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 South Stoke, (fn. 1) roughly half of which lies within Arundel park, had 1,279 a. including water in 1881 and 521 ha. (1,287 a.) in 1981. (fn. 2) Its boundaries may perpetuate those of the estate called Stoke in 975; (fn. 3) part of the northern boundary follows what may be a Roman road, (fn. 4) and the entire eastern boundary, except for a small part opposite Burpham village, runs along either the modern or the former course of the river Arun. (fn. 5)
The parish lies mostly on the Upper chalk, (fn. 6) which rises to 400 ft. (122 metres) in the north-west, with fine views of the Arun valley and the coastal plain. 'Redehill', mentioned in 1527, was perhaps near Red Lane, the road from Arundel to Whiteways in Houghton. (fn. 7) Before the later 18th century much of the Chalk land was open sheepwalk. (fn. 8) Two steep-sided dry valleys meet in the south-west; the more westerly, called Pughdean or Pughdean bottom, (fn. 9) contains Swanbourne lake, a former mill pond said in 1595 to be too cold for fish in summer but never to freeze in winter. (fn. 10) On the edge of the higher ground two small areas of valley gravel carry the settlements of South Stoke and Offham, and there is alluvium along the river valley.
The river channel seems to have been much wider in Roman times than in the 20th century, (fn. 11) but later made pronounced meanders. Some land had presumably been reclaimed by 1086, when there were 48 a. of meadow at Offham manor. (fn. 12) Pasture and meadow belonging to Boxgrove priory was flooded c. 1525, (fn. 13) and it may have been as a result that river defences were created or renewed soon afterwards. (fn. 14) The tenants of Offham manor were responsible for repairing the southern section in 1553 and later, (fn. 15) and probably those of South Stoke manor the northern section. Further flooding has been experienced since the early 19th century. (fn. 16) In 1840 the sewers commissioners cut a new shorter channel near South Stoke church, (fn. 17) and c. 1863 the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Co. made a longer cut to avoid the expense of building two swing bridges over the meander at Offham. (fn. 18) The first cut was claimed to have reduced flooding. (fn. 19) Land outside the river defences was in osier beds c. 1840 and apparently at other dates. (fn. 20) Two successive banks were depicted in the north-east corner of the parish in the mid 19th century. (fn. 21) After further floods in the mid 20th the river banks were heightened in 1966 and later. (fn. 22)
A fishery at Offham manor yielded 2s. in 1086, (fn. 23) and there was another at South Stoke manor in 1276–7. (fn. 24) Later they were generally farmed, sometimes with the demesne lands of their respective manors; (fn. 25) in the early 15th century they were held together. (fn. 26) Fishing continued to be carried on in the parish later, (fn. 27) and from the mid 19th century there was good angling at the Black Rabbit inn below Offham. (fn. 28)
The woodland yielding three swine at Offham manor in 1086 (fn. 29) presumably lay in the Weald, where the manor later had outlying lands. (fn. 30) A demesne wood on South Stoke manor mentioned in 1325–6 (fn. 31) and the woods from which both manors received income in the early 15th century (fn. 32) may also have been wealden. Stoke wood or common was depicted in the parish in the early 17th, (fn. 33) but has not been located. The 100 a. of wood at Offham acquired by Arundel priory in the mid 13th century (fn. 34) were probably also within the parish, and may have included Offham hanger north-east of Swanbourne lake. In 1431, however, the master of Arundel college, the priory's successor, was cutting trees at 'Offham wood' without licence. (fn. 35) In 1722 beech and oak in Offham hanger were said to belong to the lord, the copyholders claiming underwood. (fn. 36) The wood was a noted feature of the scenery of the parish from the early 19th century, (fn. 37) but was severely damaged in the great storm of 1987. Heron wood nearby was a breeding place for herons in 1570. (fn. 38) Mill hanger west of Swanbourne lake was mentioned from 1636. (fn. 39)
A rabbit warren called Pughdean warren existed between the 1490s and 1787, when it occupied 27 a. (fn. 40) on the east side of Pughdean bottom; (fn. 41) the many earthworks visible there in the 1830s, including that called Bevis's grave, (fn. 42) seem more likely to be pillow mounds of the warren than prehistoric remains. The lodge mentioned from the early 17th century (fn. 43) lay in the valley. (fn. 44) A warrener was recorded in 1660 and later. (fn. 45) In 1760 the warren was encroaching on the common downs, (fn. 46) but in 1787 the land was bought by the duke of Norfolk and incorporated into the new Arundel park, (fn. 47) the lodge being destroyed.
