A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1940.
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THE BOROUGH OF BRIGHTON
Bristelmestune (xi cent.); Brighthelmeston (xivxviii cent.).
The County Borough of BRIGHTON contains 10,503 acres and includes the ancient parishes of Brighton, Preston (part), Patcham, Ovingdean, and Rottingdean. The original parish of Brighton lay on the southern slopes of the Downs near the centre of the bay which stretches westward from Beachy Head to Selsey Bill. It was divided by the valley of the Wellesbourne, now occupied by the Steine and the Level. To the east of the valley the cliffs rise steeply from the sea; the soil is all chalk, but the under-cliff, which has been eroded by the sea, may have been an alluvial deposit. (fn. 1) The Downs behind the town rise to some 500 ft. above the sea-level and the main roads from London and Lewes crossed them to meet to the north. Many towns in England underwent a great transformation in the 18th century, but in some ways the process at Brighton was unique. The sea has always been the most important factor in the history of the town. It has been from the earliest times both its great enemy and also its chief means of subsistence. The fisheries absorbed the greater part of the population; arable farming was limited, and sheep-farming, though profitable, did not employ many men. In the early 18th century the town passed through a period of great depression, when by a curious stroke of fortune the sea brought back prosperity. In the first place this was due to the fashionable craze for sea-bathing as a cure for innumerable ills, but permanently it was the result of the changed attitude of English men and women towards the sea. A quotation from one of the earliest guide-books to Brighton, published in 1780, marks this change to the modern point of view:
'The salubrity of the air, the excellent quality of the water, the pleasing healthful and convenient situation of the town, its moderate distance from the metropolis, the unrivalled beauty of the circumjacent country, and many other advantages, both of nature and art contribute to give Brihthelmston a superiority to the other watering places. . . . On the place called the Clift there is a range of buildings commanding a fine prospect of the sea.' (fn. 2)
The last sentence marks the beginning of the change. Very few people, before this, enjoyed 'a fine prospect of the sea'. Mr. Haylor, writing about 1730, commended the town for 'its large Corn-Fields and fruitful Hills', which compensated him for the fact that 'it is bounded on the North-side [sic] with the British Channel'. (fn. 3) Very few travellers can be found like the Rev. William Clarke, the vicar of Buxted, who stayed at Brighton with his family for the summer of 1736 and could sun himself on the beach and admire 'such a tract of sea'. (fn. 4) Even in 1778, a visitor only mentions walking on the cliff to enable him to watch a great storm—'In deep contemplation on so tremendous a subject, am leaning on the edge of the clift', (fn. 5) he writes, but otherwise he was only interested in the sea for the sake of the bathers and turned his attention to the visitors and their amusements.
The history of Brighton reaches back into a very dim past. Implements of the Stone and Bronze Ages, British coins, traces of a Roman settlement, and AngloSaxon remains have all been found, (fn. 6) but any detailed knowledge of the inhabitants of Brighton only begins in 1086, with the survey of Domesday Book. It may be conjectured that at this time there was a fishing settlement at the mouth of the Wellesbourne and an agricultural settlement between the cliff and the church, which stands high above the town. (fn. 7) The sea was continually encroaching on the coast, and it was reported in 1340 that 40 acres of arable land had disappeared in little less than 50 years. (fn. 8) This probably refers to lands on the cliff (fn. 9) rather than the foreshore. The regular planning of the town as it existed from at least the 15th century suggests that it was deliberately laid out anew, possibly under the influence of the town-planning of New Winchelsea, (fn. 10) about 1300. (fn. 11) The earliest existing picture of Brighton, drawn in the early 16th century, (fn. 12) shows the site laid out as a rectangle about a quarter of a mile square, having streets to west and east with a street joining their northern ends and a south street passing along the edge of the cliff, on which was the market-place. The approach from the lower town was up a series of sloping ways rising eastwards. A Middle Street was laid out next to the West Street and parallel with it, and by the beginning of the 16th century these two streets, as well as North and East Streets, had been more or less completely developed. The interior of the rectangle between Middle and East Streets remained unbuilt upon for some time, and was known as the Hempshares, where hemp was grown for the rope-walks of the town. The drawing shows also a row of houses on the foreshore. These evidently increased in number with the growing prosperity of the town, but suffered from the depredations by the sea. In 1665 there were still 113, out of a former 135, shops, cottages, capstone-places, and stake-places under the cliff. (fn. 13) Most of these were evidently mere hovels, as in the Hearth Tax of that year only 24 houses 'under the cliff' were returned, the total number of houses in the town being 267, of which 64 were in East Street and 61 in North Street. (fn. 14) In 1703 a storm did damage all over the south of England, but at Brighton it 'stript a great many houses, turn'd up the lead off the church, overthrew two wind-mills, and laid them flat on the ground, the town in general (at the approach of daylight) looking as though it had been bombarded'. (fn. 15) Another storm in 1705 demolished the lower town under the cliff and the wreckage of the houses was covered by the shingle. (fn. 16) The fortifications on the west cliff were destroyed in 1748, (fn. 17) and by 1760 the sea was undermining the cliff itself. (fn. 18) The impoverished town, as was the usual method at the time, obtained help by briefs, issued by royal letters patent, for collections all over the country to raise the necessary money. The first was in 1722, for the construction of two groins, which were completed in the following year. (fn. 19) Another brief, which was read in East Hoathly Church on 2 July 1757, was obtained to raise a further £2,250 for groins. (fn. 20) Concrete groins were erected in the 19th century and the protection of the cliffs by the building of sea-walls as far as Rottingdean, now included in the Borough of Brighton, has only been completed within the last two years. The west cliff has also disappeared, as one of the features of the town. It stretched westwards from the Steine about to West Street. In 1738 it still rose some 25 ft. above the shore, (fn. 21) but this is obscured by the building of the parades and piers. Before the disappearance of the undercliff, there were clefts leading from the town on the west cliff to the houses below, and these clefts evidently dictated the positions both of the streets running down to the shore and of the gates in the defence wall; a cleft still shows at the bottom of Middle Street in an engraving published in 1773. (fn. 22)
Another important change is the disappearance of the Wellesbourne, a small and probably intermittent stream, which rose in the chalk-downs and flowed into the sea on the east side of the town, the Steine, lying in the valley between the town and the East Cliff, marking its course. Flooding in this area continued till the second half of the 19th century, but normally the stream ran into the sea by the Poole, (fn. 23) which is mentioned in 1497. (fn. 24) The outlet at the Poole was bricked over and the water inclosed in a sewer in 1793. (fn. 25)
Fear of invasion was constantly present during the many wars with France. The most serious attack on the town was made in 1514, when the French Admiral Pregent de Bidoux, a knight of Rhodes, and known in England as Prior John, 'with his galeys and foystes, charged with Greate basylyskes and other great artillery came on the border of Sussex, and came a-land in the night at a poore village in Sussex, called bright Helmston, and, or the watch coulde him escrye, he sett fyer on the towne and toke such poore goodes as he founde'. By that time, however, the beacons on the Downs were lighted and help came to the town. Prégent recalled his men to their boats, but they suffered heavily and he himself was wounded before reaching his galley. (fn. 26) The drawing of the attack shows the French galleys lying close in shore and the town in flames. Danger once more threatened the town in 1545, when soldiers are said to have landed from a French fleet at Brighton, but were driven off before much harm was done. (fn. 27) In 1694 Ebenezer Bradshaw described the danger threatening the town: 'Our pour town of Brighthelmstone in Sussex hath been this day suddenly surprised with four French privateers, and pestered there with ever since 11 o'clock a.m. As yet they have not done us much mischief, having discharged themselves so nigh us as to shoot over our town.' Two more privateers arrived and the inhabitants were called up 'to be on our defence this night, if so be that by appearances we may drive off this umbrage of ruin', for the defences of the town were in a parlous condition. (fn. 28) This, however, was quickly remedied by the dispatch of more efficient ordnance. (fn. 29)
Beacons on the Downs were kept ready to give an
alarm and on the cliff just to the east of the Steine was
the 'Cage', an iron basket full of burning fuel swung
aloft on a high post. It is clearly drawn in the view of
1514. (fn. 30) The earliest fortification was 'the Bulwark',
called 'the werke' in 1497, (fn. 31) at which date there was a
sea-gate (porta marina), (fn. 32) which suggests that a wall
was already in existence, stretching along the west cliff;
but neither the wall nor 'the werke' is shown in the
view. The town's chief defence, the Block-house, was
not built till 1559, when the lords of the manor granted
to the inhabitants of the town a piece of land, measuring
30 ft. × 16 ft., on which to build a storehouse for arms. (fn. 33)
Its site was on the cliff near the southern end of Middle
Street. At the same time fortifications were erected,
which in 1730 consisted of
'four strong gates (fn. 34) of free stone and arches, three of them very copious, being 12 or 13 ft. high, but the most notable of them was the East Gate to which [is] joyn'd a Wall 14 or 16 Foot high, extending about 400 foot to Westward. There is also another Wall 3 foot thick facing the Sea, and in it are many Port holes for Cannon. About 250 feet to the West end of the wall stands the Town hall (on the East of which is the Market House); it is a very strong Aedifice in the form of a circumference, built in stone, and 7 or 8 feet thick and about 18 foot high, and 50 in Diameter. The Hall is about 30 foot broad and under it is a Dungeon. It faces the Sea, and in its Walls are several arched rooms, where the Magazines are kept. Before it near the Sea is the Gun-Garden, capacious enough for 4 Cannon. This Hall stands in the Middle Front of the Town, and upon the Roof is a Turret, in which stands the Town Clock.' (fn. 35)
In 1580 the Town-house stood on the eastern side of the Block-house and their proximity perhaps accounts for the confusion in the names of the two buildings in the account of 1730. At the earlier date the armament consisted of four great cannon, sent from the Tower of London, besides two belonging to the inhabitants and ten callivers, with the necessary ammunition. (fn. 36) After the under-cliff had been washed away, the sea undermined the foundations of the Block-house, part of which fell down in 1748. (fn. 37) Its ruins are shown in an engraving published in 1773, standing at the extreme edge of the cliff. The town wall had completely disappeared, and as early as 1726 it had been necessary to guard the edge of the cliff with a paling. (fn. 38)
Brighton in the medieval period occasionally figures as a port and in 1301 and 1302 was ordered, with Shoreham and Portsmouth, to provide one ship for the king's expedition to Scotland. (fn. 39) In 1680 it was part of the port of Shoreham and its 'landing place' was the beach for 600 ft. between East and West Streets and from the shops (below the cliff) to the low-water mark; (fn. 40) and the Customs Officials in 1766 set up two pillars to mark the boundaries. (fn. 41) A carrying trade of some importance occupied the Brighton seamen, cargoes of wine, coal, salt, and stones being mentioned. Smuggling, and indeed piracy, brought the inhabitants into continual conflict with the county officials, and the lord of the manor of Brighton and Lewes was, as early as 1268, (fn. 42) suing them for seawrack, which was one of his privileges.
