From Saxon times, in this area, each farm comprised different types of land: each had an
area of downland, some woodland, some good arable land and some water-meadows and this pattern persists today.

Farming in the middle Ages was predominantly arable. In 1210 King's Barns manor received £11 5s. 1d. from surplus corn sold. In 1340 the ninth of sheaves was valued at nine times those of fleeces and lambs, and at about the same period the Horton demesne farm comprised mostly arable. Barley was grown in 1285 oats in 1398, and possibly wheat and oats in 1280, orchards and a vineyard belonging to the Braose family and apparently at Upper Beeding had been mentioned in the late 11th century. Wheat, barley, oats, peas, and tares were grown at Tottington Manor farm in 1652 and oats at Beeding manor in 1718. About 1840 wheat, barley, oats, rape, seeds, and turnips were listed at Beeding tithing and wheat, seeds, and beans at King's Barns. The estuary of the river Adur provided brookland pasture.
Beeding Court farm was said in 1715 to comprise 400 a., and by 1733 had grown to 988 a. between the late 16th and early 19th centuries the demesne or home farms presumably continued to be usually leased, their owners often not being resident in the parish. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, for instance, Beeding Court farm was leased for periods of between 1 and 21 years. A field called Blackley in Horton had been mentioned in 1524. There were also at one time possibly separate fields for Tottington, lying south of Tottington Manor in 1652 and later was called the Laine.
Tenants of all four chief manors of the parish and of Sele manor were recorded in the Middle Ages; Sele manor in the early 19th century had tenants in many parishes. The manumission of a neif of Sele manor was recorded in 1271, at Beeding customary services were still owed in the 14th century and a tenant of King's Barns still seems to have had a duty of carrying stone in 1530 Tenants of Beeding in 1400 and of King's Barns in 1530 paid chevage for living outside the manor. There continued to be tenants of Beeding, Horton, and Sele manors in the parish until the late 19th century and even the early 20th.
About 1840 landholding was dominated by a few large estates, most of which were leased.
The estates of the Bridger’s, lords of Beeding and Horton, included two large farms, Beeding Court, and Upper Horton.

  • The Horton manor belonging to the Burrell’s,
  • Tottington Manor included two farms belonging to the Clitherows and the Blunts.
  • Other large estates included Pond farm and the Hyde in Upper Beeding village, but the only two which were owner-occupied were the Penfolds' New House farm, and W. Gorringe's New Horton in the north, a farm created between 1795 and 1813.
  • Another estate, of 40 a., belonging to Simon of Hazelholt, had pasture in 1344 for 200 sheep.

Some free and copyhold tenements developed by engrossing into larger farms. New House and Maines farms, both held as copyhold of Beeding manor by John Backshell in 1733, later passed to the Penfold’s. Estate of Beeding called Snelling's in 1733, later Pond farm, of which the farmhouse lay on the south side of High Street.
Similarly White's and Fuller's copyholds of Horton manor, mentioned in the mid 18th century, came with other lands to form Upper Horton farm, in Upper Beeding and Edburton; in that year it was leased on an 8-year lease, and in 1835 by the year. Also mentioned in 1733 was Hobjohn's farm held of Sele manor.

By 1760 the Horton open fields were already divided between only six owners, Richard Arnold, the lord of the manor, and Harry Bridger, some furlongs already being in single ownership. Consolidation of holdings proceeded further in 1762 when Arnold exchanged land in the fields with both Bridger and one other owner, by 1842 practically all the surviving fields were divided between the owners of four farms: the Hyde, and Pond, New House, and Upper Horton farms.

Common salt marsh remained in later centuries outside the river wall which protected the enclosed lands; in 1614, for instance, there was pasture for pigs and sheep there. There was common pasture belonging to Horton manor in 1704, which was commonable by both cows and horses. In 1760, however, as a result of a dispute, the Horton common brooks comprising 41 a. were divided between the lord of the manor and the two surviving commoners, Harry Bridger, and William Scardefield.