The new park was inclosed between 1787 and 1789, when it had fences and gates; besides Pughdean warren it included the former South Stoke and Offham common downs. (fn. 48) The site of Dry lodge, a castellated structure in the north part of the parish later destroyed, represents the former northern limit of the park, (fn. 49) but by 1813 the park extended beyond the parish boundary into Houghton. It was further enlarged to the northeast between that date (fn. 50) and 1834. (fn. 51) A stone wall was built to enclose it. (fn. 52) Blue Doors lodge on the park's north-eastern boundary apparently existed by 1843, (fn. 53) and the lodges at Offham and Swanbourne, the latter in Jacobean style, were designed by William Burn in 1850 and 1852 respectively. (fn. 54) Prominent figures of a lion and a horse crown the gatepiers at the Offham entrance. Most of the park's area in the 19th century and later was open grassland diversified by plantations. (fn. 55) There were deer by 1791, (fn. 56) and preserves for pheasants in the south-east part by the 1870s. (fn. 57)
The chief feature of the new park was the lake at Swanbourne, enlarged and landscaped after the 1780s from the existing mill pond. Two islands depicted at the south-east end in 1778 were later reduced in size. (fn. 58) Herons nested there in the earlier 19th century, (fn. 59) and in the later 19th and earlier 20th there were various sorts of waterfowl including swans, with peacocks on shore nearby. (fn. 60) Pleasure boats were for hire by c. 1940, (fn. 61) and in 1989, when the lakeside was a popular place for walks, the Swanbourne lodge was converted into a tea shop. (fn. 62)
There was prehistoric settlement over much of the upland area of the parish, traces of a large field system surviving in the 20th century. (fn. 63) At Shepherd's Garden north-north-west of Swanbourne lake an early Roman villa seems to have succeeded previous occupation, (fn. 64) while Nanny's croft in the extreme north apparently had a Roman settlement with a cemetery. (fn. 65)
The two chief settlements in later centuries were at South Stoke and Offham, each occupying a spur of higher ground which projected into the Arun valley. Mention in 1570 of 'the toft of a tenement' and 'the toft of a cottage' at Offham may indicate the contraction of settlement there. (fn. 66) By 1795 only a few houses remained at each place, (fn. 67) as was still the case in 1991. Other houses in the parish then were the Black Rabbit inn and associated cottages in the south part, and the various lodges of the park. There had been 19 houses in all in 1801 and 24 in 1901. (fn. 68)
Most buildings in the parish are of flint or brick. At nos. 38–9 South Stoke beside the churchyard a flint rubble and brick range probably replaces timber framing; the massive chimneystack at the north end of the building has decorative brickshafts of the early 17th century resting on a base of clunch in large blocks. A house beside the old road from Offham to South Stoke, later rebuilt, incorporates a datestone for 1661. (fn. 69) There are several Norfolk estate cottages of the 19th and 20th centuries. (fn. 70)
Thirteen taxpayers were assessed in 1327 and 1332 (fn. 71) and c. 18 in 1524. (fn. 72) The protestation in 1642 was signed by 28 adult males (fn. 73) and 33 adults were enumerated in the Compton census of 1676. (fn. 74) In 1724 there were 13 families. (fn. 75) From 106 in 1801 the population fluctuated between 99 and 115 until 1871, rising to 133 in 1881 and falling to 65 in 1961. It was 67 in 1981. (fn. 76) South Stoke village had 15 residents in 1966. (fn. 77)
The river Arun was the chief artery of transport in the past, several inhabitants owning a boat in the 17th century. (fn. 78) Only one boat and one barge, however, were recorded in 1801 and none in 1803. (fn. 79)
A putative Roman road along part of the northern boundary is mentioned above, and the site of a possibly Roman ford above South Stoke village was traceable in 1991. (fn. 80) There was a ferry in 1778 at the site of the Black Rabbit inn (fn. 81) and another later between Offham and Peppering in Burpham. (fn. 82) An iron footbridge dated 1843 gives access to the land beyond the cut of 1840 near South Stoke village, and a similar bridge was constructed c. 1860 to link Offham to its meadows. (fn. 83) The suspension footbridge between South Stoke and North Stoke existed by 1876. (fn. 84)
There was also land communication, across low spurs of the chalk, between South Stoke, Offham, and Arundel, and in 1778 downland tracks led to Bury and Madehurst. (fn. 85) The path along the river bank to Houghton existed by 1809. (fn. 86) The South Stoke to Offham road ran 1/8 mile (200 metres) east of the modern road in 1778; (fn. 87) its line was followed by a footpath in 1995. The gradient of the Arundel road southwest of Offham seems to have been artificially reduced by a cutting. When the duke of Norfolk created Arundel new park in the 1780s local opposition prevented him from closing the roads from Arundel via Pughdean bottom to South Stoke and Houghton, (fn. 88) but the Pughdean bottom to South Stoke road and some other downland roads were closed under the inclosure Award of 1809, the rector of South Stoke retaining a right of way for himself or his curate across the park to Whiteways in Houghton. (fn. 89) The duke made another unsuccessful attempt to close the track from Swanbourne mill to Pughdean bottom along the west side of Swanbourne lake in or before 1809, (fn. 90) and his successor in 1850 tried abortively to close both that and the road between Swanbourne and the Black Rabbit. (fn. 91)
The Mid Sussex railway was opened through the parish in 1863. (fn. 92)
The keeper of Pughdean warren is said to have kept a public house there before 1791. (fn. 93) The Black Rabbit inn nearby, whose name alludes to the warren, was recorded, at first as the Black Coney, from the 1780s. (fn. 94) Before the mid 20th century it largely served riverside traffic: first presumably boatmen, and later excursionists from Arundel and Littlehampton, who came in large numbers by 1829 to enjoy various recreations and the view of Arundel castle. (fn. 95) In the 1890s there were dancing, bowls, and croquet, (fn. 96) and about the same time rowing boats were hired out. (fn. 97) Tea gardens were mentioned in 1895. (fn. 98) The inn was enlarged c. 1900 (fn. 99) and again in 1990.
