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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'Rumboldswyke', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953) pp. 171-174. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

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This small parish of 652 acres has since 1893 been included within the bounds of the city of Chichester, on the south-eastern edge of which it lies, its western boundary being the road running south towards Selsey. The place was originally, and frequently in later times, designated simply Wyke, and it is not known who was the Rumbold by whose name it was usually distinguished from about 1225 onwards.

A mill is mentioned at Rumboldswyke in 1228, (fn. 1) and when dower was assigned in 1274 to the widow of Roger de Wyke it included land in 'the Buttes of the mill' and 10s. 10½d. from the windmill. (fn. 2) It occurs again in 1300, and in 1340 the vicar had the tithes of the mill, valued at 2s. (fn. 3)


The manor of WYKE or RUMBOLDSWYKE had been held in the time of the Confessor by five men as five 'manors' and was then assessed at 9 hides. In 1086 the assessment had been reduced to 6 hides and it was held under Earl Roger by Hugh and of him by Warin. (fn. 4) The overlordship remained with the honor of Arundel, the fee passing to Roger de Monhaut on the death of Earl Hugh d'Aubigny in 1243. (fn. 5) A mesne lordship is found in 1242, when John and Hubert de Wykes held the fee of Ralph de Thony; (fn. 6) and in 1274 the fee had been recently held by Roger de Thony, or Toeni, being then in the king's hands through the minority of Roger's son Ralph. (fn. 7) Ralph's son Robert died in 1310, when his heir was his sister Alice, then wife of Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (died 1315), and in 1317 wife of William la Zouche. (fn. 8) One fee in Rumboldswyke was held of the Earl of Warwick in 1312 (fn. 9) and was said to be held of Earl Thomas, grandson of Guy and Alice, at his death in 1402. (fn. 10) This, however, was probably an error, as not only did William la Zouche hold the fee by courtesy after the death of his wife, (fn. 11) but their son Alan held it at his death in 1346, (fn. 12) and Hugh la Zouche died seised of it in 1399, (fn. 13) the fee being in each instance held as of the manor of River in Tillington. River passed with Hugh's widow Joan in marriage to Sir John Pelham, (fn. 14) of whom the manor of 'Wyke in Rumboldswyke' was held in 1419, (fn. 15) and it was still held of River in 1487 when the latter manor was in the hands of John Covert and Isabel (Pelham) (fn. 16) his wife. (fn. 17)