It was, however, from the fisheries that Brighton obtained a considerable degree of prosperity. The Brighton fishing fleet in the 16th and 17th centuries was one of the most important on the south coast. The fishing trade was minutely organized. In 1497 each boat fishing off Brighton paid the lord of the manor 8d. by custom, while he also received another customary payment called 'Lordsnette' from the boats which went on the Yarmouth Fare. (fn. 43) A century later the fishermen of Brighton drew up a statement as to the system of fishing. (fn. 44) The year was divided into fares: Tucknett Fare lasted from February to April, fishing for plaice; Shotnett Fare was for mackerel fishing from April to June; Skarborow Fare and Yarmouth Fare lasted from September to November and were the most lucrative, as the boats up to 40 tons took part in the cod and herring fishery on the east coast; Cok Fare, Flew Fare, Harbour Fare, and Drawnett Fare were all for local fishing, mostly with small boats. Exact regulations were drawn up as to the shares to be received by the men and the size of the nets used. (fn. 45) In 1626 the war with France inflicted great loss on the town and the fisherman petitioned Parliament for men of war to protect the coast. They said that about 60 boats were employed on the six fares and brought as much as £7,000 or £8,000 a year to the town. 'Now for the last three or four years since the time of Warr, by the force and Rage of our Enemies the Dunkerkers and Frenchmenn of warr wee have been debarred of our former fishing voyages.' Fourteen of the best barques had been seized by the enemy and the fishing fleet dared not leave port. (fn. 46) Another petition was sent to the lords lieutenant of the county, (fn. 47) who were also lords of the manor of BrightonLewes. In 1630 a 'Dunkirker' of 160 tons, with 78 men and 10 pieces of ordnance, was chased on shore at Brighton and the townspeople petitioned to be allowed to keep the guns for the protection of their town. (fn. 48) During the Commonwealth, when the Parliamentarian fleet was engaged with Royalist ships as well as French and Dutch ships of war, a regular system of convoying the south-coast fishing fleets to the North Foreland was arranged. (fn. 49) Of these fleets, the Brighton contingent seems to have been the largest. In July 1653, 50 Brighton boats were waiting for their convoy; in 1657 of the 90 fishing-boats convoyed in April, 30 came from Brighton; in 1658, 50 were convoyed by the Hawk and others were waiting to sail. (fn. 50) The Brighton fishermen firmly refused to sail without protection. Even so, their voyages must have been eventful. In 1650, the captain of their convoy fought a royalist ship, whose captain and 21 of his crew were landed in Brighton. (fn. 51) Some years later the Cat, a pink convoying the Brighton fishing-boats, was herself taken after a stout resistance, but thereafter the fleet demanded the protection of two convoys. (fn. 52) Still the fisheries went on and between the carrying trade for the Parliament and illicit work for the royalists, the Commonwealth (fn. 53) was a fairly prosperous time. There is little to show that the inhabitants took any great interest in the political struggle. The most famous episode connecting the town with the Civil War was the escape of Charles II after his disastrous defeat at Worcester in 1651. In the parish registers (fn. 54) Adam Cartwright, the town clerk, afterwards entered a short note of the event: 'Oct. 1651. The 14th day of this moneth King Charles the Second went from our towne out of Mr. Smiths house and was taken abroad by Nics: Tetersoale [&] carreyed by him to Fraunce, etc. And retorned [h]ome & landed at Dover againe the 29th of May 1660.' Colonel Gounter, a Sussex royalist landowner, with the help of Francis Mansel, a Chichester merchant, persuaded Captain Tattersall to take friends of his, who, he said, had to leave the country on account of a duel, to France for £50. One evening in October, Gounter and his servant arrived at the George Inn at Brighton, anxiously talking to the host, Anthony Smith, and listening for later arrivals. (fn. 55) Traditionally the 'George' has been identified with an inn in West Street which in the 18th century bore the sign of the King's Head. But in 1665 the George Inn was in Middle Street, and at that time a cottage on the west side of West Street bore the name of the 'Ould George'. (fn. 56) It seems much more probable that a house standing on the loneliest edge of the town was the appointed meeting-place rather than the George Inn, in the middle of the town, especially as the brig was lying to the west near Shoreham. However, at dusk, there entered the 'George', Wilmot dressed as a cavalier and his companion, tall and dark and young, dressed in grey with puritanically cropped hair. At the inn they were joined by Mansell and Tattersall. Both the innkeeper, who had been in Charles I's body-guard, and Tattersall, whose ship had been once taken by the royalists, recognized the king. Tattersall now hesitated about the passage, said that the wind was against them, that they must wait for the tide, and finally demanded that his ship should be insured for £200. At last, at 2 a.m., they rode from the inn and reached the brig, which lay aground in a creek near Shoreham. Wilmot and Charles went on board and waited for the tide. When the ship was afloat, she sailed to the west to divert suspicion and later changed her course for Normandy, where the King landed safely; and the soldiers who came searching for him in Brighton in the evening found he had escaped them once more. (fn. 57) Tattersall is found later as a very active constable of the town. (fn. 58) Both he and Mansell received pensions after the Restoration, (fn. 59) and Tattersall was appointed to the command of the frigate Monk in 1661, (fn. 60) and in 1672 his ketch, the Happy Entrance, was carrying powder and other stores for the Navy Commissioners. (fn. 61)
In 1665 there was a Free school, standing in the Hempshares. (fn. 62) This seems to be the earliest record of a school in Brighton. In 1722 Martha Lewes of Bermondsey released to Thomas Wood alias Din of Brighton her interest in a tenement in the Hempshares, which was parcel of a messuage called the Schoolhouse and contained five low rooms with an entry, two chambers and a garrett, garden, and two parcels of land. (fn. 63) Possibly this was the school which existed in 1702, when an 'Old School Book' begins and records the payment of £2 5s., the half-year's rent of the schoolroom. (fn. 64) It may possibly have continued as the school endowed by the Rev. Anthony Springett in 1740, when he gave a house and garden in the narrow lanes upon trust for a charity school. (fn. 65)
With the beginning of the 18th century, Brighton entered on the most depressed period of its history. The damage suffered from the successive storms has already been described. No one of any great wealth lived there. The most important people in the town were probably the farmers of the manorial demesnes, some of whom, such as the Friends, were gradually gaining control of a large part of the parish. (fn. 66) The population in 1700 had sunk to between 1,400 and 1,500, less than half its computed numbers in 1580, (fn. 67) while in 1744, out of 454 houses, 336 were exempted from the rates owing to the poverty of the occupiers. (fn. 68) To the impoverished town, however, an unexpected prosperity was wrested from the sea, treated from a new angle. About 1747 Dr. Richard Russell came to Brighton to exploit his new theories as to the medical properties of sea-water. He was probably the son of Nathaniel Russell, who bought Ranscomb Manor in South Malling near Lewes, and obtained his doctorate in 1724 at the University of Leyden. (fn. 69) He does not seem to have held the licence of the London College of Physicians to practice in England, (fn. 70) but his Latin treatise, published in 1750 and translated into English in 1752, on the treatment of glands by means of sea-water was well known both in Europe and in England. (fn. 71) Dr. Addington, the alienist whom the Prince of Wales called in to attend George III in 1788, was a warm admirer of Dr. Russell, in spite of his opposition to doctors not holding English degrees practising here. (fn. 72) The advantages of sea-bathing had long been recommended in England, but Dr. Russell also prescribed the drinking of sea-water and more especially of Brighton sea-water. The chalybeate spring, known as St. Anne's Well, which rose in the Upwick estate just to the west of the parish boundary, was also recommended by him to his patients. To what extent local Sussex inhabitants had previously come to bathe at Brighton is doubtful. Probably Dr. William Clarke, who bathed each morning during the fine weather of his visit in 1737, but left the place as soon as the weather became stormy, (fn. 73) was a rare example. Dr. Russell benefited from his practice sufficiently to build himself a large house on the Steine. (fn. 74) Still the visitors had not by 1756 greatly enriched the town. That winter there was a corn famine arousing the fear of incendiarism by a crowd of poor starving country people. At the close of Dr. Russell's career, for he died in 1759, (fn. 75) Sir Edward Wilson, in a letter to a Yorkshire correspondent, could visited the libraries. Thomas was the fashionable bookseller in 1779, where visitors went to enter their names, and there was also Widget 'the milliner and librarywoman'. (fn. 76) For the more active, there was hunting and horse-racing, while the militia camp, which a scare of war with France in 1784 had brought to the town, added to the gaiety of the visitors. (fn. 77) These attractions brought all sections of fashionable society, literary, political, and sporting, to Brighton. It brought the Thrales, who had family connexions with the town, for old Mr. Scrase, 'Daddy Crisp', who had bought a moiety of the manor of Brighton-Lewes (q.v.) and lived at the so-called Manor House on the Steine, had been a friend of Mr. Thrale's father. (fn. 78) They had a house in West Street, where Dr. Johnson and Fanny Burney came to stay. He went hunting and bathed and even went with them to the assembly rooms, but he was a difficult and cantankerous guest, who quarrelled with the lesser literary lights, such as Dr. Delap and Mr. Pepys, the London surgeon, who came for the bathing season. Fanny Burney amused herself with endless conversation at home, at the libraries, at the assembly rooms, where she avidly marked the general recognition of herself as the famous authoress. She bathed, walked on the Downs to see the hounds, and joked with the militia officers, who messed at the Old Ship. She was indeed the complete Brightonian visitor. (fn. 79)
The first changes in this society were beginning during Fanny Burney's visits. In 1779 the Duke of Cumberland, George III's brother, took Dr. Russell's house and became a regular visitor to the town. In the summer of 1783 the young Prince of Wales came to visit him and enjoyed his visit so much that he came again the next year, and Brighton is now inevitably connected with his name and extravagances.
On his first visit, the Prince of Wales was greeted by a royal salute from the guns of the battery; he walked about the Steine with his uncle, went to the theatre, and was fêted by the town. He was young and handsome and endeared himself to the townspeople, with whom he remained unbrokenly popular throughout his life. The next year he came again and settled in a house which stood on the Steine and belonged to Thomas Kemp, M.P. for Lewes and the largest landowner in Brighton. He sent his famous cook, Weltje, to make the arrangement and the lease stood in Weltje's name, until the prince bought the house in 1800. Many years afterwards, Samuel Rogers described it as 'a respectable farm-house'. (fn. 80) This summer the prince went to the Brighton races and entertained Philippe Egalité, then still known as the Duc de Chartres, as well as other French visitors staying at Brighton. Driving was one of the chief amusements of the time. Light carriages were becoming the fashion with the improved roads and the prince joined in the craze for horsemanship. His 'tutor' was young Sir John Lade, who made a curious link between the Pavilion and the literary visitors, for he was the nephew of Mr. Thrale. The following year, the prince brought the architect, Henry Holland, to carry out necessary alterations to his house, which became known indifferently as the Marine Pavilion or the Royal Palace. In the meantime, he had secretly married Mrs. FitzHerbert and a house was taken for her close to the Pavilion. They became regular summer visitors to Brighton, where he escaped from the difficulties of political life in London. Politicians might come to Brighton; Pitt and Fox were both there at the same time in 1784; but the prince amused himself, abetting the fashion for practical jokes, in which Lord Barrymore and his two brothers later became the ringleaders. If the wild doings of the prince in their company or that of Sheridan and less famous companions, such as Lade and Major Hanger, have been over-emphasized, (fn. 81) it must not be forgotten that Brighton continued to attract every one of importance whether from rank or personal attainments. A simpler family life also went on among the visitors.
Another element came into Brighton society with the outbreak of the French Revolution. The first emigrés came in the Brighton packet boats, bringing with them the money gained from the sale of their French estates; but gradually, during the time of the Terror, they came in all kinds of disguises, secretly in the fishing-boats, and penniless. (fn. 82) The outbreak of war with the French Republic in 1793 renewed the scare of invasion and the camp at Brighton was one of the largest of those established for the defence of the south coast. (fn. 83) The prince took part in many reviews, and the crack regiments encamped there were very different from the militia regiments described by Fanny Burney.
