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Ansty or Anstye?

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 29 September 1936

When the hamlet of Ansty came into the news following the recent death of Sir Harry Preston it was not unnatural that the question—by no means a new one—should be asked: Is it Ansty or Anstye?

A writer in a contemporary was shown a map of Legh Manor dated 1654 on which appeared “Anstye.” But earlier and later records give other versions of the spelling.

Anstye or Ansty? You decide …

Mr. W. V. Cooper, son of the late Canon Cooper, in his “History of the Parish of Cuckfield,” goes back much farther. He states that Ansty, Tyefarm or Tyes, and Pilstye owe their suffix directly to the Scandinavian god “Tiw.” Later in his book Mr. Cooper writes that under an order made by the Master of the Rolls in 1618 tithes were assessed and divided among nineteen different owners in the portions of Bently, Southny, Haywards, Westhayle, Staplefield and Hanstie.

The volume also refers to William and Gerrard Hanstie alias Holcombe, and still more interesting are Mr. Cooper’s extracts from an ancient map which was copied in 1697. From this it appears that a Thomas Anstie was a “copiholder and freeholder of the Manor of Cockfield,” also that Stephen Anstie was the holder of land at Harvest Hill, and a Mr. Howard held land at Anstie.

In another part of his book Mr. Cooper quotes an extract from an Act of Parliament of 1825 which names the hamlet ”Ansty Cross.” This name also appears on a map dated 1871, and it is still used by the Post Office authorities, who, however, have added a final “e.”

Coming from the ”Anstye Cross Post Office,” an Automobile Association sign attached to the Green Cross Inn opposite informs you that it is Ansty!

A significant fact is that throughout his book Mr. Cooper only uses the word “Anstye” twice, and this when writing of the erection of the iron mission room in 1883 and of the new church early in the present century.

When Mr. Tom Webber, who was born in the hamlet eighty years ago and has resided there all his life, was questioned on the subject, he declared the right spelling to be “Ansty," and added that the pronunciation should be on the first syllable!

Who shall decide when residents disagree? But whether they stand for “Ansty" or “Anstye,” the Post Office authorities will not depart from naming it “Anstye Cross.”


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