BY BURTON GREEN.
It is strange no paper has hitherto appeared through-out our 26 vols. on this important place in our county. " A full history of it " (Mr. Lower pointed out in 1870)" is a desideratum in Sussex topography.", To supply this deficiency is the object of the following pages, in which, without pretending to add much to what has appeared in Cartwright, and scattered notices in our volumes, I have endeavoured to put together what is known of it, feeling that, at all events, a condensed account will be interesting to many of our readers. New Shoreham then is a seaport and parliamentary borough, in Fishergate hundred, in the rape of Bramber, and is situated on the river Adur. The soil is plastic clay and alluvial deposits. The parish, which is one of the smallest in the county, contains only 170 acres.' The harbour, in the extreme recess of the large bay which reaches from Selsey Bill to Deachy Head, is divided into two arms, that to the Westward being the deeper, that to the Eastward leading to the Dock, in which vessels drawing 15 feet can lie afloat at all times of the tides. From its easy approach and its situation, if it could be formed into a safe harbour of refuge it would be of great service to shipping; there being no good anchorage between the Downs and the Isle of Wight.
Shoreham - " the dwelling on the shore" - from the Saxon "Score" (Shore) and "ham" (a dwelling) has been spelt in many different ways: Shoreham, Soraham, Shoham, Shoram, Soresham, Schorham, and Sbraham ; but it must be remembered that in the early ages of this country, writers spelt their words without regard to rule; in one document alone, of the 13th century, De Braose occurs in no less than seven ways (De Braose, Breose, Breuse, Braiose, Breusa, Brewose, and Braiowsia). The Shoreham of the Saxon times was that which we now call Old Shoreham; but even during the rule of the Romans, Shoreham Harbour was of note, and was, I think, their " Portus Adurni," or " Port of the Adur," although Portsmouth (more probably "Portus Magnus"), Arundel, and even Pevensey (undoubtedly the Portus Anderidus) have been named as its site. Nor am I in this necessarily opposed to those two eminent authorities, Mr. C. R. Smith and Mr. Lower, who consider it to have been Bramber3 ; for that was then part of Shoreham harbour. Camden, writing of Shoreham, says in reference to this (edition of 1695, p. 173) -
In the year 1818 some Roman remains, evidently those of a " mansio," at the Portus Adurni, of a praefect or magnate, situated opposite Aldrington, were found at West Blatchington ; and this discovery, coupled with that in November, 1875, of some more Roman remains near Portslade Railway station, and supported by the fact that the trackway to the old port is still observable at Hangleton and elsewhere, gives further evidence in favour of the theory I have advanced. In the times previous to the Norman Conquest, especially when the Saxons had firmly established themselves, Shoreham was doubtless a place of some importance. In A.D. 477, Ella, with his three sons, Cymen, Wencheling, and Cissa, and a large, army, landed at Cymenes-ore 4 now Kymor, a manor in the parish of West Wittering, from Germany, when they came to conquer this part of England. In a paper on " Seaford," printed in these volumes some years ago (7 S.A.C., 75) Shoreham is identified with Cymensora or Cymenes-ore, but after carefully considering the subject I have decided on holding the opinion expressed here. In our immediate vicinity there yet remains one trace of this invasion, in the - name"' slonk," a corruption of the Saxon " slaught" (battle), given to a hill on the N.E. of the town, which was probably the scene of some struggles between the Romanized Britons and the Saxon invaders, and this is confirmed by the fact of several " tumuli " or " barrows" having been found in the neighbourhood: one on the top of the hill, and two below to the E.N.E.
Even in these early times we find at work one of those causes which, by their continual action, have greatly impeded the prosperity of the port and town - the inundations of the sea, and the strong S.W. gales Which so frequently rage along this coast, and of which, in November, 1875, and again in the following March, we had such disastrous repetitions. The first we find recorded was a great storm, which in the year 566 A.D., visited the coasts of Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire, doing serious damage, of which we have no details. Again in the Saxon Chronicle we read, A.D. 1014: "This year, on the eve of St. Michael's day, came the great sea flood, which spread wide over the land, and ran so far up as it never did before, overwhelming many towns and an innumerable multitude of people."
It was most probably between this and the end of the 11th century, that the
town of New Shoreham came into existence. The exact causes which led to its
origin are not known; by some it is supposed that it grew out of the decay of
Old Shoreham, or, perhaps, that the decay of the old town was caused by the
increase and prosperity of the new one; while it has been suggested also, that
the old town increased so much, that it was found desirable to
The Manor is co-extensive, inland, with the parish, but extends seaward from the Harbour mouth to Old Shoreham Bridge, being bounded on the South and West by the river bank, and formerly comprised the rights of Fishery, Anchorage, Boomage,7and Meterage,8 for which officers were appointed, but in 1760, when a Board of Harbour Commissioners was instituted and authorised to levy tolls, the rights of Anchorage and Boomage ceased. There prevails in this Manor the custom of " borough english," and the copyholds descend to the youngest son, daughter, brother, or collateral heir, as the case may be9 The copyholds are somewhat numerous, and are held at small fines certain; and there are also some freeholds held of the Manor by quit rents and heriots : a rope walk has been held of the Lord of the Manor by the same family, under renewed leases, for over 200 years, The local government was formerly in the hands of two high constables, who, together with a headboro', two ale conners,. two leather searchers and sealers, coal meters, and a pound keeper and town crier, were annually appointed at the Court Leet. The only officers now appointed are one high constable, and the town crier. 10 Two edicts, dated respectively 1359 and 1369, addressed "Majori villae Shoreham," have given rise to the erroneous impression that this was once a corporate town.
