A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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STELLA, a township, in the parish of Ryton, union of Gateshead, W. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 5 miles (W. by N.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; containing 563 inhabitants. This place, anciently Stellinglei, was granted in the 12th century by Bishop William de St. Barbara to the nuns of Newcastle, in whose possession it remained till the Dissolution. It subsequently became the property of the Tempest family, who erected the magnificent mansion of Stella Hall, near the river Tyne; and afterwards belonged to Lord Widdrington, on whose joining in the rebellion of 1715, it was forfeited to the crown. The estate is now the property of Peregrine Edward Towneley, Esq. The township is bounded on the north by the river; it comprises 281 acres, and abounds with coal, of which a pit is worked, for household use. Stella Hall, the property of Mr. Towneley, is beautifully situated, and has lately, with the park and grounds attached to it, been much improved. The village is on the bank of the river, which is here navigable for keels: there is a manufactory for coal-wagons, railway-trucks, and similar carriages; and fire-bricks are made in the neighbourhood. The tithes have been commuted for £27. 3. 8. A church district named St. Cuthbert's was endowed in 1845 by the Ecclesiastical Commission; it comprises the township of Stella, and part of the parish of Winlaton, in which latter the church is situated: see Blaydon. A Roman Catholic chapel was erected in 1831, with apartments for the residence of the priest, who has a stipend of £20 charged upon the estate, to which Mr. Towneley adds £30 per annum.
Stelling (St. Mary)
STELLING (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Elham, partly in the hundred of Loningborough, but chiefly in that of Stouting, lathe of Shepway E. division of Kent, 6 miles (S. by W.) from Canterbury; containing 341 inhabitants. The parish comprises by admeasurement 1250 acres, of which 762 are arable, 250 pasture, 100 woodland, 30 appropriated to hops, and 100 common. The ancient Stane-street runs along the western boundary. The living is annexed to the rectory of Upper Hardres: the tithes have been commuted for £257. 10., and the glebe contains 8 acres.
STELLING, a township, in the parish of Bywell St. Peter, union of Hexham, E. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland, 13 miles (W. by N.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; containing 53 inhabitants. It is situated on the road between Newcastle and Hexham, and comprises 300 acres, chiefly arable land. The surface rises gradually from the south for half the extent of the township, and then slopes towards the north j the soil is various. Freestone is abundant, and there are several seams of coal, but none at present worked. The Tyne passes on the south, and the Stocksfield station of the Newcastle and Carlisle railway is distant about 3½ miles. The place is tithe-free, having been part of the possessions of Hexham priory.
Stenigot (St. Nicholas)
STENIGOT (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Louth, N. division of the wapentake of Gartree, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 5¾ miles (S. W. by W.) from Louth; containing 97 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 12. 3½., and in the gift of the Rev. M. Alington: the tithes have been commuted for £274. 14., and the glebe contains 38¼ acres.
Stenson, county of Derby.—See Twyford.
STEPHENS, ST., a parish, in the union of Launceston, N. division of the hundred of East, E. division of Cornwall, ¾ of a mile (N. N. W.) from Launceston; containing 1068 inhabitants. The parish comprises 3642 acres, of which 260 are common or waste land: the village is pleasantly situated on the brow of a lofty hill immediately above Newport, and commands some extensive views. Fairs, chiefly for cattle, are held on May 12th, July 31st, and September 25th. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of certain Feoffees and the Inhabitants, with a net income of £80: the tithes have been commuted for £356. The church is an ancient structure, and contains some interesting details. John Horwell, in 1717, bequeathed some property for maintaining and instructing boys, which in 1821 produced £6444 -. the income is £193 per annum.—See Launceston and Newport.