There was a volunteer rifle range at Pughdean bottom from the 1870s. (fn. 100)
A reservoir to supply Arundel with water was built north-east of Swanbourne lake by 1896. (fn. 101) A water tower attached to 'Chapel barn' at South Stoke farm supplied the village before its connexion to the mains in 1960, (fn. 102) while Offham hamlet formerly received water from a reservoir a little uphill on its west side. (fn. 103) Mains electricity reached the parish c. 1950. (fn. 104)
A reserve of the Wildfowl Trust, from 1989 the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, was opened in 1976 on 55 a. leased from the duke of Norfolk between Swanbourne lake and the river. It had 700 duck, geese, and swans of 90 species from all over the world besides native birds, and was partly open to the public then and later. A visitors' centre was opened in 1980. (fn. 105)
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
King Edgar in 975 granted to his kinsman Osweard land at Stoke which from the description of bounds seems likely to represent the later South Stoke and Offham manors. (fn. 106) Wulfnoth, a free man, held four hides at SOUTH STOKE in 1066, and Ernald held the same of earl Roger in 1086. (fn. 107) The manor was later generally held of the rape when not resumed into the earl's demesne. At the division of the d'Aubigny inheritance it was assigned in 1244 to the share of Roger de Somery and his wife. (fn. 108)
Since Robert de Caux was dealing with South Stoke in the early 13th century, members of the same family mentioned locally in the 12th may also have held it: Robert (fl. 1139–40), Hugh, who held three fees of Arundel rape in 1166, and Godfrey (fl. 1180). (fn. 109) Robert (fl. 1205) (fn. 110) in 1207 accepted Hugh de Nevill as mesne tenant between himself and the earl of Arundel, (fn. 111) the agreement being ratified by the next earl in 1222. (fn. 112) Hugh seems in fact to have displaced Robert, since in 1227 he was licensed to lease the manor for ten years to the bishop of Chichester. (fn. 113) He died c. 1234. (fn. 114) His widow Beatrice de Fay had the manor as dower and was still alive in 1241; (fn. 115) in 1242–3, however, three fees in South Stoke and Warningcamp were held by John de Nevill. (fn. 116) John (d. 1246) was succeeded by his son Hugh (d. 1269), whose brother and heir John (fn. 117) (d. c. 1282) was succeeded by his son, another Hugh, (fn. 118) during whose minority Albin de Bevery had the keeping. (fn. 119) The second Hugh came of age in 1298, (fn. 120) settled the manor on his son, also Hugh, in 1323–4, (fn. 121) and had died by 1336. (fn. 122) It is not clear whether Master Thomas de Nevill, who held land in the parish in 1341–2, (fn. 123) was lord of South Stoke, but in 1357–8 Sir John de Nevill sold the manor to Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel (d. 1376). (fn. 124)
Thereafter the manor descended for a time with the rape, (fn. 125) though the gift of it to Arundel college by earl Thomas (d. 1415) could only take effect after the death of Margaret, widow of Roland Lenthall, in 1423; (fn. 126) the college already had rents in the parish. (fn. 127) After the Dissolution South Stoke was granted by the Crown in 1544 to Henry FitzAlan, earl of Arundel (d. 1580), (fn. 128) after which it again descended with the rape until the forfeiture of earl Philip in 1589. (fn. 129) The advowson, which descended with the manor, was exercised by the Crown in that year, (fn. 130) but the manor was sold by earl Philip's trustees William Dix and Richard Cutte in or before 1591 to Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst. (fn. 131)
By 1593 South Stoke had passed to Sir Thomas Palmer and his wife Alice, who conveyed it in that year to Anthony Kempe of Slindon (fn. 132) (d. 1597). Anthony's son and heir (Sir) Garrett (fn. 133) was succeeded by his son and namesake; one or other leased it in 1649 for 21 years to John Caryll and others, (fn. 134) in whose names courts were held in 1650 and 1653. (fn. 135) In 1664 it seems to have been settled on the younger Garrett's son Anthony, (fn. 136) recorded as lord between 1669 and 1710, (fn. 137) who died in 1715. His son and heir, another Anthony, died in 1753, having settled the manor on his daughter Barbara and her husband James Radclyffe, Viscount Kynnaird (fn. 138) (succ. as earl of Newburgh 1755; d. 1786). James's son and heir Anthony (d.s.p. 1814) conveyed to the duke of Norfolk first in 1787 a portion of South Stoke down (fn. 139) and later in 1798 the manor and demesne lands, (fn. 140) which thereafter descended again with the rape, (fn. 141) passing after 1975 to the family of Duke Miles (fl. 1995). (fn. 142) By the mid 19th century virtually the whole parish belonged to the Norfolk estate. (fn. 143) The lordship of the wealden portion of the manor, sometimes called South Stoke in the Weald, meanwhile passed from Anthony Radclyffe, earl of Newburgh (d. 1814), first to his widow Anne (d. 1861) and then to her cousin Col. Charles Leslie of Slindon (d. 1870); (fn. 144) it presumably continued to descend with Slindon.
