Bramber (St. Nicholas)

BRAMBER (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union and hundred of Steyning, rape of Bramber, W. division of Sussex, 1 mile (E. S. E.) from Steyning, and 50 miles (S. by W.) from London; containing 138 inhabitants. This place was noted for a castle built by the descendants of William de Braiose, upon whom the lands had been bestowed by the Conqueror. In the reign of Edward III., the castle was garrisoned by John de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, for the protection of the town and shore from the expected attack of the French, who were hovering off the coast. It was also garrisoned by the parliamentarian forces during the civil war. The village is situated on the river Adur, which is navigable for small vessels; and, though once of considerable extent and importance, consists at present only of a few cottages. It was a borough by prescription, and returned members to parliament in the 23rd of Edward I.: after that time it frequently omitted, and was occasionally represented in conjunction with Steyning, till the 7th of Edward IV., from which period it regularly continued to return two representatives, until its disfranchisement in the 2nd of William IV. The parish comprises by computation 850 acres, of which 280 are arable, 425 down, and 145 other pasture. The living is a discharged rectory endowed with only one-third of the tithes, with the vicarage of Buttolphs united, and valued in the king's books at £10. 6. 8.; it is in the patronage of the President and Fellows of Magdalene College, Oxford, who are impropriators of the remaining two-thirds of the tithes of Bramber, and of all the rectorial tithes of Buttolphs. The tithes of Bramber have been commuted; the impropriate for £113. 6.; and the incumbent's for £56. 13. The church, formerly cruciform, is a small ancient edifice, now consisting only of a nave and chancel, but containing some fine portions in the Norman style, with a low square tower. The ancient and once formidable castle, occupied a quadrilateral area, 560 feet in length, and 280 in breadth, surrounded by a wide and deep moat; the remains consist principally of part of a square Norman tower, of great solidity, some detached portions of the walls to the north-west, and the mount whereon stood the keep. On altering a road near the river, an old bridge of excellent workmanship was discovered, upon which had stood a chapel; at Beddington was an hospital dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, the founder of which is unknown.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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