Datestones in Angmering

Datestones are one of the principal clues in identifying the age of old buildings. However, they can be misleading. They are sometimes known as marriage stones and, while they may commemorate the date of a marriage that has taken place some years before, they more usually commemorate the date of the building of a dwelling or structure.

Traditionally, datestones were placed over the main doorway but again, this was not always the case. Sometimes they were incorporated into part of a building that may have been a later addition, or included in a location which today seems totally illogical.

The other problem is that they may not be related to the particular house at all, having come from another property - maybe and earlier dwelling standing on the same site. There is also the possibility that the datestones could commemorate the builder or owner, and not necessarily the first occupant. Datestones should therefore be treated with caution.

Datestones containing just two initials probably were the initials of one person, while those containing three probably were the initials of husband, wife, and their surname. The surname was usually the middle letter which was often carved above the first-name initials. Some letters were written differently from today. For instance, a "J" was often carved as an "I".

Angmering, while having many old buildings, is not over-endowed with datestones. They may be there, but have been stuccoed over. If residents are aware of any which we have not listed, please contact us as they will be of significant help in dating older buildings. The ones of which we are aware are recorded below:

Blaber Cottage, Church Road
This stone is located on the SE wall of the cottage. The lettering reads "WO 1645". This may well refer to William Older who lived on or close to this site, and who founded Older's Charity School, just a few yards away. However, it could also be the initials of William Olliver.
  Conyers Conyers, Church Road
This stone is located in a wall dividing the gardens of Conyers and St Nicholas House. The lettering reads "RP 1725". The initials might be those of Robert Palmer. The siting of this stone is suspicious and, on close examination, has not been subject to much weathering. It is concluded therefore that the stone was located on an internal wall until some time in the 20th Century. (see also St Nicholas House below)
  Conyers Conyers, Church Road
This stone is located next to the one above. The same comments apply. The lettering reads "GP 1725", possibly the initials of George Palmer. These initials and those above need further investigation. The south of the house, however, is much older and probably 16th Century and its large north bay is possibly early 17th Century.(see also St Nicholas House below)
  Ecclesden Farm Upper Ecclesden (Upper) Farm House
This stone is located over the front door. The lettering reads "1637 G (or a C) P". There is a strange device between the G and the P. Datestone might be initials of a George Penfold, Penfolds owning this farm at one stage.
  Ecclesden barn Upper Ecclesden (Upper) Farm Barn (close to main house)
This stone is located just inside the barn on the north wall. The lettering reads "W I I 1716". One or more of the "I's" may be "J's". The "I" may refer to an Ingram who certainly farmed in the vicinity at that time and earlier
  Ecclesden Barn Lower Ecclesden (Lower) Farm Barn
Lower Ecclesden Farm House was demolished a few years' ago but a nearby barn is still in existence. The stone is located low in the south wall and reads "E A I 1703". The "A" could possibly be an "M". Knowing that the farm was at one stage probably occupied by the Ingram family, this may be a more unusual case of the the final letter representing the surname.
  Elmgrove Cottage Elmgrove Cottage, The Square
This stone over the front door facing The Square reads "R S A 1734". The initials might be those of Richard and Ann Sturt although a marriage record between them has not yet been found.
  Gladstone Cottages Gladstone Cottages, Water Lane
The lettering on the front of the cottages reads "E.H. 1898". These are the initials of the Angmering's socialist builder, Edwin Harris who constructed these four terraced cottages. There are pointers that he also owned them, having built them for "the working man". He certainly collected rent from houses he owned in Water Lane in the 1930s.
  The Library The Library (previously Older's Charity School)
Stone reads "1853". The school was rebuilt by WGK Gratwicke at the same time as the re-building of the Church. (Architect: SS Teulon). There are two identical datestones on the building. See below for further information on building.
  Church Tower St Margaret's Church Tower
This weathered stone over the west tower door is in Latin and reads "Anno D'ni Milesimo Quingesimo Septimo" - translation: "AD 1507". The gothic lettering is cut between two crosses and the arms of Sion Abbey, who are believed to have paid for most of the tower's construction.
  St Nicholas House datestone St Nicholas House, Church Road
This datestone is located in a cellar in the rear of the garden of St Nicholas House. The initials of G P S may be those of George and Sarah Palmer. George married Sarah (nee Edmonds) in 1700 and had two sons George and Robert who may have lived at the adjoining house, Conyers (see above). A datestone placed on the front of the house in the late 20thC suggests that the house was built c.1585 although this is more likely to apply to the main part of Conyers.
  St Wildrid's Presbytery St Wilfrid's RC Church Presbytery
The datestone on the front of the building reads "1872". The 15th Duke of Norfolk funded the building of St Wilfrid's RC Church (now St Wilfrid's RC Primary School) and its Presbytery.
  Weavers Cottage Weavers Cottage, Weavers Hill
This stone, crudely carved and subsequently outlined with paint, is located over the front door which is now covered by a porch constructed within the last 20 years or so. The lettering reads "AD WM 1724". The "M" may have been a Monk, Marner, Martin, or Manning (or other).

The Library (previously Older's Charity School)

Datestones set in the building are referred to above. However, the side of the building facing Church Hill, Arundel Road contains interesting carved scroll work which unfortuntately is weathering badly in some places. A photo of the scroll is shown below:

  Older Charity School

The inscription on the scroll reads: "Endowed by Mr William Older AD 1682 - rebuilt by WGK Gratwicke, Esq AD 1853"

Neil Rogers-Davis
July 2003

Last updated: 1 November 2003