A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1, Bramber Rape (Southern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The fromer parish of Durrington, (fn. 1) now part of Worthing borough, lay partly on the south slope of the South Downs and partly on the coastal plain. Like Heene, it was a medieval chapelry of West Tarring; the layout of its boundaries in the 19th century shows that its area had been carved out of Tarring parish. (fn. 2) Though it remained part of West Tarring ecclesiastical parish until the 20th century, it was separate for civil purposes from the 16th. In 1881 it comprised 900 a. In 1902 it was augmented by parts of Broadwater and West Tarring, the latter including Salvington hamlet, and the enlarged parish was added to Worthing in 1929. (fn. 3) The present article deals with the history of the parish up to c. 1900, though certain topics, including the history of institutions originating before that date, are treated here up to 1978.
The parish was some 2 miles long by 2/3 mile wide, the eastern and western boundaries being nearly straight. (fn. 4) The boundaries do not seem to correspond, except perhaps in part, with those of the Saxon estate of Durrington recorded in 934. (fn. 5) The north half of the parish lay on the chalk, which rises quite steeply to 457 ft. at the north-west corner; and the south half on the Coombe deposits which overlie the chalk. (fn. 6) A spring which formerly broke out near the modern village centre formed a prominent pond there in the 18th and 19th centuries, (fn. 7) but both spring and pond had disappeared by 1978.
Durrington village lay in the south half of the parish. In the late 18th century it had two separate parts. (fn. 8) The northern one, containing the chapel, the manor-house, and Hebron south of the chapel, a house of the 18th century or earlier with a central chimney-stack, retained some of the character of a village in 1978. The southern part near the modern roundabout on the Broadwater–Littlehampton road, where there had also been medieval settlement, (fn. 9) was of equal size in the late 18th century, but had shrunk by 1875 to three or four scattered houses. St. Mary's Farmhouse there, which was 18thcentury perhaps with an earlier core, was in ruins in 1978. The parish also contained a hamlet, Cote or Walcote, to the north-west, recorded from the late 12th century. (fn. 10) In 1795 it apparently had at least 6 houses, (fn. 11) and in 1841 62 inhabitants. (fn. 12) Several pre-20th-century buildings survived there in 1978.
The parish remained rural until the end of the 19th century, when it began to be developed partly for building and partly for market-gardening and brickmaking. (fn. 13) Swandean house, built by 1875, was the only large house in the parish at that date apart from the manor-house; by 1896 it had become a hospital. (fn. 14)
The Chichester–Brighton road, apparently of Roman origin, (fn. 15) traverses the centre of the parish, bypassing Durrington village, but touching the southern end of Cote hamlet. Part of it may have been called Patching Way in the Middle Ages. (fn. 16) The Broadwater–Littlehampton road, which formed the southern boundary of the parish, also seems to be old, (fn. 17) and Salvington Road, linking Durrington with Salvington, was in existence by 1768. Northwards communication with wealden pastures was provided by the roads leading north from Durrington and Cote which joined to form the downland track leading by way of Tolmare Farm, in Findon, and Storrington. (fn. 18)
Thirty-one persons were enumerated at Durrington in 1086. (fn. 19) There were 25 taxpayers in 1296, 23 in 1327, and 26 in 1332. (fn. 20) Twenty-two persons were assessed to the subsidy in 1524. (fn. 21) Seventy-two adults were recorded there in 1676, (fn. 22) and three years later there were claimed to be only 3 farmers and c. 24 cottagers 'of a very mean and poor condition'. (fn. 23) The population increased from 140 in 1801 to 194 in 1821, but afterwards fell to 153 in 1891, rising sharply again in the next decade to 257 in 1901. (fn. 24)
Durrington village received a main water supply before neighbouring rural parishes when the West Worthing Waterworks Company's reservoir was opened off the Chichester–Brighton road in 1894. (fn. 27)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
