The village sits on a slightly higher area of land between the upper reaches of tributaries of the Eden Brook, in what was once a relatively inaccessible area of the Weald.
It grew at diagonally opposed corners of a quadrilateral of roads: one around the church and the other around Gun Pond at Plaistow Street. The uniting of the two began in the 1880s after the opening of the railway to the east.
Lingfield lies in the south-east of the county 3 miles north of East Grinstead, and is a large village with picturesque parts but no coherent centre.
Lingfield is noted as the site of a college for secular chaplains founded in 1431 by Sir Reginald Lord Cobham of Starborough. The college was built at the west end of the churchyard but the institution was dissolved in 1544 and only the site remains. The adjoining parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul, once the collegiate church, is the county’s only example of the Perpendicular style of architecture of any size and was essentially rebuilt at the foundation of the college. The brasses are also the finest collection in Surrey.
The best corner of the village is the short funnel of buildings at the south end of the churchyard, while to the west is The College, built in the early 18th century and restored in 1971.
Gun Pond, St. Peter’s Cross and the village cage are the central features of the second historic nucleus of Lingfield. The cross is supposed to date from the 15th century and to mark the boundary between the Manors of Puttenden and Billeshurst. The cage was added in 1773, and last used in 1882. Opposite is Magnus Deo Farm, another good example of its kind and period (early 18th century).
The Croydon-East Grinstead railway opened in 1884 with a station to the east of the historic centre. The gradual joining of the two parts began although development has never been on a large scale. To the south-east Lingfield racecourse and club were established in 1890 after the closure of the Croydon course, while to the north-east more recent development has slowly extended the village away from the traditional centre.
Did You Know?
Starborough Castle near Lingfield is dated to1341 when the owner Lord Cobham was granted a licence to crenelate the castle, that is to make it easier to defend. Nothing but parts of the moat can be seen today. The castle was dismantled by an order of Parliament dated 4 July 1648. Some of the castle was re-used to build Garden House in 1754.