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Arundel History

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The Forming of the Town of Arundel

There are traces of early Roman development in Arundel; however it mainly developed as a Saxon town referred to in the Domesday Book in 1086, by which time Arundel had become a flourishing market town and port, with a population of a few hundred. In 1243 Arundel Castle came to be owned by the Fitzalan family then at the end of the 16th century the castle and Earldom was passed to the Duke of Norfolk. The Dukes dominated Arundel for centuries and during that time Arundel was a busy international port, with ships sailing to and from Arundel via the river Arun to the sea 5 miles away. Arundel was also an important market town and in 1285 it was granted an annual fair where people came from a wide area to buy and sell. In the mid 13th century the Dominican friars arrived giving Arundel its first religious building, locally referred to as Blackfriars, the ruins of which are located next to the Town Bridge. The parish church of St Nicholas in Arundel was built in 1380. 

During the English Civil War Arundel Castle changed hands three times and at the end of the war it was severely damaged and reduced to a partial ruin, then at the end of the 18th century when it was rebuilt for the first time, then at the end of the 19th century it was largely rebuilt again as it is today. Between the Civil War and the late 18th Century Arundel was in a very poor state, however by the turn of the 19th Century it had become a small flourishing market town with a population a little under 1,900. During the 19th century Arundel grew considerably and by 1901 it had a population of over 3,000. The current population is 3650.

During the early 19th century Arundel was still a busy market town and port with two flourishing breweries and timber trade. Arundel Railway Station, in the present position, was built in 1863 when the line was extended down the Arun Valley. In 1846 the Station at Ford was built along the railway along the coast from Brighton to Portsmouth, which was then known as "Arundel Station". As a result of which the port ceased to operate in the early 20th century as did the markets. Gaslight was first seen in the town in 1838 and electricity arrived during the 1930's. In 1868 a new Catholic Church was commissioned by the 15th Duke of Norfolk and designed by a then famous architect Joseph Aloysius Hansom. This Catholic Church (IBP) was built of brick clad with Bath stone, in the French Gothic style and was completed 1873 and in 1965 it became a cathedral for the Roman Catholic diocese. In the early 19th Century some parts of the high levels of the town were lost when the Park was enclosed and the new London Road was constructed.

Today Arundel is a popular tourist destination famous for its Arundel Castle, Arundel Farmers Market, Arundel Parish Church, Arundel Cathedral, Blackfriars Historic buildings. In 2001 Arundel had its first market for over 80 years in the form of a Farmers Market (IBP), which is currently a popular monthly event.

The Conservation Area

The Architecture

Arundel is recognised not only by residents but also visitors for its quantity, quality and variety of historic buildings within a relatively small area. The town still reflects much of the shape and character of its medieval footprint although most of the remaining timber framed buildings are hidden behind later facades. Out of around 500 buildings in the Conservation Area, a large proportion is listed, and many of the others are of architectural or historic interest. Some of the more recognisable buildings are described in this section. There are two complete late medieval buildings in the High Street, 37-41 and No. 71 the High Street which is an example of a Wealden type house.
No.8 Maltravers Street is the remaining part of a three bayed hall house with crown post roof, while No.79 has part of a crown post roof.
Other examples of 16th and 17th century buildings have survived. Characteristically they are of timber frame construction, often jettied, fairly low and hip-roofed with variety provided by the materials used to infill or clad the frame.
Both No. 25 High Street and Little House Maltravers Street have brick-noggin in-fill. Painted brick is used to face 17-19 High Street and 13, 15 Tarrant Street, 13 and 15 also have weatherboarding. Red brick and rendering face 10 and 20 Queen Street respectively.
In the 18th Century the use of brick became prevalent, even being used to face existing buildings. Classical features including quoins, Venetian windows, pediments and cornices were fashionable as were porches and bay windows.
The red brick buildings in the High Street 30-34, the back range of 55-57, 61 and those in the island are typical. 14, 16, 26, 51 and 50-54 Maltravers Street also exhibit good features. Of note is the side facade of 50-54 which unusually for Arundel is in Portland stone. This may have been salvaged from the castle. Even the smaller streets have notable examples exhibiting brick voussoirs and cornices. However the majority of houses in such areas as Arun Street are of small brick or flint houses and cottages. More contemporary buildings in Tarrant Street are the three storied red brick houses, some with fine porches.
One of the most imposing buildings though is the Norfolk Arms Hotel, High Street with its original arched carriage entrance. Other materials used in the grander houses are stucco as at 18 and 45-49 Maltravers Street, and yellow brick at 55-57 High Street. Humbler buildings have used field flint and beach pebbles as well as brick in King and Bond Streets, Orchard Place, and Mount Pleasant, galleted flint (shards of flint set into the mortar) in Arun Street, and quarried stone in Surrey Street.
The town's public and commercial buildings are almost all 19th century and imitate various historical styles. One of the earliest is the Victoria Institute, Tarrant Street, which boasts a classical style.
The majority of buildings after this period adopt a Tudor revival (Post Office block, at the bottom of the High Street) or medieval style. The Duke of Norfolk adopted a castellated gothic style for Tower House, in London Road and Norman style for the Town Hall. Later interpretations were more picturesque Barge boards and tall chimneys amongst other details create a Tudor style employed at 81-83 Maltravers Street, north side of Bond Street and London Road. Half timbering and jettying at 66-70, and 2-4 Maltravers Street are reminiscent of the buildings' medieval ancestry. Lloyds Bank has a Norman Shavian half-timbered and gabled style and the old office of the West Sussex Gazette has an even more elaborate gabled and timbered style

