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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'Eartham', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, ed. L F Salzman( London, 1953), British History Online [accessed 16 July 2024].

'Eartham', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Edited by L F Salzman( London, 1953), British History Online, accessed July 16, 2024,

"Eartham". A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester. Ed. L F Salzman(London, 1953), , British History Online. Web. 16 July 2024.

In this section


The parish, containing 1,539 acres, is roughly triangular, its base on the south abutting on Aldingbourne. The church and village lie at the junction of three roads, one running south-east to join the Chichester-Arundel road, the second going south-west, and the third north to meet Stane Street in Eartham Woods, which occupy the point of the triangle. There is other woodland on the western boundary of the parish and at Crouch Ham on the edge of the grounds of Eartham House. The house was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the late Sir William Bird, who bought the estate in 1905. It replaces a house built by Thomas Hayley and occupied for many years by his son William Hayley, famous at the end of the 18th century for his poetry, but chiefly remembered as the friend of Cowper, Southey, Blake, Flaxman, and Romney. He sold the estate in 1800 (fn. 1) to William Huskisson, M.P. for Chichester, whose wife's kinsman Sir John Ralph Milbanke inherited the property, (fn. 2) which was bought by Sir William Bird from his grandson.

Under an Act of 1813, of which the award was made in 1817, some 1,500 acres of the parish were inclosed. (fn. 3)

Many field-names occur in a detailed list of tithes due to the Dean of Chichester from Eartham in about 1300. (fn. 4)


Eartham was probably included in Aldingbourne at the time of the Domesday Survey. Its early history is obscure, but the overlordship of about 14 hides lay with the Bishop of Chichester. These hides were attached for purposes of manorial finance to the manors of Aldingbourne (11 hides), Bishopstone (2 hides), and Preston (1 hide), and notices of their holders appear in four lists, that of persons responsible for the upkeep of the park palings at Aldingbourne (c. 1260), (fn. 5) the Feodary (c. 1290), (fn. 6) and the Scutages of 1300 (fn. 7) and 1310. (fn. 8) One hide recorded under Bishopstone was part of 20 hides held in 1260 by Lucy de Clifton. She was daughter of Reynold (who held this estate c. 1255 (fn. 9) ) and granddaughter of another Reynold, (fn. 10) who was presumably representative of the Walter de Clifton who in 1166 held 1½ knights' fees of the Bishop of Chichester. (fn. 11) Lucy married Gaudin de Blancmuster (de Albo Monasterio) and died without issue after April 1286 (fn. 12) and before the end of 1287. (fn. 13) In 1290 and 1300 this hide was held by 'the heirs of Lady de Clifton', but their identity is uncertain and the descent of this hide is unknown. The other hide attached to Bishopstone was held c. 1255 (fn. 14) and c. 1290 by Simon de Chelsfeld and in 1300 by the unnamed holders of his lands, but cannot be traced either earlier or later. (fn. 15) The hide attached to Preston was part of 4 hides held by Ingram de Brok in c. 1290, by his heirs in 1300, and by Niel de Brok in 1310. Of the Aldingbourne holdings the largest, 6½ hides, was assigned in c. 1290 and 1300 to 'the heirs of Savaric de Boun', (fn. 16) in the park paling list to Ralf Sanzaver, and in 1310 to his namesake and grandson. Hugh father of the younger Ralf had died in 1284 holding of John de Bohun a windmill and other property in Eartham. (fn. 17) This holding probably came into the hands of the Earl of Arundel with other Sanzaver estates. The park paling list gives Gervase de Ertham (fn. 18) as holding 4 hides; this probably included 3 hides held by 'the heirs of William de Ertham' in 1290 and 1300. The heir was probably John de Ertham, who was dealing with 6 virgates of land in Eartham in 1280; (fn. 19) in 1307 John de Ertham and Joan his wife sold to John de Boudon a messuage and 96 acres of land, &c., in Eartham, (fn. 20) and the Scutage list of 1310 shows that of the 3 hides 2 hides had been acquired by Ralph Sanzaver, 2 virgates 9½ acres by John de Boudon, 1 virgate by Robert Turgys, (fn. 21) and 2½ acres by Thomas Seuebech. Finally, the park paling list shows Roger Cook and Walter de Ertham holding 1½ hides at 'Daneshide', which seems to be the 1½ hides in Eartham held c. 1290 by John de Bradebrugge, which by 1300 had passed to John de Boudon and was still held by him in 1310. Tithes of the hide of 'Danesta' were given with the church of Eartham (Hersham) to Richard, canon of Chichester, by Bishop Hilary (448–69). (fn. 22) Daneshide was held by the Master of St. Mary's Hospital, Chichester, in 1403 and in 1482. (fn. 23) The hospital's lands in Eartham were worth 31s. 4d. in 1535. (fn. 24)

