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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, 'Easebourne', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953) pp. 47-53. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/pp47-53 [accessed 19 May 2024].

. "Easebourne", in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953) 47-53. British History Online, accessed May 19, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/pp47-53.

. "Easebourne", A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953). 47-53. British History Online. Web. 19 May 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/pp47-53.

In this section


This large parish, containing 4,213 acres, lies to the north and east of Midhurst. Its northern boundary for the most part follows approximately the 400 ft. contour line, but rises to over 600 ft. at Scotland Farm on the west and at Bexley Hill on the east. From the latter point the boundary runs south to Moor Farm and across the River Rother up a small stream to include Todham (fn. 1) on the west. The Rother divides it from Midhurst, and the road from that town to Haslemere runs due north from the bridge up the centre of the parish. Half a mile from the bridge are cross-roads leading west to Woolbeding, with a branch northwards by Hollist and Buddington, (fn. 2) and east to Easebourne Priory, the church, and the older part of the village.

There are considerable remains of the priory, (fn. 3) south of the church. The east range is fairly complete, though the fenestration and the interior have been much modified. At the north end a door from the cloister led into a passage and a room, perhaps the parlour, of 13th-century date, with remains of a 14th-century window. The night stairs from the dorter probably came down here. The original 13th-century chapter-house (23 ft. by 38 ft.) was vaulted in six bays, with three additional bays in an eastern extension of the 14th century. On the cloister (west) side are three equal arches carried on short Purbeck marble shafts with moulded caps and bases standing on a low wall which crosses the two side arches; the centre arch formed the entrance. South of this are indications of a passage, and then the warming-house, with a 15th-century window in the east wall, and windows at each end of the west wall. The southern most section seems to have been a passage with doors at east and west ends and also in the south wall. Above the whole of this range was the dorter (125½ ft. by 22½ ft.) with a separate section (26 ft. by 13 ft.) over the eastern extension of the chapter house. This projection and most of the east side was much altered in the 17th century and later, but the windows in the west wall are mostly of the 14th century, though altered in Tudor times. The roof retains its original tie-beams and rafters. At the south end was a passage leading eastwards to the rere-dorter, of which only the drain exists, and westwards to an external landing for the day stairs to the cloister, no longer existing.

The ground-floor rooms of the southern range seem to have been cellarage. Towards the west end on the cloister side is a doorway, pointed and moulded with hood-moulds on both faces, which formerly led to the stairs up to the frater. This room (60 ft. by 21 ft.) is lighted on the west by a three-light window with plain intersecting tracery, and on the south by three two-light windows with chamfered segmental rear-arches and flat sills. The doorway at the west, which opened into the screens, is similar to that below. The west bay of the range, containing the pantry and buttery, has at the west end of its south wall a slanting hatch communicating with the kitchen which formerly stood on the south. The queen-post roof probably dates from the 17th century, at which time the east end of the frater was partitioned off to form a pigeon-house. This now forms a lobby to the main building, which is used as a parish room; in the north-east corner is a small doorway, which probably led to a vice.


The west range is now represented by a 13th-century wall with a doorway at each end, that at the south leading out of and that at the north into the cloister. Such buildings as were here possibly served as guest-chambers and may have been of timberframed construction.

The village contains several old houses but they have all been more or less reconditioned or in some cases rebuilt by the Cowdray Estates.

A house north-west of the church has a modernized north front, but both the east and west ends show 17th-century square timber-framing, and the east halfgable head has a blocked window of five lights. At the back is a lower wing of timber-framing with an old central chimney-shaft. A cottage on the opposite (north) side of the road has a lower story of brickwork and an upper story of timber-framing, partly old. The 17th-century central chimney-stack is of rebated type.

A house on the east side of the village street, west of the church, has in the southern part of its east front 16th-century close-set studding on stone foundations and with stone infilling, and has a gable-head. The remainder of the front has 17th-century square framing to the upper story, also with stone infilling. The other walls are of modern stone and brick. The 16th-century part has an open-timbered ceiling with a moulded beam to the lower story. The other part has rough chamfered beams. The massive central chimneystack is of thin bricks and of rebated type. The fireplaces have been reduced. Two cottages to the south have been reconstructed with old and modern timbers. A house farther south at the fork with the Haslemere— Midhurst road is inscribed with the initials L/WM and date 1666. The walls are of squared stone rubble with brick-dressed windows, &c.

Buddington, a farm house about ¾ mile north-west of the church, is built of irregular stone rubble of the 17th century or earlier but has modern brick-dressed windows, &c. It has a 17th-century central chimneystack of rebated type; the fire-places have been reduced and the interior generally modernized.

