The Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem was founded at the end of the 11th century in the Holy Land. To protect the pilgrims, the Order raised a force of knights that developed in a regular army. The order had since then a military arm, but went on curing the sick. The order spread through Europe where every country had its own association (known as “langue”), and each association was divided in districts or “bailiwicks”. The order soon owned many properties and became very rich, especially after the dissolution of the Order of the Knights Templar, whose properties and wealth they were given.
In Sussex the Bailiwick of Poling managed many properties in Chichester, Cokeham, Sompting, Compton, Midhurst, Pococks near Eastbourne, Saddlescombe and Shipley. This Bailiwick, or Commandery of Poling, is believed to have been given to the Order of the Hospital by John Fitzalan, the 9th Earl of Arundel around 1244.
The Poling Commandery was endowed with lands from many parishes near Arundel including Combe, Offham, Up Marden and Rumboldwyke for a total annual income of £78 11p 3d in 1338 (this included also the alms collected in the neighbourhood). The annual running expenses were about £34 leaving a profit of £44 11s 3d for the Order.
In 1381 Earl Richard, the founder, settled the hundred and manor of Poling on the new College of Arundel. The Poling Commandery was dissolved in 1541 with all the other properties of the Order in England and transferred to the Crown. The Poling house and land were given to the College of Arundel until 1546 when the College itself was dissolved.
Niveneh House (or Nineveh, Ninivah, or Old Niveneh)
John, 16th Earl of Arundel, erected this building in Tarrant Street in about 1420 for the Norfolk family. In 1718 part of the building was the Star Inn but by 1833 it was a dilapidated lodging house for labourers. The house was demolished that year. The local Congregationalists who built their chapel on the site used the old stones and flints. The Architect was Robert Abraham who most probably also built the Town Hall.
It is not known why a house in Arundel was given the name of an ancient Assyrian city. A shipyard between the chapel and the river was also called “Ninevah Shipyard”.
The chapel was closed in 1982 and was transformed in an antique supermarket in 1989.
Many “Royal” visited Arundel in the past:
– William II in 1095 and 1097.
– Henry I in 1100 or 1101.
– Stephen in 1139.
– Henry II in about 1182.
– Richard I around 1189.
– John came many times (1206, 1209, 1213).
– Edward I came many times (1285, 1297, 1299, 1302, 1305).
– Edward II (1324), Edward III, Richard II and Henry VII visited the town at various times.
– Henry VIII stayed in the castle and hunted in the park in 1526. He came back in 1538.
– It is also probable that Elizabeth I visited Arundel in 1591.
– Queen Victoria passed twice through Arundel in 1842 on her way between Brighton and Portsmouth. She stayed three days in the castle in 1846.
– George IV, when Prince of Wales, stayed at Arundel Castle in August 1801.
– It is widely believed that Queen Elizabeth II visited Arundel Castle many times.