The borough of Hove

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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'The borough of Hove', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes, ed. L F Salzman( London, 1940), British History Online [accessed 14 July 2024].

'The borough of Hove', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes. Edited by L F Salzman( London, 1940), British History Online, accessed July 14, 2024,

"The borough of Hove". A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, the Rape of Lewes. Ed. L F Salzman(London, 1940), , British History Online. Web. 14 July 2024.

In this section


La Houue, Huua (xiii cent.); Hova (xvii cent.).

The municipal borough of Hove now contains 3,953 acres, but the old parish of Hove only contained 778 acres. (fn. 1) It lay along the coast to the west of Brighton beyond the end of the west cliff, and reached northwards to the lower slopes of the Downs. The lowlying land is clay, changing to chalk in the northern part of the parish. The village of Hove lay at the western end of the parish and the roads connecting it with Brighton and Portslade were little more than lanes, until the development of Hove into a watering-place began in the second quarter of the 19th century.

Borough of Hove. Tierced in pairle: 1. Or a saltire azure voided argent; 2. Gules two pairs of leg-irons interlaced argent; 3. Checky or and azure three martlets or, all in a border ermine charged with six martlets or.

The so-called Manor House (fn. 2) stood on the east side of Hove Street, a short quarter of a mile to the south-west of the old parish church. It was a small building of 18th-century date. Its chief architectural feature was a domed cupola supported by slender columns, on the summit of the roof, the whole probably designed as a bell-cote. The building was demolished in 1936, and a large block of flats now covers the site.

The coombe between the Hove spur and that on which the older part of Brighton stands was known as Goldstone Bottom, and part of it is now preserved as a public park. Within this is a large block of sarsen stone known as the 'Goldstone'. (fn. 3) The stones which now surround it have been brought from elsewhere in modern times. A Bronze Age barrow used to stand in what was known as Coney-burrow Field at the eastern boundary of Hove. It was excavated in 1856, (fn. 4) when an oaken coffin was found containing, among other objects, a cup of red amber of unusual beauty. The barrow was destroyed in the following year, and its site is now the garden of 13 Palmeira Avenue.

Repeated inundations of the sea brought about the ruin of the medieval village; (fn. 5) 150 acres were washed away between 1291 and 1340, (fn. 6) probably including much of the hamlet of Bishop's Wick at the eastern end of the parish, where a revised rental had to be drawn up in 1335 owing to damage done by the sea and only 14 tenants appear a few years later. (fn. 7) Further losses by the encroachment of the sea occurred during the later 17th century, (fn. 8) probably after a period of immunity, since in 1617 many cottages, shops, and warehouses for the fishing trade were built on the shore near Brighton, some even on the beach itself. (fn. 9) The population, however, was always poor, until the 19th century, only four houses being assessed for the Hearth Tax in 1665. (fn. 10)

In 1801 the population of Hove was only 101, but fifty years later it was over 4,000, owing to the westward building development of Brighton. Adelaide Crescent and Palmeira Square were laid out about this time. Shortly afterwards was founded, east of the parish church, the new colony of Cliftonville, consisting of the St. Aubyns Villas and the three roads to the east, leading from the sea to the new church of Holy Trinity.

In 1840 the railway to Brighton was opened, connexion with London being attained the following year. The parish is now covered with houses, and the estimated population of the borough in 1937 was 57,160.

With its development as a watering-place, many changes in its government have taken place. The first step towards self-government was the appointment of the Hove Commissioners, elected on a small franchise, for the same purposes as the Commissioners at Brighton (q.v.). In 1832 Brighton and Hove were formed into one Parliamentary Borough. (fn. 11) In 1893 the parish of Aldrington was joined to that of Hove for local government purposes, (fn. 12) and in 1898 the Municipal Borough of Hove received its royal charter. In 1927 the parishes of Preston Rural and Hangleton and parts of West Blatchington and Patcham were added to the borough of Hove. (fn. 13) The corporation consists of a mayor, 10 aldermen, and 30 councillors, elected from 10 wards.

