A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Lavant is a large parish of 4,072 acres. It lies on the southern slopes of the Downs towards Chichester, to the south of the parishes of West Dean and Binderton, its southern boundary corresponding roughly with the 100-ft. contour line. It is of irregular, squarish shape and measures about 2½ miles from north to south and the same from east to west. Except in the north-east and north-west corners, where the land rises to 300 or 400 ft., the whole of the parish is under 200 ft. The River Lavant flows through it from north to south, taking a slightly eastward trend below Mid Lavant village; and here the level of the valley drops below 100 ft. The main road from Midhurst to Chichester follows the same course, keeping to the west of the river all the way, but avoiding the eastward trend. Just within the northern boundary, this road is joined by the road over the Downs from South Harting and the Mardens; south of this, the parish is crossed by a network of minor roads coming from Chilgrove, Funtington, and West Stoke, and branching from other main roads from Chichester. The railway runs parallel to the river and the road. It enters the parish on the east side of the river but crosses it just within the boundary; about a mile south of this point it crosses the road. Here is Mid Lavant station. Since July 1935 the line has been used only for goods traffic.
The village of Mid Lavant lies in the middle of the parish, near the river and at the 100-ft. line, and on the main road. East Lavant is about ¼ mile east of Mid Lavant, and also on the river. Raughmere Farm is the same distance to the south. Lavant House and West Lavant Farm are to the west of Mid Lavant.
Lavant was formerly two parishes, one containing East and West Lavant, the other Mid Lavant. East and West Lavant, being a peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury, were usually reckoned in Pagham (later Aldwick) Hundred; and the church of East Lavant is in Pagham Deanery. These parishes were amalgamated for civil purposes in 1872 and for ecclesiastical purposes in 1880, under the name of Lavant only. (fn. 1)
On Hayes Down in the north-east of the parish were found in 1890 the 'Lavant Caves'. These have since fallen in, but the objects found in them in 1893 almost prove that there was a flint-mine here of the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age. (fn. 2) To the south, the Chichester entrenchments are partly in this parish: these are a series of earthworks apparently designed to protect Chichester on the north. They have not been excavated, but may be either of late Belgic or of Roman date. (fn. 3)
In East Lavant a house at the east end on the south of the main road has walls of split flints with 17th-century brick quoins, a moulded brick plinth, and on the west front a projecting chimney-stack; the upper half of this is of brick gathered in with crow-stepped sides and having a rebated shaft. A cottage farther west is of early-17th-century timber-framing with a thatched roof and rebated central chimney-stack. Another thatched cottage opposite is of plastered flint or rubble with timber-framed dormer windows.