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MARKET TOWNS OF SUSSEX (from SDUK Penny Cyclopedia)

Steyning in 1842

Steyning, a borough by prescription, and a market-town, is in the rape of Bramber, 50 miles from London. The town stands at the foot of one of the escarpments of the Downs, about a mile to the westward of the river Adur, and consists of a wide street running in a north-westerly direction, from which branches another running north-east ; on th south side of the latter were situated the burgage tenements of the borough of Bramber, so that what appeared to be one small town returned four members to parliament.

This town was called by the Saxons Steningham, from stean, a stone ; and the ancient Roman road of Stane-street passed through the town. At the time of the Conqueror’s survey Steyning belonged partly to the abbey of Fescamp, and partly to William de Braose, lord of Bramber. The abbot held the property till the dissolution of alien priories by Henry IV, who granted it to the newly founded monastery of Sion in Middlesex ; but on the dissolution of the greater monasteries the property passed to the Pellatts, and has since come to the Gorings.

There is a well-supplied cattle-market held on every alternate Monday, which is a large mart for the sheep bred in West Sussex. Steyning returned two members to parliament in the 4th Edward II, but was joined with Bramber from that time till 31st Henry V1, when it returned its members separately, till disfranchised by the act 2 William IV, c.45. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was originally a cruciform structure : of the original the nave only remains, the rest being a more modern erection. The nave was built in the Saxon times, or at a very early period of the Norman ; the interior is magnificently enriched, the whole of the arches, as well as the capitals on the large cylindrical pillars, being profusely ornamented with tiers of mouldings of great variety and beauty. Ethelwulf, the father of Alfred the Great, is said to have been buried in Steyning church. The benefice is a vicarage in the archdeaconry of Chichester, and deanery of Storrington, of the average net value, in 1835, of £308.

A school for boys, to be instructed in the Greek and Latin tongues, and in the principles of the established church, was founded by William Holland in 1614. The population in 1831 was 1,416.