STEPHENS, ST., a parish, in the union of St. Alban's, hundred of Cashio, or liberty of St. Alban's, county of Hertford, 1 mile (S. W.) from St. Alban's; containing 1826 inhabitants. It comprises 8140a. 2r. 3p., of which 6238 acres are arable, 1399 meadow, and about 503 wood. The rivers Ver and Colne run through the parish. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £15; patron and incumbent, the Rev. M. R. Southwell; impropriator, the Rev. C. Lomax. The great tithes have been commuted for £1420. 9., and the vicarial for £500. The church, situated on the Roman Watling-street, occupies the site of one built in the reign of King Eldred, by Ulsinus, sixth abbot of St. Alban's: a fine brass eagle with expanded wings, on an ornamented pedestal of the same metal, was dug up some years since in the churchyard, and is now used as a stand in the chancel for Fox's Martyrology. A chapel of ease was lately erected at the village of Park-street, in the Norman style, by subscription, conjointly with £1000 raised by a rate; it was consecrated on October 14th, 1842, and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Many Roman coins have been found.
Stephens, St., Kent.—See Hackington.
STEPHENS, ST., by Saltash, a parish, in the union of St. Germans, S. division of the hundred of East, E. division of Cornwall; containing, with Saltash, 2963 inhabitants, of whom 1422 are exclusively of that town. The parish comprises 5400 acres, of which 293 are common or waste land. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £26; net income, £139; patron, T. Edwards, Esq. The great tithes have been commuted for £1298; and the vicarial for £29, with a glebe of 7 acres. At Saltash is a separate incumbency. Here are considerable remains of the castle of Trematon, erected before the Conquest, in a beautiful situation on the bank of the Lyner. The area comprised more than an acre of ground, and was inclosed by embattled walls. The keep is on the summit of a conical elevation, and is approached by a circular arched doorway; the principal gateway consists of three arches, supporting a square embattled tower containing a museum of natural curiosities.
STEPHENS, ST., in Brannel, a parish, in the union of St. Austell, E. division of the hundred of Powder and of the county of Cornwall, 4½ miles (W. by N.) from St. Austell; containing 2643 inhabitants. This parish, which takes its name from the dedication of its church, is situated in a district abounding with mineral treasure; moorstone of excellent quality for building is found, and a fine white clay is procured in great quantities for the Potteries. The living is a rectory, annexed, with the rectory of St. Dennis, to that of St. Michael Caerhays: the tithes have been commuted for £780. The church is an ancient structure, principally in the Norman style, with some later details, and a square detached tower. There is a place of worship for Independents. In 1711, Ellen Mabbott bequeathed a rent-charge of £35. 10. for poor widows; and in 1726, James Buller endowed four almshouses. Here are vestiges of a circular intrenchment comprising an area of about one acre, surrounded with a fosse.
Stepney (St. Dunstan and All Saints)
STEPNEY (St. Dunstan and All Saints), a parish, and the head of a union, in the Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, 2½ miles (E.) from St. Paul's; containing 63,723 inhabitants, of whom 8325 are in the hamlet of Mile-End New Town, 45,308 in Mile-End Old Town, and 10,090 in Ratcliffe. This parish, called in various old records Stebunhithe and Stebenhythe occurs in Domesday book under the name of Stibenhede, from which its present appellation is obviously deduced. It anciently included a widely-extended district, comprising, in addition to its present parochial limits, the hamlets of Stratford-le-Bow, Limehouse, Poplar and Blackwall, Shadwell, St. George's-in-the-East, Wapping, Spitalfields, Whitechapel, and Bethnal-Green, These, from their increased importance, have been successively separated from it, and at present constitute some of the most populous districts in the metropolis. According to Stowe, Edward I. held a parliament at Stepney, in the mansion of Henry Walleis, mayor of London, when he conferred several valuable privileges on the citizens. The manor was in 1380 annexed to the see of London, and the bishops had a palace called Bishop Hall, now included in the parish of BethnalGreen, in which they continued to reside till 1550, when it was alienated from the see by Bishop Ridley, who gave it to Edward VI. In the rebellion under Jack Cade, in the reign of Henry VI., the insurgents who attacked the metropolis encamped for some time at the hamlet of Mile-End; and in 1642, at the commencement of the parliamentary war, fortifications were constructed in the parish for the defence of the city.
