Steyning: Economic history

Pages 231-237

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 1, Bramber Rape (Southern Part). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1980.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section



In 1086 Steyning manor included a large demesne farm with 7 plough-teams and 9 servi. The tenants of the manor, in other places presumably besides Steyning, comprised 178 villani and 63 bordars. Wappingthorn manor had 7 villani and 15 bordars, and a demesne farm with 1 plough-team. (fn. 1) In the early 14th century Steyning manor was held in demesne; (fn. 2) in the mid 15th century and the mid 16th, however, its successor Charlton manor was farmed. (fn. 3) In 1338 13 full customary tenants owed 5 works a fortnight, 4 half-customers (semi-pleni) 5 works every four weeks, 6 cottagers 2 works weekly, and another cottager 1 work weekly; tenants of the manor in Charlton had commuted their service of carrying wood, and tenants at Shortsfield (in Horsham) had also commuted some or all of their services. (fn. 4) Wappingthorn manor in 1350 comprised a demesne farm with 150 a. of arable, 50 a. of heathland pasture, and 10 a. of meadow; there were 5 free tenants paying rents of 12s. 6½d. and a bondman. Other tenants who had brought the rent up to 60s. had died, presumably of plague, and their holdings lay empty. (fn. 5) By 1399 Wappingthorn was at farm. (fn. 6)

In the late 15th century burgage-tenants held at money rents, and also paid a relief on death or alienation, together with 12d. 'danger' or 'danger silver'. (fn. 7) One customary tenant who held of the borough by rent and services and at the will of the lady (fn. 8) may be a relic of a time before borough tenants were distinguished from the other tenants of Steyning manor. In 1542 there were c. 80 burgages. (fn. 9) The number remained about the same in the 18th century, (fn. 10) but by 1806, presumably through subdivision, there were at least 111. (fn. 11) Some tenants continued to pay quit-rents until 1936. (fn. 12)

Both free and copyhold tenants held land of Charlton manor between the 15th (fn. 13) and 19th centuries, though their tenements did not all lie in Steyning parish. In 1541 there were 32 freehold tenants with 94 tenements, and 18 copyhold tenants with 29 tenements. (fn. 14) In 1622 there were 29 freeholders with 60 tenements, but only 7 copyholders, some former copyholds having become leasehold. (fn. 15) By 1834 no copyholders remained, but 22 freehold tenants held 50 tenements, of which 12 were outside the parish. (fn. 16) Both kinds of tenant paid money rents together with a heriot, usually in kind, on death. (fn. 17) Copyholders paid entry fines, (fn. 18) and freeholders paid a relief, equivalent to a year's quit-rent, on death or alienation. (fn. 19) Copyholds were sometimes held for lives, and could be leased for short periods of years. (fn. 20) Already by 1639 many tenements had been engrossed by successive lords of the manor, so that most of the land round Charlton hamlet belonged to the demesne. (fn. 21) There seem to have been no tenants of Wappingthorn manor after the mid 14th century, (fn. 22) but tenants of Wyckham manor were mentioned between 1549 and 1629. (fn. 23) In the east and north parts of the parish much land was held of King's Barns manor in Beeding, including Wyckham Dale and apparently Northover farm. (fn. 24)

Between the 16th century and the 19th much of the land in the parish came to be divided between farms of c. 100 or 200 a. leased for terms usually of up of 21 years. (fn. 25) Wyckham farm, i.e. the demesne farm, was recorded c. 1537, (fn. 26) Huddlestone farm, formerly part of Charlton manor demesne, in 1614, (fn. 27) Ham farm in 1639, (fn. 28) Calcot farm in 1677, (fn. 29) and Staplefields farm in 1717. (fn. 30) From architectural evidence, however, the farm-houses at Calcot and Staplefields farms existed before the dates mentioned, Calcot Farmhouse being a late medieval building with later additions. In 1639 Charlton Court farm with 572 a. (fn. 31) was already the largest in the parish, as it continued to be later. In 1749 there were between 15 and 20 farms in the parish, though some farmers held more than one. (fn. 32) A number of smaller farmsteads lay within the urban area until at least the early 19th century, when two of them, Newham farm and Faggs Barn, shared the bulk of the land that remained in open fields. (fn. 33) About 1841 there were three large farms, Charlton Court (672 a.), Wyckham (317 a.), and Wappingthorn (307 a.), and 14 or 15 smaller ones of between 24 a. and 166 a. Other lands held with Charlton brought its total acreage up to 877 a., while the combined acreage of Wyckham, Ham, and Gatewick farms, all held by a single farmer, was 510 a. (fn. 34) Thirteen farms were listed in 1930, though only Charlton Court and Huddlestone farms were more than 150 a. in area. (fn. 35) In 1975 there were 16 holdings of which 14 were under 75 a. (fn. 36) Much of the parish, including Huddlestone and Wyckham farms, then belonged to the Wappingthorn estate, which also rented farms from the Wiston estate. (fn. 37)

It seems clear that the parish was intensively cultivated from an early date, though the large total of 41 plough-lands recorded under Steyning manor in 1086 presumably included land in Ashurst and Warminghurst at least. Fifty-five ploughteams were recorded at the manor in that year, including 7 on the demesne; the burgesses of the town had 1½ plough-team. At Wappingthorn there were 6 plough-lands with 5 teams, including 1 on the demesne. (fn. 38) The open fields of the parish as they existed in later times (fn. 39) lay in an arc round the west side of the town. Three lay towards the downs, of which the northernmost was known as the Hyde or the Westfield. It was described as being in Charlton tithing in 1496, and much of the land in it was held of Charlton manor. (fn. 40) The other two were originally known by the names of their furlongs, of which Rublee, Sheeplands, Perrotts, Portway, and Dunstalls are recorded between the 15th and 17th centuries. (fn. 41) They may have been the open fields belonging to the borough mentioned in 1495. (fn. 42) In later times the more northerly was called Chequer Laine, perhaps after the Chequer inn nearby, and the other Brewhouse Laine, presumably after the brewery in Singwell Street. (fn. 43) Four others lay around the hamlet of Charlton, the Great Laine to the south-west, the Bayard to the east, and Street furlong and the Medlands to the west and north. Most of the land in them was held of Charlton manor. (fn. 44) Two smaller open fields, the Faircroft (fn. 45) and the Howe, alias the Shooting field, (fn. 46) lay to the north of the town, and another, Jarvis field, (fn. 47) to the east.