By 1794, the influence of Lady Jersey, and the financial crisis with which the Prince of Wales was faced, led to his marriage with Princess Caroline of Brunswick and in 1795 they came to spend the summer in Brighton, which was especially gay in their honour. He finally left the princess in 1799 and the next year he returned to Mrs. Fitzherbert, who always considered herself to be his legal wife by the law of her church, if not by the law of England. They returned to Brighton in 1801 and the prince began enlarging the Pavilion, although it was not till 1811, when he became Regent, that he embarked on the great building programme which turned the Royal Pavilion into one of the wonders of his time. Immediately, he bought the Promenade Grove, a popular pleasure garden, to the west of the house, but on the other side of East Street. Arrangements were made to inclose the street, on condition that he built a new road at his own expense. A new house was also built for Mrs. Fitzherbert in 1804, known as Steine House, (fn. 84) and she lived there till her death in 1836. The entourage of the prince became more political and less gay, but the town continued to grow. The old parish church had become too small for the town. In 1810 Miss Berry went to see the church on the hill above the town, as she could still describe St. Nicholas: 'It is crowded with tablets within and tombstones without, in short the town and its inhabitants have fairly outgrown their church, for there is but one here.' (fn. 85) She ignored the fact that the Chapel Royal, in North Street, was already built. The Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone in 1793, and attended it until 1821, when, being offended with a sermon preached there, which he considered, probably correctly, was directed against him, (fn. 86) he bought the Castle Tavern on the Steine, which adjoined the Pavilion grounds, and converted it into a royal chapel. Miss Berry, on the same visit, drove to the West Cliff and noted that the town stretched from there to the Crescent, then the last buildings on the East Cliff, for quite 2 miles. (fn. 87) Various improvements in the public buildings of the town were carried out by the Town Commissioners, whose numbers and income had been increased in 1800.
'You would scarcely know Brighton,' Mrs. Fitzherbert wrote in 1819, 'it is so enlarged since you were here, and is at this moment so full there is not a house to be had. I cannot boast of much good society, which formerly we abounded with at this season. When I tell you that fiftytwo public coaches go from hence to London every day and bring people down for six shillings, you will not be surprised at the sort of company we have; besides which the Royal Palace attracts numbers who are puzzled to know what to make of the appearance of the building which it is impossible for me, or indeed any one else, to describe. (fn. 88)
The Prince Regent had been absorbed in building the Pavilion in its final Indo-Chinese form, which puzzled and shocked the taste of his contemporaries, (fn. 89) but he was growing older, absorbed in politics, and the court at Brighton lost something of its brilliance. It was at Brighton that he finally consented to the engagement of his daughter Princess Charlotte, the heir to the throne, to Prince Leopold of Coburg, and the prince came in February 1816 to be presented to the regent. One of his suite described the event:
'Brighton is a beautiful town on the coast, quite new and much frequented by fashionable society for the sake of the sea-bathing. We were quartered in the Pavilion, as the Regent's residence is called; it is decorated and furnished in the Chinese taste, and is illuminated by more than three thousand lamps of opalescent glass, which indeed give a really magnificent effect, but also produce an almost unbearable heat; the gallery is of a quite unusual beauty. . . . At 6 o'clock we went into dinner which lasted until half past nine, which was something of a trial for the Prince as his head is not yet quite healed, however if one does not wish to starve one must accustom oneself to these long sittings, which are the rule over here. After dinner the Turkish band opened their concert with the Coburg march; they are very richly and tastefully dressed and play every day. The Lord Chamberlain's very beautiful daughter, Lady Charlotte Chaldamby [sic] in the intervals displayed her skill on the pianoforte, which is really first class. Then Whist and Vingt-et-un were played alternately until 1 o'clock.' (fn. 90)
This description sums up the chief features of life at the Pavilion as they appear in contemporary accounts, the heat of the rooms, the long dinners, music, and cards. The Pavilion was at last finished in 1820, but soon afterwards George suddenly lost interest in Brighton. William IV and Queen Adelaide came regularly to the Pavilion and entertained largely. Charles Greville in 1832 described the town as 'very full, bustling, gay, and amusing. I am staying in De Ros' house with Alvanley; Chesterfield, Howes, Neveirs, Cowpers, all at Brighton, and plenty of occupation in visiting, gossiping, dawdling, riding, and dining; a very idle life, and impossible to do anything. The Court very active, vulgar, and hospitable. . . .' (fn. 91) This is one of the last descriptions which suggests the Brighton in its most fashionable guise; Queen Victoria came there soon after her accession, but she and Prince Albert did not care for it. The town had become too big for any kind of privacy. Creevy at the time of her first visit had written 'Now for Brighton! Barry, my dear, it is detestable: the crowd of unknown human beings is not to be endured . . . but I have a strong touch of melancholy in comparing Brighton of the present with times gone by'. (fn. 92) In 1850 the Pavilion was sold to the Brighton Town Commissioners and has been developed as a centre of municipal activities. The public library and museums have been built in the grounds; the stables, known now as the Dome, have become a concert hall and the Riding School is the Corn Exchange. During the Great War from December 1914 to early in 1916 a hospital for Indian soldiers was established there, and it was used as a military hospital till 1922. It was afterwards restored and opened to the public, with the addition of the south gate, given in 1921 by the Maharaja of Patiala. (fn. 93)
The growth of the town was inevitable; the increasing number of visitors had forced the Town Commissioners to undertake public works, the chief being the concrete sea-wall, the new Town Hall, the reclamation of the foreshore to enable the building of the Grand Junction Road joining the East and West Cliffs, and the making of the King's Road along the West Cliff. A further impetus to building came from Thomas Read Kemp, who in 1811 succeeded his father as lord of a moiety of the manor of Brighton-Lewes (q.v.) and owner of the rest of the property of the Friend family. He sat as a member for Lewes Borough from 1811 to 1816 and again from 1826 to 1837. In 1820 he began an ambitious scheme for developing the eastern part of the parish of Brighton, and the building of Kemp Town absorbed the greater part of his fortune. He also built for himself the large house at the west end of the town, known as the Temple. In 1822 the race-course was improved and a new grand stand built, and in the same year a company was formed by Act of Parliament to build the Chain Pier, from which a regular cross-channel service was maintained. The West Pier was built in 1866, and after the Chain Pier had been washed away by the great storm of 1896, the project for building the Palace Pier was carried out. (fn. 94) The railway to Brighton was opened in 1841 and the stream of distinguished visitors to Brighton continued throughout the 19th century. (fn. 95) A policy of catering for the tastes of other, less distinguished, visitors was adopted, and among other attractions the Aquarium, (fn. 96) at the south end of the Steine, was opened in 1872 and rebuilt in 1929, when this portion of the sea front was remodelled. The immunity of the town from air-raids during the war years, 1914–18, followed by the improvement of the railway service to London, has led in recent years to a great expansion of building.
The rapid development of Brighton at the end of the 18th century seems to have removed practically all traces of its earlier buildings. A very small portion of flint walling on the north side of the Old Market, now a garage, is believed, on slender evidence, to be part of the south wall of St. Bartholomew's Chapel. (fn. 97) Part of the Black Lion Brewery, associated with the name of Derrick Carver, 'berebrewer', burnt as a heretic in 1555, appears to be at least as old as the end of the 17th century, and may even be older, as no datable features remain. The building consists of a low square tower, now built about by later structures; its base is completely surrounded by a sort of subterranean cloister, the floor of which is perhaps 10 ft. below that of the central building. The walling of this, as well as that of the subterranean portions of the building, is of flint, and the north wall of the latter is partly in good ashlar which appears to be medieval. The cellar now has a flat vault in modern brick. There are no old openings, and all the walls are thickly covered with whitewash.
The haste with which the new Brighton was built is shown by the materials used in many of the houses. The walls are built of rubble, partly flint, and partly brick-bats, all thrown together without any kind of bonding. Every foot or so is a bonding course of brickwork, and brick quoins are utilized for the angles. The walls are faced with beach pebbles, and it is clear that they have all failed completely to keep out rain. Some of them have been tarred over to waterproof them, but for the most part they show stucco finish, which hides what architectural features they may possess and produces dull uniformity, entirely lacking in character. Many houses were covered with tile-hanging designed to imitate brickwork, known as 'mathematical tiles'.
The plans are typical of the town house of the period, and are of two main types, single- and double-fronted. The latter has the entrance door and staircase set between two blocks of rooms rising three or four stories in height. The single-fronted houses have only one vertical block to each staircase, and are arranged in terrace formation. The chief architectural feature is the projecting window, either a bow, or, more frequently, a bay. There are hardly any doorways worth a mention, (fn. 98) partly because so many of the old residential houses have had their ground floors re-designed to provide shop accommodation, with a consequent rearrangement of the front of the building. Hardly any old shop fronts remain, (fn. 99) however, and the few that may be discovered in the 'twittens', the narrow lanes leading from Ship and Black Lion Streets, show a remarkable economy of design. The larger terrace schemes of the early 19th century provide the most notable architectural features of Brighton. Some of the fine squares and crescents date from this period of monumental stucco and Classic Revival.
The most famous building in Brighton is the Royal Pavilion. It was begun in 1784, on the site of an earlier farm-house, and completed in its original form in 1787. It then consisted of a long building lying north and south, the ground floor containing five large rooms, with their main windows facing the Steine. The middle three of these rooms formed a suite of Drawing Rooms, the central of which, the Salon, was roofed with a low dome. The east fronts of all three were bowed towards the Steine. At the northern end was a large Music Room, and at the southern end a Dining Room of similar proportions. These two rooms were connected by a long corridor passing behind the Drawing Rooms and providing access to the private rooms of the building. The architecture of the building was quite simple, the walls being of brick covered with stucco. The chief feature of the main elevation was a colonnaded portico covering the bowed front of the Salon. In 1802, wings were added at either end of the west front, and in 1814 the present kitchen and its offices were added at the south end of the main block. In 1817 the whole structure was redecorated architecturally, in the curious Oriental style which it now exhibits. The original low dome over the Salon was replaced by a taller onionshaped one, and others were scattered about the roofs of the building. The colonnade was replaced by another with Oriental columns, and the fronts of the building, from which the projecting wings had been removed, were embellished with similar features and small minarets. At the same time, the whole of the interior of the Pavilion was redecorated in the bizarre Oriental style which has been the chief reason for its present architectural notoriety. In 1850, when the Brighton Town Commissioners bought the Pavilion, the furniture, pictures, and some of the internal fittings of the building were taken to Buckingham Palace and elsewhere, and much of the decoration had to be restored.
Town and Borough
The town of Brighton did not obtain incorporation until the mid-19th century, but the townspeople had obtained a considerable control of the town's internal affairs much earlier and they had a town hall before 1580. (fn. 100) The town lay within three different jurisdictions, which, however, were in the same hands. In 1086 the hundred of Welesmere was in the hands of William de Warenne, (fn. 101) and his successors held the court of the hundred of Whalesbone and the court leet at Brighton as late as 1854. (fn. 102) Atlingworth and Pekes Manor were in Fishersgate Hundred, but this also was held by Earl Warenne. (fn. 103) All the manors of Brighton belonged to his barony of Lewes; the freeholders owed suit to the court of the barony; (fn. 104) and the halimote of the town manor of BrightonLewes was also held by his steward. The division of the Warenne inheritance in the 15th century complicated the system, while the obligations imposed on the parish by the poor laws of the 16th century did not fit into the scheme of existing town government. In consequence there was much discontent in the town, and a long controversy arose between the fishermen and the townsmen. (fn. 105) The fishermen addressed a petition to the Privy Council, which on 12 February 1580 appointed a Commission, consisting of the Earl of Arundel, Lord Buckhurst, Sir Thomas Shirley, and Richard Shelley, to inquire into their grievances. Their findings are contained in 'The Book of the Auncient Customs heretofore used amonge the Fishermen of the Toune of Brighthelmston'. (fn. 106) They show the division of the inhabitants into fishermen and landsmen and reveal the surprising fact that the landsmen paid no rates, while the fishermen alone contributed to the town expenses. As the town was burdened 'with the multitude of poor people, which daily are thought to increase, by means of receiving Undertenants, lodgeing of Strangers and disorder of Tipling houses', (fn. 107) the discontent of the fishermen was natural. Their contribution came from the profits made on each fishing voyage. These profits were divided, according to scale, into a number of shares, one of which was assigned to the captain of each boat, who paid a quarter of it to the churchwardens, a half to the vicar, and retained for himself the remaining quarter. Besides the quarter share paid to the churchwardens, the only town revenue was derived from two windmills, one of which in 1580 was ruinous. (fn. 108) Shortly afterwards, the town acquired the Bartholomews property (q.v.).