South Stoke Farmhouse is a large early 19thcentury house of two storeys and five bays, built of brick and flint with a cemented entrance front. (fn. 145) The sloping site accommodates a spacious basement at the rear facing the river. The medieval manor house mentioned in 1386 (fn. 146) seems unlikely to have had such an exposed position and may have lain nearer the church. The elaborately detailed 19th-century Gothic 'Chapel barn' near the house is of two storeys in brick and stone with a fine timber roof.
Alwine, a free man, held OFFHAM, containing four hides, in 1066, and Azo held it of earl Roger in 1086. (fn. 147) The overlordship thereafter descended with that of South Stoke.
Henry II while in possession of Arundel rape granted Hugh Esturmi 2/3 fee in Offham, which was confirmed to him successively by William d'Aubigny, earl of Arundel (d. 1193), and by William's son and namesake. (fn. 148) Hugh still had the land in 1203, (fn. 149) and in 1212, as earlier at South Stoke, Hugh de Nevill intruded himself as mesne tenant. (fn. 150) Richard of Thorney and later Reynold Aguillon also had an interest in the manor at the same period. (fn. 151) Hugh Esturmi was still apparently tenant in 1249, (fn. 152) but mention of a namesake in 1263 and c. 1282 (fn. 153) may be retrospective. Before 1303 William Sturmy made over his interest in Offham to Peter de Champvent and his wife Agnes, Peter being succeeded in that year by his son John. (fn. 154) John de Champvent and Richard de Heghes were said to be lords in 1316. (fn. 155) John held a fee in Offham in 1322, (fn. 156) while Richard de Heghes, who was dealing with land there in 1324–5, (fn. 157) was taxed in the parish in 1327 and 1332. (fn. 158)
In 1345 Offham was settled on Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel (d. 1376), (fn. 159) after which it descended with the rape, generally remaining in demesne. (fn. 160) Margaret Lenthall had a life interest in 1412, (fn. 161) and after her death in 1423 Sir John Cornwall, later Lord Fanhope, and William Ryman had the keeping. (fn. 162) In the later 16th century the demesnes were leased successively to Richard Pellatt (d. 1567) (fn. 163) and Sir Thomas Palmer (fl. 1570). (fn. 164) After the forfeiture of Philip Howard, earl of Arundel, in 1589, courts were held in the name of Queen Elizabeth between 1591 and 1594, (fn. 165) but the manor had evidently been restored to Philip's widow Anne by 1596. (fn. 166) Arthur Onslow had a 60-year lease of it in 1673. (fn. 167)
The medieval manor house at Offham was in disrepair in 1431 (fn. 168) and had been demolished by 1570; (fn. 169) it may have occupied a close west of the hamlet called Court field or Court garden, where remains of a large building are said to have been found in the late 19th century or early 20th. (fn. 170) The present Offham House is of flint, with brick dressings and a datestone, now reset, for 1717. The south front was refenestrated and hung with mathematical tiles in the early 19th century, and the house was remodelled and enlarged in the early 20th in brick and sandstone. Some rooms have 18th-century proportions, but most decoration is late 19th- or 20th-century. Between 1970 and 1982 the building was leased as a Catholic children's home (fn. 171) and in 1993 it was a guest house.
The Knights Hospitaller had lands at Offham by the mid 13th century, (fn. 172) which may have been the same as the ¼ fee which they held of South Stoke in the early 15th. (fn. 173) They were presumably the lands in the parish held of Poling St. John manor in 1737. (fn. 174)
The dean and chapter of Chichester were granted land at Offham in the mid 13th century; (fn. 175) in 1532 and later it was said once to have been three tenements, and in 1595 it comprised 75 a. Before 1789 it had 120 sheep leazes on Offham down. (fn. 176) In 1853 the estate, then 46 a., was conveyed by the dean and chapter to the duke of Norfolk, (fn. 177) afterwards descending with South Stoke.