Already in the late 15th century there were consolidated holdings of between 5 a. and 7 a. in the Bayard and the Hyde besides smaller ones of 1 a. or 2 a. (fn. 48) Tenants of Charlton manor were presented in 1550 for inclosing land in those two fields. (fn. 49) By 1639 most of the four open fields around Charlton had been inclosed. (fn. 50) The Great Laine, which perhaps comprised the open fields 'Aplake', 'Gravel Lane', (fn. 51) and 'Holy Land' (fn. 52) mentioned in the 15th and 16th centuries, were entirely so, and had become part of Charlton Court farm. Street furlong and the Medlands both contained holdings of 1-2 a. Both had been inclosed by c. 1835. (fn. 53) In the Bayard there had been at least five holdings of 3-5 a. in 1622. (fn. 54) By c. 1835 the whole field had become consolidated holdings of c. 5 a. (fn. 55) The three fields nearer the town included holdings of 6 a., 8 a., and 11 a. in the 17th century. (fn. 56) Much of the land in them, however, remained divided into holdings of 1-2 a. until the 19th century. (fn. 57) As late as the 1880s there were still parcels of uninclosed arable land in the Brewhouse and Chequer laines of 1 a. or less. (fn. 58)

Wyckham hamlet had its own open fields, holdings in the south furlong of Wyckham being mentioned in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 59)

The central and northern parts of the parish, occupying the two clay outcrops, were probably brought under cultivation later than the parts already mentioned, and land there was perhaps never open-field arable. The three farmsteads lying on the gault clay, Nash, Staplefields, and Greenfields, all have names which suggest assarting. In the south-west part of the parish cultivation seems to have been extended piecemeal into downland pasture. The shape of the fields of Pepperscombe farm c. 1841 may indicate assarting, (fn. 60) as may a field-name 'Coldwaltham' near by. (fn. 61) The conversion of downland to arable has been resumed in more recent times. (fn. 62)

A reference to common pasture belonging to Steyning at Nuthurst near Horsham in 1228 presumably indicates that transhumance was then still practised. (fn. 63) In the parish itself pasture-rights at a place called the Coombe were mentioned in 1248. (fn. 64) The Hurstbrook in the west part of the parish belonging to Charlton manor (fn. 65) was recorded in 1374, (fn. 66) and pasture-rights there were mentioned between 1568 and 1609. (fn. 67) A close in the northern tip of the parish called 'the common mead' c. 1841 (fn. 68) presumably once formed part of the adjacent Horsebridge Common in Ashurst, which may once have been intercommonable between the two parishes. The downland in the south-west part of the parish provided common sheep-pasture, rights of common there being frequently mentioned in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 69) Those which belonged to Magdalen College, Oxford, in respect of its Findon rectory estate in Steyning, were extinguished by a law-suit of c. 1800; (fn. 70) others survived in the 1820s, (fn. 71) but all had apparently been extin guished by c. 1841. (fn. 72) Charlton Court farm, however, retained some pasture-rights over the surviving open fields in 1884. (fn. 73) Meanwhile the Charlton manor demesne farm, which had already had 250 a. of several sheep down in 1639, (fn. 74) acquired more by 1675. (fn. 75) By c. 1835 all the downland in the parish (475 a.) belonged to that estate. (fn. 76) Wyckham manor had its own common meadow, mentioned in 1565 (fn. 77) and perhaps identical with the 'Wychamingbrok' mentioned in 1374. (fn. 78) Parcels of meadow of 1-5 a. were recorded there in the 17th century. (fn. 79) In 1800, when the meadow comprised 10½ a., part was still being mowed alternately each year by the two surviving landholders. (fn. 80) Much of the low-lying pasture land in the north-east of the parish seems to have been reclaimed piecemeal from former marsh, and was probably always severally owned.

Medieval crops in Steyning included wheat, barley, peas, beans, vetches, apples, hemp, and flax. (fn. 81) Arable farming seems to have dominated; in 1337-8 the sale of corn from the demesne farm of Steyning manor brought in nearly £60. (fn. 82) At the same date the demesne farm had at least 75 cattle and 160 sheep, (fn. 83) and two sheepfolds belonging to the manor were mentioned in 1405. (fn. 84) Crops mentioned in the 17th and 18th centuries but not before were rye, oats, tares, turnips, clover, (fn. 85) hops, (fn. 86) and saffron. (fn. 87) The country surrounding the town was said in 1730 to be worth more than 20s. an acre, and to be capable of producing 30 or 40 bu. of wheat and 50 of barley per acre, (fn. 88) but the arable land to the north was described a century later as mostly cold and poor. (fn. 89) The downland sheep pasture was highly regarded, (fn. 90) and large flocks of sheep seem usually to have been kept at Charlton Court farm: c. 350 in 1531, and twice that number in 1820. (fn. 91) In 1801 3,000 sheep were recorded in the parish. (fn. 92) The meadow land in the east part also had a high reputation. (fn. 93) In 1840 there were 1,640 a. of arable in the parish, c. 370 a. of meadow, c. 750 a. of lowland pasture, and 475 a. of down. (fn. 94) Wheat and oats were said to be the chief crops in 1899. (fn. 95) In 1976 some maize was grown. (fn. 96) Since the late 19th century the type of farming has been influenced by the needs of the coastal towns, especially Brighton and Worthing. The bond between 'consuming Brighton and producing Steyning' had already been referred to in 1861. (fn. 97) A dairy farm was mentioned in 1886, (fn. 98) being succeeded by others in the 20th century; (fn. 99) in 1976 dairying was the predominant type of agriculture in the parish. (fn. 100) Market-gardening was recorded in the parish from the 1860s, (fn. 101) fruit-growing from the 1920s, (fn. 102) and poultry farming from c. 1930. (fn. 103)


