A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1, Bramber Rape (Southern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.
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The parish of Patching, (fn. 1) a former archiepiscopal peculiar, lies on the south slope of the South Downs. Though 5 miles north-west of Worthing it has remained rural in character. It is relatively long and narrow, 3½ miles from north to south, but never more than 1 mile wide. The ancient parish contained 1,767 a., to which 324 a., formerly a detached part of Clapham and including the site of Michelgrove house, were added in 1933; (fn. 2) that added part is treated with Clapham.
The parish lies on chalk, which is overlaid in the south by Eocene clay deposits, and by an area of clay-with-flints north of the church. (fn. 3) It consists of rolling country rising gradually from between 80 and 160 ft. in the south to the crest of the Downs in the north just over 600 ft. high. Its northern part is dissected by a number of dry valleys which combine to form the valley that separates Patching and Clapham villages. At the southern end of this valley lies Patching pond, of c. 5½ a., which feeds a tributary of the Arun, and abounds in fish. (fn. 4) In 1593 it was said to have always belonged to Michelgrove house and to be the source of its water-supply. (fn. 5) The chalk downland in the northern part of Patching, as in neighbouring parishes, contains a number of prehistoric sites, including a flint-mine and two farms. (fn. 6) In 1927 a pumping station was set up in the parish by Worthing corporation; five years later a reservoir connected with it was constructed by the Worthing rural district council on Patching Hill. (fn. 7)
The parish is well wooded, about a seventh of its area being woodland in 1974. There was woodland for 4 swine in 1086, (fn. 8) and in 1341 the tithe of underwood was valued at 3s. 4d. (fn. 9) The amount of woodland in the parish has apparently increased since then. Patching copse already existed in 1586, when it comprised c. 8 a.; (fn. 10) in 1847 it was nearly 20 a. in extent. (fn. 11) Jewshead wood comprised c. ½ a. in 1594, (fn. 12) and Great and Little Jewshead coppices in the 18th century were only 8 a. in extent, (fn. 13) but by 1801 they had become one larger wood of c. 20 a. (fn. 14) Barnstake and Surgeon's fields, wooded by 1814, (fn. 15) had been described as fields and pasture in 1650. (fn. 16) In 1847 the distribution of woodland was much as in 1974. (fn. 17)
The parish is crossed at its southern end by the Chichester-Brighton road, which existed in Roman times. (fn. 18) There was also formerly a more northerly east-west route, following the drier land of the chalk. In 1724 the northern road was shown as the main Chichester-Lewes road, (fn. 19) and in 1780 it was still considered to be as important as the more southerly route. (fn. 20) The northern route was used until the 20th century for driving sheep to Findon fair. (fn. 21) The road leading north from the Chichester- Brighton road to Storrington, known as Longfurlong Lane, (fn. 22) forms almost the entire eastern boundary of the parish, and is presumably therefore ancient. Its southern part was a turnpike from 1823 to 1878. (fn. 23)
The village of Patching, which from its name apparently belongs to an early phase of Saxon colonization, consists of a single street in the south part of the parish, with another road, called Deadmans Lane in 1801, (fn. 24) leading east from it to Clapham. At its north end the main street branches in two, the left fork leading to the church, the right one to Patching Hill and formerly to Michelgrove house in Clapham and to Storrington. (fn. 25) The buildings of the village include several timberframed houses of the 17th century, some cased in brick. In the angle between the street and Deadmans Lane lay Dulany House, a Gothic villa of c. 1830, (fn. 26) which was destroyed by fire in 1945. (fn. 27) The former stables, with a square turret, was being used in 1974 as a garage. Further south is France hamlet, which includes an 18th-century farm-house cased in brick, and some late-19th-century cottages. The modern name may be an allusion to its separateness from the village. In the 19th and earlier 20th centuries a number of houses were built along the Chichester- Brighton road, (fn. 28) and in the mid 20th new houses were built in the village itself. The Worthing rural district council built a number of council houses in the 1920s and 1930s. (fn. 29)
Two outlying settlements apparently represent secondary colonization. Northdown farm in the far north part, mentioned in 1585, (fn. 30) was presumably the successor to the demesne lands of the manor at 'Bynorthchedon' in Patching, mentioned in 1398. (fn. 31) The western part of the parish, formerly called Selden, was once a distinct settlement with its own common field which survived longer than the common fields of Patching itself. In the Middle Ages Selden was part of Ecclesden manor in Angmering, being then called Selkedon or Sylkeden. (fn. 32) At that date it evidently straddled the boundary between the two parishes, for there were fields called Selden Furze fields and Selden Nine Acres in Angmering in the early 19th century. (fn. 33) Later the settlement declined and became a single farm. The surviving buildings of the former hamlet are chiefly of the 19th century; other buildings, including at least one 17th-century house, were destroyed in the 1960s or 1970s. (fn. 34) Myrtlegrove is certainly a secondary settlement, dating from 1814, when Michelgrove Farm, formerly attached to Michelgrove House in Clapham, was rebuilt on a new site (see below). The new farm originally had the same name as its predecessor, (fn. 35) but it was afterwards corrupted to its present form.
