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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       BRAMBER side of the river and, therefore, in Beeding, a Priory to be dependent upon the Benedictine Abbey of St. Florent, near Saumur in Anjou.   The foundation charter of this Priory of Beading, or Sele, as it was more generally called, was dated 1075, and therein are mentioned the churches of St. Peter " of the old bridge " (de Veteriponte), St. Peter at Sele, St. Nicholas.  
           
afterwards reverted to the Crown and Edward the Confessor granted it to the Abbey of Fecamp, but afterwards revoked the grant at the instance of Earl Godwin, whose son, King Harold, held Steyning until his death at the Battle of Hastings. The Conqueror restored the estates to the monks of Fecamp, who thereupon sent over some of their number to form a priory or cell at Steyning. In process of time the church built by St. Cuthman gave place to one of nobler proportions erected by these monks and its beautiful arcades and lofty chancel arch remain to-day, a very fine example of Norman style. The Abbot of Fecamp had remarkable privileges in Steyning, among which may be noted that of punishing felons, hanging murderers, and disposing of their property. The town was important and in those days actually had more houses than Southampton or Bath. In the days of Edward the Confessor money was minted at Steyning.      
       
  Picture
The Saxon kings had a stronghold at Bramber and at King's Barns near at hand a farmstead. Now but a picturesque village the former place possesses nothing of its ancient importance, yet this must have been considerable. The arm of the sea running up to Steyning was here of great breadth and washed the castle mound, whereon after the Conquest William de Braose, a kinsman of the Conqueror, to whom had been granted the territory known as the Rape of Bramber, erected his feudal stronghold.   The area covered by this fortress was considerable, and its grim towers frowned upon the waters of the Adur for centuries, but to-day a few ivy-clad fragments are all that remain to tell us of its former grandeur.   Of the little Norman church outside the castle walls, nave and tower are all that is preserved of a former cruciform building.  
To the position of this stronghold at Bramber and to the influence of its powerful lords, many of whom figure in the early annals of English History as eminent barons, statesmen, and crusaders, the town of New Shoreham owes much of its early development and prosperity. It became and remained for some centuries one of the great highways to the Continent and one of the most flourishing sea ports.  
       
    at Bramber, and St. Nicholas, Old Shoreham, which were granted to the monks of St. Florent to enable them to establish the Priory.  
William de Braose, viewing with jealous eye the power wielded at Steyning by
the Abbot of Fecamp, where he also held some lands, determined to set up a religious establishment of his own. He founded, almost beneath his castle walls but on the opposite
    The situation of " the old bridge " mentioned in the charter is a matter of much uncertainty. While some maintain that it was at Bramber, many are disposed to believe that it carried the road across the river at Botolphs and that the church of St. Peter 13  
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002