A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 5 Part 1, Arundel Rape: South-Western Part, Including Arundel. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1997.
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The parish of Ford, (fn. 1) which in the 20th century gave its name first to an airfield and then to an open prison, lies on the west bank of the river Arun c. 2 miles (3.2 km.) from the sea at the point where the river was formerly joined by the Portsmouth to Arundel canal. Until the 12th or 13th century Ford was part of Climping parish, as the layout of parish boundaries corroborates. (fn. 2) The parish had 474 a. (192 ha.) in 1881 and in 1971, (fn. 3) and was enlarged in 1985 by the addition of portions of Climping, Tortington, and Yapton. (fn. 4) This article deals with the area of the ancient parish; the history of the airfield is split between Ford and Climping, while that of the prison is given under Climping. (fn. 5)
The parish lies chiefly on brickearth, with alluvium in the valleys of the Arun and of the Binsted brook, the latter forming the northern boundary. (fn. 6) The land is virtually flat. There was presumably reclamation from the river estuary in the Middle Ages, as at Climping; a river wall or earthen bank was mentioned from the mid 16th century, (fn. 7) when tenants of Ford, Climping, and Ilsham manor had to maintain the section fronting their lands. (fn. 8) Outside the river wall lay saltmarshes or slipes, flooded at every spring tide. (fn. 9) The groynes in the river mentioned in 1731 (fn. 10) were evidently a further defence; in 1761, however, the Littlehampton harbour commissioners ordered them to be abandoned and no further ones made, as detrimental to navigation. (fn. 11) The river embankment throughout the parish was apparently heightened under an Act of 1793. (fn. 12)
There were 16 a. of woods but no underwood on Ford, Climping, and Ilsham manor in 1284; (fn. 15) the woods may have lain in Ford or Climping. (fn. 16) There were only 5 a. of woodland in the parish in 1839. (fn. 17)
A radial burial of six skeletons in the northern part of the churchyard (fn. 18) is perhaps pre-Christian, and there may have been prehistoric settlement south-west of the church. (fn. 19) Poorly defined 'humps and bumps', particularly north and west of the church, indicate the sites of the medieval manor house, raised on a mount, the parsonage, and evidently other houses, separated by streets which included Mount Lane and Parsonage Lane in 1608. West of the road to Climping are other putative house sites (fn. 20) including one occupied by the later Newhouse Farm. The medieval village, however, was not necessarily large, since population figures for Ford then evidently included Climping tithing. (fn. 21)
By 1608 the village was virtually deserted, at least one house having apparently fallen down within the previous 70 years. (fn. 22) There were no buildings near the church in the early 19th century, (fn. 23) but c. 1820 a pair of cottages was built beside the newly constructed canal; (fn. 24) it survived as a single dwelling in 1991. By the mid 19th century the road to Yapton was flanked by extensive farm buildings belonging to the two farms of the parish, Ford Place and Newhouse farms. (fn. 25) The only remaining pre-19th-century secular buildings nearby are the farmhouses of those two farms. Ford Place is described below. (fn. 26) Newhouse Farm was built shortly before 1800 (fn. 27) of cobbles with red brick dressings, and was extended eastwards apparently in the early 19th century. The Ship and Anchor inn ¼ mile (400 metres) to the north-east (fn. 28) is a 17th- or 18thcentury building later enlarged on the east side.
There were eight houses in the parish in 1801, but the number had risen to 20 by 1901. (fn. 29) In the later 19th century Christ's Hospital as landowner built several pairs of good-quality cottages, (fn. 30) of flint or cobbles with brick dressings; there were 14 in all in 1914. (fn. 31) In the 1920s the former airfield buildings in the west end of the parish were converted to houses by John Langmead of Northwood Farm in Climping, but they were requisitioned in 1940. (fn. 32) The terrace called Nelson Row on the east side of the Ford–Climping road was built c. 1938 as the beginning of a large-scale development which was prevented by the Second World War. A crescent of houses was constructed for the navy further north after the war. (fn. 33) A housing estate in the west end of the parish, called the Peregrines to commemorate naval use of the airfield, (fn. 34) belongs to the eastwards expansion of Yapton village during the late 20th century.