Four mills belonged to Fécamp abbey's Steyning estate in 1086, (fn. 104) but it is likely that not all of them were in Steyning itself. In the 15th century there were two water-mills belonging te Charlton manor on the stream that bounded tho town on the north, Charlton and Gatewick mills, then called West mill and East mill. (fn. 105) The second had been mentioned c. 1200, when it was leased with the proviso that the wheat of the abbey's bailiff should be ground there toll-free. (fn. 106) The 'pond of middle mill' mentioned in the late 15th century (fn. 107) presumably lay between the two mills, and may have been the site of a third. Gatewick mill later belonged to Gatewick manor, and was demolished in 1878. (fn. 108) A steam-engine was added at Charlton mill apparently in 1852 to supplement the stream, (fn. 109) and the mill was still working in 1927, though only to grind animal feed. (fn. 110) The mill was later converted into a house, and survived in 1976.

A miller recorded in Wyckham tithing in 1332 (fn. 111) may have worked a windmill at Wappingthorn, where Mill or Windmill field was mentioned between 1649 and 1886. (fn. 112) Two other windmills were mentioned in the 17th century, one belonging to Jarvis farm in 1609 (fn. 113) and another, recently erected on a parcel of land in the open fields, in 1668. (fn. 114) There was a horse-mill in the parish in 1569. (fn. 115) A windmill was built by a member of the Lashmar family on the east side of the Bramber road shortly before 1789, (fn. 116) but had been removed by 1817. (fn. 117) About 1800 another Lashmar built a windmill on the downs south of the town, (fn. 118) which was demolished in 1895. (fn. 119) Members of the family also held the lease of the two water-mills in the parish in the 19th century. (fn. 120) A miller (steam and wind) was recorded in the town in 1887. (fn. 121)

Port and river traffic

The port of Steyning, lying well back from the open sea like those of its rivals Lewes and Arundel, was clearly a chief cause of the town's pre-Conquest importance, though it was not mentioned in Domesday Book. For a time after its acquisition by Fécamp abbey it seemed likely to become an important link with Normandy, but soon afterwards it began to decline, through the cumulative effect of interference to its traffic from the de Braose family at Bramber, the founding of New Shoreham, also by the de Braoses, and the silting up of the arm of the river on which it stood. From the late 11th century Steyning was forsaken by Fécamp abbey in favour of their other Sussex ports, Rye and Winchelsea, the former of which may have been founded purposely to replace it. (fn. 122) When Rye and Winchelsea were resumed by the Crown in 1247 because of the threat they posed to national defence, (fn. 123) the abbey was allowed to retain Steyning, a fact that seems symptomatic of the port's decline. It had perhaps ceased to exist by the early 14th century, when meat and cider were transported from Steyning to Shoreham by road, not by river. (fn. 124)

Nevertheless, traffic continued to use the river Adur in later times. In the late 17th century there was a malt-house and brick-works in the north-east part of the parish with a wharf from which timber, some of it for the navy, was despatched down river by barge. (fn. 125) The malt-house still existed two centuries later, (fn. 126) and the wharf survived until c. 1900. (fn. 127) In the 1720s much timber was being brought downstream to Shoreham from Steyning and its surroundings. (fn. 128) A proposal made in 1803, apparently on behalf of the duke of Norfolk, to revive the town's river trade by means of a short stretch of canal came to nothing. (fn. 129) The Adur was improved after 1807, (fn. 130) however, and remained navigable for barges until at least 1938. (fn. 131) Coal was still brought to Steyning by river in the early 19th century. (fn. 132) Two bargemen were living in the town in 1790, (fn. 133) and a barge-owner was recorded in the parish in 1882. (fn. 134)

Market and fairs

The existence of a borough and a mint at Steyning before the Norman Conquest implies that there was also then a market. William de Braose seems to have assumed the profits of the market by 1073, when he gave the 'tithe of the toll at Steyning' to his college at Bramber. (fn. 135) In 1086 the tolls were restored to Fécamp abbey with the exception apparently of half the toll of the Saturday market. (fn. 136) The sums of 75s. 8d. and 40s. which the Crown received at Steyning in 1210 during forfeiture of the Braose lands (fn. 137) seem to include market tolls. In 1279 the abbot of Fécamp was confirmed in a market in the town on Wednesday and Saturday, and in two fairs at the Nativity of the Virgin (8 Sept.) and Michaelmas; but William de Braose claimed to share the same with him, dividing the tolls equally. (fn. 138) In 1368 William's descendant John de Mowbray apparently still kept a share of the tolls. (fn. 139) Later lords of Bramber continued to claim half the tolls in the 15th century, though they apparently received nothing at that time. (fn. 140) The Saturday market at least survived in 1441-2, when the lord of the borough, Sir John Cornwall, complained that its prosperity was being threatened by a new market at Broadwater held on the same day. (fn. 141) Whether for that reason or another, Steyning's market seems thereafter to have declined. In 1444-5 the abbess of Syon received 4s. 6d. from the tolls of fairs and markets in the town, (fn. 142) but three years later the tolls were farmed to the bailiff and burgesses for 3s. 4d., (fn. 143) and by 1466-7 the farm had declined to 13½d. (fn. 144) In 1586, however, the market was apparently held twice a week, and was said to be very busy. (fn. 145)

