Old newspapers don't only give us Birth, Marriage and Death notices but local news stories, advertisements, old recipes and health cures, letters from residents all of which can provide a fascinating insight to the social history of our area.

Relief of Mafeking

“The inhabitants of Sompting celebrated the event by a procession round the village on Saturday evening. The Sompting Brass Band supplied the music, and after a tableau descriptive of the Empire there were a number of bannerettes. The school children carrying flags came next, and the rear was brought up by a “native runner” bearing a despatch from the besieged garrison to the Commander-in-Chief.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 26th May 1900)

& at Lancing -

“A procession also took place here and paraded the streets. In front of the Three Horse Shoes Inn, Mr Doll, (chairman of the parish council) congratulated and thanked those who had taken part in the cortege, and after tracing the heroic stand made during 216 days by the garrison of Mafeking for their Queen and country, called for cheers for Colonel Baden-Powell, which were enthusiastically given. Mr Doll then reminded his hearers that the son-in-law of the Lord of the Manor, Mr James Martin Carr-Lloyd, J P., had been wounded at the front and was invalided home; also that Lieutenant Basil Peel, only son of their much esteemed Vicar, was at the front under General Buller. Cheers were most heartily given for Captain Featherstonhaugh and Lieutenant Peel and the singing of “God save the Queen” closed the proceedings. - £5 11s 2d, was collected en route for Lady Curzon’s Fund.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 26th May 1900)


“Mr Steer of the Public House, at Sompting, has a hen, which yesterday overnight laid five eggs, one as in ordinary, but the others very small , and without shells; and on the following day, the same hen laid three eggs, one of which was of the usual size, and the other two about as large as pigeon’s eggs, and perfectly shelled.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 5th May 1823)

The Madeira of England!

“Lancing-on-Sea Grammar School, within five minutes’ walk from the railway station, offers, at moderate terms, peculiar local advantages (especially for delicate youths). Highly recommended by the faculty as “the Madeira of England”. See prospectus, Domestic comfort and sound teaching. – Principal, Mr A.J. McEwan, Grammar School, Lancing, near Shoreham. Vacation ends August 1st.”

(Surrey Comet, 28th June 1879)

Lancing Parish Council

“THE PARISH COUNCIL – A meeting of the parish council was held on Tuesday evening, when Mr Howels presided. There were also present Mr Barber, the Rev. E Blackmore, Mr Lisher, Mr Marshall, (vice-chairman), Mr Northcroft, the Rev. E. Peel, Mr L Piper, Mr Prideaux, Mr Robinson, and Mr Russell. – With regard to the new road to be made by the Railway Company, the following resolution was carried: That this council is of the opinion that it would be a permanent advantage to the parish if the road now being formed south of the railway and east of the station could be made 30 feet wide and extended along the north side of the ballast pit, and that the chairman be requested to see the parties concerned with a view of making an arrangement with them. – A motion to the effect that application should be made to the county council to postpone for three years the exercise of the power conferred on the district council for repairing, improving, and managing the highways in the parish of Lancing, and to allow the parish council to undertake the duty for the time named was lost. - It was received that the clerk of the council should write to the secretary of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Company, calling attention to the danger and inconvenience existing at the station crossing, and requesting them to provide at their earliest convenience some safer means of crossing the line. – It was decided that a precept for £30 should be issued on the overseers.”

( Sussex Agricultural Express, February 23rd, 1895)

Unhappy Man!

“A Cokeham man, Alfred Jenkins, who had been a carter for sixteen years, had such an affection for his horses that when his master sold them and he had to work in the garden he declared he was very unhappy. Later he committed suicide by cutting his throat.”

(Sevenoaks Chronicle, 28th February 1908)

He left a widow and 5 young children.

Lancing's New Fire Engine

"Lancing received their long awaited new fire engine, a “Baico Tonna” which “was modelled after the famous Baico fire-engine, with the same powerful pumping plant, but with a chassis of more moderate cost. It is fitted on a high speed Ford ton chassis, and has a four-cylinder engine, re-built and speeded up for fire-engine work, capable of developing 30 B.H.P. There is a special three-section ladder extending to 34 feet, and the dashboard carries a carillon bell of the L.C.C. pattern.”

There was a slight problem after it’s arrival, as it appeared that “nobody seemed to remember that all motors, other than those of the Royal Family, require a road licence and identification plates before they can be used. So, for the present, Lancing’s fire engine, for all its brilliant red and gold, seems doomed to remain in its station unless, in the event of a fire, the Brigade took their courage in their hands and defied the Excise laws on the ground that necessity knows no law!”

The Chief Officer of the Fire Brigade reported at the next Parish Council meeting that in the event of a fire he would have to use the old apparatus until the new engine was registered."

(Worthing Gazette 1st Feb. 1928)

Fire! Fire!

“Rick Fire – A large wheat rick, and a straw rick on Culver’s Farm, the property of Mr James Cass, were burnt down on Tuesday evening. The value of the wheat rick is estimated at about £150, and straw rick at £45. The fire was first noticed by Commissioned Boatmen Ransom and Barton, at about 9.35 p.m. The former at once aroused the inmates of Ham Cottages, which are between 80 and 40 yards from the wheat rick.

A very short time sufficed for a considerable crowd to assemble. The flames, however, had got a complete hold on both stacks, and it was obviously a useless task to endeavour to extinguish them. P.C. Grinstead organised a line of helpers who, by handing buckets of water from hand to hand from the well on the farm, suceeded in preventing the spread of the fire to Ham Farm buildings, and a straw rick, which were separated by only a dozen feet or so from the blasing haystack. Fortunately the wind blew the flames in an opposite direction. The Lancing Coastguard, under Chief Officer McGregor, and Mr Cass’s men rendered what assistance they could in preventing the spread of the fire.

The Worthing Fire Brigade attended, but owing to the nearest supply of water being 200 yards away they were unable to render service. The straw rick burnt itself out between twelve and one o’clock, but the wheat rick, which was very tightly packed, continued burning for hours afterwards. The general supposition in the locality is that the fire was the work of an incendiary, it being practically impossible that both could have become ignited simultaneously by accident.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 8th January 1901)

Marquis of Granby

“A supper to inaugurate the lately re-built Marquis of Granby Inn, was given on Friday evening by Mr W Downey, the landlord. Mr W Prince (Worthing) presided, and Mr Hook took the vice-chair. After dinner the usual loyal toasts were duly honoured, and the healths of Mr Downey, the owner of the property (Mr Mitchell), the chair and vice-chair, the foreman of the works (Mr Simmons), and others were drunk, and songs were sung by Messrs. Austin, A H Brake, Cooper, F Duke, H Duke, C Greenyer, J Greenyer, Hall, F Kenward, Manville, Robinson, Simmons, Slaughter and others.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 17 January 1893)

For the poor at Christmas

"On Saturday, the 23rd December, Lady Lloyd distributed to the poor of Lancing her customary gifts of meat, flannel, clothing, and about 30 tons of coals. Altogether this gift cannot cost less than £100. Well, therefore, may the poor and the inhabitants of Lancing generally pray to God to prolong a life so conducive to their happiness and comfort! The Rev. F. Watson and his lady generally divide their clothing gifts to the poor about a week after Christmas. Captain Forbes, R.N., has assisted the poor as usual with a quantity of coals. Mrs and Miss Tervell continue to look well after the wants and necessities of the poor. Mrs Botting, of Salts Farm, has very kindly supplied the widowers and widows with her usual allowance of tea and sugar. She is also very kind to the workpeople, and especially at seasons of sickness. We are happy to hear that Messrs. John, William, and George Hampton, of Applesham and Combs Farm, have provided well for the poor of their parish."

(Brighton Gazette, 4th January 1849)

Lancing Bonfire

GUNPOWDER PLOT – The celebration of the “glorious 5th” passed off in a very satisfactory manner. The boys mustered at their headquarters and marched through Upper lancing, Lower Lancing, Manor House, and the Terrace, calling at several of their principal subscribers, meantime the bands playing selections of music. The order of the procession was as follows:- first came the commanding officer and honorary secretary, Mr. Duke, jun., attended by his staff of officers, and then the brass band belonging to Lancing, the boys following in processional order. Next came four donkeys ridden by as many youngsters, and a number of masqueraders with bones, triangles and other “new” musical instruments, not for sale. After these came the triumphal car, which carried a personage representing Britannia with a sword and trident, and surrounded by her attendants, who discharged squibs and crackers, etc. This was immediately followed by a smaller car, which carried two dummy figures, protected by the guardians, who seemed to bestow great care on their silent companions. Of course the new banner of the society preceded the procession. The Shoreham drum and fife band brought up the rear and right well did they play. There were several capital figures and representations of the leading characters of the day – good and bad. Just after eight o’clock all marched into Mr Duke’s field, where a huge bonfire had been erected on the most approved principle. The boys marched round and round, singing the usual rigmarole, whilst the figures were being placed in prominent positions on their funeral pyre. Then orders were given to light up. The huge pile burnt furiously after it was lighted, being well fed with combustible materials. The band played a capital selection.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 10th November 1888)

Life was hard!

“John Kenward, labourer, at 12s a week to R. Ratcliffe, of Old Shoreham, was charged by Mr French, one of the relieving Officers of Steyning Union with being in arrears, to the amount of 6s, for six weeks maintenance of his father, a pauper belonging to Sompting. The defendant, who expressed his unwillingness to pay the demand on him, said he was incapable of doing so, and that his wages would shortly be reduced. – Convicted, fine 10s, and ordered to pay that sum and the arrears claimed, in default of which being recovered, he was to be committed to the House of Correction for one month.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 27 Septempber 1841)

Outing to Newhaven

"On Saturday last the gardeners employed at Sompting near Worthing paid a visit to Newhaven. The party numbering 22 journeyed from Worthing in Mr James Town’s four-horse charabanc, and after an enjoyable drive arrived at Newhaven where a dinner was provided at the Bridge Hotel.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 14th August 1891)

Pilots bale out

“The Vampire was one of three that had been on a formation exercise from Merrifield, Somerset. Two of the machines collided and crashed, one falling in a field a mile from the hotel.

Both pupil pilots baled out safely, one parachuting on to Cardiff Airport, and the other into the Bristol Channel between Cardiff and Newport, where he was picked up by a Swedish vessel and landed at Barry, Glamorgan.

They are Pilot Officer George H. Patterson of Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham, and Pilot Officer B.F. Shaw, of Lancing, Sussex. They were flying at 30,000 feet when the collision occurred.

Wreckage was scattered over a large area of Cardiff. One piece fell on waste ground near the docks and another part went through the roof of a house and into the garden, but without hurting anyone.

The other Vampire fell at Postcanna Farm and burned out.”

