A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 2, Bramber Rape (North-Western Part) Including Horsham. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1986.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Architectural evidence shows that there was a church at Horsham by c. 1150. (fn. 1) In 1230 John de Braose appropriated it to Rusper priory, (fn. 2) and a vicarage was ordained in the following year. (fn. 3) Until at least 1719 Bishopric, and probably the rest of Marlpost manor too, were held to belong to Tarring deanery in the archbishop's jurisdiction, (fn. 4) though they were apparently never considered a detached part of West Tarring parish.
The advowson of Horsham rectory belonged to the Braose family before 1230 (fn. 5) and that of the vicarage after 1231 to Rusper priory, (fn. 6) which was recorded as patron in the 15th century. (fn. 7) In 1516 and apparently later the duke of Norfolk presented for a turn. (fn. 8) At the Dissolution the advowson passed to the Crown, which granted it in 1538 to the archbishop of Canterbury. (fn. 9) Archbishops thereafter collated, except in 1559, during voidance of the see, and in 1657, when Oliver Cromwell presented. (fn. 10)
At its ordination in 1231 Horsham vicarage was endowed with a house, 3 a. of land, offerings, the small tithes, hay tithes except on the rectorial estate, and mill tithes. (fn. 11) Bramber college, the predecessor of Sele priory, had been granted tithes from what was apparently Hawksbourne in 1073, (fn. 12) and Fécamp abbey (Seine Maritime) had been confirmed in the tithes of what was presumably Shortsfield in 1203. (fn. 13) In 1232 Rusper priory as rector agreed with Sele priory, perhaps as compensation for the Hawksbourne tithes, to share the tithes of assarts made on Sele's estate at Crockhurst; (fn. 14) Sele's share was confirmed c. 1245, (fn. 15) and the priory's successor, Magdalen College, Oxford, had a share of tithes in 1535 and 1688. (fn. 16) Fécamp abbey on the other hand seems never to have claimed tithes in Horsham after 1231, though Coote's farm, the demesne of Shortsfield manor, paid a modus in lieu of tithes in 1844. (fn. 17)
In 1291 the vicarage was worth £10 a year. (fn. 18) It retained the endowment laid down in the 1231 ordination until the 1840s, (fn. 19) with the addition of mortuaries and fees in the early 17th century. (fn. 20) In 1535 the living was worth £25 a year, (fn. 21) and in 1724 £150. (fn. 22) In 1709 the vicar agreed to a general composition for tithes in exchange for being excused the poor rate. (fn. 23) By c. 1830 the value of the living, excluding the curate's stipend, had risen to £551. (fn. 24) The tithes were commuted compulsorily in 1844, when part of the Hills estate as well as Coote's farm was paying a modus. (fn. 25) The vicar's share of tithe rent charge was £756. (fn. 26)
In the earlier 17th century the vicarage house lay north of the churchyard, and contained at least nine rooms besides offices; the glebe was then described as 5 a., of which part lay by the house, and part south of the river Arun. (fn. 27) In 1664 the house was rated at seven hearths. (fn. 28) By 1724 it had become ruinous. (fn. 29) In the earlier 19th century it was improved, and part of the glebe, evidently that lying south of the river, was sold to redeem the land tax. (fn. 30) In 1840 the old vicarage was demolished, the site being sold to the parish for inclusion in the churchyard. A new vicarage house further north was built with the proceeds and with a loan from Queen Anne's Bounty. A Tudor-style sandstone building of three bays and two storeys, (fn. 31) it survived in 1982. In 1887 there was no other glebe. (fn. 32)
At the ordination of the vicarage in 1231 it was further stipulated, because of the size of the parish, that there should be an assistant priest, a deacon, and a subdeacon attached to the church. (fn. 33) At least one pre-Reformation vicar was a pluralist; (fn. 34) in addition the vicar who in 1298 was master of Bidlington hospital near Bramber (fn. 35) possibly resided there.
