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 old parish contained 2,989 acres, but in 1894 the portion of Rumboldswyke lying outside the city of Chichester was added to Oving, and in the following year most of the ecclesiastical parish of Portfield, which had been formed in 1871, was taken into the civil parish of the city; under the West Sussex Review Order of 1933 the civil parish of Merston was added to Oving; the present acreage of Oving is 3,013. (fn. 1) The parish measures approximately 3 miles from north to south and 2½ miles from east to west; the ground, which is good agricultural land, is low lying, almost entirely below the 50 ft. level, and there is no woodland. The road from Chichester to Bognor runs southeastwards, crossing the disused Arundel-Chichester canal between Groves and Colworth. Farther north a secondary road from Chichester formerly ran eastwards to Aldingbourne, but is now blocked by the Tangmere aerodrome. The two are linked by minor roads, one from Shopwyke passing Drayton, where there was formerly a station on the railway that here cuts across the parish, and another running through the village of Oving.
There are a few buildings grouped near the church. The most important is the Manor House, south-west of and adjoining the churchyard. This has evidence of an early-16th-century or possibly earlier origin, but it has suffered many alterations. A survey made in 1649 describes it as a fair brick building containing a hall, two parlours, kitchen, larder, two butteries with cellars, and twelve chambers. (fn. 2) The plan appears to have consisted of a ground-floor hall about 36 ft. long with a porch on the east front and another large chamber north of the hall about 28 ft. long, with a projecting chimney-stack on its west side. The chamber was divided into two parts in the 18th or 19th century, the north half being converted into a coach-house with wide doorways in the north and east walls. Subsequently these doorways were walled up and a smaller doorway inserted in the blocking of the northern. In the northern part of the hall an Elizabethan staircase was inserted (subsequently remodelled). A wing about 20 ft. wide projects about 16 ft. on the east front, covering part of the stair-hall and half of the original main north room. Another wing crosses south of the hall, projecting about 7½ ft. to the east and about 18 ft. behind, containing the old kitchen, &c. The hall is paved with stone slabs; part of it was partitioned off in the 18th century to form a chamber, now used as a kitchen, leaving only a passageway to the east and south.
The walls are of brick, apparently of the 16th century, and the front parts have fairly tall cemented plinths projecting 6 in., possibly indicating earlier work. The north-east corner of the south wing has been reinforced with an 18th-century shallow buttress, and below this wing and part of the hall are cellars. Both the wings are gabled. None of the windows is earlier than the 18th century, but some are set in earlier and wider openings. The north-east wing had an east doorway, now walled up. The east porch is gabled and has an original four-centred entrance with moulded jambs and a chamfered square label, all of brickwork. The inner doorway is square-headed and has a moulded oak frame with Tudor base-stops. It contains a heavy battened oak door studded with nail-heads and hung with ornamental strap-hinges. The roofs are tiled. Most of the chimney-stacks have diagonal shafts, but only that over the junction of the north-east wing with the main block is of old thin bricks. No fire-place is ancient; the old kitchen had a wide fire-place (at the west end of the south cross-wing) but it has been reduced.
Three doorways to the original hall have ancient moulded oak frames; one into the north room, another adjacent into the north-east wing, and the third into the south wing. The hall has chamfered ceiling-beams, encased in the kitchen. The old kitchen has a stop-chamfered beam adapted from an early-16th-century beam set on its side.
The main staircase is a modern remodelling of an Elizabethan stair which was of square well or winding type and of which the 5-in. octagonal posts and newels with tall moulded heads have been reused. The upper rooms are modernized. The roofs are of the 18th century, but some of the timbers are more ancient, reused.
The garden wall north of the house is of 16th-century brickwork. The former stables, south of the house, are of 17th-century or earlier brickwork. In the east front and cross partitions were round-headed archways or doorways, now mostly altered or blocked. The late-17th-century stall partitions remain in place and have front posts with ball tops.
Ancient farm buildings of similar brickwork stand south-east of the house and a very large barn of eight 15 ft. bays with side aisles, having outer walls of flints and brick, has recently been converted into a dwelling-house. The cross trusses are plain; the side posts and framing between the nave and aisles have straight braces and there are similar wind-braces to the purlins.
'Thatched Cottage', west of the church, is for the most part of early-17th-century framing and has a central chimney-stack with wide fire-places and a rebated shaft.
