Village History

Turners Hill is a small village in the north of the County of West Sussex. It stands at one of the highest points, about 600 feet above sea level, on a steep ridge of the Sussex Weald between the North and South Downs.

The older part of the village is now a Conservation Area with buildings dating back to 17th and 18th centuries, a number of which are listed.

A Roman Road passes through Turners Hill from south to north, west of Selsfield House through gardens and farmland north across the Medway stream east of The Rheeding, up the steep hill across East Street and down along the right hand side of Turners Hill Park. This Roman Road ran from London to the Portslade area, just outside of Brighton.

Two coins were found here, one silver coloured Antoninianus of Valerian (253-260 A.D) and one bronze Folis of Maximinus II Daia (309 – 313 A.D.).

Roman Roads
Roman Roads
1874 Map

1874 Map

There are several explanations given for the name of our village.

“The Danes came through ‘Dane’ Hill, they were ‘turned’ at Turners Hill, ‘crawled’ to Crawley Down and ‘copped’ it at Copthorne.” This old village explanation of the origin of our village name is appealing but it is without foundation as the Danes were defeated by Alfred the Great in 871 at Ashdown in Berkshire!

Turners Hill is not mentioned in the Doomsday Survey of 1086 but the Parish of Worth, of which Turners Hill was a part, is recorded. There is mention of a Galfridus Le Turner in 1296 who was probably a wood turner. It is also recorded that Galfridus was the Priest at Worth Church at that time. Andrew Le Turnour (known as the “turner”) mentioned in 1327 was probably of the same family. It is possible that the name came from this family.

The earliest mention of the village name is in 1427 in the Sussex Record Society documents, when land in Turnoures Hill is transferred from John Gladioyn of London to Henry Hannshard.

A 1669 halfpenny piece was found in the village bearing the name Turnem Hill, Sussex. This coin was issued by a Nicholas Arnold, a draper.

In the diary of Revd. Giles Moore, rector of Horsted Keynes, there is a quote dated 31st May 1671 which mentions Turners Hill. “I spent on Ned Waters 1/- (one shilling) he stayed with me from 25th May till 2nd June on which day I bore him company to Turners‟s Hill when I spent upon him 3d more.”

The name was written as Turner’s Hill until almost 90 years ago at which time the apostrophe was dropped. From the time of the first settlements our village was part of the Worth Parish. This was a very important and extensive parish, one of the largest in Sussex. In ancient times it extended from Crawley to East Grinstead, Copthorne to Pease Pottage and from Slaugham to Turners Hill. In 1895 Turners Hill was made a separate Ecclesiastical Parish with the building of St. Leonard‟s Parish Church.

In 1986 we were granted our own Civil Parish Council.