During the Norman period the town and port rapidly increased, and to provide for the spiritual wants of the inhabitants, the grand old church, generally acknowledged to have been one of the most magnificent sacred edifices in the country, was built.11 The dates of its formation and construction are very doubtful, as its documentary history is imperfect; we have therefore to rely chiefly upon its architectural features, which are remarkably well defined. The first religious edifice in Shoreham was the Church of St. Nicholas, at the old town12; in the charter of the foundation of the Priory of St. Peter at Sele (Beeding), dated 30th January, 1075, Wm. de Braose bestows it with the Churches of St. Peter of Sele, St. Nicholas of Bramber, St. Peter Veteri Ponte, 13 and other distant properties, upon the abbot and monks of St. Florentius of Salmur, near Fecamp. Philip de Braose, his successor, when abroad with the crusaders, confirmed this grant, and the confirmation deed further states " but the said Philip, returning on his way from Jerusalem, earnestly concedes and confirms to them (because the right of the aforesaid monks thereto existed) the Church of St. Mary of Haura, Soraham." 14 In 1151 the Bishop and Archbishop confirmed this grant, but calling the Church, St. Mary de Portu, obviously the same as St. Mary's, New Shoreham, probably built by the monks of Sele, between 1075, and Philip's return from the Holy Land not later than 1103, on land previously given them by the first Wm. de Braose, and perhaps a chapel of ease 15 attached to the parish of St. Nicholas. This Chapel afterwards acquired distinctive parochial rights and privileges, and in 1397 was attached to the Priory of Beeding. The taxation of Pope Nicholas 4th, 1291, values the Church of Old Shoreham at £24, that of New Shoreham at £10. It is very probable that the original Norman Church was never completed. Building operations in those days were very slow, and during its erection the Norman style of architecture became refined, and from architectural evidence it has been urged that after the Choir and Transepts were built, the plan was changed, and the nave added on a grander scale than was originally intended. As regards the tower, it is tolerably certain, from its pointed arches, that the upper part was added in the Transitional period, and that it originally consisted of a square lantern formed by its lower stage, and capped with a low pyramid similar to that of Old Shoreham, and many of the same date yet to be seen in Normandy. Of this original Norman building, the date of which, on account of its characteristic Norman architecture, can be fixed at about the end of the eleventh century, there now only remains the central portion, consisting of the Transepts, or north and south limbs of the Cross, the Crossing, and the lower part of the Tower.
The Norman choir, together with the semicircular chapels of the transepts, was pulled down soon after the completion of the tower, and replaced by a more modern structure, built at various times, said to have been com-menced between 1170 and 1175 by Wm. de Braose (the third), who also endowed largely the churches of Abergavenny and Lira (Normandy) by way of repentance for several murders he had committed. But the progress of its erection was slow, and up to the year 1200 little more was completed than the side walls of the aisles and the east wall of the choir. During these years the round arched style, besides becoming more elaborate in its details, gradually merged into the pointed or lancet, and in this style, the arcades, triforiums, clerestory, and groining of the choir and its aisles were completed. Shortly afterwards, on account of a too great lateral pressure from the transverse vaulting ribs, it was found necessary to remove the small clerestory buttresses, and build on each side of the choir two massive flying buttresses. The Church, of which we have given a lithograph, now consists mainly of the large and magnificent Choir, with North and South aisles, a massive central tower, 83 feet high, carried on the four original arches of the Crossing, the North and South transepts, and a porch. Of the seven periods of. architecture, four are to be found here, and it is by this means that we are enabled to ascertain approximately the age of the various parts of the present building.
To recapitulate :-The Crossing and its 4 arches, part of the tower, and the transepts, belong to the Norman period, and were therefore built between the Conquest and 1145. The ground story of the Choir, the North and South Aisles, the upper part of the Tower, and the font, belong to the Transitional period between 1145 and 1190. The blind and clerestories, and the flying buttresses, are of the Lancet period between 1190 and 1245. The Nave, which belonged to the Norman period, and which made up the length of the Church to 210 feet, was perhaps demolished, or allowed to fall into ruins, in the 15th century, when the fortunes of the port began to fail, to save the expense of repairing it, or it may have survived until destroyed either in the time of Henry VIII. Or that of Cromwell. The windows of the North and South aisles appear to be Perpendicular, and added between 1360 and 1550; and the present west front of the Church was most probably built up when the Nave was demolished. Mr. Hoare has drawn attention to the small cross, perhaps a dedication cross, on one of the piers in the Church, 16 and Mr, Slater to the smallness of its West window, probably on account of its exposure to South-westerly gales.17
The condition of the Church has at all times faithfully represented the fortunes of the port, and although like the latter it had been continually falling into a neglected state, the parishioners have from time to time made efforts to restore it. In the early part of the last century it was repaired at their expense; in 1808 one of the churchwardens, who was a master mason-and whose suggestions therefore may be considered to have been not wholly disinterested! - proposed to alter its east end, and to destroy that architectural beauty for which it is remarkable. A few years previous to this it had been restored, and about the year 1833 the windows were re-paired. It is described at that time as having been kept in excellent order. A few years back its dilapidated state attracted the attention of the inhabitants, who appointed a Committee to take the steps necessary for its repair. Several thousand pounds were collected, but from various causes the attempt ultimately failed. Nor should I omit the debt of gratitude which the town owes to Mr. Dyer-Edwardes, of London, for his munificent gifts of £1000, of which it is now availing itself, for the restoration, and of a stone pulpit, lately belonging to Durham Cathedral.
The " Church rock" off here is supposed to have been so named from a tradition, which stated it to be the remains of a stone quarry from which the church builders of the neighbourhood obtained their materials.
There formerly existed here two religious hospitals, and a priory, and some even say a castle, but of the latter, although a writer a few years back positively affirms that the remains of a mediaeval one were then to be seen, there is neither any tradition nor any trace, unless indeed it be in an Inquis. p. m. W. de Braose 19 Ed. II. (stating that he possessed Shoreham man' et castr' de Brembre baron'), or in the building known as the " Marlepins." About this same building there is much doubt. Mr. Cartwright, in his " Rape of Bramber,"18 describes a building (perhaps the same) " chequered with Caen stone and flint work, of the age of Edward I . . . . probably a public work connected with the port" ; while it has been suggested that it was built of . the material of the Nave of the Church in more recent times. But it seems to me more probable that it is the remains of the priory of Carmelite Friars, which was founded in 1326 by Sir John Mowbray, Knight, a descendant of the Braose family, and Lord of Bramber. - The Priors of Sele Priory, with which it was connected, became very reckless and extravagant, so that their priory was much reduced, until in 1480 there being only one monk left, he removed to Shoreham, and the Sele priory.was granted to Magdalen College, Oxford. About this time the sea made some serious encroachments on the town of Shoreham, which damaged the priory there so much, that in 1493 the priory of Sele, being granted by the College to the Friars, they removed to it, and remained there until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII., when it was granted to Nicholas Temple and Richard Andrews, who, in 1544, alienated the property to Owen Oglethorpe, President of Magdalen College, and his brother Clement, and they two years afterwards, gave it to the College.
