Religious Problems in Arundel
A Minster existed in Arundel in 1086 and must have been founded before the conquest. A dean of Arundel was mentioned in 1087 and in 1150 the Minster was taken over by Sées Abbey, Orne, France, from which Arundel became a Priory. At that time there were ten prebends and an endowed vicarage was created. The Priory was in a state of abandon in 1379 and it was suppressed the following and replaced by a College of secular cannons that was dissolved in 1544.
Before 1538 most of the population in England had no real choice and was Roman Catholic. In these conditions it can be said that there was no general religious problems in England and, as a consequence, in Arundel. There were, of course, some dissidents but their number was small and their influence even smaller. We did not deal with their problem here as it is not the object of this research.
After 1538 and the Reformation the Roman Catholic religion was, to all effect, banned in England. The Anglican Church was imposed as the State Church and the people were forced to join it. Baptism of all the children in the Anglican Church became mandatory. Refusing to conform lead to some kind of punishment and discrimination. However there were still many people who were feeling that they belonged to the old Roman Catholic Church and others who preferred another Reformed Church. The Anglican found themselves in the same position as the Roman Catholics before in the sense that they had no religious problem in general. The remaining Roman Catholics and the members of the other Reformed churches were now in the minority but their number was far from negligible. It is these people who experienced religious problems. This chapter will describe the experience of these dissenting people in Arundel.
A schoolmaster known to have celebrated mass without licence in 1574 may have been a Nonconformist. There were a few dissenting groups in Arundel in the 17th century among them about 50 Presbyterians in 1676. In the 1680s the Dissidents were able to put candidates in the parliamentary elections. Dissent declined in the 18th century to grow again in the 19th.
Until the middle of the 16th century Arundel, like all Britain, was Roman Catholic. Roger de Montgomery, the first Earl of Arundel, founded a Priory in 1102. It was transformed in a College of secular Cannons dedicated to the Holy Trinity in 1380 by Richard Fitzalan, the 14th Earl of Arundel. The Fitzalan Chapel was part of it. King Henry VIII suppressed the College in 1544 but its buildings and endowments were bought back by Henry Fitzalan, the 22d Earl of Arundel. The Catholic Arundel mission was not maintained between the 16th and 19th century. There is also no proof of the presence of any Catholic priest during two centuries. The Earls of Arundel stayed very rarely in their castle that was partially destroyed during the siege of 1644 by the Parliamentary troops during the Civil War.
After Henry VIII suppressed all the Catholic religious activities and seized the properties of the Catholic Church, Roman Catholics seemed to disappear from Arundel as anywhere in Britain. Only a few people dare to say that they were Roman Catholics, since this admission led them to be persecuted by the new State Church. However, about 1600s Arundel served as a port for priests travelling between England and the Continent. A large number of Catholics in Arundel admitted publicly their faith only after the middle of the 18th century when the Dukes of Norfolk moved back to their castle here, and protected the congregation.
After 1546 the Earls of Arundel and Dukes of Norfolk were not always Catholics, as most people believe. Thomas Howard, the 24th Earl of Arundel, admitted publicly in 1615 that he was a Protestant. Henry Howard, the 7th Duke, and Charles, the 11th Duke did the same. Henry Charles, the 13th Duke, seceded in 1851, but he rejoined the Catholic Church on his deathbed. The 9th Duke, Edward, was the first to be known as the lay leader of the English Catholics. The 15th and 16th Dukes, Henry and Bernard took this role more seriously. The 14th and 15th Dukes (Henry Grandville and Henry) promoted the Catholic character of Arundel. As a result many employees of the castle converted to Catholicism, most of them for personal benefit. It is believed that 730 Catholics lived in the Catholic parish of Arundel in 1973.
In 1720 Thomas, the 8th Duke of Norfolk repaired partially the Fitzalan Chapel. During a Visitation by Bishop Challoner in 1741, 41 Catholics were found in Arundel protected by Edward, the 9th Duke of Norfolk. Charles, the 11th Duke, started the rebuilding of the castle at the end of the 18th century but most of it was demolished a century later by Henry Fitzalan, the 15th Duke who rebuilt the castle as we can see it today. In 1858 when Rev. John Butt arrived to be the Duke’s Chaplain there were about 50 Catholics in Arundel. When he left to become the Bishop of Southwark in 1885, the Catholics were many hundreds.
