The village of Arlington has a long history – archaeological investigation shows that there have been settlements in and around the present village since Roman times and more evidence of this was found during the construction of the Reservoir.
The lovely Church of St Pancras dates from Saxon times and adjacent to the Church, one can see evidence of a Medieval settlement, which has long since disappeared.
Scroll down to read more about the History of Arlington Village…
Roman Arlington and general history
Following is taken from ‘A Romano-British Pottery Kiln at Polhills Farm, Arlington’ by E W Holden FSA (with a contribution by J Holmes MA FSA) – there is no further reference to the origin of this paper although there is reference to a Society. Norman Barnes has written ‘Sussex Archeological Collections Col 117, 1979 on the back – Arlington Chronicle reference ‘Roman Arlington and general history Doc 1)’
During the construction of the reservoir in September 1969, topsoil and weald clay subsoil were removed mechanically on the west side of the river Cuckmere at Polhills Farm to a depth of at least 12” (30cm), possibly more. In one place, dark patches were seen in the exposed clay and a few potsherds were collected by the Site Engineer, Mr C R Robinson of Messrs Binnie and Partners. The site was kept clear of machinery for a few days to enable a salvage excavation to take place. Rev W Budgen [not sure who he is] and Major D H de Pass, who had farmed the land and lived in the area for some 40 years informed the writer that although he had collected various artefacts elsewhere on the farm, he had never found anything in this particular area as that meadow had rarely been ploughed.
The clay in this area was extremely hard due to prolonged sunshine and compression by heavy machines and this prevented the whole of the kiln flues and stokeholes being excavated in the time available. All is now covered by the water in the reservoir.
The document details evidence of a kiln, a Potters Workshop and ‘pottery scatter’ – full details can be seen in the document.
The document finally notes that on the death of Major de Pass in 1973, his collection was given by his wife to the authorities at Arlington Church.
From Norman Barnes’ notes, [Roman Arlington and General History Doc 2] in 2007, at Hayreed Lane, evidence was found of burials and cremations.
Norman’s notes allude to finds in Field 10 (Endlewick Corner). At the time [approx. 2008/10 I think], Andrew Johnston of Wilbees Farm owned this land, and Peter Appleton of Primrose Farm, rented it to grow maize. I’m not sure how the discovery was found, but during the winter months for several years, when the field was not under crop, searches were made. Norman notes that nothing was found on aerial photos, although on the ground, evidence of settlement was found:
- Roman Road – very early and probably a military road.
- Evidence of an iron furnace and slag pit
- Evidence of post holes
- ottery found, both local and European and from other parts of South England
- ersonal items – such as beads
- oins – AD80 – 180
Finally, Norman notes that ‘Chilver’ means gravelly ford – which would tie in with its location next to the river.
The next stage in our ‘history’ at least that which I have details, revolves around the Church. I won’t go into Church detail here, other than where it pops up in the following extracts from various local magazine contributions. [although you can read more about the church here]
At the time of writing, I do not have the dates of these magazine articles.
Arlington and the Domesday book – [see Roman Arlington and General history Doc 3]
This extract was offered by Jack Foster
‘When William Duke of Normandy conquered England in 1066, most of the lands of the English Nobility were soon granted to his followers. The Saxon Chronical records that in 1085:
At Gloucester at midwinter…the king had deep speech with his councillors…and sent men all over England to each shire…to find out…what or how much each landlord held…in land and livestock and what it was worth…The returns were brought to him
William was thorough and Commissioners were sent to all the 34 shires or counties. He also sent his Commissioners ‘to shires they did not know’ to check their predecessors surveys and ‘report culprits to the King’.
The information was collected at Winchester and written in Latin by one man into a single volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed in less than 12 months. A fair copy was made which may have taken a little longer. Both volumes are now preserved at the Public Records Office. Commissioners were to ask:
- The name of the place
- Who held it before 1066 – and now
- How many hides
- How many ploughs
- How many villagers, cottagers and slaves
- How many Freemen and free men
- How much woodland, meadow and pasture
- How many mills and fishponds
- What the total value was before 1066 and now (1085?)
- How much each Freeman or free man had or has etc.
The Commissioners too evidence on oath from ‘the Sheriff, from all the barons and their Frenchmen; and from the whole Hundred, the priests, the reeves and six villages from each village’
The Domesday Book used the English currency system which remained in use until 1971: the pound £ (Librae) contained 20 s (Solids) each of 12d (Denarii).
