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The Village of Rodmell, Sussex, UK

The Abergavenny Arms Pub, Rodmell, Sussex UK

The Abergavenny Arms Pub, Rodmell, Sussex UK

In the last several posts I have been writing about Virginia Woolf and her country retreat, Monks House, situated in Rodmell. I am fascinated with small English villages and the people that live in them. Rodmell proved to be one of the smallest, population 250. The Lewes to Newhaven Road twists and turns and upon reaching the Abergavenny Arms Pub, you turn onto a smaller paved road and follow it until it dead ends at Mill Lane, where the parking spaces are for Monk’s House. It was an easy walk through the one lane village of about twenty homes to reach the pub after our visit to the gardens and cottage.  However, I was in for a bigger surprise.

The Sign to Monk's House, Rodmekll, Sussex, UK

The Sign to Monk’s House, Rodmekll, Sussex, UK

This is what I learned………….

The small village of  Rodmell, which can be translated from Old English meaning, place with red soil, has been here before the time of the Norman Conquest, when it was held by Harold II. Located along the River Ouse, the village was an important crossing point between the South Downs way and the Roman road to the port of Newhaven, having a cross channel route to Dieppe in France. The springs in Rodmell made it the perfect place for people to live because there was water here. The original village well is located inside the Abergavenny Arms Pub. So the pub truly was the original “watering hole!”

In 1085, the Doomsday Book noted there was a church in Rodmell, which was granted to Lewes Priory by William de Warenne, Second Earl of Surrey. This early Norman church is dedicated to St Peter. The font is believed to be Saxon predating the church itself. People have been inhabiting this area for a long time. But the most extraordinary find for me, was the name William de Warenne. That name rang a bell. So upon searching my ancestry files, another passion I follow and update regularly, I located William de Warenne. He is my 27th great grandfather! So strolling this small village which has remained unchanged for several centuries was particularly interesting to me!

Let’s admire the village on the way to the pub!

In 1439 Rodmell Manor  was owned by the Bergavennys, hence the name Abergavenny Arms Pub. For more information about the Pub look here.

In the 1600’s Monk’s House was built as a row of a small cottages.

In 1810, a milling family (The Glazebrooks) moved into Monk’s House and the three or four other small cottages on the property were used for agricultural laborers. The Glazebrooks lived at Monk’s House for the next sixty years.  The Mill was on the hillside just on the other side of the pub, and was sold in 1876. There was also a blacksmith at this junction.  So we’ll whet our whistle at the pub since we’ve had another fine day in the UK! We’ll start afresh with the Charleston House, home of Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf’s sister), and learn about the Bloomsbury Group!  See you then!

The Flowers of Rodmell, Sussex, UK

The Flowers of Rodmell, Sussex, UK

19 Responses to “The Village of Rodmell, Sussex, UK”

  1. ChristineR

    I love the way Abergavenny rolls of the tongue. Gorgeous photos.

    Cady, I’m really looking forward to visiting Britain to see all this English-ness for myself – my ancestral roots are calling. I have the closest connection with my grandfather being born Bolton, Lancashire (1882), and my husband’s great-great-grandfather born in Harwich, Essex, 1828. Both came to Australia, as did all our other great-greats.

    In the meantime, we whet our appetite with ‘Escape to the Country’. Thanks for another great post.

    • CadyLuck Leedy

      Christine my mothers side of the family left the UK in the early ons and were some of the first families here in the US. This is the third spot I have traveled to tracing my family history in the UK although I was unaware of Rodmell in my lineage until I got here! My family was always the son that did not inherit anything so opted to make a life elsewhere. I just had my DNA tested and that was an eye opener too. Will be writing a post on that. BTW did you take the Forensic Anthropology class with FutureLearn? It was the one from University of Dundee Scotland! Finishing up this week and it was Awesome!

      • ChristineR

        I’ve signed up for lots of classes and that one rings a bell. I love how you can use FutureLearn at your own pace, mine is slow and erratic.

        I doubt my ancestors ever had anything to inherit anyhow, but now you mention it – few were older sons. My granddad joined the Royal Navy but did a runner when his ship was down-under.

        I love delving into our family history and shall keep an eye out for your upcoming post. I’ll check out that Forensic Anthropology class, too.

      • ChristineR

        It gets better, Cady, but I hesitate to do a blog post about my granddad since most of his many children are still living. You see, we all grew up believing he was a Scot! He had changed his name, his nationality, and his religion. And then there is his first marriage that no-one knew about. While he was away at war she took up with another fellow and he divorced her as soon as he came home.

        I didn’t know him as he died a few years before I was born. Lots of blog post material, for sure. 😀

      • ChristineR

        I remember how shocked I was, but I still told my mum and a couple of my cousins. I wanted to know if it was general knowledge already. It wasn’t. Gee, I’m glad I never did buy that Drummond tartan, 😀

  2. Doug Warren

    Very interesting and lovely photos. I was also surprised when you mentioned William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, since he was my 25th great grandfather (via my mother)!

      • Doug Warren

        Yes, I’m related to the FitzAlans from Sussex. For example, Edmund FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel, was my 19th great grandfather. He married Alice de Warenne, descendant of William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey (that you mentioned).

      • Doug Warren

        Sounds great. I will be very interested in your visit and what you learn.

        When we visited England and Scotland in 2000, I visited Cornwall since my paternal grandfather John Warren was born in Pendeen and my grandmother’s family was also from Cornwall too. However, I didn’t get a chance to visit Sussex check out Arundel and the FitzAlans. I don’t think there’s any connection between my father’s Warren ancestry and my mother’s de Arundel and de Warenne ancestry, but I might have to look into that further (since the name sounds the same).

        We also visited Scotland where my wife’s father’s family came from, plus some general touring to see the countries during our 3 weeks. It would be great to go back again, but there are other places we would also like to visit, like Norway where my wife’s maternal grandfather’s family came from (since we just visited Germany since her grandmother’s was born in Leipzig.

      • CadyLuck Leedy

        I am related to FitzAlan ‘s every which way! I go thru Phillips fitzAlan and Richard Sergeaux and then the Tyrrell then the Terrells and finally William Terrill in Va in 1659

      • Doug Warren

        Wow. Philipa FitzAlan was my 16th great grandmother. Her husband Sir Richard Sergeaux was my 16th great grandfather.

        My maternal grandmother was a Bryant, and my 8th great grandfather, Stephen Bryant, came to Plymouth Colony in 1630. Actually I think he was born in Cranbrook, Kent, England, which I now realize is very close to Sissinghurst where you just visited and described in your blog posts.

        However, I think the immigrant from the FitzAlans was George Bonham who came to Virginia about 1635 from Gravesend in northwest Kent (I’m not sure how/when/why he went to Plymouth). His daughter Sarah married John Bryant, son of Stephen Bryant. I enjoy exploring genealogy, and learning more about the places and events surrounding my ancestors makes it even more fascinating.

      • Doug Warren

        I just noticed that my 13th great grandfather, Sir Henry Marney, KG, 1st Baron Marney of Leyre-Marney, was the brother of Anna Tyrell (born Marney), wife of Thomas Tyrell. Maybe that’s where we are connected.

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