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 Tortington, site of a medieval Augustinian priory, lies on the west bank of the river Arun south of Arundel town. (fn. 1) The ancient parish had 1,116 a., but in 1902 the north-east corner (c. 85 a.) was added to Arundel parish and borough, together with a strip of waste land on the north side of the Chichester-Arundel road including the White Swan public house; (fn. 2) part of the former land was already built up, and most of the rest of it was developed later. (fn. 3) In 1933 Tortington acquired the whole of Binsted, making a total of 2,136 a. (864 ha.), (fn. 4) but in 1985 the enlarged parish was divided up, portions being added to Arundel, Ford, Slindon, and Walberton. (fn. 5) The present article deals with the ancient parish except that some aspects of the history of the north-east quarter before 1902 are treated under Arundel. (fn. 6)
The ancient parish was roughly triangular in shape, with the apex in the south. The land slopes gently from north to south, and towards the valleys of the river Arun and of a tributary stream in the east and west respectively. Most of the parish lies on brickearth, with clay and gravels in the north-east and north-west corners and alluvium in the valleys. (fn. 7)
The valley land since its inning from the river estuary has generally been pasture and meadow. (fn. 8) In the mid 16th century the lord of the manor built a bank to defend part at least of the common brook from the river, (fn. 9) and in 1606 riverside land belonging to the Priory estate had defensive banks to north and south as well as east. (fn. 10) Land outside the banks, called slipes, was used as saltmarsh pasture. (fn. 11) By the late 18th century the river was embanked throughout the parish. (fn. 12) There were occasional floods in the mid 19th century (fn. 13) and later until the banks were heightened in the 1960s. (fn. 14)
A duck decoy in the south-west was recorded apparently from 1666. (fn. 15)
The north-east corner of the parish lay within Arundel Great park in the Middle Ages, (fn. 16) and in 1331 was described as a park called the Rooks. (fn. 17) In the 1660s Rooks wood of c. 160 a. was said to lie three quarters in Tortington and a quarter in Arundel; most was underwood and bushes where cattle and horses were pastured in summer, but the lessee after 1663 cut much wood and timber and divided the land into closes. (fn. 18) By the early 18th century only 40-60 a. remained woods, (fn. 19) the rest having been converted to agriculture. (fn. 20) There was a large pond beside the boundary with Arundel in the early 19th century. (fn. 21)
The north-west part of the parish was common heathland apparently by 1468, (fn. 22) with a gate called Heathgate (fn. 23) or Knowles gate on its south side. The lord of the manor had been inclosing land there before 1606. (fn. 24) The land was called Tortington common by 1581. (fn. 25) By 1706 it was woodland, (fn. 26) as it continued to be in 1990; by c. 1840 it was coppiced, together with the remains of Rooks wood. (fn. 27) At the latter date there were 232 a. of woodland in the parish, including 221 a. at Tortington common. (fn. 28) In 1852 the woods of the parish were well stocked with game. (fn. 29) The southern portion of Tortington common in the 1980s was chiefly old deciduous woodland and the northern part mixed deciduous with conifers. (fn. 30) In 1990, like the neighbouring part of Binsted, Tortington common felt surprisingly remote, considering its nearness to Arundel and to the Chichester-Arundel road.
Roman pottery and tiles have been found in a close south of the priory (fn. 31) and a medieval moated site further south-east. (fn. 32) Other medieval settlement perhaps lay chiefly near the priory or the church and manor house. (fn. 33) Subsidiary settlement in the west part, including Knowles farm, (fn. 34) apparently represents assarts from Tortington common. (fn. 35) There were only nine houses in 1801, 14 in 1831, 20 in 1851, and 29 in 1871. (fn. 36) A pair of cottages dated 1846 by Ford station in the southern tip of the parish were evidently built by the railway company, (fn. 37) and there are many Norfolk estate cottages of the late 19th century and early 20th. A caravan site near the station had both permanent and temporary residences in 1991. (fn. 38)
Medieval and early 16th-century population figures for Tortington are subsumed in those for Binsted. (fn. 39) Nineteen adult males signed the protestation in 1642 (fn. 40) and in 1676 thirty inhabitants were listed in the Compton census. (fn. 41) There were nine families in 1724. (fn. 42) In 1801 the population was 68, rising to 88 in 1821 and, after a fall, to 452 in 1901. The reduced area of the parish excluding the partly urban north-east corner had 132 inhabitants in 1901 and 152 in 1931, and the enlarged area including Binsted had 259 in 1931, rising to 294 in 1951, 617 in 1961, and 945 in 1981. (fn. 43)
A route across the north end of the parish south of the modern Chichester-Arundel road apparently existed in Roman times (fn. 44) and was still used in the 17th and 18th centuries. (fn. 45) In 1990 it survived as a track. Priory Road represents what was presumably the first part of the medieval road from Arundel, which originally continued to the priory and thence to the church and manor house. (fn. 46) Its northern section had ceased to be used by 1795, (fn. 47) when another road to Tortington, first noted in 1778, led south from the Chichester-Arundel road near the site of the White Swan public house. The section of road between the priory and the church was diverted westwards in the early 19th century to give privacy to the grounds of Tortington House. (fn. 48) A southwards continuation of the road from Tortington church to Ford was mentioned in 1573, (fn. 49) apparently fording the Binsted brook. (fn. 50) It ceased to be used apparently by the late 18th century and certainly by 1847. (fn. 51) The modern north-south road through the parish was made in 1846 by the railway company to link Arundel with what was then its station. (fn. 52) Until the road was taken over by the county council in 1937 (fn. 53) a toll was levied at the level crossing by the station to pay for upkeep. (fn. 54) Other roads in the parish were various paths leading towards the river depicted in 1778, (fn. 55) and a road from the site of the White Swan public house to Binsted.