Old Buddington, ¼ mile north-east of it, has a panel inscribed RIB 1660 above the west doorway. The walls are of stone rubble with ashlar angle-dressings, but the windows have later brick dressings. The doorway with chamfered jambs and lintel is original. Above the tiled roof is a central chimney-stack of cross plan.

Lockes Cottage, farther north in the same lane, is probably a late-16th-century house, also of stone rubble with ashlar quoins. It has stone mullioned windows with moulded labels and a doorway with a three-centred head and similar label. A chimney of thin bricks is square with a square pilaster on each face.

The lane runs on across the Common, passing near the King Edward VII Sanatorium, (fn. 4) to Madams Farm, an Elizabethan stone house of three bays with a central chimney-stack, outshot, and staircase turret, and an 18th-century extension to the north. The east front has a plinth and original chamfered windows, some with diagonal bars and mostly retaining their moulded labels. The four-centred doorway is in line with the chimney-stack, in which the wide lintelled fire-places have been modernized. The outshot, of stone and timber-framing, has a two-light window of hollowchamfered brick in its south wall, and at this end is a barrel-vaulted cellar. The turret, off the central bay, is timber-framed, with stone filling, and its staircase has a continuous newel of circular plan, with balltopped finials and, at attic level, original turned balusters. The ceiling beams on both floors are stopchamfered, and there are several old doors. The well near the house retains its old wooden wheel and lifting apparatus.

Verdley Farm, (fn. 5) on the other (east) side of the main road, is a stone house of the 17th century and retains its original three-light windows on each floor.

The south-eastern quarter of the parish is occupied by Cowdray Park, of 600 acres in extent adorned with an avenue of chestnuts about a mile in length and many fine trees. The northern part of the park was known in the 13th century as 'la Sengle' (a word apparently meaning 'a thicket'), (fn. 6) and even as late as 1529 the term 'Single Park' was still in use. (fn. 7) The southern portion was 'la Coudraie', from the French word for hazels. Towards the end of the 13th century the de Bohuns abandoned their castle dwelling on St. Anne's Hill, Midhurst, and moved to a new site, just across the river. Here they built a house within a moated inclosure. (fn. 8) Although nothing definite is known of this first house at Cowdray, the discovery of 13th-century tiles and carved stones on the site of the later house makes it probable that it was on the same site.

The later house (fn. 9) was begun by Sir David Owen, who obtained the estate on the death of his wife's father, the last of the Bohuns, in 1492. It was laid out round a central courtyard, 125 ft. from north to south and 100 ft. from east to west. Sir David seems to have built the eastern range, with the hall in the centre, the chapel behind it, and the kitchen at its south end; also the north range and its return at its west end as far south as the gatehouse. Sir William Fitzwilliam (afterwards Earl of Southampton) bought the property in 1529 and completed the quadrangle by building the south range and the remainder of the west range, including the gatehouse. He also extended the apse of the chapel and built the porch to the hall, and added the battlemented parapets, having in 1533 obtained a licence to crenellate his house. (fn. 10) His successors, the descendants of his half-brother Sir Anthony Browne, made little more than minor alterations to the fabric. The house, which had many points of resemblance to Hampton Court and was one of the most magnificent in England, was completely gutted by fire on 25 September 1793, almost all the splendid collection of pictures and other furnishings being destroyed. The ruins were left to the ravages of time, the weather, and ivy, until the estate was bought in 1908 by Sir Weetman Pearson (later Lord Cowdray). He called in Sir William St. John Hope to advise on their preservation and to compile a history of the house.

On the west only the gatehouse remains. It is a three-storied building of rubble faced with ashlar, with white stone quoins, flanked by turrets which are lighted by loops, alternately plain and cross-shaped. Over the four-centred entrance archway is a marble slab with the arms of the first Viscount Montague; above this the original oriel has been replaced by a large 18th-century window. In the third story is a Tudor three-light window below the high embattled parapet. The opposite, east, range is externally complete. At the south end of the hall is the square projecting porch, with octagonal buttresses. The doorway is four-centred, the spandrels carved with the Fitzwilliam badges, and above it a fine achievement of the arms of Henry VIII. The groined roof of the porch (fn. 11) is elaborately carved in full Gothic style but with Renaissance motifs introduced; among the ornaments are the anchor, referring to Lord Southampton's appointment as Lord High Admiral, and the three ostrich plumes, referring to the birth of the king's son Edward, both of which events occured in 1537. The porch led into the screens passage, with the entrances to buttery, pantry, and kitchen on the south. The magnificent hall (60 ft. by 28 ft.) much resembled that at Hampton Court. The west wall, which internally is of brick, formerly panelled, has three bays, separated by buttresses, each containing a three-light window with cusped tracery; the bay north of these, at the dais end, has a great rectangular bay window (added by Viscount Montague) with sixty lights in six stories.

