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          SELF PRIORY  
                 
        de Veteriponte stood upon it. Some believe that it was at this point that the Roman highway from east to west crossed over, and that if " the old bridge " was not the actual Roman bridge it was its successor. The designation "old" leads to the conclusion that the bridge was ancient in 1075.
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  The first mention of a bridge actually at Bramber appears in an agreement of the year 1103, between the Abbot of Fecamp and Philip de Braose. Apparently then but recently erected it proved a great hindrance to the passage of ships up to the port of St. Cuthman. It was agreed that the bridge should be altered in such a manner " that ships shall freely pass at the bridge, going up and down according to such custom and quiet as they enjoyed at the time of King Edward " (the Confessor).
  Returning once more to the " old bridge." If this was in existence in 1075, and to go much further back, in Saxon timesand it is only reasonable to believe that somewhere between Shoreham and Steyning the river was crossed by a bridge during that period, otherwise why was it referred to as " old " only nine years after Edward the Confessor's death ?-if this was in existence in Saxon times, surely, like the later bridge at Bramber, it must also have offered no small impediment to shipping unless there existed some means of opening or raising part of it to let the ships pass through, and there seems little reason to doubt that such would have been the case. The " old bridge " may have been constructed wholly of timber, much in the same manner as the present Old Shoreham Bridge, or again, its piers may have been of masonry and its spans of timber. The engineers who could construct a drawbridge over the moat of a castle, you may be sure, would not be at fault in devising some means of raising part of a bridge to let ships pass through.
  In the year 1220 we find a reference to two bridges. John de Braose granted to the monks of Sele, among other possessions, " both the bridges of Bramber, three vassals with their lands situated on the east side of the little bridge, and five messuages next the greater bridge of Bramber to the west."
  In the year 1348, John, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England, confirmed to the Prior and monks of Sele, belonging to the Abbey of St. Florent, a grant made by his ancestor, John de Braose, of the Churches of St. Peter, Sele ; St. Nicholas, Bramber ; St. Nicholas, Old Shoreham ; St. Peter de Veteriponte, and St. Mary, Shoreham. tithes in various parishes and " all the grantor's
       
                 
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002