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, which in 1933 was annexed to Funtington for civil purposes, contains 871 acres. The ground rises from about 100 ft. near the church and village, which lie on the road running west from Chichester, up to 500 ft. in the north, on Bow Hill. The district is rich in earthworks, and Kingley Vale, which is partly in the parish, is famous for its ancient yew trees.
The manor of WEST STOKE formed part of the chapelry of Bosham (fn. 1) and constituted one of the 7½ knight's fees attached thereto. (fn. 2) It was held of the Bishop of Exeter as of his manor of Chidham. (fn. 3) Soon after the Conquest the manor was given to one Edgar, whose son Robert left a daughter under age in ward to Henry II. The king bestowed her custody and marriage upon Alexander de Barentyn, his butler (c. 1175), (fn. 4) but she refused to marry him or anyone else and fled oversea. Thereupon Henry gave the fee to Alexander, who was confirmed in possession by Richard I. (fn. 5) His son Richard, who in 1205 had a charter of confirmation from King John, (fn. 6) was holding the fee in 1210 (fn. 7) but died soon afterwards and was succeeded by his brother Thomas de Barentyn. On his death without issue the manor passed to his aunt Aubrey, who left two daughters as coheirs, Mary, who had a son Richard Harmer, and Mabel, whose son Alexander had a grandson John Payn. But meanwhile Alice, who had fled abroad, had married William de la Faleyse, and on her death he recovered the lands from King John, on condition that he satisfied Richard de Barentyn. Elias de la Faleyse, son of William and Alice, died without issue and seems to have been succeeded by his brother Ralph, who held the fee in Stoke in 1242 (fn. 8) and 1248 (fn. 9), but by 1252 it had come to another brother William de la Faleyse, against whom Richard Harmer and John Payn claimed the fee in 'Stokes de la Faleyse' and the advowson of the church. (fn. 10) The result of the suit does not appear, but immediately after the death of William in 1255 (fn. 11) Richard Harmer and John Payn granted certain land 'with the manor of Stoke' to the Abbot of Westminster, who in return gave Payn for life the messuage in which he dwelt and 2 acres of land and undertook to provide Richard Harmer, who must have been very old by this time, and Rose his wife with a daily allowance of bread, ale, and meat for their lives. (fn. 12) There is no evidence that the abbey ever obtained the manor, but in 1266 the Abbot of Westminster sued Peter de la Faleyse for seizing his goods at Stoke to the value of £40. (fn. 13) Elias, son and heir of William de la Faleyse, married Margery de Grensted (fn. 14) and had two sons, William and Elias, who were executed for felony. (fn. 15) Either through their forfeiture or perhaps by purchase from their father the manor seems to have reverted to the Bishop of Exeter and to have been granted to one of the Bigods, as Roger Bigod conveyed it with Bosham to Edward I in 1279, at which time Christiane de la Faleyse lodged a claim to the manor, (fn. 16) and he died in 1306 holding it of the bishop. (fn. 17) It then descended with the manor of Bosham [q.v.], Sir Thomas de Brotherton, Earl Marshal, doing homage for the half-fee to the bishop in 1316, (fn. 18) until the division of the Mowbray estates in 1482 when Stoke was apparently assigned to John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, in whose family it remained until 1540, when Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, exchanged it to the Crown. (fn. 19) The manor was attached to the honor of Petworth (fn. 20) and was granted in 1559 to Thomas and George Stoughton. (fn. 21) Adrian Stoughton died in 1614, having settled the manor on his wife Mary, daughter of William Jordan, on their marriage in 1583, (fn. 22) and she was still holding it in 1626 when their son Thomas Stoughton died without issue. (fn. 23) On the death of Mary in 1635 (fn. 24) the manor passed to the coheirs of Thomas; these were in 1626 Thomas Bowyer, son of his sister Anne, Arthur Gunter, son of another sister Mary, Sara, the third sister, wife of William Styant, Anne, the fourth, wife of Peter German, clerk, and two unmarried sisters, Elizabeth and Eleanor Stoughton. (fn. 25) The two last probably died young; William Styant, who survived his wife, bought the shares of Arthur Gunter and Thomas Bowyer in 1637 and 1638 respectively (fn. 26) and died in 1639 seised of two fourth-parts of the manor. (fn. 27) His son Thomas died, a minor in ward to the king, in 1644, his heir being Thomas Phillipps, son of William, eldest brother of Anne, mother of Thomas's father William Styant. (fn. 28) Meanwhile Anne Jerman (sic) had died a widow in 1641, seised of ¼ of the manor and leaving a son Thomas, then 13½, and two daughters, Eleanor and Susan. (fn. 29) Thomas Phillipps may have acquired this share, as in 1664 he quitclaimed 7/8 of the manor of West Stoke to Peter Legay, (fn. 30) who at the same time had a quitclaim of ¾ of the manor from Thomas Germon (sic). (fn. 31) Legay, however, seems to have bought the 7/8 in 1658, (fn. 32) and in 1700 Katherine Legay, widow, Thomas Hollis and Hannah, John Solly and Martha, and Elizabeth Legay, spinster, were dealing with the 7/8 of the manor. (fn. 33) Thomas Holles and Hannah his wife and Richard Solly held the 7/8 in 1720, when John Tutte held the remaining 1/8, which Randolph Tutte had acquired before 1697. (fn. 34) The descent after this is obscure, but in 1764 the (whole) manor was bought by the Duke of Richmond from 'the representatives of Anne Spence, widow', (fn. 35) who were Thomas Powys and Henrietta his wife. (fn. 36) It has since remained in the hands of the Dukes of Richmond.