There was an inn in the parish, called Patching Pond House, by 1765; it had received its modern name, the Horse and Groom, by 1847. (fn. 36)
In 1086 there were 22 villani and 21 bordars in Patching. (fn. 37) In 1378 at least 53 men were assessed for the poll tax, of whom 32 were married and 2 were assessed at the craftsman's rate. (fn. 38) In the 16th and 17th centuries the population of the parish seems to have fallen. In 1524 14 inhabitants were assessed to the subsidy on goods and 7 on their annual wages as day-labourers. (fn. 39) Only 42 men signed the protestation of 1642, (fn. 40) and in 1676 there were 70 adult inhabitants. (fn. 41) In 1703 the parishioners were described as 'small in number, not exceeding 25 houses and cottages', and including not more than 5 farmers of substance. (fn. 42) In 1801 the population was 192. After some fluctuation in the early 19th century, it stood at c. 270 from 1851 to 1891, falling to 248 in 1901. Between 1921 and 1951 it rose from 231 to 277, but afterwards fell to 218 in 1971. (fn. 43)
After the purchase of the Michelgrove estate by the duke of Norfolk in 1828 Patching ceased to have a resident landlord, but the successive lessees of Dulany House filled the role of squire. Sir Richard Hunter, the duke's physician, (fn. 44) who married Rebecca Ann Dulany, (fn. 45) had it until his death in 1848, (fn. 46) and was succeeded by Sir John Kirkland, a relation, (fn. 47) G. C. Joad, and his widow who died in 1916. (fn. 48)
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries there was a race-ground on the downs east of Northdown Farmhouse. (fn. 49) The Sussex custom of Guy Fawkes celebrations was observed in the 19th century; (fn. 50) a Clapham and Patching bonfire club was formed in 1952, (fn. 51) and still existed in 1974. At the end of the 19th century village holidays called pond days were celebrated at Patching pond, where duck races were held. (fn. 52)
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES.
