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 parish, which contains 1,908 acres, is 3 miles in length from its northernmost point by the Grandstand of the Goodwood racecourse, at a height of 534 ft., to its southernmost point, where Stane Street emerges from the municipal borough of Chichester, at a level of about 50 ft.; its average width is about a mile. Part of Goodwood Park, forming the north-east quarter of the parish, was a detached portion of the parish of Boxgrove (q.v.) but is now included in Westhampnett, (fn. 1) in which parish lie the kennels and the fine block of stables designed by Sir William Chambers c. 1760. The church and village lie on Stane Street, in the south of the parish; a little to the east, where Stane Street and the road to Arundel diverge, was 'Loddesdune', where was a small hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, (fn. 2) still commemorated by the name Maudlin.
At the hamlet of Westerton, about ¾ mile north-east of the church, are two or three ancient buildings. A farmhouse, now tenements, at the west end, on rising ground above the road level, is a striking building of mid- to late-16th-century date, largely altered. The front (east) wall is of dressed flints and has a moulded brick plinth, and a plain brick string-course at the first-floor level; at the angles are dressings of thin bricks. The lower windows are modernized but the upper windows, of two or three lights, are original and have brick mullions, jambs, &c. that were plastered to imitate stonework; remnants of the plaster still exist. One of the two doorways is ancient but partly altered. The north and south ends are gabled, with plinth and string-course as the front and another string-course at the base of the gable-heads. The south end has two windows to each story and one in the gable-head to the third story; this last has a label. All are of two lights resembling those in the front and except two have been blocked with brickwork. The north end has no lower windows but two small windows flank an old plain chimneystack. The west side of the southernmost room has an original projecting chimney-stack; the fire-place is modern. In the lower rooms are moulded ceiling beams.
A thatched house, now tenements, farther east on the same side is refaced with flints and modern brick but has a 17th-century central rebated chimney-stack.
The Old Workhouse, a little way west of the church, formerly Westhampnett Place, a house of Elizabethan origin but rebuilt by Sir Hutchins Williams c. 1720, (fn. 3) was completely burnt down on 3 November 1899. All that remains of age on the site are some garden walls of thin bricks, some set herring-bone-wise, with flint foundations, and one fragment of a house-wall containing a doorway in weather-worn condition. It has tapering half-round side pilasters with moulded capitals and bases and a moulded pediment, all of 16th-century brickwork. It now opens into a roofless outbuilding and near by is a small modern house in which some old bricks are reused.
Another house, now tenements, to the south is probably of late-17th-century origin. It is built of brickwork with a first-floor string-course and tall narrow windows that have been altered. Vertical straight joints and a slight projection in the middle of the south front suggest a former porch-wing. A central chimneystack has reduced fire-places and a plain square shaft above the tiled roof. At the back (to the north) are additions, of flintwork mostly modern but in the lower story of the eastern part the flintwork is ancient.
Old Place Farm, about ¼ mile west of the church on the west side of a loop road to Goodwood, is an Elizabethan house of two stories and attics that has been considerably altered to serve as artisans' tenements. It is of red brick and has a flint plinth with a moulded brick top member, and a first-floor string-course, much of which has been removed for enlarged modern windows and doorways. The short and wide upper windows may be the original openings. The east and west ends have curvilinear gable-heads; the eastern preserves more of its original contour than the other and has a moulded kneeler to the front; there were probably copings that have now disappeared. It has in the third story a blocked original window with a label. Here are also traces of blocked windows to the two lower stories. A ground-floor window in the continuation of the wall northwards, for a former wing (now shortened), retains an original moulded brick south jamb and head. The west end has blocked windows and a projecting chimney-stack with two diagonal shafts of thin bricks. The central chimney-stack has altered fireplaces. Above the tiled roof it is of X-shaped plan rebuilt with modern bricks.
In the time of Edward the Confessor Westhampnett was held of Earl Godwin by two free men; in 1086 it was held of Earl Roger by William, and included a mill, a church, and one haw in Chichester. Of the 9 hides at which it was assessed (another) William held 1 hide, Restold 1 hide, Richard 3 virgates, and Godfrey 1 virgate. (fn. 4) With William's other lands it later formed part of the honor of Halnaker and the overlordship passed to the families of St. John, Poynings, and West.