In those days, Sussex (Sudsexe) was divided into 6, north to south areas, called ‘Rapes’, viz: Hastings, Pevensey, Lewes, Bramber, Arundel and Chichester.
The villages in each Rape were grouped together into administrative districts called ‘Hundreds’ each of which comprised about 100 ‘Hides’
A Hide meant land for one family, about 120 acres and each Hide was regularly divided into 4 Virgates. An acre varied regionally but was understood to be as much land as could be ploughed in a long day.
In the Domesday Book, Arlington (Herlington) is mentioned once, Claverham (Claveha) four times and Sessingham (Sesingeha) twice.
In that magazine, Jack could only fit the following information:
In Pevensey (Pevenesel) Rape (land of the Count of Eu) in the Hundred of Alciston:
The Count also holds 1 ½ virgates of Arlington. Wilton Abbey (Wiltshire) held it before 1066. It never paid tax. Land for 1 plough. 5 Villagers have 3 ploughs. Value before 1066 and now 7s.
In Pevensey (Pevensel) Rape (land of the Count of Montain) in the Hundred of Alciston:
In Claverham Morin holds 1 Hide less 1 virgate from the Count: Hugh 3 Hides less 1 Virgate, Cana and Fran held it as two manors from King Edward. Then and now it answered for 4 Hides. Land for 3 ½ ploughs. In Lordship 1 ½ ploughs; 1 villager and 5 small holders. Value before 1066 45s, now 40s
In Pevensey Rape (part) and Hastings (Hastinges) Rape (land of Count of Mortain) in the Hundreds of Alciston and Shiplake:
Gerald holds 1 Hide in Sessingham from the Count. Half of it is in the Rape of Hastings. Alwin held it as freehold. Land for 6 ploughs, They are there with 16 villagers. 1 mill at 10s and 500 eels. Value before 1066 and now 60s; when acquired 20s’
Amy Wooller – a regular contributor to the magazine also posted an article about the Domesday Book, but I do not know what date this was written:
‘I have recently acquired a volume of extracts from The Domesday Book pertaining to Sussex. It makes fascinating reading.
Arlington, it appears, was in the Rape of Pevensey owned by the Count of Eu. It was not a large holding, comprising 1 ½ virgates of lands (about 45 acres) and its value in 1066 was 7s. There were 5 villages and they had three ploughs.
Sessingham seems to have been a larger settlement having 1 ¼ Hides (130 acres in all) and, in all, 18 villagers. There was a mill and the holding paid 10s and 500 eels in tax. If the reputed site of the Manor was on the moated island neat the river, it must have flooded frequently.
Two vassals held Claverham for the Count and between them, they held 5 hides of land and the population, all told, was 6 villagers, 7 small holders and 2 slaves with ½ a plough (Amy was mystified by half a plough!)
The Count of Mortain who was William the Conqueror’s half brother owned Wilmington. It was comparatively prosperous. Land amounting to 11 ½ hides was held by several vassals. There were 32 persons living on the holding, also 3 slaves, (whom Amy supposes would not be counted as people in those days).
Some of these entries are puzzling. For instance, Sherrington Manor has 20s deducted for its tax for ½ hide of land, which is not there(?) and Hailsham has 11 salt houses – but where did the salt come from? Is it possible that the sea was nearer then, that it covered Pevensey Marshes?’
I found the following map on Wikipedia – NOT to be published as probably copyrighted!! It says it relates to 1832 – interesting though that Rapes, Hundreds and so on continued to be used for administrative purposes.
At some point, FHF (is this Jack Foster?) has clearly written a serious of articles called ‘ARLINGTON 140 YEARS AGO’. (I have referenced these Roman Arlington and General History doc 5). These reference Horsefield’s History of Sussex published in 1834 – so presumably, he wrote the article in 1974? He talks about this continuing the description of the Church, so I assume previous articles had started this.
Much of what was in this article, I believe will be covered in the St Pancras section, but what is particularly interesting is that Rev Bunston (at the tale end of this century) played a big part in the restoration of the Church and the instigation of the School.