The railway line from Lyminster to Chichester was opened through the parish in 1846 with a station in the south corner to serve Arundel; at first called Arundel, it was renamed Ford Junction after the opening of the lines to Littlehampton and Arundel in 1863, and was later known simply as Ford. (fn. 56) Because of the need for ships to reach the port at Arundel, the railway crossed the river by what was described as 'a drawbridge on the telescopic principle', originally of wood, and carrying only one track. It was replaced in 1862 by a double-track bridge of iron, also of 'telescopic' construction, which could accommodate heavier traffic. A fixed bridge was built when the line was electrified in 1938. (fn. 57) The station was closed to goods traffic in 1962. (fn. 58)
In spite of the parish's long river frontage there were no barges, boats, or boatmen in 1801, (fn. 59) but after the opening of the railway a wharf south-east of the station, accessible by a siding, was leased to the railway company for 99 years from 1850. (fn. 60) There was a landing stage on the river further north opposite the church in 1896. (fn. 61)
A building on the site of the White Swan beside the Chichester-Arundel road existed in 1724, (fn. 62) and was a public house by 1772 when it was known as the Mile house. (fn. 63) That name continued to be used in the 20th century (fn. 64) though the inn was the Swan by the 1840s (fn. 65) and the White Swan between the 1880s (fn. 66) and the 1980s. Members of the Jupp family were publicans for over 75 years, farming land nearby in the later 19th century. (fn. 67) The building was greatly enlarged after 1964, (fn. 68) and in 1991 was the Arundel Resort hotel. The tall, bargeboarded Arundel Arms inn, built beside Ford station to serve rail travellers, existed by 1847; (fn. 69) in 1852, when it was also called the hotel or the Railway inn, it had pleasure grounds including a bowling green, (fn. 70) and in the 1880s, when horses and carriages could be hired there, the publican was also a wine and spirit merchant. (fn. 71)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
The manor of TORTINGTON, then four hides, was held in 1066 by Leofwine, a free man, and in 1086 of earl Roger by Ernucion. (fn. 74) The overlordship descended with the rape, passing at the division of the d'Aubigny inheritance in 1243 to Robert Tattershall, (fn. 75) but being resumed by 1454. (fn. 76)
Pharamus de Tracy had land in Tortington in 1216, (fn. 77) and his son Roger was described as lord of Tortington in 1234-5. (fn. 78) John de Tracy conveyed the manor in 1279 to William of Bracklesham, dean of Chichester, (fn. 79) who gave it in 1295 to Ellis de Cheyney; (fn. 80) John's widow Margery claimed dower in 1297. (fn. 81) The manor was later generally known as TORTINGTON CHEYNEYS. Ellis de Cheyney was assessed at the highest tax payment in Tortington, Binsted, and Madehurst in 1296; (fn. 82) he held a fee there in 1316 and perhaps in 1322 (fn. 83) but had apparently died by 1327, (fn. 84) and his son William was succeeded before 1341-2 by his own son, also William (fn. 85) (d. by 1363). Ellis's widow Joan had dower in 1346-7 (fn. 86) and was still alive in 1351, when she made over her interest to Eleanor FitzAlan, countess of Arundel. (fn. 87)
In 1373 Ralph de Restwold quitclaimed the manor to Richard FitzAlan, earl of Arundel (d. 1376), (fn. 88) his son William making over his interest in 1373-4. (fn. 89) Thereafter the manor remained in demesne (fn. 90) until it passed, under the will of Thomas FitzAlan, earl of Arundel (d. 1415), and subject to the life interest of his widow Beatrice (d. 1439), to Holy Trinity hospital at Arundel, (fn. 91) which held it until the Dissolution. (fn. 92)
In 1546 the Crown granted the manor to Sir Richard Lee; (fn. 93) he and his wife Margaret conveyed it in 1547 to Henry FitzAlan, earl of Arundel, (fn. 94) who together with John Lumley, Lord Lumley, sold it in 1567 to John Apsley. (fn. 95) A court was held in the name of Ann, widow of Henry's son Henry FitzAlan, Lord Maltravers (d. 1556), in 1574, (fn. 96) but John Apsley had the estate in 1573 and 1574, (fn. 97) in 1583 John Browne was said to be lord of the manor, (fn. 98) and in 1587 he and John Apsley conveyed it to Roger Gratwicke. (fn. 99) At Roger's death without issue in 1596 the manor passed to his cousin (Sir) William Gratwicke of East Malling (Kent) (fn. 100) (d. 1613), whose son William (fn. 101) (d. in or after 1651) (fn. 102) was succeeded in turn by his sons William (d.s.p. 1666) and Francis (d.s.p. 1670), (fn. 103) Francis's heir being his nephew Oliver Weekes (d. 1689). (fn. 104) Oliver's son Carew Weekes, M.P. for Arundel, (fn. 105) and his wife Catherine sold the manor in 1706 to William Leeves of Arundel. (fn. 106) At William's death in 1710 (fn. 107) the lordship passed to his eldest son Robert (d. 1743), who was succeeded by his son, also Robert (d.s.p. 1744). In 1790 the younger Robert's brothers-in-law and heirs Robert Edwards, Robert Lamport, and Henry Johnson conveyed Tortington to the duke of Norfolk, (fn. 108) after which it again descended with the rape. (fn. 109)