One manor of HAMPTONET or WESTHAMPNETT was held by the family of Paynel, possibly descended from the Nicholas Paynel whose daughter Godeheude married William de St. John. (fn. 5) In 1275 the Master of the Hospital of St. Mary in Chichester was suing Maud Paynel for a trespass in Hamptonet Paynel. (fn. 6) She was probably the Maud, wife of William Paynel, who occurs in 1269, (fn. 7) and most likely mother of William Paynel who died in 1316 holding the manor of John de St. John as 1/20 knight's fee. (fn. 8) His heir was his brother John, then aged 60, and he died two years later, leaving a daughter Maud, wife of Nicholas de Opton, (fn. 9) also called Nicholas de Eye. (fn. 10) John had inherited only 2/3 of the manor, as ⅓ was held in dower by Eve, second wife and widow of William Paynel and then wife of Edward de St. John, and he had enfeoffed therein John Bernard and Ralph de Bocking, (fn. 11) who in 1320 conveyed the 2/3 and the reversion of the other ⅓ to John de Hastings, (fn. 12) Lord Bergavenny. He died in 1324, seised of this manor, his son Lawrence being then 6 years old. (fn. 13) In 1328, however, Edward de St. John and Eve, having recovered in the king's court 2/3 of certain manors, including Westhampnett, had permission to sue Laurence de Hastings for disseisin, although he was under age and the king's ward. (fn. 14) They were evidently successful, as in 1338 Maud Paynel sold to Richard, Earl of Arundel, the reversion of these manors after the death of Edward de St. John 'le uncle' (d. 1346) and Eve (d. 1354). (fn. 15) The manor figured in settlements made by Earls of Arundel between 1348 and 1566, (fn. 16) when it was settled on John, Lord Lumley, and Jane his wife. They sold it in 1567 to William Devenish and Cicely, (fn. 17) who already held the other manor of Westhampnett (see below). It was described in 1428 as ¼ knight's fee, formerly of Edward de St. John and then held by 'the widow of Lord Mautravers', (fn. 18) namely Eleanor, widow of John, Lord Maltravers, whose claim to the earldom of Arundel was not officially recognized. (fn. 19)
Another manor of WESTHAMPNETT is found closely associated with that of POTT, the exact site of which is unknown but was close to Maudlin Farm. (fn. 20) In about 1230 John de St. George owned the mill of Potte, of which the tithes, 'when the mill fortunes to grind', were leased to him during the life of his mother by the Prior of Boxgrove. (fn. 21) He seems to have been son of William, son of Richard de St. George, and father of Thomas, (fn. 22) who had died before 1278 leaving a son William. (fn. 23) This William, who was the largest taxpayer in the vill in 1296, (fn. 24) died in 1316, holding lands in Westhampnett of John de St. John as ¼ fee. (fn. 25) His wife Sarra survived him and his son William, who when he died in 1334 held only 2/3 of a messuage, dovecot, and lands in this parish. (fn. 26) His heir was his son William, then aged 15, and he was in the king's wardship in 1336, when he held of Hugh de St. John the ½ fee in La Potte which his father had held in 1329. (fn. 27) What is returned as a ¼ fee in Westhampnett held by William de St. George was assigned as dower to Elizabeth widow of Edmund de St. John in 1349. (fn. 28) William seems to have had two brothers, John and Roger, and three sisters, Isabel, Joan, and Agatha; (fn. 29) but the family disappears, possibly victims of the Black Death, with the probable exception of Isabel, who may well be the Isabel, wife of William Tauk, mentioned in 1356 as dealing with lands, mills, and rents in the suburbs of Chichester and Westhampnett. (fn. 30) Their son Robert (fn. 31) died in 1400 seised of the manor of Hamptonet, held of the manor of Halnaker, leaving a son Thomas Tauk, then aged 20. (fn. 32) He died about 1420, holding the manors of Hamptonet and Potte as ¼ fee of Sir Thomas Poynings, Lord St. John. (fn. 33) Robert Tauk in 1428 held the ¼ fee formerly held by William de St. George. (fn. 34) Thomas Tawke the elder and William