From the then pleasantness of its situation, and the beauty of its scenery, which are noticed in a letter from Sir Thomas More to Dean Colet, Stepney was formerly the favourite residence of many persons of distinction. Isabel, Countess of Rutland, had a seat here in the latter part of the sixteenth century, and Sir Thomas Lake, secretary of state in the reign of James I., was also a resident; but there are no vestiges of the houses which they occupied. Henry, the first Marquess of Worcester, had a mansion near the parsonage-house; its gateway, handsomely built of brick, with a turret at one of the angles, is still remaining, and forms part of a house in which Dr. Richard Mead was born, and resided for many years. Sir Henry Colet, father of the dean who founded St. Paul's school, lived in a spacious residence to the west of the church, styled the Great Place, whose site is now partly occupied by a place of public entertainment, called Spring Gardens.
During part of the seventeenth century, Stepney suffered severely from the ravages of the plague, of which 2978 persons died in the year 1625; and in 1665, not less than 6583. In the course of the latter year, 116 sextons and grave-diggers belonging to the parish died of the plague; and so greatly was the place, then principally inhabited by seafaring men, depopulated, that it is recorded in the Life of Lord Clarendon, that "there seemed an impossibility to procure seamen to fit out the fleet." In July 1794, a calamitous fire, occasioned by the boiling over of a pitch-kettle in a barge-builder's yard, destroyed more than half the hamlet of Ratcliffe, communicated to the shipping in the river, and burnt several ranges of warehouses, among which was one belonging to the East India Company, containing more than 200 tons of saltpetre. Of 1200 houses in the hamlet, only 570 escaped the conflagration; and 36 warehouses, chiefly stored with articles of combustion, were totally consumed. By this dreadful calamity several hundred families were reduced to the utmost distress, deprived of shelter, and made dependent for subsistence on the public benevolence; a subscription was therefore opened at Lloyd's Coffee-house, by which, together with the contributions of thousands who came to visit the extensive ruins, more than £16,000 were collected for the relief of the sufferers.
The parish is situated on the northern bank of the Thames, and chiefly inhabited by persons connected with shipping. It extends for a considerable distance from the river to the principal road leading into Essex, and comprises many handsome ranges of building. The Commercial-road, from Whitechapel to the East and West India docks, passes through it; and the basin, or dock, at the junction of the Regent's canal with the Thames, capable of containing 100 ships, occupies a portion of the east side of the hamlet of Ratcliffe. The parish is paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with water by the East London Company from their works at Old Ford, the reservoir of which, excavated in 1827, and covering ten acres of ground, is situated north of the high road. On the banks of the Regent's canal, which runs under the Mile-End road, are several coal and timber wharfs; and in the hamlets of Mile-End Old and New Towns are some extensive breweries, a large distillery, a floor-cloth manufactory, a factory for tobacco-pipes, and a very spacious nursery-ground. In Ratcliffe are important manufactories for sail-cloth, sails, chain-cables and mooring-chains, steam-engines, and machinery connected with the docks and shipping; also large establishments belonging to coopers for the West India trade, timber and hoop merchants, ship-chandlers, sugar-bakers, rope-makers, and various other trades, for which its situation renders it peculiarly favourable. An act was passed in 1845, enabling the Blackwall Railway Company to make a branch from their line, at Stepney, to Stratford, two miles in length. The market, granted to the inhabitants by Charles II., in 1664, is now held at Whitechapel; the fair bestowed at the same time, originally held on Mile-End green, was removed to Stratford-le-Bow, and subsequently suppressed. Stepney is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates, who sit at the police-office in Lambeth-street, Whitechapel, for the despatch of business relating to Mile-End; and at the Thames-office, Arbour-square, for the hamlet of Ratcliffe. It is under the control of the metropolitan police establishment.