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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       ANCIENT BRIDGES  
                     
bridges, etc., of Bramber, and timber for repairing the bridges." Also mills and fisheries in Bramber Water, five houses at the Port of Shoreham, and the third part of markets held in that town. The limits of the fisheries in the Water of Bramber are defined in the deed as " from the Church of Old Shoreham to a place called Bedenye."   fully completed before the following Michaelmas and John Cowper was to receive in payment twenty marks " and a gown !" This " great bridge of stone " is known to have consisted of several arches, and its foundations were discovered many years ago in making up the causeway which leads from Bramber to the insignificant modern Beeding Bridge, which is now sufficient to carry the road over the river at this point.
Three years later Bishop Praty of Chichester held an enquiry into certain charges against the Prior of Sele. This took place in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary, " upon the bridge at Bramber."  
           
In 1468 John Arundel, Bishop of Chichester, granted an Indulgence of forty days to all persons in his Diocese who contributed to the repair of Bramber Bridge and the causeway of the common road " leading from Bramber towards the eastern parts of England, and from the east to the west, which are now in so bad a condition that they cannot easily be repaired without the alms of the faithful."            
Five years after this a charge was brought against Prior Alleyne of Sele that, through his neglect, " the chapel of St. Mary, belonging to the Priory (of Sele) on a certain great bridge of stone in the highway between Bramber and Sele, is, with the bridge, falling to ruin and cannot be sufficiently repaired for forty pounds," a considerable sum in those days.            
Four years later, when the Priory of Sele and all its property had been surrendered to Magdalene College, Oxford, there was an agreement between Bishop Waynflete, the founder of the College, and John Cowper of Winchester, mason. The latter was to " stapul and hew " one hundred loads of stone at a quarry in the Isle of Wight, and therewith repair the pillars of Bramber Bridge in Sussex, for which work the Bishop was to pay £19 and provide the carriage of stone and lime and sand, and timber for the scaffolds. As much of the old stone as possible was to be re-used and if more than one hundred loads of new stone was required, then the Bishop was to pay 3s. 4d. for each additional load. It would appear that these repairs were duly carried out, as in January, 1479-80, John Cowper acknowledged the receipt of certain moneys for work already done on the " peris, ventis, arches and wallis " of the bridge, and there was a further agreement to " stapul and hew " sufficient stone for the further repair of the bridge, paid for " at a quarry in the county of Sussex and at a quarry in the Isle of Wight."   These repairs were to be            
                     
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002