his son are mentioned in 1484, (fn. 35) and William died on the last day of 1505, holding the manors of Westhampnett and Pott of Sir Thomas West. (fn. 36) His heirs were his daughters Joan and Anne, then aged 3 and 2 respectively. Joan subsequently married Richard Ryman of Apuldram, and in 1529 they transferred her moiety of the manors of Westhampnett and Pott to Anne and her husband Thomas Devenish. (fn. 37) In 1584 William Devenish and Cicely, who, as already noted, had bought the other manor from Lord Lumley, sold the manor of Westhampnett to Henry Walrond, one of the Six Clerks in Chancery, (fn. 38) and in 1625 William Walrond conveyed it to William Cawley of Chichester. (fn. 39) It was later in the hands of Sir John Chapman, Commissioner for the Parliament in 1644, and his heir female conveyed it to Hugh Reason, who sold to Sir Hutchins Williams, from whose son Sir William Peare Williams it was bought by the Duke of Richmond. (fn. 40)
In 1329 the 12 fees attached to the manor of Halnaker included ½ fee in Westhampnett held by Henry de Hamptonette and another ½ fee held by the heirs of Walter de Hamptonette. (fn. 41) In 1336 one ½ fee was held by Roger de Hamptonette, and John de Westerton, and ¼ and 1/8 fee by the same Roger. (fn. 42) On the division of the Halnaker fees in 1349 John de St. Philibert and Margaret his wife received 1/8 fee in Westhampnett held by the said Roger and John and the Hospital of St. Mary in Chichester. (fn. 43) As Roger is entered under Woodcote in the subsidy of 1332, (fn. 44) the land of this fee was presumably in that neighbourhood, and this is borne out by a grant by an earlier Henry de Hamptonette to Robert Autresi of land stretching from the road to Lavant to 'Maplestrate', (fn. 45) probably at the crossroads on which Woodcote lies.
The manor of WOODCOTE descended with Halnaker in Boxgrove (q.v.), of which manor it was a member. William de St. John in about 1225 granted it for life to Geoffrey Peverel; (fn. 46) John de St. John in 1299 mortgaged it to the Bonsignori of Siena; (fn. 47) when Luke de Poynings and Isabel received their share of the St. John estates in 1355 this manor was held for life by Geoffrey de Ledes; (fn. 48) and in 1401 William Neel of Chichester was said to be seised of it. (fn. 49)
In 1270 Denis de Crofte had a grant of free warren in his demesnes of Keynor (in Sidlesham), Westhampnett, and Westerton. (fn. 50) This may represent the fee in Keynor and Westhampnett held in 1336 by Edward de St. John and Richard le Dummere. (fn. 51) In 1349 1/20 fee in Westerton, held by Henry de Estdene and Henry Taillour, was assigned to Luke de Poynings and Isabel, (fn. 52) who in 1356 granted a messuage and 60 acres of land in Westerton to William Taillour and Elizabeth his wife for life. (fn. 53) Although named among the manors settled on Sir Thomas West and Elizabeth in 1536, (fn. 54) Westerton was clearly not a manor.
The church of ST. PETER (fn. 55) stands on the north side of the Chichester-Petworth road, which here diverges to the north of the line of Stane Street. It is built of stone, largely flint rubble, with some reused Roman bricks in the western part of the chancel, and is roofed with tile, except the tower cap, which is shingled. (fn. 56)
The church, which is mentioned in Domesday Book, originally consisted of a chancel and a nave; in the 13th century it was enlarged by lengthening the chancel eastwards and adding a south aisle of three bays, the easternmost of which was the substructure of the tower. Probably at a later date, or dates, both the nave and aisle were lengthened westward, and a south porch added. (fn. 57) In 1867 the south arcade, which had previously had a very long respond to the west, was lengthened by one bay, and a north aisle was added. At the same time the original chancel arch, made of Roman bricks, was destroyed and replaced by a wider arch. Later a small organ chamber was added on the north side of the chancel and a vestry next to the north aisle.