Edward, the 9th Duke, was apparently the first to be considered as the leader of lay Catholics in Britain. This leadership was taken in a more active way by Henry Granville, the 14th Duke, and, above all by his son Henry, the 15th Duke, and their successors. In the 1790s the Catholic Mission was funded totally by the Dukes of Norfolk but, later on, they had other sources of income. The Catholic priests lived in the castle until the end of the 18th century but, from 1797, they had lodging in the restored Old College buildings next to the chapel.
The number of known Catholics in Arundel in the last centuries was recorded as follow:
1676 1724 1741 1747 1767 1781 1829 1851 1883 1912 1973
4 15/20 41 4 87 70 78 70 400/600 600 750
In the 1790s it was assumed that the poor inhabitants of Arundel were the Catholics. By 1865 the number of Catholics exceeded the number of Protestants. In 1884 it was said that there was strong pressure on the Protestants to convert to Roman Catholicism in order to get a job at the castle, the main local employer. It is true that many found that it was financially convenient to convert as this put them under the protection of the Duke. These privileges lapsed after 1917, and the number of Catholics in Arundel decreased.
With the return of the Dukes to Arundel in the middle of the 18th century, the Catholic presence in Arundel increased again. The 11th Duke built a chapel in the Old College at the end of the 18th century for the use of his family and by the public. It remained in use until 1873. Initially mass was only said on Sundays and Holy Days. From 1748 the Duke appointed his own Chaplains who gave mass in the chapel. Rev. Philip Wyndham was chaplain at this time. In 1859 the 14th Duke, Henry Granville, built a chapel in the castle itself. His son, Henry Fitzalan, the 15th Duke, built the church of St Philip Neri -now the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Philip- and the Catholics had regained their high status in Arundel.
The known Dukes’ chaplains are:
- – Rev. Charles Cordell, 1748/1755.
- – Rev. Joseph Addis, 1772/1778.
- – Mr Fishwick, 1780/1782.
- – Rev. Philip Wyndham, 1785/1825
- – Rev. Mark Aloysius Tierney, a historian, 1825/1858.
- – Rev. John Butt, 1858/1873.
The Rectors of the Church of St. Philip Neri were:
- – Rev. John Butt, 1873/1885.
- – Rev. John Burke, 1885/1898.
- – Rev. Archibald Noel Locke MacCall, 1898/1926.
- – Rev. John Cuddon, 1927/1937.
- – Rev. Stanley Monnington, 1937/1938.
- – Rev. Arthur Dudley, 1939/1945.
- – Rev. Edward Browne, 1945/1956.
- – Rev. David Cashman, 1956/1958.
- – Rev. John Jeffries, !958/1965.
Administrators of the Cathedral of Our Lady and St. Philip:
- – Rev. John Jeffries, 1965/1966.
- – Christopher Aston, 1966/1972.
- – John Grant, 1972/…
The non-conformists or Dissenters
It is not true that Arundel was a Catholic-only town in the past. For instance in 1653, the mayor, John Pellet, was a non-conformist. He dismissed the town Burgesses who did not meet his puritan standards. In 1574 the schoolmaster who hold a service in the church without licence was also, probably, a non-conformist. Several dissenting groups are known to have existed in Arundel in the 17th century. In 1676 there were about 50 Dissenters, mostly Presbyterians, and in 1680 they presented candidates for the parliamentary elections. Dissenters decreased in the 18th century, but they increased again around the 1900s.
The Mayor and Burgesses as well as the Presbyterian Vicar at the Parish Church, John Goldwire, were all non-conformists, and refused to abjure by oath the “Solemn League and Covenant”. They were soon dismissed from office. A kind of census requested by the Anglican Church showed that there were 40 Presbyterians, a not-quantified number of Quakers, and a few Anabaptists in Arundel in 1669. In 1676 there were 346 Conformists, 4 Papists and 50 non-Conformists.
