The place name derives from a local stream that was once known as the Oke and the addition of ‘hill’ to the name is descriptive of the site, as can be seen when approaching from the north. Various spellings of the name continue to be used.
Okewoodhill is less than a mile from the West Sussex boundary and lies just west of the line of the Roman Stane Street, which ran from London to Chichester. The mounded route of the road can be seen along the access road to ‘Ruckmans’. The road through the village represents the line of the north-south route during the period between the disuse of Stane Street and the first use of the present main road to the east (A29).
The ecclesiastical parish was only formed in 1853, until when the church of St. John the Baptist had been a Chapel of Ease to Wotton. The church is outside the historic centre and conservation area, about mile north in woodland, with car access from the north. Only a footpath links it to the village.