'As Mr Woods was occasionally walking over his fields, he met with a single plant of wheat growing in a hedge. This plant contained thirty fair ears, in which were found fourteen hundred corns. These, Mr. Woods planted the ensuing year, with the greatest attention, in a wheat field: the crop from these fourteen hundred corns produced eight pounds and a half of seed, which he planted the same year; and the produce amounted to forty-eight gallons: this he drilled, and it yielded fifteen quarters and a half, nine gallon measure. Having now raised a large quantity of seed, he partly drilled, and in part sowed, the last produce broad-cast, over rather more than fifty acres of land, and he gained 38'/2 loads.
Twenty loads of this quantity was sold for seed, at £15.15s. per load. The wheat, upon trial, was discovered to be so fine, that Mr. Woods had an immediate demand for a far greater quantity than he could spare for sale'.
It was said of the sample of Chidham wheat, 'it is white, of a very fine berry and remarkably long in the straw so as to stand full six feet in height'.
To put this into context, wheat varieties in the early 1800s yielded 15cwt or three quarters of a tonne an acre. Today, it is said, any self-respecting farmer would sneer at a yield of less than three tonnes an acre, while four or even five tonnes of modern varieties hardly raise an eyebrow.
The only house in Chidham to take a direct hit during the bombing of the second world war was the Vicarage. It was hit by an incendiary device that went through the roof, but fortunately was quickly dealt with by the volunteer fire service and the Home Guard.
Bomber crashes at Chidmere - Oct 8th 1940
A bomber crashed at Chidmere on its way to Thorney aerodrome. Three of the crew escaped with slight injuries. The plane burst into flames with a badly injured crewman still inside. Two local men risked their lives to get him out.
First recorded Vicar of Chidham
The first recorded Vicar of Chidham "Cheddeham" was Andrew Prous in 1261
The origin of Priors Leaze
Henry 1 (100 - 1151) seized the Honour of Arundel which included the Manor of Westbourne. On his death, his wife founded a small Priory near Arundel, and gave the Priory some land from the Manor of Westbourne. It became known as 'Prior's Lease'.
Land reclamation project fails
In 1815, the north part of the harbour between Chidham and Bosham was reclaimed for agriculture by the construction of an embankment across the Harbour. Chidham children used to walk across the embankment to attend Sunday School in Bosham. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it was washed away in a november storm in 1825, and the recovered land became oyster beds. Until 1930, carts were able to cross over to Bosham at low tide.
The area of Hambrook, was known as Hambrook Common, because it was an ancient common land. The part of Hambrook that was part of the parish of Chidham was enclosed in 1820. The land was used for mixed farming, orchards and market gardening.
Chidmere Pond – an important wildfowl habitat
In March 2005 the Chichester Harbour Trust took over the freehold of Chidmere Pond, Chidham. This 4.5 acre area of pond and reedbed was donated to the charity by Mr T Baxendale. The pond is leased for 999 years to the owners of nearby Chidmere House but a range of covenants in favour of the freeholder will allow the Trust to safeguard the unspoilt nature of this very beautiful area.
Christmas Sweet Shop
I was recently give a copy of ‘We remember’, a collection of articles by people who lived in the Chidham, Hambrook and Nutbourne villages ether side of the second World War. I am most grateful to Mrs Olga Baldwin for the gift, which I read this summer.
My children were delighted to know that a house they walk past every day on the way to school was formerly a sweet shop. Now like most older members of our community they too wish that not so many changes had occurred over recent years.
Christmas Cottage on the corner of Chidham Lane and The Main Road dates from the late 18 th Century, and was originally part of a larger complex including a malthouse, now the Village Hall, and granaries.
Previously known as Arches Cottage its name was changed in 1950 by Miss. E .B. Reid. It remains a mystery as to her reasons. (Ed. Coincidence that the Archers radio saga started in 1950?)
Bryan Cox in his fascinating memories contained in the book recalls the Sweet Shop being run by Lorna Hacket and her mother during his school days from 1932, and recalls such delights as liquorice bootlaces, sherbet dips, jars of aniseed balls and pear drops. Toffee had to be broken from large slabs with a metal hammer and Lemonade powder was sold by the bag.
Do any of these traditional sweet shops remain anywhere? My children would love to know; as I’m sure would many others still young at heart.
Many thanks Olga, for the memories and also to Mrs. Williams for kind permission to quote her article and photograph her home.
Millenium Photo Project - a snapshot of the people
The idea was to photograph every household in the parish and the residents of each household. If
possible, every houseowner was to be interviewed and details obtained about the people of Chidham. In the end the majority of the houses were photographed along with a large number of residents.
The photographs were mounted on pages and bound into a number of volumes each covering a specific
part of the civil parish. The notes with each photograph vary, depending upon the willingness of residents to supply personal details. In some areas very detailed information is given, such as how long they have lived in the parish, where they were born, their occupations etc. In other cases only names are given. Once completed, the Photobook(s) were given to the parish council.
Mike Penny (PC Chairman) was the holder of the documents. The team who compiled the Photobook were Jane Young, Mike Bulpett and Steve Tanner.
Stuka Divebomber shot down and crashed in Chidham
Back in 1940, a Stuka divebomber, one of 17 on a bombing raid, was shot down and crashed in Chidham, coming down on a field that was part of Middleton Farm, then owned by Mr Oscar Bailey.
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