Rustington has been occupied continuously from the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Medieval periods up to the present day, and is even mentioned in the Doomsday Book when it was part of land given to Roger de Montgomery following the Norman conquest, he became Lord of the Manor.
Rustington remained a small agricultural community throughout this time under successive Lords, but things started to change with the mechanisation of farming and the railway station at Angmering opening in 1846. Finally with the death of the last Lord of the Manor in 1868, the land was divided up and sold.
Many 17th and 18th Century flint cottages are reminders of the history before the industrial revolution started to change things.
The first Village shop opened around 1850 this and the New Vicar, Reverend Henry Rush arranged the building of the first National church school in 1859, as there was no proper school and increasing population.
Building and development saw several brickyards open, Nurseries gradually replaced farmland and employed many people.
Earlier in the 18th Century there were 2 public houses in the village, The Lamb Inn and the New Inn on station road, opposite Pigeon House Lane. The New inn was the meeting place for the smuggling band ‘The Ragman Tots” so called as they used rags to disguise the noise of the wheels on the carts on their approach.
Then the Windmill Inn was built in 1839 and latterly the Fletchers Arms opened next to Angmering Station in 1934. The Lamb Inn and the Windmill have subsequently been completely rebuilt.
Many famous people made their home or spent time here in Rustington. Sir Hubert Parry of “Jerusalem” fame had his House Knightscroft built in the village and lived there for 40 years. Teddy Brown, the famous xylophonist also lived here as well as the artist Graham Sutherland, during his formative years. Finally the author and playwright J M Barry stayed annually with the Du Maurier and Davies families at Cudlow House. Blue plaques are dotted about the village remind us of these properties.
The 1960 saw many changes in the shape and look of the Village with development meaning the demolishing of some significant large properties such as the Lido, The Marigolds Hotel and 3 large houses houses where today The Street and Churchill Parade shops stand. Housing developments such as Mallon Dene, Sussex Park Estate, Dingley Road, Chanctonbury Road, and more recently the Limes.
One thing has not changed, and that is that Rustington is a popular seaside retreat for many people seeking quiet away from our major cities, and that and that the roots of this farming village still has its own community at its heart.
Mary Taylor BEM is Rustington’s official historian and she kindly agreed that we could use her works and words to form this part of the Rustington Village website, Mary has written many books on the area and can often be found working in the village museum as volunteer. Mary’s knowledge is extensive and would happily spend many hours talking about Rustington and its rich history.
You can find out more on Rustington’s rich and varied past by visiting the Village Museum. The Museum works with local many groups and schools and continues to bring new exhibitions on the history of Rustington and the surrounding area.