The demesne lands of the manor were separated from the lordship in 1710, passing successively to William Leeves's younger sons William (d. 1717 × 1724) and Richard (d. 1738), Richard's son and heir William (d. 1764) being succeeded by his son William Mill Leeves (d. 1788). (fn. 110) In 1738 there were c. 400 a. in Tortington besides land in Binsted. (fn. 111) After the death of William Mill Leeves's widow Elizabeth in 1809 the estate passed to his cousin William Fowler, who took the surname Leeves and died in 1837. (fn. 112) By 1819 it comprised 1,054 a. (fn. 113) William Leeves's son and heir William sold it in 1839 to the banker John Smith of Dale Park in Madehurst (d. by 1842), whose son John Abel Smith, with James Hamilton, marquess of Abercorn, and others conveyed it in 1853 to Joseph M. Montefiore. (fn. 114) He and the duke of Norfolk were the two chief landowners in the parish in 1870. (fn. 115) After the duke's purchase of the Tortington estate, then comprising 965 a., in 1879, virtually all the parish belonged to the Norfolk estate (fn. 116) except for 30 a. in the south-west which, however, were acquired from the Slindon estate in 1907. (fn. 117) The trustees of the late Bernard, duke of Norfolk, retained woodland in the north and north-west in 1995, but most of the agricultural land had been sold by then to the Luckin family, previously tenants. (fn. 118)
The original manor house, called Manor Farm in 1990, is a substantial 17th-century building of red brick incorporating parts of a 16th-century house, notably the windows with hoodmoulds on the north façade. Behind the modern porch on the south façade is an 18th-century-style Portland stone pilastered door surround. Adjacent freestanding walls have diaper brickwork and a depressed-arched opening of 16th-century character, and a stone with the inscription RG/1590 for Roger Gratwicke. Another stone reading 1659 G/WM, for William Gratwicke and his wife, was recorded in the later 18th century when the building had become a farmhouse. (fn. 119) Several fragments of medieval stonework evidently from the priory survive both in the house and in its outbuildings. In 1666 the building had a hall, kitchen, great and little parlours, and at least 10 chambers, besides extensive outbuildings. (fn. 120) The house has been altered at various later dates, notably in the early 19th century. The walled garden to the north is apparently 18th-century. (fn. 121)
A new house, later called Tortington House, (fn. 122) was built shortly before 1699. (fn. 123) It is presumably represented by the lower range with attic dormers depicted in 1782 behind a grander two-storeyed north-facing range of five bays with a central pediment, which was perhaps built in 1739. (fn. 124) The north range survived in 1988, but the south range was replaced in the early 19th century; (fn. 125) at the same time the interior was remodelled and extensively refitted. Either then or a little later a service block was added to the west, and further remodelling of the ground floor, partly in Gothic style, and of the staircase took place in the later 19th century. (fn. 126) In 1921 there were 19 bedrooms. (fn. 127) After having various occupiers in the 19th century and early 20th, (fn. 128) the house was converted into a Catholic girls' boarding school called Tortington Park school in 1922; in the mid 1960s before closure in 1969 there were c. 200 pupils. (fn. 129) Extensive additions were made for the school in the 1920s and 30s. (fn. 130) Since 1971 the building has been used as the English campus of New England College at Henniker (New Hampshire), with c. 200-270 students. (fn. 131)
North-west of the house were late 18th-century stables round three sides of a courtyard, which was entered through a tall archway; (fn. 132) much of the block survived in 1988 though converted to other uses.