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £73. 6. 8.; net income, £1190; patrons, the Principal and Fellows of Brasenose College, Oxford. The church is a spacious structure of flint and stone, principally in the later English style, with a low broad tower, strengthened by buttresses, and surmounted by a turret crowned with a small dome. Near the western entrance is a bas-relief, indifferently executed and much decayed, representing the Virgin and Child, with a female figure in the attitude of supplication; and over the south door is a rude sculpture of the Crucifixion, in tolerable preservation. There are many monuments in the building: on the north side of the chancel is the altar-tomb of Sir Henry Colet, under an arched canopy finely groined; and near it a memorial to Benjamin Kenton, Esq., who died in 1800, at the age of 83, bequeathing to different charitable institutions the sum of £63,550. On the east wall is a monument to Lady Dethic; and on the south a tablet to Sir Thomas Spert, Knt., founder and first master of the corporation of the Trinity. The edifice was repaired and beautified in 1828. The churchyard is spacious, and has monuments to numerous distinguished persons, including the Rev. Matthew Mead, who was ejected from the living of Shadwell for nonconformity, and Admiral Sir John Leake, Knt., a brave officer in the reign of Queen Anne. St. Thomas's district church, in Arbour-square, a neat edifice of Suffolk brick, in the early English style, with two octangular turrets, was erected in 1837 by a grant from the Metropolis Church-Buildine Fund, and contains 1100 sittings, of which 500 are free: the living is in the gift of Brasenose College. Other churches are noticed under the heads of Mile-End and Ratcliffe. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, the Connexion of the Countess of Huntingdon, Calvinistic Methodists, and Roman Catholics, and three meeting-houses for Independents, of one of which, near the church, founded by the lecturer, the Rev. William Greenhill, in 1674, the Rev. M. Mead became the first minister.
Stepney College, in Mile-End Old Town, was established in 1810, for the education of ministers of the Baptist denomination. The premises, which have been greatly enlarged, include part of an ancient building called King John's Tower, and contain private studies and sleeping-rooms for twenty-four students, with apartments for the masters, and a chapel. In School-house lane, Ratcliffe, are some almshouses of the Coopers' Company, founded in 1538 by Toby Wood, Esq., and Mr. Cloker, members of that society, for fourteen aged persons of both sexes. Adjoining them is a free grammar school, largely endowed by Nicholas Gibson, master of the company, and sheriff of London, in the reign of Henry VIII., for the instruction of 35 boys; in this school Bishop Andrews, and several other distinguished persons, received the rudiments of their education. The almshouses, more liberally endowed by the company, now afford an asylum to six men and eighteen women. The premises were destroyed by the fire of 1794, and were rebuilt in 1796; they occupy three sides of a quadrangle, with a chapel in the central range. Near the churchyard are the Mercers' almshouses, established in 1691 by Jane Mico, relict of Sir Samuel Mico, and endowed for ten aged widows, who receive each £30 per annum. Mrs. Bowry, in 1715, bequeathed a leasehold estate, and a sum of money in the South Sea annuities, for the erection and endowment of eight almshouses between MileEnd and Stratford-le-Bow, for decayed seamen and their widows. There are other almshouses in the parish, noticed in the article on Mile-End. The poor-law union of Stepney comprises Limehouse, Shadwell, Mile-End Old Town, Ratcliffe, and Wapping; and contains a popu lation of 90,657.
Stepney Marsh.—See Dogs, Isle of.
Steppingley (St. Lawrence)
STEPPINGLEY (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Ampthill, hundred of Redbornestoke, county of Bedford, 2½ miles (S. W. by S.) from Ampthill; containing 377 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 1300 acres. The women and children are principally employed in making lace. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6.16. 3., and in the gift of the Crown: the tithes were commuted for a corn-rent of £225, under a late inclosure act; there is a glebe-house, and the glebe contains 36 acres of land.