Following the “Act of Indulgence” one person applied for a licence in Arundel. It was Samuel Murner, a Congregationalist, who wanted to preach in the homes of Thomas Waterfield and Henry Wolgar. Very little came out of these regulations except that a certain number of Presbyterians, a few papists and Anabaptists, and an unknown number of Quakers worshipped in Arundel. As the Quakers refused to register their meeting places, this decision deprives us of the certain knowledge of their strength. Bishop Bowers Visitation Book of 1724 tells us that there were 188 families in Arundel at that time of which 4 were Papists, 13 Presbyterians or Independents, and one Anabaptist. We know that the Quakers met in their Arun Street/Tarrant Street Meetinghouse, but little is known for the others. However it is known that the Presbyterian Congregation met in Mr Caleb Fishweeke’s house in 1712 with Mr Benjamin Keene as Minister and the ninety Independents met in the “Old Brewhouse in 1716 with the same Minister. At that time the terms Presbyterian and Independent were assumed to describe the same groups of people. In 1720 their Minister was Mr John Boucher. However after 1716 the number of Presbyterians decreased sharply in Arundel.
Some documents show that in 1814, 1817 and 1835 the Protestant Dissenters had registered some Arundel houses for worship.
Presbyterians and Independents
There were Presbyterians in Arundel in 1655, including the Mayor. The congregation had about 40 members in 1669, and 50 in 1676. Around that time both the Presbyterians and the Independents had their own licensed ministers. The two groups appear to have merged at the beginning of the 18th century. The congregation had about 90 members in 1717, and there were 13 Presbyterian or Independent families in the parish in 1724.
A renewed congregation of Independent, later Congregationalist, existed in 1780 and they built a house in Tarrant Street in 1784. Sometime they had a resident minister at the end of the 18th century. They founded a Sunday school in 1810 and by 1829 they had 150 members. They built a new chapel between 1836 and 1838 and named it Trinity Chapel (now known as Niveneh House). This church was very active until 1966 when the congregation merged with the Baptists to form Arundel Union Church. However they split in 1973 and services continued at Trinity Chapel until 1981. It was sold in 1986 and became an antiques market.
The Quakers or the Sect of Friends
The true nonconformists in Arundel in the 1650s were the Quakers, the followers of John Fox. However their doctrine and poor behaviour made them unpopular, and justified the intolerance towards them shown by the civil and religious authorities of the time. They were known for interrupting church services, they refused to pay tithes to the clergy, to remove their hats before a magistrate, and to refuse to swear an oath.
The first reference of the presence of the Sect of Friends, as they were also known, in Arundel is to be found in a Register of Marriages, Births, Death and Burials dating from 1650 kept by John Martin. By 1655 the Quakers of Arundel and surroundings met regularly at Nicholas Rickman’s house. The town was led by Presbyterians who persecuted the Quakers, and the corporation wanted to get rid of them because their community was growing. In 1655 they arrested Joseph Fuce who was conducting a Meeting at Rickman’s home, they charged him with vagrancy although his own home was only a few miles away, and he was condemned to be exiled to Jamaica. In 1656 Thomas Lawcock was also arrested by Presbyterians while preaching in Rickman’s home, and sent by the mayor to the House of Correction as a vagrant. He was finally given the choice to work free for the Mayor or to be sent back from parish to parish to his birthplace in Yorkshire. Other Quakers were sent to Horsham Goal, including Rickman, sometime for refusing to swear the oath at the County Sessions. Persecution continued after the restoration and quite a few Arundel Quakers were imprisoned in 1662/64. A Quaker burial in Tarrant Street was recorded in 1661.
They could also be generous. For instance, in 1675 a new adherent, Edward Hamper, leased for 1,000 years to the Society of Friends a malthouse, stable, millhouse, orchard and garden situated in Tarrant Street. The annual rent was £8 for the use of the property as a Meeting Place and a refuge for the poor of Arundel. Part of the property was also to be used as a burial ground (such a ground already existed in 1661 in a garden also in Tarrant Street).