Drayton Manor House, 1¼ miles west of the church, is an early-18th-century house, facing north, with walls of whitened brickwork, a plastered coved eaves cornice, and tiled roof. The entrance has Doric pilasters and a pediment. Stone walls to the cellars below the eastern wing are evidently part of an earlier structure on the site. Some of the rooms have 18th-century panelling, and the staircase is of c. 1730.
At Shopwyke, ½ mile farther east, is a nearly similar house of red brick with a pediment in the north front inscribed SS 1720. It has a similar doorway.
A charter of King Eadwy, dated 956, records his grant to Bishop Brihthelm of Selsey of lands in Oving and the neighbourhood. (fn. 3) The manor of OVING at the time of the Domesday survey was probably included in Alding-bourne. It constituted a prebend which was attached to the dignity of precentor in the cathedral church of Chichester from early times, probably by Bishop Ralph (1091–1123). It so remained until 1857, when the precentorship lost its endowments and the manor passed into the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 4) The only break was during the Commonwealth, when the manor of Oving seems to have been acquired by Richard and John Downes. (fn. 5) It was customary for the prebendal estate to be leased, such leases being in later times usually for three lives; the local family of Elson (fn. 6) held the lands from 1669 to 1730, when 'by negligence' their representative allowed the lease to lapse. (fn. 7)
Two other estates in Oving formed respectively the prebendal manors of COLWORTH and WOODHORNE. Colworth had been granted in 988 by King Æthelred II to Leofstan, with leave to bequeath it to whom he would. Presumably he or one of his successors conveyed it to the see of Selsey. (fn. 8) Both these manors remained in the hands of their prebendaries, except during the Commonwealth, until taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
Land to the value of £10 in DRAYTON was given by Henry I to William Conan, (fn. 9) who had been succeeded by Alan son of Conan before 1166, when his lands constituted 1 knight's fee of the honor of Arundel. (fn. 10) The overlordship of ½ fee in Drayton was assigned in 1244 to Roger de Somery and Nichole his wife, one of the sisters and coheirs of Hugh d'Aubigny, Earl of Arundel, (fn. 11) and was held in 1360 (fn. 12) and in 1398 (fn. 13) of 'the heir of John Somery'.
In 1187 the fee was held by William son of Alan. (fn. 14) It may have escheated soon after this date, as from 1192 to 1194 William de Humez appears as owing 20s. scutage in Drayton. (fn. 15) The fee is next found in the hands of John l'Estrange in 1242 and 1244; (fn. 16) subsequently Hamon l'Estrange granted the manor of Drayton to Urian de St. Peter, who married Margaret daughter of Roger de Somery, (fn. 17) and he enfeoffed Robert de Standon in ¼ of the manor; (fn. 18) but this led to disputes, and eventually Urian recovered the whole and leased it to Geoffrey de Picheford, who was tenant in 1275. (fn. 19) Geoffrey on the occasion of his marriage, at the church of Ankerwyke Priory (Bucks.) on the Sunday before All Saints 1270, endowed his wife Alice with lands including all that he held in Drayton, namely a quarter of the vill. (fn. 20) At this point a complication arises, as in 1280 John Tregoz is found granting the manor of Drayton to Roger de Clifford the elder for life, (fn. 21) and shortly afterwards Tregoz and Clifford conveyed their respective interests in the manor to Queen Eleanor, who in 1282 gave Drayton to Geoffrey de Picheford and Alice his wife in exchange for lands in Derbyshire. (fn. 22) Next year John Tregoz granted the manor to Geoffrey and Alice, (fn. 23) and in 1293 they obtained the ⅓ of the manor held in dower by Margaret widow of Urian de St. Peter from her and her then husband Ralph Basset. (fn. 24) According to one version the manor had been held by an earlier John Tregoz, who leased it for life to Robert Tregoz and died leaving a son Henry under age. After Robert's death his wife Alice married John Dewyas and had a son called John Tregoz who granted it, as already stated, to Queen Eleanor. Thomas Tregoz, son of Henry, unsuccessfully sued Alice widow of Geoffrey de Picheford for the manor. (fn. 25) No more is heard of the Tregoz claim, and in 1320 John son of Geoffrey de Picheford granted the reversion of the manor after the death of Alice (fn. 26) to Bartholomew de Badlesmere, (fn. 27) who seems also to have acquired the mesne lordship, as at the time of his attainder and execution in 1322 he was seised of the reversion of the manor of Drayton after the death of John l'Estrange, who held it of the heirs of Roger de Somery. (fn. 28) His lands were restored by Edward III to his son Giles de Badlesmere, who was unsuccessfully sued for the manor by Thomas son of John de Picheford in 1332. (fn. 29) Giles died in 1338 seised of the manor of Drayton, (fn. 30) which was assigned in dower to his widow Elizabeth, (fn. 31) with reversion to William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, and his wife Elizabeth, the eldest of the four sisters of Giles. (fn. 32) Elizabeth the widow of Giles married Hugh le Despenser and died in 1359, when Drayton passed to Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, son of the Countess of Northampton by her first husband. (fn. 33) It then descended with the Mortimers to Richard, Duke of York, (fn. 34) and so to the Crown. In 1544 the manor, distinguished as Weston Drayton, was granted to Thomas Bisshopp, who died in January 1560, at which time it was valued at £16 13s. 4d. and was held of the Crown as 1/20 knight's fee. (fn. 35) It then descended in the Bisshopp family with Hunston (q.v.).