(Yorkshire Post, 15 July 1952)

Remarkable Charge of Horse Stealing

“John Grove, 67, a cripple, was charged with stealing a horse, the property of William Bushby, of Lancing. – It appeared from the evidence of P.C. Benford that the horse was missed on Thursday morning, and information of the supposed theft was at once given to the police, both at Shoreham and Lancing. Witness drove with Mr Bushby in search of the missing animal to Broadwater and Findon, and then towards Arundel. When near Long Furlong Gate they heard a man had gone past with a horse corresponding to the one in question, and about a mile further on found the animal in charge of the prisoner, who was then taken into custody. Subsequent enquiries showed that the prisoner called at several public-houses, and was seen riding on the horse, and his crutches tied on behind him. – He was remanded to the Steyning Bench.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 24th July 1877)

Saving five miles

“John Murrell, takes this opportunity of informing the public, that from the improved state of the roads through Sompting, and by obviating the circuitous route through Worthing, he is enabled to provide horses at a saving of five miles, and its consequent expenses. –The distance now charged from Brighton to Worthing, 13 miles, from thence to Chichester, 22 miles; his charge, from Brighton to Sompting, 10 miles, from thence to Chichester, 20 miles, performed by careful drivers and horses that cannot be eclipsed in the county.

Marquis of Granby Inn, Sompting

June 30, 1825”

(Sussex Advertiser, 4th July 1825)

Marquis of Granby, Sompting

“William Blunden, Master of the above Inn and Hotel, respectfully informs his friends and the public, that in consideration of the equality of stages from Brighton through Sompting to Arundel and Chichester, he has provided neat Post Chaises, with able horses, and steady, civil drivers, an accommodation that must speak for itself on this line of road, the stages being, from Brighton to Sompting 11 miles, from thence to Arundel 10, and from Arundel to Chichester 10, at all which places arrangements have been made, that will ensure prompt attention to the commands of the public. By William Blunden, Sompting, June 12 1819.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 14 June 1819)


“To be let, Furnished, for the summer months or longer, PENSTONE, Lancing; suitable for a large family. The accommodation comprises nine bedrooms, day nursery, bathroom, breakfast room, billiard room (with full-sized table), drawing room, very large and handsome dining room, conservatory, kitchen, scullery, larder, laundry, two work rooms, furnace room (from which the sitting rooms and all passages are heated by hot water), etc. There is a three-stall stable, with harness-room and loft, a double coach-house, etc. There are about 2½ acres of well-stocked garden, with long range of greenhouses, and a very large tennis lawn; rent 15gs a week for the summer months; garden produce can be purchased at market prices; or would be let by the year at a lower rate. – Apply to F W Cutlack, 9 Victoria Chambers, S.W.; or St Bernards, Lancing.”

(Morning Post, 7 May 1889)

Precautions to be taken at Lancing in WW1

“As Head Special Constable for Lancing, Coombes and Botolphs, Mr J M Carr Lloyd J.P. of Lancing Manor, has issued a printed poster containing a number of precautions to be observed in the event of an air raid. These are the steps which are suggested shall be taken.

Avoid streets and crowds and take shelter at once.

Turn off gas at meter, and see that all gas taps are turned off.

Strengthen top floor by spreading linoleum, mattress, etc. to deaden and spread shock of falling masonry.

Select safest places, eg. Cellars and under arches.

Fill buckets with water.

Avoid upper floors and windows.

Provide emergency lights, eg. Nightlight and candles.

Be careful that no light is visible from outside.

Finally it is stated that warning will be given by ringing of a hand bell, to be rung by a man on a bicycle.”

(Worthing Gazette May 26th 1915)

also A circular was distributed to the householders of Sompting

“What to do in the event of the enemy landing in Sussex.

Warning will be given by J. Bushby, special constable.

Articles to be taken – all food procurable, clothes, blankets, bolsters and pillows, carpets, one large kettle, bucket, garden tools, table cloths (to tie clothes up in) hurricane lanterns, matches, paraffin, valuables, but nothing of a heavy or cumbersome nature.

Get your children together, as only half an hour will be allowed for loading.

Emergency Committee for Sompting.”

Lancing Vestry Meeting

“A meeting of the rated inhabitants was held on Tuesday evening. The Vicar (Rev. E. Peel) nominated Mr Blackmore as his warden for the ensuing year, Mr Carr-Lloyd being chosen as people’s warden. The church accounts shewed a balance in hand of over £10. A rate of 6d. in the £ for highway purposes was resolved on. It was decided to ask the Railway Company to make the Salt Lake crossing safer, and Mr Northcroft expressed his willingness to take up a post which was objected to at South Lancing.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express 8 April 1893)

A Sompting Military & Naval Family

“We get another interesting illustration of patriotic service in the case of the relations of Mr Ephraim Austin, of Sompting. His eldest son, Harry Austin, is instructor at the Gordon Boys’ Home, and he has three grandsons at the Front, these being Harry Gordon Austin, Albert Austin, and Jack Austin, all of whom have been wounded. Mr Austin has also a nephew, Harry Stripp, in the Royal Field Artillery, whilst three other nephews are serving in the Royal Navy in the North Sea, and another is with the Territorial Force in India. Mr Austin, who is one of the oldest inhabitants of Sompting, is entitled to congratulations upon so excellent a family record.”

(Worthing Gazette, 7th April 1915)

Death of W. J. Passmore

"Mr W. J. Passmore, aged 71, of Pad Farm, Lancing, Sussex, whose death occurred recently, formerly farmed Heanton Court, near Braunton, and his family were at one time identified with Fyldon Farm, North Molton. His wife passed away in the previous January.

Mr. Passmore was a member of the West Sussex County Council, and also took a leading part in National Farmers’ Union activities. His sons are worthily carrying on the agricultural traditions established by the family many years ago.

The internment took place in Coombes Churchyard, in the same grave as his wife. The principal mourners were Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Passmore, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Passmore, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Passmore, and Mr. and Mrs William Passmore, sons and daughters-in-law, the Rev. Joseph Passmore (Harpenden), brother; Mr Basil Matthews, brother-in-law; Capt. Young, son-in-law; Mr Gilbert Passmore (Leamington) representing his father; and Mr. John Passmore (Aldingbourne).

Steyning branch of the National Farmers Union sent a wreath inscribed “In memory of a pioneer. His work will stand the test of time. Well done!” Other floral tributes included from the West Sussex branch of the N.F.U.; and St Mary of the Harbour Lodge of Freemasons. "

(North Devon Journal, 5th April 1934)

Five Guineas Reward

“Stolen – The fourth of March, in the night, from Mr Harry Winton’s of Cokeham, in the parish of Sompting, a black tanned SETTER DOG, with a white spot on the breast, answering to the name of CARLO, and any person giving information of the said dog to the said Mr Harry Winton, so that the offender or offenders may be brought to justice, shall receive a reward of FIVE GUINEAS; and any person holding the same after the appearance of this advertisement, will be prosecuted.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 17 March 1823)


Capsized Yacht Drama!

“A sixteen year old Brighton College student went to the rescue of a doctor and a medical student when their yacht capsized off Lancing, Sussex.

He is Robert Hillyer, of Grinstead Lane, Lancing. He saw the accident and went out in a rowing boat. The doctor, Duncan M. Black (25) had injured a shoulder, and was clinging to the upturned craft, while his companion, Duncan Grigg (22) had begun to swim ashore for assistance. Hillyer brought Dr Black to Lancing, and Grigg got in unaided. Shoreham lifeboat was called, but was not required.”

(Sunderland Daily Echo, 30 March 1938)

Funeral of Frederick Christmas

“His many friends in Lancing, Worthing and Shoreham learnt with great regret of the death on Wednesday of Mr Frederick Christmas, of Ladbrooke Terrace, Sompting Road, Lancing. Mr Christmas, who was only 35, was admitted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, on Tuesday of last week and underwent a serious operation. He recovered from the anaesthetic, but died early on Wednesday morning.

Joining the Royal Sussex Regiment at the age of 17, Mr Christmas was taken prisoner during the Battle of Loos and spent three years in a German prison camp, returning home after the Armistice. He held a position in the Costing Office at the Lancing Carriage and Wagon Works, and was a popular member of the Worthing Branch of Toc H, being a member of the Branch Executive and also a Worthing representative on the West Sussex District Committee of Toc H. Quite recently he gave a most entertaining talk to the Worthing Branch on his experiences as a prisoner of war.

The funeral took place at St. Andrews Church, Portslade. …”

(Worthing Gazette, 17 February 1932)


“THE MOST DISTINCTIVE HOUSES IN WORTHING! YOU MUST INSPECT the new "Lychpole" type houses at Sompting Manor Estate. They are better and different! Worthy of their really charming situation. A pair of houses, yet each one differently designed and arranged. No drab monotony, no regimentation! In short, houses of character and individuality.

Consider this accommodation: — Oak panelled Lounge, Hall (with brick fire place) Lounge 25ft. long (with loggia, French windows, etc.), 3 fine Bedrooms, land excellently planned, tiled Domestic Offices. These houses overlook a permanent open space. The price? Only £995, including Concrete Roads. Free Conveyance etc. To view—without obligation—keys from SHOW - HOUSE, SOMPTING MANOR ESTATE.”

(Jan 1939 Worthing Gazette)

Christmas 1846

“According to annual custom, Lady Lloyd distributed her bounty to every poor family in Lancing during the Christmas week. The presents consisted of meat, flour, and coals for the purpose of enabling the recipients to participate in the enjoyments of the festive season. Captain Henry Forbes, of the Terrace, Lancing, also distributed to the poor of the lower village his customary gift of coals; and Mrs Guest repeated her customary gift of meal and bread.”

(Hampshire Telegraph 2 January 1847)

Home for Sale

Cottage of “Pirate” Trelawny

“An eccentric figure, Trelawny, who appeared in a painting by Millais, was known as the “Pirate”. The cottage, with land, is to be sold for £2,500. In the garden is a Cyprus tree which Trelawny brought to England from Shelley’s tomb in Rome. His friendship with Shelley was great.

In 1822 Trelawny, Shelley, Byron, and Leigh Hunt were together when Shelley was drowned and his body was washed ashore and buried in the sands near Naples. His three friends decided to cremate him, and got an iron furnace. The three stood by the funeral pyre and threw frankincense into it. But in spite of the fierce flames, Shelley’s heart would not burn. Trelawney sprinkled it with water and snatched it away. Shelley’s ashes were buried in Rome, but his heart was returned to England.

Bryon, however, did not always approve of him, and once said “If we could only make Trelawny wash his hands and tell the truth we might make a gentleman of him”……

Part of Pilgrim’s Hostel

Mrs E. M. Parker, owner of the house, told me today, “The cottage is very old, but I do not know its exact age. Trelawny lived here for twenty years, and many well-known people, including Swinburne, William Rossetti, and Knox, came to visit him here. The cottage was once part of a pilgrims’ hostel and the land opposite is still known as Bethlehem”. One of the most historic houses in the district is to be sold. It is the cottage at Sompting, Worthing, of Edward John Trelawny, the Cornish author, friend of Shelley, Byron, Swinburne, and Leigh Hunt, who died here in 1881, at the age of 88..“

(Western Morning News, 21 December 1937)

The Perils of Drink!