A chantry later called Holy Trinity chantry was founded by Walter Burgess in 1307, with an endowment comprising 50 a. of land and rents worth 39s. 4d. in Horsham and elsewhere. (fn. 36) The chapel lay on the north side of the church, but was originally accessible only from the porch; (fn. 37) hence its description as 'in the churchyard' in 1423, (fn. 38) and its name 'the chantry in the porch' recorded in 1491 and 1535. (fn. 39) The chantry was alternatively called the Hills chantry in 1530, (fn. 40) apparently because of its connexion with the Hill family since 1440. (fn. 41) In 1438 the chaplain was licensed to hold another benefice to eke out his stipend; (fn. 42) a later chaplain in 1491 was granted four years' study leave. (fn. 43) In 1535 the annual income of the chantry was said to be £7 9s. 8d. (fn. 44) About six years later the chantry was dissolved by John Caryll (d. 1566), (fn. 45) whose father had had an an interest in it in 1515 or earlier, (fn. 46) and the estates, which by then included a house and at least 115 a. in Horsham and elsewhere, (fn. 47) afterwards descended during the 16th century in the Caryll family. (fn. 48)
Butler's chantry, commemorating among others Henry Butler, M.P. for Horsham, was founded in 1444. (fn. 49) The original endowment was 70 a. of land and £5 8s. 4d. rent in Horsham and Itchingfield, (fn. 50) and the chaplain's stipend was to be £7. (fn. 51) The advowson rotated among the five trustees and their heirs during the later 15th century, being exercised in 1481 by Thomas Hoo of Roffey, as son-in-law of Walter Urry, one of the original trustees. (fn. 52) In view of that connexion with Roffey manor, the chantry chapel seems likely to have been the north chancel chapel, called the Copley chancel in 1602 (fn. 53) and the Roffey chantry or chancel from 1858 or earlier. (fn. 54) In 1535 the annual income of the chantry was £6 6s. 7d. (fn. 55) Not long afterwards Sir Roger Copley of Roffey, as surviving patron, dissolved the chantry, paying a pension to the last chaplain until his death (fn. 56) in 1544, (fn. 57) and afterwards leasing the lands to another cleric. (fn. 58) The endowments of the chantry were nevertheless appropriated by the commissioners for dissolving chantries c. 1548, and sold in 1549 to Sir Anthony Aucher and Henry Polsted, Elizabeth Copley receiving compensation for the family's interest in the following year. (fn. 59) The chantry priest's house of Butler's chantry, described as beside the churchyard in 1553, (fn. 60) was perhaps the same as the building in Causeway called by the same name in 1638. (fn. 61)
There were also two or three brotherhoods in late medieval Horsham. A brotherhood of St. John the Baptist was founded in 1457, comprising a master, four wardens, and both male and female members; the five officers were to be elected annually. (fn. 62) The site of its altar in Horsham church was apparently in the south chancel chapel. (fn. 63) The brotherhood is last heard of in 1520. It is not clear whether the brotherhood of St. John the Baptist and St. Anne was the same. It is recorded from 1514, and in 1522 had wardens. (fn. 64) About 1548 its annual value was £11 9s. 7d., (fn. 65) its estates including a brotherhood house in North Street and at least 34 a. of land in Horsham and Warnham, besides 70 a. in Itchingfield and other land in Billingshurst. (fn. 66) The priest was then receiving £6 13s. 4d. a year. (fn. 67) In the following year the lands passed, like those of the chantry of Holy Trinity, to John Caryll (d. 1566), the chaplain receiving a pension of £5. (fn. 68) The brotherhood house survived in 1622. (fn. 69) A brotherhood of Our Lady and St. John was the object of a bequest in 1497, (fn. 70) but is not afterwards recorded.
The clergy of the chantries and brotherhoods seem to have assisted the vicar in his ministry, for at the dissolution of the chantries c. 1548 the vicar was said to be unable to serve such a large parish alone. (fn. 71) In 1543 and in 1556 there was a curate; in 1556 he had a stipend of £10. (fn. 72) Assistant curates were often recorded between that time and the earlier 19th century; (fn. 73) in the later 18th and earlier 19th centuries a curate often also held the mastership of the grammar school. (fn. 74) Because of the size of the parish, parishioners in outlying parts evidently sometimes attended neighbouring churches instead in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 75)
Barnard Mason, (fn. 76) vicar 1557-9, also served Nuthurst. (fn. 77) His successor was resident at Horsham in 1563. (fn. 78) Two late 16th-or early 17th-century vicars were archbishop's domestic chaplains, both also enjoying other Canterbury livings. Matthew Allen, vicar 1574-1605, served Warnham, but himself lived at Horsham, preaching almost every Sunday in 1584. (fn. 79) His successor held Edburton, and was also Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge. John Collins, vicar 1612-42, (fn. 80) was orthodox; he was resident in 1640, preached every Sunday, read the litany twice a week, and held communion monthly if able. (fn. 81) After his death the archbishop nominated another chaplain to succeed him, apparently with some local support. (fn. 82) A group of puritan parishioners, however, objected, claiming to have been deprived of spiritual comfort during the previous 30 years, and proposing instead their 'lecturer', John Chatfield. (fn. 83) The archbishop's nominee was rejected by parliament, and Chatfield, who was possibly a Congregationalist, was appointed as 'minister', (fn. 84) serving until his death in 1657.