In the 10th century PATCHING was held of King Edgar by Wulfric; it was taken from him for an unnamed offence, and was restored to him by the king in 960, to be held in complete freedom during his life with liberty to devise it to any one. (fn. 53) At some date Patching came into the possession of the prior and monks of Christ Church cathedral, Canterbury. A charter dated 947 by which Wulfric grants it to them is probably spurious, (fn. 54) but the grant was confirmed by Ethelred II in 1006, and again by Edward the Confessor, apparently soon after his accession. (fn. 55) The archbishop of Canterbury also had some interest in Patching, and during the Middle Ages the distinction between his interest and that of the priory seems sometimes to have been unclear. Thus for instance it was stated in 1086 that the archbishop held Patching, but that it had always been appropriated to the clothing of the monks. (fn. 56) At about the same time Archbishop Lanfranc fixed at £23 the rent payable to them, at times not specified, from Patching and Wootton (in East Chiltington, Lewes rape). (fn. 57) About 1153 Archbishop Theobald ordered the men of Patching and Wootton 'both French and English' to recognize the sole jurisdiction of the monks. (fn. 58) The priory continued to hold the manor in chief until 1541, when it was granted by the Crown in free alms, with other possessions of the priory, to the dean and chapter of the cathedral. (fn. 59) An annual fee-farm rent of £20 continued to be paid to them by the Shelley family and their successors as tenants until 1859, when it was made over to the Ecclesiastical (later the Church) Commissioners. (fn. 60) It was redeemed by the duke of Norfolk in 1970. (fn. 61)
In the earlier 12th century William of Malling held Patching of Christ Church priory for many years at fee farm; he was almost certainly the descendant of Godfrey of Malling, 'the greatest of the knightly farmers of Canterbury' in the later 11th century, who may therefore have held Patching too. (fn. 62) William was twice disseised for failure to pay his rent, but in 1144 the prior and monks agreed to restore the manor to him at an annual farm of £20. (fn. 63) Eleven years later his son Godfrey claimed the right to hold both Patching and Wootton at fee farm, but his claim was disputed by the monks, and in the end he received Patching alone for life, at an annual farm of £18. (fn. 64) In the late 12th century Patching was held by Denise, wife of Richard Waleys, who may have been a daughter or sister of Godfrey. (fn. 65) Her second husband Ralph de Arderne received a grant of Patching together with Glynde, West Tarring, and other places, this time from the archbishop, Hubert Walter. The grant was contested by Denise's son, Godfrey Waleys, and in 1210 it was agreed that Ralph should hold Patching for life with reversion to Godfrey and his heirs. (fn. 66) Patching manor descended in the Waleys family with Glynde and West Tarring until 1276, when West Tarring was resumed by the archbishop. (fn. 67) Meanwhile after another dispute the fee-farm rent was fixed in 1241 at £20. (fn. 68) Thereafter the manor descended with Glynde until the mid 15th century. (fn. 69)
On the death of John Waleys in 1418 the wardship of his son John, a minor, fell to the archbishop. (fn. 70) On the son's death, while still a minor, the Waleys estates passed to his cousin William Waleys, an idiot from birth. The four sisters of John Waleys the younger together with their husbands successfully disputed his title, and in 1436 the family estates were partitioned, Patching going to Agnes Burgh and her husband John. William Waleys's claim to the lands was successfully reasserted in 1446, but because of his congenital idiocy they returned to the hands of the king, who granted the keeping of them in 1446 to Sir John Fortescue the judge and in 1451 to seven others. In the early 1450s an agreement was reached by which the estates were divided between William Waleys and the four sisters and their husbands, and in 1457-8 Patching was settled on the latter and their descendants. (fn. 71)
Elizabeth, daughter of John Michelgrove, had 2 messuages, 40 a. of land, and 10 a. of pasture in Patching c. 1475 when she married John Shelley. (fn. 72) In 1510 one moiety of Patching manor was held to the use of John Shelley and his heirs, while John Lee of Fittleworth, the son or grandson of one of the beneficiaries of the settlement of 1457-8, was seised of the other, and had leased it to William Cooke for 21 years. (fn. 73) In 1535 Sir William Shelley, son of John Shelley, was liable for the farm of Patching at £20 a year; (fn. 74) and in 1541 Richard Lee son of John quitclaimed the whole manor to him and his heirs. (fn. 75) Thereafter the manor, including the greater part of Patching parish, descended with the other estates of the Shelleys of Michelgrove in Clapham, passing to the Walker family in 1801, and to the dukes of Norfolk in 1828.