The totals of between 23 and 30 persons taxed in Ford in the late 13th century and early 14th evidently include inhabitants of Climping tithing, which was not listed; (fn. 35) Ford and Climping were listed together in 1524. (fn. 36) The protestation of 1642 was made by 19 adult males, (fn. 37) and 19 adults were enumerated in 1676. (fn. 38) In 1724 there were only 5 families. (fn. 39) In 1801 the population was 70, rising to 83 in 1821 and, after a fall, to 106 in 1851, later dropping to 102 in 1891. Fourfold expansion in the 1920s from 90 to 360 was mainly due to the conversion of the airfield buildings into dwellings. There were 268 inhabitants in 1961, 456 in 1971, and 1,301 in the enlarged parish including the prison in 1991. (fn. 40)
There seems once to have been an important east-west road through the parish, but whether it crossed the river by a ferry or a ford is not clear. (fn. 41) Another possible site for the ford from which the parish takes its name is across the Binsted brook in the north, on the road between Ford and Tortington mentioned in 1573. (fn. 42) That route had apparently ceased to be used before the late 18th century, (fn. 43) but a new road was cut to join the new Arundel road at Ford station c. 1846. (fn. 44) There was a ferry across the Arun in the early 19th century. (fn. 45)
Vicarage Lane recorded in 1608 was presumably a misnomer for Parsonage Lane mentioned above, but Hole Lane and Chalkstreet, Chalkwest, or Chalkcroft Lane named at the same date are unlocated. (fn. 46) Roads in the former village had become mere tracks by the late 18th century, (fn. 47) so that the church could then be approached only through fields, as still obtained in 1990. The Climping–Yapton road in the west part of the parish, an old route, was blocked by the extension of the airfield runways c. 1950 but was reopened in 1959. (fn. 48) The parish had a bus service in the 1970s. (fn. 49)
The Portsmouth to Arundel canal was opened through the parish in 1823, debouching into the river just north-east of the church. (fn. 50) There were two locks, (fn. 51) one of which survived in 1990, a steam engine nearby for pumping water into the canal, (fn. 52) and a pair of cottages, one of them for the engineer (fn. 53) or lock keeper. (fn. 54) The unusual juxtaposition of canal and church in the landscape was remarked on by a contemporary. (fn. 55) Traffic had greatly declined by 1832 (fn. 56) and the canal fell into disuse not long afterwards; (fn. 57) by 1862 the bed was dry. (fn. 58) The pumping house was demolished between c. 1875 and c. 1896. (fn. 59)
The Lyminster–Chichester railway was opened through the northern tip of the parish in 1846 with a station, later called Ford station, in Tortington. (fn. 60)
An inn existed beside the river in 1813 (fn. 61) and had its present name the Ship and Anchor by 1817. (fn. 62) The publican in 1871 was also a coal merchant. (fn. 63) The inn closed c. 1918, (fn. 64) but after being used as a teahouse was reopened in 1967 with the adjacent marina. (fn. 65)
There was a 'village room' in the stables of Ford Place in 1914. (fn. 66)
An airfield was opened in the south-west part of the parish in 1918; at first called Ford junction airfield, it was also known as Yapton aerodrome but had its modern name by 1931. Originally a training station, it was briefly occupied by the United States navy later in 1918 and was closed in the following year. The original buildings lay in the western tip of the parish close to Yapton village. (fn. 67)
In the 1930s the airfield was used at different times as a flying school, for joy-rides, for building airliners, as the headquarters of Sir Alan Cobham's 'flying circus', and as a base for experimental flying. In 1937, however, it was taken back by the Air Ministry, new buildings being built in Climping parish, while the original buildings continued to be used for experimental purposes. After the closure of the airfield by the Fleet Air Arm in 1959 most of its buildings in Ford were demolished and replaced by housing; part, however, survived in industrial use. (fn. 68)
The estate called Climping held by Earl Godwine (d. 1053) passed after 1066 to earl Roger, who after the death of his wife Mabel c. 1082 divided it between Sées and Alménêches abbeys (Orne). Both moieties were called Climping in 1086; (fn. 71) Sées abbey's moiety may be the predecessor of Atherington manor in Climping, (fn. 72) while that of Alménêches abbey is evidently what from 1520 was called the manor (fn. 73) or manors (fn. 74) of FORD, CLIMPING, AND ILSHAM, which included the northern part of Climping parish. (fn. 75) That manor was held of Arundel rape, (fn. 76) and was said in the early 15th century once to have owed 40 days' castle guard at Arundel castle. (fn. 77)