Chatfield's successor Nathaniel Tredcroft served for 39 years; (fn. 85) he had subscribed to the Act of Uniformity by 1663, and was resident both in that year (fn. 86) and apparently at his death. (fn. 87) The next vicar John Reynell became master of the grammar school in 1712, (fn. 88) and in the following year also served as unofficial chaplain to the gaol as other vicars presumably did too. (fn. 89) In 1724, unusually for the period, his successor preached two sermons every Sunday, celebrated communion monthly, generally to c. 60 communicants, and held additional services every day during Lent, and on every Wednesday, Friday, and 'holy day' throughout the rest of the year. (fn. 90) At that period there was also a four-part church choir, including female trebles, which in 1716 sang from one of the galleries. (fn. 91)
At least two mid 18th-century vicars were apparently absentees; (fn. 92) Francis Atkins, vicar from 1769, held three other Sussex livings, (fn. 93) Horsham being served from 1770 by William Jameson, who after 1773 was also master of the grammer school. (fn. 94) In 1796 Jameson succeeded as vicar, possibly continuing to live in Horsham until his death in 1821 (fn. 95) but deputing much of the parish work to curates, notably the eccentric George Marshall (d. 1819), (fn. 96) who occupied the vicarage house and land c. 1798. (fn. 97) In the 1820s the cure was served by H. J. Rose, later a prominent Tractarian, who found his health insufficient for the size of the parish and for the effort of officiating in the large church. (fn. 98)
In 1838 there were two full services each Sunday and communion monthly. (fn. 99) The later 19th century was dominated by the ministry of J. F. Hodgson, vicar 1840-83, (fn. 100) who restored the parish church and presided over the inauguration of several church schools. (fn. 101) On Census Sunday in 1851 the morning service at the parish church was attended by 784 people and the afternoon one by 520. (fn. 102) By 1865 there was weekly communion, (fn. 103) and later there were daily services throughout the year. (fn. 104)
Hodgson also gave much impetus to the building of new churches and mission rooms in the parish, a process that continued into the 20th century. Two churches for which new parishes were created, Roffey and Southwater, in the north and south of Horsham ancient parish are, mentioned below. The first new church to be built was St. Mark's, North Street, opened in 1841. The site was given by Thomas Coppard, and the cost of the building was defrayed largely by subscription. The original building comprised a nave, aisles, and 'sacrarium', in a lean 13thcentury Gothic style, flanked to north and south by the boys' and girls' National schools. (fn. 105) A curate, later called a priest in charge, was appointed to serve it. (fn. 106) In 1851 he received £100 from pew rents, (fn. 107) and in 1889 his stipend was largely defrayed from pew rents and the offertory. (fn. 108) There was fortnightly communion by 1865, (fn. 109) and on Census Sunday in 1851 it was said that 185 attended church in the morning, 140 in the afternoon, and 530 in the evening. (fn. 110) In 1856-7 services held there were of a Puseyite character. (fn. 111) The church was virtually rebuilt c. 1871 by Habershon and Brock, at the expense of a former priest in charge, a tower and spire being added. The chancel was extended in 1888. (fn. 112)
At Broadbridge Heath winter services were held by the Horsham clergy in the National school after its opening in 1853. The building continued to be used for services after a new school had been built, (fn. 113) until 1904, when the iron chapel formerly used as Holy Trinity church was moved to Broadbridge Heath. The chapel continued to be served by curates. (fn. 114) In 1913, when it had a dedication to St. John, weekly services were still being held there. (fn. 115) The chapel was demolished as unsafe in 1957, a new church, also dedicated to St. John, and of unusual design, being opened in 1963. (fn. 116)
Holy Trinity iron mission room, west of the later Holy Trinity church, with accommodation for 250, was opened in 1879 (fn. 117) to serve the growing population of the area around Rushams and Trafalgar roads. (fn. 118) Congregations in 1884 averaged 150 in the morning and 200 in the evening. (fn. 119) The mission room was replaced in 1900 by a new church built of red brick in 13th-century style to the design of W. G. Scott; the new building originally comprised a nave and chancel, with shallow double transepts and a western bell turret, (fn. 120) and was enlarged at the west end in the 1970s. (fn. 121)