Pleasure grounds north and north-east of the house had been laid out by 1813, the road between Priory Farm and the church being afterwards diverted to the west. They were replaced by a new layout on the south side, including a pond, before 1840. Two other ornamental ponds existed further west by the same date; (fn. 133) they survived in 1852 (fn. 134) but had been filled in by the 1870s. (fn. 135) In the early 19th century the house was approached from the north by way of a pair of flint-and-brick lodges on the Chichester-Arundel road that survived in 1991. (fn. 136) An alternative, eastern, approach, which by 1876 (fn. 137) had become the main one, was provided after the construction of Ford Road in 1846. (fn. 138) A nine-hole golf course was laid out in the grounds after 1922. (fn. 139)
The Tortington priory estate, called a manor in 1380, (fn. 140) was the later PRIORY FARM. In the early 16th century it comprised 160 a. of demesne besides tenants' lands. (fn. 141) At the Dissolution it was granted in tail male to the priory's last lessee Henry FitzAlan, Lord Maltravers (d. 1556), (fn. 142) but before 1582 it was resumed by the Crown, being leased in that year to Philip Howard, earl of Arundel. (fn. 143) After his attainder in 1589 it was leased successively by the Crown to Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, in 1590, (fn. 144) and to George, John, and Francis Holmden for three lives in 1594. (fn. 145) In 1600 it was granted to Sir John Spencer, lord mayor of London (d. 1610), passing to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband William Compton, earl of Northampton (d. 1630). (fn. 146) In 1606 the estate was reckoned at 284 a. including common land, (fn. 147) and in 1669 it had 193 a. (fn. 148) William's son and heir Spencer sold it in 1633 to William Thomas of Westdean near Seaford (fn. 149) (d. 1640), from whose son and heir William it passed c. 1654 to his son Francis. (fn. 150) Sir William Thomas, Bt. (d. 1706), had it in 1669 (fn. 151) and conveyed it in 1698 to Richard Scrase. After Scrase's sale of it in 1714 or 1715 to William Leeves (fn. 152) it descended with the demesne lands of Tortington manor. (fn. 153)
The house called Tortington Priory House (fn. 154) had an east-west range with a cross wing at the east end. It apparently included part of the medieval priory buildings, since an outbuilding depicted in 1606 at its south-east corner (fn. 155) is presumably represented by the barn which survived in 1995, (fn. 156) containing remains of the mid 13th-century church: part of the north wall of the nave, including two wall-shafts and a section of the vault with traces of windows; part of the west wall of the nave; and the west wall of the north transept. In 1656 the house had a hall, three ground-floor rooms, and four chambers with garrets, (fn. 157) and in 1707 there were a parlour, a kitchen, and offices, with chambers above. (fn. 158) The house had evidently been demolished by 1782, (fn. 159) perhaps as a result of the amalgamation of the manor and priory estates.
A building including ashlar masonry depicted to the south in 1782 (fn. 160) may also have been part of the priory. Many pieces of worked stone, including fragments of columns, survived in farm buildings nearby in 1909. (fn. 161) The monastic fishponds east, south, and north-west of the priory site remained in 1990. (fn. 162)
The modern Priory Farm is a brick-and-tile building of c. 1900 in revived vernacular style. In the 1930s it was a school for abnormal boys. (fn. 163)
Land in the north-east corner of the parish which descended with the rape in demesne (fn. 164) evidently included the hide of Tortington manor which earl Roger took for his new park at Arundel between 1067 and 1086. (fn. 165) In the mid 14th century the earl of Arundel acquired other land in the area from Tortington priory. (fn. 166) In 1661 the duke of Norfolk had Rooks wood (147 a.) and other land, (fn. 167) and in 1819 the ducal estate comprised 208 a. in all. (fn. 168) Arundel town council acquired 44 a. as building land in 1902. (fn. 169)
Boxgrove priory had 3½ a. of meadow at Tortington from c. 1216. (fn. 170) Land granted to Arundel priory in the early 13th century (fn. 171) and in 1353 (fn. 172) perhaps passed to its successor Arundel college, which also acquired other land in the parish. (fn. 173) The dean and chapter of Chichester had 2 a. in the west part from 1566; (fn. 174) in 1876, apparently, they passed to the tenant J. M. Montefiore. (fn. 175)
The demesne farm of Tortington manor had two ploughs in 1086, when 6 villani and 2 cottars were recorded there. (fn. 176) In the early 15th century there were 135 a. of arable, 52 a. of meadow, and 100 a. of pasture on the demesne farm, which could support 2 farm horses, a bull, 18 oxen, 24 cows, and 300 wether sheep. (fn. 177) Fixed rents of tenants of the manor then brought in £3 12s.; there were 14 tenants, most with holdings of between 1 a. and 10 a. (fn. 178) The demesne was let by 1430. (fn. 179) The other chief estate at the same period was that belonging to the priory.