The Town Hall was built in 1882. The Public Library, established in 1891, was rebuilt in 1908 and is also a repository for county manorial documents, with a special room given by the late Viscountess Wolseley. The St. Anne's Well Gardens on part of the Upwick estate belong to the Corporation. The well in the 18th century was used as a spa by Dr. Russell of Brighton (q.v.). The Sussex County Cricket ground is in the borough, as well as a public recreation ground.


At the time of the Domesday Survey Hove was presumably included in Preston (q.v.) The connexion of this land with Preston is shown by allusions in the 13th-century custumal of Preston to the bishop's ploughs in Hove and to the fact that the men of the canons of Hove were obliged to reap 15 acres of barley, oats, and wheat by way of tithe on the bishop's manor of Preston. (fn. 14) By 1291 two prebends had been created, possibly by Bishop Richard le Poor (1214–17), (fn. 15) one called Hova Villa and the other Hova Ecclesia. (fn. 16) The church of Bolney and land in Bolney was attached to the prebend of Hova Villa, (fn. 17) while the church of Hove was attached to Hova Ecclesia. (fn. 18)

The manor of HOVE VILLA and HOVE ECCLESIA was, apparently, not divided but was held jointly by the two prebendaries (fn. 19) until 1874, when it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 20) Shortly after this it was acquired by William John Williams, a Brighton solicitor, and passed to his son Harry Montague Williams, whose executors remained lords until all the tenements had been freed. (fn. 21)

Meanwhile it appears to have been the general custom for the prebendaries to let the manor at farm. An early lessee may have been Reynold Keneward, who in 1296 paid a lay subsidy of £2 16s. from Hove, a much larger sum than any of the other inhabitants. (fn. 22) These in 1340 all lived by working on the land, and no one possessed goods and chattels worth more than 16s. (fn. 23) In 1514 it was arranged that the vicar of Hove, William Atkys, should farm both the prebends, paying £10 per annum for Hova Villa and 7 marks for Hova Ecclesia (fn. 24), and this arrangement still seems to have been in force in 1534. (fn. 25) Apparently the consent of the bishop, dean, and chapter of Chichester was necessary for each lease. (fn. 26) The farmers also held the manorial rights and the same man farmed both prebends though he had to obtain separate leases. In 1626 Tuppen Scrase obtained the lease of Hova Villa for a term of lives from Dr. Thorne and in 1641 William Scrase had a lease of Hova Ecclesia from Dr. Goffe, (fn. 27) being a renewal of his tenure as Goffe had only recently been appointed. (fn. 28) From this time the Scrases, who had been customary tenants of the manor in the previous century and settled in the neighbourhood much earlier, (fn. 29) were lessees of the manor and held the court until 1702, when it passed to Tuppen's great-granddaughter Elizabeth, the wife of Nathaniel Tredcroft. (fn. 30) Their great-grandson Nathaniel sold his interest in the manor to William Stanford of Preston in 1808. (fn. 31) In 1835, however, Stanford was the lessee of Hova Ecclesia only, while Hova Villa was leased to William and Charles Marshall. (fn. 32)

Pierpoint. Azure a chief cheeky or and gules.