Other religious houses with lands in the parish were Boxgrove priory, which held 1 a. of meadow of South Stoke manor from the early 13th century, (fn. 178) and Maiden Bradley priory (Wilts.) and St. Mary's hospital, Chichester, which each held 4 a. of meadow of Offham manor by the early 15th. (fn. 179) The hospital's land was sold to the duke of Norfolk in 1900. (fn. 180) Pynham priory in Lyminster had presumably had the land belonging to Calceto manor which was settled on Cardinal Wolsey's college at Oxford in 1526, (fn. 181) and which later descended in the Browne family, viscounts Montague. (fn. 182) Other land in the parish was said in 1622–3 once to have belonged to Tortington priory. (fn. 183)
The estate called Stoke in 975, besides land in the parish, had three wealden outliers called Siblinc hyrst, Trowing sceaddas, and Rocisfald, (fn. 184) apparently represented by lands later held of South Stoke and Offham manors at Wisborough Green and elsewhere. (fn. 185)
In the Middle Ages there were demesne farms belonging to the two manors of the parish, that at South Stoke in 1294 having apparently 133 a. under crops. (fn. 186) After both manors passed to the earls of Arundel in the mid 14th century, the farms served in the late 14th and early 15th as home farms to Arundel castle. (fn. 187) At an unknown date in the early 15th century each was considered able to support 2 farm horses, 9 oxen, 20 cows, and a bull, with 250 wether sheep at South Stoke and 300 at Offham. (fn. 188) By 1413–14, however, the Offham demesnes were at farm, (fn. 189) and from 1436 those of South Stoke as well, (fn. 190) South Stoke manor having passed to Arundel college. There was a flock of 230 sheep on the Offham farm at an unknown date in the later Middle Ages. (fn. 191)
The demesne arable lay next to the settlements of South Stoke and Offham, presumably partly in open fields, though no reference to open-field agriculture has been found before the mid 16th century. (fn. 192) The South Stoke demesne farm had 70 a. of arable and the Offham farm 60 a. in the early 15th century, the latter being more valuable. (fn. 193)
There was demesne meadow and brookland pasture in the Arun valley, lying in the meanders of the river near the two settlements; in the south end of the parish was other demesne meadow which descended with Arundel castle. (fn. 194) In 1086 South Stoke manor had 24 a. and Offham 48 a., (fn. 195) and in 1386 there were 40 a. on each manor. (fn. 196) Besides that belonging to the demesne farms, small pieces of meadow were held by tenants of both manors in the early 15th century. (fn. 197) Because of the high quality of the land other pieces were granted to landowners outside the parish, notably religious houses. (fn. 198)
There was also demesne upland pasture on the downs. The 200 a. and 100 a. of pasture at South Stoke and Offham manors respectively in the early 15th century (fn. 199) were probably chiefly there. A demesne sheepfold was mentioned at South Stoke in 1276–7. (fn. 200)
Common meadow apparently also existed from the 13th century, (fn. 201) and common downland was mentioned at Offham from 1386; (fn. 202) in 1431 the lord of South Stoke was pasturing sheep there illegally. (fn. 203)
Medieval tenants of the two manors presumably held strips in any open fields that existed, and had common pasture rights. Ten villani and 4 cottars were recorded on South Stoke manor in 1086, and 8 villani, 5 cottars, and 5 servi on Offham manor. (fn. 204) Fixed rents at South Stoke brought in £11 in 1386 and £8 in the early 15th century, and at Offham £6 and £7 13s. at the same two dates. (fn. 205) In the early 15th century free and customary tenants at South Stoke had estates mostly between 4 a. and 20 a. or described as one or two yardlands; a much larger estate of 100 a. was Lowfold farm in Wisborough Green. At Offham at the same date freehold estates were mostly of less than 10 a. Rents were in money or in kind. Some labour services remained on both manors in the early 15th century. (fn. 206) In 1372 female neifs could only marry by licence. (fn. 207) In the 15th century tenements of Offham could be sublet. (fn. 208)
Arable predominated over pasture in the Middle Ages to judge from the fact that the ninth of sheaves in 1340 brought in four times as much as those of fleeces and lambs. (fn. 209) Wheat, barley, oats, peas, beans, and vetch were grown in the late 13th (fn. 210) and the 14th century. (fn. 211) Other crops mentioned at the same period were apples, flax, and hemp. Geese, doves, and pigs were kept in 1340. (fn. 212)
Between the 16th century and the 18th the two demesne farms were apparently always let, (fn. 213) Offham manor farm in the mid 17th century and perhaps earlier to members of the Sowton family. (fn. 214) Offham farm in 1570 included 160 a. of pasture and rough ground and 28 a. of meadow, (fn. 215) and in 1778 had 314 a.; (fn. 216) South Stoke manor farm had 298 a. in 1797. (fn. 217) Twenty-one-year leases were mentioned in 1539, 1570, and 1778. (fn. 218) Other demesne land was leased in small parcels by 1589. (fn. 219)
Both manors had free and copyhold (fn. 220) tenements between the 16th century and the 18th, some copyholders holding for three lives. (fn. 221) Besides land in the parish, there were tenements of South Stoke in Wisborough Green, (fn. 222) Madehurst, (fn. 223) Rudgwick, and Fittleworth, (fn. 224) and of Offham in Burpham, (fn. 225) Kirdford, (fn. 226) Wisborough Green, (fn. 227) Billingshurst, (fn. 228) and 'the Manwood', evidently Manhood hundred south of Chichester. (fn. 229) Holdings on Offham manor lying within the parish were generally of less than 10 a. in 1570, (fn. 230) but by the 18th century tenants of South Stoke manor in the parish and in Madehurst had amassed composite estates of between 22 a. and 80 a. (fn. 231) Copyholds could be sublet on both manors, (fn. 232) and widow's bench obtained at Offham in 1527. (fn. 233) By 1650 there were only 6 free tenants at South Stoke and 8 customary tenants, 5 of whom were in Wisborough Green; (fn. 234) in 1696 Offham manor had 7 free and 6 or 8 customary tenants. (fn. 235) The rectory estate had tenants as well in 1553. (fn. 236) From the late 18th century the smaller holdings of the parish were being vigorously engrossed by the duke of Norfolk. (fn. 237)