By a deed addressed " Religiosis viris ordinis Beatae Mariae de Monte Carmeli apud Novam Shoreham in comitatu Sussex Commorantibus," and dated at Shoreham, 1330, John Kingswode, a large landowner of Findon, gave them a tenement and house which he held under the Temple, bounded on the west by some houses belonging to the Blaker family and others, on the south by some more houses, and on the north and east by a marsh belonging to the Templars, and called " Le Temple Stead." 19
In 1346 Margaret Covert, of Sullington, willed to the Friars 1qr. of wheat, 2 qrs. of barley, and 15s. for six trentals for the souls of her late husband, Sir John Covert, herself and others. In 1364 they received a grant from the State; in 1374 Wm. Laxinan left them a bequest of 20s. Dugdale in his " Baronage" says that Michael de Poynings, by his will dated 1369, gave £20 to the Carmelite Friars of Shoreham towards the fabric (fabricium) of their Church. It has generally been supposed that the priory stood on the site of what is now known as Cupola House, but to me it does not appear at all probable that the sea damaged whatever building stood here, while it left the Church untouched. I think that is much more likely to have been the site of the Hospital dedicated to St. James, especially as a number of human bones have been" found near it at various times. We have, however, very meagre accounts of it. In the "Valor Ecclesiasticus" of Henry VIII. (1535) it is valued at £1 6s. 8d., and charged the sum of 2s. 8d. for the tithes. Henry Marshall, Vicar of Wilmington, left 20d. to its funds in the year 1550. In 1574 it was granted by Q. Elizabeth to John Mersh.
The only trace that remains of the other Hospital is an oblong seal, of which an engraving is annexed, inscribed " The sele of or Saviour Jesus Christ of the 'ospital of Shoram in Sussex."
It is evidently somewhat modern, and as this hospital is not mentioned by Bishop Tanner in 1540, nor by Sir Wm. Dugdale in 1675, it is very probable that it was erected about the middle of the 16th century, and demolished by the parliamentary soldiers during the Civil War, at the time when they occupied Bramber Castle, and perhaps also Shoreham Church.
Besides these, there existed yet another religious edifice, the "
Temple" or " Chapel of St. John," being a house and chapel, the
property of the Knights Templars. In the 12th century Alan Trenchmere, for the
souls of himself and all his friends, gave the Templars some land with a saltpan
reaching from his house at Shoreham to the sea, 20 upon which they
probably constructed the" Temple." In 1292 Brother Guido de Foresta,
Grand Master of the Knights Templars of England, with the full consent of the
chapter of his house, granted to John and Matilda Lote, the lease of a tenement,
with a chapel, in New
It is not known where this " Temple " was situated-perhaps it was near where Chantry House now is-but there being but very slight accounts of any of these establishments, it is quite impossible to assign any site to them with any degree of certainty.
Towards the end of the twelfth century Shoreham became a Royal Arsenal, and was of much importance for the transit of troops; indeed, it was a somewhat important military station until after the wars' with Napoleon. It was here that King John landed with a large army on Tuesday, 25th March, 1199, when he came to England to succeed to the throne. He also embarked hence on Sunday, 20th June following, for Dieppe, after a stay of four days, to hold a conference with the King of France. In proof of this we have a charter conferring certain immunities on the City of London-" Datum per manum predicti Hubert Cant: Arch: Cancellarii nostri apud Sorham 18 Junii anno regni nostri primo."
During the reign of this King, Shoreham was made a free port. The document proving this was found in the Exchequer, and is an acknowledgment of 30 marks, part of a payment of £70 by the burgesses of Shoreham to obtain permission to trade with foreign countries without special license for each transaction. It is dated A.D. 1210, and provides that no horse above the value of three marks-no dog, no unknown messenger, no bur-gess, nor messenger of the same, should be allowed passage without special license of the King.
Edward the First, on his accession, finding that the Crown revenues had much diminished, accordingly caused enquiries to be instituted into the causes, and also into the various sources whence those revenues were derived. From the Sussex return, it appears that although on account of the dispute with Flanders, with a view to cripple their manufactures, and encourage home trade, the English had been forbidden to sell them wool, then the staple product of this part of the country, it had been exported thither from Shoreham. Soon after this a duty was imposed on its export, the seal for which is now in the British Museum.
Five years afterwards some dozen of the inhabitants were fined for selling wine in large quantities against the assize.
From the " Placita de Quo Warranto," (Sussex) 2 Ed. I., p. 760, we learn that William de Braose possessed
This is the first mention of the market and fair; the latter is still held on the 25th July, but is not much frequented. The former was granted 9th June, 1607, to Thomas, Earl of Suffolk, and Thomas Howard, Duke of Sussex, and afterwards altered to Saturday, with one for corn every alternate Monday; but since the rise of Brighton it has been discontinued, as that town has been found a more convenient rendezvous for the farmers and merchants of the district. Formerly it was held in the Market House, which no longer exists, and of the original of which we have no account. De Foe, in his account of the great storm which visited our coasts, 27th November, 1703, says" At Shoram, the Market House, an antient and very strong building, was blown flat to the ground, and the town shattered." The loss of this building doubtless caused great inconvenience, and several years afterwards a new one was erected by Sir Natbanael Gould and Mr. F. Chamberlin, the Members for the Borough. It consisted of an oblong canopy of freestone embellished with Gothic ornaments, supported by eight columns, and stood in the centre of the town. The only remaining portions of it are two pillars now used as lamp-posts-one in front of the Post Office and the other opposite the Custom House.