By 1878, because of the growing population of the parish, the number of clergy had increased to six. (fn. 122) Meanwhile, some parishioners in the south-east part of the ancient parish attended St. John's church, Coolhurst, built in 1839 just within the modern Lower Beeding parish, while in 1871 part of the eastern side of Horsham ancient parish was included in the new ecclesiastical parish of Colgate. (fn. 123) In 1885 there was a church council, which included some elected members and others ex officio, including the M.P. and the chairmen of both the local board and the school board. (fn. 124) Another advanced development of the same period was the opening in 1888 of a parish room and library in Causeway; the building, financed largely by subscription and in revived vernacular style, (fn. 125) survived in 1982.
By 1895 there were five other mission rooms around the town, in Bishopric, Denne Road, Barrington Road, at New Town, and at Tower Hill. (fn. 126) Services there were originally held weekly, (fn. 127) but by 1917 had become more occasional, being sometimes taken by laymen. (fn. 128) The Tower Hill mission room had ceased to be used by 1918, and those in Bishopric and at New Town by the 1930s. (fn. 129) In 1936, when there were still three assistant curates, (fn. 130) St. Mark's church was closed in order to help provide for a new church in the east part of the town, (fn. 131) where a site had been bought in 1899. The brick St. Leonard's church in Cambridge Road was duly opened in 1939, being served by priests in charge; it was not consecrated, (fn. 132) and served also as a hall seating c. 70. (fn. 133) In 1946 St. Mark's church was being used as a store, (fn. 134) but in 1949 it was re-opened, (fn. 135) and services were still held there in 1982. A new priest's house for the church was built in 1967, and in the following year the former school to the north was bought and converted into a church hall. (fn. 136) In 1960 a converted barn on the Needles estate was opened as St. Peter's church hall; monthly evening communion was held there in 1979. Some outbuildings of The Manor House in Causeway, including one which had been converted into a chapel, were given to the parish church c. 1970 at the closure of the private school which had occupied the house; in 1979 they comprised the 'church centre' of St. Peter in the Causeway. In 1981 there were five assistant clergy attached to the parish church, of whom four each had specific responsibility for one of the chapels of ease. (fn. 137)
The church of ST. MARY (the dedication is recorded from 1423) (fn. 140) consists of a chancel with north and south chapels and north vestry, clerestoried nave with north and south aisles, outer south aisle with eastern chapel, north porch with adjacent chapel, and west tower with spire. It is of local sandstone with a Horsham stone roof, (fn. 141) the spire being shingled, and is one of the largest parish churches in the county. (fn. 142)
The original church, built c. 1150, comprised a nave and chancel, north and presumably south aisles, and a west tower. The large tower, with a Norman doorway but later windows, survives. Part of the north wall, too, is Norman, as a doorway and a window indicate, though the doorway was originally one bay further west. (fn. 143) The rest of the church was entirely rebuilt in the 13th century, the nave and chancel, unusually for the period, forming a single unbroken space. The character of the work is not uniform throughout, and it has been suggested, first that the chancel was either built later in the century than the nave (fn. 144) or rebuilt in the 14th century, (fn. 145) and secondly that the clerestory was a later addition, the roof being raised to accommodate it. (fn. 146) The nave is oddly laid out so that the tower arch is not central in the west wall. Other surviving 13th-century features are the north porch and the buttresses to the tower. (fn. 147) The east window is flanked externally by two pinnacles, similar to those at Battle church. (fn. 148)
A chapel on the north side of the north aisle was added for the chantry of the Holy Trinity, apparently at its foundation in 1307. (fn. 149) It shares a common roof with the north porch and was originally accessible only from it, though there were windows to the nave. (fn. 150) The raised eastern portion of the chapel is approached by steps; (fn. 151) the chamber under it, which is reached from outside the building, may have been a charnel house. (fn. 152) In the 15th century all the 13thcentury windows except those in the clerestory were replaced, (fn. 153) the main east window by a large one of seven lights and two storeys. (fn. 154) A vestry, so called in 1573, (fn. 155) was added north of the north chancel aisle, its upper storey perhaps intended for a muniment room. (fn. 156) The Jesus chapel, in a corresponding position on the south side of the church, was built by John Michell of Stammerham shortly before 1520. (fn. 157)