The church of ST. ANDREW (fn. 37) stands west of the Manor House. It consists of chancel, nave, south porch of two stories, the upper of which contains the bell, and vestry north of the nave. It is built of rubble, plastered; a few scraps of Roman brick are visible in the gaps in the plastering; the dressings are of free-stone and the roofs of tile.
The 11th-century church consisted of a nave and chancel; this was probably the second church mentioned in Domesday Book under Bosham. (fn. 38) In the 13th century the chancel was remodelled and extended, or, more probably, rebuilt, and the two-storied porch was added. The vestry was built in the 19th century; the chancel was restored in 1841 and the nave later.
The quoins at the east end of the chancel appear to be of Saxon date, reused, with much closer mortar joints, in the 13th century. The east window is a group of three 13th-century lancets, the centre one the highest, under a common arch; the rear-arch is moulded; above it has been refixed the carved head of a bishop, perhaps from the end of a drip-stone. In each side wall are two plain lancets with pointed rear-arches, contemporary with the east window, and, like it, having exterior rebates. In the south wall is a piscina, (fn. 39) the drain and credence shelf ancient, the jambs and arch modern in 13th-century style. At the extreme west of the same side is a narrow priest's door (blocked), perhaps of the 14th century. The chancel arch is modern, of two orders, with square responds and corbels carved with foliage carrying the inner order; this is in the style of the 13th century and is said to bear the date 1841. In 1931 traces of a window, including reused Roman brickwork, were found over the chancel arch, but were obliterated; (fn. 40) a window in such a position cannot have been the east window of a single-chamber building, but must have been over the chancel arch. The underside of the rafters is ceiled in plaster in mansard form; there is one plain ancient tie-beam.
The nave still preserves its original walls, though most of the features have been modernized. On the south side is a modern window of two lights surmounted by a trefoil opening; the rear-arch is moulded. The south doorway is of the 13th century, of one order with a plain chamfer on jambs and arch, but the inner part of the west jamb is part of the original 11th-century doorway; there is no chamfer on the arris, as there is on the east side, and the stones show characteristic Saxon random tooling. The two plain hook and strap hinges of the door are medieval, and the door itself ancient, a ledged door, the joins of the planks being covered by fillets with double bead mouldings.
The north side of the nave has a modern lancet window, and the original north doorway; this is round-headed, with no impost; the stonework is random-tooled, on the east side of the exterior the lowest voussoir rests on a Roman brick. There was originally no door rebate, but one was subsequently cut in situ on the inner side, where there are also traces of the fastening of the original ironwork. In the west wall is a plain lancet of the 13th century, with segmental rear-arch. The west quoins resemble the east quoins of the chancel, but are laid with thicker joints. The rafters of the roof are ceiled with plaster in mansard form; there are four plain ancient tie-beams, each carrying two oblique struts.
The lower stage of the porch has an outer archway, of the 13th century, of two orders with hollow chamfers; each respond is square with an attached shaft with moulded cap and base to carry the inner order. There is a Mass dial on the south face of the east quoin. The upper story has a plain lancet on each of the east, south, and west sides; it is covered with a pyramidal tiled roof, the top of which is lower than the ridge of the nave roof.
The vestry is modern; at its north-west corner a deep raking buttress has subsequently been added.
The altar rails are of oak, with turned balusters and rather heavy top rail, perhaps 18th-century. The communion table, font, (fn. 41) and other fittings are modern.
In the north window of the nave is a single quarry of ancient stained glass. The design is that of a slipped trefoil in yellow stain, each foil being formed of a complete annulet interlacing with the other two. The centres of the annulets are the letters I, H, S; below on a scroll crossing in front of the stem is EST AMOR ME['] in black letter.
In the north-east corner of the chancel is a table tomb with plain plastered sides and a top slab of Sussex marble moulded on the edge of the under side. This is inscribed A. S. 1614; evidently for Adrian Stoughton of West Stoke who died in that year. (fn. 42)
The same Adrian Stoughton and Mary his wife are commemorated by a mural monument immediately above, which has figures of the two, of two sons and of five daughters; the monument bears date 1635.
Over the south door hangs a small cast-iron plaque of the Royal Arms as blazoned between 1714 and 1800.
There is one bell, dated 1712. (fn. 43)
The communion plate includes a silver cup and paten cover with arabesque decoration, of Elizabethan date but with no hall mark, and another paten of 1638 with richly ornamented border. (fn. 44)
The registers begin in 1554.
The advowson descended with the manor until 1559, but was not included in the grant to the Stoughtons, the Crown continuing to present until 1866. In that year the Rev. James Henry Bereford Harris presented, and he sold it in 1872 to John Finnie. (fn. 45) By the beginning of the present century it was in the hands of the Rev. W. F. Shaw, (fn. 46) with whose representatives it has remained.