Portslade & The Manor House.
Hidden away in Portslade behind the old church of St. Nicolas is Portslade manor. A once proud building going back many centuries and home to many different families, now nothing more than a few ruins to ponder over. Although nearly forgotten, this house had a colourful and varied history and was tied very closely to the church that stands along side.
The ruins of Portslade manor have a few interesting points worth viewing.
The parish of Portslade is bounded on the east by Hangleton and Hove, and on the west by Southwick. To the north lies Poynings and the south is barred by the English Channel. From north to south it extends nearly four miles but it's average breadth is not more than one mile.
In the Nona Return the sea is stated to have encroached and swallowed up 60 acres. Some of the principal land owners were John Borrer, Esq., Mrs Bridger, John Hale, Esq., and Mr Blaker. Indeed, the Blakers were settled here for more than two centuries and reminders of this fact can be seen in the church of St. Nicolas and it's churchyard.
The village is mentioned in Domesday as being held by Oswald, who held it personally in the reign of Edward the Confessor It was exempt from the land-tax, and he could change his residence, and transfer his property at pleasure. In the 2nd Henry III., Hubert de Burgh would have it enrolled that William the son of Doun Bardolf, granted him the Manor of Portslade, with the right to present to benefice of the churches and other things belonging to the said manor. Hubert de Burgh had this manor by his marriage with Beatrix de Warren; he granted it to his eldest daughter Margaret, and procured the King's confirmation to her.
In 13 Henry III., Margaret, eldest daughter of Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, by Margaret, his wife, sister of Alexander, King of Scotland, held this manor. John de Burgh held ten knights' fees in Portslade in the reign of Henry III; he also had free warren in this lordship. In 31 Henry III., a fine was passed between Margaret, Countess of Kent, and John de Burgh, of the third part of the manor of Portslade, as her dower of the inheritance of Hubert de Burgh, her husband.
The small piece of plaster frieze once decorated a ground floor room.
The Countess released all her right of dower in all lands of the said Earl, and John de Burgh, granted her the manor of Portslade. It afterwards, by the marriage of Joan, sister and heir of Thomas, Baron de Grelly, to Roger, Lord de la Warre, became the property of that nobleman, in whose family it continued till the reign of Elizabeth, when it passed to the Pelhams.
Soon, however, it changed hands again, and the names of Snelling, Edwards, Fawkenor, Westbrook, Andrew, Foley, Watson, Davies, Lamb and Phillips, occur at different periods as proprietors, between the reign of Elizabeth and 1790. It was afterwards purchased by J. Borrer, Esq.
One of the remaining arches amid the ruins of the manor.
There are two interesting contemporary two-light windows on the first floor rebated for shutters, one having a mid-shaft and cushion capital.
Pieces of the east and south walls and part of a 16th century, brick and flint west wing remain. The ruins look natural but are in fact a victim of selective demolition to pander to the whims of the victorians who desired a folly in their garden. Most of the building materials were removed for other purposes and the ruins left open to the elements to decay and crumble further.
The manor is accessible but is open to the public by arrangement only. Contact the Foredown Tower Countryside Centre in Foredown Road, Portslade or call them on 01273 422540. You can see part of the ruins through access in the Emaus furniture store which is in the grounds of the old Convent (previously the newer manor, which is next door to the ruin).
The site is run by English Heritage.