In the year A.D. 1295 Shoreham was made a Borough, and was one of the first towns upon which the representative privilege was conferred; the right of voting was vested in the payers of scot and lot, and for a long time it returned two burgesses to Parliament. No returns for the years from 1474 to 1538, both included, having been found, it is conjectured not to have been represented, but since that time two Members have been regularly elected. The first members were Roger Beauchamp, or Bello Campo, and Thomas Portayse, both of Shoreham. The parliamentary elections were held in the North Transept of the Church, and as often as election time came round, a scene of riot and confusion occurred within its. walls. This sacrilegious custom was commenced about the middle of the last century, but happily was not allowed to continue, the last election held here being in 1826.
We give an engraving of the obverse and reverse sides of the Borough Seal: the inscription on the latter will, I think, puzzle our best antiquarians and scholars, to whom I commend it as a problem. The importance of the town during these two centuries (13th and 14th) is shown not only by the fact of its having been made a market town and parliamentary borough, but also by the number of orders (some of which I subjoin) addressed to it in common with the other great ports of the kingdom, although it was not itself one of the Cinque Ports.23 Its prosperity was then at its greatest height, and the more closely we study its history of that time, the more we become convinced that it was then a thriving and wealthy seaport.24
In 1205 the bailiffs of Shoreham were ordered to find " a good and
secure ship, without regard to price, for Wm. de Aune, our knight, and twenty
bowmen, to carry them over in our service."25
In 1305, June 21st, Edward I. was here on one of his southern journeys.
1327.-That no religious person should depart from the kingdom without
knowledge of the King.
The following is an extract of the number sent by other ports :-
This shows that Shoreham was one of the leading ports of the day, and it is
worthy of attention that it furnished more ships than London itself.
One of the articles of export at this time was iron, many horseshoes made at Horsham being sent to New-castle : until the end of the 17th century Sussex was an iron producing county.
Much of this prosperity is to be ascribed to the in-fluence of the De Braoses, who during the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries, by their extensive connections with Normandy, did much to render Shoreham the greatest port on the south coast, especially for the importation of wine and exportation of wool; but unhappily they would not refrain from exacting exorbitant charges on cargoes and vessels using the harbour, and so ultimately greatly damaged the interest of the port. And their exactions began early: for in 1275 William de Braose was summoned in the Court of King's Bench, by Robert Arguillon, Sheriff of Sussex, for forbidding " the in-habitants of Shoreham to sell him provisions or other merchandize, whereby he suffered damage (Placit. Abbrevi, fol. 1811, p. 263). De Braose denied the whole affair, but the jury found that it had been done by his order by Nicholas Dutton, his bailiff, and therefore William was " amerced." Damages 1 merk.
Four years later (1279), in the Hundred Rolls (vol. ii., 203), we read :-
Also, " that his bailiffs took bribes."
In 1288, Wm. de Giselham, the King's Attorney, complained against W. de Braose-
Braose, in defence, said that by ancient custom he took for each cask of wine 11d., for each bag of wool 11d., for each last of hides 11d., as did his ancestors, and he claimed it as his right.
In 1308, after a case in the King's Bench, a precept was issued to the
bailiff of Wm. de Braose to prevent him from taking toll at Shoreham of the
Bishop of Chichester and his dependants, they having been exempted by deed of
King Henry (Placit. Abbrevi, p. 303).
Shoreham did not soon recover from this state of extraordinary depression, and, together with other towns on this coast during the early part of the 16th century, suffered many attacks from the French. Among the State papers preserved in the Record Office is a letter, dated 15th August, 1545, from John Lisle, probably Lord High Admiral to Henry 8th, written at two " kennys " Zs length off Shoreham, from which it appears that the contending navies were manoeuvring in the Channel until an indecisive conflict took place, when the French sailed away and anchored off Boulogne. In one of their descents on the coast, they burnt a part of the town, together with Aldrington and Hove. At this time the population amounted to some 80 families.
Camden speaks of Shoreham thus (vol. i., p. 173)-
Shoreham took an active part in the wars between this country and France during the reign of Charles I., the enemy continually hovering about off the coast. Several valuable prizes were brought in here, and letters of marque were granted to a few privateers belonging to the port. They did not all make proper use of this permission, and not content with making war on the French, hoisted the death's head and crossbones, and set to work to pillage any ship or cargo that was worth taking. In 1631, the " Dolphin," Richard Scras, owner and master, was forfeited for piracy, and sold; she was bought again by Captain Scras for £230, who at once applied for and obtained a letter of marque. This may be accounted for by the fact that an influential person at court, named Nicholas, was associated with Captain Scras in the venture. As may be expected, the French made descents on the coast, and did so much damage that in 1626 (31st July) the inhabitants of Brighton and Shoreham petitioned the Lord Lieutenant that on account of these ravages, and the decay of their fisheries consequent on the hostilities, they might have more protection granted them.
King Charles made great use of the port as a Naval Arsenal, and in 1628 he had some dozen vessels built here for the Royal Navy, Shoreham having by this time become famous for shipbuilding.
During the Civil War, Shoreham appears to have taken the side of the King, and was several times ordered to join with other towns in providing ships for him. It appears to have paid Ship Money regularly at first (the assessments of a few neighbouring towns for the year 1636 will perhaps give some idea as to their respective importance at that time:-Hastings, £250; Chichester, 277 7s. 4d; Arundel,.£20 ; Shoreham, £10;-although it must be remembered that that tax was not equitably adjusted), but after a few years it became somewhat in arrear, and the tax for 1638 not having been paid, a peremptory order was issued in May (27th), 1639.
After the battle of Worcester, in 1651, Charles II., as is well known, roamed about the kingdom for six weeks in disguise, passing through many adventures, and having more than one hairbreadth escape, Lord Wilmot and Col. Gounter or Gunter, of Racton, being foremost in their exertions on his behalf. After having tried unsuccessfully at. Bridport, Bristol, and Southampton to obtain a ship to convey him to the Continent, Col. Gunter decided to take the advice of some merchant who traded with France, and accordingly consulted Mr. Francis Mansell (who was paid £50, besides his expenses), who made enquiries, and introduced him to Nicholas Tattersall, master and owner of the 29 coal-brig " Surprise," of Shoreham, and a direct ancestor of the Shiffners of Coombe," who agreed, on the 11th October; to carry two of the Colonel's friends, said to have been fighting a duel, over to France, for the sum of £60, to be paid before he took them on board.
