Parishes: Rottingdean

Pages 232-238

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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Rotingedene (xi cent.); Rottingdena (xii cent.).

Rottingdean parish was in two separate portions, the northern being the ancient chapelry of Balsdean. The two were approximately of the same area, and were joined only at a single point, a furlong east of the summit of High Hill, which is almost exactly half-way between Brighton and Newhaven. The portions combined cover an area of 3,154 acres, and had a population in 1931 of 2,906. The Balsdean part of the parish surrounds the south-eastern spur of Bullock Hill known as The Bostle, and the southern portion spreads out from the summit of High Hill towards the coast, embracing the lower end of the Balsdean coombe and another farther west in which is situated the village of Rottingdean. The soil is chalk and the parish was entirely agricultural until recent years. The village is now being developed, however, as a holiday resort and suburb of Brighton. There are some good 18th-century houses surrounding the village green, and a few old cottages along the main street and on the hill-side south and east of the pond. Farther from the green the cottages seem to be mainly 19th-century, some of them being faced with pebbles from the sea-shore. On the north and east sides of the village new roads have been laid out and developed. A new arterialized coast road passes by the southern end of the village, successor to others destroyed by erosion.

Rottingdean: The Church

The coast at this point has been subject to erosion from early times. The inhabitants in 1340 stated that since 1292, 50 acres of arable land in the parish had been destroyed by the sea; a further 240 acres of land were lying uncultivated 'by reason of the poor quality of the land and the inability of those who used to cultivate it'. The men of Rottingdean at that date valued their land at 4d. an acre. (fn. 1) A worse disaster befell in 1377 when the French landed at Rottingdean. The Prior of Lewes gathered an army of the country people to oppose them, but was defeated, and he, Sir John Fallisle, Sir Thomas Cheyne, John Brocas, and Thomas de Wilford, clerk of Chancery and prebendary of Hempsted, were taken prisoner and released only after large ransoms had been paid. (fn. 2) The French did not reach Lewes but Rottingdean was burnt, and in 1421 the inhabitants petitioned for relief from the fifteenth, which was assessed at £6 10s., asserting that this payment which they had for a long time made prevented them from rebuilding their town. They stated also that a great part of the township was surrounded by the sea, (fn. 3) but the general evidence points to the village having been originally an inland agricultural settlement similar to Ovingdean in the adjacent coombe.

By the beginning of the 19th century Rottingdean had become celebrated for the salubrious properties of its wells, said to be nearly empty at high water but to rise as the tide ebbed. Baths were then established, and machines provided for sea bathing. (fn. 4)

The old windmill which stands to the west of the village on Beacon Hill is a landmark for ships in the English Channel. It may have belonged to the tenement called Chaloners which for a long time belonged to the Ockenden family, for in 1616 Richard Ockenden and his wife Barbara sold it, with land in Rottingdean, to Richard Scrase. (fn. 5) It afterwards passed to Charles Geere, owner of Balsdean Manor, who by his will in 1740 excepted this windmill from a bequest to his wife Elizabeth of all his freehold and copyhold land. (fn. 6)

Balsdean is a lonely hamlet in the heart of the Downs and unapproachable by road. It is separated from Rottingdean by High Hill, over which a rough track passes. It is in two portions, represented by the farms of Norton and Sutton, the remains of the chapel being near the former.

Balsdean Chapel stands on the hill-side immediately above the west side of the remains of the little hamlet. Only the nave remains, and this is desecrated and used as a stable. The building is very small, is built of flint with stone dressings, and appears to date from the 12th century. The stone quoins have all been removed. The north wall shows the remains of the original doorway internally, but the external dressings have been removed and the opening blocked up. East of the doorway is a very small light with a rounded head and deep internal splay, blocked externally. The window opposite has been enlarged in recent times, and another made west of it, suggesting that the building was once used as a cottage. Between the two windows is a large modern doorway, the three openings together completely transforming the south wall of the nave. The imposts of the chancel arch have been removed, and the south part of the east wall destroyed and filled with a modern brick wall with a large doorway in it. A mound covers the site of the chancel, but a mass of rubble masonry showing through the turf probably marks the site of the south-east angle.