STERNDALE, EARL, a chapelry, in the parish of Hartington, union of Bakewell, hundred of Wirksworth, N. division of the county of Derby, 5½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Buxton; containing 362 inhabitants. The Peak-Forest and Cromford railroad passes through the chapelry. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £96; patron, the Vicar of Hartington; impropriator, the Duke of Devonshire. The chapel was erected in the year 1829, and is a neat building with a square embattled tower.
Sternfield (St. Mary Magdalene)
STERNFIELD (St. Mary Magdalene), a parish, in the union and hundred of Plomesgate, E. division of Suffolk, 1¼ mile (S. S. E.) from Saxmundham; containing 193 inhabitants, and comprising by admeasurement 1086½ acres. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £8. 14. 4½.; net income, £297; patron, W. Long, Esq.
Sterscote, Staffordshire.—See Syerscote.
Stert (St. James)
STERT (St. James), a parish, in the union of Devizes, hundred of Swanborough, Devizes and N. divisions of the county of Wilts, 2½ miles (S. E.) from Devizes; containing 181 inhabitants. It is situated near the road from Salisbury to Devizes. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Urchfont.
Stetchworth (St. Peter)
STETCHWORTH (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Newmarket, hundred of Radfield, county of Cambridge, 3 miles (S. by W.) from Newmarket; containing 673 inhabitants, and comprising 2858a. 3r. 24p. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 12. 1.; net income, £174; patrons and impropriators, the family of Eaton. The tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1814. The church contains a handsome monument in white marble to the Hon. Henry Gorges. An almshouse for two persons of each sex was founded in 1700, by Lord and Lady Gorges, who endowed it with £30 per annum.
Stevenage (St. Nicholas)
STEVENAGE (St. Nicholas), a town and parish, in the union of Hitchin, hundred of Broadwater, county of Hertford, 12 miles (N. W. by N.) from Hertford, and 31 (N. N. W.) from London; containing 1725 inhabitants. The ancient name was Stigenhaght, signifying the hills by the highway, and evidently derived from six barrows, or hills near the road-side, half a mile south of the town: about the time of the heptarchy the place was called Stigenhace, and in Domesday book Stavenach or Stevenadge. It formed a part of the demesne of the Saxon kings, and was given by Edward the Confessor to the abbey of Westminster, on the suppression of which it was granted by Edward VI. to the see of London, to which the manor still belongs. The town is pleasantly situated on the great road from London to Edinburgh, and consists of one long and spacious street, with two or three smaller ones, comprising some well-built brick residences: it is amply supplied with water. The trade is chiefly that of carcase-butchers, who dispose of the slaughtered cattle principally at Hertford, and in the London market; the platting of straw furnishes employment to many of the females in the town and its vicinity. In the reign of James I., Monteine, Bishop of London, procured the grant of a weekly market, and three fairs annually, which was confirmed by a charter of William and Mary; but from the contiguity of other towns in which large markets take place, the market of Stevenage has fallen into disuse; and the fairs, except one on Sept. 22nd, have also been nearly discontinued. Petty sessions for the division are held here, and a manorial court annually by the Bishop of London. The parish comprises by admeasurement 4434 acres, of which 2887 are arable, 900 pasture, 524 wood, and 123 waste.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £33. 6. 8., and in the gift of William Baker, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £1023. 7.; there is a glebe-house, and the glebe comprises 26½ acres. The church is situated on a chalky eminence about half a mile from the town, approached by a fine avenue of trees, and is a neat well-built edifice, with a square tower surmounted by a spire covered with lead; attached to the chancel are two small chapels. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. The Rev. Thomas Alleyn, in 1558, devised all his estates to Trinity College, Cambridge, in trust for charitable uses, among which was the founding of a grammar school at Stevenage, with an annual income of £13. 6. 8. Shortly after the testator's demise, a free English school was established by the inhabitants of Stevenage, which was endowed with some land by Robert Gynne in 1614, and a rent-charge of £12 by Edmond Woodward in 1659; and this school was eventually placed under the master of the grammar school: the total income is £37. 6. 8. A national school has been founded; and there are various bequests, amounting to about £50 per annum, distributed among the poor. The six barrows supposed to give name to the town have been generally referred to the Danes, several battles having been fought between them aud the Saxons in this county, and some fields at the distance of about three-quarters of a mile still retaining the name of Danes' Blood. In a wood half a mile eastward from the barrows, called Humbley Wood, are the apparent remains of an intrenched camp, or fortification, consisting of a large and perfectly square area, surrounded by a deep moat containing water, with only one entrance on the north side. Richard de Stevenage, abbot of St. Alban's at the Dissolution, was a native of this place.