Charles (after lying, as one tradition has it, 31 whilst arrangements were completed, at the little cottage at Portslade existing in 1866, and visible from the South Coast Railway) arrived in Brighton on the 13th October, and stayed all night at the " George" Inn, West-street, now called, from that circumstance, the " King's Head."32 In dictating an account of his adventures to Mr Pepys, he narrates his embarkation as follows:-
What happened afterwards is related by Col. Gunter, who says
There is a story which relates that while on the passage across the Channel one of the sailors was observed smoking, standing to windward of Charles, with whom he was chatting, and on being reproved for his familiarity, re-marked, " A cat may look at a King, surelie," little knowing that their passenger was indeed the fugitive heir to the throne. Seven years later (1658) the Marquis of Ormonde, who had been making preparations for Charles' return, embarked here for Dieppe, when he returned to the exiled Prince.
Harrison Ainsworth's novel, " Ovingdean Grange," is founded upon the flight of Charles, and is well worth reading.
There are some who have said that Tattersall was not instigated by any motive of loyalty to risk his liberty and property to save the King, but simply by the magical influence of money. This is perhaps hardly fair, but it is certain that he got as much as he possibly could out of those who were desirous to make use of him, and remonstrated with Col. Gunter when he found out who his passenger was. After the Restoration, Mr. Mansell, who had been outlawed and ruined during the Commonwealth, received a pension of £200 a year for his services. Tattersall, finding that Charles, while rewarding those who assisted his escape, had forgotten him, sailed the " Surprise" up the Thames, and moored her close to the King's palace. James, who was then Admiral of his 'brother's fleet, took her into the navy as a fifth-rate, under the name of the " Royal Escape," 38 and appointed Tattersall to the command. He was afterwards placed in command of the " Monk," when he seems to have occupied a position of some importance, and after some time gave the King a good deal of trouble. In 1663 a pension of £100 a year was settled on him and his family for 99 (Mr. Blencowe "' says for 90) years. Charles granted him a coat of arms, and gave him a ring bearing miniatures of himself and his Queen,"' and in 1670 he became High Constable of Brighton. He died on the 26th July, 1674, and was buried in Brighton parish churchyard, where a monument has been erected to his memory.
But we must now turn our attention to another of the principal historical events of Shoreham, the Borough, and the doings of the Burgesses, who seem to have addicted themselves early to those political crimes for which it has been notorious. To this Dr. Burton, in his " Iter .Sussexiense," written about the year 1751, alludes in his usual humorous style. He calls New Shoreham
We shall shortly see how they accomplished this.
On the 13th March following, G ould petitioned the House in reply-
The House expelled him, and directed that no new writ should be issued during that session. When it was, Mr. Gould was re-elected.
After this came a number of petitions: on the 2nd Nov., 1705, Mr John Perry petitioned against the return of Mr. Wicker; on the 25th Nov., 1708, some of the inhabitants petitioned against the return of Mr. Richard Lloyd, and on the 22nd December Mr. Gould petitioned against the return of Gregory Page. It appears that none of these petitions were proceeded with. On the 16th November, 1709, the return of Mr. Richard Lloyd was again petitioned against by the inhabitants, on the ground of " treating and undue practice." The matter was investigated by a Committee of the House of Commons, and Mr. Lloyd was declared duly elected. Again in 1710, the defeated candidates petitioned against the return of Messrs. Page and Gould ; this petition was committed, and likewise dropped.
It is evident from these frequent petitions, and their fate, that a very unsatisfactory state of affairs prevailed in the borough, and in the year 1771, the whole matter came out, and a remarkable system of corruption, which has made this borough more unenviably conspicuous than most others, was brought to light.
One of the seats having become vacant in the end of 1770 by the death of Sir Samuel Cornish, five candidates offered themselves for election. Three of them, Thomas Rumbold, John Purling, and Wm. James, went to the poll, which took place on the 26th Nov., and resulted in the following number of votes being given for each respectively :- Rumbold, 87. Purling, 37. James, 4.
Hugh Roberts, the Returning Officer (by virtue of his office as High Constable), queried 76 of Rumbold's votes, and returned Purling. This caused the former to petition, and a select Committee of 15, of which Mr. Richard Fuller was Chairman, was appointed, who, after having investigated the matter, reported that :-
Thus, under the cloke of charity, a clique of the electors had carried on the most flagrant bribery, selling their oaths and consciences, and disposing of their borough to the highest bidder, and by so doing had deprived the rest of the freemen of the benefit of their votes.
On the 29th January following, the House considered the report, and decided that further proceedings should be taken in the matter, and that it should be investigated at the bar of the House. Accordingly on the 8th February, Hugh Roberts was called to the bar, and charged with having made a false return to Parliament during his office of Returning Officer. In defence he alleged-
and he concluded by stating that if he had done wrong it was without intent, and by submitting himself to the decision of the House. The hearing was adjourned until the 12th February, when Mr. Roberts brought up witnesses in his favour, but the House judging that the assumption of such power by a returning officer, upon whatever principle it was based, would be a most dangerous precedent, came to the decision
and ordered him to be taken into the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. The next day he petitioned-
In consideration of the circumstances in his favour, and of his having exposed so corrupt a combination, he was discharged on the 14th, after having received on his knees at the bar of the House of Commons a severe reprimand from the Speaker, Sir Fletcher Norton.
The inquiry recommended by the Select Committee was held, witnesses were examined, and a full investiga-tion made, and all the charges made in the Report of the Select Committee having been proved, it was decided to punish the members of the Society, but in what way it could not for some time be determined. Some proposed to disfranchise the borough-this, however, was not done-others urged that the culprits should be left to the punishment of the law; but though there was clear con-viction of their guilt, it was matter of such a nature as made the establishment of legal evidence very difficult, and yet if they escaped without some signal punishment, it would be an encouragement to bribery, when it was seen that it could be practised with impunity.