In 934 King Athelstan granted to his thegn Alfwald 12 hides at DURRINGTON. That estate presumably included what was later Durrington manor, but since it was much larger than the area of the later Durrington chapelry, it perhaps also included land in what became Clapham. (fn. 28) In 1086 Robert, evidently Robert le Savage, lord of Broadwater, held two estates in Durrington of William de Braose. One, rated at 1 hide, had been held of Earl Harold in 1066 by Ulward, and the other, rated at 2 hides and 1 yardland, had been held at the same date by Edward. (fn. 29) Durrington thereafter descended with Broadwater, (fn. 30) but no reference to it as a separate manor has been found after the mid 15th century, and it evidently came to be considered thereafter as a member of Broadwater. In 1814 the lord of Broadwater was owner of the soil of Durrington common pastures and wastes. (fn. 31)
An estate called Durrington manor between the 17th and 20th centuries comprised freehold and copyhold tenements of Broadwater manor. (fn. 32) Sir William Whitmore and Laurence Alcock were dealing with it in 1685. (fn. 33) From James Butler of Warminghurst (d. 1775) it passed to Gabriel Eyre of Lewes (d. 1763), who devised it to the three Wheatley sisters of the same place. The youngest, Jane, evidently acquired her sisters' shares, for in 1768 her husband Henry Burtenshaw held 242 a. in Durrington. (fn. 34) About 1777 he sold the lands to Hannah Shelley, also of Lewes (d. 1781). Her nephew and heir Henry Shelley (fn. 35) was succeeded in 1805 by his son Henry, and the younger Henry in 1811 by his sisters Elizabeth, Cordelia, and Eleanor. Eleanor and her husband George Dalbiac (fn. 36) conveyed her third of the manor in 1824 to her two sisters, (fn. 37) who held the manor c. 1839. (fn. 38) Cordelia survived Elizabeth, and at her death in 1854 left her property jointly to her nephews Henry and William Dalbiac. (fn. 39) Henry Dalbiac held the manor in 1874, (fn. 40) being succeeded in 1889 by his son, another Henry (d. 1900). (fn. 41)
Durrington manor-house, which lies east of the chapel and replaces an earlier building, is of the 18th century externally, with a faôade of 3 bays and 2 storeys. (fn. 42)
The dean and chapter of Chichester held 6 a. in the open fields of Durrington by 1570. (fn. 43) At inclosure in 1818 they were allotted 4½ a., (fn. 44) which was sold to the duke of Norfolk in 1872. (fn. 45)
In 1086 there was land at Durrington for 8 ploughs. Eleven villani and 14 bordars had 7½ teams on the two manors, and the demesne land of one of them was worked by 1 team and 4 servi. Two bordars worked 1½ hide which a Frenchman held of the other manor. (fn. 46) In later centuries tenants of Durrington manor were virtually tenants of Broadwater, of which Durrington was a member. (fn. 47) At the end of the 15th century there were c. 90 free and copyhold tenements, varying in size between ½ a. and 2 yardlands. Three copyholders still owed a few labour services. (fn. 48) In 1892 it was said that nearly all the land in the parish had until recently been held of Broadwater manor. (fn. 49) The largest estate in 1768 was the reputed manor, (fn. 50) comprising both free and copyhold land held of Broadwater, (fn. 51) and containing 242 a. Four other estates of between 60 and 110 a. included Ham farm, (fn. 52) recorded from 1569, when it was said to be held of Goring manor. (fn. 53) Successive owners of the reputed manor continued to engross land after 1768. (fn. 54)
Durrington village and Cote hamlet were each ringed by open fields, (fn. 55) those of Durrington including Swandean mentioned in 1326. (fn. 56) The South Ham and West Ham mentioned in 1257 apparently lay in the south-east corner of the parish, (fn. 57) but few of the other open-field names listed in 1257 were preserved later. Names mentioned in 1768 include Upper Cricklade and Easter Mills. By that date, though some former furlongs had become several closes, 257 a., especially in the east, still lay in open fields, mostly in strips less than 1 a. in area. (fn. 58) There was presumably always common downland pasture in Durrington; (fn. 59) c. 1777, for instance, the reputed manor had 900 sheep leazes there. (fn. 60) Along the stream south-west of the modern village there was common meadow land, which in 1768 comprised 14 a. divided into 40 strips. (fn. 61) In addition, the manor had formerly had detached pasture land in the Weald, presumably represented by the woodland for 14 swine mentioned in 1086; (fn. 62) various pasture places were listed in 934, (fn. 63) presumably including Drungewick, in Wisborough Green, whose name indicates an outlying dairy-farm belonging to Durrington. (fn. 64) By 1768 some downland had already been inclosed (fn. 65) and in 1777 60 a. of downland was said to have been recently converted to tillage. (fn. 66)