The government of the town was in the hands of the constable and his two assistants and of the three churchwardens. (fn. 109) The constable was chosen by the court leet of the hundred at the Easter law-day, (fn. 110) but as the jury was chosen from the hundred, it was not solely representative of Brighton and did not, as was so often the case, develop into the town council. The commissioners introduced a constitutional change into the town government by appointing 'out of the ancientist gravest and wisest of the inhabitants', a body of eight fishermen and four landsmen, known as the Society of the Twelve, to assist the constable in the maintenance of public order. Vacancies were filled up at the court leet by the vote of the surviving members, subject to the approval of the stewards of the manor of BrightonLewes. No one without the consent of the constable and the Twelve might call together any meeting touching the government of the town. Each one of the Twelve was responsible for keeping order in a district near his own house. (fn. 111)
Even more revolutionary was the commissioners' order for a yearly rate to be levied on the more wealthy landsmen according to the value of their tenements. (fn. 112) It was presumably the first levy of the rate which led to disturbances in 1581. (fn. 113) Changes in the rate were to be made by the constable, vicar, and twenty of the inhabitants. (fn. 114)
The three churchwardens, two of whom were to be fishermen and one a landsman, were elected with the consent of the vicar and the chief inhabitants of the town, (fn. 115) but not apparently till the 19th century was there a regular elected vestry. In 1809 the three churchwardens and four overseers of the poor met monthly as a private vestry and only for special business was a public meeting called. (fn. 116) In 1580, besides the usual duties of churchwardens, the three were responsible for keeping the store of ammunition for the town defences. (fn. 117) The rest of the commissioners' award dealt with safeguarding the expenditure, accounts, and penalties for infringing the regulations. All actions and accounts were to be entered in a register by the town clerk, (fn. 118) and the Customs, Orders, and Rates were to be read once a year by the vicar or town clerk in the presence of the ratepayers. (fn. 119)
A second Book of Customs, drawn up in February 1619, (fn. 120) made more definite rules: thus the expenditure of the money paid from the town box was limited to the maintenance of the church, the communion bread and wine, the maintenance of the lecture, the clerk's and sexton's wages, the lights in the fire cage, payment of the king's oats, and the 'setting forth' of soldiers. The constable was paid £25 8s. a year and, whether fisherman or landsman, had one horse-lease. The two head boroughs each received 5s. 8d. a year as well as one cow-lease and twenty-five sheep-leases by ancient custom. (fn. 121)
Beyond these customs, the town government continued under by-laws made in the court leet and the manorial court. (fn. 122) By the middle of the 18th century the Society of the Twelve had disappeared and all the inhabitants whether fishermen or landsmen paid rates unless exempted on account of poverty. (fn. 123) As the town grew in importance further powers were secured to the townspeople, who obtained in 1773 an Act of Parliament, instituting a body of sixty-four Town Commissioners, elected by inhabitants paying scot and lot. Control of paving, lighting, and cleaning the streets, of the market and fairs and of weights and measures, and powers to build groins and a town hall were given to the commissioners, who were empowered to levy 6d. a chaldron on all coal brought into the town by sea. (fn. 124) Another Act was obtained in 1810 (fn. 125) increasing their numbers, powers, and income. Certain members still remained ex officio: the lords of the manors of BrightonLewes, Atlingworth, and Old Shoreham, the members of Parliament for Sussex and the Sussex boroughs, the high constable of the court leet, and the vicar of Brighton. They were given control of the poor-law administration and further powers over the market. The duty per chaldron of coal was raised to 3s. and was not abolished till 1887. (fn. 126) The commissioners continued to be elected till 1854, but the poor-law administration was transferred in 1825 to the vestry. (fn. 127)
In 1854 the town obtained its first charter of incorporation and the government was vested in the mayor, twelve aldermen, and thirty-six councillors representing the six wards, named the Pavilion, Pier, Park, St. Peter's, St. Nicholas, and West wards. The corporation controlled the new police force; a coroner was appointed and a commission of the peace with a separate court of quarter sessions established. (fn. 128) In 1873 part of Preston was included in the municipal borough. Brighton became a county borough under the Local Government Act of 1887, and by the Brighton Corporation Act of 1927 its boundaries were enlarged to include part of the parishes of Patcham, West Blatchington, and Falmer, and the parishes of Ovingdean and Rottingdean. (fn. 129)
In 1832 the parishes of Brighton and Hove were formed into one parliamentary Borough returning two members of Parliament. (fn. 130) By the Boundary Act of 1868 all Preston was included in the parliamentary borough, but in 1918 that part of it outside the County Borough was transferred to the Lewes division. (fn. 131)
In 1580 the Town House stood on the east side of the Blockhouse and was held by copy of court-roll from the lords of Brighton-Lewes. (fn. 132) In 1665 the churchwardens paid an annual rent of 1s. for the Town House. (fn. 133) In 1825 the Town Hall stood in the Bartholomews and was described as 'a small mean insignificant room', where the magistrates had sat until 1821, when they moved to the Old Ship Inn. (fn. 134) The old workhouse, built in 1733 in the Bartholomews, (fn. 135) seems temporarily to have served as a court room, but in 1824 the poor-law authorities sold the Bartholomews to the town commissioners, (fn. 136) who had included the scheme of building a new Town Hall in their programme of improvements, certainly since 1810. (fn. 137) The new hall in Market Street was built by the commissioners in 1830 at a cost of £60,000, largely at the instance of Thomas Read Kemp. (fn. 138)
Market and Fairs
In 1312 John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, obtained a grant from Edward II of a weekly market on Thursdays and an annual fair on the eve, day, and morrow of St. Bartholomew. (fn. 139) In 1773 the control of the market was transferred to the town commissioners, (fn. 140) and in 1810 they were empowered to hold the market daily to meet local needs, though Thursday continued to be the chief market-day. (fn. 141) In 1580 the Market Place was near the Blockhouse, (fn. 142) and it was evidently in the same position in 1656, when it was on the west cliff, 20 ft. to the east of the Town House. (fn. 143) In 1665 the Market Place was in the Hempshares, but the Market House was said to be under the cliff. (fn. 144) It was washed away in the storms of the early 18th century. In 1734 (fn. 145) a new market-house was built between Black Lion Street and East Street. (fn. 146) In 1830 it was removed to the west side of Market Street (fn. 147) and it was rebuilt in 1921. (fn. 148)
In 1825 a fair for toys and pedlary was held on old St. Bartholomew's day (4 September) and another fair was held on Holy Thursday. In 1837 they were held on Ireland's cricket ground, then in the extreme north of the town, and now the site of Park Crescent. (fn. 149)
A corn market, by sample, existed in 1825 at the King and Queen Inn (fn. 150) and a cattle market was established there about 1832. (fn. 151) The inn was afterwards called the Corn Exchange and Horse Market. (fn. 152)
A fish market was held on the beach in 1780. (fn. 153) In 1825 it was held near Lamprell's swimming baths and sale was by Dutch auction. The greater part of the catches was sent to London and fish was by no means plentiful in the town itself. (fn. 154)
In the time of Edward the Confessor, Brighton was divided into three holdings, two of which belonged to the king and the third to Earl Godwin. Each part was in the hands of sub-tenants. The largest holding, 6 hides and 1 virgate, was held by three alodial tenants, of whom one had a hall, the other two holdings being in the hands of villeins. The second of the king's holdings was held by Ulward, whose land was assessed at 5½ hides. Earl Godwin's holding was also assessed at 5½ hides and he gave it to a tenant named Brictric. By 1086 all three holdings were in the hands of William de Warenne, as part of his barony of Lewes. The earl had given each holding to a Norman sub-tenant; the largest was held as one manor by Widard, and four haws in Lewes were attached to it; Ulward's land was held by William de Wateville and the church was on his holding; Brictric had been succeeded by Ralph, and from this holding a rent of 4,000 herrings was paid. (fn. 155)
One holding evidently escheated to the overlords, since in 1284 the chief manor in Brighton, subsequently known as the manor of BRIGHTON-LEWES, was held in demesne by John, Earl Warenne. (fn. 156) It was probably identical with Earl Godwin's holding, since the herring rent of 1086 suggests a fishing community, and a toll of 6 mackerel per boat was due as late as 1862 from the Brighton fishermen, each time they came in from mackerel fishing. (fn. 157) The Domesday tenant Ralph was probably Ralph de Caisneto (Chesney), with whom he has been identified on the somewhat illogical ground that Ralph de Chesney gave to Lewes Priory the church of Brighton, which actually was on William de Wateville's land. (fn. 158) Chesney succeeded to many of Wateville's holdings in Sussex and certainly in Brighton, since besides his gift of the church his descendants were mesne lords there for several centuries. Possibly Ralph de Chesney's grandson John surrendered Earl Godwin's holding, when he succeeded his father about 1147. He obviously found himself in difficulties over paying to the earl the relief due for his lands. (fn. 159) Certainly in 1175 Earl William III was able to grant land in Brighton to the priory of Lewes, (fn. 160) which suggests that he was already holding the manor of Brighton-Lewes in demesne. The manor may be described as the town manor and its court was called the halimote. (fn. 161) The manor followed the descent of the barony of Lewes (q.v.) until 1440, when, on the death of Beatrice widow of Thomas Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel and Surrey, the whole of Brighton-Lewes was assigned to John Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, the grandson of Elizabeth Fitzalan, who had married the 1st duke. (fn. 162) On the marriage in 1478 of Anne, daughter and heir of the 5th Duke of Norfolk, to Richard, Duke of York, the son of Edward IV, Brighton-Lewes was amongst the manors settled on them for their lives. (fn. 163) Anne died in 1481 and Richard in 1483 while they were both still children, (fn. 164) and the manor, like the barony, was divided between the four heirs of Elizabeth Fitzalan—John Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk; William, Lord Berkeley, afterwards Earl Marshal and Marquess Berkeley; Thomas, Lord Stanley; and Sir John Wingfield. (fn. 165) An agreement was made by which the Duke of Norfolk and Thomas, Lord Stanley, should each have a moiety of Brighton-Lewes, (fn. 166) but difficulties arose. In 1485 the duke was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field and his son and heir Thomas, Earl of Surrey, was attainted. The attainder was reversed in 1488–9 (fn. 167) and by 1490 he had recovered the bulk of his estates, but the partition of the Warenne lands could not be completed. Wingfield's quarter share, assigned to Stanley, had been transferred before 1503. (fn. 168) Berkeley, however, whose share should have passed to the Earl of Surrey, was heavily in debt to the king. (fn. 169) He settled certain property, including his quarter share of BrightonLewes, with various remainders including one to Henry VII, (fn. 170) and on the death of the marquess without issue in February 1492 his share in Sussex was taken over by the escheator, who was still accounting for it late in 1493. (fn. 171) No actual partition of the lands of the manor was made till the 18th century and the whole manor of Brighton seems to have been in the king's hands in 1497. (fn. 172) Maurice Berkeley, the brother and heir of the marquess, recovered his inheritance in 1503. (fn. 173) The Earl of Surrey then successfully petitioned the king and recovered his share of Brighton-Lewes and the other Warenne lands. (fn. 174) Maurice Berkeley had sold, or more probably mortgaged, his quarter share to Lord