Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey/Preface
Among the various interesting matters comprised in that remarkable document, called "Domesday Book," one is the evidence it presents as to the early existence of churches in different parts of the kingdom; and to those engaged in archaeological inquiries the idea will readily occur, certainly it will be universally admitted, that it is very desirable to institute a comparison between the churches, mentioned in the Domesday record, and those now standing, or known to have stood, on or near the same spots. It was this consideration, which induced me, in the autumn of 1844, to commence the following compilation with regard to the three counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey; the selection being made not because they happen to be the first named in the Norman Survey, but because I am far better acquainted with them, than with any other counties. The prosecution of the undertaking speedily showed me, what want of previous experience in such researches prevented my being fully aware of, the many obstacles necessarily impeding its successful accomplishment. Not only Domesday Book, but likewise printed copies of our other ancient muniments, which it was expedient to consult, are works, not often to be found in private libraries; and although they are accessible in many public collections, especially in those of the British Museum, and of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, a distant residence is a serious impediment to enjoying the full advantage of those collections in a deliberate and accurate examination of the authorities referred to, as also by a similar exactness in copying any extracts required. In every literary undertaking of any extent usually it will be found necessary continually to verify quotations; to ascertain the connection of their subject with others previously overlooked; or to enlarge them so as to include what bears upon new matter. But such purposes can be accomplished with convenience and entire effect only when the originals are close at hand, and when that is not the case, may frequently be neglected altogether; which will account for the blunders and inconsistencies, often, it is believed, to be detected in the professed citations of earlier writings.
In ascertaining the Domesday names there is no difficulty. The original record is in perfect condition; is most beautifully, as well as distinctly, written, though in black letter; and the names of places are given with either none or but few of the contractions, which are most plentifully employed in the general text. In the printed edition of Domesday Book the common type is used, and it is not likely that mistakes should often have been made by those, under whose inspection that printing was performed; though one such mistake will hereafter be pointed out, in the account of the county of Surrey. The names therefore of the places described in the Domesday Survey may be easily recognised. The identification of those places under their modern appellations is a different affair; for though many names now in use greatly resemble those by which such places were designated in early times, in others considerable changes have, more or less, taken place: and my own experience convinces me, that even an approach to accuracy is quite hopeless without either a very intimate knowledge of not simply the principal places in each county or district, but likewise of the remote hamlets and single farms, or even fields; indeed of all the local names : or else the opportunity of consulting persons, who, if not topographical works, which, can supply information of that minute nature. In my own case, as already stated, I happen to be, partially, acquainted with all the three counties I have taken in hand, more closely with Kent and Sussex, than with Surrey ; beside which I have profited by the local knowledge and inquiries of private friends, and have consulted, if not all, yet, the best histories of those counties. Repeated researches and much consideration have entirely persuaded me, that, in the verification of the places mentioned in Domesday Book, it is essentially necessary to pay the most accurate attention to the hundreds. Mere similarity of names will often mislead; and, even from my own very limited experience, I believe it to be not uncommon for the Domesday descriptions to have been misapplied from neglect of the above rule. The Survey, it is abundantly evident, was very systematically conducted, and in recording the result, the grand divisions of the counties, at least of those I have studied, are usually noted; in particular the hundred, in which each manor was situated, is very generally stated, but few omissions having fallen under my observation. The boundaries indeed of the hundreds appear hardly to have been very accurately defined or adhered to in those early days, and sometimes a portion of a manor may be described in one hundred and another portion in a second; so that certainly a little confusion does occasionally arise; though possibly even that may be augmented, if not caused, by the imperfect light, which alone we can throw upon the subject. Nevertheless I do not hesitate to affirm, in the strongest manner, that the hundreds will prove the very best guides in the identification of the Domesday names ; and that error will inevitably follow a disregard of them. That I have been uniformly successful in escaping errors is far more than I will venture to assert. To some of the Domesday places I do not pretend to assign a locality, and possibly future inquiries may show, that I am wrong in some cases. Where a difficulty existed, much pains and deliberation have been bestowed before coming to any decision, and it is hoped, that only in few instances the places intended in Domesday Book have been mistaken.