Savaric son of Cane was granted Alménêches abbey's estate c. 1102, (fn. 78) and was succeeded in turn by his sons Ralph (d. c. 1157) and Savaric (d. c. 1187). The younger Savaric's nephew and heir Frank de Bohun (d. 1192) was compelled to yield Ford and Climping to Ralph de Arderne, but Richard I in 1190 declared the transaction void (fn. 79) and the land was described as Frank's in 1194. (fn. 80) Ralph later renewed his suit, and in 1199 Frank's son Enjuger quitclaimed the manor to him. In 1212 Ralph's son Thomas restored it to Enjuger, (fn. 81) and it descended thereafter in the Bohun family (fn. 82) as a member of Midhurst. (fn. 83) Anthony Bek, bishop of Durham, who died seised of a moiety of Ford, so called, in 1311, was evidently a relative. (fn. 84) Ursula, daughter of John de Bohun (d. in or before 1492), and her husband (Sir) Robert Southwell had a moiety of Ford in 1507–8. (fn. 85) Sir Henry Owen, son of John's other daughter Mary, was dealing with what was perhaps the other moiety in 1520. (fn. 86) By 1534 he had the whole manor, (fn. 87) and in 1538 he conveyed it to John Palmer, (fn. 88) who in 1540 sold it to the Crown. (fn. 89)
In 1604 the manor was granted to Charles Howard, earl of Nottingham, (fn. 90) but it was afterwards resumed by the Crown and granted in 1607 or earlier to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury. (fn. 91) In 1610 he sold it to George Salter and John Williams of London, who in 1614 sold it to William Garway (fn. 92) (d. 1625), from whom it descended in the direct line through Sir Henry, lord mayor of London (d. 1646), to William, M.P. for Chichester and Arundel (d.s.p. 1701). (fn. 93) After the successive deaths in 1702 of William's two childless nephews Henry Norris and Sir William Norris, Bt., the estate passed by remainder to Christ's Hospital, London, (fn. 94) which owned virtually the entire parish in 1835 (fn. 95) and c. 1,485 a. in Ford and Climping in 1860. (fn. 96) In 1914 the hospital's lands in Ford were conveyed to the Dennis Estates Ltd., (fn. 97) but in 1916 they passed to Norman Hague, who was succeeded by his son Reginald. (fn. 98) Part of the land was compulsorily purchased by the Air Ministry for the enlargement of Ford airfield in 1937, but after its return in the 1960s Reginald's son Peter still owned much of the parish in 1991. (fn. 99)
Before 1273 (fn. 100) the Bohuns built a substantial house on a raised squarish plot west of the church which was called the court garden in the early 17th century. (fn. 101) Foundations were discovered there in 1818 during the building of the canal, and indeterminate earthworks were still visible in the 1980s. (fn. 102) A garden or gardens were mentioned in 1284 and later, (fn. 103) but although once surrounded by ditches (fn. 104) the house is unlikely to have been moated as has been claimed. (fn. 105) It had been demolished by 1608. (fn. 106) Caen stone seen in 1900 and later at Ford Place and in boundary walls nearby (fn. 107) may have come from it.
The brick and flint house called Ford Place, lying ⅓ mile (540 metres) west of the earlier site, belongs to the group of so-called 'Artisan Mannerist' buildings, of City of London connexions. (fn. 108) It was built by William Garway apparently before 1670, when he was taxed on two houses in the parish, one with nine hearths and one with three. (fn. 109) Garway was living at Ford by 1676. (fn. 110) The oldest part of the house, the present southern block, is of two storeys with attics, and has a moulded brick plinth, prominent brick keystones to the windows, a bracketed cornice, and tall chimneys decorated with blind arcading. A wing running northwards from its east end and a single-storeyed extension east of that are almost contemporary. Additions in the angle between the two main ranges were made at two stages in the 18th century, and all the windows were renewed and many of them altered apparently in the mid 19th. (fn. 111) In 1753 there were seven rooms on each floor. (fn. 112) Original panelling, chimneypieces, and a staircase survived in the early 20th century (fn. 113) when the house was let, (fn. 114) but were later removed. In 1952 the building was completely remodelled for division into four dwellings. (fn. 115)
A large garden east of Ford Place was surrounded by walls of brick, knapped flint, and some worked stone which partly survived in 1991. (fn. 116) The house nearby called the Cottage also contains re-used old materials, and includes a dovecot.
