Today, I am taking a stroll through the West Sussex downland town of Steyning. Originally a Saxon settlement, it grew to become an important port town – the River Adur ran closer than it does today. The Norman’s built their castle close by at Bramber and the railways linked it to London for a hundred years until Dr Richard Beeching cut the line in the 1960s. But the architecture is stunning and that’s what I am here to have a look at.
I am out in the countryside again and this time I seek the gibbet of Jack Upperton, a rouge labourer from Burpham, in West Sussex who robbed the mail and was hanged for the crime.
I meet up with Martin Snow, church building enthusiast, to explore two of Sussex finest Saxon/Norman churches: St Botolph’s and Coombes, both between Shoreham and Steyning in West Sussex.
Bramber Castle is situated at the west of the tiny village of Bramber, near Steyning in West Sussex. Built by William De Braose around 1171, it was the administrative centre for the rape of Bramber.
I walk around the remains of the bailey and climb the motte, and later plunge into the defensive ditch that encircles it.
I take a visit to the iconic windmill at the top of Halnaker Hill. A grade Two listed building that is currently under going restoration. I also have a look at the WW2 Observation Post and ponder about the sights the gallant men manning must have witnessed during the Battle of Britain.
Today I have a walk around the ruins of Boxgrove Priory’ lodging house. The main church has been restored now and looks magnificent inside. I have a poke around there too. The monastery was far larger in its day, but after the dissolution of the monasteries priory fell into ruin.