Research by Members

Here will appear extracts from Pastfinders' monthly newsletter ~ "RETROSPECS" along with any recent discoveries and items of local historical interest found by our Members.

Much of the work published on this website is copyrighted to various authors. Please respect the time and money which has gone into our research to enable the production of the articles for community enjoyment. An acknowledgement to LANCING & SOMPTING PASTFINDERS will suffice, should you wish to use all or part of any of the published work for non-commercial, personal research or social networking.

If in doubt please enquire using our contact button on the Home Page.

Harold Edward Annison - Olympic swimmer

Frederick Elliott Annison married Minnie Cumbers in 1891 at Croydon. Their first daughter, Phyllis Minnie was born in 1892 followed by Gwendoline Maude Christie in 1893. Their first son Harold Edward Annison was born on the 27 December 1895 in Croydon followed by another son Reginald Clement in 1898 and later in 1907 another daughter, Elsie Madeline.

Frederick was described in various census as a Colonial Broker/Agent and could afford to have a governess for his children. He was a keen cyclist and swimmer and encouraged his children accordingly. The children became members of the Croydon swimming club and Harold, in 1910, became the 100 yards junior champion of the Southern Counties as well as winning the Championship of London cup and the ‘Field’ Challenge cup. By 1913 Harold was competing at International level for England and was known as the fastest boy swimmer in the world.

Harold served in the Royal Navy during the first World War and also married Rose Honor Barnes in 1916 and a son, Peter Honor, was born the same year. The marriage was short as Rose filed for divorce in 1918. In 1919 he married Lydia Rose Doughton and their son, John Harold was born 1921.

Harold continued with his swimming after the war and won every Amateur Swimming Association championship apart from the five miles. He represented Great Britain at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp and 1924 in Paris in the 100 mtrs., 400 mtrs., and 1500 mtrs. freestyle and in the 4 x 200 relay where he won a Bronze medal at Antwerp. As well as individual swimming, Harold and his brother, Reginald, played water polo, with Harold playing at International level. In 1932 the London Film Productions made a short film featuring Harold. In 1934 Harold became the first manager of the swimming pool in West Street, Brighton.

In July 1934 Frederick Annison moved to Lancing and bought Brown Gables in Mill road. In 1936 he bought Mill Cottage and nursery on the east side of Mill Road where Harold lived. Frederick died in January 1940 at Brown Gables and left instructions for his ashes to be thrown into the sea from the Palace Pier, Brighton. He left £84,505.

Harold moved into Brown Gables after his father’s death and continued with the nursery business but it appears he was separated from Lydia and assumed divorced as he married Olive M Jack from Lancing in 1948. Harold died on the 27th November 1957. The nursery site was sold by Olive in March 1960 to Cowley Bros. where the bungalows and Norbury Drive were built.


Lancing Parish Hall is 100 years old

In March 1912 the Lord of the Manor, J. M. Carr Lloyd, gave to the village a quarter of an acre of land on which to erect a Parish Hall. Plans were drawn up by Mr Otto Doll, an architect who lived at Faust Haus who gave his services for free. The estimated cost was £1250 and a loan was needed but due to the Local Government Board requesting a Public Inquiry in 1913 and then the onset of war the building work did not start until March 1915. The Worthing Gazette of 10 September 1913 has a report of Otto Doll submitting plans for the new parish hall, but a report in the Worthing Gazette 28 May 1914 shows that some members of the parish council were unhappy with Otto, the son of the vice-chairman, Henry William Doll. Otto resigned as Hon. Architect due to the “aggressive attitude of some members of the council,” and he requested his tenders and plans back.

A new architect, Mr H M Potter of Worthing, was appointed and builders, Frank Sandall & Sons of Worthing, were accepted with the lowest quote of £1168.10s.6d. The building was described as having a large hall that could seat 300 people, 60 feet long with a width of 20 feet, dressing rooms and reading rooms and a well-appointed kitchen. As well as having a gallery at the north end and a platform with floodlights and curtains suitable for theatrical performances, there was an apartment suitable for meetings etc. Radiators and gas lighting had been installed. A ladies cloakroom would be added later.

Further delays were caused by a shortage of steel for the girders but the hall finally opened on the 17th November 1915. A marble plaque was erected marking the occasion and is still there.


William Hall entertains President Kruger

William Hall was born in Brighton 1833 to parents William Hall and Mary Savignac. In 1858 he was in Canada where he married Elizabeth Swannick Barton on the 8th of June. Their first son, William Hamilton, was born there in 1859. They had returned to England by 1861 when their second son, John Henry Sussex, was born, followed by Mary Barton in 1862, Frederick Savignac in 1864, Elizabeth Swannick in 1866, Grace Ethel in 1870, Edward Bassano in 1872, Helena Invicta in 1874 and Madelaine Ennis Mae in 1876.

He trained as an architect as seen in the 1851 census but by 1861 he is shown as a Parliamentary Agent. The 1871 census shows him living in John Street, Shoreham, and as a retired architect and engineer at age 37! The 1881 census shows the family living at Penstone, Lancing, when William was said to have “no profession, trade or calling” although he was one of the Shoreham Harbour Trustees, a member of the firm Hall and Partners (Ltd), of the Dundee Dredging Company and of the South of England Marine Insurance Association and a member of the Brighton Corporation. In the 1880’s William tried unsuccessfully to stand as a Member of Parliament for the Gladstone Liberals. Penstone was built in 1875 most likely for William and his family.

