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  THE STORY OF SHOREH AM         HAVOC WROUGHT BY THE SEA  
                       
in the churchyard of New Shoreham ; one runs north and south, the other west and east, and the latter continues slightly south of Kingston Church.   the ferry-boats, for instance, would lead to a shelter of some kind appearing in due course and this would, we can imagine, prove a nucleus for further erections. It would seem that both north and south of the ferry-road the land was laid out in the long narrow acres characteristic of the period for purposes of cultivation. Each acre was 40 perches long by four perches wide (220 yards by 22 yards) and their greatest length lay north and south at right angles to the main road to the ferry.   The length was a furlong (a furrow-long), this being the greatest convenient length for ploughing. The existing streets running into the High Street from the north are all approximately a furlong in length and it does not seem at all unlikely that this arrangement was repeated on the south side, for opposite each of the streets is an opening down towards the water as though in continuation of the plan of the north side. This " cultivation basis " may well have originated the plan of the entire town, for probably the first houses to be built would be the farm buildings along the main road, such as we often see in villages to-day where very old buildings still exist.
These are intended as datum lines from which the amount of coast alteration may be estimated, being drawn in identically the same places on all the maps. It is not contended, of course, that these maps show all the fluctuations that have taken place, nor do they exhaust the number of different river-mouths that have been formed from time to time. Indeed, almost every few hundred yards between Shoreham and Portslade seems to have provided the site for a mouth at one time or another,and once more at least (in 1760) the river again found its way straight out to sea at Shoreham for a while. The most easterly mouth ever formed seems to have been very nearly three-quarters of the entire distance east from old Aldrington Church to old Hove Church.  
           
The earlier maps of this series are founded on documentary and inferential evidence. The 16th century one is based on the Armada map of that period, while the later ones are based on 17th and 18th century maps, one of the former being a very rare map in the Admiralty Library.*  
  The long " acres," through continuous ploughing, often took on a gentle curve throughout their whole length. The origin of this is said to have been the pulling round of the team at the end of the furrow and has been noticed in ancient cultivations in other places.   It can surely hardly be fanciful to discern in the slight curve of most of Shoreham's ancient streets the surviving result of the same original cause. It was a long S-like curve.
During the Middle Ages it is likely that a road (now for the most part buried beneath the waves) followed the coast-line from the east, roughly parallel to it, at no great distance inland. The western end of this road is represented in this district by Shoreham High Street, and from a point at the west end of the latter, near the site of the present Norfolk Bridge, probably went the ferry which figures so largely in the early records. This ferry, in all likelihood, crossed the water in the direction of the upper Lancing road rather than further south, although doubtless it also gave access to a by-road leading to the place called Pende, which was in all probability situated south-west of Shoreham. However, the upper Lancing road would be the main objective because it had the advantage of being sufficiently far inland to avoid the "broad-water"-an inlet of the sea which furnished the origin of the name of the parish of Broadwater.  
  It is probable that to the south of the south group of streets there was still more ground, this being more or less vacant and unbuilt upon. South of this open land would lie the beach and the open waters of the Channel.
  You will understand that you are being asked to dismiss from your mind altogether the present aspect of the town south of the High Street and to put in its place something very different and of much greater extent. There is ample warrant for this.
  Camden, writing in the 16th century, referring to New Shoreham, says :-" The greater part also being drowned and made even with the sea is no more to be seen," while further evidence, to be quoted presently, shows what a large amount of land has gone, leaving only the broken-off remnant.
There can be little doubt that in quite early times, and while " Old " Shoreham was still flourishing and much more important than "New," some sort of settlement had sprung up at the river-end of the coast-road mentioned just now. Waiting for  
* From Plan kindly lent by Mr. Rocksborough Smith.  
    What led to this devastation ? The answer to this question
                       
    22             23    

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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002