Crops mentioned in Durrington in the Middle Ages were wheat, barley, oats, vetch, and beans in 1324, (fn. 67) and apples in 1349. (fn. 68) Wheat, barley, oats, and peas were mentioned in 1796, when one inhabitant had a flock of 92 sheep. (fn. 69) In 1818 the remaining open fields and wastes of the parish, comprising 540 a., or more than half its area, were inclosed under an Act of 1814. The lord of Broadwater manor received 19 a. as lord of the soil, and 26 landowners received allotments; most were of less than 15 a., but those of the owners of the reputed manor and of Ham farm were 158 a. and 66 a. respectively, while a farmer at Cote received 120 a. A small area west of High Salvington mill was granted to the parish as cottagers' allotments. (fn. 70)
About 1839 there were four large farms in the parish, all leased: the reputed manor farm of 258 a., Ham farm of 125 a., and two farms at Cote of 131 a. and 211 a.; (fn. 71) 692 a. were arable, and 161 a. meadow or pasture. (fn. 72) Wheat, barley, oats, turnips, and mangold-wurzels were the chief crops in 1874. There were five farmers in 1852, and two in 1899. (fn. 73) Meanwhile market-gardening and the glass-house industry had become important. There were two 'gardeners' in 1852, and one in 1882. (fn. 74) By 1896 a large area south of the village had become marketgardens, (fn. 75) and the industry remained important in the parish well into the 20th century, being only gradually displaced by building development.
The windmill mentioned at Durrington manor in 1300 (fn. 76) may have been at High Salvington, which unlike Salvington hamlet lay in Durrington parish. The present mill there, called Durrington mill in 1808, (fn. 77) was built c. 1700, (fn. 78) and ceased working in 1897. (fn. 79) In the early 20th century it was used as a tea-house, (fn. 80) and in 1954 it was bought by Worthing corporation. (fn. 81)
A brick-works was recorded at Durrington in 1768, (fn. 82) and there was another in 1896. (fn. 83) There was also a forge in the village in 1768, (fn. 84) which by c. 1839 belonged to the Overington family; (fn. 85) in 1978 a descendant had an ironmongery business on the same site. In the 19th century there were at different times a grocer, a beer retailer, and a wheelwright in the village. (fn. 86)
As a member of Broadwater, Durrington came under the jurisdiction of that manor's court baron and view of frankpledge. (fn. 87) Officers were sometimes appointed for Durrington separately, for instance an ale-taster in 1501. (fn. 88)
Two churchwardens, or chapelwardens, are recorded at Durrington for most years between 1544 and 1642. On three occasions between 1676 and 1683 the parishioners failed to elect a warden until ordered to do so by the Tarring deanery court, and they may have elected none after the chapel went out of use in the mid 17th century. From 1684 there was apparently always one warden. The office never seems to have been held with that of churchwarden for West Tarring or Heene. (fn. 89)
From 1677 or earlier there were also one or two separate overseers for Durrington. (fn. 90) At some time before 1680 the church bell was sold and the proceeds applied to poor relief. (fn. 91) In the 18th and early 19th centuries a separate poor-rate was levied. Methods of poor-relief used included the provision of clothes and material, food, fuel, bedding, and domestic utensils, repairs to houses, the payment of rent, and medical care. Weekly payments were also made, and pauper children apprenticed; one parishioner who refused an apprentice was fined £10. From 1780 the overseers were paid a salary of £5 a year each. The alms-house where one pauper was put was perhaps the same as the 'parish house' at Cote, where parish meetings were held, and which survived c. 1839. (fn. 92) In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the parish surveyor received £6 a year salary, his duties including the maintenance of the parish house.
There was a church at Durrington in 1086, (fn. 95) which was presumably then as later a chapel of West Tarring. No separate incumbents are recorded before 1914, when Durrington was made a parish with its own vicar. (fn. 96) The advowson was then vested in the bishop of Chichester, (fn. 97) who still held it in 1978.
