East Dean

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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'East Dean', A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953), pp. 94-96. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/pp94-96 [accessed 18 June 2024].

. "East Dean", in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953) 94-96. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/pp94-96.

. "East Dean", A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 4, the Rape of Chichester, (London, 1953). 94-96. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/sussex/vol4/pp94-96.

In this section


East Dean is a large downland parish of 4,652 acres, measuring 4 miles from north to south with a breadth of about 2 miles. The valley in which the River Lavant rises cuts across the parish from east to west and in it, at a height of about 300 ft., lies the village, from which a road runs westwards by Charlton to Singleton and eastwards, as Droke Lane, to join the Chichester-Petworth road, which runs close to the eastern boundary of the southern half of the parish. A road runs north from the village up a smaller valley to Stein Farm, from where a track leads up onto Graffham Down, the northern boundary, where heights between 700 ft. and 750 ft. are reached. South of the Lavant valley the ground rises to between 500 and 600 ft. All this high ground is woodland or heath; in the north East Dean Wood, Tegleaze, and Malecombe; in the south the Winkins, a name that goes back to the 12th century, (fn. 1) and Selhurst, which in 1302 was one of the 'six woods with deer in the free chase' of the Earl of Arundel. (fn. 2) In 1326 there was both a park and a 'foreign wood' of Selhurst, (fn. 3) and it continued to figure as one of the earl's parks.

The village is a straggling one rising from south to north: the church stands on the higher ground at the north end. There are several ancient houses. A farmhouse, now tenements, Nos. 30 and 31, south-east of the church, was built about 1630 and consists of two parallel ranges with half-hipped gables to east and west. The walls are of flint with a brick plinth and angle dressings, but the original windows (some blocked and some altered) are stone-mullioned. The middle doorway on the west front has a round head and is covered by a small gabled porch, the entrance of which is of moulded cut bricks. The central chimney-stack rising above the valley between the two ranges is of the usual rebated type; its fireplaces have been reduced. The rooms have stop-chamfered ceiling beams. The roofs are tiled. There was once a walled courtyard in front. A smaller house next east is of flint and late-17th-century brickwork. Another similar stands farther west, and to the south on the east side of the road is a cottage of 17th-century timber-framing with a tiled roof and a rebated brick chimney. At the south end of the village at the bend is a reconditioned cottage retaining some of the 17th-century framing. The roof is covered with slates. Another opposite (east of) it has been mostly refaced with red-brick but has a north jettied upper story of framing coated with plaster; and a 17th-century central chimney-shaft. A house south of it is of late-17th-century flint and brick, with altered windows and end chimney-stacks.


In 689 Nunna, King of the South Saxons, gave 20 hides at 'Hugabeorgum and Dene' to Bishop Eadberht of Selsey. The boundaries recited in the charter show that this was East Dean, (fn. 4) but no later connexion with the episcopal see is known. It is probable that the 'Edelingedene' where 60 hides were given by Ethelred II in 1002 to the nunnery of Wherwell (fn. 5) was equivalent to the later East and West Dean, neither of which was mentioned in the Domesday Survey, they being evidently included in Singleton manor, assessed at 97½ hides. Singleton having been one of Earl Godwin's manors, the Deans may well have been among the lands of the Church which he appropriated, as Wherwell had no lands here after the Conquest.

Mention of the park land of East Dean occurs in 1189 in an entry on the Pipe Roll concerning the debts of the honor. There was a court of East Dean at this time and this perhaps implies a manor. (fn. 6) In 1244 the king (controlling the manor until it should be divided among the heirs) made provision for repairing buildings at East Dean and elsewhere. (fn. 7) East Dean manor in 1284 formed part of the dower of Lady Maud de Verdon and was held of the king in chief as pertaining to the castle and honor of Arundel. (fn. 8) In 1288 a small holding of 2½ virgates in the manor was let by Richard, Earl of Arundel, to Robert Edwyne for 21s. 6d. and suit of court at East Dean. (fn. 9) In 1294 Richard, Earl of Arundel, granted to Henry de Guldeford for life land worth 100s. in East Dean, West Dean, and Singleton, (fn. 10) and this apparently included the demesne of the manor of East Dean, since this was held by Henry at the earl's death in 1302, when the earl's property included a park with deer at East Dean, with a manor enclosed. (fn. 11) When the king, who now controlled the lands during the minority of the heir, farmed them out to Amadeus of Savoy, he retained the castle and manor of Arundel with the park and manor of East Dean, for the debts of Queen Margaret. (fn. 12) The park and manor pertained to the honor, as frequent references show, (fn. 13) until 1589, when Sir John, Lord Lumley, and Elizabeth his wife disposed of the manor, with the advowson, to Peter Garton. (fn. 14) In 1581 Sir William More seems to have been titular Keeper of East Dean Park: Sir Thomas Palmer wrote to him concerning a trespass there, (fn. 15) and in 1583 Lord Lumley wrote to him referring to his (Lord Lumley's) promise of the park to any friends of Sir William's nomination. (fn. 16)