Architectural Details and Features

Most houses are brick or flint or a mixture of the two, and in a few cases, sandstone is used. A variety of brick colours are found of which red is probably the commonest, but blue bricks combined with red brick in geometric patterns are to be seen on several buildings. Flemish bonded brickwork is the commonest and sometimes it is juxtaposed with English bond to provide a decorative feature. Other brick features are the quoins, emulating stone ones by repeating three long bricks followed by three short bricks and so on up the corner of a building, brick lintels and arches to windows, and modillion eaves cornices (IBP). Flints are found in three forms; unknapped seastone, knapped and square knapped. Some buildings have stuccoed or rendered walls, generally painted white or cream. Roofs are pitched and hipped and covered in hand made tiles or slate. Many doorways are pedimented. The designs range from simple unsupported ones to grandiose pillared porches. Windows are generally painted sash timber, although there are a reasonable number of timber casements. In both, glazing bars are used to divide up the glass areas into smaller panes.

The Non-Conservation Area

Over half of the dwellings in Arundel are located outside the Conservation area. Using the questionnaire results and characteristics of the non-conservation area, seven main character areas have been identified:

Character Area 1:

Fitzalan road Numbers 1-50, Queens Lane, The Causeway.

There seem likely to have been at least some buildings by the early 13th century. More houses were built there later; three or four are mentioned on one occasion in the early 15th century. By 1785 there were 15-20. During the succeeding 50 years industrial firms settled on the south bank of the river: By about 1841 there were a brewery and maltings on opposite sides of the Brighton road, (both of which would have been within the current conservation area) together with a timber yard, coal yards, and a soap factory to the west. The unsuitability of the adjacent ground for building restricted southwards expansion, though by around 1875 the advent of the railway had brought a few scattered villas between the Causeway roundabout and the station, these houses and Railway Station are outside the Arundel Parish boundary (Map2); more were built before 1910, together with six cottages south of Queen Street. There were a few houses along the river to the south-west by 1841 in the part of the parish already called the south marshes: by the 1870s there was one terrace, more were built by 1896, and there was further building in the early 20th century in what by the 1930s was called Fitzalan Road, six council houses were built there in 1935.

Fitzalan Road Numbers 1-50

This part of Fitzalan Road is characterised by mixed style Post- War semi detached bungalows, some were demolished when Fitzalan Road was cut in two by the temporary relief road of 1973. These bungalows are set back off the road with ample off road parking. The bungalows are only found along the North-West side of the road. The other side is farmland and floodplain uninterrupted until it reaches the temporary relief road (A27). This farmland is currently used for livestock grazing and as shown on the Proposal map there is a playing field with access from Fitzalan Road. The Bungalows have long gardens that back onto the river Arun. This stretch of the riverbank is the dividing line that is used in the Local plan for the Setting of Arundel (Policy Area 3).

Queens lane

For a small lane, Queens Lane is one of the most mixed building types area in Arundel, it has old cottage style houses, Victorian terraced houses, bungalows, semi-detached houses, access to an Angmering Park Estate farm and modern flats (Westbury Lodge). It is a narrow lane with the older properties right on the road, while the more modern houses are set back with large front gardens.

The Causeway

The Causeway (Originally Brighton Road) is characterised by mainly isolated and linear areas of settlement pattern. There are the modern two storey flats (Causeway Court,) located directly behind the Lido car park. The Lido is an open air swimming pool with grass areas surrounding two pools. On the opposite side of the road are mixes of modern semi detached houses, some of which are ex-police houses found behind a large brick wall. The main types of houses are Victorian town houses and the area is very much urban in character. Further down towards the roundabout is a bed and breakfast called Portreeve Acre, set back off the road with a half-hipped roof. There is a cluster of rendered Victorian town houses and a Hotel (Arundel Park Hotel) next to the train station. The following Character areas are located South of Chichester Road and the temporary relief road (A27). Arundel's main expansion in the early 20th century was south of Chichester Road in what before 1902 was part of Tortington parish. Red or brown brick terrace houses, some belonging to the Norfolk estate, were built in Ford Road and Wood View by 1896 and in Kirdford Road by 1910. The higher-lying land to the west around Torton Hill Road was developed by the town council from about 1913 as an estate chiefly of large detached houses in various styles. Between Torton Hill and Chichester Roads many dwellings, including some council houses, were built from the 1950s; by 1991 the area south of Chichester Road had become twice as populous as the older part of the town.

