A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1, Bramber Rape (Southern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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THE PARISH of Findon, famous in the county for its sheep fair and for race-horse training, straddles the wind-gap in the South Downs north of Worthing. (fn. 1) The ancient parish consisted of 4,370 a. The south part, comprising 379 a., was transferred to Worthing borough in 1933, (fn. 2) and was later largely built over. Despite its modern name Findon Valley, it belonged more to Worthing than to Findon in 1977, and its history since 1933 is therefore treated with Worthing. In 1971 Findon contained 3,991 a. (1,615 ha.). (fn. 3)
Findon ancient parish is roughly 3 miles across in each direction, but its boundary is much indented. In the north it follows a presumably ancient track for some way, and in the south-east it runs round the outer earthwork of Cissbury Ring. (fn. 4) The parish lies entirely on the chalk, overlaid in some places by later deposits. (fn. 5) The landscape is dissected by dry valleys, of which the central wind-gap is the chief. It contains the lowest land in the parish, rising from c. 100 ft. in the south to c. 250 ft. in the north; in the west the downs reach 500 ft. in height, and in the east over 600 ft. Most of the other dry valleys, or coombes, debouch into the central one; three of the more prominent are Valiers Bottom in the north-east, a coombe in the south-west formerly called Palmer's Coombe, which contains the modern Roger's farm, and one in the west known as Long Furlong, which continues into Clapham. (fn. 6) Water was formerly supplied by ponds, all dry in 1977, and by numerous wells, some of great depth. (fn. 7)
Land use is divided between arable and pasture; much of the downland was formerly open sheepwalk, of which the only relic in 1977 was Nepcote Green, the site of the sheep fair. The parish remained chiefly agricultural in 1977, despite the great expansion of the village during the previous century. Only about 125 a. of woods were recorded c. 1839, (fn. 8) and the proportion of woodland in the parish remained very small in 1977.
Park-land, however, has always been an important element in the landscape since the Middle Ages. Findon Park belonging to Findon manor, in the east of the parish, existed by 1229 when the abbot of Fécamp unsuccessfully claimed the right to hunt there. (fn. 9) William de Braose in 1279 claimed the immemorial right of free warren in Findon, and was confirmed in it in 1281. (fn. 10) Mesne tenants of Bramber barony, however, had the right to hunt in the park on Shrove Tuesday. (fn. 11) Parkers were recorded in the parish in 1285-6 (fn. 12) and in the 15th century. (fn. 13) In 1326, when the park comprised 160 a., there was also a rabbit warren, (fn. 14) and the tithe of rabbits and game and of pasture in the park were mentioned in 1341. (fn. 15) A lodge, perhaps the forerunner of Findon Park farm-house, was mentioned in 1581. (fn. 16) The park was still being managed as a park in 1631, when it was let on a 20-year lease, (fn. 17) but it was afterwards turned over to agriculture. In 1977 its roughly oval boundary was followed by bridlepaths, and much of the containing bank survived, especially on the north-west side. (fn. 18)
The three other parks of the parish are of much later creation. Emparking was apparently in progress at Findon Place in the early 18th century, (fn. 19) and by 1795 the park there had attained about twothirds of its later area. (fn. 20) In 1823 the public carriageroad through it was closed, (fn. 21) and by c. 1839 it had reached its greatest size, which it retained for a century. (fn. 22) In 1938 the eastern part was cut off by the construction of the village bypass, (fn. 23) and by 1977 most of the rest of the park had been turned over to agriculture. At Muntham park, north-west of the village, Lord Montague laid out plantations (fn. 24) and apparently fishponds (fn. 25) in the mid 18th century. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries much work was done on both pleasure grounds and park, (fn. 26) a new approach to the house being made from the London-Worthing road to replace that from the downs. (fn. 27) Fountains were installed between 1835 and 1839. (fn. 28) Muntham park also attained its greatest size in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (fn. 29) After the sale of the estate in 1958 it was split up, part being acquired by Worthing corporation, which opened a municipal crematorium there in 1968. (fn. 30) In 1977 much of the park had been disparked, and the surviving plantations were in decay. Cissbury park, south-east of the village, was laid out between 1808 and 1839, (fn. 31) and was enlarged on the east side before 1875. (fn. 32) It remained parkland in 1977.
The most important road in the parish in the Middle Ages and later was the east-west road through the downs between Lewes and Chichester. (fn. 33) It had two alternative courses through Findon. The more southerly road led past the manor-house and church; it was mentioned in 1635, (fn. 34) and called Church Lane in 1709, (fn. 35) but later lapsed, and was closed as a carriage-road in 1823. (fn. 36) The other road, further north, is represented by the modern Nepcote Lane and School Hill. It was described as the road from Bramber to Arundel in 1656 (fn. 37) and as Lewes Lane in 1782, (fn. 38) and remained a major route during the 18th century. (fn. 39) Both roads form hollow-ways as they traverse the village. The north-south road through Findon, of which the southern part leading to Broadwater and West Tarring was mentioned in the 15th century, (fn. 40) was much less important than the east-west road before the 19th century, but after it was made a turnpike road as part of the London-Worthing road in 1804, (fn. 41) the relative importance of the two was reversed. (fn. 42) After 1823 a branch turnpike road was made from Tolmare pond in Findon through Clapham and Patching to Littlehampton, and the westward continuation of the old downland road to Chichester via Michelgrove in Clapham was closed as a carriage-road. The cutting near Tolmare pond evidently dates from that period. (fn. 43) At the same time a toll-gate was built on the main road south of the village to replace the one near the Teville pond in Worthing. (fn. 44) Both the main road and the branch were disturnpiked in 1878; (fn. 45) the toll-house, a small weatherboarded building, survived until 1963. (fn. 46) Plans of 1866-7 for a direct London-Worthing railway line through Findon were abortive. (fn. 47) With the growth of motoring in the early 20th century, however, traffic on the London-Worthing road increased so much that a village bypass became necessary; it was opened, on the west side of the village, in 1938. (fn. 48) By 1970 the part of the London-Worthing road north of the village was a dual carriage-way. (fn. 49) A carrier's van plied between Worthing and Findon in 1886, and a bus service following the same route was started in 1904. (fn. 50)
The village of Findon lies in the centre of the parish. Its original site was evidently near the church and manor-house, where a number of tracks formerly converged; (fn. 51) the vicarage house and vicarial glebe lay north of the church in the early 17th century; earthworks were recorded in the same area in 1477 and 1615, (fn. 52) and what may have been boundaries between closes are revealed by air photographs. (fn. 53) The centre of the modern village is the Square, formed by the crossing of the two main roads. The shops on its east side occupy a 16th- or 17th-century building, and Greypoint House on its south side is a late-18th-century building, with a garden wing of c. 1830 to the east. Findon Farmhouse to the north was a working farm in the 19th century. (fn. 54) Most of the older buildings of the village are of flint or brick, with some rendering. Holmcroft, south of the Square, is an early-19th-century villa. After the north-south road through the village was made a turnpike the number of buildings in the parish greatly increased. (fn. 55) The village grew more slowly after c. 1850, though some new houses were built at that period, including Hermit Terrace, named after a Derby winner. (fn. 56) In the early 20th century many semidetached villas were built, (fn. 57) and further development in the 1920s and 1930s included council houses north of the village, and private estates to the south-west. (fn. 58) The village grew more rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, after the sale of the Greypoint, Holmcroft, and Findon farm estates. (fn. 59) The centre of the village was then largely filled up with houses and bungalows, both singly and in estates, the extent of the development being disguised by the retention of old trees, hedges, banks, and walls.
