(Part 5, Chapter 1, Section 4) ( Bk. Index )

[ Fairs, Inns & Public Houses ]

The Lamb Inn

Old and New Lamb

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?

Fortunately a run of parish rate books and land tax returns begin in 1780, at a critical juncture in the history of Angmering inns. In 1783 there were two intriguing entries, with Mary Hutchens at the ‘New Lamb’,The Lamb, 2009 Copyright: Neil Rogers-Davis 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. A run of tax returns have to be related together in order to come to any firm conclusions.

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 Mary Hutchens and James Penfold are named in the rates, but the tax for 1785 makes the situation clear by listing Penfold as the owner, with Joseph Collick as his tenant.  Collick is known from newspaper sources as an innkeeper hosting village dinners, as on the occasion of a notable cricket match on Highdown. He continued as 'host' until the end of the century. However, from 1788, the inn is simply called the Lamb, remaining so until our own day.

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.  Evidently the Red Lion started out as the original and only Lamb, being referred to as the ‘Old Lamb’ only when the Penfold house was built.

The next question of interest is, if the New Lamb was built by John Penfold as his 'new house' where was his old house.  it could have been a mysterious building that had belonged to Sturt in 1679, on the site now occupied by the Lamb. But the evidence of tax returns, so far analysed, suggests it was the Rose and Crown in the High Street. That this establishment had been owned by the Penfold family is well supported, if only by a heriot [a payment to the lord of the manor] recorded in the late 18th century – “Richard Penfold junior for the Rose and Crown” [WSRO Acc 8503].

Red Lion
1780                 John Taylor for his house
1780 Tax           John Taylor        owner - William Umphrey for late Guiles House                
1781                 John Taylor for his House
1783                 John King for the old Lamb
1787                 John Woolger for the Old Lamb
1788                 John Woolgar for the Red Lyon

The Lamb
Rates generally £12 valuation
1780 Tax           John Penfold                  owner, John Penfold for his new house                            
1780 - 82           John Penfold for his house and Brewhouse
1783  - 84          Hary Hutchens for the New Lamb
1784 – 85          James Penfold for the new Lamb
1785 Tax           Joseph Collick               owner, James Penfold new Lamb House             
1786 – 87          Joseph Collick for the New Lamb
1788                 Joseph Collick for the Lamb

Penfold Old House
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

* * * * *  

The Site

The Lamb is true to its present address, as an inn to the north of The Square, but in the longer perspective it was really the last house in Church Road, with Angmering Cottage directly adjoining at the beginning of Water Lane. The entire character of the site was a continuation of Church Road, with houses set in a narrow strip of land directly under a high bank above which East Angmering Church once stood, forthright and proud. This bank continued behind the inn and cottage, fading out along Water Lane, the land here above occupied by Conyers Croft  which belonged to the Baker family of Conyers. The inn site was no more than the area of the house and its yard, at 14 perches in the 1839 tithe map, which is less than a tenth of an acre.

1839 Tithe Map

The Lamb 1839
The Inn and surrounding houses from the Tithe Map

In 1913 Conyers passed into new hands, and by the1920s houses were beginning to occupy its croft. No doubt at this time the western extremity of the field was acquired by the inn, one half used for vegetables, with the eastern part an ornamental garden including a lawn, roses and fruit trees. The exact date is not yet known, but in the late 1930s Angmering Cottage was demolished, thereby clearing way for eventual capitulation to the needs of a motoring clientele. Today, the inn has a large car park at its rear on part of what was Conyers Croft, with an entrance road rising up into it from where Angmering Cottage stood, and cutting through behind the inn where some of its outbuildings had been The bank here is now smoothed out and lost.

* * * * *


The history of every house in Angmering has to be prefixed by the cautionary note that no maps exist for the village earlier than 1812.  There are various surveys or written terriers, describing properties, but these are difficult to interpret.

The earliest clear references to all the presumed properties in Church Road, are from the 1679 Survey, and no mention is made of an inn. Indeed it is not even possible to state with certainty that two entries relate to sites east of Conyers. Only the fortunate circumstance that the only land belonging to Thomas Rogers was Conyers Croft,  fixes a house owned by Elizabeth Sturt on the south side of that field, and almost certainly near to the house now called Conyers, with Thomas Carter’s cottage adjoining.

Lamb Inn Site                Tithe 380 general area
58/..                  House east of Bakers Row
“Allso Elizabeth Sturt holdeth of the Lord of this Mannor by Lease for ten thousand years granted by Sir Thomas Palmer Kt bearing date [blank] One Tenement being a messuage backside and one plott of ground with the appurtenances lying in East Angmering containing in Length forty feet in breadth Twenty two feet or thereabouts bounded by the Lands of Thomas Charles als Rogers on the North by the Lands of Thomas Carter on the East and by the Street there on the South and West And she payeth rent by the yeare Six pence And holdeth by Releiff Suit of Court and other services
Margin notes ;  John Barrnad    Rent vjd [owner in early 18th century]
[This rent at 6d is less than indicated by a 1665 description]

Angmering Cottage                    Tithe 379 general area
63/..                  Cottage north of Ang Street
“Allso Thomas Carter Anne his wife and William their sonn hold for the Terme of their naturall lives by coppy of court roll bearing date the [blank] One Tenement being a Cottage and Garden with the appurtenances situate in East Angmering bounded by the Lands of Thomas Charles als Rogers on the North by Angmering Street there on the East and South and by the Lands of Eliz Sturt on the West”

Reference to Angmering Street should not be taken too literally, by modern usage. It may well be that Church Road was originally part of The Street, the Square consisting largely of pond with what is now Station  Road running south next to it.

If the Sturt house did mainly consist of a plot forty feet long, it was no more than a fraction of the Lamb site. There is a possibility that roadside waste, belonging to the manor, was taken up and added to the site, as on many other occasions  when cottages and houses were built. There is a note in sets of rentals to the effect that James Penfold was allowed to enclose pieces of waste at the end of the 18th century, but where and of what extent is unknown. What has to be envisaged is that if the Sturt house survived until about 1780, it was demolished at that time and replaced by the Lamb Inn, built by James Penfold.

