1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Shoreham

SHOREHAM, a seaport in the Lewes parliamentary division of Sussex, England, near the mouth of the river Adur, 6 m. W. of Brighton on the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. of urban district of New Shoreham (1901), 3837. The town is sometimes known as New Shoreham, in distinction from the village of Old Shoreham, a mile up the river, which was the former port. The church of St Mary the Virgin lacks almost the entire nave, but the remainder shows fine work ranging from Norman to Early English. Of no less interest is the church of St Nicholas, Old Shoreham, a cruciform Norman structure retaining some remarkable early woodwork. There are public gardens containing a museum and theatre. The trade of the small port is chiefly in coal, corn and timber. Shipbuilding is also carried on. The important public boys’ school of St Nicholas, Lancing, near Shoreham, is part of a wide scheme which within Sussex includes the middle-class school at Hurstpierpoint, that for sons of tradesmen, &c., at St Saviour’s, Ardingly, and the girls school of St Michael’s, Bognor. The scheme was originated by the Rev. N. Woodward in 1849.

It seems probable that soon after the Conquest the increasing prosperity of New Shoreham (Soresham, Sorham, Schorham) resulted in the decay of Old Shoreham, and that the borough grew up within the former. Shoreham owed its early importance to the natural harbour formed by the river Adur. In the time of the Confessor it was held by Azor of the king, but in 1066 was among the lands granted to William de Braose. From here Charles II. escaped to Fécamp after the battle of Worcester, 1651. It became a port of great consequence in the 13th and 14th centuries, but in the 15th and following centuries was much reduced, doubtless owing to the encroachment of the sea. The port revived during the reign of George III., when acts were passed for securing and improving the harbour. Shoreham was called a borough in 1236. In 1308 there was a mayor, and the “mayor and bailiffs of Shoreham” are mentioned in a Close Roll of 1346, but no charter of incorporation is known. The town adopted the Local Government Act of 1858 in 1866. It returned two members to parliament from 1295 until it was disfranchised in 1885. In the reign of Edward I., William de Braose held at Shoreham by prescriptive right weekly markets on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a two-days’ fair at the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In 1792 the market-day was Saturday and a fair was held on the 25th of July, but these are not now held. Shipbuilding has always been the chief industry, and was largely carried on in the 13th and 14th centuries.