In 1340 John de Boudon and Mary his wife made a settlement of the manors of Sibertswold and Eythorne in Kent, ⅓ of the manor of Kingston Seymour in Somerset, and 100 acres of land and rents in Eartham. (fn. 25) Four years later Sir John de Boudon settled what is now for the first time called the manor of EARTHAM on himself for life with remainder to his sister Elizabeth and her husband John de Gildesburgh and their heirs. (fn. 26) In 1368, however, Sir John granted to Richard, Earl of Arundel, all the property in Eartham which he had received from his father John de Boudon. (fn. 27) Earl Richard died in 1376 holding the manor of 'Ertham Bouedone', (fn. 28) and the executors of Thomas, Earl of Arundel, who died in 1415, gave 2/3 of the manor of BOWDON to the college of Holy Trinity at Arundel, (fn. 29) with the reversion of the other ⅓ which his widow Beatrice held until her death in 1439. (fn. 30)

The chief manor of Eartham (possibly the original Sanzaver holding) remained with the earls (fn. 31) and was among the estates granted by William, Earl of Arundel, in 1541 to Henry VIII in exchange for the property of the dissolved priory of Michelham. (fn. 32) It was, however, regranted to Henry, Earl of Arundel, in 1554–5 (fn. 33) and settled on John, Lord Lumley, and Jane his wife in 1566. (fn. 34) In 1587 Lord Lumley conveyed the manor to George Grove, John Watersfield, and John Page. (fn. 35) Meanwhile, after the suppression of the college of Arundel, the manor of Eartham Bowdon had been given in 1546 to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 36) who immediately sold it to John Page. (fn. 37) He died in 1551, holding the manor as 1/60 fee, (fn. 38) and his son William died in 1571, leaving three daughters, Agnes, Elizabeth, and Jane. (fn. 39) They evidently married respectively John Watersfield, Thomas Knight, and Edward Rose. The two latter with their wives in 1592 conveyed to John Watersfield 2/3 of the manor of Bowdens and tenements in Eartham. (fn. 40) In 1594 John Watersfield died and left the manors of Eartham and Bowdens to his younger son John, (fn. 41) and in 1603 Agnes Watersfield, widow of John, and her sons Thomas and John sold to Garett Kempe the two manors of Eartham and Eartham alias Bowden. (fn. 42) The united manor of Eartham remained in the Kempe family (fn. 43) and in 1750 Anthony Kempe (who died in 1753 at the age of 81) gave it to his daughter Barbara and her husband James Radcliffe, Lord Kenaird and later Earl of Newburgh. (fn. 44) He died in 1786 and his son, the 2nd earl, died in 1814 without issue; his estates passed to his cousin Francis Eyre, and in 1852 to his daughter Dorothea Eyre (wrongly styled) Countess of Newburgh. (fn. 45) She died in 1853 and Eartham passed to her husband Colonel Charles Leslie, who died in 1870, leaving the manor to his son (by a previous marriage), Charles Stephen Leslie. (fn. 46)


The church of ST. MARGARET (fn. 47) consists of chancel, nave with bell-cote, south aisle, and west porch; it is built of flint rubble with freestone dressings, the 12th-century ashlar being wide-jointed, and is roofed with tile, except the bell-cote, which is shingled. The 12thcentury church consisted of chancel and nave; early in the 13th century the chancel was rebuilt and the aisle added; the porch is modern.

