Ovingdean's Domesday Manor

Held by Godfrey de Pierpoint

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

a) HISTORY: Ovingdean, the 'valley of Ofa's people', is a small village in a narrow valley 2.5 miles to the east of Brighton, and just under a mile from the sea. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor was held by Godfrey de Pierpoint from William de Warrenne; the settlement had a small church and a population of between fifty and a hundred. Little seems to have disturbed the peaceful village since, although it may have been attacked by the French raiders who terrorised Rottingdean in 1377. It is connected with one historic event though, but only fictitiously. In 1857 novelist Harrison Ainsworth wrote Ovingdean Grange; a Tale of the South Downs in which he described how the fleeing King Charles II stayed overnight before escaping to France in 1651. In reality the King stayed at the George Inn in West Street , Brighton, and did not visit the village at all. {1,47,289}

Most of the western part of the parish, the East Brighton estate of 1,065 acres including the Whitehawk area, was purchased by Brighton Corporation in September 1913 for £34,100, and the whole of the parish, formerly part of the Newhaven Union and Rural District, was annexed by Brighton on 1 April 1928. Ovingdean parish had an area of 1,630 acres, stretching from Whitehawk Road to High Hill (between Rottingdean and Balsdean), and from Warren Road to Roedean Road, separated from the sea by a narrow strip of Rottingdean parish.

By 1911 the population had grown to 248, but modern development started in the 1920s on the Long Hill ridge and continued in the '30s at Whitehawk , Roedean and in the New Barn area. By 1981 the population of the Ovingdean village district alone had risen to about 1,000. The village itself has been largely untouched by development and has been designated a conservation area, including the extensive grounds of Ovingdean Hall . {1,83,109,277,305}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Photo:Ovingdean village as seen from Cattle Hill

Ovingdean village as seen from Cattle Hill

Photo by Tony Mould

This page was added on 11/09/2007.

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