Arable farming was more important than pastoral in the Middle Ages, to judge from the fact that in 1340 the ninth of sheaves was valued at more than eight times those of fleeces and lambs together. (fn. 180) Wheat, barley, peas, and vetch were grown in the late 14th century. (fn. 181) An open field was mentioned in 1470, when cattle and sheep could be put on the stubble between harvest and All Saints' day (1 November). (fn. 182) Other crops grown in 1340 were apples, flax, and hemp. (fn. 183)
The 30 a. of meadow mentioned on Tortington manor in 1086 (fn. 184) apparently lay in the Arun valley, where Boxgrove priory had 3½ a. of meadow from c. 1216. (fn. 185) Arundel priory was confirmed in 19½ a. of pasture in Summer leaze in Tortington, perhaps in the river valley, in 1234-5. (fn. 186) There was much less meadow in the parish, however, than in other riverside parishes nearby. Common meadow evidently existed as well as several. (fn. 187) Common pasture on the heath, evidently what was later Tortington common in the north-west, was mentioned in 1470, when sheep could be put there after All Saints' day. (fn. 188)
Between the 16th and 18th centuries there were tenants of Tortington manor, of the priory estate, of the dean and chapter of Chichester, and of various manors outside the parish: Yapton Coverts in Yapton, (fn. 189) Wick in Lyminster, (fn. 190) Binsted, (fn. 191) and Oldbury and Seabeach in Boxgrove. (fn. 192) Copyholds of Tortington paid heriots in kind in the 1550s, when some were held for lives; (fn. 193) there were tenements of the manor in other parishes as well as in Tortington. (fn. 194) The priory estate had copyhold and apparently freehold tenements of up to 8 a. in 1536-7, (fn. 195) but by 1608 all its lands within the parish had evidently been subsumed into the demesne farm, the many freehold, copyhold, and leasehold tenements then all lying in other parishes. (fn. 196) A tenement of the dean and chapter of Chichester was held for three lives. (fn. 197) By the end of the 18th century no manor tenants remained. (fn. 198)
The manorial demesnes were leased in 1532 for 70 years. (fn. 199) Those of the priory were in hand in the early 16th century (fn. 200) but later were apparently usually leased. (fn. 201) Priory farm had 160 a. in the early 16th century (fn. 202) and 197 a. in 1606, (fn. 203) but in 1656 the land was let in two parcels, that including the farmhouse to Thomas Sowton, perhaps of South Stoke. (fn. 204) In 1754 the two chief farms in the parish besides Manor and Priory farms were Knowles farm in the west and Rooks farm in the north-east corner. (fn. 205)
Plural open fields were mentioned in the mid 16th century. (fn. 206) The close called East field, surrounded in 1606 by demesne land of Tortington manor, (fn. 207) was perhaps part of a former open field. Since no later references to open fields have been found others may also have been inclosed by the same date. Closes were combined into larger units on Priory farm by 1606 (fn. 208) and on Manor farm by 1706. (fn. 209) Most of Rooks wood was converted to agriculture between the 1660s and the early 18th century. (fn. 210) Crops grown between the 16th and 18th centuries were wheat, barley, oats, and beans. (fn. 211) Manor farm had an orchard in 1706, (fn. 212) and hops were grown in the north-west corner of the parish in or before 1724. (fn. 213)
Common brookland was being inclosed c. 1550, (fn. 214) and no later reference to common meadow or brookland has been found, though Priory farm in 1606 had the first cut of 5 a. of meadow called Trendle mead belonging to Manor farm. (fn. 215) The owner of an estate of two yardlands held of the priory in 1537 probably exercised his pasture rights, viz. 300 sheep leazes and pannage for 13 pigs, (fn. 216) on Tortington common, the heathland in the north-west. In 1606, when the common comprised 174 a., Tortington manor and the Priory estate each claimed half. (fn. 217) Part was then apparently still commonable, but the southern end had already been inclosed by the lord of the manor. (fn. 218) The whole common was woodland, apparently in severalty, by 1706. (fn. 219)
