Place:Clapham, Sussex, England

Coordinates50.846°N 0.447°W
Located inSussex, England
Also located inWest Sussex, England     (1865 - )
See alsoBramber Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Brightford Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
East Preston Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1933
Worthing Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district 1933-1974
Arun District, West Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog

Do not confuse this thinly populated parish in the western part of Sussex with Clapham which was in Surrey, but is now a neighbourhood of south London known for its railway junction and its interesting 19th century architecture.

Clapham is a rural village and civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England. It lies on varying downslopes and escarpment of the South Downs National Park three miles (5 km) north of Angmering on the A280 road and north of the A27 crossroads. It is adjacent to the parish of Patching.

Clapham covers an area of 5.15 km2 (1.99 sq mi). In the UK census of 2011 the parish had a population of 275.

Clapham is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is spelled Clopeham. The woods around the area made it an ideal location for the gathering of wood for timber and firewood, and led to the first Saxon settlements in the area. The Clapham Common Brick & Tile Company which was founded in the early 20th century and continued in operation up until the 1970s, was the climax of brickmaking in the parish. Sufficient clay available locally had led to brickmaking activity on the site since the 18th century.

For many years much of the land around Clapham was owned by the Dukes of Norfolk and subsequently, after a land exchange, by the family of the Dukes and Earls of Somerset, although by the early 20th century most of the land owned by the family had been sold off or donated to the village. There is now one major farm in Clapham, which for many decades was operated by the tenant farmers, the Cornford family; it is now run as part of the Somerset estate.

Research Tips

  • The West Sussex Record Office is located in Chichester. Because it holds the records of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, which covers the whole of Sussex, it has church records relating to both parts of Sussex.
  • An on-line catalogue for some of the collections held by the West Sussex Record Office is available under the Access to Archives (A2A) project (a nationwide facility housed at The National Archives, Kew).
  • West Sussex Past - database of 2 million records from West Sussex heritage organizations.
  • The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies' Sussex Collection (PDF). This is a 9-page PDF naming the files relating to Sussex in their collection-a possible first step in a course of research.
  • The National Library of Scotland has a website which provides maps taken from the Ordnance Survey England & Wales One-Inch to the Mile series of 1892-1908 as well as equivalent maps for Scotland itself. The immediate presentation is a "help" screen and a place selection screen prompting the entry of a location down to town, village or parish level. These screens can be removed by a click of the "X". The map is very clear and shows parish and county boundaries and many large buildings and estates that existed at the turn of the 20th century. Magnification can be adjusted and an "overlay feature" allows inspection of the area today along with that of 1900. The specific map from the series can be viewed as a whole ("View this map") and this allows the inspection of the map legend (found in the left hand bottom corner. Becoming familiar with the various facilities of these maps is well worth the trouble.
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