There appears to have been a belief that the present Lamb Inn was built in the 1580s, as a coaching inn, which was enlarged about 1725.  This is indeed supported archaeologically, there being a fireplace with a 17th century ironback bearing the coat of arms of King Charles [I or II] – which gives a time span for it 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, or such cottage as was demolished on the site.  [WI 1970 and Baker 1988]

In fact, if tentative conclusions regarding the Sturt family and their numerous properties are correctly analysed, it is more likely that anything resembling an inn was at Yew Trees to the east, on the north side of the Street, and no longer in existence. John Sturt, who died in 1677, was a victualler with a considerable stock of beer on his premises. This house passed to his son John, a yeoman who also had more beer than any sober individual could desire. Elizabeth, his sister, had inherited her father’s house on the Lamb Inn site, and this passed into other hands either by marriage or sale.

The 1665 entry for what is assumed to be the inn site, with the diagnostic description of a plot 40 by 20 feet in size, is very useful in naming a previous owner.

“Item wee present That John Sturt holds by Lease for Tenn Thousand yeares one house and
Backside lately Henry Bunns deceased And one Plott of ground lying at the west end of the said
house contayning in length Forty feete and in Breadth two and twenty Feete or thereabouts
lying in Eastangmering held by the yearely rent of Five shillings  and other Services herriott or
releife is after death or alienation vjd Sute of Court upon tenn dayes notice (if behinde
to destraine)”

 * * * * *

The House and Coach Yard

[Note: This section is based on sketch plans by Douglas Wilkinson for the house as recalled in the 1920s and 30s, provided by NA Rogers-Davis. Internal photographs and notes by NA Rogers-Davis and external photographs and notes by RW Standing. Also an architects plan of 1936, RD/WO/16/92. As well as documentary sources. Alterations made post-war are only incidentally mentioned. Douglas Wilkinson was the son of Ernest Wilkinson the landlord prior to 1941. A full archaeological survey has not been undertaken.]

Britain and America are united by a confused language, and a description of the Lamb Inn might well reflect that fact. The original and south wing, has a roof type that originated in France, with the slope rising above the eaves at a steeper angle for the first half, than the top half ending at the ridge. We tend to call this a mansard, but others might say gambrel.  An accurate term might be gabled mansard, as opposed to a hipped mansard, the end walls continuing up to the ridge and in this example form a sloping parapet above roof level. A useful feature of this roof form is that it allows good space for attic rooms, and the two small dormers light bedrooms, but with another unlit room to the west.

This wing is typically 18th century, approximately 17ft wide and three times that long at 51ft,  [5.2m by 15.5m] with high ceiling heights and sash windows. One room deep, with the entrance hall and stairs offset from the centre, having a single room to the east. On the other side two rooms opening into each other, as did the two bedrooms above. What must have been the main bedroom or ‘Green Room’ opened off the landing on the east side.

From c1780 until after the Tithe Map 1839, there was almost certainly a traditional outshut at the rear. The east flank wall betrays this with flintwork at the base and brickwork above, extending across the south wing and about 8ft beyond, where the outshut would have been. This could only have provided ground floor ancillary rooms such as a scullery, and storage, with a lean-to roof above making rear windows to the bedrooms unlikely. Not surprisingly this would have had a slightly lower floor level than the main house, and this is reflected today in a small step down in the rooms at this point. A loft or attic room may have been located at the east end of the outshut.

The inn would have been built as close to the road as possible, as indicated on the 1839 Tithe Map. Perhaps a small triangle of land remained in front, some of which is there today. This provided the maximum space, at the west end and rear, for outbuildings and a coach yard. The map shows these as an L range of buildings, with the coach house and stables at the west boundary, at least partly built in flintwork, which may date from c1780.  The north range of outbuildings has been considerably altered over the years, but its early 20th century use as a washroom, dairy and woodshed, could well have been longstanding, although some of its brickwork is typical of the later 19th century.

All in all, this inn was little more than a good sized Georgian dwelling, which included a bar and one or two rooms to let. A high status village public house, hardly to be compared with the great coaching inns to be found in local towns

The first and greatest alteration to the house took place after 1839 and long before the Ordnance Survey maps of the 1870s. The Friendly Society needed a meeting room and this was provided at The Lamb about mid-century. This required the wholesale rebuilding of the outshut, providing the opportunity for more rooms here, with the Clubroom on the first floor, accessed from the staircase landing, or, for the generality of members, from an external staircase in the yard. In 1872 this hall was reckoned to be 78 feet long and 22 ft wide which was the entire length of the site, oversailing the coach house at the west end. The roof of this wing is Welsh Slate, typically for the period, and the old house is similarly covered, although the question arises whether this would have been tiled originally. Thatch is very unlikely with a mansard roof and would have buried its dormers. The rear and east end of the clubroom, above the brick lower storey, is timber framed and boarded, with an assortment of windows, some sash. But an imperfect photograph of the rear and plans of 1936 indicate there may originally have been several sash windows. These same plans confirm that the clubroom was about 79ft by 21ft 6in overall its walls [24m by 6.5m]

The only tentative clue to when the club was built is from rate books, that run through to the 1860s,  which show a transitory increase in valuation for the inn about 1841. And the hall had certainly been built before 1861.

In 1872 the inn was sold together with other public houses belonging to the Eagle Brewery at Arundel. [SP 79] This sale document provides the only description of the house in the 19th century so far found.

“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.”

It would seem the only bedrooms were those in the attic, and the three principal bedrooms on the first floor, all in the south wing. On the ground floor, the schedule has public rooms listed, but appears to be deficient in private acommodation. The two rooms to the right, or east of the hall, may well have been for the innkeepers private use.

Confusing the issue, Douglas Wilkinson, an architect and to be relied on, has another small clubroom on his plans, half the length of the main club, built over the outbuildings at the rear of the yard. It is suggested this was used as a cottage or flat during the early 20th century. This clubroom extended over the dairy and washroom, and had an external staircase against the side of Angmering Cottage. It also had an enclosed bridge at the west end, between it and the main clubroom, providing aerial access where the present fire escape door is located. All that survives of these outbuildings is the former woodshed. The two storey part was demolished in 1936, when the inn underwent wholesale replanning. The 1872 particulars mention a ‘room over’ the dairy, and so this small club was evidently built by then.