As late as 1579 the vicar of Rottingdean was bound to say service four times a year in the chapel of the 'village' of Balsdean. (fn. 7)

The lord of the manor of Rottingdean claimed goods thrown up by the sea, the custom being that the lord had half the goods or their value, and the finder the other half. The men of Rottingdean were at times overanxious to claim goods as wreckage. In 1314 and again in 1321 and 1335 they were accused of taking wine and wool which had been cast ashore from ships from which some of the mariners had escaped alive, for which reason the goods were not truly sea wreck. (fn. 8) Owing to the value of the sea wrecks it was a matter of importance that the boundaries between the parishes of Brighton and Rottingdean upon the sea-shore should be well defined. In 1606 inquiry was held to settle it. The homage returned that the boundary passed through the midst of a cave called Huns Stable, (fn. 9) and Hugh Ockenden, an old man of over 80 years of age, said that he had often seized to the use of Lord Abergavenny wreckage on the east side from the middle of the cave. (fn. 10)

Doctor Thomas Hooker, who became vicar of Rottingdean in 1792, had a school in the vicarage house at which several famous men were educated. Cardinal Manning and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, afterwards Lord Lytton, were among his pupils. The latter was at Rottingdean from about 1810 to 1818, and showed such great promise that Dr. Hooker recommended that he should be sent to a public school. (fn. 11) One of the Duke of Wellington's nephews was educated here, as was a son of Jerome Bonaparte during his father's residence in England. (fn. 12) Sir Edward Burne Jones lived at North End House from 1880 till his death in 1898 and his art is represented by windows in the church. Rudyard Kipling lived at the Elms from about 1897 to 1903. Thomas Carlyle is supposed to have stayed in one of the Cliff houses, not now in existence, and Harrison Ainsworth wrote his romance, Ovingdean Grange, at Rottingdean while staying with Miss Beard. (fn. 13)

Nicholas and Richard Beard of Rottingdean were staunch members of the Society of Friends. In 1660 a meeting was held in the house of Nicholas at Rottingdean; (fn. 14) Richard was imprisoned in 1659 for non-payment of tithes, and during the next twenty years both suffered much persecution. (fn. 15)

Both the east and west sides of High Hill are covered with ancient fields, but those on the latter slopes, with the site of an Early Iron Age settlement, (fn. 16) are being obliterated by the building development around Woodingdean farm-house. More building is now beginning round Wick Farm at the extreme west end of Balsdean. In the centre of the Balsdean part of the parish is an isolated hill called the Bostle, upon the summit of which are a number of barrows. (fn. 17)

An engraved and enamelled plate of copper found in the churchyard, probably part of a bookbinding or of a shrine, is now in the museum at Barbican House, Lewes. (fn. 18)


ROTTINGDEAN was held before the Conquest by Haminc of Earl Godwin. It was assessed for 2 hides and was part of Frog Firle which the Count of Mortain had in his rape in 1086. Haminc still held 2 hides in Frog Firle of the count in 1086, and the 2 hides in Rottingdean were held by Hugh of William de Warenne. (fn. 19)

The Earls Warenne subsequently held a manor of Rottingdean in demesne. A hide of land there was released in 1235 by Ralph son of Richard to William, Earl Warenne, (fn. 20) and in 1260 John de Ferles and Maud his wife gave a carucate of land in Rottingdean to John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, in exchange for the manor of Twineham. (fn. 21) The earl's manor was part of the barony of Lewes and descended with it until 1439–40 (fn. 22) when, on the death of Beatrice, Countess of Arundel, this manor was assigned to Elizabeth wife of Edward, Lord Bergavenny. (fn. 23) The manor has since descended with the barony of Abergavenny. (fn. 24)

Edward, Lord Bergavenny, leased the site and demesnes of the manor about 1604 to Sir George Goring for three lives. Before this Hugh Ockenden had farmed the land for a great part of his long life of over 80 years. (fn. 25) The demesnes included 166 acres of arable and 944 acres of sheep pasture called Earlesdeane alias Barendens, the Loose down, the Hill and Lustilden, and the Down by West Town; on the two last named the tenants had grazing rights. (fn. 26)

