A picturesque small rural town
Steyning was once one of the most important places in the county of Sussex. Though now about five miles from the coast, at one time it was a prosperous port with a market and a mint.
The small town has a large number of historic buildings, including many from the medieval and Tudor period. Amongst them is the Old Grammar School, founded in 1614 by William Holland, and occupying a set of 15th-century buildings.
Steyning Museum, on picturesque Church Street, houses exhibits telling the story of the long history of the town and the area. Open all year with free admission.
Eating out and Shopping in Steyning
A great advantage of staying at Rosebud Cottage is that you will find places in the High Street within a 5 minute walk from where you can eat out as well as many independently run shops.
Cafes, Restaurants and Pubs
The most popular cafe is probably the Steyning Tea Rooms. Go there on a Wednesday afternoon and buy a scone and you will get a free tea or coffee.
The White Horse Pub and Mamma Mia Restaurant are open every night. Other restaurants are open during the day and evenings at the weekend.
I recommend Chez Joel and the Sussex Produce Cafe (seen in my photo below) Sussex Produce Cafe
Pubs in the High Street all serve food. They all have lovely real fires in the winter. Do call in!
There’s a supermarket, fishmonger and butchers – whilst the Sussex Produce Company stocks some excellent ready meals! You can shop for food seven days a week and until late in the evening.
Independently Run Shops
I particularly enjoy going to the Steyning Bookshop and Bunce’s Home Hardware shop. I also recommend wandering around Cobblestone Walk – a unique shopping arcade with 25 units based around a 16th century tea house.
Steyning already existed when, according to the legend, St. Cuthman founded a church there, perhaps in the late 8th or early 9th century. His legend states that he was a shepherd who had to care for his paralysed mother after his father’s death. When they fell on hard times and were forced to beg from door to door, he built a one-wheeled cart or wheelbarrow in which he moved her around with him. When the rope attached to the cart broke he accepted it as a sign from God to stop at that place and build a church. Several of the signs that you see on entering Steyning bear his image.
After the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066 the Normans rebuilt St Cuthman’s church and created Bramber Castle. This was founded by William de Braose as a defensive and administrative centre. It was held almost continually by de Braose and his descendants from its foundation by 1073 until 1450. However there was an ongoing power struggle for control of the local area between William de Braose and the monks of Fecamp Abbey in Normandy.
Mid to Late Medieval (1300-1500)
In the 14th century, the River Adur began to silt up and the town’s use as a port became difficult leading to a loss of trade and population.
The monks of Fécamp Abbey re-dedicated the church of St Cuthman to St Andrew in the 13th century.
Steyning began returning two members of parliament from 1278 but subsequently became a ‘rotten borough’ as the population decreased.