On the 11th January 1884 when William was a member of the Brighton Corporation, he and his wife hosted a lunch reception at the Dome in Brighton for delegates from the Transvaal, including President Paul Kruger, who were in England to sign the London Convention. It had been hoped the Mayor and other councillors would attend but the event was boycotted by all but a few junior members of the council but in all about a hundred people attended. After lunch Mr Hall invited President Kruger and the other delegates back to his house, Penstone, in Lancing. While there the party were escorted around the area visiting Sompting and Cissbury.

Just a few weeks later in April, his young son Edward died followed by his wife.

In 1895 Penstone was for sale which was probably the time William moved to Texas where he had a ranch and where he died in 1900.


The Grey Ladies

This grave has been recently re-discovered when volunteers were clearing St. James the Less cemetery in West Lane.

"All ye who pass by

the Lord bless you & keep you

& make his face to shine upon

you & give you peace."




died July 6th 1939. Aged 89 years.




died Feb 1st 1928 aged 74


Remembering Arthur Curd, D.C.M.

(A survivor of the First World War and possibly Lancing’s highest decorated soldier)

Arthur John Curd was born in 1895 at Lancing, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Curd, of Matfield, Penhill Road, Lancing. He worked in his father’s market garden before joining the Royal Sussex Regiment in April 1916. “In November that year he was guarding a mine at the Western Front, when it exploded, and he was buried in the debris, his chest being crushed, but happily the injury was not of a serious nature. His misfortunes did not end here, for as he was being dug out he sustained a sprained ankle. It was not necessary however to bring him to a home hospital and he has now gone back to duty.” He was soon made a Lance Corporal.

In March 1918 he was wounded for the second time, on this occasion sustaining a bullet wound in the right thigh. In January 1919, the London Gazette announced the Distinguished Conduct Medal had been awarded to G/16014 Lance-Corporal A. J. Curd, 13th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (Lancing, Sussex), “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during the second battle of the Somme. At St. Emilie, on the 22nd March, when his runners had been killed in attempting to get in touch with battalion headquarters, he volunteered and reached battalion headquarters, afterwards returning with orders which enabled the company to withdraw to our lines with few casualties. From the 22nd till 27th March, 1918, when he was wounded, he repeatedly did good work under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. His fine courage and cheerfulness were an example to all ranks.”


Charles John Carr

The Worthing Gazette of 2nd October 1929 mentions a C. J. Carr of Jutland, Lancing being granted a patent for an invention relating to “Improvements in the manufacture of unsplinterable glass”.

Further research reveals that he was Charles John Carr, born in 1900 at Rotherhithe, youngest son of George and Catherine Carr. The patent, GB316496, was granted to Charles of “Jutland”, Shopsdam, Lancing and his brother, David George Carr, of Sutton, Surrey.

“This invention relates to the manufacture of Unsplinterable Glass of the kind wherein sheets of a transparent, flexible, material such as celluloid or the like are cemented between sheets of glass.”


London to Brighton by Velocipede

I’m sure you have all watched snippets of the London to Brighton bike ride, you may even have taken part, but did you know the first cyclist to ride from London to Brighton on the 17 February 1869 had a Lancing connection. John Mayall, born in 1842, was the son of John Jabez Edwin Mayall, a famous photographer, who at the time owned land in Lancing and later moved from Brighton to live at Storks Nest, South Lancing. John, jun., himself a photographer, had married a Lancing girl, Eliza Caroline Josephine Dabbs, in 1865 and lived in London.

The following appeared in “The Times”, 19th February 1869.

“London to Brighton by Velocipede. On Wednesday Mr John Mayall, jun. son of the well-known photographer, accomplished the journey from London to Brighton on one of the new two-wheel velocipedes. He was accompanied by two friends, Mr Spencer and Mr Turner, also on velocipedes. They had a preliminary run round Trafalgar square, and then started off at the rate of eight miles an hour on roads which proved to be generally good, but against a very strong wind all the way. They kept pretty well together as far as Crawley (30 miles), after which Mr Mayall took a decided lead, and arrived in Brighton in time and in good condition for dinner, and the second part of Kube’s concert at the Grand Hall. Part of the journey, down hill from Clayton to Brighton, was run at the speed of one mile in four minutes.”


Lancing Brickmaking

There must have been a shortage of brickmakers locally in 1899 as the Sussex Chronicle dated 22nd April 1899 had the following advertisement.

“Wanted, Clamp Brickmakers, 5s. 9d. per 1000; handy berths; fare paid – Gammons, Fishbourne Villa, Lancing. Sussex.”

This was Charles Robert Gammans, born 1837 at Fishbourne, near Chichester, who with his brother Cephas moved to Lancing in the late 1860’s when they appeared as carters but by 1881 Cephas was described as a brickmaker and Charles a carter. By 1891 Charles was also a brickmaker and Cephas a Master brickmaker, also several of their sons worked as brickmakers. In 1910 Charles owned a 7acre brickfield in the North Road, Crabtree Lane area and another in Penhill Road, while Cephas worked another in Penhill Road. Charles and Cephas are both buried in North Lancing churchyard along with their wives and other members of their families. Brickmaking played an important role in the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century due to the rapid growth of the village.

