Discover the history of the Slindon Estate

The flint archway known as ‘The Folly’ on the Slindon Estate, with a dark, moody sky above and a field of wheat below.

For such a little place, Slindon boasts a history worthy of a large town. Evidence has been found as far back as Palaeolithic times and it has been inhabited from the Bronze age right up to the present day. Below are some of the numerous historical features that you can still find and explore on a visit.

Flint Folly

 
This flint archway known as The Folly was built in 1817 at the request of Anne, Countess of Newburgh. The design was taken from an old Italian print, and originally had a thatched tea house on the south side. The Countess would drive here in a four horse wagonette to take tea and enjoy the view. It's still a lovely place to picnic, with tremendous views down to the coast.
 

The Pound

 
At the top of Mill Lane, in the village, stands an intriguing flint and red brick square enclosure. This was once used as a livestock Pound in the days when livestock were driven across the downs to market. Strays were impounded here and released for a fee.
 

Stane Street Roman Road

 
The best preserved sections of this Roman road can be found at Slindon. It was built by the Romans, around AD79, as a communication route between Chichester and London. The road comprises a raised causeway, known as the 'agger' with ditches running either side. You can walk in the steps of the Romans from Bignor top car park, down past Gumber farm and into Eartham woods and beyond.
 

Gumber decoy airfield

 
During the Second World War Gumber hosted a decoy airfield to deflect bombing from the airfield at nearby Tangmere. There were lights at night to simulate a landing strip and wooden planes during the day to fool reconnaissance missions. If you walk through the farm you can see the bunker built to house the generator to power the lights.
 

First World War incinerator

 
On the northern side of Nore Hill there are the remains of an incinerator, part of a much larger prisioner of war camp that once occupied an area known as 'The Plain'. PoWs were managed by the Canadian Forestry Corp to fell timber for pit props and trench supports for the war effort.
 

The old lock-up

 
Built in 1805, before a full-time Constabulary was formed in 1857, the lock-up was used by the Parish Constable to imprison local troublemakers until he could march them to the magistrate at Arundel or Chichester.
 

The Park Pale

 
Historical records show that there was a deer park at Slindon as early as the 13th century. Around the edge of the park, a pale was constructed so that deer could enter the park from the outside, but could not get out. The Pale consisted of a bank and ditches, with a fence built on top. You can still see the remains of the Pale today.
 

The School House

 
This once Church of England school was built in 1871 using flints gathered from the local fields free of charge by the village farm labourers. A tankard can be seen from the road set amongst the flints at the apex of the gable, to commemorate the amount of beer drunk in the sweltering summer of 1884 when the infants classroom was added.
 

Worthing Archaeological Society

 
Worthing Arch Soc has an active volunteer field unit, tackling excavations, surveying and research projects. WAS has carried out a lot of work at Slindon both in the village and the wider estate.
 

Historical Guide to Slindon: a portrait of Slindon

 
This is an updated edition of Josephine Duggan Rees's much-loved book about Slindon's historical past. Written in the 1960s it is available direct from the publisher or it is on sale in the Forge.
 

‘Slindon at War’ research and photographs

 
A local historian, Rodney Gunner, is researching the impacts of the First and Second World War's on Slindon. His webpages show his research to date and a fascinating photographic archive.