The Chantries of Angmering

by RW Standing

Chantryfield Road.  Still today there is one name, that of a road, which faintly recollects for us a major feature of medieval religious life. But it is the chantry that was lost in 1547 that is commemorated, whereas the chantry land that found a new life and continued until modern times is forgotten.


A chantry – ‘to sing’ – was an endowment for masses to be celebrated for the soul of the testator. Where funds were adequate a chantry chapel might be erected, attached to a church. These chantries were suppressed in 1547.


Locally there were chantries at Ford, Ferring, Barnham, and both East and West Angmering.  The recently published Victoria County History, has brief accounts of these 1.

“In 1254 West Angmering church had a chantry of St.Mary endowed with 28 ¼ acres. Six chantry priests were recorded between 1254 and 1478. In 1523 the bishop annexed the endowment (given as 18 acres) to the prebend of Wyndham.


“A chantry of St. Mary in East Angmering church, belonged in 1310 and 1348 to the manor [East Angmering]. Five chantry priests were recorded between 1359 and 1535. The chantry was valued at 52s in 1535 and at more than 45s at its dissolution in 1547. The crown disposed of its rents in 1600-1.  A fraternity was recorded in 1522 when Nicholas Gillam, clerk, of East Angmering gave 3s 4d to the church for the brethren of the floor, perhaps a group responsible for paving the church.”

A charter by the bishop of Chichester, of 1254, is the earliest record there is of a chantry, and it could only have been drawn up in order to gather together several bequests that had already been made over some years.  Ten people are listed, all contributing a few acres to what was now, if not previously, the chantry of St Mary.

“12th Aug 1254 - John II [de Clymping] Bishop of Chichester, to all, I approve the devotion of the good men of Angmeryng, living and dead, who have made gifts for the keep of a chaplain to say the Mass of St. Mary every day at the church of St. Margaret of Angmeryng; they are:  5 acres, a garden and 2 acres of meadow from Niel de Angmeryng; 5 acres from Adam de Berthamwyke;  a quarter of a yardland in Eastangmeryng from John Ruffus of Angmeryng;  4 acres from Mauser de la Dun;  3 ½ acres from Adam de Hammes; 2 acres from William de Brunesbur’;  1 acre from Maud de la Lowe;  1 acre from John Palerne,: all his acquisitions (perquisita) in Hammes and Angmeryng from Robert de Hammes;  4 acres 3 roods from John de la Feld, the chantrist;  This I confirm.”  [numerous witnesses] 2

Nothing is presently known of the testators, but some of their names suggest where they lived. Hammes or Ham manor, Berthamwyke or Barpham, and John Rufus of East Angmering. The interesting point is that land in East Angmering should have been given to West Angmering church.  And then, the total area of land was in fact 28 acres plus another quarter of a yardland, and an undefined estate in Ham and Angmering.  Even allowing for the acres to have been customary acres, of around ¾ acre statute. The extent of land was far more than existed as chantry land in the 19th century for West Angmering and Ham. If it were the whole chantry land in Angmering, east and west, it would fit the known and conjectural areas better. By the next century lands in East Angmering had been separated off, if they were not already, to fund its chantry of St Mary.

It is quite impossible to determine exactly where any of the plots of land were. Therefore whether one or two were subsequently ‘mislaid’ and others added to the stock, is an imponderable.


West Angmering Chantry and Wyndham


As will be found in the church guide, the chantry of St Mary in West Angmering had a series of priests, of which five are known. 1398  John Brocton, 1401 Thomas Heron, 1409 John Fogyl, 1445 John Lovell, 1478 Robert Scharp.  What is not so clear is whether they had an altar for their use in the parish church, or an altar in their own chapel separate from the main church.  In view of the fact that St Margaret’s certainly had two medieval chapels, one on the north side eventually used as a mortuary chapel for the Palmer family, and the other on the south side, latterly used by the Gratwicke family, but now a mere entrance foyer. It is unlikely to ever be known, but there are now tangible reasons to suppose that Gratwicke took over a chapel that originally belonged to Ham and perhaps more particularly to the chantry, with its lands concentrated there.


