One day in the not so distant past Angmering woke to find a lamb had become a lion. How could such a miracle take place?
It requires but a cursory glance at a local map to realise that, although Angmering was well situated to be a market village, it was too near to Arundel and other places of substance to be more. Close as it was to town and sea, when coach or any other form of travel was contemplated, the village was an unlikely stopping place. With the normal stage for coaches in the order of ten miles, the village was left far behind before a place for changing horses was needed. The stage coach from Worthing had its first stop at Ashington, across the downs, while the Long Furlong route from Littlehampton merely passed through Angmering. Nevertheless, as a market village, at least one inn could be expected, and by the later 19th century there were four of various ratings.
The carfax, now called the Square or Green, was the focal point of most of the roads through the village, and where Saxon/Norman forebears had chosen to build their two parish churches. Either there, or the main street through the village, were the likely places for the first inn to be situated.
It is a misfortune that no inn belonged to the lord of the manor. As a result no rental, and no reference to a hostelry in the 1679 survey of the manor, is to be found. For that matter, if one of the 'messuages' or cottages belonging to the lord in 1679, had adjoined an inn, this neighbour may well have been mentioned. Either no inn existed or, more likely, it was situated in one of those few places not adjacent to manor property. The location of the Red Lion comes to mind.
A qualification to the previous paragraph is necessary. The obscure hospice called the Rose and Crown is recorded in the early 18th century, when owned by the Penfold family, paying a quit rent and heriots. It was a house in the Street, which still existed in the 19th century, selling beer when the annual market was held in the village. The unanswered question is whether it was once more than that, as an inn with stabling and rooms. In 1836, a deed refers to the Rose and Crown as having been converted to tenements, and the general site did incorporate a number of buildings which may have served as stables and other outhouses. The Street was part of an ancient route from the west that led over Highdown to Tarring and other coastal towns, and so the Rose and Crown may have been the village hostelry recorded by a military survey of 1686.
The earliest definite record of at least one inn, is from 1686, when a survey scheduled the accommodation to be found in every village and town, but failed to mention the number of inns. In Angmering there were five guest bedrooms and stabling for ten horses. [VCH Draft; 'Abstract of ...Alehouse...' at PRO; Historical Atlas of Sussex] In comparison Arundel had four times that accommodation, while West Tarring had similar provision to Angmering. There is another snippet of relevance from earlier in 1627, when John Foster was taken to court on two occasions for selling substantial quantities of beer, which suggests he was a brewer if not yet an innkeeper. [SAC 69]
At this point there arises a confusion of evidence between unsupported anecdote and surviving documentary sources. In 1970 the W.I. did sterling work investigating village houses, although without references to distinguish between tradition and hard fact. There appears to have been a belief that the present Lamb Inn was built in the 1580s, as a coaching inn, being enlarged about 1725. This is indeed supported archaeologically, there being a fireplace with a 17th century iron back bearing the coat of arms of King Charles [I or II] – which gives a time span of sixty years from 1625. To counter this, the whole appearance of the present building is 18th century, and firebacks are all too easy to acquire from elsewhere – as for instance the owner's previous house. As to coaching, the only route through the village, used a new road to Patching and on through Long Furlong, established by RW Walker of Michelgrove about 1813 -1825. The inn certainly existed long before his stage coaches plied the route. What is more telling is that in the 1679 Survey there is no mention of an inn on the site of the Lamb, only of a cottage in the vicinity.
Going back to Messrs Foster, the name appears again about 1740 and this time as the owner and builder of a house that did indeed become an inn, the Red Lion. If the site was vacant previously, and part of the Rosery farmstead, then it is unlikely that any inn existed in the Square until that date.
It is not until 1780 that parish rates, and land tax, begin their run of annual returns with the first clear references to public houses, their owners and tenants. Not immediately, but in 1783 we have two intriguing entries, with Hary Hutchens at the New Lamb, and John King at the Old Lamb. The immediate thought is that the present Lamb had its precursor standing next to it, prior to being demolished or incorporated. But a whole series of returns needs to be analysed before making such a rash assumption, and when this is done for all the properties scheduled in the rate returns, probabilities become more certain.
The New Lamb series of rates and taxes begins in 1780 with a tax return naming John Penfold as the owner of 'his new house', for it was not called an inn until 1783. That does at least support the view that the Lamb house was built in the late 18th century, and it is very relevant that in 1779 a deed refers to John Penfold as a victualler. From 1783 until 1785 Hary Hutchens and James Penfold are named in the rates, but the tax for 1785 makes the situation clear by naming Penfold as the continuing owner, with Joseph Collick taking over as his tenant. Collick is known from newspaper sources as an innkeeper hosting parties, as at one notable cricket match on Highdown. He continued as 'host' until the end of the century. However it is notable that from 1788 the inn is simply called the Lamb, remaining so until our own day.
