(Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 2) ( Bk. Index )

Barpham (Bargeham), Angmering

Barpham today consists of two farms (Upper Barpham and Lower Barpham) in the parish of Angmering some three miles to the north of Angmering village. The earlier name of the settlement there was Bargeham although even earlier it was recorded as Bercham (1121), Bergham (1233), Bargham (1240), and then Barffham (1582). There was once a manor there, a church, and a reasonably sized village although there is no record in the Domesday Survey. However, there has been much confusion between Bargeham/Barpham and Burpham a few miles to its west. 'Bercheham' is recorded in Domesday, but it has been taken to refer to Burpham. The name appears to originate from the Old English word 'beorg' which usually meant 'hill', and 'ham' meaning 'homestead'. or 'village'. A translation could therefore be 'village on the hill' which seems very appropriate to the location of Barpham today.

The remains of a medieval village lie just to the west of Lower Barpham Farm (Map Ref. TQ 071 092). The site is in a field, not readily discernable, and is under cultivation.

In his 1920s book, Angmering historian Major Francis Skeet states "The Manor was held of the Honour of Arundel, and given upon the partition to Robert de Tateshall, who possessed one knight's fee there, which in 1321 was held by Sir John Tregoz with three other knights' fees in Goring".

Exposed flint wall of churchIn 1348 the Black Death swept through the village; many hurried burials have been found, including several of children only a few inches below the surface near the site of the church which is up the hill from the village to the west of Upper Barpham Farm. Nothing now remains of the 12th Century Saxon church except for a dyke, well covered with turf, along what presumably would be the church-yard wall. There were seven phases in the building of this Church. In the photo to the right, a small section of the church's flint wall can be seen - this appears to be the only part of the church that is now exposed, the rest being covered in turf in a somewhat lumpy field.

In his pamphlet of 1912, Angmering historian Edwin Harris suggested that the church was probably dedicated to St. Fryern and thought for that reason, the locality was still known as "Friday's Church" some 350 years after the destuction of the church. In 1963, the archaeologist, Alec Barr-Hamilton, suggested that "Friday's Church" was the name given by local to the ancient barrows several hundred metres further up the hill and named after Queen Fridias or Freya, reputed to have been buried there.

Bargham is the name of one of the Wiccamical prebends in Chichester Cathedral. It is recorded that the priory of Lewes received a pension from Bargeham church early in the 12th Century. Below is a list of Rectors of Bargeham with approximate dates of their incumbency - many of the dates come from isolated references:

1440 (bef.)

Adam le Gest
William Pomeray
Richard Wolvyne
John Abbe
Henry Wyrkysworth
William Wyllee
William Pottere
Thomas Malby
William Hamonde
John Wyne
John Brether
William Lewknor
Thomas Burley
Thomas Dodyng
William Darlyngton
Thomas Garet

The site (Map Ref: TQ 066 092) is in a field (sometimes known as Chapel Croft) to the left after immediately passing Upper Barpham farmhouse. It had fallen into decay before 1509 (although Rectors seem to have been appointed for some years after that time) and later became a quarry for building materials which were transferred to the building of Upper Barpham farm-house in Elizabethan times.

Following the Reformation, Bargeham and West Angmering churches were demolished or left to fall into ruin and by approx 1573 the former parishes had been amalgamated with East Angmering parish (i.e. St Margaret's).

The site was reputed to have been plundered by 19th Century treasure hunters and limited excavations were undertaken by Dr. Eustace of Arundel before WW2.

Between 1952 and 1958 excavations by Mr A. Barr-Hamilton revealed that the 12th Century church was cruciform, with three apses, a long apsidal chancel and apses to both north and south trancepts. Traces of the shaft bases of the responds (columns) supporting the chancel and trancept arches were found. Some of these had been deeply reddened and splintered by severe exposure to flame. One curious find was that of walls of three Saxon buildings (possibly a church), in the foundations of which Roman material was discovered. The apsidal shape of an early building on the site suggests that the church had pre-Norman origins and may have been 10th or 11th Century.

The majority of the buildings were constructed of blue flint, likely to have been obtained from a pit on the brow of Barpham Hill. Other materials used in the buildings included chalk, yellow and grey sandstone, rooofing slabs from Horsham 'slab', Petworth marble, Purbeck limestone and marble, Bath stone, and granite.

Items found included shards of pottery and dishes of Roman, Saxon and Norman origin and parts of cooking pots from the 12th to 15th Centuries. A silver penny of the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) was uncovered and what appeared to be part of a bronze crucifix. Frangments of lead from the windows were found together with fragments of painted and unpainted glass, traces of ochre frescoes, and part of a medieval barrel-lock. Thirteen graves were found within the church and its immediate environs. As mentioned above, shallowness of two graves containing skeletons of children suggested hurried burials and would be consistent with an epidemic such as the Black Death.

Proceeding further up the trackway, on the crest of the hill and to the end of the field on the right, are the remains of two round barrows. These were re-excavated a number of years ago by Mr Barr-Hamilton, but proved to contain nothing of particular interest, having been robbed or ploughed out over the years.

Source Information:
(1) Sussex Archaeological Collection Vol. 99: Article by A. Barr-Hamilton
(2) Sussex County Magazine 1954: Article by A Barr-Hamilton
(3) Sussex Notes & Queries Vol. 14
(4) History of Angmering: Major Francis Skeet
(5) Angmering - A Study 1912: Edwin A Harris
(6) The Angmering Society Newsletter, Jan. 1977: Article by Elizabeth Young, archaeologist

(7) Angmering Place Names: Nicholas Gould
(8) Guide to the Church of St Margaret Angmering: Walter H Godfrey