Previous Toc Next

    THE STORY OF SHOREHAM                
                         
depicted was doubtless the residence of the Comptroller of Customs. This house and the adjacent offices and warehouses occupied the site of the modern cottages which are " set back " on the west side of Church Street, and beneath one of which there is still existing a large tunnel-like vault built entirely of chalk              
      CHAPTER XII.  
             
blocks.   It probably dates from the late seventeenth or early ighteenth century and was used for bonding purposes.     SHIPS OF SHOREHAM-REVIVAL OF INDUSTRY IN ELIZABETH's REIGN -SHIPS FOR EAST INDIA COMPANY-A RELIC OF THE SHIPWRIGHT'S ART-A SEVENTEENTH CENTURY BUILDER AND HI9 SHIPS-MEN-OFWAR-LATER BUILDERS-THE LAST OF HER KIND--CONCRETE SHIPS AND " MYSTERY " TOWERS-THE HARBOUR IN MODERN TIMES'OYSTER INDUSTRY-STEADI PACKETS-WARS EFFECT ON HARBOUR TR:1DE.
In former times much of Church Street seems to have been given up to the convenience of those who engaged in the same profession as " the late Mr. Bardell." The Star Picture Theatre stands on the site of former Custom House buildings. In 1812, George Browne, then of Rotherhithe, but formerly of New Shoreham, shipbuilder, sold to the trustees under the will of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, " all that piece or parcel of land, scite or ground on which two several buildings were lately standing, one of which was lately used as a Custom House and the other as a Warehouse to the same, situate, lying and being in New Shoreham and lately under the care of the Collector and Comptroller of Customs there." This property was further described as " part of certain hereditaments late John Roberts, who by last will and testament devised to his son, John Oldham Roberts, and before that, part of the estate of William Foster of New Shoreham, gent." On this site the Chapel of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion was erected.    
               
                         
                THE reader will have gathered that much of the town's ancient prosperity was due to shipbuilding, which flourished for many generations, and that during the latter part of the fifteenth century there came a time of serious depression due to the encroachments of the sea and the raids of the French. To these causes the industry owed its decline.
                In the reign of Elizabeth there are, however, signs of its revival. To encourage the building of merchant ships, suitable for use in time of war, the Queen had settled a grant of 5s. a ton on all vessels of 100 tons and upwards. In 1571 Thomas Fenner was paid this bounty for the " Bark Fenner " of 150 tons, and in 1576 the owner of the " Margaret Speedwell " also obtained it. Both these vessels were built at Shoreham.
  The Custom House buildings and warehouses in Church Street were superseded by one designed in pseudo-classic style by Sidney Smirke, and erected in 1830 on the south side of the High Street, having spacious vaults beneath and adjacent wharfage to the river-side. It served its purpose up till the end of 1886, when the business formerly transacted in it was transferred to a new Custom House at Kingston-by-Sea.  
    Thomas Fenner of Shoreham was summoned to appear before the Lords of Her Majesty's Council on 2nd January, 1579. It appears that there was a little matter of " trading with the enemy," which their lordships wished to hear satisfactorily explained. When Thomas Fenner appeared before them he was charged with " the sending over of cast-iron ordnance out of this Realme into Spain," and doubtless the " Bark Fenner " was used for this purpose. He confessed his fault and was committed to the Fleet Prison on 28th January, but was released on 7th February following. On 10th November, 1584, he was returned to Parliament for New Shoreham.
  Mr. J. B. Norton, Collector of Customs here, was, in 1795, murdered and robbed between Southwick and Shoreham by a drummer and private of the Westminster Militia, which regiment was encamped in the neighbourhood.  
               
                Ships were being guilt for the East India Company in 1614-15. In the latter year Richard Furbisher was appointed as overseer for the building of one of these vessels at a salary of 14s. per week !
                An interesting relic of this period remains in the carved oak chimney-piece (before referred to), removed from what was
                         
      146             147    

Previous Toc Next

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