North of the dais was the parlour, with a contemporary, but smaller, bay window, and another room the bay of which is occupied by a door with a transomed window over it. Beyond these is the hexagonal angle-tower, on the west side of which is the 17th-century wine cellar. This is of brick, vaulted and furnished with shelves, or bins. To the east of the dais lay the great staircase, constructed in the 17th century and leading to the great chamber, above the parlour, and to the gallery of the chapel. This chapel (50 ft. by 24 ft.) was enlarged by Sir William Fitzwilliam; the three windows of the apse are each of three transomed lights with cusped tracery; the centre window was blocked by the tawdry altar-piece of Jacopo Amigoni (c. 1730). The walls still retain some of the 17th-century plaster decoration.

At the south end of the east range is the six-sided tower containing the kitchen, with three ranges and a 'hot-plate'. In the centre was formerly the pillar holding the water-supply. Above the kitchen, which alone escaped the ravages of the fire, was a room, said to have contained 'black-letter books and curious manuscripts'. (fn. 12) An open court, surrounded by domestic offices, connected with the south range, where the ground floor was occupied by cellarage under the south gallery. On the north side was a bow window, flanked by stair turrets; and on the south a square projection containing garderobes and other offices.

The north range was occupied on the first floor by the north gallery, where the fire started and where unfortunately a large proportion of the pictures from other parts of the house had at the time been assembled. From it in the centre projected bow windows north and south, the latter flanked by turrets containing a stair and a garderobe. Another garderobe building projected on the north at the west end.

In the centre of the courtyard stood an elegant bronze fountain within a marble basin. This was given by Mr. Poyntz to Lord Robert Spencer and is now at Woolbeding House. Water was supplied to it, and to the house generally, from the conduit house, of which the shell still stands on higher ground north of the house and in line with the west front. It is an octagonal two-storied building of the late 16th century with windows in the cardinal faces and fire-places on each story. The upper floor was approached by two sets of external stairs, but the exact arrangements are obscure.

Cowdray was visited in 1538 by Henry VIII, (fn. 13) and in 1552 by Edward VI, who refers in his journal to the 'goodly house of Sir Anthony Browne's, where we were marvelously, yea rather excessively banketted'. (fn. 14) His more robust sister, Queen Elizabeth, spent a week at Cowdray in 1591, when Sir Anthony (created Viscount Montague in 1554) entertained her with a splendour marvellous enough but not to her taste excessive. (fn. 15) Although the Viscount was an uncompromising adherent to the Old Faith, Elizabeth had no doubt of his loyalty—he, with his son and grandson, had brought a contingent of troops to the camp at Tilbury during the threat of the Spanish Armada. The Brownes continued Roman Catholics, and in the autumn of 1643 Cowdray was garrisoned by Lord Hopton. (fn. 16) The Royalists, however, abandoned the house on the approach of Waller's forces in December; (fn. 17) the plate and treasure found there were seized for the Parliament, (fn. 18) but a proposal to demolish the house was rejected as likely to rouse local ill feeling, and William Cawley was put in command of a force stationed there, (fn. 19) In 1659, after Richard Cromwell had resigned, Colonel Fagge was ordered to garrison Cowdray, (fn. 20) but with the Restoration it returned to the Montagues, and continued to be a centre of Roman Catholicism. (fn. 21)


The vill of EASEBOURNE is not entered in the Domesday Survey, although it gave its name to a hundred and there is reason to think that its church (see below) was in existence. It is curious that the list of Earl Roger's estates in this hundred has no hundredal heading—but that heading is inserted later, in the wrong position. (fn. 22) Possibly the entry was omitted by accident and Easebourne was in fact a demesne manor of Earl Roger. The latter conclusion is supported by the fact that when the honor of Arundel escheated to Henry I he gave Easebourne to Savaric fitz Cane, with Midhurst. (fn. 23) The descent of these two manors, and of that of COWDRAY, was identical, and indeed the names seem to have been interchangeable, so that it will be better to deal with it under Midhurst, which was the head of the lordship held by Savaric's descendants.