Bergavenny, (fn. 175) who was one of the overlords of the manor, but this matter seems to have been arranged, since in March 1514, at a court held at Brighton, the tenants of the fourth part of the manor, which had been Lord Berkeley's and formerly Lord Bergavenny's, did homage to the Earl of Surrey and attorned for their lands. (fn. 176) Surrey was created Duke of Norfolk the following year, and this moiety of the manor shared the vicissitudes of the Norfolk quarter of the barony (q.v.) until 1642, when the then Earl of Surrey granted his moieties of the manors of Brighton-Lewes and Meeching (Newhaven) to Lionel, Earl of Middlesex, and other trustees, with a view to the settlement of his debts. (fn. 177) In 1648 the remaining trustees, together with his son Henry, who had succeeded his father as Earl of Surrey and Duke of Norfolk in 1646, mortgaged these manors to Richard Evelyn, (fn. 178) who conveyed his interest in 1651 to Robert Heath. (fn. 179) Heath foreclosed, but in the meantime the trustees seem to have obtained a further mortgage from Henry Lane. (fn. 180) Various law-suits ensued, but eventually, in 1657, the trustees sold the moiety of the manor for £ 1,000 to Anthony Shirley of Preston. (fn. 181) In 1660 the reversion was settled on Anne, Shirley's wife, with power to devise it by will. (fn. 182) Anthony was created a baronet in 1666 and died in 1683, (fn. 183) when his widow immediately made her will. She left the moiety of Brighton-Lewes to her brother Richard Onslow for life. (fn. 184) He was lord of the moiety in 1706, and died, as Lord Onslow, in 1716. (fn. 185) The reversion Dame Anne left to her daughter Elizabeth, wife of William Boyce of Hawkhurst, with remainder to their daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 186) The younger Elizabeth married, firstly, John Morton of Pagham in 1700 (fn. 187) and, secondly, John Sparrow of Anglesey c. 1715. (fn. 188) Probably owing to her absence, the moiety appears to have been leased to her uncle Sir Richard Shirley and his descendants. (fn. 189) John Sparrow died before 1750 (fn. 190) and his widow owned the moiety till her death in 1768. (fn. 191) In 1756 she and her eldest son Bodychen filed a bill in Chancery against Thomas Friend, then lord of the other moiety, for the partition of the lands of the manor, which had never been divided, the halimote being held jointly by the stewards for the two moieties. Accordingly in 1760 the customary lands and tenements, with their respective fines, heriots, quit rents, &c., were divided between the lords of the moieties. The other rights appurtenant to the manor, such as the wastes, wrecks of the sea, deodands, waifs and strays, royalties, customary dues, &c., arising from the capstans built on the waste and the common pound of the manor were left undivided. A general court of the manor was held 25 May 1766, when the two moieties were assigned, (fn. 192) but the final conveyances were not made till 1776. (fn. 193) Bodychen Sparrow was high sheriff of Anglesey in 1753, as was his younger brother Henry in 1773, (fn. 194) so they presumably had little personal connexion with Brighton. Bodychen died unmarried early in 1768, (fn. 195) a few months before his mother, so that her moiety of BrightonLewes passed to Henry Sparrow, (fn. 196) who, however, sold it in 1771, as his brother had desired, to Charles Scrase, (fn. 197) whose family had long been settled in the neighbourhood. Scrase carried out the final division of the lands of the manor of Brighton-Lewes, which had been held in undivided moieties since 1514. (fn. 198) He left the moiety in trust by his will, dated 1792, for his grandson Charles Dickins, with the proviso that he should take the name of Scrase. (fn. 199) In 1833, Charles Scrase Dickins, junior, succeeded to the moiety of Brighton-Lewes, (fn. 200) and he held the manor until his death in 1875. It then passed to his son Charles Spencer Scrase Dickins, and on his death in 1884 to his son Charles Robert Scrase Dickins of Coolhurst, Horsham, by whom it is still held. (fn. 201)
The moiety of Brighton-Lewes which had been assigned in 1683 to Thomas, Lord Stanley, subsequently Earl of Derby, descended with the 1/8 of the barony (q.v.), passing to the Earls of Dorset. Richard, 3rd Earl of Dorset, in 1611, obtained a confirmation from James I for the moiety of Brighton-Lewes, amongst other Sussex manors of the Warenne inheritance, which had recently belonged to the Earls of Derby. (fn. 202) Subsequently he granted the moiety, amongst other property, to trustees with a view to their sale for the payment of his debts after his death. (fn. 203) He died in 1624, when the title passed to his brother Edward, who with Richard Amherst in 1633 conveyed it to Sir Edward Hales and other feoffees representing the late earl's creditors. (fn. 204) Afterwards John Tufton, 2nd Earl of Thanet, who married Margaret, the elder daughter of Richard, Earl of Dorset, (fn. 205) recovered his wife's inheritance, by paying nearly £7,000 to the creditors. (fn. 206) He died in 1664, and his wife in 1676, and four of their sons succeeded in turn to the earldom, the 6th earl dying in 1729. (fn. 207) The moiety of Brighton-Lewes, however, came into the possession of the youngest son, Colonel Sackville Tufton, before 1706, (fn. 208) and his son Sackville, who succeeded as the 7th earl in 1729, (fn. 209) in 1737 sold the moiety to Thomas Friend of Brighton. (fn. 210) In 1744 the new owner obtained an assignment of certain copyhold property, belonging to the other moiety. As the land was still held in undivided moieties, he was admitted in the joint court by the two lords of the manor, who then were Mrs. Elizabeth Sparrow and Thomas Friend himself. (fn. 211) Friend died in 1762, and by his will his moiety of the manor passed to his nephew Thomas Friend, (fn. 212) who died a year later and left it to his nephew John Bull. (fn. 213) He in 1770 sold it to his cousin John Kemp, a nephew of Thomas Friend, senior. (fn. 214) The connexion of the Kemp family with the development of Brighton has already been recorded. John Kemp died in 1774 and the moiety passed to his nephew Thomas Kemp, (fn. 215) who left it in 1810 to his son Thomas Read Kemp. (fn. 216) Thomas Wisden was lord of the moiety in 1862, and his family long retained it. (fn. 217)
The Sussex estates of William de Wateville, the tenant of the third of William de Warenne's holdings in Brighton in 1086, passed to Ralph de Chesney, possibly by marriage with Wateville's daughter. (fn. 218) His grandson John (fn. 219) in 1147 sold for 100 marks half the land in Brighton which he had inherited from his father Ralph to the Priory of Lewes, in order to raise the money for the relief which he owed to Earl Warenne. (fn. 220)
By the second half of the 12th century the priory had become an important tenant in the parish. The first benefaction was made by Wiard, presumably the Domesday tenant. He gave half a hide of his land to the Priory and his grant was confirmed in 1095 by Earl William (II) de Warenne. (fn. 221) In 1175 William de Warenne granted another 2 virgates in exchange for the mill of Meeching (Newhaven), which his father Rainald had given, when he became a monk at the priory. (fn. 222) These lands were presumably represented in the 16th century by demesne lands in Brighton, which were let at farm for 20s. a year in 1545, when they were in the hands of the king. (fn. 223) It is possible that when the priory lands were alienated they were treated as belonging to the manor of Atlingworth.
In 1147 John de Chesney gave the other moiety of his land to the priory for seven years, free of rent, so that the monks might recoup themselves for 60 marks, which they had already lent to him. (fn. 224) His descendants do not appear as tenants in demesne of any land in Brighton, but only as the mesne lords under the barony of Lewes of part of a knight's fee. John de Chesney left two daughters and co-heirs and from the younger, Alice wife of Geoffrey de Say, (fn. 225) the mesne lordship can be traced to Sir William Heron, who died in 1404. (fn. 226) He had married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of William de Say, and she died seised inter alia of seven knights' fees extending into nine parishes in Sussex, one of which was Brighton. (fn. 227) William Heron held them for life and they afterwards passed to her heirs, who were the descendants of her three aunts, the sisters of William de Say. (fn. 228) The mesne lordship, however, seems to have disappeared after the partition of her fees.
ERLEYS manor took its name from the Berkshire family of Erleigh or Erley, (fn. 229) who held a knight's fee in Brighton in the 12th century. (fn. 230) It was evidently formed out of the Chesney holdings, as it was held of William de Say in 1279, when he granted the homage and service of Giles de Erley due from his tenement in Brighton to Oliver de Punchardun and Asceline his wife and her heirs. (fn. 231) The fee was not called a manor until the 17th century, but in the 12th century it had a curia and messuage, (fn. 232) and manorial rights were probably attached to it. A court baron was held in the early 18th century, (fn. 233) and in 1771 the lord of the manor claimed both a court leet and court baron. (fn. 234)
In 1196 the tenant was John de Erley, who granted a moiety of it, in land and sea, with all its liberties and free customs to Maud, daughter of Robert de Erley, in exchange for certain Berkshire property. The grant consisted of his curia and house and 7 virgates of land, two of which belonged to his demesne, the remaining 5 being in the hands of tenants. (fn. 235) For this she was to pay an annual rent of 24s. and to perform the military service due from half a knight's fee. If she died without issue, the half-fee was to revert to John and his heirs, (fn. 236) but whether it did so is unknown. The Erleys remained as tenants of at least the other moiety of the fee until the 16th century. Giles de Erley held a tenement of William de Say by military service in 1279. (fn. 237) A John de Erley witnessed a charter concerning land in Brighton in 1329, (fn. 238) and in 1327 and 1332 he was assessed for two subsidies at a considerable sum. (fn. 239) Another John de Erley died c. 1393 and was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 240) In 1457 John Erley of Brighton was described as the 'kinsman' of John Erley, (fn. 241) and about 1500 John Erley the younger, son of another John, died seised of 100 acres of land, 200 acres of pasture, and 8 acres of meadow in Brighton and Perching. His widow Margaret disputed the property with John Erley of Lewes, who claimed it as son and heir of Robert, uncle of John Erley the younger. (fn. 242) His claim appears to have been successful and by his will, made in 1508, he left his property in Brighton to his son John, with remainder to his daughters Isabel and Alice. (fn. 243) The younger John died, without surviving male issue, before the spring of 1538, (fn. 244) and the manor of Erleys passed to his daughters, of whom there were four, as the manor was held in four pourparties. (fn. 245) In 1538 Agnes, one of his daughters, was the wife of Clement Poggesley, and they quit-claimed her quarter of the manor to Nicholas Jenny and his wife Agnes to hold for the life of the latter Agnes (fn. 246) (possibly the widow of John Erley). Ann, another of his daughters, is said to have married William Hawle of Ore, (fn. 247) and the third, Jane, married, before 1552, William Newton, who had recently settled at Southover. (fn. 248) She died before 1563, (fn. 249) and the Newtons seem to have acquired the whole manor. Her son Nicholas bought a quarter share in 1573 from Francis Cotton and his wife Mary and Geoffrey Poole and his wife Katharine; (fn. 250) it was the inheritance of Mary, perhaps the fourth daughter of John Erley. In 1631 George Newton, a grandson of John Erley, and his wife Mary and Nicholas Newton sold the manor to Abraham Edwards, junior, (fn. 251) whose elder brother of the same name bought the manor of Atlingworth (q.v.). Both brothers obtained a further release of Erley's manor from Robert Clarke and his wife Anne, who had a life interest in it. (fn. 252) The younger brother died seised of the manor in 1643, leaving no issue, (fn. 253) and the elder Abraham only survived him by ten days. (fn. 254) It passed to the latter's son Abraham, who was then 8 years old. (fn. 255) In 1656 he sold Erley's manor to Richard Gunne. (fn. 256) Courts were held in this name from 1686 to 1715. (fn. 257) In 1720 William Vinall, junior, (fn. 258) had succeeded him, and he owned the manor in 1736. (fn. 259) From him it was bought by Thomas Friend (fn. 260) and afterwards passed to the Kemps, Thomas Kemp being lord of the manor in 1771, (fn. 261) after which date it was probably absorbed into the main manor.