Middle field was mentioned in 1548. (fn. 238) In 1553 the demesne farmer and tenants of Offham manor decided to inclose the open fields there, (fn. 239) but their wish was evidently frustrated since several open fields and furlongs remained in the early 17th century, including Stony furlong and Bury furlong, and East, Townsend, Milne, and Wall fields. Milne field presumably lay near the probable windmill site on the downs in Arundel parish, and Wall field may have been reclaimed land by the river embankment. One copyhold tenement in 1614 comprised land in six fields or furlongs. (fn. 240) There was perhaps an open field called South laine at South Stoke at the same period. (fn. 241) Hilland or Highland field south-west of Offham hamlet, mentioned from 1674, was still in strips belonging to different owners in 1778, (fn. 242) at least one of which survived until 1808. (fn. 243) The fields had all been inclosed, by engrossing or by agreement between owners, before c. 1840. (fn. 244)
Small parcels of several meadow continued to be held of Offham manor in 1605 (fn. 245) and a Poling farmer may have been leasing meadow in South Stoke in 1566. (fn. 246) In 1636 the 64 a. of several pasture belonging to Arundel castle in the south part of the parish was let, mostly in small parcels but two larger amounts of 14 a. and 24 a. to John and Thomas Sowton respectively. (fn. 247)
Much pasture and meadow continued to be commonable in the same period. North mead at Offham was at least partly inclosed c. 1520 by John Sowton, (fn. 248) perhaps the demesne farmer. (fn. 249) In 1553 the farmer and tenants decided to inclose various brooks and meads, (fn. 250) but as with the open fields clearly abortively. Various common meadows or brooks are recorded later both there (fn. 251) and at South Stoke, (fn. 252) subject to rights of pasture for cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs; (fn. 253) in the early 17th century the season was from May to September. (fn. 254) One piece of brookland was apparently intercommonable between Offham and Burpham manors. (fn. 255)
In 1778 Offham common mead comprised strips of between ¼ a. and 5 a. belonging to c. 8 landowners, including the lord of the manor. On Offham cow pasture of 50 a. at the same date the duke of Norfolk as lord had 35 leazes and four tenants between 2 and 12. (fn. 256) The dukes thereafter acquired further leazes with the estates to which they belonged. (fn. 257) The remaining mowing rights, including those of the rector and the vicar of Madehurst, were extinguished in 1809 under an inclosure Act of 1799. (fn. 258)
On South Stoke manor down in 1650 the demesne farmer had 480 sheep leazes, various tenants 60 or 120, and the rector 60. (fn. 259) On Offham manor down in 1570 the farmer and the tenants each had 300 leazes. (fn. 260) By the mid 18th century the farmer's entitlement at Offham had been reduced to 200 leazes and some tenants had as few as 10; (fn. 261) in 1789 the dean and chapter of Chichester had 120. (fn. 262) Offham down comprised 168 a. in 1778. (fn. 263) Presentments for overstocking the common downs in 1617, (fn. 264) and an order of 1598 for the South Stoke manor flock to cease trespassing on the Offham downland, (fn. 265) may indicate pressure on a scarce resource. Fences erected on the downs were ordered to be removed in 1617 (fn. 266) and later. (fn. 267) After 1787 the duke of Norfolk began to engross pasture rights with the tenements to which they belonged, (fn. 268) and in 1787 he bought the freehold of part of South Stoke down, of 172 a., from the earl of Newburgh. (fn. 269) All pasture rights on the downs had been extinguished by 1809. (fn. 270)
Barley, wheat, oats, peas, rye, and tares were grown in the 17th and 18th centuries. Flocks of between 137 and 237 sheep were recorded at the same period, presumably on the demesne farms, and cattle and pigs were widely kept. In 1776 what was evidently South Stoke farm had 371 sheep, 40 cattle, and 35 pigs. (fn. 271)
During the 19th century and most of the 20th the parish continued to have two large tenanted farms. (fn. 272) Between c. 1840 and c. 1910 South Stoke farm had c. 250 a. and Offham farm 150–200 a. (fn. 273) but from 1980 or earlier the two farms were held as a single holding of c. 500 a. (fn. 274) The chief occupation in the parish in the 19th century and earlier 20th was that of agricultural labourer on the Norfolk estate. (fn. 275)
Pasture was more important than arable during the same period. In 1843 there were 173 a. of arable and 911 a. of grass including 527 a. within the deer park. (fn. 276) Five hundred and sixty-five sheep had been kept in 1801, besides 99 cattle and 67 pigs; comparable numbers in 1803 were 656, 85, and 79. (fn. 277) In 1819 the meadows of the Arun valley were described as very luxuriant as a result of their occasional inundation. (fn. 278) Some closes in the brooks were amalgamated between the 1830s and 1870s. (fn. 279) About 1840 part of the duke of Norfolk's meadow land was let to three farmers, two of whom apparently resided outside the parish, in parcels of 28 a., 38 a., and 50 a. (fn. 280) Four hundred and sixty-two acres of wheat were returned in 1875, 102 a. of oats, 30 a. of barley, and small acreages of turnips and swedes and other crops. Permanent grassland then totalled 819 a., 265 sheep, 131 cattle, and 22 pigs being listed. (fn. 281)