To the north of the parish and extending into Preston (q.v.) lay the estate or reputed manor of UPWICK or HIGHWICK or WICK, which was held of the bishop as half a knight's fee. (fn. 33) The tenant paid a yearly rent of 4 broad arrows, which were valued at 2s. 8d. in 1617, (fn. 34) and owed homage and fealty, (fn. 35) heriot and relief to the lord of Preston. The heriot was paid for the last time in 1794, (fn. 36) but the same rent and relief were still paid in 1825. (fn. 37) Upwick probably formed part of one knight's fee held of the Bishop of Chichester in 1166 by Simon de Pierpoint or Perpond (Petraponte) jointly with three others. (fn. 38) Another Simon held it in the 13th century, when his tenants had to bring all their ploughs to two boonworks at Preston. They also took their share in repairing the fences of Aldingbourne Park. (fn. 39) He died about 1241, his heir then being under age; (fn. 40) the custody of his land at Upwick, which was at the time mortgaged to a Jew of Norwich, fell to the bishop and was bequeathed by him in 1244 to the canons of Tortington. (fn. 41) In 1256 the tenant was Sir Robert Pierpoint. (fn. 42) A third Simon appears in 1280, when he held a court of his own for his villeins 'in Preston', which clearly represents the Upwick estate. He endeavoured to force Hildebrand Reynberd to serve as reeve, but he with fifty-three other villeins attacked Sir Simon, set fire to his house at 'Herwick', killed his falcon, and did other damage. (fn. 43) In 1354 Simon's lands had passed to Walter de Pierpoint, from whom Simon, son of Simon de Pierpont, tried to recover them. (fn. 44) For 200 years no tenant of Upwick can be traced, but in 1551 it was held by Thomas Smythe. (fn. 45) He died before 1559, (fn. 46) and left Wick to his wife Anne, charging it after her death with an annuity of £6 13s. 4d. to be paid to the poor of Lewes, Hove, and Buxted. (fn. 47) In that year she settled Upwick on herself for life, with remainder to Thomas Pounde and the heirs of his body. (fn. 48) She afterwards married Thomas Darbye and in 1572, with their consent, Thomas Pounde sold his interest in Upwick to Anthony Stapley of Framfield. (fn. 49) At the same time, the annuity charged on the estate was extinguished, and transferred to other manors held by Pounde. The poor of Hove received £3 6s. 8d. paid on Ash Wednesday each year. (fn. 50) The charity is now lost, though attempts were made to recover it in the 19th century. Anne died in the winter of 1585–6 (fn. 51) and Anthony Stapley did fealty for Upwick in 1588. (fn. 52) On his death in 1606, (fn. 53) he was succeeded by his son Anthony, the Regicide (d. 1655), (fn. 54) and his grandson John. The latter was created a baronet in 1660, (fn. 55) but owing to financial straits, was forced first to mortgage the estate and then to sell it in 1700 to John Lilly, who disposed of it the next year to John Scutt, the Brighton brewer, for £1,000. (fn. 56) Scutt died in 1725 and was succeeded by his son John, who entailed the estate on his nephew Benjamin. (fn. 57) Benjamin inherited Upwick in 1744 (fn. 58) and it afterwards passed to his son and grand son, both named Thomas. (fn. 59) The former had barred the entail, so that his son, the Rev. Thomas Scutt, was able to sell the estate and begin its development as a building site. (fn. 60) Before 1825 he had sold 24 acres, now the site of Brunswick Square, and in that year the boundaries of the estate were defined by an agreement made between him and William Stanford, the lord of both Preston and Hove manors. A map of the estate shows that Upwick was a long and narrow strip of land, running north and south with Wick House in its centre, (fn. 61) presumably still on the same site as Simon de Pierpont's house in 1280. In 1830 Scutt sold the remainder of the estate to Mr. (afterwards Sir) Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, (fn. 62) by whose descendants it was gradually sold for building.

Goldsmid. Party saltirewise erminois and ermine a chief gules with a goldfinch proper between two roses or therein.


The old parish church of ST. ANDREW stands a furlong to the east of Hove Street, midway between the old churches of Aldrington and Brighton, all three having apparently been at one time joined by a road, the modern Church Road.

The church consisted of a 13th-century nave of five bays with aisles on both sides, a chancel, and a west tower. This comparatively large building seems to have gradually fallen into disrepair with the decay of the village, and by 1724 the chancel had almost disappeared and the tower was in a very ruinous condition. (fn. 63) Sunday services were then only held there once in three weeks in summer and once a month in winter, and communion was celebrated at Preston. (fn. 64) Soon after this the aisles became unroofed, and by the end of the century the church was reduced to the four eastern bays of the nave, the arches of which were blocked up, and a bell-cote constructed over the east gable to take the bells from the fallen tower. (fn. 65) The materials from this were taken to build a sham ruin in Goodwood Park. In 1836 the whole was entirely rebuilt except for the nave arcades.