The chancel is in three bays, its axis deviates noticeably to the south; it is of pre-Conquest date, but remodelled in the 13th century. The east window is of two uncusped lights surmounted by a quatrefoil of plate tracery, part 13th-century but the mullion and head modern renewals. In each bay of the south side is a plain lancet window; the sill of the easternmost is higher than that of the next to give room for a trefoil-headed double piscina with credence shelf; the second window appears to be entirely modern. Between the second and third, only visible from the outside, is a blocked window 7 in. wide, its jambs have no provision for glazing or shutter and are partly of Roman brick; its head is semicircular, cut from one stone, evidently of pre-Conquest date. The westernmost lancet may perhaps be classed as a low side window. The east bay on the north side has no window, but contains the Sackville tomb; the second formerly had a lancet, but is now occupied by the opening of the modern organ chamber, in the east wall of which is the single-stone round-arched head of a 7 in. window, perhaps refixed and formerly in a position corresponding to that on the south side; in the third bay is a single-light window with square trefoil head, its sill being on the same level as that of the window opposite, this is 13th-century work. The chancel arch, showing two orders to the west and one to the east, is modern in 13th-century style. The whole of the roof framing is modern.
The monument to Richard Sackvile consists of a niche tomb under a very depressed Tudor arch, the moulded front of which is a modern restoration. In the centre of the back is a representation of the Trinity; the Father, vested, supports the Son, naked save for a loincloth; the mutilation of the heads of these two figures has practically destroyed the Holy Ghost. West of this Richard Sackvile, in furred gown, kneels at a faldstool, with one son similarly dressed behind him; east of it his wife Elizabeth, in kennel head-dress, mantle, and kirtle, kneels at a similar faldstool, with one daughter similarly dressed behind her. No inscription is now legible on the scrolls which surmount both principal figures. The ends and soffit of the niche are panelled in the usual 16th-century style; below it are three square multifoiled panels each bearing an escutcheon, on the first is quarterly [or and gu.] over all a bend [vair] (Sackvile), on the third is [gu.] a cross moline [arg.] on a chief [arg.] three grasshoppers (Thetcher): the middle has Sackville impaling Thetcher. The date is said to be about 1535.
The nave is of four bays, but is roofed in three. Each truss consists of a tie-beam bearing king-posts braced all four ways; further details are invisible as the roof is ceiled with boarding in mansard form.
The arches of all four bays of the south arcade are pointed, of two square orders; the second pier is cylindrical with scalloped capital and moulded abacus, round on plan; the third pier is a modern copy of the second, and the east and west responds have the form of half-piers. The first pier (supporting the north-west corner of the tower) is a Greek cross on plan, having an attached nook-shaft in each re-entrant angle and shafts against the east, west, and south faces, the first two carrying the inner order of the two bays of the nave arcade, the last the inner order of the west arch of the tower. All piers and responds have Ionic bases tending towards the water-holding type of the 13th century; the caps of the shafts of the second pier are moulded in the style of the 13th century with abacus of irregular octagon plan.
The modern north arcade is of four bays of equal width, the piers being copies of the second pier on the south side, and the responds square with attached shafts to carry the inner order. In the west wall is a three-light window with Perpendicular tracery, apparently entirely modern.
The tower has a shallow clasping buttress on the south-east and a similar one on the south-west. In the east wall is a small image-niche with pointed cinquefoil head, perhaps 15th-century; in the south is a single lancet of the 13th. The west arch of the tower resembles the north, but the two orders are not concentric. The south respond is like the corresponding shaft on the north pier, but has no abacus. The second stage of the tower (13th-century) has a lancet on the south face; the third stage (modern, replacing a timber superstructure shown in Lambert's drawing of 1776) (fn. 58) has a lancet window on each of the east, south, and west faces, and is roofed with a pyramidal cap.
In the south aisle is a window of three lights with pointed trefoil heads, entirely modern; the south doorway has a plain pointed head of one order, presumably 13th-century but with modern rear-arch; the west window, of two lights, is modern.
In the north aisle the east window is probably the easternmost window in the former north wall of the nave refixed, shown in Grimm's drawing of 1782; (fn. 59) it has two lights with pointed cinquefoil heads, no tracery, and moulded rear-arch, perhaps of the 14th century. In the north wall are two windows, one of three lights and one of two, both modern; between them is the ancient north doorway refixed. Its arch is pointed, of one order; its jambs are chamfered and its arch has a 14th-century wave-mould and a simple hoodmould. On this are three shields, that in the centre charged with three molets, that on the east with three buglehorns, that on the west with a tau cross and the letter R conjoined, in chief three roundels (for Tawke). The rear-arch is semicircular but contemporary; this also has three escutcheons, the central has the coat of the three bugles impaling Tawke, the other two Tawke only. The west window, refixed from the former north wall of the nave, is of three lights with cinquefoil heads and tracery of a semi-Perpendicular character, probably 15th-century.