By 1909 the acreage of arable had declined to c. 130 a. as against 36 a. of rotation grass and 839 a. of permanent grass. (fn. 282) Watercress was grown in beds east of Swanbourne lake between 1896 and the 1930s. (fn. 283) In 1980 the chief farm of the parish practised mixed farming, with arable, dairying, and beef raising. (fn. 284) In 1990, when the dairy unit was at Offham, the lack of upland pasture caused by the creation of the new Arundel park was compensated for by the tenant's keeping a 300-ewe flock in Wales for folding on the land at South Stoke. (fn. 285)
A tinker of Pughdean bottom was accused of coining money in 1573. (fn. 288) Tradesmen recorded in the early 17th century were a bricklayer and a basket maker. (fn. 289) A chalk pit at Offham was worked from 1724 or earlier until some time in the 20th century, (fn. 290) the river being used for transport. (fn. 291) Only between one and three families in the parish lived predominantly by non-agricultural occupations in the early 19th century. (fn. 292) There were charcoal burners in Arundel park by Swanbourne lake in the early 20th. (fn. 293)
A court at South Stoke manor is referred to from the later 13th century. (fn. 294) There are court rolls or draft court rolls for the years 1371–2, 1448–55, 1572, 1578, 1591, (fn. 295) 1650–3, 1663–82, and 1701–1899. (fn. 296) In 1578 courts were possibly being held every three weeks, (fn. 297) but later seldom more than annually: in the later 17th century and mid 18th the frequency was between twice and five times a decade, and thereafter usually less. Business was transacted out of court from 1724 and the last court was held in 1889. In later times business consisted entirely of conveyancing and monitoring the common pastures, but courts of 1371–2, held jointly for South Stoke and Offham, heard a plea of detinue and another concerning land. (fn. 298) After 1807 the only transactions recorded concerned outlying holdings of the manor in the Weald. There was a reeve in 1276–7, (fn. 299) a tithingman in 1536 and later, (fn. 300) and a bailiff in 1889. (fn. 301)
A separate court for Offham manor is recorded from the early 15th century; (fn. 302) there are court rolls or draft court rolls for the years 1431, 1457–65, 1526–7, various years between 1542 and 1605, (fn. 303) and the years 1614–18 and 1672–1844. (fn. 304) Three courts a year were held in 1413–14 (fn. 305) and up to three in the 16th and early 17th centuries, but the frequency was less after 1672: c. 10 times a decade at first, falling to between three and five times by the late 18th century. Only three courts were held in the 19th century, the last in 1844. Business was transacted out of court from 1728. In 1542 one court was held at Poling. (fn. 306) The business dealt with was the recording of changes in tenure, the regulation of common pasture, oversight of the repair of houses, roads, fences, and ditches, and of the maintenance of river defences. (fn. 307) There was a reeve in 1372 and 1599. (fn. 308) Two officers later called curemen (fn. 309) were elected from 1596 to oversee the common brooks; (fn. 310) the hayward elected from 1602 may have had the same office under another name. (fn. 311)
Two churchwardens were recorded between 1560 and the mid 17th century but between 1681 and 1897 there was generally only one. (fn. 312) In 1884 no parishioner was eligible for the office. (fn. 313) There were two churchwardens again by 1917. (fn. 314) A single overseer was recorded in 1642 (fn. 315) and a surveyor of highways in the 19th century. (fn. 316) There was a paid parish clerk in 1662. (fn. 317)
A parish pest house at Pughdean bottom is recorded c. 1800. (fn. 318) In the mid 1820s 15 parishioners were receiving relief. (fn. 319) The parish remained independent for poor-law purposes until 1869, when it was included in East Preston union. From East Preston rural district it passed in 1933 to Worthing rural district (fn. 320) and in 1974 to Arun district.
There was a church in 1086. (fn. 321) It was always a rectory. (fn. 322) In 1929 the living was united with those of Arundel and Tortington as the united benefice of Arundel with South Stoke and Tortington, the parishes remaining distinct. (fn. 323)
The advowson seems always to have descended with the manor before the mid 18th century. (fn. 324) The Crown presented during forfeiture in 1397. (fn. 325) Sir Thomas Palmer presented for a turn in 1563, John Lumley, Lord Lumley, in 1566, Arundel corporation in 1615, and Charles Elstob in 1706. (fn. 326) A Mr. Aylward of Chichester was said to be patron in 1724. (fn. 327) Anthony Kempe (d. 1753) sold the advowson in 1731 to Daniel Gittins (d. by 1743), whose son and namesake was rector 1733–61; in 1761 it was exercised by the latter's executors Susanna and Anne Dawtrey. In the same year Robert Drewitt of Houghton sold it to William Fitzwilliam, Earl Fitzwilliam, (fn. 328) from whom it passed to the family's tutor, Thomas Carter, then rector of South Stoke. (fn. 329) In 1768 Carter sold it to Thomas Lear of Angmering, who sold it in 1783 to Charles Howard, earl of Surrey, later duke of Norfolk. (fn. 330) William Keppel, earl of Albemarle, presented because of recusancy in 1832, and the University of Oxford in 1856 and 1893. (fn. 331) From the union of benefices in 1929 the duke of Norfolk was to have one presentation in three. (fn. 332)