There is one medieval reference to a tenant of some part of the chantry land. In the 1321 survey of Ham:

“William Bulmere for land which he holds at Hamme for the Chantry of Blessed Mary at Westangmaryng.”  As the only such tenant named, it can only be assumed he held all of the chantry land in the manor. 3

It is a vast leap from the 13th to the 18th century and later. But, if the chantry lands of West Angmering did remain fairly intact, they descended to the prebend of Wyndham [at Chichester cathedral] in 1523, and later leases, surveys and maps, confirm they were mainly in Ham itself, with other plots in Angmering but those areas which had long belonged to Ham. 4


In 1535 a valuation of Wyndham prebend amounted to £9 – 16s, with Angmering included. Mr Laurence Woodcock at that time prebendary. 5 


No doubt a full series of prebendaries could be obtained, few of whom would have visited Angmering, and did not have chantry duties to perform since these had been annulled. Those of interest, in being associated with particular leases and surveys, included,  1523 Hugh Rolf , 1535 Laurance Woodcocke, 1705    John Reynall, 1772 Combe Miller, 1833 Henry Atkins, 1869 Charles Pilkington.


It might be thought that the 1679 survey of Angmering, not including Ham, would mention this prebendal land, at least where it bordered plots belonging to manor tenants. It can only be deduced that the Penfold family were in occupation, being named as neighbours to Angmering manor property. Joane Penfold with part of the Poling parish wedge of land south of Angmering church.


It may simply have been the fact of the Penfold family being such substantial, and widespread farm owners and tenants that made them the obvious choice as leaseholders of Wyndham. Albeit from an early date, and certainly before 1608 they were in occupation. Richard Penfold, in his will of 1608, bequeaths “Hugh ... all that my lease of Chauntry land which I hold of the Prebendary of Windham.”


Hugh made his will in 1659, and is more explicit. “Item I give unto the said Olliver Penfold my sonne, to his Executors and assignes, from and after the decease of Alice my wife, All my estate, interest and terms of years, which I have yet to come & unexpired of and in one lease of certaine lands belonging to the prebend of Windham lying within the parish of Angmering and Ham.”


From this period onwards both the Penfold family and their leases come into the light. In 1705 the lease is once more renewed between. 

"John Reynell Clerk prebendary of the Prebend of Windham within the Cathedrall Church of Chichester with the Chantry or Free Chapell of Westangmering thereunto annexed in the County of Sussex of the One Part and Richard Penfold of Angmering aforesaid Carpenter youngest son of Joane Penfold late of Tottington in the Parish of Lyminster in the said County Widow of the other part.”

It goes on to reflect back to the previous contract made in 1675, with Richard Penfold, for the term of his life and that of his brothers Oliver and Peter. This now being renewed with Richard the younger. It then describes the estate as being "Chantry ground … lying in the village of Ham.”  At some previous date in the occupation of Robert Older, and others. 6


Opportunely, there is now the benefit of an excellent survey and map of Ham manor, made by Samuel Jenner in 1724 for William Gratwicke .  There is no schedule of lands or legend, with names and areas of fields written in the enclosures. These are outlined in various colours, but those in red would appear to be a few remaining plots not owned by Gratwicke. Only the one small plot, south of the village, is named “Chantry Croft” at just over an acre. Otherwise there is a field next to Station Road – Ham Lane – marked as Richard Penfold’s of over two acres. Also a note at the side of the map. “Note that Tenn Acres of Tenantry Measure Belongeth to the Church Or Seven Acres & Halfe Land Measure”.  A small plot can also be seen at the extreme north-east corner, south of Angmering church, in the Poling parish outlier. Since there is no record of glebe in Ham, it can be supposed that this was all chantry land the location of which had been lost.     


That a Richard Penfold, carpenter, did continue in possession of the Wyndham estate, is evidenced quite plainly by a will of 1771:

“To my loving Wife Mary Penfold One Annuity for her Life of Five pounds a Year ... payable out of my Prebendal Estate Chantrey Ground and premises which I hold by Lease for the Term of my Life and the Lives of my Sons John Penfold and William Penfold of the Prebendary of the Prebend of Windham within the Cathedral Church of Chichester with the Chantry or Free Chapple of West Angmering ... thereto annext lying in the Village of Ham and in the Parish of West Angmering ... And in Poling ... to be paid her by Two equal half yearly payments.”

The following year this was naturally enough followed up by a renewal of the family lease. “Revd Mr Combe Miller Prebendary of Wyndham to Mr William Penfold.”  For another three lives, including his brother John and son also named John.  A yearly rent of 36s 8d representing around 2s an acre twice that of typical rents in the 16th century.  


