A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.
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The parish of Appledram, or Apuldram, contains 1,111 acres, of which about 180 are tidal water and foreshore. On the west it is bounded by the main channel of Chichester Harbour, on the north by the River Lavant, (fn. 1) and on the south partly by a small stream that runs into the harbour below Birdham Mill. There is no village. The church stands by itself in the north of the parish, with the Manor House and Rymans to the south-east, on a road running south from New Fishbourne to connect with the main Chichester road and with that leading to Dell Quay. (fn. 2)
Rymans, (fn. 3) known in 1656 as Appledram Place, (fn. 4) takes its name from William Ryman, a prominent lawyer, who acquired the freehold in 1410 and built the house. Of this there remains the three-storied solar wing, with a two-storied wing projecting from its south front, all of stone from the Bembridge and Ventnor quarries and very little altered. To the east of the main block is a two-storied brick wing, containing the former Hall, built in the early 17th century but entirely remodelled in 1913. North of the main block, or 'tower', are domestic offices of the 19th century and later. The ground floor of the 15th-century block has an original doorway, with four-centred head, from the Hall, and another in the south-west angle to a stone newel staircase which runs the whole height of the house. The original main staircase to the Great Chamber on the first floor was in the south-west corner; the present 17th-century staircase was inserted in 1913, when the fire-place was also reconstructed. The room projecting to the south has two of its original windows, that on the east of one light, on the west two, both squareheaded. The south window is modern, replacing one of three or four lights constructed of Dutch bricks early in the 16th century. An outer doorway in the east wall is also original, as is one jamb of the fire-place, and in the south-west corner are remains of a garderobe. The room above this retains its 15th-century windows in all three walls, its fire-place, and garderobe. The roof, now ceiled, retains its two original trusses. On the north this room opens into the Great Chamber, lit by large square-headed windows, each of two trefoiled lights, in the south and west walls. There are remains of the fire-place in the north wall, and in the thick east wall a straight flight of stone stairs leads up to a similar chamber on the second floor. The roof above this is a featureless construction, probably of the 17th century. To the south-east of the house a fine brick cart-shed, of the early 17th century, has been converted into a garage.
The Manor House, west of Rymans, is an early- to mid-17th-century house of two stories and attics, facing east. The front wall is of stone rubble with bricks at the angles and window-openings. At the first-floor level and the eaves are moulded brick courses with dentels. The windows were wide but are now reduced and altered. The north end has a stone rubble plinth or basement that may be more ancient, but the wall above it has brick angles and string-courses like the front. The head has a picturesque 'Dutch' gable, rare in this part of the county. The string-course from the front eaves is carried across the wall and carries two pilasters; above these is a similar string-course, breaking forward over them, and forming the base of the middle pediment of the gable-head. The pilasters are flanked by curved ramps with moulded kneelers. A two-light mullioned window between the pilasters is blocked. The windows to the two lower stories have been reduced in width and, like the front, fitted with sash frames. The south end is rough-casted and has a plain gable-head. A wing behind is of late-17th-century brickwork and has a window with a drip-course. An adjoining wing is of modern brickwork. The roofs are tiled and the chimney-shafts are plain. The interior appears to be all modernized.
The south-west corner of the parish, on the tidal channel, was the site of flourishing salt works (fn. 5) during the first quarter of the 19th century, and probably for many years before then, as 'salterns' are marked on Yeakell and Gardner's map of 1783.
The manor was originally part of Bosham, and was detached from it c. 1125 by Henry I, who gave it to Battle Abbey in exchange for property at Reading. (fn. 6) At the Suppression in 1538 it returned to the Crown, and was granted in 1570 to William Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham, (fn. 7) whose son Charles, Earl of Nottingham, conveyed in 1616 to William Ryman, a brother of the then frecholder. (fn. 8) In 1619 he conveyed to William Smyth of Binderton, (fn. 9) who released in 1620 to his second son Thomas. (fn. 10) From this time to 1730 the descent of the manor follows that of Binderton (q.v.); in 1730 the Chancery partition assigned the manor to Mary, daughter of George Smyth, (fn. 11) who, in 1739, settled it on her husband William Hamilton and his heirs. (fn. 12) She survived her husband; on her death without issue in 1767 (fn. 13) the manor passed to her stepson William Gerard Hamilton (known as 'Single-Speech Hamilton'), (fn. 14) then successively to his cousin William Hamilton 1796, Archdeacon Anthony Hamilton 1811, William Richard Hamilton, sometime Minister at Naples, 1812, William John Hamilton 1859, (fn. 15) Robert William Hamilton 1867; the latter in 1872 sold to the Ecclesiastical Commission, the present lords of the manor.
