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VOL. CII. PART I.
Embellished with Views of the Churches at POLING and WEST HAMPNET, in Sussex.
POLING, a small parish of nearly 900 statute acres, is situated in the county of Sussex, two miles and a half south-east of Arundel, and two miles. from the sea-coast. It gives name to the Hundred of Poling, and belongs to the Rape of Arundel.
The Vicarage is endowed with the whole of the tithes of the parish, except that part called the Commandery or Fair-place Farm, which pays a modus of 6s. 8d. to the Vicar. The Bishop nominates to Eton College, which presents. By the present incumbent, the Vicarage house was rebuilt in 1803, very suitably to the living; the glebe consists of two acres and a half of pasture.
The ancient Church, built at the extremity of the south part of the parish, stood on the site of the present one, which is of small dimensions; and from its style of architecture, appears to have been erected about the latter end of the fifteenth century, except the south aile, which is the only part of the old Church now remaining.
The tower, which is an interesting object amidst the surrounding scenery, is 10 feet 6 inches square; it is low, but of a solid and uniform structure, more so than most such buildings in this part of Sussex. It is attached at the west end of the nave, and contains three large bells, one of which has the letters B. E. cast on it.
The nave is 30 feet long by 13 feet wide, and separated from the south aile by two pointed arches; the aile is 28 feet 6 inches long by 8 feet 6 inches wide.
The chancel, which was originally divided from the nave by an ancient screen, is 24 feet long by 13 feet 6 inches wide. The door which originally communicated with the roodloft is remaining; there are also four brackets of stone, which no doubt once supported statues of the patron
and other saints.
GENT. MAG. Suppl. CII. PAR1 I.
The church has lately been new pewed, by a rate, and the aid of the Vicar and Curate (the Rev. Wm. Pearse). A new pulpit and desks have also been added; a new gallery has been built for the choir at the west end of the nave (the old gallery was erected about 100 years past, at the expense of 30 shillings,) and ample accommodation has been provided in free sittings for the poor. The Vicar has restored the east window in the chancel, and fitted it up with stained glass, in which is placed an ably designed ancient figure of St. Paul, of which there is a drawing in the Burrell MSS. in the British Museum. The two side windows in the chancel are fitted up in the like appropriate manner; at the back of the pulpit, a pointed arch has been placed, ornamented with crockets and a finial. A handsome altar-piece was erected in 1815; but unfortunately not in the most appropriate style.
The ancient circular font of Caen stone, standing against the pillar between the nave and aile, is of sufficient dimensions for immersion, and still retains the lead cistern; the shaft is octagonal.
The earliest date of the Register, which is in good preservation, is 1653.
In 1285 Isabella Mortimer, relict of John Earl of Arundel, was privately married in the ancient church of Pol
ing to Robert de Hastings; as she
was nearly connected in blood to the King, her dower was escheated, but
afterwards restored for a fine of 1000l. Her initials in painted glass, surmounted by a coronet, are still in existence.
The church has now, from its peculiar neatness and size, more the appearance of a private chapel than a parish church.
The following inscriptions are on four slabs in the chancel. The first is under a half-length brass figure of the deceased, which is engraved in the
History of the Rape of Arundel, by
Hic jacet d'n's Walterus Davy, q'ndam vicari' eccl'e de Polyng, cui' à'i'e p'picier' deu'.
MS. Hic jacet Thomas Brodnax, generosus, hujus ecclesiæ Vicarius, obiit 17 die Aug. anno Do'mi 1679, ætatis suæ 36.
Arms-Or, two chevrons Gules, on 1 chief of the Second, three cinquefoils Argent.
Here lies interred ye body of Thomas Scriven, A.M. who was Vicar of this church near 15 years. He lived believed (sic), and died lamented, Octob. the 29, anno Dom.
1800. John Dring.
1801. Richard Jordan, M.A.
This parish enjoyed for 99 years, from 1640 to 1739, a benefaction of 14. 10s. in pursuance of the will of Henry Hilton, esq. of Hilton Castle, Durham, commonly called Baron Hilton, as having been one of the seven Barons of that Palatinate.
The Commandary or Fair Place, so called from a fair anciently there held (and which is still holden on old Midsummer Day), is situated on the eastern side of the parish, and was a small establishment of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, probably first endowed with 150 acres in the parish by one of the Fitz-Alans Earls of Arundel.
A chapel, the wood panneled ceiling of which still remains, is now used as a farm-house, with additional rooms. This estate is exempt from tithes. John Tilly, of this parish, by will dated 1785, gave a rent charge of 31. from Brook land, now called the School Brook, for teaching poor children.
Part of Angmering Decoy, which has existed from time immemorial, lies in this parish. Many wild fowl are taken annually during the winter season. The late occupier, George Knight,
*He was, says Granger, a man of rambling habits, of an unsettled mind, that was educated at King's College, Cambridge. During his residence there he became a papist, although he says, "his heart was never wholly converted to that communion." studying in Flanders, Artois, France, Spain, and Italy, he received orders from the Pope's substitute, and "was by the Pope sent into England to pervert souls; where he preached and laboured in that perverse way the space of a year and upwards, and is now at last recouciled to the fair Church of Christ in England." In about 1640 he was presented by the interest of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the vicarage of Poling, "a small obscure village by the sea-side, near to Arundel in Sussex." In the time of the civil war he went to Paris, where he railed against the Protestants. He afterwards returned to England, says Anthony Wood, to his old trade of Independency. He was living at Aylesbury 1670. Anthony Wood says of him, "that he was an impudent, fantastical man, that he changed his mind with his cloths, and that for his jugles and tricks in matters of religion, he was esteemed a theological mouutebank." In 1662 his works were published, entitled "Experience, Historie, and Divinitie, divided into 5 books," in which are portraits of him; in one he appears like a dull and formal clergyman, in another with all the spirit of an enter prising missionary. His writings are a medley perfectly suitable to this character.