A clamp brickmaker would use one of the oldest methods of firing. A clamp is a temporary construction of unfired or green bricks, which is dismantled after firing. Clamps varied from yard to yard but there were general rules which most followed. The floor had to be level and was made of burnt brick. Channels were often made in the floor and filled with fuel, usually breeze (crushed coke) but any fuel available would be used. Next came three or four layers of green bricks, which were placed on edge and then another layer of fuel was added. After this, green bricks were packed closely together to a height of 14 or 15 feet. The bricks were 'dished' or tilted inward to prevent injury to workmen during firing. Sometimes the outside was sealed with wet pug. Most clamp bricks had a small percentage of breeze added to the clay during manufacture. This helped to 'self fire' them and ensured that a good temperature was reached. Each one contained 30,000 to 150,000 bricks. An average size would take two or three weeks to burn out, although larger ones could take as much as ten or twelve weeks.

(Description of Clamp Brickmaking was taken from The Isle of Wight Brickmaking History website.)


Sompting Students

In the newsletter of May 2008, there was an article about the work of students from Sompting School being sent to Japan to be included in an exhibition. The following year at a prize giving evening in April, the new Vicar, Rev. Clifton Bokenham, read out a letter from the Japanese Minister of Education expressing “the profound thanks of the Japanese Minister for the excellent work sent by Sompting School to the Exhibition held in Japan. Great interest had been displayed in the English work, and it was now being placed in a permanent Museum in Tokyo, where it would be introduced to a wider public.”

(Worthing Gazette, 28th April 1909)


SELWYN JOHN CURWEN BRINTON of Stanbridge House, Lancing.

Selwyn John Curwen Brinton was born 1859 in Kidderminster. His father was John Brinton, a carpet manufacturer, who was at one time, a Member of Parliament for Kidderminster. John did well for himself and bought Moor Hall, Stourport, in the 1870’s. Selwyn studied first at a Church of England ‘Gentleman’s School’ at Leamington Spa, then at Charterhouse before moving to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1883. While training to become a barrister he also studied art history specialising in Italian art. He was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1894.

His love of Italian art started him off on a new career although he was still described as a “barrister at law” in the 1901 census. He wrote nine volumes on “Renaissance in Italian Art”. He also wrote on the history of Venice, on Leonardo, Perugino and Correggio. He contributed on a regular basis to art journals and became an adviser on art exhibitions, advising on many international exhibitions in Italy. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1925 and an honorary member of the Association of Architects and Surveyors in 1934.

He married Janette Harvey Banfield in 1895 but unfortunately she died a few months later. He married for the second time, Phyllis Mary Narracott, in 1914.

In the1901 census he is shown visiting friends at Cuckfield but must have moved to Lancing later in the year to live in “Stanbridge House”, Farmers Lane (now Kings Road) Lancing. He was there until at least 1907. Later he moved to Park Lane, Southwick, where he also called his property “Stanbridge House”. There is now a care home for the elderly on the site in King’s Road called “Stanbridge House”.

The original “Stanbridge House” had been in Farmers Lane since at least the 1880’s, occupied by Mr Henry Stanbridge Walls and Mrs Charlotte Walls until their deaths, Henry in 1887 and Charlotte in 1893. In February 1894 the house was up for auction and was described in the Worthing Gazette as a “very desirable and well-built detached villa residence, standing in its own attractive enclosed gardens and orchard (the whole containing one acre one rood, or thereabouts), well stocked with choice fruit trees, with two glass houses, rosary, tomato house, large vinery, packing house, and other convenient out-buildings.” The gardens and greenhouses were let to Mr Page on a yearly tenancy of £18 per annum. The 1910 Land Tax Assessments shows that W.F. Young from Worthing had bought the house in 1894, for £640, subsequently spending another £100 on it.

Selwyn's wife Phyllis died in 1939 at Southwick and Selwyn moved to a nursing home in Hove where he died in November 1940.


Bus blown off bridge

Some of you may remember the terrible storm of 1st January 1949 when a “miniature whirlwind“ left a trail of destruction from Worthing to Shoreham and caused a double-decker bus to be blown off the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge at approximately 6.30 p.m. The No. 9 Southdown Bus had left Worthing at 5.55 p.m. on it’s way to Brighton and as the vehicle approached the bridge the storm intensified with hailstones battering the bus and the wind reaching speeds of 80–90 mph. Just as the driver drove on to the narrow bridge, a gust of wind wrenched the steering wheel out of his hand and swept the bus off the bridge into the river Adur, 25ft below. The conductor managed to jump clear and run to the Red Lion to telephone emergency services. Ladders were laid down from the bridge to the bus, which was lying on its side half-submerged in mud, amazingly with lights still on and engine running. Luckily the tide was out. Nine passengers managed to climb up to the bridge, while the remaining eleven passengers had to be released by fireman. Three Worthing passengers and two Lancing residents were retained in hospital. Miraculously there were no deaths and only one serious injury of a lady, Miss Anna Vuls, who was a Latvian chambermaid and who had worked for the Spaniard Hotel in Worthing. More than 3 years later, she sued the Southdown Bus Company and was awarded special damages of £680 even though the bus company had claimed it was an “Act of God”. She appealed, and was later awarded £2680.


Lancing’s Poet

William John Tarr was a builder and decorator who lived at ‘Vimy’ Sompting Road, Lancing in the 1920’s. William had been born in Kent in 1883 and married Lilian Maria Wright in 1905. Their first child, Doris Annie was born 1908 but she died the following year. In 1910 they had a son, Jack William, and soon after moved to Worthing. William initially was a carpenter by trade but later advertised himself as a builder and decorator.