With regard to the actual form of the Domesday names, it will be perceived, that variations are admitted to exist. It must be remembered, that precision of language has been only, by comparison, very recently attended to, and that, in documents later by centuries than Domesday Book, we continually find, as in the latter, a name differently spelled within the compass of a very few lines, perhaps even in the same line. Thus in the Saxon Chronicle the name of an individual occurs twice in immediate juxtaposition, yet the second word is a palpable variation from the first. The method of combining, and possibly the power of, letters appear to have varied in ancient times from what is now the custom. For example, the modern K is in Domesday Book represented by Ch so constantly, that I do not recollect an instance (though I will not pronounce, that there is none) where a word, or at least a proper name, which we should begin with a K, does not in Domesday Book commence with Ch; thus Kent is written Chenth. The same substitution is found in the middle of words.
How extremely minute, and indeed inquisitorial, was the Domesday Survey will appear from extracts occasionally given in the Notes; and the following notice of the work in the Saxon Chronicle will show the opinion formed of William's proceeding by his contemporaries, or those nearly such. "After these things AD. 1085, the king held a great council, and had solemn conferences with his nobles of this land, how it was inhabited, and by what men. He sent therefore through all England, into every county, his men, who were to inquire how many hundred hides were in each county, and what land and stock the king possessed in the same; and what annual tribute he ought to receive from that county. He required also to be described how much land his archbishops, and diocesan bishops, and his abbots, and his earls held; and, not to be tedious, what and how much every possessor of land in England owned of either land or stock, and what was the value thereof. So diligently did he direct the county to be examined, that there should not be a single hide or virgate of land, nor even (which is a shame to say, but he did not consider it shameful to do) ox, or cow, or hog passed over, which he should not bring under tax: and everything, when inserted in writing, was brought to him." (Gibsoni Chronicon Saxonicum, 186.) (Gibson gives a literal Latin translation, with which alone I pretend to be familiar.) Possibly William's motive for this inquiry may be in some measure explained by what had happened immediately before, when, as we are informed by the Saxon Chronicle, in consequence of a strong report that Canute king of Denmark meditated an attempt to subdue this country with the assistance of Robert Count of Flanders, William had collected from both England and Normandy an army more numerous than ever before seen; which he had distributed among his English subjects, to be supported according to the quantity of land, held by each individual; to the great detriment of those, upon whom the soldiers were thus quartered.
With regard to the churches, described in the Survey of A.D. 1086, the following list will show that they were by no means all what would now be called "parish churches." Spelman says, in his Glossary, that the title "parish," paroichia, was introduced into England from Rome in Saxon times, but is seldom, in old records, applied to divisions so small as modern parishes, more commonly signifying an entire diocese (in which sense the word is used by Bede). Certainly from my acquaintance with Domesday Book it might be supposed, that the term "parish," as the boundary of a district, was utterly unknown at the period of the Survey; the "manor" being that, which is constantly referred to. Manors in different parishes are perpetually to be recognised as mentioned in Domesday Book, though the names of the parishes themselves may not occur. states (Survey of Kent, 7), that Honorius, Archbp. of Canterbury (from about A.D. 630 to 653), divided the kingdom of Kent into parishes; of which, in 45 of K. Edward III, the number was found to be 393. And though it is said of Archbp. Theodore, who died A.D. 690, that he urged the people to set out parishes, "ut parochias distinguerent," the institution might have been established previously, though not generally perfected up to his time. We are told, that this latter prelate encouraged the erection of churches, by the provision, with the king's consent, that the founders, if on their own property, should enjoy the perpetual patronage ; if on another's estate, the owner thereof should become the patron. "Hie excitavit fidelium voluntatem ut in civitatibus et villis ecclesias fabricarentur, parochias distinguerent, et assensus regios his procuravit: ut siqui sufficientes essent super proprium fundum construere ecclesias, earundem perpetuo patronatu gauderent; si inter limites alterius alicujus domini ecclesias facerent, ejusdem fundi domini notarentur pro patronis." (Elmham, quoted in Smith's note, Bed. Hist. Eccl. 1. 5, c. 8.) Neither is it a necessary, or a probable, inference, that no churches existed save in those places, where they are noted in Domesday Book: on the contrary it is sufficiently evident, that they have been omitted in several cases. For example; in Kent St. Margaret's (at Cliffe) near Dover is repeatedly spoken of; which kind of designation, not meaning monasteries, must, usually if not always, indicate the existence there of a church so dedicated ; whereas none is actually stated. Another St. Margaret's is alluded to, and a St. Martin's, both in Bircholt hundred, therefore distinct from Cliffe and St. Martin's near Canterbury. In Sussex at Boxgrove "the clerks of the church," and at "Epinges," now Iping, church dues, "circet," are mentioned, though a church is not specified in either case: and in the same county "a small church" is noted at Ovingdean, but none in the adjoining manor of Rottingdean, though there is reason to conjecture, that a church was standing at the latter place of at least the same date as the present church of Ovingdean; for which matter see the Note on Rottingdean. The Notes appended to the List will suggest further reasons for believing, that Domesday Book by no means includes every church, which had been erected when that Survey was taken; and it is highly satisfactory to me to know, that my conclusions on this particular are corroborated by much better authority. In the Archæologia, VIII, 218, Mr. Denne adduces Thorne's Chronicle, x Scrip. Col. 178 and 2091, to prove, that there was a church at Faversham in Kent anterior to the Domesday Survey; he also produces presumptive evidence, that several others, then in being in the diocese of Rochester, are omitted in that record. So likewise Sir Henry Ellis expressly says (Introduction to Domesday Book, I, 290), "Domesday Book cannot be decisively appealed to for the non-existence of parish churches" when it was compiled.
