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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM      
             
was greatly ridiculed by the haymakers. This ill-timed levity was at once severely punished. A heavy storm forthwith broke over the field and destroyed the crop. Ever after, says the legend, a rain-storm visited that field at haymaking time. Cuthman and his mother journeyed on and came to Steyning. Again the cord broke and, as one writer says, " let down the old lady." This second mishap was supposed by the monkish chronicler to have been a divine intimation to the saint that his journey should now end, and possibly charmed with the delightful surroundings, he decided to settle there.    
             
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In due time St. Cuthman began to erect a church, but while the work was in progress a beam shifted and much of the building collapsed. Whilst he ruefully contemplated this disaster and thought on the vast amount of labour necessary to make it good, a stranger suddenly appeared and pointed out how the damage might be speedily repaired.   Cuthman and his labourers followed the advice of the stranger, who also worked with them, until at length the sacred edifice was finished and beautified.  
When all was complete the saint fell at the feet of this great. artizan and asked his name. " I am He in Whose honour thou hast raised this temple," he replied, and then vanished.  
In the fulness of time Cuthman, with filial piety, laid his aged mother to rest, and later was himself buried in the church which he had built. Over his bones a shrine was erected and here pilgrims from far and near paid their devotions, and many wonderful cures were claimed to have been vouchsafed to the crippled and sick.   The Saint's anniversary was anciently kept at Steyyning on February 8th. In the church porch may be seen what is most probably Cuthman's grave-slab. It bears a. rude double cross in low relief and is certainly of pre-Conquest date. A second slab, probably as old, may have covered the grave of the Saint's mother.  
           
So great was Cuthman's influence on the fortunes of the charming little town of Steyning that for several hundred years, after his death, and certainly as late as the beginning of the 12th century, it was known as St. Cuthman's Port.  
Here in the year 858 King Ethelwulph, the father of Alfred the Great, was buried, but the body was afterwards taken up and re-buried at Winchester.  
   
King Alfred had estates at Steyning and Beeding and bequeathed them to two of his nephews. The Steyning property    
             
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002