Tag Archives: singleton

A pub sign with a difference

7 Jul

Pubs have long been used as landmarks for navigation, they are helpful because they are quite easily recognised (most of them have a sign hanging outside) and it helps that many of them are built at road junctions.

The sign shown below at Singleton, West Sussex is unusual, possibly unique (if you know of a similar example then let me know), normally a fingerpost like this would be pointing the way to neighbouring villages, not nearby pubs.

Pub sign with a difference

I don’t know who is responsible for the sign, it appears to be in someone’s garden. I can’t imagine that the highways department of West Sussex County Council were responsible, but whoever is responsible it is a great idea.

According to the British Beer & Pub Association, almost 40 pubs a week are closing across Britain (or they were in the second half of last year), with two a week closing in the south of England. Clearly Singleton is in a very favoured location, with six pubs within a four mile radius.

What to call Singleton Church?

18 Jun

After walking part of the South Downs Way on Wednesday I took the bus to Singleton, West Sussex, just to have a quick look around the village and especially the parish church, which is really the only place that I knew for certain had a connection with my BOXALL ancestors.

Singleton parish church

A notice on the door proclaimed the church to be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it wasn’t until I was on the way home that I thought something was quite right with that.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered seeing a postcard which had referred to it as being dedicated to the St John the Evangelist, now I was confused. It is not unheard of for postcard publishers to get their captions wrong on postcards, but I am sure it wasn’t just on one postcard that I had seen that name, had I imagined it?

I went online in search of an answer, to the catalogues of the West Sussex Record Office on Access to Archives, and soon found the answer among the catalogue of records for the parish of Singleton:

Administrative history:

Surviving medieval sources indicate, but do not prove absolutely, that Singleton church was originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The dedication appears to have been lost after the Reformation, and the church was simply referred to as the parish church. A misreading by C. Gibbon in ‘Dedications of Churches and Chapels in West Sussex’ (SAC vol. 12, 1860) of money bequeathed to Sir John of Singleton as money bequeathed to St. John of Singleton, led to the belief for the next century that the church was dedicated to St. John the Evangelist. When the error was discovered, the church was rededicated in March 1979, and is now the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Singleton. (See SAC vol. 118, p.385-387)

So it seems that I hadn’t imagined the wrong name, it had once been dedicated to St John the Evangelist, mistakenly as it turned out, and then in 1979 it reverted back to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The postcard would almost certainly have been published in the early 1900s when it was known as St John the Evangelist. It also seems that for a period it didn’t have a dedication at all.

This raises questions for my research and I certainly need to be careful how I refer to the church in my research. Would my ancestors have known it as St John the Evangelist? or just the parish church? What do the actual parish registers record as the dedication? I sure know how to make things more complicated for myself.

Interior of Singleton parish church

Happy Sussex Day 2010!

16 Jun

The 16th June is Sussex Day, a day to celebrate the county of Sussex, England (technically that should be East Sussex and West Sussex, but lets not argue). Like last year I decided to celebrate the day by walking around Sussex, and so I could kill two birds with one stone I decided to walk the next section of the South Downs Way (from Amberley to Cocking).

After finishing on the South Downs Way I had chance to spend a couple of hours in nearby Singleton and West Dean, both ancestral villages which I felt I really ought to get to know better. I didn’t really have long in either place, but it was a start.

Over the next couple of days I will be posting some details and some photos, from both the South Downs Way and the two villages.

Like last year the weather was absolutely beautiful, it began quite cloudy and with a strong wind, but that soon cleared and the sun did it’s best to help Sussex celebrate in style. The only slight disappointment was my pedometer deciding to pack up (battery trouble I think) so I am not sure what the total mileage was. The South Downs Way was supposed to be 12 miles and I probably added another 3 miles at Singleton and West Dean.

Now I will leave you with a photo of the trig point on Heyshott Down, with a fantastic view to the north (although a little hazy), whilst I try and work out the revised rules for the free access to findmypast.co.uk on the next England match day!

Heyshott Down trig point

TARGETT scandal in Singleton

24 Sep

Having left the WRENs behind for now, I moved over to West Sussex to have a quick look at the parents of my 2x great grandmother Caroline TARGETT who married James BOXALL at West Dean, Sussex in April 1876.

Caroline appears to have been an only child, her birth was registered in Q4 1856 in the Westhampnett Registration District and she was baptised at Singleton, Sussex on the 11th January 1857. Both the baptism and the birth registration give her name as Emily Caroline TARGETT although all subsequent records have her as Caroline.

Her parents were William TARGETT and Ruth HILTON, who were married in Q3 1856 in the Chichester Registration District. The International Genealogical Index says that it was in the parish of Heyshott, but I still need to order the marriage certificate because it doesn’t give the father’s names on the IGI.

I think I have found William’s parents, he was probably the son of William and Charlotte TARGETT and was baptised in Singleton on the 1st November 1818. Ruth’s parents are not obvious, so I really need to get a copy of the marriage certificate (or find the parish register) before I can go any further back on her side.

Observant readers will have noticed the very short gap between her parent’s marriage and the baptism of Caroline, but this is not the most interesting bit of scandal here. The 1861, 1871 and 1881 census all point to the fact that Ruth was about twenty years younger than William. I know it is a bit of cliché, but I am going to say it anyway, William was old enough to be her father.

I expect I will never know for certain what the circumstances were that brought these two individuals together, although I think the birth of Caroline so soon after their marriage is a pretty good indicator. I would like to say that it was a case of true love bridging the age gap, but more than likely it was a case of William doing the decent thing and marrying the young women he had got pregnant.

This is certainly another story that warrants further investigation, aside from just finding out who Ruth’s parents were. Still at least this pair of 3x great grandparents got married and they left me some evidence to follow up, unlike some others I could mention.

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