The church consists to-day of a nave of five bays with aisles to north and south, a south porch and western tower, and a chancel with north vestry. The exterior of the church shows flint-work with pseudoNorman dressings in Roman cement. The arcades of the nave are supported on each side by four circular columns with rich stiff-leaf ornament on the bells and two heavy rolls, with a scotia between them, as abacus. The bases are water-holding. The arches have an inner order with large pointed rolls, very deeply quirked, to the arrises. The western arches are restored, but the rest of the arcades seem to be original work. No old monuments remain.

There is one bell, bearing the initials T.H. and ascribed to the 14th century. (fn. 66) The plate is modern. (fn. 67)

The registers date from 1538, and are now in the church of All Saints, since 1892 the parish church of Hove. (fn. 68)

ALL SAINTS was constituted the parish church in 1892. It was designed by J. L. Pearson and the nave was begun in 1889, consecrated in 1891, and the chancel, transepts, and chapel added in 1901. The stone reredos and sedilia on both sides of the chancel were added in 1908. The base of the tower at the south-west and the western porch were built in 1924. The church is of Sussex sandstone ashlar, with an oak roof in the Early Decorated style, and consists of a nave of five bays, aisles, transepts, chancel, apsidal chapel at the south-east connected to the vestry at the north-east by a passage behind the altar, and a small chapel beneath the organ also at the north-east. There is a turret on either corner of the east end, and a good modern window in the wall of the tower.

EMMANUEL, Lansdowne Road, is an unconsecrated proprietary chapel built in 1868 of brick with a cement facing and a lead roof. It consists of a clerestoried nave, aisles, transepts containing galleries, a small chancel at the west, with the pulpit in the middle, and a gallery at the east holding the organ.

HOLY TRINITY, Eaton Road, designed by Mr. Woodman, was built in 1864 of red brick with stone dressings in an Italian Gothic style. There is a battlemented tower on the south with a round stair-turret in its west wall and with an open porch at its base. The building consists of a nave of four bays with a wooden gallery at the west, aisles, and apsidal chancel with the vestry to the south and the organ-chamber to the north.

ST. AGNES, Fonthill Road, was built in 1913 (the aisle and porches being added in 1930) and is of red brick with stone dressings. It is uncompleted and consists of a nave over a hall, south aisle, of which the east end is divided off as a vestry and the west end is used as a chapel, and two south porches.

ST. ANDREW, Waterloo Street, was built in 1828 from the designs of Sir Charles Barry, the chancel being added in 1882, and is of brick, with cement facing at the west, in a Romanesque style. It consists of a west porch and turret with clock, nave, wide chancel with a dome in the middle supported by four arches, the altar being in a small apse, and western gallery. The communion plate is of 1828, except for a silver almsdish of 1755. (fn. 69)

ST. BARNABAS, Sackville Road, was built from the designs of J. L. Pearson in 1883 of split flint with red brick and stone dressings in an early-Gothic style. The interior is of whitewashed brick, and it consists of a nave of four bays with blind triforium arches, aisles, transepts (the organ being in the north transept), apsidal chancel divided from the nave by a light metal screen and having a wooden triptych and panelling, chapel at the south-east, vestry at the north-east, and porch at the north-west. There is a small spire above the crossing.

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, Church Road, was built by W. G. and E. Habershon in 1852 of split flint with stone dressings in the Early Decorated style. It consists of a clerestoried nave of four bays with hammerbeam roof resting on carved stone corbels, aisles, lofty transepts, with a choir gallery in the south transept, small chancel, chapel at the south-east, and western porch with three entrances. There is a tower with a clock and stone spire at the north-east and with a porch on the north side of its base, and a hall along the south side of the church.

