STEDHAM is a parish, 2 miles west from Midhurst, in the Western division of the county, Easebourne hundred, Midhurst union, county court district and rural deanery, diocese, archdeaconry and rape of Chichester. The manor of Stedeham, as it was at that time written, appears in "Domesday Survey," under the heading of Hamesford. During the reign of the Confessor it was in the possession of the Saxon Earl Godwin, and, like most of the lordships belonging to this nobleman, passed after the Conquest to the Earl Montgomery. Shortly before the termination of the reign of Henry VIII. the King bestowed the manor on William Earl of Southampton: it subsequently became the property of B. P. Knight, Esq., afterwards of Lord Selsey, who sold it to the late Sir Charles Taylor: it is now the property of his son, the present Sir Charles, who resides in the parish. The church of St. James was partly taken down in 1850, rebuilt and enlarged, and now contains about 200 sittings; it consists of a nave and chancel, with a tower containing a peal of 5 bells: in the churchyard is a yew tree, measuring 28 feet in circumference. The register commences in 1659. The living is a rectory, with that of Heyshott annexed, tithe commuted at £580 per annum. with residence, and about 27 acres of glebe, in the gift of the Rev. L. Vernon Harcourt, M.A.,and Hon. Mrs. Vernon Harcourt, and held by the Rev. Caleb Collins, M.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge. There is a school for girls, principally supported by the Misses Payne. The Arun flows through the southern part, and the village is pleasantly situate on the rising ground. The area is 2,249 acres and the population in 1861 was 530. [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]
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