Seaford – Description

From Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867

SEAFORD is a rising watering-place, and one of the Cinque Ports, having separate local jurisdiction, 3½ miles from Newhaven, 60 from London, 13 east from Brighton, 11 south from Lewes, and 9 west from Eastbourne, in the Eastern division of the county, Flexborough hundred, Lewes county court district and archdeaconry, Pevensey rape and rural deanery, union of Eastbourne, diocese of Chichester. The parish church of St. Leonard is an ancient structure in the Early English style, with a large square embattled tower containing a peal of 8 bells: it was restored and enlarged in 1861-2 by subscription, at a cost of about £2,300: some handsome stained glass windows have recently been put in to the memory of the Rev. James Carnegie, the late vicar, who was much respected; to Capt. William Thomas Harison; to Mr. James Simmons Atkinson and Mr. Robert Simmons: also to the memory of Mr. Charles Hincks, Mrs. Pearce, Colonel Carnegie, &c. The first date of the register is 1558. The living is a vicarage, annexed to that of Sutton (Sutton-cum-Seaford), vicarial tithes commuted at £240 per annum, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and held by the Rev. William Henry Meade Buck, of Trinity College, Dublin. A commodious National school has been erected. The river Ouse formerly ran into the sea at the Cliff-end, but was diverted some centuries since, and the mouth is now at Newhaven. The ancient town and port of Seaford is governed by a municipal corporation, consisting of a bailiff, jurats, and freemen: the bailiff, who is also (ex officio) coroner for the liberty, is chosen annually by the freemen, on the 29th September, and the jurats, who are the local magistrates, of whom there may be twelve in number, are elected also by the freemen, who have extensive and peculiar privileges under their charters, being exempt from all county juries, free to trade in the city of London and all other towns in England, and formerly were styled Barons. The first bailiff was elected in 1541; his name was John Ockenden. Courts of general quarter sessions and gaol delivery are holden, and petty sessions when required. There is a Town Hall and gaol underneath. Seaford is a borough by prescription, and from a very early period (1298) returned two members to Parliament, and was represented by the celebrated statesmen Pitt and Canning, but it was disfranchised by the Reform Bill. Geoffrey Cuck-kow and William Hobey appear to have been its first representatives. Some fishing is carried on, and fine prawns, &c., are caught among the rocks here; mackerel are sometimes taken in the bay in large quantities. The cliffs are of great height, and shelter is afforded in the roadstead for fleets of shipping during the prevalence of easterly gales; the bay is very deep. On Seaford Heights are the remains of a large Roman camp, and it is supposed to be the site of the Civitas Anderida of the Romans. The fairs are held on the 14th of March and 25th July yearly. Seaford was formerly a large town, and contained seven churches and chapels, which were burnt by the French in one of their descents on this coast. The custom of “Borough English” prevails hare, whereby freehold property descends to the youngest son. There is a fort and martello tower on the beach. Lord Howard de Walden and Seaford, and John Purcell Fitzgerald, Esq., are proprietors of considerable house property in the town; the Earl of Chichester, Mrs. W. T. Harison, and Dr. Tyler Smith, are the principal landowners of this parish. A street of elegant houses, called “Pelham-place,” is now being erected at the west part of the town, near the railway; some new houses are also being built at an eligible spot on the Crouch. The terminus of the branch railway from Newhaven is a neat and commodious building, very conveniently situated. Gas Works have been erected here. Some Almshouses have been recently built in the town, by the munificence of John Purcell Fitzgerald, Esq., J.P., for deserving aged men and women, and which have been liberally endowed by that gentleman, who founded the “Fitzgerald” charity at Seaford. Seaford gives the title of Baron to the family of Ellis. There are warm and cold seabaths on the beach. The air is remarkably bracing, and a great number of visitors resort here during the summer months. Cuckmere Haven is 2 miles and Beachy Head 5 miles, east from the town. The parish comprises 2,235 acres, and the population in 1861 was 1,034.

Parish Clerk, George Woolgar.

SUTTON, near Seaford, was anciently a separate parish. The church, which stood near the mansion, has long been destroyed, though its foundations are clearly traceable in the now desecrated churchyard, about three quarters of a mile north-east-by-east from the town of Seaford. Sutton church, having long been vacant, was annexed to the vicarage of Seaford, by Robert Sherburne, Bishop of Chichester, in 1508. The living has since been ecclesiastically designated Sutton-cum-Seaford. The manor of Sutton Sandore (now belonging to Mrs. W. T. Harison), and the manor of Sutton Peveral (now the property of William Tyler Smith, M.D.), have become extinct, no courts having been held for a long period.
CHINTON (or Chyngton), a mile and a quarter east from Seaford town, is a large farm in the parish of Seaford, containing 1,026 acres. the property of the Earl of Chichester. The farms of Sutton and Chinton have for several centuries been united to the parish of Seaford, as shown by the ancient borough seal. Chinton House stands upon the rains of an old monastery, which, from the materials that have been at different periods dug up, must have been of immense extent.