The demesne farm of Ford, Climping, and Ilsham manor in 1311 had 189 a. of arable, c. 20 a. of meadow, and at least 11 a. of pasture. Sixteen customers then held 11½ yardlands, owing 1,932 works between Michaelmas and Lammas and an uncertain number during harvest. (fn. 117) The ninth of sheaves was valued at 24 times that of fleeces and lambs in 1341, when flax, hemp, and apples were grown, and cattle, pigs, and geese kept. (fn. 118) Two inhabitants of Ford or Climping had the surname Shepherd in the late 13th century and early 14th. (fn. 119) Oats were raised in 1285. (fn. 120) The medieval arable was presumably at least partly in open fields, as later.
In the 16th and 17th centuries the demesne, including marshland, was leased in various parcels, though there seems generally to have been one chief farm. (fn. 121) There were a single freehold tenant and several copyhold tenants in the same period, some copyholds being described as single yardlands. (fn. 122) Some copyholders held for three lives (fn. 123) and their holdings could be sublet. (fn. 124) In 1608 eleven copyholders held between three and nine tenements each, making holdings of mostly between 11 a. and 30 a. (fn. 125) Open fields mentioned in the period were West field, lying north of the Climping–Yapton road, South field, mentioned from 1540 but described as a new field in 1608, (fn. 126) and possibly Town field. (fn. 127) By 1608 most holdings in West and South fields were in consolidated closes of between 4 a. and 9 a. in area. (fn. 128) Common meadows mentioned then and earlier were the Hose, Hose mead, or Hoslee, and Ford Gore in the west, (fn. 129) and the tenants also had common pasture in Walberton. (fn. 130) Cattle, sheep, and pigs were kept in the 17th century and early 18th, and wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas, tares, vetches, and hemp were grown. The large farm on which 29 cattle, 221 sheep, 34 pigs, and at least 88 a. of crops were recorded in 1631 was evidently a demesne farm; another, similarly large, in 1647, was held with property at Binsted and Littlehampton. (fn. 131)
By the early 18th century (fn. 132) most if not all copyholds had been engrossed into the demesne, on which there were two chief farms of 211 a. and 108 a., perhaps the same as the later Ford Place and Newhouse farms; the latter may have originated in the copyhold called Newhouse in 1540. (fn. 133) During most of the period of Christ's Hospital's ownership of the Ford estate between the early 18th century and the early 20th the demesne farms were let on leases usually of 14 or 21 years. In the late 18th century Ford Place farm had 368 a. and Newhouse farm nearly 200 a.; each remained much the same in size in the mid 19th. Ford Place farm was held by members of the Staker family between 1744 and the early 19th century, and Newhouse farm by the Bonifaces from 1783 and probably earlier. By 1839 the Bonifaces also had Ford Place farm, (fn. 134) and by 1871 the two farms were worked as a single holding of 1,000 a. in Ford and elsewhere, employing 38 men and boys and one woman. (fn. 135) The parish later remained within a single holding. (fn. 136)
The land was said to be in fine condition in 1794, (fn. 137) and in 1853 the two Ford farms were considered the best on Christ Hospital's Sussex estate. (fn. 138) Seventy-two cattle, mostly fatting oxen, were listed in 1801, besides 264 sheep and 77 pigs. (fn. 139) In 1839 the parish had 270 a. of arable and 189 a. of meadow and pasture. The arable was then worked on a four-course rotation of wheat, turnips, barley, and seeds with beans or peas, (fn. 140) and in 1847 on a five-course rotation. (fn. 141) By the 1870s consolidation of closes had resulted in some very large fields. (fn. 142) There was great unrest in the area in 1830, (fn. 143) but in 1884 work was said to be plentiful and wages good. (fn. 144) Between 1916 and c. 1975 cattle were raised, the land on Ford airfield continuing to be farmed, despite flying activity, in 1969. In 1991 the parish was predominantly arable. (fn. 145)
The mill recorded on Ford, Climping, and Ilsham manor in the late 12th century (fn. 146) may have been an early windmill, since there is no obvious site for a water mill in Ford or the northern part of Climping. The manorial windmill of 1284 (fn. 147) and mill of 1542 (fn. 148) may similarly have been in either Ford or Climping parish.