In the early 18th century Steyning was once again a market centre of regional importance. In 1730 there was a market every Friday and on the second Wednesday of each month. Besides the two old fairs there was another held on 29 May. The Michaelmas fair was the largest, being reckoned one of the chief fairs of the county, where two or three thousand Welsh cattle were sold in a day. (fn. 146) At the end of the 18th century and during the 19th the market was held fortnightly, (fn. 147) the tolls being usually farmed by the duke of Norfolk. (fn. 148) The three fairs survived in the early 19th century, their dates modified by the change in the calendar, (fn. 149) but only the Michaelmas fair was still held in 1855. (fn. 150) The importance of Steyning as a market town in the 19th century was shown by its being made an alternative meeting-place, with Horsham, in 1820 for shows of the Bramber Agricultural Society, (fn. 151) and the meeting-place for regular prize shows of fat stock in 1840 and c. 1890. (fn. 152) By the end of the century both market and fair were being run by auctioneers; (fn. 153) the firm of H. J. Burt (later Churchman, Burt & Son) took over in 1905 (fn. 154) and continued to manage both thereafter. In the 1920s the market was held every Wednesday, chiefly for livestock, of which c. 27,000 head passed through in a year, making the market one of the largest in the county. (fn. 155) The market declined after the closure of the railway in 1966, (fn. 156) and closed in 1974, (fn. 157) the fair, which was still 'considerable' in 1938, (fn. 158) having ceased some years earlier.

The site of the market-place mentioned in 1288, when four shops which had been illegally erected in the middle of it were ordered to be demolished, (fn. 159) is not certain. In later times the market was held in the four main streets of the town, as the original name of one of them, Sheep Pen Street, indicated. (fn. 160) About 1890 it was moved to a site by the station. (fn. 161) The open field called Faircroft lying north of the town across the stream (fn. 162) may have been the original site of the fair. In 1792, however, two other sites were mentioned, the Chequer Laine, where traders paid 'shewpence' to Charlton manor, and High Street, where the toll was paid to the steward of the borough. (fn. 163) In the late 19th century the fair was held all over the town. Cattle were sold at the west end, the Welsh beasts having arrived in adjacent fields the day before, and sheep, horses, and ponies south of the town, while the accompanying pleasure fair occupied a field alongside Newham Lane and extended into High Street, where a hiring fair was also held. (fn. 164)

An annual horse sale began to be held c. 1890; during the early 20th century it was said to be the largest of its kind south of London, over 100 horses changing hands. (fn. 165) In 1976 horse sales were held about once a month.

Trade and industry

Steyning's position by the river Adur and on the border between the contrasting agricultural areas of down and Weald made it a natural entrepôt. (fn. 166) Two wine merchants were recorded in 1200, (fn. 167) and two cloth merchants and two who dealt in both cloth and wine in 1248. (fn. 168) Wool merchants were mentioned in 1272 (fn. 169) and 1323. (fn. 170) In 1341 five inhabitants of the town were said to live from the profits of their merchandise. (fn. 171) The cloth trade may have been carried on at a burgage called Clothhalls in 1477. (fn. 172) Glovers, weavers, tanners, tailors, and drapers were recorded in the 14th and 15th centuries, (fn. 173) and shoemakers, leatherdressers, and whittawers in the late 15th century; (fn. 174) the guild of shoemakers and tanners, recorded at the same period, (fn. 175) is the only trade guild known to have existed in the town. Butchers, bakers, brewers, and fishmongers were also recorded in the late 15th century. (fn. 176) At least two men with the surname Chapman occur in the early 14th century, (fn. 177) and there was a chapman or mercer in Steyning in 1482. (fn. 178)

The detached part of the parish called Spratt's Marsh (3½ a.), lying near Bramber castle, (fn. 179) had a 'saltcote' in 1477, (fn. 180) that presumably being the reason for its inclusion in the parish. Later fieldnames Salt mead and Salt hook (fn. 181) possibly indicate other sites of salt extraction. Income from saltmaking was also mentioned at Wappingthorn manor in 1086. (fn. 182) The surname Roper recorded in the early 14th century may indicate that ropemaking was carried on in the parish then. (fn. 183) Cloth may have been fulled at a place called Fullersbrook in 1477, which lay between the town's two watermills. (fn. 184)

The brewery on the south side of Singwell Street presumably existed by 1692, when Brewhouse Laine was so called. (fn. 185) The leather trades continued to be prominent between the 16th and 18th centuries, (fn. 186) curriers and fellmongers for instance being recorded. (fn. 187) Representatives of other agricultural industries included hempdressers (fn. 188) and tallow-chandlers. (fn. 189) Numerous representatives of the clothing trades and industries were recorded, including a shearman, (fn. 190) a feltmaker, (fn. 191) flaxdressers, (fn. 192) drapers, (fn. 193) a hatter, (fn. 194) and a 'capper'. (fn. 195) In the early 16th century Steyning was a minor centre of the cloth industry. (fn. 196) The building trades and related trades were well represented in the 18th century, a glazier and plumber, (fn. 197) a turner, and a joiner (fn. 198) being recorded among others. Several lime-pits were in use in 1568, (fn. 199) and two brick-works were recorded in the 17th century. (fn. 200) More unusual trades included that of brazier mentioned in 1696. (fn. 201) Specialized retailers in the 18th century included a clockmaker, a watchmaker, a wig-maker, and a wine merchant. (fn. 202) Two attorneys were recorded in the town in the early 17th century, and others occur regularly thereafter. (fn. 203) A physician, (fn. 204) a doctor, (fn. 205) and a barber-surgeon (fn. 206) were mentioned in the 17th century, and a surgeon in 1738. (fn. 207) There was an apothecary in the town in 1669, (fn. 208) and apparently usually afterwards. (fn. 209) A bank was in existence in 1798. (fn. 210)