Patching Farm, the former manor-house, was a timber-framed building, mostly refaced, and with 19th-century additions. It was destroyed after the Second World War. (fn. 76)
Much of the west of the parish, part of Ecclesden manor in Angmering, which belonged in the Middle Ages to Fécamp abbey and later to Syon abbey (Mdx.). (fn. 77) The lands concerned included the area known as Selden. (fn. 78) In 1540 Ecclesden manor was granted to John Palmer of Angmering, together with its appurtenances in Patching (fn. 79) but excluding lands later called Barnstake and Surgeon's fields (for which see below). The Palmer lands in Patching were partly or wholly dispersed in the early 17th century. In 1605 Sir Thomas Palmer, the son of John Palmer, granted lands in Patching to Sir John Caryll, who died seised of lands there and in Ecclesden in 1613. (fn. 80) In 1608 he also granted away lands in Selden which had formerly been part of the demesne lands of Ecclesden manor, and of which 10½ a. were successfully claimed in 1850 to be tithe-free as former monastic land. (fn. 81) Palmer's son, another Sir Thomas, sold a messuage and 40 a. in Selden to Robert and Sibyl Grinyer, (fn. 82) presumably including the lands in Selden common field held by their son William Grinyer in 1633 and 1635. (fn. 83) The estate later belonged to members of the Drewett family, which had been prominent in the parish since the early 16th century, (fn. 84) and was held at the end of the 18th century by William Drewett, together with 10 a. in Selden called Springes, which had also been part of Ecclesden manor. (fn. 85) In 1800 Drewett sold his lands, including some that were in Selden common field in 1773, (fn. 86) to James Penfold, (fn. 87) who in 1813 sold them to Richard Watt Walker of Michelgrove. (fn. 88)
The lands later called Barnstake and Surgeon's fields (fn. 89) were granted separately from the rest of Ecclesden manor in 1540 to Anne Cobham for life, with remainder to Edward Shelley of Findon, brother of Sir William Shelley of Michelgrove. (fn. 90) Edward was seised of the lands at his death in 1554, (fn. 91) and in 1583 they were conveyed by his son or grandson Henry Shelley to Thomas and Anne Bishop. (fn. 92) They were still in the Bishop family in 1633, (fn. 93) and remained with that family until the 19th century. (fn. 94) Sir Cecil Bishop (cr. Lord Zouche in 1815) was succeeded in 1828 by his daughter Katherine Annabella, whose husband Vice-Admiral Sir George Richard Brooke-Pechell, Bt. (fn. 95) held the lands in 1847, when they consisted of 113 a., all woods. (fn. 96) After Lady Pechell's death in 1871, they passed to their elder daughter, Henrietta Katherine, wife of Sir Percy Burrell, Bt. (fn. 97)
Pynham priory had lands in Patching, (fn. 98) which in 1607 were granted to Anthony Browne, Viscount Montague. At some time in the 18th century a later Lord Montague owned Selden Downs (19 a.) and Stonylands (16 a.), which lay west of Barnstake and Surgeon's fields. (fn. 99)
Almost all of the lands described in the west part of the parish joined the Norfolk estate during the 19th century. By 1807 the duke had Selden Downs and Stonylands. (fn. 100) After the purchase of the Michelgrove estate in 1828 the dukes of Norfolk began to acquire the land separating the ducal estates in Angmering and Patching. Some lands in the SW. corner of the parish had already joined the Michelgrove estate (see above). By 1839 most of that part of the parish belonged to the Norfolk estate. (fn. 101) Barnstake and Surgeon's fields, however, were only acquired in 1874, by exchange with Lady Burrell. (fn. 102) In 1974 the duke of Norfolk owned almost the whole of the parish.
