History of Angmering
The historic village of Angmering nestles snugly on the coastal plain of West Sussex between the South Downs and the sea, about seven miles west of Worthing.
Angmering’s long and fascinating history has its origins with those primitive Stone Age people whose tools and weapons were chipped from the flints which are found in abundance in the Downland chalk. Harrow Hill at the extreme north of Angmering Parish is pitted with the filled-in shafts of flint mines from which these early settlers dug their raw materials with picks made from deer antlers and shovels improvised from the shoulder blades of oxen. Good examples of these flint implements and other products of this and later cultures may be seen at local museums in Worthingand Littlehampton.
Highdown Hill, on the east side of Angmering Parish, was the site of a Bronze Age settlement, and one may still trace the earth ramparts of a fortified enclosure of the Iron Age period.
Evidence of Roman settlement in Angmering may be found in the cultivated fields of Old Place Farm west of the parish church where the site of an extensive Roman Villa was excavated in 1819 and again, more comprehensively, in 1937. Similar excavations on the lower slopes of Highdown Hill revealed the site of a Roman bathhouse and it would seem that Angmering High Street follows the track which connected these two villas, a trackway which began at Chichester.
It is, however, in the Saxon period that Angmering begins its history as a community and from which it derives its name, the ‘tun’ of the people of Angenmaer, a Saxon chieftain. Towards the end of the 9th century Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, bequeathed to his kinsman Osferthe ‘... Angmerengatum and the land that thereto longyth’.
From the records of the Domesday Survey in 1086 we find references to Angemare in which we learn that the settlement had become two manors, which eventually developed into East and West Angmering, each with its own church; the church of West Angmering, now our present Parish Church of St. Margaret, and the church of East Angmering, dedicated to St. Nicholas, which was destroyed in the 16th century. Comprehensive excavations in 1974 revealed the foundations of the original Norman church and produced evidence of an earlier Saxon church.
There are several houses in Angmering which show traces of mediaeval and Tudor building and of these Pigeon House in High Street is of special interest. Part of this house dates from the 14th century, then a typical SussexYeoman’s house consisting of hall, solar and buttery. Additions and modifications were made during Tudor and Stuart times and fortunately these have been preserved by careful restoration in the early part of last century. Other houses in the village provide interesting examples of domestic styles from the 16th to the 19th centuries, most of which are now listed under preservation orders.
We know something of the social life of this period from the records of the Manor Courts of Ecclesden and West Angmering. These cover the years consecutively from 1483 to 1494 and then, spasmodically, from 1508 to 1714.
From a list of ‘Privileges belonging to ye Towne of Angmering’ in the 15th century we learn that inhabitants were entitled to have, inter alia, ‘pillorie and stocks for punishment of malefactors’ and ‘all felons goods and wracks of sea’.
House names are also of historical interest. Pound House in High Street indicates the site of the village ‘pound’ where stray animals were impounded and released only on payment of a fine. Houses with names such as Weaver’s Cottage and Saddlers offer some clues to the occupations of the residents.
Longback Cottages built in 1728 were the parish ‘poorhouses’, originally provided for the aged and infirm poor and, although now all in private ownership, remain to remind us of the efforts made to cope with the problem of poverty in the 18th century. William Older, a Sussex Yeoman, made a unique contribution to the history of education in Angmering when he endowed the village school in 1680. The school records are continuous from 1867 and from this time the registers contain the names of many well-known Angmering families whose descendants attend the primary school built in 1966 and now scheduled for considerable enlargement. The Angmering Comprehensive School opened in 1975 to provide the full range of secondary education for pupils from the surrounding catchment area.
The march of time has brought much new development and a corresponding increase in the village population, yet Angmering has not lost its rural charm and is still regarded as one of the many attractive villages in West Sussex.
Leslie Baker, Angmering 2002
(Reproduced with the permission of ‘Angmering in Old Picture Postcards’, European Library, Zaltbommel, Netherlands, Published in 2002)
A Walk through Angmering Conservation Area by Neil Rogers-Davis
This describes the historic buildings within Angmering’s Conservation Area.
To obtain a copy for £1.50, please call into the Parish Council Office.
Col. Sydney Charles Tomlin (1894-1985) Server of Country, Church and Community by Neil Rogers-Davis
About a man who rose from a very ordinary background to one who revered in both his military career and in the community where in later life he came to live, work and serve.
To obtain a copy for £2, please call into the Parish Council Office.
Angmering Parish Council - The First 100 Years by Bryan Hazell (previous Clerk to the Council)
To obtain a free copy, please inquire at the Parish Council Office.