The surname Smith, perhaps indicating the practice of the trade, was recorded in the late 13th century and early 14th. (fn. 149) The high tax assessment levied in 1334 (fn. 150) evidently applied to Climping tithing too. One alien paid the subsidy in 1524. (fn. 151)
The suggestion that Arundel's port once lay at Ford (fn. 152) seems unlikely. Some parishioners, nevertheless, earned part or all of their living from the river. The three men of Ford who were to serve in the navy in 1524 (fn. 153) were presumably mariners, and there were two seamen in 1678. (fn. 154) Mention of a dock in the 18th century (fn. 155) suggests river trade otherwise unrecorded at that date. Two boats were listed in 1801. (fn. 156) A storehouse was depicted at the Ship and Anchor inn in 1813. (fn. 157)
The opening of the canal in 1823 seems to have caused an increase in river traffic. There was a wharf with a warehouse at the Ship and Anchor in 1839, (fn. 158) though during 1836 only two cargoes were handled there. (fn. 159) The site was called Ford quay in the mid 19th century. (fn. 160) A railway siding was constructed apparently in 1850 (fn. 161) and ships of considerable tonnage were said to discharge their cargoes in 1854; (fn. 162) for many years there was a limekiln nearby. (fn. 163) The canal was last used commercially in 1847, (fn. 164) but there were still a barge owner, a sailor, a shipwright, and a ship's carpenter in the parish in 1871. (fn. 165)
Only one or two families in work were supported mostly by non-agricultural pursuits in the early 19th century. (fn. 166) There was a carpenter in 1845, a general dealer in 1851, and a shopkeeper in the 1930s. (fn. 167)
After the closure of Ford airfield in 1959 its northern part was developed from c. 1963 as an industrial estate. (fn. 168) By 1973 two large hangars were being used for the manufacture of concrete blocks, (fn. 169) the site passing later to Francis Parker PLC, and in 1984 to Tarmac Concrete and Tarmac Topblock; in 1990 the premises, which were very large, included Tarmac's regional office for the south of England. (fn. 170) Other construction and engineering firms were nearby in 1985. (fn. 171) In 1991 the Ford airfield industrial estate accommodated c. 28 firms, mostly small, some in converted hangars and others in new workshops. (fn. 172) The former photographic school belonging to the airfield north of the Ford-Yapton road was then occupied by a further six or eight industrial firms. (fn. 173) A new brewery called the Arundel brewery began production on the industrial estate in 1992. (fn. 174)
A marina and club, with an 8-a. camping and caravan site, were opened at the Ship and Anchor inn in 1967 (fn. 175) and remained in 1995. In 1975 a hundred boats could be moored and there was accommodation for 125 campers and 35 holiday caravans. (fn. 176) There was a forge in Ford Lane in 1990.
Ford, Climping, and Ilsham manor had leet jurisdiction by 1279. (fn. 177) There are court rolls or draft court rolls for the years 1540–2, 1547–50, and 1593–1609. (fn. 178) In the 1540s the view and court were held together twice a year, and the court perhaps twice more. The view held the assize of bread and of ale, elected the constable, and heard cases of theft and once of an affray. The court was responsible for recording tenures and managing common land, elected two 'curemen', perhaps haywards, and held pleas of land. Both courts dealt with nuisances. The jurisdiction of the view, besides Climping, included land in Yapton, Tortington, and Binsted. In the 1590s and 1600s only the court was still held, electing a beadle in 1609. A sheriff's tourn was held in 1542. (fn. 179) There was a manor pound in 1566. (fn. 180)
Manorial jurisdiction seems to have ceased after the early 17th century, no further courts being recorded. A tithingman still served for Ford and Climping c. 1822. (fn. 181)
There were apparently two churchwardens between 1548 and 1634, but from 1642 until 1897 or later only one. Members of the Staker family served between 1743 and 1835, and members of the Boniface family in the mid and later 19th century. (fn. 182) There was a single overseer in 1642 (fn. 183) and 1826 (fn. 184) and a surveyor of highways in the 1880s and 90s. (fn. 185)
A church rate was levied in 1621. (fn. 186) In 1799 Ford joined East Preston united parishes, later East Preston union, (fn. 187) afterwards rural district. Thirty parishioners were receiving permanent relief in 1826, and three casual relief. (fn. 188) In 1884 the sole farmer, George Boniface, bore all parish expenses himself. (fn. 189) The parish passed to Chichester rural district in 1933 (fn. 190) and to Arun district in 1974.