Outlying settlements have always existed in the parish besides the main village. Prehistoric and Romano-British settlement was widespread on the downs, and settlement continued south and west of Muntham House during the Middle Ages. (fn. 60) Other sites of medieval settlement in the Middle Ages were at Heregrave in the north-east part of the parish, (fn. 61) Sheepcombe in the south, (fn. 62) and perhaps Palmer's Coombe in the south-west. (fn. 63) The pattern of outlying farms remained in 1977.
Two hamlets which also survived in 1977 had existed for some time, having probably originated in the colonization of roadside waste. North End, c. ½ mile north of the village on the Washington road, was mentioned c. 1485. (fn. 64) There were 3 or 4 buildings there in the 18th century, (fn. 65) and 6 or 7 in 1875. (fn. 66) Part of the hamlet was destroyed by roadwidening in 1938. (fn. 67) The surviving buildings are of the 18th and 19th centuries, except for Ivy Cottage which is 17th-century. About the same distance south-east of the village lay the hamlet of Nepcote, with its southern limb East End. Both existed in 1726. (fn. 68) Nepcote, occupying the low spur that apparently gave it the first part of its name, (fn. 69) retained its separate identity in 1977 despite the expansion of the village. The surviving buildings are of the 18th and 19th centuries, except for Threshers at the south end, which is 17th-century with 18th-century additions. East End in 1726 contained East End House, the forerunner of Cissbury House, and several other houses. By 1803, as a result of engrossing by the owners of the Cissbury estate, only one of those other houses survived, (fn. 70) and by 1839 the hamlet had disappeared altogether. (fn. 71) The road that led from East End to Sheepcombe (fn. 72) thereafter ceased to be used.
In 1086 58 persons were recorded at Findon manor and a sub-manor which may have been what was later Sheepcombe manor. The eleven recorded at Muntham, (fn. 73) however, perhaps included inhabitants of the Wealden outlier of that manor in Itchingfield. Twenty-six inhabitants were assessed to the subsidies of 1296 and 1327, (fn. 74) and 80 adults were assessed in 1378, including some servants. (fn. 75) In 1524 41 persons paid tax. (fn. 76) There were at least 73 adult males in the parish in 1642, (fn. 77) and 116 adults in 1676. (fn. 78) In 1724 there were said to be c. 40 families. (fn. 79) The population was 381 in 1801, and has since risen, despite temporary falls in the 1840s and 1890s, presumably on account of agricultural depression. There were 681 inhabitants in 1871, 930 in 1931, and 1,616 in the reduced area of the parish in 1971. (fn. 80)
The Gun inn in the Square was mentioned in 1693, (fn. 81) and presumably then already belonged to William Lasseter, gunsmith, who was living there in 1701. (fn. 82) It was mentioned again in 1744 and 1768, (fn. 83) and in 1788 was the place where the Findon manor court was held. (fn. 84) In 1799 it served as a post office. (fn. 85) The building, which was still an inn in 1977, is timber-framed, and probably 17th-century in date. It was enlarged to the south in the 18th century, and later much refitted. The Black Horse, a pseudo-Elizabethan building of c. 1938 at the south end of the village, replaced a smaller building which originated as a 'bough house', or private house allowed to sell liquor on fair days. There were other bough houses in Nepcote in the 19th century to serve the fair trade, besides an inn, the Running Horse, which had closed by 1926. (fn. 86)
There was a friendly society in the parish between 1794 and 1856, with 80 or 90 members in the early 19th century. (fn. 87) A race-course was opened on the downs west of Muntham House in 1814, (fn. 88) and apparently still existed c. 1843. (fn. 89) Horse races are also said to have been held during the 19th century under West Hill in the south-west part of the parish. (fn. 90) At the inclosure of the common downs in 1856, Nepcote Green was allotted to the parish for recreation; (fn. 91) it was later managed by the parish council. Findon Cricket Club was founded in 1867, (fn. 92) and was still thriving in 1977. A subscription lending library was founded in the parish in 1857, but seems to have lapsed after 1861. (fn. 93) It was refounded about the end of the century, and between 1911 and 1923 was housed in the Wattle House on Nepcote Green. (fn. 94) There were clubs for women and girls and for working men in the parish in the early 20th century, of which the former at least met at the Wattle House. (fn. 95) A village hall was built in 1933 in the High Street, (fn. 96) the library being afterwards transferred there. (fn. 97) Many social amenities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were due partly or wholly to the benefactions of the families of the successive 'squires' of Findon Place, Muntham House, and Cissbury, especially the Margessons, the Thynnes, and the Wyatts.
Because of its nearness to Worthing, Findon acquired public services earlier than neighbouring villages. Gas had been laid on by c. 1926, (fn. 98) and mains water was available in part of the village two years later. (fn. 99) Electricity had appeared by 1938. (fn. 100) A fire station for the county council fire service was opened north of the village in 1965. (fn. 101)
A convalescent home opened in the parish in 1885 took many patients from London. (fn. 102) It usually had about a dozen inmates, (fn. 103) and still flourished in 1905, (fn. 104) but the building had become tea rooms by 1934. (fn. 105) Another home for invalids and incurables, run by the Anglican Sisters of Mercy, was moved to Findon from Worthing in 1934. It left the parish in 1967, its premises in Nepcote Lane being later occupied by the Roman Catholic Sisters of Our Lady of Sion. (fn. 106)
A notable 18th-century resident was William Frankland of Muntham House, an amateur enthusiast of mechanics, who filled his house with working machines of all kinds. (fn. 107) In the 19th century the Lyall family of Greypoint House, originally London merchants, produced members of parliament, church dignitaries, and Indian civil servants. (fn. 108)
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES
In 1066 the manor of FINDON was held by King Harold, and comprised the large total of 30½ hides, including outlying lands in what was later Arundel rape and elsewhere. (fn. 109) By 1073 it belonged to William de Braose, (fn. 110) who retained it in demesne in 1086, (fn. 111) evidently because of its strategic position. Thereafter it descended with Washington until 1462, except in the early 15th century when it was held in dower by Elizabeth, widow of Thomas, duke of Norfolk (d. 1399), until her death in 1425, (fn. 112) marrying successively Sir Robert Goosehill (d. 1403), (fn. 113) and Gerard Ufflete. (fn. 114)
After 1462 Findon descended with Bramber rape until 1474, when John, duke of Norfolk (d. 1476), settled it on his wife Elizabeth for her life. (fn. 115) At the partition of the Norfolk inheritance c. 1484 between John, duke of Norfolk (d. 1485), and William Berkeley, earl of Nottingham (d. 1492), the reversion of Findon was assigned to the latter. (fn. 116) He sold it to Sir Richard Guildford, from whom it passed to Edmund Dudley, to whom Elizabeth, dowager duchess of Norfolk, granted her life-interest in 1502. (fn. 117) After Dudley's attainder in 1510, (fn. 118) Findon was granted by the Crown to Thomas, Lord Howard, later duke of Norfolk (d. 1554), (fn. 119) who granted it back in 1514 in repayment of a loan. (fn. 120)