The Prior and Convent of Lewes received gifts of several estates in Rottingdean in the 11th and 12th centuries. William de Warenne the second gave them half his land of Rottingdean as it was divided when the church of St. Pancras was dedicated, and confirmed to them a hide of land given by William de Pierpont, and the tithes of the land of Hugh son of Golda there. (fn. 27) About 1100 Earl William and his wife Isabel and Hugh de Pierpoint confirmed this gift. (fn. 28) About 1147 Ralph de Angieus gave a hide of land, and his gift was confirmed by Rainald de Warenne in the absence of the earl. (fn. 29) Richard de Baliol, for the soul of his brother Ralph, gave a yearly rent of 12d. from land in Rottingdean which Stephen his man held of him. (fn. 30)

In 1428 the Prior of Lewes's land in Rottingdean was held as a quarter of a knight's fee. (fn. 31) It appears to have become part of his manor of Falmer, for in 1535 assized rents in Rottingdean were included in Falmer Manor, (fn. 32) which at the present day extends into Rottingdean.

About 1200 Ela daughter of Earl Hamelin de Warenne and widow of William Fitzwilliam gave to the abbey of Roche (Yorks.) 5 virgates of land in Rottingdean. (fn. 33) This the Yorkshire abbey transferred to the Dean and Chapter of Chichester, who in 1248 conveyed it to the Priory of Sele (near Bramber) in return for an annual payment in support of the chantry of Holy Cross and St. Augustine in the cathedral. (fn. 34) The subsequent history of the estate is unknown.

The manor of BALSDEAN [Baldesdena (xii cent.); Ballesden (xiv cent.); Ballysden, Ballesden, Baldesden (xvi cent.)] was granted to the Prior and Convent of Lewes by Earl Hamelin de Warenne about 1175 as 100 shillings worth of land, namely, 2½ hides and a virgate. (fn. 35) The manor was conveyed in 1537 by Robert the last prior to King Henry VIII, (fn. 36) by whom it was granted in 1538 to Thomas Cromwell, (fn. 37) but after his forfeiture it passed again to the Crown. The farm of the manor and of a tenement called Perchers and pasture for 600 sheep was leased by the Crown in 1545 to Richard Selme for 21 years. (fn. 38) Before 1557 the manor had passed to Thomas Gratwicke (fn. 39) who died on 12 January 1559, leaving a son Richard, aged 7 years. (fn. 40) In 1581 Richard and his wife Anne conveyed the manor to their cousin Roger Gratwicke of Tortington (fn. 41) who died in 1596, having bequeathed the manor to his brother and heir Philip and to Roger son of Philip. (fn. 42) The younger Roger predeceased his father who died in 1598 leaving three daughters, (fn. 43) the eldest of whom, Anne, with her husband Hugh Keate, sold the manor in 1609 to Sir William Gratwicke of Tortington, (fn. 44) who held the wardship of Elizabeth, the other surviving daughter of Philip. (fn. 45) Sir William in 1613 bequeathed the manor of Balsdean to his third son Roger, who was to marry his father's ward, Elizabeth Gratwicke. (fn. 46) From Roger Gratwicke the manor passed to his nephew William in 1653 (fn. 47) and from William in 1664 to his brother Francis, who left it to his nephew, Oliver Weekes, in 1670. (fn. 48) In 1679 Oliver Weekes and Philippa his wife and Robert Leeves, clerk, and Elizabeth his wife conveyed the manor to William Coby, an attorney. (fn. 49) It was probably he who as William Coby of Southover sold the manor in 1699 to Charles Geere of Hangleton, the manor and farm being then in the occupation of Nicholas Beard. Charles raised several mortgages upon the estate and on his death, between 1740 and 1745, his creditors being very pressing, his widow Elizabeth sold the estate in June 1745 to John Beard, one of the mortgagees. (fn. 50) By his will, dated April 1772, John Beard bequeathed the manor to his nephew Stenning Beard. (fn. 51) The manor remained in the Beard family until 1792, when Kitty Beard and James Cook the younger and Mary his wife conveyed it to Francis Whitfield. (fn. 52) In 1800 William Alexander and Peggy his wife conveyed it to Richard Andrew Turner. (fn. 53)

Gratwicke. Or three roundels axure each charged with a fret or.