In 1086 Patching was assessed at 3 hides and 3½ virgates, having been assessed at 12 hides in 1066. There was land for 9 plough-teams; 8 were in use, including two on the demesne. The manor was assessed at £15 and had been worth £12 in 1066; in between there had been an attempt to exact £20. (fn. 103) In the Middle Ages, arable farming predominated; in 1341 the ninth of corn was worth nine times that of fleeces. Nevertheless, there are estimated to have been 1,000- 2,000 sheep at that date. Crops grown at the same period included flax and hemp. (fn. 104)
The arrangement of the former open fields is suggested by the distribution of the glebe lands. In the early 17th century a close of c. 3 a. lay in the north field or Longfurlong, which had been at least partly inclosed (fn. 105) and occupied the area NE. of the village. (fn. 106) A similar parcel of glebe in the SE. corner of the parish, probably the close called the Compass garden in the early 17th century, may indicate the position of the south field. The small closes in that part of the parish in 1773, many of them less than 5 a. and most less than 10 a. in area, (fn. 107) suggest early inclosure. The closes there were enlarged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. (fn. 108) In the north part of the parish the closes belonging to Michelgrove and Northdown farms in 1773 were large and regular and appear to have been laid out thus. (fn. 109)
The area called Selden in the west part of the parish had its own open field in the 1630s; but there again inclosure had begun, for in 1635 the acre of glebe which it contained was bounded on one side by a close of 4 a. (fn. 110) By 1773 only two owners held land in Selden common field, the lord of the manor and William Drewett. (fn. 111) After Drewett's sale of lands to James Penfold in 1800, the three held roughly equal shares, each comprising between 6 and 9 separate parcels of between ½ a. and 4 a., some bounded by hedges. (fn. 112) By 1814 the common field had been systematically divided into closes of between 5 and 10 a., (fn. 113) and by 1839 most of the lands in the west part of the parish had joined the Michelgrove estate and had been amalgamated into larger fields. (fn. 114) Two of them in 1847 were called First common field and Cherry common field. (fn. 115)
The manorial waste at Patching pond was mentioned in 1669, and in the same year a suitor at the manorial court was presented for digging clay on the common without licence, (fn. 116) presumably on the clay outcrop nearby. In 1761 there was common pasture for the tenants of Patching manor on Patching hill. (fn. 117)
Between 1651 and 1772 numerous copyholds and customary freeholds were held of Patching manor. (fn. 118) Generally they consisted of about 5 a. or less, but some were of 20 or 40 a. (fn. 119) Rents were usually owed by copyholders, and sometimes by customary freeholders, (fn. 120) and fines or heriots normally by both, either in money or in kind. Copyhold estates were often held for three lives. Some holdings lay outside Patching parish, in Poling, Billingshurst, Slinfold, and West Chiltington. (fn. 121) Manorial jurisdiction had lapsed by 1772, when a list of copyhold tenancies was abstracted from the court book in an attempt to discover the identity, rights, and services of the then tenants. (fn. 122)
The greater part of the parish, however, was leased in the period as large farms. Patching and Northdown farms were recorded from 1585. (fn. 123) In 1773 Patching farm consisted of 668 a., and Northdown farm of 368 a. In addition, rather more than half the area of Michelgrove farm (c. 470 a.) lay in Patching. (fn. 124) All three farms were held on leases of 15 or 21 years like other farms on the Shelley estates. (fn. 125) Patching farm included the Shelley lands in Selden common field, together with a house called Selden Upperhouse. (fn. 126) Later a separate farm of 66 a., Selden farm, was formed. (fn. 127) In 1847 it consisted of 148 a., Patching farm having been reduced to 290 a. Myrtlegrove (formerly Michelgrove) and Northdown farms were then held together, with a combined acreage of 939 a., (fn. 128) the buildings of Northdown farm being destroyed after 1909. (fn. 129) Selden farm still comprised over 150 a. between 1918 and 1938. (fn. 130) Both farms were afterwards enlarged. In 1974 Selden farm had 420 a., (fn. 131) and Myrtlegrove farm 1,400 a. (fn. 132)