In 1534 Henry VIII granted it to Sir Christopher Hales and Sir Richard Rich. (fn. 121) Hales quitclaimed his moiety to Rich three years later, and in the following year Rich conveyed the manor to Thomas Cromwell, Lord Cromwell, (fn. 122) who may have sold it in the same year to Edward Shelley, (fn. 123) described as of Findon in 1540. (fn. 124) Shelley held the manor in 1545, (fn. 125) and at his death in 1554 was apparently succeeded by his grandson Henry, a minor. (fn. 126) Henry's uncle Richard Shelley unsuccessfully claimed Findon in 1580. (fn. 127) In 1616 Henry conveyed it to his son-in-law Thomas Middleton of Horsham and others as security for payment of the debts of his son Thomas, and two years later, when the period for payment had expired, they conveyed it to Thomas Middleton's father John. (fn. 128) In 1641 John and Thomas Middleton sold it to John Tufton, earl of Thanet, (fn. 129) who in 1650 sold the demesne lands only to John Cheale (d. 1686). (fn. 130)
After Lord Thanet's death in 1664 Findon passed successively to his three younger sons, John (d. 1680), Richard (d. 1684), and Thomas (d. 1729), each of whom was earl of Thanet, (fn. 131) and the lastnamed conveyed the manor between 1717 and 1720 (fn. 132) to John Cheale (d. 1751), son of John (d. 1717), son of John (d. 1686). The third John Cheale's nephew and heir William Green died in 1786, and in the following year his executors sold Findon to William Richardson. Richardson died in 1801, and after the death of his widow Mary in 1828 the manor passed to his cousin William Westbrook Richardson, (fn. 133) who sold it in 1861 to Richard Hall (fn. 134) (d. by 1864), (fn. 135) whose son Richard Spencer Hall sold it in 1872 to Col. W. G. Margesson. (fn. 136) At his death in 1911 Margesson was succeeded by his son Col. E. W. Margesson (d. 1944), whose brother and heir Capt. W. H. D. Margesson had sold the estate by 1952. (fn. 137) During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the manor house was often let. (fn. 138)
A manor house at Findon was mentioned in 1290 when William de Braose died there. (fn. 139) Edward I stayed there in 1305, (fn. 140) presumably as the guest of William's widow Mary who was living at Findon in 1316 (fn. 141) and possibly also in 1296. (fn. 142) In 1380 the house had a principal chamber with a chapel adjoining, a latrine, a gatehouse with rooms over it, and a dovecot. (fn. 143) Between the late 14th and mid 17th centuries the lords of the manor apparently never resided. In 1650 the manor house was sold with the demesnes to John Cheale, (fn. 144) whose family lived there during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. (fn. 145) The oldest part of the present building is the east range of five bays, which is basically 17th-century and was presumably built soon after 1650. (fn. 146) The house was remodelled in the mid 18th century, and c. 1788 William Richardson added a new double-pile block on the west with a five-bay pedimented front of yellow brick. (fn. 147) A one-storeyed ballroom was added further west, probably in the early 19th century, (fn. 148) and apparently at the same time a third storey was added to the 17th-century range. (fn. 149) In the early 20th century the present entrance hall and dining-room were redecorated in an early-18th-century style, the dining-room being at the same time enlarged southwards. A 19thcentury service wing added at the east end was demolished c. 1965. (fn. 150)
FINDON PARK descended with the manor until 1581, when it was sold to Sir Thomas Shirley of Wiston. (fn. 151) Thereafter it descended with Wiston manor.
The reputed manor of SHEEPCOMBE (fn. 152) belonged to William de Braose by 1073, (fn. 153) and appears to be the same as the 5 hides which one William held of Findon manor in 1086. (fn. 154) In later centuries it was held directly of Bramber honor. (fn. 155) In 1268 Godfrey Falconer of Michelgrove held it as part of 1¼ fee, (fn. 156) and it presumably descended in his family, since Henry Falconer held it in 1361. (fn. 157) In 1399 5 yardlands at Sheepcombe were held of Bramber honor as ¼ fee by a member of the Joop family, presumably Maud, who at about the same date held of Heene manor 4 yardlands called Sheepcombe Heene. (fn. 158)
Later Sheepcombe passed to the vicars choral of Chichester. The earliest date at which they are recorded as having it is 1631, (fn. 159) but they presumably acquired it before the Reformation. (fn. 160) Thomas Cooke of Heene (d. 1573), who had some interest at Sheepcombe, (fn. 161) may be a descendant of the Henry Cooke of Findon who was leasing Chichester chapter lands in Goring in 1533, (fn. 162) and who was perhaps tenant of Sheepcombe too. In 1865-6 it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 163) Between the 17th and 19th centuries Sheepcombe was let on leases of three lives. (fn. 164) In addition to a reserved rent the tenant owed 4s. a year towards the 'king's feast', and entertainment for the principal and two vicars when they held court. (fn. 165) William Cripps acquired the lease in 1736, (fn. 166) and at his death in 1748 it passed to his son John (d. 1772), whose nephew and heir William Groome (fn. 167) was succeeded by his nephew Hugh Penfold in 1795. (fn. 168) At Hugh's death in 1807 it passed to his son Hugh Wyatt (d. 1864), whose son Hugh Wyatt (fn. 169) (d. 1897) (fn. 170) bought the freehold from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1869. Sheepcombe then comprised 150 a. (fn. 171) Hugh's nephew and heir H. R. P. Wyatt sold the estate in 1929. (fn. 172)
There was a manor-house at Sheepcombe in 1650, (fn. 173) which by 1805 had become two tenements. (fn. 174) The present building, at the top of Coombe Rise, Findon Valley, appears to have been built as a pair of cottages in the late 19th century.
A freehold tenement of Findon manor comprising 60 a., of which John Leeds of Wappingthorn in Steyning died seised in 1606, was the nucleus of the estate later known as CISSBURY. (fn. 175) It descended with Wappingthorn (fn. 176) until 1663, when Englebert Leeds sold it to Sir John Fagg, Bt., (fn. 177) of Wiston (d. 1701), from whom it passed to his younger son Charles (fn. 178) (d. c. 1715). (fn. 179) About 1729 Charles's son Charles sold the estate, with other freeholds of Findon manor, to William Cripps. (fn. 180) After 1736 it descended with the lease of Sheepcombe, further property being added to it. By 1811 it had acquired the name Cissbury. (fn. 181) In 1816 the estate contained 112 a. freehold, 125 a. copyhold, (fn. 182) and c. 400 a. of downland; (fn. 183) all the land was enfranchised in 1841. (fn. 184) Most of Cissbury was retained when Sheepcombe was sold in 1929, and after the death of H. R. P. Wyatt in 1938 passed to his son Brig. R. J. P. Wyatt (fn. 185) (d. 1954), (fn. 186) whose widow, the Hon. Mrs. Wyatt, had it in 1977.