In 1428 the Countess of March was holding ½ fee in Drayton and the Prior of Boxgrove was holding another ½ fee there. (fn. 36) These corresponded to the manors of Westcourt (with which we have just dealt) and EASTCOURT, mentioned in connexion with pasturage rights in 1332. (fn. 37) The name occurs again in 1560 when the reversion of 'the manor of Drayton called Estcourt', late of the monastery of Boxgrove and then held on lease by Anne Barnam and Robert her son, was granted to Thomas and George Stoughton. (fn. 38) No other references to the 'manor' are known, but the estate of Drayton Eastcourt came into the hands of John Caryll about this time. A contemporary map (fn. 39) shows the complex of tenurial rights here. The two houses—Thomas Bisshopp's Westcourt and John Caryll's Eastcourt—are shown on either side of 'Drayton Street' and the fields belonging to each are indicated; the demesnes of Runcton Manor come close to Westcourt on the south, and the Leythorne estate of Thomas Bowyer on the north; while a hedge planted in 1518 as the boundary between Drayton and Merston runs east from Eastcourt. The latter was surveyed for Sir John Caryll in 1637, when the land, some 300 acres, was in the occupation of Henry and William Peachie; (fn. 40) and it is probable that it formed part of the Carylls' manorial estate of Merston (q.v.).
The manor of MARTINESGRAVE or GROVE (fn. 41) belonged to the city of Chichester in the time of Henry I, but he gave lands then worth £10 to William de Fresne (de Fraxino), (fn. 42) and this was no doubt the 'land of Fresne' which in 1166 constituted one fee of the honor of Arundel. (fn. 43) In 1187 Martinesgrave was in the king's hands, being tallaged at 10s., (fn. 44) and towards the end of 1189 it was granted to Niel de Broc. (fn. 45) Shortly after this, Robert de Tregoz also held the manor for a while, as he had £10 of land in Martinesgrave in 1196 (fn. 46) and gave to Boxgrove Priory for the soul of his wife Sybil two crofts in his manor of Grove, 'which was given to me for my service', one being Elbrugge croft and the other Leacroft adjoining the road to Oving. (fn. 47) His charter is undated but was before 1215, in which year Prior Robert demised to Peter de Wodehorne Ipicroft at Martinesgrave, 'which croft Robert de Tregoz gave us'. (fn. 48) A later William de Fresne seems to have recovered the estate before 1217, but shortly afterwards forfeited Martinesgrave as a Norman and it was given first to Robert de Vilers and then in 1223, on his death, to William, Earl of Arundel, (fn. 49) the overlord of the fee. In 1233, during the minority of Earl Hugh, the king gave the manor to William de Picheford. (fn. 50) William de Fresne, however, returned to England, recovered his lands in Drayton and Grove, and obtained leave to alienate them to John de Gatesden. (fn. 51) He in turn conveyed the land to Boxgrove Priory. (fn. 52)
On the division of Earl Hugh's fees between his coheirs in 1244 the ½ fee in Grove held by John de Gatesden was assigned to John FitzAlan, who, as already stated, confirmed it to Boxgrove Priory; there was also 1/20 fee in Grove held by John de la Grave which was assigned to Robert de Tateshale. (fn. 53) This was represented in 1303 by 1/80 held by Ralph de la Grave, 1/80 by Robert le Botiller, and 1/40 by Richard de Picheford. (fn. 54) These were assigned in 1309 to John de Orreby and Joan his wife and Joan de Driby, coheirs of Tateshale; (fn. 55) and the 1/40 fee was held in 1339 of Sir William de Bernak in right of Alice his wife, representing Tateshale, by John de la Grave. (fn. 56)
The obscure manor of EGLEY had been attached to the city of Chichester until Henry I bestowed it with Kingsham (q.v.) (fn. 57) on some unrecorded recipient. The two estates passed together to William Ruffus, who held them in 1218, and eventually to his great-granddaughter Emma, who married John de Grey of Shirland. (fn. 58) Their son Reynold de Grey in 1256 granted various estates including Kingsham and Egley to John de Grey, (fn. 59) presumably his brother, (fn. 60) and in 1297 conveyed Kingsham to William de Ayot. (fn. 61) In 1326 John Moyne (fn. 62) and Cicely his wife settled the manor of Egley on themselves and his heirs, (fn. 63) and in 1332 a return was made that Reynold le Moyne at the time of his death held lands in Egley of John de Leom by rent of a pound of cummin, and that his son John was of full age. (fn. 64) John Moyne and Cecily in 1361 received from Henry Eyott a messuage, 120 acres of arable and 100 acres of pasture in Oving, to hold for life with reversion to Henry; (fn. 65) but next year the reversion of this estate was transferred to Richard, Earl of Arundel. (fn. 66) These are presumably the lands in Egley which the earl in 1377 granted to Stephen Holt for life, (fn. 67) and which Richard II in 1397 leased to William Stock and John Wilton. (fn. 68) After this time Egley is always found attached to Shopwick.