A list of inhabitants of Steyning town in 1790, not necessarily exhaustive, includes 4 brewers and 2 coopers, 3 bakers, 3 butchers, and a grocer; in the leather industries 4 tanners, 11 shoemakers, 2 saddlers, a collar-maker, and 2 fellmongers, besides a tallow-chandler; in the clothing trades 4 tailors, 2 weavers, a hatmaker, 2 glovers, 2 staymakers, a pattenmaker, and 2 flaxdressers; in the building trades 10 bricklayers, 9 carpenters, 2 sawyers, and a lath-cleaver; 46 labourers; a chairmaker, 2 turners, a watchmaker, and a brazier; 4 wheelwrights, 2 blacksmiths, 2 other smiths, and an ironmonger; a merchant and 3 shopkeepers; 3 surgeons; and 5 persons described as 'gentleman'. (fn. 211) A mason, a glazier, and a breeches-maker were also recorded in the parish at about the same time. (fn. 212)

In the 19th and 20th centuries (fn. 213) the proportion of non-agricultural occupations in the parish greatly increased. In 1811 119 families were chiefly supported by agriculture and 89 chiefly by trade, manufacture, or handicraft; in 1831 the corresponding figures were 108 and 130, (fn. 214) and the process continued, though it could still be stated in 1855 that agriculture was the principal trade. During the period Steyning supplied agricultural commodities and services to a wide hinterland. Two manufacturers of agricultural machinery were recorded in 1862, and there was a firm of agricultural engineers in 1976. There were corn and seed merchants in the parish in 1844 (fn. 215) and later, a harness-maker in 1887, and veterinary surgeons in 1862 and 1895. In 1958 there was a firm of power-farming contractors. (fn. 216)

Steyning also supplied a wide variety of retail goods and services of a general kind. Eight boot or shoemakers for instance were recorded in 1862. Other retailers included a druggist and two watchmakers in 1862, a tailor and cartridge manufacturer in 1887, two antique dealers in 1930, and a china, glass, and earthenware dealer in 1938. There were two banks in the town in 1862 and three in 1899 and 1976. A branch of the Worthing and Sussex, later Henty's, bank which opened in 1827 still existed in 1976 as a branch of Lloyds Bank. (fn. 217) There was an auctioneer in 1805 and 1844, (fn. 218) and an auctioneer and estate agent in 1866. Two new estate agents' firms were set up in 1974 as a result of the recent increase in building in the neighbourhood. (fn. 219) A dentist was recorded in 1930. There were 7 insurance agents in the town in 1862 and a firm of accountants in 1938. The Steyning Permanent Benefit Building Society was formed in 1878, and after absorbing four other Sussex building societies between 1937 and 1970, with consequent changes of name, amalgamated in 1975 with the Lewes Building Society to become the Sussex County Building Society. (fn. 220) Representatives of the building and decorating trades in the town included a cabinetmaker and upholsterer recorded in 1887. One builder recorded in 1862 later described himself as an architect. More specialized services included those of a piano-tuner in 1895, a printer in 1905 and 1976, a photographer in 1922, and a masseuse in 1930.

By the mid 19th century the manufacturing industries of the town had resolved themselves into two main ones: brewing and the processing of skins and hides. From the early 19th century there were two large breweries in the town, both in the southeastern quarter, Stovold's (later Michell's) and Gates's. Each had two tied houses in the town c. 1841. (fn. 221) Michell's brewery had at least five tied houses in other parts of western Sussex in 1871. (fn. 222) The two firms had amalgamated by 1899 as Steyning Breweries Ltd., which by 1927 had been taken over by the Rock Brewery of Brighton. The business of G. T. Breach and Sons which gave Tanyard Lane its name was in existence by 1834. (fn. 223) In 1862 the firm was described as parchment manufacturers, fellmongers, glovers, wooldealers, and farmers. Some new works buildings had been erected c. 1840, (fn. 224) and in 1898 c. 60 men were employed there. (fn. 225) The business closed shortly after 1939. (fn. 226)

Several lime-kilns were in use in the parish at the end of the 18th century, (fn. 227) and two lime-burners were recorded in 1834. (fn. 228) In the 19th and 20th centuries chalk was extracted on a large scale from pits above the town. (fn. 229) A Steyning Lime and Brick Co. flourished in the 1930s. Chalk was still being extracted from the downs in 1975. (fn. 230) A short-lived brickmaking business was carried on near Wappingthorn farm in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (fn. 231) New industries arrived in the town in that period, including the manufacture of mineral waters in the late 19th century, and general engineering and the manufacture of pianolas after the First World War. (fn. 232) Since the Second World War the chief employers in the town have been the firm of F. Duke Ltd., builders, decorators, and timber-merchants, founded in 1902, and employing c. 90 people in 1958, (fn. 233) and a firm manufacturing precision gramophone equipment, which in 1976 employed c. 140 people. (fn. 234) Other businesses in 1976 included a firm of motor engineers founded in 1912. (fn. 235) Tourists and holidaymakers, important in the town since the early 20th century, were catered for by three teashops.