In 1724 there were four Quaker families in Arundel, one of them was probably the Hornes, known to be in Arundel from 1733 to 1817. The congregation declined in the late 18th century but there were still 11 Quakers in Arundel in 1801. The meetinghouse was still there in 1818 but it was unused for meeting in 1841 and the congregation ceased to exist in 1847. The building was first let, then demolished in 1867 and replaced by a Baptist chapel. The burial ground, now a garden in the beginning of the 20th century, and the Baptist chapel still belonged to the Quakers in 1922. Even in 1967 the Quakers still owned at least four properties in Arun and Tarrant Streets.
NB: one of the main differences between the Quakers and the Baptists is that the former has no sacrament whereas the latter have.
The Baptists are Christians who find salvation, forgiveness, joy and peace in Jesus Christ. They live by the Bible seen as the inspired Word of God and their supreme authority in all matter of belief, doctrine and behaviour. They consider that Baptism is only for believers, which means that they only baptise consenting adults and not young children. They are an autonomous society of believers with Christ as head of the Church. Membership of the Baptist congregation is reserved to those who have professed their repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ by baptism. Baptists acknowledge the New Testament ministries of Elder and Deacons. New Elders are appointed on the recommendation of the Pastor and other Elders, and the Congregation must approve the proposal. The Pastor is an Elder and he is regarded among them as first among equal. The Deacons manage and administer the church affairs and help the Elders. New Deacons are chosen by the Elders and Deacons and approved by the Congregation.
The first clear mention of the presence of a few Baptists in Arundel dates from 1669. They had two ministers, probably Robert Fish and William Wilson. One family was mentioned in 1724 but then we have to wait until the mid-19th century to see some more activities. The first Baptist Chapel was erected in 1845 near the Almshouse in Park Place and was known as Providence Chapel. The congregation, including people from other villages, was estimated between 60 and 100 in 1851. Sunday school was attended by 30 children. In 1868 the congregation moved to a new chapel in Arun Street, built on the site of the Quaker meetinghouse. This chapel, which could seat 150 people, was used from that date up to 1967 when it was closed. Most of the time the ministers came from Worthing. In 1966 the Baptists amalgamated with the Congregationalists. When the United Reformed Church was created in 1973, a group of people refused to join and recreated the Arundel Baptist church, at first together with Angmering Baptist church. A new Baptist church seating 80 was constructed on Tortington Hill Road in 1980. In 1986/87 there were about 35 members (37 in 2000) and a resident minister, Mr Philip Tout was appointed. Strange enough, even today the Baptists have to register their churches with the competent authority.
The founder of this movement, John Smith, went to Holland where he founded the first English Baptist Church. Some of his followers came back in 1612 and founded a Baptist Church in the City. John Sicklemore, Rector of Singleton, introduced the Baptist faith in Sussex. After resigning from his Church in 1648 he devoted his life to preaching in Sussex and Hampshire. The best-known Baptist of that time was John Bunyan who spent 12 years of his life in Bedford Gaol for his beliefs.
NB: The Baptist pastor is also chosen by the congregation on a short list proposed by the area chief pastor or superintendent.
In 1736 a travelling preacher, George Whitefield converted to his cause Selina, Countess of Huntingdon. Both were initially Anglican. Selina formed a “Connection” that sent Calvinist preachers to tell the good news of the Gospel. They came to Arundel where the people who heard them were impressed. In 1767, another preacher, Mr. Glascott having heard John Wesley preaching, turned itinerant preacher and also came to Arundel. At the same time many Anglicans did not like the preaching at the parish church and went to listen in great number in High Street to these itinerant evangelical preachers. Premises were soon registered with the authorities, the first one being the Malt House in Tarrant Street registered in 1767. In 1780 this group registered the house next door to the malt House with John Hey as their Pastor. One member, Mr Finch, gave the money for a purpose-built chapel that was registered and opened in 1784. These people were known as Congregationalists but they remained close to the doctrine of the Church of England. In 1838 a new chapel, known as Trinity Chapel of the National Episcopal Church, was erected in Tarrant Street on the site of the old Nineveh House with Orlando Thomas Dobbins the Minister. By 1986 Trinity Chapel had been sold and was empty.
