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Ropetackle – the last 300 years

– a collection of images from the galleries and collections of illustrating the changes to the area since the 18th century.

What a wonderfully eccentric place it was! Besides a fascinating ropemaking and shipbuilding past there were, in Victorian times, ancient buildings still standing, quaint cottages, wharf houses, a gas works and, spookily, a mortuary alongside an incinerator! In the Little High Street there were peculiarly shaped houses and strange, shop-like windows.

It was never a fashionable area, being part industrial and part residential where the poorer, labouring families largely dwelt. In 1817 William Butler’s poor grammar  described it as being “the lower ‘hend’ of town” and goes on to mention a ‘pour new’ shop where he had ‘connections’ with Sarah Fillaps. Something of a mystery and perhaps a pawn shop (a corruption of the French ‘for us’) or as William’s escapades suggest one of the numerous brothels in Shoreham port then?

During the early part of the 19th century Ropetackle included wharf houses, sheds, a brickyard, coal yard, a bonding pond, Thomas Clayton’s deal yard, his cement factory, stables, a mixture of 17th to 19th century houses and even a mill pond. By the Victorian era there was also a sewage plant and of course the gasworks, flint-built ware houses, incinerator and mortuary. It all added to a certain air of eeriness and mystery to the area.

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Excavations at Ship Street


In August 2015 ASL were sub-contracted to maintain a Watching Brief on land opposite 3 Ship Street Shoreham, by West Sussex Archaeology LTD. This took place over the course of nine days in September 2015 on the 7th – 11th and then a second week on 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 25th.

Remnants of domestic medieval pits were partially excavated containing burnt cereal grains, building material and pottery dating to the 13th – 14th century. A later phase was represented by the demolished remains of an 18th century building and cobbled yard which was replaced by a later 19th century house. A mid 19th century French bayonet was found rammed through the yard surface. In the mid 20th century the house was demolished and the area levelled to create a car park space.

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Loss of the Nave of St Mary de Haura


An Archaeological Reappraisal of the Loss of the Nave of the

Parish Church of St Mary de Haura, New Shoreham, Sussex

Giles Standing BA MPhil (Cantab)

This dissertation was originally submitted in partial fulfilment

of the requirements of the Degree of BA Archaeology

of the University of London in 2004

University College London

Institute of Archaeology

In this format © Giles Standing 2011


This study is concerned with the archaeology and history of the ruined Norman nave (c. 1130) of the Parish Church of St Mary de Haura, New Shoreham, in West Sussex. It is intended as an up-to-date reappraisal of the lost fabric of the church, through the utilization of a geophysical and structural survey, and the analysis of primary documentary and pictorial sources. It is not, however, a history of the church’s complex architectural development, for which reference to other works should be made. It is hoped that this study will advance a greater understanding of the ruined nave, not least through the consideration of its future presentation to the public. The results of this investigation have led to the conclusion that St Mary’s nave fell into disrepair around the mid-17th century, and that it was demolished and restructured in the early 18th century. Improved provision for visitors to the site has also been addressed, with the introduction of information panels being recommended by current visitors in a public archaeology questionnaire conducted as part of this study. Continue reading “Loss of the Nave of St Mary de Haura”

Excavations at Church Street


The entire block of houses numbered 13 to 23 in this area of Church Street were built in the1850’s by G.H.Hooper, a Shoreham property developer and descendant of the ancient Poole family of the town. Hooper had previously acquired and demolished the earlier building on the site that was believed to be 16th century. Anciently known as ‘Chantry House (before the later house of the same name in East Street) the southern half was used as the Customs House until the 1830’s. Continue reading “Excavations at Church Street”

Archaeological Excavations at Ropetackle

Simon Aquamanile


The Ropetackle site had been the subject of a long-running series of failed development plans, but following the entry of SEEDA (South East England Development Agency) into the process planning, permission was given for a mixed development at the site. Owing to the position of the site within the area of the well-documented Norman new town and busy medieval port, and hence the high potential for the survival of archaeological remains, a condition was attached to the planning permission requiring archaeological work in advance of any development. Hence an archaeological evaluation was carried out in October 2000. The excavation of trial trenches uncovered a number of medieval and post-medieval remains with associated assemblages of pottery, animal bone, building material, clay tobacco pipes and other artefacts. These results confirmed the significance of the site, and underlined the need for more archaeological work.

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