Amberley, West Sussex

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Amberley St Michael.jpg
Church of St. Michael
Amberley is located in West Sussex
Location within West Sussex
Area11.79 km2 (4.55 sq mi) [1]
Population533 [1] 2001 Census
586 (2011 Census including North Stoke)[2]
• Density45/km2 (120/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ031131
• London45 miles (72 km) NNE
Civil parish
  • Amberley
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townARUNDEL
Postcode districtBN18
Dialling code01798
FireWest Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
West Sussex
50°54′31″N 0°32′03″W / 50.90848°N 0.53404°W / 50.90848; -0.53404Coordinates: 50°54′31″N 0°32′03″W / 50.90848°N 0.53404°W / 50.90848; -0.53404
Amberley village
Thatched cottages, Amberley, July 2020

Amberley is a village and civil parish in the Horsham District of West Sussex, England. It is situated at the foot of the South Downs, 4 miles (6 km) north of Arundel.[3] Its neighbours are Storrington and West Chiltington. The village is noted for its thatched cottages. A house named "The Thatched House" is one of the village's few non-thatched houses.

One of the attractions is Amberley Working Museum.

Amberley has a railway station on the Arun Valley Line, with regular services to Bognor Regis, Portsmouth and London.

To the north of the village is the tidal plain of the River Arun, known as Amberley Wild Brooks. The wetland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest which floods in winter and is known for its wildfowl. Amberley Castle is now a hotel. The castle was a fortified manor house next to which is the Norman St Michael's Church.

Cultural links[edit]

William Champion Streatfeild, who became Bishop of Lewes was vicar of Amberley with Houghton from 1897 to 1902. His daughter, the children's novelist Noel Streatfeild, spent part of her childhood there.[4] These may have been the happiest years of her childhood.[5]

Arnold Bennett's stay in the village for eight weeks in 1926 is documented in his journals.[6] During May–June 1926, he wrote the last two thirds of The Vanguard in 44 days, noting I have never worked more easily than in the last six weeks. He also met John Cowper Powys who walked over the Downs from Burpham to visit him.[7] Frank Swinnerton lived in Cranleigh and had links with Bennett, subsequently selecting and editing his journals. Swinnerton's 1914 novel On the Staircase has a character named Amberley. Arthur Rackham is commemorated in a wall plaque in the churchyard. The lettercutting is by John Skelton. Rackham and his artist wife Edyth lived at Houghton House on the other side of the valley throughout the 1920s. In 1932, the film The Man from Toronto starring Jessie Matthews and Ian Hunter was filmed here.

There is a memorial in the churchyard to Edward Stott RA[8] who lived in Amberley from 1889 until he died in 1918. He is noted for his rural scenes, many sketched close to Amberley. His monument has a bust on top carved by the sculptor Francis Derwent Wood. Wood's grave is marked with one of his own works, a pieta in bronze. Inside the church is a semi-circular stained glass window to Stott, designed by Robert Anning Bell. Other windows have inscriptions by Eric Gill and his assistant Joseph Cribb. In the church, south of the chancel arch are 12th or 13th century wall-paintings, depicting scenes from the Passion Cycle.[9]

Amberley Working Museum was used as a set location for the James Bond film A View to a Kill as "Mainstrike Mine".

The village's name was Michael Jupp's inspiration for that of the character Amberley in his TV series The Dreamstone.

Local history[edit]

The Pepper Papers (1899–1978) give an insight into Amberley's history as a producer of Lime, with 1904 correspondence between Peppers and companies interested in shipping Amberley chalk to North America. In 1929–35, a campaign tried to prevent the despoliation of Amberley by the erection of pylons and overhead power cables, looking at the financing of the alternative scheme of laying low tension underground cables. Frank Pepper had regular correspondence with Arthur Rackham who had lived nearby, and John Galsworthy from Bury, West Sussex regarding the campaign to save Bury Coombe. Letters between 1926 and 1959 document claims to a public right of way over a footpath through the Amberley Castle grounds.[10]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2001 Census: West Sussex – Population by Parish" (PDF). West Sussex County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  2. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  3. ^ AA Book of British Villages. Drive Publications Limited. 1980. p. 23. ISBN 9780340254875.
  4. ^ Bull, Angela. (1984) Noel Streatfeild. London: William Collins Sons & Co Ltd.
  5. ^ "Noel Streatfield". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  6. ^ Hepburn, J. Arnold Bennett and Amberley. Smoke Tree Press (2002) ISBN 0-9539914-0-7
  7. ^ The Journals, Arnold Bennett ed. F. Swinnerton Penguin Books p.510-514
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Passion Cycle: Amberley, Sussex". Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  10. ^ Records of Frank Montague Pepper of Amberley, and Dr. Frank R. Pepper of Pulborough. National Archive: West Sussex Records Office Add. Mss. 37, 527 - 37,537 1899-1978

Further reading[edit]

  • Amberley Church - A Critical Appreciation by Nigel Foxell. Menard Press ISBN 978-1-874320-54-8
  • Valerie Webb (2018), Edward Stott (1855 – 1918): A Master of Colour and Atmosphere, Samsom & Company, Bristol, England. ISBN 9781911408222

External links[edit]