Though a knowledge of the art of masonry must certainly have been acquired from the Romans during their dominion in Britain, yet the early churches in this country were very generally constructed of wood. Bede mentions (Hist. Eccl. 1. 3, c. 4), as a rarity, a stone church erected at Whitherne in Galloway by Columba, about A.D. 565. "Ibi ecclesiam de lapide, insolito Brittonibus more, fecerit." This practice he testifies to have continued in the northern portion of Britain up to A.D. 710, when Naiton, king of the Picts, writing to the abbot of Wearmouth after his conversion to Christianity, requested, among other things, architects (or what we should now call builders) to be sent to him, to erect a stone church after the Roman method. "Architectos sibi mitti petiit, qui juxta morem Romanorum ecclesiam de lapide in gente ipsius facerent." (Hist. Eccl. 1. 5, c. 21.) However this style of building, namely, of wood, was not, as perhaps might be supposed from the above, confined to the northern division of our island, but certainly had not been, up to the seventh century, generally exploded within the English boundary; for in one instance, namely, a church raised at Lindisfarne by Bp. Einian, at some period after his consecration A.D. 652, we are told, that it was originally constructed entirely of hewn oak, "de robore secto totam composuit," and thatched with reeds; but subsequently, by Eadberct, installed bishop of the place A.D. 688, the reed was removed, and replaced by sheets of lead, covering walls as well as roof : "ablata harundine, plumbi laminis earn totam, hoc est, et tectum et ipsos quoque parietes ejus cooperire curavit." (Bed. Hist. Eccl. 1. 3, c. 25.) Still, about the period when this was done, stone churches must have been growing more common, because we are informed, (Ib. 1. 5, c. 19, and notes), that Bp. Wilfrid, who died A.D. 709 after filling the episcopate nearly forty years, had erected some sumptuous churches; and Acca, his successor at Hexham, enlarged and greatly ornamented his cathedral. The above-mentioned request too of the Pictish king demonstrates among the English a great advance beyond the old timber structures. This advance, we may well assume, was largely owing to the exertions of, among others, Benedict Biscop, founder of the monastery of Wearmouth, who, about A.D. 675, went into France after masons; "Gallias petens, cementarios qui lapideam sibi ecclesiam juxta Romanorum, quern semper amabat, morem facerent, postulavit, accepit, attulit." (Bede, 319; Oxford, 1846.) A few lines farther on we are assured, that the use of glass for windows &c. was introduced into England at the same time from the same quarter; it being expressly stated, that not only Benedict's work (to the church of his new monastery) was then completed, but also the art of making glass taught in the country. "Proximante autem ad perfectum opere, misit legatarios ad Galliam, qui vitri factores, artifices videlicet Brittannis eatenus incognitos, ad cancellandas ecclesiæ, porticuumque, et cænaculorum ejus fenetras adducerent. Factumque est, et venerunt : nee solum opus postulatum compleverunt, sed et Anglorum ex eo gentem hujusmodi artificium nosse et discere fecerunt : artificium nimirum vel lampadis ecclesiæ claustris vel vasorum multifariis usibus non ignobiliter aptum." These quotations indeed actually refer to other districts, than the three counties comprised in the present work; but they may, not unreasonably, be deemed to indicate the general state of architectural knowledge throughout the country. Sussex, consisting in great measure of forest, was probably in a backward condition: not merely however was Kent (as will be noticed in the Introduction to that county) superior in civilization, so as to be in some respects a model, to other dioceses, but Bede informs us, that Benedict Biscop travelled from Rome to England with Archbp. Theodore, when the latter came to take possession of the see of Canterbury, and remained two years in that city, before, after another journey to Rome, he founded the monastery of Wearmouth. (Ut sup. 318.) Theodore was archbishop twenty years; his diocese therefore had abundant opportunities of profiting by his acquaintance, which no doubt was considerable, with foreign arts, even if those arts had not previously been imported.