Plan c1930
Plan c1930

The Lamb c1930
Ground Floor sketch plan

The Lamb c1930
1st and 2nd Floors sketch plan

Mr Wilkinson illustrates the inn at a time when it had its maximum extent of buildings, soon after business would have peaked.  By the 1920s it was becoming old fashioned, and hotels or inns were expected to have modern plumbing and bathrooms.  As drawn, the main clubhouse had been reduced in length by the insertion of two bedrooms at the east end.. The village now having alternative venues for public meetings, from the Village Hall, to Working Men’s Club. On the ground floor, the inn was entered up steps, as today, into a hall with a Tea Room on the right, made very comfortable by its large ‘inglenook’ fireplace, and behind that a Dining Room. Turning left from the hall was the Bar, and opening from it another room to the west, with a Billiard Room behind. At the back of the hall a door entered the Bar Parlour. Finally, a relatively small Kitchen was squeezed between the Parlour and Billiard Room, with its pump by the yard door. Where the landlord and his family managed to live, when not working, is rather puzzling. It may be supposed the business came first, and the children took their chance according to custom.

As mentioned, a vast rebuilding and replanning of the interior took place in 1936, although some features of this modernisation may have been varied in course of work. The small clubroom was demolished and this may have been when Angmering Cottage, against which it abutted, was also demolished. By this time the large clubroom was also redundant, and it was reduced to a small space at the west end, east of which a passage was incorporated to link five bedrooms, and a new luxury of a bathroom. In the event, a fire escape made use of the door to the redundant bridge, accessed by a cross passage, which cut down the size of one bedroom.

Lamb - rear - 1934

The Lamb 1934
Aerial view from the north west
Showing the main south wing right
Large clubroom centre
Small clubroom or cottage with two chimneys to left

Rear of Lamb, 2009 Copyright: RW Standing

The Lamb 2009
View from the car park of the north side
Showing the former clubroom

On the ground floor, the hall was was divided to form a lobby, giving access to a lounge on the right and private bar on the left. The lounge opened into a dining room north of it,.  Behind the private bar, the servery had a new large kitchen at the rear, next to a sitting room. The whole west end of the inn, previously two rooms, was now a single public bar with its own entrance from the courtyard. No doubt customers will see for themselves what smaller alterations there have been in recent years, including the 1970 covered area in the yard at the rear, linking to the amenities there.

The inn is today a Listed building in the Conservation Area, and the description given is as basic as for other listed houses.

“18th Century.  Two storeys and attic.  Four windows.  Two dormers.  Faced with roughcast.  Modillion eaves cornice.  Mansarded slate roof.  Glazing bars in tact.  Doorway up four steps with iron handrail having rectangular fanlight and flat hood on brackets.  L-wing to north west.”

From Chapman; West Sussex Inns

During part of his tenancy  [Thomas Wilkinson in the 19th C] a room by the archway leading to the stables of this former coaching inn was used as a village mortuary – the parish church being only a few yards away. When the roof of this wing of the inn was being repaired a small attic room was discovered which was probably the primitive overnight accommodation for the grooms and postboys in the days when two or three coaches a day clattered into the inn yard.”

On the other hand, the ostler employed at the inn may have lived over his work.

From unknown sources in 1970 the W.I. recorded what may have been little more than folk memory. 

” Built 1580-90.  It was a coaching inn and the site of the Customs and Excise.  It was extended in 1723-25.  There was a mortuary at the rear.  The roof was originally thatched but is now tiled” [slate in fact].

* * * * *

The Lamb in the 19th Century

It is unlikely that property deeds of any antiquity will be found belonging to the inn. A sale particular of 1872 has its title commencing with an assignment of 12th Aug.1839 to Messrs Osborn and Duke.  This leaves  sixty years of previous history, back to 1780, unaccounted for. It is only from rates etc that we can deduce it was the executors of George Puttock who had sold the house in 1839 to Osborn and Duke. 

A description of the facilities in 1872 has already been quoted, but some minimal terms of lease are also included.

“Eagle Brewery at Arundel with Twenty Two Public and Beer Houses Principally Freehold ... Tuesday the 9th day of April 1872 in One Lot.   No 19 The ‘Lamb’ Public House Angmering. In the occupation of Thos. Wilkinson at £14 per annum. Leasehold for a residue of a term originally granted for 900 year. The title of the property will commence with an assignment dated 12th August 1839 to Messrs Osborn & Duke.”

A virtual freehold, with one vital piece of information lacking, the date at which the lease began, and who from.  Was this about 1780?  It is a generation later, in 1814, when part of the answer is revealed. The Cecil Bishopp estate map, of that year, lists all the property for which he had any title, which would have included long leases and freeholds paying quit rents. The schedule lists and map locates,  – “No 96 - The Lamb Inn yard and buildings.”  Although not stated, a quit rent of a few shillings would have been payable to Bishopp.

* * * * *  

Rate and Tax returns are the only source giving the names of the ‘virtual freeholders’ and their tenants.

Lamb Inn
Rate returns with valuations generally about £12
Tax and other sources as noted.
1789 - 95           Joseph Collick for the Lamb
1795 Tax           Joseph Collick               owner,  James Penfold for the Lamb house                      
1796 - 99           Joseph Collick for the Lamb stable outbuildings
[J Penfold died 1799 possibly inn acquired by Smith who ran it himself]
1800 – 05          John Smith for the Lamb
1805 Tax           John Smith                    owner, John Smith        
1810                 John Smith Lamb Inn
1812                 George Woods Lamb Inn
1813                 ?
[John Smith died 1813]
1814                 Robert Snelling Lamb Inn
1815 Tax           Robert Snelling              owner, Puttock and Co                          
1819                 Henry Ragless for Lamb Inn
1825 Tax           Henry Ragless               owner, Puttock and Co              
1832 Tax           Charles Newman            owner, Messrs Henty [?] Lamb Inn
1839 Tithe map  John Gates                    owner, exors of George Puttock
1841                 Zebedee Peskett            owner, Osbourne & Duke
1844                 Fred Street
1846                 Charles Parlett               owner, Osborne & Duke
1851                 Thomas Wilkinson         owner, Osborne & Duke
Since then until 1941 the same family continued as landlords:
1880                 Thomas Wilkinson         owner, J Cawley Lambert
1910  IR14         Ernest Wilkinson           owner, Lambert Norris   
1850 - 1908       Thomas Wilkinson
1908 - 1941       Ernest Wilkinson

From the late 18th century, evidence for the public houses that existed in the village accumulates, and their relative success can be determined. The Red Lion and The Lamb were directly opposite each other at the west end of the High Street, and competing for trade. After 1780 The Lamb became a larger more modern and salubrious place than the Lion, which may have been near to giving in to this competition.