The manor of SHOPWICK was another of the estates belonging to the city of Chichester until Henry I gave it, as £5 of land, to Reynold Hareng. (fn. 69) According to the confirmation charter issued by King Stephen c. 1145, Ralph Hareng gave tithes in Shopwick to Lewes Priory, (fn. 70) and in 1166 another Reynold seems to have held a fee of the Earl of Arundel. (fn. 71) The overlordship continued in the honor of Arundel, passing to John FitzAlan in 1244, (fn. 72) and the manor was held of the earl in 1377. (fn. 73) On the death of William Hareng, about 1230, the ½ fee seems to have been divided between Peter de Hotot, son of his eldest daughter Emma, and Nicholas de Wauncy, son of his second daughter Felice. (fn. 74) Nicholas, however, in 1249 demised his ¼ fee to Peter, subject to the interest of Ralph Belet and Sybil his wife in right of her dower. (fn. 75) Peter's son Robert with his wife Hawise had a grant of the manor of Shopwick in 1284 from Isabel de Mortimer, (fn. 76) the widow of John FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel. Robert de Hotot died in or before 1293, leaving a son Peter who was then under age (fn. 77) and who must have died without issue, as the estate passed to two coheiresses, perhaps daughters of Robert, namely Margaret wife of Roland Huscarl and Hawise wife of Ralph de Heuere, or Hevere. (fn. 78) The manor of Shopwick was settled on Ralph and Hawise in 1306, (fn. 79) and on their son Thomas and Alice his wife in 1320. (fn. 80) Sir Thomas was still holding the ½ fee in 1330, (fn. 81) in which year he had a grant of free warren in his manor of Shopwick. (fn. 82) On his death the manor descended to John Brocas, son of Oliver Brocas by Margaret daughter of Sir Thomas, and on his death in 1377 it passed to Sir Edward St. John, son of Joan sister of Sir Thomas de Hevere, (fn. 83) subject to dower in ⅓ granted to Sybil widow of John Brocas, who shortly afterwards married John de Uvedale. (fn. 84) Shortly after this the manor seems to have come into the hands of the overlord, Richard, Earl of Arundel, who was seised of it at his death in 1396. (fn. 85) Subsequently it appears to have been given to Sir Thomas Arundel of Betchworth, brother of John, Earl of Arundel, as it was held by his daughter and heiress Eleanor and her husband Sir Thomas Browne when the latter was attainted. Eleanor married Thomas Vaughan and in 1465 they had a grant from Edward IV of the manors of Shopwick and Egley. (fn. 86) In 1468 John, Duke of Norfolk, and Elizabeth his wife made a settlement of various manors, including Shopwick and Egley, (fn. 87) and seven years later the trustees granted these two manors to Sir George Browne, son of Sir Thomas. (fn. 88) He was attainted under Richard III but these manors were held jointly with his wife Elizabeth, (fn. 89) and his lands were subsequently restored to his family, in which the manors or joint manor of SHOPWICK EAGLE (fn. 90) descended until the death of Sir Ambrose Browne in 1661. (fn. 91) His granddaughter Margaret married William Fenwick, from whom the manor was bought by Thomas Brereton, who in 1699 left it to his eldest daughter Mary. (fn. 92) She died in 1701 and left it to her nephew Thomas William Brereton; (fn. 93) from his son Thomas it passed to Samuel Billingsley, who in 1765 settled it on his son John at his marriage with Sarah Hughes. (fn. 94) John died in 1776 and Sarah married Richard Crichett and died in 1823; (fn. 95) her grandson John Frederick Billingsley made arrangements for the sale of the manor in 1838. (fn. 96) Meanwhile, the estate, apart from the manorial rights, had been bought c. 1670 by Stephen Challen, whose daughter's son Challen Miller sold it to Edmund Woods, in whose family it descended for several generations. (fn. 97)