Our Saxon ancestors undoubtedly were far less skilled in architecture, than those of succeeding ages; but it would be a mistake to suppose, that their churches, even after the general adoption of stone and lime masonry, were mere rude, unadorned structures. Those specimens of their workmanship, which remain to the present day, evince, that they certainly paid some attention, not only to ornament in general, but even to sculpture; witness the tower of Barnack church, Northamptonshire, and Sompting church, Sussex. We can scarcely imagine, that, while much intercourse was maintained with the Continent, which assuredly was the case, art, as then known and practised there, was less cultivated in this country, than at the same period in Ireland; and the researches of Mr. George Petrie (see his very interesting work on the Round Towers of Ireland,) have sufficiently established the fact, that many of the ruins remaining in his country date much earlier than the Norman invasion of England; those edifices even now exhibiting much constructive skill, and in many instances proving the care and labour employed upon their adornment. But, in addition to any inferences we may draw, ancient writers actually bear testimony both to the opinion, formed in their day, of the early ecclesiastical edifices, and also to the attention and expense bestowed upon supplying them with whatever was considered necessary and appropriate for their sacred purposes. Thus Hexham church, built by Bp. Wilfrid A. D. 674, is styled a wonderful work, "mirabile opus;" and Ripon was indebted to the same munificent prelate for a highly-commended church. (Notes to Bed, Hist. Eccl. 1. 5, c. 19.) Of his successor, Acca, the statement already referred to is, that he added to his church various beauties and rare works; "ecclesiæ suæ edificium multifario decore ac mirificis ampliavit operibus." (Ib. 1. 5, c. 20.) He also, beside collecting relics, and providing separate altars, &c. for them, erected and furnished a splendid library (unquestionably "splendid" according to the experience and idea of the age) as well as procured vessels and lights for his cathedral: "historias passiones eorum" (scil. apostolorum et martyrum Christi)" una cum caeteris ecclesiasticis voluminibus summa industria congregans, amplissimam ibi ac nobilissimam bibliothecam fecit, necnon et vasa sancta et luminaria, aliaque hujusmodi quae ad ornatum domus Dei pertinent, studiosissime paravit." (Ibidem.) Similarly it is stated of Benedict Biscop (Ib. 324), that he had bestowed on his monastery at Wearmouth a most noble and copious library: "Bibliothecam, quam de Roma nobilissimam copiosissimamque advexerat." The following quotation likewise will show the opinion upon this subject of a very competent judge. "That many of the Saxon churches were erected of stone, and on plans of great complexity, with crypts, triforia, clerestories, central towers, and other parts resembling in arrangement the Norman churches, can hardly be doubted, from the descriptions that have been preserved to us," &c. (Professor Willis's Architectural Hist, of Winchester Cathedral, 34.)
From the brief report by his historian, Asser, of K. Alfred's proceedings we may acquire some insight into the state of domestic architecture at that period. Alfred himself appears to have been a great builder, and must have acquired a knowledge of the art, as of so many others, far beyond his contemporaries. He is stated to have taught all his goldsmiths and craftsmen, falconers, hawkers, and huntsmen; and by his own new contrivance to have formed edifices far beyond the custom of his predecessors. "Aurifices, et artifices suos omnes, et falconarios, et accipitrarios, canicularios quoque (non desinebat) docere; et ædificia supra omnem antecessorum suorum consuetudinem, venerabiliora et pretiosiora nova sua machinatione facere." (Asser's Alfred by Wise, 43.) Notwithstanding his long-continued and most harassing warfare with the Danes, we are assured that he found time to reconstruct destroyed cities and towns, and to found others upon fresh sites: he erected royal residences of different kinds both of stone and of timber, such as excited the admiration of his subjects: and for convenience he changed the situation of some of his stone manor-houses. Some of these structures are declared to have been adorned with gold and silver." (Quid loquar) De civitatibus et urbibus renovandis, et aliis, ubi nunquam ante fuerant, construendis? De ædificiis aureis et argenteis incomparabiliter illo docente fabricatis? De aulis et cambris regalibus, lapideis et ligneis, suo jussu mirabiliter