Marshland in the Arun valley was held severally in 1606 by the earl of Arundel, the lord of Tortington manor, and the Priory estate. (fn. 220) The earl had 66 a. of several meadow and pasture in 1570, all let to one tenant, (fn. 221) and 20-23 a. of meadow in 1636; (fn. 222) Priory farm had 53 a. of meadow in 1606. (fn. 223) In 1706 Manor farm was said to have over 200 a. of meadow and pasture including saltmarsh outside the river defences. (fn. 224) The tenants of Tortington manor additionally claimed common pasture for pigs in the Rewell in Arundel in 1571. (fn. 225) Pasture in the parish was apparently used for overnight grazing before Arundel fair in 1625. (fn. 226) Flocks of between 66 and 173 sheep were recorded between 1644 and 1755; Priory farm had 142 in 1707. (fn. 227)
Between the early 19th century and the early 20th Manor and Priory farms remained the two chief farms in the parish; Manor farm had 380-405 a. and Priory farm between 214 and 265 a. (fn. 228) Sixteen other occupiers were listed in 1875 and seven in 1909; all the latter had less than 50 a. (fn. 229) Since c. 1910 the two chief farms have been held together, from c. 1930 by members of the Luckin family, who later bought the land from the duke of Norfolk. (fn. 230) In 1956 the united holding had c. 700 a. (fn. 231) and in 1988, when the area was roughly the same, it extended from the river Arun to Binsted, with the railway as its southern boundary. (fn. 232)
Corn crops were said to be abundant in 1801, when wheat (62 a.), barley (33 a.), oats (29 a.), peas (7 a.), and turnips or rape (11 a.) were named. (fn. 233) Two closes of former saltmarsh had been converted to arable by 1842, (fn. 234) but the area of arable remained small between the mid 19th century and the earlier 20th: 247 a. in 1841, 252 in 1875, and 182 a. in 1909, as against totals of meadow and pasture at the same dates of 524 a., 492 a., and 505 a. (fn. 235) Besides the crops mentioned, beans and mangolds were listed in 1875 and vetches or tares in 1909. (fn. 236) There was a withy bed south-west of Tortington House c. 1840. (fn. 237) Totals of livestock listed in the parish were 122 cattle, predominantly fatting oxen, 160 sheep, and 18 pigs in 1801, (fn. 238) 270 cattle, 475 sheep, and 75 pigs in 1875, and 200 cattle, 426 sheep, and 63 pigs in 1909. (fn. 239) Meadow was described as very rich in 1852. (fn. 240) In 1934 there was a dairy farm supplying Dare's dairy in Arundel. (fn. 241) Mixed farming was practised in 1956. (fn. 242)
Trade And Industry.
A miller of Tortington was recorded c. 1262. (fn. 243) Other parishioners in non-agricultural occupations before 1800 were a smith in 1248, (fn. 244) a brewer and a mariner in the 16th century, (fn. 245) and a tailor in 1625. (fn. 246) No other examples of river-based trades are recorded. In 1821 and 1831 two families out of 13 were supported chiefly by trade or manufacture. (fn. 247)
The chief non-agricultural activity before the 19th century was brickmaking. A bricklayer, i.e. brickmaker, was recorded in 1620, (fn. 248) and other brickmakers in 1665 (fn. 249) and 1711. (fn. 250) There was a brick kiln in the north-west corner of the parish by 1724; (fn. 251) later the site was a little to the east. Between c. 1840 and 1852 the farmer of Priory farm worked it; (fn. 252) in the latter year a considerable trade was said to be carried on, the bricks being claimed as the best in the county. (fn. 253) Between 1855 and 1879 the brickyard was held with the Swan inn nearby, and between 1895 and c. 1910 by the builder Arthur Burrell of Arundel. (fn. 254)
The site later occupied by the firm of Penfolds in Ford Road in the north-east corner of the parish was already in industrial use in 1808, when a freestanding horse gin stood there. (fn. 255) About 1840 it was occupied as sawpits (fn. 256) and by 1852 the firm of George Lashmar and Co., seed crushers, had it, using part of the premises as an oil mill. (fn. 257) After Lashmar's business closed in 1856 (fn. 258) two other firms of seed crushers succeeded it before 1866. (fn. 259) The later history of the site is given elsewhere. (fn. 260)
A corn store was built north of Ford railway station in the south end of the parish c. 1890. (fn. 261) Two successive firms of corn merchants had it between 1895 and 1930. (fn. 262) A coal merchant's premises were nearby in 1895. (fn. 263) In 1990 a small industrial estate occupied the site.
