The development of Cowfold village
That suggestion is strengthened by the shape of the village, which is near the centre of the parish where by the 13th century the church had been built west of the modern Henfield to Lower Beeding road. The roads running east and west from the village leave that road at different points and did not form a through route until 1825. The churchyard is separated from the roads north and east of it by houses which have such restricted sites that they are likely to have been built on roadside waste or as encroachments on the churchyard.
The site of a house near the church may be indicated by the surname Church (de ecclesia) used in the 14th century, and in 1499-1500 a house next to the churchyard was said to have been lately built on the waste ground of Beeding manor.
The group of buildings on the eastside of the churchyard includes a late medieval timber-framed hall parallel to the street and divided by 1984 into three occupations. West of the south parlour end is a late 16th-century building with a gable stack and a probably contemporary passage linking it to the hall. The range west from the north end is probably early 17th-century.
Local tradition that part of the building was the priest's house is not known to have any foundation although it is positioned on the edge of the churchyard; in 1635 the churchyard was bounded on the east by a single house, belonging to Henry Lintott, a mercer, and the vicarage was north of the churchyard beyond the lane (later Station Road), evidently on the site which it occupied in the 19th century.
The cottages in Church Path along the north side of the churchyard are 17th century and later, although one is perhaps 16th century. There were only four dwellings there in 1635, but another six were built perhaps in 1637; the houses have been rebuilt at various periods.
In the 18th century the village was enlarged with half a dozen small houses being built or re-built on the east side of the street. Among them is the Red Lion (now the Coach House Inn), reputedly established in the 1650s, which was rebuilt then and later remodelled; it formerly contained a fireback dated 1657. In the early 19th century Steyne House was built south of the churchyard, while north of Bull's bridge and at that time detached from the rest of the village were built the later Hare and Hounds inn and a house called in the later 19th century, Noah's Ark and in the 20th Wood Grange. The village was extended stretched north and south in the middle of the 19th century through the construction of a few substantial houses, including Brookhill House on the ridge to the north and Cowfold Lodge south of Bull's bridge.
Electricity became available in the village in 1927. Piped water was supplied by 1938, and a sewage works was built south-east of the village on a site used for a sewage farm. As a result there was a great enlargement of the village in the mid and late 20th century.
The north-east quadrant was used mainly for council houses, of which there were 90 in1983, while private estates were built on the site of the old vicarage in the north-west quadrant and in the south-west quadrant. The village was linked by continuous building with the houses at Bull's bridge, and in 1984 a private estate was constructed in the south-east quadrant, behind rather earlier houses along the Henfield and Bolney roads.
Notwithstanding the extensive building and the large amount of traffic at the village centre where the north-south and east-west routes cross, the 1980s village retained an open aspect that resulted partly from the presence of the churchyard and even more from that of the green in the angle of the Horsham and Bolney roads and the large recreation ground to the east. The recreation ground was given in trust in 1945.
The Red Lion (now Coach House Inn) public house was by 1786 the meeting place of Wyndham half-hundred. It was also the place where the vestry met in 1807 and 1840, and in 1841 was used for treating parliamentary electors, Cowfold being one of the polling places for the enlarged New Shoreham constituency until 1863.
The Red Lion survived in 1984 along with the Hare and Hounds, which sold beer from 1851 and was a public house by 1903. A further public house, the Jolly Farmer, had been closed by 1900. In 1984 there was a restaurant in the village and the shops included two antique shops.
A labourers' assembly was held at Cowfold in 1830, when the farmers agreed to a settlement of wages by the mob and the vicar's proposal to reduce his tithes by 15 per cent was rejected as insufficient.