Rudgwick created an elected Parish Council in 1894, but the parish has existed for maybe 900 years. The earliest documented mention of the name was in AD1210. For many years the affairs of the parish and the church were combined in the meetings of the ‘vestry’ (the ratepayers of the village). These meetings often adjourned to the pub, either the King’s Head or the Queen’s Head. For most of its history Rudgwick was a loose-knit collection of farms. Independent yeoman farmers such as the Butchers and Naldretts were the backbone of our community. Only gradually did settlement (of over 90 timber-framed houses) coalesce into recognisable hamlets, Rudgwick itself, Bucks Green, Tisman’s Common, Haven and Rowhook (across the boundary in Warnham and Slinfold too) and since 1996 Cox Green.
Other local administration was through the manorial court leet. Rudgwick’s manors had lands independent of the parish, Drungewick in the west, Dedisham mainly in the east, Pulborough mainly in the Arun Valley, etc. Pulborough provided land for the 13th century church, and the Holy Trinity Fair which followed. Manors controlled land and its occupation by copyhold, and by enclosure. The vestry concerned itself with poor relief, roads and bridges, wells, and appointed overseers of these matters, which, except for roads, passed to the 1894 council. By the 19th century, Rudgwick was also subject to Acts of Parliament, notably the enclosure of Exfoldwood Common (1850s), the turnpike from Alfold to Clemsfold (1809), and another from Bucks Green to Cranleigh (1818), the railway from Horsham to Guildford, including Rudgwick station (1865).
The railway encouraged newcomers, creating large estates around newly built mansions such as Hermongers, Pallinghurst (Rikkyo School), Honeywood (a nursing home). By the Great War, the vast majority of Rudgwick’s farmland was in their hands, and so the employment of farm workers, gardeners and domestic staff became the principal income for the community (many themselves newcomers attracted to the work). The 20th century saw the gradual dismantling of these estates. Much of the present settlement pattern and ownership can be traced back to the release of this land. Bus routes in the 1920s, and the gradual evolution of car ownership made most of us into commuters. The development of small housing estates over some 60 years has created a central village hub around the Co-op/Post Office (previously next to the church), medical centre (at first doctors occupied Church Hill) and primary school (once in Bucks Green). Sport, in the field behind Pennthorpe School, migrated to King George’s Field, Bucks Green in the 1940s, where the village hall is now located, the 1897 Jubilee Hall still in use in Rudgwick.