“On Sunday last Mr Elliott, seized 150 casks of contraband spirits, near Worthing, which he lodged in the Custom House at Shoreham. On the same day, three men of Lancing found a cask of gin, which they drank so intemperately of, that one of them died soon afterwards; the lives of the other two were, with much difficulty, preserved. Coroner’s verdict – died by excessive drinking. The deceased has left a wife and three helpless children.”.

(Hampshire Telegraph, 4th November 1805)

Extract of a letter sent from Lancing published in the Oxford Journal dated 10th September 1774.

“About eleven o’clock this morning we had a violent hurricane here, which blew down five barns, a stable, and several hovels and cart-lodges; greatly damaged six houses; tore up many trees by the roots, snapped others in the middle, and carried away their tops a considerable distance in the air; then directing its course North-East, slightly damaged a windmill, and crossed the river towards Shoreham, where we do not hear it did any damage. The inhabitants of this place were in the utmost consternation. What is very remarkable, a man who lay asleep on some barley, in one of the barns, at the time it was blown down, received not the least hurt."


“A flying fatality occurred in Sussex today, Second-lieut. V. S. Edmunds, aged 19, of South Africa, being killed at Shoreham.

It is stated that it was the officer’s first flight alone. The machine crashed into the bed of the river Adur.”

(Derby Daily Telegraph, 6th September 1917)

For Sale


Nr Worthing, Sussex

Harry Jas. Burt

Will sell by auction at the above Fair on Thursday next, September 14th, 1922 at 10 o’clock about


Southdown and Cross-Bred lambs, Southdowns Draft and Regular Draft Ewes, Rams and Ram Lambs.

From the best Hill flocks in the district.

Also the Registered Southdown Hill Flock, N354, known as The Cokeham Flock,

Comprising about 513 Ewes in ages, and Stock Ewe Lambs, the Property of the Exors. of the late Mr E. Lee who are quitting Cokeham Manor Farm, Sompting at Michaelmas, the farm being sold.

Catalogues off Harry Jas. Burt, Land Agent and Valuer, Steyning, Sussex.”

(Chelmsford Chronicle, 8th September 1922)

Hard Labour

“Christopher Thomas, for stealing at Sompting, two haying forks, the property of John Attree. - Three calendar months to hard labour.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 20th July 1829)

“Joseph Simmons, aged 20, and John Lancon, seaman, pleaded guilty to breaking into the house of Ann Lawson, at Sompting, and stealing a knife and quantity of bread, pork, and cheese. – Four months hard labour, except two weeks in solitary confinement”.

(Hampshire Telegraph, 12th July 1851)



Notice is hereby given, that a perambulation of the Boundaries of this Manor, will be made on Wednesday, the 9th day of August next, and that the Parties therein concerned, will assemble at the Pad Inn, Lancing at nine o’clock, in the forenoon of the same day, immediately previous to such Perambulation. – dated this 6th day of July, 1815. “

(Sussex Advertiser, 17th July 1815)

Sparrows’ Nest

“A siren on the roof of Lancing, Sussex, fire station went wrong, and when the brigade were called to a fire messengers on bicycles had to be sent out to fetch them. Then someone decided to investigate on the roof, and the trouble was explained.

Sparrows had nested between the blades of the siren. A family of sparrows are now seeking a new home.”

(Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser, 17 June 1936)

A Stroke of Good Fortune

“As a party of Mr J. Neil’s London employees were returning from a bathe on the occasion of their annual outing to Lancing last week, one of their number discovered that he had lost his ring, which was worth a considerable sum. When the tide receded the party returned in the forlorn hope of finding the missing ring and to their great astonishment, it was discovered firmly lodged between two pebbles, from whence the ebbing tide had failed to dislodge it.”

(Worthing Gazette, 18th June 1924)


“Mr Grinstead, of Burfield’s Farm, Lancing, had 8 ewes that had two lambs each, which got into a piece of clover a few nights ago and ate so voraciously as to blow themselves so much as to occasion their deaths.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 25th May 1840)


“Mr Arthur Ayres, of Sompting, Sussex, who has only one lung and had just recovered from an illness, swam half a mile out to sea in his clothes to Mr E. F. Moore, of London, who was in difficulties, and brought him ashore. He has just received £25 in gratitude from the man he saved.”

(The Cornishman, 24th May 1939)

Cheaper Bridge by £17,000

“The picturesque Norfolk suspension bridge, which carries the Brighton – Worthing road over the River Adur at Shoreham, is to be rebuilt to meet the demands of modern traffic, and a recommendation will be made to the West Sussex County Council that the tender of £32,482 of a London firm be accepted.

This figure shows a reduction of £17,000 on the estimated cost of rebuilding the bridge two years ago.”

(Evening Telegraph, 24 May 1922)

A Mystery

“The body of a lady found in the Thames, - On Thursday the body of a lady, aged apparently about 30, was found floating off the Charlton Pier. The body, which appeared to have been in the water for a couple of days, was found to bear no marks of violence. It was most splendidly dressed in violet satin, and a silk handkerchief encircled the neck. The left-hand little finger was gone, the medical opinion being that it had been lost (through accident), by amputation, years previously. The features are slightly foreign. In her pocket was found some bank-notes, a Russian passport, a purse containing £15 in gold, 3½ crowns, two sixpences, a card with name obliterated, but address – Lancing, Sussex. A letter, supposed to be in deceased’s writing, ascribes the fatality to the loss of someone dear to her. Two diamond rings were found on the fingers, and on one hand deceased wore an engagement ring. The body lies at the parish mortuary.”

(Western Times, 31st March 1879)

Lord Alfred Douglas

“Lord Alfred (Bruce) Douglas, scholar, poet, and friend of Oscar Wilde, died at Old Monks Farm, Lancing, Sussex, today.

He was 74, and eldest surviving son of the 8th Marquess of Queensberry.

Lord Alfred’s friendship, as a young man, with Oscar Wilde, ultimately led to Wilde’s downfall.

Lord Queensberry delivered a card at Wilde’s club, as a result of which Wilde brought an action for criminal libel against the Marquess. Wilde lost the action, and subsequently he was arrested, tried, and imprisoned.

After Wilde’s death Lord Alfred brought a series of actions arising out of the publication of a book on Wilde by Frank Harris.

He figured in several other lawsuits, and in 1923 was sentenced to six months imprisonment for criminal libel of Mr. Churchill.

Lord Alfred was a poet of both light and serious works, and had been described as the greatest master of his age of the English sonnet.

He was also a pungent satirist and had a great contempt for what he described as the heretical modern poets.”

(Gloucestershire Echo, 20th March 1945)

A Lovely Man!

“On Friday last, at Southend, in the 66th year of his age, Robert Woodmass, Esq. of Montagu-square, late of Sompting, in Sussex. The loss of this most amiable man can only be justly appreciated by those who had the happiness of knowing him in life; and of observing the excellencies of his mind and character. He was not only dear to his family, as a kind and an affectionate relation, but to all about him, as a valuable and indefatigable friend. His death will be lamented, and his name revered, while the memory of his virtues shall last.”

(Morning Chronicle, 1st February 1820)


“Cricket Club Meeting – The North Lancing and Lancing Seagreen Cricket Clubs, which have amalgamated this year, hold their annual meeting on Wednesday evening at the Three Horse Shoes Inn. Mr Sugden Armitage was chosen president; Mr R. Came, Mr Carr Lloyd, the Rev. E. Peel, the Rev. E. Blackmore, Mr Fuller, Sen., Mr Duke, Mr F. Bushby, Mr Tooth, and Mr Hills, vice-presidents; Mr. F. Kennard, captain; Mr. M. Fuller, sub-captain; Mr F. Fuller, secretary and treasurer; and Messrs. F. Bartlett, R. Caiger, M. Cook, O. Frost, S. Fuller, Denton Luckens, Grover, and F. W. G. Prideaux, the committee, - The club has the good balance of £4 in hand. – It was intimated that matches would probably be played with Goring, Bramber, Falmer, Holy Trintiy, Brighton Grammar School, Old Shoreham, Southwick, Worthing Park, and other clubs.”

(Sussex Agricultural Express, 26th February 1895)

‘Shamefaced’ bathers at Lancing.

MP complains of undressing on the beach.

"A complaint about the shamefaced conduct of bathers at Lancing was made by Colonel Harry Day M.P. in a letter read at the meeting of Steyning West Rural District Council yesterday.

Colonel Day asked the council to exercise their powers to prohibit people from undressing on the beach directly in front of his house ‘Day Dreams’ Lancing, nearly all the afternoon. He wrote:- “We have had to suffer this annoyance, and as I have several unmarried young ladies staying here it ruins the amenities of the house. I would not mind but this is done in the most shamefaced manner.”

The letter was referred to the Lancing Parish Council."

(Worthing Gazette July 1st 1931)

Service in a Dewpond

“A church service held on the Downs near Lancing Clump on Sunday evening was attended by a congregation of over 500, including many visitors.

It had been arranged by the Vicar of North Lancing (the Rev. G. W. Forster) for him and the robed clergy to walk in procession from the Clump to the dried-up dewpond, preceded by standard bearer and cross bearer. The Vicar preached from the centre of the hollow, the congregation sitting on the slopes.”

(Worthing Gazette, 4th August 1937)

“The Least Impossible Parent”

“The Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Kirk), the new Provost of lancing College, presented the prizes at the college on Saturday.

He said he had moved about schools and universities for about 30 years, and wherever he went he heard, “The boys are all right, but the parents are quite impossible.” As a result he was considering giving what he would call the Provost’s Prize for “the least impossible parent.”

“There are the parents,” he continued, “who describe their boys as highly strung, and the parents who suddenly descend on the headmaster and say their sons have either a bad cold or have hurt their finger playing football or some such thing. Then there are the parents who suddenly descend on the school, take out their sons for motor-car rides, and the next we hear is that they have broken down near a cinema or the best hotel at Brighton. They seem quite impossible. One headmaster I know wrote out a report on a boy, ‘Very stupid and obstinate – will make a good parent.’”

Mr. C. E. Doherty, the headmaster, said the school attempted to inculcate into the boys the dignity of manual labour as well as learning, so apt to be despised these days.”