In 1928 he tried his hand as an Estate Agent and advertised in the Worthing Gazette. Two of his adverts are reproduced below.

“Lancing is in Sussex

On our Southern shore

Down and Sea and River –

Who could ask for more?

Leave the dust of London,

Take the Lancing Road,

You’ll see “TARR” by the station,

And he’ll find you your abode.”

“TARR – has the best in houses and land.

He never will fret if you understand

he will do his best to ensure that you

will have a nice happy time

and plenty to do.

Land in Lancing is quite a treasure

If only you’ll come, you’ll get good measure.”

He seemed to disappear from Lancing soon after and further research discovered that he had gone to Scotland where he was found in a private burial ground at Gleneagles after having violated the grave of Richard Burdon Viscount Haldane on the 24th August 1928. At his court appearance it was said that William was insane and he was committed to prison pending further inquiries. It was stated that William took a keen interest in the proceedings, some of which he seemed to treat as a joke. He was released from Perth Prison in October by the authorities who declared him in better health and more normal! It was said he left for the South. In March 1956 William was found drowned at Flansham, near Bognor leaving a widow, Lilian Maria and a son, Jack William. William and Lilian had been living at 249 South Farm Road, Worthing. The inquest returned an open verdict as there was no evidence to suggest he took his own life but there was no mention of his earlier mental state.


Please Visit: Soldiers of the Queen

© LSP 2006 - 2014

Charles and Kathleen got involved with Lancing affairs, providing the Girl Guide hall and the Scout hut in the 1920’s, and becoming benefactors for the Children’s Heart Home. Charles also bought some old cottages in South Street, opposite the Farmers Hotel, and had them rebuilt with Thatch roofs but they were eventually demolished in September 1972 to make way for a block of four shops with flats above.

After Charles died in 1929 Kathleen spent more time in Lancing lending her support to many local causes. She remarried in 1941 the Very Rev. Owen C. Dampier Bennett but unfortunately he died after an operation in 1950 leaving Kathleen a widow again until she died on the 28th March 1968. She is buried with Charles in St James’ churchyard. In January 1970 the dedication took place of the lychgate, which was presented to the church by the three sons of Charles and Kathleen in memory of their parents.

Their second son, Charles Percy, married a girl from Shoreham and had a home built in Brighton Road called Beachcroft. He took over his Father’s interest in the Children’s Heart Home and the Scouts, where he became scoutmaster in 1936 and Assistant County Commissioner in 1945. He became a J.P. in 1956 serving the Steyning division and was a West Sussex County Councillor. Other Lancing societies that he was involved with include the British Legion, Horticultural Society, Sussex County Minor Football League, the Parish Council and was also governor of Lancing Secondary School. In 1959 he was awarded an M. B. E. in the Birthday Honours list.

Robert John Bartlett

Robert John Bartlett was born in Southwark, London in 1840. He married Esther Souter from Poling in 1867 and their first children were born in Littlehampton before the family moved to Lancing about 1876 when he took up his position as Lancing’s Station Master. He worked for the Railway Company for about forty years and retired on a pension in 1900. When he left the local inhabitants of Lancing, Sompting, Shoreham and Worthing presented him with an illuminated testimonial and a purse of gold “as a mark of their appreciation of his courtesy, great affability, devotion, and general kindness in his official capacity”. He continued working as a Sub-Postmaster at South Lancing.

His death on the 8th July 1910 at the age of 70 left a widow and seven sons. He is buried in St James’ churchyard.


Hard Labour

At the Petworth Sessions in January 1839, Sarah Hacker, age 39, of Lancing was charged with stealing half a pound of Lard, value 5d., one quart of milk, value 1d., and one glass bottle, value 2d, all being the property of Mr Charles Duke. She was sentenced to two months hard labour with the first and last week to be held in solitary confinement.


Algernon Charles Swinburne

The poet, Algernon Charles Swinburne, 5th April 1837 – 10th April 1909, for several years in the late 1880’s spent his holidays in Lancing, staying at number 2 The Terrace, sometimes on his own and sometimes with his friend, Theadore Watts Dunton.

In 1889 it was reported “Mr Swinburne is almost as much troubled as Lord Tennyson is with sightseers, anxious to gratify themselves with a glimpse of his face. As soon as his presence in Lancing was made known by the local papers, which ferreted out the fact somehow, the formerly deserted beach began to be populous with visitors from Brighton and Worthing, lying in wait for him as he takes his walks abroad. Many of them are young ladies, who even hang about the door of the house where he is staying, anxious to show their romantic adoration.”

While staying at Lancing he wrote letters to his family and friends describing his various walks around Lancing, to Shoreham and Worthing.


Charles Mason and The Haven

I’m sure most of us have used or heard of “Cherry Blossom Boot Polish” and “Mansion Polish” but did you know that we had a former Lancing resident to thank for them.

Charles Mason and his brother Dan were born in Canterbury, later moving to London with their family. Approximately 1886 they started the Chiswick Soap factory in Burlington Lane, but by 1900 it was called the Chiswick Soap Company and they were making polish as well as soap. In 1906 they launched the Cherry Blossom Boot Polish, and in 1912 launched “Mansion Polish”, both of which became such a huge success that by 1913 they formed a new company with Reckitt & Sons, which was called the Chiswick Polish Company Ltd. Dan and Charles were very good employers, setting up a pension scheme for employees, creating a staff magazine, introducing a 5 day week and giving them a sports ground with changing rooms and tea room. They were so well thought of by their employees that when Dan died in 1928, a Dan Mason Memorial Gateway was erected at the entrance to the sports ground and when Charles died in 1929, the Charles Mason Memorial Retreat was erected at the sports ground and in Lancing, at St James the Less, a new pulpit was dedicated to him.