Ford church was said to belong to Climping church in the late 12th or early 13th century, (fn. 191) and as late as 1284 was described as a chapel. (fn. 192) In 1178, however, the pope confirmed Climping and Ford churches, as though they were independent churches, to Alménêches abbey (Orne). (fn. 193) When the bishop appropriated Climping to the abbey in 1248 and ordained a vicarage there he reserved his ordinance about Ford, which the abbey had conveyed to him, (fn. 194) and Ford retained an incumbent rector. The living was briefly united with Climping vicarage in 1656 (fn. 195) and in 1875 was united with Yapton vicarage. (fn. 196) Since 1985 it has formed part of the united benefice of Climping and Yapton with Ford, the parishes remaining distinct. (fn. 197)
Alménêches abbey had the right of presentation c. 1200. (fn. 198) After 1248 the bishop presumably collated, as he certainly did from 1397. (fn. 199) On three occasions between 1429 and 1670 the advowson was exercised by the Crown during vacancy, in 1549 by George Goring for a turn, (fn. 200) in 1647 by the House of Lords, (fn. 201) and in 1654 by Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector. (fn. 202) The united benefice of Yapton and Ford remained in the bishop's gift, (fn. 203) and after 1985 two presentations in three to the new united benefice of Climping and Yapton with Ford were to be made by the bishop and the third by the Lord Chancellor. (fn. 204)
The rectory was valued at £5 6s. 8d. in 1291. (fn. 205) Episcopal grants from its endowment to Alménêches abbey (£2 a year from c. 1200) (fn. 206) and to Wyndham hospital in Shermanbury (£1 from 1262) (fn. 207) later lapsed, perhaps before 1341, when the rector had all the tithes as well as a house and land. (fn. 208) By the 1480s the value of the living had fallen below £8 because of flooding, (fn. 209) but in 1535 it was £9 6s. 4d. net. (fn. 210) The rectory was worth £40 in 1656 (fn. 211) but only £27 in 1724; (fn. 212) in 1662 it was leased. (fn. 213) In the early 17th century the glebe was only ¼–½ a. in area. (fn. 214) The rectory house north of the church, (fn. 215) which had been out of repair in 1573, (fn. 216) was burnt down by soldiers during the Civil War (fn. 217) and by 1724 its site, together with the glebe, lay intermixed with demesne land, (fn. 218) Christ's Hospital or its tenant paying the rector £2 rent between the late 18th century and the late 19th. (fn. 219) By c. 1830 the net value of the living had risen to c. £197. (fn. 220) At the commutation of tithes in 1839 the rector was awarded a rent charge of £235 8s. (fn. 221)
A chantry is recorded in the late 14th century. (fn. 222) The incumbent in 1411 was licensed to hold another living, (fn. 223) and it was presumably because of the non-residence of his successors that assistant curates were recorded in the 1540s and 60s. (fn. 224) The rector in 1579 was a licensed preacher and served the cure himself. (fn. 225) Pluralism, however, was the norm between the mid 16th century and the late 18th; (fn. 226) non-residence may have been common before the mid 17th century, (fn. 227) and after the destruction of the rectory house was presumably continuous. Among the additional livings, chiefly local, held by successive rectors Climping vicarage occurred most often. (fn. 228) Many assistant curates were recorded between the later 17th century and the early 19th. (fn. 229) Richard Meggot, appointed in 1654, conformed at the Restoration; (fn. 230) in 1662 he or his successor was a licensed preacher. (fn. 231)
A service with sermon was held every three weeks in 1724, when holy communion was celebrated three times a year with between four and eight communicants. (fn. 232) By 1844 communion was quarterly and by 1884 monthly; at the last named date Sunday morning and afternoon services were held alternately with Yapton. (fn. 233) The average morning congregation in 1851 was 50 and the afternoon one twice that. The rector was then living at his other cure of Littlehampton. (fn. 234) His successor, who was curate of Climping, occupied Climping vicarage. (fn. 235) There were still weekly services c. 1910, (fn. 236) but by 1959 only one a month; (fn. 237) in 1990 services were held monthly in summer and on St. Andrew's day (30 November). (fn. 238)