The first Cissbury House, called East End House, was probably built in the early 18th century, and was of five bays and two storeys, with a hipped roof. (fn. 187) Additions were made after 1856 on at least two occasions, the present appearance of the exterior being the result of the last rebuilding c. 1897. (fn. 188)
The manor of MUNTHAM, comprising lands in Findon and Itchingfield, was held in 1066 by Osward. (fn. 189) By 1073 it belonged to William de Braose. (fn. 190) In 1086 it was held of him by Morin, who also held Thakeham; (fn. 191) Muntham was later held, like Thakeham, of Broadwater manor, (fn. 192) and was afterwards held of Thakeham itself. (fn. 193) As late as 1835 it owed quit-rent and heriot to the lord of Broadwater. (fn. 194)
Various inhabitants of Findon surnamed Muntham are recorded in the 13th and early 14th centuries. (fn. 195) In the mid 14th century the manor was divided in two, the Itchingfield portion descending in the Marlott family. (fn. 196) In 1372 Thomas son of John of Muntham quitclaimed the Findon portion to Thomas Cornwallis of London. (fn. 197) In 1433 Edmund Mill held it of Thakeham manor, his service being commuted in that year from the payment of 2s. 3d. to the provision of two crossbows. (fn. 198) At his death in 1452 he was succeeded by his son Richard (fn. 199) (d. 1476). Since Richard's son William was an idiot, (fn. 200) the manor passed to his sister Ann and her husband William Apsley of Pulborough. Their son Nicholas (fn. 201) died seised of it in 1547 (fn. 202) and was succeeded by his son John (d. 1593), whose son George (fn. 203) sold it c. 1599 (fn. 204) to Henry Shelley (d. 1623). Henry's son Thomas (fn. 205) apparently conveyed it in 1625 (fn. 206) to John Middleton of Horsham (d. 1636), (fn. 207) who was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1661 or 1662), whose grandson and heir Thomas died in 1694 or 1695.
The last-named Thomas's son John (fn. 208) sold Muntham in 1743 to Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague, who sold it in 1765 (fn. 209) to William Frankland, after whose death in 1805 it passed to a cousin, Admiral Henry Cromwell (d. 1819), who took the surname Frankland. The admiral's widow Mary was succeeded at her death in 1823 by the Revd. Roger Frankland (d. 1826), whose son Capt. F. W. Frankland sold Muntham in 1840 to Thomas Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald sold it in 1850 (fn. 210) to Harriet Thynne, dowager marchioness of Bath (d. 1892), from whom it passed successively to her second son Lord Henry Thynne (d. 1904), his widow Lady Ulrica (d. 1916), and their son Col. Ulric Thynne, (fn. 211) after whose death in 1957 the estate was split up. (fn. 212)
No manor-house is recorded at Muntham during the Middle Ages, but there was presumably one in the mid 16th century, when John Apsley was living in the parish. (fn. 213) In the 17th and early 18th centuries the Middleton family resided at Muntham. (fn. 214) A new house is said to have been built by Lord Montague, apparently as a hunting lodge, between 1743 and 1754. (fn. 215) After 1765 it was enlarged by William Frankland into a residence. (fn. 216) In 1789 the house had eleven bays and two storeys, five low central bays with a parapet being flanked by higher wings. (fn. 217) In 1835 it had c. 25 rooms, besides offices. (fn. 218) The house was refaced in flint and stone for Lady Bath before 1877 in a Jacobean style, with Dutch gables; (fn. 219) the architect was Henry Woodyer. (fn. 220) It was demolished in 1961. (fn. 221)
John of Wiston granted a yardland and a sheepfold called Lowys at Heregrave in the north-east part of Findon to Durford abbey in the early 13th century. After John's death it was regained by John's sister and heir Helewise and her husband Hugh de Berneval, but it was restored to the abbey on appeal in 1231. (fn. 222) In 1252 the abbey was granted free warren in its lands in Findon; (fn. 223) that grant was apparently confirmed in 1279, (fn. 224) though meanwhile part of the estate had been exchanged with William de Braose, who had added it to Findon park. (fn. 225) The abbey had disposed of the rest by the Dissolution. (fn. 226)
. In 1086 there were 3 plough-teams and also 6 servi on the demesne of Findon manor. Twenty-seven villani and 17 bordars had 17 teams. On a sub-manor, which may be what was later Sheepcombe manor, there were 2 teams on the demesne and 2 villani and 6 bordars with 1 team. The 5 villani and 6 bordars with 2 teams recorded at Muntham manor perhaps included tenants in Itchingfield as well as in Findon. (fn. 227)
The area of the parish under cultivation was thus already very large. The common-field arable as it existed later covered much of the centre of the parish. Various fields and furlongs were mentioned in 1257, (fn. 228) some of which can be located. Valiers furlong and Heregraving field lay in the north-east, (fn. 229) and were perhaps identical with the north common field, as it was later called, which lay east of the road to Washington between Findon village and North End. (fn. 230) The Breach lay in the west (fn. 231) and was part of what were later called the north and south furlongs in Muntham Dene, (fn. 232) and later still the northern and southern great laines. (fn. 233) Street furlong was probably identical with or adjacent to land in the south of the parish later called Streetlands. (fn. 234) There was common-field arable on both sides of the road from Findon to West Tarring in 1477, (fn. 235) evidently identical with what were later called the south and west common fields. (fn. 236) North of the church there was more, (fn. 237) of which the 4 a. of vicarial glebe that survived as a separate holding until 1864-5 (fn. 238) was presumably a part. The eastern end of that area, behind the Gun inn, was called the town field in 1582 and later. (fn. 239) There was also much several arable land in 1257, when assarts in both woodland and pasture were mentioned. (fn. 240)
The Findon manor demesne was in hand in 1210, in 1326, and in 1425, but was at farm in 1476. (fn. 241) In 1326 it comprised 140 a. of arable and a century later 273 a. Fixed rents of free and villein tenants were worth £5 in 1326 and £6 in 1425; in 1476 the rents of free tenants totalled 19s. 5d., and those of tenants at will £16 7s. 11d. Labour services had apparently been almost entirely commuted by the latter date. The predominant type of agriculture in the Middle Ages seems to have been arable, since in 1341 the tithe of corn was £12, and that of fleeces and lambs only £2; moreover 3 plough-lands formerly in cultivation were then lying fallow. Other animals kept in the parish at that date included cattle, pigs, and poultry, and among crops were hemp and apples, the tithe of cider yielding £1. (fn. 242) The downs provided abundant pasture. In the mid 13th century there had been four sheepfolds in Findon, including two at Muntham, (fn. 243) and another sheepfold called Lowys in the north-east part of the parish. (fn. 244) One of the Muntham sheepfolds was mentioned again in 1380. (fn. 245) The woolmerchant Walter Randolf apparently had a flock in the parish in 1296. (fn. 246) In 1425 several pasture belonging to the Findon manor demesne farm, perhaps including Church Hill, totalled 300 a. (fn. 247) Only one reference has been found to common pasture rights in Findon in the Middle Ages, (fn. 248) but they were presumably as important then as later. Not all the downland in the parish belonged to the manors within it, however, for much of the north part of the parish was common down of Washington manor. (fn. 249)