Charles married Kathleen Hurdis Jones in 1910 and they had three sons, Dan Hurdis in 1911, Charles Percy in 1913 and Arthur in 1916, and lived in Kensington. In 1921 Charles and Kathleen bought “The Haven” Lancing from the estate of Henry Howells. The description given in The Times, 15 April 1921, advertising the auction was “On the Sussex Coast (with grounds to the sea) between Brighton and Worthing. A freehold house, solidly built. Eight bedrooms, bathroom, three or four reception rooms; stables, garage, outbuildings, and extensive range of vineries and peach houses; gardens, meadow and paddock about four acres in all”. They still kept their house in Kensington using The Haven as a Holiday home.

So who were the Grey Ladies? They were the daughters of William Pitt Manson and Margaret Jones, neé Donaghue. William and Margaret married on the 11th May 1842 at St Pancras, they had six children, William Pitt (jnr) in 1843, Susanna Ross in 1844, Thomas Edward Donaghue in 1848, Margaret Ann Catherine in 1849, Frederick William in 1850 and Catherine Neville in 1852.

William was a successful Barrister-at-Law, a second counsel to the Mint and General Post Office, and sometimes correspondent for the Times newspaper but on the 19th November 1862 he died suddenly aged about 44 years. The family were comfortably off so the daughters did not work and lived in Muswell Hill but by the 1901 census Margaret and Catherine were staying at the College of Grey Ladies, Dartmouth Row, Lewisham.

The College of Grey Ladies was set up about 1893 by the Bishop of Southwark to form a Sisterhood of volunteers to do parochial work such as Sunday school teaching, visiting parishioners, particularly looking after the women and children and the poor. A house was obtained and up to about 20 ladies, mostly of independent means, lived. A report by the Bishop states “The object and aim of the College is to provide a homelike resting place for hard workers, and those things which make healthy bodies, intellectual minds, fresh sympathies, and above all, souls trusting in the peace of God” The idea caught on and colleges were started in other towns.

The two sisters retired to Lancing about 1925 and lived in Trellis Cottage, Manor Road where they became keen supporters of North Lancing church and members of the North Lancing Women's Institute. They were joined by a niece, Freda Manson, who became President of North Lancing W.I. There may have been a connection to Lancing as their brother Frederick William married at St James in 1885.


Kong Carl

On Wednesday, 11th November 1891 the south coast of England was battered by a severe gale causing a schooner to be blown ashore at Lancing.

The schooner was the Kong Carl XV from Norway. The vessel was a wooden one, about 24 years old and 230 tons. She was manned by Captain Jornsen, a mate, 4 men and a boy. She left Liverpool on the 28th October with a cargo of coke bound for Christiania. The schooner braved rough weather in the Atlantic before heading up the Channel but on reaching Beachy Head the seas proved too much and the schooner lost a mast. Efforts to control her proved fruitless leaving her drifting about until she struck the shore at 11.40 in the morning. The Worthing lifeboat had been standing by and managed to attach lines to enable the crew to jump into the lifeboat before it hit the ashore between the Lancing Tollbar and Lancing Coastguard Station. The shipwrecked mariners were very grateful to reach shore and described the night as “an awfully boisterous one” and after being received at the coastguard station were later sent on to Shoreham Port.

The vessel was scrapped with the figurehead finding it’s way to Worthing Museum and the Capstan ending up near the Beach Office. The cargo of coke found it’s way onto the beach where it was gathered up by the local population. An entry in the log-book of St George’s School, dated 24th November, states “boys collecting coke from the beach at Lancing”.

That same day Worthing Lifeboat had to go to the rescue of another vessel, The Capella, which washed up opposite Heene Terrace, Worthing.


GEORGE BROWN the famous cricketer

Sompting churchyard is the last resting place for George Brown who was a famous cricketer.

George was baptised at Stoughton on the 4th May 1783 to parents, William and Elizabeth Brown. He married Anne Grainger in 1809 at Chichester and eight of their children were baptised at Warblington, Hampshire. By 1818 he was playing cricket for Emsworth in Hampshire and sometimes for the Hampshire team. His first appearance at Lords was in 1818. He had moved to Brighton and was playing for them by 1824 and had his first appearance for Sussex the following year creating quite a stir. He was a big man, described in ”The story of Cricket” by A D Taylor, as standing over 6ft. 2ins and weighing 18 stone. He was a right-handed batsman and a fast bowler.

He was a tailor by trade until he took on the lease of the Royal Brighton Gardens together with the Hanover Arms Inn and the adjoining cricket ground in January 1832, it was known as “Brown’s Gardens” for a time. That proved unsuccessful for him and he returned to tailoring in 1840. The 1841 census describes him as a tailor, living at 71 Middle Street, Brighton with his wife Ann and three children, Jane, John and Ellen along with several lodgers.

In 1845 a Benefit match was arranged for George but due to unfavourable weather no benefit was made so a Mr Taylor arranged another in August 1846 at the Royal Grounds. There were three days of cricket between Sussex and All England and two evening concerts. Great fun was had at the amateur concerts with songs being sung about “Big Massa Brown”.