The church of ST. ANDREW (fn. 98) stands east of the manor house and consists of chancel, nave flanked by two transepts, west tower with spire, north porch, and vestry south of the nave. The nave, west of the transepts, is of knapped flint, the remainder of the church is in ordinary flint rubble; of the ashlar dressings some are Caen stone, some Binsted; the north and south doorways of the nave are of clunch; the roofs are tile, the spire shingled.
In 1881 traces of a former 12th-century church were discovered: 'these ran in a straight line eastward from about 3 ft. on either side of the tower arch'. (fn. 99) Two reused stones bearing cheveron ornament are visible in the west wall of the north transept. The existing church, except the porch and vestry, was built in the 13th century; it was restored in 1840 when 'every vestige of antiquity, if any existed then, [was] removed'. (fn. 100) It was again restored in 1881; the porch and vestry are modern.
The chancel has pairs of buttresses at each eastern corner, those against the east wall being entirely modern, those against the north and south largely restorations; the east window (also modern) is of three lights with net tracery. On each side of the chancel are three lancet windows with segmental rear-arches; the eastern on the south side is modern, replacing a square-headed two-light window; the westernmost on each side has its interior sill some 2 ft. 6 in. below the lower edge of the glazing, as though for a low side window. No trace of this can now be seen outside, the wall having been refaced, but a drawing of 1795 shows traces of exterior jambs below the present sill; these windows also differ from the others in having internal rebates. On the south side of the chancel is a piscina, its square jambs ancient, its semicircular arch modern; between the second and third windows is a priest's door with plain pointed arch and segmental rear-arch, of the 13th century, having a Mass dial on each exterior jamb. Between this and the western window are traces of the east quoin of the splay of another lancet; this suggests that, as at Apuldram, the westernmost lancets were altered to low side windows very soon after being built. (fn. 101) A moulded string-course runs round the chancel.
The chancel arch is as high and wide as the chancel; it is of the 13th century and shows no sign of having been enlarged in modern times; the arch is of two chamfered orders, the chamfer of one having a hollow on it; the responds are square, the inner order is carried on a scalloped corbel whose moulded abacus is continued on each side as an impost. (fn. 102) The roof framing is entirely modern.
The nave has a buttress at each of the four corners, those at the east set square, those at the west diagonal. On the south side is the transept arch of three chamfered orders, resting on responds of similar section with moulded capitals and bases. Next is a three-light window with trefoil-headed lights and a modified form of Perpendicular tracery, with vertical mullions rising from, but the principal mullions stopping at, the heads of the lights. This window, and probably the arch east of it, are of the later 14th century. The south doorway has moulded jambs and arch, constructionally of one order but with the profile of two, each order having a wave-mould on a chamfer; there is also a hood-mould.
The transept arch and three-light window on the north side of the nave correspond to those on the south. The north doorway has an arch of two moulded orders, the mouldings dying into a vertical cylindrical impost; there is also a hood-mould ending in stops of carved foliage. Each order rests on nook-shafts with moulded bases and caps, the latter showing the nail-head moulding. This doorway, like that on the south, is apparently of the 14th century. (fn. 103) West of it is a single lancet window, apparently entirely modern. The tower arch is of two chamfered orders dying away into semi-octagonal responds. On each side of it is a single lancet window, the sill of which is about 15 ft. above the floor; these seem to have been inserted in the 19th century to light a gallery. The roofing is modern, in three bays, with trussed rafters, tie-beams, and king-posts.