NB: The name “Congregationalist” comes from the fact that this church is run by each local congregation with little or no central organisation.
Following the death of John Wesley in 1791 the Methodist movement was not very popular in the South of England. The Lewes and Brighton Methodist Mission was the first to be implanted in Sussex. Its Home Missionaries came to Arundel in 1806 where they set a Meeting Place. The Room, or Warehouse (formerly a Brewhouse), of Mr George Puttock, the Elder, in Tarrant Street, was registered on 21/2/1807 for the worship of Arminian Methodists (Wesleyan) with William Constable as their Minister. Circuit Ministers came to serve Arundel: Mr Ambrose Freeman up to the 1830’s and then Mr. Edward Parsons. Apparently they did not build their own chapel although the Tithe Map of 1843 shows that the Methodist Society owned two parcels of land in Tarrant Street (known as the Old Chapel and the New Chapel and yard). In this same street the Society of Quakers owned three houses and garden, as well as a Burial Ground. The Methodists could no go any further than house meetings, and they leased their land to the Congregationalists. The Methodists presence in Arundel can be traced in Melville’s Directory until 1858, but they are not mentioned in Kelly’s Directory of 1862.
There was a Primitive Methodist chapel in park Place between 1862 and 1874 with various ministers.
There were also some other nonconformist churches in Arundel the 18th and 19th centuries but their influence was limited. One of these was the Society for Spreading the Light of the Gospel in the Dark Towns and villages of Sussex and, another, the Gospel Temperance Society.
A church was mentioned to exist on this site in the Doomsday Book but no trace of it remains today. The church was mentioned in 1158 and the chancel was the Priory church separated from the nave by a screen. The 13th Earl of Arundel rebuilt the Church, known at different time as Holy Trinity and St Nicholas, in Perpendicular style. William Wynford or Henry Yeveley designed it while Hugh Herland designed the timber roof of the chapel. The 13th Earl died before the construction was completed and the 14th Earl inaugurated it in 1380. Initially it was a Catholic Church but it was taken over by the Anglican Church after that Henry VIII and Elisabeth I (1558-1603) made it the Official religion of the country. The name St. Nicholas probably refers to Arundel’s port, St. Nicholas being the patron saint of the sailors. The nave, aisles and transepts form the parochial church whereas the chancel was always the chapel of the Holy Trinity College founded in 1380. After the Reformation it became the property of the Earls of Arundel and was called the Fitzalan chapel in the mid-19th century.
Arundel’s vicar, Thomas Heyney, was very unpopular with the local population and was expelled in 1643. The parish had different clergy until 1656 when Francis Cuffley became vicar. Unfortunately he died the same year. That year the Arundel Church was taken over by a Government Official, Thomas Jewer, who was sworn in by Thomas Sowton, Arundel’s Mayor on October 13, 1656.
The forces of Sir William Waller who occupied it during the sieges of the castle in 1642/44 damaged the church. They used it as barracks and stables, and mounted cannon on the tower to hit the castle. The Norfolk family paid for the repairs. The church bells, eight of them, were a gift from Henry and Charlotte, Duke and Duchess of Norfolk in 1855 and the spire was renovated in 1860. Sir G. Gilbert Scott restored it again in 1874 at a cost of £7,500 financed by public subscription. The church could sit 700 people, and one third of the seats were free. More building work and renovation were done in the 1980s.
Until 1784 when it was partially destroyed by high wind, the vicarage, with its farmyard and outbuildings, were located at the west of St. Nicholas Church. It was destroyed in 1796. Afterwards the Rev. Groome rented “Pannet’s Pond House” in King Street for his residence until 1810. At that time he moved to a new residence on the south side of what is now London Road (that is in what is now Parson’s Hill). In exchange he surrendered to the Duke of Norfolk what was left of the old vicarage. Tower House at Number 1 London Road, built in 1795, was used until 1866 as the vicarage for the Anglican Church after 1845, as the previous one was burned by lightning in the 1830s. The vicarage moved to 20 Maltravers Street. The Duke paid for it as part of an agreement of 1869 that included, in exchange, the site of the old vicarage at Parson’s Hill, the land on which the cathedral was to be built. This vicarage was sold around 1946 and the house at 26 Maltravers Street was bought as a replacement.