A good description of the lands is now provided, and almost all the plots lay in Ham proper, with a few nearby in Angmering parish:

“All that his chantrey ground .... in the Village of Ham in the parish of West Angmering that is to say seven acres of arable ground  in the common fields of Ham sometimes in the tenure or occupation of one Robert Older and

one croft of pasture ground formerly likewise in the tenure or occupation of ... Robert Older

and divers small parcels of meadow ground lying in sundry places in the Common Meadow of Ham aforesaid and one croft of pasture ground in Ham Lane heretofore in the tenure or occupation  of Walter Pygeon containing by estimation three acres

and also one parcel  of land lying before Preston Gate heretofore in the tenure of Robert Pannett and now of [blank] and

one acre of land heretofore likewise in the occupation of the said Robert Pannett and now of [blank]

and three acres of land heretofore in the tenure of Robert Pannett and now of [blank]

and one parcel of meadow lying at a Gate heretofore John Pannett and now [blank]

which four last parcels of land and meadow are lying and being in the parish of West Angmering aforesaid and also one parcel of meadow ground late in the occupation of Thomas Ludgatter and now of [blank] containing by estimation half an acre (be the same more or less) .... ... in the parish of Poleing ...

all which the said lands and premises were late in the occupation of the aforesaid Richard Penfold deceased and one James Ford and now of the said William Penfold or his undertenants.” 7

The confusion there may have been, with ancient plots of ground the wherewithal had been lost, was at last resolved by the Inclosures of 1812. This did not only involve common or open fields, but also a large number of small dispersed glebe plots, private land, and West Angmering chantry. Gratwicke of Ham, must have been mightily pleased to remove all of the chantry from his main estate, concentrating it nearby in Angmering, inn the corner between what is today Station Road and Worthing Road, East Preston. Nine Acres and Munmare Field together just over 15 acres, with the small Poling plot in addition.


But the lease had passed out of the hands of Messrs Penfold, and as may be expected into the hands of Gratwicke of Ham. Trustees held on to the lands until 1869, when the whole Ham estate had been sold up following the decease of  WGK Gratwicke and others of the family. In 1869 Mr Reginald A. Warren of Preston Place, was in process of buying up all the lands he could lay hold of, and the Wyndham lease was one more catch. Most significant of the lives included was his daughter Amy Geraldine Warren, then aged seven, who lived until 1937.  The exact disposition of Wyndham property in the 20th century is a matter which is as yet unclear.


Munmare and Nine Acres, can be easily visualised today. Angmering railway station stand plumb in the middle between the two fields, with a recent large block of flats to the south and industrial units behind, then bungalows to the south east. To the north there are former railway cottages, and another new area of housing (Teulon Court) replacing Blue Star/Texaco garage. The bypass is just to the north of Nine Acres.



East Angmering Chantry


To reiterate the VCH account:

“A chantry of St. Mary in East Angmering church, belonged in 1310 and 1348 to the manor [East Angmering]. Five chantry priests were recorded between 1359 and 1535. The chantry was valued at 52s in 1535 and at more than 45s at its dissolution in 1547. The crown disposed of its rents in 1600-1.  A fraternity was recorded in 1522 when Nicholas Gillam, clerk, of East Angmering gave 3s 4d to the church for the brethren of the floor, perhaps a group responsible for paving the church.”

As in the church guide, the chantry of St Mary in East Angmering had a series of priests. Bef 1405 John Brewes, 1405 John Donemowe, 1415 John Pigon, 1535 John Worthyall.  But unlike West Angmering, this chantry shared the fate of most such foundations in England, being suppressed in 1547. Unless, as already suggested, its lands were part of those listed  in 1254 relating to St Margaret’s church, there is no survey of lands belonging to East Angmering.


But then it is peculiar that in 1509 a survey of chantries has East Angmering, with rent valuations for what must have been considerable land, which is not quantified. 52 shillings in all and more than would be expected for the parish or manor. Yet, nothing is said of West Angmering. Could it be that here again land belonging to the whole of Angmering was listed. 8

Rent of certain land lying in the tenure of Robert Smyth yearly                 9s

The like rent for land in the tenure of William Myllington and John Payne 12s

The like rent for land in the tenure of John Boyne yearly                          2s  8d

Rent of William Myllington or his assigns                                               4s

Rent of John Payne for divers lands in his tenure                                  10s

The like rent for land in the tenure of the said John yearly                       8s  4d

Rent of Loxe Widow for land in her tenure yearly                                     6s

[total]                                                                                                52s


Set against that is the fact that West Angmering chantry was handed over to Wyndham in 1523, while East Angmering chantry survived until 1547.  So that, in 1535, when John Worthiall was chaplain of East Angmering chantry, and its value was still stated as 52s, it could not have included anything in West Angmering. His pension after 1547 was 40s. It would seem that over several hundred years unknown and extensive lands had accrued to the chantry.9 It would seem that Worthiall had also been chaplain at Ferring serving its chantry.