Steventon (St. Michael)
STEVENTON (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Abingdon, hundred of Ock, county of Berks, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Abingdon; containing 948 inhabitants. A castle was erected here by Baldwin Wake in 1281, of which there are no vestiges. A priory of Black monks, a cell to the abbey of Beck, in Normandy, was founded in the time of Henry I., and at the suppression of alien houses, was bestowed upon the convent of Westminster. The parish comprises 2382a. 2r. 11p., of which 1250 acres are arable, 970 pasture, 106 common, and 14 woodland. The Berks and Wilts canal, and the Great Western railway, which has a station here, both pass through the parish. In the village is an ancient cross, a tall shaft rising from abase of several steps. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 5. 2½.; net income, £192; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. There is a place of worship for Baptists; also a school partly supported by endowments amounting to about £12 per annum.
Steventon (St. Nicholas)
STEVENTON (St. Nicholas), parish, in the union and hundred of Basingstoke, Kingsclere and N. divisions of the county of Southampton, 3 miles (S. E. by E.) from Overton; containing 193 inhabitants. The parish comprises 2100a. 3r. 6p. The South-Western railroad passes through it. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 4. 7., and in the gift of Edward Knight, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £522. 10.; there is a glebe-house, and the glebe contains 53¼ acres. Miss Austen, the novelist, was born here in December, 1775: her father was for upwards of forty vears incumbent of the parish.
Stevington (St. Mary)
STEVINGTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the hundred of Willey, union and county of Bedford, 5½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Bedford; containing 602 inhabitants. Here are some remains of an ancient monastic institution; and in the neighbourhood of the church, extensive foundations may be traced indicative of large buildings, one of which was a castle overlooking the moors, inhabited by a part of the Plantagenet family. The parish is situated on the river Ouse, and west of the high road from Bedford to Higham-Ferrers. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £12. 13. 4.; net income, £108: patron and impropriator, the Duke of Bedford. The tithes were commuted for land in 1805. William Barringer, by will dated 18th March 1631, left property in trust for building almshouses for five poor men and women, the residue being laid out in the purchase of 24a. 3r. of land, now producing £38 per annum. This charity was for many years in abeyance, but was recovered at the relation of the present vicar and some of the parishioners; and under a decree of the court of Chancery in 1836, trustees for its management were appointed.
Stewkley (St. Mary)
STEWKLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Winslow, hundred of Cottesloe, county of Buckingham, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Leighton-Buzzard; containing, with the hamlet of Littlecote, 1262 inhabitants. The lace manufacture, formerly carried on, is nearly extinct, and many of the females are now employed in the manufacture of straw-plat. Here is a lime quarry, in which are occasionally found curious antediluvian remains, including some specimens of very large spiral fossil-shells. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 9. 7.; net income, £194; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Oxford. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1811. The church is one of the most enriched and complete specimens of the Norman style now remaining. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. A fund of about £25 per annum, arising from bequests, is distributed among the poor.
Stewton (St. Andrew)
STEWTON (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Louth, Wold division of the hundred of LouthEske, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 2½ miles (E.) from Louth; containing 55 inhabitants. It comprises 959 acres of land, chiefly arable; the soil is a heavy clay. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7, and in the gift of T. Heneage, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £200, and the glebe comprises 11 acres.