Character Area 2:

Fitzalan Road (Even Numbers 68-200, odd Numbers 1-55), Daltons Place, Malthouse Close

This area of Fitzalan Road is characterised by open space, with views extending across farmland towards Arundel Railway Station. Housing is mainly mixed terrace and semidetached, with long gardens extending to The River Arun. Towards the Southern end of Fitzalan road semi-detached bungalows and chalet style houses are found. 2 storey buildings are the highest in this area, however there is the old windmill located down the southern end which is a considered a distinctive feature on the landscape and is visible from as far as Ford Railway Station.

Character Area 3:

Ford Road, Kirdford Road, Woodview

Kirdford Road is characterised by 2 storey Victorian terraced housing. They have side alleys with access through other gardens, and no off street parking. Woodview is very similar down the Kirdford road end, but more bungalows are present towards the other end. Ford Road has different style semi detached Victorian houses, overall much larger dwellings with private side access on most. Ford Road has to cope with heavy traffic throughout the day, which is not ideal for a road with little off road parking. Ford Road is the most mixed in its character because of its past and present mixed use. Arundel Fire Station and a Water Treatment Plant are located along the Road. There used to be shops on both sides of the road, but now they have been converted into residential. Towards the A27 end of Ford Road there is a cemetery that actually backs onto Kirdford Road and Torton Hill Road. By the A27 roundabout there is a large set of flats called Warwick Court, on the opposite side there is a derelict gasworks site that is understood to have a degree of contamination from its former use.

Character Area 4:

Penfolds Place

Penfolds Place is located off Ford Road near the Fire Station; it has direct footpath access to the banks of the river Arun. The properties were built in 1991 as a whole development, (on a former garage site) containing 42 dwellings. They are mainly semi-detached modern buildings, with mixed wall and roof materials. This is also one of the biggest housing developments in Arundel in the past 20 years.

Character Area 5:

Jarvis Road, Canada Road, Pearson Road, Ellis Close, Dukes Close, Herrington Road and Green Lane Close

This area is characterised by Local Authority housing consisting of large terraces of houses, terraced bungalows, and flats. The scout hall, doctor's surgery Mace newsagent/convenient store, and Church of England Primary School are located in this area. Much of the terracing is linear following the road lines, and characterised by the topography. All of the housing is a maximum of 2 storeys however due to the topography of steep slopes; some of the buildings appear higher. There is a feeling of open space, for example large verges in front of the housing and around the area as a whole, including the Recreation Ground/Playground. The majority of the housing is 1950's council housing, in some areas the path is set back off the road. The further you go up the slopes the less steep the roofs become on the houses; (for example the newer houses next to the shop), the majority of roofs in Dukes Close, and Herrington Close are on a 22 degree pitch. Jarvis Road is main vehicular access from the A27, and is a bus route.

Character Area 6:

Torton Hill Road, Howard Road, Bernard Road, Maxwell Road and Priory Road

This area is suburban in character and was initially developed after the Second World War, followed by later development in the Dalloway Road area. It is characterised by mainly detached houses of mixed style, materials and age. They generally have large gardens, with space all around the houses. Many of the houses are even not fully visible from the road due to trees and bushes in the front gardens. There are also trees lining the pavement in most of the roads, and off road parking is prevalent. The West end of Priory Road is characterised by mainly semi-detached houses with little off-road parking. This area also contains Jubilee Park, allotments, and access to public footpaths behind Torton hill Road that lead to the school and shop. There has been some development of individual houses in some of the larger gardens but the general feel is of tree lined suburban roads, with views to the Cathedral, Castle and out onto the river Arun floodplain. The bus route passes through this area from Pearson Road.

Character Area 7:

Stewards Rise, High Ridge Close, and Dalloway Road, Birch Close, Oak End Close

Stewards Rise is characterised by Semi-detached and detached mixed style bungalows. The road is on a steep slope with off road parking. High Ridge Close is just off Stewards Rise and contains all bungalows with rendered walls. Dalloway Road is a tree lined avenue (Cul-de-sac) with off road parking and detached 2 storey houses. Birch Close is more chalet style properties, with open spaces and random settlement patterns. The roof pitches are not as steep as Dalloway and surrounding streets, many being half-hipped. Oak End Close is linked housing with off road parking. This area was developed relatively recently, and is bounded by woodland, with footpath access from Dalloway Road.