 * * * * *

Penfold family
Builders and first owners

The Penfold family were so long established as farmers and tradesmen in Angmering, that villagers would have believed they had always been tenants at Avenals and elsewhere.

James Penfold of Avenals died in 1799, and appears to have acquired the inn from a cousin John, a victualler, which is to say a publican. John having built the inn, on moving from his ‘old house’ which may have been the Rose and Crown in The Street.

* * * * *

Joseph Collick
1785 to 1799 Innkeeper

[From an Angmering Village Life web site article January 2006 by NA Rogers-Davis, with additional comments by RW Standing]

Joseph Collick was tenant to James Penfold, at the inn. He may have ended this career in 1799, when Penfold died, after which it passed into the hands of John Smith, but as Smith was a property owner in Angmering it is conceivable that Collick remained as tenant for a few more years. There is no evidence of Collick living in the village until his decease.

A village anecdote about Mr Collick of The Lamb, is recorded by Edwin Harris in his booklet of 1914.

 “Not far in the Nineteenth Century, the host of the Lamb Inn, an individual by no means lacking in self-esteem, named Collett [sic], had a flock of geese on some common land adjoining his Inn. (This land some years before had been enclosed, but to the annoyance of the wealthy landowner and magistrate who had enclosed it, Collett had stubbornly refused to relinquish his right of user).

[Possibly waste by the road and pond in the present Square, there was no common pasture nearby presently known of]

One evening, in the course of a sporting argument with a customer, a quiet working man named Henry Redman, Collett in a lofty manner, pooh-poohed the suggestion that a person of his experience and intellect could be “bested” by a person of Redman’s calibre.  To emphasise his contention, a small wager was ratified to the effect that Redman should be allowed three months in which “to best” the landlord, or forfeit his money, and lose his argument.

[A Henry Redman died 1847 aged 80]

As time went on, however, so far from being “bested”, the confident landlord completely turned tables on his opponent, and treated him to various unexpected samples of publican wit, each time more galling than the last, amid such loud chorus of admiration that a landlord usually commands.  After a particularly exasperating sample, Redman began to cast about in earnest for means of redress, and by and by hit on the following satisfying plan to save both his money and reputation, and recompense himself for a long succession of moral and intellectual damages.

So during the succeeding few weeks, in the course of Redman’s scheme, the landlord’s fat geese began one by one to mysteriously disappear. Puzzled and dismayed, he offered 20/-, and later 40/- reward for information of the thief. On the increase of the award, Redman steps quietly into the bar one evening, and offers, on receipt of money down, to then and there name the culprit. The money was at once eagerly handed to him, and quietly pocketing the 40/-, to the amazement of the onlookers, and the stupefaction of the unwary landlord, Redman coolly exclaimed: “’Twas me stole them, Collett! I had them one at a time for dinner, and allfired good they was.” And turning to the referee of the wager, he continued, “Now then, you stakeholder, hand over, please.”

As can be imagined, it took the breathless Collett some little time to grasp the situation. By and by, however, when he became cool enough to reflect, he clearly saw that a proper satisfaction, by way of the law was very remote, for, as Redman knew well, in the unfriendly eye of the magistrates, in this case, both himself and the geese were trespassers, and therefore outside the law.  So after much chewing of the bitter cud he reluctantly resolved to cut his triple loss. And for many and many a year afterward, the more or less subtle and cryptic utterances of Collett’s clientele, created and amply maintained in his once self-confident breast, a meeker and quieter spirit.”

That innkeeping was not merely confined to bartending, is not surprising. Any business had to be taken that a village threw in his way, and that included catering at social occasions of all kinds. The first recorded is at a cricket match, when these were occasional events organised by the gentry.

“A Cricket Match to be played by Eleven Gentlemen of Lord Egremont’s Troop of Yeoman Cavalry, against Eleven of Sir Cecil Bisshop's on Highdown Hill, on Friday next the 14th Instant at 9 o'clock in the morning.   A good Dinner will be provided at One o'clock on the Hill by James Collice of Angmering”. [Sussex Weekly Advertiser July 1797 in SRS 88]

It seems we can take our choice about spelling the innkeepers name.

* * * * *

John Smith

Although John Smith was the owner and also named as tenant, we cannot be sure he actually lived at the inn. He was no doubt the same personality as owned Vine Cottage behind the Red Lion, and described in 1804 as an innholder, which he was until his decease in 1813 when The Lamb was taken over by Puttock & Co. His wife Susannah being well provided for with the interest on £1500 as well as proceeds from real estate sales.

* * * * *

George Woods to Charles Parlett

In the era following the Swing Riots of 1830, a great social upheaval took place. Amongst many innovations for the ‘labouring class’ was the arrival of Friendly Societies including the Foresters.

When a breadwinner fell ill and could not work, he received no wages. Illness and death left families financially distressed and often destitute. Relief of this need has been the main purpose of the Foresters throughout their history. It was achieved by members paying, initially, a few pence a week into a common fund from which sick pay and funeral grants could be drawn. Social meetings and parades became part of their trademark.
The first Angmering Friendly Society can be dated to1835, but the Foresters were probably later and quite separate. The Rustington branch was formed in 1862, and there is evidence Angmering could not have been any earlier, with Mr Walder its first secretary, at only a little over 40 years old in 1883.