The church of ST. ANDREW, so called by 1501, (fn. 239) is of flint pebble and brick with stone dressings, and consists of chancel and wide nave with north vestry, south porch, and timber bellcot. (fn. 240) The nave is probably late 11th-century and has two small windows of that date in the north wall, the eastern one much restored. Over the later medieval north doorway is a reset stone with interlace ornament, perhaps from a freestanding cross. (fn. 241) The chancel is early 12th-century and has a plain arch with diaper ornament on the imposts. At that period the floor level, as shown by the basal offset of the chancel arch, was lower. A south aisle was added in the early 13th century, and it was probably at the same time that new windows were put into the north wall of the nave. In the mid 14th century the chancel was lengthened and the present east window put in. By the early 16th century the south aisle had been demolished, perhaps by fire as the surviving west respond of the arcade is reddened; the nave was given a new south wall in which were reset a 14th-century doorway and window. The porch was added at the same time, and the west window and crown-post roof of the nave are probably also contemporary. A steeple was mentioned in 1557. (fn. 242)
In 1637 (fn. 243) the porch was heightened and given a new front of brick surmounted by a shaped gable with segmental pediment. In the earlier 19th century the chancel was shut off from the nave by a screen or doors, (fn. 244) and in 1860 the church was in a very bad state, unfit for divine service and almost dangerous for the congregation to be in. (fn. 245) It was ruthlessly restored c. 1865; (fn. 246) the bellcot seems to have been renewed at that time and by 1900 was painted white, evidently to serve as a landmark to shipping. (fn. 247) The church was further repaired in 1879 and in 1899–1900, when the north vestry was built. (fn. 248) In 1972 it was again in disrepair, (fn. 249) but in 1991 it was well kept.
A rood was mentioned in 1539, (fn. 250) its loft stair being against the north wall. A recess and piscina south of the chancel arch are evidence of an altar there, perhaps belonging to the chantry mentioned above. Several medieval oak benches with fleurde-lis poppy heads survived until the mid 19th century. (fn. 251) The font has a large plain square limestone bowl of possibly 12th-century date. There are fragments of 15th-century wall paintings, including a Last Judgement over the chancel arch and an Agony in the Garden on the south side of the nave. (fn. 252)
One of the two bells was made by Robert Rider (fl. 1351–86) and the other is possibly 17th-century. (fn. 253) Before c. 1865 the belfry was reached from inside the church by a 'pigeon-house' ladder hewn from a tree trunk. (fn. 254) The plate includes a silver cup and paten cover of 1567–8, and a silver flagon and paten of 1694–5. (fn. 255) The registers begin in 1630 but are confused and incomplete before 1758. (fn. 256)
The churchyard is partly bounded by a wall, which was in poor repair in 1991, (fn. 257) and otherwise by a bank and ditch. Already by the late 18th century (fn. 258) access to the church was only by a footpath through the surrounding field, which could be impassable. (fn. 259) Christ's Hospital constructed and maintained the altar tomb in the churchyard, which survived in 1996, of its benefactor William Garway (d. 1701). (fn. 260) There are many memorials in the churchyard to members of the Boniface family. (fn. 261)
Three parishioners who did not receive the sacrament in the 1570s and 1580s (fn. 262) may have been recusants. There were three female recusants in 1628 (fn. 263) and another in the later 17th century. (fn. 264)
The rector was licensed to teach in 1585. (fn. 265)
In 1818 many children went to school in Arundel. (fn. 266) A dame school existed between 1833 and the 1860s with c. 15–20 pupils; it was supported by subscriptions and weekly payments, (fn. 267) Christ's Hospital paying £5 a year by 1852. (fn. 268) After 1871 younger children attended Climping school, (fn. 269) but c. 1970 many went to Yapton; older children then attended schools in Littlehampton and Chichester. (fn. 270)