by Jem Croucher

Part of the ‘Past to Present’ series from Jemverse

'Malduppinne' as it was first called
in thirteen forty-seven
by grant from John le Pottere
to his wife in his succession
Its purpose now long lost to time
a museum now it hosts
in the oldest secular building that
the town of Shoreham boasts
From 'Malduppinne' to 'Marlipins'
this build of Caen stone
with flint-knapped chequered walls remains
the oldest one still known


Photo – from a postcard in the author’s collection

[Although vaguely referred to as ‘The Chantry’ (as this postcard claims) this ancient building in Shoreham’s High Street probably dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest buildings erected and used for entirely secular purposes remaining in Europe. Now hosting the town’s museum, the earliest written reference to it is in a deed dated 1st August 1347 (20th year in the reign of Edward III) in which John le Pottere of New Shoreham bequeathes a stone-built corner tenement called ‘Malduppinne’ in the market place called ‘Otmarcat’ (oat market) to his wife Juliana and thereafter to their son Richard to hold for life. However, the building itself (certainly medieval) probably dates back to at least 1100 with a reconstruction in about 1300. It was definitely a builder’s storehouse in the 19th century as it was then occupied by Messrs Gates & son, a long-established Shoreham family with roots back to medieval times. One other thing is definite; it has never had anything in common with a ‘chantry’. That’s nothing more than whimsical fantasy].


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