In the late 18th century Patching contained c. 515 a. of arable, c. 235 a. of meadow and lowland pasture, and c. 780 a. of sheepwalk. (fn. 133) The proportion of land given over to sheep-farming had thus presumably increased greatly since medieval times. There were 1,050 sheep in the parish in 1803. (fn. 134) Later the area of sheepwalk was reduced. Some land had been ploughed up by 1801, (fn. 135) and the sheepwalks of Michelgrove farm were reduced when Myrtlegrove farm was built on them. In 1847 there were 617 a. of arable, 376 a. of meadow and lowland pasture, and only 448 a. of down and sheepwalk. (fn. 136) The northern part of the parish, however, already had c. 115 a. of arable in 1773; that amount was increased by only 24 a. during the next hundred years, (fn. 137) but later, especially during the Second World War, (fn. 138) much more land there was turned over to arable. In 1882 wheat, oats, and roots were described as the chief crops grown; in 1958 wheat, oats, turnips, mangolds, and all root crops. (fn. 139) There was a market-gardener in the parish in 1895. (fn. 140) In the 20th century cattle replaced sheep, and in 1974 cereal-growing and dairy farming were the chief sorts of farming practised, with some cattle-raising. (fn. 141) There were no sheep in the parish in 1975. (fn. 142) A poultry farmer was recorded in 1953. (fn. 143) A sheep dip at Patching pond was used for shearing sheep from much of the surrounding country until 1938. (fn. 144)
A mill at Patching was mentioned in 1234, 1341, and 1631. (fn. 145) The first reference is presumably to a water-mill, the obvious site for which would be below Patching pond; and a place called Millhouse was mentioned in 1680 as being near the common, which lay in that area. (fn. 146) There seems to have been a mill at Selden too, for a Mill Field Coppice was recorded there in 1801. (fn. 147)
A blacksmith was recorded at Patching pond in 1669 (fn. 148) and in 1765. (fn. 149) Another smithy, in the village itself, was mentioned in 1766, (fn. 150) and survived in 1958. (fn. 151) There was a wheelwright in the parish in the 1720s and in 1773. (fn. 152) In 1832 the landlord of the inn built a wheelwright's shop to the west; (fn. 153) the business continued until at least 1953. (fn. 154) Other occupations in the parish have been supplied by the abundant woodland: truffle-hunting c. 1790 and later, (fn. 155) charcoal-burning in 1818, (fn. 156) and the making of hurdles and fencing since the 19th century. (fn. 157) The one surviving firm in 1975 made wattles for use at Findon fair. (fn. 158) During the 20th century much of the woodland in the west part of the parish was leased to the Forestry Commission, and replanted with mixed hardwoods and softwoods. (fn. 159) There was a shopkeeper in the parish in 1798, (fn. 160) and a shoemaker in the late 19th century. (fn. 161) In 1953 there was still a general store, (fn. 162) but in 1974 there were no shops in the parish.
In the 1640s the court leet for Patching had not been kept for many years, and the annual appointment of the constable and headborough (or tithingman) was made by quarter sessions. (fn. 163) The court concerned was described as the hundred court, but it is probable that the hundred and manor courts were identical, as they certainly were later. There are court rolls for Patching for the years 1651-1848. (fn. 164) A court baron and court leet were held, sometimes on the same day, and the court leet was described either as the hundred court or the manor court. The courts were held fairly regularly in the late 17th century, both courts annually to begin with, but thereafter progressively less frequently. The court baron dealt with tenancies, and the court leet with the appointment of officers, namely one or occasionally two constables and one or occasionally two headboroughs. Manorial jurisdiction had lapsed before 1772; thereafter, courts are known to have been held on only two occasions. The court presumably met at Patching farm-house; when the farm was leased in 1761 the lord of the manor reserved the right to hold courts there for both manor and hundred. (fn. 165)
A parish clerk was mentioned in 1553. (fn. 166) Two churchwardens were recorded in 1544; after 1568 there was always one, and more usually two. (fn. 167) In 1645 the churchwardens were reported to be refusing to carry out their office. (fn. 168) There were two overseers of the poor, called collectors, in 1642. (fn. 169) In 1717 weekly doles were being paid to some paupers. (fn. 170)
Patching belonged to Sutton united parishes from 1791 until 1869 when it was transferred to East Preston union, becoming part of East Preston (renamed in 1933 Worthing) rural district. (fn. 171) In 1974 it was placed in Arun district.