In the east wall of the chancel is a single lancet with concentric splay, the inner jambs being ancient work, the outer a modern renewal. In each side wall is a twolight window and a one-light window west of it; these are all modern. The roof has a single tie-beam and braced collars between each couple of rafters, and is entirely modern.

At the north-east corner of the nave is a modern buttress, behind which the 12th-century quoin is visible; the quoin at the north-west resembles it. The chancel arch (12th-century) has shafts attached to square responds; the shafts have moulded bases and crude Ionic capitals, on the inner face of which, between the volutes, are carved grotesques, the head of a hare on the north, that of a bearded man on the south. The abacus is continued on to the square respond as an impost. The arch is of two orders, each square in section. Below the impost, on the west side of the north respond, is an ancient plain corbel. On each side of the chancel arch is a plain round-headed opening, of one order, made in the 19th century.

The south arcade is of two bays, with a long respond to the east. The single pier is cylindrical, with moulded base and capital; each respond is in the form of a halfpier. The arches are pointed, of one order. In the north wall are two windows, the eastern of one light, the western of two, both modern. In the west wall is a 12th-century doorway of one order with plain jambs and semicircular arch; across the spring of this is a stone lintel and the tympanum is filled with ashlar. Above this, over the roof of the porch, is a modern two-light window. The roof (modern) has rafters like those of the chancel, one tie-beam at the east, and three at the west, cross-beams resting on these support the bell-cote.

The south aisle has a modern buttress at the southeast corner, a single lancet, also modern, at each end, and, in the south side, a plain pointed doorway, the inner jambs and outer hoodmould ancient, presumably 13th-century, the outer jambs and arch a modern restoration. The roof is modern. A small vestry is screened off at the west end of the aisle.

Parish Church of St Margaret Eartham

The west porch is entirely modern, as are the font and other fittings.

There are three bells, two uninscribed, the third dated 1674. (fn. 48)

The communion plate (fn. 49) includes a fine silver cup and paten cover of 1568, decorated with floral straps, and a flat silver paten of 1723.

The existing registers of marriages begin in 1754; those of baptisms and burials in 1785. (fn. 50)


The church is first mentioned when Bishop Hilary, between 1157 and 1169, with the consent of Alured its patron gave it to Richard the chaplain of Chichester with two houses, 5 acres of land, and specified tithes, Richard undertaking to have mass said weekly for the bishop's brother Robert. (fn. 51) A dispute arose as to the status of the church, and Bishop John Greenford converted the rectory into a prebend; (fn. 52) as such it was valued at £10 in 1291, (fn. 53) the endowment having been augmented with tithes elsewhere. (fn. 54) In 1318 Bishop John de Langton ordained a vicarage, assigning to the vicar certain tithes and a plot of land for a manse; (fn. 55) this was augmented by Bishop Robert Sherborne in 1522, (fn. 56) and was rated at £7 5s. 2d. in 1535. (fn. 57) The patronage of the vicarage continued with the prebendary until the death of George Shiffner (prebendary from 1829 until 1863) when presumably, under the Act of 1840, it came to the bishop. He seems to have parted with it to the Crown, as in 1900 the Lord Chancellor exchanged it to the Dean and Chapter of Chichester for the benefice of Appleshaw (Hants), formerly a chapel-of-ease to their living of Amport. (fn. 58)


