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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       CAPTAIN RICHARD POOLE  
                 
guest of King.AEthelwealh and his Queen, who had been converted! to Christianity. The people, however, were still heathens. The, homeless prelate-one of the most renowned men of his time-soon began his work amongst these barbarians It was a time of severe distress in Sussex, for the crops had failed, and the people, were reduced to such extremities of famine that many cast themselves into the sea and so ended their miserable existence. Wilfrid taught those who would learn, the art of making nets, and fishing in the open sea, of which till then, they appear to have been strangely ignorant. In such-like practical ways he won their hearts, and they were glad to listen to his words of hope and comfort.   He founded the first Cathedral Church in Sussex, at Selsea, not far from the scene of his first inhospitable reception, but this has long since been swept away by the encroaching sea. Wilfrid's history need not detain us further.   His connection with Sussex ended about the year 685, when the King of Northumbria, who had driven him into exile, fell in battle, and he returned to the See of York.   When at length, King Henry had been induced, by threats of excommunication, to give up the temporalities, and Richard became prosperous in their enjoyment, he still remained faithful in the discharge of his duties, visiting all parts of his DioceseHe bountifully relieved the poor and even nursed the sick. It was but natural that after his death-in accordance with the superstitious ideas of the time-miracles of healing were commonly reported to have taken place at his tomb in Chichester Cathedral. His shrine became a noted place of pilgrimage, and so remained until the Reformation, when it was demolished.
  Such are some of the incidents in the lives of the saints depicted in the window at Old Shoreham-two of them so intimately connected with our county, and another, the Patron of the church. It is equally fitting that St. Mary, the Mother of Our Lord, should be commemorated in the ancient fane of St. Nicholas, for it is the parent of the more beautiful church at New Shoreham, dedicated to her as " St. Mary of the Harbour."
  The interesting memorial in the chancel to Captain Richard Poole, and Thomas, his only son, displays the Arms of the Pooles, of Poole Hall, in Cheshire:-semee de lys, a lion rampant guardant, and the crest is a mermaid in profile, holding in her hands a naval crown.
Richard de la Wych, or St. Richard of Chichester, was the son of a Droitwich farmer, and we first hear of him as a lad working on the land and in the orchards of Worcestershire. Having a passion for learning, he presently betook himself to Oxford, to study, and from thence went to Paris and Boulogne. He was successively Chancellor of Oxford and Canterbury, being at length nominated as Bishop of Chichester. The Chapter readily received him, but King Henry III. refused to give up the temporalities of the See, and Richard became a homeless wanderer in his own Diocese. Travelling from parish to parish, through. the forests and across the Downs of Sussex, on foot, after the manner of a primitive apostle, he found refuge with one and. another of his clergy, and meanwhile discharged his duties of Chief Pastor with faithfulness.   His frequent abode was the house of the parish priest of Tarring-Simon by name-where, in the intervals of his journeys, he would recur to the occupation of planting, pruning and grafting, in which he excelled. The name of St. Richard should be of peculiar interest to those engaged in the fruit-growing industry for which our district has become so noted in later times. He taught the gardeners of Tarring, Sompting, Lancing and Shoreham the art of fruit-growing, as Wilfrid, nearly six hundred years before, had taught their ancestors to be successful fishers.  
  Captain Richard Poole of Old Shoreham, according to a Confirmation of Arms made to his grandson, "served our late most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth of famous. memory, both as a captain at sea and on land, and also served our late most gracious Sovereign Lord King James."
  In the reign of Charles I., he commanded a ship of war in the expedition against Cales in Spain, and the Isle of Rhee in France. In November, 1627, while in command of the "Peter" of Shoreham, he captured a barque of St. Malo or Grenville, the " Sea Horse," and brought her into Shoreham Harbour. The memorial at Old Shoreham informs us that the captain died in the year 1652, at the age of 94, and his only son Thomas in the same year, aged 60.
       
  The above-named Thomas, purchased in the year 1623. of one Richard Awood and Agnes, his wife, an estate at Cowfold, known as Peacock Hill, and this property remained in the possession of his descendants for more than two hundred years, until sold by the trustees of the will of George Henry Hooper of Stanmore„ Middlesex and New Shoreham, who died in 1863.
                 
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002