constructis? De villis regalibus lapideis antiqua positione mutatis, et in decentioribus locis regali imperio decentissime constructis?" (Ut sup. 58.) But though Alfred's buildings were so skilfully framed and so richly adorned for the age, it is also quite clear, that the workmanship was really very defective. For after his ingenious invention for ascertaining the time by means of wax candles, so divided by marks, as that each portion would last just an hour, he was compelled farther to contrive horn lanthorns to hold those candles, because otherwise they often consumed too rapidly in consequence of high winds by day and by night rushing violently through not merely the doors and windows of the churches, the openings of the masonry and planks, but likewise the frequent cracks in the walls. "Ventorum violentia inflante, quse aliquando per ecclesiarum ostia et fenestrarum, maceriarum quoque et tabularum, vel frequentes parietum rimulas." (Ut sup. 68.) It having been mentioned above, that libraries even were not neglected in Saxon times, a testimony may be added to prove the care taken to preserve family documents. A charter of A.D. 903 states that Duke Æthelfrid having lost all his hereditary records by a fire, he petitioned K. Edward, his lieutenants, and the senators of Mercia for their consent and licence to have others written; to which they unanimously agreed. "Contigit quod Æthelfrido duci omnes hereditarii libri ignis uastatione combusti perierant. Tali igitur necessitate cogente, praedictus dux rogauit Eadweardum regem, Æthelredum quoque et Æthelfledam, qui tune principatum et potestatem gentis Merciae sub praedicto rege tenuerunt, omnes etiam senatores Merciorum, ut ei consentirent, et licentiam darent alios libros rescribendi. Tune illi unianimiter omnes deuota mente consenserunt ut alii libri rescriberentur, eodem modo quo et priores scripti erant, in quantum eos memoriter recordari potuissent." (Cod. Dipl. V, 154.) Again, of a subsequent charter, A.D. 909, the subject is the importance of written records, and the necessity of maintaining a succession of them in sound condition. (Ut sup. 168.)
Many probably will be surprised to hear of paintings in Saxon times; but Bede tells us expressly of such things. As he calls them indifferently not merely "picturas," but "imagines," he may possibly be describing sculpture; though the situation, in which they were placed, "ecclesiam in gyro coronaret," makes me consider them to have been rather paintings on the interior walls, than carvings inserted in the exterior. The subjects were, in one church the history of our Lord: in the other proofs of the harmony between the Old and New Testaments; for instance, Isaac bearing the wood, and in an adjoining compartment the Lord carrying the cross; again, the serpent, which Moses lifted up in the wilderness, and the Son of man exalted on the cross. "Dominicæ historiæ picturas, quibus totam Dei genetricis ecclesiam in gyro coronaret ; imagines quoque ad ornandum monasterium ecclesiamque beati Pauli apostoli de concordia veteris et novi Testamenti summa ratione compositas exhibuit: verbi gratia, Isaac ligna quibus immolaretur portantem, et Dominum crucem in qua pateretur æque portantem, proxima super invicem regione, pictura conjunxit. Item serpenti in heremo a Moyse exaltato, Filium hominis in cruce exaltatum comparavit." (Bede, 323, Oxford, 1846.)
The researches, required by this undertaking, have shown, that, as the sequel will render evident, an immense number of churches and chapels have been desecrated and destroyed. We may flatter ourselves, that we live in a church-building age; and so, happily, we do, compared to a preceding period. Still in that respect we come far behind the zeal and munificence of our ancestors. It will be observed, that the work of destruction has been carried on in all the three counties, though, as might be anticipated, most extensively in the two largest, namely, Kent and Sussex. Many however of the demolished churches were situated near the mansions of the resident nobility or gentry; and I am disposed to conjecture, that these small, distinct ecclesiastical structures might, in some instances, if not generally, have been pulled down, as no longer necessary, on the proprietor of the estate founding a chantry in, that is, as an addition to, the parish church; which, as even the following Notes will show, see particularly that on Poynings, Sussex, was frequently done. There is reason to suppose, that other, perhaps many, chapels, beside those specially named hereafter, once existed in various parts of our three counties.