Steyning (St. Andrew)
STEYNING (St. Andrew), a market -town and parish, the head of a union, and formerly a representative borough, in the hundred of Steyning, rape of Bramber, W. division of Sussex, 24 miles (E. by N.) from Chichester, and 49½ (S. by W.) from London; containing 1495 inhabitants. The name is supposed to be derived from the Steyne-street, an ancient road which passed through this part of the country from Arundel to Dorking. Camden considers the town to be the Steyningham mentioned in Alfred's will. It appears in the Saxon age to have been of considerable note, a church or monastery having been built here, in which St. Cadman was buried; and in the "Catalogue of Religious Houses," ascribed to Gervase of Canterbury, in the time of Richard I., mention is made of a dean and secular canons. It is certain that King Edward the Confessor gave lands to the monastery of Feschamp, in Normandy, which included this place; aud these being taken away by Earl Godwin, were restored by William the Conqueror. Some Benedictine monks from that house erected a priory here, which was eventually given to the monastery of Sion by Edward IV., and continued part of its possessions till the Dissolution. Speed says, the conventual church was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, and contained the sacred relics of St. Cuthman (Cadman), and Ethelwulph, father of Alfred the Great: here was also a parochial church in honour of St. Cuthman. Camden speaks of the market as well frequented in his time; but the town afterwards became reduced, and in the Magna Britannia, a century later, is mentioned as "a mean contemptible place, with hardly a building fit to put a horse in," and being said then to contain not more than 150 families. Since that period it has been considerably enlarged.
It stands at the foot of a lofty hill, near the river Adur, over which is a bridge; and consists of one long street, and two smaller ones brauching therefrom: it is supplied with water by a spring. The land in the vicinity is fertile, and the adjoining downs afford good pasturage for sheep. An extensive cattle-market is held on alternate Mondays; there is also a corn-market, and fairs take place on June 9th, September 19th, and October 11th: at the Michaelmas fair, a great number of Welsh and Devonshire cattle are disposed of, with cattle of other kinds, sheep, horses, hogs, wheat, seeds, &c. Here are two breweries, also a small parchment manufactory. An act was passed in 1846 for making a branch from the Brighton and Chichester railway to this place, four and a half miles in length. Steyning is a borough by prescription, under the authority of a constable appointed at the court leet of the manor; and petty-sessions are held on the market-days. It sent two representatives to parliament until disfranchised by the act 2nd of William IV., cap. 45; the members were at one time elected in conjunction with Bramber, but subsequently each town returned two. The parish comprises 3381 acres, of which 474 are common or waste land.
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £15, and in the gift of the Duke of Norfolk. The great tithes have been commuted for £260. 16., and the vicarial for £410; £15 also are paid to Magdalen College, Oxford: there is a glebe-house, and the vicarial glebe is valued at £80 per annum. The church consists of the nave of a large cruciform structure, and presents beautiful specimens of the Norman style. The interior was restored in 1831, and is magnificently enriched: at the east end, where the transept intersected, are clusters of columns and arches for supporting the former central tower. The present tower on the west, of more modern date, is of chequered flint and rubble stone, with buttresses at the angles. There is a place of worship for Lady Huntingdon's Connexion. The free grammar school was founded and endowed in 1614, by William Holland, a native of this place, and alderman of Chichester, who bequeathed for that purpose a garden and messuage called Brotherhood Hall, together with his manor of Festoes, &c, to pay from the proceeds of the latter £20 yearly to a master; the income is about £90 per annum. Brotherhood Hall most likely received its name from having been the hall of some guild, or fraternity, prior to the Dissolution; it consists of a centre with an arched entrance, and two wings. Steyning is the head of a poor-law union, which comprises 23 parishes or places, and contains a population of 14,353. In 1826, upon the removal of a barrow on the downs overlooking Steyning, in order to procure the flints, numerous skeletons were discovered, an urn containing burnt bones, and several brass coins of Roman emperors. John Pell, the mathematician, was educated here.