The History of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex


At Benfell Ltd we’re very proud of our heritage, from our humble beginnings back in 1963 when our founder Clive Benfell began selling fresh eggs directly from the farms where they were laid, to the respected wholesaler that we have become today. Back in 1970 Clive Benfell purchased our current one and a half acre market garden and poultry farm site in Hurstpierpoint and since then, while our business and premises that originally sat on those one and a half acres have grown, we haven’t moved away from our home and we’ve seen the village grow and evolve around us. In this article we want to pay homage to Hurstpierpoint and tell you a little about its history.

Where is Hurstpierpoint?

While Hurstpierpoint is a quaint village, it’s not hidden away and is only 4 miles away from Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath, and with Brighton only 8 miles away and Crawley at the opposing end of the A23; we’re easy to get to from coast to the mainland. Hurstpierpoint was built on a sandstone ridge which runs from east to west across the parish meaning that the High Street that runs along this ridge serves as a great geological marker for the village.

Places of Note

West Sussex

If you search for Hurstpierpoint online you’re sure to find the outstanding Hurstpierpoint College, an independent boarding school that was established back in 1849 that has a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities and a fantastic focus on the creative arts including drama, dance, art and music. As a small village there aren’t too many big attractions like you would find in larger towns across West Sussex and in neighbouring Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey, but the village has a certain charm that is unique to Hurstpierpoint, and the village shops all offer something unique and of course are run and staffed by a number of friendly locals. The village does however have some interesting historical ties, for instance Mansion House is a listed Grade II Georgian village property that can be found on the High Street that has parts which can be dated back to medieval times around the mid to late 16th century. While information on the origins of the property are relatively unknown, some reports have found evidence that it dates all the way back to 1350, which gives you an idea of the history of the village.

How Hurstpierpoint (or Hurst) got its Name

Hurstpierpoint Name

We’re quite fond of the name Hurstpierpoint, and the name has some history behind it. The name derives from a combination of the Old English name for a wood; 'Hurst', and the de Pierpoint family who arrived with William the Conqueror during the Battle of Hastings back in 1066 'Pierpoint'. Historically the village name has even been mentioned in the Domesday Book that was completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror as a way of finding out what taxes were owed. Throughout the centuries there have been a number of variations on the Hurstpierpoint name; in the 11th century it was simply referred to as Herst (which appears to have gained favour in recent times by those who like to refer to it simply as ‘Hurst’), in the 14th century it was called Herstperpunt, and even stranger in the 15th century it bore the name Perpondesherst.

How Things Have Changed in Hurstpierpoint

The village has been through many changes as the people who live there move on and old wives tales of characters such as those of Nanny Smart; a purported witch from Hastings who frequented Hurstpierpoint in the late 18th century, who instilled fear into the locals due to her reported ability to be able to put both people and horses into a trance have disappeared into the annals of history. Speaking of which Nanny Smart was said to be so feared across Sussex that apparently she could enter anyone's house and be given tea, as no one wanted to annoy her by refusing, which makes us feel at ease that Clive Benfell only purchased our current premises in 1970, long after she supposedly died in a blue flame after a man bought the secrets of her life. Apart from old tales of well known personalities stretching back for centuries, Hurstpierpoint has seen many famous residents come and go, and the aforementioned Hurstpierpoint College with their focus on arts and sports has contributed a great number of actors, actresses, conductors and sports men and women to the world.

Supplying West Sussex with Wholesale Food and Drinks

Burger and Wedges

At Benfell Ltd we’re proud to call Hurstpierpoint our home, and our focus is on ensuring that we provide Sussex and Kent with great quality wholesale food from our modern and reliable distribution centre. We offer a great range of wholesale food such as Eggs, Bacon, Frozen Sausages, Frozen Burgers and Drinks. We have a modern fleet of temperature controlled vehicles to ensure that all of our wholesale produce reaches you without compromising the quality or standard of the food whether we are providing our products to bakeries, hotels, schools cafés, caterers or anywhere else across the South East. We take the highest level of care in storing and supplying food and drinks, and all of our products are maintained at the correct temperature while stored, and are delivered safely and securely by our modern fleet of temperature controlled vehicles. We are regularly inspected and approved by the DEFRA and the Mid Sussex District Council, and all of our products are stored correctly and are fully traceable under the principles of HACCP.

Get in Touch

If you want to find out more about the wide range of wholesale food that we have available at Benfell Ltd then don't hesitate to check out our online catalogue, or alternatively you can easily get in touch with us to find out up to date prices and any new ranges that have yet to be added to our website by competing our online contact form, by sending us an email to, or alternatively call us on 01273 833641 where a friendly member of the team will be happy to help you with your enquiry and can even take your order.