The benefice of the church was a Vicarage in the archdeacony and diocese of Chichester, under the patronage of the Duke of Norfolk. The value of the income was £196 in 1855. With Tortington annexed, the joint net income was £379 in 1922 plus residence. By 1930 the vicarage included South Stokes and Tortington and the joint net value was now £664 plus residence. The 700 seats of the St Nicholas Church were all free by that time.
It is probably the only church in Great Britain that has two different places of worship in the same building and under the same roof, with two dedications, one being Anglican and the other Roman Catholic. This situation started in 1544 when Henry VIII gave the chancel of the church and all its possession to Henry, 22nd Earl of Arundel. Henry wanted to keep the Fitzalan Chapel because it was his family’s mortuary, and also the private chapel of the college of the Holy Trinity, that he bought from the Crown for 1,000 marks.
In fact the building had been divided by a wrought-iron grille in two different places of worship since the end of the 14th century. The College of Secular Canons used the Fitzalan Chapel while the parishioners used the church itself. After the dissolution of the religious houses at the time of Henry VIII in the middle of the 16th century, the nave of the church remained in use but it was now Anglican, while the Fitzalan Chapel, separated by a wall, fell into disuse, except as a mortuary for the Dukes of Norfolk.
When the then Anglican Vicar challenged the ownership of the Fitzalan Chapel in 1879, the 15th Duke of Norfolk had a brick wall built to clearly separate the two parts of the building. Part of the brick wall was removed in the 1950’s, and it was completely replaced par glass in March 1969 by Bernard, the 16th Duke of Norfolk in the name of Christian unity. With the growth of ecumenism, an inter-denominational service was held in 1977, and the iron grille was opened. The whole church was used for the first time in four hundred years.
The west end of the priory building, now the Priory Theatre, was the Catholic Chapel until a church was built in 1873. This new church, an imitation of the French Gothic cathedrals, was erected in Bath stones on the highest point of the town.
Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk, was born in London on 27/12/1847. He was the eldest son of the 14th Duke, Henry Granville, and of Augusta Mary Minna Catherine, the youngest daughter of Admiral Lord Lyons. The 15th Duke had a strong sense of public duty, modest, kind, generous, and courteous. He was, like all Dukes of Norfolk, the lay leader of the Catholic Church in England. He had many interests but building was the main one. He was responsible for the erection of many small churches in various parts of Britain. But he is better known for the construction of the churches of Arundel (in 1873) and Norwich (in 1894), both of large dimensions, more like cathedrals than churches. He died at Norfolk House in London on 11/2/1916. Duke Henry left for South Africa on 31/3/1900 to fight in the Boer War. However illness obliged him to come back on 27/7/1900.
Joseph Aloysius Hansom was born in York on 26/10/1803, the son of a joiner, and a strong Catholic. He designed Birmingham Town Hall in 1831 and the Safety cab used everywhere in Britain in 1834. He was responsible for building many churches, convents, colleges, schools, and mansions, mainly for Catholic customers in Britain but also in France, Australia and South America. St.Walburge Church in Preston and the Arundel church were his greatest achievements. He died in London on 29/6/1882.
Although the first plans for the church were made in 1869 and the contract was signed in 1870, the formal deed for the site was signed by the Duke of Norfolk and the Bishop of Southwark only on 27/3/1871. The lease was for 99 years from 25/12/1869 at the annual rent of £15, and the buildings erected on it could only be a Roman Catholic Church, a presbytery and, possibly, a school. The site of the church and the presbytery belonged before to the Vicar of Arundel. The Vicar agreed to sell it to the Duke of Norfolk above all because the Duke offered to help him with a new Parsonage House. At that time the Vicar did not know anything about the future use of the site. In 1900 and 1901 the church and presbytery were conveyed to the Bishop of Southwark without any restriction.