(The Times, 6th December 1937)

Proposed By-Pass at Sompting

“The Minister of Transport has made a grant from the Road Fund towards the cost, estimated at £50,000, of by-passing the villages of Sompting and Upper Cokeham on the Worthing – Brighton Road, route A27. The existing road, besides being very narrow, has two right-angled bends, one at each end of Busticle lane. Traffic at the time of the last census averaged 1500 vehicles and 700 pedal cyclists daily, and it is expected that these figures will be increased considerably on completion of the scheme for the elimination of the toll bridge and level crossing in Shoreham. The by-pass which is to be built by the West Sussex County Council, will begin at a point about 500 yards west of Upton Farm, Sompting, and will terminate at the northern end of Busticle Lane, Upper Cokeham, a distance of nearly a mile and a half. It will be 80ft. wide, accommodating dual 22ft. carriageways separated by a 10ft. central reserve, two13ft. footpaths and verges. The work will be put in hand as soon as the necessary land is acquired and is expected to take about 18 months.”

(The Times, 6th April 1938)

Lancing girl's lament

“The ladies of Lancing are apparently divided into two classes, those who wear Wellingtons and those who don’t. Not by any means that Dame Fashion has cast a spell over the town – or part of it – to wage a war between the “Wellingtonians” and the “Silk Hose Annas”.

It seems to be purely a matter of necessity, for the Wellingtonians live in Freshbrook Road and if all that was said about the road at the Lancing Parish Council meeting on Monday is true, its name must be particularly appropriate for there is evidently more splashiness than flashiness in the road.

Moreover, the girls are by no means less beautiful than their rivals in other parts of the town, but yet they are a little jealous of them, for, according to Mr Greet, whose opinion was endorsed by other members of the Parish Council, the Wellingtonians are compelled, after a shower of rain, to wear knee-length boots because of the state of Freshbrook Road. When they get into “civilisation” as it were, they see their rivals displaying shapely ankles – and sometimes a little more – in spotless silken hose.”

This was part of the report on Lancing Parish Council’s debate on who was responsible for the upkeep of Freshbrook Road, the railway company or the Rural District council.

(Worthing Herald November 10th 1928)


“The mystery surrounding some human bones, which were found in a gravel pit at Sompting on Friday, was not cleared up yesterday, when the West Sussex Coroner (Mr. F. W. Butler) held an inquest upon them at Worthing Fire Station.

Evidence was given by Police-constable Abbott, that the bones were found by a man named Dunk about two feet under the ground. The police had made extensive inquiries in the district, but could not form any conclusion as to how the bones came to be there. A German prisoners internment camp was in a meadow adjoining the pit in 1917 and 1918, but Police records showed no prisoners as having escaped from this camp, and two who escaped from a similar camp near by were recaptured. They could not ascertain that any prisoner had died and been buried there, and no person had been missing and unaccounted for in the neighbourhood for the last 40 years, one man who disappeared having been found a week later. There was no information available as to how the remains came to be buried.

Dr. W. O. Pitt, who examined the bones, said they were the remains of two human beings, probably a man and a woman. Their state showed that they could not have been buried for more than ten years, because had they been ancient bones they would have been well preserved or would have crumbled on being handled; actually, they only partly crumbled. One of the jawbones had been fractured, and he believed it to be an old injury, which might have been caused by a blow.

Dr. Pitt added that it would be interesting to have the view of an expert like Sir Arthur Keith.

The Coroner said there was nothing to show the cause of death, or how the bones came to be buried, and made an order for burial. This, it was stated, would probably take place in Sompting Churchyard.”

(Worthing Gazette, 5th March 1930)

Boys will be Boys

“Whilst sliding on a pond at Sompting on Thursday, a boy named Fred Coleman, twelve years of age, fell through the ice into the water. His cries for help fortunately attracted the attention of Mr H. H. Wadman, who extricated him from his disagreeable and dangerous position.”

(Worthing Gazette, 3rd February 1909)

Sad Christmas

“On Christmas Day, Mr Tate, farrier, of Sompting, Sussex, was found dead in a ditch near Goring, to which place he had been on the preceding day to doctor a farmer’s horse: he died through the severity of the weather.”

(London Chronicle, 3 January 1799)

News at Last

“For the past five years Mrs Lisher has been without news of her son Reginald, but information has reached her at last that he was killed in September 1914. It comes in the form of a letter from a Captain in the German Army, who, writing from Elberfield, says Lisher was killed in an engagement against the regiment in which the writer was serving. He was buried with military honours in the village of Cerny, about ten miles south of the city of Leon, in France. The German officer adds: “He had about him the enclosed letter. In the meantime it was impossible for me to send it to you. Now the postal communication is practicable again, and I haste to do so, condoling heartily with you in the loss of your son who died a good and valiant soldier”.

(Worthing Gazette, 17th December 1919)

Sompting's Authoress Meets The President

“Miss Pullen Burry, of Cambridge, England, the authoress of ‘Jamaica As It Is’ and other works of interest, was received on Thursday by the President at the White House. This lady, who has travelled all over the world, is a Fellow of the Anthropological Society of Great Britain, and is visiting the United States on her way to the British West Indies, with the view of studying the problems connected with the race question.”

(Worthing Gazette, 9th November 1904)

Miss Bessie Pullen Burry, 1858-1937, was the sister of Horace J. Pullen Burry and Arthur Pullen Burry of Sompting.

A new noise at Lancing

“To the Editor of the “Worthing Gazette”

Sir, At this delectable and select seaside resort called Lancing we do not aspire to a municipal orchestra, but recently we have been supplied with a most powerful and irritating “musical” instrument by the Southern Railway Works without any expense to the ratepayers. The exhaust from some powerful engine starts at about 7am and continues till late in the evening; the concussions shake our doors, and what effect this new “feature” must have on any invalids need not be mentioned. The dulcet tones are heard at North Lancing, and by the sad sea waves, so we all get our share. Possibly our Parish Council, with its keen instinct to prevent nuisances to the ratepayers and its customary promptness (?) has taken steps to get the noise abated? Also, possibly not!

J W Spiller

The Brown Cottage

West End Way


(Worthing Gazette, 16th October 1929)

Cookery class for Lancing children

One hundred years ago it was recommended “that a cookery class should be formed in connection with Lancing Elementary School, to be held in a farmhouse kitchen near the school, of which the rent will be £5 a year, payable to Mr F Grover, Blacksmith House, North Lancing. Mrs F.S. Heaton is appointed teacher, whilst Mrs Grover will receive a salary of £3 a year for acting as cleaner, such payment to include the cleaning of the stove and kitchen, the washing of all linen, and lighting. Fuel is to be supplied from the school stock. The cupboard, tables, ranges, and utensils are to be provided from the Chichester Centre. ….”

(Worthing Gazette 18th Aug. 1909)

South House

“Coast of Sussex - To be let, furnished, a cottage residence, known by the name of South House, most desirably situate at Lancing on the high road between Brighton and Worthing, 2 miles from the latter place, commanding a fine view of the sea and country, contains dining, drawing and breakfast rooms, makes 10 beds, with store room, kitchen, washhouse, etc., has a good garden surrounded by high walls, clothed with 30 choice fruit trees in full bearing, double coach house and 3 stall stable; bathing machines within 3 minutes walk. Apply, if by letter post paid, to Messrs. Bates, Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square”

(The Times, 21st July 1819)

Reaping Machines for Sompting

"We the undersigned have this day witnessed the performance of one of Burgess and Key's Reaping Machines on a piece of Winter Barley, consisting of 6a.3r.20p. which was cut in three hours and forty minutes. The land was hilly and flinty, the crop very heavy, and in many places considerably laid. In spite of these disadvantages, the cutting and delilvery were very superior, and entirely satisfied us of the usefulness of these machines.



GEORGE HAMPTON, Findon Park Farm

J. HARE, Sompting, Sussex

EDWARD MITCHELL, Lychpole Farm, Sompting

E. H. MITCHELL, Sompting


I measured the land - WILLIAM HAMPTON."

“Applesham, near Lancing, Sussex,

June 30th 1858.


We received the Reaping Machine last evening, and commenced working it this morning, under the superintendence of your Agent, (Mr Rix), on a piece of Winter Barley, consisting of 6a. 3r. 20p., which was cut in three hours and forty minutes.

We had an excellent opportunity of testing the merits of the Machine, as the crop was very heavy, and laid in several places; but, notwithstanding that circumstance, and the additional drawback of the land being side hilly in some parts, with many large flints, the work was performed in the most perfect manner.

The best proof of our being satisfied with the Machine, is the fact of our having purchased of Mr Rix, the Reaper sent for trial, and requested him to forward us another in a few days. Several of our neighbours who witnessed the trial expressed themselves highly delighted, and two of them ordered Machines for this harvest.

I remain, Gentlemen, yours truly,

William Hampton”

(Sussex Chronicle, 3rd July 1858)

Accidental death

“At an Inquest held a few days since, before G. Gwynne, Esq., Coroner for the eastern division of the county of Sussex, on the body of Mr Steer, landlord of the Marquis of Granby Inn, at Sompting, it appeared in evidence that the deceased had taken a party to Brighton the day before, in one of his own post-chaises; and that on his return home, on that part of the road between New and Old Shoreham, the felloc of one of the fore wheels of the chaise by some means came off, and that the sudden and unexpected shock occasioned thereby dislodged the unfortunate man from the bar of the chaise (where he sat to drive), and precipitated him to the ground, when it was conjectured from the appearance of the wound in his head, that one of the spokes of the wheel must have actually gone through his head. By the traces of blood upon the ground, it appeared also that he had been dragged some distance after his fall, it was supposed, from some of his clothes hanging to the broken wheel. The horses with the chaise reached the toll-gate at Shoreham bridge before the accident was discovered to have taken place. The absence of the driver immediately caused a search to be made, when not far from the said gate, poor Steer was found prostrate on the ground, and his skull fractured, and convulsed with the agonies of death. Coroner’s verdict – “Accidental death”.”

(The Times, September 10th 1824)

To the Editor of The Times

“Sir, My attention was lately called to the following paragraph in a recent publication of your paper, and I trust you will show as much alacrity in publishing my defence as in giving insertion to the calumnious insinuation of the anonymous author of the paragraph in question, which is as follows:-

‘Portsmouth, Jan 5 – Arrived, the Hawke cutter, Lieutenant Appleby, from the Sussex coast: she chased a smuggling lugger on that coast, which afterwards landed 700 kegs of spirits near Lancing without interruption.’