BUDDINGTON in the time of the Confessor had been held of Earl Godwin by Edwin; in 1086 it was held of Earl Roger by Robert (fitz Tetbald) and under him by Ralph (de Chesney), as 1 hide. (fn. 24) Robert's estates became the honor of Petworth, of which 3 knight's fees in Bignor, Buddington, and Graffham were held in the 14th century by Ralph Sanzaver, (fn. 25) a descendant of the Domesday Ralph. (fn. 26)

About 1180 Ralph granted to Durford Abbey, at the request of his mother Maud de Chesney, land in Fernhurst forming part of Buddington; (fn. 27) and in 1199 he gave 1 hide ½ virgate there to Walter de Sutton and Sarra his wife, to hold as 1/5 fee. (fn. 28) Buddington descended in the family as a member of their chief manor of Bignor until about 1349, when they seem to have died out and their estates came into the hands of the Earls of Arundel. (fn. 29)

The first mention of a manor of Buddington seems to be in 1477, when it was conveyed by Robert Tue and Isabel to John Wode, William Druell, and others. (fn. 30) In 1485 John Wode by his will left the manor to his wife Margaret, sister of Thomas Drewell, for life, and then to go towards finding a priest to celebrate in Chichester Cathedral for the soul of Bishop John Arundel, near whose tomb he desired to be buried. (fn. 31) The manor is next found in the hands of Sir David Owen, who made a settlement of it in 1513. (fn. 32) His grandson John Owen in 1557 sold it to John Parkehurst, (fn. 33) whose son Edward in 1593 sold it to William Coldham. (fn. 34) In this family it descended for more than a hundred years, being held by Richard Coldham in 1720; (fn. 35) but from him it was shortly after this date bought by the Revd. Thomas Musgrave of Woolbeding, who in 1725 bequeathed it to his niece Elizabeth wife of Ogle Riggs for her life, and then to her son Thomas Riggs. (fn. 36) On Elizabeth's death the manor seems to have been divided, as Thomas Riggs in 1762 left to his sister Anne his 'undivided moiety of the manor of Buddington', then in the occupation of his brother Ogle (of Hollist). (fn. 37) Anne Riggs by her will, proved in 1785, left the 'manor of Buddington which my brother Thomas and I purchased' to her kinsman William Sandham. (fn. 38)


TODHAM was held before the Conquest by Ulnod of Earl Godwin. In 1056 it was held of Earl Roger by William, and under him by Niel, being rated at 4 hides and including the third part of a mill. (fn. 39) With William's other estates it later formed part of the honor of Halnaker, and in 1105 Robert de Haye granted the tithes of Todham to the Norman abbey of Lessay, (fn. 40) which grant was confirmed in 1187 by his grandson William St. John to Boxgrove Priory. (fn. 41) The mesne lordship descended with Halnaker (q.v.), the manor being held of Sir Thomas West and Elizabeth his wife in 1493. (fn. 42)

The family of St. George were connected with Todham from an early date. About 1215 Prior 'R.' of Boxgrove granted to Elias de St. George 2/3 of the tithes of Todham for the support of his chapel there and renounced all claims on the rectory of the chapel, receiving in exchange certain lands in Woodcote and Loddesdown in West Hampnett. (fn. 43) Elias seems to have been succeeded by John de St. George, whose grandson William held Todham in 1278 (fn. 44) and 1293. (fn. 45) He died in 1316 seised of a messuage, 40 acres of land, 40 acres of meadow, and 2 acres of pasture in Todham, held of Sir John de St. John as ¼ fee. (fn. 46) His son William died in 1334 holding 2/3 of this estate, the other ⅓ being held by Sarra, his father's widow, the whole then constituting ½ a knight's fee. (fn. 47) At his death his son William was aged 15. On the division of the St. John fees between the coheirs in 1349 the ½ fee of Todham was assigned to John de St. Philibert and Margaret the eldest sister of Edmund de St. John, it being then held by Richard, Earl of Arundel, and William de Tadeham. (fn. 48) If the latter is not an alias for William de St. George he was presumably either a temporary tenant or a feoffee to uses. In 1368 it was stated that, long before, William de St. George had demised the manor (here first so termed) of Todham to William Tawke, (fn. 49) with reversion to his sons Robert and John for their lives; in that year he granted that if he should die without heir of his body the manor should pass to William Tawke and his heirs. (fn. 50) Accordingly we find Robert Tawke holding the manor in 1383; (fn. 51) and it continued in this family, being held at their deaths by Thomas in 1419, (fn. 52) Thomas in 1493, and William Tawke in 1506. (fn. 53) William left two infant daughters, Anne and Joan, who subsequently married Thomas Devenish and Richard Ryman respectively. In 1529 Ryman transferred his interest to Devenish. (fn. 54)

Tawke. Argent a tau cross gules and in chief three chaplets vert.