Construction of the church
Most drawings are kept in the archives of the castle and in the church. A contract was signed in 1870 between the Duke and the builders -George Meyers, David Benson Meyers and Joseph Patterson Meyers- for the erection of the church under the supervision of Joseph and Joseph S. Hansom at a cost of £35,000. The Bishop of Troy laid the foundation stone. The work was to start no latter than 1/8/1870 and the work was to be completed by 1/8/1872. In May 1871 there was a one-week strike of stonemasons because some men had been taken on who were not fully paid-up members of the “stonemasons society”. Mr Addis, the works manager, settled this. At that time, work stated at 6.00 a.m. In July 1872 it was believed that the erection cost, initially estimated at £35,000, would be around £47,400, and this did not included all the work and furniture. On 21/2/1873 the new estimate amounted to £57,050, although a figure of £65,000 was thought to be more reasonable. The total cost, including all the expenses, was close to £100,000.
The construction was not very easy and met many problems. Due to the poor quality of the soil the foundations had to go down 60 feet although the building is not that heavy. The 280 feet steeple intended to be erected above the right tower had to be scrapped for the same reason. A truncated tower replaces it in the northwest corner. This explains why the cathedral has no bells. A mini-steeple copy in fibreglass of the original was added on the roof in 1974. It is much bigger that the Anglican Parish Church although it was only the Catholic parish.
Opening of the Church
The Duke had planned to open his church on 30/4/1873 but the ceremony was postponed due to the death of the Duke’s brother-in-law the day before. The building was however blessed by the Bishop of Southwark on 30/4/1873 but the official opening was postponed until 1/7/1873, and by that time all work were nearly completed. It was a beautiful day and the ceremony took place in the presence of many people of Arundel and with, among the Duke’s guests, the Archbishop of Westminster, the Bishop of Southwark and many representatives of the British nobility. The Presbytery -now the cathedral House- was being built at the time of the inauguration of the church.
John Butt, Chaplain to the Duke and resident in the College, became the first rector of the church and moved to the new Gothic rectory. The church has 900 seats. St Philip remained the Catholic parish church in the diocese of Southwark for about one hundred years. This was however a special church in the sense that it had the Duke of Norfolk, the premier Roman catholic layman in England, in its congregation.
Strange enough the church was not consecrated until 1946 because it lacked a permanent high altar. The Catholic cemetery near by had not yet been consecrated at that time either. The diocese of Arundel and Brighton was established in 1965 and the Church of St Philip Neri became a Cathedral. David John Cashman who had been the Parish Priest from 1956 to 1958 became its first bishop on 21/8/1965. Pope Paul VI declared Philip Howard a saint on 25/10/1970. His remains were removed from the Fitzalan Chapel to the Cathedral on 10/3/1971. On 19/11/1971 the Rt. Rev. Michael Bowen, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, consecrated the new high altar and the shrine of St. Philip Howard. In 1973 the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton decreed that the cathedral should be dedicated to Our Lady and St Philip Howard.
Every year, on the feast of Corpus Christi, a carpet of flowers in laid down the central aisle and a procession goes to the castle. The 15th Duke, Henry introduced this ceremony, in 1877. A modern shrine in the honour of St. Philip Howard, 23rd Earl of Arundel, was erected in the north transept. Philip Howard died in the Tower of London in 1595 aged 39 after eleven year of imprisonment for refusing to abandon his Catholic faith. He was buried in the Tower of London but his widow brought his remains back to Arundel in 1624.
In 1675 Edward Hamper, who gave the well in Market Square to the town in 1674, leased to the Society of Friends (Quakers) for £8 a year a property located at the corner of Tarrant Street and Arun Street. The malt house, stable, mill-house, orchard and garden were used as a meetinghouse and burial ground. Hamper was put in prison later on and he died in Horsham Gaol for his religion. These buildings were demolished around 1900.
A Congregational Chapel was built in 1784 that could sit 120 people but very little else is known about it.
By 1833 the Nineveh house, built in 1420 for the Norfolk family, was a dilapidated lodging house for labourers. The local Congregationalists built their chapel on the site. The house was demolished but the old stones and flints were used in the new building. The chapel was closed in 1982.