There was a gamekeeper at Tortington House in 1895 (fn. 264) and pheasants were reared in the woods of Tortington common in the 20th century. (fn. 265) Riding stables existed at Tortington House in the 1930s (fn. 266) and there was an 'equine centre' in 1990. An arboretum in the north-west corner which also flourished in 1990 had been founded c. 1965. (fn. 267)
There are court rolls or draft court rolls of Tortington manor for the years 1362, 1448 × 1455, 1468-72, 1551, 1553, (fn. 268) and 1574. (fn. 269) At least two courts a year were held in 1362. (fn. 270) In 1470 the court regulated common pasture. (fn. 271) Courts had ceased to be held by 1776, (fn. 272) but a tithingman still served in 1822. (fn. 273) The priory also had a court for its tenants in 1535. (fn. 274)
Churchwardens are recorded from 1524. (fn. 275) There seem usually to have been two before 1642, (fn. 276) but between 1662 and 1890 there was only one. (fn. 277) A church rate was levied in 1625-6 (fn. 278) and from 1785. (fn. 279)
A single overseer was recorded in 1642 (fn. 280) and between 1746 and 1789. Between 1746 and the 1830s methods of poor relief included weekly pay, the payment of rent, apprenticing, and the provision of clothing and medical care. Parish work in spinning was carried on in 1787. (fn. 281) Seven persons were receiving permanent relief in 1826. (fn. 282)
Between 1795 and 1832 a member of the Newland family served in most years as the single surveyor of highways. (fn. 283)
The parish joined East Preston united parishes (later East Preston union, afterwards rural district) in 1799. (fn. 284) In 1933 it passed to Chichester rural district (fn. 285) and in 1974 to Arun district.
The living was a rectory by c. 1150 (fn. 286) and had passed by 1380 to Tortington priory. (fn. 287) A vicarage was ordained before 1291 (fn. 288) but was resumed by the priory in 1400; thereafter the prior could appoint or remove clergy at will. (fn. 289) After the Dissolution the benefice became a perpetual curacy. The incumbent was described as a chaplain in 1551, (fn. 290) and two early 17th-century successors were deacons licensed to serve the parish. (fn. 291) Most incumbents at that period, however, were loosely called vicars, and the benefice was often referred to as a vicarage. (fn. 292) In 1657 it was briefly united with Arundel vicarage. (fn. 293) From 1897 it was held in plurality with Arundel, (fn. 294) and in 1929 South Stoke was added, to form the united benefice of Arundel with South Stoke and Tortington, the parishes remaining distinct. (fn. 295) The church was declared redundant in 1978. (fn. 296)
The advowson of the rectory was apparently conveyed in 1214 by Pharamus de Tracy to William d'Aubigny, earl of Arundel. (fn. 297) By 1389 the advowson of the vicarage belonged to Tortington priory. (fn. 298) After the Dissolution the right to present clergy descended with Tortington manor at least between 1547 and 1596, (fn. 299) in 1605, and apparently continuously from 1661. (fn. 300) In 1579, however, the earl of Arundel was said to be patron. (fn. 301) There were other anomalies: the presentation in 1583 was made by 'letters of donation', (fn. 302) and incumbents presented by the lord of the manor in 1605 and 1661 were afterwards presented again by the Crown. The Crown also exercised the advowson in 1611 and 1614, and Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector in 1655. (fn. 303)
Sir William Morley of Halnaker in Boxgrove presented for a turn in 1676, and between 1747 and 1767 the advowson was exercised by Samuel Leeves, a relative of the lords of the manor. (fn. 304) During the recusancy of Bernard Edward, duke of Norfolk (d. 1842), Francis Lovel presented in 1817 and William Keppel, earl of Albemarle, in 1833. (fn. 305) The advowson was bought in 1896 for transfer to the bishop of Chichester in 1897. (fn. 306) After 1929 the bishop made two appointments in three to the new united benefice. (fn. 307)
The vicarage was valued at £4 6s. 8d. in 1291 (fn. 308) and at less than five marks (£3 6s. 8d.) by 1400. (fn. 309) In 1341 the vicar had a corrody in the priory for himself and a servant. (fn. 310) In the later 15th century and early 16th the living was worth less than £8. (fn. 311) After the Dissolution the incumbent had neither a permanent endowment nor a house, (fn. 312) but he seems instead always to have enjoyed the rectory estate, including all the tithes of the parish except those of Priory farm. (fn. 313) That estate, sometimes loosely described as the vicarage, was sublet in the 1610s and the 1660s. (fn. 314) Besides Priory farm, Rooks wood was claimed to be tithe free in 1722, (fn. 315) and all the woods of the parish were tithe free in 1819. (fn. 316) Tithe-free land c. 1840 totalled 409 a., including parts of Manor farm (73 a.) and Priory farm (114 a.), besides woodland (224 a.). (fn. 317) The living was worth £30 in 1657 (fn. 318) and c. £40 in 1724; (fn. 319) in the late 18th century tithe compositions brought in £117, (fn. 320) and average net income was £158 c. 1830. (fn. 321) At the commutation of tithes in 1841 the vicar received £175 tithe rent charge. (fn. 322) The owner of the manor demesnes had been responsible for chancel repair in 1724, (fn. 323) but by 1844 that duty had devolved on the vicar as a condition of his lease of the rectory estate. (fn. 324)