During the 20th century an increasingly large proportion of the inhabitants of the parish have worked outside it, chiefly in the coastal towns and in Horsham. In addition many retired people from elsewhere have settled in the parish. (fn. 236)


  • 1. V.C.H. Suss. i. 392, 445.
  • 2. Westm. Abbey Mun. 4012.
  • 3. S.C. 6/1034/6 m. 4; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/3481 m. 23v.
  • 4. Westm. Abbey Mun. 4012.
  • 5. Cal. Inq. p.m. ix, p. 403.
  • 6. S.C. 6/1031/4.
  • 7. S.C. 2/206/43, 45.
  • 8. S.C. 2/206/43 m. 10.
  • 9. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/3481 m. 24.
  • 10. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 4458.
  • 11. Ibid. 4459.
  • 12. S.C.M. xxvii. 242.
  • 13. S.C. 11/650.
  • 14. S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/3481 mm. 22v.-23.
  • 15. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5201.
  • 16. Ibid. 5204; cf. ibid. 5200.
  • 17. e.g. S.C. 2/206/45; W.S.R.O., PHA 933, ff. 63-5; ibid. Wiston MS. 5398.
  • 18. S.C. 2/206/45; K.A.O., U 269/M 115, f. 3.
  • 19. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5204.
  • 20. e.g. S.C. 2/206/45; W.S.R.O., PHA 935, f. 40.
  • 21. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5591.
  • 22. Two refs. to tenants in the 16th and 17th cents. seem untrustworthy: Reg. Parker (Cant. & York Soc.), ii. 502; W.S.R.O., Par. 183/9/1, f. 24v.
  • 23. B.L. Add. MS. 5686, f. 149; Suss. Inq. p.m. 1558-83 (S.R.S. iii), p. 39; Suss. Inq. in Bodl. (S.R.S. xxxiii), p. 60; C 142/582 no. 161.
  • 24. Warws. R.O., CR 895, bdle. 43; W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 380-82.
  • 25. B.L. Add. Ch. 57322; C 2 Eliz. I/M 12/66; W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 2606-8, 2612, 2876-7, 5201; ibid. Add. MS. 8735; ibid. SP 172; E.S.R.O., Glynde MSS. 2432-4, 2490-95, 2497.
  • 26. C 2/Eliz. I/M 12/66.
  • 27. E.S.R.O., Glynde MS. 2429.
  • 28. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5591.
  • 29. Wiston Archives, p. 157.
  • 30. B.L. Add. MS. 39504, f. 101.
  • 31. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5591.
  • 32. Ibid. Par. 183/8/1.
  • 33. Ibid. Wiston MSS. 5619, 5653; ibid. TD/W 118.
  • 34. Ibid. TD/W 118.
  • 35. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1930).
  • 36. M.A.F.F., agric. statistics, 1975.
  • 37. Ex inf. Mr. J. Goring, and Wappingthorn estate office.
  • 38. V.C.H. Suss. i. 392, 445.
  • 39. W.S.R.O., TD/W 118.
  • 40. S.C. 11/650; S.C. 2/206/45 m. 2; Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 281; W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5202.
  • 41. S.C. 11/650; Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 281; S.A.C. lix. 88, 107; W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 2427.
  • 42. S.C. 2/206/45 m. 1.
  • 43. The names are first found in 1692: W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 2417.
  • 44. S.C. 11/650; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/3481 mm. 22v.-23.
  • 45. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 4198; Fraser, Controverted Elec. Procs. ii, facing p. 251.
  • 46. C 93/32 no. 25.
  • 47. e.g. Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 281; S.A.S., MS. BA 292 (TS. cat.).
  • 48. S.C. 11/650.
  • 49. W.S.R.O., PHA 933, f. 65.
  • 50. Ibid. Wiston MS. 5591.
  • 51. S.C. 11/650; S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/3481 m. 23.
  • 52. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 4210; ibid. Wiston MS. 5201.
  • 53. Ibid. Wiston MS. 5622.
  • 54. Ibid. 5201.
  • 55. Ibid. 5622.
  • 56. Ibid. 2429, 2480, 2487.
  • 57. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 2577, 5619; ibid. TD/W 118.
  • 58. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 2847-8, 2897.
  • 59. Suss. Inq. p.m. (S.R.S. iii), p. 45; W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 380, f. 2.
  • 60. W.S.R.O., TD/W 118.
  • 61. Ibid.; cf. P.N. Suss. (E.P.N.S.), i. 77, 126.
  • 62. Cf. e.g. O.S. Map 6", Suss. LI. SE. (1899 and 1914 edns.).
  • 63. Pat. R. 1225-32, 219.
  • 64. Suss. Fines, i (S.R.S. ii), p. 131.
  • 65. S.C. 11/650.
  • 66. Custumals of Bp. of Chich. (S.R.S. xxxi), 123.
  • 67. W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 4204, 4209; S.A.C. xxxix. 85.
  • 68. W.S.R.O., TD/W 118.
  • 69. e.g. K.A.O., U 269/M 112, m. 3; B.L. Add. MS. 5685, f. 173; Cal. Pat. 1547-8, 281; W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5591; Glynde Archives, ed. Dell, p. 185.
  • 70. W.S.R.O., Par. 84/1/1/5, f. 157.
  • 71. Ibid. Wiston MSS. 2892-3.
  • 72. Ibid. TD/W 118.
  • 73. Ibid. Wiston MS. 2897.
  • 74. Ibid. 5591.
  • 75. Ibid. 2441.
  • 76. Ibid. 5622.
  • 77. Suss. Inq. p.m. 1558-83 (S.R.S. iii), p. 45.