In 1782 Balsdean farm contained about 1,000 acres of land, tithe free, and an adjoining farm called Norton paid all its great tithes to it, as did 100 acres on another farm. (fn. 54)

Two messuages and 1½ hides of land in Balsdean, which belonged to the prebend of the precentor of the church of South Mailing, were granted by the canons in 1262 to Peter de Worth for his life. (fn. 55) The canons had been accustomed to hunt at Stanmer and Balsdean from time out of mind, but in 1274 they complained that the Earl of Surrey had ousted them from this right. (fn. 56) In 1366 it was said that the canons had had from time out of mind certain tenants at Balsdean who owed suit at their courts and had to serve as reeves at South Mailing and Stanmer. (fn. 57) In 1535 the canons were receiving rents amounting to 6s. 8d. from Balsdean. (fn. 58) The deanery and college were granted in 1547 to Sir Thomas Palmer of Angmering. (fn. 59) Possibly the canon's land was the estate mentioned above called Norton Farm in Balsdean. In 1608 Sir Anthony Shirley is said to have claimed by letters patent the whole farm of Balsdean, consisting of 262 acres of pasturage on the Down. (fn. 60) It seems possible that this is the same farm which was by his will, dated 11 June 1670, bequeathed by Walter Burrell of Cuckfield in trust for the education of his grandson Walter, son of his son Ninian. (fn. 61)

An estate or manor of CHALONERS may have originated in land in Rottingdean and Balsdean which John Osbarn of London and Alice his wife conveyed in 1456 to Thomas Chaloner and others. (fn. 62) William Chaloner, his grandson, (fn. 63) conveyed the manor in 1541 to Hugh Ockenden for a yearly rent of £6 13s. 4d., payable after the death of Susan wife of William Purchyn. (fn. 64) The manor remained in the Ockenden family till 1614 when Richard Ockenden sold it to John Stanfield. (fn. 65) Richard Scrase held it in 1616, as a messuage and 8 virgates of land, late Okendens. (fn. 66)

George Bord or Boord, who had married Thomasyne, daughter of Richard Ockenden of Ashford, Kent, (fn. 67) died in February 1581 seised of the reversion of the £6 13s. 4d. rent, his heir being his son Stephen (fn. 68) to whom Ninian Chaloner conveyed the rent in the latter part of the year. (fn. 69) John Head and Jane his wife and Thomas Beard and Cicely his wife conveyed it in 1689 to Edward Head and Richard Beard. (fn. 70) Richard Beard was owner of Chaloners when he died in 1713. His wife Mary survived until 1726, and their only daughter Elizabeth married Henry Streatfield of Chiddingstone. (fn. 71)

One knight's fee in Rottingdean was held in 1242–3 of Earl Warenne (fn. 72) and the overlordship descended with the rape, passing in 1439 to Edmund Lenthall. (fn. 73) In 1536 it was held of the joint lords of the manor of Houndean (q.v.), (fn. 74) and still owed suit at Lewes in the early 17th century. (fn. 75)

This fee of BALSHILL belonged to Hugh de Cressy, who married Margery, or Margaret, elder daughter and co-heir of William de Chesney, (fn. 76) and their son Roger recovered it in 1205. (fn. 77) Next year Roger granted half a knight's fee in Rottingdean and 'Baldeshild' to Roger (de Cressy) son of William, and the other half to Ralph de Duverent for their lives. (fn. 78) Osbert Giffard claimed these two half-fees against these grantees in 1210, and Roger de Cressy the younger put in his claim. (fn. 79) In 1212 Osbert was still claiming one half-fee against Roger son of William, who called Roger de Cressy son of Hugh to warranty. (fn. 80) About this time one of the Rogers de Cressy gave to Walter son of Walter Malet all his property in Rottingdean and 'Baldeshylde', except the service of Osbert Giffard, in return for which Walter and Osbert were between them to do the service due from one knight's fee to Earl Warenne. (fn. 81) Presumably after the death of this Walter Malet, Roger gave to Sibton Abbey (Suffolk) land in Postwick (Norf.) in return for which they were to pay to Margery widow of Walter Malet 2½ marks yearly in discharge of her dower from her husband's lands in Balshill; (fn. 82) and Robert Malet, apparently brother of Walter, subsequently gave these Sussex lands to Sibton as ¾ knight's fee, which grant Roger confirmed. (fn. 83) This land was held as one knight's fee in 1242 by the Abbot of Sibton, (fn. 84) and in 1245 was leased by the abbey to Richard de Hulme, Dean of Lewes, for life, he undertaking to build a house worth £20 on the land. (fn. 85) Possibly the abbot soon after this exchanged the land, which was far distant from his other properties, and in 1325 it was settled as a messuage and carucate of land in Rottingdean on William atte Rye for life, with remainder to his son William and Sara his wife and their children. (fn. 86) This fee by 1536 was held of the manor of Houndean by Edward Markwicke (fn. 87) and had passed in the early 17th century to the heirs of Walter Fawkenor. (fn. 88) In 1790 it was represented by 160 acres of land called Bazhill alias Ballishill, part of the manor of Balsdean. (fn. 89)



