Sussex Notes & Queries, vol. XVI (1965 -1967), pp. 264 – 267
THE MANOR OF NEW FISHBOURNE
CONTRIBUTED BY F. BENTHAM STEVENS
Of the fourteen acres of land on the north side of the road from Chichester to Emsworth which, through the generosity of our President, Mr. I. D. Margary, F.S.A, are now vested in the Sussex Archaeological Trust a portion was not freehold but held for a term of 600 years from 14th June, 1664. It is not known by whom or to whom the Lease was granted. No rent is payable. The original lease cannot be traced. Fortunately the remains of the Roman Palace over which a cover building has now been erected by Mr. Margary are on freehold land and, so far as is known, there are no apparent traces of Roman occupation on the leasehold land. But as Mr. Margary has always contemplated that this part of the land might be sold for development and the proceeds invested as an endowment fund it was desirable that if possible the Lease should be merged in the freehold; and steps have now been taken to that end. As a preliminary it was necessary to try and ascertain further particulars of the Lease which must have included part of the adjoining railway line and also land to the north of the railway. It seemed probable that the Lease was granted by the then Lord of the Manor as it was hoped that some light might be thrown on the subject by the Court Rolls or other manorial documents. These enquiries have confirmed the facts that in 1605 William Bowyer, the Lord of the Manor had ceased to have any rights or assets attached to it long before 1925 when the Law of Property Act of that year provided for the extinction of all Manorial Rights of pecuniary value. But no Court Rolls or manorial documents have been traced, and no particulars of the 1664 Lease have come to light.
As, however, the details of the history of the Manor published in the Victoria County History and elsewhere require correction in certain particulars and can be supplemented to some extent it seems desirable to set out the following points:-
- The Victoria County History, volume 3, page 155, was in error in stating that the Reverend Sir Thomas Combe Miller, 6th Baronet, of Froyle, sold the Manor to Edward Stanford between 1870 and 1876. The Rev. T. Combe Miller died on 29th June, 1864 and the Manor passed to his son, Sir Charles Hayes Miller, 7th Baronet, who caused Fishbourne Church Farm and 119 acres of land (all on the south side of the road from Chichester to Emsworth) and “the Manor or Reputed Manor of New Fishbourne” to be submitted for sale by auction by Daniel Smith and Oakley at Tokenhouse Yard, E.C. on 16th July 1867. The whole property was sold to John Cornelius Park and immediately resold by him to Edward Stanford of Slaugham to whom on 30th September 1867 conveyed by Sir Charles Hayes Miller. Neither the particulars of sale or the conveyance make any mention of any rents or rights attaching to the Manor: and as it is specifically referred to as the “Reputed Manor” it may be assumed that no rights were known to be attached to it. The author of the note in the Victoria County History was apparently misled by the references to the sale of the Manor in Lower´s “History of Sussex,” Volume 1, page 182, and Elwes and Robinson “Mansions of West Sussex” page 97. As the manor had been sold by public auction in London only a few years before these statements were published it is remarkable that these authors should not have had accurate information.
- Edward Stanford, who acquired the property in 1867, was the son of Richard Stanford of Preston (He was the Uncle of the late Lady Thomas-Stanford under whose Will the Trust received the Stanford Trust Fund). The Victoria County History was also inaccurate in stating that Edwards Stanford “died about 1882.” Actually he died in 1884. (See pedigree in “The Descent of the Family of Stanford of Preston. Sussex” by Charles Thomas-Stanford printed at the Chiswick Press for Private Circulation in 1907). On page 15 of this work Sir Charles Thomas-Stanford (as he afterwards became) stated that Edward Stanford purchased the Manor of New Fishbourne from the Reverend Sir Thomas Combe Miller, 6th Baronet. No doubt he was misled by the erroneous statement in Lower and perhaps also by that in Elwes and Robinson.
- On the death of Anne Stanford, the widow of Edward Stanford, the Manor passed under her Will to Major General John Byron and subsequently to his son, Colonel Richard Byron of Winchester who, on the 27th September, 1919, conveyed the Manor Farm (previously known as Church Farm) to Grove Doman Strange. No mention of the manor itself was made in this Conveyance presumably because it was realized that there were no manorial rights still in existence.
- On 3rd July, 1924 Messrs, Wyatt & Son of Chichester submitted for sale by Auction Fishbourne Manor Farm and “the Manor or Reputed Manor of Fishbourne,” presumably on behalf of Grove Doman Strange although the Manor as such had not been specifically conveyed to him. Apparently the property was not sold, but on 29th September, 1924 the Manor House and six acres of land were sold to R. Harrison. The Manor House has subsequently changed hands on several occasions.
- On 18th May, 1955 the widow of Grove Doman Strange sold the Manor Farm to H.C. Farne, who has now sold the property to the West Sussex County Council.