There was a church at Patching in 1086. (fn. 172) About 1200 Master Honorius was appointed or confirmed as rector of both Patching and West Tarring, though at the same time a vicar was appointed to hold Patching for life, subject to a yearly pension of 1 mark to the rector. (fn. 173) In 1230 Patching was described as a chapel of Tarring, (fn. 174) but a parson of Patching was mentioned in 1237. (fn. 175) Between 1275 and 1281 the two livings were held in plurality and Patching was considered a chapel of West Tarring. In 1282 it was restored to the status of a separate parish with its own rector, and a permanent vicarage was ordained in 1287, the vicar receiving the altarages, oblations, mortuary dues, and small tithes. (fn. 176) Both rectors and vicars (presented by the rectors) were instituted until 1447, but thereafter only rectors are known. (fn. 177) In 1654 Patching was temporarily united with Clapham (q.v.). Between 1767 and 1850 it was united with West Tarring (q.v.), and in 1875 it was re-united with Clapham. (fn. 178) In 1974 the two parishes were served by a priest-in-charge. (fn. 179)
The patronage of Patching rectory belonged to the archbishop of Canterbury as early as c. 1200, (fn. 180) and has since always done so; unlike the manor it was never held by either the monastery of the cathedral or the dean and chapter. As a result, the parish for long belonged to the archbishop's peculiar jurisdiction, being described as in South Malling deanery in 1291, but thereafter in Tarring deanery. (fn. 181) It was transferred to Chichester diocese in 1846. (fn. 182) After the union with Clapham, the archbishop made alternate presentations to the combined living. (fn. 183)
In 1291 the rectory was valued at £20, and the vicarage at £5. (fn. 184) In 1341 the small tithes were worth £3 17s. 4d., and mortuaries and oblations £2, (fn. 185) both presumably belonging to the vicar. In 1425 the vicarage was claimed to be worth less than 12 marks a year; (fn. 186) progressive impoverishment may have been the cause of its disappearance after 1447, as in the neighbouring parishes of Sullington and Storrington. (fn. 187) In 1535 the rectory was worth £11 13s. 4d., a considerable drop from the valuation of 1291, (fn. 188) and the value of the living remained low during the 17th and 18th centuries. Its poverty was a cause of its union with Clapham in 1654 (fn. 189) and with West Tarring in 1767. At the latter date it was worth £94, (fn. 190) and c. 1830 the combined net value with West Tarring was £274. (fn. 191) The living was still poor in the 1850s, when the rector took pupils in order to supplement it. (fn. 192)
In the 1630s one portion of the parish, Barnstake and Surgeon's fields, paid a fixed tithe in kind which later became a modus of 4s. (fn. 193) The tithes and the modus together were commuted in 1847 for £218. (fn. 194)
The rectorial estate consisted in 1341 of 20 a. of arable land, pasture for 8 cows and 60 sheep, fixed rents worth 4s. 6d., and a house. (fn. 195) By the early 17th century the glebe was described as 11 or 12 a., and by the mid 19th century as 7 a. (fn. 196) All but one of the parcels described in the early 17th century were still listed in 1801 and 1839. (fn. 197) In 1767 on the union with West Tarring the parsonage was pulled down, and its materials were used to build the new vicarage at Tarring. (fn. 198) After the separation of the two parishes in 1850 a new rectory was built at Patching c. 1853, of yellow brick and flint in an Italianate style. (fn. 199) It was sold in 1974. (fn. 200)
Medieval rectors included Tedisius de Camilla, the notorious pluralist (deprived 1281). (fn. 201) Many other rectors both before and after the Reformation were pluralists, two after the Reformation holding Clapham, (fn. 202) and two in the late 16th century holding West Tarring. Laurence Woodcock was rector throughout the period 1545-67, being resident in 1563 at least. (fn. 203) The Reformation was not equally acceptable to all of his parishioners; in 1569 it was noted that surreptitious crosses had repeatedly been drawn on the church walls, communion table, and pulpit. (fn. 204) Walter Whitstones, rector from 1632 to 1653, seems to have had puritan leanings; it was his dying request that Patching should be united with Clapham under Samuel Wilmer, the puritan minister there, a request which was supported by a petition from 13 parishioners. (fn. 205) Orthodoxy was restored at the Restoration, under Nicholas Garbrand, a prebendary of Chichester. (fn. 206) In 1662 he was not constantly resident