Between the 17th and 19th centuries there were both free and copyhold tenants of Findon manor. Both paid a yearly rent, with a heriot on death either in money or in kind; in addition freeholders paid a relief on death, and copyholders an entry fine. Copyhold lands were heritable, passing by borough English to the youngest son, and widows enjoyed freebench but forfeited their lands on remarriage. Copyholds could be sub-let, or mortgaged for short periods, often a year. (fn. 250) In 1663 there were 7 free tenants, and 20 copyholders many of whose estates were of 15 or 30 a. (fn. 251) By 1816 all the surviving free and copyhold estates together comprised only c. 400 a. (fn. 252) Neither Muntham manor nor Sheepcombe (fn. 253) is recorded as having tenants, but some other manors had lands in the parish, for instance Broadwater (fn. 254) and Washington. (fn. 255) Foster's farm, so called in 1620, (fn. 256) which was held freehold of Findon manor, was the nucleus of the future Cissbury estate. That estate comprised 104 a. in 1726, (fn. 257) and later absorbed Sheepcombe farm, which had had 62 a. in 1650. (fn. 258) In the early 19th century, when it included more than half the surviving free and copyhold land of Findon manor, it formed a single farm of 850 a. including downland. (fn. 259) The largest farms between the 16th and 18th centuries, however, were the demesne farms of Findon and Muntham manors. Both were let at the end of the 16th century, Findon farm comprising 370 a. (fn. 260) Two centuries later Muntham farm comprised over 600 a., including land in Sullington, (fn. 261) but the Findon manor demesne had apparently been divided, one part, called Findon farm, comprising 181 a. (fn. 262) Meanwhile the demesne lands of Washington manor in the parish comprised a small farm, North End farm, which in 1766 had 76 a. (fn. 263)
Inclosure of the common fields had begun by 1542, when two closes were mentioned as lying in what was apparently the north common field. (fn. 264) The 4 a. of vicarial glebe land north of the church were inclosed by 1615, (fn. 265) and land in the south of the parish which may once have been common-field arable was inclosed by the 1650s. (fn. 266) The west common field still existed in 1695, (fn. 267) and the process by which it was inclosed is not clear. The inclosure of the north common field is better documented. About 1745 it comprised 61 strips, mostly of less than 1 a. in area, in four furlongs. The 8 tenants included the tenant of North End farm and two copyholders of Washington manor. (fn. 268) Some holdings had been consolidated by exchanges of land before 1782, (fn. 269) and the process apparently continued in the early 19th century. (fn. 270) By 1839 the north common field comprised 12 closes mostly between 3 a. and 5 a. in area, totalling 53½ a. (fn. 271)
Wheat, barley, oats, tares, and peas were grown in the parish in the 17th century, (fn. 272) and clover and sainfoin were mentioned in 1777. (fn. 273) Sheep remained important, numerous flocks being recorded, up to c. 900 in size. (fn. 274) In 1803 5,302 sheep were listed in the parish, the largest total in Bramber rape. (fn. 275) Common pasture rights on the downs were frequently mentioned between the 16th and 19th centuries. (fn. 276) The downs of Findon manor in the south and east on which common rights remained in 1793 were West Hill on the border with Durrington (62 a.), Little Hill, near Cissbury Ring (381 a.), and Great Hill in the east, which included Nepcote Green (581 a.). (fn. 277) Piecemeal inclosure at the edges of those downs is recorded during the 18th century, (fn. 278) and in the late 18th or early 19th century Little Hill was entirely inclosed after Hugh Penfold (d. 1807) had become the only commoner. (fn. 279) The downs in the north-east remained part of the commons of Washington manor. (fn. 280) The Findon manor common downs were inclosed in 1856, the lord of the manor receiving 315 a. and the 6 remaining commoners allotments of between 6 a. and 130 a. (fn. 281) There was still at least one commoner of the Washington manor downs c. 1839, but nothing further is heard of pasture rights there.
About 1839 much of the parish belonged to four large estates: Findon and Muntham manors, Findon Park, and Cissbury. Most of the Findon manor estate, comprising Tolmare farm and Spencer's or Roger's farm (683 a.), was let to one farmer, but the other three estates were kept in hand. One smaller estate of 111 a., belonging to George Lyall, (fn. 282) was later to be known as Findon farm. (fn. 283) Crops mentioned at that date were wheat, barley, seeds, and turnips. (fn. 284) Others mentioned ten years later at Findon Park farm included clover, trefoil, swedes, and rape. (fn. 285)
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were usually several large farms in the parish. Muntham and Cissbury farms were often kept in hand; but the three farms on the Findon Place estate, Tolmare, Roger's, and Kingswood farms, were usually tenanted, sometimes by the same farmer. (fn. 286) Findon Park farm was sometimes held with North farm in Washington. (fn. 287) Meanwhile many tenements of Findon manor were engrossed by the lord of the manor (fn. 288) or enfranchised (fn. 289) so that by 1911 only 8 free or copyhold tenants remained. (fn. 290) During the same period mixed farming was practised. In 1874 the chief crops were said to be wheat, barley, and oats. (fn. 291) Four flocks of more than 400 sheep, including one of 1,100, were recorded between 1895 and 1930. (fn. 292) There was a marketgardener in 1874, and one farmer grew hops in 1922. There was a poultry farm in 1905, and dairy farming was being carried on in 1905 and 1930. (fn. 293)
In 1975 there were three large farms in the parish, Muntham farm and Tolmare farm, both over 500 a., and Findon Park farm on the Goring estate, one of the largest farms in West Sussex, which comprised over 1,750 a. in Findon, Washington, and Wiston. Cereals were grown, and both beef and dairy cattle raised, but there were apparently no longer any sheep in the parish, as there had been in the 1960s. There were also two fruit and vegetable growers in the south-west part. (fn. 294)
The mill recorded at Findon manor in 1210 (fn. 295) may have been an early windmill, for there seems no likely site for a watermill. A miller was mentioned in 1234 and 1257. (fn. 296) A mill was recorded at Findon manor in 1326, and a windmill in 1425. (fn. 297) There was a windmill at Findon park in 1630. (fn. 298) The miller mentioned in 1788 (fn. 299) perhaps had his mill on the downs east of the village, where a windmill flourished between 1825 and 1888. (fn. 300) It had ceased to function by 1896, (fn. 301) and partly survived in 1977 as a house.
Market and fairs
In 1261 Walter de Clifford was granted a market to be held at Findon every Tuesday. (fn. 302) The burgesses of Steyning complained in 1275 that it was prejudicial to the boroughs of Bramber rape, (fn. 303) but the right to hold the market was confirmed in 1279. (fn. 304) Tolls were still being received in 1425. (fn. 305) A market-place, with a butcher's shop and covered cross for the sale of wares, was mentioned in 1380, (fn. 306) and the market field and market-place hedge in 1477. The location of the market-place is uncertain, but it may have been near the church and manor-house. (fn. 307) No later reference to the market has been found.
There may have been a fair at Findon in Saxon or even earlier times, (fn. 308) a theory perhaps corroborated by the number of old tracks that converge on the site of the village. (fn. 309) A three-day fair at the Decollation of St. John the Baptist (29 August) was granted or confirmed to Walter de Clifford at the same date as the market, and survived with it in 1425. Nothing is heard of it thereafter until 1784, when a pedlary fair was held in the parish on Holy Thursday. (fn. 310) It apparently survived in 1835, (fn. 311) but thereafter seems to have lapsed.