After c. 1600 box pews and galleries began to proliferate in the church. (fn. 158) A gallery for the use of Collyer's school was built c. 1619, (fn. 159) there were a 'gentlemen's gallery' and a 'Southwater gallery' in the later 17th century, (fn. 160) and by c. 1700 there were galleries on all three sides of the church. (fn. 161) A singing gallery was mentioned in 1716, (fn. 162) and five years later a women's gallery, (fn. 163) constructed perhaps in deliberate imitation of the Early Christian matroneum. Galleries continued to be built or rebuilt until the 1820s. (fn. 164) In order to light them dormer windows had to be constructed, for instance in the south aisle. (fn. 165) By 1749 the galleries and pews together had come to fill the church, completely blocking the tower arch. (fn. 166)
The 15th-century east window of the chancel was destroyed, apparently by a storm, before 1770 and replaced by one in a weak imitation of it, with 'Gibbsian' rusticated surrounds. (fn. 167) In the 1820s some re-arrangement of the pews was carried out, and the altar was raised on several steps. (fn. 168) Meanwhile the weight of the galleries, coupled apparently with the sloping site and with the excavation of burial vaults within the church, had caused the building to lean to the north, (fn. 169) in some places by almost 2 ft. (fn. 170) Extra tiebeams had had to be inserted in the nave before 1749, (fn. 171) and other attempts were made to cure the problem then or later by building party walls across the north aisle and a supporting pier within one arch of the south arcade. (fn. 172) In 1864-5 the church was extensively restored, at the instigation of the vicar and to the design of S. S. Teulon. (fn. 173) The pews and galleries were removed, and the list to the north corrected by jacking up the walls with screw-jacks until vertical. (fn. 174) The tower arch was re-opened to form the main entrance to the building, (fn. 175) but instead of designing an east window in 13th-century style (fn. 176) Teulon surprisingly reconstructed the original 15th-century one, from the evidence of fragments found during the restoration. At the same date the bases of the nave piers were replaced. (fn. 177) To compensate for the loss of seating in the galleries an outer south aisle was built in line with the Jesus chapel, with five south-facing gables, and the Holy Trinity chapel on the north side, which had recently been used successively as a school and a library, (fn. 178) was also thrown into the church. (fn. 179) In 1884 the north porch was re-adopted as the main entrance and a wall built to divide it from the Holy Trinity chapel. (fn. 180)
The only surviving medieval fittings are four piscinae and the 15th-century font of Sussex marble. A richly decorated rood screen, perhaps dating from 1522 when money was left to make figures of the twelve apostles for it, (fn. 181) survived until 1825 when it was demolished with an adjacent gallery. (fn. 182) The other fittings are chiefly late 19th-century, and include a complete set of stained glass.
There are also many monuments. The table tomb with recumbent effigy of Thomas de Braose (d. 1395) on the south side of the chancel still had traces of colour in 1981. (fn. 183) The canopied table tomb on the north side of the chancel, said by 1856 to commemorate Thomas Hoo of Roffey (d. 1486), (fn. 184) is of Purbeck marble and richly carved. It seems to be early 16th-century, but to have received additional carving in the later 16th century. (fn. 185) It may also have supported an Easter sepulchre. (fn. 186) There is a sepulchral brass to a priest, apparently the early 15thcentury vicar Thomas Clerk. (fn. 187) The black and white marble monument to Elizabeth Delves (d. 1654) in the south chancel chapel is by the sculptor Edward Marshall. (fn. 188) The same chapel also has monuments to members of the Hurst family, and the former Jesus chapel to members of the Shelley and Michell families. The monuments collected under the west tower at the time of the 1864-5 restoration include some to members of the Shelley, Michell, and Eversfield families.