The above was clearly intended by some malicious individual to insinuate, not only that the men of the Revenue cruiser, but that I, and my whole party, have been guilty of very gross neglect. It intimates, that although the smuggler was known, and attempted to be intercepted by the cruiser, yet, from the violence of the weather, the latter did not effect her object, or even communicate with any of the patrols on any part of the shore. If it were impossible for her to do this, it must have been equally impossible for the smuggler to have landed her cargo without interruption: but, Sir, the nature of the Coast Blockade is such, that 700 kegs of spirits could not possibly be landed at my station during one night, except with the connivance of almost every man of my party; and this is the case at all hours, night and day, and is perfectly independent of any other aid; and no state of wind, or tide, or weather can afford any obstruction or difficulty to myself or to my patrols. I beg, however, to add, that I have made most particular inquiries, as well amongst my own men as from the officers of the Revenue, and from every person most likely to know, if such a thing had been there done; and I pledge myself, as an officer and a gentleman, that there is not the least truth in the allegation contained in your paper. I have also to observe, that your anonymous informant, avoids specifying the exact day or days before the 5th inst. on which the landing is supposed to have been effected. I therefore conceive you are called upon to bring forward your authority for this charge, and am your most obedient servant.

JOSEPH FRANK TOMPSON, Lieutenant, R.N. of H.M.S. Ramillies, commanding the party of the Coast Blockade at Lancing.”

(The Times, 27th Jan. 1825)

Climate Change!

“As a striking instance of the mildness of the season, we will mention the fact, that some fine heads of asparagus was cut from an open bed, by Mr. Thomas Gates, at Sompting the day before Christmas day.”

(Brighton Patriot 1st January 1839)

Farms for sale

Two Lancing farms came up for auction on the 9th October 1843 and the following description appeared in The Times, 27 September 1843.

“…. an important estate, called Birvills Farm, near the Sussex Pad, comprising capital farm buildings, and about 177 acres of rich arable meadow and pasture land, beautifully undulated, commanding delightful prospects of the sea and surrounding country, and on which are growing some ornamental plantations and stately timber, bounded on the south by the high road from Brighton to Worthing. There are several parts of this estate most eligible for the erection of a marine villa, with park-like grounds, within a short distance of Brighton and Worthing, about two miles from the Shoreham terminus of the Brighton and London Railway. Immediate possession may be had.

Also a superior estate, called the Malt House Farm, contiguous to the mansion and grounds of Sir James Lloyd, Bart., comprising all suitable farm buildings, capital garden, and about 50 acres of exceedingly productive arable land, bounded by the high road from Brighton to Worthing, now in the occupation of Mr Barnet, whose term expires at Michaelmas, 1844. The estates are equally desirable for occupation or investment, situate in the fertile parish of Lancing, surrounded by good roads and the lands of Sir James Lloyd, Bart., and Colonel Wyndham. The neighbourhood is of the highest respectability. They are in the midst of field sports, and within an hour’s drive of Brighton, Worthing, Findon, Steyning and Bramber, and of the best markets in Sussex. Water carriage on the Adur is close to Birvills Farm, from which the Shoreham terminus of the London and Brighton railway is about two miles distant. May be viewed by leave of the tenants. ….”

(The Times, 27 September 1843)

"A Novel Hunt"

"For some eighteen months or two years past there had been wandering abroad in this vicinity a young foxhound, which had escaped from the kennels at Findon, and, except on one occasion, had defeated all the efforts made to capture him. On that occasion, however, through some fortuitous circumstance conducing to the indulgence of his innate roving disposition, he soon got rid of his bonds, and fled again into the open country, once more to roam where he listed and live as he best might, in spite of the interest of farmers to save their sheep, game, and poultry. Away from the shots of gun and pistol he went unscathed; or if not so always, he trusted with success to the healing principle which subsisteth in nature. Bootless were all the attempts (slight once they were) that had as yet been made to stop the career of this marauding hound, though many sincere wishes pointed to the accomplishment of that object. At length a select party of horsemen, composed of farmers residing in the neighbourhood - eager for a chase which was in itself so novel, and withal promised some adventurous sport – conspired to hunt the wild dog down. One day last week, therefore, these gentlemen met; and at Applesham they found. It must be premised that they had no dogs with them to mark out their course and lead them on, and guns and pistols were the instruments of death with which they had armed themselves. From Applesham their prey started, and proceeded through Salts Farm, Lancing, down to the sea beach, and along that to Lower Lancing, where he gave his pursuers the slip a littlewhile. Presently the party got sight of him again; and off they set, across the level land to the foot of the Downs, slick over these to Cissbury, thence right away to the precincts of Clapham woods, and down to the low lnad again near Kingston. He went, by moderate estimation, a distance of 30 miles, but 50 according to more sanguine calculators, and a three hours run. Not along all this extant of country did the hunters keep the object of the chase within view. In fleetness the dog was far superior to the horses, and in endurance also. By means of occasional halloos from farmer’s men, instructed accordingly, they kept on the track of the dog when he was out of sight. Having got to the seaside, and finding himself pressed by the horsemen in the rear, he took to the sea, and swam out some distance. The poor beast then turned, essaying to reach the shore; but being hemmed in by the hunters, who still lingered there to see whether they should have an opportunity of resuming their pursuit, he ”went about” seawards again. Tired of watching the changing courses of the dog in an element they durst not venture into, the horsemen commissioned some ferrymen to put off their boat, take the dog, and kill him. True to their charge, the ferrymen did so. They knocked the devoted animal on the head in the water, and to make quite sure of his death, afterwards cut his throat on land.”

(The Times 26th April 1844)

The Linnean Society

“Mr Borrer, jun., exhibited specimens of a rare British bird, the continental white wagtail (Motacilla alba), killed in April 1853 at Lancing, in Sussex; this being the first instance of its occurrence in that county.”

(The Morning Chronical, 8th June 1853)

Cheeky Robin!

“Miss Crofts of Sompting, a lady cyclist, found the other day that a robin had built a nest in the basket she carries in front of her bicycle. She did not remove it, and although she has been for a number of rides, the cheeky bird has not yet manifested any intention of evacuating its nest.”

(Worthing Gazette, 10th May 1899)

Expensive flowers!

Guineas from graves” is the heading that the Daily Mail gave to the accompanying paragraph.

“In the church porch of Sompting, Sussex, the following notice appears, signed by the vicar. “Any person wishing to place an artificial wreath on a grave must obtain legal permission to do so. The cost will be three guineas, or one guinea to the Chancellor of the Diocese, one guinea to the Registrar of the Diocese, and one guinea to the Vicar.”

(Worthing Gazette 12th June 1901)

"Bringing Home the May"

"The ceremony known as “Bringing home the May” was certainly not dying out in Sompting. On the 1st May 1907 the children of Sompting celebrated “May Day” for the forty-fourth time. They went excitedly to school with most of the girls dressed as Saxon Maidens in long white gowns and white caps, carrying long wands and the boys in Pierrots costumes, one girl dressed as “Britannia” and others as different characters, all decorated with flowers. The previous afternoon they had been given a holiday from school for the purpose of gathering flowers. Miss Johnson, the Head Mistress, organised the procession, which then made its way to The Abbotts where Mrs Crofts added flags and sashes. The May Queen and her attendants were chosen and enthroned in a decorated donkey cart. The Procession then made its way through the village with the children singing and shouting to the home of Mrs Wadman, where they were given milk and buns, which had been provided by Mr Pullen Burry. After dinner the procession was reformed and wound it’s way back to The Abbotts where they danced around the Maypole and played games. Mrs Crofts then kindly provided Tea. During the day the Procession collected a record sum of money amounting to £5 0s.3d."

(Worthing Gazette 8th May 1907)

Healthy Lancing

“Healthy Lancing –

In his annual report as Medical Officer of Health for West Sussex, Dr. Cameron refers at considerable length to the growth and sanitary condition of the parish. During the past six years, he observes, over sixty new houses and as many as one hundred and thirty new bungalows have been erected, the number of bungalows now on the Beach being two hundred and fifteen. The general death rate of the parish, he adds, is a low one, and has been gradually declining, and, except at Lancing College, where there was a sudden outbreak of scarlet fever in March, 1905, caused by some infected milk supplied to the College, there has been no epidemic in the parish for the last six years. Dr Cameron also expresses the hope that in his next annual report he will be able to record the fact that Lancing possesses an excellent supply of wholesome water from the Brighton Corporation mains.”

(Worthing Gazette August 14th 1907)

Danger in Lancing Streets

“Dear Sir, - I want to protest against the motor bus traffic through the very narrow street of this village, where in many places there is no path for pedestrians.

The danger to life for children and the aged particularly, as well as to ordinary cars and bicycles, is evident, and the amount of dust swallowed enormous.

The vehicles have been run through the village for visitors, I presume, so we residents are the victims. Already there has been one serious accident, and holes in the street enough to cause an overthrow of passengers.

These leviathan cars monopolise almost the width of the narrow thoroughfare, where the children going to and from school twice daily must incur great risks.

Cannot you suggest a more suitable route, and please criticise the danger?

I am wondering who will pay for the repair of the road here. One must to “up” or “down street” as the villagers say, to do any shopping, and the cottages in “our street” with no front gardens, open straight from living room to road, necessarily suffer most.

My young people, who used to be allowed to go alone, have to be attended by a grown person, but it is not possible for all children to have such care.”

(Worthing Gazette, 21st May 1919)

Robbery from village church

"At Worthing yesterday, John Cutt and Gladys Ivy Penn, late of Surbiton, were charged on remand with the theft of an offertory box and its contents from Sompting Parish Church. It was stated that the vicar, the Rev. A. H. V. Housman, entering the church, saw the woman in the nave and the man in the vestry with his hands on the offertory box. The woman gave the alarm and also attacked the vicar when he tried to seize Cutt, with the result that the man got away. He was arrested at North Lancing about an hour later. Cutt, who told the Magistrates that he was at the end of his tether, was sentenced to two months imprisonment, with hard labour, but the woman was placed on probation.”

(The Times, 17th October 1924)

Sompting Church Windows

"Sompting church, which has recently been receiving the unwelcome attention of the light-fingered gentry, has simultaneously been enriched by the reopening of one of the original windows in the area of the unique four-gabled Saxon tower. This window is in the north wall and has a double splay, and has never been glazed and shows no signs of ironwork. It was probably blocked up at the time of the building of the Knights Templars Chantry, now in ruins. Through the generosity of the architect, Mr. W. D. Caroe, it will now be glazed, but without cutting of glass-grooves, at Mr. Caroe’s expense. I shall be pleased to show this window to any who are interested. I should add that the original tooling is very clear and unweathered. – Rev. Arthur Housman.”

(The Times 23rd October 1924)

Lancing v. Sompting

“Lancing Juniors entertained Sompting Juniors on Saturday at the Vicarage Field, and won 2-0. Lancing had to field a substitute at the last moment owing to Longhurst being taken ill. Firth won the toss, and elected to kick into the south goal. Lancing were soon attacking, and before many minutes Cass gave them the lead from a nice centre by Dorey. Except for a few breakaways by Sompting, Lancing were nearly always attacking, and on several occasions had bad luck in not scoring, for just as the ball was entering the goal a defender would manage to charge it down, the goalkeeper beaten. Halftime arrived without any further score. On resumption Lancing again took up the attack, and almost continuously bombarded the visitors goal. Sompting seemed to fall to pieces, and their forwards, except for Kimber, who was always ready to seize on any chances of scoring, and was without doubt their best player, were never in the picture. Dorey added Lancing’s second goal, and they ran out easy winners. Lancing – Wood, Balchin, and Firth, Lisher, Harber and Elliott, Dorey, Patching, Firth, Cass and Wood.”

