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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North Marden is a very small parish on the Downs, to the north of, and higher than, East Marden parish. It contains 697 acres and measures about ¾ mile from east to west and the same from north to south, except for an elongation at the north-east. The level rises from 350 ft. in the south to nearly 600 ft. in the north. The parish does not, however, stretch to the highest point of the Downs. North Marden village is near the eastern border of the parish. A road from South Harting which later joins the Midhurst-Chichester road in Lavant parish passes through North Marden parish and village from north-west to south-east. At the village, it is joined by another road from Stoughton and East Marden. North Marden Down is in the north-west of the parish, and here are several barrows. By the West Sussex Review Order of 1933, East Marden and North Marden were united to form the single parish of Marden. (fn. 1)
Of the several Domesday holdings of Marden, one of 5 hides was held by Robert (son of Tetbald) of Earl Roger, and held of him by a certain Corbelin, who also held 5 hides in Barlavington. (fn. 2) There was also a small holding of ½ hide belonging to this Marden, held by Fulk. (fn. 3) In the time of King Edward the 5-hide holding had been held as two manors in alodial tenure by Alwin and Alvric, while the second was held by Alvric as an alod.
The manor continued under the overlordship of the Earls of Arundel.
North Marden may have formed part of the 5 fees held by Hugh de Falaise in the time of Henry I, (fn. 4) as ⅓ fee here was held by Hugh's granddaughter Agnes widow of Geoffrey son of Azo (fn. 5), and after her death it was successfully claimed by her nieces Margaret, Denise, and Florence, daughters of Richard Murdac, against William Aguillon, (fn. 6) who represented Hugh de Falaise through his other daughter. (fn. 7) William called to warrant Alfred de Lincoln, (fn. 8) who was perhaps his guardian or trustee. Margaret married Nicholas de Lymesy and in 1235 William Aguillon claimed the ⅓ fee against her and her son Walter, (fn. 9) to whom he eventually, in 1241, made over his rights. (fn. 10) Walter was succeeded by Nicholas de Lymesy, probably his son, who in 1246 made an agreement with William Dawtrey that they should present alternately to the church of North Marden. (fn. 11) Presumably the fee had passed into the hands of William Dawtrey, as his granddaughter Eve (fn. 12) inherited 2½ fees in Barlavington, Marden, and elsewhere. She married three times: first Roger de Shelvestrode, who held the fees in 1302, (fn. 14) then William Paynel, the tenant in 1314, (fn. 15) and finally Edward St. John. The manor of Barlavington and lands in North Marden were among the estates settled on Edward and Eve and her heirs in 1318, (fn. 16) and at her death in 1354 they passed to her son John St. John. (fn. 17) The subsequent history of this mesne lordship is obscure. In 1428 a ½ fee in North Marden was said to be held by the Prior of Maiden Bradley (see below) and William St. John and to have formerly been held by Roger de Lynche, (fn. 18) but Roger's connexion with the fee is otherwise unrecorded. (fn. 19) William St. John left a daughter Elizabeth, who married Henry Dyke, and their coheirs were their granddaughters, Constance wife of John Goring and Eleanor wife of William Dering. (fn. 20) The advowson (q.v.) descended to them, but no more is recorded of the lordship.
Land in North Marden was given to the hospital or priory of Maiden Bradley (Wilts.) about the end of the 12th century by Geoffrey Hussee, (fn. 21) either the brother or the son of Henry Hussee who founded Durford Abbey. The prior and the Earl of Arundel were returned in 1316 as joint lords of the vill of Marden, (fn. 22) and after the Dissolution the priory's lands here were granted in 1543 to Sir John Williams and Anthony Stringer. (fn. 23) The tenants at this time were Henry Croucher and William Croucher. Williams and Stringer must at once have passed their interest to Edward Pyke, as in the following year William Croucher of Lynch had licence to acquire the same tenements from Edward Pyke. (fn. 24) John Croucher, who died in 1562 leaving a young son Richard, held tenements and pasture in North Marden. (fn. 25) In 1566 Richard died, (fn. 26) and in 1574 his heir was his half-sister Alice wife of Thomas Greenfield. (fn. 27) They disposed of their property to William Jenman in 1575, (fn. 28) as the manor of North Marden. Members of the Croucher family can be traced again, however, in 1585 and 1593, with a small holding in North Marden. (fn. 29) At his death in 1578 William Jenman was holding the manor of North Marden, late of Maiden Bradley, in chief. (fn. 30) His son Thomas died in 1584, his heir being his brother John. In 1591 the manor was conveyed by John Jenman and his wife Alice to William Jenman, (fn. 32) his brother. (fn. 33) Edward Pyke, who in 1544 alienated the Maiden Bradley holding to William Croucher (see above) retained some property in North Marden; this was sold to William Jenman in 1620 by Joan Long widow and her son Richard, (fn. 34) Joan Long being daughter and heir to Edward Pyke and dying possessed of a small holding in North Marden in 1632. (fn. 35) The Jenman family continued to hold the manor until 1668, in which year Thomas Jenman and Margaret, William Fairmanner and Margaret (described by Dallaway as coheirs of Thomas Jenman (fn. 36) ), John Fowler, and Richard Poate (fn. 37) sold it to Henry Peckham. (fn. 38) After this it passed in the Peckham family with Compton and Up Marden (q.v.). Burrell, writing in about 1780, styles North Marden a reputed manor and adds 'no courts have been held for many years'. (fn. 39)