The vicar in 1521 also held Binsted. (fn. 325) There was a chantry in the church in the mid 16th century. (fn. 326) Curates mentioned between 1545 and 1581 (fn. 327) may have been serving the benefice in lieu of an incumbent, since the only incumbent known to have been appointed at the time was the vicar of Arundel, who served 1576-9. (fn. 328) Adam Page, incumbent 1614-43, also held Middleton, (fn. 329) and may have lived there since assistant curates were recorded in 1625 and later. (fn. 330) One parishioner at least attended Yapton church in 1622. (fn. 331)
The vicar in 1662 resided constantly despite having other benefices and was licensed to preach. (fn. 332) Three 18th-century incumbents held other cures, but one of them, Nicholas Lester (1709-46), (fn. 333) was claimed never to have missed either his Sunday services or his parochial duties, and always to have lived in great harmony with his parishioners. (fn. 334) In 1724 communion was celebrated four times a year, with 6-10 communicants. (fn. 335) Two assistant curates served successively the years 1753-80, (fn. 336) presumably in the absence of the incumbent, but a third succeeded as vicar in 1794. (fn. 337) There was more non-residence in the early 19th century, (fn. 338) the curate licensed in 1829 having a stipend of £50 and living in Arundel. (fn. 339)
The frequency of communion increased between 1844 and 1865 to seven times a year, and by 1884 to monthly. (fn. 340) In 1851 there were alternate morning and afternoon services on successive Sundays with average congregations of 25-45. (fn. 341) Vicars lived in Arundel from 1866. (fn. 342) About 1890 it was proposed to enlarge the church because of increasing population, (fn. 343) and the churchyard was extended in 1894. (fn. 344) Alternate morning and afternoon services were still held in 1897, and weekly services in 1915. (fn. 345) Summer visitors from Arundel and elsewhere often attended in the early 20th century. (fn. 346) After becoming redundant in 1978 the church was used only for festivals. (fn. 347)
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALENE, (fn. 348) of flint and chalk rubble with stone dressings, consists of chancel with north vestry and nave with south aisle, vestigial south porch, and timber bellcot. The chancel and nave are 12th-century, surviving features including deep-splayed windows and the striking chancel arch and reset south doorway, with rich chevron work and beakhead ornament. (fn. 349) The nave crown-post roof is medieval. A south aisle was constructed in the 13th century, the Norman doorway evidently being moved outwards; when the aisle was destroyed, at some time before the 1780s, the doorway was moved back and the two-bayed aisle arcade blocked up. (fn. 350) A recess at the east end of the south external wall of the chancel was evidently once internal, indicating the presence of a chapel there, perhaps the Lady chapel mentioned in 1500. (fn. 351) A porch existed in 1546 (fn. 352) and there was also a lead-covered steeple. (fn. 353)
The chancel arch was reconstructed in 1750, a dropped keystone being put in; (fn. 354) it was perhaps about that time that the chancel was ceiled, the result being described in 1776 as very neat. (fn. 355) It is not clear if the timber south porch depicted in the 1780s (fn. 356) was that of 1546. The bellcot existed by the 1780s, (fn. 357) and was later painted white like that of Ford church, presumably to serve as a landmark for river traffic. (fn. 358) A general restoration was carried out in 1867, when a new south aisle was built, the 13th-century arcade being uncovered and re-used, and the south doorway being again moved outwards. (fn. 359) The vestry was added in 1892 (fn. 360) and the bellcot reconstructed in 1904. (fn. 361)
The circular Caen stone font, of the 12th century, is richly decorated with a cable moulding and arcading with foliage. (fn. 362) A single late medieval bench remained in the south aisle in 1990. There were two bells in 1724; (fn. 363) one, possibly of the mid 16th century, survived in 1936, when the second was of 1873. (fn. 364) The pulpit is early 17th-century. The plate includes a silver communion cup of 1635. (fn. 365) There are monuments to successive lords of the manor: Roger Gratwicke (d. 1596), and members of the Leeves family. The registers begin in 1560 and are apparently incomplete for much of the 17th century. (fn. 366)
Three Roman Catholics were recorded in the 1620s, including the lord of the manor William Gratwicke. (fn. 367) A single Catholic family was listed in 1742. (fn. 368) A Catholic chapel consecrated at Tortington Park school in 1948 was also used by local people until 1958 or later. (fn. 369)
Some parishioners in the mid 17th century belonged to the Arundel Quaker meeting, two at least refusing to attend Tortington church. (fn. 370)
Since the early 19th century children from the parish have gone to school in Arundel, Madehurst, or Littlehampton. (fn. 374)