(Worthing Herald, March 17th 1928)

Nottingham Goose Fair

There are several theories as to how Nottingham Goose Fair got its name but the vicar of Sompting, Rev. Richard Crookshank, wrote to The Times with the following -

“The traditional story of how the fair came to receive its name is this – A widower, who was a bitter misogynist, kept his two sons in complete ignorance of the female sex until they reached the age of 21. The two sons (who had never seen a woman) were then taken to Nottingham fair. On seeing the number of women about they anxiously asked their father what they were. “Geese, my sons, geese,” replied the father. Later in the day, before retuning home, the father asked his two sons to say what they would like as a “fairing” (the customary present). “A goose, father, a goose!” replied each of the sons.”

(The Times, 28 August 1928)

Traffic survey

“The Surveyor, Mr Tee, reported that the traffic census along the road A27 (The Upper Brighton Rd) from Aug 12 – Aug 18 showed that the average daily number of vehicles had increased from 1084 to 1122, but the aggregate tonnage had decreased from 2341 tons to 1700.”

(Worthing Gazette 5th September 1928)


“Passing through the village of Sompting on Sunday morning in the course of his weekly constitutional an observant resident of Worthing had his attention attracted by a notice exhibited at a certain public building. It had reference to classes for glove making, but the village wit had been at work and eliminated what he regarded as a superfluous “g” so that the notification had reference to a combined local effort in “love making”.”

(Worthing Gazette. 9th March 1921)

After the Storm

“The sea has been steadily encroaching on the frontage of the parish of Lancing, Sussex, and has frequently made gaps in the road between Worthing and Lancing. The gap now extends for a distance of about 400ft, and measures from 10ft to 15ft deep, and the frontage of about 1500 yards has no protection against the encroachment. After years of discussion, a committee has been formed, partly of members of the Worthing Town Council and partly of some of the inhabitants of Lancing and others interested; and the committee has instructed a London firm to prepare plans and specifications for the construction of a number of groynes and other works for the protection of the frontage. The groynes are to be laid out on the principle which has been adopted with great success on that coast between Lancing and Shoreham and Middleton parish near Bognor.”

(The Sydney Morning Herald 21st January 1892)

Hertha Ayrton

“Mrs Hertha Ayrton, widow of the late Professor W. E. Ayrton, F.R.S., has died at New Cottage, North Lancing, Sussex. She was a scientist of great distinction, among her most notable inventions being the “Ayrton Flapper”, a fan for dispersing poison gas, of which 100,000 were used by the British Army in France. She also invented and constructed a line divider; discovered the connection between electric current length and pressure in the arc, and carried out various researches connected with the motion of water, and discovered the causes and process of sand ripples on the seashore. She was nominated for Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1902, but the council decided they had no power to elect a woman.”

(Evening Post, 13th December 1923)

(Phoebe Sarah Marks was born in 1854 but changed her name while a teenager to Hertha, after a heroine in one of Swinburne’s poems. She was educated at Girton College and Finsbury Technical College where she met Professor William Ayrton, whom she married in 1885. She went on to have considerable success with her scientific research and was a prominent member of the Suffragette movement.

She died 26th August 1923 in Lancing.)

Obituary of Mr Joseph Parker

“Mr Joseph Parker, C.S.I., formerly Director General of Stores, India Office, died at his residence at Sompting, near Worthing, on Sunday, at the age of 93. There is every reason to believe that he was the last survivor of the servants of “John Company” who worked at the East India House in Leadenhall Street. By a coincidence he passes away in the year of the disappearance of East India Avenue and the issue of Mr William Foster’s story of “East India House”.

Born at Chislehurst on August 12, 1831, to the Rev. Joseph Timothy Parker, vicar of Wyton, Hunts. and Mary, daughter of General F. Campbell (Melfort), R.A. he was educated at Cheltenham College, and in 1851, at the age of 20, entered East India House as a “writer” on the company establishment. He was a contemporary there of John Stuart Mill, and spent some nine years in Leadenhall Street, for the house was for two years after the expropriation of the Company the temporary office of the Secretary of State for India. Serving for a time in the Marine Department, he was already in the stores Department when the transfer was made to Whitehall. He held the post of senior clerk in the Department for the long period of 23 years. He became Assistant to the Director General early in 1890, and 18 months later was appointed to the headship. By that time he was 60, perhaps too ripe an age for direct responsibility. But he was a conscientious public servant as well as a man of charming personality, and had well earned the C.S.I. bestowed on him on his retirement in 1896 when he was succeeded by Sir Edwin Grant Buris.

He is survived by his second wife, whom he married in 1894 – Eva, daughter of Colonel Edmund Campbell (Melfort), Bombay Staff Corps. He leaves two sons and three daughters, and one of the latter, born of the second union, was recently married.”

(The Times, 8th July 1924)

Regent House

“A notable architectural improvement has been carried out in South Street, Lancing, by the building of a block of shops of which Regent House, the new head office of the Lancing and District Estate Agency, is the prominent feature, on the site of the old Alexandra Homes.

Regent House makes an attractive sweep on the corner of South Street and Brighton Road. Designed in modern style, with a white exterior, and equipped with neon lighting, modern window fronts, and ultra-modern fitting, it is a building of which Lancing can well be proud.

Regent Buildings is the outcome of months of planning and thought, and the erection of this new block of business property has made it possible to widen the road at this important junction. From an architectural point of view it is a very definite asset to what is the principal entrance to Lancing.

Regent House was formally opened on Saturday morning by Mrs Wells, the wife of Mr. B.C. Wells, the proprietor of the Lancing and District Estate Agency. She cut a tape across the entrance, and unlocked the door in the presence of a number of her own and her husband’s personal friends.

To celebrate the opening, 600 old people and children of Lancing were entertained to a free cinema show and children’s cabaret at the Odeon on Saturday afternoon. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and were especially amused by Mr Charles Austin – famous on the music halls as “Parker, P.C.” – who lives in Brighton Road, Lancing, and acted as compere.

Among the artists were Mr and Mrs Wells two little daughters, Pauline and Jeanne.

In the evening a social was held at the Odeon, when Mr and Mrs B. C. Wells entertained about 100 guests. Thomas Bennett and his Band, who were formerly at the Regent Cinema, Brighton, played for dancing.”

(Worthing Gazette, 24th July 1935)

Beating the Bounds

"The ancient ceremony of “beating the bounds” is being revived today, after an interval of nearly thirty-eight years. A start was proposed to be made from the Three Horseshoes shortly after ten o’clock this morning, the party including the members of the Parish Council and several School children, and the course taken was to be along the beach to the Worthing boundary, then north across the railway and round by Sompting and Cokeham to the Barge dyke, just beyond the Lancing College cricket ground, where luncheon was thoughtfully provided by Mr. J. M. Carr Lloyd, J.P., Chairman of the Parish Council. From here the course was down the centre of the river to the entrance to Shoreham Harbour, and finally there was a tramp back along the beach to South Lancing. The last occasion on which the boundaries of this parish were traversed was on September 25th 1868."

(Worthing Gazette, 23rd May 1906)

Lancing Dyke

“Miss Annesley Kenealy, the well-known London journalist and a member of a family who have been associated with Lancing for many years past, has written to the Parish Council complaining of the condition of the dyke fronting the village, and declaring that she will invite a hundred journalists of the leading English newspapers and Press photographers to actually photograph and publish in the papers the “foreshore attractions” in the shape of diphtheria and disease which the Lancing authorities provide for what might be a prosperous, flourishing little village. Miss Kenealy adds that if the men will not do their duty she will call upon the women to come forward and show by their vigorous action that they intend Lancing to be spring-cleaned and made healthy and habitable for their children”

(Worthing Gazette, 12th April 1911)

Important prosecution

“Summoned at the Shoreham Petty Sessions on Monday, under the Merchandise Marks Act, Oliver Wakeham, of Lancing, was charged with applying a false trade description to packets of tea sold by him, and was fined £2 and £1.7s costs. It was alleged that an inferior tea was sold as Lyons Tea, but the defense was a total denial of the allegation.”

(Worthing Gazette, 1st February 1911)

Lost and Found

A letter appeared in the “Evening Post”, 12 January 1929, from Mrs J. H. Webb, Windrush, North Lancing who states “Some years ago my mother was sitting under a copper beech tree in the garden at home, when her wedding ring slipped off her finger. Search was made everywhere, but not a trace of it could be found. A year later my sister and I were sitting under the same tree when suddenly the missing ring fell into my sister’s lap from above. There was a magpie’s nest in the copper beech.”

Watercress Jack

“In November 1875, an inquest was held in the Railway Hotel on the demise of John Clapper, otherwise known as Watercress Jack. Mr G. Brewer, Landlord of the Three Horse Shoes said that Jack had been in on the Tuesday prior to his death, and that he had slept in a straw rick somewhere in the village. Jack did not have a home and slept anywhere. The landlord said Jack had some ale, bread and cheese before leaving never to be seen alive again. Down Marsh Lane, in Mrs Manting’s meadow, where the watercress ditch was, Jack was found dead by his basket, having drowned in the ditch which was some three feet deep.”

(West Sussex Gazette, November 1875)

High Tolls

“ It is not generally known that two-pence is paid at the new bridge at Shoreham by persons wheeling a barrow over it, and sixpence for passing through the gate known as the Salts Gate for the same kind of carriage. We are inclined to think this is too salt to be relished by those who are thus obliged to pay, as it must generally fall on those who are least able; this is oppression of the poor man. “

(Brighton Patriot, 27th October 1835)

Justice's Justice

“At the Worthing Police-court on the 12th inst., before Major the Hon. C.C. Chetwynd and Mr W. F. Tribe, James Brown, labourer, of Chislehurst, was charged with stealing a swede turnip, the property of Miss Clara Penfold, Cokeham. Superintendent Sylvester deposed that about a quarter past three in the afternoon of the previous day he was at Cokeham, and there saw the prisoner, who was in company of two other men. He watched the prisoner, and saw him enter a field, where he pulled up something. When he rejoined the other men witness hurried after him, and asked him where the turnip was he had pulled up. At first prisoner denied that he had pulled one, and then said, “It is no use to tell a lie about it; I pulled up one.” He showed witness where he had placed it. Prisoner was taken before Miss Penfold, who wished the case proceeded with. The value of the turnip was 1d. Prisoner pleaded “Guilty”, and was sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment with hard labour.”

