(now Church Road)
by RW Standing
This history is based on the deduction that the original house attached to the croft called Conyers does not now exist, and probably disappeared in the 18th century. The idea that present day Conyers house acquired its name from another property has been resisted, but current evidence makes this step irresistible. Further research may alter present conclusions.
Eastern Bakers Row
In the 1679 Manor Survey there were two houses in the crofts that can be identified with Bakers Row. The first house is what is now named Conyers.
Allso Hugh Penfold holdeth in Reversion after the death of his Mother of the Lord of this Mannor as of the said Mannor freely to him and his heirs for ever One Tenement being a Messuage Backside and Garden with the appurtenances situate in East Angmering aforesaid and bounded as followeth (viz) The Messuage and backside by East Angmering Church yard on the North by Angmering Street on the East and South And by the Lands of Thomas Charles als Rogers on the West
The critical part of the description is that the Street lay to the south and east, and behind the house was the east Angmering church site.
The Survey continues with a description of his garden on the south side of Bakers Row lane.
The Garden is bounded by the Highway on the North and South by the Gates of the said
Hugh Penfold on the East and by the Lands of John Blaber on the West
This croft was certainly attached to Conyers in the 19th century. John Blaber's house was Blaber Cottage.
For the whole property, house and detached garden, a rent was paid to the lord of the manor.
And hee payeth rent by the yeare two shillings and eight pence And holdeth by Suit of Court and other services
Later notes on the survey name tenants and owners in the 1720s.
Georg Pallmer Rent ijs viijd
Western Bakers Row
Turning now to the second house in Bakers Row, described in 1679.
Allso Thomas and Richard Charles als Rogers hold of the Lord of this Mannor for the Term of their naturall lives by coppy of Court Roll bearing date the 13th of October xxiij regina Car. 1671 One Tenement being a house and garden with three acres of Land thereunto belonging called Conyers situate in East Angmering bounded as followeth (viz) The house and Garden bounded by East Angmering Church yard on the North by the close of Hugh Penfold on the East and by the Highway there on the South and West
Here also the critical description is that the church was to the north, and Angmering Street to the west and south. That John Penfold occupied the croft to the east indicates that his house, above, was the only other property in Bakers Row. It should be noted that present day Arundel Road was simply part of the ancient Street.
The 1679 survey continues with a description of the location of Conyers croft, nearby to the north, then the rent for the whole property and c1720 owner.
One feild Inclosed parcel thereof by estimation three acres bounded by the Lands of Stedman Breaden called Churchfeilds on the North by the Garden of John Gibbs on the East by the Highway on the South and by the said Church yard on the West
whereunto the said Thomas and Richard were admitted at a Court holden for the said Mannor the day and yeare abovesaid To have and to hold by the yearly rent of xxs herriott after every death alienation the best beast Fine at the will of the Lord and other accustomed services And they paid for a fine on their Admittance 50s Richard Crosingham Rent xxs [20s rent or £!]
Henry Baker and Bakers Row
Jumping a century, it is known that Henry Baker and his family owned the whole of Bakers Row in the 19th century, including Conyers croft and the garden east of Blaber Cottage. He also owned another property called the the 'candle house' or Redmans, in 1852 acquired by Gratwicke and rebuuilt as West Angmering vestry.
1732 Bishopp deeds
West Ang Court. Lease Sir Thomas Palmer to Peter Jennings of cottage and garden (now James Redmans) 1000 yrs from 20 Jan 1614 at 6/8d rent 6d heriot
It is useful in placing various properties to know that in general East Angmering properties were east of Arundel Road , and West Angmering on that side. The two Bakers Row properties were in East Court.
Circa 1796 Quit Rents
[West Bakers Row]
East Court Henry Baker tenant occupier of Conyers 3 acres [no house mentioned] copyhold 20s
[East Bakers Row]
East Court Henry Baker tenant and occupier Shop Freehold 2/8d rent
West Court Henry Baker tenant Wm Olliver occ late Ridmans leasehold 6/8d 1000yrs from 1614
No house is mentioned as belonging with Conyers croft, and it is assumed it had disappeared, or been replaced by the house today known as St Margarets The second East Angmering freehold at 2s 8d quit rent to the lord of the manor, was presumably the former Penfold house which is today called Conyers. His West Court property Redmans has a long series of deeds surviving, and can be identified with the vestry site.
Exactly how Conyers Croft and West Bakers Row descended to Crossingham then Carleton and finally Baker is not known, but additional evidence that Richard Crossingham owned the croft comes from an 18th century list of manor rents and services, which damaged but almost certainly names Conyers in his hands. The candle shop or Redman's was purchased by Henry Baker in 1788, from William Balcombe, and at a similar date he acquired Conyers Croft from Edward Carleton - according to land tax returns. But East Bakers Row, the Penfold house, now called Conyers, descended to the Palmer family before presumably Baker.
Archaeological evidence for ownership of East Baker Row, present day Conyers, is not lacking. Several datestones are in garden walls of the house, where they were perhaps moved in the course of later building alterations and extensions.
Datestones in Conyers yard wall are of very similar style and size.
R P G P
Datestone in St Nicholas cellar
Interpreted as George and Sarah Palmer 1724
George died 1742 as per his Will leaving a widow Sarah who died 1750
Daughter Anne Palmer decease in 1768 with sisters surviving
The St Nicholas cellar is in fact under the courtyard. Why so many datestones is uncertain but the most likely event in those years, was the building of a large north wing to Conyers, creating the large square building seen today. The old 'house' at Avenings is also another probable Palmer foundation. There are several photographs taken of this courtyard cellar, including a recess that fable speaks of as the entrance to a tunnel to Church House, but for which there is no useful evidence to date, and the Palmer family of Conyers had no known connection with that house.