SEYNTCLERE'S or HARECOURT'S MANOR was held in 1423, of Beatrice Countess of Arundel. (fn. 262) The first sub-tenant of the manor whose name is known was Thomas de Aldham, who in 1268 sued various men for taking goods from his manor of Brighton during the recent civil wars. (fn. 263) The manor is not mentioned in the inquisition taken after his death. (fn. 264) His lands passed to the St. Cleres by marriage after the death of Francis de Aldham, c. 1326, (fn. 265) and Brighton appears amongst the manors settled on feoffees to uses by Sir Philip St. Clere before 1396, when Alan St. Just, one of the feoffees, released his right in the manor. (fn. 266) Sir Philip died in 1408 (fn. 267) and his son John was a minor in the king's wardship. (fn. 268) The issues of Seyntclere's manor were taken by the Prior of Michelham from 1408 to 1423, on what grounds does not appear. (fn. 269) John died in 1418 and was succeeded by his brother Thomas, who came of age in 1423. (fn. 270) The manor then consisted of the site and 12 virgates of arable land, with certain pasture. (fn. 271) Philip St. Clere had also held a rent of 42s. a year issuing from lands in Brighton, but these were held of Portslade Manor. (fn. 272) In 1425 Thomas St. Clere settled the reversion of the manor, then held for life by John Nelonde and his wife Margaret, on feoffees to uses, (fn. 273) who were in seisin till after his death in 1435. (fn. 274) He left three daughters and co-heirs, and the manor passed to the youngest, Edith, who married Sir Richard Harcourt. (fn. 275) He survived her, dying in 1484 seised of 40 acres of land in Brighton and Portslade, (fn. 276) and the manor of Seyntcleres from this time was generally known as Harecourt's manor. It passed from Sir Richard to his grandson Miles Harcourt. (fn. 277) Its history is then lost for more than 200 years. From 1690 to 1725 it belonged to John Friend. (fn. 278) Before 1744 it passed to his brother Thomas, the purchaser of one moiety of Brighton-Lewes Manor (q.v.). (fn. 279) In 1760 Mary Friend, widow of John, (fn. 280) held the manor court. (fn. 281) Thomas died in 1761 and his property passed to the Kemps. (fn. 282) In 1795 (fn. 283) and 1822 (fn. 284) it belonged to Nathaniel Kemp of Ovingdean.
The 'Priours Place of Michelham in Brighthelmston', (fn. 285) which later became the manor of BRIGHTONMICHELHAM, can be traced to the grant made to the Priory of Michelham in 1249 by Hugh Baudefar of 8 virgates of land, which he had bought from John de Berners, reserving to himself and his wife a rent of 8 marks and 10d. a year during their lives. (fn. 286) In 1260 the priory gave to the Priory of Lewes 1½ rods which lay between the latter's land and the cemetery wall of St. Nicholas' church, in exchange for other land in Brighton of the same extent. (fn. 287) The possessions of Michelham Priory in Brighton were valued at £5 a year in 1291, (fn. 288) and also in 1535, when the lands were let at farm to John Smyth alias Waterman. (fn. 289) No manor is mentioned in 1535, but the Brighton lands of the Priory of Michelham appear to have been so called after the grant in 1537 of its property to Thomas Cromwell. (fn. 290) On his attainder the manor was granted by Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves for her life. (fn. 291) In 1557 the manor reverted to the Crown, and Queen Elizabeth granted it in December 1559 to Robert Freke of the Inner Temple. (fn. 292) Five days later he released it to Sir Richard Sackville, (fn. 293) from whom it descended to the Dukes of Dorset. (fn. 294) John Frederick, the 3rd duke, settled it in 1790, prior to his marriage with Arabella Diana, daughter of Sir Charles Cope, bart., on himself for life, with remainder to her and her assigns. (fn. 295) He was succeeded in 1799 in the dukedom by his son, a minor, and his widow held the manorial court as guardian. (fn. 296) After the death of the young duke in 1815, the manor passed to his mother. She had married Charles, Earl of Whitworth, and in 1818 made another settlement of the manor on herself and her two daughters by the Duke of Dorset, Mary, Countess of Plymouth, and Elizabeth, Countess de la Warr. (fn. 297) The duchess died in 1825 and the manor was apparently sold to Henry Bridger (fn. 298) in the same year.
The manor of RADDINGDEAN (fn. 299) lay in the parishes of Brighton and Preston and was held as one knight's fee of the Barony of Lewes. (fn. 300) It was probably in the hands of Wiard in 1086. According to the Domesday Survey, he only held one manor at Brighton, (fn. 301) but his gifts to the priory of Lewes included tithes of his demesne at 'Rateden'. (fn. 302) In the 13th century a family taking its name from this land was prominent in Sussex. William de Ratenden, the first known tenant of the fee, (fn. 303) was succeeded, c. 1256, (fn. 304) by his brother Walter, who greatly improved his standing by his marriage with one of the sisters and co-heirs of John de Mucegros. (fn. 305) Their son John, in 1318, settled property in Brighton and Preston on himself with remainder to his three daughters Alice, Maud, and Agatha and to John son of John de Hyndale. (fn. 306) He died before 1356 and the manor passed to his eldest daughter Alice, wife of Roger son of Thomas Dalyngrigge. (fn. 307) She died before 1362, when Roger married Alice, widow of Thomas Seymour, (fn. 308) and Roger died c. 1380, when his heir was Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, (fn. 309) the builder of Bodiam castle (q.v.). (fn. 310) Raddingdean, however, remained in the possession of Roger's widow Alice, who was holding it in dower as late as 1401, (fn. 311) when the reversion of it was granted to Sir Edward's son and heir John. (fn. 312) Sir John Dalyngrigge died on 26 September 1408. (fn. 313) He appointed his wife Alice and his brother-in-law Thomas Sackville the supervisors of his will, for the distribution of his property other than real estate. (fn. 314) At the inquisition taken after the death of his widow Alice in February 1442, a will of Sir John Dalyngrigge was quoted as being dated on 22 June 5 Henry V (1417) on the eve of his departure from England, but presumably this is a slip for 5 Henry IV (1404). By this, if he died without children, Raddingdean and certain other manors were to go to Alice for life on condition that she maintained his two cousins, Richard and William, the sons of his uncle Walter Dalyngrigge. After her death, Raddingdean was left to William, the younger cousin, and the heirs of his body, with reversion to Richard. Alice died seised of the manor. She survived William, who also left no issue, and it passed to his brother. (fn. 315) In 1441 the manor consisted of the site or demesne, 132 acres of arable land, 300 acres of pasture and a dovecot. (fn. 316) Richard Dalyngrigge died in 1471 and had bequeathed it to his nephew Sir Roger Lewkenor, the son of his sister Philippa. (fn. 317) Sir Roger died in 1478 and left Raddingdean to one of his younger sons, Reynold, in tail male. (fn. 318) Reynold apparently died without surviving sons and the manor reverted to the elder line of the family. (fn. 319) On the death of another Roger Lewkenor, c. 1546, it passed to his daughter Joan for life, with remainder to her three daughters. (fn. 320) The eldest of these, Anne, married first Sir Henry Knyvet and secondly John Vaughan. (fn. 321) She and her second husband in 1567 sold the manor to Richard Elrington, (fn. 322) the lessee of Preston manor. In 1569 he left all his freehold lands in Sussex to his wife Mary and her heirs. (fn. 323) Her first husband had been William Shirley of Wiston and Raddingdean passed to her younger son Anthony Shirley. (fn. 324) It was held by the Shirleys until 1705, when Sir Richard Shirley, bart., died unmarried. (fn. 325) The manor passed to his sister Mary, the wife of Thomas Western, (fn. 326) whose great-grandson, Charles Callis Western, sold it in 1794 to William Stanford of Preston. (fn. 327) As a separate estate Raddingdean has entirely disappeared, even the name being lost.
The manor of ATLINGWORTH, when it is first mentioned, in 1296, was in Fishersgate Hundred, (fn. 328) and was perhaps included amongst the Warenne holdings there in 1086. Again, in 1298, the manor was held by the Prior of Lewes, not directly of the Barony of Lewes, but as part of the fee of Benfield (in Twineham) held by Richard fitz John, whose brother John had held this as part of 7½ fees attached to Shere (Surrey). (fn. 329) On the partition of Richard's lands amongst his sisters and co-heirs, Atlingworth was assigned to Joan, widow of Theobald le Botiler, (fn. 330) but no more is heard of this mesne lordship. In 1428 it was held by the Prior as a quarter-fee. (fn. 331) The lands of the manor lay in the four parishes of Portslade, Aldrington, Brighton, and Hove, and in 1535 it was described as the manor of Atlingworth in Portslade. (fn. 332) The Brighton lands lay intermixed with the lands of other manors there, so that in 1611 part of the Block House, which stood near the southern end of Middle Street, was built on the demesne of the manor. (fn. 333) The houses of the customary tenants, however, were grouped together near North Street. (fn. 334)
In the 12th century Atlingworth was held by a family of Clere. (fn. 335) About 1180, Roger, son of Roger de Clere, gave all his land there to the Priory of Lewes. (fn. 336) His father was probably the Roger de Clere who witnessed John de Chesney's charter to the priory in 1147. (fn. 337) The younger Roger died before 1185, when his brother and heir Ralph quit-claimed the 'whole vill' of Atlingworth, the gift of his brother, to the priory, (fn. 338) but he was to hold it for life for the rent of 1 mark. (fn. 339) The gift was confirmed by Henry II and Earl Hamelin. (fn. 340) In 1190 Avice de Gurney, the widow of Roger de Clere, relinquished her dower in Atlingworth to the priory. (fn. 341) On Ralph's death his son, another Ralph, was in ward to the Archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 342) Although he acknowledged the Prior's right in February 1206, (fn. 343) he subsequently brought a lawsuit as to a carucate of land there. (fn. 344) Finally, in 1210, he quit-claimed all the land granted by his uncle and father and 'offered the same land by my knife upon the high altar of St. Pancras'. (fn. 345)
In 1535 the demesne lands were held at farm by Peter Snelling for £7 6s. 8d. a year; and assised rents from lands in the four parishes brought in £7 15s. 3¾d. (fn. 346) Atlingworth was surrendered with the other possessions of the priory in 1537 to Henry VIII (fn. 347) and was granted to Thomas Cromwell. (fn. 348) After his attainder, it remained in the Crown until 1560, when Queen Elizabeth sold it to William Hooke of Brighton and Philip Myllers of Slinfold to hold as 1/20th of a knight's fee. (fn. 349) A year later Myllers relinquished his moiety of the manor to Hooke, (fn. 350) who was involved in several chancery suits with his copyhold tenants as to their customary payments. (fn. 351) It was shortly afterwards bought by John Caryll, son of John Caryll, sergeant-at-law. (fn. 352) The younger Caryll died seised of it in 1566. His son, a third John, (fn. 353) sold it in 1590 for £960 to Richard Snellinge of Portslade. (fn. 354) In 1610 Sir George Snellinge and Richard Snellinge sold it to Abraham Edwards of Lewes, (fn. 355) after which it followed the descent of the manor of Portslade (q.v.) until the death of William Davies in 1763. (fn. 356) His younger daughter Mary died unmarried and her moiety of Atlingworth reverted to her elder sister Elizabeth, the wife of Thomas Phillips Lamb. They sold Mary's moiety in 1750 to William Attree, (fn. 357) but retained Elizabeth's moiety until 1806, when they sold it to William Attree, (fn. 358) who bequeathed the whole manor to Thomas Attree. (fn. 359)
The manor of PEKES in Brighton was held in 1584 as a sub-manor of Portslade. (fn. 360) It first appears under the name of Pekes in 1543, but may possibly be connected with certain land held by the St. Clere family. In 1408 (fn. 361) Philip St. Clere died seised of a rent of 42s. a year, issuing from tenements in Brighton and Portslade, which were held of Lord de la Warr, lord of the manor of Portslade. (fn. 362) It is specially noted in 1423 that these lands were not parcel of Seyntclere's manor in Brighton. (fn. 363) In 1435 Thomas St. Clere died seised of this rent. (fn. 364)
In the early part of the 16th century the manor of Pekes was held by Sir Humphrey Bannaster, whose son and heir John sold it to John Michelborne of Ditchling and his son Richard (fn. 365) shortly before 1543, when Richard released his right in the manor to his father. (fn. 366) In 1584 Thomas Michelborne, third son of John, (fn. 367) died seised of the manor. (fn. 368) His son Lawrence, who was lord of the manor in 1604, (fn. 369) died in 1611 and was succeeded by Sir Richard Michelborne, (fn. 370) grandson of the first Richard. His son William, who succeeded him in 1638 and died in 1656, left a son Edward, who died 1701, when his property passed to his sisters Sybil and Bridget. Sybil married John Martin of Stanmer (fn. 371) and their son Denny Martin owned the manor in 1730. (fn. 372) In 1795 it had passed to the Rev. Denny Fairfax, (fn. 373) after which it is lost sight of.