WSG 1860 June 7th    The Benefit Society: The twenty fourth anniversary of the Angmering Benefit Society was held on Monday last when the members (193 in Number) met at the Lamb .... . to receive their respective shares.. ...amounting to 9s 3d each... At 11 o clock the members having formed in procession, headed by Blackman’s brass band, marched to the residence of the Rev Henry Reekes who accompanied by Rev Richard Tompkins, proceeded to the Church where a very appropriate & forcible discourse was given by the latter gentleman.. ...After.... .the parties returned to the Lamb Inn & sat down to one of Mr & Mrs Wilkinson’s well got up dinners to which ample justice was done...honorary members table filled...gentlemen of neighbour­hood, Rev H Reeks, Rev Tompkins   Messrs W Miles, Osborne, Agate, Elliott, Amoore, Randall, Belchamber, White, West, Haines. etc.

This great concourse of nearly two hundred villagers did not sit in the public house parlour, they had a vast clubroom at their disposal behind the inn, as already described, and this is confirmed by later reports. Mr Wilkinson had to work hard in establishing his business, but with this facility providing feasts to a multitude he would have been one of the more prosperous inhabitants of the village. Even if both large and small clubrooms had been pressed into use, a dinner party of that number would have filled these halls.

There is no knowledge as to when the clubroom was built, but there is a slight chance that it was shortly before ‘Old Wilkie’ arrived. There is a sudden rise about 1841 in the rate valuation for the inn, which cannot be accounted for by a general village revaluation. A jump relative also to the Red Lion, but with a fall afterwards. It is pure speculation that enlargement of the premises, including a club room, may have caused this. Then, a reduction because the club room was, after all, a social facility.

However that may be, Zebedee Peskett was the publican at that time, coincident with the 1841 census. At the age of 25, he and his wife Jane, and a servant girl, did not make a large household. Unless he also had servants living out in the village, this was not an indication of prosperity. In any case it can be assumed innkeeping did not suit him, for he departed in a couple of years, and is vastly better known as a blacksmith and ironmonger at a shop next to the Red Lion.

Mr Parlett, about whom nothing is known was equally transitory.

A minor incident in 1835 gives a little colour to the history of this period. [Chapman; West Sussex Inns]

“Lamb Inn: It was a dark and stormy night in 1835 when Worthing magistrate Sir Richard Jones and his wife were returning from dinner with the Earl of Surrey at Surrey House, Littlehampton. They were travelling by post chaise and the post boy, either drunk or asleep, overturned them into Monmere Pond.  With difficulty they were extricated from the sunken chaise and, wrapped in blankets fetched from the nearby Lamb, were driven home to Worthing in a cart. Sir Richard who was over 80 died soon afterwards.”

Surrey House was a large seaside residence, built 45 years previously, at the east end of Littlehampton.  Monmere, a pond just south of where Angmering Station would be built ten years after the incident, which means the party must have been travelling back home through Angmering, perhaps by the coach road at Water Lane and then east.  Or the horse bolted along this road, from the Worthing Road. At that date only a few cottage lay between East Preston church and Angmering village, and the nearest substantial place to Monmere was the Olliver house where Preston Place was built. It may be supposed that far more carriages would have come to grief in the “Great Pond” directly south from the Lamb, especially when this was in flood.

* * * * *

Thomas Wilkinson
1850 to 1908 Innkeeper

[The following is an article from the West Sussex Gazette, February 1907, with additional comments by RW Standing. The article was published in an Angmering Village website article by NA Rogers-Davis in July 2006 about Thomas Wilkinson (Old Wilkie) who had been the tenant since 1850, and was also reproduced in ‘Angmering Reminiscences of bygone days’ 2003.]

“Old Wilkie” is a form of address familiarly applied to the landlord of The Lamb Inn at Angmering, and it happily indicates the measure of affection felt for one who has been a notable figure in the neighbourhood for so long a series of years. This sturdy son of Sussex has a special claim to notice in these columns at this particular moment, for he has just received the congratulations of the Justices of the Arundel Petty Sessional Division, in Brewster Sessions assembled, on the interesting fact that he has obtained a renewal of the licence of the well-known Angmering hostelry for the fifty-seventh year in succession. Yet this record, remarkable as it is, was beaten by that of his mother, who was for sixty-one years the land-lady of The Half-Moon Inn at Northchapel; so that the two between them can point to a hundred and eighteen years possession of the Excise privilege of dispensing potent liquors ……

“Northchapel is where Mr Thomas Wilkinson himself was ushered into this world, this important event taking place on the 26 March, 1826. It does not require much arithmetical skill to show that the landlord of The Lamb Inn is about to celebrate his eighty-first birthday. His association with his present form of business dates from very early days, for he did the brewing at home, and remained at Northchapel until he was twenty-three years of age.

“Then came the removal to Angmering in the year 1850. Young as he was, Thomas Wilkinson had already burdened himself with domestic responsibilities, for he had a wife and four children. Business prospects at Angmering in those days were so gloomy that anything like a long stay in the village would have appeared to Mr Wilkinson a very remote possibility and, if anyone had told him that he would remain there two years, he would not have believed them. And yet, there he is, even after the lapse of more than half a century.

[ Between 1812 and 1850 there was a succession of eight landlords, with much the same situation at nearby Red Lion, where a longstanding tenant only arrived in the 1860s. This tends to show that the stagecoach trade did not help Angmering, it merely ran through, leaving the village in a wake of dust. But then the arrival of railway travel after 1846, may have brought more people into the village than it took away. At the same time the real value of wages, in the country generally, began to rise rapidly after 1850. Therefore although Mr Wilkinson had difficulty initially at establishing trade, prosperity was assured thereafter.]

“The changes he has witnessed have been necessarily great in number and the flight of time has removed most of the older people whom he knew in his earlier days. All the trade-people of the early fifties have passed away. Old Mr Langley, who was eighty-one last month, and another old resident named Puttock, are two of the oldest who remain. The latter, who came from Kirdford, was originally a hoop-maker by occupation; but politicians have told us of late the causes that have contributed to extinguish that industry from West Sussex.