George played cricket until he was a good age but then became a scorer and is featured in a famous 1849 print of Sussex v. Kent seated at the scorer’s table. In 1850 when Sussex played Kent, George left his scorer’s table to field as a substitute, returning to score after fielding. He was 67 and perhaps the oldest man to take the field for Sussex.

In the book “Highways and Byways in Sussex” by E.V. Lucas, it is written that “ At the neighbouring village of Stoughton, was born in 1783, the terrible George Brown – Brown of Brighton – the fast bowler, whose arm was as thick as an ordinary man’s thigh. He has two long stops, one of whom padded his chest with straw. A long stop once held his coat before one of Brown’s ball, but the ball went through it and killed a dog on the other side. Brown could throw a 4½oz. ball 137 yards, and he was the father of 17 children. He died at Sompting in 1857.”

It was reported in the newspaper when he died that his “bowling was the terror of all batsmen and he was decidedly the fastest bowler England ever produced”.

By 1851 George, aged 69 was still described as a tailor living with Ann, one servant, a lodger and several visitors. Presumably Ann had died so George moved to Sompting in September 1856 to live with a son at the Marquis of Granby. Conflicting reports state that he lived with a son or a daughter but his son Henry, who was a tailor married in 1855 Jane Trangmar, widow of George Trangmar, late licensee of the Marquis. A report in the Sussex Advertiser dated 20th March 1855 says that the Inn’s licence was granted to John Brown but it is much more likely it should have read Henry Brown as son John lived in Dorset. In July 1858 the licence was passed to James Maybank. James had married a Jane Brown, who could have been George’s eldest daughter and they lived in Portslade but it is thought they moved to the Marquis prior to obtaining the licence, possibly to look after her father.

His headstone records –

In / affectionate remembrance / of / GEORGE BROWN / late of Brighton / who died at Sompting / June 27th 1857 / aged 73 years / Though lost to sight, to memory dear / This stone was erected by his youngest surviving daughter /


Duke of Edinburgh Visit

On Monday, 23rd February 1880, the Duke of Edinburgh inspected the Lancing Coastguard Station and the one at Fishersgate. The next day he left England for Russia travelling via Brussels and Berlin.


George Newcombe Prideaux

George Newcombe Prideaux was born in 1845 at Pilton, Barnstable, Devon to parents Thomas and Mary, the name Newcombe being his mother’s maiden name. On leaving school he worked in a factory before becoming a stonemason. In 1871 he was lodging in Chelsea, London working as a stonemason but soon moved to Sussex where he became a foreman stonemason working on the Lancing College Chapel. The foundation stone for the chapel was laid in 1868 so George would have worked on the very early stages. Unfortunately he had a bad fall about 1877 that led to him changing his career. He became a Publican at the Three Horse Shoes.

He married in 1872, Emily Margaret Wingfield, followed by the birth of their children, Rosina Barbara in 1874, Margaret Rachel 1876, Louisa Mary 1878-1882, George Newcombe 1880, Leo 1882, Jesse Maud 1887, and Thomas Edwin in 1890.

As well as being a popular publican, he was a member of the Parish Council for a number of years earning great respect in whatever he did. He also ran a market garden with his sons.

He died on the 9th October 1915 and is buried in North Lancing churchyard along with his wife, Emily, who died 26th February 1917. The Three Horse Shoes remained in the family with their son, George Newcombe, as licensee for many years.


Lorne Cottage

John Walls purchased Lorne Cottage, which was just to the north of the Three Horseshoes, from the executors of Robert Martin in 1877 and in a Codicil to his Will dated 13th October 1877 he left the property to his two daughters, Mary Ann Walls and Emily Walls.

John Walls died 1st September 1887 and along with his wife Hannah is buried in the churchyard of St James the Less.

A year later Emily Walls paid her sister £200 for Lorne Cottage.

In 1908 she granted a Lease to William Henry Lloyd McCarthy for a term of 14 years at an annual rent of £27. Emily was living at The Finches in Elm Grove and Wm McCarthy was at Ada Cottage, Salt Lake.

Amongst the provisions of the Lease was a covenant to properly empty and clear away the contents of the cesspools at such times as is needed. The Landlady gave the tenant permission to erect a Studio in the grounds of the property with the proviso that he made good any damage caused.

Emily married Joseph Charles Walls in the December quarter of 1908 and sold the property in 1919 to William H L McCarthy, then of Horley, for the sum of £500.00.

William’s two sons, Norman and Eric, ran the business as McCarthy Brothers. Eric Justin McCarthy, in 1924, set up his own studio on the corner of East Street and South Street, which he ran until his early death in 1931.


Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

Lancing and Sompting celebrated with the rest of the country, Queen Victoria’s sixty years on the throne.

Sompting had raised the sum of £60-£70 to enable everyone in the parish to participate in a range of activities on the 19th June. Mrs Croft had given permission for the use of the field in front of The Abbotts where there was a steam roundabout and swings for everyone to use. Part of the field was used for races and a cricket match. At 2.00 the men and older boys sat down in a marquee to a substantial dinner of roast and boiled beef and mutton, veal and ham, vegetables, tarts, puddings, jelly, cheese and salad, and beer and mineral water. Later in the afternoon about 150 children had tea then the women of the parish sat down to a meat tea with a glass of wine. The Sompting Brass Band was in attendance. There were showers of rain during the day but they didn’t spoil the proceedings.

