Ardingly, West Sussex
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Ardingly, West Sussex, England

St. Peter's Church at Ardingly

Warren Culpepper at St. Peters Church, Ardingly, West Sussex, Oct 1999Location: One mile west of downtown, at the corner of Street Lane, West Balcombe Lane and Church Lane.

National Grid Coordinates: TQ 339 298

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 and Elizabeth Culpeper Brass at St. Peter's Church in Ardingly. West Sussex

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 inscription reads:

Of yo2 charite pray for the soulles of Nichas Culpep Esquyer & Elizabeth his wyf the which Nichs 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.)

Richard and Margaret Culpeper Brass at St. Peter's Church in Ardingly. West Sussex

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.

Source of photographs: Warren and Lee Culpepper, October 1999.

More Culpeper Brasses at St Peters

Elizabeth Culpeper Brass

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.

Young Elizabeth Culpeper Brass

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 Di 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.

Ardingly, West Sussex

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

1831 Topographical Dictionary

ARDINGLEY, a parish in the hundred of BUNTINGHILL, rape of LEWES, county of SUSSEX, 4 miles NNE from Cuckfield, containing 579 inhabitants.

Village of Ardingly Location
30 miles WSW of Goudhurst, and 10 miles SSE of London's Gatwick airport.

National Grid Coordinates:
TQ 348 294

Generation Chart

The 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
Agnes Bedgebury

Sir John Culpepper8b of Hardreshull, Bedgebury and Wigsell, and
Agnes Gainsford


Richard Culpeper8wk of Wakehurst and
Margaret Wakehurst


Nicholas Culpeper8wk of Wakehurst and
Elizabeth Wakehurst
(had 18 children, including Richard and George)

Richard Culpeper9wk of Wakehurst and
Joanna Naylor

John Culpeper10wk and
Emma Erneley

Thomas Culpeper11wk of Wakehurst and
Anne Ashbourneham

Sir Edward Culpeper12wk of Wakehurst, Knight, and Elizabeth Farnfold

Sir William Culpeper13wk of Wakehurst, Baronet, and Jane Pellatt

Elizabeth Culpeper (1627-1634)


George Culpeper9wk of Naylands in Balcombe and

Richard Culpeper10wk of Moulsecoomb and
Barbara Milles

Nicholas Culpeper11wk, M.A. and
Mary Atersole

Nicholas Culpeper12wk,the herbalist

Source: Culpepper Connections! Family Tree

Also See: Wakehurst Place

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015


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