In investigating the period, to which the erection of individual churches should be assigned, I doubt if sufficient attention be generally paid to the material, of which the building is constructed. My own experience leads me to imagine, that occasionally some clue to the date may be afforded by the kind of stone, which may have been principally used. A few years ago the accumulated whitewash of centuries was scraped from the arches of Rottingdean church, Sussex, when, among the Caen stone chiefly employed, beside several pieces of the county sandstone, appeared numerous others of a sort, which was new to two persons of considerable experience in such matters, one as an architect, the other as a stonemason. Subsequently I embraced every opportunity of searching elsewhere for this stone; and the result is, that I have discovered small portions in many churches in this neighbourhood, where they may have been old stones worked up again; the more ancient the edifice, the greater being the prospect of finding specimens. It is remarkable also, that such specimens occur as if in their primary position, where the strongest marks of antiquity exist. For example: at St. John's sub Castro, Lewes, see the Note, the original part of the very curious arch consists of the stone in question. It is likewise present in the ribs of the tower, as well as in the foundation of the east end, of Sompting church, also in Sussex. The two churches of Corhampton and Warnford in Hampshire both exhibit specimens, but with a striking variation: in the former the stone remains in the ornamental parts, namely, in the chancel-arch, and in the distinctive ribs upon the outer walls, as if so placed from the first ; whereas in the latter it is mixed up among other stones, not being the sole, nor the chief, material used. Now Corhampton, as well as Sompting, is a generally admitted relic of Anglo-Saxon workmanship, while Warnford cannot probably date earlier than Norman times. Again; of the splendid Norman church of Romsey, Hampshire, the greater proportion certainly, if not the whole, is constructed of this stone, even including the exterior walls of the western end, which was completed in the Early English style; though I cannot speak as to the ornamental work of the interior of that part, which I imagine is likely to be of Caen stone. On the other hand in the church of St. Cross I could not perceive a single piece of the stone: but the Norman portion of Winchester Cathedral is entirely, so far as my observation could reach, composed of it; and from a rather cursory examination I apprehend, that a close inspection would probably confirm very remarkably the idea of Professor Willis respecting the adaptation of certain Norman piers in the nave to later alterations effected in that compartment of the edifice. (See his Archit. Hist. of Winchester Cathedral, 54, 68 to 74.) In the same city the remaining ruins of Wolvesey Castle consist almost wholly, if not wholly, of wrought stone from some former building (the old Saxon cathedral? See Willis as above, 17) the material being of the same kind as just mentioned in the cathedral; though it is not intended to affirm absolutely that no specimens of another description can be found.
The stone in question has the appearance of being formed by the compression of comminuted fragments of innumerable shells. In the method of formation, though not in the substances of which it is composed (writing without any knowledge of geology), it bears a considerable resemblance to Bath stone; the latter, to which I would compare it, consisting of indurated grit or coarse sand, with the occasional intermixture of small pebbles either rounded or angular. When my attention was first attracted, I was much struck by the likeness of the Bath stone to that, which, some time previous, I had been studying, although, on closer examination, the difference was immediately discovered. The quality of the stone above noticed seems to vary, but it often becomes extremely hard, though it is liable to wear away in some measure from exposure to the atmosphere, and, as must be anticipated, it is unfit for delicate carving, or for any such work after under-cutting was practised. The result of my researches tends towards the conclusion, that this shelly stone ceased to be extensively employed, that is, in fresh supplies, when the improvement of architectural skill introduced a more complicated and more elaborate style of ornamentation, it being then superseded by the Caen stone, and other sorts of a finer and closer grain. No opportunity has hitherto occurred of ascertaining, by personal examination, or in reply to inquiries, the quarries, from which our stone was obtained, or of identifying it in situ; but a high geological authority, the present-learned Professor of Geology at Oxford, pronounces it to belong to "the fresh water shell limestone of the island of Purbeck, from the same quarry as the Purbeck marble, but not marble; once much used for pavements in London."
It will be perceived, that I have not, in the ensuing Notes, confined myself strictly to the immediate object of this compilation, but have without scruple superadded any matter, which appeared to be connected with the antiquities of the several counties. In particular the Notes are somewhat augmented by quoting notices of the more ancient monumental memorials, which I found recorded in the works I have consulted. For the correctness of these notices, it must be remembered, I am not responsible, further than as I have endeavoured to copy them faithfully from the books, whence they are taken. Here also it may be mentioned, that care has been bestowed to present all the direct citations in the precise words and spelling of the authors, from whom they are borrowed; but in some instances, which may easily be distinguished, the substance only of the intelligence, so acquired, is produced. The wish has been throughout not to make use of any published information without acknowledgment, and it is hoped, that this has always been done; so that reference may be made to the original work, if deemed necessary; though unluckily the page has in too many cases been omitted. When statements were derived from private sources, the same proceeding of course has not been followed. The statements, the architectural in particular, which are quoted from other works, are offered only for what they are worth; which may be even nil. At least such has been found to be the fact in several instances, where an opportunity of comparison has occurred. Of the original matter many descriptions of churches are not my own; but I have introduced none, on the accuracy of which I cannot thoroughly depend; indeed the correctness of the description is far more to be relied upon in most of those cases, than if the result merely of my own observations.If occasionally disappointment should be felt, that new topics of antiquarian interest, which may accidentally arise, are not followed up, it may be recollected, that these investigations, in their existing shape, have already extended far beyond what was originally contemplated; and likewise that, with very limited facilities and means of research, such additional inquiries cannot be very practicable, indeed almost invariably must prove absolutely impracticable.