(Reynolds Newspaper, 24th October 1880)

Sompting Manor Church Farm, near Worthing

"Mr Lear has the honour to announce his having received instructions from the Executors of the late Robert Holmes, Esq., to submit for sale by public auction, without the least reserve, on the premises, on Friday, the 27th day of September, 1850, commencing at twelve o’clock at noon precisely. –

The entire and very superior Pure South Down Flock, together with the whole of the truly valuable Live and Dead Farming Stock of the above farm; the flock consists of about 730, comprising 140 prime two-tooth ewes, 130 four-tooth ditto, 120 six-tooth ditto, 140 full-mouthed ditto, 190 prime Ewe Lambs, six choice Rams, two Ram Lambs.

The Live Stock consists of thirteen powerful and active Cart horses, and two excellent and well-bred Riding Mares, six fine Devon working oxen, six fine Welsh working runts, seven very choice milk cows and heifers, six excellent sows, about fifty shuts(?) and pigs, a choice young boar and a quantity of poultry.

The Dead Stock, etc. consists of five useful narrow wheel wagons, six manure carts, a calf cart with metallic springs, a water cask and carriage, a capital four-horse iron roller, two two-horse wood rollers, two one-horse ditto, four one-wheel and two two-wheel tickle ploughs, three turnrice ploughs, one iron horse hoe, three drag and nine small harrows, wippances and couplings, a bean crusher, haying machine, a turnip drill, three sowing machines, seedlips, five winnowing machines, bushels, shauls, barn shovels, ridders, a wagon cloth, thill, trace, and plough harness, ox ditto, two saddles and bridles, bullock, sheep, and hog troughs, a quantity of wattles and hurdles, sheep cages, turnip cutters and bullock slicers, ladders, prongs, rakes, various agricultural implements, a quantity of useful wheelwright’s timber, and numerous other effects, the whole of which will be particularized in catalogues, to be obtained in due time at the Farm House; Agricultural Express Office, Lewes; Star Hotel, Shoreham; Railway Hotel, Worthing; or at the offices of Mr Lear, Arundel and Littlehampton, or at 74 Cannon Street, City, London. "

(Sussex Chronical. 31st August 1850)


“The Lancing” one of the Southern Railway’s new type of passenger engines that are being named after the big public schools, has been on view at the railway station and among those who inspected it were many boys from Lancing College. The tender is one of the latest 4,000 gallons type, and the total weight of the engine and tender is 109 tons. The driving wheels are 6ft 7ins in diameter.”

(Worthing Gazette July 9th 1930)

“At the pleasant and rural village of Sompting the large residence situated in a lawn opposite the church and known by the inhabitants as the “great” house, has just undergone a thorough renovation, after having remained untenanted and been in a somewhat dilapidated condition for many years. This house, now let on lease to a Mr. Compton, has lately, by purchase, come into the possession of the Rev. P. Crofts. It was the last temporary abiding place of Queen Caroline, who there awaited the completion of the arrangements for her departure to Germany, which took place near Lancing, a sea-side spot in this vicinity; and the circumstance is said to have drawn thither from the neighbourhood a numerous assemblage of persons attracted by interest and curiosity.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 29th May 1838)

An announcement in the Sussex Advertiser of the 19th December 1825

“Turnpike Road from the East end of Worthing to the Horse Shoes Inn at Lancing, held at the Steyne Hotel in Worthing this 10th December 1825.

J.M. Lloyd Esq in the Chair – A communication was received from the Duke of Norfolk, in which his Grace promises that, in the event of its being deemed expedient to form a NEW Line of ROAD along the Coast, from the Horse Shoes Inn, at Lancing, to the Town of New Shoreham, and to construct a BRIDGE across the River to the said Town, so as to form a more direct, and much shorter Communication between the Towns of WORTHING and BRIGHTON, than by the present road, he will afford every facility in his power towards carrying the same into effect; and that he will relinquish all his Reversionary Interest upon the Tolls arising from the present Bridge.

A COMMUNICATION was also received from John Biddulph, Esq. In which he states his readiness to allow a new Line of Road to be made through his Lands lying along the coast, between the Horse Shoes Inn, at Lancing, and the River Adur, adjoining the Town of New Shoreham; and also to allow another Line or Branch Road to be made through his Lands, from a place called Honeyman’s Hole, near the Sussex Pad Inn, in Lancing, to the point opposite the West side of the Town of Shoreham; and thereby connecting the present Road through Sompting and Lancing with the proposed new Coast Road; and further to give every facility in his power towards carrying the same into effect.

Whereupon, it was UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED, that the thanks of this Meeting be given to his Grace The Duke of Norfolk, and to John Biddulph, Esq, for their very generous offers; and for their promise of co-operation in so important an object.”

Sea Water Baths

“As London cannot be transferred to the seaside, the sea is to be brought to London – not by canal, or in vessels, as has been done by some of the railway companies, but it is to be pumped through pipes, in the same way as the fresh-water supply. In the ensuing session of Parliament leave will be asked to bring in a bill for the incorporation of a company, with powers to construct conduits, reservoirs, a pumping station, and other works, between Lancing, in Sussex, and London. Powers are asked to enable the company to take and supply sea water for public and private purposes, to connect by branch pipes the property they may require for selling and distributing the water along or adjacent to the lines of conduits mentioned, to erect standpipes or other apparatus in the roads or streets along which the conduits are situated, and to construct all necessary conveniences and works for collecting, filtering, storing, and distributing sea water. Should the company be formed, and the engineering difficulties not prove insurmountable, the luxury of sea-water bath, obtainable at any time, will be no small addition to the enjoyments procurable in the great city.”

(Birmingham Daily Post, 1st December 1880)

A Waterspout

“Mr William A. Pite writes from 11 Hart Street, Bloomsbury Square, W.C. “I thought it would be of general interest to record the appearance of a waterspout at sea off Lancing, Sussex. I saw this about 9.30 a.m. on Monday, the 23rd inst. To the naked eye it looked like a white sail, but under ordinary opera glasses it was an unmistakable waterspout, the erections varying in cast; it is difficult to estimate its height, but this probably was not under 10ft. to 15ft. The direction was south-west, between Lancing and Worthing, and was from the former, about a mile and a half off the shore, half-flood tide, time 9.30 a.m., soon after which it ceased. It was first seen by one of my servants about 7a.m. Sea calm, with tropical heat.””

(Leicester Chronicle, 28th September 1895)


“About eleven o’clock this morning we had a violent hurricane here, which blew down five barns, a stable, and several hovels and cart-lodges; greatly damaged six houses; tore up many trees by the root, snapped others in the middle, and carried away their tips a considerable distance in the air; then directing its course North-East, slightly damaged a windmill, and crossed the river towards Shoreham, where we do not hear it did any damage. The inhabitants of this place were in the utmost consternation. What is very remarkable, a man who lay asleep on some barley, in one of the barns, at the time it was blown down, received not the least hurt.”

(Extract of a letter from Lancing dated August 28th in the Oxford Journal, 10th September 1774)


“The remains of Capt. Graham H. Hills, R.N. who died on Thursday last at Folkestone, and who was formerly connected with the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, were interred yesterday in the village churchyard at Lancing, Sussex. It was in this quiet little hamlet that the deceased resided for many years during his youth, and there also his father and mother and two brothers are buried. The remains were brought from Folkestone to Brighton by rail, and thence conveyed by road to Lancing. The funeral cortege included a hearse, two coaches, and a private carriage, and the whole ceremony was of a very quiet description. Amongst the mourners were Mr. Gordon M. Hills (London), twin brother of the deceased; Mrs G.M. Hills and two sons; Mr Robert Manning (Dublin), brother–in-law; Mr Harry Woodward (London), Lieutenant M.A.Sweny (successor to the deceased as marine surveyor of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Mrs Octavius Hill and son, Miss Thomas, the Misses Hills (two sisters of the deceased), Captain Edward Hills, R.N. (Littlehampton, Sussex), and Mrs Hills and two sons. The coffin bore four beautiful wreaths, one from Mr Sweny, the second from Beatrice Mary Firth (a friend), and a third from the servants at Brackly Road, Beckenham, where the deceased lived, and the fourth from Mr Bryan Crowther, of Beynon, Beckenham. The funeral service was read by the Rev. Edmund Peel, vicar of Lancing. The deceased, who was 62 years of age, was intimately connected with the advancement of the interests of the port of Liverpool, having first entered the service of the Dock Board in 1856 as assistant marine surveyor. In November 1866, upon the retirement of Mr. Parkes, he obtained the post of marine surveyor, retiring from active duty on superannuation in August 1885, afterwards acting as consulting marine surveyor. He has since resided at Beckenham, Kent, but he removed to Folkestone on medical advice, and died there as stated. He leaves a widow, who for some years has suffered from blindness, but leaves no family.”

(Liverpool Mercury, 22 August 1888)

Fire at Old Salts Farm

“About nine o’clock on the morning of yesterday se’nnight, one of the harvest men, on the Old Salts Farm, Lancing used by the proprietor, Mr. Holmes, dropped the contents of his pipe, (which he had been smoking, and supposed was extinguished) nigh to the farm yard, and set light to some straw adjoining, which in the short space of a quarter of an hour, consumed the barns, granary, stalls, and stables, covering nearly half an acre of land. The dwelling house, a recently-built tiled stable, and one rick of hay, only, were saved from the devastating power of the raging element, which at one period, threatened destruction to the whole parish. The damage to the stock and buildings is nearly £3000.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 30th August 1813)

For Sale

"To be sold by auction, by Mr Stubbs, at the Marquis of Granby Inn, at Sompting, on Saturday 8th July 1815 at 5 o’clock in the afternoon in ten lots (unless before disposed of by Private Contract, of which prior notice will be given) a very valuable freehold and copyhold estate, consisting of upwards of 30 acres of excellent land, and several Houses, Barns and other buildings, situate at Sompting, Cokeham and Lancing, about two miles from Worthing:-

Lot 1 – A Freehold House, in two tenements, and garden, in Sompting, in the occupation of Henry Tate and the Widow Marshall.

Lot 2 – A Freehold House, Garden, Yard, Granary, Stable and lofts in Sompting, in the occupation of Mr Jonathan Crowther and Mr Richard Wenham.

Lot 3 – A Freehold Yard, Chaise-house, Cart-house, and Croft of meadowland, containing about half and acre in Sompting in the occupation of Mr Wenham.

Lot 4 – A Copyhold House, and garden, and one acre of arable land in the field behind the house, and a field of arable land containing about 4 acres in the lane leading to the Ham, and one cow-leaze, one lot, and 30 sheep-leazes in Cokeham formerly French’s holden of the manor of Sompting, and a Freehold field of arable land called the Ansty, containing about four acres in Cokeham, in the occupation of Mr Charles Weller, and his undertenant.

