Beddingham :: Shared Description
Beddingham was a small parish located on the north eastern side of the Ouse Valley whose western and northern parish boundaries followed the course of the river and one of its tributaries, Glynde Reach, respectively. To the east the boundary follows a hedgerow from Glynde Reach up to the Downs which make up much of the southern area of the parish. The parish was joined with that of Glynde after the Second World War.
Settlement dates back to the Iron Age particularly on Itford Hill to the south and was one of the early areas where the hill dwellers descended to the valley below to utilise the fertile land at the foot of the Downs. Near the modern Beddingham Roundabout is the site of an old Roman Villa which appears to have been built next to the remains of an older Iron Age wooden house. The villa itself was adapted by the Saxons and remained in use until around the 6th century. Beddingham's name derives from a meadow, or ham, owned by the tribe of the Beadingas a small Saxon tribe who settled in the Adur valley and gave their name to the village of Upper Beeding. By the 8th century Beddingham had become a minster, the pre Norman ecclesiastical system whereby a mother church would be home to a number of priests who would then go out into the surrounding districts to preach. The settlement itself grew up around a small wharf on Glynde Reach with the current church built on a mound overlooking that waterway with the houses located to the south east of the church. The growth of the village seems to have ended by the 14th century and began shrinking from that point to the extent that it now consists of little more than a few farms and a handful of houses. A couple of minor hamlets existed at Itford and Preston based around farms, the latter sometimes known as Preston Beddingham. Some development occurred in the 1860s when terraced houses south of Glynde Reach were built around Glynde station
to house the workers of the local pits. These are now part of the village of Glynde.
Communication was initially by water utilising both the Ouse and Glynde Reach, that by road tended to focus following the route south to Seaford and east to Glynde and Firle. The route of the modern day A27, from the junction of Ranscombe Lane to that of Mill Lane was only built in 1819 with Beddingham Bridge replacing what was little more than a couple of planks of wood over Glynde Reach and a small track to the junction with Station Road. The current A26 was until the 1970s the B2109 when it was upgraded as part of the construction of the Lewes By-Pass to divert the increasingly larger lorries travelling from the port of Newhaven away from the narrow streets of the town. The original east-west medieval road that hugged the foot of the scarp slope of the Downs joins the A26 near The Lay to head down to the old river crossing at Itford. Two railways run through the old parish, the Lewes to Eastbourne line crosses the northern part and includes a station built within the parish boundary but named Glynde, after the nearby village across Glynde Reach. The Lewes to Newhaven line also runs down the western side and has another station within the old parish boundary attributed to another village across the river, this time Southease.
Other than agriculture the main industry was quarrying with two large pits at Asham, to the south of the village, and Balcomb Pit near Glynde. The former expanded into a large cement making concern which operated until 1978 when that and another nearby pit called the Rodmell
Works were closed. The latter transported materials in and out via Asham Wharf on the River Ouse. After its closure Asham Pit was used as a landfill site until 2009 when it was declared full, it is currently undergoing landscaping to return it to a natural state.
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Created: Tue, 18 Oct 2011, Updated: Tue, 18 Oct 2011
The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2011 Simon Carey, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.