It can hardly escape notice, that no uniformity has been observed with regard to the spelling of the proper names hereafter occurring, but that, for instance, the same individual may be called Cædwalla in one place, Ceadwalla in another, and perhaps Cadwalla in a third. This variation is produced by different forms being employed by the several authorities consulted, and the desire to give, in every case, the precise name adopted in the passage referred to.
With regard to the general character of what is now offered to the public I would remark, that no pretension is made to being an authority upon the subjects treated of. What was proposed has been merely to assist, and occasionally to direct, the curiosity of others ; as well as to suggest and aid in the preservation of any curious and interesting relics of olden days, which have hitherto escaped the ravages of the fell destroyer, Time. Should my efforts prove successful, and acceptable to those, into whose hands they may fall, the time and labour bestowed upon the work will be amply recompensed ; and the only cause of regret will be, that the undertaking was not commenced by one better qualified to render the compilation more complete, though in what has been accomplished truth and accuracy have been most diligently studied. It would have been most desirable, that the personal survey of all the churches, sites, and other objects, hereafter enumerated, should have been perfected, before the work was made public; but this has not been, and in all human probability never can be, in my power. Wherefore, instead of waiting for opportunities of improvement, which may never occur, I have preferred offering this unfinished outline, such as I have hitherto been able to make it. Since proposals were issued for publishing these Notes, every feasible endeavour has been made to carry on the plan of them ; and much has actually been effected, notwithstanding that the consequences of serious illnesses have been felt through the whole of 1849 up to the present moment ; but for which perhaps this attempt might have been rendered less unworthy of attention. Whatever errors may be detected are involuntary, and corrections of them will be thankfully accepted, as so many approaches to the aims professed above. The occupation, arising from the inquiries of which the results are detailed below, has proved highly interesting, beside opening new sources of knowledge ; but I had no idea upon how wide a field of labour I was entering, though, having commenced, the only alternative was, either to abandon the undertaking entirely, or else to apply the care and pains, by which alone anything satisfactory could be produced.
Of the Illustrations to this volume it may be mentioned, that the object has been to offer examples, as far as possible, which have not been previously published; and though others of much interest might have been added, it must be remembered, that the success of this publication is as yet very uncertain. For one plate, that of Wigsell in Salehurst, Sussex, the subscribers are indebted to the kindness and liberality of the proprietor of the estate, Sir S. B. P. Micklethwait, Bart., of Iridge.
- Rottingdean; Dec. 1850.
Note. To show that, although the interest and feeling now extensively diffused respecting the proper attention due to the preservation and the internal arrangement of our churches is certainly a revival, such subjects were not utterly forgotten, whatever might be general appearances, I indulge myself with subjoining two extracts from a work, which was recently brought to my notice.
"It is earnestly to be wished, that our churches were as free as those of the Continent, from those vile incumbrances" (namely, pews). "The warmth, which is afforded by them, might be more efficaciously and cheaply obtained by double doors, or by stoves. They are not only grievously injurious to architectural effect, and frequently conceal or deface the venerable monument, and the sepulchral tablet, but they also give rise to petty jealousies and disputes, very discordant indeed with the feelings, which ought to prevail in us, on entering the temple of That Being, who is 'no respecter of persons.'" (Disquisitions by Frank Sayers, M.D. Norwich, 1808; 203, 2d ed.)