The south transept has two plain lancets in its east wall and a triplet, also plain, the middle light the highest, in the south wall. The north transept is of similar design, but the southern of the two lancets in the east wall is entirely modern, replacing a three-light window shown in Grimm's drawing. The roofs of both transepts are modern.
The lowest stage of the tower has a plain lancet in each of the north and south walls, and a third, set somewhat higher up, in the west; the head of this rises above the level of the sills of two more lancets immediately over those in the north and south walls; there is no west doorway. There is an upper stage with plain lancets in the south, west, and north faces, surmounted by a broach spire which seems out of plumb.
There is an ancient altar slab, measuring 2 ft. 9 in. by 1 ft. 9 in., found in 1881 under the tower arch and removed to its present position under the communion table. (fn. 104) The font stands east of the tower arch; it has an octagonal bowl on a moulded shaft, of doubtful date. On the south wall of the nave is a small relief of the Royal Arms as borne by Queen Victoria.
There are four bells: (fn. 105) (1) by Thomas Giles, 1613; (2) and (3) by Brian Eldridge, 1627 and 1653; (4) by Clement Tosear, 1702.
The old communion plate was sold in 1840 to provide a new set. (fn. 106)
The registers begin in 1561.
The tithes and prebendal manor of Oving were given at an early date to the precentor of Chichester Cathedral. In 1225, when Hugh de Talmaco was precentor, an ordinance was made by which the vicar was to have all the tithes of the demesne, (fn. 107) the small tithes throughout the parish, and certain obventions and legacies. (fn. 108) In 1291 the vicarage was valued at £10, (fn. 109) and fifty years later it was recorded that the rector (i.e. the precentor) had a messuage and 2 ploughlands of glebe worth £15 8s., meadow worth £3 17s. 4d., and pasture £3; his manorial dovecot yielded 10s., the customs of his tenants 30s., and their rents £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 110) The manor and prebend were farmed in 1535 for £19 2s. 1½d. and the rectorial tithes were worth £20; (fn. 111) the vicarage was then returned at £10 11s. 10d. (fn. 112) The advowson remained in the hands of the precentors until, under the Act of 1840, (fn. 113) it passed to the bishop. In 1931 the benefice of Merston was annexed to that of Oving.
An acre of land, given for the maintenance of two wax tapers in the church and known as Ave Lande or Lamp Acre, was seized by the Crown in 1548 as devoted to superstitious uses. (fn. 114)
Mr. Henry de Garland and Mr. Hugh de Warkenby had licence in 1325 to alienate to the Dean and Chapter of Chichester 38 acres of land, 4 acres of meadow, and ½ acre of wood in Colworth and Oving, worth 53s. 10d. (fn. 117) This was for the endowment of a chantry in the chapel of St. Faith, in the cathedral close, for the soul of Mr. Roger de la Grave, to which Bishop John de Stratford gave his consent in 1337. (fn. 118) It was known as the chantry of Colworth in the cathedral of Chichester, (fn. 119) but by 1441 the chaplain had ceased to function. (fn. 120) The endowment is presumably the estate of Maryland in Challworth (sic) in Oving, held by the dean and chapter in 1535 and then leased to John Wiatt for 53s. 4d. (fn. 121)
After the death of the Rev. G. H. Langdon, Vicar of Oving, in December 1851, it was proposed to erect a church at Portfield in his memory. (fn. 122) It was, however, not until 1871 that Portfield was formed into a new ecclesiastical district with a vicarage in the gift of the bishop.
Ellen Charlotte Drewitt by will dated 3 September 1891 gave to the Vicar of Oving £2,500, the income to be divided by the vicar and churchwardens between the occupants of the six almshouses built in the parish by Miss Katharine Woods. By a deed poll dated 3 August 1899 the Rev. Henry George Woods, D.D., conveyed to the then vicar and churchwardens the almshouses, to be for ever thereafter occupied by aged or infirm persons inhabitants of the civil parish of Oving, subject to the rules and provisions set out in the deed. The deed provided that the charity should be under the sole management of the vicar and churchwardens of Oving and two other persons resident in the parish to be elected annually by the parish council. By a scheme of the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division) dated 30 October 1899 it was provided that the balance of the fund should be transferred or invested in the name of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds and that the income should be remitted to the trustees and applied by them for the benefit of the inmates of the almshouses in such manner and proportions as they may think proper.