At length an address was presented to the King, praying him to direct the Attorney General to prosecute the five members-Wm. Hards, Thos. Gear, Wm. Rusbridge, Henry Robinson, and Henry Hannington-who had formed the Committee which had transacted the sale of the representation at the last election. The prosecution was commenced, but was abandoned for want of evidence. At the same time a Bill was brought in to disfranchise the eighty-one freemen who had composed the Society, and for the prevention of bribery and corruption in the borough. The different transactions connected with the subject ran through the whole of the session. It was frequently postponed; several attempts to throw it out were made by Mr. Fog and others, and it was not until the last day of the Session (8th May, "1771), that the Bill-the members of the Society having been heard by counsel against it-received the Royal Assent.
The Act (11 George III., cap. 55), after reciting that " a wicked and corrupt society calling itself ` The Christian Society' existed in Shoreham," incapacitated and disabled by name 68 of its members " from giving any vote at any election for the chasing a member or members to serve in Parliament." Nearly all the respectable voters were thus disfranchised, and a sufficient number was not left to enable the borough to continue to exercise the right of sending two representatives. It was, therefore, decided to extend its limits, and a clause was inserted in the Bill, enacting-
The number of electors was thereby increased to about 1,200, and although a complete check was placed on bribery, great influence on the returns of the Members of Parliament was for some time vested in the large landed proprietors of the borough. Happily the borough is now free from aristocratic influences, and the voters return representatives of their own opinions.
At every election the Act of Disfranchisement is required to be read before the writ, and the laws against bribery and corruption. In former times this duty was performed by a Sexton, who had the unpleasant office of announcing himself as a voter disfranchised for bribery, concluding with the loyal response, " God save the King" !
That corruption, apart from that exercised by the Christian Society, was practised to a great extent cannot be doubted, for it is said that during the reign of George II. more money was spent at Shoreham and Bramber elections, than all the lands in the parishes were worth at twenty years' purchase. On one occasion the landlord of the " Star " Inn boasted that during an election then just over he made £300 of one pipe of canary. Doubt-less many other boroughs were quite as corrupt-indeed, at Seaford there was a club somewhat similar to the Christian Society,-but Shoreham had the misfortune to be found out in its evil-doing. The number of voters is now about 5,000, residing in 48 parishes, which comprise the whole of the Rape of Bramber, excepting the borough of Horsham. It was on account of the electors being thus scattered about that it, with four others-East Retford, Cricklade, Much Wenlock, and Aylesbury-was made an exception to the clause in the last Reform Act, providing that-
The export smuggling of wool, as also the illegal selling of wine, have been alluded to as being carried on at Shoreham, in the 13th century, and in all probability these illicit trades increased rather than declined, after its prosperity had deserted the town. The Sussex coast was a comparatively remote part of the country, being shut out, as it were, by hills from London and the country generally, and offering, in its shallow harbours and thick woods, great accommodation for smugglers, and for the secretion of their merchandize. Mr. M. A. Lower thinks that in the faces of Sussex seamen he can trace the features of the Danes and Norsemen of old. If, then, they are descended from rovers and pirates, is into be wondered at, if they should, in some degree, follow the ways of their forefathers ? Fortunately for themselves, although they extensively carried on their illicit trades in this county, the smugglers were rarely overtaken by the law; this is, perhaps, owing to the officials having either been bought over, or else themselves having an interest in the lawless adventures. Wool smugglers, or " owlers," as they were called, 40 carried on their trade here until some fifty years ago, when it no longer paid them sufficiently for the risk, for in those days convicted smugglers were gibbeted on the sea shore, and it was no uncommon sight to see bodies hanging from the gallows until they decayed and fell down, or were devoured by the birds of prey. 41 Before the establishment of the present coastguard system, the only preventives were the riding officers, who did from time to time succeed in capturing a few delinquents. There is only one account of a capture at Shoreham, viz., on the 27th May, 1708, when, after a slight affray, some eight or nine French and English sailors were taken. But the officers were not often this way: there was no county constabulary, and the smugglers carried on their trade without much discomfort. Of the manner in which smuggling was accomplished during the early part of this century, before the great reduction in the customs duties, I am enabled to give some account from one who himself was engaged in it. The vessels were of about 60 tons, and regularly employed in the trade. There were merchants in France and Flanders by whom they were regularly loaded with tea, silks, spirits, tobacco, &c. ; while in the north part of the county were merchants who chartered the vessels, and hired men to convey the contraband goods from the sea, inland. These would come down in bands of forty or fifty, armed with various weapons, to Lancing or the Wish Barn, where they would lie in wait until, on receiving the signal from the local agent, who had information as to what cargoes might be expected, they proceeded down to the beach, whither the sailors rowed ashore in small boats from the ships, bringing their cargoes, which being loaded on horses and in carts, the party hurried off to St. Leonard's Forest, or some other woods where they had caves and barns, or to some haunted house or farm, where the goods could be stowed until taken away by the merchants. One local rendezvous and storehouse of the smugglers was the " Sussex Pad," which formerly had the river quite close to it, and under which are very extensive probably now useless. Bramber Castle again would probably be made use of, for the inhabitants of Bramber were like their neighbours of Shoreham. But, unfortunately, the seamen of Shoreham and the Cinque Ports were not content with carrying on one illegal trade. With the avocation of smuggler, they combined that of wrecker and pirate.42 In war time they frequently carried correspondence to their country's enemies, and conveyed spies.