  • 78. Custumals of Bp. of Chich. (S.R.S. xxxi), 123.
  • 79. Suss. Inq. in Bodl. (S.R.S. xxxiii), pp. 60-1; S.A.C. lix. 109; W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 380, f. 81; Wiston Archives, p. 169.
  • 80. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 9484.
  • 81. Cal. Pat. 1405-8, 103; Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 386.
  • 82. Westm. Abbey Mun. 4012; cf. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.) 386.
  • 83. Westm. Abbey Mun. 4012.
  • 84. Cal. Pat. 1405-8, 103.
  • 85. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/29 Steyning 13, 24, 183, 214.
  • 86. Ibid. Wiston MS. 5213, f. 98.
  • 87. S.A.C. lix. 97.
  • 88. Magna Britannia, v (1730), 477.
  • 89. I.R. 18/10477.
  • 90. Magna Britannia, v (1730), 477; I.R. 18/10477.
  • 91. S.A.C. xxxviii. 107-8; W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5526 (10).
  • 92. E.S.R.O., LCG/3/EW 1, f. [50].
  • 93. I.R. 18/10477; cf. W.S.R.O., SP 22.
  • 94. I.R. 18/10477.
  • 95. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1899).
  • 96. Ex inf. Wappingthorn estate office.
  • 97. W.S.R.O., E 183/19/1, f. [17].
  • 98. Ibid. SP 172.
  • 99. e.g. ibid. SP 22; ibid. Par. 183/7/5 (sale cat., 1920); Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1930); Worthing Herald, 25 Oct. 1974.
  • 100. Ex inf. Wappingthorn estate office.
  • 101. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1862 and later edns.).
  • 102. W.S.R.O., Par. 183/7/5 (sale cat., 1920); Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1930).
  • 103. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1930, 1938); O.S. Map, 1/2,500, TQ 1612-1712 (1972 edn.); M.A.F.F., agric. statistics, 1975.
  • 104. V.C.H. Suss. i. 392.
  • 105. S.C. 6/1035/5 m. 2; S.C. 11/650.
  • 106. Cal. Doc. France, ed. Round, pp. 52-3.
  • 107. S.C. 11/650.
  • 108. S.A.C. lix, facing p. 87.
  • 109. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 2849-50.
  • 110. S.C.M. i. 36-7; R. Thurston Hopkins, Old Eng. Mills and Inns (1927), 128-9.
  • 111. Suss. Subsidies (S.R.S. x), 274.
  • 112. B.L. Add. MS. 39387, f. iv; W.S.R.O., TD/W 118; ibid. SP 172.
  • 113. S.A.C. lix. 97.
  • 114. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 380, f. 25.
  • 115. C.P. 25 (2)/229/11 Eliz. I East. no. 6.
  • 116. W.S.R.O., Add. MSS. 1985, 5973-4.
  • 117. Ibid. PM 146.
  • 118. Ibid. Add. MSS. 5975-6.
  • 119. Ibid. MP 172, f. 3.
  • 120. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 2606-8; ibid. TD/W 118.
  • 121. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1887).
  • 122. M. Beresford, New Towns of Middle Ages (1967), 495-6.
  • 123. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 321; V.C.H. Suss. ix. 40.
  • 124. S.A.C. lxxii. 172-3.
  • 125. E 134/11 & 12 Wm. III Hil./2; B.L. Add. MS. 22183, f. 71.
  • 126. O.S. Map 6", Suss. XXXVII (1878 edn.).
  • 127. H. de Candole, Story of Henfield (1947), 35.
  • 128. Defoe, Tour Thro' G.B. ed. Cole, i. 130; Magna Britannia, v (1730), 506.
  • 129. Arundel Cast. MS. PM 19.
  • 130. River Adur Navigation Act, 47 Geo. III, Sess. 2, c. 117 (Local and Personal).
  • 131. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1938).
  • 132. S.A.C. cxiv. 112.
  • 133. W.R.L., MS. poll-book bound with copy of Fraser, Controverted Elec. Procs. ii.
  • 134. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1882).
  • 135. Cal. Doc. France, ed. Round, p. 405.
  • 136. Reg. Regum Anglo-Norm. i, p. 127.
  • 137. Pipe R. 1210 (P.R.S. N.S. xxvi), 61.
  • 138. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 758, 760.
  • 139. E 152/145 no. 2.
  • 140. Arundel Cast. MSS. A 361; A 433, m. 3v.
  • 141. C.P. 40/725 rot. 444d.
  • 142. S.C. 6/1034/1 m. 3.
  • 143. S.C. 6/1034/7 m. 2.
  • 144. K.A.O., U 269/M 125; cf. S.C. 6/Hen. VII/841 m. 4v.
  • 145. Camden, Brit. (1586), 158.
  • 146. Magna Britannia, v (1730), 476.
  • 147. Topographer, iv (1791), 143; Gent. Mag. lxxiv (2), 806; Horsfield, Hist. Suss. ii. 227; Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1845, 1895); N. Blaker, Suss. in Bygone Days (1919), 111.
  • 148. e.g. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 4461, 5405.
  • 149. Young, Agric. of Suss. 428-9.
  • 150. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1855).
  • 151. W.S.R.O., Cowdray MS. 984.
  • 152. Ibid. PHA 693; ibid. Wiston MS. 5929A (18); C. A. Grigg, Memories of Steyning (1967), 12.
  • 153. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1895).
  • 154. Jesse, Agric. of Suss. 76.
  • 155. Mkts. and Fairs in Eng. and Wales, iv (Min. of Agric. and Fisheries, econ. ser. 23), 199, 211.
  • 156. Local inf.
  • 157. W. Suss. Gaz. 23 Jan. 1975.
