Findon, West Sussex :: Shared Description

Findon is a small parish located just to the north of Worthing located in a wind gap in the South Downs. The parish was bounded by Sullington, Washington and Wiston to the north; Steyning, bramber and Sompting to the east; Broadwater and Durrington to the south; and Clapham to the south and west. For many centuries the parish was famous for its sheep fair and whilst sheep farming has dwindled it has gradually been replaced by stables for horse racing, with a number of trainers being based in the vicinity.

Settlement has been recorded back to the neolithic period with flint mines evident on Church Hill, supplementing other nearby sites on Blackpatch and Harrow Hills. In addition part of the parish boundary follows the north, east and western ramparts of Cissbury Ring, an ancient hill fort dating back to the Iron Age. Settlement continued into the Roman period with a farm known to exist near the site of modern Tolmare Farm, a well was later discovered near the Cricket Ground in 1961. By the medieval period a settlement had grown up to the immediate north of the current church and manor house straddling an old east-west route that linked Steyning to Chichester. Sometime during the late medieval period the village shifted for some unknown reason to its current site, possibly due to disease though equally likely moved by the Lord of the Manor who wished to extend his parkland.

The parish contains a number of hamlets; North End to the north of the village colonised waste by the road to Washington and probably housed those that worked for neighbouring Muntham Estate. Much of the old bucolic charm of the hamlet was destroyed in the late 1930s when the A24 was made into a dual carriageway, burying the well in the process. Nepcote was originally a separate settlement from Findon but has gradually been subsumed by its parent particularly after the latter moved in the late medieval period to its current site. The north west part of the parish was once home to the small hamlet of Muntham which disappeared towards the end of the medieval period possibly due to a change in agricultural practices whereby arable farming was replaced by sheep rearing, a much less labour intensive method of farming. Another hamlet known as East End existed for many centuries to the south of Nepcote but had disappeared by the beginning of the 19th century due to the expansion of parkland of Cissbury House. The southern portion of the parish was transferred to Worthing Borough in 1933 which saw the land used to construct a new suburb called Findon Valley.

Findon originally lay on an ancient east-west road that linked Steyning to Chichester across the Downs. The old route was closed in 1823 when a new turnpike to Littlehampton, now the modern A280, was constructed. The road eastwards was eventually reduced to little more than a bridleway. Another old road traversed the parish from north-south and gained more prominence as the small coastal settlement of Heene was developed into the 19th century resort of Worthing. The road was turnpiked in 1804 and during the early years of the motor car had become busy enough to induce the need to construct a bypass which completed, along with the dualling of the carriageway northwards to Washington, in 1938. Another old north-south road existed following the ridge to the west. Known locally as the old coaching road it linked the neighbouring settlement of Salvington to Sullington to the north. Other local roads veer off these main routes often heading up onto the Downs. A large networks of bridleways still exist here a reminder of the old days when the Downs were used as sheepwalk and probably one of the reasons the area has become popular with horse owners.

Parkland has been a prominent feature of the parish since the middle ages. The earliest recorded deer park was in the north east of the parish based around the modern Findon Park Farm and continued to be used as such until the middle of the 17th century when it reverted to agriculture. Its oval shape can be made out by the surrounding bridleways. A park surrounding Findon Place existed by the early 18th century and covered an area that was once the location of the village. Parts were last to the construction of the bypass in 1938 and the rest reverted to agriculture leaving only an area on the slope of Church Hill to the south which is still used as parkland today. The third major park existed around Muntham Court to the north of the village. It was originally laid out in the early 18th century and continued as parkland up until its sale in 1958 when it was purchased by Worthing Borough council to use for a crematorium. Whilst the grounds were utilised by the new owners the old house was demolished in 1961. Five generations of the Thynne family were buried in a plantation on downland to the south of the old park.

Select Bibliography
"Findon" in Victoria History of Sussex Vol 6 part 1 LinkExternal link
Valerie Martin - This is Findon Village LinkExternal link
Peter Brandon - The South Downs (Phillimore, 2006)
John Vigar - The Lost Villages of Sussex (Dovecote, 1994)
Kim Leslie & Brian Short - An Historical Atlas of Sussex (Phillimore,1999)
by Simon Carey
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TQ1208 : Kenseys, Cross Lane by Simon Carey
TQ1207 : West Tenantry Down (2) by Simon Carey
TQ1010 : Restricted Byway, Muntham Down by Simon Carey
TQ1008 : The Twenty Four Acres (2) by Simon Carey
TQ1209 : New Cottages by Simon Carey
TQ1108 : South Lodge by Simon Carey
TQ1207 : Former Outbuildings, Roger's Farm by Simon Carey
TQ1208 : Old Pond Green by Simon Carey
TQ1108 : Church Hill by Simon Carey
TQ1308 : Bridleway to Worthing by Simon Carey
TQ1310 : Buddington Bottom by Simon Carey
TQ1109 : The Gibbet by Simon Carey
TQ1108 : Church Hill by Simon Carey
TQ1208 : Footpath to High Street by Simon Carey
TQ1208 : Wyevale Garden Centre by Simon Carey
TQ1207 : Worthing Borough Boundary Marker by Simon Carey
TQ1208 : Lime Road by Simon Carey
TQ1408 : Canada Bottom by Simon Carey
TQ1208 : The Downs Stables by Simon Carey
TQ1209 : North Common Field (2) by Simon Carey
TQ1109 : Longfurlong by Simon Carey
TQ1207 : House Field by Simon Carey
TQ1108 : New Forest by Simon Carey
TQ1207 : West Common Field by Simon Carey
TQ1307 : Hill Barn Covert by Simon Carey

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Created: Sat, 15 Jun 2013, Updated: Sun, 21 Jul 2013

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