In 1790 the lord of Findon manor is said to have agreed with George Holford that the latter might hold a fair at Nepcote Green, paying rent for booths pitched there and toll on every head of cattle penned. No such agreement was recorded in the manor court book, but a piece of waste ground at Nepcote Green was granted to Holford in 1792, (fn. 312) on which the Wattle House, of flint with brick dressings, had been built by 1803, to store the wattles for the fair. (fn. 313) The fair, for the sale of Southdown stock, was being held annually on 14 September by 1814, (fn. 314) and in 1835 was attended by the chief graziers of Sussex, c. 3,000 sheep being penned, besides other cattle. (fn. 315) About that date a lamb fair was established in addition on 12 July. (fn. 316)
In the late 19th century the September fair was the great village holiday of the year, and served also for the hiring of labour. (fn. 317) By 1910 business at both fairs was being conducted by an auctioneer, H. J. Burt of Steyning; the firm of Churchman, Burt & Son continued to manage the September fair in 1977. Six or seven thousand sheep were being penned at the latter c. 1910, but by the 1920s the total had risen to c. 10,000, the sellers being almost entirely from West Sussex. At the July fair, two or three thousand lambs were penned c. 1910, but only c. 1,000-1,500 in the 1920s. (fn. 318) Nevertheless, in 1929 Findon had the eighth largest volume of sales of livestock among the fairs of southern and eastern England. (fn. 319) The lamb fair ceased in 1971. From 1959 the sheep fair was held on the second Saturday in September. (fn. 320) There were still c. 10,000 sheep penned at the September fair in 1974, when both buyers and sellers came from all over England and Wales, and the fair was considered one of the best in the country. (fn. 321) The pleasure fair also survived at that date. After Nepcote Green had passed to the parish authorities in 1856 the lord of the manor ceased to collect the tolls, which since 1877 have been paid to the parish. (fn. 322)
In the Middle Ages the trades of smith, carpenter, tailor, shoemaker, and tanner were recorded. (fn. 323) Mention of the surnames Skinner and Cooper in the 14th century may indicate the practice of those two trades as well. (fn. 324) There was a 'ripier', or fish-carrier, in 1380. (fn. 325) A smith was recorded again in 1542, (fn. 326) and two common brewers in 1538. (fn. 327)
Between the 17th and early 19th centuries there were apparently always at least one smith (fn. 328) and one carpenter (fn. 329) in the parish. A tailor was often recorded during the same period, (fn. 330) and a number of shoemakers in the 18th century; (fn. 331) there were also a weaver in 1718, a staymaker in 1748, (fn. 332) and a leather-cutter in 1798. (fn. 333) A maltster was recorded on four occasions between 1705 and 1839, (fn. 334) and there was usually a butcher after 1766. (fn. 335) Two bakers were recorded in 1801. (fn. 336) There was a gunsmith in the early 18th century. (fn. 337) There seems usually to have been a mercer between the late 17th and late 18th centuries, (fn. 338) and a shopkeeper after 1798. (fn. 339) In 1811 and 1831 there were three families supported by non-agricultural to every four supported by agricultural occupations. (fn. 340)
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Findon had all the shops and tradesmen usual in a large village at the time: butcher, baker, grocer, shopkeeper, draper, shoemaker, carpenter, and smith. Often there was more than one representative of each trade; for instance there were four shoemakers in 1862. There were three lodging-houses in 1874. More unusual trades included a coal-merchant listed in 1862 and 1913, a hairdresser in 1905, a basket-maker in 1913, and an agricultural implement dealer in 1913 and later. After 1905 there was usually at least one doctor. In 1938 there were two greengrocers, two plumbers, a children's outfitter, and a maker of garden ornaments. (fn. 341)
A timber-merchant's business flourished at Nepcote between 1775 and 1976, belonging successively and for an equal period of time to two families, the Tates (fn. 342) and the Ockendens. (fn. 343) Between at least 1874 and 1922 the business of wheelwright was carried on there too, (fn. 344) and in 1906 that of undertaker, blacksmith, and general decorator. (fn. 345) In 1976 when the business was closed it comprised timber-dealing and building.
The chief business in the parish since the mid 19th century, however, apart from agriculture, (fn. 346) has been race-horse training, on account of the excellent downland turf. There was a trainer in 1855, (fn. 347) and in 1859 the Downs training-stables was described as a considerable establishment. (fn. 348) Two further stables were built at the end of the 19th century, the Vale and Nepcote Lodge. The last-named afterwards became a riding-school, and was turned into flats c. 1955; (fn. 349) but the Vale, the Downs, and another stables were in existence in 1975. (fn. 350) There was an establishment for breeding horses and ponies in the early 20th century, (fn. 351) and a riding-school in 1950. (fn. 352) Horse-training brought its attendant trades. There was always at least one saddler between 1874 and 1938, and a veterinary surgeon in the late 19th century. (fn. 353) In 1896 there were three smithies in the parish, (fn. 354) one of which during the early 20th century also made and sold bicycles. (fn. 355) One smithy survived in 1977, with a flourishing business derived both from the racing stables and from its being the only smithy for miles around. (fn. 356)
As a result of the growth of motoring and of tourism in the early 20th century, three large houses in the village, including the former rectory, had become hotels by 1938, when there were also three tea-rooms in the parish. (fn. 357) In 1975 there were two hotels and two tea-rooms, besides three antique shops and a gift shop. Other shops in 1975 included 2 grocers, a butcher, a fishmonger, a greengrocer, a hardware shop, and a bootmaker. At that date the population included many retired people, while others travelled daily to work in Worthing, London, or elsewhere. (fn. 358)
A separate view of frankpledge was claimed at Findon manor in 1369 and 1534, (fn. 359) but no court leet is ever known to have been held. Manorial officers recorded in the Middle Ages were a reeve, (fn. 360) a beadle, and a woodward. (fn. 361) There are court rolls of the manor for the period 1656-1883. (fn. 362) Until 1810 a court baron was held c. 7-10 times a decade, but thereafter business began to be transacted out of court, and the number of courts held declined after 1840 to one or two a decade. In 1788 the court was held at the Gun inn. (fn. 363) Besides its main business of recording changes in tenancies, the court was concerned with the regulation of pasture on the common downs until at least the end of the 18th century. (fn. 364) A bailiff was mentioned between 1656 and 1721; the reeve whose duty in 1759 was to collect rents and seize heriots was presumably his successor under another name. In the 19th century the same officer was apparently alternatively described as reeve or beadle.
There are no court rolls for either Muntham or Sheepcombe manor, though a court at Sheepcombe was apparently held in the early 17th century. (fn. 365)
Two churchwardens were recorded in 1533. (fn. 366) The names of their successors are known for various years between 1560 and 1700, and for every year since. Two overseers were recorded between 1609 and 1789. (fn. 367) In 1789 Findon was included in Thakeham united parishes, which in 1835 became Thakeham union (later Thakeham rural district). (fn. 368) There was a parish workhouse south of the village on the Worthing road in 1803. (fn. 369) A parish pesthouse, of brick and flint, was built NE. of the village, apparently in the 19th century. (fn. 370) As a result of agricultural depression, 35 parishioners emigrated to Canada in 1835, (fn. 371) and the vestry considered further proposals for emigration to America and Australia in the 1850s. (fn. 372) Waywardens were elected during the late 19th century, (fn. 373) and in the 1890s there were two well-wardens, who levied a rate for the upkeep of the parish well. (fn. 374) In 1933 Findon was transferred from Thakeham to Worthing rural district, (fn. 375) and in 1974 to Arun district.
