(Part 5, Chapter 1, Section 1) ( Bk. Index )

[ Fairs, Inns, and Public Houses ]


In general terms public houses in England were of three sorts. The ale or beerhouse, which explains itself. The tavern where beer and wine could be bought. And, at the pinnacle, the inn providing every service of stabling, accommodation, food and drink. JPs had the power to license and limit the numbers of such premises in towns and villages. But many a more recent tavern arose out of the 1830 Beerhouse Act, which permitted householders to retail beer for a fee of two guineas, supposedly to steer people away from the Hogarth style gin palaces. Beer was, until the days of modern plumbing, the safest drink available and indeed the local workhouse brewed its own ale or beer for the inmates.

By the 18th century Turnpike Acts enabled the construction of good toll roads, where before had been circuitous and poorly maintained parish roads. This encouraged travel, with stagecoaches on regular schedules between larger towns, and in their wake coaching inns every ten miles or so to provide the rest and change of horses needed at each stage.  Soon after 1814 Angmering was favoured with its own coach road through Ham, and along Water Lane which was extended to Patching, continuing  through Long Furlong, established by RW Walker of Michelgrove. As with many such roads and canals, it was soon to be overtaken and outmoded by the railways.

As a small town, or large market village, subsidiary to nearby Arundel, it may be expected that Angmering had its public houses of one sort or another from an early date. Proof of this is wanting, and will probably remain so, except for one tantalising source. A survey made nationally in 1686 for military purposes, following the Monmouth Rebellion, presumably to determine the number of billeting places available in case of further trouble. ['Abstract of ...Alehouse...' quoted in the  Historical Atlas of Sussex: Phillimore 1999, and VCH Draft]  This failed to provide the names of inns, listing only the accommodation in every village and town. In Angmering there were five guest bedrooms and stabling for ten horses. In comparison Arundel had four times that accommodation, while West Tarring had similar provision to Angmering.

One other source might be expected to include reference to public houses in the village - the 1679 Survey. That it has no hint of any such house, is probably because it was confined to property owned by the Lord of the Manor, Cecil Bishopp, and evidently he owned no such premises. Although, a house merely selling ale may have slipped notice, as of no consequence, an inn with numerous rooms and stabling is another matter.

That leaves,  what may be considered, the most important part of medieval commercial life in Angmering to the last - Fairs and Markets. In England, these were perquisites of the lord of the manor, with the majority established by grants in the form of a charters granted by the King. Naturally enough, inns were opened close to market places, which is why this chapter is an appropriate place for the subject.

RWS 3/5/2009