"Having concluded the remarks, which I had to offer on this subject, I hope I may here be allowed to enter my protest against, what is usually termed, the beautifying of churches. This ingenious process is commonly performed by bespattering the walls and columns of the building with abundant and repeated showers of whitewash ; by which the finer carved work, and the ancient mural inscriptions are most successfully obliterated; by forcing the sepulchral brasses, and other tablets of the dead to yield the places, which they had obstinately retained for centuries, to a trim, new pavement ; by overwhelming the faded splendour of the screen, and the sombre gloss of the oaken pulpit with the more enlivening tints of yellow and blue; by substituting a clearer glass to that which is dimmed by the armorial bearings of founders and benefactors, or by the gloomy forms of martyrs and of saints; by uniting in a close, though very unexpected concord, the most ancient and the most modern styles of building and ornament; and finally by exalting, in a conspicuous part of the holy fabrick, the names of those illustrious Ædiles, under whose happy ministration the pious work was brought to entire perfection. Surely the reparation of our churches is not necessarily attended by such consequences as these ; all, that is to be aimed at, is simply to preserve the building and its appendages, as much as is possible, in their original state; to restore what is decayed; to protect what is endangered; and to prevent mischief, instead of doing it." (Ut supra, 212.)
- Of this record Sir Henry Spelman says in his Glossary under "Domesdei:" "It is the monument of all Britain, I do not say the most ancient, but beyond dispute the most venerable. In two large volumes it contains the description of England, begun, according to the Waverley Annals and other (authorities) A. D. 1083, that is, in the sixteenth year of William the elder, but according to the Red Book of the Exchequer in the fourteenth year of the same king: finished indeed, as the book itself testifies, in his twentieth, that is last, year, and of our Lord 1087. Monumentum totius Britanniæ, non dico antiquissimum, sed absque controversia augustissimum. Duobus magnis voluminibus Angliæ descriptionem continet, inchoatam, juxta Annales Waverlienses et alios, An. Dni 1083. i. (e.) Gulielmi Senioris 16. sed juxta Rubrum Librum Scaccarii, anno ejusdem Regis 14 : finitam vero (ut ipse liber testatur) anno suo" (sic) "20. hoc est ultimo; et Domini nostri 1087."
- And I now tender my hearty thanks to those friends, particularly to my co-members of the Sussex Archaeological Society, for the cheerful assistance they have afforded to my - often I fear troublesome - inquiries, and for the information, with which they have supplied me.
- The last title, if no alteration has occurred since A.D. 1086, may not improbably designate the church of Aldington, the existence of which is specially named in Domesday Book. Kilburne states, that Aldington church is dedicated to St. Martin, though the same authority informs us, that, while part of the parish lies in Bircholt hundred, the church stands in that of Street. However the fact of such an arrangement in modern times by no means assures us, that a different one did not prevail in the eleventh century. A charter of Æthilberht of Kent, supposed by Mr. Kemble to date about A.D. 740, names a St. Martin's, with some indications of its position; "quod est in ostio fluminis cujus nomen est liminaea et partem agri in qua situm est oratorium sancti martini; which is at the mouth of the river whose name is Liminzea and (that) part of the land wherein is situated the oratory of St. Martin." (Codex Diplomaticus, 1, 103.) The same words occur in a charter of K. Eadbriht, dated in 741. (Ut sup. V, 46.) Also in a charter of Æthelred, King of Wessex, A.D. 867, we read of a church of St. Martin, "in loco qui dicitur sancti martini ecclesia" (ut sup. II, 83), which I conceive to be identical with the above, though unable to comprehend the Saxon terms for the boundaries mentioned. What church may be intended by St. Margaret's I cannot ascertain. All the existing parish churches, now within the limits of Bircholt hundred are called St. Mary's, according to Kilburne, who does not notice the desecrated church of Bircholt, respecting the appellation of which I possess no information, wherefore it is uncertain, whether or not that might be St. Margaret's.
- We are informed, that, beside Britons (from Wales and Cornwall) and Scots (from Ireland) many Franks, Frisians, Gauls, Pagans (from the unconverted parts of Germany) and Armoricans, both noble and ignoble, voluntarily settled in England to enjoy the blessing of King Alfred's paternal government. "Franci autem multi, Frisones, Galli, Pagani, Britones, et Scoti, Armorici sponte se suo dominio subdiderant, nobiles scilicet et ignobiles." (Annales Rerum Gestarum Ælfredi Magni, auctore Asserio Menevensi. Wise's edition, 44.)
- Though the manufacture of glass had been introduced into England two hundred years previous to Alfred's reign, and above a century before the last-named event Bede had noticed the advantage of that article for the construction of church lamps (see the quotation above from Bede, 319) it is remarkable, that K. Alfred used horn instead of glass for his lanthorns, which must indeed have been of considerable height, but plates of glass might surely have been procured equal to the largest laminae of horn, and either would require the support of cross-bars.