The church of ST. MARGARET stands on rising ground on the east side of the village green. It is built of rubble and flint with stone dressings. The plan comprises a long nave with shorter south aisle of three bays, and a chancel separated from the nave by a tower which is now axial but has replaced an earlier central tower.

The nave is probably early-12th century, the west wall rebuilt after a collapse in the 14th century or later. The lower parts of the walls of tower and chancel may also be of the 12th century, but the two as they stand appear to be a rebuilding of the early 13th century. The south aisle with its arcade is modern except for the west window, which is a 14th-century light re-used.

The church appears to have been originally cruciform, with a central tower. The foundations of a south transept, exactly the same length as the present chancel, were discovered in 1909. The cross-arm was laid out askew to the long axis of the building, the nave of which was slightly wider, and the chancel slightly narrower, than the width of the tower and transept. Early in the 13th century the whole of the eastern arm appears to have been rebuilt, possibly owing to the tower having collapsed eastwards. The transept was abandoned, and the tower and chancel restored, the former as an axial tower, the nibs of the transept walling being taken up as lateral buttresses. At the same time the nave was widened slightly to the south, and an aisle of four bays constructed, to cover some two-thirds of the eastern part of its south wall. The widening of the nave threw its axis out of line with that of the eastern arm, and the new tower arches were centralized with the nave and are thus eccentric to both tower and chancel. The church appears to have been burnt by the French in 1377, and it may have been at this time that the aisle was abandoned and its arcade blocked. The west wall of the nave fell, perhaps about this time, and was rebuilt on the old foundations, with the west door central with the original nave, and thus eccentric to the present west wall. The south aisle was rebuilt in 1856, (fn. 90) much wider than the original, and in three bays instead of four.

The west wall of the nave shows, externally, a 14thcentury doorway flanked by a pair of very large buttresses of doubtful antiquity. The south-west angle of the nave is supported by a modern buttress, and the north-west angle shows clumsy rebuilding, the sandstone quoins packed together anyhow in very inefficient fashion. The adjoining north wall of the nave shows the extent of the collapse which necessitated this rebuilding. The north wall of the nave has five windows, the middle one of which is possibly early-14th-century, but is much restored. The remainder are modern, but under the sill of the easternmost is the lower part of a 13th-century single-light window. Above and west of this is a small light roughly formed in the blocked-up reveal of one of the original windows of the nave. The blocking contains portions of a small 12th-century shaft. Near the middle of the north wall is the lower part of the original north doorway. Only the outer order remains, the rest of the stone dressings having been removed and the opening filled up.

The north wall of the tower has a series of three fine lancet windows, one over the other. The two lateral buttresses each have a set-off at the level of the nave eaves, and another near the top. The east wall of the western buttress shows some of the original 12thcentury ashlar in its lower part. The east and west faces of the tower have each a small single-light window to the belfry, and the summit is roofed with a pyramidal cap, having on the west side a small dormer for a clock, now removed. Early-12th-century stones have been reused in the tower walling.

The north wall of the chancel contains a single-light window, much restored. The whole of the east wall was rebuilt in 1856, and shows a triplet of lancets instead of a three-light 14th-century window as before the restoration. The south wall of the chancel shows a single-light window similar to the one opposite, and west of this a modern priest's door. Next the tower is a blocked-up doorway once leading to a destroyed vestry. In the blocking has been inserted a small single-light window.

The south wall of the tower is similar to the northern. The western buttress has on its south face the weather moulding of the original aisle roof, and its eastern face shows 12th-century ashlar in its lower parts. Some of the internal quoins are of a curious re-entrant form. The whole of the south sides of the nave and its aisle are modern. The west window of the latter, however, is a 14th-century single light with foliated head under a quatrefoil, the whole probably removed from another part of the church.