Sir Peter Garton, who acquired the manor in 1589, also held the manor of Woolavington and East Dean passed with Woolavington (q.v.) until 1739 at least. Sir Peter died seised of the manor in 1607. (fn. 17) Between 1607 and 1642 the property passed to his three sons, Sir Thomas (d. 1619), (fn. 18) Robert (d. 1634), (fn. 19) and Henry (d. 1642). (fn. 20) Lady Judith Garton, widow of Sir Peter, survived until after 1634. (fn. 21) Henry's heir was his son William, aged only a few months in 1642; he died in 1675 without issue and the property passed to his half-sister's son, Robert Orme. (fn. 22) His son Garton Orme and Alice his wife and George Errington transferred the manor to Henry Smyth in 1739. (fn. 23) According to Dallaway, the manor was sold in 1752 (by virtue of an Act of Parliament of 1750, (fn. 24) to Sir Matthew Fetherstonehaugh. He later exchanged it for other property with Charles, Duke of Richmond, (fn. 25) and it has descended to the present duke.


The church of ALL SAINTS (fn. 26) stands on rising ground north of the village; it is built of flint rubble with ashlar dressings, patched in places with brick, and is roofed with tile. It consists of chancel, central tower, north and south transepts, nave, and south porch. It seems to have been begun in the 12th century, the probable date of the tower and transepts; the most part of the nave is slightly later, but shows signs of subsequent lengthening westwards; the chancel was rebuilt, or extended eastwards, in the 13th century; a north aisle was subsequently added, but later destroyed; the porch is modern.

The east wall of the chancel, flanked north and south by buttresses (like all others, of one stage with sloping offsets) is entirely modern and contains a window of three grouped lancets; the side walls are ancient, perhaps 13th-century, and each has one lancet window with concentric splay, much restored or wholly modern; in the north wall is a square-headed aumbry, and in the south a rude square recess, perhaps modern and showing no sign of having been a piscina; at the extreme west end of this wall an oblong opening, presumably a low side window, has been blocked and its exterior masked by a modern buttress to the tower; its date is therefore uncertain. The chancel roof, of trussed rafters, is modern.

The tower rests on four arches, three semicircular, the western segmental, of one order of square section, springing direct from like responds; the whole being plastered it is impossible to determine whether this work is of the 12th century or a modern reconstruction. The upper stage of the tower has a single-light window in each of the south and west faces, and a two-light in the north and east, these appear to be of the 13th century. (fn. 27) It is now finished with a modern battlement, probably of brick plastered; the drawing in the Sharpe collection shows a broach spire.

At the north-east corner of the north transept is a diagonal buttress; in the east wall is a window of three lights under a common rear-arch, perhaps 14th-century; the north wall appears to have been rebuilt and contains a modern two-light window; in the west wall the line of the arch formerly opening into the aisle is visible on the outside; there is a modern lancet window in the blocking.

In the east wall of the south transept there is a three-light window with tracery of unusual design, part restored but originally of the 14th century; in the south wall, like the corresponding wall of the north transept, rebuilt, is a modern two-light window and west of it a buttress; in the west wall is a modern lancet window.

Against the south wall of the nave are three buttresses probably late-12th-century; between the first and second is the south doorway of three orders, the wall here having been thickened to get the necessary depth. The arch is pointed, the innermost order is plain and, as often in work of this date, rather wide; it rests on plain jambs and an impost formed by the continuation of the abacus of the caps of the outer orders. The outer orders themselves have roll mouldings and rest on nook shafts whose caps have square abaci and conventional foliage on their bells; the bases are of the Ionic form; all this is c. 1200. East and west of this doorway are single-light windows with square-head trefoil heads, probably modern restorations; a modern trefoilheaded single-light window west of the westernmost buttress has been inserted in what appears to be a lengthening of the nave wall, probably of the 13th century.

East Dean Parish Church

In the north wall of the nave are the remains of an arcade, perhaps 13th-century, of two pointed arches which formerly opened into the north aisle. The eastern window is of two lights having a traceried head of sandstone, much decayed on the outside, probably late-14th-century. The next window, of one light with trefoil head, uses the crown of the former aisle arch as its rear-arch, and is probably also of the 14th century; below this is the blocked north doorway, having plain pointed arch and segmental rear-arch. The third window resembles the one opposite; the west window, of two lights, is modern. The roof has five modern trusses and is ceiled in plaster.