In the north-east corner of the (otherwise rebuilt) porch are the remains of a holy water stoup.
The vestry, added outside the north door, is wholly modern.
There are three bells, of which the first is uninscribed, the second is dated 1632, and the third 1581. (fn. 60)
The communion plate (fn. 61) includes a fine silver cup, with paten cover, of 1569, decorated with a band of arabesque. There is also a silver paten of 1721 or 1723.
The registers begin in 1734.
In the churchyard are the tombs of three Bishops of Chichester—Gilbert, Durnford, and Wilberforce; also of the famous cricketer Frederick William Lillywhite, (fn. 62) and of the artist and antiquary W. H. Brooke.
Robert de Haia in 1105, in the charter which led to the foundation of Boxgrove Priory, gave to the Abbey of Lessay the church of St. Peter of Westhampnett (Hamtona) (fn. 63). This grant was confirmed to the monks of Boxgrove by William de St. John in 1187; (fn. 64) and Gilbert de Sartilli, husband of Emma de Falaise, remitted to the priory all claims to the church. (fn. 65) About 1177 Bishop John of Chichester allowed the priory to appropriate the church, on condition that a vicarage should be created. (fn. 66) Accordingly in 1291 we find that the rectory was valued at £8 and the vicarage at £5; (fn. 67) from the rectory 8s. was payable yearly, in 1340, to the Prior of Bruton, (fn. 68) evidently for tithes originally owned by the Abbey of Troarn, whose Sussex property Bruton had acquired. (fn. 69) The vicarage was augmented in 1440 (fn. 70) and was worth £7 13s. 4d. in 1535, at which time the rectory was being farmed at £13 6s. 8d. (fn. 71)
After the Dissolution, in 1537, the rectory and advowson were granted to Sir William FitzWilliam, Earl of Southampton, (fn. 72) who died seised thereof in 1542. (fn. 73) They seem then to have returned to the Crown, as in 1554 John Bacheler held the advowson under a grant from the Queen. (fn. 74) He died in 1558, (fn. 75) leaving (? daughters and) coheirs, of whom one was Agnes Bacheler who married Thomas Faukener; (fn. 76) another may have been Alice, wife of Thomas Addams, who was patron in her right in 1558 and 1560. (fn. 77) From 1580 to 1592 John Pelland of Chiddingly was patron, (fn. 78) and in 1594 a presentation was made by John and Edward Pelland and Toby Langham. (fn. 79) In 1602 Edward Pelham (sic) and Elizabeth his wife sold a moiety of the advowson to Toby Langham, (fn. 80) who bought the other moiety in 1608 from Joan Stunt (granddaughter of Agnes Bacheler). (fn. 81) Langham sold the advowson in 1611 to John Chapman. (fn. 82) John, son of Sir John, Chapman (fn. 83) conveyed it to his half-brother Abraham Chapman in 1652. (fn. 84) Abraham Chapman and Cicely his wife conveyed it in 1688 to Sir William and John Pulteney, (fn. 85) perhaps on mortgage, as it descended with the manor and is next found in 1708 in the hands of Hugh Reason and Anne his wife, (fn. 86) apparently in her right (she was daughter and heir of Dame Margaret Sheldon) (fn. 87) and they in 1715 sold it to Adam Cardonell. (fn. 88) He was Secretary at War and his daughter Mary, one of the wealthiest heiresses of the time, married William, Lord Talbot; (fn. 89) they sold the advowson to Thomas Gibson in 1742. (fn. 90) By 1763 it had been acquired by Sir Hutchins Williams (fn. 91) and it was presumably sold with the manor by his son to the Duke of Richmond, with whose successors it has remained.
About 1200 Margaret, widow of Nicholas de Limesy, with the consent of her son Walter, gave two messuages in the Pallant of Chichester to the church of St. Peter of 'Hamtonet'. In return the Prior of Boxgrove agreed that she might have a chapel in the manor of 'Westrethampt' with a chaplain who should celebrate only for the household of the manor; he should have a penny for each mass, but all other offerings should go to the vicar of Westhampnett. (fn. 92) She held the manor of Strettington in Boxgrove (q.v.), but it is possible that her manor house was in this parish, perhaps at Westerton.