There were six bells in 1724 (fn. 189) and eight in 1938. (fn. 190) The plate is all of the 19th and 20th centuries except for an almsdish of 1713. (fn. 191) An organ was brought from the demolished mansion of Michelgrove in Clapham before 1835, (fn. 192) but was replaced in 1865. (fn. 193) The registers begin in 1541. (fn. 194)
The church of HOLY INNOCENTS, Southwater, was opened in 1850 (fn. 195) to serve the inhabitants of the south part of the parish who had sometimes previously attended Shipley, Itchingfield, or Nuthurst churches. (fn. 196) Sir Henry Fletcher, Bt. (d. 1851), a large landowner in the area, gave the site and contributed largely to the cost of the building and to the endowment fund. (fn. 197) The church lay west and south-west of Southwater hamlet as it then existed, and despite 20th-century residential development was still only on the edge of the settlement in 1982. The building is of local stone in curvilinear Gothic style, and comprises nave and chancel, north aisle, south vestry, and south porch, with a western bell turret. There is a churchyard.
At first afternoon services attended by c. 150 and occasional morning communion services were held by the vicar of Horsham, (fn. 198) but in 1853 a parish, with its own vicar, was formed from Horsham and Shipley parishes, (fn. 199) and a glebe house built; (fn. 200) the advowson was settled on the vicar of Horsham, (fn. 201) the incumbent receiving £45 a year excluding fees. (fn. 202) Under A. H. S. Barwell, vicar 1864-75, the church was often crowded; (fn. 203) in 1865 average Sunday attendances were 90 to 100 in the morning and 120 to 160 in the afternoon. At that date there were other services too at festivals and on saints' days, besides monthly communion. (fn. 204) By 1884 communion was celebrated twice monthly. (fn. 205) In 1887 there were 4 a. of glebe. (fn. 206) A new, smaller, vicarage was built in 1966, the old one being sold. From 1976 the parish was served by a priest in charge; (fn. 207) in 1982 there were a weekly communion service and Sunday evensong once a month. (fn. 208)
The church of ALL SAINTS, Roffey, was built in 1878. (fn. 209) A church had been contemplated at Roffey c. 1840, (fn. 210) and in 1856 the iron schoolroom at Roffey Street on the Crawley road 1 mile (1.6 km.) northeast of the modern suburb called Roffey, was licensed for services; it could seat 90. Services were held every Sunday, and in 1868 were generally well attended. (fn. 211) The new church was built at the eastern end of the developing suburb of Roffey, at the sole expense of Mrs. Gertrude Martyn of Roffey Lodge and in memory of her husband. The architect was A. W. Blomfield, (fn. 212) and the building, of local sandstone with Bath stone dressings (fn. 213) in 13th-century style, comprises a chancel, nave with north aisle, and south-east tower. All 300 seats were free from the beginning. (fn. 214) A churchyard was consecrated in 1880. (fn. 215)
A parish was formed in 1878. (fn. 216) The advowson was granted by the vicar of Horsham to Mrs. Martyn, (fn. 217) who presented the first five incumbents. (fn. 218) The bishop of Chichester was joint patron after 1911, and by 1928 sole patron, as he remained thereafter. (fn. 219) The living was endowed by Mrs. Martyn with help from Queen Anne's Bounty, but the glebe house which she built near the church (fn. 220) was found by the first vicar too expensive to live in. In 1890 he lamented the lack of means to carry on parish work; in 1884 he had been supplementing his income by serving as chaplain to Horsham union. Sunday congregations averaged 125 in 1884, but were said to be declining. Communion was then celebrated weekly and on saints' days. In 1903 outlying parishioners were said to attend church at Rusper or Colgate. (fn. 221) A High Church character noticeable before 1900 was reinforced by the second incumbent, who in 1909 introduced the reservation of the sacrament and other 'more Catholic' practices. (fn. 222) There was an assistant curate by 1917. (fn. 223) In 1957 a parish room was completed, and ten years later a new vicarage house. After 1972 regular Roman Catholic services were held at the church as well as Anglican ones. (fn. 224)