If the 1509 survey is accurate, it can be stated that the chantry owned land, but no houses. This does leave open to question where the chantry priests, both east and west, lived. Maybe not always in Angmering, as when the priest also served the Ferring chantry.


Another niggling question arises from the reference in just one will, that of Nicholas Gillam of East Angmering in 1522. ‘unto the same church for Brethren of the Floor 3s 4d’  There is a comment in the source for this quote that it may have been a clerical error for Brethren of the Poor, but the VCH editor comments that these may indeed have been responsible for repair of the church.10 It would have been some kind of fraternity, paid for by chantry income, to serve a charitable purpose.


The crown did not dispose of these lands for another fifty years, at the end of Elizabeth’s reign in 1601.Then in 1602, Thomas Bishopp of Parham took over land, “to the late Channterye of the Blessed Marye in Angmering alia Eastangmering sometyme belonginge” for £70.11 Notably this must have been the first substantial acquisition by him in the parish, it was not until 1615 that he purchased the various manors from Thomas Palmer. There does not appear to be a schedule of fields or acreages, which is unfortunate, as there is nothing to identify the whole farm or its acreage at any date – so far seen.


In the meantime Richard Penfold already had a lease of some at least of the former chantry, as his 1608 will declares:

“Also Twoe Acres of land lyingin the East towne feild houlden by lease of our late soveraigne lady and Queene deceased paying the rent of two shillings by the yeare untill such tyme as the said lease shall expire.”  This in addition to Wyndham lands. However Thomas Martin must then have purchased the chantry estate from Bishopp, as in 1611 he was paying a fee farm rent of 52s. “Thomas Martin for the fee farme purchased of Sir Thomas Bishopp.” 12

Although the glebe terriers of 1615, and 1635, were for church land. They did serve the inestimable purpose, for historians today, of identifying lands that surrounded each glebe plot. From these it can at least be confirmed that Thomas Martin clerk, owned the Lower Chantry north of the village. A Soloimon Gryffen and later Hugh Penfold are named as tenants. Then in the 1679 manor survey, Hugh Penfold is again the evident occupier, but now holding both Upper and Lower Chantry, a combined area of just under 12 acres.


By the 19th century these two fields had become the property of the local Olliver magnates, in the tithe map James Olliver of Pound House. A Sale Particular of 1872 for the house and its farm, confirms that a fee farm rent was still payable on these two enclosures, 221, and 257, both together 43s 6d. Whether the difference between that and the earlier 52s is accounted for by some other small plot of land, is entirely obscure, but it was presumably not in Olliver’s hands.


Twelve acres of land, does not match what may be expected from the long list of properties in the early 16th century.


It is popularly imagined that chantries served local people charitably. Perhaps those in Angmering did have some such function, but apart from the obscure Brethren and the presence of priests saying mass in the village, no such benefit has been recorded. There are many chantry certificates published, in London for instance, which specify doles for the poor, would that some such may be found for Angmering. 13


This is as far as the history of the two Chantries of Angmering can be taken at this juncture. A more intensive investigation of sources may advance the matter at a later date.

RW Standing
8 August 2010


  1. SRS46 p311
  2. SRS46 No910
  3. SRS60 Goring Extent
  4. SRS 52 [1523] White Act Book Dean and Chapter 1472-1544 No 55.   On the same day the decree uniting the chantry of St Mary of Westangmeryng with Wyndham Hospital was confirmed
  5. SAC 92 Valuation Chichester Cathedral 1535 [p169]  Wyndham prebend, Mr Laurence Woodcock
    With Westangmering chantry annexed
    Glebe at Wyndham in (blank) parish according to the indenture of Mr Woodcock to John (blank) of Aberbury £8  3s  4d
    Rents and prevents of the chantry in (blank) £1 13s 4d  
    Deduct [Bread, wine, and wax to sing Mass in the Cathedral according to the foundation 5s  0d
    Clear value (£9 16s 8d) - £9 11s 8d
  6. WSRO Cap/I/49 [MF 463]
  7. WSRO Cap/II/72/2 1772 Lease
  8. SRS36 Chantries 1509
  9. SRS36 several entries
  10. SAC 12 
  11. WSRO Parham 1/3/2/2
  12. SRS 36 Chantries
  13. London and Middlesex Chantry Certificate 1548 C. J. Kitching (editor)   1980

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