In a typical rate return, for 1819, all Henry Baker's houses are listed together;
H Baker & Son house and shop & Candle House £14 0
It is with the tithe map and apportionment of c1840 that the first exact schedule and mapping of Baker land occurs, and as well as Conyers croft:
Henry Baker owner and occupier
East Bakers Row
Tithe 381 garden 1 rood [The garden south of Church Road adjoining Blaber Cottage]
Tithe 383 house outbuildings 16 perches [Conyers with modern day St Nicholas and Little Avenings]
West Bakers Row
Henry Baker owner with occupiers not named
Tithe 384 Tenements and yard 9 perches [The four cottages and St Margarets]
Henry Baker owner and occupier
Tithe 400 Candle Manufactury
Successors to Henry Baker continued to own Bakers Row until it seems a Mrs G Mant came into ownership c1913, who immediately undertook extensive building alterations to create the present set of houses.
Baker Family Descent
1788 William Balcombe sells Redmans to Harry Baker shopkeeper.
[Bakers Row etc acquired similar date]
Harry died August 1819, property to son Henry.
1853 Henry Baker sells Redmans to William Gratwicke for £250.
1860 Henry Baker late grocer dies son Arthur
1885 Arthur Baker gent dies leaves property to brother Edgar and four sisters
1905 Edgar Baker decease
After the Baker property was acquired by Mrs G Mant c1913, East Bakers Row, or Conyers, was extensively refashioned to become the three houses there today. Conyers itself, St Nicholas, and Little Avenings.
Origin of the name "Conyers"
The name CONYERS has very good precedence elsewhere.
It could relate to a previous owner or occupier of the Croft, in Water Lane , long before our records begin. A name like Conier, Conyer etc.
Alternatively, and one most often quoted, is that it relates to the old name for rabbit, or a rabbit warren. The interesting possibility arises that Conyers Croft may have been the site of a Warren belonging to East Angmering Manor, that is the lord.
From the records the Croft was attached to a particular house, as its only integral property. If the name was from the person Conier, then the house and croft were named after him. If the name means "warren" then the house derived its name from the occupation.
Survey work on these buildings is incomplete and present conclusions are tentative. Even when all survey work is exhausted, remains of the earliest structures are so fragmentary that the architectural history may never be fully established.
Archaeology: West Bakers Row
This house is at the very west end of Bakers Row, opposite Blaber Cottage. At this juncture little is known about it, other than being 18th century in appearance. It is conceivable that it was a small one and half storey farmstead in origin, and if archaeological investigation provides an earlier 17th century date, this very building would be identifiable as part or the whole of the lost 1679 house attached to Conyers croft. Early photographs show this to have had a thatched roof, but timber framing is not in evidence in the flint walls.
On the other hand the adjoining row of four small cottages, predate the Tithe Map of 1839, but are not present on the Enclosure map of 1809, although that is not conclusive the map being concerned with other properties.
Henry Baker is the most likely person to have built them.
Bakers Row Occupants 1910
The houses are not named but can be deduced from their context and from earlier sources
Owned by Ellen Baker
94 Ellen Baker Bakers Rd £20
232 Walter Ansell Bakers Rd £5
233 Fred Finch do £5
234 George Field do £5
235 Ann Pocock do £5
St Margaret's rated as two dwellings
236/7 Edwin Linfield do £5/£5
Bakers Row or Church Road. Buildings on the north side of the road, facing south, with courtyards behind, and a steep bank rising to the site of East Angmering church.
Prior to 1913, what is today Little Avenings, was a range of buildings attached to Conyers.
It is impossible to know the sequence of events, but the layout does suggest the original building was a dwelling related to Conyers. A two cell dwelling with a kitchen at one end and lliving room at the other end, can be imagined. At a later date its conversion to farm or commercial use took place.
It is just conceivable that the 'house' was built by the Palmer family, at the beginning of the 18th century. A century later Messrs Baker converted to commercial and farm use.
St Nicholas and Conyers
Although there is some ambiguity about the origins of Little Avenings, there does not seem to be any about St Nicholas. It was always an integral part of Conyers until some date after Mrs Mant undertook her improvements in 1913.
The peculiar feature of St Nicholas and the south wing of Conyers, is that the roof has a mansard profile on the south side, but straight slope on the north side. There must be a reason for this of historical significance. Avenings has a slight but normal mansard, presumably built that way, and it may be surmised the house was built before the large north wing of Conyers. That north wing continued over the old south wing, and the opportunity was taken to reconstruct the south slope as a mansard to match Avenings, where it could be seen by the public
In view of the several Palmer datestones noted above, it is a reasonable deduction that this affluent family was responsible for all the major enlargements of the medieval Conyers. The Avenings 'cottage', and the Conyers north wing.
Conyers of today comprises a south wing which is an extension eastwards of Nicholas and there are remains of a medieval crown post roof, with rafters cut back on the north side where the north roof overlaps. It is notable that there are no masonry walls inside the house, apart from the fireplaces, with timber framed partititions at the rear of the south wing. In view of this it may be speculated that the medieval house had a north wing, subsequently rebuilt as the much more substantial building of today. The massive chimney stack in this north wing may be calculated as about 7ft 6in long.
RW Standing 2006