Barton Manor

About Barton Manor

Noted in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest inhabited house in Britain, the heart of which is a Saxon Aula (hall) (click here for a detailed plan) which dates from the 7th. Century. Built from Mitholite Mixon rock in water worn pieces (probably from nearby Selsey), local Bognor rock and glacial boulders, the stones are arranged in a herringbone pattern which is almost 3 feet thick in places. There is also the outline of a rounded door or window in stone that may have been shaped by a Roman chisel.

Ethelwald, King of the West Saxons, granted property in Selsey and Pagham to Wilfred, Bishop of York. The property consisting of the land and persons of 87 families who were subject to him. This grant was confirmed in 683AD by Caedwalla, who had slain and succeeded him. The aula (hall) was at some time attached to a bigger hall, evidence of foundations have been discovered in the grounds to the north which indicate the hall would have been about 45ft x 27ft.

Wilfrid, an exiled Northumbrian nobleman, was shipwrecked at Selsey when returning from a visit to the Pope in Rome. He succeeded in converting the unsavoury Sussex pagans to the Christian faith and built a cathedral at Selsey (now well below the waves!). When Wilfrid died in 709AD he bequeathed his manor and farms at Pagham to the Archbishop of Canterbury as a sign of his reconciliation with the church. From then on Barton Manor often accommodated visiting clergy laced with a liberal sprinkling of Archbishops.

In the 12th. Century a chapel (click here for a detailed plan) was constructed which when completed was 51ft x 25ft, an exceptional size for a chapel of this sort. There is evidence that the chapel uses Caen stone from France and Freshwater Limestone from the Isle of Wight, probably ballast from boats returning to the local port. It was here at the Manor Chapel in 1108AD that St. Anselm consecrated the Bishop elect of London at the request of King Henry I. It's amazing to think that by that time Barton Manor was already 400 years old.

In the 15th Century the manor was let for farming and during the 16th Century became Crown Property. It was subsequently granted, by Queen Elizabeth I, to one of her officials, Edward Darell, whose position was Clerk of the Queen's Catery, a position that involved a lot more than supervision of her personal table, he was responsible for the victualling of royal garrisons. He also made the arrangements for residence of Mary Queen of Scots.

Over the remaining years ownership changed on a number of occasions, but by 1902 the property was showing serious signs of decay. The then owner, William Fletcher, had the manor restored, and during this restoration both the Saxon aula and the private chapel were preserved. The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the chapel in 1929 whilst he and King George V were convalescing nearby. To think - the manor house has seen the earliest Saxon settlements, it has seen Wilfrid and his Christian monks before the Danes came and Alfred the Great beat them, it saw the long wars with France, the English Civil War, the Revolution across the Channel, the coming and going of Napoleon, two World Wars and Spitfires roaring out of nearby Tangmere.

The apartments at Barton Manor


Throughout the development and planning stages we realised that it was important to develop Barton Manor in tune with the needs of active discerning professionals, and yet incorporate features befitting such a unique historic old house. Therefore the opportunity was taken to fully explore all possibilities and to guarantee that the fabric and history of the property would be enjoyed by many for future years.

We have been able to combine the elegance and feel of an historic building with tasteful design and decor throughout all of the apartments.

Barton Manor provides a perfect balance of safe, secure living with an ideal location in the West Sussex countryside, ensuring independence and the freedom to enjoy the incredible wealth of amenities all around you.

This very beautiful part of West Sussex combines the coastline and countryside in a unique way and with the change of seasons you can enjoy almost all the hobbies and activities you could wish for.

Barton Manor approach