The west end of the nave is filled by a modern porch, its screens supporting an organ loft. The south aisle with its arcade is modern, and the only old feature in the nave is the remains in the north wall of the easternmost of its original windows. The western jamb remains, and shows the window to have been in a lofty reveal with a semicircular head and a rather slight splay. The floor of the tower is raised three steps above that of the nave. The east and west tower arches rise from sturdy semi-octagonal responds with plain chamfered plinths and capped in simple fashion with a heavy rounded abacus, a short undercut bell, and a small rollmoulding. The arches are rather primitive, having two orders and a wall-arch, each order differing considerably in width from the next, and finished only with a very small chamfer. The western arch is much restored. The tower space is lit on either side by a single lofty lancet window. The masonry on the south side shows signs of fire.

The chancel is three steps higher than the tower space. The east wall, with its triplet of lancets, is modern. The side windows are much restored, but are probably 13th-century in general form. There is a modern priest's door in the south wall, west of which is a doorway, the head of which has been taken down and clumsily rebuilt, probably when the door was reopened to provide access to the destroyed 17th-century vestry, the chancel floor having been raised in the interim. In its blocking is a small single-light window, possibly brought from another part of the church, and reopened in 1922. (fn. 91)

The roofs of nave, chancel, and aisle are all modern, but some of the old timbers may have been re-used in the chancel roof. There is no clerestory, the aisle being roofed by an extension of the south slope of the nave roof.

The font stands at the west end of the south aisle, and is a modern copy of the original, the bowl of which lies on the sill of the window nearby. It had a central column with four surrounding shafts, and is of the 13th century, closely resembling that in Iford Church. On the same window-sill are portions of early-12th-century moulded stones, and others are arranged outside the west door of the church, examples of the elaborate ornamentation of the original building.

The window glass in the tower-space and chancel was made by William Morris from the designs of Sir Edward Burne-Jones. No medieval monuments survive.

There is one bell, by John Rudhall, 1791, (fn. 92) and another of later date.

The plate consists of a silver communion cup and paten of 1719; another cup of 1832; a paten of 1901; a flagon of 1875, presented in 1883; and two pewter alms dishes. (fn. 93)

The registers begin in 1558.


The church of Rottingdean was given to the Prior and Convent of Lewes by William de Warenne the second. (fn. 94) The gift was confirmed by Ralph, Bishop of Chichester, in 1121, (fn. 95) and by Ralph, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the same year. (fn. 96) In the time of Seffrid II (1180–1204) the church was appropriated to the convent, and provision for a vicar was made of a virgate of land and tithes of the parish church and the chapel of Balsdean and all small tithes. (fn. 97) The vicar's pension in 1538 was 26s. 8d., while the farm of the rectory was worth £8. (fn. 98) The rectory and advowson were resigned by Robert, the last Prior of Lewes, to the king in 1537, (fn. 99) and were both granted in 1538 to Thomas Cromwell. (fn. 100) After his forfeiture they were granted in 1541 to Anne of Cleves. (fn. 101) Queen Mary granted the advowson to the Bishop of Chichester in 1558, but on the accession of Elizabeth it was resumed by the Crown, (fn. 102) and both the advowson and rectory were granted to Robert Freke of the Inner Temple in December 1559. (fn. 103) The rectory was then in the tenure of Hugh Okenden, who had been holding it under the prior and convent in 1535. (fn. 104) Freke sold to Sir Richard Sackville, (fn. 105) and the advowson remained with his family (fn. 106) until about 1835, when the patron was the Earl of Thanet. (fn. 107) Shortly after this date it was acquired by the Earl of Abergavenny.

The rectory was sold or leased by Richard, Earl of Dorset, in 1616 to Lord William Howard, Sir George Rivers, and others, (fn. 108) who were apparently acting as trustees for Sir Edward Morley, for he died seised of the rectory of Rottingdean in 1620. (fn. 109) His son John Morley in 1638 sold the rectory to Robert Baker, then vicar of Rottingdean, and to his successors. (fn. 110) This sale included tithes from 18 acres of ground called Barndens in Telscombe and in 1696 Isaac Woodruffe, then vicar of Rottingdean, proved his title to these tithes. (fn. 111) It is possible that the so-called rectory conveyed to the vicar in 1638 did not comprise all the rectorial tithes, for in 1849 the vicarage was endowed with a portion only of the rectorial tithes, (fn. 112) and after 1638 the Earls of Dorset were including the rectory in settlements of their estates. (fn. 113)

