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MARKET TOWNS OF SUSSEX (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Bramber in 1836

BRAMBER, a decayed village in Sussex, which was formerly of sufficient importance to give name to one of the six divisions of that county, to which the peculiar title of Rape is given. The Rape of Bramber is bounded on the N. by the county of Surrey, on the S. by the English Channel, and on the E. and W. respectively by the Rapes of Lewes and Arundel. Its length from N. to S. is 22 miles ; from E. to W. 11 miles. It contains ten hundreds, having 31 parishes in the upper division, and 11 in the lower, and comprehends the borough of Bramber, Horsham, New Shoreham, and Steyning. The borough of Bramber was included in Schedule A of the Reform Act, and was consequently disfranchised.

In the year 1771 some scandalous practices were disclosed, during a parliamentary investigation into the election of members for the borough of Shoreham. It appeared that certain electors of that borough had formed a club which they designated the Christian Society, the business of which was to sell the representation to the best bidder. The chief magistrate, who was also returning officer for the borough, was a member of the club. An act passed, disfranchising the members of the club, and extending the franchise of Shoreham to the entire Rape of Bramber, which has been perpetuated under the Reform Act, the two members for the borough of Shoreham being elected by the qualified inhabitants of the Rape of Bramber. The total number of the population of the Rape in 1811, was 22,777 ; in 1831, 30,113.

The disfranchised borough of Bramber, which is a village of the meanest kind, contains no other mark of its ancient importance the ruined castle of Bramber or Brembre. The castle and manor were granted in 1066 by William the Conqueror to William de Braose. They now belong to the Duke of Norfolk.