  • 158. Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1938).
  • 159. J.I. 1/924 rot. 61.
  • 160. P.N. Suss. (E.P.N.S.), i. 236; cf. J. S. Gray, Victorian and Edwardian Suss. (1973), pl. 130; Duke & Cox, Steyning, 40-1 and facing p. 20; see above, pl. facing p. 224.
  • 161. Duke & Cox, Steyning, 18.
  • 162. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 4198; Fraser, Controverted Elec. Procs. ii, facing p. 251.
  • 163. Fraser, Controverted Elec. Procs. ii. 414; cf. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 5405, 5526 (37).
  • 164. Blaker, Suss. in Bygone Days, 108-9; Grigg, Memories of Steyning, 26; W.S.R.O., E 183/19/1, f. [25]; cf. ibid. Par. 183/24/6.
  • 165. W.S.R.O., SP 223; Jesse, Agric. of Suss. 134.
  • 166. e.g. S.A.C. lxxii. 168, 172-4.
  • 167. Pipe R. 1200 (P.R.S. N.S. xii), 247.
  • 168. J.I. 1/909A rot. 24.
  • 169. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 691
  • 170. S.A.C. lxx. 100-1.
  • 171. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 386.
  • 172. S.C. 6/1100/17 m. 5v.
  • 173. e.g. Suss. Subsidies (S.R.S. x), 152-3, 155, 228, 270; W.S.R.O., Par. 183/24/1-2.
  • 174. S.C. 2/206/43, passim.
  • 175. S.C. 6/1100/17 m. 5v.; S.C. 6/Hen. VII/3657 m. 5v.
  • 176. S.C. 2/206/43, passim.
  • 177. Suss. Subsidies (S.R.S. x), 152-3, 228; S.A.C. lxxviii. 222.
  • 178. Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 310.
  • 179. W.S.R.O., TD/W 118; O.S. Map 6", Suss. LI (1879 edn.).
  • 180. S.C. 6/1100/17 m. 5.
  • 181. S.A.C. lix. 94; W.S.R.O., TD/W 118.
  • 182. V.C.H. Suss. i. 445.
  • 183. Suss. Subsidies (S.R.S. x), 152.
  • 184. S.C. 2/206/43 m. 16; cf. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5988.
  • 185. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 2417; numerous Steyning tradesmen of the 16th, 17th, and 18th cents. not noted below are recorded in probate inventories and in the indentures of pauper apprentices: ibid. Ep. I/29 Steyning; ibid. Par. 183/33.
  • 186. e.g. ibid. PHA 933, f. 59; S.A.C. lix. 97; Cal. Treas. Bks. 1702 (1), 168; Suss. Apprentices (S.R.S. xxviii), pp. 32, 79.
  • 187. e.g. Wiston Archives, pp. 217, 221.
  • 188. W.S.R.O., Par. 183/7/7, f. 2.
  • 189. e.g. J. Lowe-Warren, Suss. Tokens (1888), 21; Wiston Archives, p. 174.
  • 190. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 4207.
  • 191. Ibid. Ep. I/29 Steyning 80.
  • 192. Ibid. Par. 183/34/1, f. 5; Wiston Archives, p. 20.
  • 193. Suss. Wills, iv (S.R.S. xlv), 160, 162; S.A.C. xliii, facing p. 60.
  • 194. S.A.C. xxxvi. 139.
  • 195. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/23/1, f. 19.
  • 196. S.A.C. cxiv. 18.
  • 197. Wiston Archives, p. 165.
  • 198. Suss. Apprentices (S.R.S. xxviii), 154, 172.
  • 199. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 4204.
  • 200. Ibid. Par. 183/33, f. 12; E 134/11 & 12 Wm. III Hil./2.
  • 201. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/29 Steyning 158.
  • 202. Suss. Apprentices (S.R.S. xxviii), 67, 87; S.A.C. lii. 45; Wiston Archives, p. 165.
  • 203. W.S.R.O., MP 150, f. 200v.; E 134/13 Wm. III Mich./13.
  • 204. W.S.R.O., Ep. I/22/1 (1640).
  • 205. E 179/258/17.
  • 206. Wiston Archives, p. 415.
  • 207. S.A.C. lxx. 159.
  • 208. Lowe-Warren, Suss. Tokens, 21.
  • 209. Wiston Archives, pp. 53, 160, 220.
  • 210. A. M. Butler, Steyning [1913], 122.
  • 211. W.R.L., MS. poll-book bound with copy of Fraser, Controverted Elec. Procs. ii.
  • 212. W.S.R.O., Wiston MSS. 3312, 4462.
  • 213. Except where stated the following paras. are based on Kelly's Dir. Suss. (1855 and later edns.).
  • 214. Census, 1811, 1831.
  • 215. W.S.R.O., Par. 183/11/2, f. 119.
  • 216. W.S.R.O., MP 172, f. 4.
  • 217. Ex inf. the manager.
  • 218. Wiston Archives, p. 183; W.S.R.O., Par. 183/11/2, f. 119.
  • 219. Local inf.
  • 220. Ex inf. Mr. W. F. Dewdney, Suss. County Bldg. Soc.
  • 221. W.S.R.O., TD/W 118.
  • 222. Ibid. Add. MS. 7332; cf. S.A.S., MS. ND 188 (TS. cat.).
  • 223. Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1832-4), 1052; W.S.R.O., TD/W 118.
  • 224. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 2826.
  • 225. Ibid. Ep. I/22A/2 (1898).
  • 226. Duke & Cox, Steyning, 69.
  • 227. W.S.R.O., Add. MS. 1204.
  • 228. Pigot, Nat. Com. Dir. (1832-4), 1052.
  • 229. e.g. W.S.R.O., Wiston MS. 5619; O.S. Map 6", Suss. LI. SE. (1932 edn.); Suss. Ind. Hist. ii. 28.
  • 230. W. Suss. Gaz. 20 Feb. 1975.
  • 231. W.S.R.O., MP 150, f. 4.
  • 232. Ibid. MP 172, f. 3.
  • 233. Ex inf. Mr. O. F. Duke; W.S.R.O., MP 172, f. 4.
  • 234. Ex inf. the managing director, S.M.E. Ltd.
  • 235. Ex inf. Mr. L. S. Wood, of C. F. Wood & Son Ltd.
  • 236. e.g. W.S.R.O., MP 172, f. 2; ibid. Par. 183/19/1, f. [26].