In addition to the St. George estate there were other estates in Todham which occasionally appear as manors. In 1259 Henry III appointed Master Henry Lovel, king's serjeant, to keep the manor of 'Tadeham' which the king had previously granted to William de St. Ermine, who had since left England. (fn. 55) He also confirmed the grant made by William de St. Ermine to the same Master Henry, here called the queen's cook, of lands late of Robert le Sauvage which Richard his son granted to the king for his father's debts and which the king had given to William. (fn. 56) Some light is thrown on this by the fact that in 1247 Thomas de St. George deposited with Frank de Bohun certain charters, including one by which Robert le Sauvage granted to John de St. George, father of Thomas, 4 marks rent from the manor of Todham. (fn. 57) The Sauvage family were considerable landowners in Bramber Rape, and it is therefore probable that this estate is the messuage and lands in Todham held, with the manor of Old Shoreham, by Richard de Abberbury in 1333, when it was held of William de St. George as 1/6 fee by rent of 26s. 8d. and suit to William's court of La Potte (in Westhampnett). (fn. 58) Richard had presumably acquired this before 1327, when he was the largest contributor to the subsidy in Easebourne. (fn. 59) His son Sir John brought an action early in 1346 against Joan widow of William de Chamberlayn of Heyshott, William de St. George, and others, for breaking into his close and buildings at Todham and seizing his goods. (fn. 60) In September of that year Sir John died, seised of tenements in Todham which were said to be held of Richard, Earl of Arundel, by 26s. 8d. rent and suit at the court of William de St. George at Todham; which tenements Joan Chamberlayn held at farm by the demise of the said William. (fn. 61) His heir was his uncle Thomas de Abberbury, but by 1376 Sir Richard Abberbury held the manors of Todham and Old Shoreham, which he then sold for 200 marks to Sir John de Arundel. (fn. 62) This he did to raise money for the support of the young Prince Richard, who after he had become king made a rather tardy grant of compensation in 1385. (fn. 63) In the Subsidy Roll for 1412 Sir John Arundel, Lord Maltravers, held lands in Todham worth £1 6s. 8d. and Geoffrey Ingelare (perhaps feoffee to uses of Robert Tawke) (fn. 64) had lands there valued at £5. (fn. 65)

In 1428 it is stated that the ½ fee in Todham, formerly of William Chamberlayn and others, 'is divided between three persons equally', (fn. 66) these being Thomas Tawke, John Strode, and John Bown. (fn. 67) Tawke represents the St. George estate, Strode was perhaps a tenant of the Arundel lands, and John 'Bown' or Bohun represents a third division. This seems to have been in the hands of the family in 1300, as John son of James de Bohun was born at the manor of Todham in that year. (fn. 68) In 1381 Cecily widow of Sir John de Bohun died seised of Hetfeldlond, held of Robert Tawke as of his manor of Todham. (fn. 69) This may perhaps be the 100 acres in Todham, valued at £10, which was in the hands of Viscount Montague at his death in 1629. (fn. 70)

Owing to this complex of subenfeoffments it is difficult to say what constituted the manor of Todham, held of Viscount Montague in free socage, of which Richard Knight died seised in January 1584. (fn. 71) His son John Knight, with Thomas Thompson and Agnes his wife, sold the manor in 1587 to George Denys, (fn. 72) said to have been a member of a Devon family. (fn. 73) His only daughter Margaret married first William Rose and secondly Walter Dobell, (fn. 74) and in 1656 settled the manor in trust for her son George Rose and his daughters Margaret and Judith. (fn. 75) Margaret married Sir James Sheldon, Lord Mayor of London; Judith married first Sir Maurice Digges and then Daniel Sheldon, brother of Sir James. (fn. 76) On the death of Sir James the whole manor came to Daniel Sheldon, who in 1682 sold it to Richard Styles. (fn. 77) In 1712 Nicholas Tourner and Mary his wife and William Bowell sold it to Thomas Cowper the younger. (fn. 78) By 1769 it was in the hands of Henry Hounsom, who left it in trust for his wife Sarah, who was still living in 1805, with reversion to his son Henry; but the latter went bankrupt in 1775, (fn. 79) and it seems to have been sold to George Mullins, who owned the manor in 1815 (fn. 80) and 1835. (fn. 81)


The church of ST. MARY, (fn. 82) formerly also the conventual church of the priory, stands at the gate of Cowdray Park on the east side of the village; the tower is of rubble, the modern exterior work of hammer-dressed ashlar, the dressings are of freestone, and the roofs tiled.