Lot 5 – A Copyhold House, garden, stable, well planted orchard, and five acres and a half of arable land in Cokeham, and Lancing, formerly Jay’s, and holden of the Manor of Cokeham, (except about half the orchard which is freehold), and a Freehold piece of arable land, near Mrs Stubb’s barn, containing about one acre, with the cart-house thereon; and a Freehold piece of arable land containing about one acre, in the East Hale common field in Cokeham, in the occupation of Mr Weller.

Lot 6 – A Copyhold House, two gardens, good barn, and gateroom, and about 8 acres of arable land in Cokeham and Lancing, formerly Baker’s, holden of the Manor of Cokeham, in the occupation of Mr Weller and his undertenant.

Lot 7 – A Freehold field of arable land containing about five acres, called the Limekiln field, situate in Halewick Lane, in Cokeham, an eligible spot for building on, in the occupation of Mr Weller, together with the chalk-pit and limekiln in the occupation of Mr Wenham.

Lot 8 – A Freehold Croft of arable land, containing about one acre, in the lane leading to the Ham, in Cokeham, in the occupation of Mr Weller.

Lot 9 – A Freehold Tenement, built for a blacksmith’s shop, and half an acre of arable land, in a common field behind it, in the occupation of Mr Weller and Mr Wenham.

Lot 10 – A Freehold Croft of arable land, called Lot’s Acre, adjoining Lot’s Mead, in Cokeham, containing about one acre in occupation of Mr Weller.


Fire! Fire!

“Fire from Lucifer Matches – About 4 o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday last a straw stack on the farm of Mr Charles Bushby was seen to be on fire. On hastening to the spot we learnt that it had been accidentally set on fire by two little boys in Mr Bushby’s employ, named Jacob and Job Boyce, 10 years of age and twins. They were sent by the workmen for their jackets lying in the field, and in the pocket of one jacket the boys found two Lucifer matches, with which they set to work to make a little fire with straw pulled from the stack. The fire soon communicated to the bulk, consuming the whole to the value of £10, Mr Bushby is insured. It shows how careful workmen ought to be as to carrying Lucifer matches among farm produce. The boys were much alarmed, as a matter of course, and screamed for help. “

(Sussex Advertiser, 5th July 1859)

William Norman McCarthy

“Mr Norman McCarthy of the Studio, Lancing, has a picture in the Royal Academy. It is a life-size portrait in oils of his little sister Gladys, the well-known child actress, Gladys Gordon, who took the title role in Mr Robert Arthur’s pantomime, Red Riding Hood and as L. Tremain in Humpty Dumpty. We understand that the picture is advantageously hung. “

(Worthing Gazette, 7th May 1913.)

Young Rooks

“Early in the morning a few days ago, the rookery nigh to the Church at Sompting, was invaded by some young fellows, who while busily employed in taking the young rooks from their nests, were disturbed at their work by the owner, who mustered his forces, and soon routed the invaders, on whom he inflicted, smartly, the summary punishment of the horsewhip, and then suffered them to escape. One, however thought to avoid the whip, by keeping his situation snugly aloft; but the fear of a salutation from a pea-loaded gun, brought him down. By order of the proprietor, the young rooks were taken the next day, to the number of about 30 dozen.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 8 May 1826)

Five Guineas Reward

“Escaped from the Headborough of Sompting the 16th March 1824, Thomas Wicks, charged on suspicion of feloniously stealing in a barn at Lancing, the property of Thomas Barnett, a sack, with four bushels of Pease. The said Thomas Wicks, is about five feet six inches high, 35 years of age, rather under-looking, walks limping, and has a W marked on one of his wrists. Had on when he escaped, a blue round frock. Any person apprehending the said Thomas Wicks, and bringing him to the Headborough of Sompting shall on conviction of the said Thomas Wicks, receive FIVE GUINEAS REWARD.

Marten Stubbs, Headborough. “

(Sussex Advertiser. 4th April 1825)

Man walks into sea

“People on the beach at Lancing (Sussex), yesterday saw a man carrying a book walk into the sea up to his waist, turn round and walk out again. The man could give no account of himself, and was taken to the Shoreham Infirmary and detained. The book he carried was a Bible.

He is about 28 years of age, 5ft. 8in. in height, well built, full face, and was wearing a black jacket and waistcoat.”

(Nottingham Evening Post, 1st April 1929)


"Mr H.W. Doll, writing from Forst Haus, Lancing, Sussex, remarks:- “Respecting your recommendation of paraffin oil and soft soap for killing insects on fruit trees, our market gardeners hereabout do not approve of it, as they think it injures or kills the trees. I was in Belgium last year, when I visited the Vejunieres at Vilvorde of Monsieur Gillivuns, the professor of horticulture, and selected three-dozen pear trees, and I asked him about American blight or ‘tigre’, as they call it. ‘Well’, he said, ‘I have been hard at it for years, and at last, through my son-in-law, who is a chemist, have found a remedy which does not kill the tree, viz: Mix half a pint of coarse alcohol with as much soft soap as it will take, and paint the tree with it, and this will settle the insect,’ although he maintained that the disease is at the root and works its way up. I thought this might interest you and your many readers, and give it for what it is worth.”"

(Nottinghamshire Guardian, 18th March 1899)


“On Friday the 24th of this instant February, between the hours of three and six in the afternoon, at the house of Mr Richard Carver, called the Sussex Pad, in the parish of Lancing.

A copyhold estate, consisting of a house, with garden and orchard, a good barn, stable and other conveniencies, and about 37 acres of exceeding good land, chiefly arable, the greatest part of which has been chalked within a few years, also four cow leases in the Ham, and right of pasturage in the Fresh Brook containing 50 acres and upwards, with every other privilege now belonging to the farm situate at Lower Lancing, in the occupation of Mr James Heather, Tenant at Will, who has occupied the same farm more than 20 years, at a very old rent; King’s Tax very low.

Further particulars may be known by applying to Mr John Wood, at Kingston, near Lewes; or of Robert Mercer, at Lewes.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 6th February 1786)


“A Woman Servant of all work. – A man Servant, who understands farming business, and gardening in the common way. – Also a Lad to assist in the stable – go to plough – and do whatever may be required.

Apply to Mrs Jamison, Lower Lancing – Servants having lived in public houses need not attend; nor any whose character will not bear enquiry.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 15th February 1802)

A Sompting Scam

The Worthing Gazette of 3rd January 1900 reported on a scam called the “Spanish Prisoner”. Mr R. J. Inkpen of Sompting received the following letter.

“Dear Sir,

The cruel situation which surrounds me, and the sad fate in which finds herself my daughter 14 years old, who I maintain as boarder in the College of La Carolina, are circumstances which oblige me to direct myself to you, of whom I have the best references of honorability. Being a Captain treasurer of the 22 of foot soldiers in garrison in the city of Carthagene to comply with my consciences, I joined the rebellion in the month of July last in belief of the republic but as we were victims of the greatest treason, I was obliged to emigrate to English ground taking along with me the money which I had to my charge, valued to £15000, after having resided some time in this country, I received the sad news my wife had died, leaving my dear daughter in despair and without help.

In this sad situation I found myself in the necessity of coming back to Spain to help my daughter and bring her in my company to England.

Before starting considering as imprudent to take along with me this money, I decided to hide it in the neighbourhood of Sompting, taking immediately a plan of the ground with all the marks and measures of the spot. Then very satisfied that the money was in security, I started for Spain, where I was discovered by the police brought immediately before the military authorities of Carthagene and condemned to 7 years penal servitude, then the government destined me to undergo my condemn in this castle.

Thus by return of the mail let me know if you are willing to lend me your help and protection to recover this money in order my daughter and her governess may start for your respected house, bringing the plan and all instructions for the discovery.

If you accept my proposal, in answer to your next letter I shall tell you the exact conditions to realise plan, about which you must keep the most absolute secrecy, at the same time I shall send you a certificate identifying my person and the causes of my captivity. As I am strictly watched, it is dangerous you direct your letters straight to me, for this reason, I expect you will put your answer within two envelopes, the one within to my name, and the one outside to the name of my servant who has the charge of helping me.

Waiting for your answer I am yours faithfully,

Alfredo Pramos.”

At the same time a resident of Patcham received the same letter but saying the money was buried at Patcham.

Disappearance of a Sussex Farmer

“Considerable concern has been excited throughout the western part of the county of Sussex, more particularly amongst agriculturists, by the disappearance of Mr William Hampton, the occupier of Applesham Farm, between Shoreham and Lancing, one of the most extensive farmers on the southern coast. Mr Hampton, who occupied a prominent position in his neighbourhood, and for some time sat on the board of trustees for managing New Shoreham Harbour, left his home on Sunday evening about 6 o’clock, having just previously spoken to his wife, and up to the time of writing nothing has since been heard of him. The grounds about the farm have been searched unavailingly, and the river Adur, which runs at a little distance from the farm, has been dragged daily without success up to Thursday morning. It is believed that he left home without his hat, and wearing only his slippers, and the gloomiest forebodings are entertained.”

(Hampshire Advertiser, 4th January 1879)


“Figs can at this time be purchased in the Brighton market from 1s. to 3s. per dozen. They are principally brought from Sompting, Worthing, and a fig orchard at Tarring, which is the only one in the Kingdom, so that at Brighton and Worthing alone perhaps can this delicious fruit be obtained so cheap, and at the same time, in such perfection. They are said to surpass those of the Parisian markets.”

(Morning Chronical, 26th September 1823)

To Brewers and Others

“Mr Absalom Dell is favoured with instructions from Mr Kidd, the Brewer and Maltster, who is leaving that part of the country, to sell by public auction, upon the premises in Upper Lancing, (adjoining the beautiful gardens of Lady Lloyd), on Wednesday the 24th day of September 1856 at two o’clock. The whole of the brewing utensils and casks, coppers, several pockets of very fine Kent and Sussex hops, a stack of hay of first-rate quality, two handsome pigs, a strong and useful cob horse, a light spring cart, coal cart, fly-wheel machines, and a variety of useful effects.

The store beer will be sold at per gallon, if not all consumed by persons attending the sale.

Must be viewed and tasted any day before the sale and catalogues obtained on the premises, and of Mr Absalom Dell, Auctioneer and Appraiser, 23 New Road, Brighton.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 23rd September 1856)

Hard Labour!

“Sarah Riddles, wife of H Riddles, (on bail), appeared to answer a charge of stealing on the 18th day of May 1850, at Sompting, one silver fork, value 10s, the property of the Honourable Frances Lake. Mr Johnson conducted the prosecution, and Mr Cobbett the defence. The prisoner was found guilty and sentenced to one calendar month’s imprisonment to hard labour.”

(Sussex Advertiser, 9th July 1850)

(Not a very good start to Sarah Austin’s marriage to Henry as they only married on 20th May.

Frances Lake lived at Rectory House until her death in 1853.)

Sompting Abbotts

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