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    THE STORY OF SHOREHAM         KING JOHN AT BRAMBER    
                   
  On the 18th June, 1205, King John sent greetings to the bailiffs of Shoreham, having charge of the fifteenths, and informed them that certain Gascoyne merchants had brought to the Council a fifteenth of £300 and 50s. Anjou money. They were, therefore, to be permitted to remain fifteen days from St. John the Baptist's Day (June 24th) when they were to be conceded " a safe return to their own parts."   also required for Richard de Coggeshall, monk, and Master Stephen de Sparham, " whom our lord the King is sending as messenger." John was at Bramber 25th May, 1216, probably his last visit to the neighbourhood. It was in that year that he addressed a mandate to Shoreham and the other ports of Sussex, promising them additional privileges in order to secure their loyalty, and requiring them "to return to the allegiance and service due to him notwithstanding the oath they bad taken by constraint and by reason of his irresistible power to Lewis, the son of the French King."  
           
  In the same year they were required to provide a ship for William de Aune " our knight and twenty bowmen to carry them over in our service." The following year " Alan, the younger " was commanded by the King to impress all the ships that should be found at sea, as a fleet was again being assembled for the invasion of Normandy, the King of France having assumed supremacy of the Dukedom    
    Shortly after this the greater part of the King's army, while crossing the Wash, was overwhelmed by the incoming tide. John narrowly escaped with his own life and lost the greater part of his treasure and baggage. This disaster hastened his gloomy end which came only a few days later.  
    During the reign of Henry III. numerous briefs and orders were addressed to the town. Most of these relate to the maritime traffic of the port. In 1223 the bailiffs of Shoreham were commanded to suffer to depart without hindrance the two ships which Hugo Baldefare arrested and brought to Shoreham ; Hugo is to take charge of them.  
  At this time the King had fifty-one royal galleys, five of which were, from 1205 to 1208, stationed here (no port, inclusive of London, had more than five). In the latter year we find " Alan, the younger " appointed to the command of the royal galleys then stationed at Shoreham. Authorities on Naval matters tell us that this Alan was the son of Richard Coeur de Lion's captain. It may be noted that John was the first of our sovereigns to retain seamen with permanent pay, and, under his rule, the English Navy considerably improved. This reign is notable as the first instance of our country claiming to be the " Sovereign of the Seas."    
           
          In 1227 the Sheriff of Sussex is instructed to proceed personally to Shoreham, and, with the assistance of good. and lawful men of the vicinity, to enquire into what has happened with respect to a ship belonging to Peter Androeni and his fellows, merchants of the Territory of the Count of Toulouse. The ship lately came into the port of Shoreham damaged by tempest of the sea and her cargo of goods and merchandise had been carried off. The Sheriff is to enquire diligently as to the culprits and arrest them. " He has our command to make restitution to Peter Androeni and his fellows and full power to act in the matter." The shipbuilding industry seems to have been firmly established at Shoreham at this time, and the townspeople were probably expert at their trade by the beginning of the thirteenth century. In 1231 " ship carpenters " were ordered to go from Shoreham to Portsmouth on the King's service, and, in 1235, Hugo Baldefare and Robert Niger were appointed to take charge of the work (probably building) to two galleys of the King, at Shoreham.
On January 4th, 1214, King John, then at the Tower of London, ordered Reginald of Cornhill to pay William de Beauchamp and Humbald Luffard, merchants of Shoreham, for " ten casks of wine taken to our use in London." After his capture of the Castle of Rochester, John dated from thence, November 25th, 1215, a letter to the constable of Bramber Castle concerning means for conveying " our messenger, Robert le Mutenir " from Shoreham to Winchelsea. On December 5th of the same year the bailiffs of Shoreham are commanded to deliver a ship to " Alexander de Fortune " and to allow him to depart without  
hindrance.   The constable of Bramber by letter dated April 3rd, 1216, from Windsor, is required to provide horses and men without delay for " our faithful and beloved Walter de Lacy who is detained at Sorham." Letters of conduct to Sorham are  
    In 1238, mandate was sent to the bailiffs of the town that from the ship lately put in at Shoreham they cause to be seized,
           

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