To a nave (fn. 83) and chancel of the 11th century there was added in the 12th a narrow north aisle and tower. In the 13th, on the establishment of the priory, the chancel was rebuilt, the east part of the nave was enclosed by walls to form the nuns' choir, and the north aisle was widened to its present dimensions for parish use. After the Suppression in the 16th century, the roofs of the nuns' choir and chancel were removed; that of the latter was replaced in 1830 to form a tombhouse, that of the former in 1876, when its former dividing walls were removed and the present chancel and organ chamber were added.

The modern chancel has in the east wall a lancet triplet, in the north a single lancet and an opening into the small organ chamber, on the south two pointed arches of two orders each, the outer resting on square pier and responds, the inner on carved corbels, opening into the Montague tomb-house. The chancel arch is pointed, of two orders, resting on semi-octagonal responds with moulded caps and bases; the whole of this work is modern in 13th-century style.

The Montague tomb-house (modern except the south wall, which is part of the priory building) has in its east wall a doorway and a three-light window in late-13th-century style; on the west it opens into the former nuns' choir by an arch of two orders, the inner moulded, resting on semi-octagonal responds with moulded caps and bases in a rather nondescript Gothic style.

The marble and alabaster monument of Anthony, Viscount Montague (died 1592) and his two wives occupies the east end of this building, whither it was removed from Midhurst (and its structure considerably altered) in 1851. It is in two stages; the eastern, the higher, has three semicircular arches supporting a slab on which, before a cubical block bearing his epitaph, kneels the effigy of the viscount, bareheaded, bearded, and wearing a ruff and the mantle and collar of the Order of the Garter over armour of the tasset period. On the lower stage, west of this, rest the effigies of his two wives, Jane Ratcliffe and Margaret Dacre, in mantles and kirtles; on the front of this stage, which is in the form of a chest tomb, are their epitaphs; at each end are small kneeling effigies of their descendants, some headless.

On the outside of the south wall of the former nuns' choir and nave (the distinction between them has been obliterated) is a Mass dial; west of it are a modern three-light window in 14th-century style and the remains of the original south doorway, now blocked but showing part of a semicircular arch; immediately west of this is the present south doorway, of the 13th century, formerly the nuns' entrance to their choir, having a pointed arch on plain jambs; next are a lancet window in 13th-century style and a three-light window with Perpendicular tracery, both modern. On the north side is an arcade of three pointed arches of two chamfered orders resting on octagonal piers with scalloped capitals and water-holding bases; the west respond is square with a corbel to carry the inner arch order; in place of the east respond is a pier of like design supporting a very narrow arch of like section to the others which dies away into the wall east of it; the western half of this arcade is of the late 12th century, the eastern is modern, being a reconstruction of work presumably destroyed when the choir was partitioned off from the then north aisle by a solid wall.

The tower arch is pointed, of one order resting on square jambs without imposts, of the late 12th century. In the lowest stage of the tower is a doorway with plain pointed arch and jambs; over it a small single-light window with four-centred head was inserted in the 16th century. In the next stage are small roundheaded single-light windows on the north and south sides; a similar one is said to exist on the west, but is blocked. The next stage has similar openings on all four sides; save for one window this work is all of the late 12th or early 13th century. The tower is finished by a parapet with a diminutive pinnacle in each corner, of doubtful date, and a small shingled spire.

Nearly the whole of the outer stonework of the north wall of the ancient north aisle, which formed the preSuppression parish church, has been renewed. At the east is a single lancet window, originally 13th-century and preserving its ancient rear-arch. West of this are two two-light windows with plate tracery in 13th-century style but wholly modern; between them is the north doorway, of the 15th century, with moulded jambs and pointed arch; the rear-arch is segmental and, like its jambs, moulded. In the west wall is a modern square-headed doorway leading to the vestry; over it are two lancet windows surmounted by a round cinquefoiled light, all modern.

At the north-east corner, now occupying a niche of perhaps the 13th century with cinquefoiled pointed arch (one cusp missing), is the alabaster effigy of Sir David Owen (died 1542); he is represented bareheaded, in the armour of the period, over which he wears a sideless tabard showing some traces of blazon and a collar of SS and roses; his feet rest on a lion.

The north porch, of wood, and the west vestry, in late-16th-century style, are modern, as are all the roofs.

