East Dean, West Sussex

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East Dean
East Dean pond.JPG
East Dean pond
East Dean is located in West Sussex
East Dean
East Dean
Location within West Sussex
Area16.66 km2 (6.43 sq mi) [1]
Population206 (2011 Census)
• Density13/km2 (34/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSU903129
• London48 miles (77 km) NNE
Civil parish
  • East Dean
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townChichester
Postcode districtPO18
Dialling code01243
FireWest Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
West Sussex
50°54′31″N 0°43′01″W / 50.90853°N 0.71689°W / 50.90853; -0.71689Coordinates: 50°54′31″N 0°43′01″W / 50.90853°N 0.71689°W / 50.90853; -0.71689

East Dean is a village and civil parish in the District of Chichester in West Sussex, England. The village is in a valley in the South Downs, 5+12 miles (9 km) north-northeast of Chichester on a narrow road between Singleton on the A286 and Upwaltham on the A285 road. The village pond is considered to be the source of the River Lavant.

The civil parish is about 4 miles (6.4 km) long north – south and about 2 miles (3 km) wide east – west[2] and has a land area of 1,663.5 hectares (4,111 acres). The 2011 census recorded the parish population as 206, living in 112 households. 101 residents were recorded as economically active.[3]

The village has a Church of England parish church and an FIEC free church.[4] East Dene has a village hall and a pub, The Star and Garter.[5]

The parish church, pub and most of the houses are built of flint. The pub and many of the houses have brick quoins and window dressings. The Monarch's Way long-distance footpath crosses the parish on the downs to the south of the village. Part of the grounds of Goodwood House are in the parish.[6]

East Dean has a football team, founded in 1880, that plays in the West Sussex Football League.[citation needed]


Stone Age flint tools have been found on the downs, and there are a number of Bronze Age round barrows in the parish. The outline of Celtic field systems can still be seen on Court Hill north of the village.[7] Roman pottery and coins have been found near the village.[citation needed]

In AD 689 Nunna (Nothelm), King of the South Saxons, gave 20 hides of land at "Hugabeorgum and Dene" to Eadberht, Bishop of Selsey. "Dene" has been identified as East Dene.[2] In his will of AD 899 King Alfred the Great left East Dean to his youngest son Æthelweard (AD c. 880 – 920 or 922).[citation needed]

The remains of a small deserted Medieval settlement have been found in Eastdean Park. The buildings were 14th- and 16th-century.[8]

Newhouse Farmhouse, about 23 mile (1 km) north of the village, is 18th-century. It is a Grade II* listed building.[9]

The village hall used to be the parish school. Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond had it built in 1787.[10]

The Star and Garter pub

The Star and Garter used to be called the Hurdlemakers.[11] It was built early in the 19th century.[12]

In 1852 a fire destroyed eight houses and several barns in the village and left others damaged. Slate was used to replace the thatched roofs on some of these.[citation needed]

Parish church[edit]

Parish church of All Saints

The parish church of All Saints is at the north end of the village. It is part of a united parish with the churches of the Blesséd Virgin Mary, Singleton and St Andrew, West Dean.[13]

All Saints' is a cruciform church with a central tower over the crossing. The chancel, transepts and tower were built c. 1150. The south doorway was built about 1200. The nave has five bays and was built in the 13th century. Blocked arches on the north side of the nave and west side of the north transept show that it had a north aisle, which was later removed.[14]

The tower has three bells. The oldest was cast in the 15th century, and is inscribed "HAL MARI FVL GRAS". Another was cast in 1634. Clement Tosier of Salisbury cast the youngest bell in 1702.[2]

The church was restored in 1870. It is a Grade I listed building.[15]

Air crash[edit]

A Bristol Bombay Mk I of 216 Squadron RAF, similar to the one that crashed near East Dean

On 17 June 1940 an RAF Transport Command Bristol Bombay aircraft crashed on high ground in the parish, killing all five members of its crew. The aircraft belonged to either 216 Squadron or 271 Squadron (records differ), but all five of its crew were from 24 Squadron. The aircraft was on approach to land at its base at RAF Tangmere, but the weather was poor and the plane hit a hill near East Dean.[16]

The aircraft may have been taking part in Operation Aerial or Operation Cycle, the evacuations of the British Expeditionary Force from Normandy and western France in the weeks after the Dunkirk evacuation.[16]

The pilot is buried in the CWGC's Roman Catholic section in Chichester Cemetery.[17] His co-pilot and three crewmen are buried in the parish churchyard of St Andrew, Tangmere.[18][19][20][21]

Notable residents[edit]

The playwright Christopher Fry (1907 – 2005) lived in East Dean in later life.[22]


  1. ^ "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. ^ a b c Salzman 1953, pp. 94–96.
  3. ^ "East Dean Parish". nomis. Durham University for the Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  4. ^ "East Dean Free Church". FIEC. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Home". Star and Garter. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Goodwood House (Grade I) (1000157)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Field system in Lamb Lea (1005820)". National Heritage List for England.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Medieval settlement in Eastdean Park, 670m north east of Counter's Gate (1018038)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  9. ^ Historic England. "Newhouse Farmhouse (Grade II*) (1026378)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  10. ^ Historic England. "The Village Hall (Grade II) (1231588)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  11. ^ Hancock, David (1 February 2006). "Pub Review – Star & Garter, East Dean, East Sussex (sic)". Morning Advertiser. William Reed Business Media Ltd. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  12. ^ Historic England. "The Star and Garter Public House (Grade II) (1277495)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  13. ^ "The Valley Parish". Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  14. ^ Nairn & Pevsner 1965, pp. 213–214.
  15. ^ Historic England. "The Parish Church of All Saints (Grade I) (1026377)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  16. ^ a b "ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 224116". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Flying Officer Colman O'Shaughnessy Murphy". CWGC. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Pilot Officer Hedley Eric Large". CWGC. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  19. ^ "Aircraftman 1st Class Leonard Bradburn". CWGC. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Leading Aircraftman Wilfred Arnold Harper". CWGC. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Leading Aircraftman Ernest Wragg". CWGC. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  22. ^ Thompson, Raymond H (16 May 1989). "Interview with Christopher Fry". The Camelot Project. Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2019.


External links[edit]