The manor of Rumboldswyke first appears early in the 13th century in the hands of a certain Godeheude, probably a member of the family de Wykes, who was widow of William de Planchis in 1218. In that year she, with consent of her daughter Eustache, gave 50s. rent in Wikes, for the good of the soul of her son Richard, to the Abbey of Arden (Yorks.), who sold it to Boxgrove Priory in 1240. (fn. 18) She subsequently married Geoffrey Peverel and Eustache married Hubert de Warham, alias de Wykes, (fn. 19) and after the death of Godeheude, Geoffrey, Hubert, and Eustache lived together in the manor house, with an agreement that if they separated Geoffrey should have half the vill or manor of Rumboldswyke. (fn. 20) In 1228 Eustache was engaged in a suit with Robert de Amberley concerning Robert's mill in Rumboldswyke. (fn. 21) She was dead by 1235, when her son and heir John de Wykes granted to Hubert for life a moiety of a knight's fee in Rumboldswyke with the services of certain specified tenants, half the field called Othull and other named fields. (fn. 22) John de Wykes was succeeded by his brother Roger, who died in 1274 holding the manor as 1 knight's fee. (fn. 23) His heirs seem to have been his sisters Godeheude (fn. 24) and Christiane, mother of Walter de Mereworth alias de Wykes. (fn. 25) Godeheude in 1275 conveyed to Geoffrey de Pycheford and Mary his wife ½ of the manor of Rumboldswick and the reversion of tenements in Wyke and Manewode (the Manhood) held in dower by William de Valoynes and Laderena his wife (perhaps the widow of John de Wykes) and by Nichole widow of Roger de Wykes; but Walter de Wykes her kinsman asserted his claim. He asserted that Godeheude had many years before taken the veil as a nun at Kilburn, but it was shown that, although she apparently resided in the nunnery, she had never been professed, and the manor was therefore, in 1294, assigned to her and Walter in moieties. (fn. 26) In 1300 Richard de Pycheford (son of Geoffrey) acquired from Robert le Butiller and Alice his wife (widow of Geoffrey) a messuage, 132 acres of land, and ½ a mill in Rumboldswyke, Walter de Mereworth asserting his claim. (fn. 27) In 1317 Geoffrey de Pycheford, carrying out an agreement made by his brother Richard, sold half the manor and advowson to Sir John de Foxle, (fn. 28) who had already in 1312 acquired 2/3 of the other half from Walter, son of Walter de Wykes. (fn. 29) Sir John was succeeded by his son Thomas de Foxle, on whom the whole manor was settled for life in 1338, with reversion to his son John and his heirs male, or in default on his brother Thomas. (fn. 30) This (Sir) John de Foxle leased the manor at 20 marks rent to Edith, widow of Robert Blundell, for life, and in 1377 left the reversion, in the event of his dying without legitimate issue, to John de Foxle, his illegitimate son by Joan Martyn, and his heirs male, or in default to John's brothers Thomas or Richard. (fn. 31) John died in 1420 seised of the manor, leaving an infant daughter Alice, (fn. 32) but under the settlement the manor passed to his brother Thomas, whose daughter and coheir Elizabeth had married Thomas Uvedale by 1446. (fn. 33) The manor is next found in the possession of Thomas Rogers, who died in January 1488, having, a few months before his death, settled the manors of Rumboldswyke and HOLYNGARDEN on his daughter Elizabeth (then aged about 12) on her marriage with William, son of Thomas Essex. (fn. 34) Margaret, widow of Thomas Rogers, married Thomas Fetyplace, and in 1489 claimed dower in the two manors. (fn. 35) In 1513 there was a fresh settlement on William Essex and Elizabeth, (fn. 36) and in 1543 Sir William Essex of Chipping Lambourne (Berks.) and Thomas his son granted Rumboldswyke to the King in exchange for manors in Berkshire. (fn. 37) The manor, with 30 acres in Portfield, 60 acres in Otehills, and the farms of Grenestret and Walshelands in Oving, remained in the hands of the Crown until 1558. (fn. 38) In 1560 it was granted to John Fenner, (fn. 39) who died on Christmas Day 1566, leaving an infant son Dudley. (fn. 40) He had, however, already sold the manor to Richard Pype, leatherseller of London, (fn. 41) who in 1569 sold it to Francis Bowyer, alderman of London, and Elizabeth his wife, to whose son William it came on the death of Francis in 1581. (fn. 42) This Sir William Bowyer settled the manor on his second son Henry on his marriage with Anne, daughter of Nicholas Salter, in 1609. (fn. 43) Henry's son William seems to have sold it to William Cawley of Chichester in 1634, (fn. 44) and he was holding it in 1652. (fn. 45) His son William Cawley apparently recovered his father's forfeited property, as he and Elizabeth his wife sold the manor of Rumboldswyke in 1689 to Sir Charles Littleton, (fn. 46) who conveyed it in 1691 to John Braman. (fn. 47) By 1725 the manor had been acquired by Richard Lumley, Earl of Scarborough, (fn. 48) and it subsequently descended with the manor of Westbourne (q.v.) to Richard Barwell.