  • 1. His son Thomas died in that year and is commemorated by a tablet in the church with a bas-relief by Flaxman.
  • 2. Elwes and Robinson, Mansions of West Sussex, 76.
  • 3. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxxxviii, 147.
  • 4. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 717.
  • 5. Ibid. xxxi, 40–1.
  • 6. Ibid. 134, 136.
  • 7. Ibid. 135, 137.
  • 8. Ibid. 141–3.
  • 9. Ibid. 87.
  • 10. Assize R. 924, m. 11d.; De Banco Mich. 15–16 Edw. I, m. 146 d.
  • 11. Red Bk. of Exch. 199.
  • 12. Suss. Rec. Soc. vii, 987.
  • 13. Assize R. 924, m. 11d. Her father had a sister Agnes whose daughter Sarah had a son James de Wadeham, living in 1287 (De Banco R. Mich. 15–16 Edw. I, m. 146d.) but there is no trace of his connexion with Eartham.
  • 14. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxi, 87.
  • 15. It may perhaps be 'the land of Richard fitz Ode' in 'Erham' which came into the bishop's hands early in 1170: Pipe R. 16 Hen. II. Richard fitzOde held part of a knight's fee of the bishop in 1166: Red Bk. of Exch. 199.
  • 16. For the connexion between the Bohuns and Sanzavers see Suss. Arch. Coll. lxv, 43.
  • 17. Ibid. 44. The windmill is mentioned in 1341, when its tithes yielded 3s.: Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 354.
  • 18. Probably successor of Richard de Erham who held part of a knight's fee of the bishop in 1166 (Red Bk. of Exch. 199) and was succeeded by William de 'Irham' in 1171 (Pipe R. 17 Hen. II).
  • 19. Suss. Rec. Soc. vii, 941.
  • 20. Ibid. 1218. The 96 acres would be equivalent to 6 virgates of 16 acres, the normal size of a virgate in West Sussex (see Suss. N. & Q. viii, 108).
  • 21. His name occurs in the subsidy lists for 1296, 1327, and 1332: Suss. Rec. Soc. x, 96, 129, 252.
  • 22. Suss. Arch. Coll. li, 52.
  • 23. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 248, 253.
  • 24. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 304.
  • 25. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii, 1913.
  • 26. Ibid. 1996.
  • 27. Add. MS. 5689, fol. 121 v.
  • 28. Ibid. fol. 118.
  • 29. This was subject to the life tenancy of Thomas Yarum: Cal. Pat. 1422–9, p. 115.
  • 30. Cal. Close, 1435–41, p. 402.
  • 31. The earl owed service to Bishop Robert Sherborne [1508–36] for 6½ hides formerly of Ralph Sanzaver, 2 hides formerly of William de Ertham, and [blank] formerly of John de Boudon: Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 801.
  • 32. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xvi, 878 (93); Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 392.
  • 33. Add. MS. 5689, fol. 118.
  • 34. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 499.
  • 35. Ibid. xix, 137.
  • 36. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xxi (1), 1116 (15).
  • 37. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 137.
  • 38. Add. MS. 39379, fol. 109, citing Fine R. 5 Edw. VI.
  • 39. Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv, 791.
  • 40. Ibid. xix, 137.
  • 41. P.C.C. 11 Scott; Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv, 1058.
  • 42. Ibid. xix, 137.
  • 43. For pedigree see Berry, Suss. Gen. 75.
  • 44. Add. MS. 5689, fol. 123.
  • 45. G. E. C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), ix, 516–17.
  • 46. Elwes and Robinson, Castles … of Western Sussex, 76.
  • 47. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlii, 91.
  • 48. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi, 208.
  • 49. Ibid. liii, 247 and pl. 20.
  • 50. According to Dallaway, Hist. of West Suss. ii, 76, there was then (1581) a register of 1558. Horsfield, Hist. of Suss. ii, 62 (1835), 'no registers before 1813 can be found'.
  • 51. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 173.
  • 52. Ibid. 176.
  • 53. Ibid. 307.
  • 54. Ibid. 185.
  • 55. Ibid. 931.
  • 56. Chichester Epis. Reg. Sherborne, fol. 94.
  • 57. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 310. At this time the vicar took all the tithes and paid £2 6s. 8d. to the prebendary; ibid. 301.
  • 58. V.C.H. Hants, iv, 359.