“When Mr Wilkinson came into the Parish, Ham Manor, now the Sussex seat of Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, was occupied by Mr W.G.K. Gratwicke, the well known sportsman, who undertook the cost of rebuilding a portion of the Parish Church, and who gave his name to the land on which Holy Trinity Church at Worthing stands, occupying the site of what was once known to us as the Gratwicke estate. Mr Gratwicke’s butler in those days was the late Mr Esekiel Osborne, a man of venerable appearance, who afterwards proved a model landlord of the Pier Hotel at Worthing.

“Though Mr Wilkinson has to deplore the loss of so many of the older inhabitants, there is one who has occupied a prominent position for a long series of years, and that is the Rector, the Rev. J B Orme, who was presented to the living as far back as 1866 and still retains his charge.

“The Lamb Inn is a very old house and Mr Wilkinson’s immediate predecessor there was a Mr Parlett. At first it appeared that it would be impossible for the new tenant to obtain a living, but he persevered and managed by strict devotion to business and honourable dealings to secure prosperity and bring up a large family in a creditable manner.

“In  other and more leisurely days The Lamb attracted a very large share of chance patronage when the horse played a more important part in our daily operations; but the advent of the cycle, followed by the more recent introduction of the still speedier motor car, has produced a considerable change in this respect. But not to know The Lamb at Angmering is to argue yourself unknown, for the name is a familiar one for many miles around. No fewer than seven local Clubs of various kinds make it their recognised head-quarters, and so well does it preserve its popularity as a centre of social enjoyment that some additions must be made to the accommodation to insure the comfort of those who resort to it for rational entertainment.

[ This ‘chance patronage’ was from private carriages and horse riders, the stabling facilities at the inn could not cater for many overnight travellers with horses. New facilities needed after 1907 can be imagined. ]

“As a caterer and one of the old school, liberal and personally anxious to provide a  sufficiency and give genuine delight to his patrons, Mr Wilkinson has always been noted. His reputation stood him in good stead during the Jubilee celebrations of 1887, for he made successful provision for two or three thousand guests in the several parishes of Angmering, East Preston, Goring, Ferring and Durrington.

[ This extraordinary feat may be explained – the Angmering Vestry in 1887 decided: “to take steps to provide by means of tickets on Tradesmen of Angmering each family in the parish with bread, meat etc in order that they may celebrate the jubilee at their own homes”.  If the same sort of provision was made in other parishes, then Mr Wilkinson was but one of many tradesmen who supplied and distributed goods ]

“Great have been the changes in the social habits of the people as witnessed by Mr Wilkinson. During his childhood at Northchapel he had scant opportunities for education but such as they were he availed himself of them, walking daily a distance of eleven miles to school, five and half miles each way.

[ Presumably he had to walk south from Northchapel to school at Petworth. ]

“Wages have risen appreciably since, arrived at manhood’s estate, he settled down in Angmering, for in those days an agricultural labourer was only able to command the miserable pittance of nine shillings a week. Fruit growing in the neighbourhood now offers a more congenial form of employment, and there is a consequent scarcity of labour in agricultural circles.

[Greenhouses and nurseries generally were providing new empoyment]

“As showing the prices that prevailed in those days, Mr Wilkinson tells us that he was able to purchase legs of mutton at sixpence a pound and rounds of beef at five pence. Tea was a very high price for it could never be obtained at less than five shillings a pound, and members of the labouring classes would come round and get the tea leaves from those more favourably situated than themselves.

“In the matter of clothing, another great change has been noticed. The picturesque old smock frocks, many of them effectively worked, were in general use by farmer and agricultural workers generally; and corduroy, also in universal demand, was then deemed good enough even for “Sunday best”. This is, in all ranks, an age of broadcloth and great coats; and as his mental gaze takes him back to the early fifties, this old philosopher declares: “That’s the cause of a great deal of the ruination of this country – spending so much on the back”.

“Cricket, hunting and shooting have been the principal recreations of this well-preserved old Boniface, and it says something for his devotion to his favourite amusements, that he was an active participator in cricket until he was sixty-six years of age. For thirty years he was captain of the village cricket club, and is worthily succeeded by his son, Mr Ernest Wilkinson, who is associated with him in the management of the business of The Lamb. The father was prepared to take any position in the field, though he excelled as long stop and batsman.

[ From a few newspaper reports, dating back to the 1860s, it is evident that Mr Wilkinson and his son were good batsmen and bowlers, for that period in village cricket. ]

His hunting has been done with Crawley and Horsham Foxhounds, the late Lord Leconfield’s pack (which used to come down as far as Whiteways), Mr H G Kay’s Harriers, and Mr Goff’s Foot Harriers. As a marksman, his shooting has been confined to rabbits, and in pursuit of this branch of sport he has had many pleasant meetings with Worthing people in the days that are gone.

[As an innkeeper perhaps he was not quite on the social level of the gentry who took part in the hunts.]

“This genial old soul, ever apparently happy and always hospitable, who helps his guests to realise to the full “The warmest welcome at an Inn” must withal be accounted a “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” for he has had his full share of domestic afflictions. It is with a laugh he confesses he is unable to recollect for the moment how many children have gathered at his table though he tells you that six remain to him in old age. One of his greatest griefs was occasioned by the loss of his son, Sergeant George Wilkinson, a stalwart and popular member of the Arundel Company, who volunteered for service in the War in South Africa, and surrendered his life for the cause of his country.

[George would appear to have been a stepson, as noted below under the census returns]

“But as he sits in his chair, puffing his pipe for philosophic clam, “Old Wilkie” seems to be the incarnation of contentment with his lot in life. And that pipe is a real solace, for he says with a smile and yet with emphasis, “I think I should die if I didn’t smoke”.

“His visits to Worthing are less frequent now than they were for with the exception of “Old Jim Town”, as he describes him, few of his friends remain to remind him of departed days.

[Jim Town was a stagecoach driver, and the source for a book in the Worthing Pageant series by Henfrey Smail, Coaching Times, 1948]

“In the old-fashioned spirit of hospitality he comes to the door to say goodbye to his journalistic interviewer. He still preserves a very fair share of physical vigour, in spite of his eighty-one years, though he smilingly complains that his joints crack as he gets about. But for that, honest “Old Wilkie”, the only remedy is the oil of youth, and this you know, is impossible to purchase today.”