The church of THE VIRGIN MARY (fn. 16) stands on open ground north of the manor. It is built of flint rubble with dressings of ashlar, principally Caen stone, and is roofed with tile; the sides and small broach spire of the bellcote are shingled. It consists of a chancel, nave, and south aisle built in the 13th century, but incorporating in the north wall of the nave a fragment of an earlier building. In about the 14th century a small sacristy, since destroyed, was added north of the chancel, and in the 15th century the present south porch. A small modern vestry and heating chamber adjoin the north wall of the nave. The church was restored in 1877, when the whole of the roofing, including the bell-cote, was renewed. (fn. 17)
At each eastern corner of the chancel is a pair of single-stage buttresses with sloping offsets, all 13thcentury except the northernmost, a modern restoration (the former sacristy evidently bonded in here). In the east wall is a lancet triplet, rising in the centre, having moulded rear-arches and Purbeck marble shafts with moulded caps and bases; in the sill of the northernmost lancet is a small recess, of unknown date and purpose. In the south wall of the chancel is a trefoil-headed piscina of the 13th century, and in the north a blocked doorway with pointed head, perhaps 14th-century, formerly leading to the sacristy. In both north and south walls are lancet triplets similar to that in the east wall but with all lights of the same height; west of these are single-light lancet low side windows with interior rebates and plain splay jambs and rear-arches, these are slightly later in date than the other windows; the exterior of that on the south side shows signs of the design having been altered subsequent to the original building. The sanctuary is floored, partly with ancient encaustic tiles, partly with modern copies. South of the altar is a floor slab of the 13th century, of Purbeck marble, with tapering sides and a floriated cross. (fn. 18) A moulded string-course runs round the south, east, and north walls. There is no chancel arch.
The north wall of the nave has the head, only visible from the outside, of a small round-headed window of the 12th century, and a plain pointed arched north door, perhaps 13th-century, now leading to the vestry. The south arcade is of three bays, the arches being of two chamfered orders, pointed; each respond is square on plan, with a corbel to carry the inner arch order, the moulded abacus is continued as an impost. The two piers are circular with moulded capitals and bases; all is of 13th-century date. In the west wall is a modern window of two lights in late-13th-century style, replacing a window of the later 15th century. In the north wall are the remains of a rood-loft stair. At the south-west angle is a single buttress and at the northwest a clasping buttress, both of similar design and date to those of the chancel.
The south aisle has a modern east window of similar design to that of the west window of the nave, inserted in 1870, a south doorway with moulded jambs and pointed arch without impost, all stonework being modern, and a single plain lancet of the 13th century in the west wall. Piercing the east respond of the arcade is a squint with cinquefoiled head, probably 15th-century; in the east wall are two corbels, presumably to bear images; in the south wall is a small piscina with credence shelf, probably 15th-century (the basin is a modern restoration and unpierced). East of the south door is the remains of a holy water stoup.
The east bay of the aisle is divided off by an oak screen of the 15th century. This is of three bays framed with moulded beams; each side bay has solid panelling surmounted by a two-light opening, each opening having an ogee cinquefoiled arch with a quatrefoiled circle in each spandrel. The middle bay, which is the doorway, has a similar head, but the mullion between the lights rests on a three-centred arch. The lower part of the door is solid, the upper is of two lights each with a cinquefoiled four-centred arch. This chapel may have been dedicated to St. Nicholas, as there was a brotherhood under his patronage in the 16th century. (fn. 19)
The south porch has a plain single-light window with square head, probably 15th-century, in each of the east and west walls, and a pointed doorway, entirely modern, in the south. On the sill of the east window is a mass-dial, the south jamb of the window acting as gnomon and the four lines of the dial showing the times of 7.45, 8.45, 10.15, and 11.15 respectively.
The font is of Purbeck marble, having a square basin ornamented with shallow round-arched arcading; it rests on five shafts (all but the centre one being modern renewals). It is of the 12th century, and shows signs of having been at one time exposed to the weather, perhaps in the era of the Commonwealth.
There is a sanctuary chair of 17th-century date, and a pair of tall pricket candlesticks of about the 18th, perhaps of foreign workmanship. There is one medieval bench, made up in 1871 from such parts of ancient ones as were not past preservation.
The church is remarkable in possessing two 14thcentury bells, (fn. 20) inscribed respectively SANCTA MARIA ORA PRO NOBIS + P.W. and BENEDICTA SIT SANCTA TRINITAS + P.W.
The communion plate includes an Elizabethan cup of unusual design, with a conical bowl, and a plain silver paten, perhaps contemporary; (fn. 21) also a pewter tankard flagon of c. 1600.
The registers began for baptisms in 1661 and for marriages and burials in 1693. (fn. 22)
Although the manor of Appledram had been granted to Battle Abbey, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction remained with the collegiate church of Bosham. The canon holding the Prebend of Appledram, valued at £20 in 1291, (fn. 23) was responsible for providing a priest to serve the chapel. Until the 15th century the bodies of the dead had to be taken to Bosham for burial; but in 1447, in response to a petition from the inhabitants setting out the difficulties and even dangers of such journeys, the Bishop of Exeter, as head of the College of Bosham, gave the chapel the right of burial. (fn. 24) In 1666 Bosham was still asserted to be the parish church, (fn. 25) and it was not until 1818 that Appledram acquired the standing of a perpetual curacy. (fn. 26) The patronage, descending with Bosham, is in the hands of the Dean and Chapter of Chichester.