There was a church at Findon in 1086. (fn. 376) About 1155 it was served by a secular clerk, (fn. 377) and by 1210 there was a rector. The advowson of the rectory apparently belonged from the first to the lord of the manor, (fn. 378) and descended with the manor between 1286 and the late 14th century. (fn. 379) The rectors presumably became sinecurists, for a vicarage, in the gift of the rector, (fn. 380) had been ordained, apparently by 1255, (fn. 381) and certainly by 1287. (fn. 382) In 1395 Thomas Mowbray, earl of Nottingham (d. 1399) granted the advowson of the rectory to Rochester cathedral priory, to which the pope then appropriated the rectory. (fn. 383) The priory received dilapidations from the last rector's executors in 1398, paid first fruits on the benefice in 1403 or 1404, (fn. 384) and presented a vicar in 1405. (fn. 385) The Crown, however, presented to the rectory in 1403 by reason of the minority of Thomas Mowbray, earl of Nottingham (d. 1405), (fn. 386) and two further presentations to it were made in 1416-17 by Thomas's brother and heir John. (fn. 387) Rochester priory presented another vicar in 1417, (fn. 388) but is not known to have had any later connexion with the church. The advowson of the rectory again belonged to the manor in 1481, (fn. 389) and in 1439 the rector again presented to the vicarage. (fn. 390) Three later vicars are recorded in 1453, 1457, and 1478. (fn. 391) By 1485 the advowson of the vicarage had passed to Magdalen College, Oxford, (fn. 392) and in 1502 the church was appropriated to that body, subject to pensions of 10s., 5s., and 3s. 4d. to the bishop, archdeacon, and dean and chapter of Chichester respectively, and a yearly distribution of 10s. among the poor of the parish. (fn. 393) Both the rectory and the advowson (fn. 394) of the vicarage thereafter belonged to the college until 1948, when the advowson was resigned to the bishop of Chichester. (fn. 395)
William de Braose in 1073 granted demesne tithes at Findon, Sheepcombe, and Muntham to Bramber college, (fn. 396) which passed with the other endowments of the college to Sele priory. (fn. 397) About 1234 a division of tithes was made between the priory and the rector, and it was agreed that the priory should thereafter pay the rector 2 marks a year. In 1257 the priory agreed to make an additional lump-sum payment of 50 marks. (fn. 398) The tithes belonging to the priory were valued at £5 in 1255, (fn. 399) and passed in the 15th century with the priory's other estates to Magdalen College.
In 1291 the rectory was valued at £26 13s. 4d. and the vicarage at £8 a year. (fn. 400) In 1341 the vicarage was not mentioned separately, and the endowment of what was presumably both benefices included mortuaries and offerings worth £3 10s., 3 yardlands of glebe worth £3 6s. 8d., several pasture worth £1 9s. 2d., and pensions, the farm of mill-tithes, fixed rents, services, and £5 worth of perquisites of court. (fn. 401) In the 15th century the vicarage was said to be worth less than £8 a year. (fn. 402) In 1453, however, the small tithes belonging to Sele priory were leased to the vicar for the duration of his incumbency. (fn. 403) A new division of tithes between the priory and the rector was made in 1477. (fn. 404)
At the appropriation of the rectory in 1502 it was stipulated that the vicar should receive £12 a year from Magdalen College, a house, a garden, 3 a. land, mortuaries and offerings, and personal tithes, the college retaining all other tithes. (fn. 405) In 1535 the vicarage was valued at £13 3s. 9d. (fn. 406) By the early 17th century the pension had risen to £17, but the vicar no longer received any tithes. (fn. 407) From at least 1724 (fn. 408) the rectory estate, comprising all the tithes (after 1838, all the tithe-rent-charge) of the parish and c. 60 a. (fn. 409) of glebe land, was apparently usually let to the vicar, sometimes with other property in neighbouring parishes. (fn. 410) In the 19th century the leases were of 10 years, renewable on a fine every 7 years. (fn. 411) As a result the pension was discontinued, (fn. 412) and the vicarage house north of the church (fn. 413) was demolished. In 1730 the true value of the living was said to be £20. (fn. 414) Two augmentations of £200 were made to it from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1781 and 1798. (fn. 415) About 1830 its net value was said to be £500, (fn. 416) and in 1873 £430. (fn. 417) Nevertheless, in 1865 the vicar complained that he could not afford to employ an assistant curate. (fn. 418)
In 1838 the rectorial glebe comprised 60 a. In the same year the tithes and moduses of the parish, which all belonged to the rectory, were commuted at £555. (fn. 419) The vicarial glebe of 4 a., which had adjoined the vicarage, (fn. 420) meanwhile remained the vicar's property; in 1864-5 it was exchanged with the lord of Findon manor for other land, and thrown into the park of Findon Place. (fn. 421) At the end of the 19th century the rectory house was resumed by the college, (fn. 422) being sold in 1932 or later. (fn. 423) Between 1899 and 1922 the vicar lived in a rented house, (fn. 424) but c. 1927 a new vicarage house was built in School Hill. (fn. 425) Meanwhile the college had annexed the rectorial tithe-rent-charge to the vicarage as an augmentation in 1925. (fn. 426)
The rectory house, of flint and brick, and roofed in Horsham stone, may be on the same site as the rectory house mentioned in 1398. (fn. 427) The central part of the present building is said to have been built in 1584. It was enlarged on the east c. 1728, and on the west in 1773, further alterations being made in 1791 (fn. 428) and at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 429) In 1725 it contained at least 9 rooms, besides offices. (fn. 430) The farm buildings belonging to it lay on the opposite side of the street. (fn. 431)
Medieval rectors of Findon included Geoffrey de Aspale, the notorious pluralist, (fn. 432) and apparently Richard Petworth, secretary to Cardinal Beaufort. (fn. 433) Thomas Hedge, who resigned the vicarage in 1526, held benefices in Suffolk at the same time as Findon. From 1526 until 1937 the vicars were usually former fellows of Magdalen College. (fn. 434) In the early 17th century, the vicar acted as the college's representative on its Sussex properties; (fn. 435) a court of the college's manor of Sele (in Upper Beeding) had been held at Findon in 1528. (fn. 436) Thomas Story, vicar from 1562 to 1576, who was not a Magdalen man, was resident in 1563, (fn. 437) but in 1569 was reported to be refusing to preach the new doctrines. (fn. 438) His successor was resident in 1579, and served the cure himself. (fn. 439) Four assistant curates were mentioned between 1589 and 1616, (fn. 440) but the next four vicars, who spanned the succeeding century, were all apparently resident, and diligent in their duties. (fn. 441)
In 1724 there were two Sunday services, and communion four times a year. (fn. 442) The vicar was resident in 1729, (fn. 443) but numerous curates were recorded between 1728 and 1807, and again between 1829 and 1860. (fn. 444) George Booth, vicar 1833-59, began to celebrate communion about eight times a year, and added extra services in Lent; one of his assistant curates held strong Tractarian views which were apparently unpopular. (fn. 445) By 1865 there were two full services on Sundays, with communion once a month; the average congregation was said to be c. 175 including children. By 1884 communion was held twice a month. (fn. 446) In the late 19th century nonconformity attracted some parishioners away, and the church also suffered from its distance from the village. Moreover the size of the parish and the remoteness of some settlements made pastoral visiting difficult, and by 1898 some services for old people were being held in the hamlets as necessary. (fn. 447) Four curates are recorded between 1886 and 1919. (fn. 448)