In the Middle Ages and later the revenues of Durrington belonged to West Tarring rectory and vicarage, except for a share of tithes, later defined as half the great tithes of most of the parish, which belonged to Sele priory and later to Magdalen College, Oxford. (fn. 98) In the late 12th century it was agreed to build a barn in the churchyard in which to store both the priory's and the rector's shares. (fn. 99) In 1918 the new benefice was said to be worth £150 a year. (fn. 100) A vicarage house was built in 1951–2. (fn. 101)
In the Middle Ages Durrington chapel was presumably served by chaplains, as stipulated in the ordination of West Tarring vicarage in 1287. (fn. 102) Burials at least were performed there, since a graveyard was mentioned c. 1180. (fn. 103)
In the early 16th century services were still held at Durrington, (fn. 104) but testators there were buried at West Tarring. (fn. 105) In 1563 and later the chapel was served by curates. (fn. 106) In return for the modus for which the small tithes of Durrington were commuted in 1617, the then vicar undertook to celebrate communion there three times a year, read evening prayer every Sunday at one o'clock, preach at his discretion, and baptise and marry as required. (fn. 107) His successor carried out at least the first two heads of the agreement either by himself or through curates, but the next incumbent, William Stanley, served only intermittently at Durrington, and moreover sometimes read the services unintelligibly. The inhabitants for their part withheld their payments in lieu of tithe, and on one occasion Stanley refused to hold a communion service at Durrington as announced until he had received his dues. In 1652, after he had left the parish, Stanley sued the inhabitants of Durrington for dues unpaid. (fn. 108) Meanwhile the chapel was severely damaged during the Civil War and never repaired afterwards. In 1680 in response to a petition the inhabitants were excused rebuilding it and given leave to attend West Tarring church instead. (fn. 109) By 1777, (fn. 110) and perhaps long before, the chapel lay in ruins.
In 1890 an iron mission room was built at the expense of the rector of West Tarring next to the east wall of the old chapel. Services were held there at first every Sunday afternoon, with communion once a month, (fn. 111) and in the following year the building was also being used for evening services, mothers' meetings, and night school in winter. (fn. 112) In 1900 communion was celebrated monthly in the summer. In 1915 there were four services every Sunday. (fn. 113)
The old chapel at Durrington, originally it seems dedicated to St. Nicholas, and from c. 1260 to St. Thomas Becket, (fn. 114) comprised a nave and chancel apparently of the mid 13th century. (fn. 115) A steeple and bells were mentioned in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 116) Parts of the walls of the chapel, which survived up to c. 12 ft. high, were incorporated in the church of ST. SYMPHORIAN, of flint and stone, which was built in 1915–16. A chancel was added in 1941. (fn. 117) The silver communion cup belonging to the old chapel, dated 1568, survives. (fn. 118)
A daughter church of ST. PETER, High Salvington, of corrugated iron, was built in 1928 at the expense of the vicar, and was sold to the parish by his executors in 1951. Services were held fortnightly at first, but later more often; in 1967 congregations averaged 33. (fn. 119)
There are registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials for Durrington from 1626 to 1752, but burials throughout that period, and after the mid 17th century baptisms and marriages too, were evidently performed at West Tarring. (fn. 120) In the late 18th and early 19th centuries Durrington entries were sometimes listed separately in the West Tarring registers. (fn. 121) Separate registers began again in 1914. (fn. 122)
One protestant nonconformist was recorded at Durrington in 1676. (fn. 123) A room was licensed for an unnamed sect in 1840, (fn. 124) and between 1876 and 1880 there was a preaching station of Worthing Congregational church. (fn. 125)
In 1818 (fn. 126) and perhaps earlier the children of Durrington attended the West Tarring parish school. A day school was founded in 1819, at which 4 boys and 6 girls were educated at their parents' expense in 1833. (fn. 127) Margaret Bushby by will proved 1840 left a bequest for the educational benefit of the children of Goring and Durrington, which produced a gross income of £73 6s. 8d. in 1894, and £67 in 1964. (fn. 128) There was a dame school from 1860, (fn. 129) and a private school attended by 8 boys and girls on the return day in 1871. (fn. 130) Other children then and later, however, attended schools in Goring and West Tarring. (fn. 131)