For more than a century Shoreham Harbour (of which we add a plan) has engaged public attention, and been a subject of frequent legislation. Originally it was a bay extending eastward as far as Aldrington (nearly the whole of which is now washed away by the sea), and bounded on the south side by a promontory now also submerged, on which the before-mentioned village of Pende 43 was probably situated. The river Adur, sometimes called the Alder or Beeding, was then free from sand-banks, and was navigable for the ships of the day as far as Bramber. 44 After the submersion of this promontory, probably in the 15th century, the harbour entrance and mouth of the river was just opposite Shoreham, so that the sea itself came close to the town, while the tides which destroyed the promontory also deposited large quantities of beach in the mouth of the river; the fresh waters brought down by the river naturally contained much soil from the country, the outflow of which would be impeded by the banks formed in the embouchure, which would thus be increased. The outflow of the backwater, which in those days, when dredging was practically unknown, was the only means of scouring a harbour, being thus obstructed, the harbour mouth speedily became choked up, and a number of small lagoons formed, having one entrance or more, which never remained open long. This had its natural effect on the prosperity of the port, and after many years the merchants, shipowners, and inhabitants of. Shoreham and the neighbourhood, on the 3rd February, 1759, presented a petition to Parliament complaining of the state of the harbour, and the depression of their trade, and praying that leave might be given to bring in a Bill to effect improvements. An enquiry into the matter of the petition was accordingly held, at which one of the witnesses, a pilot, stated that the channel was so shallow he should not feel justified in taking charge of a vessel drawing more than 8 feet. The allegations of the petition having been proved, a Bill was ordered to be brought in-this, however, was not done. But on the 11th December, a new petition was presented, which being reported on in the following February, leave was given to bring in a Bill. No time was now lost, and in four days Sir Wm. Peere Williams, one of the Borough members, introduced a Bill, which was passed on the 24th March, 1760. It appointed fifty-one Commissioners; among them were Lord North, Lord Howe, the Borough Members, a number of local landowners, gentlemen, clergymen, and others, eleven of whom were to form a quorum, who were authorised to make " a new cut through the sea beach," opposite Kingston, and to erect piers, and to do such other works as shall be necessary, "to make and maintain a new and more commodious entrance " to the harbour. It authorised them to borrow the necessary funds at a rate of interest not exceeding 5 per cent., to levy certain dues, and to assign them wholly or partially as security for loans. All moneys received under this Act were to be applied : 1st, in defraying the cost of obtaining the Act, and secondly in defraying the necessary expenses incurred in improving and maintaining the said harbour. The necessary compulsory and formal powers were given. The accounts were to be audited by the Justices of the Peace present at the Midsummer Quarter Sessions. As soon as all the loans raised under this Act were paid off, the duties were to be reduced by one-third. Ships belonging to Great Yarmouth were to be exempted from all dues, and double dues were to be taken from foreign vessels and goods carried in them. The first meeting of the Commissioners was held, as directed by the Act, at the Star Inn, at Shoreham, on the 24th June, 1760, and they appear to have lost no time in fulfilling their duties. The total sum borrowed for the harbour works was £8,000-of which £1,000 was contributed by Sir W. P. Williams, and £3,000 by Lord Pollington, probably under the influence of the " Christian Club." The improvements seem to have answered, in some degree, the purpose for which they were intended, and by the year 1770 the Commissioners were in a position to commence paying off their loans. But probably their works were effected with too great a desire to avoid expenditure, and were not sufficiently substantial, for they became undermined by the sea, and in some fifteen years after their construction the harbour entrance had begun to travel eastward, and the harbour rapidly silted up, and became almost as bad as it had formerly been. In 1789 the merchants and inhabitants of the district presented several petitions to Parliament, representing the need of repairs, and alleging negligence on the part of the Commissioners. These, however, not meeting with much support, were abandoned, another petition having in the meantime been presented by the Commissioners themselves. A Bill, which reduced the dues and empowered the Commissioners to effect certain repairs, was then brought in, and passed on the 19th May. It was under the powers of this Act, and with a view to the better regulation of the harbour, that the first Harbour Master was appointed at a salary of £35. After this the harbour dues were frequently reduced or raised, according as funds were required. By the year 1800 the entrance had, by the action of the sea, been moved still further eastward, to half a mile east of Southwick, and during the succeeding decade it had gone still further eastward, and during all this time was, as may be imagined, always choked up. In June, 1800, the Commissioners instructed Mr. Jessop, an engineer, to make a survey, with a view to the construction of new works. He made an exhaustive report, setting forth the natural capacities of the harbour (western arm), and suggesting that the old mouth opposite Shore-ham should be re-opened, so as to secure an uninterrupted flow of the waters of the river for scouring purposes; and calling attention to the quantity of suitable land avail-able for dock and wharf space there. The report was received and entered on the minutes.
In 1806 a public meeting was held at Shoreham to take into consideration the desirability of applying to Parliament for another Act.
In 1810 a company of subscribers proposed to make docks. The scheme was
supported by the Commissioners, and in February of the same year a petition for
Parliamentary powers was presented, but, as it met with no encouragement, was
abandoned, and the proposal for a Dock Company collapsed. On, the 1st February,
in the following - year, another petition, complaining of the negligence of the
Commissioners, and praying for leave to bring in a Bill to effect repairs, was
presented. Leave was given, but no Bill was introduced, and the matter dropped.
In 1814 Mr. Wm. Clegram, a shipmaster of Shoreham, at the wish of the
inhabitants made a survey, with a view to suggest repairs and improvements.
Another survey was made by Mr. Wm. Chapman (who was recommended by the Board of
Trinity House) by order of the Commissioners, but it was not immediately acted
upon. On the 4th April, 1815, the traders of the port represented to the
Commissioners the state of the harbour as dangerous, and the accommodation as
insufficient, and begged them to take some steps towards its repair. They
replied that the tolls which they levied were insufficient to admit of any but
the most limited expenditure on such works. However, on the 11th July following
they decided to bring in a Bill giving them power to take higher dues, and to
repair the harbour. This decision was not acted on, but early in the following
year a Bill was introduced into Parliament, which became law on the 1st July,
1816, valuable services having been rendered it by Mr. Wm. Wigney, of Brighton,
and Mr. Geo. Lyall, afterwards and for many years M.P. for the
Some thirty years ago the piers were lengthened and the embankment greatly improved, at the time the Rail-way steamers plied here; and in 1846 a high light was constructed 300 yards in a line behind the middle pier head light, thus making not only a light to point out the position of the harbour, but also a valuable leading light for vessels entering at night. But the Commissioners were unable to agree with the Railway Company, and soon the steam lines were removed to the neighbouring ports of Littlehampton and Newhaven.