himself, and there was an assistant curate. (fn. 207) In 1790 the parish was served by a curate who also served Sompting. (fn. 208) By 1835, with the rector continuing to reside at West Tarring, attendance had fallen low, (fn. 209) though the rector of Clapham served as curate. (fn. 210) Edmund Tew, appointed rector in 1850 on the separation of Patching from West Tarring, tried vigorously to reactivate the parish during his 34 years' incumbency. (fn. 211) By arrangement with the rector of Clapham Sunday services were held on alternate mornings and afternoons in either place, with a fair-sized congregation, estimated in early 1851 to be c. 100 in the morning and up to c. 150 in the afternoon. (fn. 212) A barrel organ was installed, and hymn-singing, and later the chanting of the canticles, were introduced. By 1881 communion was being celebrated monthly. (fn. 213) For a period after 1871 two Sunday services were held at Patching; but by 1908 an alternating system had been resumed, and a similar system was in force in 1973. Between 1890 and 1904 the combined parish of Clapham and Patching had an assistant curate who lived in Patching. (fn. 214) In 1910 a Sunday afternoon service was held monthly at Northdown Farmhouse. (fn. 215)
The church of ST. JOHN THE DIVINE (fn. 216) is built of flint with stone dressings. It has a chancel, a nave with south porch and a north transeptal tower with broach spire, flanked by a vestry and north porch. The blocked east and west arches of the tower and the weathering for a pitched roof on its eastern face suggest that it may once have been on the main axis of the building. (fn. 217) If so, it may be earlier than the present nave and chancel, (fn. 218) though the existing fabric of all three portions of the building appears to be 13th-century. (fn. 219) In the 15th century new windows were put into the south and west walls of the nave and its roof was renewed. The windows were replaced by others in 1889. (fn. 220)
In 1645 the church was badly decayed, and a rate was levied for its repair. (fn. 221) In 1662 it was said to be in good condition, (fn. 222) but forty years later it was again in danger of falling down, the rate having lapsed in the late 17th century, and in 1703 the parishioners demolished the west bay and moved the north wall 4½ ft. to the south. (fn. 223) In 1835 and 1856 the church was restored at the expense of successive lessees of Dulany House. (fn. 224) A more thorough restoration in 1889 (fn. 225) by Henry Woodyer is largely responsible for the present uniform appearance of the building. The spire is of that date, replacing a shingled one recorded at the end of the 18th century, which was destroyed at some time in the 19th. (fn. 226)
A trefoil-headed piscina, apparently of the early 13th century, was discovered during the 1889 restoration. (fn. 227) A plain Perpendicular screen and a richly decorated font canopy survived in 1854 but were later removed. (fn. 228) The present font is late medieval but the base of an earlier one survived in 1830. (fn. 229) The pulpit, of 1889, incorporates three Renaissance arabesque panels which came from the old three-decker pulpit but were perhaps originally made for another purpose. (fn. 230) The plate includes a silver communion cup of 1568. (fn. 231) The single bell was made in 1834. (fn. 232) The registers begin in 1560 and have some gaps. (fn. 233)
In 1635 5s. rent from the church acre in Selden common field was used for the repair and adornment of the church. (fn. 234) In 1849 the widow of Sir Richard Hunter of Dulany House gave £166 in trust for the repair of the church. (fn. 235) The income was still received in 1958. (fn. 236)
There is evidence of recusancy at Patching in the later 16th century, (fn. 237) and at least 9 recusants were recorded between 1620 and 1640. (fn. 238) Despite the proximity of Michelgrove recusancy does not seem to have remained strong; there was only one recusant in 1662 (fn. 239) and none in 1676. One dissenter was recorded in 1676. (fn. 240)
A day school started in 1819 was attended by 6 boys and 12 girls at their parents' expense in 1833. (fn. 241) Since at latest 1871 (fn. 242) the children of the parish have gone to school in Clapham; in 1975 the older children went to school in Littlehampton. (fn. 243)
CHARITY FOR THE POOR.
Henry Hilton of Clapham by will proved 1641 left the sum of £24 annually for 99 years out of his lands in co. Durham, to be distributed among the 12 poorest inhabitants of the parish. (fn. 244) The income was being withheld ten years later. (fn. 245)