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West Dean

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WEST DEAN, (near Chichester) is a large parish, in the Western division of the county, Westbourne hundred and union, Chichester rape, county court district, diocese and archdeaconry, and rural deanery of Boxgrove. The manor of West Dean, at the Domesday Survey, formed part of Silletone, now called Singleton: it became a part of the possessions of the Earl of Montgomery, and continued with the Earls of Arundel until the reign of Queen Elizabeth: it was sold in 1589 by Lord Lumley to John Lewknor, Esq., serjeant-at-law: in his family it remained until 1706, when it passed to Miss E. W. Knight, from thence to Lord Selsey, and is now the property of the Hon. Mrs. Leveson Vernon Harcourt. The village is situated at the base of the Downs, about 5 miles north-east from Chichester, and 6½ south-east from Midhurst. The river Lavant intersects the parish, passing close to the village, through West Dean Park. The ancient manor house was built in the reign of James I. by John Lewknor, Esq., and was the family seat of his descendants: the present mansion was built about the year 1804 by John, Lord Selsey; it is built of squared flints, and has a front of 300 feet, and stands in an extensive and well-wooded park; it is now the residence of B. S. Bovill, Esq. The church of St. Andrew has not a single point of architectural beauty, but is substantial and well kept: it consists of a chancel, nave and transepts, with a tower at the west end, and contains some rich monuments to the Lewknor and Selsey families. The registers commence in 1554. The living is a vicarage, value £166 by commutation, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Chichester, and held by the Rev. Charles Henry Hutchinson, M.A., of Exeter College. Oxford. A Free school for boys and girls was built, and is supported by the Rev. L. and Hon. Mrs. Vernon Harcourt. Area, 2,290 acres of arable, pasture, and wood land; the population in 1861 was 681.
CHILGROVE is a tithing belonging to this parish, a mile and a half north-west.
Binderton is sometimes considered as a tithing of West Dean, but is a distinct chapelry, and is separately assessed in all parochial rates and taxes. It anciently belonged to the Cistercian nuns of Tarrent, in Dorsetshire, but afterwards became the property of Lord Lumley: the family of Smyth became seised of it, and subsequently, by exchange, it became the property of Sir James Peachy, Bart., and is inherited by the Hon. Mrs. Leveson Vernon Harcourt. The present mansion is occupied by the Rev. H. W. R. Luttman-Johnson. The area is 1,790 acres, and the population is 96. [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]



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