Now, as to the inn called the Old Lamb. Here again there is ambiguity for the first few years from 1780, with John Taylor as the occupier of an undefined 'house'. But in 1783 the name Old Lamb appears, with John King as tenant and William Humphrey owner. Then in 1788, the conflict of lambs is resolved and the Old Lamb suddenly transforms into a Lion, the Red Lion. As John Woolgar was tenant of the Old Lamb in 1786 and 1787 then from 1788 to about 1804 of the Red Lion, it is evident this was the same establishment under a new name.
Several questions remain unanswered. If in 1783 the Red Lion was the Old Lamb, it could only have been because it was the original Lamb and perhaps known as such from the date of its building in circa 1740. James Penfold usurped the name after 1780, and evidently Messrs Humphrey and his tenants had to give way before this substantial family of landowners. Albeit, we have a date when ‘Red Lion’ came into usage - in name, if not substance.
The next question of interest is, if the New Lamb was built by John Penfold as his 'new house', where was his old house? From land tax returns it would seem that after 1780 James Penfold lived at "John Penfold's old house". In so far as these tax returns can be related to known houses, it is likely that this 'house' was in fact the Rose and Crown. Here indeed is a convenient explanation for the Rose and Crown descending down the scale of public houses to a beer shop or similar. The business had been transferred to the New Lamb.
It is unlikely that deeds of any antiquity will be found belonging to the inns. For the Lamb, a sale particular of 1872 has the title commencing with an assignment of 12th Aug. 1839 to Messrs Osborn and Duke. This leaves nearly sixty years of previous history unaccounted for. It is only from rates etc that we can deduce that it was the executors of George Puttock who had sold the house.
A description of the facilities in 1872 is of interest, when the Lamb
was at the end of its coaching days.
A large, lofty, substantial, brick built, slated House, containing, Entrance Lobby with Bar, Tap Room, Smoking Room, Parlour, Kitchen and Cellar in the Basement, a large Club Room on the First Floor, behind the house, measuring 78ft x 22ft, with a shifting partition, and 3 Bedrooms, and 3 Bedrooms on the Second Floor, A Yard behind with a Scullery, Dairy with a room over, and a 3 stall Stable and shed at end. “In the occupation of Thos. Wilkinson at £14 per annum. Leasehold for a residue of a term originally granted for 900 years".
If the date when the 900 year lease was granted could be established, it would almost certainly answer the question of when the house was built.
There are deeds, now at the West Sussex Record Office, incorrectly assumed to be for the Red Lion. In fact they are for the house next door, and only mention the inn at various dates as a neighbouring property. But these references are enough to establish an outline history, as already recounted. The inn is not named or even described as such, but about 1780 land taxes refer to it as 'late Guiles house'. This is extremely useful as there is a will for Thomas Guile dated 1770, and his trade was that of a brewer. To 'Brother John Guile All my Messuages Tenements or Dwellinghouses ... also the Stable Brewhouse Woodhouse and Yard ... my Cellars Stock of Beer Brewing Utensils and Casks". John Guile died soon afterwards after which the Humphrey family became the owners. There is no reason to suppose Guile lived at the 'Red Lion' but tenant John Taylor did, right up to the date at which it was first called the Old Lamb.
On the whole, if evidence so far is correctly interpreted. The earliest Angmering Inn, dating back to the 17th century at least, was the Rose and Crown. In the mid 18th century came the old Lamb to be rebaptised in 1788 as the Red Lion. Finally the new Lamb in about 1780.
1780 £4 10s John Taylor for his house
1780 Tax £3 John Taylor/ owner - William Umphrey for late Guiles House
1781 £4 10s John Taylor for his House
1783 £8 0s John King for the old Lamb
1787 £7 0s John Woolger for the Old Lamb
1788 £7 0s John Woolgar for the Red Lyon
1780 £14 0s John Penfold for his house and Brewhouse
1780 Tax £3 John Penfold/ owner - John Penfold for his new house
1783 £7 0s Hary Hutchems (sic - later returns show Harry Hutchens)[James Penfold deleted] for the New Lamb
1787 £12 0s Joseph Collick for the New Lamb
1788 £12 0s Joseph Collick for the Lamb
Land Tax [Assumed to be the Rose and Crown but not named]
1780 £1 10s John Penfold for his old house John Penfold
1785 £1 10s James Penfold late John Penfold old house himself
1795 £1 10s John Penfold for his house himself
1805 £1 10s Mary Best for late Penfolds house herself