1897, Sunday 20th June 1897, was Ascension Day, being the day on which Queen Victoria completed the Sixtieth year of her happy and glorious reign and was declared a day of NATIONAL THANKSGIVING. (See Roman Arlington and General History doc 6)
This article, written by Jack Foster, describes Jubilee Day that year and as Jack describes it, ‘this remarkable story, written I guess, by the Rev Thomas Bunston was written in ‘Arlington Parish Magazine’ in July 1897 and the page was pasted in and preserved in ‘The Parish Scrap Book”
‘Very large congregations attended both Services. Indeed the Church was filled both morning and evening. The singing was hearty and much praise was due to Miss Wildbore and the Choir. The congregation joined in with great vigour and the effect was particularly noticeable in “GOD Save the Queen”
JUBILLEE DAY will long be remembered in Arlington. If ‘what everyone says is true’ as the saying is, then there can be no two opinions, that our Parish Festival was an admirable success. ‘Never know’d anythin’ like it afore in Arlin’ton’ one man said, while another was so lost in admiration, that he hardly knew what to say. ‘There!’ at last he exclaimed. ‘I did’n bel’ef ‘twas in Arlin’ton to do et’. So there can be no doubt that Arlington quite broke the record this time.
The large and roomy tent, lent by Mr J H Levett, erected by Mr Frank Levett and party, assisted by Mr George Woodhams and Mr W Vine, gaily decorated with flags and festoons and a large picture of the Queen, arranged by Mr H Marchant and Mr Cornbridge. The nicely laid tables with snow white cloths and gay with a profusion of flowers, sent by many, especially Mrs Foster (Wick Street); the abundance of hearty good cheer: beef, roast and boiled, hams, cheese, lettuce, bread and butter, excellent cake and excellent tea, with beer or minerals for the men who preferred it, with plenty of willing, smiling friends to wait upon the guests; such was the happy scene at 5.30 pm, when a hundred of more sat down. Each man too, by the kindness of the committee was presented with a smoke.
As soon as Grace had been said, the Vicar gave ‘The Queen’ in a few stirring words. Three hearty cheers were given and ‘God Save the Queen’ was sung with enthusiasm. About forty or more still remained to form a second party. While the 70 children had a capital tea at 4.00 pm.
By the kindness of Mrs Foster and Mrs Burton, each child and young person present received a Medal and Ribbon, as a momento of the Queens reign. The total number who had tea was more than 200. Such a thing would have been impossible in Arlington, but for the willing way in which everyone helped, both with much personal labour and in lending all that was necessary and to one and all of these kind helpers the best thanks is due.
A long list of sports, 23 events, were brought off in the course of the afternoon and evening with great good humour and nor a little merriment. Mr JB Burton started each event most energetically, while Mr Foster at the other end kept a ken eye on the lucky winners. After winning came prizes to the number of nearly a hundred articles.
Besides these principal things, the children had their own sports and prizes, while cricket had been provided both the men and boys and stoolball for women and girls.
Even now, the list of good things had not ended. Mr and Mrs Foster had brought tins of sweets and cakes for a scramble and Mr J H Levett, hampers of oranges. The shades of evening had now deepened, so much that people began to take leave of each other, when out flashed the bonfires from different parts of the Downs, Firle however, was pre-eminent. So the GREAT DAY, like the reign of OUR QUEEN, seemed to brighten most at the last.
The remaining provisions of all kinds were distributed, first to the sick and aged, who had not been able to come, and the rest next day to the school children and the families near.
In the document reference – Roman Arlington and General History doc 7 – there are two references to the ‘Arlington Parish Scrap Book’, which appears to be a fine old volume, bound in calf and mostly written in the hand of the Rev T Bunston, commencing in 1889, shortly after he became vicar. There seems to have been a meeting of enthusiastic villagers and FHF offered highlights from this volume to the magazine. We have copies of two of these – there may be more somewhere.
The book starts with a printed appeal dated 1899 and as the Arlington National School Admissions Register begins in 1891, I believe that the school room started in the Church and later moved to the new building.
Rev Bunston was indeed a key player in this part of our history – it seems that he persuaded the Bishop of Chichester, who commented:
‘The condition of the church has long been lamented. It has indeed brought scandal on the Parish and Diocese…and the state of the Church is so bad that the Parishioners are deterred from coming to Divine Service’….’the necessity for a building for a Sunday School and Day School is evident…I earnestly commend this appeal to the charitable consideration of Christ’s people.
