The hundred of Whalesbone

Page 241

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1940.

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containing the parishes of West Blatchington; Brighton

There was no hundred of Whalesbone (fn. 1) in 1086. Brighton was then included in 'Welesmere' Hundred, and West Blatchington nowhere appeared under that name. (fn. 2) By 1296 the hundred of Whalesbone had been formed and it was divided for taxation purposes into Patcham and Withdean, Blatchington and Brighton, Hove, Brighton and Moulsecombe, 'Bokkyng' (fn. 3) For similar purposes in 1327 and 1332 the divisions used were Patcham and Blatchington, Preston with Hove, Brighton. (fn. 4) By the end of the 16th century the boundaries of the hundred had been considerably reduced and the only 'boroughs' were Brighton and Patcham. (fn. 5) Brighton then paid in common fine 6s. 8d. every half-year, collected at the rate of 1d. a head a year from every householder and every bachelor 'being his own man', except 'the Twelve' of the town who are exempted 'in regard they do seruice otherwise to the kinge'. (fn. 6) The common fine of Patcham was levied once a year from specified lands in Patcham and Withdean. (fn. 7) Two headboroughs were chosen annually in the 'town' of Brighton, by election, and one in Patcham 'borough', who 'serueth by landes'. (fn. 8) The constable of Brighton was always chosen from the Twelve of the town, two years from the fishermen, and the third year among the landsmen. (fn. 9)

The composition of the hundred was still the same in 1621, (fn. 10) but by 1624 Blatchington had been included. (fn. 11) Subsequently Patcham was removed, to form the hundred of Dean (q.v.), and from at least 1801 the hundred of Whalesbone has been made up of the two parishes of Brighton and West Blatchington. (fn. 12)

The hundred descended with the rape.


  • 1. Walesbon (xiii cent.); Whalesbon, Walsbon (xiv cent.); Whalesbone (xiv-xx cent.). The derivation identifying the final element in this name as burna [Pl.-N. of Suss. ii. 290] has been corrected in Pl.-N. Soc. xv, p. xxxix, where it is suggested that 'the site of the Hundred meeting-place was marked by an arch of the bones of the lower jaw of a whale'.
  • 2. V.C.H. Suss. i, 437–8.
  • 3. Subsidies (Suss. Rec. Soc. x), 41–3.
  • 4. Ibid. 172–3, 286.
  • 5. Book of John Rowe (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiv), 143–4.
  • 6. Ibid. 143.
  • 7. Ibid. 143–4.
  • 8. Ibid. 144.
  • 9. Ibid.
  • 10. Suss. Arch. Coll. ix, 78.
  • 11. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 103.
  • 12. V.C.H. Suss. ii, 225; cf. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 103.