In 1851 a number of traders, shipowners, and residents of Shoreham and Brighton petitioned the Commissioners that by means of the facilities afforded by the Railway, and the use of steam colliers, London and north country merchants were enabled by sending coal by sea to Deptford and thence by rail, to supply Brighton at lower prices than they themselves could, and that thereby their trade was decaying, begging them to make such alterations in the eastern arm as would enable vessels to get close to Brighton. Consequently, the Commissioners contracted with Messrs. Jackson and Bean, and at a cost of £40,000 constructed the canal or dock, extending through Aldrington parish almost to Hove. 45 This extension was executed by the Commissioners, in order to enable the coal merchants to carry their coal at half the original cost of haulage, or from Aldrington to Brighton instead of from Kingston to that town, and to enable ships to lie afloat in the canal, instead of resting on the mud in the old part of the harbour at low water. It cost much more than was estimated by the engineer in its construction and also in its maintenance, and in protecting it from the sea. It has been, however, and is a great advantage to the shipowners and the public, though not so profitable to the shareholders of the harbour, who were obliged in consequence to submit to reduced dividends for a period. However, after a few years the trade of the harbour had so much improved that the Commissioners were enabled to pay off a large portion 46 of the loans effected to make this canal, and to return to their former dividend of 10 per cent. on the capital of the original subscribers of 1816. During the gale in November, 1875, and March, 1876, this canal suffered considerable damage, on the latter occasion being completely submerged. In October, 1856, a Mr. James Boyd, of London, proposed the construction of a ship canal hence to London. The scheme was laid before the Commissioners, but was abandoned. The construction of the first-mentioned canal or basin, however, was the cause of protracted litigation between Mr. Fuller and Mr. Ingram (who were successively owners of some property at Aldrington) and the Harbour Commissioners. When the latter body first entertained the idea, one of them wrote to Mr. Hugh Fuller, the then owner of some land over which the proposed basin was to be made, suggesting that the canal should be carried as near the Wish Boundary Gap as possible; and should be made by Mr. Fuller, because it would enhance the value of his property. Mr. Fuller, however, declined, and begged the Commissioners would not exceed their powers. There-upon, they disputed Mr. Fuller's title to the lands in question, and proceeded to claim them as theirs, by destroying Mr. Fuller's notice boards, and by causing a row of pipe tiles to be driven where they considered the tide flowed. Having done this, and made contracts for the construction of the canal and basin, the works were commenced, notwithstanding Mr. Fuller's repeated remonstrances. He thereupon gave notice to the Commissioners of his intention to maintain an action for damages against them, in respect of the matter. Negotiations, with a view to an amicable settlement, were then entered into, which resulted in the offer by Mr. Fuller--
This proposal was referred. to a Special Committee, who, in September, 1854,
urged that it be not enter-tained; while the Committee of Management thought
otherwise, and deeming it most desirable that the dispute should be settled, and
that the offer was " substantially a compliance with all that the
Commissioners required," recommended its acceptance. The Commissioners
acted upon this recommendation, and Mr. Fuller's proposition
Mr. Ingram having filed a Bill in Chancery seeking the specific performance of the agreement of 1854, and for relief consequent upon an alleged breach thereof, the Commissioners in their answer denied the plaintiff's title, and pleaded that the agreement was so vague as not to justify a decree for specific performance, and that what-ever the agreement was they had not committed any breach sufficient to justify this suit. It was, however, conclusively proved by maps and evidence that the plaintiff had fairly acquired the property, and that he was entitled to the land down to the beach and sands, and had always used, it as his own. Accordingly, on the 25th May, 1871, Vice-Chancellor Bacon gave judgment, with costs, in favour of the plaintiff.
A number of persons interested came forward in 1870, and commenced an agitation, principally by means of the Shoreham Chamber of Commerce, which resulted in the introduction into the Parliament of 1873 of a Bill which contained some rather sweeping clauses. It received the Royal Assent on the 28th July, in the same year, after a hard contest before a Select Committee of the House of Lords, and a still harder one before a Select Committee of the House of Commons. Its principal provisions are the repeal of the monetary powers of the Acts of 1816 and 1819, the substitution for the eighty -three Commissioners of a representative body of thirteen Trustees having perpetual succession and a common seal, and appointed by various interests, and the repayment of the subscribers of 1816 within eighteen months at a price to be fixed by agreement, or, that failing, by arbitration, power being given them to send four representatives to the Trust until they are paid off. The Trustees are also empowered to borrow for the use of the harbour the sum of £25,000, in addition to the amount required to pay off the subscribers. The Trustees were unable to raise sufficient money to pay off the subscribers within the stipulated period, and were thus placed in a dilemma; to extricate them from which Mr. William Hall, of Lancing, in conjunction with several others, agreed to purchase as many of the harbour shares as the holders were willing to sell, at £40 per cent. premium, and to make them a deferred charge on the harbour funds, on condition that the Trustees should jointly with them promote in Parliament a Bill for the improvement of the Harbour and for other purposes. The Trustees assented, and a Bill was introduced last session, which, after passing the Select Committees-before which it was opposed by the South Coast Railway Company, the Brighton and Hove Gas Company, the Trustees of the Ingram Estate, and Colonel Carr-Lloyd-received the Royal Assent on the 11th of August. It repeals the Acts of 1819 and 1873, alters the qualification and mode of retirement of the Trustees, and raises the scale of ship-owners' and traders' votes. The works it authorises area reconstruction and extension of the eastern and western piers, and the placing of a light at the head of each; a new lock on the north side of the existing one, and a wharf on the north side of the canal; the whole to be completed within six years after the passing of the Act. The Trustees are authorised to provide, or license, steam tugs, to fix the charges for the use thereof, and to levy a tax of one shilling per head on every passenger landing or embarking within the limits of the port. Power is given to borrow £100,000, and when that is ex-pended a further sum of £50,000. All moneys borrowed under the Act are to be applied-1st, to pay off the non-assenting holders of the £29,300; 2nd, to pay off the holders of the £10,000 ; 3rd, to the construction of the authorised works. The harbour revenues are to be applied-1st, in payment of the costs of obtaining the Act; 2nd, to the management and maintenance of the harbour; 3rd, in payment of 5 per cent. interest to the holders of the £10,000 until paid off; 4th, in payment of the interest on moneys borrowed under the Act ; 5th, in providing for a sinking fund; 6th, in payment of a dividend to those holders of the £29,300 who have not been paid off. It remains to be seen whether or not any benefit to the port will result from these new legislative measures.
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