper, eldest daughter of SR
William Culpeper of Wakehurs in this county Barronett, and of Jane,
his wife. Shee was aged 7 yeeres & changed this life for a
better on ye 6th
day of December A Dñi 1634.
Sir William was the son of Sir Edward
Culpeper, Knight, and Elizabeth Farnfold, who is portrayed in the
rubbing to the left. Thus, the child Elizabeth is the grandchild of
the other Elizabeth.
Source of brass transcriptions and
B&W photographs: Glen N. Colepeper of South Africa.
The Saxon word leah,
used to denote a cleared area of woodland, has given us -ley or -ly,
one of Sussex's most common place-name endings. The clearing here
at Ardingly was settled by a tribe known as the Eardingas, or
Earda's people, and they probably chose the site because it made a
strong defensive position above the narrow valley formed by one of
the headwaters of the Ouse. In 1107 the name appears as
Ardingelega. By 1521, it had become Ardinglie. The village is
nowadays famous for its public school, Ardingly College, which was
opened here in 1870.
Source: Sussex Place Names, by Judith Glover, 1997
ARDINGLEY, a parish in the hundred of BUNTINGHILL, rape of LEWES,
county of SUSSEX, 4½ miles NNE from Cuckfield,
containing 579 inhabitants.
30 miles WSW of Goudhurst, and 10 miles SSE of London's Gatwick
National Grid Coordinates:
relationship of the modern day Culpeppers (whose direct ancestors
are shown in bold) with the
names that were referenced above (who are shown here
in red), plus their relationship to the famous herbalist, Dr. Nicholas
Culpeper12wk (shown in bold red)
Walter Culpepper7b of
Goudhurst, Bayhall and Hardreshull, Esq. and
Sir John Culpepper8b
of Hardreshull, Bedgebury and Wigsell, and
Richard Culpeper8wk of Wakehurst
Margaret Wakehurst (childless)
Nicholas Culpeper8wk of Wakehurst
Elizabeth Wakehurst (had 18 children, including Richard and
Richard Culpeper9wk of Wakehurst and
John Culpeper10wk and
Thomas Culpeper11wk of
Sir Edward Culpeper12wk of
Wakehurst, Knight, and
Culpeper13wk of Wakehurst, Baronet, and
George Culpeper9wk of
Richard Culpeper10wk of
Nicholas Culpeper11wk, M.A. and
Source: Culpepper Connections! Family Tree
Also See: Wakehurst Place
10 Jan 2006