The old parish church of ST. NICHOLAS stands on the hill above the Old Town, a furlong from the site of its West Gate. The building is of flint with stone dressings, and consists of a nave and chancel, both with aisles to north and south, and a western tower. There is a south porch to the nave, and vestries north of the chancel. The 12th-century font suggests that the original edifice was of this period. The chancel, however, was apparently rebuilt, with a south chapel, at the end of the 13th century, and a century later the whole nave was rebuilt in five bays with an aisle to each side and a sturdy western tower. During the period of Brighton's rapid growth galleries were inserted, and dormer windows cut through the aisle roofs to light these. By the 19th century the building was in a very patched condition, (fn. 374) and in 1853 it was practically rebuilt by R. C. Carpenter. The nave aisles were widened, and the chancel given a north aisle. At a later restoration the nave roof was raised, the clerestory constructed, and extensive vestries built north of the chancel. The south chapel has been widened. The only old work showing externally is the tower, most of the features of which have been restored. Thus the west door is modern, and also the windows above it. The west window of the south aisle, a 14th-century single-light with trefoiled ogee head, appears to be an old feature, re-set when the nave aisles were widened. Only the arcades of the nave and its chancel and tower arches, and the tower itself, remain of the late-14thcentury church.
The nave arcades are each of five bays, of normal 14th-century form, with obtusely pointed arches rising from octagonal piers. The caps each have a scroll-roll abacus, with two hollows, separated by a fillet, beneath this. The bases are high, with a small shelf below the moulding, which consists of two hollow splays. The chancel arch, and that leading to the tower space, are similar to the nave arcades. The west respond of the arch to the south chapel is partly original.
The original oak rood-screen, of late-14th-century date, remains within the chancel arch. It has been much restored, but retains a considerable amount of old work. It has a central doorway, occupying the width of two normal bays, with three bays on either side. Small buttresses pass up the mullions, changing to shafts near the top. The head of each light is ogee, with tracery above. A wide ogee arch heads the central doorway, with more elaborate tracery above it. The heads and tracery are all foliated. Each bay of the solid lower part of the screen is divided into two panels with foliated heads. The screen is surmounted by an elaborately coved loft. This projects more towards the east than the west, and this fact, coupled with the discovery of painted figures on the east side of the screen during the restoration of 1853, suggests that the screen has been re-set back to front.
The font is of exceptional interest. (fn. 375) It is of tub form, in Caen stone, and is obviously of foreign origin. It is apparently of early-12th-century date, and is covered with sculpture arranged in three bands. The upper and lower of these are narrow strips of conventional ornament, but the wide central section has figure sculpture, in markedly Byzantine style, arranged in four panels. Two of these represent the Baptism of Christ and the Last Supper, a third is a maritime adventure of St. Nicholas, and the fourth may also be an unidentified incident in the life of this saint. The sculpture was partly recut in 1745 at the instigation of two churchwardens, whose names, cut, with the date, into the base of the font, have since been erased.
Of the many memorials remaining in the building none is earlier than 1675.
There are ten bells, of which eight were made by Thomas Rudhall in 1777, but one was recast in 1812, another in 1815, and the remainder more recently. (fn. 376)
The plate, given by Nathaniel Kemp and his wife in 1824, consisted of two chalices, a flagon, and two almsplates; but the chalices were re-made in 1880. (fn. 377)
In the churchyard is a medieval octagonal stepped base of a cross, the cross itself being modern, carved by D. Burns Brown. Among the monuments may be noted those of Capt. Nicholas Tattersall and of Phoebe Hessell, who died in 1821 at the age of 108, having served for some years in the army as a soldier.
ST. PETER'S was constituted the Parish Church in 1873. It is of ashlar and is built on a north and south alignment and consists of a pinnacled tower containing ten bells, having a porch in its base, to the south of a clerestoried nave of five bays with aisles in the Decorated style and built in 1824–8 to the design of Sir Charles Barry. In 1898–1902 another bay was added to the nave, and the clerestoried chancel and the chapel at the north-east were built in the Perpendicular style, the architect being Somers Clarke, and in 1906 the chancel was consecrated. The chapel has a piscina in its eastern wall, and the chancel has sedilia and a credence table. Beneath the chancel are vestries and a muniment room where the parish registers are kept. The register for baptisms dates from 1558, that for marriages from 1559, and that for burials from 1587. (fn. 378) The hall to the north-west was built in 1928.
ALL SAINTS, Compton Avenue, was built in 1852, from the designs of R. C. Carpenter, of split flint with stone dressings in the Decorated style; it has a nave of seven bays with large aisles and a chancel. The organ is at the east end of the south aisle and both aisles have altars. There is the base of a tower at the west end of the north aisle with a small turret on its north-west corner.
ALL SOULS, Eastern Road, was built in 1833 of brick with a cement facing in the Classic style. It was designed by Mr. Maw, but remodelled in 1879 by Edmund Scott. It has a nave with aisles beneath a gallery, which runs also on the west, and a chancel with chapels partitioned off its north and south aisles. There is a tower at the north-west with the entrance at its base.
The Church of THE ANNUNCIATION, Washington Street, was built in 1864, enlarged in 1881, consecrated in 1884, and restored in 1925, and is of cement and flint with brick dressings. The entrance is at the base of a small tower with a tiled spire at the south-east, the vestry being at the north-east. The altar is at the west end of this dark church, which has a nave with aisles, a chancel formed by wooden partitions, the organ and choir stalls inclosed at the south-west, and a small chapel partitioned off at the north-west. Square wooden pillars support the wooden roof. The window at the east end was taken from St. Nicholas in 1882.
CHRIST CHURCH, Montpelier Road, was designed and built by G. Cheesman in 1838 and is of brick with a cement facing. There is a tower with a cement spire at the east end with entrances on either side at its base, and a porch at the west end. The nave has north and south aisles beneath galleries, the chancel being formed from it by the erection of two screens in 1888.
HOLY TRINITY, Ship Street, was built in 1817, (fn. 379) consecrated in 1826, enlarged in 1869, 1882, and 1887, and restored in 1910, and is cement-faced, except for the east end, which is of split flint with stone dressings and has a small lantern tower. The altar is at the west, the entrances being at the east. The church is of simple design and is composed of a clerestoried nave with north and south aisles beneath galleries, an organ-gallery on the east side, and chancel. The west window is in memory of F. W. Robertson who was vicar from 1847–53 and of whom there is a bust at the west end of the north nave, where a space is set apart as a memorial to other vicars.
The CHAPEL ROYAL, Prince's Place, is of red brick, with a cast of the Royal Arms above the east end. The foundation stone was laid in 1793 by George IV, then Prince of Wales. In 1803 an Act (43 Geo. III c. 91) was passed whereby the chapel was made a Chapel of Ease to the Parish Church (the right of nomination being reserved to the vicar) and constituted a perpetual curacy, but it was enacted that only baptizings and churchings should be allowed in the chapel, and for these at least double fees should be charged in order not to prejudice the Parish Church. The interior was entirely altered in 1876, and in 1882 the clock-tower at the south-east corner was added. The original design was by — Saunders, the remodelling by Sir Arthur Blomfield. In 1896 the chapel was conveyed by the Rev. J. J. Hannah to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, but the vaults were reserved and are now leased to a wine merchant. The entrance is beneath the tower and the small chancel is at the west. Above the nave and aisles on three sides is a broad wooden gallery supported by wooden pillars which are continued up to the roof. The roof is curved up to a square glazed lantern.
ST. ANNE, Burlington Street, designed by B. Ferrey, was built in 1862 of rough-finished stone with ashlar dressings in the Gothic style. It is on a north and south alignment and consists of a clerestoried nave of five bays with aisles, and clerestoried chancel at the north with the vestry on the east and the organ on the west. There is a small stone spire at the north end. The west aisle has an altar at its north end, and is used as a side chapel.
ST. BARTHOLOMEW, Ann Street, is a lofty and conspicuous building of brick with sparse stone dressings. It was built, from the designs of Edmund Scott, in 1874 on a north and south alignment and consists of a large nave with eight arched recesses in each wall and, at the north end, the sanctuary with steps leading up to the altar. The windows are close to the roof and have a passage-way in the wall below them. Inlaid in the brick above the altar is a large cross; in the south wall there is a round window, beneath which is a wooden organ-gallery, with a chapel below it. The porch is at the south-west.
ST. GEORGE, St. George's Road, was built by Wilds and Busby in 1825 of yellow brick with plaster dressings in the Classic style. A porch is formed at the west end and above it is a turret containing a clock. The building consists of a nave with aisles beneath a gallery on three sides, and a chancel.
ST. JAMES, St. James's Street, was built in 1810 and rebuilt by Edmund Scott in 1875. It is of cement and flint with red brick and stone dressings in the Early English style and built on a north and south alignment. It consists of a clerestoried nave of three bays, aisles, and chancel, having sedilia at the east. A covered way leads to the porch at the south.
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, Carlton Hill, was designed and built by G. Cheesman in 1840 of brick, with plaster dressings on the south side where two entrance porches are formed. On the south there is a small turret. The building consists of a nave (of which the breadth is greater than the length) having a gallery on three sides, and a sanctuary.
ST. LUKE, Queen's Park Road, was built from the designs of Sir Arthur Blomfield in 1885 of flint rubble with stone dressings in a Gothic style. It has a small octagonal tower at the south-west and a porch at the west end and contains a nave of four bays, aisles, chancel, with priest's seat, and a chapel to the south of the chancel. The roofs of the aisles are lean-to and arched at each alternate bay.
ST. LUKE, Prestonville, was built in 1875 of red brick with stone dressings in a Gothic style. The architect was John Hill, but additions were made in 1882 by J. G. Gibbins. At the south-east is a tower with a square spire and a clock, and at the north-east is the vestry. It consists of a nave of four bays, aisles, and apsed chancel. The south aisle has a lean-to roof and the north aisle an arched roof. At the west end is a gallery containing the organ and choir stalls.
ST. MARGARET, St. Margaret's Place, is of brick, the portico at the east being faced with plaster and the west end being faced with ashlar. The main part of the building was built in 1825 in the Classic style by —Clarke, and consists of a nave, aisles, and a broad gallery on three sides, with an upper gallery on the east side, and a round glazed lantern in the centre of the curved roof. In 1874 the chancel was built by J. Oldrid Scott, at the west end, in the Byzantine style; it has a round west window and four stone pillars to support the roof; to the south of it is a porch and entrance passage. There is a turret above the portico at the east.
ST. MARK, Eastern Road, was built in 1849 in the Early English style. The east end is of rough-surfaced stone and the west end is cement-faced and has a tower with spire and with a porch formed at its base. The building consists of a nave with aisles under one roof, supported by iron pillars, chancel, south transept, and a wooden gallery at the west end of the nave. There is a tablet to the first Marquis of Bristol who gave the site of the church and bore part of the expense of its erection.