The Lamb c1910

The Lamb c1910
The Inn south side from the Square

* * * * *

Census Returns 1851 to 1901

Census returns from 1851 to 1901 span the life of Mr Wilkinson, and provide invaluable insight into his domestic arrangements and prosperity.

In 1851 he was newly arrived, at the age of 26 with a wife Emma the same age, and three infant children all boys – Elizabeth must have been elsewhere. Thomas at only three years was already a scholar, as quite usual in that period. He had brought one ‘house servant’ with him, Hannah Stevens aged 18, and had another from a local family, Susan Fibbens aged only ten, possibly the daughter of one of his lodgers, William Fibbens a fisherman of all unlikely trades for an inland village. One other lodger was a plumber. The inn was therefore full, although none of these were passing travellers.

Ten years later in 1861, and he had passed through one of the ‘vicissitudes of life’ so well known at the time. The two youngest  sons had died, and also two infant daughters soon afterwards.  This left him with Thomas, together with four other daughters of whom Elizabeth aged 13 makes a surprise appearance, but must have been a twin to Thomas.  Alice 3, Emily 4 and Emma 8 were the other three.

Apart from a girl described as a visitor, a family guest as may be, there was just the one lodger. William Smith from Hampshire, described as a ‘photographic artist’ with his wife and daughter. With such a common surname, it is coincidence that George Smith of nearby Elmhurst was also an artist. 

In 1864 ‘Old Wilkie’ suffered his next tragedy, in the death of his wife Emma, still only 38 years old. But a family man with a public house, was in need of a wife, and shortly afterwards Annie appears on the scene, some twelve years younger.

The 1871 census has Thomas Wilkinson, Inn Keeper, aged 45 with wife Annie from Horsham. Now his son had departed, as had various daughters, either married or in service elsewhere.  Alice was still at home, with a new arrival that year in baby sister Margaret, and also the stepson George Shepherd aged two years, which made remarriage a rapid business for the mother. The inn was now in its stride, and two female domestic servants, one a nursemaid, were supplemented by an ostler in Frank Roberts from the village. Thomas junior had by now married Anna Best of Suffolk, and could well have moved to her home county.

By 1881 Mr Wilkinson was called a Licenced Victualler, as a variant on innkeeper. George Shepherd had adopted the paternal surname. Margaret was now ten, and had a brother Ernest aged seven, and a sister Gertrude an infant. The establishment still had its barmaid and domestic servant, with an ostler working outside. This left little room for lodgers, with only Eleanor Barrett, an assistant teacher at the nearby school.

‘Old Wilkie’s’ second wife now died, aged 47 in 1887. Her memorial, with others of the family may be seen in the churchyard. 

Mr Wilkinson was now approaching what today would be retirement age, at 65 in 1891. His stepson George was the only member of the family at home, unless Ernest was away visiting at the time of the census. It may be supposed George was taking over some of the work, together with Margaret. and even Gertrude at eleven years of age.  A barmaid and general servant completed the household. Daughter Emma had come back on a visit with her husband Charles Wetheral and a large family, so it is barely surprising that no lodgers were in residence. Clearly the inn had never been much of an hotel, and was little more than a local public house, with a passing trade including cyclists and their clubs, in the days before cars took over our roads.

Their family headstone records the death of George in South Africa.

Also in memory of George son of Thomas and Annie Wilkinson died at Blomfontein November 17th 1900 aged 32 years.”

Ernest Wilkinson therefore took his place.  In 1901 Margaret, Gertrude and Ernest, completed the household, together with three grandchildren. Only one servant, the barmaid, is recorded as living-in. This is not to say other servants did not come in from the village during the day, but if so they are presently anonymous.

‘Old Wilkie’ himself passed away in 1909 aged 82, and then his son Ernest took over as landlord until 1941 when ninety years of this family serving the village came to an end.

When Thomas Wilkinson died he left a will, made in 1890, leaving the estate to share between his surviving children.  At a gross value of over £600, with the inn not belonging to him, this represented a very fair fortune.  Equivilent to three times the normal yearly income for a clergyman, or enough to buy four good modern houses of the period. [NRD copy of will]

In the later 19th century and early 20th various organisations meeting at The Lamb included the Vestry, Cricket Club, Benefit Society, Silver Band, Angmering Cycling Club, Slate Club, Ancient Order of Foresters, Ecclesden Manor Court Baron, Worthing Excelsior Cycling Club, smoking concerts, and probably many more. By about 1908, the public house was described as “The Lamb Commercial Hotel” and among its facilities were stabling, hire of carriages and the catering for small and large parties. [NRD 2008]

* * * * *

Newspaper Reports

A selection of newspaper reports illustrate how the inn was the centre of village life, not only for its refreshments and food, but also as a virtual village hall with the school as the only other large place of assembly. These are from the West Sussex Gazette until Worthing papers began publication in the 1880s.

In November 1862 a typical report on the annual stock fair related that, “a few sheep more were penned than usual … One pen of lambs belonging to Mr White for which 27s 6d per head was offered were driven home unsold   Mr Tompkins made 22s 6d. for a mixed lot of lambs. Nearly all the sheep found purchasers. Of pigs the supply was short for the demand and realised much better prices. Messrs Palmer & Sadler showed a nice string of colts but made a very few sales. The ordinary at the Lamb Inn was well attended nearly forty sitting down to a dinner provided by Mr & Mrs Wilkinson”.  The ‘ordinary’ being the regular daily fixed price meal provided by an inn.

George Wilkinson must have been patriotically stimulated into joining the local Volunteers by the sight of them parading through his village. Captain Warren, or RA Warren of Preston Place and owner of considerable land in Angmering, is several times reported as marching the 9th Sussex Rifles from Arundel, south through Angmering to his mansion at East Preston.

November 1861.

