The hundred of Manhood: Introduction

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1953.

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'The hundred of Manhood: Introduction', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953) pp. 198. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/p198 [accessed 5 March 2024]

THE HUNDRED OF MANHOOD

CONTAINING THE PARISHES OF

BIRDHAM SELSEY EAST WITTERING
EARNLEY SIDLESHAM WEST WITTERING
WEST ITCHENOR

THIS is the district of which the lordship was granted in 683 by Caedwalla to (St.) Wilfrid for the endowment of a monastery at Selsey. (fn. 1) The boundaries as described in this charter were said in 1525 to correspond with those then, and still, existing. (fn. 2) They ran from the entrance of Selsey, or Pagham, Harbour round the coast to 'Hormouth' at the entrance to Chichester Harbour; up the estuary to 'Brimesdik' (683) or 'Bremersdytch' (1525), the stream dividing Birdham from Appledram; then eastwards 'to Wayflete ("Woflet" in 683), and from thens in circuit (fn. 3) into Made-up-lane (fn. 4) and so eastward to Dammer-gate'; then along a ditch to 'Unredisditch' (1525), now Bramber Rife, which runs south into Selsey Harbour.

By the time of the Domesday Survey the overlordship of parts of this district had come into the hands of Earl Roger, who held the Hundred of 'Westringes' (fn. 5) (i.e. Wittering), containing Birdham (3½ hides), Itchenor (1), Somerley in East Wittering (1), and East Wittering (1). The Bishop (now of Chichester, formerly of Selsey) had in the Hundred of Somerley (fn. 6) 10 hides in Selsey, 12 in Sidlesham, and 14 in West Wittering. The estate granted in 683 was said to amount to 55 hides; the total of the vills listed in 1086 comes to 42½ hides. If the basis of hidation was the same at both dates, which is doubtful, the missing 12½ hides might form part of the 16 hides then held by the canons of Chichester in common. (fn. 7)

By the middle of the 12th century the whole constituted the Hundred of 'la Manwode', a place which was at least in part in the parish of Earnley. (fn. 8) The name means 'the common wood', (fn. 9) and this wood presumably extended round Hundredsteddle Farm, where the boundaries of the Witterings, Birdham, and Earnley are curiously involved.

In addition to the seven parishes listed above, the Hundred originally contained three others: East Itchenor, annexed to Birdham in 1441; Almodington, annexed to Earnley in 1526; and Bracklesham, largely washed away by the sea and finally united to East Wittering in 1518. For purposes of taxation the hundred was divided into four 'vills'—Sidlesham, Selsey, Wittering, and Birdham (fn. 10).

As late as 1835 the Bishop of Chichester, as lord of the hundred, still held a court leet 'at Birdham' (probably at the Hundredsteddle) for the appointment of constables in the several parishes. (fn. 11)

Footnotes

  • 1. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxxxvi, 59–65.
  • 2. E. Heron-Allen, Selsey, 11.
  • 3. At Manhood End the boundary sweeps southward round the parish of Donnington to Street End.
  • 4. Now Jury Lane.
  • 5. V.C.H. Suss. i, 437.
  • 6. Ibid. 390–1.
  • 7. V.C.H. Suss. i, 391.
  • 8. Suss. Place-Names (P.-N. Soc.), 79.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Suss. Rec. Soc. x, 131, 246.
  • 11. Horsfield, Hist. of Suss. ii, 32.