Certain property in Rumboldswyke came into the hands of the Knights Hospitallers and was administered under their preceptory of Poling; the tithes of corn here were worth £4 in 1338, (fn. 49) and on the suppression of the Order it was presumably granted to the College of Holy Trinity, Arundel, (fn. 50) with the other Poling property. The property of the college was granted in 1544 to the Earl of Arundel, (fn. 51) but the Rumboldswyke estates seem to have come into the hands of the Crown and apparently constituted a separate manor. Burrell (fn. 52) quotes a survey of 1608 which records that there belong to His Majesty in right of the manor of Rumboldswick ⅓ of the tithes on the farm of Weike, which were sometime of the Priory of St. John of Jerusalem and are worth £6 13s. 4d., also tithe corn from 14 acres in the common fields called Portfeild, Weeke feild, and Townes feild in the said parish, worth £2. It is also stated that the king has a court leet and may hold a court baron. In 1632 the manor of Rumboldswick, parcel of the bailliwick of Poling and then leased to John Baker, was granted to William Collins and others. (fn. 53) It was subsequently held with the main manor, the conveyances by Cawley to Littleton and by Littleton to Braman, in 1687 and 1691 respectively (see above), being of 'the manors of Weeke alias Rumboldsweeke and SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM'; and in 1814 Edward Miller Mundy and Catherine (Barwell) his wife conveyed ⅓ of the manor of 'Rumboldswyke alias St. John of Jerusalem' to Walter Butler. (fn. 54) The devisees of Richard Barwell are said to have sold the St. John manor to Richard Dally, who sold to Henry Padwick. (fn. 55) In 1828 William Padwick held the manors of Rumboldswyke and St. John of Jerusalem, (fn. 56) and in 1876 Frederick Padwick was lord of the manor. (fn. 57)


The church of ST. MARY (fn. 58) stands east of the Chichester-Hunston road, and consists of chancel with north organ chamber (now empty), nave, and north aisle. It is built of flint rubble, a little herringbone work being visible in the chancel walls, with ashlar dressings, and is roofed with tile.

The original church, a chancel and nave, was built in the 11th century, and suffered no more than minor alterations till the 19th. (fn. 59) In 1866 the north aisle was added, (fn. 60) and the organ chamber about 1890. The church is now only in occasional use, the regular parish services being held in the modern church of St. George.

In the east wall of the chancel is a single lancet window of the 13th century, and a moulded bracket of perhaps the 15th. In the south wall are two lancet windows, also 13th-century, the sill of the western being lower than that of the eastern; here is also a piscina with round head, much restored but perhaps 13th-century; its sink is formed in what was apparently the head of an 11th-century baluster shaft. In the north wall there was till c. 1890 a wide recess with pointed arch, occupying more than half the wall, of unknown purpose; to form the opening to the organ chamber the outer wall of this was removed and for it there were substituted two arches, of the same radius as the ancient one, carried on a round pier with moulded cap and base; a small lancet window formerly in the destroyed wall was rebuilt in the tympanum under the ancient arch. The date of the ancient work is uncertain. The chancel arch, coeval with the church, has square responds with plain chamfered imposts and a semicircular arch of one order; some 19th-century patching has tried, unsuccessfully, to imitate the Saxon random tooling. The roof is modern, of mansard form ceiled with boards.

Before 1866 the nave had a 13th-century lancet window near the east end of each side wall, and south, west, and north doorways. The window and door on the south side remain, both being of the 13th century; the window is a plain lancet with exterior rebate; the doorway has a pointed head of one order with roll moulding on jambs and arch and a hoodmould; the rear-arch is segmental. At the east end of the south wall is a piscina with trefoil head, much restored; immediately east of the doorway is the trefoil-headed recess of a holy-water stoup of which the basin is missing; both of these are perhaps 13th-century. The west doorway has been removed; (fn. 61) higher in the wall is a modern window of two lights without tracery, replacing a single lancet. The door and window on the north side have disappeared, (fn. 62) and have been replaced by an arcade of three pointed arches resting on square responds and octagonal piers, in 13th-century style. The roof is ceiled with boarding in mansard form, the visible framing being five ancient tie-beams with queenposts which support the lower ends of modern principals. On the west wall is a modern bell-cote of masonry replacing a former timber one.

Parish Church of St Mary Rumboldswyke

The north aisle is entirely modern; but some of the 11th-century quoin stones of the nave have been reused at the north-west corner; there are single-light windows east, north, and west.