The south porch (modern) has a plain pointed doorway on the south side and small lancet windows on the east and west.

The font is of uncertain date; an octagonal basin rests on a thick octagonal shaft with concave faces, and this on a base resembling an inverted late-12th-century capital; the cover is of the 17th or 18th century, and the font itself is possibly of 1660.

There are three bells: one of the 15th century, inscribed—HAL MARI FVL GRAS; another dated 1634; and the third cast by Clement Tosiar in 1702. (fn. 28)

The communion plate consists of a silver cup and paten of 1810. (fn. 29) The parish registers begin in 1653.


The church of East Dean, with that of Singleton (q.v.) formed part of the prebend of the collegiate church of Arundel which was given to Chichester Cathedral in 1150. (fn. 30) By an agreement made in about 1205 the advowson was granted to the Earl of Arundel. (fn. 31) Accordingly in 1234 the vicarage was in the gift of the Earl of Arundel, (fn. 32) and the advowson passed with the honor to John FitzAlan in 1244. (fn. 33) Henceforward, the advowson usually passed with the manor. Thus, it belonged to Edmund, Earl of Arundel (d. 1326–7), (fn. 34) to the Garton family from 1589 to after 1642, when they held the manor, and to the Orme family after this, when it passed to them. (fn. 35) The advowson does not seem to have been included in the transactions of 1752, (fn. 36) as there is no record of presentation by the Dukes of Richmond, and it is found in the hands of Christopher Bethell, who presented in 1774, 1789, and 1795. (fn. 37) The presentee in 1795 was the Rev. Thomas White Cogan, who acquired the patronage and retained it until his death in 1856. (fn. 38) It remained with the succeeding vicars, Henry Cogan, Horace Barbutt Cogan, and William James Hermann Newman, until 1910, when it was transferred to the Bishop of Chichester, who is the present patron. (fn. 39)

The vicarage was only worth £5 4s. 3½d. in 1535, and the fact that the dean and chapter had leased all their tithes in this and the neighbouring parishes, worth about £500, to the Lewknors, led in 1647 to complaints that these livings were starved and the parishioners neglected. (fn. 40)


  • 1. Place-Names of Suss. 48.
  • 2. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, 90.
  • 3. Ibid. vi, 752.
  • 4. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxxxvi, 65–9. The lost 'Hugabeorg' may survive in High Down, the hill (555 ft.) just north of the village, which is certainly not 'high' compared with the hills close to it.
  • 5. Place-Names of Suss. p. xlv; Mon. Angl. ii, 638.
  • 6. Farrer, Honors and Knights' Fees, iii, 11; Pipe Roll 1 Ric. I (Pipe R. Soc.), p. 212.
  • 7. Cal. Close, 1242–7, p. 170.
  • 8. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, 536.
  • 9. Suss. Rec. Soc. vii, 1001.
  • 10. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, p. 82.
  • 11. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, 90.
  • 12. Cal. Close, 1296–1302, p. 540; Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 113.
  • 13. Cal. Pat. 1343–5, pp. 281, 487; 1345–8, p. 328; 1350–4, p. 524; 1354–8, pp. 131, 335, 387; Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii, 2063; xix, 9, 56–7.
  • 14. Ibid. xix, 142; Pat. R. 31 Eliz. pt. 6; Recov. R. Trin. 31 Eliz. ro. 3.
  • 15. Hist. MSS. Comm. vii, 636. (Wm. Molyneux MSS).
  • 16. Ibid. 639.
  • 17. Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv, 456.
  • 18. Ibid. xiv. 457.
  • 19. Ibid. 458.
  • 20. Ibid. 460.
  • 21. Ibid. 458.
  • 22. Dallaway, West Suss. ii, 174.
  • 23. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 502.
  • 24. a Private Acts, 23 Geo. II, c. 30.
  • 25. Dallaway, loc. cit.
  • 26. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 189.
  • 27. A drawing of 1795 shows in the north wall a much larger window of two lights with branching tracery.
  • 28. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi, 207.
  • 29. Ibid. liii, 247.
  • 30. Cal. Chart. R. i, 31.
  • 31. Suss. Rec. Soc. xlvi, 91.
  • 32. Cal. Pat. 1232–47, 57.
  • 33. Cal. Close, 1242–7, 249.
  • 34. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, 752.
  • 35. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.)
  • 36. See above, n. 24.
  • 37. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.)
  • 38. Dallaway, op. cit. ii, 174; Clergy Lists.
  • 39. Ibid.
  • 40. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 309.
  • 41. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1645–7, p. 588.