“The members of the 9th Sussex Rifle Volunteers having received an invitation from Lieutenant Warren to visit Preston Place they assembled at the headquarters at Arundel Castle on Friday last & headed by the fine band of the Corps, marched out, under the command of Ensign Holmes. The route lay through Angmering & the latter village was enlivened by the playing of the band. Arriving at the residence of Lieutenant Warren the Corps  was treated to an excellent repast served up by Mr Wilkinson of the Lamb Inn Angmering & which did, credit to the character of the house. Lieutenant Warren took the head of the table & there was also present Captain Evans & several of the gentry & clergy in the neighbourhood. After the usual loyal & patriotic toasts medals etc were distributed. A purse of seven guineas was given by Captain Evans to Sergeant Tickner as the best shot in. the Corps, a gold medal was given to Private Sharp, & a silver medal to Private Jacobs After an hour or twos social enjoyment some good hearty cheers were given for the gallant Lieutenant who had so generously given the treat & the Corps marched home again.”

May 1862.

The pretty little village of Angmering was enlivened on Tuesday last by the presence of the 9th Sussex Rifle Volunteers who were entertained in a very genuine manner by Sergeant Tompkins, Sergeant S Blunden, & Private Heasman. The members of the Corps assembled at the armoury of Arundel at 2 o -clock and headed by their excellent band marched on to Angmering under the command Captain Warren & Lieut Holmes. At the residence of Ensign Upfold at Cross Bush the corps made a halt & partook of some good cheer. Arriving at Angmering the corps was met by Adjutant Mathews and  the band. striking up a merry tune they proceeded to the village green & went through some platoon exercises much to the interest of the villagers who assembled in vast numbers. After this they repaired to a barn in the occupation of  Messrs Heasman where a most splendid spread was laid out. The Chair was taken by Captain Warren... The number sat down to dinner was between 70 & 80”

Royal anniversaries and events, were always a good reason for declaring a holiday and having patriotic feasts. As in March 1863 at the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

To celebrate the Royal Marriage in the little village of Angmering a meeting of some of the principal inhabitants... .formed. a committee of Rev H Reeks …… To the children attending the Free School to the number of about 120, tea, cakes, buns, a glass of wine each, & oranges  ….. To the old couples & widows 1 1/2 Ibs beef, 1 quartern loaf, pint of beer….. on the auspicious morning a discharge of 3 rounds of cannons was fired at the centre of the village.. .children had foot races & other amusements. Many of the principal farmers invited their labourers to dinner... of a population of 950 nearly 700 were supplied with the creature comforts of life. Many of the principal Tradesmen & others dined at the Lamb Inn …… such a day has not been spent since.... 29th  May 1856 to celebrate the close of the Crimean War.

The Benefit Society has been mentioned, relating to the building of a clubroom at the inn. At the 26th anniversary in 1862, concern was expressed about funds and how payments were more to the benefit of ratepayers than the members.

A parade headed by Blackman’s Band proceeded to the residence of Rev H  Reeks to escort that gentleman & Rev H  Piggott to the parish church.. .after morning prayers …. a sermon was preached by the latter taken from the 127th Psalm 1st & 2nd. verses.. . members & friends to a number of 200 adjourned to the spacious club room in the Lamb Inn & sat down to a good dinner provided by Mr & Mrs Wilkinson... “.

Concern regarding the methods of payment, and the fact that Rustington founded its branch of the Forester’s in 1862 may have brought about the creation of a branch in Angmering. In July 1883 it was well established.

Foresters Fete - The Anniversary of Court Perseverance AOF was celebrated on Tuesday July 3rd.  The members of the court assembled in time to attend service at the church at which the Rev JB Orme, the rector of the parish, preached a sermon suitable to the occasion.  At one o'clock a considerable number sat down to dinner at the Lamb Inn where the popular host Wilkinson provided one of those spreads which have secured him renown in this part of the county.”

The demise of Mr Wilkinson in 1909 did not bring an end to the Lamb as a centre of village life. His son carried on where his father left off. As in November 1913:

“Social gatherings at Angmering are noted for their conviviality and the Annual Dinner of the village Cricket Club which took place at the Lamb Assembly Hall on Wednesday evening proved no exception to the general rule.  Mr John Tompkins presided with the Rector, Mr AF Somerset JP, Mr W Rawson Shaw JP, Mr SS Pyle and Dr Chaplin as their immediate supporters, while the Vice Chair was taken by Mr H Webber and the company which numbered between sixty and seventy included several visitors from Rustington, East Preston, Clapham, Poling and Littlehampton. ......  The customary loyal toast was submitted ..... followed by the toast of "Success to the Angmering Cricket Club"

* * * * *

In the course of the 20th century the inn has been subject to a changing life style, with competition from a variety of cafe’s and restaurants, both in the village and further abroad, providing new forms of refreshment, associated more with those places than with inns. Greater mobility brings custom to the village but also takes it away. When people go out for the day on pleasure, they are more likely to think of Arundel or Littlehampton and Worthing, than Angmering. As in coaching days, the village is too close to those destinations to make an obvious stopping place. A greater population does provide local custom, but as a double-edged sword for those who wish to see the village preserved.

RWS 3/5/2009 NRD


The following comments were provided in July 2009 by Mrs Bridget Fisher, a great-granddaughter of Thomas Wilkinson:

"The mysterious disappearance of Elizabeth Wilkinson in 1851 is explained by the fact that she was staying with her grandparents William and Jane Randall in Upper Beeding. She was in fact one of triplets born in 1848 at Goffs Farm in Northchapel, when William and Jane Randall were the farmers there before moving to Upper Beeding.  The other triplets were Thomas and Jane, but unfortunately Jane died, a few months old, in Northchapel, before the move to Angmering.  Thomas died in 1898 in Essex, and Elizabeth in 1893 in London. So all in all, he was predeceased by 8 of his 14 children. That must have been awful.

I know that George Wilkinson who died at Bloemfontein was registered as George Shepherd at his birth in 1869, but from the census entries where he is described as Wilkinson, and the wording on the grave where he is specifically mentioned as the son of Thomas and Annie, I would presume that he was just born to the couple a "little early" , and I think I would describe him as illegitimate (but legitimised by their marriage), rather than a stepson.  There were 6 years between his marriages, so he didn't rush into anything!"