The rectory was valued at £5 in 1291, (fn. 333) and was worth £8 or less in 1440 (fn. 334) and £11 15s. 10d. net in 1535. (fn. 335) It was at farm between 1560 and c. 1570. (fn. 336) Meanwhile the demesne tithes of Offham had been granted by Aseio, apparently the Domesday tenant Azo, to the abbey of Troarn (Calvados); in a confirmation of 1233 an exception was made for the small tithes of land formerly of Reynold Aguillon. In 1263, when the portion belonged to the abbey's English priory of Bruton (Som.), it was defined as the great tithes only of the demesnes of Hugh Sturmi and others and of their tenants, the rector paying the priory 2s. a year for the small tithes. (fn. 337) The priory retained the portion evidently until the Dissolution, (fn. 338) after which it was granted by the Crown in 1544 to Thomas Bowyer and his wife Joan. (fn. 339) Later members of the Bowyer family had lands in the parish, (fn. 340) and c. 1640 the rector is said to have paid Sir Thomas Bowyer £1 12s. a year. (fn. 341) By the mid 19th century, however, the rector owned all the tithes. (fn. 342)
In 1616 the rectory estate included a house, an orchard, 8 a. of arable, 15 a. of meadow and pasture, and a piece of woodland. (fn. 343) The real value of the living in 1724 was said to be £50. (fn. 344) The old timber-framed rectory house was demolished in 1737, a new one being built on roughly the same site c. 1742; (fn. 345) it is an L-shaped building in flint with brick dressings, of two storeys with attics. Original fittings include a fine staircase and panelling in one room. The building was repaired c. 1800. (fn. 346) The angle between the wings was filled in and a bay window was added to the east front in the mid 19th century, and a porch was built and the attic storey added in the 20th. The rector's mowing rights in the common meadows were exchanged for 4 a. of land under the inclosure Award of 1809, (fn. 347) and after the sale of part of the glebe to redeem land tax before 1819 (fn. 348) there were 17 a. in all in different parts of the parish. (fn. 349) The average net income of the living was £162 c. 1830. (fn. 350) At the commutation of tithes in 1843 the rector was awarded a tithe rent charge of £223. (fn. 351) The income was claimed in 1917 to be insufficient to meet expenses. (fn. 352) After the union of benefices the rectory house was sold to the duke of Norfolk in 1931; it was later leased. (fn. 353)
The rector resided in 1440, (fn. 354) and a successor in 1483 was licensed to hold two benefices. (fn. 355) Occasional assistant curates are recorded in the mid 16th century, two of whom were also called reader. (fn. 356) In the 1570s sermons were preached by neighbouring clergy at least four times a year, the rector, though resident, not being licensed to preach. (fn. 357) Henry Staples, minister by 1653, was ejected in 1662 for Nonconformity. (fn. 358) Between the mid 17th century and the early 19th rectors were often pluralists and sometimes non-resident, (fn. 359) serving through curates, (fn. 360) two of whom in the early 19th century had stipends of £25 and £50. (fn. 361) In 1761 the incumbent lived at Arundel. (fn. 362) There was a weekly service with sermon in 1724, and holy communion three times a year. (fn. 363)
Between 1799 and 1803 the living was held by James Dallaway, the duke of Norfolk's secretary and historian of Sussex. (fn. 364) His successor William Wilton, rector 1804–9, was an Evangelical preacher who drew Congregationalists from Arundel to hear him. (fn. 365) Attendances on Census Sunday 1851 were 30 in the morning and 32 in the afternoon besides Sunday schoolchildren. (fn. 366) Meanwhile the frequency of communion increased from eight times a year in 1844 to c. 10 times in 1884 and weekly in 1898. In the later 19th century the strong Roman Catholic influence of the duke of Norfolk was felt by successive rectors as a great hindrance. (fn. 367) The last incumbent of the separate benefice also held North Stoke, (fn. 368) and there were alternate morning and evening Sunday services at the two churches in 1922. (fn. 369) By 1963 services at South Stoke were only monthly. (fn. 370) In 1990 there were two services a month and an annual summer ecumenical service to which many came from Arundel by boat. (fn. 371)
The church of ST. LEONARD (fn. 372) consists of chancel and nave with south porch and slim west tower. Though much renewed in the mid 19th century, it retains its spacious late 11thor 12th-century proportions, with an original lancet and external rendering in the north wall, and plain north and south doorways, the former blocked. The west wall was rebuilt to include the tower in the 13th century; the tower is flanked by two lancets, which make a striking composition on the inner west wall of the nave. (fn. 373) The stone-vaulted porch, lavish for so small a building, is 14th-century, and the crown-post roof of the nave is late medieval. At the thorough mid 19th-century restoration (fn. 374) the former weatherboarded cap of the tower (fn. 375) was replaced by a tall shingled spire, the chancel was refenestrated in 13th-century style and given a new crown-post roof, and the chancel arch and the windows in the south wall of the nave were renewed.
The single bell was made by Bryan Eldridge in 1657. (fn. 376) There is no pre-19th-century plate, (fn. 377) and there seem never to have been any monuments of importance. (fn. 378) A medieval altar slab was said to survive in 1907. (fn. 379)
The registers begin in 1553 and are apparently defective for three periods between the 16th and 18th centuries. (fn. 380)
Three Dissenters were listed in 1676 (fn. 381) and one recusant family between 1724 and 1767. (fn. 382) There were Catholics again in the parish in the later 19th century; in 1898, when there were four Catholic families, one of the two farmers was Catholic and the other a Scottish Presbyterian. (fn. 383)
A Sunday school held in the church in 1846–7 was attended by 12 boys and 14 girls; it was supported by subscriptions and had a paid assistant mistress. (fn. 384) In the later 19th and 20th centuries younger children have gone to school in Arundel, and by the 1960s older children went to Littlehampton. (fn. 385)