The chapel of Balsdean was granted by William de Warenne the second to the Prior and Convent of Lewes. (fn. 114) In 1577 the chapel of Balsdean and 2 acres of land in Rottingdean in the tenure of John Dumrell and Thomas Freake were granted to Peter and Edward Grey, in consideration of the good service of their father Peter Grey. (fn. 115) The chapel is mentioned in a conveyance of the manor of Balsdean in 1699, (fn. 116) but before 1870 it had been desecrated and was used as a stable. (fn. 117)


  • 1. Suss. Arch. Coll. i, 59, 61, quoting Nonae Rolls.
  • 2. Capgrave, Chron. of Engl. (Rolls Ser.), 233; Suss. Arch. Coll. xii, 42, note 1; xv, 1355 Cal. Close, 1377–81, p. 135; Cal. Fine R. 1377–83, p. 157.
  • 3. Rot. Parl. iv, 160a. In the early 17th century there was a waste or common lying on the east side of the village, west of the church, where there had once been tenements: Bk. of J. Rowe (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiv), 65.
  • 4. Lewis, Top. Dict.; Gent. Mag. lxxi, 1082.
  • 5. Feet of F. Suss. Mich, 14 Jas. I.
  • 6. Add. MS. 5683, fol. 31 d.
  • 7. Add. MS. 39447, fols. 2, 3.
  • 8. Cal. Pat. 1313–17, p. 247; 1317–21, p. 605; 1334–8, p. 203.
  • 9. Also called Blackrock.
  • 10. Bk. of J. Rowe, 66.
  • 11. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 12. Suss. N. & Q. v, 109. For reminiscences of Rottingdean in mid-Victorian times, by Mrs. Stanley Baldwin, see ibid. iv, passim.
  • 13. Ibid, v, 72.
  • 14. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxxix, 74.
  • 15. Besse, Collection of Sufferings of People called Quakers, i, 711–17, 720, 729.
  • 16. See paper by G. A. Holleyman in Antiquity, vol. ix, map opposite p. 448.
  • 17. Suss. Arch. Coll. xv, 243; a report of excavation of a tumulus at Rottingdean in 1863.
  • 18. It is fully described in Suss. Arch. Coll. v, 105–10.
  • 19. V.C.H. Suss, i, 437b, 413a.
  • 20. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. ii), 297.
  • 21. Ibid. vii, 641.
  • 22. Feud. Aids, v, 129, 135; Cal. Inq. p.m. ix, no. 54; Chan. Inq. p.m. 4 Hen. V, no. 54; 18 Hen. VI, no. 28.
  • 23. Bk. of J. Rowe (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiv), 189.
  • 24. Chan. Inq. p.m. 16 Edw. IV, no. 66, ibid. (Ser. 2), ccxxiii, 58; cccxcix, 157; Bk. of J. Rowe, 62; Horsfield, Sussex, i, 187.
  • 25. Bk. of J. Rowe, 62, 66.
  • 26. Add. MS. 5698, fol. 139.
  • 27. Lewes Chart. i, 11, 21, 22, 37.
  • 28. Ibid. i, 33.
  • 29. Ibid. i, 55; ii, 44.
  • 30. Ibid. ii, 45.
  • 31. Feud. Aids, v, 162.
  • 32. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 329.
  • 33. Salzman, Chartulary of Sele, no. 37; cf. ibid. no. 65.
  • 34. Ibid. no. 36.
  • 35. Lewes Chart. i, 45.
  • 36. Feet of F. Div. Co. Mich. 29 Hen. VIII; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 329.
  • 37. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), g. 384 (74).
  • 38. Ibid. xx (1), g. 1068 (17); Add. MS. 5683, fol. 27; Min. Accts. Hen. VIII, 3498.
  • 39. Add. MS. 5683, fol. 27.
  • 40. Inq. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 488; Comber, Suss. Gen. (Horsham), 115; Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 36, 65.
  • 41. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 18; Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 65.
  • 42. Ibid. 43–4; Inq. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 491.
  • 43. Ibid. 492; Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 45.
  • 44. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 246; Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 37, 45, 65. Sir William was the younger son of Thomas Gratwicke who died in 1559.
  • 45. Ibid. 45. Mary, the second daughter, died in 1603. Cf. Inq. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 494.
  • 46. Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 37–8; Inq. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 495.