ST. PATRICK, Cambridge Road, designed by H. Kendall, was built in 1858 as a proprietary chapel and was then called St. James; it was consecrated in 1885. It is built, on a north and south alignment, of stone rubble with ashlar dressings in the Early Decorated style and consists of a clerestoried nave of six bays with a hammer-beam roof, aisles, east transept, chancel with clerestory windows on the west, chapel at the north-west, and porch at the south. There is the base of an unfinished tower to the north of the transept. In addition to modern communion-plate there is a fine silver alms-dish of Edinburgh make (c. 1635) originally given to the church of Duffus (Elgin) by John Guthrie. (fn. 70)

ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE, Davigdor Road, was built by Messrs. Clayton and Black in 1914 of red brick with stone dressings and it was consecrated in 1924. It is uncompleted and consists of a nave of five bays, north and south processional paths and path behind altar, sanctuary, and wooden gallery at the west. In the basement are the vestries and a hall which were built in 1901.


The prebendaries of Hova Ecclesia were the rectors and also the patrons of the vicarage. (fn. 71) A vicarage was instituted before 1291, when it was valued at £5, (fn. 72) and in 1340 the vicar was receiving £4 16s. a year, derived from the oblations at the church, tithes of fish, herrings, cattle, and the tithes of corn from the Croft. (fn. 73) In 1531 the vicarage was united with that of Preston (fn. 74) (q.v.) and an annual rent of £4 was payable from the prebend of Hova Ecclesia to the vicar of Preston. (fn. 75)

With the growth of Hove into a watering-place in the second quarter of the 19th century new churches were built, and in 1879 the vicarages of Hove and Preston were separated. (fn. 76) Although St. Andrews was for a century in a ruinous condition, it remained the parish church of Hove until 1892, when it became a chapel of ease to All Saints.

In 1419 there was a CHANTRY in the parish church served by a priest, whose salary was at least 7 marks a year, but there is no other record of the chantry. (fn. 77)

The old ecclesiastical parish of Hove has been subdivided into the following parishes: All Saints, now the parish church, in the patronage of the Bishop of Chichester; Holy Trinity, 1864, a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the bishop; St. Agnes was in 1927 constituted a vicarage in the patronage of the bishop; St. Andrew, Waterloo Street, a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the vicar of Hove; St. Barnabas (1883), a vicarage in the patronage of the vicar; St. John the Baptist (1854), a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the vicar; St. Patrick, a vicarage since 1885 in the patronage of the bishop; St. Thomas the Apostle (1924), a vicarage in the patronage of the bishop.