The font, 12th-century, has a square basin with small sunk round-headed panels on three sides only; it rests on five shafts, one large and four small, without caps or bases. There is a church chest of the 17th century with panelled top.

There are four bells; one by Roger Landen (c. 1450) inscribed Te Deum Laudamus; one of the 16th century—sancta anna ora pro nobis; and two by William Eldridge, 1677. (fn. 84)

The communion plate includes a plain silver chalice of 1716 and a paten of 1712, both acquired in 1717. (fn. 85)

The registers begin in 1538.


That the original church of Easebourne was a pre-Conquest 'hundredal' church, like that of Singleton (q.v.), is probable from its having attached to it in 1291, (fn. 86) and as late as 1535, (fn. 87) the chapels of Midhurst, Fernhurst, Lodsworth, and Todham. The earliest reference to it is in a deed of c. 1105, by which Savaric fitz Cane and Muriel his wife gave the church of 'Isenburne' to the Norman Abbey of Séez. (fn. 88) If this grant was effective the church must have been recovered by one of Savaric's successors, as in the 13th century the founder of Easebourne Priory (probably Sir John de Bohun) gave the church to the nuns, (fn. 89) by whom it was held in 1291, being then valued at £26 13s. 4d. (fn. 90) The rectory was appropriated, the vicar receiving a stipend of £6 13s. 4d., (fn. 91) which it is noted in 1331 the nuns were neglecting to pay. (fn. 92) Since the Dissolution the advowson has descended with the manor.

The exact status of the chapel of Todham was obscure. As mentioned above, (fn. 93) the Prior of Boxgrove gave to Elias de St. George certain tithes for his chapel of Todham in about 1215. In 1278 William de St. George claimed to present to the chapel, to which his grandfather John presented the last parson, Robert le Chapeleyn; but the Bishop of Chichester said that it was already occupied by the nominee of the Prioress of Easebourne, to whose church it belonged. (fn. 94) Four years later William arranged with the prioress that the chapel should be served by a fit chaplain who should celebrate on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday when he, his wife, or his heirs were in residence, and otherwise on the two weekdays. In return he gave her land and pasturage and provided a chalice, missal, and vestments. In 1292 the services, which the jurors said had been held from time out of mind, had been withdrawn and the prioress was ordered to carry out the agreement. (fn. 95) The later history of the chapel is unknown.

A small mission church was built in 1885, at the expense of Colonel Hollist and Lord Egmont, at Henley on the borders of Easebourne and Fernhurst. (fn. 96)


The Revd. Edward Tufnell by his will proved on 29 March 1879 bequeathed to the vicar of Easebourne £300 towards establishing or maintaining a chapel in the hamlet of Henley in this parish or, if and so long as there shall be no such chapel, then to apply the interest in providing a weekly or Sunday service in the hamlet as the vicar shall in his discretion deem expedient. His sister Elizabeth Crowfoot by her will dated 11 July 1896 bequeathed £50 in augmentation of this legacy. The annual income of these charities amounts to £9 1s. 8d.

Mary Elizabeth Richards by her will dated 18 October 1902 bequeathed £150, the income to be applied towards the maintenance of divine service in Henley church. The annual income of the charity amounts to £5 16s. 2d.