The font and other fittings (fn. 63) are modern.

The single bell is inscribed 'Iohn Clarke made this bell R.M.' (fn. 64)

The communion plate includes a silver cup with the hall mark of 1758, given by John Smith, rector (1727–74), a paten and a silver flagon, both given by Catherine, eldest daughter of John Page, in 1784. (fn. 65)

The registers begin in 1670.


The church is described in the 13th century as a chapel, (fn. 66) but in 1291 it is entered among 'the churches of the City of Chichester' as worth £4 6s. 8d. (fn. 67) The advowson belonged to Geoffrey Peverel and his wife c. 1220 (fn. 68) and is mentioned as appurtenant to the moiety of the manor held by John de Foxle in 1312 and 1318, (fn. 69) and in 1430 Margaret, widow of John Hartyngdon, remitted to Thomas, son of Sir John Foxle, her (undefined) rights in the manor and advowson. (fn. 70) The church is omitted from the Valor of 1535, and in 1647 the living was only worth £24; this was then augmented by a grant of £46 out of the rectory of Oving, and in 1649 by £15 from that of Burpham. (fn. 71) During his brief tenure of the office of Lord Protector, Richard Cromwell made two appointments to this benefice—one Gipps on 24 November 1658, and William Stanton on 19 January 1659. (fn. 72) The advowson was conveyed with the manor in 1689 by William Cawley to Sir Charles Littleton, and by him to John Braman in 1691, (fn. 73) but in 1693 the Crown presented. (fn. 74) By 1822 the living, then styled a vicarage, was in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Chichester, (fn. 75) and so continued until 1904, since which time the patronage of the benefice, once more a rectory, has been in the hands of the bishop.

Two fraternities, one of Our Lady and the other of St. Rumbold, in this parish are referred to in the will of Richard Barman in 1525. (fn. 76) There were also 2 acres of land given for some 'superstitious' purpose, and the Lampe Acre, or Church Acre, in Portfield held by the churchwardens. (fn. 77)


Elizabeth Gubbit by her will dated 29 March 1617 gave to the use of the poor of this parish the sum of £20. The charity, the endowment of which now consists of a rentcharge of 20s issuing out of property in Tower Street, Chichester, is administered by the rector and churchwardens.

Church Land. It is stated in the printed Parliamentary Reports of the Former Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities dated in the year 1836 that there is a piece of land called the Lamp Acre lying in the middle of a field belonging to a farm called the Little Broad Leys, the rent of which it is probable was formerly appropriated to supplying the church with lights. The land was sold in 1896. The income received from the investment of the proceeds amounts to £2 13s. 8d. per annum and is applied by the churchwardens in aid of church expenses.