  • 47. Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 40–1, 65.
  • 48. Ibid.
  • 49. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 18. Philippa was a daughter of Sir Walter Raleigh: Suss. Arch. Coll. lx, 39.
  • 50. Add. MS. 5683, fol. 31 d.
  • 51. Ibid.
  • 52. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 18.
  • 53. Ibid.
  • 54. Add. MS. 5683, fol. 32.
  • 55. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. vii), 673.
  • 56. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i, 207; Suss. Arch. Coll. vi, 115.
  • 57. Ibid. xxi, 160.
  • 58. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 337.
  • 59. Suss. Arch. Coll. v, 139.
  • 60. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 188.
  • 61. Add. MS. 5683, fol. 32; Suss. Arch. Coll. xliii, 17.
  • 62. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 3137.
  • 63. Comber, Suss. Gen. (Ardingly), 69.
  • 64. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 91.
  • 65. Ibid.
  • 66. Bk. of J. Rowe (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiv), 63. Scrase may have held it, perhaps as tenant, in 1603.
  • 67. Comber, Suss. Gen. (Ardingly), 19.
  • 68. Inq. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiii), 77.
  • 69. Fines (ibid. xix), 92; cf. Comber, op. cit. 70.
  • 70. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 92.
  • 71. Add. MS. 5698, fol. 140.
  • 72. Bk. of Fees, 690.
  • 73. Chan. Inq. p.m. 18 Hen. VI, no. 28; Bk. of J. Rowe, 187, 192.
  • 74. Ibid. 6.
  • 75. Ibid. 195.
  • 76. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxv, 27.
  • 77. Rot. Lift. Claus. (Rec. Com.), 33.
  • 78. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. ii), 106, 107.
  • 79. Cur. Reg. R. vi, 92. Both these Roger de Cressys had sons called Roger: Dugdale, Mon. v, 559; G.E.C. Complete Peerage (2nd ed.), iii, 528, note c.
  • 80. Cur. Reg. R. vi, 222.
  • 81. Arundel MS. 221, fol. 84d.
  • 82. Ibid. 83.
  • 83. Ibid. 84d.
  • 84. Bk. of Fees, 670.
  • 85. Arundel MS. 221, fol. 85.
  • 86. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 1651.
  • 87. Bk. of J. Rowe, 6.
  • 88. Ibid. 195.
  • 89. Notice of sale in Sussex Weekly Advertiser, Aug. 1790.
  • 90. For an account of the work done at this time, see Suss. Arch. Coll. ix, 67.
  • 91. This was considered by Mr. P. M. Johnston, F.S.A., to be a 'low-side window': Suss. Arch. Coll. xlii, 162.
  • 92. Ibid. xvi, 222.
  • 93. Ibid. liv, 234–5.
  • 94. Lewes Chart. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxviii), 21, 11.
  • 95. Suss. Arch. Coll. xxxv, 193.
  • 96. Anct. Chart. (Pipe R. Soc. x), 11.
  • 97. Suss. N. & Q. ii, 252–3; Add. MS. 6351, fol. 47.
  • 98. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 26.
  • 99. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xx), 426–7.
  • 100. L. and P. Hen. VIII, xiii (1), g. 384 (74).
  • 101. Ibid. xvi, g. 503 (32).
  • 102. Suss. Arch. Coll. ix, 329; xxxvi, 48.
  • 103. Pat. 2 Eliz. pt. viii.
  • 104. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 26.
  • 105. Add. MS. 39447, fol. 5v.
  • 106. Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.).
  • 107. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 187.
  • 108. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xx), 323.
  • 109. Inq. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 165.
  • 110. Pat. 13 Chas. I, pt. xxii.
  • 111. Add. MS. 5698, fol. 139.
  • 112. Lewis, Top. Dict.; cf. Suss. Arch. Coll. x, 23 note.
  • 113. Fines (Suss. Rec. Soc. xix), 272; Recov. R. Trin. 7 Anne, ro. 220.
  • 114. Lewes Chart. (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxviii), 21. Cf. Suss. N. & Q. ii, 253.
  • 115. Pat. 19 Eliz. pt. vii, m. 29.
  • 116. Add. MS. 5683, fol. 31.
  • 117. Lower, History of Sussex, ii, 128–9.