Baptists and their Chapel
From Bishop Bowers’ Visitation in 1724 it is known that some Anabaptists lived in and around Arundel at that time. Some of them were already there in 1664; it is known that William Payers from Barnham and John Luttard and his wife from Yapton, all Anabaptists, refused to have their children baptised and to send them to the Anglican Church. In 1714, Samuel Cox’s house in Walberton was registered for use by the Baptist Church with William Smith as Minister. There was a kind of witch-hunt against the non-conformists these days. Even after the “Toleration Act” of 1689, many people including some Anabaptists had their children baptised in the Church of England when young. They would receive the “Believer’s Baptism” or “Second Baptism” (and to Anabaptists, the true one) later on (“Ana” means “Again”).
The lack of roads made contact between people difficult at that time and there is no historical evidence of the presence of any Baptists between the years 1729-1741 and 1745-1751. However there must have been quite a few Baptists in Arundel at the beginning of the 19th century. As the registration of conventicles (religious meetings) of less than 20 people was abolished in 1812, we have no trace of group meetings of Baptists in Arundel or if the members had to walk to Walberton, which belonged to the Kent and Sussex Association at that time.
In 1813 the “Baptist Home Mission Society” was created in Worthing. In 1842 Mr George Robert Paul, a member of the local gentry, opened his house every Sunday evening for religious meetings of the local Baptists. In 1846 Mr Paul paid for a chapel to be built in Park Place, Arundel. It was registered as a place of worship for Protestants dissenting from the Church of England, but they were Baptists. In the following years many little Baptist chapels were built in the villages around Arundel. Mr Paul made sure that preachers were available for all the chapels. The Park Place chapel closed as the number of Baptists decreased after Mr Paul left for Canada in 1852. The “Primitive Methodists” probably bought the chapel since their presence there was recorded in Kelly’s Directories for 1862 and 1874 while no mention is made of any Baptist activity. This, however, does no mean that there were no Baptists left in Arundel. There are simply no records of them, and they met privately or they worshipped in Walberton Chapel. After the Congregationalists and the Primitive Methodists had moved to Tarrant Street, Mr Scott leased a site in that same street for the Baptists in 1867. It was the same site, at the corner of Tarrant Street and Arun Street, where Edward Hamper had leased buildings and land to the Society of Friends in 1675 for a Quaker meeting House and a refuge for the poor. Now the yearly rent amounted to £16 to be paid to the Society of Friends and the lease was for 1,000 years starting in 1675. In 1987 the owner of one of the houses built on this plot was still paying £5 ground rent to the Society of Friends. There is no record that a chapel was ever built there at that time. However it is highly probable that Mr Scott had one built by a certain Henry Sergant, and in use in 1868, to replace the old Quaker Meeting House. The Ordnance Survey Map of Arundel in 1875 agrees with this assumption.
Pastor Adam from Worthing took care of the Arundel Congregation until 1888 when he had to leave for bad health. Another Worthing Pastor, Rev. C. Douglas Crouch, followed him. Regular services took place on Sunday, and there was a mid-week Bible study. Mr Scott died in 1895 and he left the chapel to Mrs Caroline Humphrey. Mrs Humphrey had soon a resident Pastor, Rev. William Austin Bowes who lived in Arun Lodge in Tarrant Street in 1896. Unfortunately My Caroline Humphrey died on November 30, 1901, and there was nobody else to pay for the Pastor who had to leave in 1902. Her husband, Henry Humphrey, became the third owner of the Arun Street Chapel. In 1903 the “Arundel Baptist Church and West Tarring Mission” was formed under the chairmanship of Rev. W.D. Ross, Minister of the Worthing Baptist Church. The Arun Street Chapel was again under the protection of the Worthing Baptist Church, and remained like this for many years. However, in compensation, many preachers came to Arundel and the church activity was going on again.
The Baptists of Arundel had hard times in front of them but their church remained open, whereas the Quakers, Methodists, Primitive Methodists and Congregationalists are all forgotten. Now there is a
new Baptist Church (built in 1980) on Tortonhill Road, with a resident pastor (Rev. Philip Tout), and this shows that the Baptist faith in Arundel is still much alive.