  • 1. Todham is now annexed to the ecclesiastical parish of West Lavington.
  • 2. Buddington was a detached portion of Bignor (in the Rape of Arundel) until 1889: Kelly, Directory of Suss. (1930).
  • 3. The buildings are described in detail in Sir William St. John Hope's Cowdray and Easebourne Priory (pp. 100–6), on which this account is based.
  • 4. Built in 1905 from the designs of H. P. Adams, F.R.I.B.A., and standing in grounds of 150 acres.
  • 5. Part of Verdley Manor in Fernhurst (q.v.).
  • 6. Place-Names of Suss. 17, 53.
  • 7. Suss. Arch. Coll. vii, 31.
  • 8. A reference to the drawbridge occurs in 1317: Cal. Pat. 1313–17, p. 701.
  • 9. The house is described in full detail, with dated plan and many illustrations, by Hope, op. cit.
  • 10. L. and P. Hen. VIII, vi, 106 (23).
  • 11. Detailed drawings of this roof are given in Suss. Arch. Coll. liv.
  • 12. Gent. Mag. 1834, pt. 1, 38. Cf. Suss. Arch. Coll. xv.
  • 13. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (2), p. 533.
  • 14. Hope, op. cit. 23.
  • 15. J. Nichols, Progress of Queen Elizabeth (ed. 1823), iii, 90–6.
  • 16. C. Thomas-Stanford, Sussex in the Civil War, 72.
  • 17. Ibid. 82.
  • 18. Ibid. 83.
  • 19. Ibid. 161.
  • 20. Ibid. 398.
  • 21. The Registers of Cowdray Chapel, from 1745 to 1837, were printed in vol. 1 of the Catholic Record Society.
  • 22. V.C.H. Suss. i, 422–3.
  • 23. Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, iii, 67.
  • 24. V.C.H. Suss. i, 423.
  • 25. Farrer, Honors and Knight's Fees, iii, 20.
  • 26. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxv, 40–2.
  • 27. Ibid. 40.
  • 28. Suss. Rec. Soc. ii, 15.
  • 29. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxv, 45.
  • 30. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii, 3217.
  • 31. P.C.C. 15 Logge.
  • 32. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 48.
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Ibid.; Close R. 35 Eliz., pt. 13.
  • 35. Suss. Rec. Soc. xix, 48–9.
  • 36. P.C.C. 256 Romney.
  • 37. Add. MS. 39416 B, fol. 12.
  • 38. Ibid. 45.
  • 39. V.C.H. Sussex, i, 423.
  • 40. Cal. Doc. France, 229.
  • 41. Ibid. 331.
  • 42. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, 439.
  • 43. Cott. MS. Claud. A. VI, fol. 28.
  • 44. Assize R. 918, m. 36.
  • 45. De Banco Trin. 21 Edw. I, m. 32.
  • 46. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, 26.
  • 47. Ibid. vii, 620, and p. 186.
  • 48. Cal. Close 1349–54, p. 69.
  • 49. Probably his son-in-law; see under Westhampnett, p. 177.
  • 50. De Banco, Hil. 42 Edw. III, Deeds.
  • 51. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Ric. II, no. 21.
  • 52. Add. MS. 39380, fol. 118 v.
  • 53. Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv, 1009, 1010.
  • 54. Ibid. xx, 477.
  • 55. Cal. Pat. 1255–66, p. 37.
  • 56. Ibid. p. 110.
  • 57. Curia Regis R. 160, m. 40 d.
  • 58. Cal. Inq. p.m. vii, 557.
  • 59. Suss. Rec. Soc. x, 115.
  • 60. De Banco R. 345, m. 399.
  • 61. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, 643.
  • 62. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii, 2457; Cal. Close, 1374–7, p. 458.
  • 63. Cal. Pat. 1385–9, p. 15. Sir Richard was one of those sent to announce to the Londoners the young king's accession in 1377 (T. Walsingham, Hist. Angl. i, 330), and was among the king's friends banished in 1388 (ibid. ii, 173).
  • 64. Cf. Control. R. 59, m. 6.
  • 65. Suss. Arch. Coll. x, 135, 137.
  • 66. Feud. Aids, v, 156.
  • 67. Ibid. 152.
  • 68. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, 433.
  • 69. Chan. Inq. p.m. 7 Ric. II, no. 21.
  • 70. Hope, op. cit. 97.
  • 71. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiii, 82.
  • 72. Ibid. xx, 440.
  • 73. Dallaway, Rape of Chichester, 293.
  • 74. Berry, Suss. Gen. 25, 166.
  • 75. Suss. Arch. Trust Deeds, A. 175, 176.
  • 76. Berry, loc. cit. Cf. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 440.
  • 77. Add. MS. 39387, fol. 334.
  • 78. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 440.
  • 79. Chan. Decrees, 1809 A., fol. 657 (Dunkin MSS., Lewes).
  • 80. Dallaway, Rape of Chichester, 293.
  • 81. Horsfield, Sussex, ii, 93.
  • 82. The invocation of the priory was the Nativity of St. Mary: L. and P. Henry VIII, xi, 202 (37).
  • 83. Hope, op. cit., pp. 95–9, from which much of this has been taken.
  • 84. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi, 208.
  • 85. Ibid. liv, 184.
  • 86. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, p. 314.
  • 87. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 323.
  • 88. Cal. Doc. France, 238. The grant was conditional on the consent of Herling, who then held the church.
  • 89. V.C.H. Suss. ii, 184.
  • 90. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 134.
  • 91. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 323.
  • 92. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 932.
  • 93. See n. 43.
  • 94. Assize R. 918, m. 36.
  • 95. Add. MS. 39373, fol. 132, citing De Banco R. Trin. 21 Edw. I, m. 32.
  • 96. Alice Tudor, Fernhurst, 173–6.