  • 1. Cal. Close, 1227–31, p. 105.
  • 2. Ibid. 1272–9, p. 129.
  • 3. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 353.
  • 4. V.C.H. Suss. i, 426.
  • 5. Add. MS. 5690, fol. 77.
  • 6. Bk. of Fees, 692.
  • 7. Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 129; Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, 72.
  • 8. G.E.C. Complete Peerage (1st edn.), viii, 56.
  • 9. Add. MS. 28024, fol. 195.
  • 10. Chan. Inq. p.m. 2 Hen. IV, no. 58.
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, 112.
  • 12. Ibid. 662.
  • 13. Chan. Inq. p.m. 1 Hen. IV, pt. 1, no. 20.
  • 14. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxix, 56.
  • 15. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Hen. V, no. 36; Plac. in Canc. file 24, no. 25.
  • 16. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxix, 56.
  • 17. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), iii, 118.
  • 18. Cott. MS. Claud. A. VI, fol. 97v.
  • 19. Exc. e Rot. Fin. i, 109.
  • 20. Bracton's Note-Book, no. 1058.
  • 21. Cal. Close, 1227–31, p. 105.
  • 22. Suss. Rec. Soc. ii, 329.
  • 23. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, 72.
  • 24. Ibid.
  • 25. Plac. Abbrev. (Rec. Com.), 187; Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 101.
  • 26. Suss. Rec. Soc. vii, 862; Cal. Close, 1272–9, p. 129.
  • 27. Add. MS. 39373, fol. 140, citing De Banco R. Trin. 22 Edw. I, m. 142; Coram Rege R. 11, m. 5d.
  • 28. Suss. Rec. Soc. vii, 1129.
  • 29. Ibid. xxiii, 1499.
  • 30. Ibid. 1348; Cal. Close. 1307–13, p. 551.
  • 31. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii, 1868.
  • 32. Plac. in Canc. file 24, no. 25; Anct. D. (P.R.O.), B. 9213. The fee was held in 1399 by John Loghteburgh: Chan. Inq. p.m. 1 Hen. IV, pt. 1, no. 20; probably he was acting as trustee.
  • 33. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Hen. V, no. 36.
  • 34. Add. MS. 39379, fol. 9, citing Pardon R. 24–25 Henry VI.
  • 35. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), iii, 118; cf. Cal. Pat. 1494–1509, p. 533.
  • 36. Add. MS. 39378, fol. 36.
  • 37. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx. 375. After this there seem to be no other references to Holyngarden, of which the site is unknown.
  • 38. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xviii (1), 981 (105); Dy. of Lanc. Misc. Bks. 22, fol. 196.
  • 39. Mins. Accts. (P.R.O.) Ph. and M. no. 288.
  • 40. Pat. 2 Eliz. pt. 15.
  • 41. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), cxlv, 15.
  • 42. Ibid.
  • 43. Ibid. cxciii, 38.
  • 44. Ibid. ccclxiii, 210.
  • 45. Recov. R. Mich. 9 Chas. I, ro. 16.
  • 46. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 376. The manor was forfeited at the Restoration and given to James, Duke of York, whose trustees sold it to Viscount Brouncker: Close R. 15 Chas. II, pt. 17.
  • 47. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 376.
  • 48. Ibid.
  • 49. Add. MS. 5690, fol. 78.
  • 50. Larking, Knights Hospitallers (Camden Soc.), 35. Cf. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 751.
  • 51. V.C.H. Suss. ii, 93.
  • 52. Ibid. 109.
  • 53. Add. MS. 5690, fol. 78.
  • 54. Pat. 7 Chas. I. pt. 15.
  • 55. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 99.
  • 56. Horsfield, Sussex, ii, 51.
  • 57. Suss. Rec. Soc. li, 127.
  • 58. Elwes and Robinson, Castles and Mansions of West Sussex, 184.
  • 59. For this invocation see Suss. Arch. Coll. lxxiv, 67; the commonly used title of St. Rumbold is erroneous.
  • 60. For a plan as existing in 1865 see Suss. Arch. Coll. xxi, 40.
  • 61. The plastering of the walls, both inside and out, was then removed; but the inside plaster has since been renewed.
  • 62. Lambert's drawing of 1776 (Add. MS. 5677, fol. 79) shows the head of it as of anse de panier form.
  • 63. According to Suss. Arch. Coll. xxi, p. 40, note 5, the north doorway was coeval with the church; but the plan there given marks it as later, perhaps in error; the drawing in the Sharpe collection shows a narrow, round-headed doorway.
  • 64. The combined pulpit, reading-desk, and clerk's desk presented by William Cawley in 1636 was still in the church in 1882: Kelly, Directory of Suss.
  • 65. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi, 222.
  • 66. Ibid. liii, 250.
  • 67. Ibid. lxxiv, 67; Suss. Rec. Soc. xi, 414.
  • 68. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 138.
  • 69. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 343.
  • 70. Ibid. xxiii, 1348, 1499.
  • 71. Cal. Close Hen. VI, i, 24.
  • 72. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxxvi, 147.
  • 73. Ibid.
  • 74. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 376.
  • 75. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.)
  • 76. Clerical Guide.
  • 77. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlv, 43.
  • 78. Ibid. xxxvi, 190, 197.