Further reading and reference can be found in 'A History of Arundel' by Tim Hudson' on

Read more about the county of West Sussex on

This is a selection of's key dates "which have helped shape the history of the West Sussex we know today. West Sussex's history is made up of a mish-mash of its landscape, environment, people and their knowledge. Our list is highly subjective, and we make no apology for that. We keep finding things that we want to add to it too." 

See also: Chronological history of Britain, from the BBC website:

AD 43 - Invasion of Britain by the Romans, who land on the Sussex coast

AD 477 - Saxon Aelle lands in Sussex heralding a new era in Sussex history - Saxon Sussex.

AD 681 - St Wilfrid returns to Sussex and starts to convert the County to Christianity.

AD 895 - Danish invaders defeated near Chichester, possibly at Kingley Vale.

AD 994 - Vikings cause havoc in Sussex, slaughtering people and burning villages.

AD 1066 - Following the Norman Conquest, William of Normandy grants the 5 administrative rapes of Sussex, based around Chichester, Arundel, Bramber, Hastings and Lewes, to his leading nobles, making Sussex his beachhead for securing rule of England.

AD 1102 - Three month blockade of Arundel.

AD 1199 - King John lands at Shoreham-by-Sea on his way to be crowned King of England.

AD 1243 - The Fitzalan family acquire the Honour of Arundel.

AD 1285 - Arundel granted its annual fair, boosting its economy considerably.

AD 1315 -  Terrible crop failures bring hunger to Sussex and southern England.

AD 1348 - The Black Death hits Sussex and the rest of England.

AD 1545 - French marauders attack Shoreham and other parts of the Sussex coast.

AD 1556 - Protestants burned at East Grinstead.

AD 1587 - A system of beacons set up all over the county to help provide a warning of any attack by the Spanish.

AD 1615 - Acts of Parliament prohibits the use of wood as fuel for glass making, killing off the West Sussex glass industry. It was thought that it diverted resources from the ironworks, which were more important for military reasons.

AD 1651 - Charles II escapes to France along the route now called the Monarch's Way via Shoreham Harbour.

AD 1748 - Murder of Chater & Galley marks the beginning of the end for the members of the Hawkhurst smuggling gang.

AD 1750 - Richard Russell publishes a dissertation concerning the use of sea water in the diseases of the glands. In doing so he unwittingly catalysed the development of the Sussex coast as a seaside spa location.

AD 1783 - The Prince of Wales makes his first visit to Brighton, suddenly making the resport fashionable.

AD 1811 - Discovery of Bignor Roman Villa.

AD 1813 - Start of construction of the Wey and Arun Canal.

AD 1823 - Building of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, linking Chichester Harbour to the River Arun.

AD 1830 - Captain Swing riots (widespread uprising by agricultural workers) in much of West Sussex.

AD 1838 - Life in Arundel brightened by the introduction of gas lighting

AD 1848 - 1863 - Opening of "what was then known as Mid-Sussex route to Portsmouth," now known as the Arun Valley Line. - Wikipedia

AD 1853 - Closure of the Portsmouth and Arun Canal.

AD 1871 - Closure of the Wey and Arun Canal.

AD 1873 - Arundel Cathedral built - as a mere humble church.

AD 1894 - Oscar Wilde writes The Importance of Being Earnest while on holiday in Worthing.

AD 1902 - Local education boards were abolished and Sussex County Council became responsible for education in the county.

AD 1926 - Foundation of the Society of Sussex Downsmen.

AD 1940 - 1943 - 7 people killed by bombing in Horsham, 28 schoolchildren and 2 adults killed when German bombs are dropped on Petworth. 108 people killed in East Grinstead by a German bombing attack on the town centre. Another 253 were injured.

AD 1958 - Queen Elizabeth II opens the newly expanded Gatwick Airport as London's second airport.

AD 1961 - Discovery of Fishbourne Roman Palace.

AD 1965 - Arundel's catholic church of St Philip Howard granted the status of Cathedral.

AD 1972 - The Sussex section of the South Downs Way opened as a National Trail.

AD 1993 - Boxgrove Man discovered. "Site of national archaeological importance" - Wikipedia

AD 2002 - The current Duke of Norfolk, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, succeeded his father, Miles Stapleton-Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk

"The Duke of Norfolk is the premier duke in the peerage of England, and also, as Earl of Arundel, the premier earl. The Duke of Norfolk is, moreover, the Earl Marshal and hereditary Marshal of England. The seat of the Duke of Norfolk is Arundel Castle in Sussex, although the title refers to the county ofNorfolk. The current Duke of Norfolk is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk. The dukes have historically been Catholic, a state of affairs known as recusancy in England.

All past and present dukes have been descended from Edward I; see Dukes of Norfolk family tree. The son of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, was Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey; The Earl was descended from both King Edward I and King Edward III."



List selected from's "Sussex history - Key Dates" 


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