After Findon Valley had begun to be built up in the 1930s a daughter church, All Saints', was founded there, the ecclesiastical parish being enlarged in 1957 to include the whole of Findon Valley. (fn. 449) A hall was built in 1935-6 in Cissbury Drive, and used for services (fn. 450) until 1956 when a church was built, of brick, next door. (fn. 451) There was a curate-in-charge in 1953. (fn. 452) By 1975 the new church was better attended than the parish church, and during the winter of that year evening services were not held at the latter. (fn. 453) The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, the dedication of which evidently predates the grant or confirmation of the fair in 1261, (fn. 454) is built of flint with stone dressings, and has a chancel with north chapel and south vestry, nave with north aisle, south transept, west tower, and north porch. In the late 12th century there were north and south transepts, both of which may have had apses. The horseshoe-shaped archway in the east wall of the south transept, with unusual mouldings, is of c. 1120, (fn. 455) and was perhaps the original chancel arch. (fn. 456) About 1200 the north transept was extended westwards to form an aisle divided from the nave by a three-bay arcade on circular piers. The tower was added early in the 13th century and c. 1250 the chancel was rebuilt and the vestry added. The north chancel chapel is probably slightly later. There is a 15th-century window in the south nave wall, and the unusual roof which spans both nave and aisle under a single ridge is of similar date. A chapel of St. James was mentioned in 1549, and lights to the Trinity, St. Nicholas, and the Virgin Mary in 1512. (fn. 457) By 1776 the south transept and north chancel chapel both belonged to the lord of Findon manor. (fn. 458) The chapel remained the mortuary chapel of the Green family after they had sold the manor until 1867 when it was thrown into the church. (fn. 459) In 1966 it was converted into a Lady Chapel. (fn. 460) The church was extensively restored between 1866 and 1868 by Sir G. G. Scott, various accretions being removed, including west galleries, fixed pews, pulpit, and a ceiling which had been put over the nave and aisles. (fn. 461)
Surviving medieval fittings include sedilia, oak seats in the north aisle, possibly of the 15th century, and traces of 13th-century painting on the arcade wall. (fn. 462) The old font, probably of c. 1200, with a central pillar and four subsidiary pillars, was replaced by a replica in 1867. (fn. 463) Other late-19thcentury fittings include tiles on the east wall of the chancel designed by William Morris. (fn. 464) The seven bells include three of the 16th century, another of 1617, and a sanctus bell which hangs in a turret over the chancel arch. (fn. 465) The plate includes a silver chalice of 1618. (fn. 466) The registers begin in 1558. (fn. 467)
One recusant family is recorded in Findon in 1749, (fn. 468) and there were two in 1762. (fn. 469) In 1967 the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion acquired a builiding in Nepcote Lane, (fn. 470) where public services were being held in 1977.
The hamlet of Nepcote, probably because of its distance from the church, was a centre of protestant nonconformity after the mid 19th century. Two Mormon families are said to have lived there in 1851. (fn. 471) A builiding there was registered for worship by Plymouth Brethren in 1862, (fn. 472) and in 1868 was said to hold c. 20 persons. At the same date a barn in the parish used by Independents was said to have been blown down. (fn. 473) By 1875 preachers of various denominations, including Baptists, were preaching at Nepcote; there was never a resident minister, either then or later. (fn. 474) A new building was erected in 1881 for Particular Baptists, which could accommodate a congregation of 60. It is of undressed flint, with brick dressings and plain Gothic windows. In 1887 it was said to be well attended, the congregation including a farmer and a veterinary surgeon. (fn. 475) In 1906 the chapel was taken under the wing of the Worthing Baptist church. (fn. 476) It was closed in 1939, when the congregation moved to a new building in Findon Valley. (fn. 477) It was reopened in 1948 for a small Evangelical sect, (fn. 478) which still existed in 1977. (fn. 479)
The Salvation Army from Worthing had a following in the parish at the end of the 19th century. (fn. 480)
The vicar of Findon taught pupils in 1569, (fn. 481) and a schoolmaster was licensed ten years later. (fn. 482) In 1622-3 there was an unlicensed schoolmaster in the parish. (fn. 483) In 1762 reading only was taught, presumably by the incumbent. (fn. 484) There were 3 day schools in 1818, attended by 69 children. (fn. 485)
St. John the Baptist Primary school was built by subscription in 1829 on land given by W. W. Richardson of Findon Place, who also supplied building materials. In 1833 there were 35 boys and 56 girls, and the school was supported by subscriptions and payments. Evening school was also held in the winter for adults. (fn. 486) In 1846-7 there were separate school-rooms for girls and boys. Twenty-three boys and 57 girls attended during the week, most of them on Sunday too, and 6 boys and 7 girls attended on Sunday only. Ten older boys then attended evening school. (fn. 487)
By 1861 the school was receiving an annual grant, average attendance being 30 boys and 40 girls. (fn. 488) Ten years later, though there was accommodation for only 60 pupils, 93 attended on the day of the return. (fn. 489) A new school was built in 1872, on adjacent land given by R. S. Hall of Findon Place, with contributions from Lady Bath, the National Society, and others. (fn. 490) The building is of flint with brick dressings and tall chimneys. The old schoolhouse was demolished c. 1970. (fn. 491) Average attendance, including infants, was 100 in 1893, (fn. 492) 82 in 1903-4, (fn. 493) and 115 in 1938. (fn. 494) In 1884 there was also an evening school, and apparently a weekday dissenting school. (fn. 495) In 1977 the primary school had c. 100 pupils, the older children of the parish going to school in Angmering. (fn. 496)
CHARITIES FOR THE POOR
Henry Hilton of Clapham by will proved 1641 left the sum of £24 annually for 99 years out of his lands in co. Durham, to be distributed among the 12 poorest inhabitants of the parish. (fn. 497) Nothing had been paid in 1651, (fn. 498) but arrears were received in 1684 and 1687. (fn. 499) In 1724 the income had been reduced to £16 by the fall of rents, (fn. 500) but nothing further is heard of it. Between 1801 and 1805 donations of 1s. each were made to the poor at Christmas, apparently as a personal charity of the vicar. (fn. 501)
The Liptrott Charity in Memory of the Queen's Jubilee was set up in 1887 by Mary Liptrott, with £150 stock to provide fuel. The Brown Family Charity Fund comprising the interest on £200 was set up under the will of Emily Ellen Burrage, dated 1953, for a similar purpose. (fn. 502) In 1977 the income of both charities was used to provide groceries. (fn. 503) The Findon Relief in Sickness Fund, administered for general charitable purposes in 1977 under a scheme of 1971, was the successor to the Findon District Nursing Association, started c. 1897. In 1974 its gross income was £285. (fn. 504)