Church Street Steyning

Church Street is one of the finest and most attractive streets in the whole of Sussex, full of historic interest.

At the junction with High Street are some oak posts and rails which mark the place where cattle were once tied during market days. Opposite are three cottages, part of a mediaeval “Wealden”, a hall house with two storey end sections and a distinctive elevation with large curved braces in the centre to partly support the roof.

A little further on stands the 15th century half-timbered house formerly known as Brotherhood Hall, the meeting place of the Fraternity, or Brotherhood, of the Holy Trinity. It became a grammar school in 1614 founded and endowed by Alderman William Holland.

Though the interior has been greatly enlarged with modern additions, he façade remains unaltered and continues to form part of today’s Steyning Grammar School. The original Brotherhood hall was the original schoolroom and it still retains its open timbered roof with king-post . One famous old boy was Dr John Pell, a renowned mathematician who gave us the sign for division.

Opposite the school is the Norfolk Arms, which was built as a private house in the 17th century. The premises include several items of historic interest including a hand carved Jacobean staircase together with nail-studded doors, one of which bears the initials “RW” 1668. Visitors are permitted to view these during opening hours by arrangement with the licensee.

Nearby is an enchanting group of 18th century cottages one of which has a stone in the wall which reads “This is Sir Harry Gough’s House 1771”. The story goes that Sir Harry had a tenant who refused to pay his rent in the mistaken belief that by doing this the house would one day be his. Sir Harry who was the Member of Parliament for Bramber duly asserted his ownership and retained his Parliamentary vote on the property and thus made the house a local landmark.