of the village, estate and early church
Stanmer is an ancient place, and was first recorded in 765 AD
when its lands were given by the then Saxon King of Sussex to
endow the monastery of South Malling in Lewes. By 1086 and
the Domesday Survey, the village of Stanmer was still owned by the
Church, and was part of the See of Canterbury.
The first record of a church on the site appears in 1232 when
Stanmer still belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury. At
this time the Church was attached to the Penitentiary of the
Monastic College of South Malling, for which the Stanmer Estate
provided an income of 20 hides a year.
Stanmer was surrendered to Henry VIII at the Dissolution, and
only the church and the glebe lands were restored to the
Archbishop in 1552. The Crown retained the remainder of the
estate until 1615, when this was sold by King James I. The
estate passed through several hands, eventually becoming the seat
of the Pelham family (later Earls of Chichester) in 1713. It
was finally purchased by Brighton Corporation in 1947.
The owners immediately before the Pelhams were responsible for
bringing together all the small holdings and unifying these with
the common lands of the parish, in order to create the Park as we
see it today. In so doing they also demolished the wattle
and daub huts and houses of the former village, the foundations of
which can still be seen in the field to the west of the present
main street. The Tythe Barn dates from the sixteenth
The other village which belonged to the estate was that of
Falmer, a few miles distant across the Park, wherein there is also
a small gallery.