Lancing had collected about £40 to celebrate in similar style on the Tuesday at the Manor Park. At 2.00 a series of sports started, followed by a tea for the children at 3.30 and an hour later a meat tea for the working adults of the parish. The weather was fine. In the evening at 9.30 a firework display took place followed by the lighting of the beacon. A series of beacons were lit around the country, one of eighty in Sussex was lit at Lancing, west of the College, near the chalkpit. It was built by the staff and pupils of Lancing College. It reached 20 feet in height with a centre pole that had a barrel of kerosene on top. It was surrounded by railway sleepers, and piled high with other sleepers, tar barrels, kerosene barrels, cases of shavings and other flammable material. It was reported that it burned for two hours.


Wedding at North Lancing March 1932

An unusual sight greeted the bride and groom when they emerged from the Church, they had to pass under an archway of garden forks held by employees of H & A Pullen Burry Ltd. The groom was Cecil Ulysses Octavius Fane de Salis, a director of the company. The bride was Ida J. M. C., the daughter of Mr & Mrs J. C. de Jong, of Casswell, The Terrace, Lancing. The bridegroom’s family were formerly Counts of the Holy Roman Empire and his father was Chairman of Middlesex County Council.

The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a white satin ankle length gown of mediaeval design, with a satin train nine feet in length embroidered in true lovers knots in seed pearls and sprays of orange blossom. Her embroidered tulle veil was held in place by a coronet of orange blossom; as an ornament she wore a triple row of pearls, and she carried a sheaf of white lilac, yellow roses, white tulips and white heather.

Two little trainbearers wore Victorian frocks of yellow taffeta, frilled from waist to ankle, puff sleeves and little poke bonnets tied with green ribbons. They had lace mittens and green shoes, and they wore green crystal pendants on silver chains that had been given them by the bridegroom. There were also four bridesmaids wearing yellow taffeta frocks, completed by green velvet coatees, and headdresses of green leaves. They also wore pearl necklaces, and they carried gold sequin evening bags that had been given to them by the bridegroom, and sheaves of daffodils tied with green ribbons. Mr John de Jong was best man.

The reception was held at the home of the bride, after which the couple left for their honeymoon, motoring in Cornwall.


Charlotte Tate

Charlotte was born 1847 in a pretty cottage near North Lancing church to parents George and Maria Tate. George had married Maria Blowers from Great Yarmouth in 1840 and they had the following children, Martin 1842, Charles 1845, Charlotte 1847, Francis 1852 (Francis became a well known monumental mason). The children would have attended the old National School in North Lancing that had been provided by Colonel Carr-Lloyd.

She left school to work as a housemaid at Lancing Grammar School where she was in 1861, aged 14. By 1871 she was living at Monks Farm and was employed as a nurse by Charles Stone, a farmer.

When the Education Act of 1870 came into force it was decided to build a new school, it opened on the 16th September 1872 with Charlotte as the infant’s teacher. It is possible that Charlotte had been a pupil teacher at her old school before leaving to work at the Grammar School because in an interview she gave on her retirement she mentioned that she had taught at her old school before leaving to work elsewhere. She took her teaching exams in the first few years while working at the new school.

She was described as a schoolmistress in the 1881 census and was living with her parents in North Lancing. In 1883 when the owner of the family home wanted it demolished, George, Maria and Charlotte went to live at 4 Latimer Terrace, Oxford Road, Worthing. By this time George was retired and Maria was blind so Charlotte had the added responsibilities of looking after her parents. Every school day she took the train to Lancing station and walked to the school, sometimes walking as far as Sompting in her lunch break to visit a sick child.

Her mother died in July 1891 followed by her father in July 1902. With no family ties she was able to go away on holiday, sometimes to Scotland and sometimes to visit friends. At the time of the 1911 census she was staying at Winchester with Charles Stone, who had been her employer in 1871, and one of his daughters.

Charlotte was due to retire on the 28th October 1910 but West Sussex Education Committee applied for an extension of her certificate so she could teach for another year but she finally retired on the 31st October 1912 after 40 years service as the first and only infant schoolmistress at the school in North Lancing. At her farewell ceremony Reverend Peel presented her with a silver mounted umbrella inscribed with “From the teachers and scholars, past and present, of the Lancing C.E. School, October 31st 1912”. At the event, which was attended by many of the parents, she was thanked by Mr W.G. Heaton, the Headmaster.

At her retirement Charlotte said her main regret was the withdrawal from school of the under fives. She thought that it had a detrimental effect on the children’s work, discipline and attendance. The latter due to older children having to stay at home to look after younger siblings while their mother went to work. After her retirement she was planning to get away from the area to adjust to her change of circumstances.

She died, age 76, in October 1923 and was buried on the 23rd October 1923 in Broadwater Cemetery, (A6 27/17) with her parents.


Sheep Dipping at Upton Farm, Sompting

Four hundred ewes and lambs were dipped on the 5th October 1842 using the following recipe:

¾ lb arsenic and 2½ lbs soft soap mixed with 10 pails of water (3 hot with 7 cold) to each score, a double dose to begin with. 6 men to help.

