1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Steyning

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

STEYNING, a small market town in the mid parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 101/2 m. W.N.W. of Brighton by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. (1901), 1705. The church of St Andrew retains a very fine series of Norman pier-arches in the nave. Some picturesque old houses remain in the town. Brewing and the manufacture of parchment are carried on.

The Anglo-Saxon church of Steyning (Stoeningas, Stoeningum, Staninges, Stenyges, Stenyng) mentioned in Domesday is attributed to St Cuthman, who is said to have settled here before the 9th century, and whose shrine became a resort for pilgrims. The later prosperity of the town was due to its harbour. Alfred bequeathed Steyning to his nephew, but it evidently reverted to the Crown, as it was granted by Edward the Confessor to the abbot and convent of Fécamp, with whom it remained until the 15th century. By 1086 Steyning was a thriving port. It had a market, a mint and two churches, and the borough contained 123 burgages. The decay of the town began in the 14th century owing to the recession of the sea, and it received another blow in the suppression of its priory by Henry IV. It was afterwards granted to the abbey of Sion, which held it until the dissolution. From the reign of Edward IV. to that of Richard III. there is evidence that the town was governed by a bailiff elected annually in the borough-court. Steyning returned two representatives to parliament from 1298 until it was disfranchised in 1832. In the 14th century the abbot of Fécamp held weekly markets in the borough on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and fairs at the Nativity of the Virgin and the Feast of St Michael, by prescriptive right. The present market day is Wednesday, for stock, and a cattle fair is held on the 11th of October.