The next reference we have is, I believe in 1901 and this is a copy of page from some sort of Sussex Directory – reference Roman Arlington and General History doc 8
‘ARLINGTON is a parish and village, on the Cuckmere River, a mile and a half north-east from Berwick station on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, 3 ½ miles south-west from Hailsham, 9 south-east from Lewes, 9 miles north-west of Eastbourne, on the Southern Division of the county, hundred of Longbridge, Pevensey Rape, Hailsham Union and petty sessional division, Lewes County Court district, rural deanery of Pevensey (second division), and archdeaconary of Lewes and diocese of Chichester. The Church of St Pancras is of flint with stone dressings, in the Norman and early decorated styles and has a tower of ancient date with spire of 90 ft in height containing 3 bells. The chancel was rebuilt in 1868-9 at a cost of £326 and the Church was restored in 1894 at a cost of over £2000. There are 120 sittings. The register dates from the year 1604. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value of £170 with 3 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of the Bishop of London and held since 1889 by the Rev Thomas Bunston. James Eglington Anderson Gwynne esq. of Folkington is lard of the Manor of Milton in this parish. North of the parish ate the remains of the famous Michelham Priory, standing on an Island of 6 acres surrounded by a broad moat formed by the River Cuckmere; a massive gateway tower forms the entrance. Stone Street, the famous great Roman Road of Sussex,runs through the parish; Abbots Wood, nearly 1000 acres, so famous for botanists and entomologists lies to the north-east border of the Parish. The principal landowners are the Duke of Devonshire KG, PC JEA Gwynne esq., the trustees of the late Edward Shoesmith, Lady Godfrey of Milltown, co Kerry, the Rev F R Ellis MA, vicar of Much Wenlock and H M Simmons esq. The soil is clay and sand; subsoil clay. The chief crops are wheat, oats and beans. The area of the civil parish is 5231 acres; the population in 1901 was 542 for the civil parish and the ecclesiastical parish 350.
Milton Hide, 1 mile north-east, Milton Street, 2 miles south-west are places within the parish.
Dicker ecclesiastical parish, formed from a portion of this parish, will be found under a separate heading [we don’t have this, but Lez Smith’s book – The History of the Dicker – two Sussex Villages – talks about this]
Sexton – Herbert French
Letters delivered from Berwik Station at 08.30 AM. Wall box, Arlington Street cleared week days at 08.40 AM and 6.10 PM; Sundays 8.40 AM. The nearest money order office is at Upper Dicker and telegraph and also money office at Berwick Station RSO. 1 ½ miles distant.
Wall Box, Milton Street cleared at 8.30 AM weekdays only. Pillar Box, Plackett Corner clearer 9.20 AM and 5.50 PM; Sundays 9.20 AM.
A School Board of 5 members was formed 5 February 1876 with Hellingly made contributory 18 July 1876; Hugh John Woodhams, Alfriston clerk to the board, I Dunk, school attendance officer, Dicker.
National School built in 1981 for 60 children; average attendance, 40; Robert E Hibbs master; Mrs Mary Hibbs mistress.
Bunston Rev Thomas, Vicarage
Burstow George, The Bitterns
Foreshaw Mrs, Homefield
[I assume these are the school board]
Awcock Sarah Mrs, Old Oak PH
Bullen William, farmer, Hylands farm (letters received through Hailsham)
Burfoot Horace, beer retailer
Dumbrell Davies, farmer, Milton St
Foster Edwin, farmer, Wick St
Green Thos. Bricklayer, Milton St
Guy Benj. Farmer, Hemstead farm
Haffenden Robert, farmer
Hide Ann (Mrs) grocer and baker
Hobden Robert, farmer, Wilbees and Cobbs Farm
Holden Chas. Gamekeeper Abbots Wood
Hunt Robert, farmer, Tye Hill
Levett Joseph, farmer, Stapleys and Polhill Farms
Marchant Wm. Farmer, Sessingham
Salvage Thomas, naturalist, Plackett
Vinall Horace, farmer, The Woodlands
Vine William, farmer, Rylands
World War 1
We don’t at present have many references to WW1 other than (that I have come across so far):
- a magazine article written by a Mr Eric Stone – reference Roman Arlington and general history doc 8 . Of particular interest in this article is the reference to the army camp in Seaford, a hut from which was moved to Arlington as our original village hall
- and reference to the general state of hardship that Stanley Salvage explains so well in his memoirs.
The final papers I currently have are cuttings from Arlington Scene, mostly written by Amy Wooller. These are all interesting to read, but I have not copied all in here.
It would be interesting to find a copy of Horsefield’s History of Sussex published in 1834 and also to locate the Arlington Parish Scrapbook.