W.S.R.O. Mss 22,776


John Jabez Edwin Mayall

Jabez Mayall (Meall) was baptised September 1813 in Lancashire. His father, John, was a chemist and dye manufacturer. Jabez married Eliza Parkin in 1834 and their first son, Edwin, was born 1835, followed by Joe Parkin 1840, then John in 1842. Jabez developed an interest in early photography and went to America about 1842 to study the art and science of photography at the University of Pennsylvania, and by 1844 he was a partner in a Dagueurreotype portrait studio in Philadelphia. It was here that he became known as John Jabez Edwin Mayall. Mayall returned to England and his family and set up his own Dagueurreotype Studio in London in 1846 and by 1852 he had a second studio in Regent Street, London. A daughter, Harriett, was born in 1848.

He became well known and was patronised by the rich and famous, including Queen Victoria and the Royal family, J. M. W. Turner, Charles Dickins and Samuel Pepys. He took photographs at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and exhibited there, and in 1856 was called upon to record the return of soldiers with their Russian trophies for Queen Victoria. He published sets of royal portraits in the ‘carte de visite’ style.

It was 1864 that John left his eldest son running the London studios, and he set up a new studio in Kings Road, Brighton. John and his sons always described themselves as ‘artists’ rather than photographers on the census forms.

He must have been making plenty of money at that time because he bought a house and land in South Lancing from Caroline Dabbs for £4503.15.0 in 1864. The following year one of his sons, John, married Eliza Caroline Josephine Dabbs of Lancing, daughter of Caroline. He bought more land from Carr-Lloyd and the rate book of 1869 showed him paying rates on land, a brickfield and 6 houses.

The family continued living in Brighton but when Eliza died in December 1870 she was brought to Lancing to be buried. Not long after Eliza’s death the 1871 census shows John living in Hove and later that year he married a widow, Celia Victoria Hooper. He purchased ‘Stork’s Nest’ in South Lancing in 1872 from William Hore for his new family and they were still there in 1881 and probably until he was declared bankrupt. John had borrowed substantial amounts of money between 1880 and 1885 and the first meeting of his creditors was held in London 25th September 1885 and a final dividend of 8 1/4d was paid 26th August 1889. John seems to have continued with his business because a Limited Company was formed in 1888 with John as one of the Directors.

In June 1886, Stork’s Nest was put up for sale along with two other properties in Haverstock Hill, London. The advertisement in the Times, 4th June, gives the following description;- “The freehold family residence, Stork’s Nest, is most pleasantly situate, facing the sea, a few minutes from Lancing Station, and contains five spacious reception rooms, ample bedroom accommodation for a large family, well arranged pleasure grounds with fine old shrubs, hothouses, stabling, etc., in all a little over four acres. The building land, about 40 acres, adjoins the property and surrounds it on two sides, has a valuable bed of brick earth, which has been worked, and will prove of considerable value in developing the estate.” The house appears to have been sold to Henry Munster and a street directory of 1890 lists a Henry Munster living there but by the 1891 census it was only occupied by servants. By 1901 William Chorley had obtained a lease on Stork’s Nest and turned it into another of his Homes of Rest and called it “Channel View”.

The Mayall family had moved to Southwick and it was there that John died on the 6th March 1901 at the age of 91, but his body was returned to Lancing to be buried with his first wife.


Opening of the Brighton to Worthing Railway Line

On Monday, the 24th November 1845, the first three trains from Brighton to Worthing and the first two trains from Worthing to Brighton operated without problems but the third returning train from Worthing met with an accident just to the East of Lancing station. Two horses were pulling a train of earth wagons on a temporary line when the lead horse started onto the permanent line just when the train was approaching. The tender was in front of the engine and knocked down the horse before capsizing, falling onto the horse and killing it. The engine also capsized but remained on the line. Luckily the train was still going slow after leaving Lancing station so none of the passengers were injured and they were only detained for about two hours before they were transferred to another train and conveyed to Brighton. Trains were delayed for the rest of the day while the engine and tender were righted but that didn’t stop a celebration dinner being held at the Nelson Hotel, Worthing to celebrate the opening of the line. The driver of the horses was arrested as he hadn’t been holding the bridle of the lead horse and had not had sufficient control over them.


A New Housing Estate

September 1910 saw the start of rapid building work to cater for the impending influx of workers for the Railway Works. An estate of about four acres, comprising 68 plots for a mixture of housing was up for auction. The auction took place in a Marquee erected on the land and was conducted by Messrs Jordan & Co. of Worthing.

Mr Jordan explained the benefits of the land as having a distinct advantage of being among the highest in the neighbourhood at eight feet above sea level with commanding views of the Channel and Downs and adjacent to the seashore, ten minutes walk from the railway station and on a Bus route. He also mentioned that Lancing people were known for their longevity and there were excellent breezes from the sea and lovely scenery to the north. The plots would also be in possession of a constant supply of pure water from the Brighton Corporation mains. The 68 plots varied in size from 40-50 ft frontage and 120-165 ft depth. The Vendor was prepared to accept 10% deposit with balance being paid in 5 half-yearly instalments with interest of 5% p.a., the first instalment due on the 24th December. The rates were likely to be very low, something like 4s. 3d. in the pound, tithes and land tax were free and building materials were very easy to obtain locally. There would be two roads built initially called Kings Road and Alexandra Road.

The first plot offered for sale was a shop plot and was bought for £75, another shop plot on the Brighton Road reached £120, all other plots sold varied between the two prices. Altogether 18 plots were sold on the day and made a total of £1700. 16s. 0d. The other plots failed to reach the reserve price but were negotiated later.