ST. MARTIN, Lewes Road, was built from the design of Somers Clarke, in 1875, of brick with sparse stone dressings in the Early English style and consists of a clerestoried nave of six bays with a passage-way below the windows, aisles, chancel, and a chapel to the south of it. The nave is raised at the west to form a baptistry, and the panels of the roof are painted with the arms of Colonial and American sees which have sprung from Canterbury. There is a bell-gable on the roof, containing one bell.
ST. MARY, St. James's Street, was built, from the designs of Sir William Emerson, in 1877–9 on the site of a chapel built in 1827. (fn. 380) It is of red brick with red stone dressings, in the French Gothic style, and is built on a north and south alignment. It consists of a nave of three bays, apsed and raised at the south end to form a baptistry, aisles, apsidal chancel and transepts, a chapel being formed in the east transept by wooden screens. There are two porches at the south end.
ST. MARY AND ST. MARY MAGDALENE, Bread Street, was built in 1862, from the designs of G. F. Bodley, of brick on a north and south alignment. It is a plain building with a wooden roof supported on wooden pillars and consists of a nave, aisles the same length as the nave, and a sanctuary at the south end. The organ is at the south end of the east aisle and the remainder of the aisle is used as a chapel. There are porches at the corners of the north end. The church is unconsecrated.
ST. MATTHEW, Sutherland Road, was built, from the designs of John Norton, in 1881–3 of split flint with stone dressings in a Gothic style. There is a tower without spire at the south-west. Internally it is of red brick and consists of a clerestoried nave of five bays, aisles, and chancel of two bays. To the south of the chancel is the organ and to the north a chapel is formed with curtains.
ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS, Victoria Road, is of red brick with stone dressings, in the Gothic style. The original church, designed by G. F. Bodley in 1861, now forms the south aisle of the building, designed by W. Burges, added in 1895, which consists of a clerestoried nave of four bays with triforium, chancel, and north aisle. At the west end of the nave a pillar supports a stone organ-gallery. The original church, which is used as a chapel, has a 15th-century Flemish triptych of carved and painted wood, and a south aisle at the east of which is a small chapel; several of the windows are by William Morris. There is a west porch, a vestry at the north-east, and a small spire on the original church.
ST. PAUL, West Street, was built, from the designs of R. C. Carpenter, in 1848 of split flint with stone dressings, in the Decorated style. A covered way along the south leads to the west porch. The church consists of a nave of six bays, aisles, and chancel separated from the nave by a painted wooden screen. At the north-east is a porch formed at the base of a tower with pinnacles and spire containing eight bells.
ST. STEPHEN, Montpelier Place, was built in 1851, and restored in 1889 and 1908. It is cementfaced and built on a north and south alignment and consists of a porch and turret at the south, and a plain rectangular nave from which the sanctuary is railed off. The organ is in a recess on the east side. This church was built of the materials of, and to the same design as, the old royal chapel which, before its consecration in 1822, was used as a ball-room and was near Castle Square.
ST. WINIFRED, Elm Grove, was built by Slater and Carpenter in 1933. It is of brick on a north and south alignment and consists of a nave with processional paths to the east and west, sanctuary with a chapel to the west and a small one to the east, and a gallery containing the organ at the south. The south end of the nave is raised. There is a porch at the west and at the southwest, and a tower with a tiled roof at the north.
A church is mentioned in 1086, when it belonged to the manor held by William de Wateville. (fn. 381) The advowson passed with the manor to Ralph de Chesney, whose son Ralph granted it to the Priory of St. Pancras, Lewes. (fn. 382) His grant was confirmed by his overlord William (II) de Warenne c. 1093. (fn. 383) The advowson was held by the priory until 1537, when the Prior surrendered it to Henry VIII, (fn. 384) who granted it to Thomas Cromwell, (fn. 385) and after his fall, to Anne of Cleves. (fn. 386) On her death in 1557 it reverted to the Crown. In 1615 James I granted the advowson of the vicarage to Samuel Harsnet, Bishop of Chichester. (fn. 387) The bishops presented, except during the Commonwealth, (fn. 388) until 1662. (fn. 389) The Archdeacon of Lewes presented in 1681, and in 1700 the advowson had lapsed to the Crown. (fn. 390) The king presented from 1744 to 1825, (fn. 391) but the bishop had recovered the advowson before 1835 (fn. 392) and is now the patron of Brighton parish church.
The rectorial tithes, retained by the priory, were valued in 1291 at £20 a year. (fn. 393) Owing to the encroachment of the sea, their value had decreased by 40s. in 1340. (fn. 394) The rectory was granted with the advowson to Thomas Cromwell and Anne of Cleves, but in 1561 Queen Elizabeth granted it separately to William Barlow, Bishop of Chichester. (fn. 395) The rectory continued to be leased, and in 1650, though held on a lease for £20 a year by Henry Jenner, it was valued at £ioo a year. (fn. 396) In 1704, William Scrase and Walter Rose had a lease for their lives. (fn. 397) Sometime before 1744 it was leased to Thomas Friend, (fn. 398) and his successors the Kemps had the lease of it until 1800, when the rectory was sold by the bishop to Thomas Kemp. (fn. 399) His son Thomas Read Kemp sold it in 1852 to Thomas Attree. (fn. 400) In 1872, the trustees under his will sold it to Somers Clarke, who gave it in 1893 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in augmentation of the vicarage. (fn. 401) A vicarage was first instituted early in the 13th century, but the agreement was made between Master R. de Kant, the rector, and his vicar, John de Brithelmeston, and the priory was not a party to it. The vicar was assigned for his life a moiety of the tithes and all the offerings and oblations at the altar. From this he was to pay to the rector an annual pension of 10 marks and 2,000 herrings at Candlemas. (fn. 402) This arrangement was temporary and a long dispute ensued between the bishop and priory, which was only ended by special arbitration in 1252. The monks, on the death or resignation of the existing rector, were to have the right of presentation to the vicarage, to which they were to assign a stipend of 10 marks a year from the altar offerings and the small tithes, which included, inter alia, tithes from the fisheries and mills. The vicar was to pay certain dues and the rest of the profits of the church were appropriated to the use of the priory for alms to the poor and hospitality to pilgrims. (fn. 403) In 1291 the vicarage was valued at £5 (fn. 404) and in 1535 at £20 2s. 1½d. (fn. 405) In 1580, the vicar received half of a share, paid by each Brighton fishing-boat, on returning to port, (fn. 406) and this was still paid in 1730. (fn. 407) The stipend was inadequate, and during the Commonwealth, in 1656, the Commissioners for the maintenance of ministers granted £20 a year to the vicar, as Brighton 'is an important market town'. (fn. 408) Their scheme for uniting the livings of Brighton and Ovingdean did not take effect. (fn. 409) In 1730, certain gentlemen subscribed £50 a year to increase the stipend on condition that the vicar taught fifty poor boys of the town to read and write. (fn. 410) In 1744, the new vicar Mr. Michell was appointed to both the vicarage of Brighton and the rectory of West Blatchington and the two livings have been held together ever since. He was a scholar and writer of some eminence and the Duke of Wellington was for a short time one of his pupils. (fn. 411)
In 1252 a suitable house was to be provided for the vicar. (fn. 412) Its site is unknown, but at the end of the 16th century the disused chapel of St. Bartholomew became the vicarage. (fn. 413) There was a garden attached to it; the gateway had been apparently the entrance to the chapel. (fn. 414) The house was pulled down in 1790 and a new vicarage built. (fn. 415) In 1835, when the building of Prince Albert Street was planned by Mr. Isaac Bass, the vicarage and garden were exchanged for a large piece of land in Montpelier Row, and a new vicarage built at the expense of Mr. Bass. (fn. 416)
The names of two fraternities in the parish church have survived: the fraternity of the Holy Trinity and St. George is mentioned in 1487, when John Blake left the reversion of a house to the use of the brethren, (fn. 417) and in 1507 Thomas Ylgate bequeathed 14s. 4d. to the fraternity of St. George. (fn. 418)
In the 17th century a lectureship was maintained at the expense of the parish. (fn. 419)
A second church or chapel had been built at Brighton before 1147, when King Stephen confirmed the possessions of the Priory of Lewes. (fn. 420) It is called the chapel of St. Bartholomew, c. 1185, in a charter of Bishop Seffrid II (1180–1204) and it was then apparently a parochial chapel. (fn. 421) Its foundation may perhaps be attributed to one of the lords of the manor of Brighton-Lewes, as it was endowed with some 2½ acres of land, later known as 'the Bartholomews', belonging to this manor and lying between East Street and Black Lion Street. (fn. 422) The chapel was in ruins in 1549, (fn. 423) when it and its lands, confiscated at the suppression of the chantries in 1547, were sold to William Warde. (fn. 424) They rapidly changed hands, passing to John Brown, Edward Johnson, and Edmund Blakborne before May 1551. (fn. 425) Blakborne was a mercer of Brighton. He was succeeded by his brother Roger, of Yorkshire, who in 1576 sold the property to John Codwell and Myles Tayllor of Southover, servants of Lord Buckhurst, the lord of one moiety of Brighton-Lewes. (fn. 426) The sale included the ruined chapel, with the buildings, lands, and common rights belonging to it. In 1589 Tayllor sold his share to Codwell. (fn. 427) Meanwhile William Midwinter, who was apparently a lessee (fn. 428) but claimed to hold it in fee simple, sold it in 1583 to the constable and three churchwardens of Brighton 'to the only use behoofe profit and commoditye of the whole bodye or towneshippe' for the maintenance of the church, the defences, and other public uses. (fn. 429) The weakness of his title seems to have been discovered, and in 1592 John Codwell sold the Bartholomews to John Friend and nineteen other inhabitants of Brighton. (fn. 430) In 1665 the house and garden had been assigned for the vicarage, while the rest of the land, still described as pasture, was held by the churchwardens at a rent of 3d. a year. (fn. 431) The land has been used as the site of various public buildings such as the old Workhouse, the Market, and the Town Hall.
In the 18th century St. Nicholas' Church became too small for the growing population, and there was no second church in the parish until 1793, when the Chapel Royal was built. (fn. 432) It was quickly followed by further church building. In 1824 the new church of St. Peter was begun on the Level, to the north of the Steine. (fn. 433) In that year the Rev. Henry Wagner began a long incumbency which lasted till 1870. A vigorous churchman, he obtained great influence in the town, both through the Vestry and as an ex-officio town commissioner. (fn. 434) He and his family used much of their considerable wealth in church building, but the churches serving new urban districts in the parish of St. Nicholas were chapels of ease. In 1873 the Rev. J. Hannah reorganized this system. He made St. Peter's church the parish church instead of St. Nicholas and formed the chapels into separate parish churches. (fn. 435)
At the present time there are twenty-four churches within the old parish of Brighton. Of these, the vicar of Brighton has the patronage of the vicarages of All Saints, All Souls, Christ Church, St. Anne, St. James, St. John, St. Martin, and St. Michael; and of the perpetual curacies of Holy Trinity, St. Margaret, and St. Mary Magdalene. The Bishop of Chichester is patron of the vicarages of St. Nicholas, St. Peter, and St. Luke, and presents alternately with the Crown to St. Wilfred. The perpetual curacy of St. George's Chapel is in the hands of the Church Patronage Society, and the churches of the Annunciation, St. Bartholomew, St. Mark, St. Mary, St. Matthew, and St. Paul are in the hands of trustees.
A Presbyterian meeting was founded in 1688, and a meeting-house (afterwards Independent) was built in 1698; it was enlarged in 1810 and 1825, and is now Elim Tabernacle. (fn. 436) In 1761 there were also meetinghouses belonging to the Friends and the Anabaptists. (fn. 437) Lady Huntingdon built a chapel adjoining her house in North Street in 1761 (fn. 438) and the first Roman Catholic church was built in High Street in 1799. (fn. 439) The Jews, who seem to have been frequent visitors as early as 1802, (fn. 440) had a Synagogue before 1833; (fn. 441) and many other forms of religion are sufficiently represented.