In 1934, however, Sir P. B. Reckitt is described as lord of the manor. (fn. 40)
The Domesday Survey records that 'near Marden' a certain falconer held in 1086 under Earl Roger ½ hide, which he had himself held before the Conquest as a manor, as an alod. (fn. 41) This may perhaps be the land of Seffrid the Falconer mentioned in 1189 (fn. 42) and identified as 'in Singleton' in 1195. (fn. 43) If so, it is tempting to identify it with Saffreys in North and East Marden, which was held with the manor by the Jenmans. This property had belonged to the Priory of Boxgrove (fn. 44) and after the dissolution of that house was granted in 1544 to Sir Henry Audley and John Cordall, (fn. 45) who at once sold it to Thomas Jenman. (fn. 46) William Jenman in 1578 and Thomas in 1584 died seised of Saffreys, (fn. 47) but it probably became separated from the manor when John Jenman conveyed the latter to William Jenman in 1591 (see above), as Nicholas Jenman (fn. 48) of East Marden held Saffreys when he died in 1631, leaving a son Robert. (fn. 49)
A so-called 'manor of Holt and North Marden' makes its appearance in 1789, when it was conveyed by Charles, Lord Dormer of Wing, and Elizabeth his wife to Jervoise Clarke Jervoise. (fn. 50) It is again called a manor in 1834, when held by Sir Samuel Clarke Jervoise, (fn. 51) but it seems to be an arbitrary name for a group of estates in this and neighbouring parishes.
The church of ST. MARY (fn. 52) stands west of the Manor; it consists of a single apsidal chamber of the 12th century, to which a south porch and north vestry were added in modern times. It is built of flint rubble with ashlar dressings and roofed with tile.
In the apse are three small round-headed windows of modern work in 12th-century style. Between the eastern and south-eastern of these on the inner wall is a recess, about 2 ft. from sill to arch springing-level, with pointed trefoil head, the moulding of which is continued on to the jambs, perhaps of the 13th century. The position of this is that of a piscina, but its form is that of a niche for a statue. A step alone marks the division between chancel and nave.
In the south wall of the latter is a single window (modern) with round head, in 12th-century style. West of this is the south doorway, of the 12th century. This has a hood-mould with scale ornament, an outer order with cheverons, and an inner which is plain; the arch is semicircular and rests on imposts with hollow chamfer on the underside surmounted by the pellet ornament; the jambs are plain, the rear-arch round. In the north wall is a modern window matching that in the south, and the north door, now leading to the vestry, a plain modern opening with pointed head and wooden door-frame. In the west wall is a modern window like those in the north and south walls; above this is a small 12th-century window with round head, exterior rebates, and concentric splay. The roofing throughout is modern, as is the bell-cote, which has boarded sides and pyramidal tiled roof.
The south porch has a round-headed outer doorway, and the vestry a single round-headed window in the north wall.
The font appears originally to have been tub-shaped, of the 12th century or earlier; later the lower part was reshaped to fit it on to an octagonal base.
On the west wall are the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments on wood, of perhaps the early 19th century.
The other fittings are modern.
There is one bell, of 1829. (fn. 53)
The communion plate includes a silver cup of 1731, given by the Rev. John Morewood, curate, in 1772. (fn. 54)
The registers begin in 1813.
The church of North Marden seems to have been founded by Geoffrey son of Azo late in the 12th century. (fn. 55)
In 1246 Nicholas de Lymesy and William Dawtry agreed that they and their heirs should present alternately to the church of North Marden. (fn. 56) The Prior of Maiden Bradley claimed the advowson in 1275, (fn. 57) but it was in the hands of Edward St. John and Eve (Dawtry) his wife in 1336. (fn. 58) It then descended with the fee (see above) until it came to the coheirs of Henry Dyke; John Goring, husband of Constance, presented in 1512 (fn. 59) but probably made over his rights to William Dering, husband of Eleanor, who presented in 1532, (fn. 60) as did his son Nicholas in 1554. (fn. 61) Henry Dering was patron in 1604 and 1607, (fn. 62) but in 1609 he sold the advowson to William Thorne, D.D., (fn. 63) rector of North Marden and Dean of Chichester. (fn. 64) Dr. Thorne died in 1630, (fn. 65) in which year two presentations were made, the first by Edward White and the second by Richard Brigham of Lambeth, (fn. 66) perhaps under the provisions of Dr. Thorne's will. In 1638 William Neville, LL.D., Chancellor of the Diocese, presented. (fn. 67) By 1664 the advowson had come into the hands of Thomas Jenman, and since that date it has descended with the manor, Richard Peckham presenting in 1711 and Thomas Phipps in 1750, (fn. 68) the present patron being Sir Philip Reckitt, bt. Since 1875 the living has been united with that of East Marden (patron, the bishop).
The rectory of North Marden was valued at £5 in 1291, (fn. 69) and fifty years later the glebe amounted to 18 acres of arable and the rector derived 10s. from cider and 3s. from 'his dairy'. (fn. 70) In 1535 the rectory was worth £6 17s. 8d. (fn. 71)