  • 1. East Suss. C.C. Year Bk. 1912–13.
  • 2. Country Life, xliii, 114. It was not the manor-house, which was presumably 'the Prebend House', slightly farther north adjoining the medieval tithe-barn, now destroyed: Harrison and North, Old Brighton, Hove, and Preston, 192–5.
  • 3. Suss. County Mag. vi, 725–30. The name 'Goldstone field' occurs in 1617: Treas. of Rec. Misc. Bks., vol. 157, fo. 166.
  • 4. Suss. Arch. Coll. ix, 119; V.C.H. Suss. i, 317–18.
  • 5. During the 14th century Hove is found assessed with neighbouring vills to provide ships or mariners for the king's service, or funds for the defence of the coast: e.g. Cal. Pat. 1301–7, p. 75; ibid. 1324–7, p. 7; ibid. 1381–5, p. 588.
  • 6. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 358.
  • 7. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxi, 83.
  • 8. Preston MSS., Letters of Capt. Cheynell.
  • 9. Treas. of Rec. Misc. Bks., vol. clvii, fol. 170.
  • 10. Subsidy R. 258/18.
  • 11. Stat. 2 and 3 Will. IV, c. 46.
  • 12. Local Gov. Bd. Order, 30, 228.
  • 13. Hove (Extension Order), 1927.
  • 14. Sussex Custumals (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxi), 81, 82.
  • 15. V.C.H. Suss. ii, 48. The theory that there was one original prebend of Hove, subsequently divided, is unsupported by evidence.
  • 16. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 137. They were valued respectively at £30 and £20. In the 16th century, if not earlier, the prebendary of Hova Ecclesia occupied the 16th stall on the Decani side, the prebendary of Hova Villa the 9th on the Cantoris side: Suss. Arch. Coll. xxix, 32–3.
  • 17. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 358. In 1316 Robert de Askeby, prebendary of Hova Villa, was also parson of Bolney: Cal. Pat. 1313–17, p. 561; cf. Tout, Admin. Hist. iii, 98, 114, 115, 159; vi, 8.
  • 18. Inq. Non. 357.
  • 19. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 170, no. 3; Parl. Survey, 1650, cit. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 166.
  • 20. Charles Thomas-Stanford, Wick, A Contribution to the History of Hove (Hove, Combridge, 1923), 44.
  • 21. Ex inf. F. Bentham Stevens.
  • 22. Suss. Rec. Soc. x, 42.
  • 23. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 357–8.
  • 24. Add. MS. 39352, fols. 75, 95.
  • 25. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 301.
  • 26. Chan. Proc. (ser. 2), bdle. 89, no. 32.
  • 27. Close R. 1650, no. 5.
  • 28. Add. MS. 39352, fol. 79 d.
  • 29. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 170, no. 32; Coram Rege R. 650, m. 117; Thomas-Stanford, op. cit. 45.
  • 30. Magna Britannia (1738); ThomasStanford, op. cit. 46.
  • 31. Ibid.
  • 32. Ibid.
  • 33. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxi, 135; Preston MSS. Rental, 1551.
  • 34. Ibid.; Treas. of Rec. Misc. Bks., vol. clvii, fol. 16d.
  • 35. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxvii, 32, 35.
  • 36. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxx, 88.
  • 37. Preston MSS. Indenture, 1825.
  • 38. Red Bk. of Exch. (Rolls Ser.) i, 199; cf. Hurstpierpoint in Buttinghill Hundred and Westmeston in Streat Hundred.
  • 39. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxi, 81.
  • 40. Cal. Pat. 1232–47, p. 267.
  • 41. Cal. Close, 1242–7, p. 513. The name is written 'Aldwick' on the roll, but this is obviously a mistake for 'Alt' wick; cf. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxi, 81.
  • 42. Ibid. 39.
  • 43. Suss. Arch. Coll. lxx, 89; V.C.H. Suss. ii, 185.
  • 44. Thomas-Stanford, op. cit. 24.
  • 45. Preston, MSS. Rental, 1551.
  • 46. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 484–5.
  • 47. Close R. 15 Eliz.
  • 48. Suss. Rec. Soc. xx, 484–5.
  • 49. Ibid. 487.
  • 50. Close R. 15 Eliz.
  • 51. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxvii, 32.
  • 52. Ibid. 33.
  • 53. Ibid. xxxiii, 65.
  • 54. Ibid.; Thomas-Stanford, op. cit. 30; Treas. of Rec. Misc. Bks., vol. clvii, fol. 16d.
  • 55. G.E.C. Baronetage, iii, 97–8.
  • 56. Thomas-Stanford, op. cit. 33; Preston MSS. Rental, 1713.
  • 57. Thomas-Stanford, op. cit. 37.
  • 58. Ibid.
  • 59. Ibid. 38.
  • 60. Ibid.
  • 61. Preston MSS., Indenture, 1825.
  • 62. Thomas-Stanford, op. cit. 38.
  • 63. Horsfield, Sussex, i, 67.
  • 64. Add. MS. 39343, fol. 290.
  • 65. There are a number of drawings remaining of the church at this period. They vary considerably in their accuracy. Some show only three and a half bays in use. The bell-cote is shown on either gable.
  • 66. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi, 143.
  • 67. Ibid. lv, 138.
  • 68. The registers from 1539 to 1812 have been printed by E. F. Salmon (1912).
  • 69. Suss. Arch. Coll. lv, 141.
  • 70. Suss. Arch. Coll. lv, 140.
  • 71. Close R. 1650, no. 5; Suss. Rec. Soc. iv, 14.
  • 72. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 135.
  • 73. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 357.
  • 74. Add. MS. 39343, fol. 290.
  • 75. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 301.
  • 76. Add MS. 39343, fol. 295.
  • 77. Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxvi, 140.